The Wonder Twins can hardly get dressed for the evening.
A pack of friends is raiding their well-stocked closets and jockeying for space in front of a bathroom mirror in their West Covina home. Each demands approval, once and then a second time, from the Twins.
The kitchen phone rings incessantly with still more friends and acquaintances wondering whether they'll be on the guest list. B.J. Ward's rendition of "La Traviata" wails in the background of the bustling madness.
Stopping to inspect his twin brother's face, Carlos Campos recommends glitter and a double layer of fake lashes.
"I don't like the lashes," says Louis, who has finally transformed himself from a regular guy into a Dr. Seuss-like character ringed in thick blue stripes. "They're uncomfortable and they make you look real weird. But Carlos likes them."
In their matching costumes and wigs, the brothers Campos, 26, will make four, possibly five appearances--some paid, some not--on this Saturday night in Los Angeles and thereabouts. For five years, they have cut a decent living and a far-reaching reputation as Klub Kids, a clique of nightclub devotees distinguished by their fantastic clothes, nine-inch platforms, cartoonish monikers and self-made celebrity.
"We supply a visual to clubs, which is very important in this MTV culture," Carlos says.
According to self-described "celebutante" Rockie (Raccoon) Martinez, the Wonder Twins are the fairest Kids of all. Michelle Lolli, style editor and club columnist for Urb magazine, has the same impression. "To be a truly successful Klub Kid, one has to have talent and creativity behind the wild facade," she says. "Everyone from here to New York says how wonderful the Wonder Twins are. They're incredibly productive and positive."
Their look--and their brazen self-promotion--have gotten them bit parts in Gloria Estefan's "Everlasting Love" video, in "Wayne's World 2," in a Rolling Stone CD-ROM game, in James Cameron's forthcoming "Strange Days" and in Mike Nichol's remake of "La Cage aux Folles," called "Birds of a Feather." This summer, they will answer the call of club promoters in the Netherlands and Spain. And the daytime chat shows love to present the Twins in maximum pageantry.
"For us, this is just the beginning," Louis says. "The Wonder Twins are planning to take on the whole world."
Being a Klub Kid is like being a freak-show headliner, a super-model and a surrealist's pinup all at once. The term with the capital Ks didn't come into vogue until the late '80s, but the idea has been around as long as David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust, the New York Dolls and Boy George.
Every night is Mardi Gras to these teen and twentysomething escapists who slip into the character of an alien, a gender-bending glam idol, a twisted super-hero or some other form of drag. Eyelashes of colored feathers are upstaged by elaborate headdresses sculpted from doll heads, cellophane or battery-operated Christmas lights. Steel wool twisted into ringlets passes for hair.
"They become the main attraction," says Reza Gerami of Go Ventures Co., which promoted the club Time on Saturdays at the Park Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles (now in search of a new location). "People get excited when they see them. Kids ask at the door whether they're going to be here."
A Klub Kid's association with an event also serves as a stamp of approval, validation that patrons are in the place to be.
"They add theatrics to a club," says Manny (X) Rodriguez of the Temple, a gay after-hours club held at the Masonic Temple in Hollywood. "They're very in tune with what's on the cutting edge. So having them here is a good sign."
The Wonder Twins are among a select few Kids hired by promoters for atmosphere work. Their pay may range from a cut of the cover-charge proceeds to a stipend to free transportation, meals and lodging. Klub Kid perks can include an unlimited guest list (for fellow Klub Kids, of course) and free drink tickets.
The Twins decline to discuss their income. Instead, they point to the two-story, lease-to-own house they share with Louis' high school sweetheart, Cindy Hollems, and their daughters, Cassandra, 6, and Belladonna, 3, as an indication of their success.
Another sign was their absence last month from the West Coast Style Summit in San Diego, an annual convention-style event (and a spinoff of a larger summit held in New York City) that attracts promoters, deejays, Klub Kids and club crawlers from around the country. The Twins were too busy with previous engagements to attend.
And still another is the reaction the Twins get whenever they enter a room: "A club might be dead," Carlos says, "but the moment we walk in and start parading around everyone starts getting into a good vibe."