Watching ruffle-shirted fops in Louis XIV wigs and white face powder march through a 99-cent-store parking lot in East Hollywood, scaring the bejezus out of the local street homeless as they go, is just one of the many fun things about Club Dandy. Along with the chance of finding a topless organ player, a live mermaid revue or, if you’re really lucky, Prince Poppycock, a 6-foot-tall singing aristocrat-androgyne in brocade, silk and pantaloons.
When cabaret dancer Kitty Diggins started Club Dandy back in June, she knew the eyes of the dandy community would turn upon her — a daunting prospect to say the least. “There is a large network of people who take dandyism very seriously, and who consider themselves to be dandies every day of their life,” she explains. “They were partly excited, and partly skeptical of a woman running a club that was devoted to the dandy. But I don’t call myself a dandy — I call myself the enabler of the dandy.”
Diggins doesn’t expect everyone to come in haute couture. “All I ask is that people put some effort into having a good time,” she says.
This month’s spaghetti-Western-themed dandy event at Safari Sam’s, “Dandies of the Old West,” features prizes for best handlebar moustache, a performance by psych-rockers Spindrift, and opera tenor Jesse Merlin, star of The Beastly Bombing (now playing at the Steve Allen Theater), who will be singing and telling tales of Oscar Wilde’s visit to America. “The whole idea of the Dandy and the Old West is interesting to me,” says Diggins. “You had these Europeans who came over here and tried to maintain their customs and cultures in a very brutal environment. I am always interested in people who are unique or unusual, but are stuck in a place where they don’t really belong.”