Nightranger: In Bloom

Punk fans got OFF! downtown.

View more photos in Lina Lecaro's slideshow, "Nightranger: Old School Punk and Romantic Rock."

What is it about spring that makes us all want to get out and express ourselves in bold ways? Whether it was the Doo-Dah Parade in Pasadena, the Jack Skellington-obsessed Bats Day in the Fun Park Disneyland takeover (see slideshows from both on, or the scooter-brigade of Mods Mayday (also rollin' around town this coming weekend), party-polloi of all types seemed to be pulling out all the stops in full-on scene-specific regalia. We had frocks — and hawks — on the brain, especially after hopping around a trio of fashion-flavored soirees last week. Unfortunately, our penchant for arriving fashionably late didn't work out too well on Sunday night, and it was a punk gig (OFF!'s debut downtown) so we should have known better.

9:17. That is the exact time we arrived at the 6th St. Warehouse for the debut of hardcore supergroup OFF! (Keith Morris, Steve McDonald, Dimitri Coats and Mario Rubalcaba). Walking upstream against a mass of flushed faces as Keith Richards' woozy wail on "You Got the Silver" (spun by DJ/skate legend Tony Alva), it was clear that the band was indeed "off" — off the stage already, that is. They had started at 9 sharp (just as the flier promised) and as we approached, we heard a blur of commentary. "Is it really over?" questioned a gray-haired fellow to a friend. "That was 20 minutes of bliss!" screeched a platinum blonde in a patch-covered denim jacket. Actually, it was less than 17. So yeah, we missed it. But Morris (whom we approached while he was signing some kid's Vans sneakers on the warehouse's beloved skate-ramp stage) told us his previous bands had far more songs and still played short sets, often in the 30-minute range, and since OFF! only had 9 ... well, do the math. He also referenced the Jesus & Mary Chain's notoriously brief performances. The short (but not sweet) approach is definitely a plus for the new generation of no-attention-span young-uns who worship the former Black Flag/Circle Jerks frontman, but older fans were surely left wanting much more. Not a bad thing either, we guess. At least there was the Raymond Pettibon art and a kegger out back to keep us there till 10. Sundays are technically school nights, after all (and we got schooled).

The L.A. debut of designer/artist Greg Lauren's "Alteration,"earlier in the week sure gave new meaning to the term "works on paper." Lauren — Ralph's nephew — presented a handful of men's pieces, all made from Japanese paper and all inspired by iconic male characters in film. The exquisitely constructed sculptures looked wearable (and worn-in even, with awesome cracks and creases) but they were meant to captivate rather than clothe, each making statements about societal male roles.

We might not have made sense of all the subtext, but we did love his straight-jacket piece and superhero looks on a purely superficial level. The always quirkily garbed David Arquette with wife Courteney Cox seemed to like 'em too. Lauren's wife is Elizabeth Berkley (we tried really hard not to think about Jessie from Saved By the Bell or Nomi from Showgirls when we met her, but we failed). The pair make a really handsome couple. Also there to support: Minnie Driver (who's been singing around town again; she recently played our pal Rami Jaffee's Fonogenic Studio bash in the Valley). Alteration will be on display — it's taken over a vacant storefront in West Hollywood — thru May 23.

More star power clustered up the street that night at the Pacific Design Center, where Gilbert Chagoury presented an all-white dress runway display for a bevy of blinged and botoxed Real Housewives of Beverly Hills types. Free bubbly got us out to the event, but the collection was actually quite gorgeous. Definitely Diddy's Hamptons party-worthy. Still, the models seemed to get less attention than the blond bounty in the front row: Morgan Fairchild and the similarly taut Hilton clan, the most famous of whom made a distractingly obvious late entrance, coincidentally (?) while "Paris in the Springtime" blared from the runway. B(ar)FF.

Punk-meets-pinup looks had us checking into Hotel California at the Dragonfly last Wednesday. The music, art and style gathering put on by Romantic Rock Designs — born in San Diego and currently based out of Sydney, Australia — has been popping up around the globe with raucous evenings of retro-coiffed cuties (in junk-hugging dresses and tattoo-inspired jewelry), art shows and live music sets. Wednesday's wiggle-fest featured DJ Marko on the decks (remember Sugarcult?) plus Sex & Violence, Chaser and the Briggs. It was particularly nice to see the latter, bombastic brothers and Warped Tour vets still fighting the fight and sounding sprite on stage. Fun fact: Their anthem, "This is L.A.," is always blared at the Staples Center during L.A. Kings games, and the band played it live during last month's playoffs. Heading to Sin City? HoCali makes its next pitstop at Cary Hart's Wasted Space in the Hard Rock with Strung Out headlining this Thursday, May 13.

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6510 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90038



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