For photos, view the "Nightranger: VIP, Felt Up and Partying with Part Time Punks" slideshow.
If the success of Juno, Napoleon Dynamite and anything by Judd Apatow is a sign, the line between nerdy and studly is gone, dead, kaput, and it’s not a Jedi mind trick. Even in Hollywood at many of the hippest/flippest clubs in town, fuzzy, gawky types are gettin’ all the attention — and action. Take La Boum, the hot hump-night party at Bardot (the space above The Avalon formerly known as Spider Club, gorgeously redone to recall the building’s Deco splendor). Last Wednesday, the party’s promoter, Ana Calderon (Dim Mak), celebrated her birthday with an impromptu music show on the club’s semi-outdoor patio, featuring the likes of Simon Dawes, Rooney’s Taylor Locke, The White Arrows and, for the grand finale, the Moldy Peaches’ Adam Green and Har Mar Superstar. All were somewhat unruly-tressed, dowdily dressed-down types (one dude wore boxers and had bare feet; another had a flag towel on his head). Still, they had the usually blasé broods grinning and grooving nonstop, even Nightranger. Really, what’s not to like about musicians with real music chops delivering with awkward, gooberish sweetness? (It made Weezer famous, after all.) The gals who took the stage were more traditionally magnetic — vintage-frocked trio The Like and the enchanting doll-like C.C. Sheffield, but in all it was a highly amusing and mixed musical melting pot, not unlike the crowd itself. Behind us sat a healthy looking DJ AM and SBE’s Jennifer Rosero, while to our right, Peaches Geldof giggled and dragged on ciggies with a gaggle of similarly hippie-esque hotties. Newly single Benji Madden tried to keep a low pro with pal Steve Aoki in a corner booth, but he needn’t have worried. Proving our point above, the most wanted man seemed to be Superbad’s Jonah Hill, who was fielding female fans all night. La Boum, also co-promoted by Sheffield and former Viper Room booker Melissa Hernandez, is usually a DJ-only weekly party that’s refreshingly un-electro-driven. (Rock and retro dance faves rule the decks here, and past spinners have included Devendra Banhart and Yeah Yeah Yeahs.) You must know the week’s secret password (or, it seems, be a hip boho-hobo type or geek-chicster) to get in.
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A few weeks ago, a similarly too-cool-to-shampoo set flocked to the Eastside for the Part Time Punks Fest, featuring seminal post-punk outfits The Nightingales, A Certain Ratio,Pylon and more at The Echo and Echoplex. Anyone familiar with PTP knows that promoters Michael Stock and Ben White are anything but part time when it comes to their music obsessions. These vinyl rats have always championed the post-punk era and the labels that spawned its quirky, jerky jive (Rough Trade, Fast Product, Factory), which they more than did justice to, featuring rare appearances by the now-silver-fox-fronted innovators mentioned and adding newer acts, like synthy-sweet Swedes Love Is All, N.Y. dolls The Vivian Girls and surprise kiddie act Daytime Television. Seen sampling the art-damaged sonic goods: Blondie’s Frank Infante (who tells us he’s got a new solo project in the works and has been jamming with comrade Clem Burke) and David J, spinning a DJ set “inspired by our new president.” Though not normally as band-packed as the Fest, PTP events are always a hacienda of hell-raising. We hear last week’s tribute to The Cure was just like heaven. Oh, and if you like a li’l groove with your grinds, check out the PTP boys’ other shindig with the Dub Club dudes, Punky Reggae, at La Cita every Friday.
Speaking of the Echo, the club’s grande dame, Liz Garo, has just opened up a charming new vintage bookstore in the area, called Stories, and it’s sure to be the hood’s holiday pit stop this year. Vintage and homemade stuff is a unique (and green) way to gift, and in these tight financial times, a smart way, too. Thankfully, L.A. will be a craft-o-rama in the coming weeks. The season kicked off recently with one of the biggest, the biannual gathering called Felt Club at The Shrine. Hosted by colorful L.A. historian/slide-show king Charles Phoenix and featuring funky DJ sets from Lance Rock, Dirty Robot and Mr. Cocoon, this year’s Felt fete had a bar for the first time, which surely spiked sales. It definitely made the performance by spandex-hawkin’ singer Leslie Hall more (be)dazzling. Handmade highlights included I Heart Guts stuffed lovies, Mr. Funky’s crocheted animals and hats, and Kasimade’s Lego jewelry, all of which you can still get even if you missed the event. Just check out Feltclub.com for links to each vendor’s site. Since a lot of crafters are local, we wouldn’t be surprised to see a few at the slew of L.A. shopping events comin’ up, too. Mark your calendars for Echo Park stylista fave Sirens & Sailors@ The Compound Holiday Bazaar on December 14, with designer goods from Jared Gold, Show Pony, Matrushka and others, plus DJs and bands. See MySpace.com/sirensandsailors for more info. The day before, Unique Los Angeles kicks off its showcase of similarly indie hawkers at the California Market Center. See www.uniquelosangeles.com. And every weekend from now till December 21, the groovy gals from GhettoGloss’s Gallery throw their own Art, Craft & Vintage Flea Market, in a parking lot at Silver Lake and Glendale boulevards. The Gloss gals sure have been busy. The creations that came out of their ape-girl art project, Bronx Zoo, are on display, and they’re bananas (this weekend is your last chance to see ’em). And now they’re hard at work putting together Snow in L.A., a Christmas music fest taking place on December 21 at the Echo and the ’Plex.