Not sure if we buy the whole Mercury in retrograde theory, but life (night and otherwise) sure has been pretty kooky lately. Apparently the astrological insanity ended this past Sunday, Sept. 12, and here in L.A. it capped off with an explosion of weekend madness, thanks to festivities for the Vogue mag–created Fashion's Night Out (for the first time in Los Angeles, as well as New York) and MTV's Video Music Awards(back in L.A. after last year's NYC ceremony).
"Shop 'til you drop!" commanded Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (repeatedly) at the Beverly Center's mainstage area, where the big Night Out commenced to trendy crowds in L.A. on Friday. The self-proclaimed "splurge-inspiring event" saw stores all over the world stay open late for retail raging, most amped up by DJs and free-flowing cocktails. Tony V was joined onstage by a bizarre array of folks: Will.i.am (who rushed off to be honored at the BMI Awards a couple hours later), actress Anjelica Huston (who apparently facilitated FNO's Venice Beach festivities), Vogue West Coast editor Lisa Love, Jenny Craig spokeswoman Sara Rue and Perez Hilton, who intro'd the runway-show portion.
The best party atmospheres in Bev Cent were found at Henri Bendel, Sunglass Hut (seriously!), Armani Xchange and the biggie department stores: Bloomingdale's, which had a "Glammy Awards" presentation, and Macy's, where Frankie B designer Daniella Clarke was part of a rockin' denim runway show (fall jeans forecast: medium rises and cargo cuts). Chatted up Daniella's hubby, Gilby Clarke, who's been busy with Halloween Jack, his all-star cover band with Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins, Daniel Shulman (Garbage) and Eric Dover (Jellyfish, Slash's Snakepit). Jack, who do glam-rock covers (Bowie, T-Rex, etc.), will play the first of what will be a regular, end-of-each-month residency at The Whisky, starting Sept. 25.
Halloween Jack were heard on last year's killer Love & Rockets tribute, New Tales to Tell, as were The Dandy Warhols, who offered the biggest music-fueled FNO event at Fred Segal/Ron Herman on Melrose, featuring denim brands PRPS, Sjobeck, J Brand and Levis. The pricey shopping palace was packed for the band and the free booze, heavy on bohemian ("like you") luxe looks, even if there were entirely too many of those silly, furry animal-head hoodie things prancing around! We're big Warhols fans, but their acoustic set was kind of a snooze, especially the slo-mo version of The Rolling Stones' "Last Time" in which Courtney Taylor and co. actually took the hook of the chorus away entirely. Blasphemous! Hopefully, that'll be the last time they do the tune that way.
Outside, we hadn't seen so much excitement on Melrose since the early '90s! Thanks to the revelry at Dandy's Ron con, and a ton of the other Friday fetes on the avenue (Tarina Tarantino deejayed her shop, Betsey Johnson gave out pink bubbly and goodie bags, Coco de Mer had burlesque, John Varvatos offered rock photographer Robert Knight shooting shoppers' portraits, the House of Extravaganza boys vogued in the windows of Alpha, and on and on), the area was bustling and carnival-like, rivaling the real carny (complete with Ferris wheel) set up on Rodeo Drive by Guess. Third Street, Los Feliz and Cahuenga (Space 15 Twenty) also held wild-style shindigs, we hear. Not sure the L.A. economy was stimulated quite as much as the mayor was hoping it would be, but all the open bars made sure that drinkers were.
From the ca-ching of registers to the ca-bling of groovy dance jams, we capped off Friday's fashion overload with a jaunt into DTLA for Cureation, the psyched-out retro-pop party featuring hip-shaking sounds from global and local DJs. The bill had originally boasted sound-track fave David Holmes, but he had some visa issues or something. Thankfully, the amazing Andy Votel did make it to the U.S., and his set was as tripped-out as we expected from the guy who created labels Twisted Nerve and Finders Keepers in the U.K.: a slush of acid rock, Euro-pop and funk slop that had the mod-ish masses in the chilled-out warehouse spazzing about like they dropped a tab or two. The event has been held at the Santa Fe fave known as Thesex, which we dig for its underground yet unscuzzy feel. Cureation, however, may not be returning, but instead may find a new home in the Silver Lake/Echo Park area. We'll keep you in the loopy-loop.
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The MTV Video Music Awards were, of course, last week as well, and as always, the roster of soirees, swag suites and VMA Week club nights was ridiculous. Despite Lady Gaga's big wins — and calculated clothing choices at the ceremony — she never made the attention-whore pre-party scene, not even at her BF Perez's "One Night in Los Angeles" megaconcert at the Wiltern, as was heavily rumored.
We did make the show, which featured VMA show-stealers Florence and the Machine (who also played a decidedly smaller spot earlier that day: Echo Park's own Origami Records), plus Taio Cruz, Pitbull and N.E.R.D.
This may not have been Hilton's most stellar "One Night In ..." (past shows have offered everyone from Kanye to Courtney Love), but it may have been his most crowded; arriving promptly at 9 to catch the Flo, we noted the longest line we've ever seen at the Wiltern, and it hit capacity early, too. Many we talked to who "won" tickets via P.H.'s site and Twitter didn't realize they were one of thousands to do so. Still, it was a free concert and the vibe was hyped.
In fact, all the FNO and VMA hoopla made for total burnout by actual VMA night, which for most in L.A. wasn't so much about the ceremony as it was about the after-parties. In Touch Weekly's Icons & Idols bash at Bar Marmont was to be our Sunday destination, but after Friday's and Saturday's glam glut, the only carpet Nightranger wanted to be on was the one in front of our couch. Back in our usual orbit (like Mercury) next week ...