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Bass of Operations

For a St. Patrick's Day, there wasn't much green (other than drummer MIKE BORDIN's kit) at OZZY OSBOURNE's press baptism of his new bassist, JASON NEWSTED. Just black — though Newsted wasn't in mourning over his departure from old bandmates Metallica, who in a pre-season swap ended up with erstwhile Ozzy four-stringer Robert Trujillo. Said Newsted of the touring rigors that contributed to his split: "There may still be pain, but it won't be as present now." The general subject of green was broached, however. Newsted: "We haven't talked money." Osbourne: "You ain't gettin' none." "Who's got the drugs? I got the beer," offered guitarist ZAKK WYLDE, setting the tone for a roaring four-song demonstration set as Ozzy chided the squatting reporters at 3RD ENCORE rehearsal studios in the Valley: "You all got earplugs. Chickens." The song selection seemed tailored for a pre-war watch. Sirens preceded "War Pigs," "so the people in Baghdad can hear this song"; then came the anti-fundamentalist "Believer," the hopeful "No More Tears" and, of course, the inevitable "Crazy Train" we're all stuck on. Osbourne bunny-hopped vigorously, vibrating with intensity and breaking a righteous sweat; Newsted literally shook with excitement. Afterward, Ozzy doffed his shirt and made fun of his TV celebrity status: "I'll be on the fucking Weather Channel next." Dark skies ahead.

—GREG BURK

THE NEW PUFF DADDY

The red carpets, snap-happy paparazzi and giant skylights outside CINESPACE made it seem like a glammed-up gala was happening, but the premiere party for DOWN & OUT WITH THE DOLLS was all about getting down and dirty (not necessarily in that order). KURT VOSS' indie flick about a fictional all-girl band in Portland called the Paper Dolls is cute, but not in a Josie and the Pussycats way (that's a good thing). Still, even a cameo by Lemmy from Motorhead wasn't enough to hold the attention of the party-hearty crowd, who seemed more interested in slurping up the free booze and rockin' to live sets by scorching hot Swedish shag queens SAHARA HOTNIGHTS as well as COYOTE SHIVERS and INGER LORRE (both in the film). Lorre, whose reckless behavior raised an eyebrow or two back in her Nymphs days, was positively doll-like herself, introducing the scenester set — which included Teenacide Records' JIM FREEK, ubiquitous ex-Hole guitarist ERIC ERLANDSON, writer KAT KRAMER, actress PAULEY PERRETTE and Sympathy for the Record Industry's LONG GONE JOHN — to her date, Mom. Former porn king RON JEREMY showed why he's a big boy in more ways than one these days, when he chummed up to Cinespace's wait staff, asking for his own plate of hors d'oeuvres in exchange for a product from his latest business venture: Ron Jeremy Rolling Papers. But do they come in extra-wide?

—LINA LECARO

CLUCK OFF

"She is like a matador, and I am her bull!" shouted out a tipsy club patron during a steamy striptease by KITTY DIGGINS, a regular at TRICKS N' CHICKS, the classic burlesque bump-'n'-grind held every other week at THE DEVIL'S PUNCHBOWL in NoHo. Somehow that comment summed up the collective sentiment of the crowd — which ranged from the expected ace-of-spade neck-tattoo dudes and Bettie Page look-alikes to old-timey burlesque fans — who were getting oh-so titillated. Observed another audience member, with a more critical eye: "Nakedwise it is just like Cheetahs, but it's the performance that really sets these girls apart." Moments before the show started, magician and host CHRISTOPHER WONDER warmed up by magically making his whiskey on the rocks disappear in the blink of an eye. He then proceeded to knock over his bubble machine and "levitate" across the floor as he slipped on the soap. Velvet Hammer's "queen of shimmy" KITTEN DeVILLE showed just why she was crowned Miss Exotic World 2002 as she strutted, shook and jiggled across the stage, making the club erupt in a frenzy of howls, catcalls and whistles. THE FISHNET FLOOZIES, decked out in Army field hats and sexy 1940s-influenced garb, were victims of fowl play when their dance act was momentarily upstaged after Wonder tossed his live prop front and center, where it sat clucking during the Floozies' sapphic repartee. Said Wonder with a good-natured chuckle, "I've seen their act, and they need the chicken." At least no one was spotted choking the chicken.

—JEN HITCHCOCK


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