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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Laguna Beach

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 15, 2013 02:45pm | Post a Comment
A WEARY ROVER'S DREAM




INTRODUCTION 


Laguna Beach is an quirky, affluent community in South Orange County. The city is the third oldest in Orange County, after San Juan Capistrano and Anaheim. It is widely known for its vibrant arts scene and environmental treasures.

It's long seemed to me that dated and inaccurate stereotypes of Los Angeles often get transferred by Angelenos who should know better to Orange County, particularly South County. Perhaps as a whole they apply more accurately to the overall suburban, right wing-leaning and WASPy southern end of the county but Laguna Beach is a lesson in why we should only make broad generalizations with caution (or not at all). In Laguna Beach there are more registered Democrats there than Republicans. By the largest majority in the county, Laguna Beach residents voted for marriage equality. There seems to be a consensus that Laguna Beach, especially South Laguna Beach, is Orange County's gay mecca. Its hilly neighborhoods look almost nothing like those in, say, Irvine. And even though I think that there's a lot more culture in Orange County than haters give it credit for, even the most stubborn denier would have to except Laguna Beach.

I've visited Laguna Beach a few times in the past, mainly for the food and the beaches. Driving through Laguna Canyon has inspired dreams of living in the chaparral-covered hillside like some Mediterranean strain of Hobbit. On another note, the trip to Laguna Beach that led to this piece was more about going to the beach than blogging, so if it seems as though I didn't spend as much time exploring on foot as I usually do, that's because I didn't. It was a friend's birthday to go (frequent travelling companion Tim Shimbles) and I didn't want to completely hijack his and his girlfriend's day with my agenda.


Long Beach Transit Free Shuttle

Most people probably visit Laguna Beach as we did, with a car. For those without cars or unafraid to take public transportation, you can also easily get to Laguna Beach on OCTA's Lines 1 and 89. Within the city, the three Laguna Beach Transit lines will take you just about anywhere a visitor would want to go. Furthermore, from 28 June until 1 September there's a free trolley which we hopped on.


LAGUNA BEACH DEMOGRAPHICS

As of 2010 Laguna Beach's population was 22,723 people. The ethnic makeup of Laguna Beach was 91% white, 7% Latino, 4% Asian, and 1% black. It's one of the wealthiest communities in the county. The oddly shaped city, roughly laid out along three spokes like a three-pronged Glaive, is bordered by Dana Point to the southeast, Aliso Viego and Laguna Niguel to the east, Laguna Woods to the northeast, a large wilderness area to the west and the even larger Pacific Ocean to the southwest.


  
Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's maps of South Orange County and Laguna Beach


Laguna Beach includes the neighborhoods of Aliso Beach, Alta Vista, Arch Beach Heights, Blue Lagoon, Bluebird Canyon, California Cove, Canyon, Canyon Acres, Central Bluff, Civic Arts District, Diamond/Crestview, Crown Royal, Downtown, Emerald Bay, Emerald Terrace, Irvine Cove, Laguna Royale, Laguna Village, Laguna Village North, Lagunita, Lower Bluebird, Main Beach, Mystic Hills, North Laguna, Park Avenue Estates, Portafina, Rancho Laguna, Smithcliffs, South Laguna Bluffs, South Laguna Village, Temple Hills, Top of the World, Treasure Island, Upper Diamond, Upper Victoria Beach, and Victoria Beach.


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EARLY HISTORY


The Old Spanish and Mexican Ranchos of Orange County California

The area around Laguna Beach is estimated to have been continuously inhabited for about 8,000 years. The Tongva arrived to the area as early as 5,000 years ago. To the south, across Aliso Creek, they were neighbored by the small Acagchemem nation, who like them spoke an Uto-Aztecan language. The Spanish arrived in 1769 and named the area La Cañada de Las Lagunas and later conquered the land -- the Laguna Lakes are the county's only natural ones. Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821 and thus future Orange County became Mexican. The lands that now include Laguna Beach were divided between Rancho San Joaquin, Rancho Niguel (named after the Native village, Niguili), and public lands.


EARLY AMERICAN ERA


Arch Beach Hotel - 1880 (image credit: LightHeaded)

The US defeated Mexico in 1848 and took over California. The Timber-Culture Act of 1871 encouraged settlement of the west and the first American to arrive, Eugene Salter, claimed part of Aliso Canyon and South Laguna. More families followed. The first permanent homes were built by William and Nathaniel "Nate" Brooks in 1876. A small settlement called Arch Beach was established at the mouth of Bluebird Canyon. Arch Beach got its own post office in 1889. In 1886, Hubbard Goff opened the Arch Beach Hotel.


Laguna Beach c. 1890 (image credit: Orange County Historical Society)



In 1887, a settlement called Lagona was established at the mouth of Laguna Canyon. A book, Laguna Beach of Early Days (1947), was written by one of the first inhabitants, Joseph Thurston. By 1888, Lagona had two schools. Lagona got its own post office in 1891. In 1889, Orange County seceded from Los Angeles County. In 1904 the residents of the community officially renamed their community Laguna Beach -- the community of Three Arches was renamed South Laguna. In 1905, Laguna Cliffs to the north were subdivided by Howard Heiseler, L.C. McKnight, and the Thumb Brothers, and were the first to offer running water to every lot.


HOTEL LAGUNA


Hotel Laguna


Although by 1900 there were only five families of permanent homesteaders farming Laguna Beach, by the 1880s the California Riviera was already attracting many tourists. The Laguna Hotel was built, burned down and rebuilt in 1888. After both it and the Arch Beach Hotel were purchased by the same owner, they were moved to the present site of the Hotel Laguna and rechristened the New Hotel Laguna. After being condemned, it was demolished in 1928 and replaced by another structure in 1930. One of the most iconic structures in town was for decades topped by a beautiful neon sign. However, in 1996 the sign was removed.


Laguna Lumber (image credit: Laguna Historical Society)



Laguna Beach was almost urbanized during the 1890s but a depression and change in the plans of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway spared the town. In 1903 Elmer Jahraus arrived from Santa Ana in and soon after opened a cigar factory. In 1913 he opened Laguna Lumber which allowed for an acceleration in Laguna Beach's growth, albeit at a measured pace, and one oriented toward tourists on stage coaches rather than steam trains.


ARTISTS


Laguna Beach Art Association c. 1925 (image credit: Laguna Art Museum)

Artists were drawn by the beautiful and dramatic landscapes. The first painting done in Laguna Beach was done so in 1878. Some of the earliest painters to come to Laguna Beach included plein air masters Anna Hills, Frank Cuprien (aka the "Dean of Laguna Artists"), Gardner Symonds, William Alexander Griffith, William Daniell, and William Wendt (aka the "Dean of Southern California landscape painters"). In 1913, a group led by Missouri-born muralist Edgar A. Payne established an artist commune. Their first public exhibition, held in 1918, attracted thousands of attendees. Bolstered by this success, Payne later founded the Laguna Beach Art Association.

Wendt later co-founded the California Art Club, and served as its president for six years. In 1961, the Laguna Beach School of Art (now known as the Laguna Beach College of Art + Design) was established.


SILENT FILM IN LAGUNA BEACH

  
  


The beautiful scenery of Laguna Beach attracted not just vacationers and artists but filmmakers, who shot a handful of silent films in the area including Neal of the Navy (1915), The Lash (1916), The Mystery Ship (1917), The Hope Diamond Mystery (1921), The Queen of Sheba (1921), The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1922), and Captain January (1924).


PAGEANT OF THE MASTERS


Recreation of The Last Supper in 1936

The Pageant of the Masters began as an event called Kitshi Manido in 1921. The second Kitshi took place in 1927. The Spirit of the Masters was added to the Festival of Arts in 1933. In 1936 it was renamed Pageant of the Masters. The pageants centered around living artists staging recreations of famous artworks. It still takes place today. 


Aliso Beach 1923 (image credit: Light Headed and the Howard Wilson Collection)


Also in the 1920s, dozens of cabins were built in Crystal Cove Park for the growing number of tourists whilst others opted to sleep in tents on Aliso Beach. The city of Laguna Beach incorporated in 1927.


Fire Station One -- Orange County's oldest operating fire station (since 1931)


HOLLYWOOD COMES TO THE BEACH

By the 1930s Laguna Beach was one of the most popular destinations for Hollywood movie stars. Many silent era and Classic Hollywood era stars made Laguna Beach their home (or one of them), including Bette Davis, Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Judy Garland, Mary Pickford, Mickey Rooney, Rudolph Valentino, and Victor Mature among others. In James Cain's 1941 novel Mildred Pierce, the heroine opens her third restaurant there. Alongside the Hollywood crowd, a Laguna Beach's gay scene began to emerge with several gay bars operating by toward the end of the 1930s. Gay actor Rock Hudson was first a staple of the Laguna Beach social scene and ultimately bought a home there.


EILER LARSEN -- LAGUNA'S OFFICIAL GREETER


  
The real Larsen, Hello-o-o-o-o-o-o- How Ar-r-re You? (image credit: Joe Orman) and Guy Angelo Wilson's sculpture (image credit: Chris Jepsen of OC History Roundup)
 



Eiler Larsen, aka the Laguna Beach Greeter, was a Dane who settled in Laguna Beach in 1942 after first visiting the Pageant of the Masters in 1938. It seems that then as now, most motorists were miserable and Larsen made it his habit to wave to them and yell "Hello!" "Too many people driving along the highway are frowning and look unhappy. By waving, I make them smile and thousands of people have a happier day before them," he explained. In 1963,  "The Greeter" was released on OBO records, composed by Paul Blaine Henrie, sung by Rochelle Battat and featuring Larsen. In 1964, the cultural icon was proclaimed Laguna's Official Greeter by the mayor. He died at age 84 in 1975. During his life he was depicted in paintings, postcards,  and sculptures. One such sculpture stands in front of The Old Pottery Place and another in front of Greeter's Corner Restaurant.


  
                      Griggs and the Learys                       Flyer and stage at the Laguna Beach Christmas Happening

Loved by and friendly to actors, artists, gays and others; Laguna Beach was firmly established as the epicenter of Orange County Bohemianism by the rise of the counterculture in the 1960s. In 1965, the celebrated Sawdust Art Festival was inaugurated when a group of artists "splintered" from the Festival of Arts. In 1967 a group of artists splintered from them and started the Art-A-Fair Festival.
In 1967, John Griggs led the Brotherhood of Eternal Love relocated there and opened their head shop, Mystic Arts World. In 1968, Timothy Leary was busted for possession in Laguna Beach. The Hare Krishnas arrived the same year (although they didn't open their temple until 1980). In 1970, Laguna Beach hosted the Laguna Beach Christmas Happening.


LAGUNA BEACH PRESERVATION


Seal Rock

Hippies were largely responsible for some of Laguna Beach's passion for preserving and protecting the both Laguna Beach's environment and historic homes. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center was established in 1971 to protect, rescue and rehabilitate marine mammals. Thanks to the efforts of Laguna Beach preservationists there are still Craftsman bungalows from the early 20th Century and large undeveloped wilderness areas. The first Laguna Beach Historic Survey was undertaken in 1980 to determine historic significance of the town's remaining pre-1940 buildings. Old home and architecture fans should consider taking the Village Laguna Charm House Tour


ART SCENE

 
Art-A-Fair Festival (1967) and the Sawdust Festival (1968) (image source: OCInSite)


With art one of Laguna Beach's main draws, it should come as no surprise that it's become a big commodity. Laguna Beach still hosts several art events including the aforementioned the Pageant of the Masters, the Sawdust Art Festival, and Festival of Arts, as well as the Art-A-Fair (founded in 1967), Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, the First Thursdays Art Walk, Laguna Craft Guild Art Show, Open Artists' Studio, and likely others -- please let me know. There's also the Laguna Art Museum. Laguna Beach is also home to the Southern California Artist Association, Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, and Laguna ART Group.


Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art

By no means do I want to suggest that I'm terribly knowledgeable about Laguna Beach's huge art scene but it seems to be dominated by two major strains -- the plein air landscapes with which it made its name, and a kitschy strain of of pop surrealism. I have no desire to belittle people for their tastes but I've got to say that it's not my thing. I've seen melting harlequins, ex-presidents playing cards, and rainbow striped elephants but my snickering at the photorealistic depiction of Disney's Ariel in a romantic embrace with a Humpback whale led to my ejection from the Wyland Gallery. I'm sure non-believers like me don't bother the Laguna Beach art establishment too much though. If the prices these pieces command and the proudly-displayed photos of artists with guys like Sting and Dave Matthews suggest anything, it's that these painters are crying all the way to the (to paraphrase Liberace).

