The Boxer and Ginger Baker

Photos Clément Pascal
Folk button up from Hickoree’s

Jay Bulger first heard of Ginger Baker, the hard-living drummer in the 60s rock supergroup Cream, when a friend showed him the 1971 documentary Ginger Baker in Africa several years ago. “I saw that and I was blown away,” he tells us. “I thought he was dead,” but he wasn’t—he was alive, not quite well, and living in South Africa. Bulger, now 30, a boxer who’d done some modeling and directed commercials and music videos, eventually called up Baker and “I lied to him”: he told him he was a Rolling Stone reporter working on a feature (he wasn’t), and ended up living with him for months. Bulger did eventually write that article for the magazine, then came home, raised money, and went back to shoot a documentary. Beware of Mr. Baker debuted at South by Southwest this year, where it won the Grand Jury Award for documentary feature. Has Baker seen it? “He’s not the type of guy who wants to see the movie,” Bulger says. “‘Why the fuck do I need to see the movie? I lived it.’ He’s really true to his Ginger Baker-dom.”

A DC native who moved to New York in 2000 to attend Fordham, Bulger lives in the East Village and works out of an office in DUMBO, near Gleason’s Gym, where he goes to box almost every day. “That’s my shit,” he tells us. “That’s who I am.” But he’s also at work on multiple projects in various stages of development: a script, a book of short stories, a reality show about girls in Bali, a documentary about music producer Bill Laswell. He also just acted in a small part in Brooklyn resident Fisher Stevens’s in-production Stand Up Guys—alongside Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken—in which he played “a Polish gangster rapist.”

“You really need to be some kind of maniac” to be an actor, he tells us. “The odds are so slim.” But he recently spoke to Walken, who told him (Bulger tells us, doing a Christopher Walken impression), “‘You make a great raper, Jay.’ So apparently I did a good job.”

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