Call it the Day of the Geriatric Locusts. The CINEMA ARTS GALLERY resembled a mosh pit, with elbowing seniors packed toupee-to-bad-toupee, on opening night of the CLARK GABLE CENTURY photography exhibit. The well-heeled throng was more interested in gobbling hors d’oeuvres and swilling free martinis than in checking out the many stunning black-and-white Gable photographs. The besieged wait staff cowered in the back of the gallery while a crone in a red-leather coat shoved people out of the way to make a grab for a salmon-mousse tidbit. Although the previously announced John Clark Gable (son of the movie star and sugar heiress Kay Spreckles) was a no-show (as were Evelyn Keyes and Ann Rutherford, both from Gone With the Wind), Gable co-stars KEVIN McCARTHY, CARROLL BAKER and MAMIE VAN DOREN (exposing acres of mottled cleavage) posed for pictures with a Clark Gable impersonator. (Other luminaries of yesteryear on hand: GENE BARRY, MARSHA HUNT, AUDREY TOTTER and ALAN BATES.) The surprise guest of the evening was JUDY LEWIS, the not-so-secret love child of Gable and Loretta Young. It was no surprise that Van Doren consort SKIP E. LOWE (pictured with Mamie) had to be shooed out of photos. Lowe has replaced his trademark Beatles coif with a slightly more updated Rod Stewart ’do, prompting one gallery-goer to note that “now Skip looks like an old man instead of an old lady.” Talk about a Lowe blow.
The Vibe Tribe
“It’s organic, it’s black, and it’s for everybody,” KCRW’s GARTH TRINIDAD said of Side Effects, a monthly club with live performances created by special-event producer RICKY NEAL at LES DEUX CAFÉS. “The vibe here tonight is black eclecticity. With this event, we’re paying respect to the real heritage of black music.” While Trinidad was sharing the philosophy behind Side Effects at the chill opening-night soiree, we spotted COURTNEY LOVE eating dinner with WINONA RYDER and MICHAEL STIPE. Good-lookin’ sepia-toned folks crowded the patio and grooved to a live band composed of JON B. on keyboard, jazz great Ronnie Laws’ son JAYMAN LAWS on saxophone, ex–Black Eyed Peas member KIM HILL on vocals, plus a bassist, violinist and a cat on congas who cast a nice laid-back “Nights Over Egypt” kinda vibe to the set. While chatting with STEVE McKEEVER, founder of Jill Scott’s label, Hidden Beach Recordings, and ANTERO FAIL, West Coast promotions manager for Clive Davis’ new label, J Records, we learned that Macy Gray, another Side Effects partner, was stuck in the recording studio and wasn’t going to show after all. But DJ MARQUES WYATT’s back-jackin’ combo of jazzy Afro-house made up for Macy’s absence and filled the patio with the spirit of the black muse for the rest of the night.
“He was like a staircase I kept hurling myself down,” quipped poet SUZANNE LUMMIS during her set at the KNITTING FACTORY’s AlterKnit Lounge, where she performed as part of the EXPERIMENTAL MEDIUMS series. Funny — that’s how we feel on every visit to the Knitting Factory, especially when we encounter the consistently rude security staff, who treat you like you belong behind the velvet rope, even if you’re on the list. To lubricate our brittle ego, we headed to one of the bars, where Winter Museum curator LAUREN HARTMAN was hanging out with artist MARIANNE MAGNE. We pulled out a drink ticket, kindly provided by ANNA HOMLER, who curated Experimental Mediums, only to find that the drink-ticket policy was as liquid as what the bartenders serve. Performer RITT HENN’s fans were wrongly directed to the main room, where they were greeted by the post-punk stylings of STEVE ALBINI’s current outfit, Shellac — quite a contrast to Henn’s eccentric standup-bass riffs. The highlight of the three-part series — which attracted the likes of artist LITA ALBUQUERQUE, Solid Eye’s JOSEPH HAMMER, ex–Tangerine Dreamer PAUL HASLINGER, Carma Bum DOUG KNOTT, performance artist JEROME DUNN and electro-guy RANDY GREIF — was Guitar Boy ANN PERICH’s surprise birthday song for filmmaker JENNIFER GENTILE, which included a solo by Pancake, Ann’s pet guinea pig. Some STEUART LIEBIG fans, apparently expecting jazz, seemed perplexed by the future-primitive noodlings emanating from his monitor. Had they come in on Pancake’s solo, they would have heard the best scat since Ella Fitzgerald.