Friday, April 30, 2010

Dolphin City and Sol Cocina

Friday has finally come. It came about as fast as the two little daschund's I saw frantically trying to cross Crown Valley Pkwy this morning as fast as their stubby little legs could go as their owner forged ahead, dragging them along; But nonetheless it came. I admit, I am being a little melodramatic. This week had many highlights including getting to hang out with our good friends Mona Shah and Chef Deborah Schnieder at launch party for her new book, Amor y Tacos, last night. I understand that I have blogged about this book/event going on three times now, but they say if you say something three times people will remember it. And I'm telling you, you need to remember to either buy this book or visit Sol Cocina for a fabulous dinner overlooking the marina. The food at the party was amazing - and that is the understatement of the century. "Antojitos" were served, which are Mexico's version of hors d'oeuvres or appetizers. We had lamb, ceviche, guacamole, tacos, and more. And to wash it all down, watermelon margaritas made with fresh watermelon and basil served in a glass with a rim dipped in chili spices, mixed for each guest by the legendary mix-master Manny Hinojosa. All of the recipes are available in Chef Deborah's book, which we bought and had her sign. Seriously, get a copy. You'll be supporting local business, local community and your tastebuds.

{ Left: The lovely Mona Shah and I with Fran-Sancho as Chef Deb calls him. Sancho is a term used in Mexico for men who visit your wife while you're away from home. As used in the Sublime song, Santeria. Right: Chef Deb cooking up some amazing food. }

{ Sara Wilkins with Chef Deborah who she interviewed for The OC Gazette this month. Check out the piece here. }

I also drove up to KOCI 101.5FM's headquarters yesterday to sit in on a recording of Revolution Radio. We did a spotlight on this awesome local radio station a few weeks ago. They are based out of Costa Mesa/ Newport Beach and you can get their signal up to about the 133. We listen to them online for this reason (check it out here). They play everything from classic rock to new rock, alternative to blues, and they always support the local OC bands and artists. Last night in studio I got to hang out with the amiable members of Dolphin City. You might know the guys as Make Moon - they play under both monikers. They are a talented group of guys from Newport Beach who have been playing everywhere from jolly old England to LA. Not only are they talented musicians, they are just funny guys. They joked their way through the whole interview. It's always great meeting down to earth bands who put out great music but don't take themselves to seriously.They are currently recording and will be playing a show at the Boathouse Collective soon, a brand new (and amazing) venue in Costa Mesa. Check the website for details soon.

{ Dolphin City on air with Revolution Radio host Mike Wheaton. Photo by Sarah Buss}

{ The band and friends. Photo by Sarah Buss }

Check out the Revolution Radio facebook for more photos and links. Become a fan while you're at it. We have to support local radio.

And, if you're looking for something to do this weekend, might I suggest what I'm doing: Watching the Lakers game tonight. It's game 6 people, so get excited. Or my other plan: to head up to The Arc Light in Hollywood to see Exit Through The Gift Shop, the new documentary (or is it a mockumentary?) on street artist Banksy. 

Enjoy your Friday - you guys earned it. 

- Amy
On my iTunes: David Bowie's "Space Oddity"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Laugh it Off. A "How To" and "What For" of sorts.

I’ve been realizing lately that humor might just save us. Life can be pretty heavy. Runaway Priuses on the 5 and Ricky Martin is gay? I’m still reeling from Solitaire being banned from comps across school and work campuses in America. But Laughter will save us. The stats and docs second my motion.

Studies show that 15 minutes of laughter equals the benefit of 2 hours sleep (which means you can watch another disc of your Friends anthology tonight after all, providing you have a good guffaw tomorrow). One good belly laugh burns off 3 1/2 calories (which means you’ll have to watch Jerry Seinfeld’s “I’m Telling You For The Last Time” stand-up routine to burn off that double double you just christened with “animal style”). Laughing for 15 seconds adds 2 days to your life span (Which means it’s not wrong to laugh at those people who use the phrase “and whatnot” after every statement they utter).

Despite the off-the-chart boom in the use of the word “LOL” to cap practically every text message sent in the past 5 years - besides the “stop talking to me, creep” text, that is - our actual laugh rate is down 60% from the 1950s, and the commies aren’t even coming to get us! It’s time we lightened up.

