Best of OC 2004: Part 4

PLACES TO UTTER, 'DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?'

1. Sutra. No need to be a dick about it, but you're not really going to wait in that line, are you? Yeah, neither am I. Do you know who I am? 1870 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 722-7103.

2. Hotel Laguna Beach Club. Just try to keep Susan Kang Schroeder and her two memberships parted! That's right, fucker! She's got two memberships, which means four chairs, so back the fuck off! Do you know who she is? 425 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-1151. 3. Athena. When two of the three county supes lunching at any one time (in violation, let's be clear, of the Brown Act) come over to say hey, you don't need to tell them who you are. Let Scott Baugh or Todd Spitzer do it for you! 505 N. Sycamore St., Santa Ana, (714) 550-0040. 4. Waterman's Ball. Hey! Those dudes are all hot. Do you know who they are? 5. St. Regis, Dana Point. How many times must we watch a man threaten someone's job here? Do you know who he is? No? Then you're fired. 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, (949) 487-0244. PLACES TO DANCE WITH THE RHYTHM-IMPAIRED 1. '80s Night at Ocean Avenue Brewery Company. 237 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-3381. 2. The Fling Cocktail Lounge. 2370 N. Tustin Ave., Ste. D, Santa Ana, (714) 547-8972. 3. The Swallow's Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 493-3188. 4. Reggae night at the Sandpiper. 1183 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-4694. 5. Anyplace with the Wayne Foster Band. BEST CHARITY EVENTS 1. Planned Parenthood shindigs. The ladies here are more fun, slightly risqué and have better rhythm than at any other charity function in the land. Why? Because Planned Parenthood's got "edge!" Sometimes, they have sexy themes like Arabian Nights. Rrowr! (800) 230-PLAN. 2. Super Bowl Sunday for Olivecrest, Newport Dunes. Nothing froufrou about this: just tons of barbecue, even more drinks and all the big-screen TVs your heart desires. Most fun? Playing keep-away from the snotty kids trying to jack your party favors. 1131 Back Bay Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 729-3863. 3. Waterman's Ball. Dudes, dudes, dudes. Why? Because it's the ocean, man! Which is where they spend all their time when they're not at the mountain! Because what's great about OC is you can surf in the morning and go snowboarding in the afternoon! And they will tell you that! A lot!For the past three years it's been at: St. Regis Monarch Resort, 1 Monarch Beach Resort Dr., Dana Point, (949) 487-0244. 4. Bachelor Auction for Orangewood. Don't those pesky orphans have enough money yet? Not when there's men to be bought like pieces of veal! Dance, Veal! Dance! 1575 E. 17th St., Santa Ana, (714) 619-0200. BEST HOTEL BARS 1. Four Seasons. Skip the bar. It's ugly and the people are boring. Take your drink and take over a cabana. You'll feel like the richest, prettiest girl in the world. 690 Newport Center Dr., Newport Beach, (949) 759-0808. 2. St. Regis. Martini Monday features half-price libations, so they're only $20. 1 Monarch Beach Resort, Dana Point, (949) 234-3200.3. Boom Boom Room. The venerable gay club is the nightspot with the mostest, but even better is the upstairs hotel for swingers! 1401 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (800) 653-2697. 4. Grand Californian, Downtown Disney. If a friend didn't take you to this magnificent hotel, you'd never know it was hidden in the trees. How did they manage to make something so natural, so Yosemite, so very Frank Lloyd Wright, right in the middle of Downtown Disney? 1600 S. Disneyland Dr., Anaheim, (714) 956-6425. 5. Hyatt Regency Orange County during the NAMM show. Do you love rock boys? They love them, too. Skip the expensive NAMM badge, and head to the hotel bar afterwards. There, the pretty boys will flip their long hair and ignore you. Fun! 11999 Harbor Blvd., Garden Grove, (714) 750-1234. 6. Whenever Jack Flynn gets off his ass and builds us a boutique hotel. 7. Splashes. Avoid the food and only go during a storm. Except for the Mall in Washington, D.C.—and maybe a couple of other places, too—it's God's most romantic vista. 