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NIGHT CRAWL THE TROUBADOUR WHERE NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME.

Byline: Heather Wood Entertainment Editor

The border between chi-chi Beverly Hills and hip-to-be-anything-but- square West Hollywood sticks out like a strobe light on a crisp Autumn night.

The stretch of Santa Monica Boulevard just east of Doheny Drive resembles a calm suburb. Antique street lights illuminate the immaculately landscaped ``green belt'' that stretches three miles to Wilshire Boulevard. Cars cruise at a geriatric pace. Pedestrians are nowhere in sight. And the looming trees and profiles of million-dollar mansions just behind them seem to whisper, ``Hush.''

On the West, rainbow flags, noisy sidewalk cafes and naughty novelty stores compete for attention. And people are everywhere -- eating, talking, laughing ... waiting.

At the epicenter of this cultural divide sits one of L.A.'s oldest (and most famous) nightclubs: The Troubadour.

On any given night past 8, the corner of Doheny and Santa Monica is full of people. Impatient people, clamouring to get past a thick-necked bouncer or an impromptu velvet rope. The clientele varies from hipster yuppies chatting on cell phones and sucking on Camel Ultra Lights to Kelly-and-Jack-Osbourne look-alikes comparing tattoos and black eyeliner.

Whether hosting an acoustic set by a buzz-worthy artist or an ear-splitting showcase of screaming, spitting and moshing, the Troubadour is an ``it'' destination for the night crawler crowd.

``We get everybody,'' says club manager Christine Karayan, who has been putting up with the youth of the night for the past 10 years. ``Hot, well-promoted new artists bring hip, trendy dressers. Emo fans wear dickies, jeans and T-shirts. The rockabilly girls get decked out with big hair. You can pretty much guess the attire by the music genre. But basically, if you wear a pair of black pants, black shirt and boots, you're good. That fits with anything.''

While the Troubadour is happy with basic black and eclectic music, the ever-changing L.A. club scene latches on to trends till their death.

While deejays and dance clubs are attracting bigger crowds and most pay-to-play music venues (where club owners take just about any band as long as they sell -- or in many cases buy -- a select number of tickets) turn a decent profit, the Troubadour has something extra: diversity.

``You need to be able to evolve with the scene,'' says Karayan. ``That's why we're still around, I guess. You just can't let yourself be pigeonholed in one genre of musical styles; that'll kill you. Music is a trend, styles change all the time. What's hot one minute is cold the next. If you close yourself off to other options, you get stuck.''

There's another reason the Troubadour is an L.A. institution. Since 1957, the club has remained an all-ages venue, giving the 18-20 crowd a much-needed alternative to hangin' at the mall.

``A lot of clubs don't want to bother with the licenses (for underage shows), but in terms of ticket sales, it's a good thing; you have a wider audience you can appeal to,'' says Karayan. ``And in all honesty, the kids are easier to deal with than the grown-ups, who get super indignant about everything.''

The Troubadour, 9081 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. Showtimes and cover charges vary nightly. Call (310) 276-6168 or visit www.troubadour.com for more details.

CLUB TIPS

Scene: From goth to groupies, depending on the night.

``It'' drink: Beer. ``People come for the music,'' says club manager Christine Karayan. ``The drinks are secondary. Besides, beer goes well with live music -- it's portable, easy to hold, whatever.''

Dress code: Edgy casual -- no matter the kind of music playing, patrons prefer to appear oh-so ``rock 'n' roll.''

Parking: Take a hint from the B.H. neighbors to the West; valet is the way to go

Fake I.D. holders beware: The Troubadour cards for drinks and cigarettes. If you're caught smoking on the stoop and you're under 21 -- that's right, 21 -- you'll be making a trip back to the valet sooner than expected.

CAPTION(S):

photo, box

Photo:

Crowds linger near the Troubadour entrance nearly every night of the week.

Lauren Lilly/For the Press-Telegram

Box:

CLUB TIPS (see text)
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Copyright 2002, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 4, 2002
Words:679
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