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You've got some 'Splaining to do! 

Edited by Kateri Butler & Libby Molyneaux

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Scads of micro-skirted sistas 'n' brim-hatted brothas inched their way through a two-block line only to arrive at a maze of metal detectors, pat-downs and body searches before they could enter the 14th ANNUAL SOUL TRAIN AWARDS at the SHRINE AUDITORIUM. Having survived that, we plotted to sneak into the VIP section. Thank God for all those Lucy episodes. Blending in as a security guard, we started opening doors for arriving limos. After snatching the likes of ANGIE STONE, LISA "Left Eye" LOPES (pictured) of TLC, members of DESTINY'S CHILD, Miss USA LYNETTE COLE, SISQO and LL COOL J from their cars, we escorted MARY J. BLIGE and her entourage into the VIP tent, where we helped ourselves to the scrumptious goodies. We started getting a little nervous when a slimmed-down MISSY "Misdemeanor" ELLIOTT affectionately eyed the crumbs of our lemon tart. "Damn brotha' -- you making me hungry," she told us, adding that she'd given up the "weed 'n' cupcakes" after viewing videos of her live performances. We thought the gig was up after getting tapped on the shoulder by a big man dressed in black. To our relief, Best Supporting Actor nominee (and, as it turned out, former Soul Train Awards security guard) MICHAEL CLARKE DUNCAN of The Green Mile simply wanted us to move aside so he could get to the gumbo. We quietly backed out of the tent. We didn't have the heart to tell him that we'd finished the last bowl.

--Derrick Mathis

AMERICAN GOTH

Ask any old-time goth: ROZZ WILLIAMS was the ball Marilyn Manson took and ran with. From the early teen poetry to the final utterly silly swastika shock period, the life's work of Williams -- the late, overlooked performance artist and icon of international dark glam -- traces the anguish of an existential death obsessive committed to ritualistic decadence and the aesthetics of decay from day one. Always in costume. Some of this beautiful depravity was up at LA LUZ DE JESUS GALLERY during a book signing for The Art of Rozz Williams (www.last gasp.com), a work compiled and edited by Dutch filmmaker NICO B. The Art of R.W. is a compendium of photographs, fliers, lyrics, artwork and collages with a complete discography of CHRISTIAN DEATH and Rozz's other musical and performance installation projects, including Premature Ejaculation, Shadow Project and Daucus Karota. KENNETH ANGER, the Grand Super Mack Daddy of All Things Shocking and Perverted, told us that he liked PIG, the movie made by Rozz and Nico, and found some of Williams' work "rather interesting," although he "strongly disapproved of suicide because of the impact on those around you." (Williams hanged himself in April '98.) On hand at La Luz were photographer-documentarians ED COLVER and DAVID HERMON, who covered the L.A. goth scene at its most influential, circa '81­'85. Also present were photographer IGNACIO SEGOVIA, PARIS from Shadow Project and CHRISTIAN OMAR MADRIGAL IZZO from Daucus Karota. Disappointingly absent were the mysterious EVA O, the beautiful former wife of Rozz and L.A. goth guitar goddess, and RIKK AGNEW, the brilliantly talented musical force behind the original Christian Death.

--Brendan Mullen

SHOVE THE ONE YOU'RE WITH

"Let's have a toast to TOAST!" That was L7's DONITA SPARKS (pictured) holding up her bottle of Amstel Light in a salute to the AL'S BAR booker during the band's not-so-secret show last Friday. "I've been pestering them for five or six years," said the tenacious booker. The badgering finally paid off when the band agreed to play a warm-up show for their European tour, which began the very next day. "I finally succumbed to the charms of Toast," Donita told the crowd of L7 nuts that was mysteriously missing number-one groupie EXENE CERVENKA. Meanwhile, during the set, Toast could be seen scrambling around and picking up broken beer bottles. Hey gal, take a break! The Al's gig was a marriage made in rock heaven -- L7 just sounds better in small places. Donita later asked the packed crowd, "How do you like SUZI's new look? It's Heart meets aaarrrggghhh." (Suzi -- we dig the sea-matey getup.) Donita -- you gotta love this -- also shared the "camel-toe action" she was experiencing due to her tight new sweat-drenched pants. Though the band played a typically hard-assed full set (except for "Livin' Large," which, if we were friends with the band, we'd tell them to nix forever), we can imagine how they may have had other things to do, which Donita admitted from the stage: "We still have to go get travel-size Head & Shoulders at SAV-ON."

--Libby Molyneaux

QUEEN KAHUNA FOR A DAY

The art of dining in the gay ghetto is rarely fine, and nightclubbing there generally consists of the same old sea of swishing sisters. But Wednesday nights have taken on a sophisticated twist at the restaurant TAHITI and its adjacent TIKI LOUNGE with its crazy Kahuna-carved fireplace, fussy tropical cocktails at resort-living prices and sexy Wahini waitresses. Nightlife newcomer GARRETT KIMBALL is attracting the usual hotties and a more, shall we say, mature crowd of gentlemen, as well as his fair share of the fairer sex -- all making for a desperately needed, not to mention refreshing, change on L.A.'s dreary gay club scene. MADONNA hasn't been spotted there yet, but the next best thing -- her brother, restaurateur CHRISTOPHER CICCONE -- has been, along with mega-manager and the real Fresh Prince of Bel Air BENNY MEDINA, fashionista ROBERT HARPER, glam guy RON MEYERS and ROBERT, the mastermind behind the door at Spin. Sure, there's the occasional overcologned clone in need of a good hosing down, but things are looking good for the men of gay L.A. who've grown up and out of the circuit, where if you're not young, hung and in a stupor, you don't even register on the gaydar. After all, if a queen doesn't eventually give up the Blowpops, glowsticks and bitch-cut shorts, he ends up the gay equivalent of ANGELYNE. And who needs one more?

--J.V. McAuley

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