Friday, January 29, 2010

Kooza Comes to Orange County

The Ingredients:
  • Two cups of equal parts crazy physical specimens, gymnasts, contortionists, and carnies and 1 creepy fat bald clown [see Fig. 1].
  • 1/2 cup of ballet
  • 1 can of world music
  • 2 Tbsp of fairy pixy magical stardust 
  • 3 Tsp. of fun 
  • 2 tightropes 
  • 1 spinny wheel of death [see Fig. 2] 
  • 1 trapeze 
  • A handful of Carnival food and drinks 
  • 1 unicycle 
  • and a little imagination

The Preparation:
  1. Take 1-5 to the Irvine Great Park. Pass the balloon (you can ride that later, stay on course!)
  2. Wait in line to park. (Chef's suggestion: bring good company to lessen annoyance of wait)
  3. Walk towards the giant yellow and blue striped carnival tent shrouded in mystery.
  4. Hand your ticket to Carny and cross threshold from real life into a world of magic and wonderment rivaling that of Tim Burton's Big Fish.
  5. At Chef's discretion: Add popcorn, hot dog, pannini, wine, champagne, or cotton candy to flavor.
  6. Find seat with help of ushers.
  7. Preheat brain 15 minutes for show. (Fill this wait by watching the actors interact with the audience, stealing people's popcorn, chiding people for being late, and generally amusing all.)
  8. Mix all ingredients together, stir well, and get ready for 2 1/2 hours of the most mind-blowing and whimsical things you've ever seen. (Chef's Note: Don't be surprised to see any of the following as they are all part of the KOOZA baking process: Magic wands, death defying antics, amazing live music, people catapulting other people on 10 foot tall pogo sticks into triple somersaults and landing them perfectly, contortionists that make your back cringe in pain [see Fig. 3], people unicycling with incredibly flexible women climbing and jumping all over them, amazing dancing Dia de los Muertos style skeletons, men doing acrobats in a wheel of death (best part of the whole show) necromantic kings making audience members disappear, getting a perma-grin that makes your cheeks hurt, feeling like you're ten again, getting lost in a world of magic.)

Kooza has come and gone from Orange County, but you can catch them in San Diego on February 25th! Find tickets here. Check out the trailer below for more!

- Amy
On my iPod: Sea Wolf's "Leaves In The River"

Thursday, January 28, 2010

and now presenting: the february gazette

Attention everyone, the February Gazette is officially infiltrating homes and businesses in your local Orange County area. Resistance is futile, like a golden retriever puppy, you'll be sucked into its orbit of undeniable magnetism. Or maybe not. Either way, check out the wealth of interesting local info that's in this issue:

1. The Art of Michael Kalish | King of scrap metal and car parts art
2. EntertainMe Covers The 2010 NAMM Convention | Wham, Bam, Thank You NAMM
3. Salon Sauvage | The salon and boutique that has it all
4. Hungry Heart | Helping Orange Countians break free of emotional eating for good
5. A Day In The Life | We hang out at Chapman while students perform and record the student-composed soundtrack for the student-written and directed film, Birds of Passage
6. History of Film in OC  | Going back to the beginning of a beautiful friendship between Hollywood and OC (including seemingly "irreverent"actors being chased out of San Juan by angry locals)
7. Ronda's Dream Center | Creating an interactive experience unlike any other for people with developmental disabilities
8. Kevin Kavanaugh | The Production Designer for your favorite film sets (or at least ours: The Dark Knight, The Prestige, Whip It, Mission Impossible III, etc. and etc.)

Also, flip through our virtual editions of The Gazette to find local stores, businesses, and services near you! Tons of great local deals line our pages, just see for yourself here (South Edition) or here (Central Edition).