1555 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 497-4477. PLACES TO MEET MILLIONAIRES 1. The Ritz Restaurant. Located in Fashion Island, the Ritz offers millionaires the opportunity to escape Southern California's nouveau-riche style and eat in the setting they really deserve: that of spoiled European royalty. Of their five exquisite dining rooms, the brick-walled wine cellar is the most decadent, allowing distinguished guests to eat underneath antler chandeliers and amidst bottles of wine that cost as much as a decent car. 880 Newport Center Dr., Fashion Island, Newport Beach, (949) 720-1800. 2. The Quiet Woman. Broke? Find yourself the perfect millionaire at this charming Corona del Mar bar and restaurant. Ladies, station yourself near the action with a full Cosmopolitan and get ready to drop your drink when a fit, Armani-sporting gentleman walks by, talking about whether or not he should buy the new Porsche 911 Turbo S. Fellas, be on the lookout for a smokin' older blonde with very perky breasts and copious amounts of platinum jewelry. Use your last $100 and offer to buy her a decent bottle of wine (Quiet Woman has plenty to choose from). If you play your cards just right, you might be a millionaire one day, too. 3224 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, (949) 640-7440. 3. Balboa Bay Club and Resort. The "it" place for millionaires to golf, dine and park their yachts, the Balboa Bay Club and Resort provides a luxurious oasis in the heart of Newport Beach, which is also quite luxurious, so it's kind of like luxury within luxury. 1221 W. Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (888) 445-7153. 4. Bad art galleries. While some millionaires have fabulous taste, some have, well, less-than-fabulous taste. They can be spotted at certain brightly lit galleries in Laguna Beach, hemming and hawing over monstrously huge Plein Air paintings, animals done in oils, or grotesque metal mermaid sculptures. Along Pacific Coast Hwy. in Laguna Beach and elsewhere throughout OC. 5. (The former?) Josh Slocum's. According to the answering machine at this longtime harborfront watering hole, Josh Slocum's will reopen in late October as Rodman's Lounge and Cuisine in honor of co-owner Dennis Rodman. In its previous incarnation, Rodman may have been the only millionaire there (he's still a millionaire, right?). 2601 W. Pacific Coast Hwy., Newport Beach, (949) 642-5935. PLACES TO BUY A HOWDY DOODY ROCKABILLY SHIRT 1. Flashbacks. Looks like a Halloween superstore and attracts basically the same pallid crowd. Good stock, but schizo organization and prices. Find a vintage letterman's jacket for $5, then find a discolored rag on the floor with a dog bite out of the arm and get told that'll be $13—'cause it's "'40s rayon." Has this culture lost all ability to reasonably assign meaning to an object? Would've done $10 if there weren't a dog bite. Selection: large and bizarre. Prices: decent to high, except for "'40s rayon" you find on the ground. 463 N. Tustin, Orange, (714) 771-4912. 2. American Vintage. The only store in downtown H.B. that does not sell clothing you strap around your crotch. A little bit of browear and they skew real heavy toward bright, bright colors, but even a casual trip will dig something up. Selection: modest but respectable. Prices: great for a tourist-fleecing beach town, but we still miss Savers. 201 Main St., Ste. C, Huntington Beach, (714) 969-9670. 3. Out of Vogue. Top-notch modern-furniture store run by our favorite long-time-ago punk rock guy that also features a few tiny racks of shirts. Come for the clothes, leave with a couch. Or a guitar so beautiful, girls will try and claw slivers off its finish. Selection: limited, but hand-freakin'-picked. If you don't find something, you—like that LA store used to warn—got bad taste. Prices: perfectly acceptable. 109 E. Commonwealth, Fullerton, (714) 879-6647. GREAT LOCAL PUNK RECORDS THAT WILL PROBABLY NEVER COME OUT 1. The Stitches singles compilation. If this ever materializes, it will have (arguably) the Stitches' best-ever songs and mind-boggling packaging. Until then, eBay for relics. Why it's not out yet: if you don't have the singles already, you probably don't deserve to listen to them. 2. The Angoras' new album. Half of the members split after a session with Billy Zoom, and now? Well, Billy Zoom has a pretty cool little record to listen to, if he feels like setting up the tape machine and pressing PLAY. Why it's not out yet: complex machinations deep within the American economy. 