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Toasts of the Town

The first Club Buzz awards single out the venues that have surpassed all expectations and deserve a Betty.

April 01, 1999|HEIDI SIEGMUND CUDA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ladies and gentlemen, scenesters and wannabes, Calendar Weekend presents the Club Buzz awards, in honor of all those creatures of the night who long ago gave up sleep in order to show you a good time. It's our turn to give something back, so here to present our inaugural Buzz awards is the diva of the hour, our little trophy doll Betty. Please, hold all applause until the end. It's Betty's first time and she's quite nervous.

* Best New Dance Club: Make-Up. If Joseph Brooks believes Make-Up is the best dance club he's ever created, who can argue? Brooks, who partnered up with Jason Lavitt and Pat Briggs to throw this monthly glam rock affair at the El Rey Theatre, is as legendary as the two decades worth of clubs he helped pioneer--including the Veil, Sin-A-Matic and Coven 13. Make-Up, which features a glam rock cover band and performers from the genre's '70s heyday, could only have been created by Brooks. If he hadn't moved to L.A. after meeting interesting Angelenos at the Sex Pistols Winterland show, hadn't spent 1977 and 1978 living in London at the peak of the punk era, or hadn't upon his return to L.A. opened the import record store Vinyl Fetish, Make-Up couldn't exist. Thankfully, it does.

Make-Up at the El Rey Theatre this Saturday (the first Saturday of every month), 5515 Wilshire Blvd., (323) 769-5500. 18 and over, $10 cover.

* Long-Running Dance Club: Cherry. If Jesse Helms would only stop by this Friday night dance club at the Love Lounge in Hollywood for a few hours, maybe he'd be less worried about Tinky Winky sporting a purple handbag and loosen up that tie a little. Cherry, now entering its fifth year, offers scientific proof that we all come in different shapes, sizes and sexual proclivities--and guess what, it's o-tay. Hosted by Bryan Rabin and DJs Mike Messex and Joseph Brooks (naturally), Cherry's key ingredient is good musical sensibilities: focusing on '80s new wave, glam and metal, but not limiting itself to any period.

Cherry at the Love Lounge on Fridays, 657 N. Robertson Blvd., West Hollywood. (213) 896-9099. 21 and over, $10 cover.

* Best Bands Per Square Inch: The Viper Room. Obviously. It's not just that if you lined up early enough last week, you had a shot at seeing one of Stone Temple Pilots' best shows ever, it's that artists of their caliber choose to play the Viper Room all the time. From Hole to Green Day to Everclear to Goldy, this small venue has the world's biggest stars--not when they're past their prime, but when they're at their most ferocious.

The Viper Room, 8852 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 358-1880, 21 and over, cover varies.

* Best Old-School Nightclub: The Troubadour. Although it recently lost its legendary founder, Doug Weston, this comfortable Santa Monica Boulevard rock club has reemerged in recent years as a first-rate club to see new and used live music. Today's clubs can't thrive on their past--most current clubgoers don't give two bones that Elton John once played there. To succeed today, you've gotta live in the present, and the Troubadour works hard at maintaining its contemporary relevance.

The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 276-6168. All ages, cover varies.

* Best New School Nightclub: The House of Blues. Sure wish the HOB had its act together and would throw a fifth anniversary party worthy of its standing-room-only April '94 opener, when Aerosmith inaugurated a stage that would quickly include performances by the best and brightest artists of our times. With so many Hollywood venues still leery of booking major rap events, the House of Blues has invited every great rapper to bring in the noise--among them, the late Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls and last week's "Pioneers of Hip-Hop" show, with EPMD, Run-D.M.C., Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh (performing together for the first time in more than a decade). It was also the first major nightclub to invite international, hard-core rock en espanol acts. Despite being forced out last year, Isaac Tigrett, the club's visionary founder, should be proud of his creation.

House of Blues, 8430 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, (323) 848-5100. Age limit varies, cover varies.

* Best Westside Nightclub: Sugar. From its sexy, see-through design (check out those ban~os, baby) to its Euro sensibilities, the new Santa Monica dance club--which features different DJs and themes five nights a week--is defying geographical laws by bringing Hollywood to the Westside. Sugar is as sweet and intoxicating as its name and is a very good choice for singles trying to cool down that spring fever.

Sugar, 814 Broadway Ave., Santa Monica, (310) 899-1989. Open Wednesday-Saturday. 21 and over, cover varies.

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