QUEENS AND THINGS
Nightranger can’t decide where we get more eye candy/fashion fixes these days: out in the clubs or home watching the tube. The Cho Show, Glam God, Janice Dickinson and Rachel Zoe’s shows, and, of course, Project Runway ... TV is brimming with — gotta say it — fierce bitches, ain’t it? Despite being poorly promoted this season (the show’s moving from Bravo to Lifetime), that drag edition of P.R. a couple of weeks ago was the ultimate haute hoot. Speaking of which, we bumped into Runway contestant Jerell Scottat the Sunset Junction Street Fair, and though we refused to spill anything, we wondered if his presence in L.A. meant he won’t be one of the Fashion Week finalists showing soon. ... Or, he could be home working on his collection. ... Guess we’ll just have to wait and see. Also seen on the cross-dressin’ episode, Queen Bee-yotch of ’em all, the one and only RuPaul, who’s been out of the spotlight for a while but is obviously back full-force with the Runway appearance, a bit on Tori Spelling’s reality show finale and a new competition of her own, RuPaul’s Drag Race, a project with World of Wonder for the Logo channel.
We actually met Ru (undragged, in überdapper dude guise, no less) a couple of weeks ago at a different place of wonder, Willis Wonderland,the kitsch-filled retro-temple abode of artist/superstar songwriter Allee Willis. Willis’ circuslike soirees are the stuff of Hollywood legend, and this one — celebrating her alter ego Bubbles’ new music video, “Editing Is Cool” — was no exception. L.A. house parties are always like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, but at Willis shindigs, you never know what you’re gonna get in the most extraordinary way, from nutty to fruity to extravagantly rich (famous and talented). Friends and fans in attendance at the last bash included Moon Unit & Diva Zappa, Michael & Pamela Des Barres (we hear the film version of her book I’m With the Band is finally in serious development mode!), actor pals Buck Henry, Sally Kellerman and Bud Cort, members of The Pointer Sisters, Julie “Homecoming Queen’s Gotta Gun” Brown, art tart Lenora Claire,Sex and the City writer Michael Patrick King and many more, all cheering Willis on during the video’s living-room screening premiere. Willis is also an accomplished painter, and her work was displayed throughout the house and backyard, ready for sale. As for the video and its music, it’s as infectious and funky as you’d expect coming from the wacky-haired woman who wrote “Boogie Wonderland” and “Neutron Dance,” but it’s also kinda deep, brilliantly illustrating the metaphoric links between creating art and living a fulfilled life — and you can dance to it too. Check it out at alleewillis.com/music/editingiscool.
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A PURR-FECT PARTY
Another kind of multifaceted frolic filled the downtown dive called Vertigos last Friday night when Rock ’n’ Roll Cabaret brought its monthly mixer to the space with a bevy of burlesque babes, a band showcase by rawkin’ bad boys Sin Alley,DJs spinning a grinding mix of garage, rockabilly and punk from the ’50s-’80s, and even live tattooing. This may be the best bash you’ve never heard of — at least we hadn’t until last weekend, and we had such a smokin’ time, we feel obligated to spread the word, even if it might make the place too packed next time. The visuals sure don’t get vampier: go-go gals included Lucha Va Voom creator Ursulina and Lucha lass Moana Santana, and the burlesque bits featured vignettes from Cinnamon Britches and a young spitfire named November West. West’s bump ’n’ grind, we learned, is actually in her blood: Her mama is none other than blonde bombshell Kitten DeVille (who was just an itty bitty kitty when she bore the babe). Seeing two generations of burlesque beauties bust it out on the dance floor (just for fun) was a Friday-night highlight. ... DeVille is sure to be the sexiest nonplastic performer on the Kandy Kruise (a three-day party boat from L.A. to Mexico, put on by the same peeps who do the salacious Kandyland at the Playboy Mansion) September 12-15. Shwayze is set to perform, as are a slew of DJs including Skribble, Skeet Skeet, Ruff and more. Ladies deemed buoyant enough get on free, but dudes have to pay. See kandykruise.com for cabin availability.
FIRE IN THE DISCO
As for the Cabaret, the next one on Friday, September 26, promises a viva(cious) Vegas theme with blackjack and roulette tables, showgirl shakers, Seattle band the Boss Martians, art from Justice Howard and the King himself (or his ghost) as host. See rocknrollcabaret.com for presale tix. Vertigos is also known for its new-wave and hip-hop nights on weekends, which attract a mostly local Latino crowd, but don’t get this unassuming Temple Avenue club confused with that other “Vertigo” that used to be on Boylston (later to become Prince’s Glam Slam, then Soho and L.A. Entertainment Center after that). The Boylston boîte is now called Tatou, and though we’ve never been there, we’ve heard drama-rama about that space practically since it opened. First, its foodie figurehead, chef Michael Wray (first-season winner of Hell’s Kitchen), left abruptly (even the voracious restaurant blogs never got the dish on why), and then, about a month ago, we got a mysterious e-mail with a link to a site called closetatou.com. The page makes some serious claims about permit problems at the venue (co-owned by one of the partners in Wokcano, conversely enjoying great buzz for its new Santa Monica location). Though a scalding termination letter from the club to a former promoter there (Pyramid Events’ Alex Romero) is posted on the site, photos displayed also show several former patrons rallying against the place with a picket line and protest in front of the establishment back in July. It’s all very tempestuous, but as we’ve learned covering the competitive and often contentious nightlife biz over the years, it usually takes two to tango when it comes to behind-the-scenes club squabbles. Too bad these bouts can never be settled with a dance-off, huh?