3. The Le Shok singles compilation. Every single they put out had a letter on each side, and when you arranged the letters chronologically, it spelled S-O-D-A-P-O-P-S-M. So they didn't even finish that, though all they needed was two more songs and a blank picture disc with a big "H" on it. The same guy who puts out Fast Forward records says a CD collection of the fabled Soda Pop SM releases is gonna happen, but, well, you know. Why it's not out yet: desperate lobbying for a last-minute, three-record A-S-H box set is stalled at the negotiation table. 4. The Distraction EP. The curse marches on. After splattering across a Sunset Strip parking lot like so much slightly used Mad Dog, the Distraction divvied up all their shit with this canceled four-song EP still at the mastering plant. It was kind of their best stuff, too, but, you know, fuck it. Why it's not out yet: you know. Fuck it. 5. The Alleged Gunmen LP. Longer in the making than entire local bands, this potentially life-rejuvenating classic was stuck in the "Where's the cover art?" stage for years. Now, although it's supposedly out, not one person has seen it and lived to tell the tale. Why it's not out yet: oh, it's out—it's just pressed on rare sasquatch-hide-colored vinyl. BEST SPECIALTY DRINKS/DRINK SPECIALS 1. Brown Bag Night, Avalon. Now a regular event, you'll spot the bartenders at Avalon offering brown-bagged forties of your favorite cheap beer. When you do, be sure to whip out your trusty wifebeater and inflate-a-trucker hat. 820 W. 19th St., Costa Mesa, (949) 515-4650. 2. Pearl Dust Martini, La Cave. Upside? It's made from finely crushed pearl dust, which is rumored to be a potent aphrodisiac once used by Cleopatra. Downside? It's made from finely crushed pearl dust, which tastes exactly like finely crushed pearl dust. 1695 Irvine Ave., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-7944. 3. Shoot the Root, Shannon's Bay Shore Saloon. Forget Irish Car Bombs; this drink—a shot of root beer schnapps plopped inside of a mug of beer—brings all the mess, but with a far better taste. 5335 E. Second St., Long Beach, (562) 433-5901. 4. White Lotus, Svelte. A treat reserved only for the very decadent, the White Lotus Sveltini—a lethal, creamy froth of Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur, Stoli Razz and Kahlua—works well as an after-dinner cocktail or early-evening starter drink. Either way, resist the urge to have more than one or else you'll go into sugar shock. 440 Heliotrope, Corona del Mar, (949) 723-9685. $35-AND-UNDER GOLF COURSES 1. Aliso Creek Golf Course. It's the only nine-hole course on this list, but not for long. Word is that the new owner, the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, plans to renovate it into a pair of 18-hole championship courses. For the time being, though, it's still a cheap-yet-challenging executive course. It's also one of the prettiest, since it meanders back into Laguna Canyon. 31106 Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 499-1919. 2. Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club. OC's newest edition is the priciest on this list, but still a bargain at $35 and that includes a cart with a GPS. Tucked in the valley between Saddleback College and Ladera Ranch, the fairways are incredibly tight, but if you can keep it in bounds, every shot seems to funnel toward the greens. 26772 Avery Pkwy., Mission Viejo, (949) 305-5100. 3. Costa Mesa Country Club. The purest, most pristine municipal greens in OC. These courses are in uncharacteristically terrific shape for inexpensive public golf. CMCC has two 18-hole courses to choose from. Both courses are fairly forgiving, flat and easy to walk. 1701 Golf Course Dr., Costa Mesa, (714) 540-7500. 4. Dad Miller Golf Course. Tiger Woods' high school home course is soon to be home of the $25 million Tiger Woods Learning Center. Dad Miller Golf Course is rearranging the last few holes to accommodate the computer-based education center and driving range. But that won't affect you twilight warriors—this course is short and flat, and it's nearly impossible to go out of bounds. 430 N. Gilbert St., Anaheim, (714) 765-3481. 