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The Last Days of Disco 

Nightranger’s welcome to the jungle

Wednesday, Oct 3 2007
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If the end of this wacky world were near, Nightranger would do something totally nesty and unglamorous: stay at home nuzzled toasty next to our loved ones with a carton of Cookies ’n’ Cream while the Stones’ ?Exile on Main Streetoozed from the stereo. Still, there’s something to be said for going out big — numbing the unknown with drink, dance and decadence. Random human connections, animalistic frolic and getting lost in a hedonistic ritual filled with beats so thunderous they make your chest hurt would be the ultimate bon voyage. For those of you who’d pick the jungle over the cave, here’s how not to get lost.

You’ll see the requisite ironic T-shirts and choppy ’80s-inspired hairdos (and don’ts) at both Dance Right and Hang the DJs (who tie for best vibe in our book), but the carefree exuberance at each spot is enough to win over even the staunchest hipster hater. Unlike some of the other electro/indie rock sock hops around town, you rarely get the too-cool-for-school, stand-in-the-smoking-area-all-night types at these clubs. The culturally diverse denizens at each get downright freaky on the floor, sometimes comically so, but the giddiness is contagious. Sounds at both lean toward high school drill-team jams circa 1986 (Debbie Deb, Trans-X), but always in a modern context, both mix- and atmosphere-wise, thanks to the peeps behind the parties. HTDJ’s Scarlett Casanova is a humble hostess with the mostess, a local gal who makes ya feel like you’re in her own home (which you kinda are), while the Obey Giant crew who throw D.R.’s parties always seem to be one step ahead (they put La Cita on the map, after all). Both clubs get crazy crowded these days, so trendies with ’tude or personal-space issues need not apply.

Dance Right, Thursdays at La Cita, 336 S. Hill St., dwtwn., ?www.danceright.net.

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Hang the DJs, every third Saturday at the Echo, 1822 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, www.myspace.com/hangthedjs.

House, techno, trance, drum & bass . . . for non–electronic music lovers, it can be hard to tell the difference. One thing’s for sure, though, you’ll always see the best mixers, producers and purveyors of all these pumpin’ progressive styles at Avalon. The space formerly known as the Palace has gone the extra mile for its Saturday-night parties, bringing in global sensations (John Digweed, Deep Dish’s Dubfire, Made in Brazil), turning up the notch on stage-production elements and sound, and offering extra late-night DJ sets for those whose glowsticks continue to shine bright way past 2 a.m. Now if they can just do something about the parking gougers outside.

1735 N. Vine St., Hlywd., (323) 462-8900.

Unlike the Whisky, which has become a shameful shell of its legendary self, the Roxy still has moxie — more than ever the past few years. Surprise shows (Courtney Love), coveted bookings (Amy Winehouse, Hedwig and the Angry Inch’s limited engagement, Phantom Planet’s residency), and new promotions like Filter mag’s Revenge of the Sunset Strip and the electro/rock mashup called Cassette, not to mention some wild after-parties at On the Rox upstairs, have undeniably revitalized the historic spot. And, thanks to its multilevel VIP and back-bar sections, it still has one of the best all-around stage views in town. They’ve even got a blog that rocks.

9009 W. Sunset Blvd., W. Hlywd., (310) 276-2222 or www.theroxyonsunset.com.

Ladies, forget about bars or supermarkets or MySpace even. If you’re looking to meet a skinny, ratty-sweater-wearing, kinda smart scenester boy, there’s only one place ya need to go, the Apple Store, especially the one at the Grove. Even without the workshops and presentations on the upper level, this place feels like party central. We always run into someone we know, and nine times outta 10, it’s that spectacled dude we stood behind at Spaceland the night before. Alone.

189 The Grove Dr., L.A., (323) 965-8400.

Tigerheat makes us think of that boppy Blur song, “Boys and Girls” (“Girls who are boys/Who like boys to be girls/Who do boys like they’re girls/Who do girls like they’re boys”). It’s a gay pop club, but the male-to-female ratio can often be 50-50, which makes for a festive, if sometimes confusing, experience. Straight girls go to dance to their favorite hits, gay boys to hook up with other gay boys, and the straight guys? They’ve found a hidden treasure-trove. Divas (Gwen, Christina and Beyoncé) look down on all the fun from video screens showing their latest singles, and sometimes they do it in person — Paris Hilton goes with “her gays” and Britney Spears recently caused chaos there with a drunken visit. Whatever your preferences, one thing’s for sure: The ’Heat is still hot.

Thursdays at Arena, 6655 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd., (323) 462-0714 or www.clubtigerheat.com.

As if the traffic around Hollywood weren’t bad enough, now we have to contend with the paparazzi packs who hover and circle like vultures around celeb-friendly hot spots. Hang outside Les Deux, Privilege or Hyde and the air is thick with aggression and rejection. But those spots are so last month. Right now (or at least as we went to press), it’s all about Opera and adjacent sister space Crimson, the newest fancy-schmancy spaces to be enveloped by flash attacks. The two clubs are actually quite beautiful and way bouncin’ inside, but the salivating photogs outside are downright ugly. And even if you’re not famous, you’re not safe: TMZ just loves to catch drunken nobodies at their worst here. Geesh. When it comes to nightlife in Hollywood, sometimes it feels like the apocalypse is already here.

1650 Schrader Blvd., Hlywd., (323) 960-3300.

Though downtown will never be Hollywood, its much buzzed-about transformation into a nightlife mecca is making it feel different. You can almost barhop! Local loft dwellers may not appreciate being told they can’t wear sneaks at bars like Edison (our pick for most striking spot in the area), but the classier atmospheres call for it. For an equally plush space that’s not quite so rigid on the dress code, go to Seven Grand. An amazing whiskey selection, lots of comfy seating, and groovy tunes (live jazz on Mondays) make for a smooth, hassle-free night out.

Edison, 108 W. Second St., dwntwn., (213) 613-0000.

Seven Grand, 515 W. Seventh St., dwntwn., (213) 614-0736.

Just when we thought we’d seen it all, DJ/club promoter Sean Patrick came up with Temporary Spaces, a traveling event venue and bar inspired by the loft parties of London and Paris and spots in New York like Beatrice and Le Esquina. He sets up a fully functioning, stylishly designed bar in a gutted-out dive for six months, then moves on to a new location. It’s an underground twist on what fat-pocketed club owners do when they remodel and rename their joints every year, only there’s no bottle service, no A-holes at the door and no bad hip-hop — the sounds are cutting-edge, hosting everyone from Lady Sovereign to San Fran’s Solar and Omar. There is, however, a guest list, and if you’re not on it, you can’t get in — or even know where it is in the first place. And that’s just how we like it.

See www.ideamusic.com for info on future events.

Reach the writer at llecaro@laweekly.com

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