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San Francisco and/or Bust

Hollywood was in the house at TEASE-O-RAMA 2002, a weekendlong burlesque and go-go dancing convention in San Francisco that featured daytime workshops as well as a panel on how to profit from peelin' called "Risqué Business." When the sun went down, the gorgeously campy BIMBO'S 365 CLUB was packed with feather-bedecked, tassel-twirlin' dames from as far away as Canada and the U.K. Neo-burlesquers such as New York's PONTANI SISTERS and DIRTY MARTINI and New Orleans' SOUTHERN JEZEBELS shared bump-'n'-grind time with legendary tease queens of yore like DEE MILO and DIXIE EVANS, both of whom received standing ovations. Among the L.A. va-va-voomers strutting their stuff onstage were Cherry house dancer KITTEN DEVILLE, currently the reigning Miss Exotic World; *BOB*; JANET AUSTIN; and PERSEPHONE, whose main man, TIM POLECAT, fresh off a plane from a tour of Japan with combo 13 Cats, was among the Angelenos' cheering section, which also included Blessing of the Cars' GABRIEL BALTIERRA, filmmaker AUGUSTA, and Leather Muu-Muu's singer ANDREA FERRANTE. Headliner DITA VON TEESE brought along her von-squeeze, MARILYN MANSON, who valiantly (if not successfully) tried to blend into the crowd of fez-wearing lounge lizards. But the real show was outside, where the Velvet Hammer's MICHELLE CARR and RITA D'ALBERT, burlesque starlet JULIE ATLAS MUZ, and actress LISA MARIE (last seen doing a simian striptease in Planet of the Apes) were hamming it up for a fashion-mag shoot. Perhaps breakaway evening gowns, rhinestone tiaras and couture pasties will be the new look for fall.

--Pleasant Gehman

ANARCHY IN THE UCLA

The entrance of the character Johnny Rotten sent two matrons fleeing for the exit at the Los Angeles premiere of THE FOUNDRY THEATER's production of LIPSTICK TRACES at UCLA. Conceived and directed by glam diva SHAWN SIDES and created by the RUDE MECHANICALS, playwright Kirk Lynn's 75-minute turbocharged adaptation of Greil Marcus' book about 20th-century art movements theatrically connects the dots between Situationism, Dadaism and punk rock. Among those who stayed for this exciting and technically flawless play were actors FRANCES CONROY (of Six Feet Under), KEVIN BUFFY and JOHN FLECK (who recently finished an extended run of his one-man show Nothin' Beats Pussy, another big hit for the Evidence Room). Even the after-party at Westwood's trendy PALOMINO restaurant took on a DIY aura: Despite printed invitations with directions, no one had notified the bistro that a large group of theater revelers would be descending post-performance, many of whom were decked out in upscale punk gear. Affable actor JASON LIEBRECHT (who plays Rotten/Lydon) was thrilled when informed that his mere physical presence sent two old broads running for the door. But for sheer punk audacity, MELANIE JOSEPH, producer of Lipstick Traces and artistic director of the Foundry Theater, wins the prize: Not only is she an unapologetic smoker, she smuggled her drink outside. Only the sidewalk cigarette butts gave evidence of lipstick traces.

--Sandra Ross

ESCORT SERVICE

It looked like a longtime dream might come true when we tagged along with RODNEY BINGENHEIMER and director GEORGE HICKENLOOPER to the EGYPTIAN THEATER for the L.A. premiere of his film The Man From Elysian Fields. The movie stars ANDY GARCIA and MICK JAGGER, who was rumored to be in attendance, and since we were in such illustrious company, we hoped to finally get Stoned, so to speak. Alas, you can't always get what you want -- Garcia was there, along with notables such as DOMINIQUE SWAIN (in oddly cheerleaderesque garb), impresario KIM FOWLEY (in an audaciously bright-yellow suit) and KEVIN COSTNER; however, Sir Mick was a no-show. But sometimes you get what you need: We got to hang with another dashing rock star/thespian, MICHAEL DES BARRES. The former Silverhead singer, who plays a seasoned escort to Jagger's pimp in the flick, parked himself next to us with his hottie date, actress JODI LYN O'KEEFE, and chatted about everything from New York Fashion Week to the upcoming movie version of his ex-wife PAMELA DES BARRES' rock & roll diary I'm With the Band. Miss Pamela, along with writer HARVEY KUBERNICK, Jane's Addiction front man PERRY FARRELL (with newborn baby in tow) and terror-ific actress KAREN BLACK, cruised the after-party at the ARGYLE HOTEL, where Hickenlooper touted "The Mayor of Sunset Strip," a.k.a. Rodney on the Roq, as the subject of his next film, with Cher, Courtney Love and Brooke Shields among those sharing stories. Start 'em up!

--Lina Lecaro

DOPE SHOW

The most shocking thing about shock-rocker MARILYN MANSON's art exhibition, "The Golden Age of Grotesque," at LACE (Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions) was that his distinctive and disturbing watercolors actually display a degree of thought-provoking merit. Hosted by Flaunt magazine, the first of M.M.'s two-night stand was a celeb-heavy shindig oiled with vitamin water and fake absinthe (Manson's reinventing himself as a Berlin art-school dandy). A healthy-looking NICK CAGE entered through the back door with wife LISA MARIE PRESLEY, the latter sour-faced at the prospect of rubbing shoulders with actual human beings (some with original body parts). Chili Pepper FLEA perused the walls with svelte Snake River Conspiracy singer TOBY TORRES at his side, while his former bandmate DAVE NAVARRO canoodled with his cell phone and famous-for-being-famous JACK OSBOURNE bumbled aimlessly about (apparently his area of expertise). In his striped Beetlejuice suit, escaped-from-the-asylum haircut and pancake makeup, the Double-M appeared more ridiculous than sinister, but he has the fragile-and-slightly-confused bohemian shtick down pat. More Hollywood color came courtesy of professional eccentric ANDY DICK, CRISPIN GLOVER, M.M. guitarist JOHN 5, Korn drummer DAVID SILVERA and a cast of lesser metal luminaries. Manson's squeeze, fetish queen DITA VON TEESE, was on hand, as was the Dark One's designer of choice, HENRY DUARTE, and esteemed rock photographer GREG WATERMANN. The public viewing the following night attracted a line around the block hours in advance, and fans traveled hundreds of miles for the privilege: Manson seems set to remain famous for something for a good while yet.

--Paul Rogers

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