“The Dangerous Donny.” That’s how we always thought of teen idol TONY DeFRANCO, what with his exotic olive skin and dark, thick eyebrows — and, of course, the way he sang “Deep in my soul, I’m out of control” like he meant it (hey, we were 12) on the DeFRANCO FAMILY’s 1973 hit “Heartbeat, It’s a Lovebeat.” So when we heard about the DeFranco Family reunion, we pushed our way through the real-life house of horrors that is CITYWALK to B.B. KING’S, where we were too excited to order the fried pickles. Upstairs, before the show, we were charmed by still-cute Tony, who told us how he went through a tough post-teen-idol period (“Everybody wants a piece of you”), but now embraces his past. He even told us a Hard Day’s Night–ish story about the time girls rushed the stage and chased him down a corridor (“It just takes one girl to break the dam”). When the DeFranco clan hit the stage, we were amazed that not only did they sound fantastic, but not one of them had gotten fat. And by the time they did that song, our hearts were pounding like a you-know-what-beat.
Nights of Coagula:
Lucky for COAGULA Art Journal mogul MAT GLEASON (pictured), word of the stock slump apparently never made it to the crush of collectors who stopped by The BREWERY Arts Complex to take in “Cover,” Coagula Projects gallery’s latest show, before dashing to MOCA’s benefit auction. Artist LAVIALLE CAMPBELL’s inspired and inspiring ceramics — glazed nipples, flocked nobs and other sensual sculptures — were snapped up faster than you can say SKIP ARNOLD, the lordly downtown performance louche a-lounging on the atrium staircase amid a colorful spectrum of art tarts. The exhibit’s opening coincided not only with the magazine’s eighth anniversary but also with its debut as a glossy, making this a big-time coagulation indeed. On hand to ogle and elbow were artists DESIREE BUCKMAN, whose recent solo show of Asian-themed delicacies wowed us all; Jameel Jones, celebrating his own opening at next door’s Eye Five Gallery; BRIAN RUPPEL; RUDY CALDERON; JASON EOFF; LISA ADAMS; SETH KAUFMAN; LLYN FOULKES; and numerous scaredy-cats who begged for anonymity. “After what Coagula printed about my gallerist, she’d murder me if she knew I was here,” one famously incognito name opined. Fellini woulda been proud of this crowd, what with artists frenching in the atrium’s ficus forest, Pasadena culturati rubbernecking the downtown denizens, and ambitious young lasses dogging Mat’s every step. And the word is out: Painter MICHAEL SALERNO is single again. After us, ladies.
Entering Westwood is an at-your-own-risk venture. But one fearless Hollywood contingent, consisting of scene queen APRIL LA RUE, author JAMES ST. JAMES and original Detail-er STEPHEN SABAN, bravely made its way west for the grand opening of W LOS ANGELES. The hot (mainly because space heaters were on) and happening (JEFFREY BEST planned the party with an assist from BRYAN RABIN and deejaying by BRENDAN MULLEN) hotel is a hybrid developed by the minds behind the Sheraton and Westin chains. Still, you might call the joint a boutique hotel, as one of the designers had formerly been with the Pottery Barn, or so an insider told us. Poolside, the food was flowing and cigars were flying. The usual corporate suits and silicone beauties were in attendance as were celeb lookie-loos, including actors LESLey ANN WARREN, BIJOU PHILLIPS, PETA WILSON, the flawless LUCY LAWLESS, JENNIFER TILLY, TARA REID, STEPHEN BALDWIN, VIN DIESEL, JAMES & SCOTT CAAN, SCOTT BAIO, TOM SIZEMORE, pop-music star MARK McGRATH, celebrity chronicler JEANNE WOLF, and former supermodel JANICE DICKINSON. One visitor to the suite on exhibit wanted the can of Pringles in the minibar, only to be asked by the room hostess, “Do you have a Visa card?” Westside fabulosity just ain’t free.
From Moscow With ‘Tude
Singer-songwriter showcases are more often than not exercises in torture. We’re convinced that cabaret is French for “I got a sore ass out of this lame shit,” so were we ever surprised to bip into the MINT recently and catch a scene in the making, courtesy of a 23-year-old blond chanteuse who calls herself YULIYA. This Muscovite émigré has a little bit of a fanatical cult groove happenin’ from residencies at LUNA PARK and GENGHIS COHEN, and she brought her peeps out in full force that night. She’s an amazing juxtaposition: cheery and effervescent offstage and in full grip-’n’-greet mode with the faithful — this even carries over to her stage patter for the most part — but when she commences with her balladry, it’s Russo-tragedy — like DOSTOYEVSKY meeting BETTE MIDLER, perhaps. Very fine and very fresh, and a WeHo sure-shot — them fellas do love that kinda drama doled out by brassy broads. Thing is, Miss Y don’t take no mess and, during her set of minor-key plaints, three times told schmoozing chatterers to shut the fuck up or take a hike, which emptied the place of offenders and brought cheers from her fans. Would that more performers in this city grow the stones to do it. A future star if there ever was one.
Edited by Kateri Butler & Libby Molyneaux