Los Angeles Openings: Sound, Couture, RG Club, Il Piccolo Ritrovo

If you’ve never danced under a bunch of 3D video screens while a bill for $1,000 in bottle service waits on your table, you haven’t lived. Or, you didn’t go to the grand opening of Sound last weekend. The guys behind Playhouse have put together an 8,000-square foot nightclub with one of the most futuristic audiovisual systems in the world, giving Hollywood what it wants: A monstrous dance hall open til 4 AM serving a street-food inspired menu at a walk-up food bar.

Couture also recently opened in Hollywood, somehow combining fashion shows with… chicken and waffles? This lounge/restaurant doubles as a gateway to the fashion industry where you can watch the catwalk, buy the latest handbag, sip champagne, and dine on small plates and comfort food. Elsewhere, jazz comes back to Venice Beach with RG Club, and pizza and paninis have started blazing out of a $25K wood-burning oven in the Palisades at Il Piccolo Ritrovo.

4AM DJ Tour Diary: Mick Boogie Does Comic-Con & LA

As a manager and partner at 4AM DJs, I’m always arranging performances, events, and photo shoots around the world. Every day, the reports I get back from my DJs sound like the kinds of wild adventures that I rarely get to be a part of as a desk jockey. The people who flock to these stellar international events get to experience the end result of months of prep, but do they really know what a day in the life of a DJ is like? In this monthly column, you’ll hear first-hand accounts of DJ war stories, with photos and videos from the world’s best to show for it. In this Tour Diary, you’ll read about Mick Boogie as he makes his way to San Diego’s Comic-Con for a celebrity-packed party, and then to LA for one of that town’s legendary daytime jams. Yours truly, Adam Alpert.

Thursday July 21: I landed in San Diego to deejay a party at Comic Con. The party was sponsored by Complex Magazine, and featured celebs like Cowboys and Aliens Jon Favreau—who spun a guest DJ set—and Olivia Munn. When I’m not manning the decks, I’m a huge comic book and graphic novel fan, so checking out the convention was something I’ve always wanted to do. It did not disappoint. Pure. Mayhem.

Friday July 22: I traveled via train from San Diego to LA. If you haven’t taken that train ride, I highly recommend it. 2.5 hours of scenic coastal views made the trip one of the first times I’ve ever travelled and wished it had lasted longer. I arrived in LA at around 3pm, and met my wife (who flew into LAX from NYC that afternoon) to begin our LA experience.

Saturday July 23: I was the featured DJ at one of my favorite clubs in the world, Playhouse. It’s a DJ’s dream: amazing sound, huge stage, insane lightshow, and the energy is intense. Thousands of people are going crazy to the latest house bangers. A big shout out to Igor from Playhouse, who has always supported the Mick Boogie movement.

Sunday July 24: After a night of drunken Euro-rific house madness, my Sunday gig was the complete opposite, and quite possibly the most fun I’ve had DJing in years, at the legendary LA daytime party, the Do-Over. Any deejay who declines an invite here, or says they didn’t have fun, is not a real DJ. This is a music lover’s dream, where you can play anything under the sun, as long as it isn’t the contrived nonsense we have to play 85% of the time everywhere else. A big thanks to Azul and Dominique. Selections from my Do-Over set included about 10 songs produced by J. Dilla, a set of samples from the Tribe Called Quest discography, a Brazilian funk set, some dancehall, and a 70s slowjam grand finale. I would deejay the Do-Over every week if I could. After that, it was back to NYC and the regular grind, but this weekend showed me why Southern California is such an amazing place, and I can’t wait to go back!



L.A.’s Longest-Running Weekly Party Celebrates 15 Years

Last night, Playhouse nightclub in Hollywood toasted the 15th anniversary of Monday Night Social, the legendary weekly party featuring top international DJs and designed for party people who can’t quite accept that the weekend is over. Since 1996, the Bud Brothers have hosted everyone from Fatboy Slim to last night’s headliner, Holland’s Sander Van Doorn, at various locations around Los Angeles. But for the past two years or so, MNS has called Playhouse home, and just as dance music has gone more mainstream, so have the crowds at this party.

MNS has been on a hot streak lately. Freddy Be, Mick Cole, and their partners have been able to land top talent for the party, and Playhouse has proved a fantastic partner for MNS, which first began its now-unheard-of run in a French restaurant on La Brea Avenue, back when dance music was more of a subculture.

