From multiculti, polysexual neighborhood street party to bona fide music and arts fest, the Sunset Junction Street Fair continues to excite as it expands. Not everybody in the hood loves it that the crowds (and the donation fees) keep getting bigger, but with a lineup like this, who can bitch? The New York Dolls (Sunday) are an obvious coup (expect David Johansen’s punk-glam come-ons to be as funny and feisty and, yeah, foxy as ever), but the Velvet Underground’s John Cale (Saturday) is even more astounding. With his work with VU, his arty collabs with the likes of Siouxsie Sioux, and the new, heavier rock-tinged material off his forthcoming Black Acetate, he’s not your average street-fair fare, and that’s a good thing.
Seasoned scenesters will also hit the Bates stage for the still-treacherous punk bombs of The Weirdos and the potent guitar-mangled melodies of The Leaving Trains (Sunday). Skindie-rock kiddies are sure to be wagging their shags to Burning Brides’ scorching hook-packed wall of sound, the rousing grooves of locals Viva K (both Sunday), Rilo Kiley’s ebullient heart-stomped romps and The Walkmen’s fervent anthems (their U2-esque single “The Rat” has a “Where the Streets Have No Name” feel that’ll create just the right vibe around dusk when they play) on Saturday.
The non-rock stages are worth a visit, too: Chaka Khan makes a triumphant return on the Edgecliff stage, armed with hits from her days with Rufus and her “I Feel for You” solo period, along with fellow ’80s hit mama Jody Watley (both Sun.). As always, old soulsters like the Temptations’ Richard Street (hard to keep track of which lineup he’s from, but does it really matter?) and “former ladies of the Supremes” (ditto) funk up the Junction just fine on Sat. In between, the carny and craft-booth craziness wouldn’t be complete without some authentic ethnic rhythms (Bobby Matos on Saturday, Los Pinguos and Drums of Passion on Sunday) and, of course, pumping DJ beats bleeding into one another courtesy of mash-up man Paul V, electro climber Mt. Sims (both Saturday) and irie body rockers from the Echo’s Dub Club (Sunday), to name a few.
Those with enough stamina to get there early will be rewarded with sets by the future rock stars from the Silverlake Conservatory of Music (both days, noon-3 p.m.) and, more importantly, rock-star parking. 3600–4400 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake; Sat., Aug. 27, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 28, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; $10.