Arts & Entertainment

  • Best OC Playwright No Longer Living in OC

    Johnna Adams

    Multiple winner of various OC Weekly awards and accolades, Adams has turned her back on California for the greener artistic pastures of the Big Apple. If her blogs are any indication, she has hit the Disneyfied Times Square concrete running: She attends numerous readings and plays; got a cool rejection letter from South Coast Repertory; has gone through the process… More >>
  • Best DIY Theater Program

    Orange Coast College's Repertory

    Headed by brothers Alex and Rick Golson with David Scaglione and Cynthia Corley for more years than can actually be counted on two hands, all you need to do is simply plunk down the requisite unit fee, take the class and become totally immersed in the wonderful, back-breaking world of theater. Build a set with your bare hands and scavenged… More >>
  • Best University Theater Program

    UC Irvine

    Theater doesn't get better than this talented staff of professionals, headed by newly appointed theater chairman Eli Simon. These aren't tired, dusty academics: These folks teach, choreograph, write books, create new plays, write theater criticism and theory, direct all over the world, and program a mind-bogglingly diverse season. Not the same old same old of some university theater programs, but… More >>
  • Best Non-Theatrical Theater Company

    The Maverick Theater

    Maybe it's the drunken midnight karaoke on Saturdays, or the slinky femmes fatales gyrating to James Bond theme songs, or some fat fuck in a red suit squaring off with green Martians, or Stalag 17or A Few Good Men, or the unashamedly fan's-eye musical homage to Elvis, The King.Or maybe it's all of them. But the Maverick Theater in downtown… More >>
  • Best New Theater Troupe

    The Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble

    This Santa Ana troupe is unabashedly political, talented and eager to look under rocks most people would prefer untouched, as proven by its inaugural production last year of The Mexican O.C.Culled from interviews with longtime OC residents, the piece was (and is) a triumphant blend of agitprop and studious oral history, anuncompromising examination of some of the more unsavory examples… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Hat Trick

    Brian Kojac

    Single and double threats are no strangers to local stages. Lots of thespian-leaning types can act, write, direct, run a theater or some combination thereof. But when it comes to keeping more balls in the air than anyone, you can't overlook the founder of OC's most established storefront theater, Stages. As a performer, he's capable of carrying shows as varied… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Linda Gehringer

    She's played the bad: the alcohol-guzzling hellion Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.She's played the good: the idealistic Helen Gahagan Douglas chopped into so much political mincemeat by an embryonic Tricky Dick in But Not for Me.But whether playing the whore or the saint, the accuser or accused, the victim or victimizer, Gehringer brings a grace, class and poise… More >>
  • Best Actor With an Asterisk

    Jay Fraley

    They may not get the living wages, the multigrain bagels or cases of Perrier like those privileged souls who perform on the county's few professional stages, but actors who exercise their craft on the county's storefront- and community-theater boards work just as hard—and some of them are just as talented. Case in point: Mr. Fraley. There's no other actor, union… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Institution

    Hal Landon Jr.

    Landon will always be associated with the role of Ebenezer Scrooge in South Coast Repertory's annual production of A Christmas Carol. He's played the guy for 27 straight years, and it's impossible to think of the show without Landon. But his non-Scrooge work at SCR proves Landon's great comic versatility. From small supporting parts (his poker-faced Piotr in Nothing Sacred… More >>
  • Best Dominatrix-Turned-Comedian

    Norma Jean

    Whether you're watching someone get kicked in the nuts or learn on national television that their spouse was having clown sex with obese circus midgets, other people's pain is universally entertaining. The sad reality is pain is funny. Humiliation is hilarious, and it's best when it's so funny it hurts. Costa Mesa resident and comedian Norma Jean Riddick is well-aware… More >>
  • Directors Festival at Fullerton College

    Fullerton College

    At the end of every spring semester, Fullerton College sets aside four days for student and professional directors to tackle a diverse assortment of short plays. Limited to 50 minutes, a black box stage, a lighting instrument or two, and the director's imagination, the festival lets audiences see three or four plays a night for a few paltry bucks. Local… More >>
  • Best Art Gallery for People Who Hate Art Galleries

    Chuck Jones Gallery

    Cypress thrash-metal marauders Hirax have been inducing tinnitus and whiplash among their tenacious fans since 1984 (the whiplash results as much from the furious headbanging Hirax's music inspires as it does from watching the revolving-door membership of the band over the past 23 years). Led by one of the few African-Americans in the genre, vocalist Katon W. De Pena, Hirax… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past 12 Months

