Back To School


OC colleges have more than their share of famous alums, many of whom ended up north of the Orange Curtain. Director James Cameron dabbled in physics and English at Cal State Fullerton, while actor Kevin Costner (who saw Open Range? Anyone?) graduated from Fullerton with a degree in business administration. Fullerton College and Orange Coast College can both claim action star Steven Seagal as an alumnus, but then, why would they? Not to be outdone, Chapman University has granted honorary degrees to just about anyone with a ready ATM card, most recently to Arnold Schwarzenegger. But the most famous area alum is undoubtedly director Steven Spielberg, who graduated from Cal State Long Beach. His story is pure Hollywood: USC rejects him, so he opts for CSULB, only to drop out to focus on his career (looking back, probably the right choice). It took 34 years for him to return and finish college, graduating in 2002 with a degree in film and electronic arts. That should open some doors.


When the time came for Spielberg to give back, he ponied up big time. In the millions. Which he gave to USC, the school that rejected him. The school used some of it to build the Spielberg Music Scoring Stage. Cal State Long Beach? Still waiting.


OC's homegrown three-store mini-chain, Bionic Records was made semifamous the world over when Dexter Holland wore their T-shirts in mid-'90s Offspring videos. This is an aspiring young punk's paradise, the place to pick up that crusty band's arm patch or that sticker or T-shirt from a band that broke up before you were even born. Yeah, you could get the same swag at Hot Topic, but that wouldn't be as cool—and you wanna be cool, don't you? 9549 Valley View St., Cypress, (714) 828-4225; 2466 Chapman Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-1912; 16101 Bolsa Chica, Huntington Beach, (714) 846-2585.


Located across from UC Irvine, inconspicuously wedged between Diedrich Coffee and Yoga Path, is the finest movie theater not just in Orange County, but in the entire world. When Capturing the Friedmans, the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner, came to Southern California, Edwards University Town Center 6's exclusive engagement featured the documentary's producer Marc Smerling in a roundtable discussion. When The Cremaster Cycle, Matthew Barney's legendary five-part, Guggenheim-inspired, fever-dream epic, toured the country in a limited engagement (New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Irvine), Edwards University screened all five remarkably delirious films—six hours and 36 minutes' worth—in succession. When This Thing of Ours, the New Jersey mob-goes-cyberspace film, began its controversial release, Edwards University premiered it, with two of the film's stars from the TV series The Sopranos adding commentary. When the Independent Spirit Award-nominated manage-e-trois relationship film Charlotte Sometimes opened in Southern California, Edwards University featured its writer/director, Eric Byler, for an all-day question-and-answer session. When Derrida, the San Francisco International Film Festival award winner documenting the contentious French philosopher Jacques Derrida, screened, Edwards University booked filmmaker Amy Zering Kofman to answer all your literary decontructivist questions. When Bubba Ho-tep, the "true" story of post-drug-overdose Elvis, premiered in Orange County, Edwards University put on a gala presentation with its star, cult legend Bruce Campbell. Are the folks at Edwards University a blessing to film-lovers everywhere? Is the pope Catholic? Is George Bush a liar? Lost in Translation, Adaptation, Dog Town and Z Boys, Bowling for Columbine, TheWeather Underground, Winged Migration, Amelie, Northfork, Russian Ark, and Rivers and Tidesall started their West Coast runs at Edwards University—the best movie theater ever. 4245 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 854-8818.


At Cal State Fullerton, learn how to insure other people's art works (and get them to loan them to you in the first place) and write up prospectuses and didactic wall texts in your very own, cute-as-a-button gallery! Perhaps you'd like to focus on traditional women's art forms, such as knitting? A-okay! Or maybe you'd rather go and find a junkie Beat artist and have a fabulous retrospective? You get an A! 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 278-2011.


Ergodic Theory, Quantum Mechanics, Seminar in Artificial Intelligence—these course titles pale in comparison to Music 164, Opera Workshop, offered this fall at UC Irvine's Claire Trevor School of the Arts. What's punching digits into a TI-89 compared to straining your vocal chords into raw strings of meat while capering around a stage in front of 40 other people? And the mood around the buffet table? Don't ask.


We remember Vinyl Solution when it was Zed Records in Long Beach. Or Middle Earth Records in Downey. Or Aaron's, a long time ago in LA, before it got so hep. Point being Vinyl Solution is one of the few indie record stores left where the real punk is waiting, hibernating, hunkered-down, looking for a chance to take over kids' minds. Their selection, of course, is broader; we'd hope to find anything from Echo & the Bunnymen to the Cramps to the Pixies, the Replacements on—platters that matter from, oh, 1976 or so. 18822 Beach Blvd., Ste. 104, Huntington Beach, (714) 963-1819.

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