Lebowski Fest Takes Over Fountain Bowl, Man

Categories: Culture

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Josh Chesler
There was a wide variety of costumes at Lebowski Fest, from the main character to the smallest of roles.
For a few hours this past Saturday, Fountain Bowl in Fountain Valley became the home of Lebowski Fest, man.

Hundreds of achievers (fans of The Big Lebowski, for those of you who aren't fluent in Lebowski lingo) gathered to throw some rocks, drink a few Caucasians, and generally celebrate the Coen brothers' legendary tribute to bowling, friendship, and the tale of a rug that really tied the room together.


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GCS Returns to Downtown Santa Ana

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GCS Santa Ana
Art on view at the new GCS Santa Ana
The face of the Downtown Santa Ana area has been changing tremendously lately, with more restaurants and nightlife spots bringing many a bustling crowd passing through its streets on any given night. In the artist scene, DIY spots like Top Acid still bring in a steady flow of youths clamoring to be a part of its underground music scene.

But one thing about the artist community here is that when a part of it is missing, the void is felt deeply. Thus when GCS Santa Ana, a hip hop-based streetwear and urban art gallery, announced in April 2013 that after five years of operations it would be closing its doors, the tidal wave of grief set in. Many feared that Jack Jakosky, the new owner of the Santora Building where GCS Santa Ana claimed residence, had evicted GCS owner Hector Ruiz after having run longtime Santora residents out, but Ruiz states simply that nothing could be further from the truth. "We fulfilled our first five-year lease," Ruiz explains. "We would have loved to have continued in that space but the economics didn't make sense for us. Quite frankly, we just weren't making any money."

See also: Is Hip-Hop Culture Gentrifying Santa Ana?

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Burger Records Opens New Store in LA

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Courtesy of Gnar Tapes
Cypress Park's future Burger Records storefront
After six years of pummeling Orange County with colorful cassette tapes -- roughly 300 releases a year -- America's most prolific underground record label is opening a store in L.A.

In a joint partnership with cassette label Gnar Tapes, the new Burger Records in Cypress Park is the label's first retail space in L.A. For Gnar Tapes -- which began in Portland in 2008 -- the new venture makes them a major force in Northeast L.A.'s growing garage rock syndicate (which includes Lolipop Records in Echo Park).

"We've been friends for years," says Lee Rickard, co-founder of Burger Records. "They're super funny, creative, and influential." Gnar's founder, beer-belly-maestro Rikky Gage, even wrote BRGRTV's catchy theme song; his band White Fang has a new record slated for a Burger release this summer. He's also taken on the role of stoner pop crooner "Free Weed," who's been known to give away medical marijuana to his fans.

See also: How BRGRTV Became a YouTube Zine for Burger Records

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Meet Stacy Russo, OC's Punk Zine Poet

Categories: Culture

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Photo by Jessica GZ
Russo in her natural habitat

By Candace Hansen

Inspired by punk music and social justice, Librarian Stacy Russo produces zines that speak her truth through poetry and encourage others to do the same. After a 20 year hiatus, Russo self-published a number of poetry zines in 2014, edited a collection of radical protest essays by poet June Jordan titled Life as Activism, and broke ground on her new project Wildland: Interviews with Women from the 1980's Southern California Punk Rock Scene. While rooted in punk, Russo's optimism and personal mantra of Love Activism shape her writing and her work with students at Santa Ana College.


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Psychobillies Prepare to Take Over Knott's Berry Farm

Categories: Culture

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Courtesy of Remy Casillas
(Left to right): Pizza Beat Ent. is Tawney Estrella and Remy Casillas
Remy Casillas still remembers when the subculture of psychobilly grabbed him from beyond the grave and refused to let go. The allure of badass standup bass players, mosh pits, B-movie gore, hot rods, creepers and pomade made the raucous celebration of the undead seem eternally cool.