5. El Toro Golf Course. This tract is long, flat and wide open—perfect for walking. The greens and tee-boxes are a little furry, but thankfully the rough isn't that rough for those of you having a hard time keeping it in the fairway. As the most forgiving course on this list, it's a great spot for kids and beginners. 7000 Trabuco Rd., Irvine, (949) 726-2577. 6. Fullerton Golf Course. Don't be fooled by the par 67 and the short yardage. Fullerton Golf Course forces you to make the most of your course-management skills, so put your driver back in the bag and practice your accuracy, rather than distance. This entire course is lined with either white out-of-bounds stakes or red hazard markers, so it definitely pays to keep it in the fairway. All things considered, Fullerton is in pretty good shape, thanks to the locals who meticulously repair divots that aren't even theirs. 2700 N. Harbor Blvd., Fullerton, (714) 871-5141. 7. Meadowlark Golf Course. Another short course that bites back. Between the big old trees that fence in the fairways or lakes that swallow your errant tee-shots, Meadowlark rewards course-management skills rather than brute force. Also, putting on some of the dome-shaped greens can be like putting on top of a turtle's back. 16782 Graham St., Huntington Beach, (714) 846-1364. 8. Navy Golf Course. Up until July, when they opened to the public, Navy Golf Course was a mystery to most of us. Even now, civilians can still only get on and play as standby walk-ons. But being that most of the Navy Brass prefer playing before 0900 hours, there shouldn't be too much of wait. Built by renowned designer Ted Robinson, Navy Golf Course is long and tough, with lots of water and undulating greens. 5600 Orangewood Ave., Cypress, (562) 430-9913. 9. San Clemente Municipal. They don't call it "Jewel of the Pacific" for nothing. Sweeping ocean views on several holes, not to mention that it's at least 10 degrees cooler than it is in Corona. Here's a key tip from the locals: almost every putt will break toward the ocean, even if it seems like the green leans inland. It's an optical illusion. 150 Ave. Magdelena, San Clemente, (949) 361-8384.
(Photo by Jeanne Rice) BEST ORANGE COUNTY TV REPORTERDave Lopez. If you want to know what the other news stations will report next week, watch Lopez today on either KCBS or KCAL 9. Dogged in the best journalistic tradition, nobody outscoops Lopez, who somehow consistently pries even the most guarded secrets out of embarrassed cops, crooks, bureaucrats and politicians. AMAZING DAY HIKES 1. Trestles Beach. From the parking lot, cross over the 5 freeway and turn left on the bike path. At the bottom of the hill, turn right and follow the paved path to the beach. Cross under the trestles and explore. Trestles surfers' parking lot, Christianitos exit & 5 fwy. (exit freeway, go left for one block, then left again and into the lot), San Clemente. 2. Black Star Canyon. Just south of Irvine Lake, this is a great route to the top of the Main Divide. From the gate, follow the road for 2.3 miles until it veers right and begins a steep climb. At just over five miles, you will reach Hidden Ranch, and at eight miles the Main Divide. For a great view, pass the gate and proceed north (left) for three miles to the summit of Sierra Peak, the highest point in the northern Santa Anas. Turn around and retrace your path to the trailhead. From the intersection of Santiago Canyon Rd. & Silverado Canyon Rd., drive east for 200 yards and turn left on Black Star Rd. Drive one mile and park at the metal gate. 3. Maple Spring Road. This route follows a stream under a dense canopy of alder and sycamore before climbing steeply to the Main Divide. Follow the paved road as it ascends the canyon. At three miles, the road will turn right and the pavement will end. Continue to follow the dirt road as it climbs for another 4.5 miles to the Main Divide. You can turn around at the Main Divide for a 15-mile roundtrip outing or continue to Santiago Peak to make it a 24-mile roundtripper. Park at the end of Silverado Canyon Rd., 5.4 miles from the intersection of Santiago Canyon Rd. Note: This trail is closed between April 1 and Sept. 30 due to the breeding season of the endangered arroyo toad. 4. Chiquito Trail. This is a steep, boulder-strewn trail that leads to lush forested paths. From the parking area, turn