Film Festival Centerpiece Party: daddy O Hosts Elegant Rendezvous

Jun 13, 2018
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

The daddy O patio bar in Brant Beach was a secret, socialite garden last Friday night. Hanging lights hemmed a cluster of red canvas umbrellas above matching cushioned furniture. A cool breeze was rustling the Lighthouse International Film Festival signage and partygoers spoke in low voices, just audible above the sound of ambient electronic music bumping softly from a hidden speaker system.

It was the Lighthouse International Film Festival’s Centerpiece Party, one of the premier kick-off events for the coming weekend film festival revelries. Event directors, actors, filmmakers and all-access pass holders mingled in the moonlight, their faces lit by the glow of the miniature fire pits scattered around the courtyard. Off in the background, a bartender was shaking up a cocktail as Christine Rooney, the festival’s managing director, made her rounds, glass of wine in hand like a gracious host. An “L” shaped table on the covered deck held a diverse banquet of Long Beach Island delicacies: sushi from Little Sumo’s and Zen Sushi Asian Cuisine, pizza from Panzone’s and Speakeasy Pizzeria, Italian from La Spiaggia, and more if you can believe it.

Folks in trendy garb trickled in, on leave from their festival-related duties. Some of the men had long hair tied back into stylish chignons. Women wore dark colors and strappy sandals. Loungers held their wine glasses by the stems and took short, contemplative sips, probably musing over the films they’d seen earlier that day. Eric Johnson, executive director of the festival, made his way from person to person, tall and smiling in a tasteful straw fedora. This isn’t LBI, an onlooker might think, feeling suddenly underdressed in a denim jumpsuit. This is New York City – a rooftop bar in Brooklyn where artists assemble to casually discuss film, fashion and culture over pricey cocktails and elegant hors d’oeuvres.

But the temporary New York City mirage would be cut sweetly short as that same onlooker remembered she was on the first floor of a restaurant-hotel hybrid, just down the road from the beach. That there weren’t any sirens or car honks or angry, drunken obscenities being shouted from the sidewalk. No city fog inhibiting the view of the atmosphere. This wasn’t Brooklyn. Just a little island, miles from littered streets and taxicabs. Just a simple gathering of attendees savoring a night of geographic befuddlement as a cultural whirlwind swooshed through Long Beach Island in its annual film festival manifestation. —S.H.



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