Uplifting Mofo Party

This’ll sound blasphemous to some, but we gotta admit it: We’ve never been big on Eddie Vedder.The super-serious stance, the melodramatic growls, the red-faced squints, the corduroy… just not our bag. But after seeing the Pearl Jam singer up close and intimate at Hullabaloo, the annual benefit for the Silverlake Conservatory of Music (held at the Henry Fonda on Cinco de Mayo), we’ve completely flipped. Vedder offered a stripped-down solo set, with just an acoustic guitar (and a bottle of wine), that was completely compelling. He lost none of his intensity when Flea, original Pepper drummer Jack Irons and Sex Pistol Steve Jones joined him for some more upbeat P.J. and Neil Young stuff. The fiesta, hosted by deadpan man Woody Harrelson (sample joke:What do you call four Mexicans in quicksand? Quatro de Sinko!) and attended by the likes of Michael Des Barres and Jack Black,offered free booze and Latin food, not to mention a stellar lineup including Vedder, Mickey Avalon and, of course, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Though not as inspiring as Vedder, Avalon was, as always, (a)rousing. The former prostitute made no attempt to censor himself for the kiddies in attendance, though he was noticeably more covered up than usual — i.e., his ass wasn’t hanging out of his jeans. (The same couldn’t be said for his miniskirted dancers, however.) Avalon even spewed the boastful “My Dick” with co-rapping from actor Simon Rex (?!). Surprisingly — or not — it was the pubescent set that chanted along loudest and proudest during the tune. After a more child-appropriate magic show, Rob Zabrecky astounded us further with his auctioneering skills, hawking everything from a scooter with celeb signatures to a walk-on spot on the Showtime series Weeds. Of course, the Peps’ set was the main event, but by the time they came on, the tequila had been flowing for hours, which meant more than a few fans chucked their cheese into the crowd (it was Cinco de Drinko after all). Sure smelled funky! Still, the benefit raised big bucks for the school, which is offering camps this summer. Despite the young’uns’ fondness for dirty raps, we’re pretty sure they won’t return from Conservatory camp with American Pie–like “one time, at band camp” anecdotes. We hope.

Drunk Grandma… Fannnntastic

Speaking of summer pleasures, nothing beats soaking in soundz under the stars, especially at cozy alfresco venues like the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre. They stopped offering loud rock music a long time ago (though two of our most memorable concerts there were the Chili Peppers in ’88 and Jane’s Addiction in ’89). But the Ford’s lineup is still quite eclectic. We caught season opener Charles Phoenix and his retro slide-show spectacle last Friday, and were taken back to a simpler time, when shirts were starched and starburst wall clocks were hip (okay, they still are). Phoenix finds his slides in thrift shops and at garage sales, so it’s always different; this show included everything from drunk grandmas to shopping mall openings, all from the ’50s and early ’60s, and all dubbed “Fannnntastic” by Phoenix (his fave word). In the spirit of these vintage visuals, Phoenix even made the white-trash dessert fave Ambrosia, though with his special ingredient — wieners — it was anything but food of the gods. Phoenix’s “Disneyland Tour of Downtown L.A.” (which includes a lunch stop at kitschy cafeteria Clifton’s) takes place this Sun., May 20, and next Sun., May 27. Take it and learn that L.A. is, indeed, a small world after all.

Here Comes Summer!

Keeping track of the hot new nightlife thang is tough enough, but staying dialed in to the meanderings of already established hangs too? It’s a tough job, but somebody’s gotta do it! So take notes, scene fiends, ’cause this is stuff you’ll wanna know before you get gussied up to go out as the months get warmer. Three (body)rockin’ rave-ups, Check Yo Ponytail, Transistor and Bootie L.A. have new dance floors to break in. Franki Chan’s Ponytail, which just celebrated its first anniversary at Safari Sam’s, will now be at the Echoplex every other Saturday starting May 26. Mashup club Bootie does the reverse, moving from the Echo to Sam’s on June 2. Meanwhile Transistor, the indie danceteria from the Par Avion peeps, has moved from the Grand Star in Chinatown to 416 Cantina (inside Señor Fish), an unassuming downtown spot. That’s sure to cement Mexican restaurants as the hot spots for summer, what with La Cita continuing its reign — and expanding outside soon — and Velvet Margarita’sViva La Rock & Roll Wednesday (hosted by Ricky Vodka and Eden Knieval) bringing out a new generation of leather-jacket rebels and the still-pretty peeps who used to go to Pretty Ugly. Speaking of seasoned and still-sassy rawkers, Scream queen Dayle Gloria’s got a new weekly shindig at Boardner’s; opening night is tonight, if you’re reading this on Thursday, May 17. Couple other new clambakes we’re intrigued by: the Blue Lounge at Moonshadows in Malibu (where Mel Gibson got famously shit faced), now featuring electronica by the sea nightly; and hump-night happening Live at theWitch Trials, held at The Bar in Hollywood and hosted by NYC’s 1977/Misfits Party boy Chris Clancy. We’ll give you the full scoop on both these shindigs in the coming weeks, and also report back from Cheeters, a new Wednesday night of booty beats spun by DJ Pube$ at Cheetah’s. No need for prude dudes or tame dames to stay away, either: These days the ta-tas at the strip club are covered by bikini tops.

More Nightranger photos, which means more Mickey Avalon photos

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