Here’s a list of situations and observations that have made me laugh this week:
• People at Peet’s coffee ordering by Starbuck’s Italian sizing.
• The looks on the Peet’s Barista’s face when someone orders by Starbuck’s Italian sizing.
• Starting conversations with people you don’t know in your association Jacuzzi/Spa.
• The either pleased or creeped-out faces of your conversation victims.
• Watching 20-something guys with faux-hawks in Acuras taking sharp corners with their heads out their car window.
• Inferring as much as possible about someone by their rear-view mirror ornaments.
• Inferring as much as possible about someone by the coffee they order.
• Inferring as much as possible by what conversation a person chooses to offer in a Jacuzzi/spa.

Here are some easy ways to get your own laughter-fest kicking.
• Dance in your car to the point that the vehicle is moving due to forces other than the 5-fwy’s want of repaving. This will attract the attention of other drivers. This will make the situation funnier.
• Hug someone you usually only high-five.
• Reset your co-worker’s screensaver to an image of a pickle on a cutting board.
• Chase someone.
• Chase your co-worker in your office complex (this works. It’s funnier than you’d think).
• Turn everything your co-worker says into an innuendo by simply repeating their sentences back to them and modifying the emphasis and inflexion.
• Cast the film autobiography of your life. In mine, Jack Nicholson plays my dad and Daniel Day-Lewis plays my boyfriend. And he has a handle bar mustache. There’s nothing wrong with embellished reality…
• Read Esquire’s list of “1000 Things You Don’t Know About Women.” Here’s a sample of some of the listed wisdom submitted by local ladies:
No. 332: We notice what you have on your nightstand, and we draw as many conclusions as possible. 
-Catlin Moore, 24, Long Beach, California.
No. 902: Don't buy greeting cards unless you absolutely have to. To put it gently, it's an art you have yet to master. -Carolyn Morgan, 33, Irvine, California.
No. 312: There should never be rhinestones on your clothing. Or your belt. Ever. We are the sparkly ones. -Lindsay Coluccio, 33, Newport Beach, California.
• Read that forwarded e-mail from your spam-happy internet-savvy Uncle Tom about bad woman drivers. It is pretty funny.
• Listen to an Alvin and the Chipmunks album.
• Pick up out of date, underused, or avoided slang words. My pick: the word “clean” denoting coolness (example: that turtleneck you’re rocking is “cleeaaaannn.”)
• Go watch the original Death At A Funeral before seeing the new one. I don’t see how it can possibly be improved upon, but we’ll see.

• Go see witty satirist, best-selling author, and NPR personality David Sedaris this Tuesday at Long Beach’s Terrace Theater. He’s gay, he’s Jewish, he once worked as an elf at the Macy’s Christmas gig. He can find the humor in anything.
Concentrate too hard on the millions of people who hate you for what you are and you're likely to turn into one of those unkempt, sloppy dressers who sag beneath the weight of the two hundred political buttons they wear pinned to their coats and knapsacks.” – David Sedaris.
Event  is May 4th, 7:30pm at Terrace Theater, 300 E. Ocean Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90802. 562-436-3636.

Get your cackle, chuckle, or chortle going. A laugh a day keeps the ulcers away.
On my iPod: “Love Vigilantes” by New Order. On my tele: A Reading on Letterman by David Sedaris


Rancho Days Fiesta in Lake Forest

This Sunday, May 2nd, Heritage Hill Historical Park will welcome back the anticipated annual event, Rancho Days Fiesta. 

To celebrate the richness of Orange County's past there will be live entertainment, food, and activities for the whole family. Enjoy performances by Native American dancers, Ballet Folklorico, mariachi music, roving sea shanty singers, and even dancing horses! Learn the crafts of rope making, flint-knapping and basket-weaving through interactive demonstrations. Browse the displayed wares of local artisans and crafters and listen as local storytellers bring Orange County’s past to life. Refreshments and lunch will be available for a low price. 

Admission is $3.00 per child (3-12 years) and $4.00 per adult, parking is FREE, and events run from 11 am to 3 pm.

