DON’T STOP — PLAYING M.J. — ’TIL YOU GET ENOUGH
Just as the skies began to brighten, Michael Jackson’s passing last Thursday — along with Farrah Fawcett’s and Sky Saxon’s — brought a gloom of a different sort to the city that all three called home (Saxon, during the Seeds era). M.J. in particular was hard to escape, and admirers got a cathartic clubbin’ experience (haters probably a torturous one), as his music was quite literally everywhere. Nearly every DJ in town turned in a Michael Jackson tribute, and most were quite reverent. Samantha Ronson vowed to play M.J. all night, ’til “they kick me off,” Thursday at Villa (they didn’t), while Myles Hendrik offered all-vinyl King of Pop grooves at Palihouse. We hear Peanut Butter Wolf’s set at the Echoplex was a thriller, while Def Jam’s party at Avalon and P-Diddy’s pre–BET Awards Ciroc Bash at MyHouse were Jacko-jammin’. Even house/techno haps like Compression and megarave Electric Daisy Carnival threw down off-the-wall sounds both straight and remixed. Thursday night, Nightranger did the Cahuenga corridor crawl, and as we ambled down the street en route to our main destination (a birthday party at Velvet Margarita), the King of Pop’s hits blared and bled into a bittersweet symphony (from The Room, Delux, Beauty Bar and The Spotlight) that we won’t soon forget. Poked into the last one’s karaoke night just before closing, and, not surprisingly, saw a Wacko’d-out scene: a handful of barely awake barflies and a frisky Flip Wilson–looking fella tackling M.J. tunes — and what we think was a moonwalk. By the way, rumors of the ancient gay dive shuttering are false, at least for now. They get offers all the time, but they’re staying put, says the manager. Good thing, too. With more swank coming to Cahuenga every day, the street needs to maintain some skank to keep things interesting.
CAN YOU FEEL IT?
Society at Bordello on Saturday might have been celebrating women (“both real and fake”) with its “Girlie Show” event, but Michael was once again in mind, both on the decks (via more remix-heavy sets) and for promoter Billy Burgess, who dressed as the superstar, hat, glove, high-water pants and all. Burgess knew Jackson personally, working with him on some promotional events and projects, and even visiting his ranch. Notably, he’s of the strong opinion that the allegations of inappropriate behavior were false and that this will come to light in the future. Despite heavy competition that eve (the final Club Hot Dog at The Palms, Mustache Mondays’Mynx show and E.D.C., to name a few), Society was a hoot. Bootylicious tranny tart Detox Icunt and real-girl singer Naada performed, and we co-hosted the bash with performer/door chica Phyliss Navidad, one of our fave faux femmes workin’ it out there. See her this Friday, when Shits & Giggles joins forces with famed S.F. club Trannyshack at the Montecristo.
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DRAG MAMA’S PEARL
Nightranger is (obviously) a hopeless drag-hag, but even if we weren’t, we’d be raving about the charming new musical we saw Friday night, called Little Black Veil,at the Ruby Theatre, inside The Complex on Santa Monica Boulevard. Built around the rockin’ cabaret-music catalog of bassist/singer Abby Travis (known for her sultry solo shows and for touring gigs with both The Bangles and The Go-Gos), this minispectacle has it all: an engaging story with a message about acceptance and the many faces of love, hilarious dialogue, talented singers/actors, cleverly low-budget yet bodacious costumes and sets. There’s even a small live band playing the musical accompaniment. The plot is inspired by the deaths of two queens from the Silver Lake community (i.e., regulars at the Cavern Club and Dragstrip 66) a few years ago, and though it concerns the passing of a drag mother/club owner and how her cross-dressing cohorts deal and heal, there is a “straight” love story within that rings true, too. Travis’ music amps up this flamboyant tale perfectly, it’s campy and whimsical in some instances, ballsy and booty-shakin’ in others. There are even some dark and emotive moments that rival the best in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, both sonically and dramatically. In fact, we urge fans of Hedwig not to miss your last chance to experience this li’l gem, which offers its final performances this weekend. Get your tickets at www.littleblackveil.com.
RAWK WITH YOU
Those looking for an escape from the nonstop dance-floor Neverland (even serious fans should be over the “Billie Jean” barrage about now) did have some options last week. The Bigfoot Lodge offered a rip-roaring roster of rock-fueled events in honor of its 10th anniversary all last week, and rolled back drink prices to what they were when the bar opened a decade ago. Hard to believe a Cape Cod used to be four bucks! The festivities included a 1999 only–themed “Rock ’n’ Roll Karaoke” Monday, a guest DJ set from Circle Jerks’ Keith Morris on Thursday (and no, he didn’t play M.J.) and the return of live bands on Sunday (with a new “crafty” Bloody Mary menu). We popped in early Saturday night and were surprised to find the place packed both outside (hogs and hot rods galore) and inside (tatted hefers and hotties). Turns out the after party for the nearby Harley Davidson shop’s annual “Summer Rumble” was under way. Bigfoot just won “best dive bar” on NBCLA.com’s “Golden Local” awards, and while it’s kind of a stretch to call the Lodge a dive (especially with the shiny new wood flooring), the vibe and crowd are definitely some of the rawest and realest in town — even if Smokey Bear by the door isn’t. Look for a new sister watering hole, Bigfoot West, to open in Culver City in a couple of weeks.