Carpe Diem, Orange County.
On my iPod: "Thinking About You" by Radiohead

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Our Design Muse: Debbie Millman comes to OC

Today's blog is just to pass on some valuable info we were sent from the lovely Tricia Cook, Director of Public Relations & Marketing at The Art Institute - OC. All you designers, entrepreneurs, business folk, and people looking to become branding/marketing savvy (yep, that basically includes everyone who is looking to be more successful in their work) perk your ears, because following are the details of a lecture you won't want to miss! Debbie Millman - President of AIGA (the largest professional association for design), contributing editor at Print Magazine, design writer at (one of our favorite mags here at The OC Gazette), and Chair of the Masters in Branding Program at The School of Visual Arts in NYC - will be sharing her wealth of information with the general public! This woman is a treasure trove of knowledge when it comes to design and branding. She is fast becoming the muse/inspiration to all us mademoiselles of The OC Gazette design team.  Read on for more!


[Design and branding guru, Debbie Millman.]

On Friday, January 29, Debbie Millman joins AIGA Orange County and The Art Institute of California, Orange County for a unique interactive presentation on “Why We Brand, Why We Buy.” The lecture runs from 6 – 8pm, is offered at no charge for students and educators and is open to the general public for $10. A mix and mingle cocktail reception with Debbie follows at Karl Strauss Brewery & Restaurant from 8 – 10pm where attendees will enjoy complimentary appetizers and a one on one networking experience with the design diva.

Debbie Millman boasts over 25 years of achievement in the design world. She currently spearheads the design division at Sterling Brands while acting as President of AIGA, the largest professional association for design. Her prior repertoire spans redesign for global mega-brands including Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, Campbell’s, Colgate, Nestle and Hasbro. Adding to her credentials Debbie is also a contributing editor at Print Magazine as well as a design writer at and BRANDNEW. She sits as Chair of the Masters in the Branding Program at School of Visual Arts in New York City and hosts her own online talk show on titled “Design Matters with Debbie Millman.” Her unprecedented career has produced three published books and a lifetime of lessons in design.

“Why We Brand, Why We Buy” will deep dive into the impact branding has on everyday life, consumerism and ourselves. Debbie will explore the five waves of modern branding linking human evolution, population trends, psychology and technology to branding throughout the ages. The two-hour presentation culminates with an interactive question and answer session followed by the cocktail mixer. Copies of Debbie’s books will be available for purchase and signing.

For more information and to register online please click HERE.

Date: Friday, January 29, 2010
Event: Debbie Millman Lecture - “Why We Brand, Why We Buy”
Location: The Art Institute of California – Orange County
Address: 3601 W. Sunflower Ave., Santa Ana, CA 92704, Building A, Rooms A102/104
Time: 6 – 8pm
Event Fee: No charge for students/educators, $10 general admission
Special Instructions: General admission must pre-register online


- Amy
On my iPod: The Doors' "Five To One" (Who couldn't use a little more of Jim Morrison in their lives?)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

OC Music Awards Local Showcases!

Orange County got our yearly dose of torrential rain last week, but now we're seeing blue skies once again! Huzzah! Spring is in the air! Ok, so maybe it's still two months away ("officially"), but it's hard to deny that the waves of Spring-esque wonderment are starting to sprout. Valentine's Day is coming soon, which rouses up the notorious "Spring Fever" (and stay tuned for our exclusive outpouring of OC love from local business owners, celebrities, green movement figures, and more). Also, with daylight savings coming a bit earlier this year (March 14th- that's earlier than usual, right?), our days will be brighter longer, and we'll be more capable of frolicking out and about and into the night (in theory. I still need a full eight hours of sleep, so we'll see how it goes...). Another special something to look forward to is the 2010 Orange County Music Awards, held at the Grove of Anaheim.
Every year, local musicians and bands are recognized at this exciting event. With 24 categories of awards, the show honors local talent in all musical genres. Categories include: a People's Choice Award, an OC Impact Award, two sets of Showcase Series for Best Live Band and Best Live Acoustic, Academy Nominated Awards (members of the Academy include local venue owners, music writers, production managers, talent buyers, music critics, booking agents, etc), and more.

The Showcase Awards are given through a series of showcases- 20 bands and 15 acoustic musicians compete over 3 or 4 different showcase nights, and the final 5 groups in each category play together in two rousing nights (the excitement in the air comprable to the NFC and AFC playoffs last my humble opinion). See below for the remaining showcase dates (the final showcase nights listed in orange, below the image).

