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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for September 2014

UCI Theatre Promises Passionate Performances

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

Love theater but hate driving up to LA?  Me, too!  So let's take advantage of having UCIrvine's Department of Drama right in our own backyard.  Check out these three upcoming shows. The Last Lifeboat looks at the Titanic tragedy from a different perspective: the sordid aftermath.   I can't wait to see Metamorphoses.  Rumor has it there'll be LOTS of water onstage; cool production values to be seen.  Cat of a Hot Tin Roof is one of those classic plays you've gotta see.  "What is the victory of a cat on a hot tin roof?-I wish I knew... Just staying on it, I guess, as long as she can..."  - Tennessee Williams, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.


The Last Lifeboat -- faculty directed workshop

Written by Luke Yankee; Directed by Don Hill

 Last Lifeboat

 This world premiere of Luke Yankee's latest play, The Last Lifeboat, reveals the untold story of J. Bruce Ismay, owner of the White Star Line at the time of the sinking of the Titanic. His decision to save himself rather than go down with the ship made him the scapegoat for one of the greatest disasters of all time. An ensemble cast playing multiple roles tells this epic tale which explores not only the tragedy itself, but the sensationalized trials and aftermath of a night that changed the world forever.


Experimental Media Performance Lab Performances:

Opens: Friday, 14 November at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 15 November at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Sunday, 16 November at 2:00 pm

Thursday, 20 November at 8:00 pm

Friday, 21 November at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 22 November at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Closes: Sunday 23 November at 2:00 pm


Written by Mary Zimmerman; Directed by Annie Loui


Metamorphoses is adapted from the classic Ovid poem and was nominated for three Tony awards in 2002, and earned Zimmerman a Tony for Best Direction of a Play.  To metamorphose is to change/undergo transformation by enchantment. Zimmerman's Metamorphoses juxtaposes the ancient and the contemporary in both language and image to reflect the variety and persistence of narrative in the face of inevitable change, and explores links between myth, theatre and therapy. As one character in the play states, "Myth is a public dream!"

 Claire Trevor Theatre Performances:

 Opens: Saturday, 15 November at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 16 November at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 19 November at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 20 November at 8:00 pm

Friday, 21 November at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 22 November at 2:00 pm and 8:00pm

Closes: Sunday, 23 November at 2:00 pm

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Written by Tennessee Williams; Directed by Jane Page

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Winner of the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof explores the complex family relationships of the wealthy cotton tycoon Big Daddy Pollitt. "Cat" embodies the recurring theme of mendacity, especially relative to bowing to the complicated rules of social conduct in Southern society and culture. The recurring line "Wouldn't it be funny if it was true?," in response to proclamations of love, says much about the human fascination with "love" and the uncertainty that surrounds it.

Little Theatre Performances:

Opens: Saturday, 6 December at 8:00 pm

Sunday, 7 December at 2:00 pm

Wednesday, 10 December at 7:30 pm

Thursday, 11 December at 8:00 pm

Friday, 12 December at 8:00 pm

Saturday, 13 December at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm

Closes: Sunday, 14 December at 2:00 pm

For ticket information, please contact the UCI Arts Box Office at 949-824-2787

 Terry Winker loves writing about all things entertaining at

Only In Irvine: La Quinta Inn

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Wednesday, Sep 17, 2014

Irvine is home to one of California's most unusual hotels. Travelers come from all over the country to spend the night inside the La Quinta Old Town Irvine Inn, where the guest rooms provide a unique look into Irvine Ranch history. 

Only In Irvine : La Quinta Inn

101 rooms of the La Quinta Inn were once the grain silos of Irvine's former bean and grain warehouse, making it the most creative re-adaptive use of a building in the historic district. As Anne Davis-Johnson of the Irvine Historical Museum likes to say, "Where lima beans used to sleep, now human beings sleep." 

Only In Irvine : La Quinta Inn

The bulk processing facility was built in 1949 to make warehousing, cleaning and shipping more efficient. The facility was part of a 50 member farmer's co-op, known as the Irvine Bean and Grain Grower's Association. All members shared expenses shared expenses and profit, based on the amount of produce they delivered. It cost $300,000 to build and an additional $50,000 for the machinery to clean and move the crops. 

Only In Irvine : La Quinta Inn

The new warehouse could hold up to sixteen million pounds of beans and barley in thirty-two concrete silos. The old method of hand-loading 100 pound sacks for transport could take hours. With bulk storage, a twenty ton truck could be loaded from the silo in five minutes and a railroad car in ten. 

Only In Irvine : La Quinta Inn

When Old Town Irvine preservation efforts began in the mid-1980's, the old 1949 silos were listed on the National Register of Historic Places. La Quinta Inn, based in San Antonio, Texas, spent millions converting the building into a hotel. All changes had to conform with strict preservation guidelines. 

