The only thing that's kinda tired about 411 Productions is the company's name. Nobody asks anybody for the "411," anymore—do they? Apparently not unless they're in skate shops, where demand for the 411 brand illustrates just how long the company has been at the top of the line of action-sports video magazines. Like, since 1993, when the first issue of 411VM Skateboarding pioneered the concept of the skateboarding video magazine. Now the company also does video magazines for snow, surf and bicycle motocross, and over the years, it has sold more than 1 million copies of 411 titles. All the big chain stores carry them, but 411 maintains street cred by releasing its stuff to the neighborhood shops a couple of months in advance. Meanwhile, upstarts just keep getting their asses kicked, especially the extreme-sports TV shows that keep popping up. The cool furniture that 411 Productions bought for its new 10,000-square-foot office in Fountain Valley? It came from Bluetorch's bankruptcy auction. Better to be 411 than Chapter 11.


Lurking in the shadows of the Mesa Theater, the Stag Bar greeted traffic as the 55 freeway merged into Newport as if to say, "You've arrived." But alas, no more. A corporate book store—there's no need to name names—bulldozed this sweet heaven to dust. The sweet scent of old urine and Jack Daniels still haunts, as does the memory of Louie the organ player, who would play a tune to get the drunken crowd in a tizzy and usher in the punk rock madness. Bottles breaking, people laughing, a pile of puke at your feet—how we miss the best Orange County dive bar. We think we'll brown bag our Strawberry Hill tonight and sit in the parking lot, thinking of the old boys and Louie, sweet Louie.


Drive five miles per hour down Santa Ana's Main Street—watch out for the cops who'll ticket you for cruising—and you're still likely to skip over the Centro Cultural de México, the downtown Santa Ana space located between a carpet seller and an auto-paint shop on Main. Most people do, and so many of the events held at the Centro usually start half an hour late as benevolent organizers allow the tardy to trickle in. Once settled, however, the dingy building transforms into what Koo's Art Café always aspired to do but never quite pulled off: a community center that actually attracts the population living around it. Headed by the fabulously energetic Carolina Sarmiento, the Centro is the type of place that might hold a talk on the genocide of the Americas one afternoon; feature an all-Chicano punk, all-Santa Ana slate the following night; and teach English-literacy classes to adults each weekend. 1522 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-9305.


Remember the Shack, the dilapidated Anaheim nightclub known for hosting white-power shows between Van Halen tribute acts and hair-metal relics? Closed earlier this year, the building has been transformed into a Mexican nightclub. But it's not just any Mexican nightclub—it's now known as Xalos Bar, proudly named after Jalostitlán, Jalisco, a Mexican town that has sent hundreds of its residents to Anaheim over the past decades. Residents of the town pack the place every weekend, and so do other Mexicans—Jalostitlán women are renowned across Mexico for being the hottest things this side of Mount Etna. 1160 N. Kraemer, Anaheim, (714) 297-7707;


A sign in the corner of the shopping center reads, "Fling Cocktail Lounge, Open Daily from 6 a.m.-2 a.m." Except you can't read the "cocktail" part because it is inevitably covered up by a haphazardly-tossed flannel jacket. Previously known for Phil Shane's weekly one-man Elvis routines, this Vegas-inspired hideaway—really, it can't be found without the trained eye of a dive-bar regular—offers more than just music for entertainment. With its red-velvet-papered walls lined by dusty-framed pinup-girl posters, the bar is so dark you can't see who you're about to take home, but still retains just enough class you'd feel quite at home relaxing with a cigar and a martini. It's also the kind of place where you are likely to see a 45-year-old MILF making out with an 80-year-old ballroom-dance champion in the corner, next to Dexter Holland from the Offspring. You might not be able to see what you're drinking, but it's at least worth a visit for the entertainment. 2370 N. Tustin, Santa Ana, (714) 547-8972.

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