Vietgone Is a Modern Sex Story from the Past

Categories: Art Review

South Coast Repertory
The cast of Vietgone

If Ernest Hemingway wanted us to write the truest sentence we know about Vietgone, the new play by Qui Nguyen commissioned by South Coast Repertory (SCP), it'd be this: it's a sex story. To be more precise, it's a sex story with a comedic framework that leaves room for drama, relies on historic context, but is told through a modern lens. To make things even more interesting (and to dig even deeper into the specifics), it's a sex story based on Nguyen's parents who had met at a refugee camp in Arkansas. You read that right!

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Brian Peterson Paints Portraits of Santa Ana's Homeless

Categories: Art Review

Brian Peterson
A portrait of Matt, a homeless man from Santa Ana

Three months ago, industrial designer and artist Brian Peterson moved to Santa Ana from Irvine. Immediately, he began noticing the city's homeless. He had never talked to a homeless person before--not until he met a man named Matt. Soon enough, Peterson learned of Matt's story: originally from Kentucky, he came to California to become a musician but it didn't work out.

Peterson became intrigued. Who are the city's homeless?

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New Exhibit Captures Complexities of Vietnamese in Orange County

Categories: Art Review

Photo Courtesy of Old Orange County Courthouse, OC Parks

In the Old Orange County Courthouse in Santa Ana, white cotton sashes hang from the ceiling in files. There are Vietnamese faces printed on them in black. The lack of a breeze keeps them motionless and, as Long Beach-based Trinh Mai has named the installation, quiet.

The installation, part of an 8-month exhibition called "Vietnamese Focus" presented by OC Parks and UC Irvine's Vietnamese American Oral History Project (VAOHP), was inspired by letters written by Vietnamese families looking for missing loved ones during the Vietnam War. These letters were preserved in UCI Libraries' Southeast Asian Archive, which Trinh Mai had been invited to use for this exhibition.

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Behold These Nominees for Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter's New Logo

City of Newport Beach
Councilman Peotter, prepare to be blown ... away.
UPDATE, JULY 17, 6:30 A.M.: So far, talent has exceeded volume when it comes to submissions to our contest aimed at finding a new logo for Newport Beach City Councilman Scott Peotter, who agreed to take the City of Newport Beach seal down from his newsletter after some cutting observations about same-sex marriage and the LGBT community.

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"Souls of Santa Ana" Captures the Stories of the City's Residents

Categories: Art Review

Thumbnail image for aliciarojas-soulsofsantaana.jpg
Anabella Pritchard/Souls of Santa Ana
Santa Ana artist Alicia Rojas captured by Anabella Pritchard

If you frequent SanTana enough, you might've already caught photographer Anabella Pritchard snapping photos and collecting stories of local residents for Souls of Santa Ana, her new project profiling the people of the city (much akin to the popular "Humans of New York").

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Brilliant Bookworm Comics Brings Vietnamese Mythology to Orange County

Brilliant Bookworm Comics
An excerpt from "The Awesome She-Kings"

When King Lac Long Quan (also known as "Dragon Lord of the Seas"--where you at, Daenerys Targaryen?) married a fairy princess named Princess Au Co, she bore him 100 eggs that would hatch into the first 100 people of Vietnamese origin. And that's how Vietnam was born--at least according to the historical Vietnamese legend.

Tales like this one are the premise of Brilliant Bookworm Comics, a comic series about Vietnamese mythological stories and legends by Placentia-based engineer and artist Huey Nguyenhuu. "If you're familiar with Vietnamese history, you know we use a lot of mythology to explain things... it's very similar to Greek mythology," Nguyenhuu explains. Brilliant Bookworm Comics started as a way to teach Nguyenhuu's 7-year-old daughter Hailey and 10-year-old son Hendrick about Vietnamese culture. The first set of comics were created on a computer and printed for kids at Hailey and Hendrick's school three years ago. Today, two of Brilliant Bookworm's comics are published by Viet Toons.

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Katherine England Makes Art for the Heart in Fullerton

Photo by John Gilhooley
Katherine England doesn't walk into a space--she swishes into it, usually wearing a flowing garment, her hair in an elegantly messy bun above feather earrings that blend in with her tendrils. Her murals cover more than 30 walls in the city, and her mosaic heart sculptures, which once lined Harbor Boulevard, raised thousands of dollars for art in schools. She's a crucial supporter of All the Arts For All the Kids Foundation, and you'll often find her at the heels of community leaders, pushing for more. She's Fullerton royalty.

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Cybele Rowe Is the Clay Lady

Photo by John Gilhooley
Now THAT'S a sculpture!

When some of us were in elementary school, there were art classes. Once a week or so, your class would be lead by an art teacher in creating something with popsicle sticks, clay, paint or the holy grail of childhood art that is papier-mâché. And then budget cuts happened, and those classes were axed entirely or replaced with a monthly Art Masters program, in which kids ape the classics.

"The thing that separates us is cultural creative artistry," believes Cybele Rowe. "And we're skipping a generation."

The world-renowned sculptor aims to change that.

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Kevin Staniec Is Creating the Great Park's Art Scene

Photo by John Gilhooley
The one good thing of the Great Park

By dave barton

After graduating from Chapman University with a BA in film and television production in 2001, Kevin Staniec's parents expected him to go the traditional route: move to Hollywood, get a low-level job as a production assistant and work his way up. He bristled. "Why would I start at the bottom when I could just start writing and making movies?" he now asks.

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Danni Hong's Oh, Hello Friend Delights Fullerton and Beyond

Photo by John Gilhooley
Downtown Fullerton represent!

Behind the counter and below a bold OHF sign stands Danni Hong. Though the petite, smiling woman looks totally unassuming, she is actually a powerhouse, moving mountains with her shop, Oh, Hello Friend. The 29-year-old's business began as any good millennial's would--with a blog by the same name. And in a precisely 21st-century manner, that blog led to a retail space, workroom and her own line of paper goods.

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