The Zeitgeist

People like me go to events like the Orange County New Year's Eve for the same reason most everyone stares at a car accident: morbid fascination. With the has-beens and never-weres mingling in an awkward petri dish, it's the same mix of high and low culture, ancient and nouveau riche, and tuxedo and hot pants that makes the Taste of Newport so entertaining. But to continue with the car-wreck metaphor: OCNYE (pronounced “awk-nigh,” I'm going to have to assume) will be a massive and glorious 10-car-plus gas-truck pileup in comparison to the Taste of Newport.

Musically, OCNYE offers attendees their choice from dozens of bands pop culture wants nothing more to do with, aside from the occasional VH1 interview. Blondie headlines, so you can expect Debbie Harry to scare the shit out of you with her face (all of a sudden, “One Way or Another” takes on a whole new inappropriate and frightening tone). They share the stage with other bands that only by the grace of God are still together: Violent Femmes, the English Beat, Berlin, Everclear, Poison's Bret Michaels and, most important, Thomas Dolby! Science!

And if has-beens and one-hit wonders aren't your bag of citrus, you can get drunk and chat with friends until an enormous illuminated orange descends from above in an awe-inspiring, not-at-all-trying-to-compensate-for-not-being-Times-Square moment of clarity that could only tell you tacky fiascos like this are, in all seriousness, the best reason to live in Orange County. Don't go to hear “Heart of Glass”; go for the religious experience: in which the past (Thomas Dolby), present (The Colour) and future (2007!) meet in one place at one timeā€”for $85.

OCNYE at the OC Fair and Expo Center, 88 Fair Dr., Costa Mesa; Sun., 6 p.m.-1:30 a.m. $85; VIP, $200 (through Dec. 30). All ages.

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