Here's the showcase lineup through the month of February:

You definitely don't want to miss these dates:
Fri. 2/26, 8pmLive Acoustic Finals, FREE, All Ages-  
at The Yost Theater, Santa Ana
Sat. 2/27, 8pmLive Band Finals, FREE, All Ages- 
at OCPAC's Samueli Theater 
Sat. 3/6, 8pm – OC Music Awards 
($25, All Ages) at The Grove of Anaheim

Visit OC Music Awards online, become a Fan, Friend, Follower, and Subscriber!


on my iTunes: The Union Line's "Sunset on the Swamp"

Monday, January 25, 2010

Rock N Roll Fantasy Camp Hollywood


Wanna live the dream? You can at Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp. "Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp is the ultimate music experience, that allows musicians and enthusiasts alike the once in a lifetime opportunity to jam with legendary rock stars, play live on stage at major concert venues, and live their rock 'n' roll dreams."

 Mark Hudson (Aerosmith Producer) performing at the Whiskey A Go Go. Photo by Sara Wilkins.

This past November, Amy and I trekked to Hollywood with Jill, our Entertain Me column writer, to see what this place is all about. The gig, in short, is a half- or full-week of jamming with seasoned rock stars building up to a final performance at the Whiskey A Go Go. A camper is placed in a band for the duration of the week, and he or she rehearses (inside Amp Studios) with their band mates and counselor (such as Aerosmith producer Mark Hudson) for the big show at the end where the counselors and guest artists (such as The Doors' guitarist Robby Krieger) join them onstage for an epic performance. For some, it's the opportunity of a lifetime.

Robby Krieger (The Doors) performing at the Whiskey A Go Go. Photo by Amy Hood.

And the best part is that you don't have to be a pro to go to camp; all levels are welcome. If you can't carry a tune or play a guitar lick, there is always the tambourine, one of my favorite instruments.

John Mameli (camper) performing at the Whiskey A Go Go. Photo by Sara Wilkins.

In Hollywood, we met with camp producer David Fishof, interviewed Meat Loaf, met Sandy Gennaro (drummer for Joan Jett & The Blackhearts), talked with campers, learned how Mark Hudson saved Ozzy Osbourne's life, and more. You can read all about it and see our photo gallery here.

Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot/Ozzy Osbourne) at the Whiskey A Go Go. Photo by Sara Wilkins.

The next camp is held in Los Angeles from February 23-28, 2010. Rock with the likes of Sammy Hagar (Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Michael Anthony (Van Halen and Chickenfoot), Lita Ford (The Runaways) Ace Frehley (KISS), Dave Mason (Traffic), Mark Farner (Ex Grand Funk Railroad) and one of my favorite surf rock guitarists: Gary Hoey. He shreds like nobody's business.

Learn more about the upcoming camp here. It's only a few weeks away. Live your dream and sign up today!

- Sara
Listening to Van Morrison's "Brown Eyed Girl"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Chatting with Mike Schmitt, guitarist for Genuine Uprising.

[Genuine Uprising: (From left) Mike Schmitt (guitar and vocals), Chris Augustine (drums), Blake Williams (vocals), Kyle Waller (guitar), and Matt Holley (bass).]

This blog began as a music review, not an interview. But anyone who has spent 5 minutes with Mike Schmitt, the endearing hooligan that doubles as a Leisure World lifeguard and lead guitarist for the Orange County band Genuine Uprising, knows that it is impossible to capture the essence of Mike's off-the-wall witticisms. Therefore, rather than taking my chat with Mike about Genuine Uprising's bright future and summarizing it down to a lackluster band spotlight, I decided to just give you our exact conversation.

[Mike Schmitt mid-jam]

AH: First of all, your full name? 
MS: Michael David Schmitt Jr.

AH: Age?
MS: 20

AH: Day job? 
MS: Currently Life Guarding at Leisure World… Yup.

AH: What would you describe the Genuine Uprising sound as? 
MS: I would describe our sound as the ideal mish-mash of rock, ska, and punk all held together with some sort of sticky reggae glue, kinda like Bob Marley’s boogers.