This here is my attempt to list all of the current Laguna Beach galleries and shops: Amy Rose Art, Anthropos Gallery, Art Affair, Art Classes & Artist Bobbi Boyd, Art for the Soul, Artist Eye Laguna Gallery, Auster Ken, Aviation Arts Gallery, Avran Art+Design, Bluebird Gallery, Casa Caroni, CES Contemporary, Cheryl Ekstrom Studio, Cheyne Walls Fine Art Photography, Christy Larry Studio Gallery, Clark Little Gallery, Coastal Eddy a Gallery,

Contemporary Chinese Fine Art, Corbett Colleen, Cove Gallery, Davy Liu Studio Gallery, De Franco Studio, DeBilzan Gallery, Deborah Carman Gallery, Delgado Water Colors, Demossa Gallery, DeRu's Fine Art, Diana Ferrone Gallery, Exclusive Collections Gallery, Faux Paw Productions, Fil Mottola Gallery, Fine Art Laguna Beach, Fingerhut Gallery of Laguna Beach, Gallery 1951, Gallery McCollum, Gallery One of Laguna, The George Gallery, H Gallery,

Handmade Hearts Gallery & Art Glass Studio, Hidden Dream Fine Art, How Original, J Kamin Fine Arts, JoAnne Artman Gallery, Joseph Wise Fine Art Gallery, Katie Clark Fine Art, Kuhnert's Art Gallery, Kush Fine Art, Laguna Fine Art, Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art, Laguna North Gallery, Las Laguna Art Gallery
Len Woods Indian TerritoryLu Martin Galleries, Maki Gallery, Mandarin Fine Art Gallery, Marion Meyer Contemporary Art, Martin Roberts Gallery, McKibben Studios

Melange, Messenger of the Sun, Mian's Art Gallery, Miranda Galleries, Pacific Edge Gallery, Pacific Gallery, Peter Blake Gallery, Pure Color Mike Kelly Photography, Quorum Art Gallery, Redfern Gallery, Richard MacDonald Galleries, Roark Studio Gallery, Rohrer Fine Art, Ruth Mayer Gallery, Salt Fine Art Gallery, Sandstone Gallery, Seven-Degrees, The Signature Gallery, Simard Bilodeau Galerie, Situ Art Gallery, Skylab Modern Art,

Sokolov Vladimir Studio & Gallery, Studio 7 Gallery, Studio Gallery Laguna, Sue Greenwood Fine Art, Surf Gallery, Swenson Fine Art, Townley Gallery, Tracey Moscaritolo Studio Gallery, 225 Forest, Verna Glancy Fine Art, Village Gallery, The Vintage Poster, Viszolay Walter, Wassmann Cliff Fine Arts, The Watercolor Gallery, William Merrill Gallery, Wyland Galleries
, and Xanadu Collections.

More interesting to me are the many examples of public art located throughout the community. There are so many statues and installations that one could spend a whole day just checking them out. Here's a link to a map that covers the more than 65 pieces and provides information about their creators.


MUSIC OF LAGUNA BEACH

Laguna Concert Band performing a suite of John Williams's music from Harry Potter

I'm sure that there are musicians born in and bands formed in Laguna Beach but I haven't been able to locate many. The Laguna Beach Chamber Music Society was founded in 1959 by cellist and Russian émigré Nicolas "Kolia" Levienne. They perform an annual chamber music festival in the winter. I'm not sure when the Laguna Concert Band was founded but it includes several smaller units too: The Bolling League, Brass Ensemble, Third Street Strutters, Laguna Flutes, SwingSet and Laguna Swing Society. Laguna Beach's gay men's chorus, Men Alive, includes over 130 singers and was founded in 2001 by Richard Cook.

Men Alive performing Morten Lauridsen's "O Magnum Mysterium"

Local music events include Bluegrass & BBQ, Fête de la MusiqueJazz Wednesdays, Laguna Beach Live!, Laguna Beach Music Festival, Live! at the Museum, and Live! Music 4 Kids. And music shoppers will find no better store than Sound Spectrum, which opened in 1967 and still sells vinyl, video, and other music paraphernalia.


LAGUNA BEACH PARKS

View from Crescent Bay Point Park

If I haven't made it abundantly clear, Laguna Beach is one of the most naturally beautiful areas in Orange County and its numerous parks are often both lovely themselves and afford stunning views -- as well as places to play baseball, basketball, American football, real football, volleyball or do some grilling. On the day of our visit we enjoyed the amazing view from Crescent Bay Point Park.



Iconic Lifeguard Tower (originally part of a gas station) moved to Main Beach Park in the 1920s

Over in Main Beach Park the tables have chess tables embedded in them. Crystal Cove State Park includes 46 historic cabins, a visitors' center, more than five kilometers of beach, and 2,400 acres of wilderness.


Aliso and Woods Canyon

Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park
has 30 miles of trails spread over 3,900 acres of wilderness. Biggest of all, Laguna Coast Wilderness Park offers 7,000 acres of wilderness.


Other parks include Aliso Beach County Park, Alta Laguna Park, Bluebird Park, Boat Canyon Park, Heisler Park, Jahraus Park, Laguna Beach Dog Park, Lang Park, Moulton Meadows Park, Nita Carman Park, Ruby Street Park, Swanson Park, Top of the World Park, Treasure Island Park, Victoria Beach, and Village Green Park. Not exactly a park but worth a mention is South Laguna Community Garden. And shout outs to the Laguna Canyon Foundation.


LAGUNA BEACH BEACHES


For my money, the beaches in Laguna Beach are the best in Orange County. Visiting Laguna Beach often involves passing through the large green belt that practically surrounds it but one can't ignore the blue belt! The Laguna Beach State Marine Reserve was dedicated in 2012 on every Earth Day the city hosts Kelpfest. Out on the water there are divers, snorklers, body boarders, paddle boarders, skim boarders, kayakers, swimmers, and surfers. Laguna Beach hosts the Spring Fever Surfabout as well as the Victoria Skimboards World Championship. The marine environment is preserved and protected by the non-profit Laguna Ocean Foundation.

In the past I've swum at Main Beach (Laguna Beach). On the day of our visit we hit Crescent Bay Beach for about three hours. Aside from anemones, crabs, small gray fish, gulls, pelicans, and mussels, I didn't see a lot of wildlife although some kids on the shore yelled that there were rays swimming near me. And once at night I walked along the beach and accidentally annoyed a massive seal or sea lion bull that I thought was a rock.


Crescent Bay Beach

Other beaches include Agate Beah, Aliso Beach, Anita Street Beach, Bluebird Canyon Beach, Boat Canyon Cove, Brooks Street Beach, Camel Point Beach, Cleo Street Beach, Cress Street Beach, Diver's Cove, Moss Street Beach, Mountain Road Beach, Oak Street Beach, Pearl Street Beach, Picnic Beach, Rockpile Beach, Shaw's Cove, Sleepy Hollow Beach, St. Ann's Beach, Table Rock Beach, Thalia Street Beach, Thousand Steps Beach, Treasure Island Park Beach, Victoria Beach, West Street Beach, and Woods Cove.


LAGUNA BEACH EATS


Taco Loco

Food is also serious business in Laguna Beach, although the restaurant scene isn't the most diverse, offering as it does mostly fancy New American, Mexican, and Italian food. Thankfully, though, there are very few global chains. I've eaten at a few Laguna Beach restaurants but they all run together in my mind except for Taco Loco, which is where a former roommate of mine was discovered on one of the many pilgrimages one of my Angeleno friends has undertaken to that destination.

Laguna Beach is home to the Laguna Culinary Arts. The town offers the Flavors of Laguna tours, Laguna Beach a la Carte - A Food & Wine Experience, and the Laguna Beach Farmers' Market

Local restaurants include Active Culture, Adolfo's, Adonis Mediterranean Grill, Alessa Laguna, Andree's Patisserie, Broadway by Amar Santana, Asada Laguna, Avila's El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant, Beach House, Breakers by the Beach, Broadway by Amar Santana, Brussels Bistro, C'est La VieCafé AnastasiaCafé HeidelbergCafé Zoolu, Carmelita's, Chapleau Restaurant, China Bistro 1, Chinese Combo, Chocolate Soldier, The Cliff Restaurant,

Coyote Grill, Deb's Deli, The Deck on Laguna Beach, Dizz's As Is, Dolce Gelato, Eva's-A Caribbean Kitchen, 5', Gallo's Laguna Beach, Gauranga's Vegetarian Buffet, Gecko Cookie Company, Gelato Paradiso, GG's Café Bistro, Gina's Alfresco, Gina's Pizza & Pastaria, The Greeter's Corner Restaurant, Hapi Sushi, Hawaiian Charcoal Broiler, House of Big Fish and Ice Cold Beer, Husky Boy Burgers, Johnny's New York Pizza & Sandwiches, K'ya Bisto Bar,

The Koffee Klatch, La Rue du Chocolat, La Sirena Grill, Laguna Feast Authentic Mexican Cuisine, Laguna Subs, Laguna Thai By the Sea, Las Brisas Restaurant, Living Juice, Loft Restaurant, Lumberyard, Madison Square & Garden Café, Mama's Bakery & Lebanese Café, Mandarin King, Mare Culinary Lounge, Maro Wood Grill, Medici Bistro, Mirepoix, Mosaic Bar & Grille, Mozambique Steakhouse, Natraj Cuisine of India, Neapolitan Pizzeria & Birreria,

Nick's Laguna Beach, Nirvana Grille, O Fine Japanese Cuisine, Ocean Avenue, OceanView Bar & Grill, Olamendi's, Orange Café, Orange Inn, Papa's Tacos, Pappou's Den, Penguin Café, Peony Chinese Cuisine, Pizza Lounge, Polina Salerno Italian Restaurant, ReMark's, Ristorante Rumari, Rock'N Fish, Romeo Cucina, Royal Thai Cuisine, San Shi Go, Salerno Italian Restaurant, Saphire Laguna, Selanne Steak Tavern, Splashes, The Stand, Starfish,

Studio Restaurant, Sundried Tomato Café, Sushi Laguna, Tabu Grill, Taco Laguna, Taco Mesa, Taz Asian Fusion, Thai Bros, Thalia Beach 
Café, Three Four Five Restaurant, Three Seventy Common, Ti Amo Ristorante, El Torito Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, 230 Forst Avenue, 242 Café Fusion Sushi, Velvet Yogurt, Watermarc Restaurant, White House, Zeytoon, and Zinc Café & Market.


LAGUNA BEACH DRINKS

There are a few places to grab drinks (and often eats) in Laguna Beach including Bamboo Bar and Grill, Bounce, Hennessey's Tavern, Marine Room Tavern, The Rooftop Lounge (which is perhaps more of a nightclub), The Saloon, The Sandpiper Lounge, Laguna Beach Wine Gallery, Laguna Wine Coffee & Specialty Foods and Serra's Bar & Grill.


MOVIES


South Coast Theatre in 1940 (image credit: OC Cinema)

Laguna Beach has been home to several movie theaters in the past including Bill Alford's Nickelodeon Theatre (fka The Movie Barn fka The Liberty Theater) which showed silent films in the 1950s and was later demolished. There was also the Lynn Theatre (built around 1915 and long since demolished), the Coast Highway Theatre (opened 1935 and since demolished), and the Ocean Avenue Theatre (later renamed the Laguna Theatre). Today the only remaining movie theater is the two-screen Laguna South Coast Theatre which opened in 1923 as the New Lynn Theatre and was dedicated by Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. It became the South Coast Theatre in 1937 and was divided in two after being acquired by Edwards Cinema in 1982. Around 2001 it was taken over by Regency Theatres. The Laguna Beach Film Society also hosts the Third Thursday Film Screening at the theater

In the post-silent classic era, several movies were filmed in part or in whole in Laguna Beach including Tanned Legs (1929), All Quiet on the Western Front (1930), A House Divided (1931), Doctor X (1932), Forbidden (1932), Captain Blood (1935), The Life of Emily Zola (1937), The Sea Hawk (1940), Now, Voyager (1942), Lassie Come Home (1943), Sentimental Journey (1946), The Long, Long Trailer (1953), A Star Is Born (1954), The Sand Castle (1961), Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962), Locked In! (1964), and Stop the Wave I Want to Get Off (1965).