"I went to [Katella] high school, and all of the jocks listened to Sublime and Kottonmouth Kings," Casillas says. "I was this skinny, nerdy kid, and I heard songs about riding in a Batmobile or about zombies, and I knew that psychobilly was my kind of music."

Casillas is dedicated not only to the music that nurtured him, but also to the tight community of his ilk, those who live for the hellified combination of punk, rockabilly and appreciation for the undead. And there are now enough of them to take over an amusement park.

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Statewide Mexican Folk Dance Summit Comes to UC Irvine This Weekend!

Categories: Culture

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Interested in starting a ballet folklórico group at your college? Or network with the best instructors while brushing up on a little zapateado? There's no better place to start than with the University Folklórico Summit happening this weekend at UC Irvine. The three-day event comes courtesy of a partnership between the Danzantes Unidos de California nonprofit and Ballet Folklórico de UCI.

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Inside the Edwardian Ball's Steampunk Circus

Categories: Culture

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Marco Sanchez
Of all the types of entertainment that people can experience, there has always been something magical about a circus. Though the traditional traveling circus of the 19th century has all but vanished in the wake of increasing animal awareness, various key circus elements which still possess their mystique have been incorporated into the repertoires of several touring performance art groups. Though there are a couple of these groups which are household names, one which continues to gather devotees has a very unique quality. The Edwardian Ball not only brings the magic to town, but it entices the people within the town to bring their own magic to the gathering.

Now in its 15th year, the Edwardian Ball's eclectic mix of musical acts, acrobatics, clowns, side-shows, elegant anachronisms, ballroom dancing, and steampunk couture continues to grow. When the Edwardian Ball comes to town, SoCal folks will have but a single day to experience it (Valentine's Day). On the eve of this auspicious occasion, Edwardian Ball hosts / producers Justin Katz and Mike Gaines spoke with the Weekly and provided a glimpse behind the magic of their swank variety show.


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UCI Play Explores American Racism, Through a Glass Darkly

Categories: Culture, Theater

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Paul R. Kennedy
Scene from The Liquid Plain
Black History Month doesn't officially begin until Feb. 1, but for Orange County theater, it came a bit early. In early January, South Coast Repertory mounted a production of Matthew Lopez' Obie-Award-winning play The Whipping Man, set in the turbulent final days of the Civil War and featuring a slave-owner returning from the battlefield and encountering two newly emancipated men. Closing tonight is the riveting Roger Guenveur Smith, bringing his one-man Rodney King show to the Segerstrom's Off-Center Festival (seriously, just see it.)

And opening tonight, is the California premiere of Naomi Wallace's The Liquid Plain. , which is part of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's ambitious United States history cycle, American Revolutions, and was the winner of the 2012 Horton Foote Prize for Promising New American play.

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New Plays Push Boundaries at STAGESTheater

Categories: Culture, Theater

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A lusty chorus of huzzahs to STAGES Theatre! The county's longest-running storefront (going on 20-plus years) has chosen two new, or relatively unfamiliar, plays to local audiences, to begin 2015. And why should you give a shit? Well, new plays mean new voices, new stories. And while the umpeenth production of Dial M for Murder or the Pirates of Penzance might be great for a theater's bottom-line, it does absolutely nothing to grow the medium, or to suggest why people who aren't already into it should care in the slightest.

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'The Whipping Man' Shows a Side of the Civil War South You've Never Seen

Categories: Culture, Theater

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Courtesy South Coast Repertory
Cast of the Whipping Man (left to right): Adam Haas Hunter,Charlie Robinson and Jarrod M. Smith
Wait a minute: there were Jews, real, live, Torah-reading Jews in the Confederate states in the Civil War, many of whom actually fought FOR the South? And some of these Jews had slaves who were raised Jewish and actually considered themselves Jews?
Matthew Lopez' play, The Whipping Man may sound like a piece of historical speculative fiction, but it's based on true accounts of people like Judah Benjamin, a prominent Louisiana lawyer who was the first Jew ever elected to the U.S. Senate and who also served as the Confederacy's secretary of state.


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