You know to forget about touching up your makeup, taking down a phone number or wearing any of today’s (or yesterday’s) studded fashions inside the PALLADIUM, where the ridiculously harsh door policy forbids lipstick, pens, cigarettes and spiky rock & roll accessories. Now you can add the dreaded chewing gum to the list of banned products. At the recent SNOCORE TOUR featuring KITTIE and FEAR FACTORY, we were forced to throw out a brand-new pack of Carefree Sugarless when an overzealous security guard found our stash and pointed to a special sign that read, “No Gum Allowed.” However, upon learning that we were in the VIP section, we were allowed to take back our gum, which had been tossed inside a trash can full of M.A.C Russian Reds, wrist cuffs, Camel Filters and packs of very sinful Bubbelicious! (Hmmm — wonder what happens to this taboo loot at the end of the eve?) Inside, frustrated goth girls looked bummed to be without their cat collars, while in the too-well-lit upstairs area, lots of unrecognizable (with the exception of Cypress Hill’s B-REAL) “important people” looked bored. We hung with former Green Jello guy GARY HELSINGER, members of MIDNIGHT RAPTURE, and Scream’s
DAYLE GLORIA, who told us about her new ’80s karoake night Fridays at the Cat Club, where you can wear studs and chew gum, not to mention sing bad metal tunes. How civilized.

—Lina Lecaro



An almost-naked VARLA JEAN MERMAN (modestly covering her ample breasts with demurely manicured hands) couldn’t resist the temptation of taking a pre-performance peek at an opening-night floral tribute which had been misdirected to the tech booth. Of course, we couldn’t resist taking a peek at the glamorous gender-bent songbird as we chatted with the Village’s producing artistic director, SUE HAMILTON (covering her breasts with a chic pleather shirt), before The Very Worst of Varla Jean Merman. Writer BRUCE VILANCH (covering his substantial knockers with a red T-shirt advertising “Salami”) introduced the Ann-Margret-on-anabolic-steroids lookalike to La Vil-lage, referring to himself as the “lubricant du jour” whose purpose was to “KY Varla into town.” RuPAUL, in boy drag, blended into the Fred Segal–clad crowd, mostly TV titan types checking out V.J.’s L.A. debut. Varla Jean (pictured), attired first in a rhinestone-encrusted gold lamé jumpsuit and then in a slinky red dress, is the illegitimate offspring of Ethel Merman and Ernest Borgnine, according to creator JEFFERY ROBERSON, an East Coast gender illusionist with a big voice, who’s previously worked with Lypsinka and Charles Busch. Continuing through this Sunday, the best of The Very Worst includes an opera version of “Disco Inferno,” a witty “Talk to the Genitals” (sung to the tune of “Talk to the Animals”), a twisted Schoolhouse Rock medley (“snuff film is a noun”) and “Dream a Little Dream of Cheese,” a signature number in which Varla Jean sings and eats Cheez Whiz (straight from the can) simultaneously. Take note, California Cheese Council: Varla Jean is waiting for her close-up.

—Sandra Ross



“To my left, representin’ Hollywood, Jurassic 5, Ozomatli, and ‘Less Than Six,’ we have
CUT CHEMIST,” announced DJ DUSK. “To my right, straight outta Oxnard representin’ the Likwit Crew, Lootpack, Quasimoto, and Stones Throw Records, we have MADLIB.” Scanning the event’s program, which Dusk later assured us was bound to be a collector’s item, we felt as though we’d landed in the middle of a long-awaited boxing match. Mobs of underground hip-hop connoisseurs clamored outside GABAH trying anything — the doormen had a field day collecting fake IDs — to get into ROOTDOWN’s “Soundclash Round One” DJ battle. Local beat bosses such as ZION I, MYKILL MEYERS, DR. OOP, J-ROCC, MELO-D, NU-MARK, and members of DILATED PEOPLES, THE BEAT JUNKIES and That ’70s Show anxiously grew silent when DJ RHETTMATIC flipped a record to see who would spin first. Madlib (pictured) won, but graciously deferred the opening set to hometown hero Cut Chemist, who set it off with a mellow yet soulful East Indian–flavored track which melded into skanky percussion. And the battle was on! Not flinching an eye, Madlib came back with divine cartoony samples topped off with tight scratch handiwork. Cut Chemist upped the ante with bass-heavy jazzy loops, but Madlib shot right back with a head-rockin’ dose of O.G. funk. The house went beee-serk. Back ’n’ forth Madlib and Cut Chemist went track for track. At the end of several sets, Dusk determined the bout was a draw. No doubt the two wax wizards will be polishing their needles while waiting for the rematch.

—Derrick Mathis


Edited by Kateri Butler


The gloom was cheerful a couple of Mondays ago for an opening reception at Hollywood’s The . . . Gallery, where shaven-domed, Mohawked and funereally draped aesthetes were admiring the photographic collaborations of MARILYN MANSON and P.R. BROWN. Manson — tall in crumpled lift-boots, cute little cowboy hat and yards of black between — meekly apologized for being “a little too drunk” at his Universal Amphitheater spectacle two nights previous, which he’d capped by stumbling offstage buck naked. But the howling amphitheater throng had voiced few objections as the Antichrist and his anti-angel bandmates attoned for a couple of previous L.A. cancellations by blowing through an unusually long and intense set. The Godfather of Fuck — Manson dad
HUGH WARNER, currently a resident of Placentia — was present at both events, resplendent in furniture-showroom couture and averring, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Curator and Knowtribe exhibitory mastermind ALEIM JOHNSON watched apprehensively over the newly plastered walls. And photographer Brown, an unterrible infant who became Capitol Records’ art director at age 20 (now independent, he’s reached a doddering 28), recalled the months he spent snapping Manson and band during their sessions for Holy Wood last year at the vibey Harry Houdini mansion, and the 1,000 hours of computer imaging that went into the layered, stylized artworks, mostly patterned after tarot cards (show runs through February 15). The gallery centerpiece was a furnishing featured in Holy Wood’s tasteful “self-autopsy” CD-ROM snip: a vintage embalming platform, which Brown said formerly served as his dining table. Giblets, anyone?

—Greg Burk

LA Weekly