Heritage Hill Historical Park is located at 25151 Serrano Road, Lake Forest, 92630
For more information, call: (949) 923-2230
Or visit


on my blip: Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Meet Vicki Gunvalson

Tonight from 7pm -9pm at the Borders at South Coast Plaza, you'll have the chance to meet Vicki Gunvalson, star of "The Real Housewives of Orange County." Vicki will be autographing copies of her latest book, More than a Housewife. Also on hand will be Jill Zarin of "The Real Housewives of New York" signing copies of her book Secrets of a Jewish Mother

Both Housewives will discuss their books, their experience on the TV reality series and hold a Q&A session with fans. They will be signing copies of their book immediately following the discussion. Books can be purchased at Borders before or during the event. 

Call Borders for more info at 714-432-7854!

7 Reasons

A list by Amy Hood

{Bryant and Durant go head to head. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images}

1. Lakers are in prime playoff - nay - championship form.
Kobe is on fire, jacked up finger or none. The sleeping giant that was Andrew Bynum has finally awoken with a ferocity and lust to win that we knew was lying somewhere underneath that once sleepy-Tracy-Morganesque-blank stare. Even Pau Gasol is getting aggressive. The Lakers bench is looking like the cut throat mob it was, as opposed to the bingo hall at Leisure World that it had been resembling. Ron Ron is making shots and bringing the aggressive defense. Kobe got to sit out the whole fourth quarter because we were so far ahead. Even Adam Morrison made some shots. Adam...Morrison. NBA Finals, here we come.

2. Lebron James may have hurt his elbow. 
I guess this is only good news for anyone who is not a Cavs fan. Colin Cowherd, host of The Herd radio show on ESPN radio put it best: If Kobe's gone there are seven other AMAZING players left. Remember when Sporting News' panel of 107 Hall of Famers, major award winners, executives, current players and coaches and other basketball experts picked the 50 Best players in the NBA today? Not only did they pick Kobe as number 1, the Lakers team had the most players on the list at 5. Colin Cowherd was discussing just this on his show this morning as I drove to work. He compared the Lakers to Oceans 11. Sure George Clooney and Brad Pitt are the main guys, but if they go down, Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Julia Roberts, and whoever could pick up the torch and trek on. He then went on to compare the Cavs to Castaway. Tom Hanks... and a volleyball. "When Lebron grabbed his elbow, the whole state of Ohio gasped," Cowherd said. Well put sir. Well put. Although I would like to see the Lakers meet the Cavs in the finals. Finally put that argument to rest and see how the teams actually match up when the rubber meets the road.

3. The Teachers Strike is Over.
Monday night the teachers and CUSD came to a tentative 3 year agreement after a 32 hour closed door bargaining session. The teachers union say they are happy and the kids are back in classes and learning. That's a reason to smile.

{Chef Deborah Schneider of Sol Cocina in her kitchen}

4. Sol Cocina is having a party and you're invited!
Sol Cocina Executive Chef Deborah Schneider's new book Amor y Tacos is out and Sol Cocina is celebrating! Join the party on April 29th at Sol Cocina in Newport Beach (at PCH and Bayside, at Balboa Marina). The fun starts at 5:30. Food and drinks featured in the book will be presented along with random table drawings for signed giveaways. Chef Deborah, who has been featured in Food & Wine Magazine as well as The OC Gazette recently, will be rubbing elbows with guests throughout the night, talking food and signing books. Fellow OC Gazette designer Sara Wilkins and I will be there with bells on. You should too!

What: Amor y Tacos Book Launch Celebration
Where: Sol Cocina - 251 E. Coast Hwy
When: Thursday, April 29, 2010 5:30-10pm
Who: You!

