This Week’s L.A. Happenings: Paiche Opens, Celebrity Chef Joins Culina, The Lash Dance Party

TUESDAY: Paiche Opens In Marina Del Rey
No chef in LA knows gourmet Peruvian cuisine like Ricardo Zarate, the man behind hot spots like Mo-Chica and Picca. His newest venture Paiche, named after the tender whitefish that’s headlining the menu, is a contemporary Peruvian izakaya, so expect some Japanese elements like small plates, plain-view fresh fish on the other side of the open kitchen, tons of booze, and a dash of zen.

Paicha(13488 Maxella Ave., Marina Del Ray) opens Tuesday, April 2nd. To make a reservation, visit Paiche’s BlackBook listing here.  

TODAY: Mette Willams At Four Seasons’ Culina
Mette Williams has brains (winner of Food Network’s Chef Wanted), talent (sous chef at Spago and exec. sous chef at Soho House West Hollywood) and she’s super hot (on Eater’s Hottest Chef 2012). Dig into her culinary magic at her new home, Four Seasons Los Angeles’ restaurant Culina, with new menu items debuting today.

Culina at Four Seasons Los Angeles is open for breakfast, brunch (Sundays), lunch, and dinner. To make reservations, visit the Culina’s BlackBook listing here.

WEDNESDAYDance Party At The Lash
Our favorite new downtown hangout The Lash kicks up a Wednesday night, FREE dance party: Shot/Down with DJs Jeremy Price and Short Shorts. Get buzzed on "special" rum punch ($6) and a shot and a beer for ten bucks.

The Lash (117 Winston St., Downtown) Shot/Down dance party starts at 9pm every Wednesday. It’s free. Get the inside-scoop on The Lash by visiting the BlackBook Guides listing.

Be the first to know about the latest openings & events in L.A. by signing up for the weekly BlackBook Happenings email & downloading the BlackBook City Guides app for iPhone and Android.

A Preview of MOCA’s ‘Art in the Streets’ Exhibit

Not everyone in Los Angeles is headed to Coachella this weekend. Last night in West Hollywood, MOCA Director Jeffrey Deitch, Fab Five Freddy, Lee Quiñones, and Shepard Fairey held court at Soho House to give members and art fans a sneak peek at a buzzy new exhibition, “Art in the Streets.”

The show purports to be “the first major U.S. museum survey of graffiti and street art,” and from the preview last night, it looks like a winner, especially when you consider the rise of street art in mainstream culture (special thanks to the one, the only Banksy). “Growing up in New York, I would visit the Met and the Whitney, and I just got comfortable at an early age going to museums,” said Freddy. The former graffiti artist/rapper and onetime host of Yo! MTV Raps is painting again, and he seemed more than comfortable talking about his role in bridging the gap between art and hip-hop, and placing it all in a historical context. “I did an homage to Warhol on subway trains to let people know that we knew about art,” he said of one of his most well-known graffiti works from 1980. “It was all linked,” he continued. “It was all one culture.”

Pictures of Freddy and other notable street artists from New York will be displayed at the exhibit, which was curated by Deitch and associate curators Roger Gastman and Aaron Rose. In addition to photographs of notable graffiti works from the 1980s, the exhibit will host mixed media sculptures and interactive installations by 50 or so artists, including JR, Os Gêmeos, and Chaz. Naturally, this being MOCA, New York won’t get all the glory — LA’s role in the evolution of graffiti and street art will get love via Shepard Fairey’s work, as well as special sections dedicated to cholo graffiti and Venice skateboard culture.

Enough time has elapsed for the art world to take a serious look at the real roots of graffiti culture, invoking names that anyone who lived in New York knew intimately in the 1980s—even if they didn’t recognize it as “art” at the time. “Freddy and Shepard have been able to move art into the broader culture, and not just for the elite art critics,” said Deitch. For Freddy, the part of the exhibit he seemed most excited about is a special section of “Art In The Streets” that will be dedicated to recreating New York’s famed Fun Gallery, which connected New York graffiti artists with the downtown art community in the early 1980s.

“We had so many great shows at that gallery,” he said Tuesday of Fun (MOCA will also be showing Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and other artists who showed at Fun). “Art In The Streets” opens Saturday to MOCA members and Sunday to the public. The show runs through August 8th.

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Of Two Minds Impresses at LA Fashion Week

Complaining about Los Angles fashion week is like bitching about the rain in Seattle. It’s predictable, grim, and it happens every year. That said, shows are getting smarter, and this past week, a few happenings surrounding LA fashion week impressed us, like the unveiling of the Of Two Minds Fall 2011 collection at Soho House.

