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Who Are You Calling Gaijin?

A night of four obscure Japanese punk bands recently packed the FOLD at the SILVERLAKE LOUNGE, where SPOOZYS, MUMMY THE PEEP SHOW, LOLITA #18 and NUMBER GIRL, fresh from Austin’s South by Southwest schmoozefest, blasted the mostly gaijin (non-Japanese) crowd with the latest in kooky Nippon alt-rock. If you weren’t stranded outside the club — where a curious collection of smoking scenesters, desperate Japanophiles and the club’s transvestite regulars refused to mingle as they awaited admission — you were still out of luck if you hadn’t secured a spot near the stage once space-suited Spoozys began hurling their electro-surf sounds. The view from the back was a sea of head and shoulders (hey, nice hair), but the smart kids got up close for the all-girl Lolita #18, who opened with a Japanese-language version of the RAMONES’ “Rockaway Beach” (“Saa saa, panku no jikan da yo!” [“Hey, hey, it’s punk time!”]), as pink-haired lead singer Masayo ISHIZAKA (pictured) whipped her body around the stage like IGGY POP, if Iggy were an insane, cute Japanese girl. Scary, yet arousing — just the way we like it.

—Derek Thomas

So You Wanna Be a DJ?

While dynamic DJ duo GROOVE ARMADA pumped out groovalicious British phunk for hordes of Day-Glo twirlin’ chilluns on the main dance floor at GIANT, kiddies covered head to toe in silver and gold body paint wafted in and out of the Jive Records soiree upstairs like it was the glory days of Studio 54. We half expected to see GRACE JONES glide through the room astride a baby elephant. Back we scooted downstairs where we Groove-d shoulder to shoulder with TATE DONOVAN (the voice of Hercules) and his crew before making our way to the club’s outside patio, which was packed with cell-phone-wielding jabber jaws bedecked in an assortment of nose rings, halter tops, Diesel wear and Hawaiian floral prints. Giant promoter DAVE DEAN and Jive Records V.P. JONATHAN McHUGH held court underneath a towering helium-filled court jester. “DJs are now like rock stars,” said McHugh about the sold-out event. We thought that statement might have been a bit over-the-top until one clubgoer shouted at MOBY, who was promptly swarmed by droves of fans. Too bad the guy was just a look-alike.

—Derrick Mathis

Camp Bette

The drinks were a lot stiffer than the competition for the Bette Davis/Margo Channing look-alike contest at the EGYPTIAN THEATER, where AIDS HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION threw a fund-raiser that also included a screening celebrating the 50th anniversary of the camp classic All About Eve. Only one silly sister showed up to compete, and evidently she placed the wrong Bette, appearing as the Divine Miss M. Regardless, she was a pretty convincing Cher. Davis’ classic line from the film,“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night,” became even more apropos when the film started — what screened was definitely not one of those fabulous new digitally remastered jobs, but a print complete with skips and blips. All Bettes were off at that point. Still, the night was a diva’s dream as a chorus of queens recited Miss Davis’ most well-worn lines right along with her. Davis devotees who turned out included E! TV star and MC for the night STEVE KMETKO, Project Angel Food’s JON FINCK, writer FRED GOSS, club promoter LAUREN FOSTER, photographer RICK CASTRO, and AHF’s MICHAEL WEINSTEIN, KEN VARELA and LYNN LeMAY.

—J.V. McAuley

Only a Moment Ago

TIM SMITH, the late artist, scene painter, art director (remember the Rolling Stone cover with the cast of Seinfeld dressed up as the characters from The Wizard of Oz?) and gentle, funny soul, would have loved to see his memorial service written up in a column featuring names in big, bold type. Tim, who died of an undisclosed illness on February 13, requested in his will that should his friends hold a wake, they must say “only glowing things” about him. And so they did, at THE CASTLE GREEN HOTEL surrounded by Tim’s hi-glo paintings, his teen-idol and snow-dome collections, and a musical soundtrack that included the Partridge Family’s Only a Moment Ago. Who would have thought the Partridge Family could bring tears? It did, through laughter, setting the tone for the rest of what one speaker noted was “the coolest memorial service ever.” Other speakers, backed by a Tim-esque flaming altar, included the Reverend MAURICIO FIGULS, folk artist JON BOK, ROBERT “El Vez” LOPEZ (who sang “Ave Maria”), scenestress CHASE HOLIDAY, painter STACY LANDE and our favorite Tupperware-lady, PHRANC, who read a beautifully true list of all things Tim that included striped T-shirts, wheatberry toast and “the color between turquoise and baby blue that Crayola should name after you.” Tim (pictured with self-portrait) was a surprising fellow with a great talent for making and keeping friends; the real surprise was how many people didn’t realize that their other friends also knew him. Among them were singer PENELOPE HOUSTON with PATRICK ROQUES, down from Oakland, the Romans’ JUAN GOMEZ and MICHAEL UHLENCOTT, CRAIG “Billy Wisdom” ROOS, Go-Go’s JANE WIEDLIN and CHARLOTTE CAFFEY, with her husband JEFF McDONALD and his brother STEVE from Redd Kross, hair man HENRY PECK and club man JOSEPH BROOKS, film-music editor and ex-B-Person ALEX GIBSON, über-DJ BRENDAN MULLEN, authoress NICOLE PANTER, KRISTIAN HOFFMAN (who sang a couple of songs), Zeros singer JAVIER ESCOVEDO, Bags-lady ALICE BAG, CAROL “Perpetua” CETRONE and drummer DEBBIE SPINELLI, photographer FREDRIK NILSEN, Wacko’s BILLY SHIRE, performer BLISS, Culture Clash’s RICK SALINAS, Tim gal-pals LISA STOCKDALE, CHRIS MARCO and SARAH LEE, and Tim’s toilet-recycling cohort, CLARE O’CALLAGHAN. Tim, we think, had a great time.

—Tom Christie

Edited by Kateri Butler & Libby Molyneaux