It only took us an hour Friday night to find the new Square Blue; it seems Bristol's street numbers change at the Santa Ana/Costa Mesa divide, so while we'd been driving in circles, watching 3398-A turn into 3420 with no 3400 in between, everyone at the grand opening for Jamie Wilson's new temporary space was eating all the hors d'oeuvres.
"Oh, Jesus," we said in a snit when we finally pulled up. "It's the same fucking dot paintings!" (See my Art column, page 38.) Luckily, there was other work as well, including Bob Pece's standard architecture cartoons and some terrific posed kewpie-doll scenes by Davis & Davis. Bedroom Walls played, sounding like Hole but not screamy, and a magician named Greg wandered around, stealing people's watches and doing what was clearly the work of The Devil.
But we misunderestimated Wilson. Not only was the band terrific and the magician full of evil and the lemondrop martinis infused with citron and the huge new space filled with interesting and pretty people such as educators and curators Doree Dunlap and Phyllis Lutjeans, painters Bradford Salomon and Janet Rosener, the Gypsy Den's Joe Ongie and Catherine Graziano, and Justine and Laurie from Coast, but there were also still plenty of hors d'oeuvres! So I taught my son how to find the door where the hors d'oeuvres enter the room and stand sentry by it, bringing me whatever new kerfluffle the waitstaff was passing. He's a fine son—and an excellent tipper.
Afterward, we stumbled over to Chat Noir, the newest of new playgrounds for OC's special people and where the maitre d' dragged our pal Kedric (and therefore us, but only because we apparently were with the specialest of them all!) over to the reserved booth that sits high on a dais. There, like Yertle the Turtle, you're king of all you survey. In the house was a good crowd, surprisingly friendly for the demographic (moneyed) and the Orange County Performing Arts Center-adjacent locale, and it included Orange County's most genial guy, Al Freeman (the host no matter whose house he's in), and tending bar was one of OC's five hottest, per this paper, Nikki MacCormick. Also, there were blue-cheese burgers, which are becoming totally the thing. If I were Tina Brown, I'd call blue-cheese burgers "burning, volcano, yeast-infection hot!" But I'm not, so I'll just mention that I've been seeing them around a lot lately.
Bonus Item: This Week's Likes and Dislikes!
Like: Arrested Development, the best show about Orange County in the history of the world. Dislike: Those boys who came at the Albertson's picketers with baseball bats Sunday night. Like: Albertson's picketers. Dislike: Tweakers and Ladd.