{Brian Fallon and the Gaslight Anthem}

5. The Gaslight Anthem is coming out with a new album.
Yes, Brian Fallon and his band of Jersey boys have done it again. If you haven't heard them, check out the video above. They are like a mashup of Social Distortion, Bruce Springsteen, and The Alkaline Trio. They're basically amazing punk/alternative/classic American rock n' roll. The new album is called American Slang and you can pre-order it today at

{From Left to Right: Janet Lojeski graces the cover of our June cover of the South OC Gazette, while Kristen lights up the Central cover.}

6. The new issue of the OC Gazette is here.
Yes, in your mailbox you should have already found your copy of The OC Gazette. Didn't get one?  Don't panic. You can pick one up for FREE at one of our rack locations (click here for the list). It's got features, stories, guides and interview all dedicated to this great community we call home. We interviewed Christine Woods, Lake Forest native and actress of the hit ABC show Flashforward; We followed Executive Chef and Author Deborah Shneider of NB's Sol Cocina for a day; We looked into the history and rebirth of the Yost Theater in Santa Ana as OC's cultural hub; We checked up with local artist and designer Brian Lindstrom, the guy who's making a difference one poster at a time; We sat down with Janet Lojeski who told us why her cancer insurance policy could mean peace of mind when you need it most; We talked with Kristen Oviedo who gave us her recipe for successfully marketing 3 businesses in a down economy, and how you can do the same; and we got you the skinny on all the best restaurants and events in town. All for free, all for you, all because we love OC.

7. The rain has gone and the sun is here.
We got a nice April shower last night, but it's 12:15 now, and the sun is shining, as it should be. 

So breath easy folks, and take it in. Life is good.

- Amy
On my iTunes: Gaslight Anthem's "59 Sound."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Newport Beach Film Fest

Keeping in tune with what my lovely co-worker Amy blogged about on Friday, I'm here today to remind you that the Newport Beach Film Festival is continuing to show hand-selected films through this Thursday night. It's not too late to get out to Newport and take part in an excellent film series!

The NBFF staffers were kind enough to set aside some press passes for the Gazette (could it have been our article on the history of the Festival in the April issue that did the charm?), so I went out to the Edwards of Fashion Island on Sunday (one of the main theater venues for the Festival) and attended the Fairy Tale/Fantasy Shorts. In about an hour and a half, I saw six short films (between 15-20 minutes each) that fit under the Fairy Tale/Fantasy genre. Without giving away too much- no spoiler alert here- I'll say that I was enchanted as Snow White went on trial, a ghost appeared to a WWI soldier, a 10 year-old boy escaped into adventures of "Adam Avenger," a goofy Glenn Owen Dodds showed that he was G.O.D., a young boy found out about his dad's true super-identity, and Patrick Warburton kicked some serious fanny in a spoof of action movies.

This is all just to tickle your taste buds and entice you to get out there yourself. You can see some great films and support a whole slew of sponsors (from the city of Newport Beach to the Daily Pilot to the Chamber of Commerce to Absolut Vodka) in the process! The Festival is populated by sponsors, filmmakers, actors, and film aficionados alike, so you'll be rubbing elbows with all kinds! At the screening I attended on Sunday, there was a 30 minute Q&A time with directors/producers from four out of the five shorts. This helped shed a lot of light on the film making process, the challenges of making a film, insight into artistic decisions made, and an idea of the finances required to make a film.

Film screenings are typically $15/person, and there are also a few after-parties you can buy food/drink-inclusive tickets to.

Click here for the schedule grid (once there, scroll to the top of the page to pick a day)
Click here for the Festival program- a list of the 300+ films and their synopses.

Let us know which films you're interested in seeing! We hope to see you there!

on my blip: Fanfarlo's "The Walls are Coming Down"

Monday, April 26, 2010

Dreamgirls: Now Showing at OCPAC

Acting, singing, dancing: the triple threat that gets me every time. Throw in live music, glitter, and comedy, and I'm sold. Within the first five seconds of Act I in Dreamgirls, I got it all.

Dreamgirls, directed and choreographed by Robert Longbottom, is making its debut at the Orange County Permorming Arts Center in Costa Mesa. Dreamgirls tells the story of Deena Jones, Lorrell Robinson, and Effie White, three rising singers, trying to make it big in the 1960s, while in the dreary company of adversity, heartbreak, and sacrifice. Their on-stage, show stoppin' performance is burdened and eventually curtailed by their off-stage diva drama.

