Category Archives: Travel

Santa Ana Artwalk. Even the Canvases Want to Stroll.

Every first Saturday of the month the Downtown Santa Ana Artwalk and Arts District are the hearsay of Orange County luminescence. Saturday October 5th, 2013 was no different (if you missed it don’t worry, you can walk off all those holiday fixin’s later).

As your tamales… ahem, feet hit the pavement you see the pastiche of musicians, painters, street performers, muralists, break dancers, cops on horses, lofts, galleries, restaurants, and clubs all come together like mixed paint on a palette.

You can see all the Memphis and Gypsy Den devotees bustling and mingling through the candle lit panes (try Memphis’s face melting pancakes, or Gypsy Den’s legendary Waldorf chicken sandwich and seasoned fries. For the love of all things holy don’t forget the seasoned fries!).

You walk right between both of their outside patio areas just in time to catch a group of street performers.

Street musicians perform by the water fountain in the promenade.
Street musicians perform gypsy bluegrass rock and roll by the water fountain at the promenade.

As they finish their set you stop to think about which gallery to absorb first. There’s Grand Central Gallery, the Santora Building galleries, or the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA).

The Santora Building houses some of the independent galleries that have been around to see the local art scene come to fruition.

Matt Leroy's Studio Del Sotano houses some of the more grassroots portraits of Santa Ana's history
Matt’s Studio Del Sotano displays  some of the more intimate and grassroots portraits of Santa Ana’s locals and history.
Thomas Tom's spacious impressions at the Avantgarden channel Mark Rothko and Stephen Hawking.
Thomas Tom’s spacious impressions at the Avantgarden channel Mark Rothko à la Stephen Hawking.

You zig zag from space to space until you decide to head towards Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Gallery. After going through the double doors you notice a perspective piece based on El Salvador’s Civil War, but it escapes the highly politicized topic of immigration and plays more with the innate curiosity and romanticization of a foreign land. The installation is a cubic room that you can walk into (no, there aren’t any pupusas in there) and a punctured image of the Los Angeles Observatory on the outside.

Beatriz Cortz's The Time Machine  (no egg shells and banana peels power this baby)
Beatriz Cortz’s The Time Machine (no egg shells and banana peels required)

As you wander back into the promenade you make your way to OCCCA to see their exhibitions, try their assortment of complementary niblets, and wine. If Soho or Tits Tacos is not outside then some other truck of mobile delicacies  is out there tantalizing your taste buds and nasal chambers.  

You walk eastward on  3rd where you spot the glowing marquee signaling The Yost Theatre (land ho!). On you way there you see a few nifty clothes racks in the alley of some thrift store where a band is setting up to play. You march towards the enclave of street art next door to the Yost that is the Box Social.

A rugged and raw warehouse collective of art, photography, graffiti, and music (give or take a few mediums) unfolds before your very pupils.

Urban tinges juxtaposed with a mural of Egyptian-like beauty. Part of Box Social's exhibit.
Urban tinges juxtaposed with a mural of Egyptian-like beauty. Part of Box Social’s exhibit.
Multimedia installation by Jack Marko
Multimedia installation by Jack Marko
Basquiat influences on the wall
Basquiat influences on the wall
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Neenr ( right? )

There’s plenty of to see and dive into (no suit required). You notice how the different pieces coalesce with one another–they speak the same parler. People are taking pictures of graffiti in an open room where metal bars the windows. Artists are interviewed for a documentary across the room as people come in and out.

It was all very jovial, eventful, and so cool it was ice cold.

Stars Outshine Tinseltown in Yucca Valley

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On Saturday, October 28th Angelino stargazers got together in Yucca Valley for the Andromeda Society’s 17th annual Starry Nights Festival. The stellar (few astro-puns I promise, hope to die, stick a telescope in front of my eye) folks at the Yucca Mesa Community Center did a cosmic job (no, really, that was the last one!) of making everyone feel at home.

The center is a few hours out, before Joshua Tree, right after the strip of windmills on the 10 freeway. It’s a quixotic adventure that takes about an hour and a half from downtown Los Angeles (just don’t engage the windmills in a chivalrous battle to the death for your sweetheart’s honor).

You arrive in the small town and notice how there are few places to eat but that’s okay because the Community Center sells baked goodies, pizza, coffee, and hold a raffle to give away a myriad of prizes.

There are plenty of seats there for listening to guest lecturers. Some of which includes Dean Arvidson, Paul McCudden (Professors from Los Angeles City College), David Levy, and Galileo Galilee himself! Not really, zombie Gali would look a little under the weather. But still, there’s someone dressed up as one of the founding fathers of modern day science! How cool is that!?

Around dusk the Andromeda Society sets up enough telescopes for everyone. Once night falls there’s a deep space telescope, surrounded by Christmas lights, and projected onto a screen–making nebulae visible for skywatchers to acquaint themselves with.

Arvidson and McCudden make a great team putting on their star tour (calm down Star Wars ride fans, this one is the real deal!). They map out constellations in the night sky using green long-range laser pointers, share the greek stories behind it all, and help you identify satellites which are commonly confused with other night sky objects.

Yucca Valley is gorgeous at night. It’s difficult to imagine most people wanting to move there, but with the Milky Way and its stunning glow right outside of your back yard who wouldn’t?

Definitely worth checking out (don’t forget the pink floyd)!

For future dates go to -> http://www.andromedasociety.com/