[Best of OC 2008 Post Cards] Arts & Culture: Greetings From Robert Dean Nuñez
This stalwart of the boards has been gracing the stages of Orange County (primarily Fullerton’s STAGEStheatre) since his days as a theater major at Cal State Fullerton. Whether he’s playing the disfigured John Merrick in The Elephant Man or wayward rocker Johnny Thunders in So Alone, Nuñez always steals the show.
¡Que tál, amigos y brujas! I saw another thrilling and challenging play at Rude Guerrilla Theater today, the best theater on Broadway—in downtown SanTana, of course. And as I walked, elated, through Fourth Street afterward, I caught the sweet, tempting aromas emanating from a nearby pupuseria while the sounds of Latin music filled the air, seemingly from nowhere. I love that area of Orange County. It is so diverse and rich with culture.
But it was time to head up to Fullerton, where I am now. This is my regular haunt, home to some of the best theater in the world. Then again, I’ve performed at some of the theaters here, namely Stages and the Maverick, so maybe I’m biased. I strolled into downtown Fullerton’s Front Street/Back Alley Bar, where I knew I was bound to run into some familiar faces and fellow thespians. And yep, there they were! Nothing warms my spirit more than the smiles of friends, old and new, and a hearty ale. Oh, and a double Jameson, neat. On the patio of the Back Alley, the evening breeze reminds me that I’m moments away from the most beautiful beaches in Southern California. And around 9:30 p.m., the fireworks blasting in the background remind me that I’m just up the street from the Happiest Place On Earth, where I like to air out my inner child once in a while.
This little college city of Fullerton is crawling with quaint, friendly pubs; a wide variety of outstanding restaurants and antique houses; and plenty of culture. Orange County gets a bad rap around the country as being an ultra-conservative, shallow, closed-minded, milquetoast community. Maybe sometimes it’s true. But from where I’m standing, it’s nothing but diverse, cultured, open-minded and vibrant. I feel this is especially true of Fullerton. It’s alive here! It’s spirited! I think no matter where I live or what I do, I will forever be connected to Orange County. Here, I am at home and close to the teat. This is my stomping ground, baby. And I can never leave.
• Rude Guerrilla Theater Co., 202 N. Broadway, Santa Ana; www.rudeguerrilla.org.
• STAGEStheatre, 400 E. Commonwealth Ave., Fullerton, (714) 525-4484; www.stagestheatre.net.
• Maverick Theater, 110 E. Walnut Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-7070; www.mavericktheater.com.
• Front Street Grill/Back Alley Bar, 116 1/2 W. Wilshire Ave., Fullerton, (714) 526-3032; www.myspace.com/backalleyfullerton.
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