Maybe we’ve haggled through downtown’s knock-off land, the Fashion District, one too many times (or maybe it’s just former raver/X-er burnout) but the art of Takashi Murakami — the guy responsible for those hideous rainbow logo’d Louie Vuitton bags and quite possibly Kanye West’s teddy bear fetish — just doesn’t get our brushes swishing. Okay, Nightranger might be a tad bitter since we were denied an invite to the gala opening event at MOCA last Sunday, hosted by Marc Jacobs and featuring a Kanye set .?.?. Nah .?.?. Anime’s so ’90s, and the L.V. store within the exhibit isn’t creativity, it’s commercialism. Far more imaginative, wonderfully warped and compelling is the work of surrealist master Salvador Dali,currently on display at LACMA.The mélange of melting clocks, otherworldly landscapes and fragile female forms, not to mention celluloid documenting his work with Disney — and his legendary “Surrealist Night in the Forest” party — is downright magical. The work is all the more so when viewed with white-wigged Warhol wannabes, walking disco balls, groovy gorillas, monsters and witches, and bizarro versions of Ellen DeGeneres, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, Axl Rose and Slash, as we did during the museum’s Muse Costume Ball last Saturday night. Dublab Soundsystem provided the tunes for the affair, which moved into the museum’s penthouse for a raging after-party later in the evening, but we quite enjoyed the crowded courtyard area, where carousing with cool costumed cuties made for a different kind of surreal soiree (there’s something about playing dress-up that makes even the snottiest art snob super friendly). So Halloween or no, we propose wild get-ups in the spirit of the artist’s famed forest-themed fete for all who plan to check out the display from now on. It closes January 6, so don’t dilly dali!
While there was surely nothing quite like the star-crossed Dali shindigs, we hear the bashes of local songwriter Allee Willis over the years just might have come close. At the launch event for her and creative partner Holly Palmer’s new Web site Bubbles and Cheesecake a couple of weeks ago, we chatted with the geometric-haired music maven’s many friends and fans, all of whom had wild memories of parties past at her überkitschy collectables-filled pad. “She used to have these great pajama parties,” recalled former Weekly “La Dee Da” scribe Belissa Cohen, who was there with gossip queen Janet Charlton. “Cindy Lauper, the Pointer Sisters, and Russ Meyers’ girls would all be here, and then old teen heartthrobs like Fabian would pop by to surprise us gals.” Michael Des Barres (who’ll be playing a plastic surgery victim on Nip/Tuck this season) remembered a Valley of the Dolls–themed gathering with all the stars from the flick in attendance. “Allee is a true eccentric in the best sense of the word,” he said. Willis, who donned a bright orange suit for the occasion, does comes off a like funky female Willy Wonka. Though her credits penning songs for Earth, Wind and Fire (some of whom were at the launch) as well as the Friends theme and music for Broadway’s The Color Purple, is serious stuff, her sensibility is all about fun, fun, fun, which totally comes across on the B&C Web site, meshing lifestyle, art and music. While other guests including retro rover Charles Phoenix, Rae Dawn Chong, Ann Magnuson, Diva Zappa and LeVar Burton, chomped on soul food, an array of yummy cheesecakes and bowls filled with candy in every crevice of the home, the duo screened the Web site and their first video, a groovy cut called “It’s a Woman Thang,” featuring colorful animated females who’ll serve as guides for the site. We’ll definitely be visiting, but what we really wanna know is, when can we come to another one of her happy house hullabaloos? Check out the confections at www.bubblesandcheesecake.com.
ANARCHY ON SUNSET
It was billed as a “Sunset Strip Block Party,” but traipsing from The Key Club to The Roxy to the Viper Room is what we call “your average Friday night.” Still, the three-venue event put on by SanDisk to promote its new 8GB memory card last Friday did offer some special moments: Cut Chemist’s funky wax attacks at the Roxy and Supernatural’s mad raps at Key Club, for example. Crystal Method spun early in the eve, but the suits in the house made it feel convention-like, while Linkin Park’s set later saw more real rock fans. Too bad their brand of “rock” is a mockery at this point. Missed two of our faves — Common and Z-Trip — but we gotta admit, we were Stripped out pretty early, especially since we were just there the night before — along with Velvet Revolver, Mickey Avalon,Lost’s Naveen Andrews and Gavin Rossdale — for the private Sex Pistols show. Though some might not agree (see Live in L.A.) we found the show to be a wild ride. Yeah, Rotten mugged and ranted disingenuously (what’s new?), Jonesy huffed and puffed, and Cook and Matlock just kept up, but the bottom line for Nightranger was, how did it sound? Unlike many aging rock legends who reunite for a buck, only to half-ass it onstage, Rotten and co. played their bollocks off, re-creating our fave anthems with a voracity that was not unlike the kids who’ll molest the fake frets to their songs on the new edition of Guitar Hero III. The popular video game partially sponsored the comeback gig, as well as its own party on Saturday on the roof of a Best Buy store (with a performance by Poison, not the Pistols) and gamer-geek following aside, we defy anyone who plays it — as we did at the On the Rox after-party — not to become completely addicted. Just like a real rock star.