“Of Two Minds is a state of mind, a lifestyle, a blend of California cool, and Paris chic, so my inspiration is a blend of the colors of the Californian desert with the slices of Paris sophistication,” explained designer Sunjoo Moon Wednesday evening after her show. Guests inside Soho House’s Garden Room swooned over her fresh collection, as the sun set over, well, Sunset.

Instead of models strutting down a runway to electronic music, women walked casually around Soho House’s restaurant portion of the club, under olive trees and to a rock soundtrack, including Temper Trap’s “Sweet Disposition.” “The inspiration was to establish that balance of aesthetic between the washed colors of California, to the depth of the past of the Parisian Café,” Moon added. It all amounted to a distinctly Los Angeles twist on fashion. The presentation worked precisely because it wasn’t trying to mirror a New York-style event, a mistake many local designers make every year.

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.

Your 2010-11 Los Angeles Nightlife Roundup

Last year, it felt like everyone in Los Angeles finally realized the dream of opening their own bar. But nightlife being the fickle beast that it is, not all of them will last. The bars that made the most noise in 2010 will likely survive to see 2012 and beyond, but they’re not necessarily the best of the bunch. Brent Bolthouse and Guy Starkman’s Trousdale (pictured above) had a very successful year and recently paid back all its investors (a coup in under 12 months). Across the street from Trousdale on the Sunset Strip, Soho House had an equally successful 2010.

On the other side of town, Echo Park and Silver Lake saw the opening of a few new bars that made a bit of buzz, albeit of the low-key variety. The truck-stop chic of Stinkers gave way to the whiskey-soaked sophistication of The Thirsty Crow in Silver Lake, while Echo Park gained a great new cozy drinking den in 1642 bar. Los Feliz got a new wine bar, Bar Covell, which was a hit with first-daters the second it opened.

Downtown saw an explosion of new finds in 2010, the best being the simplest: Spring St. bar. Cedd Moses’ Las Perlas tempted tequila fiends while ex-Lava Lounge owner Michelle Marini opened up a smallish haunt called The Falls nearby.

Drai’s, Supperclub, Colony, and Premiere all douched up Hollywood, yet all three seem to still be doing well. Hemingway’s did better than all three of the aforementioned spots, at least in terms of drawing a fairly diverse crowd.

So what’s in store this year?

Tonight in Hollywood, The Spare Room at the Roosevelt officially debuts after hosting private holiday parties last month. The cocktail lounge features a gaming parlor and two vintage bowling lanes. Friday, David Judaken’s revamp of Opera debuts, dubbed Eden.

Beyond Hollywood, look for the Houston brothers to make noise once again with several new bars. The two had a huge hit in 2010 with the smart Havana-aping La Descarga, and the brothers will revamp the Stone Bar near Los Feliz this spring with a dive bar for those who are too hip for dive bars. Similarly, Roger Room overlords Jared Meisler and Sean MacPherson are set to make a bit of low key noise with their revamp of the classic Coach & Horses on Sunset Blvd, which recently closed.

OMEGA Brings More of Their Classic Luxury to America

Swiss watchmaker OMEGA has launched their new flagship boutique inside the West Hollywood/Beverly Hills shopping destination, the Beverly Center. More than just a mall, the Beverly Center has become the target location for other luxury brands, like Louis Vuitton, Prada, Henri Bendel, and, most recently, Fendi (who hosted a star-studded launch event a few months back). “The Beverly Center was an obvious choice for our new flagship, as they offer some of the best brands under one roof. We’re in good company,” OMEGA president Stephen Urquhart tells BlackBook. The 1,600-square-foot boutique hosts the brand’s complete product palette, including their new line of mechanical watches, the Ladymatic (pictured above, with more styles here), which Nicole Kidman is the face of. The Ladymatic pieces may be visually stunning, but there’s so much more to it. “We’re not a fashion brand. We’re less focused on trend, and more interested in the presence of functionality, which has always been our goal,” explains Urquhart. “Wearing an OMEGA watch is like wearing a piece of art and history on your wrist. It’s something that you should keep forever.”

The Beverly Center location is the ninth OMEGA boutique to open in the United States this year alone, and they’re just getting started. The goal is to launch 20 more boutiques in the US in 2011—an ambitious number for a luxury company. To toast the launch of many more to come, last week Urquhart hosted an intimate dinner at Soho House West Hollywood, which I attended, along with a range of editors and friends of the brand. And in true OMEGA fashion, the event was nothing short of lavish. In addition to the top-notch service that Soho House delivers by default, Urquhart also checked in with each guest to make sure they were enjoying themselves or if they needed anything else—a quality that the staff at all OMEGA boutiques mirrors. “It’s all about delivering excellent service. Guests are always warmly greeted at our stores and thoroughly educated in our complete product line,” Urquhart says. Ladies and gentlemen, this is how a 162-year-old company stays in business.

