Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Music Festival

    Lightning In a Bottle

    We heard that electronic experimentalists Do LaB started putting on Lightning In a Bottle because they didn't want to be twiddling their thumbs between Coachella and Burning Man every year. The three-night, four-day festival at Oak Canyon Ranch features DJs, bands, installation art, spiritual talks, yoga and organic food, ensuring a lot of Hula-Hooping, fire-dancing and brain-wobbling from attendees. Bringing… More >>
  • Best Concert to Dress Up For

    The Hootenanny

    The Hootenanny serves as not only an annual rockabilly festival, but also a retro fashion show. Though respect must be paid to those talented gentlemen who pull off gravity-defying pompadours, the main attraction is the women. They need not bare all to turn heads, as they parade in lavish updos, vintage-cut dresses and stilettos. No hair is out of place,… More >>
  • Best Album of the Past 12 Months

    'Two-Way Mirror,' Crystal Antlers

    Good God, this album rocks. From beginning to end, listening to this 11-song set generates the same apoplectic anxiety and guilty fun you experienced as a 15-year-old sneaking out in the middle of the night to ride on the back of your boyfriend's motorcycle and drink beers in abandoned warehouses. Consider the anthemic swagger of "Jules' Story," or the exultant,… More >>
  • Railroad to Alaska

    Best Rock Band

    Railroad to Alaska

    "Rock band" may be a bit generic a descriptor for this quartet, whose sound righteously struts the battlements of metal, rock and indie. But the "best" part is apt. Winners of the award for Best New Artist at this year's Orange County Music Awards, Railroad to Alaska bring to the stage an invigorating blend of visceral energy and inventive artistry.… More >>
  • Best Punk Band


    The Cosmonauts are punk as fuck, just not in the sped-up-and-spit-out-lyrics-to-three-chord-guitar-songs way. No, they're punk as fuck in that careless, who-gives-a-shit, it's-all-about-honest-to-goodness-rock-&-roll way. Just don't equate that with sloppiness. Their songs have garbled vocals, spun-around choruses and distorted, spacey guitar drones, but they're deliciously hook-heavy and incredibly danceable. Watching the band live, prepare to sweat your socks off.… More >>
  • Best Alternative Venue for Live Shows


    Its street address should be enough to tell you that Fingerprints Records will take you to a higher level of bliss. Not only is the 7,200-square-foot space proving, once and for all, that the physical format isn't dead for music-lovers who snap up collectible vinyl, independent CDs and hard-to-find books, but it's also located in Long Beach's arts district. Situated… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    TKO Records

    Fountain Valley's ultra-punk record label TKO Records (which also has a brick-and-mortar shop that carries a varied selection of rare and collectible vinyl) actually started in San Francisco in 1997, but it has been saving Orange County's aging crusty punks one record deal at a time since moving here in 2004. The label has produced releases from big names such… More >>
  • Best Recording Studio

    ArtiSans Label

    ArtiSans Label founder Michael J. Filson developed a distaste for major labels when he was in the band Mojo Filson. After the group's demise, he started ArtiSans Label in 2008 as an advocate for bands trying to get their starts. With the help of producer Barrett Slagle (Great Glass Elevator) and engineer Kyle Griffin, the trio is the Super Friends… More >>
  • Best Stoner Band

    Dahga Bloom

    At first glance, Dahga Bloom might seem a funny fit in this category. But you forget one very important fact: their name. This Fullerton-based band—vocalist/guitarist Bryan King, keyboardist/guitarist/vocalist Lucas Drake, guitarist/vocalist Matt Mason, bassist/vocalist Manny Lopez, violinist/mandolinist/percussionist/vocalist Zach Nelson and drummer Sean Yakubovsky—used to be called the Living Suns, but they decided to change their name after several members had… More >>
  • Rebecca Black

    Best YouTube Star

    Rebecca Black

    Because of her, we'll always know what day it is.… More >>
  • Best Dance Crew


    The rest of the country only wishes it could tear up a dance floor like Poreotics, six gyrating dudes from Westminster who won the fifth season of America's Best Dance Crew, along with bragging rights and $100,000. Matt Nguyen, Can Nguyen, Charles Nguyen, Lawrence Devera, Justin Valles and Chad Mayate mash popping, choreography and robotics with a clean technique and… More >>
  • Best Reunion Band

    Middle Class

    Their hair was a little shorter—or more there, rather—than before, and their angst was a bit less angsty, but these Santa Ana natives showed the fans at their November reunion show at the Echoplex that they could still rock. In fact, good luck finding a decent YouTube video of the show because everyone filming in the crowd was moshing so… More >>
  • Best Folk Act

