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 BAR WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU’RE LAME
L.A. hostess bars are often wrapped up in unfamiliar rites (sitting uncomfortably in a booth with women who pretend to like you) and unfamiliar languages. What’s more, they’re expensive: table-service expensive; C-note-tip expensive. What’s more, there’s little of this exotica to sample between the high-end clubs of Koreatown and Little Tokyo and the gritty, Latino taxi-dancing venues of downtown. One place, however, has opened up this world to the regular folk and made it not so taboo. Nongnuch “Candy” Phimmasone, a Thai businesswoman, opened Cindy Club in 1996 on the border between Koreatown and East Hollywood. It blends the friendliness of mostly Thai servers (and food) with a mixed clientele of Korean businessmen, local Latinos and Silver Lake hipsters. Women and couples hang out there. And prices are unparalleled. A table costs $25 an hour (multiply that by at least four elsewhere) and most drinks (beer, sake, soju and wine) rarely top $10.The recipe has been a winner, and Phimmasone has taken over two adjacent storefronts. Sure, women still sit awkwardly with foreign salesmen who drink sake (no hard alcohol served), but the warm vibe is more like that of a neighborhood bar than a foreign ritual. 4273 Beverly Blvd., L.A. (323) 906-1640.
BEST HOUR OF ACTUALLY FUNNY IMPROV COMEDY
Sometimes your friends invite you to things like an improv comedy show. Then you go, realize that you’re not laughing, and try to decide what the best time would be to punch that same friend in the mouth. But there is good improv out there, and one of the best deals in town is at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, where you can see two genuinely funny half-hour shows, back-to-back, for a mere $5. Every Thursday night at 11 p.m., Last Day of School and Convoy are performed by some of the top comedians UCB has to offer, and their weekly shows routinely play to packed, cackling houses (you can, and should, reserve your tickets online in advance). In Last Day of School, which has a popular “text message show” with scenes based on audience cell-phone in-boxes, the blond duo of Neil Campbell and Heather Campbell (oddly, no relation) particularly stand out. Bringing alcohol, according to the sign on the wall, is prohibited, but if that rule ever gets enforced, it would be a first. 5919 Franklin Ave., L.A. (323) 908-8702, ucbtheatre.com.
BEST BAR FOR VALLEY VAGITARIANS
Touting itself as “Valley chic,” Moonshadow Lounge in North Hollywood, more often known as NoHo, offers a regular happy hour, go-go dancers, live music and Sunday brunch. You can play darts or pool, dance to DJ Boulevard’s spinning of hip-hop and electronica on Saturday nights, or sing karaoke on Tuesday nights with host KJ Tony, who offers more than 60,000 song choices. The bar has multiple TV screens tuned to pro football, baseball and basketball. The lounge has such a great vibe that it’s been featured in lesbian films such as But I’m a Cheerleader, Girl Play and A Marine Story. It’s also a fun jaunt into the Valley if you live, or party, on what 1.6 million Valleyites call “the other side of the hill.” 10437 Burbank Blvd., N. Hlywd. (818) 508-7008, moonshadownightclub.com.
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST PLACE TO BE ADMIRED
There’s no doubt about it — “Booby Trap” at Temporary Spaces in East Hollywood is the nighttime event for gorgeous lesbians to see and be seen in L.A. Dancing until late into the night every Wednesday under a big, mirrored disco ball to the sounds of nu wave and electro pop, gals love to let it loose midweek, packing the dance floor. And this is a great deal, featuring a minimal $5 cover charge. There’s also a happening patio scene where people hang out and smoke. The Trap is getting so popular that it’s expanded from every other Wednesday to every Wednesday. Booby Trap at Temporary Spaces, 5100 Fountain Ave., L.A., firstname.lastname@example.org. 10 p.m.-2 a.m.
—Patrick Range McDonald
BEST REASON TO TURN ON YOUR RADIO IN THE A.M.
Poor commuter, it’s all you can do to find one decent song amid the screeching, snorting, complaining, middle-aged dudes on morning radio, who’re blabbering on about either politics, erectile dysfunction or underpants and gas. Not that KXLU’s Melissa McAllister can’t dish out the potty talk, but the format is flanked by densely crafted sets of exceptional songs and tempered with her signature brand of banter: a hodgepodge of informative exposure to new bands, an encyclopedic knowledge of music, self-deprecation, silliness and a deep adoration of beer. So often, KXLU DJs play too-long sets, then mumble, giggle, yawn and never name a goddamned thing they’ve played for the past hour. Not McAllister. She’s a pro (she’s also the station’s former general manager), spinning a mingling of pop, folk, punk, noise, dance, dark-wave and garage bands rarely attempted over the air. Imagine this on L.A. radio: whole 30-minute sets in which you never need to change the station because every selection is awesome and expertly placed in its context (Lightning Bolt back-to-back with Edith Piaf is one example). McAllister chalks it up to good requests from listeners, but we know she’s the chops behind this years-old favorite show for so many of us. KXLU 88.9 FM, Thursdays, 6-10 a.m.