Edited by Kateri Butler
“Well, there’s not enough people here, but it’s still bumpin’,” noted hip-hop honey SEXY BITCH, giving us the rundown outside CAMINO REAL, where FILLET O’ SOUL hosted a night of all-female rap, which featured locals APPLE and BABY PUMA of the Feline Science crew plus rhymers REDHEADPHONE and NEILA and spinner LYSETTE-ONE. Though the femmalicious DJ IMI (taking a break from her duties at Fat Beats record store) could be heard from inside mixin’ head-rockin’ grooves, even her wicked wax work was no match for the catchy Slavic pop jams that spewed forth from a Russian eatery next door. Feeling like we were in the midst of a cattle call for an updated take on West Side Story, we watched in fascination as goateed b-boys giggled and flirted with a group of friendly Russian girl teenyboppers, who’d ditched the family-style diner for some real American thug love. While the eager youngsters chatted away via broken English and hand signals, oblivious to the glares of elder comrades from the old country, sirens snapped us out of that romantic reverie as the Spotlight, across the street, chalked up a casualty, with paramedics tucking a motionless body into an ambulance and police blocking off the corner. Overwhelmed with all the activity, we ducked back inside, where rappers MEDUSA, VIXIN and posse whooped it up on the dance floor while scads of folk stood around watching. It took a tongue-lashing from MC LADY COPPER on the mike to clue onlookers that the ass-shakin’ was mandatory — get groovin’ or walk — and butts were swingin’ in no time.
At the stroke of midnight, we bid our adieus and took off for Chinatown’s underground hip-hop haven FIRECRACKER, which added an arty dimension to club-going with an opening for painters CHAZ BOJORQUEZ and ANGEL OF DEATH, both of whom explore roots underground culture and urban themes through vividly sensual imagery. “The energy of these paintings reminds me of work by some young Japanese artists,” said dancer ISHMAEL, who appears on Japan’s version of Soul Train. Firecracker regulars DJs ALFRED HAWKINS, LOGIC, WING KO, ERIC COLEMAN and PRAISE ONE and special guest DJ DADDY KEV played tag-team on the turntables while P.E.A.C.E. from Freestyle Fellowship (pictured, left) and BUSDRIVER (pictured, right) from Project Blowed flipped verbal wizardry on the mike. Just the spot to take in the art of noise.
No baseball hats, no scraggly ponytails, just a lot of Hair Club for Men candidates at the MEDIARARE GALLERY opening for the exhibit “Westworld: The Photography of YUL BRYNNER and GINO SULLIVAN” at LES DEUX CAFÉS. From the doorman to the patrons, bald was indeed the fashion statement du jour in some seemingly bizarre tribute to Yul. Many of Brynner’s photographs capture celebs in super-relaxed poses, such as INGRID BERGMAN looking terribly glamorous taking a nap in a Bentley. Two photos depict a very young RON HOWARD on the set of Brynner’s 1959 film The Journey. (Too bad the Grinch didn’t steal Howard’s omnipresent baseball cap during filming.) While the chrome-domed King of Siam’s elegantly coifed daughter VICTORIA BRYNNER chatted with guests (who included director BARBET SCHROEDER and filmmaker JOHN GULAGER), tousled-maned photog Sullivan regaled us with tales of Melrose art snobs. Artist DOROTHY BRAUDY lauded the exhibit, and we received tips on celebrity spotting from her hubby, USC prof LEO BRAUDY (such as, go to lots of openings), author of The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History. Though we didn’t see any bad comb-forwards, we did spy several art connoisseurs tossing the hors d’oeuvres, which one patron likened to “hairballs on Melba toast.” Favorite Kojak moment: wispy Academy Award–winning cinematographer VILMOS ZSIGMOND warning luscious-locked lighting designer/gal-about-town ANNE MILITELLO away from his wife. Who loves ya, baby?
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NEW AGE HIGHSTEPPERS
Kisses of e-lation flowed as freely as bottled water at GIANT 2001: A HOLLYWOOD ODYSSEY, which transformed a two-block stretch of the star-pocked walk-of-fame into a pumpin’ New Year’s Eve rave. Rainbow lasers frantically fried the night sky while traditional klieg lights crawled along building tops. For those experiencing a bad-hair millennium, one of the wig shops on Hollywood was conveniently offering make-overs. The mastermind behind the blowout-on-the-boulevard was DAVE DEAN, who holds Giant on Saturday nights at Circus. For New Year’s Eve, Dean corralled nine DJs, including hometown heroes MARQUES WYATT, MIKE MESSEX and SEAN PERRY, as well as PAUL VAN DYK from Berlin, who could be glimpsed mixing magic on big screens interspersed throughout. Who would have thought that a crowd of that magnitude — some 15,000 celebrants — would be so free of ’tude? Something to do with those accommodating VIP open bars, perhaps. Or maybe it was just the satisfaction of doing good: Proceeds from the event, about $800,000, will be donated to the Hollywood Police Activities League, the Boys and Girls Club of Hollywood, the Los Angeles Center for Education Research, and the Hollywood Education Literacy Project. The eye-popper of the night was watching courageous couples clamoring to climb aboard a clunker of a Ferris wheel that looked ready to spin right off into the sunrise. Now that truly would’ve made Hollywood the boulevard of broken dreams.