Spring is here and that means less clothing and more carousing. Yes, it also happens to be the month that L.A. sees a millennial exodus of sorts thanks to two weekends of Coachella, but for those who stay behind, there are plenty of parties and events to keep everyone happy. It's time to hit the clubs, the streets and the Happiest Place on Earth. Mark your calendars, kiddies, because things are really heating up!
Sunday, April 3
For all the hubbub about Silver Lake’s hipsterization, there is one kinky contingent that has kept its hold on the 'hood (pun intended) and seems to thrive no matter how many organic juicing joints or over-priced minimalist-chic boutiques come in: the leather and fetish scene. Now in its fourth year, the Off-Sunset Festival provides a fun and friendly (if not exactly family-friendly — it’s 21+) block party for gay chaps (who love chaps) and their friends to party, conveniently located right near infamous leather bar the Eagle. And the best part is, all are welcome to join and enjoy, even straights. The bookings kinda ask for it; they’re usually a mix of rock & roll, retro faves and hot DJs.
This year the lineup includes the 25th-anniversary reunion of beloved gay punk band Pansy Division, along with Four Star Mary, Slaves Against the Machine, HappyForYou, The Crazy Squeeze and Tramp for the Lord. Spin-sters include The Perry Twins, Casey Alva, Mike Elling and our fave, Josh Peace (of Mustache Mondays fame). Expect to hear big beats and see lots of bare butts, plus food trucks, beer gardens, vendors (mostly leather and fetish wares) and more. There’s even a “clothing check” so you can take it all off upon entry.
At the Eagle LA, 4219 Santa Monica Blvd., Silver Lake (and all along Santa Monica Blvd. between Sunset and Hoover). 11 a.m.-7 p.m., 21+. $15 advance tickets at offsunset.laltickets.com. $20 at the gate. More info.
HEAV3N & SOFT LEATHER
Saturday, April 9
Two of the club scene’s sexiest throwdowns join forces for a fabulous night of Snapchatastic, Twitteriffic and, yes, IRL fun. The kids behind Heav3n and the dude behind Soft Leather know a thing or two about acquiring a following online, and their clubs and parties follow suit with packed dance floors and pose-y patrons throughout. The crowds at both nights are effortlessly stylish and, often, gorgeously androgynous. These bashes are basically youth revelry at its raging-est, and downtown L.A. venue the Lash has been the perfect home for both with its convenient locale and cozy modern setup.
Johnny Love, best known for popularizing the HealthGoth hashtag-turned-lifestyle, has been out of L.A. doing Soft Leather events for a while, so this party marks his return. Heav3n’s angels, led by gender-bending glamazon Lulo Logan, continue to bring out crowds to party with them. The faces may be angelic at Heav3n, but the moves are anything but on the dance floor and in the club’s crevices, especially when the DJs pull out the dirtiest trap, house and electronic jams. With Soft Leather joining, they promise eight DJs and special surprise guests TBA, plus a more expansive mix including underground rave vibes, hip-hop and everything in between. Expect shameless hell-raising at this tempestuous two-in-one. Co-hosts include @nikkilipstick, @toopoor and @lunamiu (don’t forget the @ signs).
At the Lash, 117 Winston St., downtown. 10 p.m.- 2 a.m., 21+. Cover TBA. More info.
RAINBOW 44TH ANNIVERSARY
Sunday, April 17
Admittedly, the Rainbow has lost a little bit of its magic since patron saint Lemmy Kilmister went to rock & roll heaven. But those of us who love the place prefer to look at things with a more positive, pint-glass-half-full perspective. Lemmy’s ghost will always haunt the Rainbow, and so will rock fans going to shows on the Strip and tourists who know the venue’s historic past. The Rainbow is one of the few L.A. landmarks that hasn’t changed hands to some trendy club impresario, and in West Hollywood, that’s something to be celebrated.
This all-day celebration of the bar and grill’s 44th birthday in the parking lot and inside rooms sounds like a worthy one. Bands include a gaggle of OGs (original glamsters): L.A. Guns, Junkyard, Circus of Power, Tuff and many more. With Rainbow regulars Guns N' Roses getting so much attention these days, it's worth remembering that many of their peers, particularly the first two on this event’s bill, made quality music as well. In the case of Junkyard, they still are; they're playing this gig to spread the word about their new release, Faded. It’s free all day with the Rainbow’s usual two-drink ticket purchase at the door.
At the Rainbow Bar & Grill, 9015 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood. 2 p.m.-closing. Free with 2-drink minimum. More info.
ART LABOE BLOCK PARTY
Friday, April 22
Old-school vibes will be in full effect as 93.5 KDAY brings together a soulful mix of artists in honor of the famed L.A. DJ Art Laboe. For those of us who grew up in Los Angeles, Laboe is more than a DJ — he’s a matchmaker, a confidant and a purveyor of Angeleno culture. While his name still conjures Chicano car and gang culture (“Sad Girl dedicating Tierra’s 'Together' to her old man Shorty”) via his time at KRLA, his move to KDAY brought out more bodacious jams on his dedication playlist.
This block party features some of the most audacious artists from the past several decades of soul, hip-hop and disco: the liquid-y funk of Zapp (minus late mastermind Roger Troutman), the smooth seduction of Rose Royce, the disco decadence of Evelyn “Champagne” King, the bootylicious bumping of Sir Mix-A-Lot (whom we'll take seeing over Nicki Minaj any day) and the lyrical bliss of Rapper's Delight (featuring Master Gee and Wonder Mike from Sugarhill Gang), Coolio and Grandmaster's Furious Five, featuring Melle Mel and Scorpio. This one’s dedicated to the dancers, the dreamers and the lovers.
BATS DAY HAPPY HAUNTS SWINGING WAKE
Friday, April 29
The end of the month marks two huge unofficial events at the home of Mickey Mouse: Dapper Day and Bats Day, which are taking place on the same day this year, Sunday, May 1. But even if you can’t attend the biggest Disneyland dress-up day(s) of the year, this weekend offers plenty of character-driven cosplay and fanciful, fantasy-driven hijinks. We think your best bet for eye candy has to be Bats Day’s pre-party, the Swinging Wake, a costume ball celebrating all things supernatural and dark.
Costumes are required, so come dressed as a ghost or ghoul, spirit or spook or, better yet, a Haunted Mansion denizen or Disney villain. Eerie entertainment includes Janet Klein & Her Parlor Boys, Marquis & the Rhythm Howlers and demonic DJs out to possess your soul on the dance floor. They’ve also got roaming characters, fortune tellers, tarot card readers, magicians, “horror d'oeuvres” and a themed photo booth to capture your bewitched best looks.
The ball is followed the next day by the marketplace and then the big park takeover — which is not an official Disney event, even though the park is aware and supportive. Bats Day overlapping with Dapper Day, a chance for Disney fans to visit the park in their vintage finery, should make for quite the spiffy, spooky spectacle. Dapper Day has some pre-park partying to offer as well, so check out plans at DapperDay.com.
At the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Hotel Anaheim Resort, 2085 S. Harbor Blvd. Anaheim. Tickets and more info at batsdayhappyhauntsswingingwake.com.
More from Lina Lecaro:
Goths, Galleries and Gentrification: The Year in L.A. Nightlife
Everyone From L7 to Nirvana (Yes, That Nirvana) Played '90s DIY Venue Jabberjaw
A Q&A With Gun N' Roses' Duff McKagan