right on the San Juan Loop Trail and follow it for just over a mile until you reach the junction of Chiquito Trail. Turn left and head uphill. A long, steep climb leads to a ridgeline at the four-mile mark. The trail then descends into Lion Canyon. After several miles, the trail turns sharply to the right. If you continue, you will pass the Viejo Tie Trail and, around the nine-mile mark, end at the San Juan Trail. The San Juan Trail eventually leads to Blue Jay Campground at the 11-mile mark. Park in the San Juan Loop Trail parking area, across Ortega Hwy. from the Ortega Oaks Store (19.5 miles north of the intersection with the 5 fwy. and 0.7 miles north of Upper San Juan Campground). 5. Tenaja Falls. This hike is a great introduction to the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness and leads to a 150-foot waterfall, which is especially impressive after winter rains. Take the Morgan/Bear Canyon Trail south from the Ortega Oaks Store. After one mile, go left at the intersection. At the next fork, go right onto the Tenaja Falls Trail and proceed to the falls. Park in the San Juan Loop Trail parking area (see Chiquito Trail). Note: bicycles are not allowed in the San Mateo Canyon Wilderness (essentially trails east of Ortega Hwy.). You'll have to hike or run this route. 6. The Donna O'Neill Conservancy. In 1990, the 1,200-acre Conservancy was set aside as mitigation for development near San Clemente. Apparently, mitigation means preserving land for future development because now the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) wants to build a toll road through the area, home to oak woodlands, coastal sage scrub, native valley grasslands, ancient Coast Live Oaks, mountain lions, bobcats, mule deer, coyotes, and many rare and endangered species. You'll have to join a guided hike to enjoy the Conservancy, but it's worth it. Located off Hwy. 74, five miles east of the 5 fwy., (949) 489-9778; www.theconservancy.org. ORGANIZATIONS, PUBLICATIONS AND INDIVIDUALS WHO ARE LITTLE SAIGON'S NON-RED-BAITING FUTURE 1. Viet Weekly. So Viet Weekly borrowed/stole their logo and eye-catching covers from us. And some of the articles, in the grand tradition of ethnic newspapers, read more like thinly veiled ads than real reporting. Nevertheless, this one-year-young publication already delights its loyal readership, penetrating itself in the consciousness of 1.5 and second-generation Little Saigon with raucous articles (the early-January profile on Nick Nguyen, the self-proclaimed Vietnamese Hugh Hefner, was a particular hoot), some bilingualism, and clairvoyant placement in prominent coffee shops and restaurants. Now all it needs is a better website, and we can have the West Coast version of the Forward. www.vietweekly.com. 2. Taylur Thu-Hien Ngo. By day, Ngo fights the good fight for Planned Parenthood. In her spare time, she dabbles in art, producing such masterworks as 2002's Bolsa Lady, a portrait of an early '90s Vietnamese chola. But Ngo's major contribution to Little Saigon's vibrancy is as one of the three organizers behind One Mic, a monthly open-mic night that draws in the young and old of Little Saigon to engage in everything from freeform jazz to traditional Vietnamese poems to sexually explicit poetry. And Ngo continues to co-host Aziatik Rhythmz on KPFK-FM 90.7, Southern California's only radio show devoted to progressive Asian voices. Whether it's via voice, mind or paintbrush, Ngo (recently profiled on NPR) is an articulate, talented force too vital to be ignored. For more information on One Mic, e-mail Ngo at writetaylur@yahoo.com. 3. Vietnamese-American Arts & Letters Association. Think of this organization as part Cannes, part Iowa Writers Workshop, part Harlem Renaissance, and all genius. Founded in 1991, the loose collective of writers, artists and general bohemians is the organizational and monetary brains behind such Vietnamese-American landmark exhibitions as 2002's FOB: A Multi-Art Show and UC Irvine's annual Vietnamese International Film Festival. Although some criticize VAALA as not being thumb-nosing enough against the Little Saigon status quo, that's just sour grapes: VAALA is to the future of Vietnamese-American identity as MEChA once was to Chicano students, except without the vaguely racist politics. www.kicon.com/vaala. 