This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Circa, Unlimited Wine, Nick Cave

WEDNESDAY: Circa Opens In Manhattan Beach
Expect trips to Manhattan Beach now on the regular. An all-star team is behind a new restaurant project opening Wednesday: Circa. Michael Zislis (The Strand) has Octavio Becerra (Palate Food & Wine) in the kitchen, Josh Goldman (ink.) curating the wine list and Julian Cox (Playa, Riviera, Sotto, Bestia) crafting cocktails behind the bar. You likely don’t visit Manhattan Beach as much as you should and Circa is just two blocks from the shore, so make that two birds, one stone thing happen. Expect small plates of global flavors, casual, vintage-industrial design and perhaps a cigarette break to watch the sunset.

Circa (903 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan beach) opens and is now accepting reservations. For more information on the restaurant, check out the listing at BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY: Unlimited Wine at Mondrian
Tonight kicks off the inaugural, bi-weekly “Uncorked” wine tasting in Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian. It’s a happy hour with an outdoor pool. Seriously… why the hell not?  A nice selection of wines (unlimited pouring FYI) and bites at sunset are a crowd pleaser.

“Uncorked” is happening every second Thursday (starting 2/21) from 6pm to 9pm at Asia de Cuba at the Mondrian (8440 Sunset Blvd., W. Hollywood). For more information on the restaurant, visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

THURSDAY:  Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
If you haven’t listened to the new album we recently streamed, you need to understand who we’re dealing with here. Nick Cave is a singer, novelist, actor, screenwriter, film composer, and all-around legend. We think he’ll be the next Pope. For now, see him live at The Fonda Theatre and scratch it off your bucket list.

Listen to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ new album here. To learn more about The Fonda Theatre (6126 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood ), visit the listing at BlackBook Guides.

Find out first about the latest openings and events in NYC by signing up for BlackBook Happenings, the email brought right to your inbox every Monday. And download the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

The Club World Awards

For the last six years the Club World Awards have been presented at a huge gala in Miami during the Winter Music Conference. Club World Magazine, formerly known as Club Systems International Magazine, is a book strictly for the club industry. I spoke to Club World Awards’ honcho Kerri Mason who told me that, “this year’s awards ceremony was canceled because of the perception that the economy would stop many from attending the WMC.” This turned out to be only partly true and according to Kerri, “the gala will be back on next year.” I am one of the twelve judges who vote on the people or organizations that have excelled in the past year and the votes are weighted so that you vote for the best, second best, and so on. I don’t know the names of the other judges as it is a big secret – I guess it’s so they can’t be bribed — but I am perceived to be above reproach and I’m therefore allowed to show myself. Here is this year’s ballot for your interest. I will reveal the winners here exclusively, tomorrow or Wednesday.

Rank 1-6 Best Superclub 6 Circa, Toronto 3 Palladium, Acapulco 1 Pacha, New York 4 Rain, Las Vegas 2 Pure, Las Vegas 5 The Pool at Harrah’s, Atlantic City

Rank 1-6 Best Club 5 Beta, Denver 1 Cielo, New York 2 LAX, Las Vegas 4 Ruby Skye, San Francisco 6 Stereo @ Parkwest, Miami 3 Smart Bar, Chicago

Rank 1-6 Best Lounge 3 Aero Bar, Miami Beach 4 Apple Lounge, West Hollywood 6 Mynt Lounge, Miami Beach 2 Playboy Club, Las Vegas 1 Tabu Ultra Lounge, Las Vegas 5 Slide, San Francisco

Rank 1-6 Best New 2 Beta, Denver 4 Home, St. Louis 5 Lavo, Las Vegas 1 Prive, Las Vegas 6 Shrine, Mashantucket 3 Versus, Los Angeles

Rank 1-6 Best Sound System 1 Advanced Audio Technology, Glo 4 FBP Group, Body English 5 Systems By Shorty, Splash Bar 2 Mike McCray of Sound Investment & Speed of Sound, Beta 3 Louis Puig & David Padilla, Stereo @ Parkwest 6 The Pool at Harrah’s

