Bedecked in Shades of Badness : Club: Prince’s influence is apparent at Glam Slam, which attracted 1,000 guests to Wednesday night’s opening.


Reigning over club Glam Slam’s opening-night festivities, Prince put on a terrific show.

Although the rock star didn’t actually perform, the coy glances he shot down into the star-studded crowd from his private booth on the second floor were worth the $25 ticket to Wednesday night’s affair.

The opening attracted more than 1,000 guests, including members of dance-pop group C+C Music Factory, Treach from the rap group Naughty by Nature, former boxing champ Evander Holyfield, “In Living Color’s” Jamie Foxx, actress Halle Berry and most of the Lakers’ bench. They turned out to both sample the club’s California cuisine and dance to some funky jams, live and recorded.

The new showplace, located in downtown Los Angeles on the Boylston Street site of the former Vertigo club, is the latest addition to Prince’s Glam Slam franchises in Minneapolis and Yokohama, Japan.


Although the music was a pumping blend of funk and hip-hop, with a live guest appearance by Capitol recording artists Portrait, the biggest attraction of the purple dance floor was the clear view it offered into Prince’s booth.

But he remained--as he has for almost 15 years of pop stardom--a mystery figure, refusing to venture down to meet the faithful or step on stage, as many hoped he would.

In fact, Prince’s representatives won’t even acknowledge his role with the club--whether he owns it or is just lending it his name.

“We have a confidentiality agreement with Prince,” said Paul Pudlitzke, Glam Slam’s district manager--a comment echoed by everyone else who seemed in any level of authority Wednesday.

Prince’s strong influence, however, is obvious throughout Glam Slam. The ankh-like symbol that adorns his new album is prominently reproduced in the center of the dance floor. Along with generous doses of the prerequisite purple, the club is decked out in mustard, blue, scarlet and green.

“We wanted to break free of the ‘80s industrial warehouse theme,” says Cliff Cunningham, the club’s 28-year-old designer. “The ‘90s is more eclectic and colorful. We purposely carpeted the walls, and we hope to keep (changing) the design.” The club’s furniture is also indicative of the era of recycling. “All the furniture is used,” said Pudlitzke. “We reupholstered everything rather than buy new.”


Cunningham, who employed 85 people to help him redesign the 28,000-square-foot space, said Glam Slam’s nude sculptures are the club’s crowning achievement.

The artwork is also the most compelling proof of entering Prince’s orgiastic world. Glam Slam’s stage is flanked by giant bikini-clad Egyptian figures staring directly at two sculpted pillars of entwined naked bodies. The VIP lounge features floor-to-ceiling murals of even more nudes, although the young VIPs reclining about on Wednesday didn’t appear to notice.

Pudlitzke, 24, said his age is definitely an asset in attracting a youthful clientele to Glam Slam.

“Young is to keep it fresh and hot,” said Pudlitzke, who also has managed Glam Slam in Minneapolis. “The people who are older in this business remember the ‘80s, and they remember the ‘70s, and the only way to change people is to bring in fresh blood.

“It’s kind of like teaching a dog new tricks.”

Aside from offering glimpses of the Purple One, Glam Slam doesn’t appear to have any new tricks up its sleeve. The music, primarily ‘80s and ‘70s funk and hip-hop, is dance-club conventional. The ambience, although a nice departure from the black-walled clubs of the ‘80s, is not groundbreaking in any way.

“I’m very disappointed,” said patron Todd Tomlinson, 23. “It’s like Vertigo with a few changes. I expected more from Prince.”


Most of the crowd, however, appeared perfectly contented. The dance floor was mobbed the entire evening, and the music kept the dance floor packed.

“The club’s slamming,” said Derryal Ewing, 27, who said that the main reason he’s willing to make the drive from Cypress in Orange County is to see Prince.

Even though the singer won’t be in his private booth each night, his voice will probably be booming out onto the dance floor. Approximately every third song on Wednesday featured Prince--’70s Prince, ‘80s Prince and even ‘90s Prince--and that suited the crowd just fine.