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Nightranger: Big Wangs, Little Wangs

Not your standard "Beautiful People" at Paper mag's party
PHOTO BY LINA LECARO

View more photos in Lina Lecaro's "Nightranger: Beauty and the Bieber" slideshow.

Beautiful people parties, pop music’s ultimate scream-fest at Staples Center and one semi-secret club hideaway round out another week of L.A. night-ranging (Web only this week to make room for our L.A. People issue, out Thursday, May 20). Read on for the ragin’ …

Nightranger will concede to being intrigued by the flamboyance and hot mess appeal of Ke$ha and Adam Lambert, but quite honestly, the only things we allowed ourselves to absorb about Justin Bieber before this past Saturday’s Wango Tango concert at the Staples Center — of which The Bieb was the obvious main draw -- was that he was a cute-boy singer with throngs of young fans and that there was a Web site comparing his mug to that of lesbians.

Turns out, we’ve even been pronouncing his name wrong. It’s “BEE-Ber,” not “BI-ber,” as in “My beaver’s got the fever for Bieber.” Heard that little nugget while standing on the red carpet waiting for the kid (the myth) amidst a throng of impatient photogs who seemed almost as excited to glimpse the 16-year-old sensation as the screaming tweens in and outside of the stadium.

As for the Beeb’s performance… we get it. He’s sweet faced, has some descent moves, catchy heart-string-plucker pop tunes and a pre-pubescent charisma with just the right sprinkle of swagger to garner both girlie panting and parental approval. Ke$ha barely toned down her tweaked-out tartiness for the kiddie crowd but she put on a genuinely entertaining show, looking somewhat groomed and sexy in a Superhero, American Flag-inspired get-up while flanked by two awesome dancers (one of whom happened to be Ryan Heffington — L.A. dance icon, Full Frontal Club host and member of art band We Are the World). If Sir Hef can’t give ya some creative world cred, nobody can.

One thing we will say about today’s pop music: there sure is a lot of variety. Hip-hop remains hot and Wango’s bill reflected this, presenting Ludacris, B.o.B, and Iyaz alongside David Guetta’s big dance anthems (complete with a giant light-up robot shooting lazers), Akon’s sing-a-long and crowd-surfing antics and Lambert’s polysexual, pelvic-thrusting dance pop.

Usher closed the Tango tangle and, fittingly, we caught some of his performance upstairs in the super exclusive Hyde Lounge inside Staples. We say fittingly because we are usually forced to endure his music on banger-bumpin’ dance floors.

The swanky space — which takes up 8 sky boxes on the upper C level of the arena — is exactly what you’d expect: a sleek and modern room with an impenetrable door and a bonanza of bottle-service tables inside. Were it not for inadvertently getting stuck inside the elevator to the club with The Hills’ cast (the Jenner posse, not the surgery victims) we wouldn’t have even attempted to get in. Somehow, we did, and partying with the upper echelon of club rubbers, drinking jalapeno-spiced shots amidst bling-covered big-shots was a refuge from the shrieking kiddies below (Wango was louder than any rock concert we’ve ever covered, Warped and Ozzfest included). And by the way, this Hyde is way harder to get into than the one on the Sunset Strip ever was. First you need a ticket for Staples, then a wristband for the club, and if you have to ask how to get one, well, you should probably stick to the ESPN Funzone across the plaza.  

BEAUTY & THE BEAT
Another Glambert sighting and more spicy cocktails (chili drinks are hot in more ways than one right now) were had at Paper Magazine’s Beautiful People Party at The Standard a few days prior. The mag celebrated edgy allure in all its forms, from famous-faced to freaky-fashioned. DJs Benji Madden and Samantha Ronson (LA’s best known velvet rope selectors with celebutard ex’s) were the source of a lot of flashbulbs throughout the eve, as were the Adam, Emma Roberts (Julia’s Disney actress niece) and Sam’s bro Mark Ronson. But the gaggles of gay boys in ironic get-ups, club fixtures like Scarlett Casanova and Ana Calderon, fashionistas (designer Julia Clancy, the kids from Howl of Echo Park), cartoony babes Lenora Claire and Josie Cotton and random revelers in mismatched threads, faux fur and feathers caught our attention. (See our slideshow this week for the proof). As Paper’s David Herskovits says in the Beauty ish, we also strive to treat “stars like nobodies and nobodies like stars.”  

A live performance by recent Warner Brothers soul-pop signees Nikki & Rich was promising, though their blatantly Amy Winehouse-ish opening number, “Cat & Mouse,” had us scratching our head. Was Mark Ronson there because he was responsible? Turns out it was just a coincidence. Nikki’s got Aguilera-strong vox and she’s a cutie too (even if we overheard some glam gals in the house remark that she needs a good stylist. Of course, they were probably stylists themselves). We also hear she’s got quite the interesting backstory, raised by Christian pastors even more hardcore than Katy Perry’s folks. With a Perry-like image and songwriting guidance, the popstar potential for these two is high.


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