Best of OC 2004: Part 5


Okay, so maybe Sarmiento—the 25-year-old president of Santa Ana's wonderful community space, el-Centro Cultural de México—isn't living in Santa Ana on a day-to-day basis anymore (attending UCLA's graduate program in urban planning kinda necessitates you dorm in Westwood, you know?). But Sarmiento still spends weekends and most weekdays in SanTana (pronounce it like the natives, por favor), her lifelong home and where she plans to remain forever. While the rest of the country might crap on her city—biggest dump was a September report by the State University of New York's Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government deeming Santa Ana the United States' toughest city in which to live—Sarmiento nevertheless finds more beauty in SanTana than in the rest of la naranja.

1.Paleteros. "Those elderly men who walk around with ice-cream carts selling Mexican popsicles. Smiles, freshness and personal history—all for a buck." 2.That damn Rockefeller report. "So we're the youngest, most-Latino, most-Spanish-speaking, most-crowded big city in the country—good for us! That just gives us more of a challenge in changing this community." 3.The history. "You have people who have been living in Santa Ana for generations. My grandparents still live here, and they moved to Orange County from Texas back in the 1950s. And so does my Tío Arnulfo, a real-life pachuco from back in the days when it was something more than mere fashion trend." 4.Little Mexico. "In Santa Ana, you find small niches of Mexico all over, from D.Fenos (people from Mexico City) selling metal albums to Oaxacan faith healers to loncheras (lunch trucks) that specialize in the cuisine of one state. I know a woman who imports cheese from the southern state of Guerrero. Guerrero! Who knows how she brought it in! From my experience, Santa Ana is more diverse, Mexican-wise, than Los Angeles." 5.Cheap punk shows. "This is a bit self-serving, but where else in Orange County but Santa Ana—and specifically, el-Centro—can you see punk groups from Japan, France, Mexico, Italy and even Finland play for $5 or less?" 6.Incredible stories of making ends meet. "I know a guy who lives in a home with about 15 people. Yet he's one of the happiest people I know. People just live with what's dealt with them and thrive. Only in SanTana . . ." El-Centro Cultural de México, 1522 S. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 953-9305;
Book 'em: Reuben Martinez
(Photo by Tenaya Hills)

10 BOOKS YOU'LL ONLY FIND AT LIBRERÍA MARTÍNEZ AND NOWHERE ELSE IN OC 1.The Picture of Dorian Gray, Children's Edition (in Spanish) 2.Celebrating a Quinceañera: A Latina's 15th Birthday Celebration by Diana Hoyt-Goldsmith 3.Fifteen Poets of the Aztec World edited by Miguel León-Portilla 4.The War Continues: A Chicano Liberation Struggle for the New Millennium by Sebastian de la O 5.The Murals of Revolutionary Nicaragua, 1979-1992 by David Kunzle 6.Nothing, Nobody: The Voices of the Mexico City Earthquake by Elena Poniatowska 7.Maya T'an: Spoken Mayan by William J. Litzinger and Robert D. Bruce 8.José Alfredo Jimémez: The Complete Songbook (in Spanish) 9.Zoot Suit and Other Plays by Luís Valdez 10. Typical Dishes of the Mexican State of Tamaulipas Librería Martínez, 110 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 973-7900.
(Photo by James Bunoan)

THE COUNTY'S MOST INDEPENDENT POLITICIANWayne Baglin. City councils throughout the county are loaded with lazy political hacks who use their office to serve themselves, their friends and contributors—not the public. So it's refreshing to see Laguna Beach City Councilman Baglin in action. He's a pro-business, truly environmental-friendly independent Republican who just might be the best government watchdog in Orange County. Baglin's disciplined, consistent, questioning and, when necessary, cantankerous. You may not like every stance he takes, but you know he's not a fake. (Hello, Paul Freeman!) These characteristics have not ingratiated Baglin with scheming bureaucrats who like to decide key issues behind closed doors. (Hello, Ken Franks!) We wish every city in OC had a Wayne Baglin.