More recent Laguna Beach-filmed movies include Adventures into Digital Comics (2006), Anokha (2004), Art Car: The Movie (2012), Beaches (1988), Black Star Canyon (2006), Boxboarders! (2007), Campus Girls of OC (2008), Cat Chaser (1989), Collecting Dust (2011), The Conrad Boys (2006), Crash Artist: Beyond the Red Carpet (2008), Criminal Love (2010), Dark Horizon (2009), Dating Games People Play (2005), A Few Good Men (1992), Gallagher: Stuck in the Sixties (1983), Gettin' It (2006), Hide (2011), Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012), Kenjutsu: The Art of the Samurai (2005), Leestemaker: Portrait of an Artist (2003), Mamma Mia! (2008), The Mark 666 & the New World Order (2005), The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), Mirror Image (2012), Murder Inside of Me (2009), Naked Under Leather (2004), Orange Inn (2011), Ornaments (2008), Passionata (1992), Presence (2008), Pygmy Spy Music (2006), Rate It X (1986), Road to Flin Flon (2000), Savages (2012), and Voices of War - WWII (2007).




Life as a House
(2001), whilst set in Laguna Beach but filmed in Los Angeles County.


TELEVISION



After Fox's hit TV series The OC aroused interest in Orange County (despite being filmed mostly in Los Angeles), MTV jumped on the short-lived bandwagon with a reality show, Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County (2004). Other series (none of which I've heard of) that have been filmed in part or in whole in Laguna Beach include Laguna Cafe (2000), MXG Beach Countdown (2000), High Chaparall (2003), Bikini Destinations (2003), The Heartbreak Cafe (1997), Generation 01 (1997), Action Figures (2004), and Inspector America (2011).


OTHER STUFF TO DO


Forest Avenue

If you like live theater there's Laguna Beach Artists' Theater, the Laguna Playhouse, and No Square Theater. Dance fans can enjoy the Laguna Dance Festival. Bookworms are served by a public library, the Dennis and Leslie Power Library (at Laguna College of Art and Design), Laguna Beach Books, and Barnaby Rudge Booksellers (which also sells DVDs). Shop-aholics who like shady eucalyptus-lined lines will find few better matches than Forest Avenue. Golfers might want to check out The Aliso Creek Inn and Golf CourseGamers need to put Official Game Haven on their list. Lawn sports enthusiasts should check the schedule of the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club


Tiny hillside lighthouse? No, a Mediterranean Revival sewage vent from 1935

For further reading look for George Wesley Wilson's From the Ozarks to Aliso (1975) and Claire Marie Vogel's Laguna Beach (2009), part of Arcadia Publishing's wonderful Images of America series. If you'd like more Laguna Beach history, consider supporting or joining the Laguna Beach Historical Society by sending $15 per individual, $25 per household or $50 per business/organization to 278 Ocean Avenue, Laguna Beach CA 92651. Historic photos of Laguna Beach can be enjoyed by clicking here

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To vote vote for other Orange County neighborhoods and communities, vote here. To vote for other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here. Please leave any additions, corrections, or shared memories in the comment section!


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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Irvine, Orange County's City of Innovation

Posted by Eric Brightwell, January 13, 2013 12:13pm | Post a Comment
INTRODUCTION


Irvine skyline

For a while now Irvine has shared the top spot on my poll (see the end of the post to vote) but I’ve put it off because of the time required to explore such a sprawling, distant city. There was also a time when most of my blog’s non-LA fans were Irvine residents, which intrigued me. All of my business conducted there in the past involved getting lost several times and this time would prove to be no different.



Irvine - the Dead End Capital of Orange County

Irvine is a large (170 km2 – the largest city in the county, area-wise), planned, suburban city near the center of Orange County but generally considered to be part of the South County region. In 2008, CNNMoney.com named Irvine the fourth best place to live in the country. It has topped the FBI’s list of safest American cities with populations of over 65,000 for the last eight years.

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of South County


When I told people that I was writing about Irvine, most people expressed the view that -- because it's a planned community -- it's an awful, boring place. Now some of the world’s great (or at least interesting) cities are planned communities: Brasília, Islamabad, Kyoto, New Delhi, and Washington, DC. I’m not going to suggest that Irvine is on the same level as those cities but there’s something uniquely attractive and Utopian about planned cities (I know I attempted many ambitious ones whilst playing Sim City). At the same time, there's a lot that's inhuman about them – which can be attractive to if you’re into artifice. But even if one considers Irvine to be the blandest, most sterile place on earth, where there are people there is life or, as a girl from Tustin recently said when we were discussing Irvine, "Well, people like me come from places like that."


  
                      Irvine planners                                                                Aerial view of West Irvine



GEOGRAPHY and LOCATION

Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of Irvine

Irvine is neighbored by Tustin to the north, Santa Ana to the northwest, Costa Mesa to the west, Newport Beach to the southwest, Laguna Hills onto the southeast, and Lake Forest to the east. San Diego Creek is the city’s primary watercourse and its largest tributary is Peters Canyon Wash. Most of Irvine is situated on a broad, flat valley between Loma Ridge in the north and the San Joaquin Hills in the south although the northern annexations of previously unincorporated Orange County is characterized by its hills, plateaus and canyons.

While Irvine is undoubtedly safe, its completely planned character and restrictions seem to have effectively stifled most unofficial, unsanctioned expressions of culture and individuality. Every neighborhood (subdivisions euphemistically referred to as villages) has its chosen, specific character and the same sorts of strip malls, commercial centers, churches, schools, and parks designed to make them self-contained and cut down on unnecessary commuting. People have come up with joking mottoes for the city including "Irvine: We Have 62 Different Words for Beige," "Where Bland is in Demand," "Sixteen Zip Codes, Six Floor Plans," "Sorry, I Thought This Was My House," and "City by the Beige." It's widely referred to as "The Bubble." In 2011, the OC Register ran a story titled, "Breaking News: Non-beige homes approved in Irvine."

A side effect of this is that it’s hard for the casual explorer. How to prioritize visiting one neighborhood over another? The overall effect is very samey (in spite of the attempts at varied village identities) and center-less. Few buildings rise above two stories and from the street I continually couldn't see much besides trees, walls, and rooftops. Few things caught me eye and piqued my interest.


View of Irvine from jet pack


Since it’s so spread out and mostly flat, the best way of exploring Irvine might be by bicycle -- or jet pack. There are 454 km (282 miles) of bike lanes and 71.6 km (44.5 miles) of off-road bike trails. The city is also served by Metrolink’s Orange County Line. Additionally, since 2008, Irvine has offered four bus lines as part of its appley, sorry, aptly-named iShuttle bus service.


Irvine's iShuttle (image source: So Cal Metro)

IRVINE SKYLINE

There are a few taller buildings. The tallest building in Irvine (and third tallest building in Orange County) is the 20-story Park Place Tower, completed in 2007. The previously tallest building in Irvine, the 19-story Jamboree Center, was completed in 1990. The third tallest skyscraper is the 14-story Opus Center Irvine II, completed in 2002. The fourth tallest structure is the 17-story Waterfield Tower, completed in 1987. The Irvine Marriott is also 17-stories and the 2600 Michelson is 16 stories.


As with everywhere, there is culture in Irvine, though it seems to occur in a controlled manner in pre-determined locations. Finding it was a challenge but one I relished undertaking. After all, when the OC Weekly trots out its annual “Best of OC” lists, Irvine always takes a lot -- maybe most -- of the honors.

First a bit of history…

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ANTIQUITY TO THE MEXICAN ERA


Ranchos of Orange County, California


Archaeological evidence suggests that the area now occupied by  Irvine has been inhabited for between 12,000 – 18,000 years. Around 2,000 years ago the Tongva arrived from the Sonoran Desert to the east. Spanish explorer Gaspar de Portolà arrived in 1769 and claimed the land for Spain. In 1821, Mexico gained independence from Spain and secularized the Spanish ranchos. Portions of three of the ranches – Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, Rancho San Joaquin and Rancho Lomas de Santiago – would later become Irvine Ranch.


Map showing Irvine Ranch


EARLY AMERICAN ERA

In 1848, the Mexican-American War ended with Mexico’s defeat and California was admitted to the Union in 1850. In 1864, a calamitous drought convinced Rancho San Joaquin’s owner, the extravagant Jose Andres Sepulveda, to sell 200 km2 to Benjamin and Thomas Flint, Llewellyn Bixby, and Irish immigrant James Irvine (whose portion was by far the largest). In 1866, the group purchased the 190 km2 Rancho Lomas de Santiago. In 1868, lands of Ranch Santiago de Santa Ana were divided among the group, which founded Irvine Ranch as a sheep operation. Irvine Ranch’s lands included those of modern day Irvine as well as most of Newport Beach (aside from Newport Bay), Crystal Cove and Laguna Coast wildernesses, and more surrounding land.


James Irvine house, built in 1868 (image source: Irvine Historical Society)

Irvine commissioned a home to be built in 1868. It was ultimately demolished in 1961. Today, the oldest building on Irvine Ranch (built around 1877) is home to the Irvine Historical Museum and the Irvine Historical Society (established in 1977). Today the building is the oldest wooden home between Anaheim and San Diego

In 1876, after another devastating drought, James Irvine bought his partners’ interests. Irvine died in 1886. In 1887, the Santa Fe Railroad (actually the San Bernardino and San Diego Railroad subsidiary) extended its line south to Fallbrook Junction and a station was added on Irvine Ranch. In 1888, Orange County split from Los Angeles County. Irvine’s son, James Irvine, Jr, incorporated his father’s holdings as The Irvine Company when he inherited it on his 25th birthday, in 1892. He later began shifting the ranching focus from sheep to cattle. He also oversaw the diversification of the ranch's agriculture by planting olives, citrus crops, and lima beans. Irvine also began subdividing some of the land and allowing tenant farmers to work it.



THE VILLAGE OF MYFORD 


Irvine Service Station (source: First American)


Around 1909 a town arose around the new stop named Myford (“Irvine” was already taken by a stop and town in Calaveras County, named after another Irvine in the family), after Irvine’s son when houses began to appear. A blacksmith’s had been built in 1888. In 1889 a barely warehouse was constructed, as was Myford’s first school. The Irvine General Store was added in 1912 after proprietor Kate Munger finally convinced Irvine to allow her to do so over his objections that working was unladylike. In 1913, the Irvine Hotel was built behind the general store. 



The Irvine Hotel (source: First American)



TOMATO SPRINGS BANDIT

In 1912, a drifter named Joe Matlock asked Irvine Ranch resident William Cook for work and was told that there was none. He later returned and tied up Cook's thirteen-year-old daughter and attacked his sixteen-year-old daughter. He then retreated to Tomato Springs (now Portola Springs) and a posse was formed to pursue him. The next morning he forced a rancher at gun point to feed him. When the posse caught up with him, Matlock killed deputy sheriff Robert Squire after shooting him six times. Three other deputies were shot and wounded before Matlock was felled, most likely by his own hand. Unrecognized, his corpse was paraded around Santa Ana before his identity was discovered. It turned out he was son of a onetime Eugene, Oregon mayor. He was buried as Ira Jones to save his father from embarrassment.



EARLY IRVINE


Railroad passing through Irvine with bean packing plant (source: Dissent the Blog)

In 1914, after the death of William Irvine (the Irvine that the Irvine in Calaveras County was named after), that town was renamed Carson Hill. Soon after, the residents of Myford renamed their town Irvine. By the 1920s, the Venta Spur of the railroad shipped citrus from the many then-new processing plants in what’s now Northwood to the rest of the county. (The plants began to close in the 1970s and the line was finally abandoned in 1985 and converted to a bike trail in 1999. Another railroad spur, the Irvine Industrial Spur, is also currently being considered for conversion to bike path.) A second school was built in 1929 and the original school became a community hall. The second school was later destroyed by arson.


Irvine Ranch Historic Park avocado grove



Irvine Ranch Historic Park buildings -- tenant housing?



EL TORO 



The Marine Corps Air Station El Toro circa 1947


During World War II, 4,000 acres of lima bean fields (Irvine was once the world’s largest producer of the legume) government for the establishment of the MCAS El Toro and the Tustin Marine Base. The loss of land to military bases, the loss of farmers to the war and the resultant changing tax base marked the end of Irvine’s agricultural period. James Irvine, Jr, died in 1947 aged 80. At that time, Myford assumed the presidency of the Irvine Company and began allowing for limited urban developments of select areas.


JAMBOREE ROAD


Jamboree Road


In 1953, Irvine Ranch hosted the Boy Scouts’ third National Jamboree in what’s now Newport Beach. Jamboree Road, which connects Orange to Newport Beach, was thus named in honor of the event. On 11 January 1959, Myford Irvine commit suicide by shooting himself with a .22 revolver, first in the abdomen and then the head.