AH: What bands would you compare it to? 
MS: I know it’s not a band, but I would probably compare Genuine Uprising to a huge, savory burrito filled with only the tastiest and freshest ingredients. But as far as bands, we often get compared to groups like Sublime, The Expendables, 311 and any other contemporaries from the California reggae scene.

AH: Who are your musical influences? 
MS: Our musical influences as a band are Bad Brains, AFI, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Slightly Stoopid, No Doubt, Pink Floyd, the mighty Bob Marley, and NOT The Jonas Brothers.

AH: How did you guys come together as a band? How did the magic begin? 
MS: I’d love to tell you this crazy story about how 5 strangers were held hostage in Guitar Center and used the instruments in the store to write an amazing song to win over the heart of their captor before creating Genuine Uprising, but that would be untrue. It’s not that interesting; we basically were just a bunch of mutual friends who wanted to start a band to avoid the 9-5 routine lifestyle.

AH: I wish that story were true! Who writes the songs? 
MS: I write most of the music and some lyrics and our lead singer Blake writes most of the lyrics. Sometimes we jam things out as a band and collaborate but that’s how it goes for the most part.

AH: Goals for the band? 
MS: Our ultimate goal for the band would be to bring together all kinds of different fans through our music and promote positivity into their lives. We have agreed from the start to endorse a positive message in our songs rather than trod the mainstream path of vanity. It’s amazing to see the legacy left by people like Bob Marley and the Bad Brains and that is what inspires me to use music to affect people’s lives. As far a short-term goals, I know our drummer, Juicy, would like to have a higher turnout of groupies at shows.

AH: Any upcoming gigs you wanna plug for our readers? 
MS: This Saturday, January 23 we are playing in Long Beach for the 1st Annual Dub City Music Festival with bands like Tomorrow’s Bad Seeds, Through the Roots, and Seedless. You can find more info about the show and any other upcoming shows on our Myspace page.

AH: What were the three best albums that came out in 2009? 
MS: My personal top 3 albums for 2009 would have to be Shpongle’s Ineffable Mysterious From Shpongleland, Porcupine Tree’s The Incident, and probably Converge’s Axe to Fall, in no particular order.

AH: If you could open for any band/musician who would it be? 
MS: In all honesty as corny as it sounds, I think it would be sick to open up for Blink 182. Those guys are awesome and hilarious.

AH: Best movie you’ve seen recently? 
MS: Hmm… I’m not much of a movie guy but Zombieland was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time.

AH: What are you reading right now? 
MS: Don’t tell the government, but I’m currently in possession of a book called How To Stage A Military Coup: Planning to Execution by Ken Connor.

Don't miss Mike and the rest of Genuine Uprising this Saturday at the 1st Annual Dub City Music Festival. Click the poster below for festival details. Check out the boys on myspace [here] and become a fan on facebook [here].

- Amy
Listening to: Genuine Uprising's "Today"

Thursday, January 21, 2010

It never rains in southern california, it pours man it pours

Weird lyrics. They're completely at variance. It never rains. But it pours. No one would understand but us fine folks here in Orange and LA Counties. Over the past few days we've been ripped from our normal routine amidst lavish sunshine, and pulled into a torrential deluge that's making us all second guess our compliance to Manifest Destiny.

Turns out, Orange County has had it's share of freakish floods and raucous rainstorms in the past. One of my favorite blogs to check in on is Chris Jepsen's O.C. History Roundup. Written by a Board Member of the Orange County Historical Society, the blog is like the COSTCO of Orange County history, an endless wealth of local knowledge and anecdotes. Yesterday he posted a blog on past flooding in Orange County. Here's just one of the photos he posted from the Orange County Archives. Jepsen writes "The photo below shows the Pacific Electric Railway bridge over the mouth of the Santa Ana River during the 1927 flood... Indeed, we're seeing the River cut a path directly to the ocean (as it does today), rather than turning southeast to empty into Newport Bay the way it once did."

See his whole blog here! And subscribe to it. His blog, I mean. It's interesting. I heartily endorse.

