Back To School

Hate the fact that watching a movie nowadays at fancy multiplexes is almost as expensive as buying a negative of the film? Head over to Santa Ana's Fiesta Theater, one of the few remaining duplexes in the county that boasts $5 tickets all the time for any movie. Only catch? All the films have Spanish subtitles, serving the filmic needs of the nation's most-Spanish-speaking city. Don't be afraid—Latinos laugh at the same idiot Jim Carrey films you do. 305 E. Fourth St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-4351. 

SURELY YOU PROTEST

When Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger approved statewide budget cuts to the Cal State University (CSU) system, students at Cal State Fullerton organized a group they called Students Informing Students (SIS) and joined forces with the California Faculty Association (CFA) to combat the cuts. In April, SIS and CFA staged a walkout on the CSUF campus, featuring student and faculty speakers. Organizers of the walkout called on all CSU students to take action against the impending budget cuts. The protests extended beyond Orange County: in downtown Los Angeles, nearly 2,000 CSU students and faculty members rallied outside the governor's office, chanting, making speeches and singing their disapproval. Look for SIS members and disgruntled students as the budget cuts effect campuses this coming school year.

STALK SOMEONE

Forget Friendster. This fall, UC Irvine will be the first Orange County school to have a more sophisticated way to dig up every sordid detail about a crush's life. Behold, thefacebook.com. Dorm address? Check. Class schedule? Updated. Favorite movie/band/quote? Of course. Cell phone number? Eureka! Junior Mark Zuckerberg launched the site earlier this year at Harvard, inspiring students to obsessively revise their profiles. A "Sociology of TheFacebook" series in the Harvard Crimson and mentions in the New York Times and CNN.com. followed. Now the social-networking site has infected—ahem—expanded to 47 schools nationwide including Irvine. Students can even search according to hometown and high school, so they can nurse unrequited loves from thousands of miles away—instead of talking notes in lecture.

SCHOOL SPIRIT

With the spirit of Jesus behind their every move, it's no wonder the students of Vanguard University are brimming with school spirit as well. For decades now, rival schools, especially men's basketball teams, have known journeying into Vanguard's "Pit" gymnasium means operating in close quarters with a rabid student body that manages to work itself into a lather even when the team is suffering through some recent losing seasons. Still, Vanguard Lions will tell you that though their biggest rivals, the Concordia Eagles, have kicked butt recently on the court—winning the NAIA championship—they don't have the "true devotion" Vanguardians have to both school and the Lord. Go God! Go Lions! Go! Fight! Pray! And will somebody please play some defense!

USED BOOKS PEDDLED BY OLD CIVIC-MINDED REPUBLICANS

Sure, Newport is 93 percent white and 92 percent Republican and they don't like airport noise, but, friends, they've got the best darn public library around, a tribute to the good life and the wisdom of the city's accounting office. After the rest of the county went bankrupt and its own library system reduced hours and services, Newport Beach kept right on building its swell new facility on Avocado Avenue, buying great books and CDs and videos (and now DVDs), offering speakers and kids' programs, and pretty much creating the coolest literary hangout absent an espresso machine this side of the Gypsy Den. But with wealth and leisure and lots of old fogies wearing sailor hats comes (gasp) volunteerism. The kindly staff of the Friends of the Library stands up, slowly, to answer the call. Friends receive donations and host frequent used-book sales and run a little used-book store staffed by their crew of gentle-spirited and elegantly inefficient volunteers, each completely unfamiliar with their actual stock. With not a whole lot to do except offer you a free plastic bag, the place turns into a jolly, friendly visit to your grandparents' house, assuming your grandparents live in a quality used-book store. The books are priced to sell, and since nice, old rich people in Newport Beach like to read—or at least buy books—there's a lot of good stuff. 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach, (949) 717-3800.

HOT (MALE) STUDENT BODIES

Note to Orange County colleges: forget stuff like "selectivity" and rising SAT scores. What kids really care about is the student body's hot factor. And judging by the photos posted on many sites: higher education = dog-ugly. Cal State Fullerton? Wimpy. Art Institute of California? Think pasty and soft wannabe chefs rather than brooding art-student chic. UC Irvine? Too many girls. But don't drive up to UC Santa Barbara just yet. Chapman University is a surprising oasis of clean-cut, athletic guys—helloooo, water polo team. And if life near the Orange Circle is like Chapman wants you to believe, you'll be too busy at impromptu slip-'n'-slide parties and volleyball games on the lawn to worry about little things like tuition or a pathetic GPA.

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