Tabloid culture met tattoo culture in an over the top, somewhat curious (and curiouser!) fashion last night at the grand opening of Wonderland, the new art gallery from LA Ink's Kat Von D (adjacent to her shop) featuring the mad and macabre paintings of Kevin Llewellyn.
Llewellyn's dark and seductive work features a lot of embellished portraiture showcased in ornate vintage frames, and it definitely held its own in the spacious new gallery. But not even the artist's audacious life-size offerings nor the gorgeous gloom-glam party atmosphere (provided by Bolthouse Productions on the parking lot) or even the heavily inked crowd could compete with big media moment of the evening, when the TV star and new beau, self-proclaimed "most hated man in America" Jesse James made their first public appearance as a couple on the red carpet and inside the gallery afterward.
Torn on this one folks. On the one hand, what woman wasn't "Team Sandy" after seeing the daily procession of stripper trash that came forth to rat on James and his cheating ways? And what woman would actually think that he'd be any different with her?
On the other, we've always admired Von D's no bull-shit approach with the public about her life. We interviewed her twice during the TLC show's first season for this cover story, and she happened to transition from one rock n' roll boyfriend (Roy Orbison's son Alex aka "Orbi") to another (Nikki Sixx) in the process. She never held back about any of it.
Her life was what it was, and since she agreed to share it on the tube -warts, tats, hangovers and all (she's now sober)- she figured she had to go all the way, haters be damned. Check the comments section on any blog post about this romance and it's clear she's incurred more wrath than ever. Von D declared her love last night to reporters, and we overheard James say, "I dont give a shit" during an interview. Clearly, these two have a FTW attitude right now. Punk rock, we guess.
But enough about the crap you can see on Access Hollywood, etc., tonight. The party itself went off, literally... the power at High Voltage (!) where the red carpet was and out back on the lot actually blew out for the last hour of the bash... not that anyone seemed to care. We hung with Lemmy Kilmister for a good chunk of the eve and got some interesting tidbits about his rockabilly band, The Head Cat (all-star trio consisting of himself, Slim Jim Phantom and Danny B. Harvey). Fresh off revving up Slash's Tribute Concert at House of Blues last week, the band will be playing Jerry Lee Lewis' 75th birthday bash show at the Fox Theater in Pomona on Sept. 25.
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Other music heads in the house last night: Matt Sorum (what party does this guy miss?), Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler Zavala, Incubus' Brandon Boyd, pink electro-popper Jeffree Star (showing off a giant new new Kurt Cobain chest tattoo) and Nikki Sixx. Well, Kat's ex wasn't actually there, but his likeness was all over the walls (apparently, he's one of Llewellyn's favorite subjects). Awkward.
More Wonderland photos and our post-party adventures at The 3 Clubs, AFEX at The Stone Bar and finally Jumbo's Clown Room (Lemmy was there too!) in next week's Nightranger. For now, check out this week's photos and column.