Nightranger: Star Bright
View more photos in Lina Lecaro's slideshow, "Nightranger: Bevy Burlesque, Sounds of Asteroth, Macy's Passport, Bootie LA."
Flamboyant fembots, trendy Trekkies, Princess Leia lust: After the intergalactic hullabaloo of last weekend, we're convinced science fiction ain't just for nerds anymore. Sounds of Asteroth have been doing extraterrestrial-themed glitter rock in L.A. for well over a decade, and they've encapsulated their conceptual ideas into a new operatic rock musical titled Into the Fluorescence, parts of which they've previously presented at clubs such as Wig Out! and more recently during the L.A. Artwalk. We caught their full-on sparkle-packed spectacle on Saturday at Highways in Santa Monica and it boasted both catchy cuts and big laughs. The story concerns alien musician/commander Captain Martini (SOA singer Martin Martinez), whose spaceship crashes into the Beverly Center during a mall appearance by pop diva "Emma Jean Nova." Romance, murder and miracles ensue, all enhanced by sequin- and neon-covered dancers and a jammin' live band. Think Hedwig and the Angry Inch meets Spaceballs. Hope this one falls to earth — or Highways — again soon.
In Wig Out! news: Creator Jean Spinosa — part of the Fluorescence ensemble — is looking for a new venue for the club, but in the meantime, you can check out her "totally awesome" preshow this Saturday at Devil's Night Drive In (the monthly parking-lot party featuring screenings, carhops and DJs downtown). They'll be screening Valley Girl. Like, omigod. More info at devilsnight.com.
Traipsing around town from performance "It" spot to downtown tit spot, Nightranger made a flash dash for the Bevy's Burlesque Babes From Outer Space show inside The Mezz (the Alexandria Hotel's upper-level speakeasy-style nightclub). The show is produced by Penny Starr Jr. (aka Augusta Avallone), a Velvet Hammer alum who also came up with the wonderfully twisted Wrong Show we covered here earlier this year. Her sextravaganzas may be our favorite burlesque in Los Angeles. While others in town can be alluring, some take themselves way too seriously. Starr's presentations are always infused with as much crass sass as hot ass, and this was definitely the case for Saturday's Sci-Fi free-for-all featuring the "Hit Girl" from Kick Ass, "Rachel" from Blade Runner, a tantalizing TRON-tress, a sexy hump-'n'-hop dance number between Star Trek's Uhura and Mr. Spock, and a Leia girl fight (Penny, Ali Oops and Jewel of Denial done up in Carrie Fisher's getups from the original Star Wars trilogy). Two of our favorite vignettes were even girlie-free: a fellow by the name of "Mr. Snapper," who offered a Han Solo-a-go-go striptease (He wasn't Harrison Ford — studly, but he def had a regular-guy appeal) and a William Shatner–meets–Ricardo Montalban duet on "I Will Survive" (MC Gary Shapiro as "Khan"). "Rocket Man" would have been way too obvious.
A while back, we heard rumblings that an epic battle might be brewing between Bevy and Devil's Playground, whose own Star Wars–themed show garnered a meteor shower of attention this year. A long time ago (six years ago), in a galaxy not so far away (Bordello), Starr first did her own sci-fi-themed burlesque show (formerly called SuperNova A Go-Go), so the planets — and creative ideas — may have collided. Who knows? We've been following L.A.'s burlesque revival scene for more than 15 years now, and at this point it's all been done and (un)done. We'll say this: To all females feisty enough to moon your crescents, flash Uranus and shake your milky ways, may the Force be with you!
Men may be from Mars and women may be from Venus, but on planet Tranzkontinental, the divide isn't so clear. The hot glam band threw down onstage Saturday at Bootie L.A., the popular mash-up club, just before midnight. Mash-ups continue to be a misunderstood music form, and admittedly the genre can be frustrating sometimes. The currently hot Robyn-into-AC/DC mix, which DJ Paul V spun Saturday, is a good example: "You Shook Me All Night Long" always gets us on the floor and "On My Own" is a strong track, but we lose our groove when the two tunes switch back and forth on the mashed version. Others think it's the best of both worlds. Mash-ups and the producers who craft them have proven to be more than novelty regardless, and Bootie's success (the club, which started in San Francisco, has offshoots all around the world) clearly has solidified its staying power.
More and more, live bands are trying their hand at live mash-thrashing disparate artists as well, but none does it as glitzed out as Tranz, which showcases some of our favorite L.A. queens and trans terrors — Momma, Kelly Mantle, Rhea Litre, Detox and Willam (loved her as "Cherry Peck" on FX's Nip/Tuck) — onstage, melding everyone from Metallica and Lady Gaga to the Sex Pistols and Madonna. Catch more live mashing when another amped act, Cool Table, plays Bootie on Oct. 16.
DRESS YOU UP
The fantastical full-scale production of Macy's Passport event, titled Glamorama, put us in the mood for the eye-popping weekend that followed. Held at the Orpheum Theatre downtown on Thursday, the multifaceted fashion show featured live music mini-sets from Eric Hutchinson (an endearing white-boy soul-folkster) and Macy Gray (coincidence she played a Macy's event?). Gray put out an underappreciated release this past summer, The Sellout, and she performed its hottest track, "Kissed It" (a collab with Velvet Revolver), during the show. She was fielding smooches left and right on the red carpet, as was La Toya Jackson, and we got a front-row view to it all thanks to our pal Heidi Richman and Wente Vineyards, who gathered a hot posse of bloggers and tastemakers to hang with the brand ambassadors at the bash. For once, we walked the carpet as opposed to working it. And speaking of working it, Glamorama fashion included Marc by Marc Jacobs, Just Cavalli and Tommy Hilfiger, but Material Girl, the '80s-inspired juniors line by Madonna and daughter Lourdes, got the biggest reaction. Talk about mash-ups: This one mixes the ugliest '80s trends in a cheap-looking, pubescent, mismatched way. Hopefully, we won't have to gaze at these un–"Lucky Star" looks for eons.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.