Stay warm and wear your coats,
On my iPod: "Sometimes" by James
(Listen to it below! It's the perfect song for this weather.)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Keeping it Crafty

Crafting is in the air these days- can you feel it? Bloggers everywhere are posting new and innovative ways to rework, recycle (or "upcycle"), and repurpose items (Sidenote: Did you notice that I repurposed that header from my crafting post on the 11th?). From turning the sweater grandma knit you a few years ago into a sweet "new" knapsack to making your own "organic foot balm," the creativity is bursting at the seams. Well, the creative juices are flowing in good ol' OC, as well! SEED at The Camp in Costa Mesa is hosting a series of DIY workshops this month, and we thought you'd wanna know about it! Check out this list of super-sweet workshops that Seed has lined up through the end of the month:

You'll want to check it out, and get your own juices flowing. That's right, juices.

Click here to read our Fashion columnist Malia Hill's article on SEED in the November issue of The Gazette!
Click here to visit SEED's website for more info about products and cool events coming up!


on my iTunes: Death Cab for Cutie's "Title and Registration"

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Movies (and Wine!) Coming to Downtown San Juan Capistrano

From gourmet brunch at Ramos House, to peaceful walks through the Mission, to killer tacos at Pedro's, San Juan Capistrano is full of opportunities for daytime fun. But when the sun goes down, there are few local nightlife options except for the Swallows Inn (where a young lady can expect to get strong drinks and free dance lessons from nice local gentlemen in cowboy hats on weekend nights). If line dancing's not your style, or you'd like to give your boots a break, you'll have a new option in SJC for nighttime fun this spring.
    Regency is renovating a theater in Franciscan Plaza on Verdugo Street that has sat empty since 2000, when Edwards Cinemas went bankrupt. After lengthy negotiations, Regency signed a contract with the city for a $450,000, no-interest loan to bring movies back to downtown, as reported by the OC Register.
    The theater was due to open by Thanksgiving, but as construction continues, the date has been pushed back to March. The four-screen theater is set to feature a wine and beer bar and gourmet snacks like Kobe beef burgers and chopped-shrimp salads, giving it an upscale twist on the traditional cinema. The Capistrano Dispatch reported that the the company's goal is to create a destination theater, where people will come from around Orange County to lounge in its leather seats and have a glass of wine. See you there, and I'll take a glass of the Cabernet, please!


Monday, January 18, 2010

Local Band Spotlight: Ralph Hinkley Syndrome

We say it pretty often, but somehow I feel it needs to be said more: Orange County is a hot spot for bands and independent musicians. Just look at Gwen Stefani, Thrice, Atreyu, and The Offspring for starters- all of which set their roots in OC- the talent keeps popping up in this county; you'd think we were a regular musician plantation.
Today, I'd like to draw your attention to one particular gem- a local band of rising notoriety: Ralph Hinkley Syndrome.

OC Weekly's Nate Jackson writes, "...their sound encompasses all the virtues of coffee-house rock, right down to the strategically uplifting harmonies and introspective lyrics of love and loss spiced with slivers of Seattle grunge. And then there's the spirituality." (click here to read the full article)

Jackson's review hits it on the mark, and I'd add emphasis to their stylistic range; visit the band's myspace to hear the soothing harmonies and soulful lyrics of tracks "Waiting" and "Only Then," while listening to "My Eyes Have Hands" and "Lombard Street" will take you back to the best aspects of 90s alternative rock. Sounds like a wide spectrum, doesn't it? Ralph Hinkley Syndrome leaves you far from bored or underwhelmed. There's an eclectic mix of styles and moods. I especially like "Travel," complete with snapping and dreamy lyrics of rain and wanderlust.

It's hard to put these guys into just one genre- those confining little boxes we use to wrap our heads around what a band is trying to do- but Ralph Hinkley Syndrome chooses "Indie/Alternative/Grunge" on their site, and they describe their musical style in the following manner:

"Imagine the sweet melodies of a Sebadoh ballad combined with the driving guitar riffs of Jimmy Eat World. Then stir in some haunting synth-lines in the vane of Jeremy Enigk and top it off with deep lyrical honesty from the likes of Ben Gibbard. Finally, sprinkle on some Kurt Cobain grunginess and you create a sonic recipe for the signature sounds of Ralph Hinkley Syndrome (RHS)."

