Best of OC 2004: Part 1

FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO WORKED AT DISNEYLAND AND/OR KNOTT’S BERRY FARM

1. Steve Martin. As a teen, Martin worked at the Bird Cage Theater in Knott’s and at the Magic Shop in Disneyland, where he honed his talents for magic, juggling, banjo-playing, crafting balloon animals and existential farce.

2. Michelle Pfeiffer. Her first performing job was playing Alice from Alice in Wonderland at Disneyland in the Main Street Electrical Parade during the mid-’70s.

3. Rene Russo. Was once a store cashier at Disneyland. Check!

4. Jennifer Stewart. This famed deep-throater worked at Disneyland before entering the porn industry.

5. Joanna Kerns. The mom from Growing Pains played the Blue Fairy that led off the Main Street Electrical Parade.

6-7. Ron Ziegler and H.R. Haldeman. Richard Nixon’s press secretary and chief adviser worked at the park in their pre-Watergate years and knew many of its secrets. Walt Disney had reportedly used Nixon’s suggestion to install microphones in Club 33’s chandeliers.

FAMOUS PEOPLE WHO DON’T REALLY LIVE IN OC, BUT THEIR IMPERSONATORS DO

1. Kenny Rogers (Ronnie Allen, Anaheim Hills)

2. Robin Williams (John Garrett, Costa Mesa)

3. Elizabeth Taylor (Carole Reed, Lake Forest)

4. David Letterman (Greg Chelew, Laguna Beach)

5. Ed Sullivan (Jerry Hoban, Laguna Niguel)

6. Alan Alda (Marv Cline, Huntington Beach)

7. Rhea Perlman (Kathe Wayne, Mission Viejo)

8. Bill Clinton (Tom Biehn, Huntington Beach)

9. Hillary Clinton (Teresa Barnwell, Costa Mesa)

10. Pope John Paul II (Gene Greytak, Santa Ana)

11. Howard Stern (Rob Gephart, Huntington Beach)

12. Meryl Streep (Julie Amiblore, Huntington Beach)

13. Russell Crowe (Ross Seymour, Orange)

14. Patrick Stewart (Ray O’dell, Costa Mesa)

Source: www.partypop.com

GOOD & CHEAP PLACES TO SIT (OR STAND) IN ANGEL STADIUM

1. Between Sections 520 and 521, Row R. The very last row in the uppermost netherworld of the $12-view section. There are several seats here where you’ve got the entire stairway for legroom, and it’s wide enough so you don’t have to stand up for every joker who needs to make a beer/piss run after every inning. There’s a pristine view of the clogged 57 freeway or, off in the distance on a clear day, these things called "mountains." During scorching-summer-day games, you’re always in the shade and—best of all—right behind home plate. A couple of hundred feet up, sure, but still. Caveat: sometimes bees like to make hives in the overhead speaker boxes, which means the entire section will need to be evacuated.

2. Section 258 or 259, Row G. The Left Field Pavilion, also known as the family section. Sure, you’ve got screaming, indifferent toddlers to deal with, but if your hips are particularly wide, these armrest-lacking seats are not only the cheapest in the park ($9 for adults, $5 for the kids), but they’re also some of the comfiest—at least we think so. They’re also the perfect locale for snagging supersized Vladdy Guererro home run balls, and you can berate the visiting team’s bullpen . . . chair!

3. The Knothole Club. The Club Level restaurant in the right field corner. Exclusive to Club Level and Suite ticket holders, who pay a minimum of $30 per game for their ducats, but it’s an underpublicized fact that the Knothole opens to everyone after the sixth inning—even your average beach-ball-battering, wave-starting View Level lifer. It’s a pretty good deal, too—by the sixth, the monied minions have mostly left, so it’s relatively easy to get a table, especially on weekday nights (and the burgers, pricey though they are, ain’t half-bad). You can watch the game in air-conditioned comfiness and pretend you know Arte Moreno personally.

4. The View Level railing behind Section 501, next to the men’s room. This narrow standing space isn’t a seat and you can’t see the infield, but you’re golden if all you want is to watch home runs clear the fence and the fireworks that shoot off when one of them is belted by an Angel. You can also smoke here, but there’s another thing: Notice that small, ivy-sheltered parking lot in the near distance? That’s where Angels players leave their cars (count the Hummers!). See what your ticket and beer money buys? You also have a similar view of the playing field from the right field corner, but no Mercedes or Lex-flecked parking lot and you’d be blasted by a gaggle of steamy, stinky air conditioning units.

