For the closing night of the Gen Art Film Festival last Tuesday, the back-from-the-dead fest screened Salvation Boulevard, a relatively star-studded film. But, since none of the high-profile cast came out—no Pierce Brosnan, no Greg Kinnear, no Jennifer Connelly, no nothin’—I decided to search for a different type of character. He was easy to spot, given his LED marquee belt buckle advertising Gen Art, and even easier to approach. "Everybody calls me Uncle Jimmy," said my new best friend. Why the bitchin’ LED accessory? "Everyone likes seeing their names in lights." He reprograms the buckle to indicate the name of the venue or sponsor, and nabs free booze that way. Uncle Jimmy had made it to every single night of Gen Art—there were seven nights with just as many screenings and after parties—except for one.
He had to attend a wedding.
At the after party this night, actors were nowhere to be seen, but Uncle Jimmy was still going strong, chugging Absolut and soda like it was his job. Jimmy told me he used to take the girls who played in the cast of Annie to Studio 54 after the show. "They’d kick the girls out at 11:30, but I’d stay for the party," he said. He’s currently planning to write a memoir about his celebrity encounters—mostly positive stuff, he says, except for the ones who’d crossed him. "I met Liza Minnelli once and told her we’d met at Studio 54. She told me, ‘Oh, those days were all a blur.’ Those types of people, I don’t mind screwing over."
Another character I encountered was party planner Gregoire Vogelsang, who approached my posse as we were entering ballots to win a free year at Crunch. He explained, in a thick Belgian accent, that we ought not to be rigging the competition by entering multiple ballots (which, I assure you, we were not doing!). Later on in the night, he came twirling our way on the dance floor, literally dancing in circles around me and one of my buxom lady friends. He continued his sensual routine by taking off his tie and wrap
Later in the week, we took to the Brooklyn Academy of Music for another film festival event: BAMcinemaFest’s opening night. While Weekend, a gay love story set in England, screened on four screens prior, the main event was the after party on BAM’s cavernous second floor. It drew in fancy outer-borough residents, from Fran Drescher to Vampire Weekend singer-songwriter Rostam Batmanglij.
I didn’t get the chance to ask the flashy girl from Flushing what brought her to Fort Greene, but Rostam took a second to talk. He had liked Weekend, fending off my criticisms of the slow-but-pretty film. He did take issue with one thing, however. "I don’t think the title font was Futura," he said to me.