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.
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.
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.
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.
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.