Passionately knocking a stack of black bangles against her shiny, shellacked bar, Yalan Papillons counts the reasons why she’s throwing a Valentine’s Day party on equally luminous, Chanel-logoed, diamanté topped fingernails.
Reason No. 1: “It’s the only day of the year where no gives you a hard time for being sh*tfaced,” says the musician, mother, and owner of Double Happiness Bar and Lounge.
Stylish, casual, and original, Papillons (born Weasner from a Chinese-Japanese mother and German-American father) remembers the racist remarks of her youth, dished out by Asian as well as Caucasian kids at school.
“The Asian kids squirted water on me because of my green eyes while the white kids teased me for my eyes being slanted,” she recalls.
Finding solace as a singer for band Miss May 66 in her early 20s, she toured cross-country making music alliances with pre-hipster era, post-punk icons like Ian MacKaye, Kathleen Hanna, and Ian Svenonius, just to name-drop a few. In 1998, she moved on from booking basement shows in Columbus to packing the house at Washington D.C.’s then indie-rock epicenter, The Black Cat. Papillon has since been a booker at New York’s The Knitting Factory and Santo’s Party House. In 2009, she moved back to Ohio to give birth to her daughter, Coco, and to open a music bar and lounge.
The inside of Double Happiness looks like everything you would expect from someone who wears sky-high platforms paired with loud, polyester floral shirts and bedazzles everything from her cell phone to her big toe. Double Happiness is filled with pin-up posters, vintage tchotchkes, Chinese lanterns, and animal print accents plastered from stage to cellar.
Glamorous yet gritty; bombshell with a bit of biker – Double Happiness has the slithery ambiance of a true rock ‘n’ roll bar. It’s where out-of-town musicians come to hang their guitars, step off the stage and to get up to get down.
On a night that’s colder than a polar bear’s conscious, Papillon comes out from behind the bar to talk fashion, fate, and just how ridiculously over-the-top her Valentine’s Day party will be…
Who are your style icons?
Bettie Page, Marilyn Monroe and Varla from Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! Russ Meyer made me feel OK about my curves.
Do you have a favorite designer?
Anna Sui. We have the same haircut and same birthday, August 4th, which is Louis Vuitton’s birthday too!
Describe your style in five words.
Coco Chanel meets thrift store. Basically I don’t need to buy high-end to make things look good. I’ve never changed my style since high school. I basically started wearing bell bottoms and polyester shirts all through high school. I have a definite Harajuku thing going on. I look like a Japanese animation character.
What’s an item of clothing you could never part with?
My Chanel ring.
Have you ever been to Tokyo?
No. Just the airport. I’d have a heart attack!
You’re a Leo. What does that mean and how has that influenced you?
Leos are very pride driven, very boisterous and outta control, but very loyal. My first tattoo was the Leo sign over my throat chakra because I wanted it to empower my singing.
How has having your daughter, Coco, changed your style?
It hasn’t really. We dress alike! Whatever I find at the thrift store that’s too small I just give it to Coco.
What do you have planned for your Valentine’s Day Party?
We’ll have $1 dumplings. It’s the only time of the year that I deejay. I’ll be playing Nina Simone and Patsy Cline. It will be a big “eff you” to Valentine’s Day. Who wants to pay $150 for a f**king meal anyway?
Papillons is wearing red satin Chanel platforms, dress by Patricia Fields, rose pattern fishnets from some “hoochie mama store,” and butterfly earrings from a market in Taiwan.
Shot on location:
482 S Front St.