UC IRVINE



After Myford’s unexpected suicide, the University of California asked The Irvine Company for 4 km2 on which to build a new campus. Most of the land was basically donated (sold for $1) and an additional 2 km2 were purchased for a larger amount. University of California Irvine (UCI) opened in 1965 and is the second newest of the University of California’s campus, after the one in Merced. The UCI campus includes many of Irvine’s most interesting attractions. There’s Aldrich Park, Anteater Recreation Center, Beall Center for Art & Technology, Bren Events Center, CAC Gallery, Irvine Arboretum, Irvine Barclay Theatre, Room Gallery, The Hill, University Art Gallery, and the University Club. In 1967, famous photographer Ansel Adams photographed the campus, designed by futurist architect William Pereira -- best known for designing LACMA and later, San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid. (Click here to see a slide show of both Adams's photos and recreations called In Ansel Adams' Footsteps).

OTHER SCHOOLS IN IRVINE

Nowadays UCI is joined in the field of academia by Brandman University, Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California, and satellite campuses of Alliant International University, California State University Fullerton, University of La Verne, Chicago School of Professional Psychology-Irvine, and Pepperdine University


BIRTH OF A CITY


Ray Watson (in black hat) on the Irvine Ranch (source: Raymond L. Watson Papers) 


In the 1960s, Irvine Ranch employee Raymond Watson and the UCI’s consulting architect, William Pereira, drew up plans for a 50,000 population City of Irvine to surround the new school. The small agricultural town (formerly Myford) that had grown up around the train station and post office was re-named East Irvine. The early "villages" (again, Irvine's designation for neighborhoods) included Culverdale (now Westpark), El Camino Real, NorthwoodTurtle Rock, University Park, and Walnut. They were all incorporated along with Irvine on 28, December, 1971 with a combined population of about 10,000 people. Science-Fiction fan and idealist Pereira was quoted as saying of the planners' approach “An ounce of farsighted planning is worth a pound of urban renewal a generation hence.” 


William L. Pereira amongst renderings


OTHER IRVINE VILLAGES

Watson described each of the villages as “a series of pearls, each special in its own way.” Although obviously a booster of his planned community, the neighborhoods are all close to numerous recreational features like lakes, parks and open spaces as well as schools and shopping centers. A few, like Turtle Rock, are named after the natural features around which they are built.

Nowadays other villages include College Park, Columbus Grove, Deerfield, El Camino Glen, Greentree, Harvard Square, Heritage Fields, Irvine Groves, Irvine Spectrum (yes, the big mall is a village), Laguna Altura, Lambert Ranch, Northpark, Northpark Square, Oak Creek, Old Towne Irvine, Orangetree, Orchard Hills, Park Lane, Parkside, Planning Area 40, Portola Springs, Quail Hill, Racquet Club, Rancho San Joaquin, Rosegate, Shady Canyon, Stonegate, The Colony, The Ranch, The Willows, Turtle Ridge, University Hills, University Town Center, West Irvine, Windwood, Woodbridge, Woodbury, and Woodbury East.


Grand entrance into one of Irvine's currently-under-construction villages


Entry into each village is marked by triumphal arches with unused seating areas, towers, gates, or sections of walls that monumentalize the mundane – the same way Irvine does its shopping centers. This kind of architectural practice isn't unique to Irvine. I’ve seen many mid-century apartments with Polynesian elements billed with names like “The Sleepy Lagoon” or mock Tudor complexes named things like “Cavalier Arms Manor” or what have you. I often amuse myself with the hoity-toity names of banal strip malls... but Irvine does it on an almost Disney/Vegas/Dubai scale with a lack of whimsy that suggests to me a completely straight face. 


IRVINE IN ITS SECOND DECADE


  
                                       Wild Rivers                                                                      The Marketplace - Irvine


The population of Irvine surpassed the planned 50,000 figure in its first decade of existence and surpassed 62,000 by 1980. That decade witnessed the formation of several new institutions. The Ayn Rand Institute was founded in 1985, three years after the founder of Objectivism’s death. Rand had earlier founded The Foundation for the New Intellectual but it was dissolved when the ARI was founded. A year after the ARI was established, the water park Wild Rivers opened on the site of the former Lion Country Safari, a drive-through zoo. Following the expiration of its lease with the The Irvine Company, it closed in 2011 but after a sale, is set to reopen in 2014. In 1988, the Irvine Company opened The Marketplace, a mall that straddles the border of Irvine and Tustin. It was designed by my least favorite architect (nothing personal), Ricardo Legorreta. Legorreta also designed the Camino Real Hotel in Mexico. Angelenos are probably more familiar with his brutalist/post-modern hybrid structures in Downtown's Pershing Square.


IRVINE AT THE END OF THE CENTURY

1990 saw Irvine’s population pass the 100,000 mark. A sort of downtown was constructed to serve the surging population, the Irvine Spectrum Center.

IRVINE SPECTRUM CENTER


Moroccan minaret at the mall - a muezzin makes the call to shop five times a day




Before there were similar outdoor mall/ersatz downtowns like Fairfax's The Grove, Glendale's The Americana, Monterey Park's Atlantic Times Square, or San Gabriel's The San Gabriel Square and there was The Irvine Spectrum Center. The first part of it opened in 1995, when most suburbs were still in love with indoor malls. The final phase was completed in 2006. As with Irvine's villages, different areas of the mall have different architectural themes. There's also a merry-go-round, a Ferris wheel, and in winter, an ice skating rink.





HAN TWINS MURDER CONSPIRACY


Intro to Evil Twins (including tacky "Asian" music)

The other big news of the '90s was the so-called Han Twins Murder Conspiracy. In November, 1996, Jeena Han supposedly conspired to murder her twin sister, Sunny. The Han sisters were born in South Korea and moved to Orange County when they were twelve with their mother, Boo I. Kim. Kim was a cocktail waitress and compulsive gambler who left the girls to fend for themselves sometimes for days at a time. After being sent to live with an uncle, they became co-valedictorians at their high school in Campo. After high school, however, their lives both went pear-shaped, culminating in a sensational series of events covered on an A&E documentary, Sister Against Sister: The Twin Murder Plot (1999), The Investigators episode "Evil Twin" (2001), the Snapped episode “Jeena Han” (2005), and the pilot episode of the Investigation Discovery show, Evil Twins. Meanwhile, the sisters have reconciled and many mostly Korean-Americans (including Sunny) have attempted to secure Jeena's freedom -- some apparently chalking up the whole affair to so-called "K Rage."


21st CENTURY IRVINE


Orange County Great Park hot air balloon 


After a decline in Irvine’s growth in the 1990s, it once again increased in the 2000s. In 2003, the 19 km2 of land occupied by the Marine Corps Air Station El Toro (until 1999) was re-annexed by Irvine. It is currently being transformed into Orange County Great Park which will, when completed, be Orange County’s largest municipal park. Since 2007, visitors can visit and board a hot air balloon that climbs 500 feet into the air.


THE BIOFERM SHOOTING

High profile crime returned to Irvine in 2000 when the Biofem, Inc’s chief executive, James Patrick Riley, was shot in the face at the firm's offices by a masked gunman who sped away in a van that turned out to be owned by Dino D’Saachs. Phone records showed that D’Saachs had spoken with one of Riley’s co-workers, Larry Creed Ford, that morning. After the police questioned Ford about the crime he commit suicide at his home in the Woodbridge village. A suicide note professed his innocence but added that there were things of interest to the police in his home. Upon investigation, the authorities discovered vessels buried in his yard containing C-4 and assault rifles. His refrigerator contained 266 bottles and vials of pathogens including Clostridium tetani and Clostridum difficile. It turned out that the company were close to developing a new female contraceptive and also had ties to South Africa’s biological weapons program. Suffice to say, it was all very odd. (Read a much more in-depth account here).


NEW HOUSES OF WORSHIP


Pao Fa Temple (image source: Anita L.)


Pao Fa Temple (寶法寺), one of the largest Buddhist monasteries and temples in the US, opened in 2002. It was founded by Taiwanese abbot, Venerable Jen-Yi (真一法師), on advice he received from Venerable Master Hsuan Hua of the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas back in 1990.


The Islamic Center of Irvine (source: Tashfeen B.)


The Islamic Center of Irvine was founded in 2004. It’s one of the largest Muslim congregations in California. A con man from Tustin, Craig Monteilh, claimed to have spied on the congregation on behalf of the FBI. The story was covered on PRI’s This American Life episode, “The Convert.”


IRVINE TODAY

The most recent population estimate, that of the California Department of Finance, estimates it to be 223,729. One time Irvine resident Zack De La Rocha (of Rage Against the Machine) once raged against Irvine, stating that it was "one of the most racist cities imaginable. If you were a Mexican in Irvine, you were there because you had a broom or a hammer in your hand." De La Rocha moved there in 1971, when the population was barely over 10,000 and the racial demographics were very different. Today Irvine is a fairly diverse city with a population that is roughly 45% non-Latino white, 40% Asian, 9% Latino, and 2% black.

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ARTS & CULTURE IN IRVINE


Performers at the Irvine Global Village Festival 


The most celebrated cultural event in Irvine is the Irvine Global Village Festival, which takes place every annually and celebrates the ethnic diversity of Irvine’s populace. It began in 1998 as the Multicultural Festival and took its current name in 2001.


Outside the Irvine Fine Arts Center


Artists' Tales - Erin Dunn exhibit


Inside the Irvine Fine Arts Center

I actually started my exploration of Irvine at the Irvine Fine Arts Center. It opened in 1980 and offers both exhibition and education spaces. On the day that I visited the exhibit was titled “Artists’ Tales” (although the sign above the entrance said “Artist’s Tales.” It was a group exhibit featuring installations, video art, drawings, paintings, mixed media pieces, dioramas, sculptures and more from Erin Dunn, Kristi Kent, Nathan Margoni, and Siobhan McClure. In a classroom, adult students were busy making their own art.


PARKS


Heritage Park 


After I left the Arts Center I strolled around Heritage Park, on which it is located. There was a multitude of Canada Geese and other species of goose as well as a large variety of ducks, and therefore an astonishing amount of guano to dodge. Heritage Park is a community park and includes the Heritage Park Community Center.


Heritage Park Community Center


The center is home to swimming pools, soccer fields, tennis courts, racquetball courts, grills, play areas, basketball courts, concession stands and (with reservation only) bounce houses.


Northwood Community Park soccer fields


Whatever criticisms one might have of Irvine, it is decidedly not park-poor. In addition to Heritage Park there is Alton Athletic Park, Colonel Bill Barber Marine Corps Memorial Park, Deerfield Community Park (which includes a nine-hole Frisbee golf course), Harvard Athletic Park, Harvard Skatepark, Hicks Canyon Park, Jeffrey Open Space Trail, Lakeview Senior Center, Las Lomas Community Park, Lower Peters Canyon Community Park, Northwood Community Park, Oak Creek Community Park, Portola Springs Community Park, Quail Hill Community Park, Rancho Senior Center, Turtle Rock Community Park, University Community Park, Windrow Community Park, Woodbridge Community Park, and Woodbury Community Park.


Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial


Northwood Park includes the Northwood Gratitude and Honor Memorial – the first war memorial erected in the country before the wars in question were over. In 2010 it listed the names of over 5,700 Americans who’ve died in the current military actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. It’s updated with the names of more deceased soldiers yearly and I stopped by. Other public spaces not part of Irvine’s parks department include the aforementioned Aldritch Park in the UC Irvine campus, the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary, and William R. Mason Regional Park.

There are also, by design, neighborhood parks (as opposed to the aforementioned public, community parks) for the various villages including Alderwood Park, Blue Gum Park, Brywood Park, Canyon Park, Carrotwood Park, Chaparral Park, Citrusglen Park, College Park, Comstock Park, Coralwood Park, Creekview Park, Dovecreek Park, Flagstone Park, Hoeptner Park, Homestead Park, Knollcrest Park, Meadowood Park, Orchard Park, Pepperwood Park, Pinewood Park, Plaza Park, Presley Park, Racquet Club Park, Ranch Park, San Carlo Park, San Leandro Park, San Marco Park, Settler's Park, Silkwood Park, Sweet Shade Park, Sycamore Park, Trailwood Park, Valencia Park, Valley Oak Park, Willows Park, and Woodside.


LIBRARIES

Irvine has three public libraries: Heritage Park Regional Library (the collection of which is largely focused on business), University Park Library (the collection of which includes a substantial Chinese collection), and Katie Wheeler Library. Most of UCI’s libraries are open to the public as well.


Katie Wheeler Library


On the day of my visit I checked out the latter. Katie Wheeler was the granddaughter of James Irvine and the library is a replica of the home in which she grew up. I tried to glean what I could from the book Irvine Ranch – different by design: images 1960 – 2000 but couldn’t dally because I still had much ground to cover and the December day was short.


