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Dressed to Excess : It's the Clothes That Make This Club One of L.A.'s Most Popular

April 25, 1993|KEVIN ALLMAN

If you're driving through Silver Lake some Saturday night, don't be surprised to see a long line of bewigged and bedraggled types queuing up on a busy street.

You're not hallucinating: You've just stumbled upon Dragstrip 66, one of the most popular new clubs to hit L.A. in some time.

Inside, the club is packed. Club co-owner and deejay Paul V. is spinning discs that range from vintage disco to the Sex Pistols. But what's really apparent is the apparel--the type of outfits that seem to wear their owners.

Drag is big business these days. Transvestite singer RuPaul has a major MTV and dance-club hit with "Supermodel." Lypsinka is modeling clothes for the Gap and "The Crying Game" co-star Jaye Davidson was nominated for an Academy Award. Even Larry Johnson of the Charlotte Hornets is wearing drag in a commercial for basketball shoes.

"The definition of drag has changed. It doesn't just mean you want to dress up as a woman. If your drag is putting on a leather jacket and spiking your hair, that's fine," says Paul V.--who goes by the name Stigmata Hair when he's all dressed up. "We have straight couples who come in drag. Basically, it's just people who want to dress up and have a good time."

Paul V. and partner Mr. Dan have staged several popular clubs in the last few years, including Mystery Date?, Spit and Papa Boner, but Dragstrip has drawn crowds and attention like nothing they've produced before. In Details magazine Dragstrip 66 was listed as a must-see.

Each Dragstrip has a special theme. February's event, "The Karen Black Valentine Party," had the career of actress Karen Black as a motif, and Black made a surprise appearance.

March brought "The Night of a Zillion Jans," attracting dozens of people dressed as Jan Brady, the misfit middle child of "The Brady Bunch." And this month, it was a tribute to dead icons that brought out a packed house of ersatz Mama Casses, Karen Carpenters, Sid Viciouses and Agnes Mooreheads.

May's theme will be "The Class of Dragstrip 66 Senior Prom/Luau." In June, the club will hold a premiere party for the movie "Vegas in Space."

Though a few famous names have shown up, including members of the bands Red Hot Chili Peppers and Porno for Pyros ("This is L.A., and they have to go out too," says Paul V.), the door policy is firmly democratic. The only rule is that those in drag get in first.

Bottom line: Leave your attitude--and your daylight persona--at home. After all, it's hard to throw shade when you're sweating on the dance floor next to someone named Florence N. Normandie.


Name: Dragstrip 66.

Where and when: The second Saturday of every month in Silver Lake. The location is advertised in club flyers and underground magazines.

Dress code: As the flyers say, "Dress a Mess--Get In for Less." Those in drag get past the doorman faster.

Prices: Admission, $10. Domestic beer, $2.50.

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