What a year. Looking back as we always do around this time, one thing was very clear, LA be crazy after dark!
Was it end-(or beginning?)-of-decade (yup, look it up) dementia, all the mercury in retrograde activity or something else that gave this past year a surreal feel? Not sure, but Nightranger observed some outrageous, weird, sad and downright meta nightlife moments.
"WTF" might be one of the most over-used terms of 2010, but it just fits for the 10 haps here (tough time choosing too; there were so many). Read on for the insanity (and click links for the full-on freaky reports and photos):
10. Look What The Cat Dragged In
After 17 years, LA's legendary cross-dressin' hullabaloo, Dragstrip 66, hung up its wigs and flung away its falsies with its most flamboyant and, yes, fiercest fete ever, "Hat's All Folks," a finale theme that invited patrons to don their most outrageous headwear. The long-running club had slowed down a bit previously, you see. But the club was packed like never before for the farewell! Walking down Glendale Blvd. amidst the gaggles of garishly garbed "girls" was a gas. Guessing it was the craziest, most colorful line Echo Park has ever seen, in fact. The last Dragstrip broke the attendance record at the Echoplex that night beating out even Nine Inch Nails a few months prior in sweaty body count. Dub Club's anniversary bash did see tokers tie the trannies months later.
9. He's Too Old For This Shit
Badly Drawn Boy's epic meltdown at the Troub last week has been all the buzz, but he wasn't the first rockstar to get testy with fans in West Hollywood this year. Billy Corgan had a bizarre mini-diva moment this Summer towards the end of Smashing Pumpkins' pre-tour semi-secret show at the Viper Room. Before taking out a ukulele to play a few numbers, Corgan chided audience members for being too chatty middle of the set. But after the uke came out, and shrieks for "Tiptoe Through The Tulips" came from the VIP section, he was downright pissed. He stopped mid-song a couple times, then finally declared, "I love you all, but I'm too old for this shit" and abruptly left the stage, three songs early according to the setlist. Thankfully, the show prior was smokin.' But we wonder, what if he had brought out the uke earlier?
8. History (Steps And) Repeats Itself
Rocker/artist/famous offspring Elijah Blue debuted his first gallery collection, "Step and Repeat," at the Kantor Gallery on Melrose back in March, and as expected, the line between exhibit and celeb-reality became blurred. The son of Cher and Greg Allman, half sibling to Chaz and former frontman for the band Deadsy, created three hand-painted walls designed to look like the ubiquitous -in Hollywood- red carpet backdrops featuring faux "brand" logos with clever subtext: "Ivory Tower," "Johnnie Cum L8 Lee." The scene was screaming with ironic strangeness, as the event was as much about the interaction of those observing as the art itself, especially when the likes of Mark McGrath, Balthazar Getty, and Hayden Panettiere (not to mention Blue's mama and sis-just-turned-bro) posed awkwardly in front of the pieces as if they were real media backdrops. Was he celebrating or mocking the culture in which he was raised? Questioning this was kinda the point.
7. Lindsay's Low Blows
Hard to say where we saw LL's post-then-pre rehab mug more: on the cover of tabloids in the supermarket or in the flesh inside da clubs. Girl would just not stay home this past year, even when things were looking pretty dire (lawsuits, white powder-gate, velvet rope humiliation after velvet rope humiliation). We never gave Lindz a second look when we saw her out usually, but we were pretty shocked -and kinda worried for her- when we bumped into her at two parties in April, both thrown by gossip outlets that (at the time) were tearing her apart the most: Star Magazine's Young Hollywood event at Voyeur and Perez Hilton's Birthday Bash at Paramount Studios. No shame for fame, we guess. Girl fights, failed drug tests, court dates and plenty of tears -wow, our news blog wrote about this girl a lot!- followed, all of which, we hope for her sake, are in the past now that she's getting help. Sadly, new Lo lows this week suggest otherwise.
6. Sly's Mind Slips Away
Speaking of meltdowns, the ultimate on stage freakout has to go to Sly Stone whose Coachella set was the saddest stage spectacle of the year. Yes, the soul legend has been mentally out of sorts for years, and we expected a little craziness from his desert stint, but what we got was above and beyond. Hours late on stage, Stone offered N-word specked rants, charges that he had been kidnapped by his management, relentlessly interrupted renditions of barely recognizable classics played seated and against a keyboard that at one point, seemed to be the only thing propping him up. A friend of ours likened it to "Weekend At Bernies," but Bernie didn't talk, and Sly, well, he said a lot (though slurred) and soon, he may have to pay for it in court.