Major design decisions included keeping an agricultural/industrial look to the granary. This involved using metal windows, keeping the original concrete surfaces visible wherever possible, and keeping the original tin at the top floor "Head House." The silos were converted into hotel rooms and the center bays of the hexagonal silos became an interior corridor serving the rooms. More than 180  panels of concrete were saw cut out of the silo walls to provide openings for doors, window, and passageways.

The original tin shed at the west end was kept intact as a lobby. Today, it is where guests enjoy their breakfast. The lobby has a collection of historic images and an original man-lift on display. 

Only in Irvine : La Quinta Inn

Only in Irvine : La Quinta Inn 

Guests at the La Quinta Inn receive a hotel history guide when they check in, as well as a map of Old Town Irvine sites.

"It is very important to maintain the Old Silos because these are the roots that began Irvine's growth into the great city it now is." said Shane Herholtz, La Quinta Inn's General Manager.  "Sometimes we forget where we come from, and the Silos are great reminders in a world of cookie cutter houses."

Only in Irvine : La Quinta Inn
                                                       14792 Sand Canyon Ave
                                                         Irvine, CA 92618 
                                                         (949) 551-0909
                                                          Rates from $89
  • 14972 Sand Canyon Ave
    Irvine, CA 92618
  • Call: 1-949-551-0909

Style Week OC 2014!

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Monday, Sep 15, 2014


Style Week OC kicked off on September 10th at the Fashion Island Shopping Center in Newport Beach with a Neiman Marcus Fashion Show featuring select top designers' fall collections. Guests received treatment to the nines aside from the amazing fashion that also got me very excited to bundle up and layer when OC starts to cool down. Events and shows are occurring between the three centers: Irvine Spectrum, Fashion Island, and The Marketplace until September 20, check out the schedule below to take part in shopping parties and fashion shows! This upcoming Saturday 9/20, Project Runway star and designer Nick Verreos is back, hosting the evening and presenting his Nikolaki Spring 2015 Collection, as well as the Celebrity Cruises Design Competition and Spectrum Collection Runway Show! Don't miss out on this fashion extravaganza. See more runway looks here!

Style Week OC Schedule Images from Irvine Company. Event Images from

Outdoors in OC: Exploring Newport's Back Bay

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Friday, Sep 05, 2014

Back Bay

Newport Beach, Irvine's neighbor to the west, is known for many things. Most of those things revolve around the city's immense wealth; rich in an abundance of beaches, mansions, and beautiful people. But one of the city's greatest assets is not widely known by visitors, the Upper Newport Back Bay.

The Back Bay is one of the few remaining natural estuaries in Southern California. Before the mass development of the region, wetlands were as common to the Southern California landscape as bayous are in the South. This estuary, created by San Diego Creek meeting the Pacific Ocean, plays an important role in maintaining the health of the region's coastal ecosystem by serving as a natural water filter, nursery to several animal species, and important stopover for dozens of species of migratory birds. Less than 10% of the region's estuaries remain, making Newport's Back Bay, protected since the 1960's, an especially important part of our landscape.  

There are several active ways to explore the Back Bay. Locals love the 10.5 mile Back Bay Loop Trail which is open to hikers, joggers, cyclists, and horseback riders. My family prefers to head out on one of the many spur trails which skirts the waterway, allowing us to enjoy the solitude and scenery. The air is always filled with birds chirping happy tunes and the refreshing scent of that salty sea air.  

Back Bay Newport 

Non-motorized water craft are allowed in the upper reaches of Newport Bay, making kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding the ideal ways to quietly explore this vibrant ecosystem. You can launch your own vessels for free from Northstar Beach or rent a kayak or canoe from the Newport Aquatics Center. if you really want to get to know the Back Bay, sign up for a 2-hour guided kayak tour with the Newport Bay Conservancy. These tours, which highlight the history and ecology of the Bay, begin at the Newport Aquatics Center. Since our weather is almost always pleasant in sunny Orange County, the tours take place year-round on Saturday and Sunday morning at 10am and welcome children ages 8 and up. The $25 fee per person includes kayak rental.  

Don't miss the Peter & Mary Muth Interpretive Center which is so cleverly hidden into the landscape that many visitors didn't even know it is there until they are right on top of it. Gray squirrels, cottontail bunnies, and vibrantly striped lizards will greet you as they scurrying back and forth amongst the bushes. In the distance, you may hear the call of a heron as he makes his approach for landing on the bay's watery runway. Inside this free facility visitors will find exhibits about wetlands, uplands, and estuaries that are designed to interest every age group. Tots are especially excited but the fish swimming in the center's aquariums and the birds "flying" overhead. Preschoolers and elementary-aged kids will enjoy the large classroom which is filled with live animals in terrariums, animal puzzles, kid-friendly microscopes, craft area, and plenty of books. The center offers classes geared towards children 2-8 on Thursdays and Fridays for just $5 per child.  

Good Eats: After all that outdoor exploration, you probably will have worked up quite an appetite. The Back Bay Bistro is a great place to enjoy waterfront dining. The patio is pet friendly and the weekend brunch is especially popular.  

*Photo courtesy of Flickr user Tracie Hall.  

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