Far too much has been made of the NEW YEAR'S EVE HOLLYWOOD SIGN AFFAIR, an underwhelming display widely perceived as a characteristically self-parodying effort from this self-involved city. The technology seemed so much more apropos of 1900 than 2000 that the entire episode amounts to a botched attempt at failure — a subtle category unique to this town. The brief flashes of color and the sickly lights, reminiscent of a late-'60s American International Pictures psychedelic special-effects sequence, imparted that irresistible L.A. sense of well-intentioned dereliction — and, as such, was almost admirable in its inadvertent understatement. Crowd reactions at the Hollywood Hills brawl where we witnessed this “spectacle” were equally low-key, a sort of collective yawn. Perhaps the city could've added further dignity by working in a neon installation spelling out one of the L.A. Human Relations Commission's new race-relations slogans: “They were White suburban kids shooting, not Black. I was relieved.” The tying together of a pair of ludicrous civic efforts would have been the height of Los Angeles' cultural expression.

–Jonny Whiteside



Vibrator — BRYAN RABIN, JOSEPH BROOKS and COYOTE SHIVERS' mix of rock & roll trash and stripper sass at Club 7969 — sizzles. Maybe a little too much. Sometime after the new Thursday-night club closed on December 31, a fire destroyed 7969's main room. The embers were still smoldering as wild rumors about the cause of the blaze started circulating: The conflagration was the work of a doomsday Y2K bomber; a religious fanatic was upset by the overtly sexual clubs (such as Sin-a-Matic, Michelle's XXX and Hollywood Men) that put on nights at 7969. The only thing we've been able to confirm is that it wasn't spontaneous electrical combustion, as has been reported. According to L.A. County Fire Department investigator Dennis Nash, the fire “met certain criteria for a possible arson” and was referred to the L.A. County Sheriff's Department for further investigation. Owner STEVE GOLDBERG is taking the opportunity to remodel the room (he says there was no structural damage). He estimates it will take about five weeks to debut the yet-to-be-decided new look. “All of our promotions are on hiatus,” says Goldberg, “and they'll be back for our big grand reopening.” Sunday night's Velvet has temporarily moved to Blue on Las Palmas. But it will probably return. After all, 7969 is truly a “hot spot.”

–Lina Lecaro


When we were invited down to the set of THE THREEE GENIUSES (“The most intentionally psychedelic show on cable TV”), we thought it would be just another journalistic assignment. In the control room, we were greeted by GIDDLE, a blond in a neon faux-leopard parka and Pokémon house slippers, a pair of Barbie dolls in one hand, the other working a board to make the camera zoom. We nearly tripped over another host, DON BOLLES (a.k.a. KITTEN SPARKLES, and drummer of legendary combos THE GERMS and 45 GRAVE), lying on the floor in a lace blouse and bellbottoms, scratching the albums for the soundtrack, including U.S. Airforce: A Portrait in Sound With Arthur Godfrey and Yanky at the Pesach Seder With Zeyde. In the studio, surrounded by thrift-store paintings and strobe lights, were three girls in '70s ho-wear doing aerobics. They were being led by “STANGELYNE,” a bodybuilding transvestite with Tourette's syndrome who looked like a cross between the Terminator and Marilyn Monroe. Media One staffers tried not to stare. We were beginning to feel as though our coffee had been dosed. “When are you going to start?” we asked Genius DAN KAPELOVITZ, in a vintage Motley Crue T-shirt with a puppet on his left hand. “We've started!” he yelled. “Do you want to be on the show?” Feeling underdressed, we declined. Outside, in the Hollywood rush hour, everything seemed so quiet and orderly. (The Threee Geniuses can be seen Wednesday, February 2 and 9, at 11 p.m. on public access.)

–Pleasant Gehman


With no more Club Sucker, and THE MURMURS doing all of their shows at the Viper Room, scenesters (and chicken hawks) have been seen wandering the streets aimlessly, muttering, “Now where am I going to find a room full of hot 20-something, backpack-toting riot grrrls in tight T-shirts running about paddling balls?” Wonder no more, perverts! The action seems to be bouncing around the complimentary Ping-Pong tables at Fais Do Do's new Thursday-night club, MILK, where actress CLEA DUVALL was seen brushing dust bunnies out of her hair after rescuing a ball from under one of the tables. We realized that we hadn't fully experienced life until we saw CHRISTINA RICCI (pictured) whipping some poor dude in a rousing Ping-Pong game. Milk is somewhat akin to a high school cellar party, only the patrons seem to be a few years older and, for the most part, able to hold their liquor better. Local musicians put together sets of cover songs, making for some inspired and very creative performances. A recent highlight was MIA FERRARO of the band TADPOLE doing an amazing rendition of “House of the Rising Sun,” as was seeing alto MARTIN from the band GLISS, dressed in a ratty bathrobe and pajamas, reprimand some audience members for being too loud during his Morrissey cover. Big mouth strikes again!

–Jen Hitchcock


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