Hollywood's upscale clubsterfuck evolution continues to claim more casualties. Buzz on the streets (and blogs) is that gay stalwart The Spotlight on Cahuenga is in serious danger of closing end of this year. Crane's Hollywood Tavern on El Centro Ave. just flew the coop, and Ye Coach & Horses up the street on Sunset Blvd. galloped off last month.
Truth be told, the boulevard's Vegas-like feel can be fun and club-hopping in the area feels safer than it ever did. Still, the diversity is being threatened with big money pits dwarfing and ultimately destroying what little remains of Hollywood's sleazy past.
Last Saturday night, we attended an event at what may be Hollywood's last standing beacon of bad taste (and we hear that it, too, may be biting the dust soon). The Hollywood Cabaret (formerly The Cave) is one of those places you may walk by often but never, ever think about entering. The bright yellow sign out front features a lass sitting spread eagle in a red bikini and white go-go boots and it boasts “famous dancers” “totally nude” and a “movie theatre.”
Artist Paul Picasso decided it would make the perfect locale to display his artwork for a private party to launch his new website, and he couldn't have been more right. The theme of his show was “Shooting Stars Now.” Not sure if the “shooting” that used to go down in these parts was referenced intentionally or not. Picasso (no relation to Pablo) is a photog who works with colorful digital manipulations and the idea was that he would shoot the most fabulous get-ups in the contrastingly nasty environs (the lap dance booths made for a popular shot spot). His previous work was displayed via visual monitors.
Barbiesque boy toy/singer Jer Ber Jones pole danced and performed his bodacious, very-appropriate anthem “Boobs (Dirty Pillows),” followed by Hollywood's original gutter punks The Maus Maus rocking out tunes from their soon-to-be released “long lost Mad Dog recordings” disc mixed and produced by The Doors' Robby Krieger (who was in the house Saturday). We were impressed. They whipped it like it was still 1978.
Warhol Superstar Joe Dallesandro was there as well (he's one of Picasso's frequent art subjects) as was punk queen Tequila Mockingbird, who took to the pole for a few twirls in white wigged drag. We steered clear of the hardcore “porn theatre” up front, preferring the back room where a participatory art project — plastic covered walls and paint/brushes for those who felt creative – felt like a party within the party.
A DJ played goth sounds lit by a red hued menorah (it was Hannukah, after all), while two of Picasso's brought-in dancers writhed on stage and a shirtless gent passed around Christmas cookies and store-bought sushi. Of course there was free booze, and when everyone left they were presented with a hand-painted supermarket bag filled with 99 Cents Only store swag and Picasso's art.
It all felt a little like a “Stefon” nightlife report from Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update, but NYC's faux hotspots got nothin' on LA's for-real after dark underworld. And while subversive amusements and environments are getting harder and harder to find in Hollywood (and Echo Park, etc), rest assured, with “stars” like Picasso, Jones and Mockingbird around, they will shine on somewhere. We'll continue to gaze.
More twinkle on this topic (and pics) in this week's Nightranger column and slideshow.