By Charles Lam
By R. Scott Moxley
By Taylor Hamby
By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By LP Hastings
By Taylor Hamby
Reporters love the Orange County Museum of Art's Brian Langston because he's nice to them. He invites them to parties, he truly seems to enjoy their company, and he has never given them a hard-sell or even asked them to review a show. They do it anyway. Also, he knows lots about philosophy, war history and alternative fuel sources. He and the museum parted ways last month; maybe they can replace him with some snotty interns!THEY KILL GRIZZLIES, DON'T THEY?
In 1908, Southern California's last wild grizzly was killed in Trabuco Canyon. On the upper stretches of the Trabuco Canyon Trail, sheltered by thick stands of coast live oaks and Douglas fir trees, one can almost imagine magnificent grizzlies again roaming the densely wooded slopes. Now, the only visitors are outdoor enthusiasts, who favor this mountain oasis to the urban blight less than 10 miles distant. Steep, rocky sections challenge mountain bikers, while hikers and trail runners appreciate the shade offered by stands of oak, alder and bay laurel. During the spring, wildflowers adorn the slopes, and the aroma of laurel and sage delight the senses. Park at the intersection of Trabuco Creek Rd. & Holy Jim Canyon Rd. or at a small parking area one mile farther up Trabuco Creek Rd., Trabuco Canyon.THEY KILL JUAN FLORES, DON'T THEY?
In 1857, to evade capture, outlaw Juan Flores rode his horse over the cliffs above Harding Truck Trail. Surviving the plunge, he made good his escape. His freedom was short-lived, however. Flores was captured a few days later and forced to take another plunge, this time at the end of a noose. Excitement-starved mountain bikers don't need to repeat Flores' death-defying feat. Descending Harding Truck Trail is thrill enough. From the trailhead, a 9.3-mile climb leads to the intersection with the Main Divide. A well-earned, swooping descent is reward for the uphill grunt. Or you can climb another 4.5 miles to Santiago Peak, making the descent even longer. Park at the Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary on Modjeska Canyon Rd., two miles from the intersection with Santiago Canyon Rd.SUNKEN TREASURE
In 1863, Los Angeles was still a small town, and the monstrous industrial sprawl that we now know as the Terminal Island/Long Beach harborplex was probably, like, deer and butterflies and leafy avocado trees. So when the big steamships came in, they'd anchor offshore, and smaller boats—like a boat called the Ada Hancock—would ferry out cargo and passengers. On April 27, 1863, the Ada Hancock had 56 passengers and—the plot thickens—$125,000 worth of gold on board, destined by steamship for the mint in San Francisco. Suddenly, as the Ada Hancock pulled away from the pier, gunshots! And a split-second later, a giant explosion, splitting the ship in half and sinking it—with $125,000 and half the passengers aboard. Historians suspect someone's robbery double-cross went wrong, and during a shootout, several barrels of gunpowder aboard the Ada Hancock ignited. But 140 years later, no one knows for sure, since the wreck of the Ada Hancock—and its cargo of gold bullion, probably somewhere deep under Long Beach Harbor's busy shipping channel—have yet to be found.TAKE A PICTURE, IT WON'T LAST MUCH LONGER
Much like its fellow park to the southwest (see Aliso-Wood), Whiting Ranch is beset on all sides by encroaching development. Yet, safe within its boundaries, it is almost easy to forget that urban sprawl continues unchecked just a few miles distant. Oak and riparian woodland grace the floors of Borrego and Serrano canyons, while unique red-rock cliff formations are worth exploring in the north of the park. All trail users are welcome, though easy access and less technical trails make it a favorite of novice mountain bikers. Be alert during peak hours and note that Borrego trail, at the northwest entrance, is limited to one-way travel. Portola Pkwy. & Market, Foothill Ranch.SAN MATEO CREEK
An enchanting creek that cuts through the heart of the San Mateo Wilderness, the marsh wetlands at its terminus are home to the few remaining steelhead trout in Southern California. In several wet winters during the 1930s and again in 1969, these fish actually made a robust run upstream to spawn in the upper reaches of the San Mateo Creek. Have no fear, though. Plans to build the Foothill South Toll Road over the marsh at Trestles should drive these pesky critters out of this critical habitat, ensuring they will never again colonize upper sections of the creek. With the removal of another endangered species, more land will open up for development. Ah, progress!POWER PORK
Need to schmooze some zoning guys or get the inside track on one of the six "affordable" artists' lofts (out of 86) subsidized by the Santa Ana City (dawg)? Go to the Santa Ana Memphis on Friday night; it's the best place to find Santa Ana City Council members, planning commissioners and other assorted white folks in charge, as they drink and make merry on snazzy-cool orange and avocado banquettes. Go. Santora Building, 201 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 564-1064.POWER PORK II: DAVE GAROFALO, THE FATTENING
No doubt, former Huntington Beach Mayor Dave Garofalo deserves to be in jail—he got off criminally easy for his Jan. 9, 2002, felony conviction for benefiting financially from City Council votes he cast. But the entertainment value of Garofalo bowling-balling himself around the streets of Surf City is just about worth the price of his freedom. Although Garofalo is pretty clearly a menace to society, he's the Dennis-the-Menace type—too inept to go too far without getting caught. This year, Garofalo ran Italian restaurant Bella Luna into the ground before it ever opened, attracting a lawsuit from one of his partners. Then he received a cease-and-desist letter from the owners of a fledgling Huntington Beach magazine alleging that he stole their artwork and press materials and passed them off as his own. Fortunately, Garofalo does most of his dopey dirty work via phone and e-mail, giving his would-be targets evidence (answering-machine tapes and computer printouts) that hangs him out to dry pretty quickly. And the list of Garofalo's hijinks gives solace to anybody with an inflated ego, subterranean integrity and all-around cluelessness. Remember, this is a man who, according to divorce records, dipped into insurance money intended to pay for his son's congenital kidney-failure treatment. He used to distribute two-sided business cards—one side featured the official city seal, the other his business logo for The Local News. In 1998, he vaulted to the front of a local developer's waiting list for new homes, then sold the home for a $60,000 profit after owning it just one day. So, yeah, Garofalo deserves to be in jail—although, after all the humiliation he has endured without learning his lesson, it's doubtful it would change him. Said Dennis Boggeln, the landlord at the stillborn restaurant who claims Garofalo stiffed him $40,000, "I don't think his mom ever taught him responsibility."THE BEST CURATING PROGRAM WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI . . . MAKE THAT THE ONLY CURATING PROGRAM WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI