Sometimes the spirit of DIY can be found in the most unlikely places. In OC's music scene, it's normally hidden indoors or tucked into some dark corner where the cops can't find it. But a few days before Halloween, you might have seen the spirit haunting the sides of buildings in downtown Santa Ana in the form of bright, psychedelic video projections touting something called Orange Fuzz Fest. Trippy, handmade graphics dubbed "video graffiti" blazed across the tops of 4th Street Market, the Yost Theater and Proof Bar in plain view of passers-by. But the guerrilla-style ads weren't for another underground event in DTSA. They were trying to get all the artsy rocker types in the area to seek their kicks in another unlikely place: the Orange Circle.
It's all part of Orange Fuzz Fest creators May McDonough and Rusty Huber's mission to showcase and expand the community of DIY artists in the town. Orange has always flown under most people's artistic radar (unless you're an antique collector), and for that reason, Fuzz Fest can't be your average local show. It's a collaborative event that includes an environment of 3D projections, insane visuals, boundary-pushing artwork and, yes, kick-ass bands. Headlined by the Cosmonauts and featuring Corners as well as McDonough and Huber's band, the May Company, the day-long event promises to be a "psychedelic-punk music-and-art festival for the modern psychonaut."
"I'm surrounded by a lot of really creative, DIY-minded people," McDonough says. "It's an opportunity to get me and all my friends together and create something unique and special with the diverse talents and skill sets I think we have."
Above all, Orange Fuzz Fest is a testament to the idea that making your own fun is its own reward. "Rather than wait to be booked for shows or hope someone like Burger Records will do something like this event, why don't we just come together and make this type of event ourselves," McDonough says.
As lead singer and guitarist in the May Company, a builder of custom guitar pedals, and the creator of DIY lifestyle blog the Psychedelic Cherry, McDonough is a maven of the makeshift arts. She and her husband, Huber, have dedicated the past few months to putting this event together, with help from brothers Mike and Matt Meza of Meza Technology, which is creating custom 3-D projections on the walls of the American Legion Post 132 where the fest is taking place.
"The ability to have wall-to-wall visuals was kind of the driving factor in the venue selection, " Huber says. "That leaves only a handful of large interior spaces in Orange County, and fortunately, one of them is right here in Orange, which I think is underrepresented in the music scene."
Immersive projections on the white walls of the American Legion have been created for each act, as well as stand-alone art installations by Sean Robertson and others. One of the avant-garde gems created for the fest is a mannequin garden; McDonough gave used mannequins to various artists in the area as a blank canvas for their creativity.
"You shouldn't expect to hear some bands, and in between sets, go outside and drink as many beers and smoke as many cigarettes as you can before the next band goes on," Huber says. "You're not going to want to leave this locale because the entire thing is a world created by local artists."
McDonough and Huber hope the fest will become an annual event, so they may continue to pass on the enjoyment that comes from creating handmade weirdness.
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"We're no different than anyone else. We just have the gumption to go online and learn how to do something when we have an interest in it," McDonough says. "It's a much more rewarding experience when you make something yourself or do something yourself. This show is just another facet of that concept."
Orange Fuzz Fest, with Cosmonauts, Corners, the May Company and more, at the American Legion Post 132, 143 S. Lemon St., Orange; orangefuzzfest.com. Sat., 3 p.m.-midnight. $10 in advance; $20 at the door. All ages.