CLUB REVIEW : A Culturally Diverse Microcosm at Bizerk

A hip-hop club in a tony Westside mall may seem a bit oxymoronic, but the promoters behind Bizerk may be on to something, well, sane.

The New York-style dance club, held each Monday at Renaissance, a two-tiered, upscale restaurant and nightclub in Santa Monica's Third Street Promenade, is one of the only hip-hop clubs currently attracting a wide variety of Angelenos.

The probable reason: Hip-hop fans who might be intimidated about venturing to a downtown venue at night have no reservations about driving to a mall by the beach.

This gives Bizerk an unusual edge over other clubs around town. Not only could the folks on the dance floor be a microcosm of L.A.'s cultural diversity, but the age range of those bumping and grinding to the primarily old-school, East Coast music mix favored by Bizerk's deejays is equally dramatic.

Fortysomething women in cocktail dresses boogie comfortably to Doug E. Fresh music beside beanie-wearing Generation Xers. Folks clad in business suits (by midnight the ties get a bit looser) share the floor with ripped-jeans rocker types.

The 3-month-old club has featured live performances by such artists as the Beatnuts, Daddy Freddy and King T.

Bizerk, which expands around midnight when a wall of the dance area disappears to include Renaissance's spacious dining patio, may lack the underground, gritty vibe of traditional hip-hop clubs, but it's doing some long-overdue bridging of the city's cultural gaps.

* Bizerk, every Monday at Renaissance, 1212 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, (310) 854-0468. $10 cover.

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