Hot off the Grill
You know summer is in full swing when there’s as much to do during the day as there is after dark, and last week we sizzled ourselves silly in the name of painstaking party research (too bad we’re not the tanning type!). The sunscreen slathering began at the super “secret” Zune Live at the BBQ event last Thursday, which was all about bringing music “back to the community” — that is, those in the community who were lucky enough to get an e-mail about it. The message required attendees to sign up and then await a bar-coded E ticket with the location and time. When we finally got the info, we were happy to learn it was at a nice big park in Chinatown with a massive free parking lot across the street. Performers — all on the hip-hop tip — included Common, E-40, UGK, David Banner and Collie Buddz, though catching headliner Common meant hanging around the park for six hours (the ticket said to get there at 2 p.m.). We did groove to Buddz (yes, he’s a total pothead, but he’s also really good, melding bouncy ragga rhythms and mad rap flow) and the very big, very bad Banner. Even got to hang with DB (and a bunch of other reporters) backstage, where we learned that Banner isn’t his real name (it actually refers to The Hulk’s alter ego . . . duh!) and that he’s hyped on his new, racially charged cartoon That Crook’d ’Sipp for Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim (“it ain’t for the kids, it’s got fellatio and stuff”). Oh, and in case you don’t know what a “Zune” is, it’s Microsoft’s answer to the iPod, and it’s pretty cool (we played with one in the product tent). Now if OG (original geeksta) Bill Gates can just whip one up with phone and Internet access . . . for sure it’s comin’.
CHOLO a go-go
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We caught more rays — and some awesome rides — Saturday in front of Harley-Davidson of Glendale, where revered tattoo artist Mister Cartoon (who’s inked everyone from Eminem to 50 Cent) unveiled his new creation for Super Rad Toys. The colorful, limited-edition figure, called “The Lost Angel–Cinco de Mayo,” comes complete with detailed tats, bling, red and green heart cojones, and Cartoon’s signature clown face: a jolly yet creepy motif that was also seen on several Cartoon-customized cars and bikes displayed throughout the outdoor street party. The event reminded us of when we used to go to “Lowrider” mag car shows as a kid, gatherings filled with cherried-out wheels, killer Mexican food, old-school jams in the background (Cypress Hill’s DJ Muggs conjured the vibe on the decks Saturday) and skin art everywhere — only these days the peeps are less gang- and more headbang-oriented. Funny how the punk, hip-hop and skateboarder scenes have co-opted so much of Latin street culture’s style, yet no one seems to give credit where it’s due. (Well, this Nightranger niña’s doing it right here!) Baggy pants, wife-beaters, Old English logos — stuff everyone from Gwen Stefani to Travis Barker rocks personally and in their clothing lines — it all started in the barrio, baby. Authenticity don’t come cheap anymore, though, especially in the world of collectibles. Cartoon-designed merch (particularly his kicks for Nike) fetches a pretty penny on eBay, and the dolls he signed on Saturday will surely be no exception.
Our week wasn’t all fun in the sun (thank badness). After all, a Friday the 13th frolic is always best after night falls, and bad luck or no, we decided to venture out of the safe confines of Silver Lake and Hollywood for the occasion. Way out. Our destination? Spike’s Bar in San Gabriel, a divy spot that’s been showcasing live rock for six years courtesy of promoter Brando Von Badsville. Spike’s rough charm is not unlike that of the old Al’s Bar: It’s a place where the toilet could overflow at any moment (there’s actually a sign in the ladies’ stall that says not to flush anything — even toilet paper!), the stogy stench is omnipresent, and getting sucked into a pool game with a stranger is way too easy, and way too much fun. Still, it’s Badsville’s Rev It Up night that brings a cool, mostly black-clad crowd of Eastside greasers, punks and goths to the spot every Friday, and for the 13th we watched our pals Experiment Perilous cast a dark glam spell (they dedicated their set to Arthur Kane, who died on July 13, three years ago). The rip-roaring sounds of Deadbeat Sinatra (whom Badsville manages) followed, and their raw yet catchy tunes — very Social Distortion meets the Ramones — got the girlies in the crowd shaking, including yours truly, especially when they ended with a cover of “Under My Thumb” in our honor. Guess everybody knows about our Stones obsession, huh? Fridays are definitely worth the drive out.
Badsville also does events at Spike with Tigermask’s Ralph Carrera; the next show, featuring The Flash Express and The Chelsea Smiles, goes down July 27. If you’re a lazy La La–lander, they’ve got a downtown event too. The pair will present Johnny Legend’s Rock & Roll Wrestling on August 4 at the new space Crash Mansion, featuring a ton of bands and masked men battling on the mat. Actually, the venue’s not really so new — it’s the former Grand Ave. nightclub, which, as we revealed here several months ago, has been looking to get more rocker-friendly. Now that the NYC Crash Mansion peeps have taken over (side note: Nikki Sixx just held a press conference there for his new book Heroin Diaries on Monday), looks like the amps are about to get turned way up.