Arts & Entertainment

  • Best Actor

    Robert Edwards

    It's often said that portraying a character with a disability is one of the easiest routes an actor can take to draw rave reviews. Whether that's true or not, it seems that one of the most difficult feats is to portray a real, larger-than-life character whose personality is engrained into the popular consciousness. That's why Robert Edwards' turn as the… More >>
  • Best Actress

    Jessica Lamprinos

    Under director (and OC Weekly arts writer) Dave Barton's direction, every character in Mark Ravenhill's wickedly funny pool (no water) carried his or her own bright torch. But the one who shined the brightest in this Monkey Wrench Collective production at South Coast Repertory was Lamprinos, in the lead role of a successful visual artist whose fame drives her once-close-knit… More >>
  • Best New Play

    'How the World Began'

    The world premiere of Catherine Trieschmann's play at South Coast Repertory drew more attention for putting the battle between creationism and evolution in public schools under the dramaturgical lens. But, while filled with some juicily packaged polemics about the rather warped views of anti-science Middle America, How the World Began was about things personal as much as political. An Ivy… More >>
  • Best Play


    Shitty plays generally don't earn Pulitzer Prizes, so it wasn't astonishing that Suzan-Lori Parks' 2002 Topdog/Underdog kept viewers' attention. But this Susan Seret-directed piece, staged at South Coast Repertory, didn't just make you pay notice; it grabbed you by the throat and forced attention. The two-person character study about brothers trying to reject—and embrace—street-level hustling offered a rich perspective on… More >>
  • Best Technical Elements In a Play

    'West Side Story' at the Chance Theater

    This category could just as easily be Best Director for Oanh Nguyen. No, he didn't choreograph or light the Chance Theater's gripping and sensual staging of West Side Story, one of the most seasoned chestnuts in the pantry of American theater, but Nguyen picked the people who did, and his ability to weave their terrific efforts into this story made… More >>
  • Best Theatrical Ensemble

    'Jitney' at South Coast Repertory

    Any play featuring an actor as recognizable as Charlie Robinson (who played court clerk Mac on the long-running TV show Night Court) already has a strong lineup. Robinson's proud, patriarchal Becker was the central character in August Wilson's poignant, gripping play Jitney, set in an independent cab station in Pittsburgh in 1977. But the seven actors surrounding him more than… More >>
  • Best Theater Town


    Costa Mesa gets the big plays and big talent at South Coast Repertory and the Orange County Performing Arts Center, but when you consider the range and diversity of the theaters in Fullerton, it's impossible to not call this town the Off-Broadway of Orange County. The county's longest established storefront theater, STAGEStheatre (20 years and going strong) is here. The… More >>
  • Best Theater We Never Write About

    Mysterium Theater

    After three years, OC Weekly finally dedicated a feature to Marla Ladd's frenetic theater company (see "Holy Host," June 29), but this august publication has yet to review a show at her digs, housed on the campus of the very forward-thinking Church of the Foothills. Maybe it's because there's so much to choose from: This year alone, Mysterium Theater was… More >>
  • Best Community Theater That Doesn't Feel Like Community Theater

    Long Beach Playhouse

    While other community theaters are programming the umpteenth production of The Odd Couple, there's one that's aiming a little higher. Composed of two theaters, the bowling alley-long Mainstage downstairs and the more adventurous Equity-waiver Studio upstairs, both houses of the Long Beach Playhouse have taken more chances in their programming under the leadership of producing artistic director Andrew Vonderschmitt. While… More >>
  • Best Place to Secure an Arts Gig or Get a Grant

    ARTS Orange County

    When the wiseacre, little black rain cloud tells you "it's who you know" that gets you somewhere in the arts—as opposed to talent or skill—they're right, but for those struggling artists . . . struggling and starving . . . there is, hidden away on ARTS Orange County's website, a little-known index of grants, jobs and career listings with some… More >>
  • Best London Theater Practically Down the Street From Your House

    National Theatre Live at Irvine Barclay Theatre

    In a coup of programming, every month or so, Irvine Barclay Theatre and ARTS Orange County host performances filmed on London's National Theatre stages, in front of a live audience, and broadcasts them for a mere $20 per ticket. Top-quality British talent from Oscar winner Helen Mirren to Julie Walters and Rory Kinnear, with directors as diverse as Danny Boyle… More >>
  • Moonsville Collective

    Best Live Band

    Moonsville Collective

    While their twentysomething peers usually explain their musical tastes as "I like all music but country and classical," Moonsville Collective are (mostly) young men playing bluegrass, country's rowdy cousin. What makes them even more badass is the fact that "Hot Hands Dan" Richardson and Seth Richardson are father and son. The raucous songs produced by this group—which also include Drew… More >>
  • Best Punk Band