5. Behind Sections 210 and 211. Standing room again, but those people sitting just a few feet in front of you? They had to pony up several thousand dollars for their Terrace Level season tickets—suckahs! This is the spot where we always wind up around the seventh or eighth inning, and not just because it gets us out of the stadium and into our car faster once Troy Percival records the final out. Here, you’ve got all the intimacy without the expense. (Don’t wanna stand? Then lean against the steel support column adorned with the Bengie Molina poster—at least until the curmudgeonly usher shoos you away.) On hot days, there’s a nice draft coming from the breezeway behind you, and this is also a primo spot to watch for people cutting out early—so you can sneak down and take their seats, natch.

 

BEST BARBERS, HAIR STYLISTS, WHATEVER THEY’RE CALLING THEMSELVES THESE DAYS

1. Chad Fults. If he had his way, his Chad Fults’ barber shop would look even more like an art gallery than it does now. He even sees the day when he’ll stow the barber chairs and sinks altogether. Fults admits he’s more interested in art than barbering lately, something that’s evident looking at the assorted handmade purses and pillows stuffed in every available nook and cranny in the three-chair shop he bought at age 23 in 1987. It’s also apparent in the kitschy décor, which includes corrugated-tin walls, Craftsmen toolbox drawers, Diamond-Brite chrome counters, sinks rising out of oil drums, a Unocal 76 gas-station ball embedded in a wall, letters spelling out P-A-T-S-Y C-L-I-N-E over the entryway and enough memorabilia dedicated to his hero Elvis Presley to rival Graceland (which Fults has visited too many times to count). Fortunately, Fults is still cutting heads for the time being, and a great cut will set you back only 12 bucks. (Chad’s Barber Shop serves both men and women, so prices may vary.) Whether his shop remains dedicated to hair, handmade crafts or both, local charities will be happy to hear that whatever the future holds, Fults has no plans to split town. He’s raised funds over the years for war veterans, local schools and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation through such unusual promotions as guessing how many Pez dispensers or rubber duckies have been placed in his front window. And for those customers who’d been coming to the shop since its original opening in 1965 but can no longer make the trip, Fults makes house calls to local nursing homes. 2118 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 541-4513.

2. Leslie Washburn. The motto at Leslie’s Head Quarters, Barber Shop and Rumor Control is "Get a good fucking haircut." Works for us. In fact, it works so well we married her! Or, more precisely, Weekly contributing editor Jim Washburn married Leslie a few years back, which we’d admit to being a conflict of interest were it not for a fact that Ms. Washburn has had the shop since 1977 and we’d been fans long before the celebrity coupling. Besides, name another Orange County shearer who doubles as a philosopher? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we refer you to Mr. Washburn’s Aug. 23, 2002, Lost in OC column, where he wrote the following:

With the world going to hell, does design matter? I wondered this aloud the other night, and my wife, Leslie, chimed in with her perspective, which she often does whether I’m wondering aloud or not.

"Hair design is important," Leslie said. She is a barber.

"Why so?"

"Because it’s good for society for you not to look like a fuck, and a good haircut that fits you and your lifestyle has a trickle-down effect. A bad haircut can wreck the next few weeks of your life, attitude-wise. Nobody wants a sourpuss with a bad haircut coming in their office. But with a good haircut, you feel happy, lucky and sexy and you spread goodwill."

500 Old Newport Blvd., No. 203, Newport Beach, (949) 642-4247.

3. David File. The senior stylist at Crew Salon seldom speaks, but he’ll listen to his customers’ every word. It’s best to cut the chatter and give him the creative license to do just about anything he damn well pleases; he’ll deliver a perfect cut every time. Best of all, you can typically call and get an appointment for that same day . . . uh, before this appears in the paper anyway. The Lab anti-mall, 2930 Bristol St., Ste. A102, Costa Mesa, (714) 751-0111.

4. Toni Rumble. Customers describe rookie hairstylist Toni Rumble at Salon Gregorie’s as the female Edward Scissorhands due to the way the follicles fly as her scissors whiz at warp speed. (The shop knows how to spot talent, winning Editor’s Choice honors at the 2002 North American Hairstyling Awards.) Rumble is such a perfectionist she seems to care more about her clients’ hair than her clients do—something the freshly cut appreciate while fielding compliments after leaving her station. And she’s a hoot! 200 Newport Center Dr., Ste. 103, Newport Beach, (949) 644-6671.

5. Suzan Redman. One steady customer of Suzan Redman at Bushire Salon & Spa says the only other time someone other than Redman has touched her head in the past decade was the time Redman got in a car accident and couldn’t keep the appointment. She’s that good, and her customers are that loyal. Of course, considering she frequently offers clients a mimosa or glass of wine when they come in, is it any wonder? 1108 E. Katella Ave., Ste. C6, Orange (714) 744-1080.

6. Kristi Mitchell. This stylist at Alexander’s Grand Salon can give you any hair color you want on this earth—even colors that haven’t been invented yet! The shop itself is to hair what cosmetic surgeons are to perfect bods. Besides coloring, Alexander’s specializes in the Euro Locs/Hairlocs system of hair extensions, which uses real hair (from Europe!) without glue, heat, sewing, braiding or chemicals. 5579 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim Hills, (714) 420-1534.

