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Sushi and be Seen

We'll have what he's having: Rodney Bingenheimer at Canter's. (Photos by Lina Lecaro)

SEE AND SASHIMI

Though most clubbin’ cuties wouldn’t dare risk makeup muss-haps (or, worse, bloated bellies) by eating just before greeting and grinding, sushi is always an exception. It’s light and bite-size, after all. Ready too early and ravenous before ho-down hopping in Hollywood recently, Nightranger decided to “Cali roll” into SBE’s ultrasleek Katsuya — without (gasp!) a reservation on a (double gasp!) Saturday night. The latest venue from club and event impresarios Sam Nazarian and Brent Bolthouse, the place is already frequented by celebs like Fergie (“shout out to West Covina!”) and Lindsay Lohan.With a doorman out front and a staff garbed in chic gray getups, this placewould be totally intimidating if everyone weren’t so service oriented. We did have to wait about 30 minutes for a table, but that allowed for soaking in both the scene and a delightful Kiwi-chunk-full cocktail at the bar (other drinks, created by a “mixologist,” were more exotic, infused with veggies and herbs).

Designer Philippe Starck has created a sleek and modern oasis. This ain’t Kabuki down the street. Or Geisha House even. Though most of the seating is date-night intimate, there are spacious, very visible pockets with VIP-worthy views. During our visit, Laker Lamar Odom dined with a pal in one brightly lit cubicle-esque space next to the ladies' room, and the nonstop parade of pretties kept the baller busier than the edamame. We even got the ol’ up 'n’ down as we approached the loo .?.?. thankfully, we weren’t bloated. And in case you’re wondering, the food was fantabulous. Haters will probably say the place is pretentious and trendy, but the glamscape is just what the corner of Hollywood and Vine needed.

We didn’t have time to check out Katsuya’s adjacent S Bar,which is supposed to be the anti-Hyde,i.e., welcoming to all, though with the riffraff that frequents that corner (Basque, Forbidden City, Avalon, The Pantages and The Fonda are within a block) and a cozy 100-person capacity, we’re guessing they’ve already said sayonara to that idea.

MONEY POTSHOT

Far more velvet-rope dopes were encountered at Vice up the street a couple of nights later. It’s supposed to be sexy, but this newish nook (in the space that used to be the much-missed Star Shoes)actuallymade Nightranger kinda sad.Hollywood doesn’t need another dim-lit swank/skank/wank house for bottle-service big boys and the buxom bimbos they bounce with, but that’s pretty much what this is. We had high hopes for Tuesdays at least, as we’d heard it was a rock & roll night (featuring one of our fave spin-sters, DJ Morty, on the decks), but it’s recently been taken over by the porno set, which was eye-poppingly apparent when we peeked in. Don’t get it (titty)-twisted either, this ain’t no boogie night.

JOLLY GOOD FELLOWS

Sleek sushi houses are fun, but sometimes a crusty dive bar fits the bill, and when we heard The Study, a strip mall watering hole (think the old White Horse bar but with trannies) on Western, would be taken over by popular party dudes Greg Mielcarz and Aaron Castle for abirthday bash last Saturday, we had to pop in. Unfortunately, we got there before 11 and the place was kinda empty. (It’s a late crowd.)

Nightranger was actually on our way to see another birthday boy that night: Rodney Bingenheimer, whocelebrated at Canter’s (where else?) with well-wishers including KROQ’s Kat Corbett, singer India Dupré, art tart Giddle Partridge, Showgirlsactress Rena Riffel (in a Santa’s-helper ensemble), Sean of the Dead writer Edgar Wright (whose Wright Stuff film event at the New Beverly Cinema was happening just down the street) with bodacious blogger turned uber-hot screenwriter Diablo Cody (Juno), photog Piper Ferguson and club-king Jason Lavitt, the last two of whom snuck away from their club Bang at the Ruby for a quickie visit. Lavitt told us his new “nu-rave” Tuesday night at Arena called Dance (co-thrown by Bang’s Shalyce Benfell and DJ Paparazzi) has been mad-packed, with a scene that meshes early ’90s “retro” rave and young shaggy shakers. And by the way, despite what you might have read elsewhere, he says he has no plans to move Dance or his Thursday club Tigerheat to another venue come 2008. Apparently, reports that Arena and Circus might be closing at the end of this year were premature, and it’s not being sold, at least for now.

As for the birthday boy, Mr. B, who has a two-page spread in the booklet for Rhino’s new The Brit Box CD set (we want that for Christmas!), told us he’ll be attending what’s sure to be the wildest holiday party of the year: Phil Spector’s festive freedom fete this week. Hope that one’s not too much of a blast.

MINGLE & JINGLE

Got a holiday-shopping hangover already? We’ve managed to avoid mall mania by carousing with creative folk at craft fairs and nonchain shops all month. Mamacita’s Market at Olvera Street was quite the fiesta (see their MySpace for the next event) and Gorilla Thursdays at Ghettogloss in Silver Lake definitely had merch to go apeshit over. The later, which features screenings (Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer last week) has a guy dressed up in a gorilla suit waving in the locals from nearby Cha Cha Lounge, Gingergrass, etc. and it’s become quite the seasonal scene. Check out the party and get those last-minute presents (including works printed on newspaper by hot local artist Ryan Graeff) this Thursday — and every night before Santa comes to town — during their late hours. The new Art and Mayhem gallery in Atwater will have similarly funky gifts (like demented dolls from Cinnamon Roll Gang that would make Barbie blush) at their “23rd Stop Before Xmas” party on December 23. Support indie-bizzes people, and happy holidays!

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