Since I moved away from Los Angeles several years ago, I've had to watch the rise of Crosstown Rebels labelhead Damian Lazarus from afar—mainly via Facebook. Of course, experiencing a scene via social media is, to borrow a phrase from Frank Zappa like dancing to architecture. So I was thrilled to be back on the left coast in time for Lazarus' Get Lost LA event, an annual pre-Burning Man blowout that was conveniently (for me) postponed this year until after Black Rock City shut down. This year's event took place this past Sunday, September 27th, relocated from its previous home in the sizable Egyptian Theater courtyard to the much more intimate Le Jardine patio. The event also coincided with this year's Super Blood Moon eclipse which meant that vibes a-plenty were already in the air.
The party kicked off promptly at 6 PM, allowing for a full eight-hour Sunday evening session of the sort you rarely get around these parts. Of course, standard LA travel time meant that I didn't make it to Hollywood until 9 PM. That, followed by far too many minutes spent trying to talk to the Le Jardine door staff ("Not guest list, press list!"), meant sadly missing not only the complete lunar eclipse on the dance floor, but sets by Eduardo Castillo, Heidi Lawden, and Whitney Fierce. I did manage to get inside in time for Lazarus himself taking to the decks.
photos by Nightmoves.me
Performing at floor-level to the capacity crowd meant the shamanic DJ had to cast his spells using the speakers, although he still offered plenty of mystical mannerisms for those who ventured towards the center of the floor, which shimmered overhead with carefully hung crystals and spirit sconces illuminated with well-aimed lasers. The Get Lost LA brand has a reputation for venue transformation worthy of it's Burning Man-association. And while I wasn't transported to other dimensions, I was almost able to forget that the last time I was in this venue, it was for some sort of mid-00s Hollywood fashion fiasco with a pre-EDM Steve Aoki DJing pop hits. Almost.
This juxtaposition made me survey the crowd with a greater skepticism than I might have had this very same bunch of techno loons been gathered in Berlin (or even downtown LA). I only spotted one bottle service table, although I didn't poke around the rear of the venue searching for more. The crowd was dominated by well-inked party professionals dedicated in skin and dress to the techno-hippie aesthetic, and who were earnestly mingling with bougie LA yoga babes and tunic-clad bros alike. As is often the case in this town, it was hard to tell who is truly living the life and who is playing dress-up. But with everyone getting down this hard on a Sunday night, who am I to judge?
By now, Lazarus was bedecked in a mirrored cloak, putting the final touches on his dark wizard vibe. The music also reflected this transformation, becoming louder and tougher as midnight passed and NYC-based desert hero DJ Three joined in on the CDJs. A fixture in several scenes throughout the decades, from Tampa raves to Robot Heart, the mild-mannered DJ-producer has become something of an unsung hero with his recently launched Hallucienda label and gigs from Playa del Rey and Panorama Bar to Brooklyn's Output (where he holds down a residency).
During a quick chat prior to his joining Lazarus in the booth, Three informed me that after his set, he was jetting directly to Ibiza. When I joked I thought the island was closed for the season, the usually modest DJ laughed, "It will be when I'm done." As Get Lost LA continued at full speed to it's 2:30 AM closing time, I couldn't help but think that Ibiza isn't as far from LA as it used to be.