By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Jack GouldANNOUNCER: Once again, OC Weekly editor Will Swaim!
SWAIM: Well, here come the music awards! Whooo!
[Audience whoops and hollers. Suddenly the Reverend Robert Schuller runs onstage pushing a flaming hoop. He sets it up, runs back, does a series of cartwheels, flips and then does a swan dive through the hoop, grabbing a quarter off the floor with his teeth as he barrel rolls and ends up with his face just inches from Swaim's.]
SWAIM [incredulous]: What the . . . ?
[Schuller growls, quarter still between teeth.]
SWAIM: Are you trying to tell me something, boy?
[Schuller, growling, nods his head.]
SWAIM: Is something wrong?
[Schuller growls, nods and then whispers in Swaim's ear. Swaim's face lights up with sudden comprehension. Quickly he grabs the quarter from Schuller while putting his hand in his pocket and pulling out a small snack. He places it in Schuller's mouth, who eats it quickly.]
SWAIM: Good boy! Now beat it!
[Schuller scampers off.]
SWAIM: Well, ladies and gentlemen, as things sometimes happen in live TV, we've had a mix-up. It seems three important technical awards were omitted from our video presentation. So I'd like to give them their recognition right now. First, we have the award for Best Chinese Restaurant. That goes to Peking Restaurant in Westminster. Whether it's Taiwanese "little eats" of seaweed strips or "stinky"—but delectable —tofu or a family-style, five-course dinner at an unimaginable bargain price, even served with steamed fish and topped with pot stickers, diners at this cozy Taiwanese eatery feel they are in culinary heaven.
SWAIM: Next is the award for Best Thai. This goes to Thai Kitchen, a posh restaurant that belies the banality of its name. It serves a steady crowd of noontime Irvine yuppies, but at night, the atmosphere is decidedly more intimate. Bring your date and imagine you are in the land of a thousand smiles. The food is exquisite —try the delicious seafood dishes—and the service excellent.
SWAIM: Finally, we have the award for Best Cuban Restaurant. This is always a tight one between Habana and Felix Continental Café. But the nod this year goes to . . . Felix Continental Café! The menu and plantanos, but also Spanish fare, such as sumptuous paella. Portions are large, and you can eat outside on the sidewalk patio of the fabulous Orange Circle—which won in our Best Shapes category. Of course, the food is delicious at Habana, too, and they serve a wonderful margarita, and you can eat outside. So, hey, everyone's a winner. Except real Cubans living in Cuba; they're just getting screwed every which way, but hey, that's another show. And also hey, speaking of enemies of the state, here now to present the music awards is Weekly music editor Rich Kane!
KANE: Thank you. You may ask, "What constitutes a 'best' club, anyway? Would 'best' be the Galaxy, Sun, Coach House or Crazy Horse, with their big-name national-touring talent?"
Could be. But, not to knock those very fine rooms, to our ears, "best" means clubs that consistently book local bands and musicians as part of their regular schedule. Each of tonight's nominees does just that, in big, fat, soundwaves of aural wonderment. "Best" to us also means all-ages places—sorry for all you alcoholics out there, but people who go to all-ages rooms are there first for the music and are generally more respectful to the bands than some sad slob who's only there to get some booty with his beer. Plus, we're not too down with the age discrimination thing—can somebody out there please open a place that serves booze and lets everybody inside?
[Applause. Drunken shouts of "You tell 'em, King!"]
KANE: Also, excuse the rampant regionalism here, but we're sadly forced to leave out such nifty Long Beach clubs as the Blue Cafe, Que Sera, The Lava Lounge, The KB Club and the semi-secret Bong Leach Warehouse. We strongly recommend each of these, and just as strongly condemn the Weekly awards committee for redlining Long Beach. Sorry, kids—maybe we'll make the LBC a separate category next year. But as for now, the nominees are . . .
Chain Reaction. When Tim Hill took over the remnants of a shuttered Mexican restaurant in a dingy little Anaheim strip mall in 1997 and turned the room into a rock club, most probably thought his place would quickly go the way of many other all-ages OC rooms: here today, gone today. Three years later, Chain Reaction is not only still here, but it's also thriving. They've hosted bands as large as the Get Up Kids, The Voodoo Glow Skulls and Papa Roach who reportedly owe their careers to two shows they played at the club last year—don't know if that's true, but we'll say it anyway—and crusty punk bands so underground that they have to look up to see Hell.
[Applause. Drunken shouts of "Fuckin' A, Rick!"]
KANE: The Hub. If you can snag a seat on their outdoor patio where the bands play, then this is perhaps the sweetest OC spot to just kick back and savor live music. The outdoors thing is a big lure but the Hub is also eclectic enough to book everything from punk rock to coffeehouse folkies to bands who do that "emo" stuff. A major player in downtown Fullerton's recent club explosion, site of the day-long—and free—Earth Day fests which are getting more mega every year, and conveniently located behind the Reagan Years, OC's coolest video arcade, which is also the perfect way to wait out band set changes. And if you caught Jay Buchanan there when he was playing every Tuesday night a few months ago, you can say you saw him when.