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Dining With Stiles At Cafe Orlin

Stephen Rex Brown Cafe Orlin at 41 St. Marks Place.

Ajay Naidu isn’t the only celebrity who enjoys Cafe Orlin. A reader spotted Julia Stiles lounging with a friend in the terrace of the restaurant on St. Marks Place at around 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday. “Why couldn’t she be alone?” our reader joked. “Why wasn’t she seated there in mournful solitude with an expectant look on her face? I guess it’s because… she’s a movie star!”

He added that the star of “The Bourne Ultimatum” and “10 Things I Hate About You” did have a certain aura about her. “She looks like the girl next door. The wholesome farmer’s daughter who, thankfully, didn’t have the gap between her teeth fixed.”

Watch a Scene From ‘Ashes,’ Ajay Naidu’s Ode to the East Village, Playing Tonight

Scene contains strong language that may not be safe for work. Courtesy of Frontstoop Films.

Ajay Naidu uses his St. Marks Place apartment for more than just people-watching: It’s prominently featured in the actor’s directorial debut, “Ashes,” which screens tonight at the New York International Latino Film Festival. The walk-up (Mr. Naidu’s home since 1995) is where the character he plays, Ashes, tends to his schizophrenic brother, Kartik (played by Faran Tahir of “Iron Man” notoriety) and where Kartik awkwardly courts a similarly troubled woman, Bettina (played by another East Village resident, Piper Perabo).

Mr. Naidu said that he decided to set “Ashes” in the East Village circa 2006, in part because at the time “there was a vast dichotomy of wealth distribution that made it possible for people to slip through the cracks.”

Add to that, the character of the neighborhood: “There was a more personal feeling to the Village,” said Mr. Naidu. “It felt more like a neighborhood as opposed to a place where a bunch of young rich people came and bought a piece of the charm.” Read more…

Ajay Naidu’s East Village

Ajay NaiduCourtesy Ajay NaiduAjay Naidu.

To some, he’ll always be Samir, one of the disgruntled heroes of “Office Space,” or more recently, Vikram from HBO’s “Bored to Death.”

They know him by his real name, however, in the East Village, the neighborhood that actor/writer/director Ajay Naidu has called home for over 16 years. Back in the day, he was a self-described “club kid,” and though he still frequents the neighborhood’s live music venues, he’s just as likely to be found on set these days as he is on the scene. Naidu has several notable projects in the pipeline, including Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming “The Dictator” (about which he’s been sworn to secrecy) and his own directorial debut, “Ashes”, a 10-year labor of love that has been touring the festival circuit (catch it next month at the New York International Latino Film Festival).

Naidu took a timeout to share some of his favorite places with his fellow Villagers.

Best Location for People-Watching

“My fire escape on Saint Mark’s. It has the perfect angle because it’s just above the crowd and you can watch everyone and hear everything.”

Best Live Music Venue

“That’s a really tough one because I go out a lot to music. The best place to go hear music right now is Santos Party House and has been for a while.”
Read more…