    Nicole Vaughn and Her Lovely Band

    Nicole Vaughn has all of the elements that make for a great folk act: introspective lyrics that explore the trials of the heart and societal ills; songs that can be done acoustically, with catchy riffs or upbeat and rock-steady; and, of course, with her petite stature, tousled blond hair and infectious smile, she's just adorable. The recent addition of a… More >>
  • Best DJ

    DJ Michelle

    Santa Ana's Michelle Reyes doesn't take to the ones and twos to pad her pocketbook nor to gain name recognition. DJ Michelle carefully crafts sets reflective of her city's multiple musical layers, spinning everything from Los Tigres del Norte to Rage Against the Machine, Black Sabbath and Morrissey to Chico Che y La Crisis. She honed her eclecticism while working… More >>
  • Best Underage Band

    England Street

    Anyone who naysays this pick needs only visit the band's Myspace page and listen to, say, "Victim By the Prey." From the full, crisp sound of the track's intro music, it's clear these Huntington Beach kids know how to jam. After a long guitar riff, you'll get hit with front woman Alie Dicus' funky, spot-on voice. As she maneuvers her… More >>
  • Best New Band

    May McDonough & Co.

    We'd call May McDonough's music serendipitous dirty folk. While she's well-versed in the intricacies of deciphering melodies and harmonies in grimy tones (due to the requisite Tom Waits immersion), most of the songs on her whimsical, gypsical debut, Spilt Milk, have been produced out of necessity. After her then-band ditched her hours before a KUCI gig last year, friends came… More >>
  • Best Live Band

    Free Moral Agents

    For Free Moral Agents, more is decidedly more. Ikey Owens (keyboardist for Mars Volta) brought together the collective of Long Beach musicians (the number is ever-morphing, but fixtures include singer Mendee Ichikawa, drummer Ryan Reiff, guitarist Jesse Carzello and bassist Dennis Owens) so he could properly execute the multitude of sounds in his head. The result? A band that produce… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Act


    Bigryzn and Moshpit were known as ADRENALINE BROTHUZ before Rakaa of Dilated Peoples suggested they go under the banner CHIEFSONS (their caps, not OURS). Moshpit, a Samoan Santanero, had been known by the name in singular form, but the expansion to the plural added depth and paid homage to the blood brothers' father, an actual chief from Samoa. The underground… More >>
  • Best Use of 3D By a Band


    Seems like you can't go to the movies nowadays without putting on a pair of flimsy, fake Wayfarers. And now one local band have brought 3D glasses to a new venue: an indie-rock concert. Kiev are five dudes—Robert Brinkerhoff (vocals, guitar), Brandon Corn (drums), Derek Poulsen (bass), Alex Wright (keys) and Andy Stavas (keys, saxophone)—who know how to make music… More >>
  • Best Pop Sensation

    Matthew Morrison

    Hailing from OC is the country's coolest high-school teacher. Or, you know, the guy who plays him. Today's pop tarts know Cypress native Matthew Morrison as Glee's Will Schuester, the vest-wearing leader of the McKinley High School glee club. But the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated actor, dancer and crooner has a résumé that sashays far beyond the FOX musical phenomenon.… More >>
  • Best Band n Costume

    Death Hymn Number 9

    The white face paint, scare tactics and spattering of goat's blood might lead you to believe Death Hymn Number 9 have nothing to live for, but playing up their unearthly gimmick to the hilt works. Their music might be run-of-the-mill thrash/garage rock without the zombies-as-musicians tag, but still, they've earned the right to their own mythology (it involved "pussy ass"… More >>
  • Best Indie Band


    When Honeypie performed at this year's OC Music Awards, they were lumped into the folk category. While we're glad to see them recognized by the OCMA for their über-catchy pop-drenched jams, we don't really see the folk thing—they use electric guitars and skew rock. We're sure, however, some readers will argue the band aren't technically indie, either (semantics, a delightful… More >>
  • Best Pop/Rock Since Early Weezer

    The Gromble

    Remember the Gromble—that puke-colored monster with crazy tufts of hair, yellow teeth and a phallic-looking nose, all four feet donning red stilettos? Yeah, the creepy fellow from the 1990s Nickelodeon cartoon Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. Even though this Laguna Niguel-born band are named after that creature, they certainly don't sound as scary as he did. Started in 2009 as a project… More >>
  • Best Band Gimmick

