Photo by Roe Etheridge
Edited by Kateri Butler
Despite all the hype over the L.A. debut of New York art darlings FISCHERSPOONER (pictured) at the still-under-construction STANDARD HOTEL downtown, many recipients of the opening-night invitations weren’t exactly sure what to expect. And after the company sang, danced, stomped and shimmied — think Devo meets Soft Cell with a little twist of Rocky Horror Picture Show and a dash of Cats — some attendees still seemed baffled by the glitzy retro experience. Among the fabulotti taking it all in were actress ROSE McGOWAN, interior designer RON “Poof Daddy” MEYERS, architect DANIEL ADAMS, Cherry’s BRYAN RABIN, costume designer ARIANNE PHILLIPS, Glue editor LAURIE PIKE, blacktress VAGINAL DAVIS, nightclub impresarios JOHNNY CAMACHO and MARC SMITH, fashion designers KELLY DELKESCAMP and JOHN CHeRPaS, painter Fidel Marquez, photog Lucas Michael, scenestress BELISSA COHEN, gossip columnist JANET CHARLTON, and Beige DJs VICTOR RODRIGUEZ and BILLY ERB. But the real action went down afterward at PASSERBY, the L.A. version of gallerist GAVIN BROWN’s New York bar. (Brown produced the show along with the Art Production Fund’s YVONNE FORCE, out from N.Y. for the four-night run with her artist husband, LEO VILLAREAL.) Warbling warrior COURTNEY LOVE removed her top — yet again — and got down and dirty, dancing with Capitol Records’ KATE MILLER. DJ BRENDAN MULLEN spun for the masses who mingled among photos of Fischerspooner. More than a few guests-on-a-budget ditched the place for more moderately priced cocktails around the corner at SCORE, downtown’s one and only gay Latino bar, where one tipsy reveler was overheard saying, “Fuck trying to understand art. Let’s drink!”
Björn to Run
What the hell happened to “Fernando”? We can’t believe there was nothing in the air tonight and the stars weren’t bright tonight in MAMMA MIA!, the London hit musical based on ABBA songs that’s just arrived at the SHUBERT. Surely, librettist CATHERINE JOHNSON could have worked in one of the band’s seminally saccharine hits — although she did manage to include most of the songs you know and a few you don’t. That quibble aside, Mamma Mia! made us feel sweetly nostalgic about shiny outfits, giant collars and pop hooks as unshakable as angry leeches. Just when we remembered that those Swedes were not exactly songwriting geniuses, we found ourselves joining the reveling dancing queens and mouthing along to “S.O.S.,” maybe a tad embarrassed to know all the words. Outside on the premiere’s red carpet, the stars were shining there for you and me — for liberty — with OLIVIA NEWTON-JOHN (who sang along to all the words during the performance), SUSAN ANTON, JO ANNE WORLEY, ALEX BORSTEIN and MICHAEL McDONALD from Mad TV, REX SMITH, DICK CLARK, JEFFREY TAMBOR, ERIC IDLE, ERIC McCORMACK, LOU RAWLS, CONNIE FRANCIS, and even ABBAn BJÖRN ULVAEUS (one of the show’s producers), who’s still remarkably pixielike. We would have asked ON-J about her favorite ABBA memories, but press members were not welcome at the after-party, and she did not appreciate our attempt to infiltrate in her entourage’s wake. Meanwhile, we can’t wait for the debut of Cruel Summer, based on the songs of Bananarama.
Touched for the Very First Time
Faster than you can say Music, mad guys and gals filled THE PALACE for the first-ever L.A. MADONNA CONVENTION. Not even a leaky roof in the patio area stopped hagglers from browsing such hard-to-find memorabilia as a sealed copy of Sex and The I Hate Madonna Handbook. There was also a roped-off display of some costumes, namely the black bustier with the gold tassels from the Who’s That Girl? tour. Of course there were clones dressed in various Madonna incarnations, including the virgin bride, Marilyn Monroe and the already-tired rhinestone-cowgirl look (and then there was the guy in the rhinestone-encrusted “Eddie Rabbitt: The Diamond Anniversary Tour, 1974–84” T-shirt). Of course, no real tribute would be complete without a performance by impersonator VIVA — but perhaps it’s time to hang up the “Muff Daddy” drag and go back to Boy Toyland. Fans took part in the lip-synch and look-alike contest, which gave each contestant a measly two minutes to perform. First prize — an autographed poster of The Next Best Thing — went to the duo who did “Don’t Tell Me,” although LAZARO “Lola” CONCEPCION, who actually sang “Nothing Really Matters,” and ALI TAVASSOLI, who had the “Lucky Star” moves (even the scissor kick in the air!) from the video down perfect, deserved to win. It’s a Madge, Madge, Madge, Madge world.
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Love is Sublime
The birthday boy may not have been there in the flesh, but his spirit filled every square inch of the KEY CLUB as friends, family and fans gathered for departed Sublime leader BRAD NOWELL’s “Cosmic Birthday Bash.” The party quickly sold out, leaving throngs of fresh-faced O.C. kids in backward baseball caps and Dickies pants stuck outside on Sunset Boulevard, while inside members of NO DOUBT, PENNYWISE, SLIPKNOT, COAL CHAMBER and KOTTONMOUTH KINGS, plus club impresarios SAL JENCO, RICKY VODKA, BRYAN RABIN and J.D., and scenester couples PAULEY P of Lo-Ball and hubby COYOTE SHIVERS, jewelry designer ERICA COURTNEY with her man, Jet 68 guitarist VINCE FLORES, and rapper/actor ICE T and wife DARLENE ORTIZ checked out the bands onstage, which included former Sublime bassist ERIC WILSON’s new project BUSFACE. We sipped “Sublime Malt Liquor,” a sweet alcoholic beverage with Nowell’s famous sun tat on the bottle, while at a party-hat-and-streamer-covered table, “Papa Nowell,” Brad’s dad JIM (whose b-day was the day before), artist CHRIS GALLIPOLI and scene scribe HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA signed copies of their new book Sublime’s Brad Nowell: Crazy Fool (Portrait of a Punk), a collection of memories and thoughts about the late Long Beach legend. Even five years after his death, love is still what Brad got.