Thursday, July 12, 2012

Avocados, disco, guitars, the Old Courthouse, etc.

Today's post is literally a big "roundup" of a lot of random stuff that's accumulated on my "stuff to blog" list. And what says "random" better than an anthropomorphic avocado with a moustache? The image above is a tin sign that's on display at the La Habra Historical Museum. The sign advertised "Rancho Brands" avocados from United Avocado Growers (formerly the La Habra Heights Avocado Association). How long before this character, (let's call him "Ernesto Avocado,") shows up on a t-shirt at Moonlight Graham?

Two exhibits are opening simultaneously at the Fullerton Museum Center, beginning with an opening reception on July 21, 6-10pm, ($15). The first exhibit is "Lay Down The Boogie: O.C. in the Disco Era."
 The second exhibit is "Lowdown on the Uproar: Leo Fender's Electric Basses." Yes, there will be disco dancing, refreshments, and a curator's talk. The disco exhibit will be open through Sept. 23, 2012. The Fender exhibit will be open through Summer 2014.

The photos above and below come from the Knott's Berry Farm Collection at the Orange County Archives. The one above shows Knott's Cloud 9 Disco and a few of their "Tiffany Dancers," in about 1979. The one below shows guests dancing at Knott's Mardi Gras Madness event in 1976. Can you dig it?
Prefer classic movies to disco? The Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society (SAHPS) will show "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) starring Clark Gable and Charles Laughton, along with vintage shorts and cartoons at the historic Howe-Waffle House (1898), 120 Civic Center Dr. West, on July 21, at 7pm. Tickets are $10 at the door and include snacks and drinks. (Park free at the Old Courthouse.) Reservations are a must: or 714-547-9645. See my post from 4-28-2007 to see what this version of "Mutiny on the Bounty" has to do with Orange County.

Regulars at the Old Orange County Courthouse will be sad to hear that this was Bich Quach's last week on the staff there. Sounds like she's moving on to pursue an opportunity in the private sector, and I wish her well. Luckily, she and her husband are involved with both the Garden Grove Historical Society and SAHPS, so we haven't seen the last of her. The photo below shows Bich with one of the amazing replica costumes she designed for the Orange County Archives' "On Location: Orange County In Silent Film," exhibit last year.
Speaking of the Old Courthouse, the Mendez v. Westminster exhibit -- originally spearheaded by Greta Nagel of MOTAL (shown below modeling her OC Parks volunteer vest) -- is currently being de-installed from the Courtroom 2 Exhibit Gallery. I believe the next exhibit to go in will be a show of artist/illustrator Sandy Heaton's work. Sandy's done a lot of nice work for the County over the years, and it will fun to see a retrospective.
As it happens, Gonzalo Mendez, Jr. -- a child of one of the plaintiffs in the historic lawsuit -- is a carpenter, and is putting his skills to use helping de-install the exhibit. (The distinguished-looking Mr. Mendez always reminds me a bit of "The Most Interesting Man In The World.") I hear rumors that the Mendez exhibit may soon reappear at the Heritage Museum of Orange County, but I don't have details on that yet.

I've been making an effort to explore every accessible inch of all the trails and deer-paths through (and around) the Bolsa Chica wetlands over the last month or so. I've found a lot of interesting things out there, some of which I'll undoubtedly blog about later. For now, I'll just post this photo of a sign located near one of the very "developed" trails:
Oh, SURE! All these things might be harmful to this historically and ecologically important area. But building housing tracts n the middle of it is apparently A-OK. (*Sigh*)

I've been pretty busy lately, which at least partially explains why my blogging has been a bit erratic. I have several speaking engagements coming up, and that always requires some serious prep time. Tomorrow I speak to a group of about 60 park rangers, (always fun people,) on the subject of historical resources and ways to research the stories of their parks. I'll post more about my other programs soon.

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