Adrienne Warren (Lorrell), Syesha Mercado (Deena) and Margaret Hoffman (Michelle) (c) Joan Marcus

The story begins at a talent contest where The Dreamettes (the girls singing group) are offered their very first gig as backup singers to James "Thunder" Early. Lead singer Effie White proclaims, "I ain't singing behind nobody!" From the start, Effie reveals her frontman arrogance. They accept the job, but because of Effie's attitude and the nature of the cost of fame, the girls ride a slippery slope to stardom. 

After a stint of backing for James Early, The Dreamettes' manager Curtis Taylor, Jr., who is quite the hustler, transforms the trio into their own group: the Dreams. He makes drastic changes, moving Deena to the front of the group, and Effie to the back. With her ego wounded, Effie lashes out. To Effie, Deena has stolen her lead and stolen her man. Jimmy tries to tell Effie, "The best survive no matter where they're put." But, Effie leaves the group, giving a very emotional farewell with the number "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going", demanding "you're gonna love me". 

 Moya Angela (Effie) (c) Joan Marcus 

Act II follows the cast on their individual paths as they try to find their way back to where they belong. Effie makes a refined comeback as a solo artist. She ends up going head to head with Deena and the Dreams, fighting on the music charts with the number "One Night Only". Will the girls reunite and put aside their diva differences? Or will the 'fame monster' eat them alive?

Moya Angela stuns us as Effie with powerhouse, velvety smooth vocals that will seep down into your soul. Her character's trials pull at your heartstrings, and make you want to rise up on your feet and join her in a march against everyone who has wronged her, despite the fact that she's dug her own grave.

Chester Gregory (James Early), Syesha Mercado (Deena), Moya Angela (Effie) and Adrienne Warren (Lorrell) (c) Joan Marcus

A colorful, talented supporting cast provides a refreshing break from the show's relationship drama. Chester Gregory steals the show as James Early, and continually provides comic relief. His singing and dancing is reminiscent of favored 50s- and 60s-era hit makers: a mash of Chuck Berry/Elvis Presley/Otis Redding/Little Richard/James Brown (mixed in with a little of Dave Chappelle's impression of Rick James). He has rhythm and blues running through his bones. "I'm Jimmy and I've got to have soul!"

The company of DREAMGIRLS (c) Joan Marcus
Dreamgirls is a feast for the senses: an ever-interesting ensemble of glittery costumes, brilliant lighting, soulful R & B singing, and sensational dance moves. This production hails straight from Harlem's Apollo Theater, and features a cast whose presence is larger than life as they give their all in this heart and soul performance. 

Orange County Performing Arts Center – Segerstrom Hall

April 26 – May 2
Monday – Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday at 1 and 6:30 p.m.
The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, May 1 will be sign-language interpreted.

600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Tickets:      Start at $20
In person - The Center Box Office:
                  600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
                  Open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily
Online -
Phone -      714.556.2787
                  Open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily
TTY number -   714.556.2746
Group Services - 714.755.0236

Coming Soon to OCPAC: The Lion King - May 26th through June 13

- Sara
Listening to "Steppin' to the Bad Side" from Dreamgirls

Friday, April 23, 2010

This Weekend: NBFF

Here at The OC Gazette we take pride in our dedication to finding you, our faithful readers, the most interesting local events going on in our community. Even more than that, we love finding you uber fun (insert shaka here) events that won’t put a harsh on your wallet’s vibe. Therefore, following you will find a list of FREE film screenings going on at the Newport Beach Film Festival this weekend:


For all you cowboys:
See Stagecoach, 1939
Director: John Ford
Starring: Claire Trevor, and OC’s own John Wayne.
Premise: n the town of Tonto in the 1880's, a motley group of strangers boards an eastbound stagecoach to the New Mexico Territory. The simple stagecoach trip is complicated by the fact that Geronimo is on the warpath in the area. The passengers on the coach include a drunken doctor, two women, a bank manager who has taken off with his client's money, and the famous Ringo Kid, among others. They come across the Ringo Kid, whose horse had become lame and left him on foot, and he's taken into custody. When they reach Dry Fork, they are informed that the expected cavalry detachment has moved on to Apache Wells. The passengers have to decide whether to press on or turn back.
When: Sunday, April 25th, 11AM, Edwards Islands 4

For all you anarchists, misfits, hooligans, rebels without cause, young’ns, and anyone else:
See any of the shorts in the Youth Film Showcase presented by OC-based action sports company Volcom. It’s a collection of shorts all done by teenagers 18 and younger.
When: Sunday April 25th, 4:30PM, Edwards Islands 6
See the list of films and their premises here.

