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LAist @ Sundance 2011: It Begins With A Spin

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In less than 90 minutes, LAist went from sea level to altitude sickness for the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah! Long Beach does it right when it come to air travel. Let's begin there, because that's where the party started.

Straight out of the 60s and looking like a lo-fi cruise ship, the best kept non-secret in local travel is the LGB with its Jet Blue hub, easy access, quick lines and living room-sized terminals. Conservative estimates put 89% of the outbound flight headed for the festival and the giggling plane felt considerably more like a school bus field trip than a multi-industry shmoozefest.

It's easy to chill on Hoth in Utah. Simply depart the comforts of sunny and 75, drop 50 degrees, add wind. The backlotting of adorable Park City is immediately noticeable, and a fascinating phenomenon of the festival. Main Street businesses are transformed with new signs and new purposes. A lumberyard turns into a poly-purpose venue called "The Yard." The former Claim Jumper Hotel -- one of the oldest structures in PC having survived a town-leveling fire in the 1890s -- becomes the Bing Bar and home to the Spin ping pong competition. HP/Sundance House and Honda each turned art galleries into headquarters, gifting suites bought out boutiques and restaurants, Tao took a parking garage, you get the picture.

Thursday night was festival kickoff and LAist took in Skull Candy sessions show at Harry O's. Lil Jon DJ'd for a packed house before the Snoop Tub Time Machine appeared and took us all back to '93 with a throwback set complete with four of mama's babies bikini-dancing on the bar.

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Unlike many supporting events during the 10-day festival, this was not a private affair or VIP after party, anyone could buy a $150 ticket. Based solely on the quantity of post-middle aged grinding, it appears they did.

No-Sleepdance 2011 continued Friday night with another live, late-night performance, this time by Janelle Monae at the Bing Bar after party. Let it be known that in addition to being a mini-Grace Jones meets James Brown meets Judy Garland android love child, Jonelle Monae is one broad who knows how to pick a shade of lipstick.

UP NEXT: New Frontier program, Jack/Chrissy/Janet/Franco, Ping Pong tournament and with any luck, a film review....