View more photos in Lina Lecaro's slideshow, "Nightranger: Art Parties Galore."
Who needs some sparse, white-walled art gallery? When it comes to showcasing art and performance, shouldn't the space be as unique as the work itself? Last week, we enjoyed presentations and parties at each of the following: a dingy downtown underpass (Ryan Heffington's Heavy Metal Parking Lot — The Musical), a groovy vintage eyewear shop (Steve Martinez's "Punk" photo show), an upscale boutique (designer Paul Smith's anniversary bash at his pink cubelike store) and one of Hollywood's sleaziest strip clubs/porn theaters (Paul Picasso's web launch at the Hollywood Cabaret aka "The Cave").
Hollywood's upscale clubsterfuck evolution continues to claim more casualties. Blog buzz is that gay stalwart The Spotlight on Cahuenga is in serious danger of finally closing at the end of this year. Crane's Hollywood Tavern on El Centro Avenue just flew the coop, and Ye Coach & Horses up the street on Sunset Boulevard galloped off last month. Truth be told, Tinseltown's Vegaslike vibe can be fun, and club-hopping in the area feels safer than it ever did, but the diversity is being threatened with big money pits dwarfing and ultimately destroying what little remains of Hollywood's sleazy past.
And now the boulevard's last standing beacon of bad taste, the Hollywood Cabaret, is said to be closing as well. It's 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."
Picasso's "Shooting Stars Now" event there featured his digitally manipulated work on monitors and interactive art creations inside. The idea was that he would shoot the most fabulous getups in the contrastingly nasty environs (the lap-dance booths made for a popular shot spot). MC Jer Ber Jones pole-danced and performed his bodacious, too-appropriate anthem "Boobs (Dirty Pillows)," followed by Hollywood's original gutter punks The Mau Maus rocking out tunes from their soon-to-be-rereleased "long-lost Mad Dog recordings," mixed and produced by The Doors' Robby Krieger (who was in the house Saturday). They whipped it like it was still 1978.
Warhol Superstar Joe Dallesandro, punk queen Tequila Mockingbird and dress-up queen Fade-Dra Phey soaked up the slightly sordid scene, which also included a hardcore "porn theater" up front, a backroom covered in plastic (patrons were invited to paint it), DJs spinning Goth sounds lit by a red-hued menorah (it was Hanukkah, after all), dancers writhing onstage and a shirtless gent passing around Christmas cookies and store-bought sushi. Hanukkah swag bags filled with strange goodies and Picasso's art gave everyone a happy ending.
Saturday was a punker twofer, as longtime Nightranger pal Steve Martinez showcased some amazing photography earlier in the evening at Hotel de Ville Eyewear in Los Feliz. With subjects ranging from artists such as The Adolescents and The Damned to original printed lyrics from Lydia Lunch's 13:13, the work — all shot on film (no digital) — makes an alluring complement to the shop, which also showcases vintage furniture used in shows like Mad Men. Seen lounging Don Draper–style, grooving to Don Bolles on the decks and trying on the store's wide array of cool frames during Martinez's opening: Circle Jerks/OFF!'s Keith Morris, Fatso Jetson's Tony Tornay, Contortions' Adelle Bertei, plus photogs Mark Berry, Tom Keller, Edmund Bar and artists Ricardo Mendoza, Kris Zaycher, Danyi Deats and John Roecker. Check out Martinez's photos in the shop for the next few months.
NO PARKING ON THE DANCE WHORE
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We gotta admit, we were kind of expecting a campy, zebra-print spandex deal from Ryan Heffington's final engagement at MOCA last Thursday. It is the preferred attire at his Sweaty Sundays dance classes, and anyone who's ever seen the famed rock doc Heavy Metal Parking Lot knows it's all about the bad fashion and boozed-out, boastful bozos found outside hesher gigs circa 1986. Turns out, the name was the only thing the show had in common with the film. This was meant to be a serious, dark and dramatic rogue theater offering, with Hef's band We Are the World as the centerpiece, all taking place on a closed-off street under Grand Avenue, a couple blocks walk from the museum.
The sinister feel, movements and rhythmic sounds of the show were mostly compelling to us, but some we talked to found it a little art school–ambitious and derivative of San Francisco's Survival Research Laboratories (SRL) presentations, which pioneered large-scale spectacles that utilize machinery. Hef's show offered WATW in devilish black garb atop a moving truck, with giant fans blowing wigged dancers about and a weird pyramid contraption that came apart into separate silver shards to reveal an oil-covered fellow singing inside. There were spastic movements, head-banging and rampant running around and anarchy, which in the end brought to mind Mad Max and The Warriors more than Parking Lot. It may not have been the most innovative thing L.A.'s more sophisticated art followers (there were several hundreds there) have ever seen, but it was as fervent and full-on and freaky as we'd expect from Sir Heffington and his cohorts. Can't wait to see what he'll do next.
Speaking of sophistication, the tailored chic of U.K. designer Paul Smith oozes it, but it's also very rock & roll. So it was no surprise that the five-year anniversary party last week was equally so. Hosted by Bryan Rabin, and featuring a performance by the Silver Lake Chorus, the soiree brought out multiple generations of rock royalty: everyone from famed record producer Andy Slater to musician Ben Lee and wife Ione Skye to Kelly Osbourne mingling and jingling by the shop's Christmas tree, along with our favorite scenesters Howie Pyro, Sean DeLear and Michael Des Barres. We'll be joining DB at the Silent Movie Theatre Monday night, by the way, where he'll host the screening of the new groupie doc Let's Spend the Night Together, featuring his ex, Pamela Des Barres. Full report here next week!