Club Nights

Backbeat Lounge

"Are you pissed?"

"Um, yes?" I'm washing my hands in the bathroom at the Fillmore Auditorium, and this girl with a cell phone stuck on her ear is wide-eyed and looking right at me.

"Are you pissed," she repeats, "that Jared Leto is still not on stage?"

Phone Girl is angry. She's been waiting for hours to watch 30 Seconds to Mars, just so that she can swoon over the actor-cum-frontman better known under snickered breath as Jordan Catalano from My So-Called Life. She is so displeased that not even the open bar at the launch party for the new Westword-sponsored Backbeat Lounge at the Fillmore can make up for the four opening acts she's had to endure.

I am also bored. But I appreciate the free drinks.

The kids weren't the only ones crying for the dreamy actor that night. Denver Film Festival fans were abuzz with gossip that after the Fillmore show, Leto might make an appearance at the Late Night Lounge, the official after-party for the fest. Notorious for its late-late nights, the Lounge is an annual tradition that allows movie-goers and movie-industry mavens to mingle 'til the wee hours of the morning. (And if you're lucky, a local filmmaker will try to hit on you and/or your mom. True story.) The parties, which concluded this past weekend, are generally invite-only, and the perks include catered food and free booze. At this year's Lounges, there was often a computer DJ working the iTunes party-shuffle button and artsy nonsensical digital projections on the wall.

Leto never did show up last Wednesday, but over the course of the ten-day fest, the Lounge managed to wrangle some other big-shot names to impress the locals: Will Ferrell came by with his wife, Viveca Paulin (who produced the film Nail Polish); Tim Robbins shuffled his feet to "Smooth Criminal"; up-and-coming directors Mike Ott and Matthew Porterfield were overheard dorking out over each others' films; actor Ian Somerhalder (of Lost and Rules of Attraction fame) made out with a young actress on the couch; and the B-list debauchery goes on and on.

Hot damn, can't wait until next year.

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Tuyet Nguyen