For all you mini-Spielbergs, Coppolas, and Elfmans: 
Check out the FREE Seminar Series: Vision and Craft: The Art of Filmmaking. The Series includes 3 Different Seminars to get you prepped and ready for becoming the next Spielberg.

10:30am-12:30am: Screenwriting: Beyond The Blank Page
12:30-2:30pm: Directing: Life at the Helm
2:30-4:30pm: Film Music Composition: Music In Motion
*Authors Note: Get there early, because it’s first come first serve, and things might end up looking like the LA riots with people fighting for a seat.

See you at the fest movie goers!

- Amy
On my iPod: U2's "Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" (The Rattle and Hum version. What the hey, just check it out below.)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Laguna Supply in Laguna Beach

Over this past weekend I had the pleasure of spending the afternoon with the Dana Marron, co-owner of one of most well-stocked boutiques in Orange County, Laguna Supply in Laguna Beach. I visit my favorite boutiques often so that I can stay current about “who is carrying what?” in a particular season, which helps me when shopping for clients. But on this day my mission was specific: find the best beach gear in town. Obviously I could just go to the local surf store down the street and find a stock bathing suit and beach cover-up, but most of my clients demand the unusual and hard to find items. Laguna Supply is, well . . . supplied perfectly.

Searching through their racks, I had one thought in mind: “it all has to go well with sand and water.” So, as I looked high and low some of the gems I came upon were: Pool and Laura Urbanati swimwear, beautifully constructed bags by Epice (a perfect place to carry around your towel, sunscreen, and maybe a trashy novel). Laguna Supply is also well-stocked in LemLem caftans and scarves, which are produced by Super Model Liya Kibede. Proceeds of this brand contribute directly towards the livelihood of the Ethiopian women who handcraft them; shopping for a cause never felt or looked better. Next I came across Tretorn, which brought me back to when I was a young girl running down to the beach in their memorable shoes. Finally, I scanned the room to check out what the mannequins were wearing, because typically what is shown on a mannequin is what is loved most in a particular boutique. To my delight, I found an olive green dress by Isabel Marant, which was slightly shear, and a great transition piece that can take you from the beach to drinks on a rooftop, well worth the $298 price tag.

As my afternoon in one of my favorite boutiques came to a close, I felt more than confident that my mission was a success. For some of the best possible beachwear in Orange County visit Laguna Supply in Laguna Beach . . . now I’m off to happy hour!

Laguna Supply
210 Beach Street
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
(949) 497-8850

- Leslie Christen
(check out Leslie's lovely lifestyle blog or contact her at

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SCR's Hilariously Horrendous Doctor Cerberus

NOW HAUNTING COSTA MESA'S SCRDoctor Cerberus swivels around the rickety and unorthodox Robertson Family and their own private horror film called life. [Graphic and Review by Jennifer Hood]

Life is, in many ways, a horror film. But it’s our own horror film. And eventually we all learn how to make it through without getting eaten by the monsters. We even learn to love our monsters. We’ve all caught Stockholm Syndrome, bowing willingly and even clinging lovingly to overbearing-Mommie-Dearest mothers, dark-side-Darth-Vader dads, and Wayne-Arnold-Wonder-Years brothers. Sure, they might be half-crazy and semi-vicious, but even Darth Vader sacrificed himself for Luke in the end. We hold out for our own personal monsters – errr families – because well, they might be horrific, but they’re our horrific family.

So goes the hilarious and unexpected feel-good story of 13 year-old Franklin Robertson and his eccentric, self-destructing, yet strangely compatible family in South Coast Repertory's world premiere of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's play, Doctor Cerberus. Aguirre-Sacasa is a genius at meshing drama and humor, having written for Marvel comic series including Spider Man and The Fantastic Four, for the HBO series "Big Love," and delving into interesting projects like his current work on creating a musical version of American Psycho (Note to Aguirre-Sacasa: Can I hope that Christian Bale might revisit the madcap role on the stage in the spirit and glory of his tuneful Newsies days?!).

