Spicy New Year

Happy ’08, night-lovin’ mates. As you may have noticed, the Ranger took a much-needed break last issue, and though we avoided the inevitably anticlimactic, amateur-laden countdown commotion of New Year’s Eve, we have no regrets — we heard Hard was slammin’ but disorganized and that Giant Maximus was big and, uh, big. Bubbly at the abode and Dick Clark at midnight were more than enough revelry for us after December’s procession of holiday bashes and shop-a-thons. We’ve seen our share of shitty Eves, so at this point, New Year’s Day fêtes seem so much more fun anyway. Clearly we’re not alone. January 1 was hot and happening in more ways than one at Spaceland booker Jennifer Tefft’s pad in Los Feliz, where for the past few years she’s hosted a chili party for pals. Bubbling with more banged babes and ratty rockers than a Saturday night at the Silver Lake music club, this mellow house mash offered a nice postscript to the boozing of the night before (the spicy stuff, of which she made three kinds, is great hangover food), plus it gave us a chance to hear about other people’s wild nights for a change.

Here Comes the Sin

We may have laid low on NYE, but a couple of nights later, we swung the party pendulum way, way in the other direction . . . all the way to Vegas, baby. That’s right, Nightranger made our annual pilgrimage to Sin City last week, and the rapidly evolving/revolving doors of Vegas’ club scene mirrors Los Angeles nightlife in more ways than one. The L.A./L.V. club ties are endless too, going way beyond the obviousness of the new Planet Hollywood casino.

If you’re a rock-music fan, you can’t do Vegas without checking out Love, the Cirque du Soleil spectacle set completely to Beatles music. The show is sonically mesmerizing and arty as hell (we couldn’t help but think about that mushroom-trip scene in Knocked Up during a lot of it), and its adjacent Revolution Lounge provides a rockin’ extension to the kaleidoscopic fun with Yellow Submarine–ish visuals and touchscreen cocktail tables that allow patrons to draw their own groovy designs and then project them onto the walls. DJs spun a lively mix of new and classic rock on the Thursday night we popped in, but the manager told us live music is starting to rev up Revolution too: L.A.’s own Indie 103.1 will soon be presenting bands there on a regular basis.

After we polished off a gargantuan vodka guzzler in a souvenir cup called “Can’t Buy Me Love” at the show, it’s a wonder we had any mojo left for clubbin,’ but Vegas makes us vampy, so after Revolution, it was off to the city’s newest nightspot, called The Bank at the Bellagio. Already a fave of Leonardo DiCaprio, this one is touted as the most glamorous dance space in Vegas, drenched in crystal (chandeliers) and Cristal (one room is literally covered wall-to-wall with the pricey champagne), and of course the requisite half-naked dancers and bottle-service hostesses. Formerly Light (largely credited for making Vegas a clubbing mecca and bringing the bottle-service concept there), the space’s remodel was kinda essential — the luster of a new hot spot fades even quicker here than in L.A. clubs. With a $50 cover and a setup that makes non-bottle buyers feel less than special, high rollers are the only ones likely to get lucky here.

Fame and ? Loathing

Other spanking-new spots include Jay-Z’s 40/40 club at the Venetian and L.A. chef Kerry Simon’s Cathouse (not to be confused with the infamous ’80s metal hangout), which does the brothel look even better than our city’s Bordello — a voyeuristic window display offers a live lass in lingerie primping all night. Mischa Barton was scheduled to host the grand opening last week before her DUI, but Jack and Kelly Osbourne took her place. Our dinner there wasn’t nearly as delectable as the eye candy, but Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ Robin Leach (he writes for one of those “Guide to Vegas” brochures they leave in your room these days), sitting a few tables over from us, seemed to like his nibbles. Another La-La Land link: Steve Aoki will be deejaying there on January 14.

New Year’s Eve naturally saw plenty of “celebrity hosts” descend on Vegas’ club bashes. Pam Anderson hosted Pure at Caesars (solo), Kanye West was at the new Pearl in the Palms, while Dave Navarro did his guitar-god thing with DJ Skribble at Rain there, Mariah Carey crazied up Tao at the Venetian, Kevin Federline held court (after court) at Tangerine at Treasure Island and the Hilton sisters (wonder how much they get as a package deal?) reigned over the Luxor’s LAX. Obviously, post–New Year’s, when we were there, saw the fame meter go down . . . way down. We saw flyers that Laguna Beach’s Kristin Cavallari would be appearing at LAX the next night (and by the way, this LAX looks and feels nothing like its sister club in Hollywood; the airport theme has been replaced by a red-swathed, almost gothic décor, though the uninviting dance floor is as narrow as a runway). We were ready for take off as soon as we got there.

So we flew into Jet at the Mirage, where an absurd surprise awaited us — none other than The HillsSpencer Pratt and Heidi Montag were hosting! The night, which saw Montag hump a go-go dancer’s stripper pole to the drunken delight of white-veiled bachelorette-party girls and the horny fellas hounding them, epitomized Vegas’ cheesy yet teasy appeal. Its meta-mix of liquor, food, money, sex and now music and dance has an extremely seductive energy, but like Montag’s reality show (and her body), it’s completely fake. What happens there may stay there, but luckily we didn’t have to. Of course, that doesn’t mean we won’t be ready to roll the dice again next year.

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