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.

8. The Beachball shopping center. Like the Linbrook Bowl, it’s named for the location: the southwest corner of Beach Boulevard and Ball Road in Garden Grove. With atomic-looking signage and some avant-garde ’50s architectural touches still left, this is a classic—albeit gritty—example of what urban architecture once was.

9. Boysen Park, Brookhurst Park and Oeste Park. You’re a winner just for reading this ’cause you get the addresses for three of the last remaining OC parks with those wicked-bad metal rocket ship slides that used to be everywhere. Remember? Climb up the spiral staircase and you’re actually inside the rocket, then go down the slide to get out—just like they did on Apollo 13. Well, not really. Boysen Park, 951 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim; Brookhurst Park, 2271 W. Crescent Ave., Anaheim; Oeste Park, 2300 W. Lambert Rd., La Habra.

ESPRESSO SHOT

1. Kaffa. Justin Wong’s search for the perfect espresso shot began at Long Beach State. "Being in college, you drink a lot of coffee," he says, "but you don’t really know what’s bad or good." Until the stomach pain begins, and then you either surrender to the dark side and get used to the idea of life with a colostomy bag or you spend a little more for quality. Wong, a bio-chem major and, sure, maybe a little obsessive about his coffee, went farther: he read books and traveled to Italy. In Florence, he learned to roast the bean with respect for its delicate oil—too long and you get a nice dark roast that produces something like rainwater gathered at the bottom of a Hibachi; too short and you get a vapid, anemic little stream. He traveled to Hawaii, where he discovered that marketing may account for much of the success of Kona’s contribution to the hot-beverage industry. And he traveled to Central America to follow the bean from planting to harvest. Today, he buys his beans—five varietals—and prepares them in a Probat roaster he shares with a buddy in Culver City. And he trains his baristas rigorously; it may take months before he judges a staffer ready to approach the store’s espresso machine with a load of the rare stuff. The result is an espresso with gentle, berry-like overtones, a foamy top and—let’s be honest about our real intentions in drinking the stuff—nice caffeine content. "You do what you love, and I love coffee," he says. We love him for it. 424 S. Main St., Ste. K, Orange, (714) 978-1992.

BEST LINES FROM THE O.C., THE SECOND-BEST TV SHOW ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY, (SEASON ONE)

11. Seth Cohen (Adam Brody) to dad Sandy (Peter Gallagher): "Life’s gritty enough? We live in Newport Beach."

10. Summer Roberts (Rachel Bilson), after running her finger across a filthy comforter in a fleabag motel room in Tijuana: "Sweet! Do we have to pay extra for the pubes?"

9. Ryan Atwood (Benjamin McKenzie), on his alcoholic mom’s contemplated move from Chino to Newport Beach: "She talks about moving someplace small nearby, in the numbered streets."

8. Seth, after Marissa Cooper (Mischa Barton) reveals Ryan played Snoopy in a hometown school musical: "I didn’t know they had musicals in Chino. I didn’t even know they had dancing. Or laughter."

7. Luke Ward (Chris Carmack), offering to thump a foe for Ryan: "Just give me the word, and I will drop the Great Gatsby."

6. Sandy, walking in on a threesome in his bedroom: "I should really learn to knock . . . in case there’s a threesome going on in my bedroom."

5. Unnamed hot Newport mommy: "It’s been a relaxing weekend, ladies. I’m off to fire my cleaning lady. See you at spinning."

4. Unnamed skinny teen guy, in tortured white-boy-rapper voice: "That freak from Chino; he was all up in Luke’s grill. . . . Run him out of Newport fo’ sho’."

3. Nana Cohen (Linda Lavin): "Oh, God, what am I doing here?! I hate this state, I hate the sunshine, I hate the ocean, I hate Schwarzenegger."

2. Seth, to Sandy, finally addressing a subject that’s long perplexed America: "Dad, your eyebrows have a life of their own."

1. Luke’s ever-immortal introduction to the just-pummeled Ryan: "Welcome to the OC, bitch. This is how it’s done in Orange County."

FIVE SURF SPOTS WHERE POSEIDON WILL KICK YOUR ASS IF THE LOCAL SURF NAZIS DON’T DO IT FIRST

1. The Wedge. If you want to commit suicide by water, you might consider the Wedge, located at the end of the Newport peninsula. On a big south swell, combined with the energy off the long rock jetty, set waves combine together in an unholy fusion to create a heaving, pitching monstrosity. Surfers are the outcasts at this spot due to the horde of protective body-boarders and unstable stand-up conditions. It involves a quick stand, mammoth drop, and nine times out of 10, it ends in a destructo water wall weighing the equivalent of the entire population of Guam. Surf at your own risk—people have been crippled here.

