Nightranger: REBEL, REBEL(S)
Is our nightlife coverage a bit gay-swayed and queen-scene-leaning at times? Maybe. But we're not the only ones hungry for spectacle and visual stimulation (at least not anymore): L.A.'s most bodacious polysexual characters and performers are slowly infiltrating the national pop mainstream.
Case in point, androgynous white-wigged singer Prince Poppycock, who went from gigs at The Cavern Club in the basement of Casita del Campo to the final four of America's Got Talent. Monday night at Club Metro at Fubar we discovered a new boy-toyish dance vamp about whom you're going to be hearing a lot soon. His name is Ricky Rebel and though the moniker may sound Poison-ish, his music is more electro-glitter groove. It takes a lot to stand out amidst the city's hottest trannies (Detox Icunt, Rhea Litre, Lady Miss Leopold, all on hand to wish Metro's host, Cheyne Hauk — moving to NYC — farewell), but the androgynous Rebel did just that with an infectious set of live-sung dance gems and razor-sharp choreography (featuring two equally fit-and-foxy backup dancers) plus a live drummer. This kid's got it: looks, moves and hot music. Mark our words, we see Glambertlike attention or bigger coming his way.
PINK WITH A WINK
Also making Hauk's bon voyage a hot mess: the crass sass and homo humor of show hosts Jessica and Hunter Amazeballs, and the one and only Angelyne, who's been making club appearances lately ... well, outside-of-the-club appearances. The former billboard goddess's famous pink Corvette is more than a mode of transpo these days, it's a veritable merch mobile. In front of Fu, Angie let us peruse her various tees, stickers and mags packed in the trunk, but snapping some photos — no one knows the L.A. pop icon's age, but she's a Barbie-esque Monet at this point — took some serious finagling.
After lots of deleting and pleading, we did get a couple of sexy (strategically posed) pics and some scoop on her current project, a book about the "inner self and the exploration of cosmic consciousness." Seriously. Chatting with her about it was actually enlightening and kind of deep. Only in L.A.
LORD OF THE DANCE
Ryan Heffington is another one of L.A.'s most flamboyant treasures, bridging the gap between mainstream and underground (Lady Gaga cited his music group, We Are the World, as a fave, and we recently saw him dancing onstage with Ke$ha).
Hef's talent is being celebrated with "Heffington Moves MOCA," the latest offering for the museum's intriguing "Engagement Party" series. Last week its debut at the Geffen Contemporary was a giddy mass of movement indeed, with the dance man leading a class of hundreds outside (favorite move: the arm-swaying "Molly" from The Breakfast Club), followed by a costumed spectacle featuring dancers from his weekly class, Sweaty Sundays, and former club night, Fingered. Even without music (The sound system blew near the end!) it was a beauteous display of bodies in motion. Catch the next one on Nov. 4, and Ryan's sure to be rockin' "Heavy Metal Parking Lot: The Musical" on Dec. 2, both at the Grand Avenue location.
WALK THIS WAY
More creative ebullience, free-spirited movement and fierce fashions were seen later that night at Robert Vargas' Red Zebra at the Crocker Club. Vargas, a downtown property owner and popular street artist at L.A. Artwalk, seemed to have foreshadowed where the Walk was headed, and for the last eight months, he's managed to capture the true spirit of what the arts are downtown (before the bureaucracy and dollar signs watered a lot of it down).
At last week's installment, he featured some amazing performance and runway talent, the standout being Yuki Nishida's monochromatic display of sculptural dresses inspired by flowers. In addition to the music, comedy and exhibits, one of our favorite facets of Red Zebra is "the club within the club," called The Glass Door, hosted by Ernie Omega. The wild prance-a-thon and dance party takes place in a brightly lit room, but it's all the better to ogle the bedazzled getups, my dear. More evidence of another audacious Angeleno's pop takeover: Omega's crazy-club kid couture is in the new Ke$ha video "Take It Off" (which also features appearances by Jeffree Star and aforementioned Detox Icunt).
And by the way, if you still haven't been to Red Zebra, you have your chance on Sunday, when Vargas presents a special edition at Crocker for Concept L.A.'s Fashion Week wrap party. Free and open to the public.
LICKS & KICKS
Our week wasn't all gloss and glam hams. In fact, a good chunk of it was spent around baggy pants and baseball hats. A modified b-boy look is definitely still favored by the DJ set, as evidenced by much of the crowd at the VIP listening event for DJ Hero II at My Studio on Thursday. We chatted with DJ A-Trak (Fools Gold, Kanye West, etc.), who contributes two tracks on the game. Before he was spinner of choice for rap stars and a remix master, Trak was a big scratch champ, so we wondered if he intended his cuts to be turntable toughies. "I kept in mind that people had to be able to perform these songs," he told us. Still, he knows people expect "shock and awe," and he didn't fall short on opps to scratch, beat-match and fader fiddle. The rest of the DJ roster is impressive, too: Along with A-Trak, DJ Jazzy Jeff, DJ Shadow, RZA, Diplo, Tiesto and Z-Trip all contribute this time out. Get the game on Oct. 19.
Activision, you reading this? How about providing the capability to combine Guitar Hero and DJ Hero à la Dave Navarro & DJ Skribble or the late DJ AM and Travis Barker's live/recorded combo? A-Trak seems to have filled AM's slot with Barker (they played as TRAVISxATRAK at The Roxy in March), so he'd be behind it. Barker is, of course, the all-star drum jam go-to guy (as Slash is the requisite all-star jam riff man), and his name beckoned from the marquee at The Music Box up the street after the Hero hap, as part of another collab, with Chicago rappers The Cool Kids at the event Sneaker Pimps. Unfortunately, he took way long to get to the stage, and the less-than-engaging procession of emcees who came before didn't make us want to wait. The shoe gallery displayed throughout the venue was kickin', however. See the best freaky sneaks in our online slide show this week.
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