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You've Got a Right to Party, Too

March 03, 1994|MARK EHRMAN

The Scene: A no-expletives-deleted gathering at the Arena nightclub in Hollywood for "Banned Together," the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California's Grammy night "celebration of artistic free expression" and benefit. The fete marks the second year of the ACLU's Generation X outreach. "At most of our events, we don't get many young people," explains ACLU executive director Ramona Ripston. "This is a way of getting the message to them about how important the Constitution is."

The Musical Roster: Competing with Garry Shandling and the awards ceremony (televised with nearly audible sound in the upstairs bar) was an indie-heavy, ultra-alternative lineup consisting of Bottom 12, Love Jones, Black Market Flowers and John Wesley Harding. The evening's headliner was the Seattle "riot grrrl" band, 7 Year Bitch.

Who Was There: The festivities were hosted by Yippie co-founder and venerable rabble-rouser Paul Krassner with guest appearances by twentyish actress/activist ("not an oxymoron," quipped Krassner) and "Melrose Place" star Daphne Zuniga. The crowd, which numbered around 500, was an even mix of strait-laced card-carrying liberals and sartorially-expressive Gen-X rockers.

Chow: A megacaloric, ultra-eclectic buffet, which included corned beef from the Stage Deli, Ed Debevic's burgers and fries, oysters from Orso, tamales courtesy of the Cobalt Cantina, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream, Starbucks Coffee, pastries from the Old Town Bakery--just to name a few of the gastronomic contributors.

Quoted: "It's so easy for people to become insulated, close-minded, fearful and contracted," said Zuniga. "The more different people are allowed to express themselves, the easier it is for the rest of us to look and learn and feel something."

Free Speech Award: Neo-folk singer John Wesley Harding who, before launching into his very topical set, announced, "I hate the Grammys. I always have."

Most Festive Party Favor: Departing guests received a card entitled "If You are Arrested" enumerating one's rights when in custody. You never know.

Money Matters: Admission was $25 per person, plus $5 for a food pass. On sale were "You Have the Right Not to Remain Silent" T-Shirts for $10 and ACLU mugs for $5. The evening's net was $10,000.

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