By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
View more photos in the "Playing Hard" Nightranger slideshow.
COME OUT & PLAY(HOUSE)
Another multimillion-dollar mega-club venue out to devour Hollywood? It’s hard not to be a bit incredulous when the buzz starts to build about and around yet another swanky haven of dance music–driven hedonism, especially when its locale is where we’ve seen so many “hot spots” ignite, smolder and quickly burn out. But something about the Playhouse, which transformed the old Fox Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard near Wilcox, suggests that this room will be different. There are the names behind the place for one: Elie Samaha (L.A.’s legendary Roxbury and, more recently, The Green Door) and Rob Vinokur (Crobar NYC, Miami’s Goddess). Then there are the insiders who’ve joined their Muse Lifestyle Group, namely L.A. nightlife heavy Rick Calamaro, best known for his work with enduring club venues like Ivar, Holly’s and Nacional (which he still owns), not to mention the sexy soiree Grandville, one of the first to mesh girlie eye candy with a dance club environs back in the day. A-list wrangler/party girl Allison Melnick, who celebrated her birthday during the soft opening a couple Thursdays ago, is also part of the team.
Calamaro tells us the philosophy behind this impressive venue is different than most in the area: All events are in-house. What that means is you won’t find “outside” promoters throwing parties and leaving once they die out, thereby killing the venue. Rather, friends and former allies from the club world will join the family to help get bodies inside. It sure seems to be working so far . maybe too well. Thursday’s opening night, featuring DJ Vice (who’ll be that eve’s resident), saw lines for blocks and a visit by the fire marshal. It was equally chaotic at the door last Friday, when we stopped by the debut of Dirty SexyHouse, which we got multiple e-mail invites for from the likes of BoxEight’s Micheal Utsinger, JoeJoe Promotions and Club Giant. Met even more hosts that night, many holding court at bottle service tables surrounded by requisite busty babes. The overpay-to-sit-and-sip aspect ain’t Nightranger’s (DD) cup of tea, but the floor was more fun anyway; an electric and attractive meld of movers and shakers. Still, it was the space itself that was most ogle-worthy.
THE DREAM TEAM IS IN THE HOUSE
The Playroom ain’t playin’ when it comes to competing with Vegas and Miami club spectacle. “This is the first big production-based club in L.A.,” Vinokur told us as we looked down on the house action with him and Samaha from the lighting booth above it all, Friday. It’s kaleidoscopic for sure. Orbs protruding from the wall change hues to the music as an LCD screen flashes in shapes and designs behind the DJ on stage, which is bordered by another bar and a sunken dance floor. There’s also a bar in the middle of the room, above which the club’s slew of servers do double duty as cirque performers, flying through the air on hoops and ropes. It’s telling that even nightlife biggies like Brent Bolthouse (an old cohort of Samaha’s from the Roxbury days), Pantera Sarah and Grace Fernandez have joined this circus: The trio has come together for Saturdays (Brent even deejays the VIP room). With that one, plus a live music night from Nic and Cisco Adler called Banger & Mash (coming Wednesdays in August), we’ll be back to Play and re-play, fo’ sho’.
STOMP ALL NIGHT
After the sensory assault of a club like the Playroom, a slightly more relaxed room like Bardot above Avalon was in order. Bardot Fridays, hosted by Rich Royal, GracieCakes, Jason Scoppa and Alexi Yulish, boasts good times and good tunes, not to mention sophisticated atmosphere and stylish garb. (Too bad the club is so darn strict about photo-taking, or we’d have more to show you in our online slideshow this week.) Capping off Friday’s Tinseltown treadin’, we stomped back to good ol’ Cahuenga (despite signs all down the boulevard asking clubbers to take taxis, the traffic kept us on foot, even in killer heels). ApolloStaar had the Beauty Bar’s floor a hot mess with his new night Sex Dwarf, and let’s just say the dudes there were anything but dwarf-ish. The girls were sexy, though. Staar, by the way, recently guest deejayed at “Rock ’n’ Roll Discoteque” at H’Wood (formerly Diamond Dogs, now soldiering on sans high profile ex-host Bryan Rabin on Thursdays); from what we hear, that one’s gone from arty mixed mash to model/celeb bash. Ryan Seacrest and Lindsay Lohan were there recently, and the latter even badgered Staar to play some electro remix she brought on CD, interrupting a rockin’ set. (Typical.) And in more small-world club news: Aforementioned Rich Royal is currently doing a new night with Discoteque’s Kelly Cole and Ian Cripps, called Electric Wednesdays at Crown Bar. Let’s hope that trifecta proves less tempestuous than the Dogs’ one did.
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