 It's a smorgasbord of style that will be sure to satisfy all your musical moods, any day of the week. You'll want to keep your eyes (and ears) on these guys.

Click here to access their myspace (and tunes!)


on my iTunes: Ralph Hinkley Syndrome's "Travel"

Friday, January 15, 2010

Classic Cars & Outlaw Cowboy Bands: The Selvedge Yard

[Some of what you'll find at The Selvedge Yard]

"In my head there's all these classic cars and outlaw cowboy bands, I always kinda sorta wished I was someone else," sang The Gaslight Anthem. That "someone else" for me is Jon Patrick, the mastermind behind my favorite blog The Selvedge Yard.

Life as a blogger can be rough. I know first hand. And I don't mean for those once-every-three-months sporadic bloggers. I'm talking about the dedicated bloggers who somehow manage to put out intriguing posts with useful information paired with humorous personal anecdotes and witty commentary every single day to share with the world wide web. This is the kind of blogger I aspire to be. Jon Patrick is one of these blogging geniuses. The Selvedge Yard is a blog dedicated to the golden days of yester-year. Vintage tattoos, classic cars, classic bikes, classic films, music, men's style, icons, artists, photographers, architects, old trends, outlaws, cowboys, vixens, models, sports stars... all things great about that time not so long ago.  Every day I head over to The Selvedge Yard and every day I am greeted with another post, stocked full of pictures and overflowing like a fountain of vintage knowledge. Let me just give you last week's blog titles:
  1. Ladies Love Outlaws: Waylon, Willie, Johnny, Kris & Company
  2. Hammer of The Gods: Jimmy Page's Epic Double Neck Gibson Guitar
  3. Bring Back The 'Stache: Men, Mustaches, Marvels and Missteps
  4. The Selvedge Yard x Definitive Touch: 2009 Wrap Up
  5. "The Piano Has Been Drinking...": Tom Waits, Your Inner Drunkard

[What you will be greeted with at The Selvedge Yard]

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  James Dean, Johnny Cash, Ralph Lauren, Jayne Mansfield, Bob Marley, The Bristol Tattoo Club, The Clash, Dennis Hopper, Jack Kerouac - all these guys and more can be found at The Selvedge Yard.  I always felt like I was born in the wrong era. I rock Marilyn Monroe eyeliner every day, have an iPod and CD collection well stocked with everything from The Rat Pack to Johnny Cash to Led Zeppelin, and am constantly taking notes from icon/vixens Audrey Hepburn, Anita Pallenberg, and Bridget Bardot in a feeble attempt to live out my life in the style and class of those bygone eras. They say you can't live in the past, but The Selvedge Yard helps me do just that, and I'm grateful for it.

- Amy
On my iPod: Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm Gonna Leave You"

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"...somewhere between full-blown, howling death and a basket of newborn kittens" exists Jeremy Fish

San Franciscan Jeremy Fish has blown into Orange County vicariously through a slew of paintings and installations at the Laguna Art Museum called Weathering the Storm. It’s not hard to find. Just follow the trail of wood chip and curled shavings, the mingled scent of paint and lacquer, and the sounds of “Ahhhhh”ing wonderment.

Not sure whether his work will suitably entertain? Let me answer that question with an excerpt from Fish’s web site bio written by Aesop Rock...

“I would like to think that somewhere between full-blown, howling death and a basket of newborn kittens exists a climate where the malice and the mirth can mingle. A couple of daisies on your grave, a little venom in your cocoa, some broken glass in your bouncy castle. This type of polar mixer can serve as an intriguing, endlessly entertaining, true-to-life foundation from which a smidgen of lore can grow. Exaggerate the extremes even a little, and the stories, characters, and places that emerge warp accordingly. It is the recognition and exploitation of this tension that immediately drew me to the work of upstate New York-born, San Francisco-based artist Jeremy Fish.”

