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This Week in LA Nightlife: Characters, Cannibals, and Horny German Impersonators

View more photos in Lina Lecaro's slideshow, "Nightranger: Heino, Pop tART, Club Alchemy and Cannibal Flower."

Club Alchemy

Lina LecaroClub Alchemy

Characters. Personalities. Genuises. This week, we couldn't help but think about the people in LA who always seem to stand out, even in the most audacious of crowds. It's not just how they dress or who they know or even what they do. It's a combination of these and something entirely more intangible. From the wicked wit of alabaster-skinned writer Clint Catalyst and his new Alchemy night, to the wacky -wigged- wonder of Silver Lake singer/impersonator Heino and his recent "Happy Hour" show, to the bodaciousness of crimson-haired curator Lenora Claire and her new PoptART Gallery (and all of fabulous, look-at-me figures who attended the opening), the week was bursting with bold, magnetic personae:

Whether we're talking about Dark Wave, EBM, and goth or more recent sub-genres such as "Witch house," sounds falling under the dark umbrella - especially the more rhythmic stuff- almost always cast a sensual spell in a club environment. At Alchemy, the salon-style soiree debuted last week by Catalyst and Rich Royal, this was definitely the case, and the candle-lit, couch-scattered comforts of Palihouse helped, not to mention literary interludes from two of LA's most beguiling female writers: Jillian Lauren (reading from her upcoming second book, Pretty) and Zoetica Ebb (about experiences at a local dungeon). DJs Zane Landreth (Killing Spree) and genre pioneer Disaro offered their dramatic aural pleasures, though there wasn't much traditional "dancing." That's not to say there wasn't movement and ritual going down, it was just of a more seductive, face-to-face nature. And let's just say Catalyst and Royal give good face... and fete.

Austin Young with Perez Hilton

Lina LecaroAustin Young with Perez Hilton

THE BIG FACES

There sure were some amazing faces at Pop tART 's grand opening bash Saturday. It's not unusual for patrons to garner as much attention as the art at some shows, especially when Claire is involved, but at this one, the crowd was quite literally the art. The space -also owned by club scene queen Phyllis Navidad- featured bare white walls save for taped off corners where the photographs of shutterbug Austin Young will be placed in his show, "Your Face Here," in about a month's time. Portrait purchasers got to choose their size and placement in the gallery (smallest going for $100 and the biggest/priciest going for $500) and the rest, including which shot from the shoot is ultimately used, is left up to Young. Subjects will see them for the first time at the opening on March 5 along with everyone else.

At the gallery opening event, Young had a mini-studio set up in the front of the space, complete with a glam squad of makeup artists and wild hair by Purple Circle. Since the gallery is all windows up front, the shoots took on a fishbowl-like quality, with the event's overflow of friends and fans viewing each poser from outside. Snapped Sat.: art peers (Plastic God and pin-up princess Olivia de Berardinis), rockers (Mynx's Ara Thorose, Kim Fowley, Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens and E! TV star wife Jody Stevens), self-promoters (Dennis Woodruff) and even bloggers (Perez Hilton), who said of Young, "He's great. He can make ugly people look pretty... even me."

The gallery was packed, so most partied outside in the patio area where Killsonic Orchestra performed and the gorgeous floral art of Tenley Erin Young (winner of LOGO TV's "The Arrangement" reality competition) embellished the surroundings. Still, it was the flamboyant crowd that was most eye-catching: queens in hot pink, vinyl-swathed goth posses, lace-covered pretty boys and of course, hot, cross-dressing divas (Young's specialty). We snatched up some nice real estate Sat. for our own 5x7 shot (we'll be posing at a later date, possibly the next shoot at Mr. Black at Bardot on Feb 8). Wanna be a PoptART too? Check the website for size and placement availability on remaining spaces before they sell out.

Cannibal Flower

Lina LecaroCannibal Flower

FLOWER POWER

Continuing the interactive "live art" vibe, we headed over to Cannibal Flower, the roaming monthly event that made a name for itself downtown over a decade ago. Clearly, this underground, multi-media hotbed is still blooming, though we had hoped to see more outrageous get-ups (discounted admission was given to those dressed as "walking art"). "Hanging art" actually got the most attention, and we're not talking about the works on the walls (we really liked featured artist David Cooley's blend of textural 3D paint and fabric collage, by the way). When we entered, all eyes were on a half-naked young lass in the center of the warehouse (a place called The Vortex) who was tied up and then suspended upside down and swung around the room by some older dude in leather pants. His name is TomFoolery and according to his fetish website "rope makes great foreplay." Maybe, but the S&M style display wasn't simpatico with the graf work, live painting and band (a Latin flavored outfit called Fitter) on stage, nor the casual crowd. But that's what Cannibal is all about: a meshing of disparate aesthetics and mediums. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.

Heino!

Lina LecaroHeino!

DANKE, SH*T

A German folksinger (impersonator, no less) at a Spanish Flamenco restaurant? Now that's a disparate combo. Throw in a couple comics, a burlesque performance, some disco-grooving backup dancers and an Usher impersonator, and it's beyond divergent. But in the case of the Heino Happy Hour, it does in fact, werk. "Heino!" (aka comic singer Mark Hickock) has made a name for himself at Red Lion Tavern covering ironic rock and pop hits with his signature silly accent and white-blonde wig, a tribute bit that always goes over well with beer-buzzed barflies. Since joining forces with Lucha Va Voom and expanding the show into a Variety spectacle at El Cid, Hickock has proved his schtick has more horsepower than a souped-up VW, no matter the setting. (Although, the show last week did have an unplanned disruption when a couple local Latin dudes got too drunk and unruly and had to be escorted out by security!) Thankfully, the night's theme, "Best of the Worst Disaster" didn't come to fruition due to the scuffle and it went on, with a bevy of bouncing bellies (and boobies courtesy of Lucha Va Voom's Ursulina, Lux Lacroix and Lucy Fur), belly laughs from Jerry Minor, Rich Fulcher and Dana Gould, and bursting bellies too: the audience was invited to enter a lager -and Jager shot- guzzling competition, ending the show in blitzkrieg-style fashion. Check Heino!'s Facebook page for his next engagements.