OC's Freemasons Are Staging a Comeback, Thanks to Millennials

Categories: Cover Story

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Danny Liao/OC Weekly
"That's where we sacrifice the goats," deadpans a man who looks to be in his late 20s as he points to an altar in the middle of the Orange Grove Masonic Lodge No. 293's main room. A large, multicolored star adorns the two-story-high ceiling. The impressive hall used to be the Campbell Opera House: A few rows of theater-style seats line the rectangular space, with a stage in one end zone and a throne-like chair in the center of the other.

A handful of guys laugh. "It's mostly just used to hold a big book or two," another young Master Mason chimes in, referring to his group's tradition of having a holy text on the altar during their functions. And that's about the most exciting thing that happens here. In a few hours, the same room will fill with men, women and children of all ages for the lodge's monthly general meeting. Worshipful Master Dennis Rootes, the group's leader, will lead the proceedings, with a mural of the orange groves that used to surround the area painted on the wall behind him. The Master Masons (members who have completed at least three degrees) will wear small embroidered white aprons that signify purity, truth, sincerity, honesty and a whole bunch of other moralistic do-goodery.


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Huntington Beach's Oak View Barrio Is Finally Fighting the Garbage Dump Next Door

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Courtesy of OVSD
Photo OVSD filed in court papers
Victor Valladares can tell the time of day when he's at his apartment in Huntington Beach's Oak View barrio just by smelling the air.

"Around this time, like, 10 to 11 in the morning, it begins to smell like sulfur," Valladares says. "Earlier, it smells like rotten vegetables. At random times, it smells like a combination of Pine Sol and vinegar. And at 2 in the morning, it's just like a dead body."

Slim, loud, wearing a Packers hat and sporting the names of his two boys on his tatted forearms, the 29-year-old is standing across the street from the stench's culprit: Rainbow Environmental Services, a 17-acre garbage facility that has exponentially expanded in its nearly 50 years despite facing an elementary school and preschool with more than 1,000 students and being downwind from Oak View, a neighborhood of more than 10,000 people where Valladares has lived his entire life.

An aroma of rotten eggs mixed with gym socks suddenly wafts through. "This is a good day!" says Gina Clayton-Tarvin, board president of the Ocean View School District (OVSD), which covers Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Midway City and Westminster. "This is beautiful! The stench is not so bad! You came on a day when you're not going to gag!"

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Joseph Jackson Jr. Tells His Tougaloo Nine Story on KPFK 90.7FM THIS MORNING!

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AMAZING cover photo by John Gilhooley
We put a brother on the cover!
The story of Joseph Jackson Jr., hero of the Tougaloo Nine, that graced our cover last week is now going on the air. The Anaheim resident took part in a historic sit-in at Jackson, Mississippi's whites-only public library on March 27, 1961 before disappearing into OC obscurity for decades.

He'll be recounting it all in an interview I recorded May 31 for the Weekly cover story and edited for an hour-long Sojourner Truth Radio with Margaret Prescod special. The program airs this morning from 7-8 a.m., so tune-in to KPFK 90.7FM Los Angeles now!

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Exactly Who Won Santa Ana's Medical-Marijuana Lottery?

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It was the video seen 'round the world, seven minutes of Keystone Kops-worthy exploits that exposed Santa Ana's sham of a medical-marijuana system once and for all.

The first image on the grainy footage, taken from a secret camera in the upper-right-hand corner of an empty hallway, is a hand-held battering ram smashing through the front door of Sky High Holistic Collective. Weapons drawn, a rush of plainclothes and uniformed police officers--most of them wearing hoods or motorcycle helmets--charge offscreen. A camera inside the dispensary's lobby captured officers pointing their guns at customers and employees, ordering them to lie down on the floor.

The officers arrest everyone inside the dispensary without incident, including wheelchair-bound amputee and legendary medical-marijuana activist Marla James (see "OC's Matriarch of Medicinal Marijuana," March 20). After a female officer wheels James out of the lobby, the video shows her crowbar-wielding partners ripping cameras from walls and dismantling a DVR machine. "Can we break some fucking cameras and make the boss happy, please?" one of the plainclothes officers shouts.

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Joseph Jackson Jr. Made Civil Rights History as a Member of Mississippi's Tougaloo Nine

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Mugshot memories
"You know you don't belong here!" a worker yelled at 23-year-old Joseph Jackson Jr. as he walked into the Jackson, Mississippi, main public library on March 27, 1961, to try to desegregate it. "You go back to your library!"

Dozens of angry, white faces surrounded the slight, bespectacled, nervous student as he made his way to the information desk and into the front lines of war. In a couple of months, freedom riders would get arrested by the hundreds in the city; the following year, James Meredith tried to enroll at the University of Mississippi with the help of U.S. Marshals only to have a deadly riot erupt around him. The year after that saw Jackson weather a sit-in at Woolworth and the assassination of legendary activist Medgar Evers. And in 1964, the murder of three civil-rights workers brought in the federal government and led Nina Simone to pen her scintillating smackdown of the Magnolia State, "Mississippi Goddam."

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They're All Mad Here: Disney California Adventure's Biggest Cult Hit is Back

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Dustin Ames/OC Weekly
Here we stand/Worlds apart/Hearts broken in two, two, two.