[Dr. Cerberus and antihero Franklin Robertson]

Doctor Cerberus swivels around the rickety and unorthodox Robertson Family and their own private horror film called life. The play takes place in 1983 as their own “threadbare version of the American Dream” bumbles through the days in an indifferent paranoia about possible Nuclear Holocaust from Reagan’s arch nemesis (“The Focus of Evil” AKA the Soviet Union), hardly realizing that they’ll more likely destroy each other first.

Dad is the self-appointed king and god of this rebellious family unit. An everyday tax-man who has an inner yearning to be a legend of the Greek or Roman caliber, he requires his minions to call him “sir” despite his unattended authority and conquered view on life. The mother, a hilariously neurotic pessimist who thrives in her own tormented reality, is “collecting pills for her own private, personal holocaust” she threatens sardonically. All the while, the “two monsters who crawled out of her womb” float through the Robertson Family horror tale in their own na├»ve ways. Rodney, the older brother, swims through the days in a fanatic veneration for The Washington Redskins while Franklin, the play’s unsuspecting antihero, finds his own escape in collecting comic books, torching action figures, and immersing himself in local midnight TV spot, "Nightmare Theater," a nightly replay of old-school horror flicks hosted by hoakie TV personality Doctor Cerberus. Franklin knows everything and anything about the classic horror and sci-fi genre. A husky kid with no friends (although his dad fancies himself Franklin’s best friend) and a fancy for his brother’s football buddies, he dreams of becoming Doctor Cerberus’s sidekick and biographer.

[The Robertson Family watching in a how-to video on surviving nuclear fallout]

The play is a refreshingly honest, yet hyper-stylized take on growing up and holding fast to dreams that threaten to be eaten by the spellbinding, killer blob monster of the “Just get your 9-5 with wife and kids American Dream.” It’s a “reach for the stars” and “never give up” message, sans cheese and sap. Rather, the moral is given through the pity-worthy and wittily constructed monsters of Franklin’s own family. His own kin of zombies, bitten by societal traditions and resented responsibilities, are eventually saved from their drooling, desensitized stagger through life, revived again by Franklin’s unflappable and ever-fearless delve toward his dreams despite a fearful and scary world. In the end they learn that it’s not so much making life into a romantic comedy or expecting each day to end in a happily ever after, but about making the most of your own horror film, writing the humor into your seemingly lackluster circumstances, and finding inspiration even in your rejection letters. Happy films are overrated. Only the strong survive horror films; and they’ve got the real stories to tell. 

["Nightmare Theater" host: Doctor Cerberus]

Take your monster-mash family (yes that's a command) to enjoy the hilariously horrendous Doctor Cerberus at South Coast Repertory through May 2nd. Nab your tix at, by phone at (714) 708-5555 or by visiting the box office at 655 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa. Go tonight and you'll get the opportunity to pick the brains of the play's cast during the free post-show discussions led by SCR's literary team. 

On my iPod: This magnificence...

PS- Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, I'm sorry for all the adverbs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Earth Day Free Concerts

Speaking as someone who loves the earth, I always find myself sadly disappointed in Earth Day. Shouldn't it be like a big birthday party for the earth? From elementary school, I remember doing some moderately fun crafts, going on short hikes, and singing about recycling, but beyond grammar school exists a tragic scarcity of true Earth appreciation. Until this year, it seems; The Ecology Center hosted a wonderful Earth Day bash last Saturday to kick off what can be called "Earth Week", and this Thursday, on the "real" Earth Day, there are two venues to choose from to go see some good live music, all with the goal of getting locals together to celebrate this worthy occasion.

In celebration of Earth Day, The District Tustin Legacy and Long Beach Towne Center are hosting live acoustic performances on multiple stages. The shows are free, all ages, and open to the public. Locals are invited to come shop, dine, play and enjoy the entertainment!