4. Diane Vo. Older Vietnamese immigrants are infamously insular and obsessive over communism. But Vo, a former cybercafé owner who now lives in Las Vegas after the Garden Grove City Council ran her out of town for doth protesting their anti-cybercafé crusade too much, helped change that earlier this year. Vo first exposed allegations that Garden Grove Councilman and 68th Assembly District candidate Van Thai Tran attempted to defraud two immigrant sisters. Then she exposed Tran's pettiness after he tried to get her off the air for supposed slander; that threat went nowhere, and Vo continues to talk on and on and on—radio talk-show hosts tend to do that—every Monday night at 10 p.m. on KXMX-AM 1190. The voice is now tiring, given that Vo must drive from Las Vegas to KXMX's Westminster-based offices to do the show. But no worries: the stuff that comes out of Vo's mouth will always be heretical enough to warrant close listening. 5. Kicon.com. The Internet portal to Little Saigon, with links to all the major festivals, chat rooms, newspapers, magazines, nonprofit organizations and radio shows. They're slowly introducing more English-language articles to match the continuing assimilation of Vietnamese into their conqueror's life. ELEVEN REASONS TO BE THANKFUL FOR A LIVELY STOREFRONT THEATER SCENE 1. Good acting. There's a bunch of people who are very good at what they do. Here's a short list off the top of the proverbial noodle. If your favorite's name isn't on the list don't bitch: scottbarber jessicabeane jonathantalmadgepatticumbymike martinkimberlyadairdarrikristincheykennedycaseylongrobertnunez markcoyanjonbeanevivianvanderward billlandsmanchrisfowlertracyperdueseanhesketh stephaniewilliamson andanyonewehaveevertriedtomakeamoveonorwilltrytomakeamoveon. 2. Jay Fraley. Fraley wasn't on the aforementioned list because we're kinda queer for him. Not sexually, freak. He's just sooooo talented. He's played everything from the Lord of Evil and a sex-depraved junkie to a disarmingly innocuous child molester and, most recently, a flamboyantly neurotic transvestite in Rude Guerrilla's Candy and Dorothy. He's also quite the photographer and just a pretty cool guy all around. He's usually performing with Rude Guerrilla, but we've also spotted him at the Hunger Artists. 3. Staged readings of original plays. Eric Eberwein and Johnna Adams lead the two entities that are the main forces in original playwright readings in the county. Eberwein is the point dude for the Orange County Playwrights Alliance, and Adams has her own gig, the Writer's Bloc. Through their efforts, most of the storefront theaters in this county have had staged readings in their venues. 4. Jon Gaw's sets at Stages. Gaw likes the Pittsburgh Steelers and camping. He's also the county's best set builder on the storefront level. There's nothing this guy can't do with a drill, a hammer and a mountain of crack cocaine. (Just kidding—he doesn't even use a hammer.) 5-6. Brian Newell and Jim Book. Book has had a hand in building just about every storefront and community theater in North County. But Fullerton College's resident technical dude is most closely invested with Newell's Maverick Theater and has helped actualize his dream of bringing cinematic techniques to the stage. 7. It's still cheap. Well, relatively. Students can get into most storefront theaters for $10 to $12. Regular admission ranges from $15 to $20. Yes, it's more than a movie or a DVD rental, but it's lot less than a Jaguar 2005 XJ or a mountain of crack cocaine. 8. It's real live people onstage doing real live things in front of real live people. That, in a nutshell, is theater. It's live. Remember what that used to be like? 9. Good directors. If there's anything the storefront-theater movement in this county needs—along with really good business managers who are adept at raising money—it's better directors. It's the hardest gig in theater to master. That doesn't mean we don't have them out there. Like Shannon C.M. Flynn, Patrick Gwaltney, Brian Kojac, Kelly Flynn, Dave Barton, Oanh Nguyen, Amanda DeMaio, Kristina Leach, Michael Serna, Sharyn Case, Todd Kulcyzk, Slappy White, Russ Marchand and lots of others that we're too far gacked-up at the moment to even try to remember. No, we haven't liked every single choice the aforementioned have ever made, but at least they make choices, and there's been enough inspiration at work to make us list them. And, really, isn't that what's important? 