L.A. Scene January 2010: Gays R Us, Uh Huh Her, p.LA.y and Jetsetter

Scene Changes
The rest of January was a meandering, overcast mess. Not unlike this month’s column. It’s been cold and rainy for what seems like an eternity. Bad weather causes Los Angelenos to go insane. This is probably because we all traded in our souls in exchange for the promise of sunshine (and, ideally, a co-starring role on a hit medical drama.)

In November, I reported that I went to Girlbar and that it was actually really fun. Well, I went back last weekend and it had gone back to resembling 1989 in there. Girlbar clearly needs to do something to reinvent itself.

THIS JUST IN: East/West Lounge has announced that "PLATINUM 2010 is now partnered with Girlbar." Which is a quote. From East/West’s Facebook page. Because I’m not a real journalist.

Shannon K, previously of East/West fame, promotes all sorts of events. She can be a bit trigger happy with the e-blasts, so a few months ago, every lesbian in the Southland got word of a new Saturday event. p.LA.y is held at The Den, which is a club on the super-straight Sunset Strip. Nothing in the promotion declared it a lesbian night, but since Shannon was sending the info, we took notice. I drove by one week, saw a bunch of frat boys, and hightailed it back to Santa Monica Blvd.

The next week some optimistic lesbians persuaded me to try again. A group of five of us sat on the large outdoor patio feeling awkward. The inside of the club was getting packed with very straight people. Cast of The Hills types. I’ve never seen so many leggings.

We kept trying to leave, but then a few more friends would trickle in. Two hours later the patio was completely overrun with hundreds of lesbians. The straights indoors stayed put as well, so the whole thing was reminiscent of a middle school dance. Everyone had fun and we forgot where we were until it was time to go to the bathroom inside. So disconcerting! But not necessarily a bad thing.

Last summer I wrote about the premiere of lesbian night, Jetsetter. It was a wild party held at a huge club in the heart of West Hollywood. The August event featured VIP booths, throbbing music, and writhing dancers. It was the sort of thing I might attend every few months when feeling particularly energetic.

Well, Jetsetter relaunched in January and it was a completely different experience. The new venue is Crown Bar. Although technically in WeHo, Crown Bar is off the gay stretch of Santa Monica Blvd. that we all know and love. It’s a vintage "Old Hollywood" style place, with lots of leather and chandeliers. On a typical night you are more likely to see TMZ outside the velvet rope than hoards of lesbians.

The Hollywood hipsters must have gotten the memo that it was a different kind of Ladies Night on Thursday, because the place was packed with lesbians only. The venue’s smaller size, comfy vibe, and outdoor patio make it the perfect spot to mix and mingle. The crowd was similar to that at East West, with a huge age-range and lack of pretention. I spent most of the night catching up with friends before realizing that I might want to write about Jetsetter again.

Jetsetter promoters Briana Stockton and Mariah Hanson

Deciding to turn all journalistic several hours and cocktails in may not produce the most lucid of columns. Still, it’s a good excuse to talk to strangers. I sidled up to an older woman at the bar and started asking her questions for this article. She said she would talk on the condition of anonymity because she isn’t out at work. I assured her many times that I wouldn’t even ask her name. She proceeded to tell me her entire life story.

She had just gotten out of a seventeen-year relationship and this was her first foray back to the scene. I can’t imagine what the lesbian scene was like seventeen years ago, but I suspect it wasn’t pretty. She downed a drink and immediately had an epiphany. She begged me to use her name in the article because she was "tired of being closeted and wasn’t going to do it anymore!" Right on.

I won’t use her name as I suspect she was inebriated. Still, I think her proclamation was emblematic of a shift in the Los Angeles scene. More and more people are out of the closet and now out of West Hollywood. We seem to be moving away from our designated play areas and infiltrating the straight world. Whether this is good, bad, or just different remains to be seen. What do you think?

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