2. 56th Street, Newport Beach. If Darwin surfed, he might have come up with his "survival of the fittest" theory by watching the bitter monkey chain out in the 56th Street lineup. Fast, steep waves; limited resources; and angry wavemongers make this spot only for the advanced or familiar. We once witnessed a burly local manhandle a pasty white kid off a wave, only to continue pumping down the line. There is no leeway shown for the weak or inexperienced. If you’re in the way, your ass gets run over or chewed out of the water.

3. Trestles. Trestles is like that perfect pretty girl we all had a crush on in high school who made straight A’s and played three sports—it was only later we heard she did speed and was in therapy. Trestles is OC’s premium wave, boasting perfection and consistency. It’s a long walk to get to this spot, but the experience includes trees, grass and deer, as opposed to parking meters and guard towers. Wax and chalk messages line the asphalt, ranging from the direct ("If you don’t live here, don’t surf here") to the cryptic ("Gothic dolphin"). That aside, the waters are crowded; locals and pros scoop the cream while the rest vie for the pickings.

4. Huntington Pier. If you keep to yourself and don’t cut anyone off, odds are you’ll be fine at Huntington Pier. It’s bigger, slower and a little more crowded than Newport (so zoo-like, in fact, that we once ran over a kid who couldn’t have been more than age 10 at this spot). Between the deep-seated locals and the pack of arrogant young blood, there’s little room for newcomers. Waves closet to the pier on either the north or south side are the most fiercely guarded.

5. Salt Creek. Don’t be fooled by Salt Creek’s tame exterior nestled beneath the shadow of the Ritz Carlton. Home to shallow breaks and aloof crowds, Salt Creek is more akin to a 405 traffic jam than an "endless summer" experience. Expect to run into a morass of local Dana Point high school and junior high kids. It offers wave variety; however, it’s the clogged artery of OC surfing’s heart—and desperately in need of bypass surgery. Prepare for frustration as you bicker and fight over waves with 12-year-olds.

VINTAGE EYEWEAR

1. Allyn Scura of San Clemente. Formerly of Santa Ana, this is the company that stunned the vintage world two years ago by purchasing 30,000 pairs of never-worn frames for men, women and kids. Resale prices hover around $85 for these and around $125 for the firm’s own vintage-inspired designs, which ain’t cheap. They’re nice glasses, though. (800) 393-7482, (949) 429-5116; www.allynscura.com.

DELICIOUSLY ICKY BAR BATHROOM

1. Los Vacitos. Okay, so you can’t expect too much if you’re willingly using the loo in a place where people exchange money for what essentially is, when you get right to it, poison. And yeah, most times you’re too drunk to care that much about the pile of puke in the sink/toilet paper wads on the toilet seat/overflowed filth on the floor. At Los Vacitos, though, there’s hope—the bar’s new owners are planning a remodel and will soon reopen it as the District Lounge—but let’s hope the remodel includes the women’s restroom. Aside from the scary, sweaty, skinny hallway that leads into it—which we actually kinda dig ’cause standing in line with 15 shit-faced ladies is fun!—the single-stall bathroom becomes a useless cesspool of toilet stuff when it clogs. And it does. Often. Whatever you do, don’t wear sandals. 223 W. Chapman Ave., Orange, (714) 771-0170.

FIVE ESSENTIAL OC GUITAR PLAYERS

1. Junior Watson. If there is any reason for people to still be playing blues, it is in the hope that someone as stunningly original as Watson will come along. The Stanton-based wonder is a master of every shade of blues and a number of other styles, but in the jazz-infused West Coast jump style, he’s carved his own unique niche—with a buzz saw. A Watson solo is the equivalent of Albert Einstein throwing up on a roller coaster as it plunges through wormholes in the space-time continuum of musical logic, and we’re talking Einstein after eating a hot pastrami sandwich.

2. Dick Dale. Though the King of the Surf Guitar has pretty much abandoned us for the desert—we hear he’s got a boat in Newport now—he remains the keeper of the definitive OC guitar sound: the reverb-drenched throb that replicates the sensation of a big-ass wave curl enveloping you. Though he’s now older than rope, Dale is still a monster on guitar, playing with an elemental ferocity and unfettered spirit.

3. Danny Ott. In his many years with Chris Gaffney and the Cold Hard Facts, Ott established himself as OC’s best utility player: not just excelling at Bakersfield twang, blistering rock, low-riding R&B, Norteno two-step, and everything else Gaffney threw at him, but also making it all his own with a drive and lyricism unmatched by most stadium-filling guitarists.