5. Tie: Troy Walker's Hot Messaround vs. Roky Erickson's I-Scream Social
Forget about androgynous boy toys, psycho punks and art bands trying to be shocking, when it came to wild antics and awesomely inappropriate performances, two old timers ended up being the most memorable this year. At Jonny Whiteside's Messaround at Viva Cantina, Troy Walker (one of the first out of the closet singers of the 60s) offered a wacko yet wondrous set of lyrically embellished covers (example: "Only the Lonely" as "Only the Horny") that climaxed with the singer exiting the club mid-song, walking around the building (having a chat with the smokers outside?) and returning to the stage for another number. Roky Erickson's kiddie show at Eagle Rock Center for the Arts was equally out there: loud, creepy and stompin'--not your typical romper room. The latter, a treat-filled tear-up, was thrown by F Yeah Fest so we probably should've known...
4. Cobrasnake Sells Out?
The fact that everyone's favorite scenester shutterbug opened a store this year wasn't so strange, but where he set up shop was: the uber-tourist monstrosity known as the Hollywood & Highland outdoor mall. (Even the Beverly Center might have been a little cooler). Hawking ugly Salvation Army reject sweaters, sardonic used statement tees and yardsale trinkets amidst pricey Shepard Fairey prints and pricier Jeremy Scott frocks inside a store decked out with old TV sets and Cobra-centric murals got it noticed by out-of-town novices, for sure, and this retail wasteland ended up being more of an events space, but still... The rents have to be astronomical here and there is a Vitamin Water presence, so some deals were obviously made. Not that it hurt our pal Mark Hunter's cred: he's the veritable king of irony in LA so he can kinda get away with anything at this point.
3. Kat Von D (Ink) Slings Jesse James
Would she or wouldn't she? This was the big question leading up to the grand opening of the TV tat queen's unveiling her new art gallery, Wonderland, in September. Von D was all over the news just the week before, the rumored new ladylove of celeb serial cheater of the moment: Jesse James. Well, we all know now: she did. The relationship outing was even on her TV show, LA Ink, though reports later claimed she asked for JJ to be removed. The Brent Bolthouse-thrown bash was arguably one the best parties we attended all year (gorgeous gothic décor, yummy nibbles, colorful (inked) crowd, great DJ tunes and most importantly, a strikingly strong exhibit of macabre portraiture by Kevin Llewelyn) but it was all overshadowed by the lovey dovey duo, which ultimately got the gallery more press than it would've otherwise. The "D" obviously doesn't stand for dumb.
2. Angelyne's Iconic Pink Corvette = Merch Mobile
From billboard icon to parking lot pimp, Angelyne started making club appearances (well, outside-of-the-club appearances) this year. Of course, they were all gay. At Shits & Giggles and FuBar for example, Angie hawked various tees, stickers and mags from her famous vette's trunk, but snapping some photos was forbidden for most. After lots of deleting and pleading, we scored a couple sexy -strategically posed- pics of this legendary Barbie-like Monet (her body is actually pretty amazing for her age, whatever that may be) but when we left sans purchase, she wasn't exactly "in the pink" about the experience.
And the #1 WTF LA Nightlife Moment of 2010 was...
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1. The RNC's Pervy Nights At Peanuts
We felt this "scandal" was a bit silly from the get-go, mainly because, Voyeur isn't nearly as salacious a nightspot as was reported during the hub-bub. Alas, the club and its political patronage (a $1946.25 tab to be exact) takes the top spot due to the national notoriety the story and club received. It was called an "S&M lair," "strip club" and even a "sex club" by mainstream press all of which it is not. Voyeur is a velvet-roped swank pit in the Drais, Hyde, Colony vein, a place where bottle service tables easily go for a grand (surely where Republican chair Michael Steele dropped all the dough) and go-go dancer-grinding is as risque as things get. Yes, the club's decor has some seductive, Eyes Wide Shut-style touches, but compared with its former guise as Peanuts/7969 (which did have topless & S&M nights) it's downright prudish. The club was however, in the news again just a few months ago, when waitress Jasmine Waltz made a name for herself for bopping La Lohan there and later boinking David Arquette after meeting him there. Guess this hotspot really is one to watch.