    Agent Orange

    The ability to combine fast guitar riffs and catchy bass licks has made Agent Orange punk favorites since their inception in 1979. Their fusion of punk rock and surf-like sound distinguishes them from most of their genre, who all seem to have a basic two-minute track on which the majority of the lyrics focuses on anarchy. The band's knack of… More >>
  • Best Record Label

    17th St. Records

    As one of the few steadfast practitioners of OC beach music, Richard Lewis and his label, 17th St. Records, are doing what they can to crank out new, interesting irie vibes for the local masses. The hard-nosed, classically trained jazz-noodling guitarist/ex-Marine-turned-label boss—with partner Anik Dang—was instrumental in honing the sound of some of OC's hardest hustling acts, including the Dirty… More >>
  • Best Record of the Past 12 Months

    Flinch's 'Light It Up'

    Forget social-media fads or unemployment rates—nothing continues to explode across 2012 end-of-the-world America such as dubstep. Nowadays, every yahoo with Reason on a laptop and a thirst for bass drops is making the stuff, so the fact that an old-schooler (yes, 10 years is old school in the EDM world) such as OC-bred DJ Flinch remains at the forefront of… More >>
  • Best Rock Band

    HB Surround Sound

    The rock genre has become such a broad term that most music fans don't use it much anymore, especially with all the subcategory genres. But in rock & roll's early days, it meant musicianship and a stronger emphasis on live performance when compared to other genres. HB Surround Sound embodies modern rock & roll with their dedication to live performances… More >>
  • Amherst Aisle

    Best Bro Band

    Amherst Aisle

    Amherst Aisle might be the quintessential bro band of Orange County—not because they all wear Livestrong bracelets or upside-down visors, or because of their rumored love of Maker's Mark, but because they act as though they are actual brothers. Whether living three-to-a-room while jamming together, having Easter brunch with another member's parents, or interrupting one another and getting progressively louder… More >>
  • Best Dance Crew


    Two years after being crowned champions on the fifth season of America's Best Dance Crew, the Westminster boys of Poreotics are still killin' it on stages across the world, popping, locking and roboting with frenetic energy in their trademark black shades. Since the show, the pace has only intensified for the six crew members—Lawrence Devera, Chad Mayate, Can Nguyen, Charles… More >>
  • Best Hip-Hop Act

    Locally Grown Collective

    No one can say hip-hop is dead, much less in OC, where groups the caliber of the Locally Grown Collective are hustling. Based in Orange, the vocal trio of Endz, DeeJaeeBee and DaveAllen hit on multiple fronts as evidenced by the release of their We Are Locally Grown mixtape. Proper production by collective member FourthBeats lays the foundation for the… More >>
  • Best Author

    James P. Blaylock

    Lives in the OC. Mentored by Philip K. Dick. Paying it forward by mentoring creative-writing students at Orange County High School of the Arts. Studied at and received a degree from Cal State Fullerton. Has 14 published novels, plus fiftysomething short stories, essays and novellas. Taught at his alma mater, as well as Fullerton College, UC Irvine, Chapman University and… More >>
  • Best Museum (Non-Art)

    Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum

    Only 10 percent of Surf City residents surf, according to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum's website, but the 90 percent who have never climbed on a board like to watch those who do. The intense pleasure gained by seeing muscled, tanned, (mostly) male surfers conquer the elements (or wipe out in the process) makes the sport Southern California's NASCAR.  … More >>
  • Best Art Gallery

    Magoski Arts Colony

    Cooperation between galleries is almost unheard of. In a crap economy, that other white-walled fucker is competition, its grubby little fingers picking your pocket of limited arts dollars. Magoski Arts Colony provides a refreshing exception to that rule. The vast warehouse space has Violet Hour, Hibbleton, Bookmachine, Pas, Coco Gallery, and a handful of individual artists and collectives sharing space,… More >>
  • Best College Art Gallery

    Coastline Community College Art Gallery - CLOSED

    Long the Gummo Marx of OC's community-college system, Coastline Community College is finally establishing itself thanks to the genius of David Michael Lee. An OC native and acclaimed artist in his own right, Lee took over this year and has already featured provocative exhibits, none better than "Cake/Fondant," a collection vaguely themed around cakes, its centerpiece a bunker in the… More >>
  • Best Art Museum

    Laguna Art Museum

    Just based on three stellar exhibitions during the past year that couldn't be more different from one another—the sublime "Noguchi: California Legacy," the revelatory "Best Kept Secret: UCI and the Development of Contemporary Art in Southern California, 1964-1971" and the brilliant "Victor Hugo Zayas: Mi Obra"—we're glad to high-five the Laguna Art Museum. We can't wait to see what they… More >>
  • Best Public Installation

