Back on Main Street. Park City during Sundance is a cheery mountain town gone savage, quaint stores turned into pop-up Acura dealerships and Segway depots. All the usual high Western kitsch is here — dealers of fine alpaca coats, “Artist-Driven” boutiques, jewelers, real estate agents and ski butlers and frontier-themed bars. But every third door is unmarked, cryptic, guarded by a man in an earpiece. At night a whole devil’s playground of terrible nightlife emerges: Tao Park City, where Nas played Saturday night, is here; so is New York’s the Westway, and something called NK, by evil clubbing genius Nur Khan. Cab drivers speak of this stretch of road with the resignation of men who have been forced to accept that at some point they will either find themselves in a backseat-vomit-fueled traffic jam or be the source of said traffic jam.
It’s Friday night, and we’re in a mansion high atop a mountain somewhere in nearby Deer Valley, the kind of place that doesn’t have an address. A cab driver takes me over. He reminisces about the old days at Sundance. “I’ve had some crazy times, man.” I ask him what he means. “Oh, you know: big parties, hot tubs, cougars.” He’s a local, remembers sending the yellow cabs that drive up from Salt Lake City during Sundance on wild goose chases around town. But GPS put an end to that, he says, sadly.
Which I’m grateful for tonight, actually: It’s all we can do to find the hotel at the base of the mountain, where in the lobby I give my name to a waiting factotum, who dispatches another factotum, who brings another car around. I get in and we drive for a while, heading up the hill. There is no address because this road is private: We pass through one gate manned by a security guard, and then another, pairs of leaping deer glinting off the ironwork. Up the mountain we go, making lefts and rights at seeming random, speeding up in the dark.