“Sparkle. Plenty. Los Angeles. Wow!” That was the succinct four-word encapsulation made by sequined scribe Mickey Boardman at the kickoff party for the Paper L.A. Project, in which the übersassy NYC magazine spends a whirlwind week in El Lay, throwing offbeat events and producing a whole issue devoted to our not-so-humble hometown. For the third year in a row, Paper creators Kim Hastreiter and David Hershkovits brought along their cast of merry characters (Boardman, look-alike DJ duo Andrew Andrew, various photogs and editors) and set up shop at a local storefront, this time a space on La Brea and Third designed by architectural wonder woman Barbara Bestor. They sure hosted some off-the-hook humdingers, the wildest of which had to be opening night featuring paintings by Phyllis Diller (in attendance) and celeb Polaroids from Henny Garfunkel, followed by a dance class hosted by the famed Parisian boutique Collette at the Montmartre.Watchinga couple hundred ghouled-out girlies and faux-bloodstained boys bust out their best zombie moves to the choreography of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video was unlike anything we’ve ever seen at any club. “It’s amazing what people can learn in a couple of hours,” said Collete’s Sarah Lerfel, who throws the dance parties all around the country — this was the first L.A. one. Indeed, by midnight, the dance floor saw an almost perfectly executed rendition of M.J.’s still-creepy clip, though, of course, nearly 25 years later (it came out in ’83, can ya believe it?), nothing is quite as scary as the singer’s real life — and looks.
Other Paper parties during the week included a guitar battle pitting New York shredders against L.A. ax grinders, followed by sets from Ima Robot and The Airborne Toxic Event at The Roxy, a beachside bash hosted by champion short-board surfer Pascal Stansfield,and maybe their most chaotic happening, a “24 Hour Department Store.” From 6 p.m. Friday to 6 p.m. Saturday, the La Brea space became a sleepless shop-a-thon, with everyone from Jeremy Scott (intern Scout Willis — yeah, Bruce and Demi’s kid — worked his booth) to N.Y.’s Screaming Mimi’s to FUCT to Hearts Challenger to Cobrasnake hawking unusual clothing, toys, books and the like. The event was meant to question the link between art and commerce, but unlike, say, the Louis Vuitton store inside MOCA’s Murakami exhibit, the merch was indeed artistic — and affordable. (We actually purchased a baby onesie that appropriated the above’s L.V. purse print with gorilla heads! Ironic, huh?) Of course, this being L.A., the celeb element was bound to seep in too, and when Lindsay Lohan popped into the space on Saturday, the Paper peeps got to experience a real Hollywood pap attack, as ferocious flashers crowded their front window for L.L. shots. Ick.
It was an entirely different kind of starlet that glammed up Paper’s “Last Supper” at Bar Marmont, marking the project’s climax on Sunday. Dudes done up as Hollywood grandes dames held court as fashionable well-wishers, including Scott, event planner Bryan Rabin, actress Ann Magnuson (who blogs for Paper’s Web site) and writer Merle Ginsberg (who told us she used to cover the after-dark beat just like Nightranger before penning fashion tomes), mingled and noshed. Another East-meets-West love-in was over, and we gotta say, Mr. Mickey got it so right: The parties were plentiful, the outfits sparkled, and the week as a whole was definitely full of wow! Check out the post-week coverage at Paper.com and look for the L.A.-themed issue — which we’ll be contributing to — next month.
Ran into Blood Cat Love’s Myles Hendrick with IO Echo’s Joanna at the Paper opening, both of whom coincidentally had gigs at the Henry Fonda that week, IO opening up for She Wants Revenge on Saturday and Hendrick deejaying for the TankFarm Future Sounds showcase with The Shout Out Louds, Nico Vega and Johnossi a couple nights before. Didn’t catch SWR or SOL, but after hearing Bloodcat’s new release, and checking IO’s MySpace page, we highly recommend them as bands to watch. We’ll keep ya posted on upcoming shows. We did attend TankFarm’s pre-party (with burritos from Wahoo’s, yum) and stayed long enough to see Swedish duo Johnossi get all hot and bothered; singer John even got shirtless. Not sexy, but definitely raw, buoyant and emotive stuff. We’re hesitant to compare another two-piece to The White Stripes, but we couldn’t help but think about ’em while watching drummer Ossi whip the shit out his kit. Check out the blistering “Man Must Dance” off their debut and on TankFarm’s latest comp, actually the 30th from Bay Area music freak Larry Little’s mixtape-turned-tastemaker CD series.
If it’s not painfully obvious by now, we’ll just say it: Nightranger has been clubbing for a looong-ass time. Over 20 years (with the help of a bad fake ID that would never work today). Still, the mayhem of the legendary punk club The Masque was way before our time. Thankfully, Brendan Mullen’s new book, Live at the Masque: Nightmare in Punk Alley, makes ya feel like you were there, and the release party at The Echoplex last Sunday conjured, we’re guessing, some of the dive’s dark-and-dirty ambiance, especially with so many of the old crowd there: Michelle Bell a.k.a. Gerber, Hellin Killer, Pleasant Gehman, artist Michael Norton, Shock singer and graphic designer Paul Lesperance, The Screamers’ KK Barret with Plunger Sister wife Trudie, X’s Billy Zoom, Fear’s Lee Ving, the Germs’ Don Bolles and Lorna Doom, the Zeros’ Hector Penalosa and Robert Lopez (a.k.a. El Vez), many of whom reminisced on film for a possible documentary for Swindle’s Roger Gastman, and all of whom look damn good for living through such depravity back in the day. Guess there’s hope for us all.