Rank 1-5 Best Lighting System 3 Aerobar, Miami Beach 1 Lighting Methods, Glo 5 FBP Group, Lavo 2 Lighting Methods, Palladium 4 SJ Lighting, Versus Rank 1-5 Best Video System 3 FBP Group, Lavo 2 Ohm Productions, Tattoo Bar 1 SJ Lighting & Sound Investment, Rokvegas 4 Mike McCray, Beta 5 US Communications, Hawaiian Tropic Zone

Rank 1-6 Best Interior Design 6 Aramik Gragosian, Versus 4 AvroKO, Lavo 5 Deepsleep Studio, Parkwest 1 Jeffrey Beers International, Fuse 2 Niemitz Design, Shrine 3 Seed Design, Christian Audigier

Promotion Rank 1-6 Best One-Off 1 DJ Am & Travis Barker at LAX 5 Labor Day with Kaskade and Deadmau5 at Wet Republic 2 Made, Pacha & AM Only present One Night Only 4 N9Ne Group presents Midsummer’s Night Dream 3 Made Event, Sunday School for Degenerates 6 Steve Lockwood, Vegas Blondeshell Awards

Rank 1-6 Best Party 2 Summer Surprise Series at Pure 6 Aquatic at The Pool at Harrah’s 1 Dance.Here.Now. at Cielo 3 Glow at Ibiza 5 Godskitchen at Body English 4 Perfecto at Rain

Technicians Rank 1-6 Best Resident DJ 5 Colette, Smart Bar Chicago 4 DJ Vice, Lavo Las Vegas 1 Francois K, Cielo New York 6 Oscar G, Space Miami 3 Paul Oakenfold, Rain Las Vegas 2 Victor Calderone, Pacha New York

Rank 1-6 Best Resident LJ 2 Eric Moyano, Bliss Lounge New Jersey 5 Eyeball, Mixx Atlantic City 3 Jeff Novak, LAX Las Vegas 4 Jose Vargas, Glo Westbury 6 Matt Beecher, mur.mur. Atlantic City 1 Timmy Lights, Pacha New York

Rank 1-5 Best Resident VJ 5 DVDJ G-Funk, Beta Denver 2 Eyeball, Mixx Atlantic City 4 Roonie G, Saddle Ranch Los Angeles 3 VJ Psyberpixie, Set 1 United Vision, Pacha New York

Rank 1-6 Best Sound Product 3 Cerwin Vega Passive Series Subs 1 Funktion-One Dance Stack Array Engineer 4 Sencore SP495 SoundPro EX 5 Martin Audio Omniline Micro-Line Array System 6 Crest Audio CC5200 Amplifier

Rank 1-6 Best DJ Product 6 Ultrasone Pro DJ Headphones 4 Stanton Da Scratch 3 Pioneer MEP-7000 & SEP-C1 5 Allen & Heath XONE:4D 2 Denon DN-HS5500 1 Traktor Scratch Pro 2 JBL VP Series

Best LED Product 2 Megalite Axis LED 1 MBT LED Panel 4 Elation Professional FlexLED Tape 3 American DJ Accu LED MH 5 Chauvet COLORdash BATTEN

Rank 1-5 Best Video Product 1 Edirol V-8 Video Mixer 5 Green Hippo Hippotizer V3 R2 Media Servers 2 DJScreen.com DJ Screen 3 Numark ArKaos GrandVJ software 4 Sencore/Lumagen RadianceXD

Rank 1-6 Best Lighting Product 1 Robe Color Wash 2500E AT 5 Elation Professional Design 300 Series 2 Martin Professional SmartMAC 6 MADRIX – LED Lighting Control Software 3 Road Hog Full Boar 4 Chauvet Q-Spot 250 LED

Rank 1-5 Best Effect Product 4 Omnisistem Magic Box 3 MediaLas Showlaser System Infinity 5 Technological Artisans ClubCat Laser 2 X-Laser XA100G Skywriter 1 Martin RGB Laser 1.6

