LA Summer Night Moves

Unlike New York, where socializing slows to a crawl because everyone’s in the Hampton’s or it’s just too plain hot, in Los Angeles, the social scene picks up during the summertime. In your immediate foreseeable future, you will be very busy taking in art, dancing, weird circuses, and getting a visit from everyone’s favorite comedy uncle (Murray Hill!) while ogling half-naked women.

First things first. Daisy O’Dell’sVinyl Lover’s Lounge was extended, but next weekend is the last installment, so bring records to the Palihouse.

Also getting a summertime lifeline: the Cirque Berzerk, the funky, gothy, burlesque/cabaret which was supposed to shut next week has been extended through August.

One time only, don’t sleep on it! Next Friday, the Soul Clap and Dance-Off, a New York Night Train dance party run by DJ Jonathan Toubin, comes to L.A.’s Nomad Gallery (1993 Blake Avenue). The night is a throwback — the kids dance to gritty 60s soul spun on 45’s (remember those?). There’s a dance contest happening in the center of the dance floor, with celebrity judges weighing in on the winners. The judges for the L.A. contest will be Don Bolles (of the Germs), Jennifer Herrera (of RTX), Howie Pyro (of Intoxica Radio), and Randy Randall (of No Age.)

Next Wednesday at Avalon, my favorite person in the universe, Mr. Murray Hill, comes to Los Angeles from New York. He’s a little scared of the L.A. crowd since he’s never really gigged here, but I told him not to worry as Murray Hill awesomeness is universal. Murray’s here to be part ofDita Von Teese’s night. Make him feel welcome.

Last but not least: pictures! But not exactly pretty ones. Starting next Saturday, the Scion Installation L.A. Space (3521 Helms Ave.) in Culver City will host the work of three Vice mag regulars: Jamie Lee Curtis Taete, Maggie Lee, and Tim Barber. Expect a lot of bodily fluids, and generally shocking-for-shocking’s-sake images. The exhibit will run through August 8.

Image via by Danielle Bedics / dita.net

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Links: Dita Von Teese Takes a Lover, Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt’s Swine Flu Honeymoon

● The Miss California Organization has a vested interest in their candidate winning; that’s why they paid for Carrie Prejean to get a new pair of boobs six weeks before the Miss USA pageant. [PopCrunch] ● Dita Von Teese has taken a lover. The burlesque beauty is seeing the Count Louis-Marie de Castelbajac’s son, fashion designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, who happens to be 11 years her junior. [Celebuzz] ● Natalie Portman has taken a stand against celebrity endorsements. The actress says she doesn’t believe in supporting something you don’t believe in, like make-up for instance. [FemaleFirst]

● Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt are back from their honeymoon in Mexico. The duo greeted the paparazzi with Michael Jackson-style surgical masks. [JustJared] ● What does Pat Field, of Sex and the City styling fame, have to say about the swine flu? “We’re in America, and we don’t give a shit about anything.” [NYM] ● Khloe Kardashian has shared personal pictures of her family over the years; I only mention this because there’s a spectacular family photo of the Jenner-Kardashian clan in biker gear. [KK]

Links: Kelly Bensimon vs. ‘Elle’ Editor, Jessica Biel Stripped to DVD

● Take a look at Seth Rogen, age 13, doing stand-up in Canada before the fame, before his balls dropped, and from the looks of it, before he found a bong. [Youtube] ● We Americans may be blasé about Katy Perry’s girl-kissing antics, but Saudi Arabia finds the singer too sexy, censoring her album cover by adding clothes. [The Insider] ● Real housewife of NYC Kelly Bensimon has more legal troubles on the way, as if allegedly beating up your boyfriend wasn’t bad enough; a former Elle Accessories editor is accusing her of lifting a jewelry line idea. Hell hath no fury like an editor scorned. [P6]

● Justin Timberlake’s main lady Jessica Biel’s stripper role in the film Powder Blue will be getting the straight-to-DVD treatment. [HighDefDigest] ● While other celebs came to Coachella in their thrift-store finest, Dita Von Teese showed us how it’s done — wearing a cocktail dress to a music festival in the middle of the desert. [JustJared] ● A new biography about actor Paul Newman portrays him as a functioning alcoholic and a womanizer. Shocker. [Daily Mail]

