Friday, September 13, 2013

Abel Ferrara (New York City Moments #2)

Recently I was working on an essay for the upcoming One More Robot number 12 ( about one of my favorite filmmakers, the always gruff Abel Ferrara. While The King of New York (1990) and The Bad Lieutenant (1992) are two of my favorite films, I also have a soft spot for Fear City (1984) which co-starred underrated Billy Dee Williams as a Times Square cop with a nasty attitude trying to solve the murder of Times Square strippers.

One of the things I’ve always loved about living in New York City is how we can often run into our cultural heroes on the street, in restaurants or in the living room of some Greenwich Village dwelling weed dealer. That said, in 1996, I had the pleasure of meeting Abel Ferrara at a wrap party for Spike Lee’s Get on the Bus.

The party was at a midtown Manhattan nightclub called the Supper Club and when I saw him, he was standing upstairs looking like Ratzo Rizzo from Midnight Cowboy with his arms wrapped around Annabella Sciorra. In pure fan boy style, I walked over to him and began gushing about how much I loved The King of New York and The Bad Lieutenant.

Looking like he was high on something, he shook my hand and mumbled, “Thank you, man,” in a voice that reminded me of Tom Waits. There was a small pause and then Ferrara asked, “You want to come with us over to the bar.” For the next half-hour, he, me and Sciorra stood at the bar talking like old drinking buddies.


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