Best of OC 2004: Part 1

DANGEROUS DENIM

1. RVCA. File under skater-dater. This is surf/snow/skateboard haberdasher RVCA’s warehouse—but the company recently opened a sweet retail store at the same address, featuring the best in fashionably faded, attractively roomy denim, some with the RVCA (pronounced Ruca) logo sprayed, graffiti-style, on the inside of the waistband. Others are limited editions, but you get the sense here they’re all one of a kind and you’re almost wearing history ’cause someday this place could be really big—Paul Frank big. 919 Sunset Dr., Costa Mesa, (949) 548-6223.

PLACES TO BUY BROTHEL CREEPER SHOES

1. Electric Chair. Quite probably OC’s oldest alternative store, this joint started as Sunline Surfboards in 1980, and by the mid-’80s, they were doing a brisk business selling Nana’s creepers (see No. 5). Today, they offer original-style Tredair U.K.-brand creepers, popularized in the ’50s by the Teddy Boys, England’s first anointed "teenagers," in several flavors. Modern creeper prices hover just above $100. 410 Main St., Huntington Beach, (714) 536-0784; www.electricchair.com.

2. Flashback. They have "about 20 pairs of creepers here," the manager said, probably because this is mostly a vintage store. That’s all right—creepers are vintage. Technically. 465 N. Tustin Ave., Orange, (714) 771-4912.

3. Ipso Facto. Dual purpose: buy creepers, get something pierced. 517 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 525-7865.

4. George Cox. So far as we know, this is the only company still making creepers with the original "double"-thickness crepe sole—Goodyear-welted, so you know it’ll stay on. Their polished-black-leather creeper dates to 1949; 50 years later, Cox made a point of reissuing that design. www.georgecoxco.co.uk.

5. Tredair U.K. If you bought Nana’s creepers in the ’80s or ’90s, you were buying Tredair-made shoes—you just didn’t know it. They use ripply rubber soles instead of crepe, but otherwise, these creepers are made in England and virtually identical to the original style. They also offer a sneaker sole now, made in China. 9692 Via Excelencia Dr., Ste. 103, San Diego, (858) TUK-SHOE; www.tukshoes.com.

6. Hot Topic. You don’t need a map—it’s Hot Topic. You’re a teenager and you buy stuff there, including creepers. 2005-A Brea Mall, Brea, (714) 256-0977; Irvine Spectrum, 71 Fortune Dr., Ste. 828, (949) 727-3588.

7. eBay. It goes without saying to check eBay first for cheap prices on anything—but the auction site is just about the only other place you’ll find real George Cox creepers outside of England. We once bought a pair from a guy in Anaheim for $40. www.ebay.com.

NINE ENDANGERED BUILDINGS

1. Linbrook Bowl. This modern gem was built back in 1958, when cars had fins and bowling alleys were named by their intersections; this one’s at Lincoln and Brookhurst. Get it? Now get in there—it’s open 24 hours. 201 S. Brookhurst Ave., Anaheim, (714) 774-2253.

2. The Parasol Restaurant. Go see this one before it gets flattened. You can’t miss it: a coffee shop contoured and sheltered by a roof that’s in the shape of a giant umbrella. The city is still studying whether it’s historic enough to keep, but you can probably tell just by looking. 12241 Seal Beach Blvd., Seal Beach, (562) 598-3311.

3. La Palma Chicken Pie Shop. This is where you go to fall in love with the world and everything in it. All the supercool mid-century modern suspects are here: vintage blocky lettering and neon on the sign; lots of huge glass windows; vintage light fixtures and seating. That and chicken pies. 928 N. Euclid Ave., Anaheim, (714) 533-2021.

4. The Orange County Courthouse. Dedicated in 1969, this was the last major civic project of famed architect Richard Neutra, whose modernist vision loomed so large he made the cover of Time magazine in 1949. Its huge glass windows bring the outside in, while its high ceilings add airspace, meaning jurors actually stay to serve out justice. Except to Haidls. Not officially endangered yet, but we bet it won’t be here in 50 years. 700 Civic Center Dr. W., Santa Ana.

5. Newport Beach Country Club. Originally a mid-century modernist gem on the green by Eldon Davis—whose firm is also in charge of the current expansion. See it now, if it’s not already redone beyond recognition. 1600 E. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 644-9550.

6. El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. It’s closed now, but you can read up on its history at the Heritage Park Regional Library, which is where they keep all the documents. Most of these magnificent rusting hangars—with windows like broken teeth, miles of weedy asphalt and humble, ’50s-era stucco bungalows—will one day be the Orange County Great Park, which isn’t a bad thing. It’ll just consign one more piece of OC to history. Heritage Park Library, 14361 Yale Ave., Irvine, (949) 551-7151.

7. Pirates of the Caribbean. Imagineered in 1963 and opened in 1966, this revolutionary audio-animatronic Disneyland ride featured the work of designer Wally Crump and others—along with some of Walt Disney’s last hands-on efforts. It was the largest animatronic display the park had ever done and, since the Tiki Room’s demise, the oldest, most original example still extant at the park. 1313 S. Harbor Blvd., Anaheim, (714) 781-4565.

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