View more photos in Lina Lecaro's Nightranger slideshow.
Keith Richards famously dropped a TV out of its windows, John Bonham drove a motorcycle down its halls, both Little Richard and Jim Morrison called it home at one point, and films such as Almost Famous and This Is Spinal Tap all shot there to give certain scenes an air of rawkin’ authenticity, but the legendary band shenanigans that took place at the Hyatt on Sunset remained unmatched the past few decades (even when Justin Timberlake opened trendy star bar Chi on the ground floor in the early 2000s). Some local rockers we know did almost resurrect the debauchery with dawn-cracking (and we do mean cracking) parties on the hotel’s roof in recent years, but it was more about the view and unfussy retro backdrop (which was totally gutted before being redesigned). Nightranger attended the hotel’s grand-reopening party hosted by Vanity Fair and Bally recently, and we were taken aback by the utter swankiness and unrankness of its new guise.
The Andaz, Hyatt’s upscale hotel concept, was unveiled in mid-January, but the official bashes began Oscar week with domino tournaments and gluttonous free grubbing in its new bottom-level restaurant. The space is très classy, but to be honest, it didn’t feel very rock & roll to us — that is, until we sat near the eatery’s panoramic windows sipping champagne and chomping sliders and fancy chocolate lollipops as the blinking brilliance of the Strip flashed over the bumper-to-bumper club-bound outside. The restaurant, by the way, is called RH, for “riot house,” the hotel’s old nickname, so at least they’re paying homage to the building’s rowdy past. Waiting in line for the elevators going up to the revamped rooftop pool (which was ultimately too dark and tame for us), we finally felt the presence of the music gods, and it wasn’t via apparition: When the doors parted, none other than Prince emerged in all his fitted-pantsuited glory. Of course, the sighting paled in comparison to partying with him a few nights later at Avalon, as we reported last week.
Another historic L.A. locale was the setting for an even more decadent event last Friday: the Hollywood Forever Cemetery’s Masonic Lodge, where Electro Cabaret brought out the latex and corset hordes for vamping and voguing. Though everything from theater productions to comedy shows (Sarah Silverman) to band performances (Iron & Wine play there on May 8) has been taking place amid the vaulted ceilings and mysterious walls of the Mason quarters’ Grand Hall, this might have been the first time the place saw such darkly appropriate and sensual adornments. An exquisite procession of local fetish models, including Courtney Cruz, Bubbles and Frown,sauntered in Venus Prototype’s fashion show, and the mostly black-(un)covered crowd was equally ogle-worthy. With throbbing beats helmed by old-school rave ragers, including Reza and Mark Lewis, the scene was downright hypnotic. Model Masuimi Max performed late, and though we missed her, we did get a nice li’l boobie hug from the angel-faced (but far from innocent — her Web site is called Iamtrouble.com) nymph in the VIP room. Hopefully, we’ll catch her at the Playboy Mansion when she performs for Stars & Stripes, a benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project, aiding veterans injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. See www.starsandstripes09.com for info on how you can attend. As for the sultry dance event (put on by Elizabeth Fraines, Onezero and Bar Sinister), here’s hoping it returns to the sacred grounds soon. After all, like the song says, “From cradle to tomb isn’t that long a stay. Life is a cabaret, old chum.”
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We ended the eve soaking up similarly saucy sentiments and outfits at Miss Kitty’s Parlour’s anniversary party “Seven Deadly Sins” at the Echoplex. While a spanking electro soundtrack usually fuels the floor at this club, too, our late arrival meant getting treated to a closing set of campy dance ditties — Britney’s “Womanizer,” cuts from Grease and our boogie buddy Prince. There really is nothing more entertaining than watching a bunch of freaky kids in glitter, wigs, lingerie, etc. pumping to pop music. Sins’ shutterbugs for the eve, Walki Talki & Ernie Omega, sure seem determined to bring ’90s-style N.Y. club-kid culture to L.A. nightlife. We’ve definitely been noticing their glam getups and bedazzled bodaciousness while out and about, and the boyz tell us they’ve found a home base for their flamboyant egomania, too. They’ll host Modern Romantix at El Cid this Saturday. (Club motto: “Hide your genetics under manic cosmetics!”) Oh, James St. James, what hath thou wrought?
CLOAKED AND LOADED
We actually had the opportunity to ask the original Party Monster himself the next night, when we spotted St. James descending the shrubbery-filled hills of Echo Park — video camera in tow — on his way to BelleVarado Studios, the secret location for NBCLA’s Locals Only show featuring Shiny Toy Guns. That fella sure knows how to make an entrance! We ended up tagging along with JSJ’s posse (filming for his World of Wonder Web show, Daily Freak Show) and getting backstage to chat with the band as they got groovy new-wave makeup jobs. (Apparently James corrupted founder Jeremy Dawson, gettin’ him loaded at The Limelight when he was, like, 14 years old ... or so we overheard.) We chatted with the band’s newest addition, singer Sisely Treasure, whom Nightranger readers might remember as our fave femme from that Pussycat Dolls reality competition and a one-time front gal for all-girl grinders The Holograms. She also released groovy cut “Do the Robot” with The Safety Pin-ups on Teenacide Records. Gotta give the gal credit, she more than holds her own with the Guns, and her vox on the single “Ghost Town” are haunting. The same can be said for the tune’s animated video — the work of artist Glen Hanson. Even though NBC ran those chaotic commercials about the surprise/“secret” event ad nauseam, we never minded seeing Hanson’s gorgeous cartoon images or hearing the song. The band lived up to the commercial hype, too, turning in a brutally atmospheric, all-around-smokin’ — and smoke machine–filled — set.