Links: Zoey Deschanel vs. Katy Perry, Dita Von Teese Enraged

● Has hell frozen over? Star Jones and Rosie O’Donell will be hosting a charity luncheon together. They can bond over the food. [US] ● Zooey Deschanel says the constant Katy Perry comparisons are getting “a little annoying,” cause the only thing they have in common are blunt bangs. [MTV] ● Kate Moss says although she’s not with child, she’s been pregnant for the last two years if tabloids were to be believed. [DigitalSpy]

Dita Von Teese is infuriated over reports she has been secretly sexting David Beckham. [DitaFan] ● Nicole Scherzinger knows that Britney Spears can “throw down” when it comes to dancing, and that’s why she would never have a dance-off with her. [MTV] ● Gale Harold, who played Teri Hatcher’s young boy-toy on Desperate Housewives, will return to the show May 3 after getting into a terrible motorcycle accident that sidelined his stint on the show. [EW]

Links: Thom Yorke Thopless, Katy Perry Would Kiss Kristen Stewart

● Class act Aubrey O’Day is hoping to be the godmother to BFFs Jenna Jameson’s sons; after all, O’Day was the first one to know the ex-porn-star was pregnant. [OKMagazine] ● Lady Gaga’s bubble-ball dress she wears on her “Fame Ball” tour is making fashionistas do a double-take, as it’s almost identical to a Hussein Chalayan piece from his S/S 2007 collection. [NYTblog] ● Ever wonder what Thom Yorke looks like without a shirt on? Here’s your “chance” to find out for real. [JustJared]

● If Katy Perry could kiss another girl, she says it would be Twilight star Kristen Stewart. Sounds like material for her follow-up album. [Celebuzz] ● Marilyn Manson now wants ex-wife Dita Von Teese back; thankfully the feeling isn’t mutual. Guess Manson got tired of Dita rip-offs and wanted the original again. [Dlisted] ● Nicole Richie has launched her own website; in it, you can read her diary, where she discusses her design philosophy. (which actually isn’t a philosophy). [NicoleRichie]

Dita Von Teese Returns to Crazy Horse

After concluding a wildly successful sold-out February run, burlesque queen Dita Von Teese is returning to the stage of Crazy Horse in Paris for another series of shows. The new engagement lasts from March 16 to March 27, and she’ll be performing the three new acts that did so well last month. Contact the venue for ticket info.

Cover Songs: The Perfect Dita Von Teese Musical Debut

Either there’s a kernel of truth to that steaming pile of malarkey Dita Von Teese told Perez Hilton last week about not crawling down into the unforgiving trenches of pop, or the burlesque queen is presently holed up in a fancy bunker with Studio Magic, a vocoder, and some smart European producers (an even split of Mark Ronson and Calvin Harris, perhaps?), top-secretly forging a flawless debut — all on Interscope’s dime. And if the latter’s the case, Dita would benefit from a few well-placed cover songs on her debut to establish her footing. There’s never been any shame in siphoning off the legacy of an iconic pop song to further your own career. Why, Lindsay Lohan channeled Cheap Trick — and that was well after she had already secured her place in America’s cultural consciousness. Ideal picks for the glamor goddess’ consideration follow.

“All That Jazz” – Nothing quite belts “Cabaret!” like a smarmy showtune. And this song — Broadway’s most tattered, threadbare garter — has been passed around to everyone from Catherine Zeta-Jones to Beyonce. Although Dita can leave her mark not by shouting her way through the lyrics like way too many before her, but by using her best weapon: moxy.

“The Dope Show” – Everyone loves a smart skewing of showbiz. Combine that with a knowing nod to a former ex and the potential to turn a staple of post-punk angst on its ear, and Dita’s pop chops should all but mint her as a Mensan musician. Or barring that, at least guarantee her an easy top ten hit.

“Be My Baby” – But I suppose if Interscope is worrying about Dita coming off too strident (you know how crotchety label execs can be — they’re still fretting about a certain icon’s nipple slip at some sporting event eons ago), a Ronettes’reworking may be in order. If only to make her more personable.