Check out their website to get on the mailing list, or follow MNS on Twitter to stay connected with L.A.’s best Monday night party.

Russian Roulette Returns to L.A. This Saturday Night

Los Angeles’ vibrant Russian community can be seen spending copious amounts of cash on any given evening at any number of Hollywood nightspots. But expats and attractive children of Russian émigrés who grew up in L.A. and speak Russian, have been feeling the loss of the legendary club Russian Roulette since it shut down years ago. Now, promoters The Reunion Parties are bringing back the club with one of the original owners of Roulette at a new location for one-night-only party this Saturday.

Russian Roulette returns at a semi-“secret” restaurant that morphs into a club called Crystal. The second level space on Santa Monica Boulevard will be jammed with chain-smoking blondes from Russia this weekend, dancing to everything from David Guetta to tracks by Moscow rapper Timati, while most residents in the area have no idea a swanky nightspot even exists in the Fairfax district. Crystal caters to an insular, yet wealthy clientele, as opposed to the sexy young’uns that will likely turn up Saturday night looking like they just got back from Moscow fashion week.

“Russian Roulette has been synonymous with the most popular, luxurious, and upscale venues in the history of Los Angeles,” said The Reunion Parties’ Alex Ratushnyak. The Kiev-born Angeleno throws roving monthly parties at L.A. clubs such as Playhouse and Première that draw hundreds, but this month’s edition is special and will draw a mixed crowd of Ukrainian, Russian and curious Americans looking for a different kind of night out in L.A.

“Everyone has memories or recollections of Russian Roulette and the excitement that goes along with it,” he said, adding that they are decking out Crystal to really look like the old Russian Roulette Saturday night. “We are bringing in our own furniture and have already sold out most bottle service booths,” he boasted.

Za Vasha zdorovya, Los Angeles. Vodka awaits.

Your 2011 LA Grammy Party Roundup

With Hollywood awards season reaching its crescendo, we’d forgive you for thinking movie folk have all the fun. But this Sunday, the Grammys will aim to remind you that the music industry is full of famous people, too, and that like their cinematic counterparts, they love a good party. Here are a few of the best events in Los Angeles leading up to Sunday’s big show.

Last night, Essence magazine hosted a salute to Janelle Monae at Playhouse for the second-annual “Black Women in Music” event, with Joy Bryant hosting. A private party, obviously, and still the organizers had to disinvite previously confirmed guests. Classy. But the Essence party was a blip on the radar compared to the usual lineup of heavyweights. On Saturday, we have Clive Davis’ annual bash at the Beverly Hilton, and the Jimmy Fallon-hosted Roots jam session at the Music Box. Then on Sunday, Sony takes over the Beverly Hills Hotel, EMI throws down at Milk Studios, and Warner Music hosts a bash at Soho House.

But what would a weekend of exclusive parties be without a week of exclusive parties leading up to them? Tonight, the annual Peapod event goes down. Fresh off their questionable half time show, The Black Eyed Peas headline the Bacardi-sponsored event at the Music Box. Playhouse has Jermaine Dupri’s annual bash tonight with DJ Vice, and on Friday, Beyonce will be in attendance. Also on Friday, the annual “Friends & Family” party will take place at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, where you can expect pop Svengali Dr. Luke. At Bardot and the connected larger club Avalon, Usher held a party Thursday night. Friday, Bruno Mars hosts a separate event in the same space.

On Saturday, expect less star-power but more actual good music, when Groove Armada toasts their fantastic Grammy nominated Black Light at Supper Club with Jason Bentley and Dirty Vegas. And Sunday, Jay-Z will brunch at a Gucci/Roc Nation event. The biggest parties, however, have yet to leak. Arcade Fire is expected to play somewhere, where a certain someone will probably not be attendance.

Where to See the Best DJs in America

DJing is a funny thing. Advances in technology have made it so that anyone with a laptop and iTunes can play their favorite tracks at a party and call themselves a DJ. But for party purists all over the world, a true DJ someone who lives and dies by the beat, and who can control a dance floor of hundreds, sometimes thousands, with the flick of a switch. On any given night in clubs all over the country, these masters of the mix are getting the party started (and keeping it going) so you don’t have to. Here’s a list of where to catch the most scorching sets around.

