Blogger’s Cowboy-Hat Ordeal Comes to Close at Sundance

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Photo: Bilge Elbiri

Do you know who this person pictured here is? Well, you should. For those who aren’t familiar with the story of Hollywood Elsewhere blogger Jeffrey Wells’s “emotionally vivid” cowboy hat, here’s a brief rundown: Last year, Wells had a great time staying at the Star Hotel during Sundance. As a way of indicating that he would return the following year, he left his cowboy hat behind and said, in his best Gary Cooper voice, “I’ll just pick it up in '09 where I left off in '08.” Well, damned if Sundance time didn’t come around again and Wells found himself unable to book a room at the Star Hotel. Apparently oblivious to the Old West symbolism of a man leaving his hat behind, the hotel’s proprietor had gone all 21st-century-capitalist on Wells’s ass and rented out the room to someone who actually offered a credit-card number instead of a used article of clothing.

Wells blogged about it. His commenters, always an irascible bunch, replied, resulting in what might be the greatest comments thread, like, ever. Wells himself joined the fray, and by way of explanation, dug his hole deeper: “Leaving an article of clothing, something with your scent and paw-prints and sweat residue on it, means that you intend to come back and spray your scent around some more.”

In response, the hotel gave Jeff’s cowboy hat to the Park City police. This, however, did not faze Jeff Wells, who promised to pick his hat up at the police station and wear it around town. And now here is the proof.