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How Clean Was My Valley 

Edited by Kateri Butler

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Athough security was supposed to be tight at the COACHELLA VALLEY MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL -- no backpacks allowed; so many cops around that it sometimes looked like a police training exercise (although we particularly enjoyed the officer who busted out the rave moves during PRODIGY's set) -- the crafty crasher with a connected pal could still, in that time-honored tradition, get a backstage wristband slipped through the fence. Arriving backstage, after making the scene in the VIP area, where even CAMERON DIAZ had to queue up for the ladies' loo, the crasher might have wandered by the FOO FIGHTERS' tour bus, where DAVE GROHL was outside flipping burgers for a hungry crowd that included members of the THE STROKES (what is all the hype about?), KELLY OSBOURNE, SEAN LENNON and BIJOUX PHILLIPS, and JACK BLACK of Tenacious D, who did a few numbers before the Foo Fighters blasted out some good old-fashioned rock & roll. In fact, Grohl was such a gracious host that even the crasher scored a free meal. While the backstage and VIP areas provided a parade of notables such as CHRISTINA RICCI, DREW BARRYMORE, ROBBIE WILLIAMS, MIKE SHINODA, DANIEL ASH and BOB FORREST, the only way to fully take in the festival, of course, was to walk stage to stage, tent to tent (although with some of those industry types rooted in the VIP area, you would have thought it was the Coachella Valley Schmoozing and Boozing Festival). Besides, you didn't have to sneak backstage to get a celebrity eyeful: One of the festival's sublime moments was BECK (pictured) breakdancing to a loop of one of his songs sampled by DJ Z-TRIP.

--Brendan Mullen

Let's Get Low

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LOW gallery's two separate spaces (situated a few doors down from each other) proved way too tiny to contain the bumper crop of art patrons and partygoers who came out en masse for the opening of its two-year anniversary exhibition, "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now." What followed was an impressive disregard of the open-container law as revelers, drinks in hand, freely mixed 'n' mingled outside, making the soiree feel like a summer block party in the middle of West Hollywood. Composer and former Oingo Boingo front man DANNY ELFMAN, actor BILLY ZANE and N.Y. filmmaker CHERYL DUNN were among the sidewalk set, while those who actually ventured inside the triangular space found the ambient techno of DJ HEADSPACE keeping the crowd grooving in between sets from the ever-theatrical LOS SUPER ELEGANTES and electronic wonderboys LANGUIS. Enigmatic artist RAYMOND PETTIBON also fired up the crowd with spoken word­rock stylings when he took the floor with his band CRINKUM CRANKUM. But it wasn't only Pettibon's guttural growl that gave the night an edgy vibe -- at one point a drawing by artist AMY GARTRELL of late punk legend Darby Crash's gravestone was stolen from the show. However, an attack of conscience saw the piece returned a short time later. See what happens when you cross a kegger with an art opening?

--Madelynn Amalfitano

Skater Daters

Vans sneakers, Ocean Pacific threads and sun-streaked hair were the ultimate '70s SoCal fashion statements, but for a group of pioneer skateboarders from south Santa Monica and Venice, it was more than a look, it was a lifestyle. New film mag TOTAL MOVIE & ENTERTAINMENT reunited all those hot fellows (now looking more soccer dad than skate punk) from the Dogtown skate and surf teams, including director STACY PERALTA and fellow board-biz whiz TONY ALVA, for the premiere of the new documentary DOGTOWN AND Z-BOYS at PACIFIC DESIGN CENTER. "I wish all those styles would come back," said Peralta, who then let us in on an old-school beauty secret: His and skate-pro pal Jay Adams' beautiful bleached locks were achieved by salt water from the sea, not peroxide products. A good tip for alleged bottle- enhanced blonds such as CAMERON DIAZ (pictured), RACHEL HUNTER and DAVID SPADE, all of whom had saved seats in the chock-full screening room while nobody-latecomers were told to come back the following night. Also spotted in the dressed-down crowd: former Rager ZACK DE LA ROCHA, Chili Peppers FLEA, ANTHONY KIEDIS and JOHN FRUSCIANTE, Fugazi's IAN MACKAYE, Oakland mayor JERRY BROWN, HENRY ROLLINS, JULIETTE LEWIS, the elusive SEAN PENN (who narrated the doc), and the ubiquitous FRED DURST (who's in the works to direct a theatrical version of Dogtown). Penn and Durst reportedly kept the party goin' at the Sunset Marquis afterward, but not before Penn, who Peralta declared "an honorary member of Z-Boys," lit up a stogy in the no-smoking party room. Jeff Spicoli lives!

--Lina Lecaro

Put a Sock on It

We hesitate to call it a movement, but there is, all around us, a certain puppet Zeitgeist emerging, a sweet, sweaty sort of eau de marionette for grown-ups: a new zine called Puppet Terror (published by Weekly contributor Pleasant Gehman), a recent puppet spectacle at Highways and, now, like an R-rated Muppet Show in a Greg the Bunny world, the fabulous new CLUB PUPPET. We walked into the Wednesday-night cabaret, held at the slightly tattered PALACE downtown, and just didn't know what to do with ourselves. Chittering monkeys and randy cloth-and-foam fellows mingled at the bar with ex­drama geek girls and blue monster-puppet ladies while furry mutts hit on ex-AV-club boys -- there were puppets everywhere. Yes, puppets are the performers and bartenders here -- and some human clubgoers even brought along their own special friends. Though the puppets themselves couldn't imbibe, their flesh-and-blood operators -- all dressed in black -- snuck a sip or two. At a stage set up in the bar, 'N SOCK, a puppet boy band of five sexy young tube socks, proved adept at the thrust-and-sing and made us hot for some hand-puppet lovin'. But we settled for the main-stage song-and-dance extravaganza: sketches about interspecies relationships, odes to praying-mantis mating rituals, tunes about lusty blowup dolls -- it was hilarious, rhyming and just a little bit sad, like the best kind of shows. We told you these were grown-up puppets.

--Jade Chang

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