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SOCIAL CLIMES / UP ALL NIGHT

Please Check Testosterone at the Door

August 07, 1994|MARK EHRMAN | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In case it's not immediately obvious from its name, Utero is a venue that focuses on all things female. This "throbbing womb of a club" invades Woody's Hyperion in Silver Lake on Thursday nights, transforming the neighborhood bar and disco into a churning, multi-sensory, estrogen-fueled Babylon.

"We thought Silver Lake needed something for the community that we like to hang out in--which is the artistic community, the music community and the lesbian community," says Maria Boyd, who started Utero with partner Katie Childe last month.

"We wanted to create a space where all of these different types of people could come and interact and have a good time and appreciate female artists," Boyd says.

Utero showcases one or two female artists every week. The club has had--or is scheduled to have--performance artists, belly dancers, a lesbian comedian, bands and individual musicians. On the walls are projected still and video pieces from local visual artists.

"Maria is a photographer/performance artist and I'm a musician," Childe says. "I get a lot of the musicians who come here. She gets the performance art. And it works out really well."

The club draws a predominantly--but far from exclusively--lesbian clientele, heavy on hard-core Mohawk/Modern Primitive, who party all evening to nonstop techno and ultra-alternative dance music.

"This is about the only place you can go when you're a lesbian where people won't point and laugh if you're pierced and tattooed," says Jett, who has been coming to Utero with her girlfriend since it began. "It's the only place you can come and be comfortable. It's like going home," she says.

Visual artist Maggie Parr celebrated her 27th birthday with an exhibition at Utero. "It's pretty surreal," she says, her art-and-text flashing on the wall while Farhana the belly dancer undulates for the dollar-waving crowd.

Striking an even more hedonistic note are Utero's roster of go-go dancers. These fantasy grrrls run the gamut from the gender-blurred to scantily clad supervixens. They whip up the crowd into a frenzy.

"We look for a good body, lots of creative expression, very sexy style and cool, unique outfits," Boyd says of Utero's dancers.

And the women here, regardless of sexual orientation, appreciate the effort.

"If you want beautiful go-go girls, this is the place," says another Utero regular, Stacy Lande, a painter whose work was showcased here previously.

The XY crowd need not feel left out, as long as they know how to keep their testosterone in check. "Oh, certainly, this place is for everybody," Boyd says. "I like to think of men in touch with their feminine side as being totally welcome here."

* Where: Utero, Woody's Hyperion, 2810 Hyperion Ave., Silver Lake; (213) 953-9069.

* When: 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursdays.

* Admission: $3.

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