4. Rusty Anderson. Speaking of stadiums, Fullerton-raised Anderson used to be the guitar whiz in local bands such as the Living Daylights, and he now tours the world in Paul McCartney’s band. A cosmic coincidence, that: being in a band with the same name as a Bond film and now playing the theme from another one—"Live and Let Die"—nightly with Sir Paul. In case you haven’t noticed, McCartney’s rocking better now than he has in decades, and Rusty’s a spiffy adjunct to that.

5. Matt Barnes. If Jann Browne was Mick, Matt Barnes would be Keith. If she was Anita Pallenberg, he’d still be Keith. Whether it’s coming up with the perfect instrumental hook that tethers Jann’s voice to a song or continuing a lyric’s emotional thread through his string-rolfing solos, he’s the ideal musical co-pilot. I mean, if Jann were Han Solo, he’d be Chewbacca.

SIX EASY STEPS TO PROPER DINING IN A VIETNAMESE RESTAURANT

1. Show up. Little Saigon is probably the most neglected-by-natives ethnic enclave in the country. Sure, Vietnamese from across the globe gravitate to Bolsa Avenue every weekend, making the traffic as snarling as Saigon circa 1968. But for a county that hosts the largest Vietnamese expatriate population in the world, the average (read: non-Asian) Orange Countian’s lack of knowledge regarding the area is as criminal as Agent Orange. New Yorkers and San Franciscans know their Chinatowns; almost all of Miami is Little Havana. But ask someone when was the last time they visited Little Saigon, and you’ll most likely get a quizzical why-would-I-go-there? look than an actual response. The only famous Vietnamese restaurant county non-Asians frequent is Lee’s Sandwiches—and even knowledge of that sparkling chain is limited to chowhounds and biracial couples.

2. Use your fingers. Level of English fluency varies according to the age of workers in Vietnamese restaurants, so be safe and expect non-fluency. Upon entering the restaurant, gesture with your fingers the size of your dining group; the worker will promptly grab the necessary number of menus and guide you to an appropriately sized table. And don’t worry if the owner knows no English and you can’t communicate with your hands if a spot in heaven depended on it: Vietnamese restaurant owners are entrepreneurs just like everyone else. We’ve seen Latino families that look fresh from the border happily slurp down pho, with owner and patron communicating mainly via smiles and knowing glances.

3. Don’t feel pressured. The waiter will allow you to peruse the menu maybe a minute before they loom over you, expecting you to snap out your order with the comfort and assuredness of a regular. To the novice, this might seem a bit rude and conjures up antiquated stereotypes of rude Asians, but let’s be logical here: most Vietnamese restaurants are woefully understaffed—usually Mom, Dad, the kids and maybe the grandparents—and you’re not the only eater in the place. Hurry up and choose, already!

4. Be ready to eat. The service at a Vietnamese restaurant is as brisk as a fast-food restaurant, only with edible food. We’re still not sure how they do it: seriously, we’ve entered with parties of 10, and everyone gets their dish in about five minutes, if that. If all restaurants were this efficient, there would be no need for the drive-through.

5. Get up. Rare is the Vietnamese eatery that brings diners the bill. Get up, go to the counter and pay up. They haven’t forgotten about you—indeed, the minute you pull out money, the cashier/owner/waiter/cook will fish through a stack of papers and quickly pull out your receipt.

6. Say, "Cám un." It means "thank you" in Vietnamese. And see your hostess smile.

TEN WAYS TO SERVE OUT YOUR MANDATORY-COMMUNITY-SERVICE HOURS

1. Food Not Bombs. For the past two and a half decades, Food Not Bombs has been serving fresh, hot vegetarian food to the homeless and others in need. With hundreds of chapters covering six continents, it isn’t hard to find a location near you. But just in case: Food Not Bombs serve meals every Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Max Berg Plaza in San Clemente; every Saturday at 1 p.m. at La Palma Park in Anaheim; and every Sunday at noon at the Catholic Worker House in Santa Ana and at 3 p.m. at the Santa Ana Public Library. www.foodnotbombs.net.

2. The Gay and Lesbian Community Service Center of OC. They can definitely use your help, considering the events galore the center participates in. Their volunteers fill in as HIV specialists, health-education teachers, event coordinators, board members, even receptionists. Don’t worry, they’ll train you, and if you’re lucky, they might even feed you. Had something else in mind to help with? Just let ’em know what you want to do, and they’ll work around that. www.thecenteroc.org.

3. Surfrider Foundation. What could be easier than hanging around the beach and picking up a couple of scraps of trash? Best part about it: come for the cleanup, but stay for the free parking and great waves—plus, it’s the cleanest the beach will be all month. They meet in Huntington Beach the second and last Saturday of every month from 8 a.m. to noon and in Seal Beach every fourth Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. www.surfrider.org.