“Material Girl” – Owing to the fact that both Dita and Madonna are a couple of the forerunners of the sexual revolution (or at least, once used to be) and that both bow from the same Michigan suburb, there’s heartwarming kitsch value in Dita paying tribute to Madge.

“Diamond’s Are a Girl’s Best Friend” – Or she can think bigger, joining the ranks of not only Madonna, but also Eartha Kitt, Marilyn Monroe, Nicole Kidman, and Kylie Minogue. The underlying principle’s still the same.

“I Want You to Want Me” – Because Lindsay did.

“Coin-Operated Boy” – Ultimately though, hers is a legacy about empowerment and perhaps the odd role-reversal. And in that, there’s a kindred spirit of Amanda Palmer’s in Dita Von Teese, prowling for a programmable boyfriend.

Links: Anna Wintour’s Music Connection, Julia Roberts’ Child Protection Act

● If you’re expecting an escapist, designer-clothing-and-shoe-laden Sex and the City sequel, you have another thing coming. Ms. Bradshaw herself said that although they want this one to be a romp, it will be mindful of the recession. Bor-ing. [Celeb-Gossip] ● We all know Anna Wintour is a fashion taskmaster, but she’s also hooking up musicians. Wintour told Justin Timberlake that he and Katy Perry should team up for a feature in Vogue, after clarifying with her daughter Bee that Perry was that singer that talks about kissing girls. [P6] ● Dita Von Teese may have overstated the fact that she would remain celibate after her divorce from Marilyn Manson. Dita says it’s safe to say she’s had sex by now! [ContactMusic]

● Electro-rock goddess Peaches (real name Merrill Nisker) is set to release her new album, I Feel Cream, in May. The ever-clever singer has tracks with names like “Billionaire” and “Mommy Complex.” [ChartAttack] ● Julia Roberts thinks it should be against the law to photograph celebs’ kids, not necessarily because it’s a gross invasion of privacy, but mostly because online commentators deem only one of her children attractive. [Yahoo] ● Here are 10 celebrity parents that will trump Joan Crawford’s wire hanger episode any day. [MentalFloss]

Dita Von Teese: Behind the Scenes

See full behind-the-scenes gallery, and be sure to check out Dita Von Teese: Gallery of the Unexpected for the finished shoot.

Today’s grand icon of burlesque is Dita Von Teese. I’d been longing to see a live performance by the great porcelain doll reborn of the bygone era of entertainment. The genre appeals to me: glitz, glamour, and sex appeal, along with comic and playful references. Then I was invited to her show for Cointreau. I was agape, like a child — over her incredible body proportions, the Swarovski crystals, the sophisticated interpretation of the music, and the oozing sensuality of course. But it was her ever-present finesse that shone throughout. I went away thinking I should never be flippant with words like “astonishing” again.

I was yearning to work with Ms Von Teese. The opportunity to shoot her took eight months to materialize due to her busy schedule, but finally it came, thanks to the faith of her amazing manager Melissa Dishell. I began obsessively living and breathing Dita. She appeared in my dreams. I really wanted the image to be something this international icon had not dipped into before. A metamorphosis was on the cards, toning down the glitz, but without losing any glamour. I’ve got a bit of a 60s sci-fi fetish, so we would hurl Dita into the future (as seen by 60s visionaries) and play about with mystery and metal sheen.

I unpacked the idea of “The Unexpected” — the certain anxiety when you’re not sure if something is going to blow up, or creatures are about to appear. I wanted to extract tension — a cocktail of nerves and thrill — from the “delicate” in Dita, then take it and amplify it and house it in beauty. It was a major project, taking a month to prep.

The colors would be ghostly silvers and sci-fi reminiscent, all in haute couture — a mix of archive and current pieces. The only bright gown, Jean-Paul Gautier couture, was fitting to the theme as it was emerald green and so The Fifth Element. The others were all metallic and neutral: archived creations by Boudicca and Elie Saab. And the accessories were indispensable — pavé diamonds can only ever be done by the essential de Grisogono.

During production, I got goosebumps as each of her poses reverberated with more force. She is suddenly upon us in an aura from outer space, released in a brilliant and daring apparition.

Mohieb is creative director at MoDa’s Touch. Dita Von Teese returns to the Crazy Horse in Paris for all-new shows starting February 1.