Studio 69 definitely knows how to throw a theme party. The hedonistic underground happening meshes fetishy fashion, art, music and performance in the boldest, most bodacious and imaginative way. We're talking huge, wild props, shamelessly skimpy dress-up, throbbing rhythms, and unexpected amusements that have to be seen to be believed. Saturday night, their second event at Vanguard (it was previously in a massive warehouse in Culver City) offered a “Pirates vs. Ninjas” theme complete with a giant pirate ship at the entrance, an amazing red and black Ninja-garbed all female dance performance, (mostly female) DJs and guests — including Nightranger favorite Adam Lambert— dressed in full regalia.
The ringleader for this sexy bacchanal is one Mr. Perish Dignam, a striking model, performance artist and now party promoter known for his involvement and appearances at nightlife's more eccentric events from Burner (Burning Man-related) bashes to raves. Collaborator Fabian Bolanos calls him, “a cross between David Bowie and Hugh Hefner on steroids,” and it is true, whenever we see the guy, he's got a stable of gorgeous, half-naked young ladies by his side (mostly dancers in his troupes who can be seen shaking go-go platforms all over Hollywood and beyond). Even with nubile beauties surrounding him at all times, Dignam is always the most magnetic in the room.
Surely, his enthusiasm and charm is what's made Studio 69 a success. Dignam and his team obvious have a “no-limits” type of approach to their events. Last Month's “Mad Max” mash saw crazy art cars parked out front (and previous party themes in Culver City saw Kinky Christmas, Big Top, Moulin Rouge and all-white Disco Party spectacles). The pirate ship (called “The Spacewench”), couldn't have been easy to transport Sat., but it sure added a grandiose feel to the entryway and it was worth the photo at bottom alone, no?
Break-dancing Ninja babes were a highlight for us, though the set by Lea Luna was atmospheric as well. (Think we foreshadowed a Pat Benatar pop culture resurgence: Luna sang a Gothy take on “Heartbreaker,” late Sat., and it was good). Roxy Contin — not to be confused with New York DJ Roxy Cottontail — had a lot of fans in the house, and her friendship with Lambert (who was there to support her on her birthday) surely won't hurt her building buzz. She'll be DJ-ing at Zanzibar on June 21.
Studio 69 warning: Come in themed costume or you'll feel like that guy on Halloween in a boring t-shirt. Everybody dresses up at these parties and Saturday, it was Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow everywhere we looked, not to mention many mysterious black-draped Ninjas and hordes o' hotties in eye-patches, ruffles, feathered hats, and not much else.
Can't wait to see what get-ups will come out for 69's next “themed & extremed” event: an “Illuminaughty” party, which, based on their shindig from last year, seems to be less about the secret society and more about illuminated, glow-painted looks.
Get more info on Dignam and Studio 69 info here.
Follow Lina Lecaro on Twitter @L_in_A.
More photos from “Pirates vs. Ninjas” in our Nightranger slideshow.