SIX GREAT JUNKYARDS 1. Pick Your Part. They've got your old-car jones, along with newfangled things like a paved yard (bring the family!), and in the parking lot, they can probably sell you the tool you need. 1235 S. Beach Blvd., Anaheim, (714)385-1301. 2. Placentia Truck Van & 4 Wheel Drive. Not all the junkyards in Placentia went away. This one specializes in parts for newer models of the vehicles mentioned in its title—but we still fantasize about finding some sweet '70s van with faded murals on the outside and those diamond-shaped plastic windows and captain's chairs on the inside. 461 S. Van Buren St., Placentia, (714) 996-1620. 3. Dave's Auto Wrecking. If you like GM cars, there's just no hope for you because Ford is the true way. Just because they run better and their company didn't get in serious financial trouble and almost close a couple of times. Oh, and if you need parts for your modern GM ride, go here, in what's apparently Placentia's junkyard district. They've got you covered. 443 S. Van Buren St., Placentia, (714) 996-1951. 4. Rocco's Truck Van & Four Wheel. The name makes you think Rocco's a little slow 'cause if all he had to part out was one truck, you'd think he'd have done it by now. Actually, though, there's more than one truck here, mainly domestic older models—when we needed a hood for a '68 C-10 Chevrolet, they actually had it, for about $200. 3125 W. Fifth St., Santa Ana, (714) 554-9800. 5. A-1 Auto Recycling. Here be newer, mainly domestic-made cars, all presumably in A-1 shape. Start your gear pullers, boyos. 815 N. Batavia, Orange, (714) 288-1920. 6. Lenny's Auto Wrecking. Lenny—or as he's also known, Some Guy Who Answers the Phone—wasn't pleased when we called and asked how far back they went. The oldest vehicle here was made in about 1990—but if you need parts for that newish Chevy Cavalier, give 'em a try. After all, it pays to specialize. 1045 E. Sixth St., Santa Ana, (714) 541-7300.
Irwin Rose: MMMMMM...Einsteinium!
(Photo by Matt Otto)

REALLY SMART PEOPLE WHO WORK AT UC IRVINE 1. Francisco Ayala. Evolutionary biologist who was given the National Medal of Science by President George W. Bush, a guy who thinks the jury is still out on the subject. So you know Ayala's got to be good. Also possesses a stunning philosophical mind that sees the big picture of science, humanity and faith—and it all fits together. It's easy to feel humbled in his gracious presence. 2. Ralph Cicerone. Just named the president of the National Academy of Sciences, which is, oh, just the most important scientific organization on earth. Unbelievable memory, stellar mathematician and chemist, and loves to put students in their places at UCI's annual Trivia Bowl. Played a mean quarterback at MIT, we hear. 3. Jonathan Feng. Theoretical astrophysicist who believes he's found the source of dark matter (he calls them superWIMPS), which is about three-quarters of all the stuff in the universe, and it goes way back to the Big Bang itself. He can explain this mathematically, and then tell you about it in a way your small mind can comprehend. 4. Elizabeth Loftus. You read about her in the Weekly a few weeks ago, so we'll just tell you this: named one of the 100 top psychologists of the 20th Century, and we're talking Freud, Jung and B.F. Skinner here. And she lives in Irvine. Think about that. 5. Irwin Rose. Rose was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for chemistry for the discovery of the major pathway through which cellular building blocks called ubiquitin proteins are regulated by degradation . . . which kind of bums us out because we'd been meaning to get to that. Known as Ernie to his friends, Rose is the school's third Nobel Laureate. 6. Michael Rose. Evolutionary biologist who believes humans can live twice as long as they do—and has proved it in laboratory tests. His book Darwin's Spectre is must reading for those who want to know about the revolution of natural selection. 7. F. Sherwood Rowland. Just happened to win a Nobel Prize for discovering how CFCs from aerosols destroy the Earth's protective ozone layer. Totally schools troglodytes like Representative Dana Rohrabacher on the evils of global warming, and he knows more about opera and baseball than you do. And to show the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, his daughter Ingrid is one of the world's great Renaissance art scholars.

