Orange County gets a bad rap. Those who define the area for its rampant conservatism and vast tourist economy only think of Disneyland, Costa Mesa and Knott’s Berry Farm are missing the point. In fact, it is this vibrant economy that has allowed the O.C. to creep in as one of the most intriguing cultural centers of Southern California. University of California Irvine is a hotbed of intellectual inquiry - its creative writing department being one of the most prestigious in the nation - and its growing Mexican-American middle class has found cultural maturity in spite of (or perhaps because of) the county’s conservative backdrop.

Gustavo Arellano, the enfant terrible of Mexican-American op-eds, has found a fertile ground to voice his opinions and grow a local audience in the O.C. And who is to question the cultural importance of Mickey Mouse? Last time we checked, hundreds of O.C. teens flocked into the park with a critical understanding about theme park design. As the rest of Southern California, the O.C. isn’t easy to pin down; it is so culturally vast and complex that it is hard to wrap our high-brow minds around it.
The Music Stops for the Original Disneyland Band
The Disneyland Band has been playing since opening day of the amusement park on July 17, 1955. Recently, Disneyland announced the last performance of the original assemble will be on July 16, a day before the 60th anniversary of the park.
The Otherworldly Works of Yevgeniya Mikhailik
The whimsical artwork of Russian-American Yevgeniya Mikhailik reflects the artist's fantastical imagination.
Alien She: Spotlighting the History and Influence of Riot Grrrl
"Alien She" is a traveling exhibition, currently at the Orange County Museum of Art, that explores the history and influence of Riot Grrrl.
Orange County's Indie Curators
Orange County's Indie Curators
The O.C. Triennial Art Fair is taking shape and a slow shift of inventive and edgy contemporary artwork has begun to flow behind the Orange Curtain. The county remains out of the international art spotlight, but some local curators may change that.
Siempre es Hoy: Capturing the Latin Alternative Moment
Siempre es Hoy: Capturing the Latin Alternative Moment
Twenty years ago, musician Emilio Morales started La Banda Elástica as a fanzine. It featured huge Latin alternative acts at a time when no other American publication did.
Inside Orange County's Indie Art Collections
Inside Orange County's Indie Art Collections
Despite OCMA's credentials, many have been hesitant to hear the region's voice in the modern and contemporary art conversation. The museum wants to change that with its 50th anniversary capstone showcase.
A Conversation on Chicano Art: Artist Jose Lozano and Collector Armando Duron
A Conversation on Chicano Art: Artist Jose Lozano and Collector Armando Duron
Jose Lozano and Armando Duron discuss Chicano art, artists who identify with the Chicano label, and the gallery exhibit "Open Your Eyes/Abre Los Ojos" at the Muckenthaler Cultural Center.
Parker Jacobs Can't Lose
Parker Jacobs Can't Lose
"Yo Gabba Gabba" art director Parker Jacobs inspired the Aquabats and also inspired a whole generation of kids to be gleefully weird. The most influential Hungtington Beach artist that you've never heard of recalls his long, strange, colorful path to fame.
Deconstructed Mixtapes and Narrative Tapestries: Visual Chronicles in Laguna Beach
Deconstructed Mixtapes and Narrative Tapestries: Visual Chronicles in Laguna Beach
Salt Fine Art's new exhibition, Visual Chronicles, focuses on the creative expression of images, objects, and experiences without words.
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section header: disciplines
icon, Architecture/ Design discipline

Architecture/ Design

California becomes an international export by redefining the concept of city and home.

icon, Community Arts discipline

Community Arts

Through workshops, education and placed based projects, art is the connective tissue of a community.

icon, Cultural Politics discipline

Cultural Politics

Funding bubbles, cultural deserts and the politics of access to the arts in the 21st century.

icon, Film & Media Arts discipline

Film & Media Arts

At the shadow of the entertainment industry, video artists and underground filmmakers take a stand.

icon, Literature discipline


Noir, sunshine and dystopia create a multi-ethnic narrative that is read, watched and admired around the globe.

icon, Multi-Disciplinary discipline


Multi-hyphenate works that combine disciplines, remix dogmas, and reinvent the wheel.

icon, Music discipline


A dialogue between cultures, the music of our state serves up the California dream like no other artform.

icon, Performance discipline


Staging the drama of California through dance, music and theater.

icon, Visual Arts discipline

Visual Arts

Breaking away from the European and New York vanguard, California reinvents the art world.

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