Margarita Jimeno


by The New York Times
Jan. 29, 2009


Before he started palling around with Madonna and starring in movies with Elijah Wood, Eugene Hutz, the handlebar-mustachioed frontman of the band Gogol Bordello, was just a simple, self-described gypsy punk; before his band started selling out megaclubs and European festivals, he had a weekly D.J. gig in Chinatown. For several years in the early 2000s, the Ukrainian-born, charismatic and propaganda-spouting Mr. Hutz, who moved to New York around 1998, presided over a legendarily raucous, sweaty night of dancing at Mehanata, a dingy Bulgarian bar hidden on a second-floor space above Canal Street. The parties drew a cosmopolitan crowd, a mix of Eastern Europeans, Latin Americans and hipsters, among them Margarita Jimeno, a Colombian-born filmmaker. Intrigued by the scene, Ms. Jimeno, 33, began recording it.

“I just wanted to capture the atmosphere,” she said. “It was chaotic and spontaneous. The night would end at 5 o’clock in the morning, and you could still talk to these people about art and politics, interesting subjects. It wasn’t just party, party, party.” (Except, of course, when it was: Mr. Hutz, above, would invariably end up shirtless and cavorting atop something not meant for cavorting; a Gypsy dancer known as Piroska was a regular performer.) When Gogol Bordello began to tour and draw acclaim, Ms. Jimeno, 33, continued shooting.