People’s Choice Rank 1-6 Best DJ Set 4 Danny Tenaglia “Futurism” Party 1 DJ AM & DJ Jazzy Jeff at Shrine 2 Pacha NYC presents David Guetta 3 The Martinez Brothers, ÉTÉ D’AMOUR 6 Kaskade, SF Love Fest 5 Erick Morillo at Tao Memorial Day Weekend

Service Rank 1-5 Best Bottle Service 5 Christian Audigier, Las Vegas 1 LAX, Las Vegas 4 Shrine, Mashantucket 3 Tabu Ultra Lounge, Las Vegas 2 The Bank, Las Vegas

Gatien Out? Bottles In?

Word comes from one of those talkative birdie types that Peter Gatien has been ousted from his throne at his Circa nightclub in Toronto. My source was vague on details except for a “he’s definitely out,” and that the “two lawyer/investor partners” had acted because Peter was “up to his same old shit.” At this time I’m not sure what “shit” he is specifically accused of being up to, but there was just so much of it in the old days. I’m promised details sometime today, but although it’s no secret that Peter and I have had a “confused” past, I honestly don’t enjoy hearing this news. As I’ve said before, though it seems that he deviated far from any reasonable set of management practices in his reign as club king in New York, there is little doubt of his brilliance, daring, and vision. Things didn’t exactly work out as he planned here, and again I’m sad that this may be true for him in his native land. I never went to Circa, but I heard wonderful things about it and was impressed by the Kid Robot decor images that I’ve seen online.

Onto another fairly controversial topic: A recent article in the New York Times has pointed out the consumption of thousands of dollars worth of bottles at the Merkato 55 and Bagatelle weekend brunches, which has raised a few questions. Is the Obama bailout going to bring back bottle service? The flailing economy had just about forced clubs to rethink their reliance on the Grey Goose crowd, but it seems like the bailout may be providing these patrons with some extra spending money again.

I spoke to a few owner types to get their feel, and most said that they were still struggling, but that business was also up recently. Greenhouse owner Jon B. pointed out that January and February have always been slow months. “Hopefully with the bailout and the change of weather people will feel more confident about spending,” he said. Eddie Dean over at Pacha said that his club was “still making deals, and early-bird specials with no sign of improvement yet.” Owners at all the places I spoke to said that revenues are down between 15 and 25 percent from last year.

Last year, as I remember it, was a monster year, but to expect that kind of action in an unusually long and cold winter — and in a down economy — would be a bit short-sighted. Management got used to bottle service padding their bottom lines, and those who have not adjusted by cutting staff or finding other revenue streams (like door fees or specialty drinks) are suffering. But while most owners have mourned the loss of bottle-service, many have seen it as a blessing since creative types have returned to the business with new energies and great parties. It is my observation that there are many great nights/parties, but there is no truly great club. The country has been in an uproar about the bonuses paid to A.I.G. executives. with an angry president ordering his minions to make it stop. I can’t imagine the reaction when it’s taken to the next level — when people realize that the loot is trickling down to the frat boys once again and is being used to buy tables at the city’s trendiest nightclubs. Can the goose be put back in the bottle? Merkato 55’s doorman, Matt Oliver, had this to say: “I generally ask bottle service customers for their credit card and ID. I’ve never asked them how they got the money in the first place. But maybe I should start.”

Kavinsky Kills It

Despite having crashed his Testarossa back in 1986, Parisian deejay Kavinsky (Vincent Belorgey) came back from the dead this past weekend to infuse Toronto and Brooklyn with his brand of futuristic ’80s electronic music. With projected graphics reminiscent of Tron and remixed tracks by everyone from Chromeo to the Klaxons, things felt a little more like a joyride in Doc Brown’s DeLorean than a head-on in a Ferrari. Watch for Kavinsky at Coachella on Saturday, April 26.

Photos of the Kavinsky show at Circa in Toronto courtesy of Zach Slootsky at Take More Photos.