Halloween is around the corner, and along with the obligatory sexy/scary/pop-culture-appropriate costumes, many of us will be donning wigs. Even though Nightranger finds the things unbearably hot, superscratchy and almost always rough to the touch, the hair helmet is still an accessory we behold, especially when worn by those with the bold personality — and bolder wardrobe — to pull it off. These sassy souls are more often than not drag queens, but real dames can rock ’em with glam gusto, too (Cher, Dolly), and one local lass is definitely in that class, even turning her love of colorful fake locks into an interactive art. Jean Natalia (a.k.a. Jean Spinosa) has been gathering her flamboyant friends for her monthly Wig Out! nights for three years, and last Thursday we joined the strands at the club’s new location, Bordello, for “Cirque du Wiggy,” a Big Top–themed extravaganza. Stilt walkers, fortune “wig-telling” (courtesy of human marionette Toy Surprise) and giddy performances from some of the city’s freakiest and most notable avant-theater heads make this the most hair-raising party in town. Thursday, wig-donning dames and dudes were treated to a mess of tressed-out visual treats, including a clowny musical number from Ian MacKinnon & Angelita (of the trippy burlesque horror show Discount Cruise to Hell ... we’ll definitely check out their “Halloween Extravaganza” at Highways on October 24 and 25!), an astounding vocal performance from a toy-horse-riding doll called H.R. Muffn’ Stuff, and a hog-wild and hilarious Michael Lucid (co-creator of the gender-bending sketch comedy show Pretty Things) whose lipstick-smudged Sarah Palin skit (props included crosses, guns, torn books and a massacred teddy bear) might have been funnier than Tina Fey’s SNL bit this past weekend.
The Plasticman-like Señor Stretchy Skin offered his famous clothes-pin act (pinching 100 of the wooden clips onto his entire face) and even let Nightranger tug his mug beforehand! Stretch (real name: Joe Holliday) tells us he’ll be part of another unique spectacle happening next week, “My Heroes,” a sideshow-themed art exhibit at UCLA’s White Room Gallery, displaying oddities from local artists and pieces from The Venice Beach Freak Show Museum. The opening-night bash this Tuesday, September 23 (7-10 p.m.) promises a torture king, a juggler, live two-headed animals, a mind-reading fortuneteller, a live five-legged dog, a mermaid, a tattooed bearded woman, exotic dancers, music from Janet Klein & her Parlor Boys and more miscellaneous madness.
As for Mz. Natalia, she’s gearing up for the next Wig Out on Thursday, October 9, a third-anniversary fete that’s sure to be extrafluffy fun. We don’t know the theme just yet, but if past parties are any indication (“Get Your Love-In On,” “Get Your Dolly Part On,” “Get Your Flapper On,” and more recently, “Get Your Time Travel On! A Steam-Punk Odyssey”), this birthday bash will be a teaser-pleaser like never before. One thing’s for sure: The new locale fits the gathering even better than its former homes (M Bar and The Stone). As we reported here a while back, Bordello has been taken over by Michael Pecina and his family, who also own the candelabra-covered gothic grotto The Monte Cristo. This was our first visit back to Bordello under the new ownership, and we are happy to say they’ve only enhanced the place’s seductive style (new couches, big mirrors and even better sound). We actually had a chance to chat with Pecina for a while, and scored some hot scoop on his next project. It’s still in the planning stages, so some details are vague, but here’s what he did tell us: Next year he’s opening a more cavernous downtown events space that will include secret rooms, holograms and over-the-top décor, with a mystical-magic theme (think Magic Castle meets Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion) and it will be in a former downtown theater space not far from Bordello. Can’t wait for that house of hocus-pocus!
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(Wiggy-woman side note: If you love Dolly Parton (who doesn’t?), we highly recommend Dollypop, a colorful art show devoted to all things Mz. P at the World of Wonder art gallery on Hollywood Boulevard. It runs through October 8, and it’s the perfect pit stop for those hitting up the new 9 to 5 musical at the Ahmanson. Y’all check it out now, ya hear? )
THE BEST LI'L GORE HOUSE
The Pecinas obviously subscribe to a dark and decadent aesthetic. A couple of weeks ago, we floated into their other new downtown eatery and club space, The Bridge Tavern on Santa Fe and Palmetto, and were blown away by the place’s old-time beauty. Colorful vintage medicine and potion bottles adorn the walls from floor to ceiling in the main room, while giant church windows frame the bar area for a bewitching effect. The upper level is adorned with ornate chairs, plush Elvira-style couches and Masonic imagery on the walls (Pecina is a Mason, and he tells us he enjoyed the opportunity to display some of the group’s artful artifacts and sort of bring it out from its secret-shrouded past). Dana Hollister (the Paramour) designed the place, and she remains a partner in both Bordello and Bridge, though it seems to be more of a silent situation at this point. Our Friday at the Bridge had come alive — or, rather, undead — when Ruin, the long-running gothic dance haunt from DJ Xian (pronounced Christian, who also does the Sunday soirée Malediction Society) and DJ Darren Revell(Indie 103.1’s Big Sonic Heaven), stuck its stake and moved there from Monte Cristo. We had a ghoulicious time floating amid the club’s black-clad denizens on the outdoor dance floor (we’ll never get the grandiosity of those “goth dance” moves though). Maybe if we had indulged in some “Death in the Afternoon” or “Bloody Brain” cocktails made with absinthe (they’ve got the best selection of the now-legal-in-the-U.S. spirit we’ve ever seen), we would have been a little more vamplike on the floor. We thought the Bridge worked well for Ruin, but apparently the alchemy wasn’t quite right, and the club has decided to return permanently to the Cristo starting this Friday. The club’s monthly Night Gallery art show will also take place, and patrons are asked to wear “passionate red” attire in celebration of both the autumnal equinox and the club’s (new-) romantic venue reunion.