    Cunt Sparrer

    Looking for a gimmick for your indie band? Some musicians choose to assemble players with a glaring lack of musicality. It's what Long Beach band Cunt Sparrer did, and despite not being musical virtuosos, they display delightful ingenuity and palpable charm—and are a joy to watch. Comprising recent art-school grad student Jennie Cotterill, co-vocalist Sara Lyons and drummer Jen Kirk-Carlson,… More >>
  • Best Band Merchandise

    Kottonmouth Kings

    The well-known Placentia stoner band have scores of albums and several films under their belts. But they've also proven to be masters of merchandising beyond CDs, DVDs with live footage of them playing and plain T-shirts. If you're an athletic stoner, their black-and-green basketball jersey is for you. While you're at it, you can buy some wristbands to keep the… More >>
  • Best Band Named After a Beer

    Jeramiah Red

    Good bands know good beer. Did you know Creedence Clearwater Revival got the "clear water" part of their name from an old TV ad for Olympia beer? And, what about Blue Öyster Cult? Well, their name is almost an anagram for Cully's Stout Beer. Add local quintet Jeramiah Red to the list of awesome beer-named groups. They got their moniker… More >>
  • Best Singer/Songwriter

    Ethan Hulse

    Okay, okay, so singer/songwriter Ethan Hulse didn't hide in a cabin in northern Wisconsin to write a break-up album via falsetto in the dead of winter. (Instead, he works at the high-school ministry and leads Sunday worship at the Mission Viejo Mariners Church, while also gigging his way through the OC coffee-shop circuit.) But the songs on his EP I… More >>
  • Best Art Museum

    Bowers Museum of Cultural Art

    Back in the '70s, the Bowers collection seemed sad. Seemingly full of detritus scavenged from an Indian trading post, the collection was OC-centric (pictures and news clippings from the county's history), plus old pottery, a few dusty landscape paintings by local artists, moldy old Indian baskets, various cowboy accouterments and a handful of arrowheads. The museum closed in 1982, then… More >>
  • Rothick Art Haus

    Best Art Gallery

    Rothick Art Haus

    A Rothick Art Haus sonnet celebrating the intimate art gallery owned/operated and ingeniously curated by husband-and-wife team Nick Rothweiler and Kelly Castillo. Ahem: Where has all the art gone on Sat. and Sun.?It has gone to the home of the womanWith the turquoise hairdo not in a bunAnd the guy who looks like he's in a band.Okay, fuck iambic pentameter.A Rothick… More >>
  • Best Visual Artist

    Glenn Arthur

    Take a quick tour of painter Glenn Arthur's Facebook page, and you'll find an album dedicated to lovers of his work who have his images tattooed on their flesh. His hummingbirds, skulls and stitched hearts are the favorites, but there is also a host of pics in which (mostly) women have pictures of his doe-eyed female archetypes engraved onto their… More >>
  • Best Artist Who Deserves Our Prayers

    Emigdio Vasquez

    This man is one of the most famous painters to ever emerge from Orange County, a titan of the Chicano arts scene, someone whose murals depicting Orange County life stand everywhere from parks to libraries, city halls to colleges. But Vasquez is no longer here to bask in our rightful adulation; he now lives in Arizona due to health problems,… More >>
  • Best Art Show

    'Economy Portraits' at the Huntington Beach Art Center

    During her stint as artist in residence at the Huntington Beach Art Center, photographer Gina Genis took a portrait of anyone who would pose for her against red, white and blue backdrops. She asked each one, "How has the collapse of the economy affected your life?" The myriad handwritten answers she received were layered onto the respective portraits, then printed… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    Cal State Fullerton's Outside Sculptures

    The grounds of Cal State Fullerton are like a little gallery, with more than 30 sculptures, plus fresh air and sunshine to make it all that much sweeter. A brief guide to our 10 favorites: 1) Fallen David is a copy of Michelangelo's white marble statue that was shattered by the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake. The accidental artwork is located north… More >>
  • Best Fountain

    Spray Pool at Lemon Park

    Lemon Park deserves a visit even if you're not looking for watery relief, given the many historic Chicano murals in its immediate vicinity and fierce hoops games in which Korean church kids battle cholos, with the only violence being a well-timed charge. But from June through September, the Spray Pool delights kiddies and adults alike with randomly timed geysers of… More >>
  • Best Restaurant Mural

