Not Paving Paradise

Check out the official 2006 Tree Hugger's Ball T-shirt graphic, and you'll see John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, getting arboreal. Now, John Muir was a great naturalist and tree climber, but easy on the eyes? Not so much.

I'd prefer to think about recently arrested environmentalist Daryl Hannah, sitting in a walnut tree in South Central or frolicking in a bathtub or stripping at the Blue Iguana, but wait, who's that rolling over the last remaining natural lands of the Santa Ana Mountains? Why, it's the Irvine Co.'s Donald Bren, wearing a hardhat and commanding one of a hundred bulldozers coming for what's left of the open space in the eastern OC foothills below Santiago Peak. Here, the Irvine Co. plans to locate 12,000 people in 4,000 new homes in a threatened habitat and call it Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman Estates or Cul-de-sacs of the Cave Bear or, no, wait, the East Orange Development. And if you look closely at this picture, you'll also see the current tenant, the federally listed endangered Arroyo Toad. You'd like the toad, he's good at parties, and you might miss him when he's gone. In fact, organizers of Saturday's fund-raiser would prefer that Bren and the city of Orange go back and take another gander because they seem to have missed the little fellow in their Environmental Impact Report.

Mermaid Girl probably won't be there—damn!—but the sweet-singing, all-ladies, old-time quintet Lilies of the West will, along with local bluegrass, blues, and rock N roll favorites. Last year, colorful canyon locals attended as wood nymphs, frogs and butterflies. Or maybe they always dress like that? Either way, you can enjoy dinner and music while supporting the educational, lobbying and legal work of tree huggers from the Orange Hills Task Force and Canyon Land Conservation Fund.

Tree Hugger's Ball to benefit Orange Hills Task Force/Canyon Land Conservation Fund, 27912 Baker Canyon Rd., Silverado, (714) 649-2820; Sat., 5-10 p.m. $35; kids 6-16, $15; kids 6 and under, free.

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