(Photo by Matt Otto)

BEST MASKED MOVIE SNOBEl Bicho. Bad movies have no greater enemy than El Bicho ("The Bug"), a videographer and movie buff who wears a Mexican lucha libre costume to mask his identity. He's just one of OC's masked movie snobs ( who all have bad Spanish noms de guerre like El Sombrero Grande ("The Big Hat"), Mujer del Diablo ("Devil Woman") and Bolsa de Queso ("Cheesebag"). Armed with advance copies of Hollywood's latest offerings—which he then eviscerates on his blog (, El Bicho doesn't so much criticize movies as complain about them—at least when the movie really sucks. And sometimes even when it doesn't. But what makes El Bicho the Best Masked Movie Snob isn't his bad outfit, his sometimes highly technical reviews (El Bicho is a critic who knows the difference between mise en scène and motif) nor even his complaints about the audience. It's that El Bicho writes reviews not from the perspective of a film reviewer, but an audience member. The reviews actually make you feel like you're there in the theater, though in some cases, they make you glad you're not there. A perfect example of El Bicho's genius for telling his readers everything they need to know to avoid bad films is his review of The Passion of the Christ: "People were gasping and a woman next to me was crying. The scourge went on for so long and was so graphic that I felt like I was watching Kill Jesus, Vol. 1. . . . I don't know why I'm supposed to care about Jesus. He unjustly takes a beating, but so did Reginald Denny."
Aloe Blacc (left) and DJ Exile
(Photo by James Bunoan)

EMANON—STUFF THEY LIKE: 1.Mike & Fabiano Music Lessons. Fabiano's specialty is jazz and classical Brazilian guitar, and Mike is an amazing pianist with a firm grasp on music theory. I know they can teach anyone because they have enough patience to work with me. 2.Elsewhere Studios. Who would have guessed that OC is home to so many gifted artists? The best web and graphic design and on time. They also do really professional video production and editing. 3.Black Sauce Printing. When it comes to fliers, Black Sauce goes beyond the call of duty. (714) 437-1109; 4.L.R.G. Clothing. Fresh gear from right here in Orange County. I wear their jeans and T-shirts every day. 5.Subject Matter Gallery. Cutting-edge artwork and good clothes. I like what they bring to the community. 6.OCTA. I just had to give love to my bus-riding days. Look for my scribes on the 91, 85 and 1 that goes all the way up PCH to Long Beach with its surreal sunsets.

BEST COCAINE BATHROOMS 1. As a certain XXXXX stares down on you, you're free to celebrate yet another '80s revival with a little nose candy at this hot South XXXXX nightspot. With a bathroom big enough to fit you and five of your favorite strung-out XXXXX, this club was seemingly built just in time for the trendy Scarface resurrection. If you can ignore the pounding fists on your locked stall door, then time, bouncers, revolving doors and sour-faced attendants are no longer your coke habit's biggest rival—just be ready to wait in line for at least 15 minutes for your next hit. 2. Even though the XXXXX music will make you go scrounging for that new XXXXX you bought last week, this XXXXX County beachfront hangout is actually perfect for a toot, populated as it is with young, trendy locals and a few sleazy old sugar daddies looking to buy all your drinks in exchange for "company." Don't be afraid of intruding straight-edgers or bar management spoiling your expensively reddened nose—locking stall doors in this two-roomed bathroom make the place ideal. Just watch out for angry XXXXX with sharp XXXXX and XXXXX bladders when you finally emerge, though at that point, maybe you just won't care. 3. At this low-key, dimly lit XXXXX club, you can not only snort your way through the night, but you can also walk down the street and buy your next night's supply. Just be prepared to share—the majority of the patrons will probably want to join in. 4. Like most restaurant-by-day, club-by-night locales, this XXXXX nightspot not only offers a full menu, skilled DJs and decently-priced drinks, but also comes with two bathrooms for each sex—and not a guard or attendant to be found in either. As a bonus, on a certain night of the week, you may not only live as if Less Than Zero is the story of your life, but also dress the part as you snort along to "White Lines." And talk about ideal: Who wants to wait for your sorry ass to vacate the stall when they can just go to the XXXXX? 5. In this overrated downtown XXXXX Beach bar, you'll find an abundance of sleazy XXXXX and pricey XXXXX, as well as a whole new passel of friends once you decide to break out the Peruvian Powder. Even better, you could make a game out of guessing how many people can cram into a single stall (we counted eight once, strictly from counting the pairs of shoes from beneath the door). Despite the rush to be hip, there will most certainly be some Escalade-driving, "Wanna see my beach house later?" playa waiting outside to buy you another line or at least offer to hold back your XXXXX while you XXXXX. BEST GIRL PUNKCorey Parks is as big as they come for girl punk guitarists. Sorry, Courtney, but at six-foot-three, Ms. Parks could back your ass out of the key. The former Nashville Pussy is the sister of NBA player Cherokee Parks and, along with Duane Peters, makes up half of the cutest punk couple this side of Dexter and Noodles. Here are a few of her favorite things: Best Record Store: Vinyl Solution, 18822 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach, (714) 963-1819. Best Coffee Shop: Cafe Ruba, 1749 Newport Blvd., Costa Mesa, (949) 642-4026. (Banana bombs kick ass!) Best Band: DIE HUNNS Best NBA Punk Rocker: Cherokee Parks Best Tattoo Artist: Bucky Crispin, Good Time Charlie's Tattooland, 2641 Lincoln Ave., Anaheim, (714) 827-2071. Best Skateboarder/Front Man/All-Around Legend (in his own mind): "My Daddy of Disaster, Mr. Duane Peters. I love you, babe!"