Industry Insiders: Dan Barton, No Such Thing

Brit Dan Barton is President of No Such Agency, a bi-coastal boutique branding and communications agency that specializes in fashion, music, media, art and lifestyle. Some of his clients include British artist Alan Aldridge, urban designer Marc Ecko, musician Danny Saber, and music label Wall Of Sound Records. Barton was also a founding member of the Cool Council, which was a government-endorsed authority on ‘cool’ in the UK. Plus, he serves as the Vice President of Marketing for Flaunt Magazine. More on multitasking with all things abuzz in the cool stratosphere after the jump.

On getting from Point A to Point B: After my degree, I started out in the nightclub business in the UK, and then I was hired by Diesel, working my way up to being the Head of Marketing for the Diesel Group—including Diesel, Martin Margiela, DSquared2 and 55DSL. I moved to the US in early ’05 as Vice President of Marketing for Diesel. I left in late ’07 after 12 years. I realized that I was living off, not working up to, my best work there, and went to Rock & Republic for about five seconds. I then set up NSA as the marketing extension of The Flaunt Group. I’ve been out of the picture for a year or so due to personal circumstances, but this year I’ve returned to set up offices in both Los Angeles and New York, along with our sister agency Erin Hawker’s Agentry PR. I’ve grown the business from no money to a little under $1 million in just a few months. I’ve busted my ass doing so, but all things considered, it all seems to be going rather well. Inspiring folks: Marc Ecko. He’s totally uncompromising, super smart, a brilliant artist, exceptionally likable, and someone who never fails to surprise. He made me eat this giant shrimp once—head, shell and all. It was one of the tastiest things I’ve ever tasted, once I got over the fact that I was chewing on tiny eyeballs, and probably a bit of shrimp crap. Also, Jamison Earnest of Yellow Fever. He’ll hustle his way to heaven, and he’ll do it sponsored by Redbull and with a supermodel on his arm. He’s matured over the last few years, into a creative powerhouse across multiple disciplines—fashion, music and art, and he remains one of most well-connected guys in the city. I admire both these guys so much because they can divide opinion. You either love them or hate them, and only people that are 100% true to themselves can do that. Biggest things happening in the biz: Specialists rule. Ben Sherman has been spending the ‘downtime’ of the recession creating what might well be the best button-down shirt collection in the world. They’re focusing on their craft. Companies that take this approach are smart, as when the upswing gains momentum, they’ll have built more integrity, and consequently will take a stronger position than they were in before the recession. I’ve also seen many clients return to PR as their primary focus for their communications activities, which is also smart, particularly if you hire us! Worst things: Jealous people—usually bloggers—declaring everything lame just because they don’t have the gumption or the talent to go out and do it themselves. Secrets that no one knows: I’m the heir presumptive to the title of Lord of the Manor of Denstone, and I have the freedom of the city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (UK). Also, I don’t think many people know that I maintain carbon neutrality, thanks to carbon offsetting, energy conservation and recycling. People don’t realize how inexpensive and easy it is to do. On the horizon for the rest of 2010: We’re working with Falcon Motorcycles, which is an unusual client for a lifestyle company like ours, but they’re so ridiculously cool that they fit in with our media, fashion and music clients perfectly. They make the coolest custom motorcycles from derelict old British bikes. You’ll see them on a very big international advertising campaign later this year. We’ve also been doing a bit of philanthropic work for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We threw a fundraiser at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Tropicana Bar last month and raised a five figure sum, thanks to generous support from brands such as Tom Ford, DSquared2, Diesel, Ben Sherman and Thomas Wylde. We want to continue down this path as well. Plans for tonight: I just got back from my meeting with Brit photographer Rankin at Chateau Marmont to discuss his forthcoming show in Mexico City that we’re working on with him. Too tired to go out tonight. Guilty pleasure: Vegan food. The poor chickpeas. Go-to spots: I really do love Soho House in Los Angeles. It’s Nick Jones’ best yet. In New York, I love La Esquina for the relentlessly cool crowd, the tequila menu and the best corn on the cob in the city. In London, I love Les Trois Garcons, despite the rather off-putting stuffed giraffe.

LA Openings: Soho House West Hollywood, Drai’s, Industry

Soho House West Hollywood (West Hollywood) – Members-only club for trendy people … can’t say it’s a sure-fire success in L.A. ● Drai’s (Hollywood) – The most exciting thing going down in Hollywood this week. ● Industry (West Hollywood) – Burgers! Stripper poles! Okay!