Best of OC, Nos. 11 to 25
No. 21: Librera Martnez
Let the Segerstroms and Brens of the world build their shiny edifices and announce to the world that Orange County finally has Culture. Rueben Martnezis the best culture baron for the rest of us. He received the Macarthur Fellowship (the "Genius Award") two years ago yet remains the same garrulous, humble wizard of SanTana—and a damn-good barber. That's right, when he's not bringing in the biggest literary names in Latin America and stocking his Librera Martnezbookstore with hard-to-find history and fiction tomes, he cuts the hair of local politicos. Just one question, Seor Martnez: Will you ever again offer that academic book about Punjabi Mexicans in California's Central Valley during the early 20th century? 'Cause we can't find it anywhere else. 1110 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 973-7900; www.latinobooks.com.
I beg to differ! Acres of Books, a.k.a. OC's best mold repository, is a landmark for book lovers and book likers, and people who wish they read more. It has been threatened with extinction for so long that we barely have enough energy to care now that it looks as if it's really gonna happen. The spot's destined to give birth to a high-rise. Come for a last look-through, and don't forget your surgical mask. 240 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 437-6980; www.acresofbooks.com. (Henny Thomasson)
Hold on there! Development status could go either way, so don't jinx it. And since you're in the neighborhood, walk down to Open for whatever Acres doesn't have. Hand-picked selection with plenty of quality early editions and frequent infusions of essential esoterica. 144 Linden Ave., Long Beach, (562)499-OPEN; www.accessopen.com. (Chris Ziegler)
Meanwhile, back in the OC: Bookman in Orange has everything the Long Beach bookstores have—plus a guy with a Rollie Fingers mustache. 840 N. Tustin St., Orange, (800) 538-0166; www.ebookman.com. (Gustavo Arellano)
No. 22: Hiking El Moro Canyon
The best hike in OC actually incorporates three trails in stunning Crystal Cove State Park. The 3.5 mile loop starts from the parking lot. Head down the No Dogs trail to the Poles trail, which leads you into the canyon itself and onto El Moro Canyon Trail. You've got ocean views on the first leg, and the abundant vegetation that proliferates throughout the park constantly surrounds you. If you're lucky, you'll spot some critters such as rabbits, red-tailed hawks and the always fun and friendly rattlesnake. There's very little shade, so even though you get ocean breezes you'll want a hat, sunscreen and lots of water—because wouldn't it be ironic to die of heat stroke in a park right by the ocean? 8471 N. Pacific Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 494-3539. $10 per vehicle.
I beg to differ! Hiking to 5,700-foot Santiago Peak takes you to the highest point in OC, not counting Bong Rip. The Holy Jim Trailis probably the most scenic route, a 2.8 mile (round trip) hike through terrain of mostly chaparral, typical of the southern California mountain landscape, with oaks and sycamores to be found in the deeper canyons with seasonal water flow. The view from the top is great, although you've got to look through a forest of telecommunications equipment. To trailhead: Exit Interstate 5 at El Toro Rd. Go north to fork in road at Cook's Corner. Take the right fork on Live Oak Canyon Rd. past O'Neill Park, past Trabuco School, over Trabuco Creek to dirt road. Turn left and continue 4 miles on rough road to Holy Jim lot.(Dave Wielenga)
No. 23: J Flynn Gallery
It took Jack Flynn to do what we were all thinking: that sooner or later, someone had to open a gallery for art you can understand. Under the watchful eyes of the Kitsch Bar owner, this is a place where you'd wear out the phrase "It is what it is"—if everyone else hadn't beaten you to it. Flynn, a clear aficionado of the Juxtapoz school of art, is only on his second show but he's accomplished what he set out to do. That is, stock a gallery with locally relevant works that look just like what they are—whether that's apocalyptic Disneyland, a guy doing a burnout on a chopper or a weird monster dude who looks like Eazy-E on crack. If that's too easy for you, go fly back to OCMA. 2950-A Randolph Ave., Costa Mesa, (714) 708-3504; www.jflynngallery.com.
I beg to differ! Hey, Jack Flynn's a great guy and the space he opened is real purty, but is it our top-ranked gallery? Am I reading that right? Has a different one preceded it? Try these on for size: Grand Central Art Center, 125 N. Broadway, Santa Ana, (714) 567-7233;The Office, 5122 Bolsa Ave., #110, Huntington Beach, (714) 767-5861; Peter Blake Gallery, 326 N. Coast Hwy., Laguna Beach, (949) 376-9994; Beall Center for Art and Technology, UC Irvine, (949) 824-4339; SolArt Gallery Cafe, 2202 N. Main St., Santa Ana, (714) 926-4375. Hell, even the city of Brea's Civic Art Gallery organizes sly and sexily subversive shows. 1 Civic Center Cir # 1, Brea, (714) 990-7730.(Rebecca Schoenkopf)
I beg to differ! You got a problem with Wyland? Heh heh. I'm kidding. (James Buster)
No. 24: Mechanical Bull at The Block
Best semi-erotic/exhibitionist game of skill. In front of the movie theater, 20 The City Blvd., Orange, (714) 769-4000; www.theblockatorange.com.
I beg to differ!Mechanical, schmechanical. If you're going to ride, sit on the real thing. Check out the farm fronting the San Diego (405) Freeway just before Westminster Ave. Park along the northbound 405 shoulder immediately opposite Westminster Mall, turn on your hazards and jack up an axle like your ride is disabled. Then hop the chain link fence, corner a steer moping around in the field and ride 'em, cowboy! Sure, it's probably illegal: it's best to do it in the injury-inducing dark and these aren't the healthiest-looking livestock (I caught one of them smoking the other day); but at least no one will accuse you of being a faggy urban cowboy who couldn't make it as a punker. (Matt Stanfil)
I beg to differ! Supercross—except for the erotic part. That's all I'm gonna say. (Theo Douglas)
No. 25: Balboa Island Ferry
As long-standing attractions to take out-of-towners continue to disappear (rest in peace, Balboa Fun Zone), the flat-decked boats that shuttle cars and pedestrians between Balboa Island and Balboa Peninsula have somehow managed to hang on—since 1919! Whether you're destined for a Balboa Bar, un-jangling your nerves after the nightly jam at PCH and Jamboree, or simply sea-airing out the Scion before reaching the inevitable police checkpoint next to Malarkey's, taking the scenic quarter-mile ferry ride is worth the effort and miserly fare. Park Ave. and Agate Ave., Newport Beach; balboaislandferry.com. Operates Sun.-Thurs., 6:30 a.m.-midnight; Fri.-Sat., 6:30 a.m.-2 a.m. Pedestrians, 30-60 ; bicycles and automobiles, 50-$1.50.
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