Lena Dunham was having a bad Friday night. The Girls star and director was filming an exterior scene in Williamsburg (observers described it as—spoiler ahoy!—a fight between her character and her love interest played by Adam Driver). But a nearby house party—a birthday celebration attended by the sort of early-20s liberal-arts graduate Brooklynites whose lives she was attempting to chronicle on film—was making a great deal of noise and interrupting her shoot. She took to Twitter: “Dear party preventing us from shooting in Williamsburg- I get it! Your party seems so fun! I hate having to be such a kill joy! [sic] I am young!”
Fifty-nine retweets and 78 favorites couldn’t stop the birthday bash, though, and Ms. Dunham tweeted twice more about the party, first asking “why’d you throw a bottle and call us commies?” Then, 42 minutes after first mentioning the party, the HBO auteur wrote: “We monstrously appreciate the quiet you have given us you cool kids. Just found out the function of the party- HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARIA!”
But the quiet was not easily won. Two guests at the party indicated to Transom that Ms. Dunham’s producers had bought the party’s silence by setting up a bar tab for the revelers at the nearby Pedros Kitchen and Brew on Hope Street. To strike the deal, a producer entered the party—“He had a walkie-talkie on and, like, Crocs and cargo shorts,” said a male guest. “He kind of stuck out.” At first, the producer simply asked for the partiers to keep the volume down out of courtesy.
“That lasted about a minute,” said the male guest.
After the producer returned to the party to plead, cajole or yell, Maria the birthday girl negotiated the terms of the bar tab. “There was an idea of trying to inflict monetary harm on HBO for ruining our fun,” said the male guest. And once the group of about 60 got to Pedros, “People were just ordering cocktails. You could watch the bar tab go up. It was an incentive to drink, to beat up HBO’s American Express.”
An HBO employee stood guard outside the bar’s door to ensure no noise got out—a sensible decision, since the deal the production team set up with the bar allowed the revelers to act as DJs and select their own music. A female guest said she asked the door guard how often this happened to the Girls crew. The answer: not often.
The Girls production staff said, in a statement to Transom: “In our best efforts to be neighborly and complete our day’s work we relocated Maria’s birthday party from the loft across the street from our location to a bar down the block. Lena Dunham added ‘we hope everyone had satisfying sexual encounters.’”
As for that thrown bottle? Both guests say that the party interacted minimally with Ms. Dunham and her crew. “There were already so many people gawking at them filming,” said the male guest.
“Someone started a ‘LEE-NA’ chant,” said the female guest of the brief walk to the bar, “and someone else tried to start a ‘VOICE OF OUR GENERATION’ chant, but it didn’t catch on.”
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