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Cherry has since filtered in and out as the “main head.” A few months ago, she passed the reins to Glamour after she broke the curfew she was given after getting into a fistfight with a girl at school. The girl called the cops. Cherry spent a week in juvenile hall, followed by 50 hours of community service cleaning bathrooms and picking up trash in Lincoln Park. She was put on probation and given a curfew. She can’t go out after 8 p.m. without special permission.
In some parts of the country, the term “flier party” is synonymous with a rave. In Southern California, though, a flier party usually refers to a big party at someone’s house, advertised through fliers passed out at high schools, record stores and malls.
In the past few years, crews have been using Web sites like MySpace to get the word out and to keep friends informed of upcoming events, who is throwing the best parties and who is in need of a nozz tank or a DJ. Another popular spot to promote parties is famouzclub.com. The Web site, which is run by a college student and boasts more than 4 million hits, includes a message room where you can rate past parties and a page dedicated to the hottest girl on the party scene that week. Last month’s “Hottie of the Week” was Sarah, who is pictured lying on a bed wearing red-and-black lace lingerie. It is unclear just how old she is. Cherry received the dubious honor last year.
Another way to remain in the know is to call (323) 960-LOVE, an underground chat line that keeps ravers updated. It also serves as a quasi radio station, where callers can listen to main heads and DJs wax poetic about the latest crews to join the scene, who is getting busted and who has a bad reputation or is a ho.
For some teen followers, flier parties are just a part of high school life. They are a chance to hang out and meet new friends. For others, it is a chance to belong. To some, it is a status symbol to belong to a crew. For girls, it is considered the edgier version of being a cheerleader.
Some crews are stricter than others. You need to follow the rules to remain a Vicious Lady. On the day of the event, Vicious crew members are required to be at the location one or two hours beforehand to help set up. Members must also promote the crew at other parties, pass out fliers at local high schools and occasionally chip in financially. There are some definite no-nos. Cherry won’t allow her girls to join other crews. Dating male crew members will get you kicked out. One Vicious Lady recently got the boot, says Cherry, because “she was a whore sleeping around with guys. Guys in the party scene will tell everybody. It is like high school. Everyone knows everyone’s business. The whole thing will be on the underground newsletter. I don’t want my girls to be known as hood rats. I care about them and don’t want them to look retarded.”
But most of the time, it is about having a good time.
“We just go out and have fun,” says China, who is featuring two black hoops pierced through her lips and a mane of light brown hair with blond highlights. She is one of Cherry’s best friends. The two girls are hanging out in Cherry’s bedroom, getting ready to see reggaeton star Don Omar.
“It is like a social club, a group of friends who are close. But not everyone gets along. There is a lot of drama because people don’t like different party crews. People think most of us are hos. Sometimes there are fights. Recently two people quit because they didn’t like me.”
Unlike Cherry’s mom, China’s parents have no idea that their 17-year-old daughter is a member of the Vicious Ladies and attends parties weekly.
“My parents would be shocked and disappointed in me, mainly because I am Asian,” she says as she sits on Cherry’s queen-size bed. “I should hang out with my own race.”
High schools are the perfect breeding ground for new recruits. Alhambra High has the Vicious Ladies. Lincoln High has the Dough Girls. Crew names are usually flashy and sexy. The boy crews in East L.A. include Hot Boys, Bomb Squad, Ghetto Stars, the City Stars, the Clover G’s, Rock Stars, Eastside Boyz, Uncontrollable Fellaz and Outstanding Players. Girl crews include Hot Girls, Outstanding Playmates, Eastside Girls and Famous Outlaw Ladies. Crew-member names are just as cleverly cutesy. The Vicious Ladies have Paris, Glamour, Precious, Giggles, Mini, Hooters, Binks, Bubbles, Smiley, Bootyful, Hennessey, Ms. Sweets and Charms. Some estimate that there are hundreds of crews in L.A. County alone, with thousands of dedicated fans.
But not all flier parties are alike. Some are low-key and held by teenagers at their homes — usually when their parents are away — or in halls, usually to celebrate a birthday or graduation. The main goal is to just hang out with friends and maybe make a few bucks. The more elaborate parties are organized by crews who throw them on the weekends at rented homes or in abandoned buildings and residences, often without the consent of the property owners. The crews operate under the radar of the police, and can make up to $1,000 a night by charging admission and selling beer and other party favorites, including nozz or happy balloons — three balloons will generally run you $5.