    The Willowz's Chautauqua

    Anaheim quartet the Willowz—Richie James Follin (vocals/guitar), Loren Humphrey (drums), Jessica Reynoza (bass/vocals) and Aric Bohn (guitar/vocals)—formed in 2002 and shortly thereafter had a couple of their tunes on the soundtrack to director Michel Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep. Rolling Stone and Spin are on their jock, too, but don't hold that against… More >>
  • Best Record Collector

    John Basil

    John Basil has had more records pass through his hands than there are jobbed boobs in Southern California. Basil not only has owned several thousand of them (records, not boobs), but he has possessed thousands of the highest quality specimens, the likes of which have been envied by the wax-hoarding cognoscenti for decades. He currently owns about 3,000 vinyl recordings,… More >>
  • Best Local Rock Band

    Blank Blue

    Long Beach's Elvin Estela is moderately famous for being Nobody—the nom de musique under which he's released four albums (and a remix collection) of celestial soul-jazz-inflected hip-hop and honey-filtered psych pop. And now Estela has added yet another facet to his bejeweled musical output: Blank Blue. A collaboration between Estela and fellow Fingerprints Records employee and vocalist Niki Randa (along… More >>
  • Best Place to Remain Classy While Getting Aural

    Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall

    The 2,000-seat Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, an estimated $240 million expansion of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, is a delirium-inducing cocktail of scale, architecture and acoustics. The three-tiered hall, which opened last year, was designed with aural pleasure in mind. It boasts an acoustic canopy, reverberation chambers and sound-sponging curtains to deaden certain frequencies from loudspeakers, when… More >>
  • Best Music Festival

    Coachella

    It's in the desert of Indio, but, nevertheless, Coachella has to win this category. Despite profound and manifold flaws, Coachella is the Taj Mahal of music festivals in Southern California. If you can tolerate nearly constant clusterfuck conditions; infernal heat; long waits for everything; and the chronic reek of horse manure, cigarette smoke, human b.o. and, uh, chronic, then Coachella's… More >>
  • Best Outdoor Concert

    Lexus Summer Concert Series at Pacific Amphitheatre

    Concurrent with the Orange County Fair, the Lexus Summer Concert Series can't be beat when it comes to the band selection. Sure, it's no Coachella, but it lasts seven times longer, and that has to count for something. Like the fair itself, the Lexus Series has something for everyone, from top-notch legends such as Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan, to… More >>
  • Best Theater for Reruns

    Bay Theatre

    The Bay isn't so much an art house/indie theater, though they do run those movies. If you don't want to watch a three-hour, black-and-white examination of human sadness—in French—but rather old American classics such as Jaws, Poltergeist and Animal House, then this is the place to go. The Bay plays movies you never thought you'd get to see (again) on… More >>
  • Best Mainstream/Multiplex Movie Theater

    AMC Theatres 30 at the Block

    Thirty screens, and not a one of them bad, though the four main houses are clearly superior to the rest (and most others). Ample electronic ticketing kiosks with very little wait time, even when there's a huge line at the main box office. Location, location and location—plenty of great eats in the surrounding area, and it isn't difficult to sneak… More >>
  • Best Place to Meet a Film Major

    The Friday Film Forum

    Orange County resident Ray Sharp has been hosting a Friday Film Forum at the Long Beach School for Adults for 12 years now. Together with teammates Max Fraley, Rob Ray and Randy Skretvedt, Sharp hosts a weekly screening and postfilm discussion that draws from some of the more obscure corners of American cinema. For the cost of a dollar, cineastes… More >>
  • Best Cheap Concert Experience

    The Parking Lot at Wild Rivers* - CLOSED

    Seriously, who wants to get up at 10 a.m. on a Saturday, desperately log on to Ticketmaster in hopes of scoring a semi-decent seat for a concert at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, and even then, if you succeed, take the huge hit to your credit-card balance that shows cost nowadays? Forget all that jazz. For a mere 8 bucks—less than the… More >>
  • Best Bargain Movie Theater

    Picture Show at Westfield Mainplace Shopping Center

    Think back a couple of decades, when the mall multiplex was a new concept, THX sound hadn't been invented yet, and tickets cost only a buck. Nowadays, we have more technology, but don't you miss the good old days just a little bit? What can a dollar buy you today other than some processed hamburger on the McDonald's Value Menu?… More >>
  • Best Indie Movie Theater

    Edwards University Town Center 6

    Even if you're not a college student, this theater will make you feel like you are, with its informal bulletin boards, unframed posters hanging from the balcony, and tables and chairs where you can polish off the last of your "outside" food (it's forbidden in the auditoriums, but okay in the lobby). But the low-key charms belie the quality of… More >>
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