BEST BARBERS, HAIR STYLISTS, WHATEVER THEY'RE CALLING THEMSELVES THESE DAYS 1. Chad Fults. If he had his way, his Chad Fults' barber shop would look even more like an art gallery than it does now. He even sees the day when he'll stow the barber chairs and sinks altogether. Fults admits he's more interested in art than barbering lately, something that's evident looking at the assorted handmade purses and pillows stuffed in every available nook and cranny in the three-chair shop he bought at age 23 in 1987. It's also apparent in the kitschy décor, which includes corrugated-tin walls, Craftsmen toolbox drawers, Diamond-Brite chrome counters, sinks rising out of oil drums, a Unocal 76 gas-station ball embedded in a wall, letters spelling out P-A-T-S-Y C-L-I-N-E over the entryway and enough memorabilia dedicated to his hero Elvis Presley to rival Graceland (which Fults has visited too many times to count). Fortunately, Fults is still cutting heads for the time being, and a great cut will set you back only 12 bucks. (Chad's Barber Shop serves both men and women, so prices may vary.) Whether his shop remains dedicated to hair, handmade crafts or both, local charities will be happy to hear that whatever the future holds, Fults has no plans to split town. He's raised funds over the years for war veterans, local schools and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation through such unusual promotions as guessing how many Pez dispensers or rubber duckies have been placed in his front window. And for those customers who'd been coming to the shop since its original opening in 1965 but can no longer make the trip, Fults makes house calls to local nursing homes. 2118 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, (714) 541-4513. 2. Leslie Washburn. The motto at Leslie's Head Quarters, Barber Shop and Rumor Control is "Get a good fucking haircut." Works for us. In fact, it works so well we married her! Or, more precisely, Weeklycontributing editor Jim Washburn married Leslie a few years back, which we'd admit to being a conflict of interest were it not for a fact that Ms. Washburn has had the shop since 1977 and we'd been fans long before the celebrity coupling. Besides, name another Orange County shearer who doubles as a philosopher? Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we refer you to Mr. Washburn's Aug. 23, 2002, Lost in OC column, where he wrote the following: With the world going to hell, does design matter? I wondered this aloud the other night, and my wife, Leslie, chimed in with her perspective, which she often does whether I'm wondering aloud or not. "Hair design is important," Leslie said. She is a barber. "Why so?" "Because it's good for society for you not to look like a fuck, and a good haircut that fits you and your lifestyle has a trickle-down effect. A bad haircut can wreck the next few weeks of your life, attitude-wise. Nobody wants a sourpuss with a bad haircut coming in their office. But with a good haircut, you feel happy, lucky and sexy and you spread goodwill." 500 Old Newport Blvd., No. 203, Newport Beach, (949) 642-4247. 3. David File. The senior stylist at Crew Salon seldom speaks, but he'll listen to his customers' every word. It's best to cut the chatter and give him the creative license to do just about anything he damn well pleases; he'll deliver a perfect cut every time. Best of all, you can typically call and get an appointment for that same day . . . uh, before this appears in the paper anyway. The Lab anti-mall, 2930 Bristol St., Ste. A102, Costa Mesa, (714) 751-0111. 4. Toni Rumble. Customers describe rookie hairstylist Toni Rumble at Salon Gregorie's as the female Edward Scissorhands due to the way the follicles fly as her scissors whiz at warp speed. (The shop knows how to spot talent, winning Editor's Choice honors at the 2002 North American Hairstyling Awards.) Rumble is such a perfectionist she seems to care more about her clients' hair than her clients do—something the freshly cut appreciate while fielding compliments after leaving her station. And she's a hoot! 200 Newport Center Dr., Ste. 103, Newport Beach, (949) 644-6671. 5. Suzan Redman. One steady customer of Suzan Redman at Bushire Salon & Spa says the only other time someone other than Redman has touched her head in the past decade was the time Redman got in a car accident and couldn't keep the appointment. She's that good, and her customers are that loyal. Of course, considering she frequently offers clients a mimosa or glass of wine when they come in, is it any wonder? 1108 E. Katella Ave., Ste. C6, Orange (714) 744-1080. 6. Kristi Mitchell. This stylist at Alexander's Grand Salon can give you any hair color you want on this earth—even colors that haven't been invented yet! The shop itself is to hair what cosmetic surgeons are to perfect bods. Besides coloring, Alexander's specializes in the Euro Locs/Hairlocs system of hair extensions, which uses real hair (from Europe!) without glue, heat, sewing, braiding or chemicals. 5579 E. Santa Ana Canyon Rd., Anaheim Hills, (714) 420-1534.