I imagine that Fish, otherwise known as “The King of North Beach,” was born in a lab by some marvel of science in which the ancient powers of Albrecht Durer were morphed with the dual artistic antics of Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser in a sealed atmosphere filled with vintage air from the hazed San Francisco streets during the 1960s Psychedelic Art Movement. Somewhere in the process, a small 13 year-old skateboarding doodler was lost in the mix but to the benefit of the overall outcome.

The outcome is as thus follows:


ps- wanna know who the Robin of El Dorado is? Here's his headless history!

View of the Laguna Art Museum Exhibition, courtesy of the Laguna Art museum Flickr Site...

Another art installation by Fish, courtesy of the Laguna Art museum Flickr Site...

Fish’s work is on display at Laguna Art Museum for only a few days more! The exhibit ends after the 17th of January. And now for the final enticement for your attendance:

Jeremy Fish Opening Night Reception from LagunaArtMuseum on Vimeo.

Fish created a limited edition print exclusively for Laguna Art Museum.
 Available for sale in the Museum Store now through January 17, 2010.
 (Not available online)

Check out more of Jeremy Fish's work here. Prepare yourself for greatness.


On my iPod: "Somebody to Love" by Queen

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Local Artist Spotlight: Jay Buchanan

[photo by: Libby Wendt]

There are so many great local bands and musicians here in Orange County. But one of my favorite, hands DOWN, is Jay Buchanan. Gypsy Lounge owner, the great and powerful Mike Concepcion, has been quoted as saying he is "gay for Jay." That's how good he is. Women love him, and men want to be him. He is an intoxicating musical cocktail of rock n' roll, soul, psychadelia, and pure, undefiled, raw emotion.

[Jay rockin the harmonica at a Rival Sons show at the Hard Rock in San Diego]

Jay has the kind of story just begging to be made into a VH1 Behind the Music featurette. Made straight F's in highschool but read Henry Miller novels and Dostoyevsky purely for pleasure. Like a page out of Into The Wild, Buchanan just up and left his Southern California home at 20 and hitch-hiked his way to Alaska, just a journal, harmonica and guitar to survive on. Living out the Bob Dylan lyrics "well, I got a harmonica job, begun to play, blowin' my lungs out for a dollar a day" Jay made his way as a troubador by playing for whoever would listen, carefully evading the authorities at every point. He's been courted by exec after record label exec, he's been oh-so-close to hitting it "big" oh-so-many times, and instead of coming out of this vicious cycle a weather-worn, bottle-hugging would-have-been, he's still making some of the best music of his life. All the heartaches and letdowns that afflict all musicians either to make or break them, have worked to mold Buchanan into a well seasoned musician with a good head on his shoulders and a clear perspective on what really matters in life.

[Photo by Becky Neiman]

I often describe Jay to friends as the love child of Robert Plant and Janis Joplin. His voice has that banshee-esque quality, reminiscent of that golden musical era of Zeppelin and Joplin and Van Morrison mixed with the soul and vocal flexibility of his musical inspirations Otis Redding and Nina Simone. Add to that the folk quality of one of his other inspirations, Bob Dylan, and you're close to describing the glory that is Jay Buchanan. He's raucous and sensitive all at the same time. It's glorious. And it's just one of those things that you have to experience live to fully understand. The albums don't do him justice; The live videos don't even do it. My attempts at explaining it are definitely not doing it. Just look up the next time Jay Buchanan will be in your town (his band the Rival Sons have a residency at Cinespace in Holllywood in January), and be there. You can thank me later.

[Jay (second to left) with the rest of The Rival Sons]

I sound like an addict, I know. But I'm not alone. There's a community of Jay Buchanan addicts out there. The OC Gazette design team makes up a small part of that community. OC Weekly's Rick Kane is another loyal addict, quoted as saying that Jay "is becoming like a bad, bad habit - hear them, and you'll want to feel that good for the rest of your life." "He'll break your heart," said long-time Jay supporter and addict Linda Jemison of the Doll Hut in Anaheim. This was posted by a fan on Jay's band's online forum: "Your music hauntingly soothes me … or does it soothingly haunt me?" Here is a link to Jay's solo myspace page (authors note: we listen to "Feel Better" on repeat during our last day of uploading the magazine to press. It's the only thing that keeps us from bursting into tears from exhaustion), here is a link to his old band Buchanan, and here is a link to Jay's band the Rival Sons myspace page. Get ready to reach nirvana.

