While the lemmings of the world were watching the lame-o Grammy's a hoard of groovy girls from the Los Feliz/Silver Lake/Echo Park triangle were hoofin' their little hearts out on Sunset Boulevard. Yes, while Madonna shook her petrified bootie and flexed her sinewy muscles in that neo-Capezio Studio 54-era spandex leotard (Excuse me, but those things didn't look good on anyone even back then.) there was, in a small dance studio on Sunset Bouelvard and Rampart Street, a simultaneous if fleshier display of curvaceous tattooed cuties with the occasional flash of sensuous hipster cellulite jiggling unashamedly while ungulating ecstatically to the beats of grindhouse classics at Carol Cetrone's first Tap-a-Go-Go class. You can have your Kanye, your Bono, your Emancipation of bleedin' Mimi, last night was all about Ike Turner's "Ghetto Love," "Green Onions" by Mongo Santamaria, "Raunchy" by Billy Vaughn and "Cleo's Mood" by Junior Walker and the All Stars. "Flap-ball-change" was the battle cry as our master, comander and choreographer Carol Cetrone instructed one and all to Shuffle Off to Buffalo while gyrating like one of Russ Meyer's pneumatic nymphs go-go dancing like a mad gorgone in "Mondo Topless."
Cetrone has been a fixture on the east side performance scene for years. She gained the reputation of an innovator in local dance theatre where her work takes on a bigger-than-dance appeal of theater, performance art, even film. Cetrone decided to start the class after choreographing a tap number for two nuns in drag for a theater piece. "I've been thinking about the tap class for a while but it was kinda in the closet. After I worked with the neo-burlesque troupe the Velvet Hammer, I came to realize there was a real interest in tap and other 'vintage' forms of dance. So I started talking among a few friends who kicked my butt into an actual commitment and here we are."
It seems as if the first (extremely well attended) class is much like Cetrone's own troupe, Perpetua & Co, which she describes as "an ongoing experiment in physical reaction, burlesque and faith." She may need more than faith if she hopes to keep the studio open. The landlord keeps raising the rent and time might be running out. The 'hood has been gentrifying as fast as New York's East Village and funky spaces along the boulevard are disappearring every day, replaced by tony boutiques and slick coffee shops. Used as a rehearsal space for local artists such as John Fleck and Ron Athey, theater companies like the Evidence Room and the wildly popular Mexican-wrestling-burlesque-show Lucha Va Voom, it would be a crime to see Cetrone's space turned into another Starbucks or overpriced mid-century modern furniture store. Where would all the displaced actors, artists and wrestling hootchie-coochie girls go to go-go?? 42nd Street ain't what it used to be. And Jumbo's Clown Room is just a tad too sleazy. (Not to menton too far west.) Hopefully, with the right prayers to the right Santaria gods, Tap-a-Go-Go will keep on going .... every Wednesday night at 8 p.m. 2522 Sunset Blvd at Rampart, Silver Lake/ phone: 213.483.3915