FIVE BEST TV SHOWS ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY 1. Arrested Development. Fox's critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning but sadly little-watched sitcom is not shot in Orange County, but it still nails the nouveau riche, self-obsessed, supremely dysfunctional Bluth family of Newport Beach. The family patriarch (Jeffrey Tambor) is in jail, facing SEC charges. The matriarch (Jessica Walter, even more frightening than she was in Play Misty for Me), though penniless, refuses to step down from her throne at the Balboa Bay Club. And their semi-sane, widowed son (Jason Bateman), who is trying almost successfully to keep the family and their development company together, lives with his son in a lone model home surrounded by the dirt from which was supposed to rise the Bluth's triumphant planned community. Filled with laugh-out-loud bits, a strong cast (be they regulars Will Arnett, Portia di Rossi and David Cross or supporting players Liza Minnelli, Henry Winkler, and the guy who's always either an open or closeted gay in Christopher Guest movies) and the folksy narration of executive producer Ron Howard, this is the show those in the know love and those not in the know will never get. Coming this season: Bateman's love interest will be . . . his real-life sister, Justine. Eww! Top that, O.C.!

2. The O.C. Speak of the devil. It's the Fox teen soaper that came out of nowhere and—apparently, given the number of times it's been tried—can't be duplicated. Like Arrested Development, The O.C. is not really shot here. Unlike Arrested Development, The funnier than it's supposed to be thanks to main character Ryan's assorted scowls in place of actual dialogue and, of course, the usual assortment of stock soap-opera scenes and situations that have been lampooned by everyone from Carol Burnett to Saturday Night Live. But where The O.C. gets a shapely young leg up on the competition is with . . . all those shapely young legs! No, actually it's the surprisingly witty dialogue that is usually stuffed into the mouth of Seth Cohen (Adam Brody). But what makes this outrageous show semi-genuine are storylines plucked from real OC life, including the controversial Bolsa Chica development, the borderline alcoholism of everyone in Newport Beach and—something that an acquaintance who was buddies with executive producer McG at Corona del Mar High School swears really happened there—a teen catching his married dad locked in a kiss with another man. If nothing else, praise (or blame) The O.C.for adding to the great American lexicon "aspirational," "THE Vegas" and "Chrismukkah." 3. Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. MTV, thanks to "unlimited access," follows a handful of teens with ocean-view homes, unlimited charge cards and invisible parents. Since the cast is made up of the beautiful in-crowd kids of Laguna's most beautiful people, the show must come up with awesome footage, outrageous predicaments and a true reflection of life in the Big Orange, right? Not at all. Someone obviously worked pretty damn hard to choose attractive teens (although the blondes all look alike, and not in a hot Coors Twins way, but a scary Stepford Wives way), and everyone's pushed into what you'd expect to be interesting situations. But in the end, nothing happens. Nothing. MTV is shooting for drama, but they're producing drudgery. Pass the remote. 