Do today's faux fur–collar- and bangs-sporting boho babes and skinny-jeaned hipster dudes know where they copped their looks and aesthetics from? Sometimes we wonder, but after this weekend we say a heartened "Hell, yeah!" A fresh slew of shaggy, retro-rockin' scenesters came out in droves last week to pay respect to elder statesmen and women, '60s- and '70s-era icons who were seminal in influencing music, fashion, art and more.
Pamela Des Barres has been on a one-woman literary mission to change the connotations of the word "groupie" for nearly 25 years, and now, thanks to two film projects, it looks like it's going to be her ultimate conquest. She wrangles an array of intriguing women who loved rock stars in the documentary Let's Spend the Night Together: Confessions of Rock's Greatest Groupies, running on VH1, and there's also an HBO series in development based on her book I'm With the Band, which will star indie movie and music goddess Zooey Deschanel.
The Silent Movie Theatre on Fairfax hosted a sold-out early premiere of the VH1 doc, bringing out the miniskirt mobs, as well as former groupies Catherine James (Jagger's ex), Lori Mattix (Jimmy Page's former underage squeeze), Michele Overman (Robert Plant's long-ago lady love) and director Jenna Rosher for a Q&A moderated by the relentlessly witty Michael Des Barres.
In the doc, Pamela travels across the country to chat with the world's most famous groupies, including all of the above plus Cassandra Petersen (Elvira), Russ Meyers man-eater Tura Satana (who taught Elvis his hip swivel), Cynthia Plaster Caster (with her amazing collection of ceramic rock-star phalluses) and the hands-down wackiest (and most wanton), Connie Hamzy, immortalized by Grand Funk Railroad's "We're an American Band" ("Sweet, Sweet Connie").
As for the HBO show, it's being written by cable-TV scribe Jill Soloway (Six Feet Under, United States of Tara) and co-produced by Tim Gibbons (Curb Your Enthusiasm) along with Des Barres and ex-husband Michael. It's being referred to as a "dramedy" series chronicling Ms. Des Barres' lusty misadventures, a decidedly droll take on the era when Jimmy Page, Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison (all Pam's former paramours) were at their worship-worthy peak. Can't wait!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RODNEY!
The next night, the proprietor of one of Ms. Des Barres' and Ms. Mattix's favorite long-gone hot spots, Rodney Bingenheimer, aka the Mayor of the Sunset Strip, celebrated his birthday at Canter's (natch). His annual soup- and sandwich spread–packed bash brought out a procession of fans — and (more important to Rodney) females — all bearing gifts and baring legs (this year's theme was "hotpants"; last year's, "tubetops"). Seen chomping and romping late night–deli style: The Dollyrots, The Prima Donnas, Jason Lavitt and Giddle Partridge, to name a few.
Our pal Rodney rarely does the party scene these days, but he — and we — did come out for Thursday's private soiree honoring Mick Rock and his new book, Exposed: The Faces of Rock 'n' Roll, at Confederacy boutique in Los Feliz, hosted by Riley Keough (Elvis' granddaughter), Shepard Fairey and Creem magazine. Some real heavyweights joined him, too: Steve Jones, Perry Farrell (with wife Etty of E!'s Married to Rock), Tommy Lee, Linda Ramone, Juliette Lewis, Billy Duffy (and E! rock-star girlfriend AJ Celi), Cisco Adler, Slim Jim Phantom, Taryn Manning, Runaways director Floria Sigismondi and hubby Lillian Berlin (who, by the way, would make a great Mick-alike for the HBO groupie show, if they go the young rock stars–playing–old rock stars route).
Rock, who also did a public signing event at Confederacy on Saturday (portions of sales going to Art of Elysium), selected some of his most iconic shots for an exhibit in the store (up now) and we asked him to share something new about each. See laweekly.com's West Coast Sound music blog for "behind-the-lens" scoop.
Yes, reverence for rock & roll's hedonistic past lives, and one hot young thang continuing to do her part is singer/DJ Tuesdae. Formerly with all-star cover chicks Chelsea Girls, Tues also threw a rollicking party called Rock Mondays, first at Les Deux, then at Cinespace. Now she has a new way to start off the week: Rock Club, Mondays at Cat Club, a heavy, live band–backed karaoke gathering that definitely got our head bangin' at the debut last week.
The blond bombshell is definitely busy as ever. She has two other new to-dos in her self-proclaimed "nightlife empire." Rock 1616, featuring exclusive performances by rock and metal bands, is downtown at the new bar and restaurant called 1616. (For those not privy to the downtown scene, they even provide a party bus shuttle every Thursday from Hollywood.) SINthetic at Geisha House is her monthly Saturday bash touting "sushi, S&M and absinthe." DJ Casper spins industrial, new wave and death rock while diners and dancers enjoy dominatrixes divvying out spankings, and green fairies and slave girls suspended by ropes tied from the rafters. See tuesdae.com for info on all her events.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, THREE CLUBS!
Casper, by the way, is the quintessential Hollywood rock hyphenate. The DJ showed off his singing chops later in the week at what was definitely one of our favorite parties of the holiday season: 3 Clubs' 20th-anniversary shindig Saturday night. Owner Mark Smith closed the bar to the public, and offered friends of the two-decades-old bar a fete (pairings menu courtesy of Fred Eric) and rockin' jam session (lineups put together by Bauhaus' Kevin Haskins). In addition to Casper, the jam offered Gilby Clarke, Paul Ill and Haskins' daughter Diva, to name a few, offering classic anthems for a thoroughly sloshed group of revelers. A fine, filling happening to close out the year.
Don't miss our year-end survey of the best, worst and most shocking in L.A. nightlife next week!