- Amy
Listening to Jay Buchanan's "Feel Better"

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

"Ordinary Days" at South Coast Repertory

"Never let tall buildings block the view of your dreams." In a concrete jungle that's home to over 8 million people, it's easy to feel ordinarily small. What's my life story? Where's my life going? These prevailing, common uncertainties are explored in the lives of four 20- and 30-somethings in Adam Gwon's auspicious new musical "Ordinary Days."

This past Saturday, I took in an evening at the theater with Jennifer Hood (Gazette Creative Director). Our evening began with a simple stroll through South Coast Plaza, a visit to the Nordstrom eBar, and a few paused moments to hear the joyous sound of the department store's house pianist. Next, we walked across the blue-lit bridge, arching over Bristol, to South Coast Repertory. Upon entering the foyer doors we were welcomed with New York themed cocktails, complimenting the evening's much anticipated performance. We quickly found our seats and waited for the show to begin on the Julianne Argyros Stage.

Warren (Nick Gabriel) and Jason (David Burnham) in the musical number "One by One by One." Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.

"Ordinary Days" is set in New York City and tells the story of Warren, Deb, Jason and Claire. These four somewhat lost individuals come together in pairs to discover themselves and work through life's holdups. Warren is a lonely handbill jockey who finds frantic Deb's lost notebook, containing her grad school thesis. They meet at the Met and develop a sassy friendship that evolves over a tall Starbuck's order and a colorful, inspiring, rooftop paper storm that is completely magical. Jason and Claire are a familiar romantic duo: the uncommitted, scared girlfriend type and the ready-to-tie-the-knot boyfriend. In the middle of a who's-bringing-what-wine to dinner fight, Jason says, "I'll bring the red/You bring the white/That way I'll still get drunk/You'll still be right."

Deb (Deborah S. Craig) and Warren (Nick Gabriel) in the musical number "Sort-Of Fairy Tale." Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.

Adam Gwon's 80-minute musical is lyrically conversational. The dialogue moves quickly, except for a few slower musical numbers that reveal the character's emotional development. Director Ethan McSweeny comments on Gwon's songs, "They're really good stories, and they stand up to moment-to-moment exploration of the situation from an acting point of view." There is also a wonderful on-stage pianist and Musical Director, Dennis Castellano, who plays almost the entire duration of the show. How incredible is that?

Claire (Nancy Anderson) and Jason (David Burnham) in the musical number "I'll Be Here." Photo by Henry DiRocco/SCR.

The best stories are made of true, realistic stories, and these characters go through very believable trials that the audience can participate and reminisce in. And what better setting than NYC? It is a city that we all love; even if we've never been there. Taking a cue from Mr. Sinatra, let's start spreading the news. Let's be a part of it. New York, New York! You'll love this lighthearted and inspiring, quirky, fun show! I did.

"Ordinary Days" performances run through January 24th, 2010. For ticket information visit South Coast Repertory online or call the box office (714) 708-5555. Ticket special: every Friday and Sunday night is a "Pay Your Age" night; $10 for teens, $20 for 20-somethings, and $30 for 30-somethings.
- Sara
Listening to Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind, Pt. II"

Monday, January 11, 2010

Handmade Headbands

This year, I made a few headbands to give as Christmas presents to some friends. I think I made about ten of them, and (as with all cute homemade crafty things) was semi-reluctant to part with them. I meant to take a picture of each of them individually, but I feel like the holidays happened so fast this year, and I didn't have much spare time. I did manage to get these shots of the bands I gave my Gazette co-workers, though:



Amy loves feathers, so I covered hers,

Just an example of a fairly simple craft project, if you're the artsy type. Just beware of the glue gun- it bites! :x


On my iTunes: the Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack featuring Karen O. and the Kids
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