4. Scrubs. Don't know enough about this guffaw-inducing NBC farce (think St. Elsewhere meets Airplane!) to know if the hospital it's set in is actually supposed to be in Orange County, but during last month's season premiere, if you zeroed in on the dry-erase board behind one of the character's shoulders, you saw the following subliminal message: "Bowling Night. Meet at Kona Lanes." If that isn't a hip insider reference to everybody's favorite Costa Mesa, Googie-inspired, now-demolished bowling alley, we'll chug the contents of the unnamed janitor's cleaning bucket. 5. The Real Orange. The most-fictional entry on our list, KOCE's uncritically acclaimed, local-Emmy-nominated but, understandably, little-watched sitcom . . . er, what's that? It's a news show? Get outta here! Really?This "news" show covers Orange County like one would cover Washington, D.C. What? Our boss regularly appears on the show? Get outta here! Really?Uh . . . erm . . . best show ever! BEST MECHANIC 1. Andrew Harris. Actually, forget Andrew, the handsome mechanic at Seal Beach's Unocal 76 station. The person you want to meet is his mother. Okay, so maybe she can't rotate your tires, but she did do a helluva fine job raising her boy—and that's what keeps us coming back to his place for our little Honda's every need. Conveniently located next to the Shore House Café at the end of Seal Beach's quaint Main Street, this service station is ideal for quick, early-morning oil changes and even better for those who fear going to mechanics more than the dentist. Flat tire? Engine trouble? No problem. Take just one look at Andrew's honest smile and you can't help but believe him when he tells you—like some service-station attendant from the '50s—that he'll have her back to you in a jiffy. And he does. Every time. 901 Pacific Coast Hwy, Seal Beach, (562) 493-5477.

FAVORITE THINGS READ ON THE OC METRO WEBSITE"Karen Fera's severe head injury inspired her to start a successful home-care business." "Facts can be frightening, but they also can save your life." "Children across the nation can't help but 'melt' at the sight of the ice cream man and his frozen payload." "Sex and violence in the U.S. Army is hard to accept, but it makes perfect sense." "Nipplegate." "…women continue to make huge contributions to every aspect of county life."

BEST LINES FROM THE BEST TV SHOW ABOUT ORANGE COUNTY, ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT (SEASON ONE) 6. Gob (Will Arnett): "My gut is telling me no. But my gut is also very hungry." 5. Tobias (Dave Cross), to his wife, Lindsay (Portia de Rossi): "Are you mocking me? Why you cunt—" [sees their daughter, Maeby, walk in] "—try music loving gal, you!" 4. George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), on the phone: "I'm having a love affair with this ice cream sandwich." 3. Lucille (Jessica Walter), on the other end of the phone: "Then why don't you go marry an ice cream sandwich?" 2. [TIE] Lucille: "They turn you into a monster and then they call you one" AND "Take that back. If I wanted something your thumb had touched, I'd eat the inside of your ear." 1. Narrator (Ron Howard), after publicist Jessie (Jill Ritchie) mocks George-Michael (Michael Cera) by calling him "Opie," a reference to the child character Howard played on The Andy Griffith Show in the '60s: "Jessie had gone too far and had best watch her mouth."
(Photo by Tenaya Hills)

TEN BEST CANDIDATE NAMES "Big" Al Snook Rod Todd Hyman Crippen Duane Stiff Rex Ricks Jesse James Otto Bade Earl Zucht Norm "Firecracker" Westwell Bea McArthur

>DERISIVE OC NICKNAMES Fascist Island (Fashion Island) Scurvine (Irvine) Seizure World (Leisure World) F-Town (Fullerton) Costa Misery (Costa Mesa) Costa Lot (Costa Mesa) Garbage Grove (Garden Grove) Anaslime (Anaheim) Cal State Disneyland (Cal State Fullerton) Rustin (Tustin)


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