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‘Mockstars’ align, let little people shine

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PARK CITY — A party at a popular Main Street club Monday night seemed to have all the makings of a ritzy-glitzy Sundance shindig.

Limousines rolled up to Harry O's. Huge crowds gathered outside. Guests dressed in their show-off best walked in on a red carpet. And an up-and-coming band headlined the entertainment.

But this bash — call it the "Joe Millionaire" of the Sundance scene — was unlike any of the other film festival festivities. It was more for construction workers than it was for tycoons or gold-diggers. It didn't even have any movie stars, TV stars or rock stars at it.

Of course, that's what you'd expect considering it was billed as the "Mockstar" party of Sundance.

Simply put, Mockstar was thrown as a party parody — a celebration created for the little people who weren't invited to hang out with the big people of the Hollywood world.

Although a V.I.P. at this 107.5 FM-hosted event, Cassie Lamb, a West Jordan resident who won tickets, admits she had "probably zero" chance of being invited to one of the fancy-schmancy soirees.

The reason — and one that applies to most residents of the Beehive State whose last name isn't Redford, Osmond or Brimley (you know, Wilford and kin) — is simple enough.

No connections were needed to hang out at Mockstar. Jimmy Chunga, The End's jocular morning show host, made sure of that.

Chunga came up with the idea of throwing a party for his peeps while recuperating after chin surgery a few weeks ago. At the time, he hadn't received any V.I.P. party invitations, and he was sure most of his friends and 107.5 listeners hadn't either, so he thought it'd be a blast to get together at Sundance.

"I said, 'Let's just throw our own party,' " Chunga explained. "I wanted everybody to be a rock star for a night, and Mockstar is where an average Joe gets to."

Chunga went to work, collecting on favors owed and promising future-born children, to line up a raging party with enticing entertainment. In the process, he hooked up with three local entrepreneurs — Park City's Paul Vassau, Trevor Williams and Brad Davis — who had already licensed the Mockstar idea and were awaiting the prime opportunity to kick it off.

They managed to pull it off — and sell it out — in less than three weeks.

"The stars aligned really quickly," Vassau said. "There's obviously a very hungry audience out there."

Their next plan is to throw Mockstar parties simultaneous to major Hollywood productions such as the Oscars and MTV Awards. Plans are in the making to take their show internationally to China, London and Paris. The group is also marketing a spoof on the popular HBO filmmaker series, "Project Greenlight." Their version is called "Projectredlight" and will be a Zoolander-type mockumentary.

"We'll give them their five minutes of fame," Williams said. "And they can become a superstar or a mockstar."

While the premise Monday night was based on mocking the "surreal industry and celebrities," there was nothing fake about the party. It was as hip and happenin' a bash as Park City will legally see during Sundance — especially on a Monday night.

"I am the star," said Leslie Yen, Lamb's friend, with a big grin. "Just nobody knows it yet."

While most of the 1,300-plus guests dressed like they were to appear in a music video, eccentric mockers were everywhere. For instance, one man wore whitie-tighties with red trim, a leather jacket and a cowboy hat. Others donned poofy-hair wigs, feathery boas, thick disco collars, shiny jewelry and cool shades.

One group of friends came dressed as their favorite Austin Powers characters, including Austin himself, a 5-foot-something Not-so-Mini-Me and the rotund kilt-wearing Scottish bloke whose name we can't print in a family newspaper.

"Oh my," Chunga said before announcing the headlining band. "We have a bunch of sexy mockstars out here."

The place began thumping as Maroon 5 took stage. The Los Angeles-based alternative rock-and-soul band proved looks can be deceiving, but in an opposite way from most attendees. The geeky-dressed musicians looked like they practice between chess club sessions, but they forced their captive audience to move around like pawns on the dance floor with their edgy and energetic tunes.

Todd Bowen's only complaint about the party was waiting in a long, slow-moving line for a limousine ride up Main Street — a perk available to all partiers with the $15 entrance fee. He wasn't being a prima donna mockstar. He loved the rest.

"The party," he said, "was rock."

And definitely mock.


E-MAIL: jody@desnews.com