Liami Lawrence, the man behind Sababa, posted a bulletin on myspace last friday that read (in part): “THERE WERE 2 OTHER PARTIES LAST NIGHT IN OUR COMMUNITY. AND WHILE WE HAD THE MOST PEOPLE OF ALL THE PARTIES AND SOMEONE TOLD ME I WON- BECAUSE OF THAT - DIDN’T.”
On Thursday, June 28, there were three competing parties in Hollywood: Sababa’s “Ladies Night” soiree at the Loft at Hollywood and Highland, DJ Eliran and DJ Tal’s “LA’s Finest Summer Party” at The Day After Nightclub and another party at the Bungalow Club that I have very few details about. Though everyone involved insists it was not a head-to-head competition, the fact that they all targeted the same demographic sector - the young, Jewish-Israeli-Persian crowd, were all in the same geographic area - Hollywood, and offered similar DJ-driven, alcohol-infused, go-to-be-seen scenes, inevitably put the gatherings in conflict and put a dent in everyone’s fender.
When I arrived at The Day After on the corner of Hollywood and Highland at 10:30 p.m., there were perhaps 15 people waiting in line. Security was tight - guys were patted down and ID’s were run through a scanner - but that didn’t prevent underage girls from sneaking in. Eliran and Tal, 24 and 21-year-old Israeli-Persian brothers (pictured left), tend to attract the 18-30 set. Naturally, Persians flock to their parties in droves, but Israelis and American Jews also enjoy the duo’s dynamic get-togethers.
The venue itself was gorgeous: a sprawling outdoor patio, a lush lounge with exposed brick walls and red-toned lighting and a classy mod dance area with white curtains and couches. The people were beautiful as well - dressed to turn heads and made up to conceal baby faces. The music was great, bouncing from pop hip hop to Persian favorites to the latest Israeli hits.
According to DJ Eliran’s myspace bulletin thanking everyone for attending the party, over 500 people showed up. But at no point during the night was the venue at capacity. The dance floor, always the key indicator of a party’s success, was pleasantly full but not packed.
Crossing Highland at a little past midnight, I headed over to Sababa at the Loft. I was a little confused as I stepped out of the elevator on the fourth floor because the place looked deserted. No people, no music, no signs. This was the right place, a woman at the door assured me. She stamped my hand and I went in.
The Loft is the VIP area of the Highlands club, decorated to resemble a luxurious Manhattan loft. In one room, a handful of couples were engaged in sultry salsa dancing while in the second, larger room with the New York skyline on the back wall, scattered clusters were rockin’ to Israeli music. A third back room had apparently been converted into the smokers’ lounge because management did not allow people to congregate on the outside balcony/walkway leading into the Loft (which is why the party appeared nonexistent at first).
The crowd was slightly older than the one across the way, but just as varied in terms of ethnicity. Liami said that his large Jewish-American contingent came earlier in the night (“they’re doctors and lawyers who have to get up early in the morning”) and left around midnight, at which point, the Israelis showed up. Though the club was sparsely populated by 1 a.m., Liami said nearly 400 people were there throughout the night. He emphasized that there was no rivalry whatsoever between him and the DJ brothers and he often attended their parties (and they his).
To everyone’s credit, the flurry of parties on Thursday night did not appear to dampen anyone’s spirits; however, I think Liami and Eliran/Tal should pick up the phone or at least shoot a text to each other the next time they plan a party so that the chosen people have a little less to choose from in one night.
Photos courtesy of Amnon Harounian/ClubLite. For more photos from “LA’s Finest Summer Party” go to www.myspace.com/clublite.