It was a headbangers-are-back bash at the L.A. SPORTS ARENA, where for 5 bucks you could be an extra in a MARK WAHLBERG film and raise funds for pediatric-AIDS research. Billed as the ’80s HEAVY METAL CHARITY PARTY, the night was part concert and part movie shoot. With all the heaving bosoms, towering hair, cowboy boots and acid-washed jeans, it was as if grunge had never come and killed real rock. After an ’80s metal-costume contest, GREAT WHITE meandered through a wimpy “show me your tits” set. Longevity didn’t get ex–POISON guitarist C.C. DEVILLE much respect — the crowd spent more time booing him than hooting at the competitors for Hottest Metal Babe, although that could be because the gals looked like a gathering of granny groupies (picture the chicks from Vixen aged 20 years). Following this contest, emceed by Deville, who did not play, Wahlberg shot his concert scene, in which he stars as a singer, backed by a fictitious metal band that included JASON BONHAM, son of JOHN, and ZAKK WYLDE, former guitarist for OZZY OSBOURNE. They sure knew how to whip hair around in unison. Many hours and horrendous takes later, the sparse crowd was left confused, annoyed and dozing off. MEGADETH (pictured) briefly woke up the assembled — DAVE MUSTAINE’s frenzied finger work and flawless rendition of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” proved to be the night’s only true musical testament — who again slumped into slumber despite the dozen strippers taking it all off. Perhaps they weren’t gyrating quite fast enough. Finally, far into the wee hours, it was W.A.S.P. time: The great BLACKIE LAWLESS savagely ripped through his tender ode “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).” Unfortunately, there was hardly anyone left to bang heads.

—Siran Babayan

Boogie Boo Nights

The CAPRI LOUNGE on Pacific Avenue in Glendale represents a dying breed — a genuine jazz dive, the type of joint one associates with hard-boiled 1940s film noir. It’s a downright weird scene: The Capri’s clientele, as battered and fly-specked as the yellowing Dizzy and Bird posters that adorn the walls, seem to exude as much offbeat atmosphere as the room itself, but none of it matches the singular aura of weekend regular JIMMIE MADDIN. At 72, Maddin sports a modified zoot suit, complete with yardlong watch chain, a wicked gleam in the eye, and a tenor-saxophone style that swings, roars, soothes and grooves. Maddin, who features hep original R&B jive numbers like “Boogie Boo” and “Sassafras,” has had a wild career, ranging from late-’40s South-Central jazz jams, to starring in the ’50s exploitation classic The Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow, to discovering SKY SAXON and producing the SEEDS’ first album. This cat has just about done it all. The mixture of hot music and implicit menace (many of the Capri barflies look as if they’re contemplating some significant transgressions) is one of the more high-voltage back-alley scenes in the county.

—Jonny Whiteside

Viva La

These days, it seems everyone is labeled a diva. But actress and singer SHERYL LEE RALPH — who for the past 10 years has hosted DIVAS SIMPLY SINGING!, the annual PROJECT ANGEL FOOD and SAFE PLACE FOR PEDIATRIC AIDS benefit — truly deserves the title. This diva knows how to dish, ripping into primo primadonna MISS ROSS with this zinger: “Diana is a real doll . . . a voodoo doll!” Later, with claws planted firmly in cheek (ouch!), the sly puss pointedly proclaimed that the fab femmes fatales she had assembled for this year’s fund-raiser at the Wilshire Ebell Theater, including OLETA ADAMS, MELISSA MANCHESTER, MAUREEN McGOVERN, E.G. DAILY, TISHA CAMPBELL-MARTIN and ERIN HAMILTON (daughter of CAROL BURNETT) were not to be confused with another group of song sultanas. “We are diva-licious . . . they were diva-trocious,” Ralph purred in reference to VH1’s Divas 2000 crew. Someone got up on the wrong side of the litter box that night! Among the diva-tees delighting in the dish-fest, a glam-packed affair fit for a queen and his favorite fag hag, were chanteuse IRENE SODERBERG, Trick star J.P. PITOC, Frasier’s DAVID HYDE PIERCE, actress ELIZABETH BERKLEY, makeup artist GLEN ALFONSO, hair hopper FRANKIE PAYNE, founder of the West Coast gay-rights movement MORRIS KITE, and HELEN GUTTMAN, flashing photos of daughter E.G. Daily with her kids. No doubt two diva tots in training!

—J.V. McAuley

Thinking About Tomorrow

Some of the bloated rock & rollers at the CANON THEATER for the opening night of the equally bloated one-man show BILL GRAHAM PRESENTS, starring Ron Silver as the rock impresario, made a strong case for why rock stars should f-f-f-fade away. Among the aging hipsters and ladies of the canyon we spotted in the audience were a portly MICK FLEETWOOD with a Cheshire-cat grin (we only recognized the Mickster from his ponytail); a haggard TOM PETTY accompanied by an elegant BRIDGET FONDA look-alike; a balding DAN AYKROYD, looking more the part of Blues Grandpa than Brother; and a remarkably baby-faced JACKSON BROWNE, who didn’t appear a day over 35. We followed a shuffling Petty and entourage up the street to the after-party at NIC’S in Beverly Hills. They were among the first to arrive and staked out the only table on the small patio, where the Fonda doppelganger lit up a Marlboro Light. When they passed by us on the way to the bathroom — Petty dragging her by the hand — we couldn’t help but wonder what the charming blond, who graced us with a wink, saw in that curmudgeon anyway. They left the party soon after Petty was overheard sneering, “I hate this. Let’s get out of here.” Even the losers get lucky sometimes — if not the audience!

—Willy Banta

Edited by Kateri Butler & Libby Molyneaux

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