NYC Pacha: Ibiza by way of Hell’s Kitchen. This is NYC’s best go at a Euro megaclub mock-up, and likewise, it’s where the world’s biggest DJs come to spin. Unless you’re a hardcore techno-head, you’ve probably never heard of names like Mark Knight, Benny Benassi, and Jonathan Peters. But you can bet the sea of sweaty, ecstatic revelers, well, have. Santos’ Party House: DJs flock to sound systems like flies do to, well, you get the picture. Boasting one of the best speaker sets in town, mixers from all genres of music flock to this bi-level downtown boite. The best place in Manhattan to discover noise from the underground. Cielo: World-class DJ Nicolas Matar opened Cielo after a nine year residency in Ibiza during the golden era of House, so you know that this ultra-futuristic club attracts only the best talent behind the decks. Legends like Danny Tenaglia, Richie Hawtin and Frankie Knuckles are frequent guests.

MIAMI Space: In a town notorious for its after-hours clubs, this is the crown jewel. Some of the biggest DJs in the world have residencies here, and there’s a never-ending lineup of superstar guests delivering high octane well after the sun rises. World’s away from the SoBe bling parade, this is the mecca for dance and trance freaks. LIV: Tiesto—the world’s best known DJ—has gone on record saying this Vegas-style megaclub at the Fontainebleau is his favorite in the world. His reasons: “high ceilings, good sound system, beautiful people.” Works for us. Mynt Ultra Lounge: Not quite a lounge, not when international DJs like Cedric Gervais celebrate their birthdays here with pulverizing sets. Uber exclusivity on the South Beach strip. Celebs constantly linger around the elevated, see-and-be-seen DJ bootbh.

LOS ANGELES Avalon: The readers of URB.com, a hub for lovers of all things electronica, named this club their venue of the year for 2009 in a year end readers poll. The legendary building, once known as The Palace, has been operational for over 80 years. Dance is with the ghosts of Dean Martin and Groucho Marx at Avaland, the weekly Saturday parties that draw top talent in the DJ world. V Lounge: Most danceclubs in LA are caught up in the Hollywood nightlife machine, but not V Lounge. Here, it’s all about the music. Fridays with DJs Stardom and Nightlife remain popular, and on Saturdays, DJ Ammo, who has spun at L.A.’s biggest and best clubs, mans the decks. Playhouse: Parties rage almost every night of the week at multi-level club. Occasional live music, but you can expect DJs most nights. Their Friday night jam Dirty Sexy House speaks for itself. Two DJs spinning simultaneously, one up top, another bellow. New York mainstay Jesse Marco has been known to show up from time to time to blow the roof of, just because he can.

Playhouse Saves Monday Social

Nightlife emergencies call for emergency measures. The 13-year-old party Monday Social found itself without a home last week, as its venue, Nacional, was unexpectedly shuttered. DJs and co-hosts Mick Cole and Freddy Be were given the news last Friday and scrambled to find the perfect new home — one that would be a logical next step for their party, and where they could imagine staying at as long as they did at Nacional, where they held court for nearly five years. Turns out the solution was right next door.

This week, they debuted Monday Social at the Playhouse. It’s quite a change of pace for the little party that could. Billed as the “longest running weekly in Los Angeles,” Monday Social started in a tiny French restaurant where big-time DJs like Norman Cook (Fatboy Slim) and Groove Armada would spin to a tiny crowd, eventually graduating to the mid-sized Nacional. However, the abrupt change puts them in a new venue that, if both floors are open, can hold up to a thousand people; the bottom floor alone has around a five hundred to six hundred person capacity. “We’ve gone up from being a DIY event that we’ve been running for five years, and now we’re running in an ultimate nightclub,” says Cole. “We’re trying to get our heads around it and make it successful. My first reaction was to get as many people as I can and invite them down. It was an extremely last minute move. We had no intention of it happening, but we’re taking advantage of it totally.”

Their first night at the new spot was a success, even with just a few days notice — they had 400 people through the doors, says Cole, who would like to gain another 200 warm bodies in the future. Their next guest on Monday is Steve Porter, who was voted as one of America’s Best DJs by DJ Times; he normally plays much larger venues. Monday Social is every Monday at 10pm.

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LA Previews: Barbarella Bar, Playhouse, East

Barbarella Bar (Silver Lake) – Big space, big bar, big plates, big music from the classy folks at the Bungalow Club. ● Playhouse (Hollywood) – The old abandoned Fox Theatre comes to life again. This time with cocktails. ● East (Hollywood) – Nightlife kingpin David Judaken decides Hollywood can eat, starting this spring.