After the Rapture

LOOK AT ALL THOSE HEAVILY ACCESSORIZED 18-to-24-year-olds pouring out of the Rapture show at the Henry Fonda Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. They’re all so tipsy and sweaty and texting their friends. In some sort of euphoric bliss after the dance band’s energetic performance, most of them are heading toward Star Shoes to meet up and hang (they hope) with the New York–based Rapture, who apparently have a reputation for partying with their fans. A couple of those fans are sitting on the sidewalk, like one Asian girl, who has fallen on the asphalt in her shorts and tights and hat, and is laughing and reaching out and yelping for her friends to help her up. Most of them have been dancing; all of them are happy.

Camille Rousseau is 21, adorable and nearly naked. She is wearing a collection of bracelets, ankle boots and a black-and-white-polka-dot, backless one-piece ’80s mini that barely covers her breasts. That particular eye-catching aspect of her outfit is exciting for the small group of thick-haired boys who stand a couple of feet away repeatedly asking her for a light or calling out her name.

How was the show?

“I danced it up,” Camille says, pushing her shaggy, highlighted bangs off her face. “I wanted to see the Presets, but I was running late.”

Why?

“My ride fell asleep.”

Camille, who went to the Lycée Français, is standing with Ally Schwartz, who says the show tonight “was tight.” Ally is 24 and wears a couple bracelets herself.

Who are you texting?

“My friend inside,” says Ally, peering up from her handheld briefly. “I want him to get me a shirt.”

What do you do?

“I am a stylist for commercials and music videos.”

What about you, Camille?

“Nothing at the moment,” she says, looking at Ally with interest.

“I was supposed to be a stylist on a music video, so that is kinda funny.”

Oh, you didn’t know what Ally did?

“No. We just met.”

DOWN THE BLOCK, ANKA, who would prefer not to use her last name, is talking to two guys. One of them, Sean, came with her to the show tonight. Anka wears two thick, white-plastic bracelets and a black-and-white New Wave Lycra dress. The flat-talking 24-year-old wears no makeup, and her hair is pulled back. She is from New York and moved to West Hollywood a few weeks ago “just to see what’s going on.”

Did you like the show?

“I’ve been going to them for years,” she says with authority. “They are fantastic.”

“For years?” one of the guys asks Anka.

“Yes,” she answers with proper smart-girl attitude. “For years. In L.A. you guys hear about stuff when it’s on the cover of Spin. In New York, we see things when they are just starting to blossom, when they are a . . . little egg.”

When did you start seeing the Rapture, Anka?

“Before their first album came out. I think they’re from California, but I see them a lot in New York. They played at the Bowery and all these little clubs — super dark and super gritty, just like, very New York, very Lower East Side. The first time I saw them outside was at the Curiosa tour, with the Cure, and they just filled the space. You could take anyone — they just play music. So few bands do that anymore.”

What do you mean, “You could take anyone”?

“It is just a lot more . . . hippie environment, if you will. You could just take anyone. They play a lot of instruments. Everyone is dancing. The other shows I’ve been to in L.A., the people don’t dance.”

But tonight everyone danced?

“Yes.”

What do you do?

“I’m a writer.”

Fiction? Screenplays?

“Just a writer.”

But you’re a music fan?

“For sure. Good music, like a good painting, can inspire other art forms. If you are trying to describe an emotion to someone but you don’t necessarily have the vocabulary to do so, you can play them a song. Like most people relate to Van Gogh, for some reason — the man who couldn’t relate to anyone. You can show someone one of his paintings and they can relate. I think the Rapture has that. They have emotion to their albums, an emotional journey.”

Sean, do you think Anka knows a lot about music?

“Oh, yeah. She’s funky. I used to date her best friend — she had great taste in music too. They’re both kinda fun and wild.”

Anka, are you sure you don’t want to tell me your last name?

“I don’t know. I’m new to L.A. I don’t know the etiquette.”

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