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Ed. note: Originally published at on 12 February, 2003. Original artwork by Ming Chen. Toxie and Sgt. Kabukiman, NYPD are registered trademarks of Troma Entertainment, Inc. Used under license. Chris Gore image released into public domain by CoolKid1993. Copyright 2003, renewed 2008 Chris Lanphear.

Special Ed. note: This is the first time this article has been publicly available since February of 2003 when it was censored from its original form, then removed entirely from Movie Poop For those of you that might be interested, all of the grisly details and fallout can be found in a special Episode 11, to be published soon.

Greetings from Tromaville!

I report to you having returned from the belly of the beast: Park City, Utah and the Sundance Film Festival, and as important, or perhaps even more important, the 2003 TromaDance Film Festival.

Now, before my week-long trek to Utah began this year, I had figured that the writing of this column would be filled with a lot of curse words pointed at Robert Redford, Sundance, and the other dances out there: Slamdance, NoDance, Slamdunk, etc. But the truth is that Park City and Sundance in particular are now being a bit more fair to independent filmmakers and festivals, such as my beloved TromaDance. Speaking of which, let’s get on with part one of my Park City diary?

Time to Dance!

SpaceyArmed with two fellow filmmakers and a car packed with a week’s worth of supplies, we headed out around 9 a.m. on Sunday, January 25th. According to my friends at MapQuest, total travel time was about 7 hours. The way I drove, we arrived in Park City at around 3 p.m. (6 hours). And boom, our first celebrity sighting! Kevin Spacey was giving an interview in front of a restaurant on Main Street, and if you’ve ever been on Main Street in Park City, then you know that the actual street is about as wide as two small cars, and trying to drive through it when a celebrity has been sighted and a crowd of people have gathered in the street is about as possible as sticking a square block into a round hole. But anywho…

Finally, we reached the TromaDance condo and met with Festival Director Jonathan Lees, filmmaker Lola Rock-N-Rolla and Heidi Sjursen, filmmaker and star of CITIZEN TOXIE: THE TOXIC AVENGER IV. After getting a debriefing from Jonathan, we head up to the condo, and so began the TromaDance experience.

My New Best Friend: Chris Gore

Chris GoreOn Sunday evening, after we had settled in at the condo, I was told that the TromaDance Team would be attending a party being hosted by Film Threat. For those of you who don’t know, Film Threat was started by a guy named Chris Gore some time ago, and has for some time been a “voice” for independent film and filmmakers. This year, Gore was also serving as a panelist for our TromaDance forum discussion. Jonathan told me that we needed to check and make sure we were able to get into the party. So later, when I was handing out flyers on Main Street, I ran into Chris in front of the Bistro restaurant, and kindly asked him if the TromaDance Team was clear for the party.

“Well,” he said, “I’m all out of passes, and it’s gonna be kinda hard to get in. But you know what? You guys should sneak your people in through the back, in the kitchen.”
“What?” I replied.
“Yeah,” he said, “You guys are Troma anyway, right? You don’t wanna come in the front with everyone else. Just sneak in!”
“Um, that’s not going to work, Chris,” I said.
“No, that’s the thing. It will work! Just tell them that I asked you to get the goody bags from the basement.”
“Dude, I don’t want to lie to get into your party.”
“Well, that’s the genius of it; you’re not going to lie! Like, can you get the goody bags out of the basement for me and bring ’em up?”

Restraining myself from just punching him was quickly draining my energy. So instead, I just said, “Thanks, Chris”, walked a bit down Main Street, and called Jonathan. Once I told him what was going on, he was understandably pissed. Here was a guy, serving on our panel, supposedly a friend to TromaDance, telling me that in order for our people to get into the party, we would have to sneak in! When Jonathan and the rest of the team joined me about thirty minutes later, a huge crowd had gathered in front of the Bistro for the Film Threat party, and we pondered what to do.

We decided to storm the party. I should have known right then that for the next week, it would be an uphill battle. We had our work cut out for us…

To Be Continued…

Remember, Toxie Loves You!

NEXT TIME: On February 19, part two of “Let’s Dance,” including rival festivals, desertion at the TromaDance condo, film controversy, and some special “alone” time with Lloyd Kaufman!

Chris Lanphear is still recovering from the carnage of TromaDance. Sooner or later, the swelling will go down.