4. Be the Cause. With one of the most aesthetically appealing volunteer listings on the net, this nonprofit organization has exactly what you need to fulfill your community-service fetish. They’re an entirely volunteer-run organization that coordinates monthly Compassion Cells that vary from day trips to Mexico to hang out with orphans to fixing up local homes in Santa Ana to painting murals on the sides of YMCAs. www.bethecause.org.

5. El-Centro Cultural de Mexico. Located in Santa Ana, this eclectic bunch is always looking for new volunteers to join in the fun. Their volunteers teach musical classes to children, Aztec-dancing classes, English-as-a-second-language classes to children and adults, and do musical performances around Orange County. To El-Centro, it’s a very thin line between community service and a party. www.el-centro.org.

6. Orangewood PALS. Working in conjunction with the Orangewood Children’s Home and Foundation, the PALS are a group of young-adult volunteers who fund-raise and provide activities for the abused and neglected children sheltered at the Orangewood Children’s home. Most volunteers can guarantee that while the first time you volunteer there will be because it was mandated, the next 50 times will be because you wanted to. www.orangewoodpals.org.

7. The Volunteer Center of Orange County. They have volunteer opportunities for everyone, and we mean everyone: old people (55 and older); young people (children of all ages); lazy people (done-in-a-day volunteer work); ambitious people (board-leadership opportunities); unlawful people (court-mandated services); and for the guilty, shameful Christmas crowd (holiday opportunities). www.volunteercenter.org.

8. Orange County Peace Coalition and Code Pink. Like peace and girl power? You? Of course you do, and so do these folks. It’s a tough job waging peace in OC all by yourself. But with a little help from one or both of these groups, you can do it. There’s no better way to serve your community than by stopping the war, protesting corporate greed and being an activist against social injustice. www.ocpeace.org, www.codepinkalert.org.

9. The Boat People SOS. Really, Boat People, that’s the P.C. term. This organization was formed to help Vietnamese refuges and immigrants in their search for freedom and a dignified life. And maybe somewhere along the way, they can help you find one, too. www.bpsos.org.

10. VolunteerMatch.org. When in doubt, they’ve got what you’re looking for. Just hop on this website, type in your ZIP code, and brace yourself for list after list of volunteer opportunities. www.volunteermatch.org.

OBSCURE SAINTS SOLD AT ST. THERESA’S CATHOLIC GIFT SHOP IN SANTA ANA

1. St. Peregrine: patron saint of cancer victims.

2. Our Lady of Czestochowa: patron saint of Poland.

3. St. Agatha: patron saint against breast diseases.

4. St. Paraskevia: patron saint of weavers.

5. St. Philomena: patron saint of working people.

6. St. Toribio Romo: patron saint of Mexican immigrants.

7. St. Maximilian Kolbe: patron saint of journalists.

8. Anima Sola: patron saint of purgatory.

9. Most Powerful Hand: God’s limb.

VINTAGE VOLKSWAGEN SHOP

1. West Coast Classic Restorations. For 18 years, Lenny Copp’s West Coast Classic Restorations have put together some of the finest vintage Volkswagens since they originally rolled off factory lines. Gracing automotive-magazine covers all over the world, WCCR’s show-stopping work also includes their own line of in-house-made interior products. The work isn’t cheap, but it’s damned near perfection. 1002 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, (714) 871-1322.

POLITICAL OBSESSION

1. Jim Silva. The county’s most—how can we put this delicately?—mentally challenged supervisor recently announced that Ronald Reagan hadn’t been glorified enough by the nation. Silva, who relies on note cards to speak and is nonetheless often incoherent, offered what he thought was a unique idea: change the name of historic Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley to Ronald Reagan Park. Several airports, freeways, toll roads, an aircraft carrier, hospitals, schools, community centers, college clubs, post offices, private buildings, government office structures (including our own federal courthouse) and an East Coast mountain range already have been named after the dead 40th prez.

SANTA ANA-BASED SPANISH-LANGUAGE WEEKLIES

1. Miniondas. Circulation of 55,000. The standard-bearer for Orange County’s sensationalistic Spanish-language press, Miniondas has expanded since its 1975 founding from a four-page monthly into a broadsheet twice-weekly. Owner/editor/publisher Sergio Velasquez recently won the top national prize for journalists from the U.S. Small Business Administration. Many pictures, but actual articles usually consist of captions for said pictures and are always sans byline. BEST FEATURE: a column devoted to famous mass murderers throughout history, from Peter Kurten, "The Monster of Dusseldorf," to Mexico’s own paranormal Manson, the chupacabra!

2. Farandula USA. Circulation of 55,000. Also published by Velasquez, Farandula USA concentrates on Spanish-language entertainment, with stories on singers and actors from across the Western Hemisphere. Photos are notoriously blurry and off-color, and copy is more gushing than the fountains of Tivoli. BEST FEATURE: when they run an article on a grocery store—and the article is next to an ad for the grocery store. The Velasquez empire never met a conflict of ethics they didn’t like.

