Please don't get all weird on Joseph J. Musil, who has a rather short fuse for people who've just gotta ask why he transformed a top-floor suite of the old Santora Arts Building into a small but fully functional vaudeville theater—and decorated it with dozens of glowing miniature models of old movie palaces and grand playhouses. Musil would prefer that you just experience the Salon of the Theatres. Just pay your three bucks for the self-guided tour of one of OC's quirkiest hidden treasures—and maybe catch the occasional variety act onstage on weekend nights. "And enjoy it," says Musil, an architectural designer who has restored many California theater landmarks. "That's what most people do." But not everybody. Some of them have questions. "All they can ask me is: 'What is this for? What do you do here? Why are you doing this?'" Musil says, smiling a little too much like Vincent Price. "I look at those people and say, 'To please me—that's why! Now get in your Mercedes, drive down to your boat in Newport, and sail over to Catalina—and have a martini and a Quaalude, dear!'" 207 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (949) 457-9571.

"HOW DO YOU KNOW WHEN THE STAGE IS LEVEL?" "THE DRUMMER DROOLS OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF HIS MOUTH"

The West Coast Drum Center features a wall of sticks, a nice selection of rotating vintage gear, a staff who know what they're talking about, and a mercifully low incidence of smarmy music-store guys, likely already occupied pooting around on the synth-drum rigs at Guitar Center. 3686 S. Bristol St., Santa Ana, (714) 545-2345.

ARTURO MORENO

Local Latino bigwigs envisioned free Anaheim Angels tickets, hats and parking to anyone with brown skin earlier in the summer when Phoenix businessman Arturo Moreno became the first Latino to own a major sports franchise. So it came as a disappointing surprise to these self-proclaimed poobahs when the first thing new owner Moreno did was lower the price of beer. The grousing soon started—Moreno doesn't support local Latinos enough. Two problems with that train of thought—the fourth-generation Mexican-American Moreno has about as much in common with Latino-immigrant Orange County as does Pete Wilson. More important, however, Moreno bought a fucking baseball squad, not a nonprofit. Attack the man for failing to sign a quality free agent, not because he forgets to give freebies to the Santa Ana Unified School District student body.

TWIDDLIN' KNOBS

Costa Mesa's the Distillery is already blessed—or saddled—with a reputation for recording perfectly dirty garage and punk bands such as the Hunches and Lightning Bolt (who roll into the Distillery from Portland or Providence and roll out to considerable critical acclaim). Distillery audio-recording auteur Mike McHugh actually has a much defter, more sophisticated touch then he might get credit for. Simply put, he'll make anything—from punk to prog. to folk to funk—sound probably greater than it has a right to, sifting out the genius from even the greenest bunch of kids. Maybe it's the all-vintage-analog system, but we think it's Mike, and thanks to him, the next Detroit rock explosion might happen in Costa Mesa.

THE BEST BATHROOM

Public bathrooms simply don't get much better than the one at Ristorante Genovese in Orange. If it had a few Playboys under the sink, you'd think you were at home. And being that the restaurant actually used to be a house, there's a reason why you feel so at home on this throne. After you take the Browns to the Super Bowl, you will find everything from mints and sticks of gum to shaving razors and hair gel. This bathroom even provides deodorant for a quick Italian shower, or if you're really in a pinch, cologne for a Puerto Rican shower. I'm telling you, this bathroom has everything. The only thing you won't find is one of those Ask Jeeves bathroom attendants standing there, asking for a tip after he hands you a paper towel and a stick of Juicy Fruit. 214 N. Tustin, Orange, (714) 633-5654.

WASTED LOT

The former site of Googie spectacular Kona Lanes, demolished for no particular reason this summer. Coming soon: weeds!

HOME TO THE KARAOKE NAZI

A Willy Wonka adventureland for karaoke enthusiasts, Quan's Restaurant resides in all of its candy cane-striped glory smack in the middle of Orange. Chinese restaurant by day, karaoke hot spot by night, it offers a variety of entertainment to choose from. In between karaoke sets, the dance floor opens up, and the disco ball spins wildly overhead while you bump and grind one minute and line dance the next. Outside, there's a patio with a fire pit, the perfect setting for intellectual conversations about who's hotter—Uma Thurman or Cameron Diaz (Uma's got it in the bag). Best of all, the mic-phobic need not worry: after a few of Quan's killer mai tai bowls, you'll undoubtedly feel like belting out the best hits from Whitesnake, Lita Ford, Tom Petty and more. A word to the wise, however: the karaoke matron in charge of the show will only play your song if you grease her palm with a fiver or if she deems your song worthy. 117 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 532-6311.

LATINALITY
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