10. Musicals! The Chance does stellar musicals, like The History of the American Film, Nine and Company. The Hunger Artists' productions of Sweeney Todd and Assassins packed them in. Stages did boffo box office with Jesus Christ Superstar and The Misanthrope: The Karaoke Musical. The Maverick's The King is stunningly successful. Word on the street is that a production of Studs Terkel's Working and a revival of The Misanthrope may be in the works. 11. Steven Sonderson. Sonderson is the mysterious person who runs octheater.org, the most comprehensive site devoted to OC theater. All the theaters, all the shows, all the stuff is on his site somewhere. CHURCHES THAT WILL HOST YOUR BIG GAY WEDDINGThe idea of gay marriage may be relatively new to God-Hates-Fags America, but the truth is gay people have been getting married—in real churches, no less—for decades. The real issue (with gays, at least) has always been the fact that straight couples who marry are granted a large number of rights by both state and federal governments, and same-sex couples aren't—yet. But with the help of the Constitution's equal-protection clause, the legal recognition of queer unions feels inevitable until the radical right figures out a way to clone Antonin Scalia eight times over. What the gay-marriage-is-proof-that-judgment-day-is-nigh crowd really seem to be afraid of is that their fundie churches will somehow be forced to have queer weddings—a lie, of course. But there are a healthy number of progressive houses of worship in OC where gays can get married—places where Jesus Himself would have been happy to officiate. Here are four: 1. Christ Chapel Metropolitan Community Church. Founded in LA by the Reverend Troy Perry in 1968, the Metropolitan Community Church was established to feed the spiritual needs of the gay community, particularly those who had felt abandoned by the homos-burn-in-hell rhetoric of modern Christianity. MCC has ballooned to more than 300 churches around the globe, but Christ Chapel is one of the oldest, having been consecrated by Perry himself in 1971. Though MCC hosts about 6,000 gay weddings per year at all their churches, current Christ Chapel Pastor Robin White says his parish only averages about two annually—though he has noticed the number picking up lately, particularly since the San Francisco marriage fracas earlier this year. 720 N. Spurgeon St., Santa Ana, (714) 835-0722;www.christchapelmcc.org. 2. Unitarian Universalist Church of South County. Unitarians have to be the most progressive of religious sects—open and inclusive to gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered folk, a belief that there is no single religious truth, a strong commitment to social justice and human rights . . . how could they not be? While there are several Unitarian churches in OC—Orange Coast Unitarian in Costa Mesa has a particularly nice building to get hitched in—we're highlighting UUCSC because its pastor, the Reverend John Millspaugh, participated in a just-finished cross-country group bus trip meant to drum up support for gay marriage. If that doesn't convince you of the Unitarians' coolness, nothing will. 25801 Obrero Dr., Ste. 9, Mission Viejo, (949) 581-0245;www.uucsc.org. 3. Irvine United Congregational Church. Also progressive and affirming, IUCC has only held about six same-sex union ceremonies in the past 10 years, but that number may grow as the movement snowballs. They describe themselves as "a uniting church, open to persons of every age, race, sexual orientation and religious background, valuing diversity and respecting the freedom of thought of each individual because we believe that the unique gifts of each of us adds wholeness to our lives and strengthens our oneness." 4915 Alton Pkwy., Irvine, (949) 733-0220;www.iucc.org. 4. University Synagogue. Mazel tov, baby! Rabbi Arnold Rachlis tells us that University has always been an inclusive, welcoming synagogue—he's even performed several same-sex weddings himself. And yes, per Jewish tradition, the happy couple even gets to stomp the glass. They also have a havurah (a fellowship) for gays and lesbians. 3400 Michelson, Irvine, (949) 553-3535;www.universitysynagogue.org.
