“This place was the closest thing to the vibe at Al’s Bar — where are we going to go now?” promoter
SONDRA PISTOL wondered at the closing night of JUVEE, the all-ages skate shop in Silver Lake that hosted a slew of riotous underground-rock shows during its brief summerlong existence. As punks like Stitches guitarist JOHNNY WITMER swooped down Juvee’s wooden skate ramp, a mob of scenesters — including ubiquitous rock photographer JOSE PARADA, Malo Records kingpin MIKE AVELAR, ex–Cheap Lays bassist NAMELLA J. KIM, Popdefect’s NICK SCOTT and O.C. Weekly music writer CHRIS ZIEGLER — packed the small space one last time, gazing mournfully at the shop’s soon-to-be-painted-over Shepard Fairey murals. Although the night turned into an impromptu wake for Juvee — according to Ms. Pistol, the landlord has declined attempts to keep the place open — everyone still celebrated the release of the new Let’s Get Rid of L.A. compilation on Revenge/Star Map Records, which rather successfully apes the spirit of the old Dangerhouse and Slash Records singles. The night before, several of the groups on the comp —
THE STARVATIONS, THEE MAKEOUT PARTY, ALLEGED GUNMEN, LIPSTICK PICKUPS and pop combo THE CHECKERS (pictured), fronted by JULIE “Vox” PAVLOWSKI (a Weekly contributor) — performed, followed on Saturday by waves of chaotic slamming to sets by Long Beach troublemakers THE ORPHANS and demonic channelers THE FUSE, who could only occasionally be seen, grinning demonically, through a flurry of torsos and limbs stirred up by their convulsive, ephemeral noise. You won’t see punk rock like this anytime soon on MTV, and now with the recent loss of both Juvee and the similarly fun Valley dive Rumors, the underground is going to have to dig in even deeper.
THE IN BLUE LINE
“Is this a line like any other line?” wondered a tall, somewhat preserved blond, peevishly asking the great L.A. existential question. Like everyone else she had to wait outside the VIPER ROOM before going inside to see songstress and violinist LILI HAYDN perform numbers from her new CD, Light Blue Sun. Unlike the blond, a host of other Lili devotees, including actors BIRD YORK (The West Wing), LUCY WEBB and KEVIN POLLAK, all waited patiently for their chance to crowd into the upstairs space, which had been festooned with artificial blue lilies and copies of the album cover. Once inside, the crowd could barely contain itself — when HBO late-night grump BILL MAHER introduced the diminutive beauty, Adelphia Cable’s public-affairs guru, BILL ROSENDAHL, Haydn’s old friend, bellowed out, “Hello, Lili!” Haydn and the band stunned the crowd with her mix of traditional violin and techno beats, with help from DJ SHERLOCK. Ladies of the canyon mingled with musical hipsters, all swaying to the tunes, while glowing plastic LCD ice cubes in everyone’s drinks lighted up the place like fireflies on a summer evening. The emotional moment of the night came when Haydn sang a song written by her mother, the late comedian Lotus Weinstock, but the big surprise was her duet with the band’s harp player. “There’s something you don’t see every day,” said her PR guy and former Warner Music honcho BOB MERLIS. A group of fans wearing crowns made out of pipe cleaners presented Haydn with a cake decorated with an icing rendition of her album cover. She smiled like the sun.
ANTS IN YOUR PLANTS
“The city is under martial law until we annihilate THEM!” barked a police officer, although the assembled gathered on folding chairs in the parking lot of the LOS ANGELES MEDIA TECH CENTER didn’t appear too terrified. Who were “they”? Terrorists? Schwarzenegger supporters? A secret cabal of metrosexuals out to make over the city? No — ants, the giant radioactive pests who rampaged onscreen at the FRIENDS OF THE LOS ANGELES RIVER’s outdoor showing of THEM!, that 1954 scream-fest from the golden age of sci-fi. The alien ants, born of nuclear testing in the New Mexico desert, racked up the body count before eventually taking refuge in the drainage canals of the L.A. River, which got big cheers from a crowd that included Latino Urban Forum founder JAMES ROJAS, photographer JUDY FISKIN, KPFK’s
Beneath the Surface host JON WIENER, up-and-coming Elite model ZINTA, and MTA planning director
JIM DE LA LOZA. UC Riverside professor DEVRA WEBER was on hand to recall her mother’s role in this frontrunner of the radioactive-monster genre, in which she played the mom of two boys held hostage by the mandibled murderers. And, of course, FOLAR founder, poet and general bon vivant LEWIS MacADAMS was there to keep it all flowing. With the (mostly) concrete-banked waterway at their backs, moviegoers blithely munched fistfuls of Red Vines (10 for a dollar, and you’re saving the river!) or finished off al fresco dinners while betraying no fear of every picnic’s inevitable guest —them!