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DESERT FLOWERS

"I think this is pretty amazing," declared RAHZEL backstage just after he and his fellow ROOTS (pictured) revved up the main stage at the COACHELLA MUSIC FESTIVAL. Strollin’ a few feet away with a posse of her homegirls, MEDUSA, who opened the main stage, noted, "I’m out here experiencing so much love. A lot of times we sway away from something like this ’cause we think it’s gonna be some commercial shit. But to know that it’s some original shit and to bring people out in that belief — now that’s off the chain!" Featuring a lineup of more than 45 acts — including PAUL OAKENFOLD, ST. GERMAIN, OZOMATLI, WEEZER and IGGY POP (why was he scheduled to go on so early?) — the fest drew an estimated 32,000 beat-lovin’, pipe-passin’ and X-droppin’ folks, who spent much of the day meandering across the huge field to check out the various performances — or to try and find a trash can (by the event’s end, when the wind kicked up, one had to dodge tumbleweeds of trash). But in the evening, the crowd snapped out of its flower-power pot-induced pace and got a good workout hauling ass from RONI SIZE/REPRAZENT to JANE’S ADDICTION to KRUDER & DORFMEISTER to CHEMICAL BROTHERS to FATBOY SLIM to GANGSTARR to TRICKY to THE ORB and back again — all of whom were performing at the various stages and tents pretty much at the same time. Guess the promoters figured that there’s nothin’ like a little aerobicizing to sober folks up for that three-hour drive back to L.A.

—Derrick Mathis

 

OOPS, I WORE IT AGAIN

From the spiffy suits and sexy boots of the London mod scene to the bondage belts ’n’ buckles of Malcolm McLaren’s punk-clothing emporium Sex to the gaudy, glossy glamour of Boy George and Madonna, a new book called The Look: Adventures in Pop & Rock Fashion explores the extensive history of music’s influence on what we wear. Penned by British journalist PAUL GORMAN (with a foreword by McLaren), the tome focuses on the U.K. but acknowledges the contributions of American designers and club promoters, including L.A.’s own LESLIE GARDNER (whose Smashing Grandpa T-shirt line celebrated rock & roll chic long before it was in every mall) and RODNEY BINGENHEIMER (whose original English Disco regulars practically invented the ultimate sassy ’70s ensemble: tube tops, hot pants and platforms). Since the "Mayor of the Sunset Strip" has revived the English Disco at FAIS DO-DO, it made perfect sense for Gorman, who’s also El Vez’s manager, to hold the book-signing bash there. Girl grinders LO-BALL performed, and attendees included O.G. (original groupie) "Miss" PAMELA DES BARRES and Haircut 100 (still) hottie NICK HEYWARD. But the real star of the night had to be BRITNEY SPEARS, who was right next door filming a scene for her new movie with DAN AYKROYD. Proving that fashionistas (especially ones who frequent all-ages clubs) aren’t above fawning, the place emptied out at one point, when everyone swarmed next door in a teen-queen-incited tizzy hoping to meet the Pepsi spokesgirl. Thankfully, nobody requested "Oops, I Did It Again."

—Lina Lecaro

 

SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BUDDHA

In the wake of Francis DellaVecchia’s mayoral candidacy (he came in seventh, by the way — a nice number, if you’re superstitious), we had heard rumors that rave was waxing political, but we didn’t really believe it until EARTH DAY’S EVE’S EVE at the EL REY, when a pudgy, ponytailed man in his 40s, wearing little save a wife beater and Birkenstocks, accosted us like a hippie street canvasser to rattle off his rap on genetically modified foods. "Are you aware that of all the foods you can buy in your grocery store . . ." We waved him off: "Go away. This is a party." But we shouldn’t smirk — it’s an auspicious alliance, this joining forces of the ever-serious Greens and the ever-smiling tribes of psychedelic trance, with
MEDICINE DRUM’s (pictured) IRINA MIKHAILOVA as their alluringly stringy-haired cantor/avatar, and LOST AT LAST ("Maui’s Ethno-Techno-Tribal-Trance-Dance-Chants Band") composing the anthems of their efflorescent global convergence. For this particular manifestation of the trend, we have to thank (at least in part) ARI ROTHBAUM, whom we met last Burning Man when she wandered into our camp during an early-morning dust storm, and who now dashes about with clipboards and walkie-talkies coordinating benefits for Burma and Tibet (among other things). But as dance culture’s political ambitions get raised, so might some prickly questions about globalization. With all due respect, amid the radiant imagery of Ganesh, the belly-dancing and Hindu chanting, what does it mean that we’ve met so few folks in this crowd from India? Just asking.

—Judith Lewis

 

THAT SINKING SENSATION

Miss COCO PERU, a.k.a. CLINTON LEUPP, isn’t your father’s drag queen. The former Manhattanite, a kind of singer/shaman/bitch/berdache, managed to rope in one of her childhood influences, STELLA STEVENS, to introduce her opening-night performance of Glorious Wounds . . . She’s Damaged at the GAY AND LESBIAN CENTER’s RENBERG THEATER. (Leupp used to put on Bronx backyard productions in which he’d emulate Stella’s The Poseidon Adventure character, Linda, the ex-hooker with a big heart.) With a set chock-a-block full of Barry Manilow ditties, Coco shrilled, thrilled and chilled attendees, including actors ALEC MAPA and WILSON CRUZ, TV producer JOE VOCI, and JULIE CYPHER, Melissa Etheridge’s ex, who arrived late and unexpected but managed to wrangle primo seating. The post-show party at the Village’s Advocate art gallery was a smash: Coco held court while Miss Stevens regaled party animals with tales Poseidon, including the reason, she says, that Gene Hackman refuses to join in on the fun at any Poseidon reunions — he’s pissed off that he was forced to feature a fabulous comb-over in the film. But Shelley Winters ain’t shy about such gatherings: Stevens told of one such affair on the Queen Mary where the pair got into a tug of war over a microphone. Coco Peru: Beware!

—J.V. McAuley


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