As one who frequents L.A.'s flashiest parties and look-at-me nightlife environments, our expectations on Halloween, at least when it comes to getups, may be a bit haughty. Costumes should be fierce, clever, hilarious or terrifying, or why bother?
As always, the Halloween party options in Los Angeles were frighteningly numerous this year, and our ultimate fear was, once again, choosing the wrong thing and getting stuck at a graveyard-dead event or an insane Hollywood asylum crawling with creeps and bimbos. So we played it kinda safe, hitting up two of the best bashes from last year, LACMA's Muse Ball and KCRW's Masquerade. Both delivered a cauldron of dress-up sights and sonic delights this year as well.
LACMA's Muse events are always among the artiest costume-wise, with attendees who take real care making their creations. Saturday's mix saw creepy aliens, elaborate Dia de los Muertos skelly people, Sesame Street characters, violent TV-show references (Dexter, True Blood) and quite a few that begged the question, "WTF are you?" There also was a notable white-wigged steampunk & fairy contingent thanks to the absinthe-fueled after-party upstairs hosted by the creators of the wicked wonderland known as Labyrinth of Jareth. This one was so fantastical we didn't want to leave. But another, more music-focused bash awaited.
Supermen and Wonder Women
We jumped on our broomstick and flew downtown to the haunted Park Plaza hotel, arriving just in time to catch Henry Rollins closing out a powerful set (he was dressed as a superhero — with an "R" on his chest). In case you were wondering, Super-Rollins looks very good in tights and he sure didn't need any fake foam muscles to fill out his costume. Man of steel indeed.
We hear Gram Rabbit and Duke Spirit conjured some magic at the Masquerade, but we were most bummed to have missed headliner Cut Chemist's astounding turntable tricks. Thankfully, a chat with the beatsmith — dressed as a prison inmate — yielded some treats. He spun from his new release, Sound of the Police, an embellished turntable mix of African and South American music from the '60s and '70s. It's got nothing to do with Sting and Co., by the way, but (as CC told Gustavo Turner in his recent L.A. Weekly interview) is named for military-band sounds that inspired a lot of Ethio-jazz of the era. We have not been able to stop blasting this bubbling brew of rhythm and atmosphere. It'll definitely be on our 2010 Top 10 music list.
While the above music men donned costumes that referenced their images or material, the crowds at both parties Saturday looked to the music world for inspiration, too. The requisite Michael Jacksons, Princes, Boy Georges (Boys George?) — timely, due to Mark Ronson's new collab with George, "Somebody to Love Me" — Katy Perrys and Slashes were seen kissing, hissing, kicking and licking about, but it was no surprise that Lady Gaga took "most imitated." Thankfully, we didn't encounter any meat, raw or otherwise, but we did get poked by a disco stick or two on the dance floor. See our "10 Best and Worst Music-Themed Costumes" countdown (with pics) on laweekly.com's West Coast Sound blog.
WHAT'S NEW, PUSSYCAT?
Halloween week got a nice kickoff last week at Royal T Café and Gallery, where the opening of an Emily the Strange pop-up shop was celebrated with a Black Cat Masquerade Ball. The retail raging for the red-and-black-colored merch, all featuring the cute, if gloomy, little girl character and her kitties, brought out a lot of gothettes, plus creator Rob Reger himself and an all-girl band from the School of Rock. Things sure have evolved (and seemingly grown up) since the Jack Black movie made S.O.R. a household name. The girls (all looking about 16 to 18) were rowdy, a bit
raunchy and mostly real rockin'. The school's got branches all around the country, with classes for kids 7 to 18. A new facility is opening Nov. 13 on Wilshire Boulevard.
As for Em, there's plans for a music release with EMI/Virgin Records and a film with Dark Horse Entertainment and Universal Pictures. If all goes according to plan, the banged babe could end up being the anti–Hannah Montana for disenfranchised teen girls of the iGeneration. Time — and the music, which we hope will be somewhat menacing to match the character's dark image — will tell.
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FEEL THE HEAT
Wanna see the hottest hits and soon-to-be hits really pop on the dance floor? There
really is no place like Tigerheat, the exuberant, mostly gay gathering held every Thursday at Avalon. It had been a while since we popped in, so we'd forgotten just how interactive this one could be. Seriously, we defy anyone who enters to walk the whole dance room without getting humped, bumped, sung to and hung on at this lively dance party. There is always something to look at at the 'Heat, both on the floor and on the giant screen; the club's DJ Ray Rhodes does VJ sets exclusively so you get constant visuals for each song.
A hot clip — at least here — can make or break a tune, and we definitely got turned on to cuts we might have ignored otherwise. Of course, everybody's loving Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair," which saw tresses flying at the club last week, but we're also digging Duck Sauce's "Barbra Streisand" (Sauce is actually Armand Van Helden and A-Trak, and the video features countless famous friends such as Kanye West, ?uestlove, Pharrell, Chromeo, Vampire Weekend, Santigold, Yelawolf, Diplo ... no Babs, though) and "Seek Bromance" by Tim Berg featuring Amanda Wilson (two words: acid trip), to name a couple. And how had we not heard or seen Katy Perry's amazing "Peacock" before? This song, with accompanying boy-bonanza video, is an audacious anthem for the gay and straight club scenes alike. "Peacocking" means dressing noticeably, but Perry's jam is decidedly more suggestive.