3. Excelsior. Circulation of 55,000. The Orange County Register’s Spanish-language weekly, Excelsior is currently undergoing a low cycle after the early-year defection of pitbull reporter Sylvia Carlock to the Los Angeles Times’ Spanish-language daily, Hoy. By far the best-funded of Orange County’s Spanish-language weeklies, although most of their resources go toward translating Register articles into Spanish. BEST FEATURE: Miguel Suarez Orozco, entertainment reporter. The gentlemanly 50-ish Orozco always wears the same grey-flannel suit, whether attending a movie-screening or a Mexican metal show or interviewing Shakira.

4. Contacto. Circulation of 40,000. Santa Ana’s best soccer coverage, with league standings and dispatches on leagues from San Clemente to La Habra, from kiddie players to abuelita goalkeepers. News? Next to none if it doesn’t involve a forward and a ball BEST FEATURE: the soccer store in Contacto’s office. Newsroom? Went away to make more room for jerseys.

5. Azteca News. Circulation of 36,000. Great international section, with most articles coming from Mexico’s Notimex news agency or Spain’s EFE wire service. This concentration on Latin America, however, comes at the expense of local coverage, which is usually limited to former Santa Ana police chief Jose Vargas’ thoughts on the news of the week—think Larry King except without the ellipses and frequent Sandy Koufax references. BEST FEATURE: suprising amount of features on Argentina.

6. Rumores. Circulation of 30,000. It doesn’t matter if the World Trade Center was bombed, if there’s a Mexican Independence Day parade, or if the INS is crashing down doors while arresting illegal immigrants in Orange County—the 19-year-old Santa Ana-based Spanish-language weekly always has a color photograph of a bikini-clad woman on the front page. Only problem? They’re never pretty. BEST FEATURE: the front-page girl. Seriously—you have to love a paper that has the huevos to put a half-naked senorita on the cover while Armageddon was raining down on New York.

ENDURANCE EVENTS THAT WILL BREAK YOU, NOT YOUR WALLET

1. San Juan Trail 50K. Before you’re done, you’ll have to navigate more than 30 miles of steep, rocky trails in the Santa Ana Mountains. This one will sear your lungs, thrash your quads and have you questioning your sanity. But when you finally wobble across the finish line, the cool folks who sponsor this race will treat you to a monster buffet. March 26, 2005. $65 before Feb. 10. www.rndrunning.com.

2. Vision Quest. When you’re pushing your mountain bike up 1.25 miles of hike-a-bike—after having ridden more than 40 miles of towering climbs and bone-rattling, technical descents—you’ll be cursing the sadistic SOB who thought up this course. But you’ll continue because you always do. Not too much farther and you’ll come to the final killer descent of Trabuco Canyon Trail, an ample reward for all the suffering. By the time you’re done, you’ll have ridden more than 52 miles and gained 11,000 feet. Once you’ve recovered at the post-race party, you’ll already be thinking about next year. March 2005 (exact date to be determined). Cost to be determined, but this year’s registration was only $85—not bad for a race of this magnitude. www.warriorssociety.org.

3. El Dorado Tuesday Twilight Racing Series. Bicycle racing has been called the most painful of all sports. Find out why! You’ll be redlining right from the start of this hurt-fest. And that’s if you don’t get spit out the back of the peloton. But at only $9, the cost-to-pain ratio may be OC’s best value. Every Tuesday in March and April. $9. www.californiabicycleracing.org.

4. Saddleback Memorial Half Marathon. What’s not to like? For less than the cost of dinner at some swank, mall-bound bistro, you can spend Memorial Day pounding the roads and bikeways of Laguna Hills. Not becoming roadkill near Leisure World adds to the drama. When it’s all over, you can enjoy the rest of your holiday guilt-free. May 30, 2005. $35. www.memorialmarathon.com.

5. Saddleback Mountain Trail Marathon. This race doesn’t climb all the way to the top of Saddleback, but it might as well. Once you leave the start line at Blue Jay Campground near the top of Ortega Highway, it seems like you never stop climbing. Sure, there are occasional descents, but they just lead to the next inevitable uphill slog—it’s as if Escher designed the course and the only direction is up. By the time you’re only halfway to the finish, you’ll be ascending Holy Jim Trail and praying for it to end. You get to run some great trails, though, and everyone is incredibly supportive. If you stop thinking about the pain, you’ll realize you’re actually having a helluva good time. Nov. 20, 2004. $75. www.rndrunning.com.

BEST PLACE TO FIND CHEAP SEVEN JEANS

1. Buffalo Exchange. The Buffalo Exchange in the Lab, where rich OC girls go to sell their two-month-old Seven jeans (in terms of popularity, they’re the new Levi’s, people!) for something a little more updated. Since it’s a second-hand store, you’ll likely have to keep checking back to find the pair that’s just your size, but the guaranteed quality—not to mention the bargain prices—is definitely worth it. 2930 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 825-0619.

