Photo by Piper Ferguson
"Save the music? Where's it going?" asked an almost too-pretty blond boy. "Away, man, it's all going away," replied his rocker-chick girl, gorgeous in her slashed T-shirt and smudgy eyeliner, at a daytime benefit co-sponsored by FRANKIE B. jeans and VH1 to raise money for VH1's SAVE THE MUSIC FOUNDATION, a nonprofit that donates instruments to public schools. LAKE HOLLYWOOD PARK was transformed into a New Age fair for the Hollywood set, and the sky-high beautiful-people quotient plus a genuine all-people-are-beautiful vibe brought out a newly single LEONARDO DiCAPRIO as well as recently coupled CARMEN ELECTRA and DAVE NAVARRO, who nodded along to GILBY CLARKE's (formerly of Guns N' Roses) new band. Two rows of white tents flanked the stage where old- and mid-guarders such as LAUREN HUTTON (pictured), MINNIE DRIVER, TYRA BANKS and MARIEL HEMINGWAY as well as brand-new lovelies KELLY HU (The Scorpion King), ELIZA DUSHKU, JENA MALONE and DOMINIQUE SWAIN checked out Reiki healing, tarot readings and -- for those truly in need of some spiritual sustenance -- hair weaving by Fred Segal. A little bit Janis Joplin, a little bit pop princess, NIKKA COSTA took the stage, shimmied and sang until the crowd actually cast aside gift bags to get up and dance. All but everyone's favorite rich kid, PARIS HILTON. Moments earlier she was handed "one of the good gift bags" (quoth a PR flack, who refused to tell us what was in it), and a little bit later, before she left, a young actor type called out, "Hey, Paris! You're so hot!" She smiled and nodded, weary and proud, as if she's heard it all a million times before and can't wait to hear it a million times more.
FORWARD INTO THE PASTA
"I hope they establish a new cylinder of house-heads a new kind of groove," said bartender DARREN CRANE while whipping up cocktails for the thirsty throngs at SOUL HEAVEN, the new biweekly Saturday groove fest in the basement of MICELI'S ITALIAN RESTAURANT, which is becoming quite the dance hotspot with everything from funk to two-step happening on varying weekends. Joe Claussell, Blaze, Frankie Knuckles, Kerri Chandler, Sylvester, Larry Levan and Tony Humphries were all there in wax spirit as Soul Heaven jocks RAIN and LaMECH traded off spinning golden 'n' delicious deep-fried New Jersey garage tracks dripping in gospel vocals (DJs CRAIG BOYD and KPFK's "Restless Soul" KRISTI LOMAX and promoter/host ANTONIO LYONS round out the Heaven collective). Mir Media's ASYA SHEIN broke into a tribal frenzy, clearing herself a nice little spot in the middle of the place before going outside to give a lecture on how cheesy the Winter Music Conference has become. Meanwhile, Ritual Events' JED WEXLER and his posse made an entrance, so to speak, setting up a booth by the door. Laying low most of the night, DJ titan EDDIE ALMADOR played kissy-kissy with his lady in a dark corner near the bar. But not everybody was in the mood for love: Rootdown's hip-hop meister DJ DUSK and his gal pal worked up a sweat on the baby powdercovered dance floor alongside photographer TRACY JONES and her ever-present entourage of luscious Nubian dykettes. Ah, remember the days when people snorted white powder, not danced on it.
DO YOU COME HERE ORPHAN?
Photo by Mitch Handsone
"Cave woman don't understand technology," mused ORPHANS lead singer JENNY ORPHAN (pictured) at THE ECHO after she crawled atop a monitor, leaving behind a wake of toppled mike stands and scattered beer bottles onstage. With manic punk rock blasts like "Creature Double Feature" and "I Want It All," the Orphans, a new quartet from Long Beach, instigate much of the same anarchic chaos as the Germs once did, but leavened with an inspired sense of lunacy that's more sublimely silly than self-destructive. Half of the fun at an Orphans spectacle is watching crazed bassist WADE ORPHAN -- who at past gigs has smashed a beer bottle over his head, lit his bass on fire and dashed into Sunset Boulevard traffic midset -- in his ongoing and ultimately doomed attempts to steal attention from the cute-as-a-button Jenny O (who also deejays Wednesday afternoons on KXLU) as she writhes on the ground or jumps into the arms of anyone in the front row. Ubiquitous scenester DOUG MILLER and Starvations singer-guitarist GABRIEL "Scarecrow" HART were spotted among the bemused crowd at the Echo, the happening new-ish club in Echo Park that retains much of the allure of its previous incarnation as Nayarit. Luckily the Echo is invitingly dark and mysterious, a necessary contrast with the bright and sunny outside world during the club's Saturday rock & roll matinees.
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There are just those times when one needs to escape it all, and so recently we slipped into LES FRÈRES TAIX, the 75-year-old Echo Park restaurant and bar, expecting to have a ruminative eve over a cocktail or two. There's a certain comfort in being greeted by a maitre d' who looks like he could have been a Rat Packer, and, of course, you can eat snails there. But our anticipated quiet night quickly took a different course, for it seemed that every time we turned a corner in the cavernous space, we'd encounter yet a different scene to be explored, another mover and shaker to greet. The escargot proved dangerous at the PHYSICIANS FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY dinner for one attendee, who was almost beaned by a flying shell that escaped from enviro activist MARTA ARGUELLO's grasp. Discussing pesticides and consensual versus non-consensual chemical intake (we're for consensual every time!) were JONATHAN PARFREY, executive director of the L.A. chapter of PSR (and brother of Feral House publisher Adam), noted pediatrician (and Heidi's dad) DR. PAUL FLEISS and environmental-health organizer VERO MADRIGAL, also known as the Latina drag king Max. Meanwhile, at the bar taking on a different kind of social responsibility were vociferous Laker fans such as Jackie Goldberg staffer SHARON DELUGACH and Cacophonist BOB MOSS. Naturally, this being L.A., there was a table full of junior H-wood moguls holding court in a back room, including director GREGORY COOK. Taix proves you don't have to wait in line at the neighboring Echo, Short Stop or 4100 to make the scene.