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DanceSpot Review: Firecracker - Indoor/outdoor Hip Hop party in LA's Chinatown.

by Rachel Levin
August 29, 2002
Los Angeles, CA

Firecracker


8/29/02


Two Fridays a month at Grand Star Restaurant on Broadway in Chinatown
Cover $10 (outside hip-hop party free)


Bustling with shoppers crowding its markets and restaurants by day, L.A.'s Chinatown seems like a ghost town after 10 p.m. on most nights.

However, twice a month on Fridays, Firecracker-an indoor/outdoor hip hop party-bursts onto the Chinatown scene at the Grand Star Restaurant on Broadway, sending sparks of color and energy through the otherwise quiet streets.

Firecracker is probably the closest thing in L.A. you'll get to a New York City street party. Just outside the restaurant, in a well-lit alley of sorts, rotating DJs spin hip hop, reggae, funk, and rare grooves. Everyone hangs out under the streetlamps, dancing in groups or freestyling alone, all the while wearing cool knit caps, stylish jeans, and funky accessories. A large portion of the crowd is made up of Asian men and women of mixed nationalities. Hip hop's wide influence on the Asian community is apparent, but all ethnicities are represented.

The outside scene is the most fun, not to mention free. It is also without question a smoker's paradise. The Friday I went, promoters at the Grand Star were handing out actual firecrackers (probably because it was close to 4th of July), and there were ample lighters on hand to set the ends ablaze. The alley filled with twizzle sticks of spark and cool flame-light danced before our eyes and the mood changed to magical.

For those who want to head inside, the downstairs of the restaurant offers live jazz, a full bar, and dinner if you get there before 10:00 p.m. The cover to go inside is $10. Upstairs, there is another DJ spinning primarily dance tunes, a dance floor, and another bar, but the inside offerings are not as compelling as the outdoor fiesta.

Firecracker is a breath of fresh air as far as the club scene goes in L.A. Mellow and unpretentious yet full of snap and sizzle, it captures the spirit of hip hop-multicultural and organic to the streets. Too bad it only happens twice a month.

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