Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Florent: Queen of the Meat Market

By West Village Bill

Last night, my boyfriend Tony P. and I caught Florent: Queen of the Meat Market, a documentary about Florent Morellet, the out, HIV-positive owner of the dearly departed bistro-diner on Gansevoort Street that became wildly successful and started the gentrification of the Meatpacking District. We really enjoyed it.

The movie features a lot of celebrity cameos, but the most fun came from the stories told by employees such as longtime hosts Harry Erickson—who looks like the love child of Roger Daltrey and David Bowie—and Darren Anthony—who relates how he dealt with a customer who had stripped to his underwear and covered himself with grape jelly—and hunky former waiter Tom Eubanks.

The real star, though, is, appropriately, Morellet, who comes across as a real mensch who enables and revels in the sea of craziness around him. We see him as an activist and entertainer—he does drag for the "high holidays": Halloween, New Year's Eve, and Bastille Day—and a preserver of historic things and places who despises nostalgia.

Neither Tony nor I had ever eaten at Florent, and it was a hoot to spend some time there almost three years after it closed.

Florent is playing at the Cinema Village on E. 12th Street.

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