What better salute to Old Glory than having the Stars ’n’ Stripes snuggle the jiggling backside of a dancer named REM? Eighteen such hard bodies (and not one hairy chest) from as far as Romania competed at EL REY in the sixth annual search for the BEST MALE EXOTIC DANCER OF CALIFORNIA 2001, which raised funds for various Asian-Pacific AIDS groups. These guys came up with some novel ways to strip down to their dental floss G-strings (shucks, no full frontal!), with their flexing pecs, gyrating pelvises, and dance moves so cheesy they made SNLs “Mango” look like Baryshnikov. JEREMY TANG displayed good use of props with his peekaboo white shawl, flashlight and rope climbing, while naughty officer LAWRENCE ARATA had a lady onstage assuming the position as he searched for some crack. “Mailman by day” and MC
VICTORIA LA VOOVAH announced awards in various categories such as best costume, which went to leather-strapped and devil-horned VICTOR BARILLAS, who tied with a limber Transylvanian CIPRIAN NICOLAE dressed as a red cowboy. But it was contestant JASEN JOHNSTON, last year’s second runner-up and real-life Playgirl centerfold, who came in loudest on the applause meter and nabbed the $1,000 prize despite his curious choice of music: Def Leppard, the Looney Tunes and the theme to The Jeffersons. Not quite the mood setter as Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” but he’s finally movin’ on up.

—Siran Babayan

Tips for Today

Art or kitsch? Who cares as long as it’s fun? That was the prevailing sentiment at the opening of MADELEINE FARLEY’s show, “Movie-Tips,” at MIAU HAUS GALLERY. The perky British artist has forged new ground with her photo blowups of classic movie moments, reconstructed using Q-Tips and shot with a throwaway Instamatic. If the shower scene from Psycho, with Janet Leigh and Anthony Perkins portrayed by Q-Tips, or a Q-Tip luxuriating in the bed of roses from American Beauty, or two Q-Tips riding a bike from E.T. (pictured) strikes your fancy, you’re in good company: Among the movie buffs who cotton to Farley’s art are Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Salma Hayek and Ed Norton. Lots more names happily strutted the gauntlet of
frenzied photogs lined up in front of the gallery. We spotted MICHAEL YORK, CAROLE KING,
TREY PARKER, Sex and the City’s JOHN CORBETT, suds star LAURA LEE BELL, stage vet
SEAN CULLEN, and Once and Again’s STEVEN WEBER, who lamented a crushed Q-Tip on the floor as “the ultimate artistic statement of what Hollywood is all about.” Perhaps the most ambitious work in the exhibition was the life-size blond-wigged Q-Tip Marilyn Monroe in the entranceway, plastic skirt billowing à la The Seven Year Itch. Farley plans to continue in the movie-tip genre. “I’ve been trying for ages to stop,” she sighed, “but there are so many movies I haven’t yet tackled. I think I’ve been taken over.” Sounds like “Invasion of the Q-Tip Body Snatchers” will be coming soon to a gallery near you.

—Mary Beth Crain

Big Bang

It was all about mixing up hip-hop, drum ’n’ bass and soul when FIRECRACKER was started by a collective of artists and writers at the GRAND STAR three years ago. Since then, fueled in part by the multiculti mélange of turntablists, photographers, fashionistas, musicians, graffiti writers, artists and scenesters who frequent the club, the Chinatown scene has exploded, and put the area back on the hepcat map for the first time since the heyday of the late-’70s old-school punk era. At Firecracker’s third-anni blowout, the beautiful and terrifyingly hip shared blunts on the downstairs patio while marveling at DJ MADLIB’s amazing synthesis of soul beats and Euro-prog. Photojournalist and author BRIAN CROSS, a.k.a. B+, touted his opening at Zineorama this Saturday as the shop’s co-owners, FRANK SOSA (of Realized Records) and club promoter CHRIS VARGAS (Malathion L.A.), looked on. KCRW’s LIZA RICHARDSON prowled the bar downstairs, where the audience gave out love and enthusiastic applause for the excellent live-jazz musicians, while upstairs guest DJs VALIDA spun samba house and JUN did a neat combo of breakbeat, d ’n’ b and jazzy house. Firecracker regulars PRAISE ONE and WING KO also mixed house and d ’n’ b beats. Getting their groove on were Black Eyed Peas’ TABOO, actor
ED NORTON with photographer bud GLEN WILSON and Urb mag’s RAYMOND ROKER and JOSH LEVINE.

—Brendan Mullen

Power to the Pimple

Of course it was inevitable, especially in an era of Backstreet Boys and Eden’s Crush, that the teenybopper nightclub would make a comeback, continuing the tradition of under-age hot spots such as the long-gone Odyssey and 321. Pubescent prancers and dancers boogied down at the opening of ONE SEVEN in the Hollywood-and-Highland complex, while the grown-ups, allowed to party with the fresh-faced nubiles for one night (the club’s regular age limit is 15–20), wondered if they could get a drink before a live performance by JEWEL. The stiff stuff was discreetly placed behind the bar under a large display for the club’s usual beverage offerings of fruit juice and Pepsi (Britney’s drink of choice!). Nu-brat packers, including singer/actor
USHER, actress RACHAEL LEIGH COOK, fashion plate PARIS HILTON (with a cell phone glued to her ear), Malcolm in the Middle’s FRANKIE MUNIZ, and interchangeable young thespians from films such as 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That grooved in halter tops and hip-huggers to pop and funk from Crazy Town DJ AM. Created by Seventeen magazine and a club
entrepreneur out of Boston, the under-21 venue isn’t exactly a new idea (Runaways singer Cherie Currie was discovered at the Sugar Shack back in the ’70s), but One Seven hopes to be a wholesome alternative: the dress code prohibits baggy clothing, tank tops, athletic gear and “most obvious trappings of rave culture,” according to the press release, plus there’s a strict anti-drug policy. Nice idea, but someone seems to have forgotten what street One Seven is on.

—Lina Lecaro

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