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MADLIBERATION

Punky cool at Palihouse

PHOTO BY LINA LECAROPunky cool at Palihouse

View more photos in Lina Lecaro's "Nightranger: Partying in the Rain" slideshow.

L.A. being a town full of water-weary wussies, the streets were as silent as they were slick for much of last week. January is already a notoriously slow month for nightlife even without the torrential downpour, and while a lot of you are shivering at home in your Snuggies, some promoters are sweatin' it in less-than-crowded nightclubs. Still, lightning did strike in a good way the night of January 20. La Boum at Bardot joined forces with Artists for Peace & Justice to raise funds for Haiti, while across town at The Good Hurt in Venice, Stones Throw Records hosted the release party for Madlib Medicine Show, Vol. 1: Before the Verdict, the first in a once-a-month, 12-CD series from rapper Madlib, complete with on-the-spot album-cover screen-printing. We hear both events were packed. The party stream that evening led us to a rockin' "Sequins and Sideburns"–themed birthday bash at Bar Lubitsch for our friend Dave Dickerson (co-owner of Cinespace and Kitchen 24) we just didn't want to leave. A new Elvis Presley cover band, The Kings, had us all shook up with their surprisingly reverent interpretations of Presley's hits. Anyone can do Vegas-y, bloated Elvis in tacky white suit and big hair, but it's more challenging to channel the star's early guise both musically and stylistically, especially while keeping the audacious hip thrusts and leg twirls to a minimum. These guys — three brothers who initially learned the King's music to play at their mother's 50th-birthday party — took care of business. Wouldn't be surprised if Lubitsch asked 'em to "enter the building" on a regular basis. Check 'em out at Myspace.com/thekingselvis.

BLANK GENERATION CANVAS
L.A. sure is purdy after a nice long shower, ain't she? Good thing, too. Our pals from Paper magazine made their annual trek here last weekend and we wouldn't have wanted anything to rain on David Hershkovits and the inimitable Mr. Mickey's parade (Paper grande dame Kim Hastreiter stayed in New York this year). If you've ever been to one of the NYC-based mag's annual "We Love L.A." events here, you know it's always paradelike, and its two-day shindig sponsored by Converse at the Ricardo Montalban Theatre this year was no exception. Well, it was more like a one-day thing, since Friday was geared toward the not-yet-legal crowd (upward of 300 local high school and college students had begun work on several of the ongoing art installations, completed by us grown-ups on Saturday). Friday's daytime music lineup offered a performance for the youngsters by Samuel Stewart (son of the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and Bananarama's Siobhan Fahey), which we actually would have liked to see. Still, Saturday's sounds were good, too — DJs Anna Calderon (from aforementioned La Boum), Skeet-Skeet (who's not dating "Tik-Tok" tart Ke$ha, despite what the gossip blogs might be saying) and The Dum Dum Girls, a cute chickee duo who fancy textured black tights, minidresses and sweet yet sludgy lo-fi rock ruminations. Look for the first single off their soon-to-be-released Sub Pop debut in March (we will, if only for the B-side, a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Play With Fire").

Paper's party may have been scaled down compared with previous ones (they rented storefronts on Melrose and the Sunset Strip for multiday spectacles in the past), but it was obviously meant to be more intimate and art-driven this time out, with exhibits by Cannibal Flower and workshops that included Karen Kimmel's DIY canvas-goodie-bag stencil project and screenings of short films by Converse. The condensed offerings made Saturday night an even hotter ticket, and when we left around midnight there was a line of frustrated fashionistas chomping at their knit caps to romp inside. Paper's bagging its full "L.A. issue" this year, but look for a major spread about the event and pics of many Angelenos shot here to grace its popular "Beautiful People" issue in the spring.

HOUSE PARTY, TOO

Speaking of beautiful peeps, more were to be seen at our post-Paper pit stops. First, a jaunt through the 90210 for eternally dashing rocker/actor Michael Des Barres' birthday soiree, where we were reminded that sometimes fashionably late can truly be too late. All that was left of the previously packed gathering when we got there was a half-eaten cake, a couple of drunk dames and a bunch of our partied-out pals waiting to get their cars at the valet. At least we got some quickie cheek kisses from MDB before saying bye. Plus, Nightranger always has (en route) plan B. Saturday there was another house to hit, Palihouse in West Hollywood, which in some ways was homier than the actual residence we'd just left. The long-term-stay hotel's main floor has had some truly amazing nights of (vinyl-only) DJ music, and Saturdays, now hosted by Rich Royal, are taking the music-fueled mingling to a lively new level thanks to Royal's stylish cohorts and the grooves of DJ Aaron Castle (who's apparently the only guy allowed to mix in laptop jams there). You may recall we mentioned Castle last week in our coverage of A Club Called Rhonda. Well, what we didn't know was that he and co-creator Kimi have parted ways with that club due to all-too-common "creative differences." The situation has remained drama-free, though, and Castle's now the resident DJ at Pali Saturdays, among other gigs, spinning a nice mix of ironic and classic cuts. Walked into the place while Stealer's Wheel's "Stuck in the Middle With You" was on, and it fit the mood perfectly, though there were few clowns or jokers in attendance. Palihouse's ample seating, whimsical décor, warmly lit ambiance and hip mix of hangers has a very Chateau (as in Marmont) feel minus the 'tude and celebutard surplus. We'll be making a house call again very soon, and so should you.