1) Thursday, April 22, 6 – 9pm
The District at Tustin Legacy
Presents Acoustic Performances by…

Performances on two stages in the District Promenade
The District is located at 2437 Park Ave., Tustin, CA

2) Thursday, April 22, 6 – 9pm
Long Beach Towne Center
Presents Acoustic Performances by…

Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit
with DJ Velvet Touch

Performances on the LBTC stage at Edwards 26
LBTC is located at 7575 Carson Blvd., Long Beach, CA

The tough part will be deciding which to attend! Let us know which one you might go to!

On my blip: St. Vincent's "Marrow"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Revolution Radio

Like most people west of the Rockies, Mike Wheaton Made up his mind, to make a new start...went to California with an achin' in his heart. Unlike the the golden rock god [a.k.a. Robert Plant], Wheaton was in search and achin' for more than just a girl with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair - although there was probably that too. He was in search of music. You see, Mike Wheaton believes in Rock and Roll. He believes that music can save your mortal soul. Which is why he left the vast flatlands of Texas for the golden coast of California to take a summer internship with KROQ. Once he got a taste of the radio DJ gig, it was can't stop, addicted to the shin-dig, as the Chili Peppers say. He returned to Texas to finish up his Bachelors in Radio/TV/Film Communications, and went from being a regular DJ at his college radio station, to becoming music director, all the way unto general manager of the whole station. He knows to some it's only rock n' roll, but he likes it - nay - loves it.

This love story continues with Wheaton taking a job at Radio & Records, an industry trade newspaper, and then landing his first pro radio programming gig with Digital Planet, a pioneering Cable Radio company that hosted 14 different channels and formats. Basically, Wheaton has been been a pioneering revolutionary, always on the cusp of music and new radio technology since the 80's. What's he got his fingers in these days? An amazing local radio show called Revolution Radio. You can find it on your radio dial at KOCI 101.5fm, the Costa Mesa based station.

[Mike Wheaton, host of Revolution Radio.]

Wheaton may have 30 years of music experience, but he's not stuck in the old. Holding fast to that old time rock n roll as Revolution Radio's firm foundation, Wheaton builds from there, adding everything from alternative, to indie rock, from electronica to new wave. Tune in to KOCI on any Thursday night between 7-10pm and you'll find Wheaton spinning Elvis Costello followed by the Strokes, the New Pornographers, the Local Natives, then Jeff Buckley, and the list goes on. Sounds like the ultimate mixed tape, doesn't it?

"I am a true music fan," Wheaton tells me. "I try to stay on top of the latest bands and releases in the music biz. That's the best part of my job - turning people on to new music on the radio." This eclectically rich variety found on the airwaves of Revolution Radio is why the show is so popular with such a wide spectrum of listeners. "Revolution Radio appeals to a broad audience of alternative music lovers - male, female, and anywhere from 18-44 years old."

Where does Wheaton see Revolution Radio in the future? "The program is constantly evolving and growing just like the music I play on it and the dynamic guests I have. That is part of the reason why I named my show 'Revolution Radio'; The sky is the limit." As long as there's new music to be found, Wheaton will smile and grin at the change all around him, and pick up his guitar and play, just like yesterday. 

Move over Joan Jett - Mike Wheaton love's rock and roll too, and he's gonna love it till the heavens stop the rain.

- Amy
On my iPod: [OC based] Lemon Sun's "Did You Say?"

Check out my mini Q&A with Mike Wheaton below. He talks about everything from why he loves O.C. to what he's listening to now.

Best part of your day?
Probably about the first 15 minutes into Revolution Radio, it is just so much fun and so exciting at the beginning of the show.

Favorite song on rotation at KOCI’s Revolution Radio Program right now?
I love music so much I really don't like to limit myself to picking one song. If I had to pick my favorite cd of the moment I would have to say The Broken Bells featuring James Mercer of the Shins and DJ Danger mouse.

Last concert you went to?
Los Straitjackets

Favorite thing about OC?
The Weather, Lifestyle and the Beaches. Plus it is a lot easier to get parking lot space here than in L.A.

What inspires you?
Music, cinema, art, culture, cuisine and beautiful women. I would also have to add to that list learning new things and creative people.  

Check out Revolution Radio on Facebook

[Authors note: Can you find all the songs I used in this post? I dare you.]

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