L.A.’s nightlife power players may be mostly men, but when it comes to parties and events with unabashed sass and soul, the dames deliver best (gay-boy bashes go without saying). Friday the 13th, we attended an über-fabulous female/fag-hag-thrown fete: the birthday extravaganza for voluptuous, flame-haired art vamp Lenora Claire (best known for her writing work with Frontiers mag and her World of Wonder art-gallery shows “Golden Gals Gone Wild” and “Merry Titmas”). It boasted all of the above and so much more. Held at famed retro-party estate the Houdini Mansion in Laurel Canyon, the event gathered a few hundred of Claire’s closest glamour-puss pals in everything from circus wear and flapper frocks to elaborate costumes. (Two fellas came dressed as the Sony Wii characters, complete with giant Styrofoam heads, making a perfectly proportioned matchup with the massive Bea Arthur and Betty White noggins from Claire’s “Golden” show, which were worn by stumbling lingerie-clad lasses.)
The Claire party definitely had a demented Disneyland feel, with 13-piece marching band Killsonic Orchestra providing tunes, a fire show from devilish diva Satanica, live monkeys, a bounce-house and a guest list that included artists Roman Dirge, Glen Hanson, Austin Young, Anthony Oblong, Plastic God and Olivia (who’ll soon be adding Claire’s Jessica Rabbit–like form to her sexpot subject list) and music makers such as Norwegian metalers Mortiis, keys queen Linda Strawberry, Bauhaus’ Kevin Haskins and Bow Wow Wow’s Annabella Lwin, with pal Cherie Currie. Plus, a potpourri of odd but fascinating characters one would never, ever imagine to be in the same space at the same time: Heatherette’s cowboy cutie Traver Raines, Cassandra Peterson (a.k.a. Elvira), Zamora the Torture King (Jim Rose’s Sideshow), original club kid/author James St. James, Simpsons director Mike Anderson, Anna Nicole Smith’s baby daddy, Larry Birkhead, and the inimitable Kim Fowley. Speaking of Fowley, we happened to be chatting with the viciously verbose one when Currie arrived at the bash, and as she approached, we feared a clash, or at the very least an antagonistic exchange (for those who don’t know, Fowley was the Svengali behind Currie-fronted L.A. girl group the Runaways, and she’s claimed abuse by him on several occasions). Instead, we got to witness a historic makeup session between the two, with Currie actually apologizing to KF, blaming her animosity toward him on her “being a drunk” for years (she’s now sober) and saying that she appreciated all that he did back in the day for the band. She also revealed that VH1 will be doing a countdown of great rock & roll anthems and that the Runaways’ “Cherry Bomb” will be one of them. As for the night’s cherry bomb: B-day girl Claire — whose gift list included a Fowley-penned theme song called “Queen of Hollywood”— will be seen on French TV station Canal Plus as an underground guide to L.A., with the party’s antics (which apparently included naked pool frolicking after we left) captured on film. There’ve been plenty of soirees at the Houdini estate, but we’re guessing the magic man’s ghost came out for this one.
PRIDE AND PUNX
More estrogen-fueled excitement was had the week before last, when our Saturday evening included run-ins with two of L.A.’s rockingest chicas. First, L.A. Pride in WeHo, where we pounded the pavement proudly with a jovial array of rainbow-bright boy toys and a couple of our favorite queens — Momma (on the mike) and Chi Chi La Rue (on the decks). We were there to check out a real girl, though: exotic electro-bot Vylette, a cohort from our days grinding on glitter-covered floors at Club Cherry (what’s with that new club, Cherry Pop at Ultra Suede, trying to ape the old name/scene, by the way?). Anyway, Vylette, whom many might recognize for her acting roles in Angie Jolie’s breakout Gia or the Rose McGowan flick Jawbreaker, has been making music for some time, and the former Astropanties singer debuted her solo material on the Pride stage, embellished by choreographed dance routines from Anthony Garza (Britney/Janet) and flamboyant frocks to boot. The music is very Stacy Q meets Peaches hump-’n’-bump pop, created with help from American Idol mixer Aaron Lepley. A video is in the works too. ... It was all about videos later that night, when we hit up MOCA in Little Tokyo for the Target Video “Underground Forces” screening, featuring sounds by Henry Rollins on the speakers and raw clips of L.A.’s most notorious punk legends. MOCA events maven Vanessa Gonzalez was dressed in theme as always, this time rocking very Pleasant Gehman–esque eye makeup and hair and a tee that read, “Eat Me, Bite Me, Whip Me, Fuck Me.” Older punks (with the exception of maybe Ginger Coyote) donned drabber looks (bondage gear at 50 is a definite fashion “don’t”), so they were harder to spot in the packed crowd, but thankfully our pal Brendan Mullen (The Masque) pointed out much of the punky procession for us. Here are just a few of the seasoned scenesters who were on hand for the raging reunion: Chip Kinman (Dils), Jimmy Wilsey (Avengers), Cliff Roman (Weirdos), Don Bolles (Germs), KK Barrett (Screamers), Trudie (Plunger Sisters), Chris Bagarozzi (ex-Clawhammer), Kevin Fitzgerald (Circle Jerks, Midget Hand Job) and Bob Mann (Two Balls & a Bat, Whirling Butt Cherries).
STAX AND WAX
The pitlike pileup kicked off the museum’s new CineMOCA summer film series (taking the place of the Grand Avenue location’s popular Night Vision events this year). The outdoor Saturday-night movie mash offers an alternative to Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Cinespia gatherings, and the schedule includes films selected by revered artists and filmmakers including Larry Clark, Amy Adler, Edgar Arceneaux and Edward Ruscha. Wonder if there’s an afro in Gonzalez’s future when Wattstax screens this Sat. Go and find out, and then head over to Scarlett Casanova’s annual Hang the DJs All Girl Night at The Echo, where Nightranger plans to come out of DJ retirement to spin alongside Ana Dim Mak, Club NME’s Dia, Valida, Hearts Revolution’s Lo and more. Okay, we never were a real DJ, but we’ve helped helm a few dance frenzies in our day, and we’d expect nothing less with these chicks in the mix.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter Our daily newsletter delivers quick clicks to keep you in the know
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Los Angeles, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.