PERFORMING ARTS


The marquee of the Irvine Improv


There aren’t many proper music venues for a city of Irvine’s size. There’s the whimsically-named Verizon Wireless Ampitheatre (opened as Irvine Meadows in 1981) and performers sometimes pop in at Bacchus' Secret Cellar Wine Shoppe and Bar but that seems to be about it. Irvine Barclay Theatre & Cheng Hall and Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center both feature a wider array of performing arts. As far as proper theater there’s New Swan Theater. As far as dinner theater, there’s the annual Madrigal Dinner at UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts. For comedy there's the Irvine Improv.



Emily Sassy Lime from Sadie Shaw on Vimeo.

California Fool's Gold -- A North Orange County Primer

Posted by Eric Brightwell, December 5, 2012 07:00pm | Post a Comment
SHE HAD ORANGE RIBBONS IN HER HAIR -- NORTH ORANGE COUNTY



It comes as something of a dismaying surprise to me how casually many seemingly intelligent Angelenos freely dismiss Orange County. Iv'e grown used to (if still somewhat surprised by) the out-dated chauvinistic attitude of New Yorkers and San Franciscans. But while those widely and rightly shrugged off by knowing Angelenos, many of those same sorts of hollow, outdated mis-characterizations tend to be freely expressed about regions like LA’s Westside and Orange County without apparent irony. This blog entry, then, will focus on the communities of North Orange County with the hopeful aim of introducing readers to some of what makes it a region worthy of reexamination and exploration.



Jim Morrison - "Orange County Suite"



DIVERSITY IN ORANGE COUNTY


Orange County Panorama - source: Yashar Sahaleh


Although often stereotyped as a uniformly white suburb, Orange County – especially North Orange County – is in fact highly diverse. There are large numbers of Armenian, Chinese, English, Egyptian, FilipinoGerman, Irish, Jewish, Korean, Lebanese, Mexican, Palestinian, Persian, Salvadoran, Scottish, Syrian, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese-Americans, to name a few. Orange County is home to the largest community of Vietnamese outside of Vietnam. North Orange County is home to several ethnic enclaves, including Little Arabia, Little Saigon, and Little Seoul. In fact, 45% of Orange Countians speak a language other than English at home. With a population that is 44% white, 34% Latino, 18% Asian, 2% black, and 1% Native American, there is no racial or ethnic majority. In fact, last month Forbes magazine published “America's Most Diverse Neighborhoods And Metros” placed Orange County in their 7th spot – above Los Angeles County.


NORTH AND SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY


Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography's map of North Orange County


Whereas Los Angeles County is often separated into numerous smaller regions (the Eastside, Hollywood, the Harbor, Midtown, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the South Bay, the Verdugos, &c), Orange County (being much smaller) most often tends to divide into just two – North Orange County and South Orange County. Some South Orange Countians portray North Orange County as a lawless border region where illegal immigrant members of Mexican drug cartels and Vietnamese home-invaders terrorize “real Americans” as society crumbles around them (and a bald eagle cries). Their Birth of a Nation-esque views are often voiced in the comment sections for the OC Weekly and OC Register and are virtually indistinguishable from those of your garden variety internet trolls.


Costa Mesa skyline at dusk


There are real distinctions between North and South Orange County. The north is more crowded, urban and developed. It bustles where the south seems to relax. It’s the area that I’m much more familiar with  both because most of what brings me to Orange County (friends, food, entertainment, &c) is located in the north… and readers of this blog have consistently voted more heavily for North Orange County communities to be covered over those in South Orange County.

Of all communities in the Southland, right now Anaheim in North OC and Irvine in South OC are tied for first place (leading all LA County communities). To vote vote for Orange County neighborhoods and communities, vote here. To vote for other Los Angeles County communities to be covered on the blog, vote here. To vote for Los Angeles neighborhoods, vote here


HISTORY OF NORTH ORANGE COUNTY

For thousands of years before the Spanish Conquest, what’s now North Orange County was home to the Acagchemem and Payomkowishum nations. It was also home to the Chumash and Tongva people – two seafaring people who, some evidence suggests, may’ve had dealings with Pacific Islanders All spoke languages in the Takic family and likely, therefore, migrated to the region from the Sonoran Desert.

All of California was claimed for Spain in 1769. In 1822, it became part of the newly-independent country of Mexico. Two years after the USA defeated Mexico in 1848, California became a state and what’s now Orange County was made part of Los Angeles County. On 11 March, 1889, Orange County seceded from LA County. In 1900 there were only 19.696 residents of the then-new, mostly agricultural county. The 1920s saw significant growth and the region’s population first surpassed 100,000. In the 1950s and ‘60s Orange County’s grew incredibly quickly. Since then, every decade has seen further growth although it has slowed considerably.


POLITICS IN NORTH ORANGE COUNTY




Although Orange County has long been characterized as a stronghold of Republican and Right Wing politics, today a mere plurality of 44% of registered voters are registered with the GOP whilst 32% are registered Democrats. Additionally, though still one of the most conservative regions in Southern California, Republicans in Orange County often have more in common with Libertarians than the far right, science and equal rights-denying neo-Con variety. North tends to grow increasingly Democratic with that passage of time. Nowadays, among what most people consider to be North Orange County, Yorba Linda and Villa Park are only incorporated communities with overwhelmingly Republican constituencies.


CULTURE IN ORANGE COUNTY


Segerstrom Center for the Arts


Many people scoff at the suggestion that there’s culture in Orange County (just as they do about Los Angeles). It’s never been clear to me what either camp of haters means by “culture” since there are numerous art galleries, botanical gardens, cultural events, historic sites, live music venues, museums, performing arts centers, a variety of restaurants, revival movie theaters, &c in both regions – some of which I will touch upon below. So without further ado…the communities of North Orange County.


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ANAHEIM



Anaheim is the largest city in Orange County (population-wise). To all but those that think that Disneyland is in Los Angeles, the city of Anaheim is largely synonymouse (sic) with that theme park. Less well-known but equally amusement park is the tantalizingly-named Adventure City.

Anaheim was founded by Bavarian immigrant winemakers in 1857 and incorporated in 1870 – making it the second oldest city in (then) Los Angeles County. “Heim” is German for “home” and “ana” refers to the Santa Ana River. As of 2010 Anaheim’s population was 53% Latino (mostly Mexican and Salvadoran), 28% non-Latino white, 15% Asian (mostly Vietnamese and Filipino), 3% black, and 1% Native American.

A large number of the white population are Arab (primarily Egyptian, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian) and the city is home to Little Arabia aka Little Gaza Strip. Other Anaheim neighborhoods include Anaheim Hills, Anaheim Resort, Downtown Anaheim, East Anaheim, the Platinum Triangle, and West Anaheim. The so-called “Platinum Triangle” was, according to the Orange County Business Register in 2010, the fastest growing region in the county. To read more about Anaheim, click here!





Anaheim is the birthplace of musicians Don Davis, Eden Espinosa, Jeff Buckley, Jennifer Warnes, Marcus Mumford, No Doubt, and Tairrie B. as well as actors Alli Mauzy, Alyson Reed, Austin Butler, Connie Needham, Lisa Tucker, Milo Ventimiglia, Moon Bloodgood, and Rosalind Chao.


BREA



The city of Brea includes the neighborhood of Olinda, named after the former Olinda Village which was incorporated as part of Brea in 1911. The city is known for its public art program which, since 1975, has placed over 140 artworks throughout the community. Brea, which means “tar” in Spanish, is a reference to the town’s early and close relationship with the petroleum industry. The Brea-Olinda Oil Field was discovered in 1898. Eventually, oil gave way to citrus groves which in turn gave way to industrial parks and suburban residences. The population of Brea today is about 67% white, 25% Latino,18% Asian, and 1% black. Brea is the birthplace of actress Stephanie J. Block.


BUENA PARK



Buena Park, whose motto is “the center of the Southland,” is home to two amusement parks, Knott's Berry Farm and its sister park, Knott's Soak City. The former was founded in 1887 by James A. Whitaker, a grocer from Chicago. It wasn’t incorporated until 1953. The so-called “E-Zone” district is home to Pirate's Dinner Adventure Show, a Medieval Times, and a Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. The population of Buena Park is roughly is 45% white, 39% Latino, 27% Asian, 4% black, and 1% Native American.


COSTA MESA


As home to Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, Orange County Fair, Isamu Noguchi Gardens, Talbert Nature Preserve, South Coast Plaza, and a couple of so-called "anti-malls,” Costa Mesa has arguably earned the nickname, “City of the arts.” I still find it amusing that the largest employer is McDonald's.

Prior to 1920 Costa Mese was known as Harper. It didn’t incorporate until 1953. Today it includes the neighborhoods of Cliff Haven, Mesa Verde, the Theater & Arts District, the Metro Center, the City Center, and Santa Ana Heights.



Musical acts from Costa Mesa include Bill Madden, Cowboy Buddha, Measles, Naked Soul, The Pressure and Xployt (aka Joe Public), and Supernova. Movies filmed there include Suburbia and In the Shadow of the Stars. To learn more about Costa Mesa, click here.


CYPRESS


Due to the preponderance of artesian wells in the area, the city of Cypress was at one time called Waterville. It incorporated in 1956 as Dairy City, in part to preserve its agricultural character from suburbanization (as did neighboring Dairy Valley (now Cerritos) and Dairyland (now La Palma). All the dairy-centric communities nonetheless suburbanized by the 1960s. Only a year after incorporation its citizens voted to change its name to Cypress, after the trees planted as a wind break next to Cypress Elementary School.




The population of Cypress, according to the 2010 census, is about 54% white, 32% Asian, 18% Latino, and 3% black. Two of its most famous sons are actor/singer/yoghurt-peddler, John Stamos and famed golfer/philanderer, Eldrick Tont "Tiger" Woods.


EL MODENA


Source: Orange County Archives


El Modena is a small, unincorporated community surrounded by the city of Orange. For much of its history it was a barrio set aside for Mexican-Americans. Through annexation, El Modena High School is now located within Orange although El Modena still has the El Modena Community Center and the Jones Victorian Estate (built in 1881).


FOUNTAIN VALLEY


Mile Square Park - image source: Justin Kim

Fountain Valley’s motto is “A nice place to live.” It was originally known as Gospel Swamp and later, Talbert, before its incorporation in 1957. Until the 1960s it was primarily agricultural. The population today is roughly 57% white, 34% Asian, 13% Latino, and 3% black.It’s home to an historical site, Courreges Ranch, although it’s not open to the public. Thankfully, the historic buildings in Heritage Park are.


FULLERTON


Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton, California

Fullerton is the town where Hawaiian Punch was invented in 1934. In 1949 it’s where Leo Fender invented the Fender Telecaster. It’s also the birthplace of a couple of seminal Orange County Punk bands: The Adolescents and Social Distortion – other music acts from Fullerton include Belay My Last, Coco B's, Derek Shawn O'Brie, Dusty Rhodes and the River Band, Gwen Stefani, Jay C. Easton, K-Nobs, Kid Ramos, Lit, Stacey Q, The Daisy Chain, The Illustrious Theatre Orchestra and Tui St. George Tucker. One of the town’s major cultural attractions is the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.



Fullerton also includes the neighborhoods of Downtown, Fuller Park, SoCo, and Sunny Hills. The population is 54% white, 34% Latino, 23% Asian, and 2% black. To read more about Fullerton, click here.


GARDEN GROVE


Downtown Garden Grove

Garden Grove has been a "capital of" numerous things from its early days up until the city was incorporated in 1956. Over the years it's been declared the chili-pepper capital of the world in the early 1920s, the poultry capital of the world a little later, the egg capital of the world not long after that, and the strawberry capital of the world in the late '50s.

It includes the neighborhoods of the Central Industrial District, College Park East, Colonia Manzanillo, Downtown, Little Seoul, Old Ranch, South of Katella, Uptown, West Garden Grove, and part of Little Saigon. To read more about Garden Grove, click here.


HUNTINGTON BEACH



For a city primarily associated just with surfing, Huntington Beach – aka “Surf City,” has a number of surprisingly varied attractions. There is surf culture aplenty and Main Street is sometimes referred to as “The Jersey Shore of the West” but there’s the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, a Richard Neutra-designed public library, the kitschy/charming Old World Village, beautiful Central Park, clubs with Vietnamese New Wave/Italo nights, and more.



HB also includes the neighborhoods of Huntington Harbour, Sunset Beach, Surfside (or Surfside Colony). The population of the city is 77% white, 17% Latino, 11% Asian, and 1% black. It is the birthplace of metal band Avenged Sevenfold, reggae group The Dirty Heads, rap rock group (Hed) P.E., folk singer Matt Costa, pop punk band The Offspring, power pop group Hellogoodbye, ska punk band Reel Big Fish, ska group Suburban Legends, and punk band The Vandals. To read more about Huntington Beach, click here.