    Your Local Cemetery

    We adore green expanses of lawns, benches seated under the shade of old trees, fresh (and not-so-fresh) flower arrangements. We enjoy walking through cemeteries and always find a number of beautiful headstones or mausoleums (Pacific View Memorial Park is especially stunning). A simultaneous fascination with architecture, confrontation with death and intrigue in the stories of others leads us to look… More >>
  • Best Art Show

    Tie: 'Richard Diebenkorn: The Ocean Park Series' and 'Two Schools of Cool'

    We've written about both of these Orange County Museum of Art shows with enough enthusiasm that, were you to Google them, you would catch a glimpse of our deep, abiding love, but we feel duty-bound to drop to our knees and go all "We're not worthy," Wayne's World-style, in the general direction of the museum's hidden treasure, Sarah Bancroft, curator… More >>
  • Best Public Art

    Millard Sheets Murals

    Earlier this year, the Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana ran a small, tantalizing exhibit on the Home Savings and Loan murals painted by Millard Sheets at the request of Newport Beach-based tycoon Howard F. Ahmanson. Many of them still stand in Orange County, even as that bank turned into Washington Mutual, then dissolved into Chase Bank. And even… More >>
  • Best Visual Artist

    John M. Sollom

    For their immediacy and passion, "Stations of the Cross," John M. Sollom's series of paintings centered on the July 2011 murder of Kelly Thomas, were the most important of the year. A persistent assault against the apathy and collective forgetfulness that ensues whenever we're confronted with acts of inhumanity, the paintings were also a charitable act of giving, raising money… More >>
  • Best Return of the Native

    John Spiak

    There couldn't have been a better choice to head the Grand Central Art Center in downtown Santa Ana in 2011 than John Spiak. Not only had he earned nationwide attention as curator at the Arizona State University Art Museum in Tempe for awesome exhibits and vigorous outreach efforts to the public, but Spiak is also an OC boy, and he… More >>
  • Best Building to See Before It's Radically Altered

    Crystal Cathedral

    These are the last days of the Crystal Cathedral in its monumental glory, before the Catholic Diocese of Orange transforms it into the tackily named Christ Cathedral and strips the Phillip Johnson masterpiece of its gaudy, Middle America, prosperity-gospel excess. And while no one in Orange County wants to support the greedy Schullers who declared bankruptcy while stiffing their own… More >>
  • Best Saved Murals

    Lemon Street Overpass

    Painted during the 1970s at the height of the Chicano mural movement, these simple, innocuous images—the Virgin of Guadalupe, a woman in a fedora, a lowrider, among others—painted on an overpass that connects a Fullerton neighborhood to Lemon Park were slated for destruction by the City Council, especially by then-councilman, now-Supervisor Shawn Nelson. Instead, public uproar not only saved the… More >>
  • Best Indie Film Theater

    Regal's Edwards University Town Center 6

    The original idea of indie film is dead, murdered by studio executives looking for a low-budget cash cow. The zombie spirit of the art form has prevailed, however, despite repeated attempts to shoot it in the head. Even if you're a connoisseur of art flicks, keeping up with all the new releases, chances are the Edwards University Town Center 6… More >>
  • Best Indie Band

    Yellow Red Sparks

    They are everything an indie band should be: melodic, rhythmic, lyrically sensitive yet positive. Oh, and extra indie points for having an introverted female cellist. Singer Josh Hanson has a voice reminiscent of the distinct Collin Meloy of the Decemberists (he has thick, black glasses and everything!). Whether Yellow Red Sparks have you singing along ("and the tickets were free"),… More >>
  • Best New Band

    Robert Jon & the Wreck

    Though their residency together at the Copper Door got Jeramiah Red six OC Music Award nominations, Robert Jon & the Wreck were harshly overlooked in their nomination for Best Live Act. A trip through the Americana-esque blues band's live shows would make you think twice about that decision—suddenly, the indignant weight of songs such as "Love Roulette" come off as… More >>
  • Best DJ

    DJ Kaboom

    Costa Mesa's DJ Kaboom was born in Mexico City, but he carries with him a distrito universal musical philosophy. Eduardo Iniestra's love of music had him at the turntables in high school, spinning genres from hip-hop to drum & bass, from underground to mainstream, citing DJ Premiere, Honda and Heretic as guiding influences. He moves crowds at diverse locations around… More >>
  • Best Folk Act

    Julian Porte

    When protests lined the streets of Fullerton in 2011 in the name of Justice for Kelly Thomas, a Santa Fe Springs folksinger made his way down with a guitar, a harmonica and a song. In the heat of summer, Julian Porte strummed furiously, his voice amplified through megaphones as he retold the events surrounding the tragic July beating death at… More >>