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 LIVE MUSIC IN A SHOPPING CENTER
Back in the day, Cahuenga Boulevard between Sunset and Hollywood was a nasty stretch with little more to offer than the Spotlight tranny bar, the Burgundy Room (host to local DJs and bands) and the Room — the back-alley speakeasy bar that specialized in hip-hop and acid jazz. Fortunately, Space 15 Twenty brings a little whiff of grungy street life back to the boulevard — now a shopping mecca for hipsters — with weekly Thursday-night performances by local acts like Ariel Pink, Dublab Soundsystem and the freak-trance, raw food–inspired collective Pocahaunted (at the April opening of Kim Gordon’s Mirror/Dash Pop-Up shop and gallery). The secluded interior courtyard — lined with shops like Hennessey + Ingalls’ satellite branch, Alife, We the Free and Urban Outfitters — encloses the crowd for intimate outdoor shows. With good local acts on the bill, the vibe’s often more tight and enjoyable than at some clubs around town — made all the better by alcoholic sno-cones at the neighboring snack bar. In addition to music, Space 15 Twenty hosts outdoor movie nights Mondays and the occasional independent design craft fair, or a “minimarket” — a venue for local manufacturers of totes, knitted items and custom tees. 1520 Cahuenga Blvd., Hlywd. space15twenty.com.
Mon.-Thurs, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri., 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat., 10 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
BEST GRAD-SCHOOL PICKUP SPOT
UCLA and USC host open studio nights about twice a year, and they usually list them on the art-school Web sites. What’s the draw? A night of wine, cheese and art being offered by some of the premier graduate art schools in the country, and a bevy of smart, well-dressed and well-connected arty types. Basically, a wonderful opportunity to make a lo-o-o-ve connection. Hecuba and Pacific Trim played at the last USC open studio, and the thing turned into an all-night party as kids wandered in and out of the studios, lounged on scrappy couches and nibbled on Trader Joe’s snacks. Beware the cigarette smoke, confusing art films and the pantheon of Snobby McSnobbersins, the latter of whom will most likely be disgusted that this tip was published. Consumerism, baby! Eat it up. You’re going to have to find a new place to hate, because we’re blowin’ up your spot! UCLA: (310) 825-0557; USC: (213) 743-1804.
BEST SOUTH-OF-THE-BORDER BAR
With cowboy hats bobbing on the dance floor, low, stuccoed ceilings, and women who top their high skirts with even higher hairdos, La Zona Rosa is as close as L.A. gets to a real border town nightclub. It’s like Mexicali with far cleaner bathrooms. On Tuesdays and Sundays, when La Zona Rosa forsakes its cover charge, the parking lot overflows and the accordions don’t stop until 2 a.m. There’s live music nightly that might have its origins in south Texas or the Straits of Magellan, or might include, banda, cumbia or reggaeton. The club attracts a mostly over-35 crowd with an upbeat, sexy vibe that can translate into some heavy-grinding ranchera dancing, and sometimes quite a bit more. That’s especially true at Thursday’s regular Concurso de Piernas, where ladies win prizes (and gritos) for the best and barest thighs. When you just can’t take it anymore, there’s a taco bar and bacon-wrapped hot dog stand waiting for you outside. Cover charge of $20 when the better-known bands play. 1010 E. Cesar E. Chavez Ave., L.A. (323) 223-5683. Valet parking $5.
BEST I’LL-HAVE-WHAT-SHE’S-HAVING ROCK FESTIVAL
In a YouTube video uploaded in the days following the early September FYF Fest, which took place at the L.A. State Historic Park in Chinatown, a woman who looks to be in her early 20s is talking to the camera. Smoking a cigarette, she relays with curious wonder a story of what happened to her in the front row during spazz-metal band Lightning Bolt’s blistering sundown set. (The video has since been removed, so we’re paraphrasing.) It was a heated moment, she recalled, bordering on the orgasmic. She felt, in fact, as if she’d come at one point, so intense was the music and the crowd’s reaction. Everybody was packed tight and pogoing. A guy behind her was bouncing along with her, holding her by the waist and dancing hard. When the show was over and the dude behind her took off, she felt something hot and, um, wet on her derriere. She reached her hand back, and, lo ... gross. That was this year’s FYF Fest, the seventh version of a festival born as the Fuck Yeah Fest, changed to the F Yeah Fest, and now to the curiously redundant FYF Fest. Founded by young Tasmanian Devil/go-getter Sean Carlson, the punk and avant electronic festival was not without its organizational problems — i.e., a long wait to get in. But the amazing thing about the FYF Fest was the sheer abandon with which the packed park celebrated, once they got in, the fringes of punk, dance and comedy. As in, hot wetness seemed to be flying all over the place during Lightning Bolt, Mika Miko and Fucked Up. fyeahfest.com.