View more photos in Lina Lecaro's Nightranger slideshow.



An exuberant hub for art, fashion and music-fueled community gatherings, Echo Park Blvd. (just east of Sunset) saw its sway as one of the coolest blocks in L.A. come to an end last Saturday night. We won’t declare it dead — a considerable number of Nightranger pals still dwell there and the area’s cafes are likely to seep with caffeine-craving/munchie-seeking Eastside scruffsters for years to come. But with the whimsical pasteled-panache of Show Pony boutique and Jedi-jiving jewelers Han Cholo shuttering last week, we wonder who or what could possibly come close to these stores’ vivacity, not to mention their outrageous monthly block parties. Sat. was their biggest ever, a bittersweet g’bye blowout attracting a mix of impeccably retro-garbed and tousled trendsters with hip-hop-rockin’ bois (as in “yeah boi!”). Spazz-rappers the 87-Stick Up Kids kept it raw and DIY, rocking atop a flatbed truck in front of the stores and busting party-animal rhymes that went well with all the brown-bagged booze from the adjacent liquor store. “I’m so proud of the LAPD for not being here right now,” one of the “kids” said after a couple of jams, but of course, 15 minutes later, the fuzz did indeed show and silence the sounds.

“I hope an H&R Block or cell-phone store doesn’t move in,” Pony proprietor Kime Buzzelli told us. Buzzelli, who’s leaving the retail biz to focus on her art career (she debuted a new solo show at 1520 on Cahuenga the night before) still lives in the building. According to Cholo’s Brandon Schoolhouse, people haven’t been shopping on the block lately, but despite the crappy economy, his wholesale and custom work is booming. (He’s working on a reality show that’ll feature his company and pal Brooke Dulien’s White Trash Charms). Buzzelli’s got some fun projects in the works as well, including a Show Pony shadow line with Urban Decay cosmetics. Sure to be wink-worthy.



From hipster peasants to the refined raucousness of the Upper Crust, we were off to see the East Coast’s white- wigged wonders and their high-falutin’ (f)rock at Spaceland. With local power-poppers Peachfuzz providing a succulent appetizer, the Crust’s aristocrazy feast didn’t disappoint. Their knickers are still on fire and the AC/DC-style “rocque” still earns curtsies. . If you missed the show, fret not, these decked out lords of loud will be promoting their latest sonic offerings (sample titles “Long Table For Two,” “Class Up The Ass,”) on the Late, Late Show With Craig Ferguson, Mon. March 16.

More dramatic dress was in order at our final Saturday stop, the always visually-arousing Bar Sinister at Boardners. Made it just in time to catch the second half of Bobby & The Terrors, in which spikey-haired Bobby Alt of Street Drum Corps covers punk and goth faves. Alt was in rare form, attacking the stage like a lovelorn Sid Vicious on ‘ludes. His band was nice and loose too. Still, a Sin-in is as much about the dance floor as it is the outdoor stage, and we couldn’t resist some ghostly whirls with the gothic-grinders inside. Neither apparently could the rock stars in attendance. Frozen Embryo/30 Seconds Martian himself Jared Leto, was seen circling the half-naked go-go gals much of the eve, and they gave him an especially salacious girl-grinding dance duet. He tried to hide under a hoodie, but amidst this darkly dolled-up scene, that actually made him stand out more. A smarter D.L. look was displayed by AFI’s Davey Havok, who donned a long-sleeve black tee to cover his signature tats, but still looked punky/pretty. In fact, we wouldn’t have noticed him if it wasn’t for his sextravagant dance moves. Rounding out the trio of terror-fic sightings: Benji Madden, whoheld court on the courtyard as ghoulie groupies eyeballed from afar. (We couldn’t help but imagine the reaction his celebutard ex would have gotten if she ever dared to step foot in the club. Eaten alive, fer sure).



Speaking of pretty punk looks, Nightranger saw some good ones last week at CBS Studios. Okay, we have a shameful admission to make. We’re an American Idol fan. Have been since the beginning. At some point last year, we signed up to attend a taping (not as press), and last week we found ourselves in Idol’s tiny soundstage when the contestants from the final 12 group competed for 3 more slots. Actually, it was the “dress rehearsal” taping, from which, they take footage of each singer for the recaps that run (with the corresponding voting phone #s) at the end of show. We always did note subtle differences from those clips and the actual performances! Anyway, here’s what else we can tell ya about A.I. that you may not have known: the judges stand-ins look just like ‘em and say some of the very same comments (scripts or good guesses?) and even sucky singers get standing O’s (they put attention-whore teens up front and tell them to “go wild” for the potential idols). While we aren’t that young, we somehow ended up in front, but we didn’t get up from our seat for anyone except the blind guy (Scott Macintyre) and the gay guy (Nathaniel Marshall). By the way, we’re not outing anyone, Nate lists his orientation on MySpace, but while were on the subject, we gotta say something about the photos of favorite Adam Lambert let loose on the web recently. Our gaydar on the talented vocalist has been fuzzy, but if those queeny-kissy Burning Man shots are what they appear, we just may have our first openly gay Idol. That would be awesome, but considering his enthusiastic female fan base, we’re guessing he’ll stay mum about his preferences for now. We’ve actually seen the guy sing in person (as part of the local Zodiac Show at Avalon) and he’s great. Oh, and in case anyone’s wondering, Ryan Seacrest seems straight in person. Though he did ask Marshall about hair products, he was really flirty with the mostly female crowd (“chicks,” he called us all) off camera. Not a boy toy, just a tool. Nightranger out!

LA Weekly