Sunset Smackdown

The competition for Sunset Strip supremacy is getting stiffer, especially on Mondays, thanks to Frankie & Andy’s Social Club at The Roxy. Hosted by Andy Dick and sound man extraordinaire Frank O’Reilly, the party’s opening night a few weeks back saw Paris Hilton and on-again publicity man Elliot Mintz making one of their first postsentencing appearances to see her “friends” Phantom Planet. We caught the second Social gig two weeks later, and the band proved they know how to keep a crowd’s attention no matter what star enters their orbit — though hits like “Big Brat,” The O.C. theme “California,” and the sweet li’l ode to the Valley girl shop-stop “Galleria” got the bubbliest crowd reactions (literally… a young fan blew soap suds at the stage nonstop). We were blown away by their new material as well, especially the stuff that had Alex Greenwald pouncing at the keyboards. O’Reilly works the boards for P.P. and now the Roxy, but many might remember him as the Viper Room’s longtime sound engineer; he was hired back when Johnny Depp was owner and left the club only a few months ago, apparently not on the best of terms. (O’Reilly used to throw his Social at the V-Room with the bar manager, Tommy Black, and though venue politics ended the partnership, it didn’t end the friendship: Black’s band Golden State played opening night.) O’Reilly tells us future Socials will be “kind of like Saturday Night Live in reverse,” with comedy skits by the always-demented Dick and music from the pair’s biggie band friends. (The Stranglers Hugh Cornwell will play next month; check the Roxy Web site for dates.) That’s a formula sure to hold its own against Strip staples like Metal Skool at Key Club and Indie 103.1’s Check One… Two at Viper —which, incidentally, celebrated its third anniversary this week. Talk about manic Mondays.

{mosimage}Alive & Kickin’

In a world of faux-hawks and mall-store Ramones tees, it’s easy to assume that real punk and all it stands for are extinct. We kinda felt that way too, but after seeing Susan Dynner’s awesome new documentary Punk’s Not Dead, we’ve flipped like Flipper. We’re not the only ones: The film’s premiere at the Henry Fonda Musicbox last Wednesday brought out No Doubt’s Adrian Young and Tony Kanal, Warped Tour mastermind Kevin Lyman, Marisa Tomei (!) and lots of colorfully dyed heads. The doc not only covers punk’s NYC, L.A. and U.K. origins, it also explores punk stereotypes (employing classic footage from the infamous punk-themed episodes of ChiPs and Quincy!), the pop-punk paradox, and the new generation of hardcore DIY happenings. What really convinced us, though, was the footage and interviews with bands like The Adicts, The UK Subs and Channel 3, all of whom still tour and incite spit-soaked slam-pits. The latter played the afterparty, along with The Diffs, The (inaccurately named) God Awfuls and Dr. Know, and though the room emptied out after the screening, you wouldn’t have known it from the performances — as shrieky, aggressive and, yes, alive as you can get.

Clowns to the Left, Hipsters to the Right

What’s scarier than a pit full of punks? Try a heap of a hundred or so too-hip VIPs all scrambling to find their keys and cars after a bumbling valet service loses ’em and mixes up the parking stubs. That’s exactly what we got stuck in after the block party for Melrose Place’s Diesel store opening last week. The fete was the very definition of fabulous: copious amounts of food and champagne, gorgeous party goers (who were especially fun to watch as they straddled a mechanical bull in the middle of the bash), and scorching live music (by Hot Hot Heat). But the valet fiasco was unforgettable: Nightranger waited for nearly two excruciating yet strangely entertaining hours amid ranting models, irate industry types and familiar faces including Everybody Hates Chris Tichina Arnold, American Idol’s Constantine Maroulis, Wilson Cruz (the gay guy from My So-Called Life) and bloated rich boy Brandon Davis (who flashed big bills at the valets and still had to wait with us non-millionaires… ha!). And while it was cool to see everyone on a level playing — uh, parking — field, we were so traumatized by the malevolent B-list mob scene, we canceled plans for the following night – including the benefit for Carlos Santana’s Milagro Foundation at Avalon and Reebok’s Old School vs. New School DJ Battle in Beverly Hills. (Lindsay Lohan was scheduled to spin, but pulled out after her accident the week before.) Drunk drama queens + incompetent valets = Reasons to cab it next time!

More in Store…

We needed retail therapy, and Silver Lake boutique Ghetto Gloss came through with its monthly Kraftworks fair: Bands including kiddie music makers The Squee-Gees played while vendors Rosemary’s Billygoat and Baby Rab hawked everything from biker baby clothes to satanic belt buckles. G.G. owner Fiora Boes, who holds the shoppy-do the first Sat. of the month in the store’s parking lot, gave us the scoop on her latest project too: The Locker Room, a traveling art exhibit to feature gym locker installations by the likes of Robert Williams and Dennis Hopper. When the show gets going in ’08, there’ll be a book, a documentary and a charity — The HeArt Foundation — that benefits. She’s putting out the call for school-scarred artists this week. See www.thelockerroomproject.com for the Cliff’s Notes.

More Nightranger photos from Lina Lecaro

LA Weekly