(Photo by Tenaya Hills) THE BEST LITTLE GAZA BUSINESSES, ACCORDING TO MIKE AND NANCY HAWARI, OWNERS OF KAREEM RESTAURANT AND MAKERS OF THE FINEST FALAFELS ON THE PLANET 1. Super King Market. Nancy: "Think of it as a Middle Eastern Ralphs, with products from Arabic coffee to zaatar (a Lebanese yogurt). The owner is an Armenian Christian, but he offers halal products for all Muslims." 10500 Magnolia Ave., Anaheim, (714) 527-5809. 2. Ara's Bakery. Nancy: "They bake the best baklava in Orange County here." Even better than yours? [Mike laughs] "Much better!" 2227 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 776-5554. 3. Al-Karnak Café. Mike: "Great hookah lounge. Men come here to play chess and cards late into the night. I like to smoke the double apple—green and red apple mixed together. Very fragrant and tasteful." 1220 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 991-6800. 4. Saut Wa Soora. Mike: "In English, it's called Sound and Picture Video. It's this tiny video store that has Arabic-language movies and CDs from across the Middle East. Biggest selection I know in Southern California." 2565 W. Ball Rd., Anaheim, (714) 220-0553. 5. Sinbad Travel Agency. Nancy: "Travel agency that's next door to us. Good rates, very friendly—we use them all the time when we go back to the Middle East." 1216 S Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 778-1699. Kareem's Restaurant, 1208 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim, (714) 778-6829.
(Photo by Matt Otto) THE WORST THINGS YELLED AT CATHOLIC SEX-ABUSE SURVIVOR JOELLE CASTEIX DURING A PROTEST 1. Uttered outside Mater Dei: "Shame on you!" This was accompanied by what Casteix peppily refers to as the "Holy Bird." 2. Said outside our Lady of Guadalupe in Santa Ana's Delhi barrio: "Can't you just let it go?" A couple of minutes later, a man shoved one of Casteix's fellow clerical sex-abuse survivors to the sidewalk. 3. During a protest outside Holy Family Cathedral in Orange: "Leave the poor priests alone." 4. Statement by Bishop Tod D. Brown in the July 2003 issue of Diocese of Orange's official newspaper, Orange County Catholic: "Her statement is false and misleading." He was responding to Casteix's claims that the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Oversight and Review Board—on which she served before resigning in protest—is a "PR sham." 5. Repeated more times than Casteix can remember: "You asked for it."
(Photo by Amy Thelig) BALLSIEST ACTRESSJessica Beane. She epitomizes the daring of the storefront-theater scene, a scene she embraces for having the "balls to do thought provoking, original works regardless if they make money or not." Over the past few years, working with companies such as Insurgo, the Hunger Artists, Another Round and the Vanguard Theatre Ensemble, Beane has bravely tackled being a young woman who gets her hands chopped off and tongue ripped out (Titus Andronicus) as well as a Bible-thumping, sexually repressed school director (The Attorney General). She's fearless onstage, and the beautiful part? She doesn't know how good she really is. That makes us happy. But what makes Beane happy? "Eating bangers and mash while drinking martinis, dancing with gay men . . . being on a small stage, putting my hands and body around the art—rather than worrying about how much glory one will achieve."
(Photo by Amy Thelig) DJ TRASHROCKET'S 5 VITAL DJ RECORD STORES 1. The Greater Orange County Record Show. "It happens once a month in Buena Park. It's a big record swap meet where you can haggle with record people. All the vendors bring their portable record players so you can listen to everything before you buy. It's the best place to go for diversity. You can find everything from obscure 45s to 180-gram reissues." www.asavinyl.com/record_show.htm. 2. Noise Noise Noise. "Sometimes there's beautiful records there, and other times there's absolutely nothing. They're really good for new releases of indie-label stuff and punk. They love their punk. And you can listen to anything before you buy unless it's sealed." 1505 Mesa Verde Dr., Ste. E, Costa Mesa, (714) 556-6473. 3. Goat Hill Records. "They have all this stuff organized and then stuff that's just in boxes you can look through. The only drawback is that you can't listen to anything new or used before you buy it. But they have some really rad stuff. There's a really good $2 bin." 1920 Harbor Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 646-85514. 4. Dr. Freecloud's Mixing Lab. "It's really a DJ store—a bpm [beats per minute] store. They're good for dance music or hip-hop and everything those styles encompass—experimental, trance, jungle and all the subgenres of those, too. You can listen before you buy, and the owner is superfriendly. Like over-the-top friendly." 2930 Bristol St., Ste. A111, Costa Mesa, (714) 545-8811; www.drfreeclouds.com. 5. Underdog Records. "It's in Laguna. It's the punk rock store. Punk, new wave and ska." 812 S. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-9490.
 
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