Lights and Flash
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The queen of Colorado Boulevard?
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Lords of the dance: Pash's Myles Hendrik (left) with DJs Ana and Tim
The swankification of Cahuenga Boulevard has left Nightranger with mixed feelings ever since somebody decided to give the area a fancy schmancy new name a few years ago (instead of "The Corridor," we instead dubbed it "The Clusterfug"). The Beauty Bar, the Burgundy Room and of course the crusty corner gay-dive The Spotlight (we've heard rumors this one's closing, but so far the Light ain't out) have helped the street to retain some crude/cool character amid slick newbie nightspots like Tokio, Citizen Smith and, most recently, paparazzi snakepit Goa. Not to knock any of the latter, which are really quite splendid looking, but we'd rather our L.A. be more like New York than Miami.
Hidden smack in the middle of the Ca-huenga-motion, The Room was another groovy unfettered grotto to escape to, and its lineups were as diverse as they were noteworthy (Garth Trinidad,the old Blest boutique bashes). So when we heard the place was remodeled recently, we were trepidatious. Popping in last Thursday for the reincarnation of Myles Hendrik and David Heath's stylin' dance night Pash (formerly at Vine Bar), we were pleasantly surprised. The place may have lost some of its rough charm and mystique (you no longer enter through the back alley), but it's clean and modern, not-too-luxe wood look and a center-of-the-room dance floor — perfect for checking out all the unabashed '80s dance moves — felt homey and happenin'. Plus, it's twice as big now that the owners took over the porn shop next door.
Of course, the fact that Hendrik and co. have a big dude outside (Star Shoes and Cinespace's former security lug) rejecting the street's uninvited riffraff — as they did at their former location — may have something to do with the great vibe. DJs Tim (OK GO) and Ana (Dim Mak)spinning retro prog and rock (ah, we missed hearing rock at hipster hangs) and Hendrik's always-moving mesh of old and new doesn't hurt either. Brimming with Cobrasnake-approved moppets (we didn't see him, but Mark's apparently a co-host) and other night-life notables like Skeet Skeet and Stephen Hauptfuhr early on, we weren't surprised that there was no room left in this Room by midnight.
As for Pash's former locale, Vine Bar quietly reopened under new ownership several months ago. The place closed amid loads of drama and bad blood that included one of its former owners getting attacked at the door and, on certain promoters' blogs, accusations of drug use among management.
Look for the bar, whose makeover we hear is pretty sweet, to regain some, if not all, of its former glory with Sudden Death Sundays, a new dance featuring Blu Jemz, Cosmic Kids/Royal Rumble, and DJ Pube$ spinning (gasp!) real records.
Speaking of wax wonders, it doesn't get any bigger than Grandmaster Flash.The eminent beat king made a rare appearance at The Rootdown last Thursday night, which had us hightailing it outta The Room (we'll be back) to worship him at Little Temple. There was no space for bowing, much less dancing, but the master did twirl up a transcendent set — at least the crowd thought so. We loved the old-school stuff (which included the obligatory "White Lines" and "Rockit" remixes) but there was a little too much newer hip-hop — stuff heard at any Hollywood jiggy joint — for our taste. Still, the master's last big L.A. gig — the Basquiat opening bash at MOCA a couple of years back — was legendary and still has people talking (two chicas in the bathroom were recalling it just that night), and he does have a way of putting new and old into pulsating perspective, making even Snoop Dogg somewhat palpable.
An entirely different kind of flash from the past was had at the relaunch of the Zero One Gallery in downtown L.A. last Saturday. The 25-year-old art and party space has had many bases over the years (column coinky-dink of the week: It began in a building on Cahuenga!) and its eccentric mix of artists and patrons made it our city's answer to The Factory, though the creations were more "low-brow" than pop. On any given late night, David Lee Roth (who helped to pay its rent) and John Belushi could be seen partying with local luminaries like Tomata du Plenty, El Duce, X, and Brendan Mullen, who often deejayed at the gallery's Sunset and then Wilcox locations. Mullen was on deck on Saturday, spinning (yes, real LPs) from his "Hot 100 All Time Great Southland Punk Songs '77-'80" listed in the back of his Live at the Masque photobook, which seemed to put the art tart lots including Greg "the Pope" Romero, Anthony Ausgang, Chaz Bojorquez, Peter Pochna, Michael Mollett, Doug Knott, Jane Cantillon, Dick Ross, Stephen Holman and Tequila Mockingbird in the spirit, even if the original Zero's infamous drug orgies and debauched carousing were nowhere to be seen in this huge, brightly lit space, which also happens to be part of Santee Village — a pricey new loft community.
The scene the next day at the "31st occasional" Doodah Parade (where Mockingbird and many of the oddballs we saw the night before walked through the streets of Pasadena) was far more boisterous, actually. The semiregular procession of freaks and geeks may have changed its date of occurrence, but the wacky factor was no less overt. We haven't seen this many drag queens, dressed up doggies, and war (painted) protesters in one place since, well, our last stroll down Hollywood Boulevard, actually. The difference? Everyone participating on Sunday was so damn delightful! If you march to the beat of your own nutty drummer, this is the street party for you. Can't wait to Doo it again next year.
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