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Spinning the Night Away, but Not With Your Usual DJs

September 19, 2002|MARIA ELENA FERNANDEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The gorgeous DJ in the mirrored chain halter and classic patchwork mini smiles beneath her earphones, flirting subtly, even teasing the crowd with the selection of her music. Blondie's "Heart of Glass" follows Nelly's "Hot in Here," moving the partygoers at this romantic Hollywood hideaway, Cafe Des Artistes, to dance.

The fact that she's spinning CDs and not vinyl singles is the first clue that this isn't a real DJ. In fact, she's a "non-DJ"; she is actress Dominique Swain, who portrayed preteen temptress Dolores Haze in the 1997 remake of "Lolita." Swain, 22, is one of many intriguing Angelenos booked to create musical ambience at this old California bungalow-turned-restaurant. Rose Apodaca Jones, the West Coast bureau chief of Women's Wear Daily, led off the series on Sept. 5. Swain agreed to play the second weekly night as a present to her stylist and good friend, Oren Shepher, who was celebrating his 24th birthday.

"This is fantastic," says "Do," as her friends call her. "I've never had control of a party like this before. It's such a chill atmosphere."

Hoping to attract a hipper crowd to his California-French restaurant, owner Oliver De Mori hired People's Revolution to throw the weekly parties. Nearly 300 people, mostly twenty-and thirtysomething professionals, attended Swain's debut.

Shepher, who is opening a Sunset Boulevard "Grace Kelly meets the millennium" boutique next month, selected Swain's sexy Paco Rabanne outfit. For himself, he chose diamonds and bondage gear and an Agent Provocateur whip.

"I love the correlation of tough and sexy, a little bit of sweet and a little bit of salty," Shepher said and laughed while Swain and her three sisters, Jennifer, Alexis and Chelse, picked the CDs. Swain, a product of the digital revolution, didn't use turntables or records , but a professional DJ is on hand every week to help.

Next in the spinning lineup: freelance writer and television correspondent Sally Horchow tonight; and Henry Eshelman, managing director of BWR Public Relations and head of entertainment at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, next Thursday.

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