When Eastside Story Meets Brentwood


The Scene: Monday's benefit premiere at the Cinerama Dome of Sony Pictures Classics and HBO Showcase's "Mi Vida Loca My Crazy Life." A party/rap concert followed at the Palladium. The story of Echo Park's Latina gang members was described as firme --the right thing to be--by the gang kids present. Quentin Tarantino, who won this year's Palme d'Or at Cannes, called the film, "the best movie about gang girls since 'Switchblade Sisters.' "

Who Was There: The film's writer-director, Allison Anders, and stars Seidy Lopez, Angel Aviles and Jacob Vargas. Among the 1,100 guests who "had the pleasure of kickin' it" with the 200 invited gang members were Rosanna Arquette, Debi Mazar, El Vez, Lara Flynn Boyle, Esai Morales, Paula Poundstone, Ione Skye, Colin Callender, Keri Puttnam and Sofia Coppola.

Best Facial Expression: On the 50ish matron who was asked to open her Chanel purse for a weapons check. "What!? You want what!? You want my purse!!?" It was a learning experience.

Dress Mode: Brentwood meets the Eastside. From Echo Park came women in teased hair and serious eyeliner; men with baggy pants, beepers, shaved heads and neck tattoos. From the Westside came the ubiquitous little black dresses, Hermes scarves and cell phones. Sunglasses were the one accessory both groups embraced as a cultural necessity.

Fashion Statement: Lopez made an eye-popping arrival in a floor-length, embroidered silver gown from which she burst forth. "Sleek, sexy and exuberant," is the way one woman described the dress.

Ambience: Guests had the pleasure of having high-decibel obscenities screamed at them by performing rappers while they waited on a 200-foot buffet line for stuffed grape leaves and egg rolls. "Swifty would not have approved," said writer-musician David Was.

Overheard: "I'm telling you, there are people who would love this," said one woman to a disbelieving middle-aged man experiencing his first rap concert.

Money Matters: More than $45,000 was raised for the Independent Feature Project/West's Project Involve and El Centro del Pueblo's scholarship fund.

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