    Wahoo's Fish Tacos at Bristol and Baker streets, Costa Mesa

    Wahoo's needs no introduction, of course, but earlier this summer, for no reason and with no hullaballoo, the Lam brothers commissioned a mural outside the Costa Mesa location off Bristol Street. Painted by underground faves Bigfoot, Jason Maloney and Bwana, it's a whimsical underwater panorama, with smiling sea serpents, angel teddy bears and other random happy monsters taking up the… More >>
  • Best Indie Film Theater

    Regency South Coast Village

    Even though Generation Xbox has been led to believe that movies are appropriate vehicles only for superheroes and remakes (which it thinks are originals), there are still arty people out there fighting the good, indie/foreign/retro film fight. Family-owned and operated, the Regency South Coast Village movie house not only uses REAL butter on its corn (and offers you the fresh… More >>
  • Best Author

    Victoria Patterson

    She rolled her experiences growing up and coming of age in Newport Beach in the 1980s into her first book, Drift, a collection of 13 loosely linked short stories revolving around the non-beautiful people of the moneyed coastal enclave. The San Francisco Chronicle named it one of the best books of 2009, and it was a finalist for the California… More >>
  • Best Museum (Non-Art)

    Old Orange County Courthouse

    For years, Orange County has treated the Old Orange County Courthouse as a place worthy of civil marriages, political rallies and little else. But under the direction of the Orange County Archives, the majestic structure is also moving toward provocative, intelligent exhibits—this spring was devoted to a delightful display of silent films shot in Orange County (complete with screenings and… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Terri Mowrey, 'West Side Terri,' Monkey Wrench Collective

    On the surface, a one-person show reenacting the movie version of the 1961 musical West Side Story in a woman's small apartment screams theatrical overkill. But in the highly talented hands, legs and voice of Terri Mowrey, this Monkey Wrench Collective production worked seamlessly. She not only did a stellar job replicating the songs and dance moves of the original,… More >>
  • Best Actor

    Greg Ungar, 'Waiting for Godot,' Hunger Artists Theatre Co. - CLOSED

    The Hunger Artists' production of Samuel Beckett's starkly brilliant mid-20th-Century masterpiece, directed by Glendele Way-Agle, was a very pleasant surprise: entertaining, insightful and a masterful blend of lowbrow comedy and highbrow erudition. And, like any Waiting for Godot, it had to rise—or fall—on the strength of the two actors portraying the vagabonds at its center. And while Ponzer Berkman efficiently… More >>
  • Best Theater We Never Write About

    Theatre Out

    Oh, sure, if these were the good old days and a river of pure gold ran through the Weekly's newsroom, we'd have the room to run a theater review each week, and we'd write more about EVERY theater in the county and Long Beach. But that doesn't change the fact that the intrepid band of thespians that runs OC's only… More >>
  • Best Reason to Sit Under the Stars and Listen to Gibberish

    Shakespeare Orange County

    You're not going to get high-concept Shakespeare (Hamlet in outer space, Macbeth in a whorehouse) at Orange County's lone theater devoted to classic theater, but you are going to get a slice of the Bard infused with the intelligence of probably the person in the county who has studied and produced him the most: Thomas F. Bradac. Shakespeare Orange County… More >>
  • Best Play

    'The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?,' the Chance Theater

    It was a play about an apparently happily married man and loving father who falls in love with a goat. Yes, a real goat. But in the hands of American theater's most idiosyncratic writer, Edward Albee, the 2002 play The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia? turned out to be a great deal more. The Chance Theater mounted (heh-heh) the show… More >>
  • Best New Play

    'Becky Shaw,' South Coast Repertory

    Though playwright Gina Gionfriddo wrote it in 2008 and productions had been mounted on the East Coast, Becky Shaw was new to Southern Californian eyes and ears when South Coast Repertory staged it in October and November 2010. It was a deceptively deep play titled after the most elusive and, arguably, unimportant character. A great cast, led by a splendidly… More >>
  • Best Non-Hostile Theater Takeover

    3-D Theatricals at Plummer Auditorium

    This young, theater-loving group of theater people, led by three siblings with the last name of Dawson, made a big splash in late 2009-10 at the well-appointed theater at the OC Pavilion. But after that venue was sold to the Orange County High School of the Arts last summer, 3-D needed a new home. It found one at Fullerton's Plummer… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Ensemble

    'Circle Mirror Transformation,' South Coast Repertory

    A play about beginning acting students taking a course taught in a small Vermont town by a former hippie would seem to fall into the kind of self-congratulatory martyrdom that many plays about theater slip into. But not this Annie Baker-penned jewel: There was a reason Circle Mirror Transformation won the 2010 Obie award for Best New Drama, and the… More >>