X-ers and Exes

It’s getting harder than ever to keep track of the extreme club makeovers in Hollywood — and that’s just around Cahuenga: White Lotus is now Ritual, XES is Sugar, and Star Shoes just became Vice. (Wouldn’t be surprised if all three have different monikers by winter either.) Unlike these superswift scene switcheroos, one new hot spot, Opera, actually took time to transform, and it was definitely worth the wait. In the building that used to house 1650, and before that Vynyl (and if you’re an old-school clubber, you might even remember it as Hollywood Moguls), this newbie from David Judaken (Mood) is something to sing about, even if it is making Schrader Ave. stalkerazzi central.

Celeb magnets/magnates The Alliance host Thursdays, with the usual stellar suspects — Entourage and The Hills cast members, the Hiltons, etc. — already regulars, and the space is as swank as the crowd. At least, it was a couple of weeks ago, when we attended BPM mag’s X-Games bash there. Well, that one was mostly tatted boys in bandannas and sneaks. The event was hosted by Rockstar energy drink and Travis Barker’s Famous Stars and Straps clothing line (which also celebrated its new retail store, The Fast Life, on Third St.), and the big buzz on the “black carpet” was Barker’s appearance with estranged wife Shanna Moakler. Pink’s hubby, Carey Hart, was there solo, as was Jermaine Dupri (minus his Mz. Jackson), Ron Jeremy, The Sopranos’ Jamie-Lynn Sigler and MySpace founder Tom Anderson (ironic, considering the Barkers’ very public MySpace sparring match only a few months ago . . . curiously, Moakler is still listed as “divorced” on her profile page).

Paint the Town

The former Meadow Soprano was also behind us later as we ventured next door for the grand opening of Crimson, Opera’s adjacent-but-separate lounge, and we have to say, the swarm of photogs that descended as we walked by was scarier than any Mafia mauling. The paps aren’t only pushy, they’re insane. (No wonder some starlets are too.)

So we liked Opera, but Crimson is even more lust-worthy, with its sexy red hues, and fur-and-python walls (both faux). We soaked it all in from a comfy bottle-service table, thanks to boy about town Rich Royal and cohort Daniele Cavalli (designer Roberto’s son), in town for a li’l R&R (rock & roll) with a posse of other posh Italianos. Mamma mia, what a night! Crimson Wednesday, hosted by David & David and Sean Patrick, definitely offers the perfect mix of Hollywood attention whores and the fashionably hip. Avril Lavigne, Bijou Phillips and Zooey Deschanel were hanging about, but our favorite part was the music: cool rock and soul and not one tedious overspun hip-hop hit. Our only Crim-icism? The waitresses’ tired plaid micro-mini look. Avril may still be working the slutty-schoolgirl style, but the rest of us have moved on . . .

Golden Years

Birthdays are usually an excuse to gather pals at the current club du jour, but this year, Nightranger celebrated our longer, sharper tooth a little differently — with an intimate Saturday-afternoon fete at our marketing diva pal Heidi Richman’s place — the amazing Toy Factory Lofts downtown (also the abode of none other than Scary Spice!). The new Biscuit Company Lofts across the street might be getting the attention as of late, but this building (where the swingin’ bar and eatery Royal Claytons — from the Bordello peeps — takes up the ground floor) helped set the standard for lavish downtown living, especially the roof, which has a pool to die for (think the Standard Downtown minus the ’tude).

Unfortunately, we had to miss “Golden Girls Gone Wild,” an exhibit of G.G.-inspired art the same night at the World of Wonder storefront on Hollywood Blvd. and Cherokee. WOW is responsible for tantalizing TV like Sex Change Hospital and Perez Hilton’s upcoming VH1 show. We hear the bash was suitably wacky (interactive granny installations, a $6,000 Swarovski crystal walker, naked go-go dancers with giant Golden puppet heads, and hordes of admirers, including Giovanni Ribisi, Erika Christiansen, designer Michael Schmidt and author James St. James. Curator Lenora George tells us the wanton and wrinkly subjects (Bea Arthur, topless!) sold like hotcakes, and there’s even talk of a book and art tour.

Fight the Power

After 11 years, Liquid Kitty on the Westside is still purring strong, though it was more yowling at the bar’s annual Punk Rock Barbecue last Sunday afternoon. Seasoned noisemakers, including Mike Watt & the Missingmen, The Chairs of Perception (a.k.a. The Urinals) and Saccharine Trust, all stirred the place up, but it was the Stooges tribute band The Raw Power Rangers, featuring the Insect Surfers’ Dave Arnson as Iggy Pop and Ex-Germs/45 Graver Don Bolles on drums, that truly electrified. Arnson’s flailing and wailing Pop impersonation was spot-on, and our perch in front almost as dangerous as watching the real thing. Okay, we weren’t splattered with blood or anything, but we did get squirted in the eye with orange juice as the singer squeezed a slice all over his shirtless torso while crooning atop the bar. Even Watt (who played with the real Stooges on their reunion tour) couldn’t resist joining the imitators for a couple tunes. As for Bolles, he seems in fine form after his highly publicized Dr. Bonner’s Soap bust fiasco (a drug test — falsely — found GHB in his bottle), but he did tell us he’s exploring legal action against the makers of the test. Obviously, jail was “No Fun.”

LA Weekly