Not the Usual Haunts

Mustache Mondays’ masqueraders
Lina Lecaro

View more photos in Lina Lecaro's "Nightranger: Halloween Hits Mustache Mondays, DJ Hero Takes Over Key Club" slideshow.

Resting before rising to haunt the town on Halloween always sounds like a good idea — especially when it lands on a Saturday — but this year more than ever, the city of (dark) angels beckoned with big boo-gie nights beforehand. Fashion events (GenArt’s Fresh Faces), grand dame DJ sets (Apollonia and Spinderella at AFEX, Dee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier at Drrrama!), and concerts (The Gossip), plus a dizzying amount of wild dress-up affairs, truly made it tough to play dead at home. And speaking of dead, Día de los Muertos parties and post-hell night bashes like The Boo-Over (The Do-Over’s end-of-season soiree at Crane’s Tavern) and The Final Banana Split Sundae (in honor of DJ AM at Bardot) meant still no rest for the wicked on the Sabbath.

Monday’s mayhem ultimately made Nightranger bite the bullet. The highly anticipated release of DJ Hero, the decksmith version of Guitar Hero, was marked with a special party at Key Club featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip, both of whom concocted mixes for the game, and Public Enemy, who filled the stage with potent hip-hop havoc late in the evening. Attendees also got a chance to attack the pseudoturntables of the new Hero, and at the risk of sounding nerdy, it’s a pretty rad setup. Unlike the other games, which are stocked with songs we’ve heard way too many times, DJH has some extremely original, never-before-heard mixes and mash-ups, courtesy of everyone from Daft Punk and Grandmaster Flash to the late AM, all of whom are also avatars — and no, the AM one is not as creepy as Kurt Cobain’s Guitar Hero caricature. ... After Flavor Flaaaav and Chuck D brought the noise, it was on to La Cita to bump with another kind of b-boyz (the bi/gay kind), at Mustache Mondays. The floor-freakin’ fiesta was even more ogle-worthy than usual, marking the final night of its monthlong anniversary celebration with a masked-ball theme and performance by freaky art dance band We Are the World, who opened up the Gossipand Men at the Fonda earlier. WATW always cover their faces with some kind of bizarre getup, so they were fitting for the eve, and their wacky attack ended with a pulverizing, flailing-on-the-floor finale, all rolling bodies and possessed shrieks. None of which had anything to do with Halloween.

The biggest going-out holiday after New Year’s Eve, ’Weenie night is usually the one time we stay in, but we’re glad we didn’t this year. With elaborate, thought-out costumes and overall good spirits at each of our fright-night pit stops, the night was creep-free, though it might have been a different case had we ventured into Hollywood or the two big hipster raves downtown. At Halloweenabaloo, the annual benefit for the The Silver Lake Conservatory of Music at Union Station, there were lots of beautiful, muerto-painted faces and cardboard creations, especially on kids. School founder Flea went as Pippi Longstocking, and boy, did his pigtails bounce when he got on the bass, especially while backing the school’s li’l ones on Stevie Wonder classics “Higher Ground” and “I Wish.” Ben Harper and Linda Perry also turned in sets, but night crawling (and getting in some trick-or-treating time with our own minigoblin) meant missing them. By the way, when did families start hitting up more businesses than homes for candy? Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake had more costumed kiddie clusters than the residential streets in our hood this year, and we’ve got the leftover 99c-Only sweets to prove it.

LACMA’s Muse Ball always brings out artier, DIY getups and it didn’t disappoint on Saturday. Our faves: a group dressed as the H1N1 virus (no swine masks for them; black balloons protruding from their heads represented the molecular structures), a David Letterman Show staffer (a gal with a cardboard Dave groping from behind), and our date, Octomom! We made it our mission to snap our baby doll–swathed pal with other fame whore–themed getups, namely, the hearty selection of Ed Hardy–tee’d Jon Gosselins. (Downtown L.A. probably made a killing on dolls this week.) There were the expected bloody ghouls, requisite rockers like Slash and Bret Michels, of course, a bevy of sexy nurses/devils/cats/fairies/superheroes/bunnies to ogle, but leave it to the museum’s discerning revelers to choose a literary figure as costume contest winner: a candelabra-toting Edgar Allan Poe, who really did look just like the famed author. Never more apropos for the midnight dreary. .

As the clock struck 12, we were far from weary, so it was off to enjoy some Shadow and some Sharpe. ... DJ Shadow and Edward Sharpe, to be specific. KCRW’s Masquerade was definitely the party to be at downtown (well, for over-21, non-Day-Glo-clad grinders, anyway). The fact that it was at the historic Park Plaza, a cavernous, multilevel venue where we’ve spent many an enchanted eve, made it all the more appealing (the majestic stairway alone makes it one of the grandest event locales in town). Shadow was on as we entered and he had the wigged wigglers that packed the place on fire, meshing and refreshing even tired party fare, like MGMT’s “Kids” and the Zombies’ “Time of the Season” (which he spliced with Chuck Brown & the Soul Searchers’ “Bustin’ Loose”). The later pairing is featured on the DJ Hero game, in which Shadow has three epic mixes. Catching Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros upstairs meant stepping out from Shadowland, but it was worth it. The whimsical, gypsylike group are definitely L.A.’s current indie darlings, and on Saturday they turned the completely costumed capacity crowd into a transfixed mass of movement, making for the most mystical moment we’ve seen from them yet. And what better way to close an evening than with a Michael Jackson music mix (from DJ Garth Trinidad) and grub from Kogi and Sprinkles food trucks under the moonlight? Talk about a thriller, killer night.


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