Day three brought a tribute to Cate Blanchett – recipient of the SBIFF’s Modern Master award – and rain coming at me sideways. Fortunately, I made my way to the Arlington with a San Francisco expat, who was well-versed in the ways of umbrella manipulation, yet even she was no match for the elements. Which is to say, while the umbrella survived, the same cannot be said of my blow-dry. Blanchett, however, arrived looking absolutely beautiful, royally pregnant, and without a hair out of place. (I don’t care what anyone says, they are NOT like the rest of us.) And she was even more likable once she started talking – witty, intelligent, and self-deprecating. Presenting her with the award, Todd Hayne, director of the critically acclaimed I’m Not There, praised her talent, and, alluding to both her belly and her body of work, said “She’s literally bursting with creative energy.” Blanchett gave sweet, sincere thanks, and, in what is becoming a poignant theme this year, paid homage to her countryman, Heath Ledger.
As for the party, which went down at the as-yet-unopened Bambu, getting there necessitated more hard-weather trials, not the least of which was fording the river that lower State Street had become. Inside the club was a lounge in the truest sense of the word – red lights, low-rider couches, plush rugs – it was a den of swankitude that threatened to suck me in and never let go. I took a seat with some pals, and we paid homage to the other, not so poignant theme of this year – the conspicuous absence of the SBIFF go-go dancers. My motivation to get up eventually arrived – coincidentally accompanied by my thirst – and I made my way to the tented outdoors, where another DJ was spinning, more peeps were partying, and several of the most enormous crystal chandeliers I’ve ever seen hung precariously above. It was at this time that I was treated to a salacious tidbit that left my jaw hanging open: I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say that, apparently, the casting couch comes in porcelain.
And the SBIFF goes on: