Call it '90s club kid redux, compare it to the wacky, avant-garde fashion popularized by Lady Gaga, or simply marvel at the strange beauty of it all. But there's no denying that over-the-top, other-worldly self-expression in nightlife is back in Los Angeles.
L.A. may be the capital of flip-flop casual by day, but after dark, it's an entirely different animal. The new party at Circus Disco, called Runway, sure was a jungle Saturday, with two full catwalks on which anyone could pounce and prowl.
Clownish makeup, body stockings and tons of tulle on one's head may seem somewhat frivolous right now -- what with the economy and everything else going on in the world -- but nightlife has always been an escape from reality. Indeed, struggle makes for the most overt art, and what's going on at clubs like Runway is definitely art.
The gathering is thrown by some of the L.A. party scene's most noticeable performance/attention whores: Ernie Omega, Rude-ness, Made Beautiful, Ryan Burke, and some sixteen other crazy-costumed clubutantes. Though they say they're going beyond the debauchery popularized by the old school New York "Party Monsters," the references are definitely there. So too are nods to Los Angeles' own androgynous glam resurgence in the '90s, which saw mixed clubs like Makeup and Cherry gain national media attention.
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NY's own Cherie Lily debuted new material in her signature spandex dance wear. Her hip-hop-ish new track "Lotion" was as silky and sexy as the title implies, but her club hit "Werk" -- inspired by vogue-ing dance balls as seen in Paris Is Burning -- garnered the biggest response. It was like a full-on runway show at that point, with the most fantastically-fashioned in the crowd taking to the stage for impromptu posing.
Next week, the club will present another New York performer, Amanda Lepore, the transsexual human Barbie doll. (You may be familiar with her modeling work with photographer David La Chapelle, and as a muse for designers Heatherette.) Her brash dance anthems - "My Pussy," "My Hair Looks Fierce"-- are mainstays at gay clubs here in LA. Start planning that outfit now.
Info. on Club Runway here.