TEN FAVORITE THINGS SAID BY THE REVEREND LOU SHELDON OF THE TRADITIONAL VALUES COALITION

1. "Jesus played hardball."

2. "The CDC [Centers for Disease Control] should be spending its time on preparing this nation to deal with bioterrorist threats—not paying for fisting seminars or self-esteem seminars for homosexuals."

3. "This is not the first time I have been marked for death by the homosexuals, and it will probably not be the last."

4. "ANDREA! Do we pay for our homosexual magazines?"

5. "If you want a blowjob, they have ads for blowjobs right there."

6. "Step by step, homosexual activists are softening up public opinion on the issue of adult/child sex, which is euphemistically referred to in their publications as ‘intergenerational intimacy.’"

7. "Homosexuality is only an underdeveloped stage of heterosexuality. You know, there’s an old saying: ‘Monkey see, monkey do.’"

8. "When President [George W.] Bush visits the CDC for a tour of its facilities on Thursday, he should ask CDC officials why they are spending millions of dollars funding fisting seminars for homosexuals and drag-queen proms in San Francisco."

9. "It will only stop when the public becomes outraged enough to put an end to homosexual-recruitment programs in our public schools."

10. "ANDREA! What’s the homosexual’s name in Defense?"

BEST GAY REPUBLICAN

1. Brian Bennett. For years we sent darts to the closeted gay chief of staff to Congress’ most homophobic member, Representative Bob Dornan, who Loretta Sanchez sent into a Virginia-countryside retirement. But since coming out in 1997, the personable, sharp Bennett has moved to redeem himself. Frustrated by the president’s election-year ploy to amend the U.S. Constitution against gays and lesbians, Bennett has eloquently spoken against the injustice and acknowledged that such policies have made him, a diehard Republican, reconsider voting for George W. Bush.

CALIFORNIA/ANAHEIM ANGELS IN THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

1. Rod Carew (went in as a Minnesota Twin)

2. Reggie Jackson (went in as a New York Yankee)

3. Eddie Murray (went in as a Baltimore Oriole)

4. Frank Robinson (went in as a Baltimore Oriole)

5. Nolan Ryan (went in as a Texas Ranger)

6. Don Sutton (went in as a Los Angeles Dodger)

7. Hoyt Wilhelm (went in as a New York Giant)

8. Dave Winfield (went in as a San Diego Padre)

NINE THINGS ACTUALLY FROM THE ANGELS IN THE BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

1. Jersey worn by World Series Most Valuable Player Troy Glaus in the 2002 World Series.

2. Bat used by Scott Spiezio to hit a three-run homer in Game Six of the 2002 World Series. Spiezio set a post-season record with 20 RBI.

3. Lineup card from the first game that featured a matchup between a Japanese-born pitcher and hitter—Angels pitcher Shigetoshi Hasegawa and Mariners batter Ichiro Suzuki—on April 13, 2001.

4. Cap and bat used by Glaus during the 2000 season, when he set a record for most home runs by a third baseman.

5. Jim Edmonds model bat used by the entire Angels lineup in their first at-bat of their Aug. 4, 1999, game against the Kansas City Royals. The Angels used the bat to get out of their offensive slump, which had resulted in their losing 16 of their past 18 games. The Angels won the game 4-3, scoring two runs in the second inning while the team used the bat.

6. Bat used by Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy to hit three home runs in Game Five of the 2002 American League Championship Series against the Minnesota Twins.

7. Ball from the perfect game thrown by Mike Witt, Sept. 30, 1984.

8. Balls and caps from all four of the no-hit games pitcher Nolan Ryan threw.

9. Ball from no-hit game thrown by Bo Belinsky, May 5, 1962.

GAY BAR FOR BEGINNERS

1. Ozz Supper Club. Attention, queer youth of OC! Tired of waiting till your 21st birthday before you can start legally entering the Boom Boom Room or the multitude of Long Beach gay bars? Then Ozz Supper Club, with many an 18-and-over night (providing you get there before 10 p.m. in most cases) is an essential hang. It’s like the training bra of the full-bosomed OC gay scene, a low-key room where you can catch a cabaret act on weekends (particularly the comic genius that is Rudy Delamore, who plays your favorite show tunes, tells cock-and-pussy jokes, and flirts with alllll the young men in the audience) or shoot pool whilst drooling over Jesse, easily one of the hottest bartenders in the county. Don’t even think about hitting on him, though, because he will spurn you. Trust us. We’ve tried. 6231 Manchester Blvd., Buena Park, (714) 522-1542; www.ozznightclub.com.

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