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
BEST UNPREDICTABLE MUSIC NIGHT
On any given Wednesday, Low End Theory drops genre-warping jams that destroy the envelope, not push it. Low End Theory, housed in Lincoln Heights’ eclectic club Airliner, often gleans cut-up, sonic-patchwork hip-hop production techniques. But the comparison usually ends here, as Low End Theory transmogrifies the genre, sometimes melding it with IDM and Dubstep, or free-association vocal flow. Sound sculptors and club regulars, Thavius Beck, Daedelus and Gaslamp Killer realign dance music’s boundaries and serve up ethereal stutter-stepping beats, fist-pumping digital anthems and psychedelic soundscapes (respectively). At Low End Theory, the only constant is change. Every Wednesday at the Airliner, 2419 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights. (323) 221-0771, lowendtheoryclub.com.
BEST EXPERIMENTAL-MUSIC PROMOTER
Who says the weekend ends on Monday morning? For the last four years, Monday nights have been an assault on the senses at Pehrspace, and the man behind the mayhem is Sean Carnage. Carnage is king of the far-out, curating this musical magnet for all things freaky, and pulling in the most experimental and off-center bands for a spazzfest that should be preserved in the Natural History Museum. Bands like HEALTH, Monotonix and Dan Deacon have made visits to Carnage’s Monday night special, whose show is like a halfway house for underage groups and DIY weirdos who have nowhere else to go. Sometimes ear-splitting, sometimes genius, a night with Carnage is an unforgettable and always interesting affair. 325 Glendale Blvd., Echo Park. (213) 483-PEHR, pehrspace.org. Mon., 9 p.m.-1 a.m.
BEST FRIED CHICKEN AND BLUES
By day they’re probably mechanics, insurance adjusters, or perhaps stay-at-home moms, but on the small stage at Babe & Ricky’s Inn, they’re musical shamans channeling the soul stirring energy of the blues. For more than 40 years, Babe & Ricky’s has been the premier spot to catch firebrand blues in L.A. Founded in 1964 by working-class, single-mother Laura Mae Gross, Babe & Ricky’s infused South L.A.’s Central Avenue with the blues for more than 30 years. Now located in the recently revived epicenter of African-American culture and art, Leimert Park, Babe & Ricky’s presents the best bluesmen and women L.A. has to offer. A steady stream of musicians wields their musical chops, as every guitar squeal and saxophone lament is critiqued by the audience of locals, newcomers and lifelong patrons. Mondays offer a particularly savory treat: $8 gets you a hearty helping of fried chicken, cornbread and collard greens as a side order to the blues. Gross still sits at the entrance, as she has from the beginning, counting cash and offering a stern warning to “keep those hands out of the cornbread.” Tonight, you’re a guest in Gross’ house, so enjoy this experience, filled with flavors and sounds good for both the stomach and the soul. 4339 Leimert Blvd., Leimert Park. (323) 295-9112, bluesbar.com.
BEST ESCAPE FROM WEST HOLLYWOOD
Sometimes it’s good, even necessary, to take a break from the glam and roar of gay nightlife and simply hang out and chill. So if you feel like drinking a few beers with the buddies, playing a game of pinball, and listening to good but familiar tunes on the jukebox, Roosterfish in Venice Beach is the place to go. A part of the gay scene for more than 25 years, the relaxed neighborhood bar features electronic darts, a pool table, a “no attitude” atmosphere, a two-hour happy hour, $3 margaritas all day Wednesday and $3 burgers on Sunday afternoons. The two longtime owners are deceased, but the place has such a lasting esprit de corps that a group, including two longtime Roosterfish bartenders, inherited the joint and now run it. Even if you don’t live near Venice, it’s worth the drive, especially if you’ve been stuck in that West Hollywood/Silver Lake circuit. 1302 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. (310) 392-2123, roosterfishbar.com.
BEST BUSTING, HANGING, MEETING, LISTENING, WEARING AND CRUISING
Tired of the velvet ropes, the snotty attitudes (which are only a mask to cover up some kind of insecurity), the perfect hairstyles, clothes and bodies? Well, maybe not tired of the bodies. Try the Faultline Bar in Silver Lake, which holds a good, old-fashioned beer bust Sunday afternoon through evening that’s fun, cost-friendly and a little wild. Bears and leather aficionados meet up with cute Silver Lake hipsters to drink cheap beers, listen to loud rock and tear up the place, while also cruising for a special friend or two. People hang out inside and outside, with a lot of guys wearing crewcuts and leather apparel. It’s a different kind of scene, and there’s no VIP line or cover charge. 4216 Melrose Ave., L.A. (323) 660-0889, faultlinebar.com. Sun., 2-8 p.m.
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST STOP IN THE NAME OF LUST
The Yogurt Stop is making an obvious push to cater to a gay clientele on Santa Monica Boulevard as a nighttime hot spot, and it’s working with a crowd who finds late nights at the same old bars and clubs getting monotonous — not to mention expensive. There are also those who don’t drink and don’t even want to be near drinkers. So on any night of the week, the Yogurt Stop, with its spick-and-span interior, is packed with handsome gay men and beautiful lesbians who usually sit around clean, white tables, chat with friends, spark up conversations with strangers, and eat their yogurt (which, by the way, is very good). The shop’s delicious, nonfat, gay-friendly flavors include Milk My Harvey Chocolate, Fierce French Vanilla Bean, Cappuccino Crush on U, and Get Lucky Irish Mint (a personal favorite). It’s fun and doesn’t break the bank. 8803 Santa Monica Blvd., W. Hlywd. (310) 652-6830, yogurtstop.net.