LA HABRA



La Habra takes its name from Mariano Reyes Roldan’s Rancho Cañada de La Habra. Just north, in the Puente Hills of Los Angeles County is La Habra Heights. La Habra was incorporated in 1925. In that same decade, Rudolph Hass planted the Hass Avocado Mother Tree there and began producing one of the world’s most popular cultivars of the fruit. The tree ultimately died in 2002.




La Habra is the birthplace of metal band The Funeral Pyre, singer Jennifer Hanson, and musician Rusty Anderson. The population of La Habra is approximately 58% white, 57% Latino, 10% Asian, and 2% black.


LA PALMA


Miller Street in La Palma (1960) - image source: Orange County Archives


La Palma was incorporated in 1955, originally as Dairyland – an agricultural community zoned to exclude housing developments. Nonetheless, after the last of the dairies moved away in 1965, the name was changed to La Palma, after La Palma Avenue, and it was suburbanized. It is, area-wise, the smallest city in Orange County. The population today is about 48% Asian, 37% white, 16% Latino, and 5% black.


LITTLE SAIGON


Asian Garden Mall

Unlike fellow North Orange County ethnic enclaves Little Arabia and Little Seoul which are both fairly small, vast Little Saigon sprawls across parts of Fountain Valley, Garden Grove, Midway City, Santa Ana, and Westminster (and, to a lesser extent, Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Stanton). It’s the oldest, largest and most populous Vietnamese enclave in the country. It was established in Westminster although Garden Grove is now home to about 10,000 more Vietnamese than that city.



Two business pioneers, Danh Quach and Frank Jao, established the first Vietnamese businesses along Bolsa – Little Saigon is actually often referred to as Bolsa. Around the same time, in 1978, Yen Ngoc Do began publishing Người Việt Daily News. There are now more newspapers -- The Little Saigon News and Vien Dong Daily News as well as TV and radio stations including Little Saigon TV, SBTN TV, VietFace, VNA TV, Saigon TV, Little Saigon Radio, and Radio Bolsa.

Not surprisingly, it is home to a vast number of quality Vietnamese restaurants.


LOS ALAMITOS


Not to be confused with Rancho Los Alamitos, in Long Beach, the Orange County city of Los Alamitos was incorporated in 1960. The name, “Los Alamitos,” is Spanish for “The Little Cottonwoods.” The population today is approximately 71% white, 21% Latino, 13% Asian, and 3% black.

For decades the main industry in Los Alamitos was sugar beet production. Today the top employers are Los Alamitos Medical Center, Arrowhead Products, Trend Offset Printing, SuperMedia, Pharmacy Advantage, Bloomfield Bakers, Systems Services of America, Alamitos West Health Care Center, Timken, and MDA Information.


MIDWAY CITY


Despite its name, Midway City is not an actual city. It’s a “census designated place” jointly presided over by a chamber of commerce and a homeowners’ association. The “Midway” of its name comes from its being nearly equidistant to Huntington Beach, Long Beach, and Santa Ana.


Midway City began life in 1922 when John H. Harper purchased 200 acres due to its location near a stagecoach stop and the Huntington Beach Oil Field. Harper began selling lots the following year. Over the years it’s been chipped away at with annexations by Westminster and is now made up of several small, disconnected sections.

Some of the highest profile businesses include Dakao Poultry, Baladi Poultry, and Midway City FeedStore. In 1994, Midway City became the subject of mockery when several school campuses banned the playing of POGS. As the Vietnamese population has grown, the community has become unofficially part of Little Saigon. The population today is roughly 48% Asian (mostly Vietnamese), 34% white, and 29% Latino. It was the birthplace of actress Dedee PfeifferMichelle Pfeiffer’s sister.


ORANGE


Eichler Tract in Orange

Orange is fairly unique among Orange County communities in that it preserved many of its older homes, rather than demolishing them. As a result, there are many attractive Craftsman homes near the neighborhood of Old Towne. It’s also home to three Eichler tracts, more than half of the total in Southern California. It’s motto is “a slice of old town charm.” Other neighborhoods include Olive, Orange Hills, Santiago Hills and surrounds the communities of El ModenaOrange Park Acres and Villa Park.

Prior to 1873 the community was known as Richland. That year it changed its name to Orange since there was already a Richland, California. The population in 2010 was 67% white, 38% Latino,12% Asian, and 2% black.

Orange is the birthplace of actress Amber Lynn, comedian Brad Williams, actor Jason Lee, and singer Toni Childs. To read more about Orange, click here.


ORANGE PARK ACRES



Orange Park Acres is an unincorporated community surrounded by the city of Orange. In 1894, Ferdinand Keifhaber purchased a 2,000 acre farm that was part of a Spanish land grant known as Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana. In 1911, the Kiefhaber family sold a portion of the land to C.C. Chapman, Dr. Randell, Mervin Monnette, and Frank Mead Sr. In 1928, the latter two formed the Orange Park Acres Corporation of what is today Orange Park Acres. It remains mostly residential with a pronounced rural, equestrian character.


PLACENTIA



The city of Placentia’s name is Latin for “a pleasant abode.” The population is 62% white, 36 % Latino, 15% Asian, and 2% black. It’s recognized locally as home to The Bruery, Knott’s Berry Farm Foods and some supposedly excellent Mexican restaurants. It’s also the birthplace of punk bank Agent Orange and the rap-rock group Kottonmouth Kings.





ROSSMOOR



Rossmoor is a planned community developed between 1955 and 1961 by Ross W. Cortese. Part of the design involved not one but two shopping centers -- Rossmoor Village Square and Rossmoor Business Center. The latter was annexed by neighboring Seal Beach in 1962 and renamed The Shops at Rossmoor (even though they're no longer in Rossmoor). Rossmoor is walled off from the surrounding communities by a red brick “separation barrier.” The population behind the wall is 85% white, 12% Latino, and 10% Asian.


SANTA ANA


Santa Ana has the second largest population in Orange County, after Anaheim. As with most of Orange County, it was formerly dominated by a non-Latino white population back in the mid 20th Century. As late as 1970 nearly 70% of the population was white. As of 2010, an even larger majority (78%) was Latino. The rest of the population is 11% Asian, 9% white, 2% black, and 1% Native American. This radical shift is undoubtedly the reason that online comments about the city tend to laughably compare it to Juarez or Tijuana.

In reality it’s one of the county’s primary cultural centers – home to the Bowers Museum, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, El Centro Cultural de México, Discovery Science Center, Heritage Museum of Orange County, and more. The Observatory (formerly the Galaxy Theatre) was where I was lucky enough to see a live performance by Italo/Vietnamese New Wave legend, Gazebo.

In short, it enjoys a bustling nightlife, daytime, art scene, food scene and many historic sites. To read more about it, click here.


SEAL BEACH



Seal Beach Pier - image source: Ajumma's Pad

Seal Beach is located in westernmost Orange County, adjacent to Long Beach in Los Angeles County. It also includes the neighborhoods of Leisure World and Surfside Seal Beach. It was previously known as Anaheim Landing. It later became known as Bay City but since there was already another Bay City, it was renamed Seal Beach when it was incorporated in 1915.

As of 2010 the population was 84% white, 10% Asian, 10% Latino, and 1% black. In 2011 Seal Beach witnessed Orange County’s worse mass shooting when Kenneth Caleb murdered eight people at a beauty salon. Seal Beach Councilman Gordon Shanks offended many when he remarked, "These things are not supposed to happen here. Maybe in Compton." Many were quick to point out that there had never been a mass shooting of that magnitude in Compton’s history.


STANTON


Stanton, California's Del Taco #10

Stanton grew up along the Los Angeles Interurban Railway’s Santa Ana Railway Line, which formerly connected Watts to Santa Ana beginning in 1905. It was incorporated in 1911. The fickle city then dis-incorporated in 1924. It once again incorporated in 1956. For such a small city, it is blessed with the presence of numerous, small parks.

Stanton’s largest employers are CR&R, Sam's Club, The Home Depot, Adventure City, and All Metals Processing. The population is 51% Latino, 21% white, 24% Asian, 2% black, and 1% Native American.


TONNER CANYON



Tonner Canyon is an undeveloped area in the Puente Hills just south of Rowland Heights at the southern edge of LA County’s San Gabriel Valley. Nearly all of the 5,700 acres are owned by the City of Industry. The Orange County portion was formerly owned by Brea Cañon Oil.


VILLA PARK



Villa Park is a small community completely surrounded by the city of Orange. It incorporated in 1962. Its declining population has turned it into the smallest city in the county, population-wise. The small city is mostly residential – comprised of about 2,000 single family homes. There is one shopping center with a Ralph’s grocery store, a pharmacy and more. There are zero public parks and few streets have parking lots, perhaps to dissuade visits from outsiders. Its motto is “Villa Park, the hidden jewel.”

The population is 78% white, 16% Asian, and 10% Latino. 60% of residents are registered Republicans. It’s the birthplace of no known notables in any creative field as far as my (minimal) research has turned up.


WESTMINSTER


Vietnam War Memorial - Westminster, California

Westminster was founded in 1870 by Reverend Lemuel Webber as a Presbyterian temperance colony, its name a reference to the Westminster Assembly of 1643 (which laid out the basic tenets of Presbyterianism). Its motto is “The city of progress built on pride.” Before its incorporation, Westminster (along with Barber City and Midway City) was considered to be part of “Tri-City.” Upon incorporation it annexed Barber City (Midway City remains unincorporated).

In the 1970s, it received a large influx of Vietnamese refugees. Today the population is 48% Asian (85% Vietnamese), 36% white, 24% Latino, and 1% black. Nowadays it is home to the largest concentration of Vietnamese-Americans in the world. Any visit should include checking out Asian Garden Mall (Phước Lộc Thọ) and a meal at Bo De Tinh Tam Chay (which I'm responsible for adding to Urbanspoon).

Westminster is the birthplace of documentarian Harrod Blank, professional gamer Ken Hoang, dance crew Poreotics, and the a cappella group, the Westminster Chorus.


YORBA LINDA



Yorba Linda is an Orange County community that borders the Inland Empire’s San Bernardino County and whose motto is “Land of gracious living.” It’s named after Californio rancher, Bernardo Yorba. It was primarily agricultural until the 1960s, when the population began to grow rapidly.

President Richard Nixon was born there in 1913, the year after it acquired its first post office and began receiving electricity. His home, where he lived until 1922, and the adjacent Richard Nixon Library and Museum are the city’s chief attractions. I visited the museum once but became so engrossed by Dan Quayle’s memoir, Standing firm (with its frank discussion of his beef with Murphy Brown and Potatoegate) that I never made it past the gift shop.

Yorba Linda was incorporated in 1967 and also includes the neighborhoods of Carlton and East Lake. In some ways it feels more like a typical South County city. The population is 75% white, 16% Asian, 14% Latino, and 1% black. About 57% of its inhabitants are Republicans.

It’s the birthplace of guitarist Eric Charles "Erock" Friedman (Creed and Submersed), actress Mitzi Kapture, singer Sabrina Ryan (of The Cheetah Girls), and the metalcore band, Atreyu.

So there you have it – a brief and by no means complete entry to North Orange County. Get out there and explore, vote and share your experiences!

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Pendersleigh & Sons Cartography art opening at 1650 Gallery

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 19, 2012 02:16pm | Post a Comment

In a recent poll of Americans conducted by Public Policy Polling, only 33% of respondents said that they view Los Angeles favorably whereas 40% view it negatively. 27% stated that they’re not sure. Of America’s largest five cities (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia), LA is the only one with a higher negative response than positive. As someone who lives in and loves Southern California, this disappoints but doesn’t surprise me.

  

Growing up in other parts of the country, pop culture sculpted and skewed my perception of the Southland more than anything else. Living here I consider it to be the most misrepresented too. I’ve never been to Philadelphia but my experiences in other large American cities haven’t produced the same sort of glaring dissonance between my expectations and experience that LA has. And with LA the center of America’s pop culture machine, I have to wonder why the city doesn’t do a better job of showcasing its positive attributes instead of its negative – mainly conspicuous consumption, movie stardom and gang culture.

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California Fool's Gold -- Exploring Huntington Beach

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 9, 2011 08:00pm | Post a Comment
SHOOTING THE PIER -- HUNTINGTON BEACH


This blog entry is about Huntington Beach, a beach city in North Orange County. To Huntington Beach's southwestern edge is the Pacific Ocean. To its north are Seal Beach and Westminster. To the east is Fountain Valley. North and east is the Little Saigon area. To the southeast are the towns of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.
 