Hundreds of people crowd around a small outdoor stage in Anaheim on a surprisingly brisk and damp November night. Just the week before, Orange County had averaged in the low 90s as the third year of California's super-drought raged on, but on Nov. 30, 2014, it seemed as if the heavens themselves mirrored the misty-eyed melancholy of the audience. Through tears, their collectively occluded gaze is fixated on the six-piece band onstage, which is halfway through the thumping, heart-rending opening of Journey's overwrought ode to puppy love, "Separate Ways."

One night will remind you/How we touched and went our separate ways.

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How to Spend Your Summer Fridays in Orange County

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Jay Mantri
Oh, summer weekend: three days of unrestrained freedom to drink and eat and fuck and sunbathe and swim whenever, wherever or however you want. The parties, the beaches, the shows, the festivals, the carne asada Sundays, the booing of Dana Rohrabacher as he waves to the crowd during Huntington Beach's Fourth of July parade--so much to do, and so little time.

In fact, there's so much to do that, sometimes, you get overloaded and just sit at the bar at Cassidy's, or spend a full day at Bolsa Chica State Beach, or drive aimlessly around until you do . . . nothing. Or just go back to your living room and aimlessly swipe left on Tindr, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Well, we've got the perfect gift for you: a summer weekend timeline, from Friday midnight to 12:01 a.m. Monday, telling you what's the best thing to do at any particular hour. From sunrises to sunsets, evening concerts to 2 a.m. pho runs, epic PCH noon cruises to wonderful midmorning hikes to so many breakfast burritos that our No. 3 editor nearly puked just copy editing this issue, behold a smorgasbord of things to do in Orange County this summer. And if this doesn't inspire you to try something new? You might as well pack up and move to Colton--we hear it's happening nowadays. Enjoy!


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Summer Guide 2015: Pick Your Summer Weekend Adventure!

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John Gilhooley
Oh, summer weekend: three days of unrestrained freedom to drink and eat and fuck and sunbathe and swim whenever, wherever or however you want. The parties, the beaches, the shows, the festivals, the carne asada Sundays, the booing of Dana Rohrabacher as he waves to the crowd during Huntington Beach's Fourth of July parade--so much to do, and so little time.

In fact, there's so much to do that, sometimes, you get overloaded and just sit at the bar at Cassidy's, or spend a full day at Bolsa Chica State Beach, or drive aimlessly around until you do . . . nothing. Or just go back to your living room and aimlessly swipe left on Tindr, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Well, we've got the perfect gift for you: a summer weekend timeline, from Friday midnight to 12:01 a.m. Monday, telling you what's the best thing to do at any particular hour. From sunrises to sunsets, evening concerts to 2 a.m. pho runs, epic PCH noon cruises to wonderful midmorning hikes to so many breakfast burritos that our No. 3 editor nearly puked just copy editing this issue, behold a smorgasbord of things to do in Orange County this summer. And if this doesn't inspire you to try something new? You might as well pack up and move to Colton--we hear it's happening nowadays. Enjoy!


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How to Spend Your Summer Saturdays in Orange County

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Gabriel Santos
Oh, summer weekend: three days of unrestrained freedom to drink and eat and fuck and sunbathe and swim whenever, wherever or however you want. The parties, the beaches, the shows, the festivals, the carne asada Sundays, the booing of Dana Rohrabacher as he waves to the crowd during Huntington Beach's Fourth of July parade--so much to do, and so little time.

In fact, there's so much to do that, sometimes, you get overloaded and just sit at the bar at Cassidy's, or spend a full day at Bolsa Chica State Beach, or drive aimlessly around until you do . . . nothing. Or just go back to your living room and aimlessly swipe left on Tindr, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Well, we've got the perfect gift for you: a summer weekend timeline, from Friday midnight to 12:01 a.m. Monday, telling you what's the best thing to do at any particular hour. From sunrises to sunsets, evening concerts to 2 a.m. pho runs, epic PCH noon cruises to wonderful midmorning hikes to so many breakfast burritos that our No. 3 editor nearly puked just copy editing this issue, behold a smorgasbord of things to do in Orange County this summer. And if this doesn't inspire you to try something new? You might as well pack up and move to Colton--we hear it's happening nowadays. Enjoy!

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How to Spend Your Summer Sundays in Orange County

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Folkert Gorter
Oh, summer weekend: three days of unrestrained freedom to drink and eat and fuck and sunbathe and swim whenever, wherever or however you want. The parties, the beaches, the shows, the festivals, the carne asada Sundays, the booing of Dana Rohrabacher as he waves to the crowd during Huntington Beach's Fourth of July parade--so much to do, and so little time.

In fact, there's so much to do that, sometimes, you get overloaded and just sit at the bar at Cassidy's, or spend a full day at Bolsa Chica State Beach, or drive aimlessly around until you do . . . nothing. Or just go back to your living room and aimlessly swipe left on Tindr, all dressed up with nowhere to go. Well, we've got the perfect gift for you: a summer weekend timeline, from Friday midnight to 12:01 a.m. Monday, telling you what's the best thing to do at any particular hour. From sunrises to sunsets, evening concerts to 2 a.m. pho runs, epic PCH noon cruises to wonderful midmorning hikes to so many breakfast burritos that our No. 3 editor nearly puked just copy editing this issue, behold a smorgasbord of things to do in Orange County this summer. And if this doesn't inspire you to try something new? You might as well pack up and move to Colton--we hear it's happening nowadays. Enjoy!


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