I love L.A. Only in the City of Angels are you given instructions on how to enjoy a movie, along with gadgets to play with throughout the flick. All right, I’m not being fair. The movie was Showgirls, held at the Sunset Strip’s famous Vista Theater to celebrate the camp classic’s DVD re-release. And its special interactive screening encouraged audience participation à la The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
We got a red bag that included fake $100 bills to throw at the screen every time we enjoyed ELIZABETH BERKLEY‘s character, Nomi Malone, doing a striptease (hmm, I still have bills left); we were instructed to “wave your gold lamé scarf and use your flashlight during the Goddess dance scenes”; we were supposed to correct Nomi whenever she said “Versace” wrong; and we were supposed to yell “Crack is wack” whenever they did cocaine. We were provided noisemakers to click whenever Nomi “hits, kicks, or maims someone.” The clicker proved the most popular with the raucous audience members, who snapped it whenever Nomi Malone did anything vaguely ridiculous—which was basically every three minutes.
Talk about a definitive Hollywood experience. Three of the lesser-known stars of the flick were on hand (there, they call them “C-listers”): RENA RIFFEL (Penny), LIN TUCCI (Mama), and PATRICK BRISTOW (Marty Jacobsen). Outside the venue, JACKIE BEAT taunted the media and the people waiting in line. And a “showgirl” stood like a peacock, between two muscle-bound studs on the red carpet. (There was also supposed to be a girl playing a stripper, but she bailed ’cause she didn’t know people were going to be there. Um, was she really that dumb? It’s L.A., so, um, yes!)
Before the movie, Ms. Beat handed out DVDs to a couple of people who could replicate the extremely bad choreography. Before the flick, she dedicated the screening to Elizabeth Berkley, chiding us: “Listen, she is a star. I am not saying this in a bitchy, ironic, drag-queen way. When you see her up on the screen you can’t take your eyes off her.” Ms. Beat forgot to mention that maybe this is ’cause Berkley is naked for half the movie.
After Tuesday’s fish-flopping, sex-in-the-pool scene between Berkley and KYLE MACLACHLAN—during which I thought there was an earthquake, the audience was stomping on the floor so hard—I ran to the Troubadour to catch the SCISSOR SISTERS, who played to a packed house that included ROBBIE WILLIAMS and one of the guys from JUNIOR SENIOR.
On Thursday, I headed to the DIRTY SANCHEZ/MISS KITTIN show at the Key Club with transplanted lifelong New Yorker (and sometime Voice writer) Piotr Orlov, who was giddy with excitement over the week’s musical offerings. Apparently L.A. is, like, so boooooring, but this week he had the choice of !!! (CHIK! CHIK! CHIK!), Kittin, an UNDERGROUND RESISTANCE gig featuring SUBURBAN KNIGHTS, and a rooftop party at the Standard, with ELEFANT, THE FEVER, and Plant’s DOMINIQUE. (Great, I go 3,000 miles away, and I’m still on the Lower East Side. Yo, where’s my tenement apartment at?)
First, full disclosure: Dirty Sanchez are my friends. Knob-twiddler ADRIAN SOSA used to be in a deep house outfit called TRIPOLI in Seattle; co-singer MARIO DIAZ once ran the Cock on Avenue A and lets me sleep on his couch in exchange for sexual favors; and ex–New York drag diva JACKIE BEAT is nice enough to let me talk to her at all. In L.A., apparently they are superstars—at least with the 18-to-21-year-old set. I was shoved out of the way by teenagers who knew every naughty lyric to their songs, and wanted to tear off Diaz’s clothes.
If New Yorkers chew up trends and spit them out in a week, L.A.’s still existing circa Luxx 2002. The crowd still sported multicolored faux-hawks and über-’80s asymmetrical goth tops. Before Miss Kittin took the stage, FISCHERSPOONER‘s “Emerge” boomed over the sound system. The other shocker? The underagers in the crowd have so much unjaded energy and passion, it’s contagious. When Miss Kittin took the stage for a DJ set, the place practically erupted. Favorite moment: when she sang over her own track “Requiem for a Hit,” and the crowd went nuts. Oh, to be young and in Luxx again!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 27, 2004