     Pendersleigh & Sons' Official Map of Huntington Beach

It's the largest beach city in Orange County. Accompanying me on this installment was a mysterious new traveling companion and HB resident known only as Bao. As is usual, we being with a bit of history.


EARLY HISTORY OF HUNTINGTON BEACH


The area that now constitutes Huntington Beach was for thousands of years a border territory shared by the seafaring Tongva people to the north and the smaller Acagchemem nation to the south. At the time the area was an isolated mesa surrounded by a soggy expanse of bogs and shallow marshes fed by estuaries and artesian wells. At the western foot of the bluff was a large tidal lagoon.


THE SPANISH & MEXICAN RANCHO ERAS 


After the Spanish Conquest, European settlement in the area began in 1784, when veteran Spanish soldier Manuel Nieto was granted the large 1,200 km2 Rancho Los Nietos. The main route through the ranch was a cattle trail that's now Beach Boulevard. After Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1822, the ranchos were secularized and subdivided, including into Rancho Los Alamitos and Rancho Las Bolsas where Huntington Beach now is.. American immigrants began arriving. Two years after the US declared war against Mexico (in 1846), ownership of California was transferred and more Americans arrived in the area.


THE AMERICAN ERA & PACIFIC CITY

A trader named Able Sterns acquired Rancho Los Alamitos and then the Rancho Las Bolsas. In 1862 Sterns sold the ranchos to The Los Angeles and San Bernardino Land Company, an agency for which Sterns acted as realtor. The large ranches were then subdivided and sold in smaller parcels and sold to farmers. In 1894, Colonel Robert J. Northam (then-manager of the Stearns Ranchos Company) acquired seven parcels. Much of the area was drained and seeded with barley, alfalfa and later, celery. A small succession of communities arose in the area of modern-day Huntington Beach including Shell Beach, Smeltzer, Gospel Swamp (a tent city community of Methodists pilgrims from Long Beach), Fairview and Pacific City.


Pacific City pier scene in the 1980s

Pacific City was envisioned as a west coast rival to New Jersey's Atlantic City by Philip A. Stanton and Colonel H. S. Finley who in 1901 formed The West Coast Land and Water Company through which they acquired 1,500 acres.


To give Pacific City some legitimacy, several structures were moved there from nearby Newport Beach. Stanton sold his interest the following year to a group headed by J. V. Vickers. Vickers wooed railway owner Henry E. Huntington with enticements in exchange for an extension of the Long Beach line to Pacific City. Perhaps chief among the inducements was the proposed change of name from Pacific City to Huntington Beach. Huntington changed the name of his company from West Coast Land and Water Company to The Huntington Beach Company and agreed.



EARLY HUNTINGTON BEACH

Huntington Beach was dedicated July 4, 1904 and the crowd of 50,000 witnessed the arrival of the first Pacific Red Car. The boom quickly died and by 1905, with the $126 purchase of an Encyclopedia Americana set, free parcels of land were given away. By then, celery and sugar beet cultivation dominated the economy. In 1906, the first school was built, Huntington Beach High School. The city of Huntington Beach was incorporated on February 17, 1909, under mayor Ed Manning.


Huntington Beach c. 1910


HUNTINGTON BEACH FLOWS AND GROWS


The original pier c. 1910

The original, wooden pier was destroyed in 1912. In 1914, the pier was replaced with a concrete one, primarily to support fishing. From 1910 to 1920 the small population of 815 more than doubled to 1,687. However, when Col. Northam dug a well to irrigate his alfalfa and struck oil in the Holly-Seacliff area, the economy of the sleepy seaside resort shifted focus.


Holly Sugar converted from processing beet sugar to oil refining. The Huntington Beach High School team changed their team name to The Oilers. The oil reserves were quickly depleted for the most part but numerous oil rigs still rhythmically bob (and there are several offshore rigs too). The last oil strike occurred in 1953. Growth came to an almost complete halt during the Great Depression.


In 1933, the Long Beach Earthquake struck - its epicenter was underneath Huntington Beach. 115 people were killed and $40 million worth of damage was done. In 1939, the Huntington Beach Pier was again destroyed and subsequently rebuilt. 


In the 1940s, growth in Huntington Beach resumed at a measured pace in the 1940s, with much of the city's land still devoted to oil production. The Huntington Beach Airport began operation in the mid-1940s, using as a runway a deposit of sediments left by the Flood of '38. It was still standing but had ceased operation by 1955. 
The East Long Beach Airport (later Sunset Beach Airport and finally Meadowlark Airport) was opened in 1947 by a nissei named Yukio "Dick" Nerio. It went public in the 1950s and continued operation until 1989. 
In 1957, Huntington Beach annexed a great deal of land between the original city and the proposed San Diego Freeway and the population growth reached a new peek during the decade.

 
In the 1960s the population increased almost tenfold, exploding from 11,492 to 115,960.


HB TERRORIZED IN THE 1970s

  
1970s serial killing creeps now rightfully rotting in prison

With most of the city by-then developed, population was slowed since the 1970s. During the decade, Huntington Beach (and nearby areas) were terrorized by a serial killer from Long Beach, Randy Steven Kraft, a pro-Vietnam War activist/Barry Goldwater-supporter and bartender at a Huntington Beach gay bar. In 1968 he joined the Air Force but was discharged the following year for being gay and he resumed bar tending. In 1970, Kraft gained the trust of a thirteen-year-old runaway he met on the Huntington Beach pier. After Kraft took him home, drugged and raped him, he went to work and the victim escaped. The victim led the cops to the apartment who found drugs and the victim's shoes… but since the search was conducted with a warrant, Kraft wasn't charged. In 1971, Kraft found work at a bottled water plant in HB. That year police found a decomposing body next to the freeway, believed to have been Kraft's first murder victim. For the next eleven years, dozens of men were murdered, mainly in North Orange County and The Harbor. After his arrest, police recovered a "death list" that claimed 67 victims, 22 of them not found. 

Huntington Beach was again rocked by violence when Rodney Alcala kidnapped and murdered a Huntington Beach twelve year old on her way to ballet class in 1979.


NATIVE ACTIVISM



In the 1970s, Native activists began fighting for preservation of sites of historical importance, especially the Bolsa Chica Wetlands (near the dump site, coincidentally, of one Kraft's teenage victims). In the 2000s, the developers of the Brightwater Hearthside Homes subdivision began churning up bones and artifacts dating back up to 8,500 years. In 2006 the state approved continued reconstruction as long as the disturbed human remains were reinterred somewhere else. In 2008, the remains of 174 Tongva bodies uncovered by workers who've apparently never watched Poltergeist!

HB IN THE 1980s


OP Pro Riot

The 1980s seem to have ushered in even more lawless age in Hungtington Beach.  In 1980, half-sisters Gina Narano, 15, and Cynthia Chandler, 16, disappeared from Huntington Beach and were found the next day on the roadside, shot to death and raped by a former Navy admiral, Douglas Clark. The same year, an 18-year police veteran was jailed in HB after molesting numerous children. In 1981, Tommy Gomez was arrested on two counts for a gang rape of a Huntington Beach woman. In 1984, Elizabeth Hoffschneider was brutally raped, beaten and murdered in a case that took over two decades to solve. On Labor Day, in 1986, a massive disturbance happened downtown and near the pier which came to be known as the OP Pro Riot. In the late 1980s, there was a push from law enforcement and for redevelopment. The first obvious sign of a new age was the rebuilding of the pier in January, 1988. 
HB IN THE 1990s 

The 1990s began innocently enough. Tthe first notable local news item came when HB resident Gary Stewart set a new world record for pogo jumping in May, 1990, continuously bouncing for twenty hours and twenty minutes. However, the dark ages continued into the early 1990s.
Wayne Ichija Yoshisato of Huntington Beach was charged with murder in the July, 1990, for fatal beating of his girlfriend's 14- month old daughter which he committed after raping the mother. In August of the same year, 15-year old Tri Tue Thanh Kha murdered a gang rival at the Huntington Beach Boys and Girls Club. In 1991, however, a poll of Huntington Beach found that 98% of residents viewed their city favorably, despite pollution, traffic and crime. 
Though plagued by a troubling level of racially motivated violence (usually against blacks, Asians and Latinos), Huntington Beach seems to have regained peace from truly grisly crime during the latter part of the 1990s. There remain, of course, exceptions. In the 2000s, there was the case of Ian W. Allen, a 23 year-old self-professed Satanist who conspired with his teenage girlfriend to kill her mother by stabbing her over fifty times, stuffing her in a box and dumping it in Newport Harbor. Aside from that case, and still not-infrequent hate crimes and harassment, Huntington Beach has, like most of America, improved since the festering 1980s and early 1990s and remains lower than the national average. Today, the population of Huntington Beach is 77% white, 17% Asian/Pacific Islander and 17% Latino of any race. The top employers are Boeing, Quiksilver and Cambro


THE MARSHES


A large, beautiful marsh, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, lies between Downtown Huntington Beach and Huntington Harbour and remains largely undisturbed. A $110 million restoration of the wetlands was completed in 2006. There is a small, free parking lot that should not be confused with the adjacent beach parking, which costs $15. Also, there is no crosswalk between the two. The flora and especially fauna change with the seasons and on the early summer day we visited there were pelicans, least terns, clapper rails, two black-necked stillts and maybe some western snowy plovers.


The waters are home to grey smoothound sharks, round stingrays but, most terrifying were the massive, revolting, capitvating slug-like California Sea Hares. There were also many birders snapping pictures. One was accompanied by his young son who carried a small bow and said, "ah juh shi! ah juh shi!" to me.  I've heard that before but was unsure of the meaning. South of Downtown are more, smaller marshes; the Talbert, Newland Brookhurst and Magnolia Marshes, which lie behind Huntington State Beach.


HUNTINGTON BEACH'S BEACHES 

The northern and southernmost beaches, Bolsa Chica State Beach and Huntington State Beach, respectively, are state parks and only Huntington City Beach is maintained by the town. Camping and RVs are permitted and popular at Bolsa Chica, which is a sandbar separating the Bolsa Chica wetlands from the ocean. A portion known as "the cliffs" is home to a dog beach. Sunset Beach is maintained by Orange County and lies between the ocean and the city's marinas.


Huntington City Beach is popular with sand volleyball players, surfers and huge crowds of others. It also boasts the pier, which provides lovely views of the city, the oil rigs, the aquamarine-colored waves and the smokestacks in the distance. Huntington State Beach borders the southern marshes and ends at the mouth of the Santa Ana River.


SURFING SURF CITY

With four beaches and a consistent surf, Huntington Beach has long been popular with practitioners of the sport. The first road large redwood board in the 1920s. In 1955, Gordon Duane opened the city's first surf shop, Gordie Surfboards.

 

In 1959, the first West Coast Surfing Championships were held in Huntington Beach. The Huntington Beach Surf Club was established in 1963 with over seventy members. Huntington Beach, in fact, has trademarked the nickname "Surf City." The U.S. Open of Surfing and Beach Games are held in Huntington Beach.




Huntington Beach is also home to the International Surfing Museum, which features the Surfers' Hall of Fame, surf-related exhibits and, on Sundays, the back lot hosts surf bands.


Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku


On the day of our visit, we were treated to the sounds of Tower 21 and 3 Balls of Fire.


 
Statue of Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku


Bao and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame

Outside the museum is the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame honoring those who've contributed to surf culture.


MAIN STREET 


By the 1980s, Main Street Huntington Beach had acquire a reputation as a haven for drug-dealing, prostitution and violent crime. In 1983, the city approved a redevelopment plan and condos and businesses began popping up in the years that followed. Tourists and locals descended on the revived district and in April of 2011, the LA Times reported that revenue for the area was by then twenty times what it had been in 1988.

The area is the site of many of Huntington Beach's local events. Every Tuesday, Surf City Nights includes food booths and live, free entertainment. In March, the Beachcruiser Meet showcases hundreds of classic cars in the Main and Pier parking lot. Miracle on Main Street is the name for the Main Street Christmas Tree lighting ceremony. The third Wednesday of every month there's the Huntington Beach Art Walk. Chili at the Beach is a chili cook-off which benefits the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) and occurs during the Fathers' Day Weekend.


However, when the sun goes down the families go home and a three-block stretch of Main Street takes on a different character, that of the "Jersey Shore of the West." Although the alcohol sales help fuel the economy, Huntington Beach is ranked No. 1 in victims killed and injured in alcohol-involved traffic accidents among cities its size in the state. Even though the sun was still up on the day of my visit, I did witness an SUV packed with young men pumping their fists to trance, presumably in anticipation of the night's drunken debauchery (e.g. beer pong, more fist pumping, public urination). The cops even have a special code for drunks breaking into someone else's house to pass out because it's so common, a "Downtown 459."


THE HUNTINGTON BEACH PIER


Main street ends (or continues) onto the Huntington Beach Pier, the longest municipal concrete pier in California. It's another popular site for Huntington Beach events. Every year in May, the Sunset Wine Tasting at the Pier features wines from around California and raises money to benefit AltaMed's Huntington Beach Community Clinic, which serves thousands of uninsured and medically underserved patients. The following two days, the Annual Duck-a-thon is held in the water off the pier, a rubber ducky race.


On the day of our visit, the DJs in a booth representing KIIS FM hyped the crowd of four children.



At the mouth of the pier, Pier Plaza, street performers wowed the crowds and drum circle-types pounded away.


PARKS - THE OTHER ATTRACTIONS


Huntington Beach was a very large, beautiful Central Park. The parking lot is landscaped with attractive xeric plants (nice!) and there are fairly developed forests with large Blue Gum Eucalyptus.


It's also the location of the Richard Neutra and Dion Neutra-designed Huntington Beach Public Library (which was closed on the day of our visit). A Concours d'Elegance (a prestigious car show) is held at Central Park in June and benefits the public library. On the other side of the street is the Huntington Central Park Equestrian Center.



On the day we visited there was a large crowd gathered for live music under an inflatable band shell.


HB EVENTS





In addition to the aforementioned events, Huntington Beach hosts a biathlon in July. A Fourth of July parade has been held annually since 1904. The Cruise of Lights Boat Tour is held in the Huntington Harbour neighborhood. The annual Kite Festival is held in late February. An informal "Donut Derelicts" car show occurs every Saturday morning at the intersection of Adams and Magnolia Street. Huntington Beach also hosts the National Professional Paintball League Super 7 Paintball Championships in March


THE SHOPPING

There are two major shopping areas in Huntington Beach, Bella Terra and Old World Village. Bella Terra is a large, outdoor shopping center. In its amphitheater, live music is performed regularly. There are also regularly-held special events for kids. It opened in 1996 and was built on the ruins of the old, indoor mall, the Huntington Beach Center.


In the shadow of the Towers at Bella Terra, a group of tall business complexes, is the Old World Village… a much older outdoor mall with a German theme (that can feel, during slow times, like a Bavarian ghost town). The 50 buildings were built, I believe, in 1978.


It's just the sort of fading, charming simulacrum that I like. It hosts numerous events including Dachshund Races, classic car shows, RICO's Comedy Revival Show!, the Plum Festival, German Heritage Day and, biggest of all, Oktoberfest.


As I wondered the winding, shady streets I saw only one other soul… sitting still as stone on a bench… kind of creepy in an abandoned-theme-park kind of way ...and a total HB gem! Read my Block By Block post, Kitsch and Kultur: Exploring SoCal Bavaria, for more. 


HB EATS

For a city it's size, Huntington Beach has an insane amount of places to eat. The people love to eat and, not surprisingly, it hosts the annual  Taste of Huntington BeachPerhaps the most celebrated joint was the Golden Bear, which opened in 1929 and became a popular nightclub in 1963. It hosted the likes of BB King, Janis Joplin, Steve Martin, Charles Bukowski and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Unfortunately it was demolished in 1986.Especially well-represented are Italian, Mexican and sandwich joints seem to be especially well-represented but in the HB, eating, drinking, music, TV all seem to go hand in hand so here's a let of eateries and drinkeries of different stripes. We, nonetheless, ate at Bodhi Tree, a nice, tasteful and tasty Vietnamese joint.

Other options include: Adami, Alberto's, Aloha Grill, Aloha Hawaiian BBQ, An's Restaurant, Avila's El Ranchito, Aztecas, Bagelmania & Coffee House, Baci, Baci di Roma Trattoria, Baja Sharkeez, Basilico's Pasta e Vino, BBQ Bistro, Beach Burgers, Beach Pit BBQ, Beachfront 301, Bella Roma, Bhodi Tree Cafe, Black Bull Chop House, Big Chopsticks, Buffalo Wings 'N Things, Bukhara, Bun & Burger, Buon Gusto, Burtucci's New York Pizza, Cafe Enchante, Caffe Gazelle, Cancun,

Capones Italian Cucina, Casa Jimenez, Catalina Fish Kitchen, Catch of the Day, Cavallino Ristorante, Centerfield Sports Bar, Champa, Cherry On Top, Chicago Ribs, China Kitchen, Charo Chicken, Chronic Tacos, Coach's Deli, Coache's Mediterranean Grill, Cobantigua Cafe, Corner Bakery, Crabby's Boat House, Crivello Ristorante Italiano, Cucina Alessa, Daimon, Daphne's California Greek, De Simone Bakery & Delicatessen, Deli-licious, Deville, Digg's, Don Jose's Mexican Restaurant,

Don the Beachcomber, Don Ramon's, Dukes
Dwight's Beach Concession, East Winds Asian Cuisine, Eat at Joe's, El Chavito, Eggroll King, Endless Food & Fun, Esther's Place, Euro Market Bakery & Deli, Fiesta Grill & Catering, Fiesta Grill 2, Fish Camp, Fitzgerald's Pub, Five Guys Burger and Fries, Frank's Big O Pizza, Fred's Mexican Cafe, Fresca's, Fritzankotters, Fuji's Famous Burger, Gallagher's Pub & Grill, George's, Golden Chopsticks, Gong's Chinese Food, Good Day Cafe, Great Wok,

Green Rice Kabob, Hank's West Pizza, Harry's Cafe, Harvey's Steakhouse, Hashigo Sushi, Hero's Pub, Himalayan Grill, Honeybaked Ham Co, Hot and Spicy Thai, Hot Off the Grill, House of Brews, Huckleberry's Famous Sandwiches, Huntington Beach Beer Company & Restaurant
 Hurricane's Bar & Grill, In-N-Out Burger, Inca Gourmet, Irassae, Islands, Jan's Health Bar, Jersey Mike's Subs, Joe's Sushi, John's Philly Grille, Johnny's Saloon, Jon's Coffee Shop, Joy Sushi, Ka Shabu,

Kathy May's Restaurant, Kelly's Donuts and Burgers, Kiku Restaurant, Killarney Pub & Grill, King's Fish House, King's Pizza, Kirby's Surf City PizzaLa Brique Steakhouse, La Choza Restaurant, La Fontana Ristorante, LaRocco's Pizzeria, Lamppost Pizza, Las Barcas, La Capilla, La Casita, La Petite Baquette, Lee's Lucky Wok, Linda's Mexican Restaurant, Lino's Pizzeria, Longboard, Los Primos Cantina, Lotus Chinese Eatery, Lou's Oak Oven Barbecue, Lucci's Deli, Luggatti's,
 Luigi's

Malibu Fish Grill, Mama's on 39, Mangia-Mangia, Mangiamo Gelato Caffe, Mario's, Mario's Fiesta Maya, Market Broiler, Marlin Bar and Grill, Massimo's Pizza, Matsu Restaurant, Mazara Trattoria, Mike Thai Bros Bistro, Minimex Everywhere, Mitasie 3, Molcajete Grill, Mona Lisa Italian Cucina, Monkey House Cafe, Mother's Market & Kitchen, Mr P's Espresso Italiano Caffe, My Place, Niya, No Ka Oi, Nonna Lucci's, Norm's, Normita's Surf City Taco, O'Connell's, OC Juice N Gyro, Ocean Pacific Market,

Oceans Sushi & Oyster Lounge, Oggi's Pizza & Brewing Company, Olive Pit, Old World German Restaurant, Pacific Coast Hot Dogs, Pacific Crust Sandwiches, Pancho Frijoles, Panda Palace, Park Bench Café, Pee Wee's Famous Hot Dogs and Hamburgers, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Pei Wei, Pelican Isle, Perq's, Perry's Pizza, Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken, Pete's Sunset Grille, Photastic!, Phuket Thai Restaurant, Pick Up Stix,
 Pizza D'oro, Pizzarito, Polly's Pies, Porky's PizzaRA Sushi Bar, Randazzo,

Rathskeller, Red Chair Lounge, Robek's Juice, Rockin' Baja Coastal Cantina, Rockin' Crepes, Rodrigo's, Sakura Shabu Shabu, Sakurai, Sammy's, Sancho's Tacos, Sandy's Beach Grill, Sango Sushi, Sea Siam, Sebastiani's Italian Bistro, 2nd Floor Food ART Drinks, Secret Spot, Shades, Shima, Shogun, Shooters Sports Bar and Grill, Silk Thai Cuisine, Slapfish Truck, Slow Fish, Soya, Spark Woodfire Grill, St George Pizza, Suds Surf City Sports Grill, Sugar Shack Cafe, Sullivan,

Sunny's Waffle House, Super Mex, Sushi on Fire, Suhsi Top, Sushi Ya, Sweet Elle Café
Sweet O Donuts, T'Kila, Tacone Flavor Grill, Tacos Jerez, Tacos el Chavito, Tacos Jerez, Taqueria Don Victor, Taste of France, Thai Gulf, Thai Pepper, Thai Wave, The Bread Crumb, The Californian, The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, The Corner, The Donuttery, The Firepit, The Gourmet Crepe Company, The Loft, The Orange Dog, The Seafood Zone, Three Monkies Japanese Kitchen, TK Burgers, Todai, Tokyo Deli,

The Wok Experience, Tower 15 Pizzeria, Tsunami, Tumbleweeds, Tuna Town, 25 Degrees
, Two Brothers Pizza, Valentino's, Vittorio's, Waba Grill, Wahoo's Fish Taco, Whata Lotta Pizza, Woody's Diner, Z Pizza, Zimzala and Zubies Dry Dock.



NIGHTLIFE 

With booze, karaoke and food mixing so readily, perhaps it should come as less of a surprise that there are far fewer clubs than bar & grills vying for nigh owls. There's the gay Ibiza Bar & Nightclub, the strip club Simply Seductive and, my favorite, the mostly Asian crowd-attracting Avec Nightclub, where Vietnamese New Wave is often played and danced to.


THE HUNTINGTON BEAT



For a city as associated with surfing, it may come as a bit of a surprise that the surf music of the 1950s and '60s didn't produce any major acts that I'm aware of. It was mentioned, however, in "Surfer Joe" by The Surfaris as well as "Surfin' Safari" by The Beach Boys. Oh, and Ashlee Simpson's music video for "La La" was filmed in Huntington Beach. HB did produce a number of famous punk bands, however, including The Vandals, The Offspring and Reel Big Fish. There are also bands that drew upon punk as well as other genres including bands like The Dirty Heads, Hellogoodbye and Avenged Sevenfold. Huntington Beach-born musicians include Matt Costa and Keri Kelli. Other Huntington Beach bands include Millionaires and smaller acts. DJ Culture is Huntington Beach's primary electronic music store and Vinyl Solution is the main punk store.


FILM(ED) IN HB


The Surf Theatre was a famous and beloved theater located near the pier that showed independent surf films including Endless Summer and Fiver Summer Stories. It was owned and operated by Hugh Larry Thomas from 1961 until it was demolished in 1989.

Today, the SoCal Independent Film Festival takes place every September. The Southland's PBS station, KOCE-TV, is broadcast from the city's Golden West College Campus. HB was the subject of the TruTV series Ocean Force - Huntington Beach.

It's also served as a filming location for All that I Need, BoardRoom, Children of the X-Files, Convict, Frost/Nixon, Hallowed, Kate So Far, Lava Lounge, Locked In, Marmaduke, 90210, Pink Lemonade, Raspberry & Lavender, Rats & Bullies, Route 66, Slasher, Starsky & Hutch, Surf Nazis Must Die, The Born Losers, The Hog, The Legends of Nethiah, The Living Curl, The OC, The Plotters, Triangle Square and Waterworld.

HB is also the birthplace of actresses Amy Grabow and Bridgette Monet (born Dana Kunath Height).


WEIRDO CHRISTIANS

One last note about my day in HB. When I returned to the CARDIS, someone had written in the dust on the rear window, "Jesus loves u... doubt it", "wash me" and "the power of Christ compels you." Huntington Beach has a history of "Jesus freaks" too. In 1968, when his mother died, her son David Berg took control of her tiny Christian and Missionary Alliance congregation and began recruiting hippie Teens for Jesus. In 1969, he changed the name to The Children of God and left Huntington Beach. By 1970, the Children of God were receiving guidance (via Berg) from Abrahim, a 13th century Bulgarian king. In the early 1970s, Berg started pimping female followers for Christ in a practice called "Flirty Fishing." They've since called themselves The Family of Love, The Family and now, The Family International… could this have been their work? or was it that Korean family who parked next to me… anyway, message received. Till next time, shaka brah!

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