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Irvine Blog - Posts from Local Experts

Posts for December 2013

Give the Gift of OC Theater this Christmas

Posted by: Terry Winkler
Posted on: Monday, Dec 23, 2013

Here it is, just a few days before Christmas and some of you might still be searching for the perfect Christmas gift for that hard-to-shop-for person in your life.  With so many top notch theater venues in and around Irvine how about giving the gift of a great OC theater experience?  Here's an overview of what's coming to some of the best OC theater venues these last few days of December and into 2014.  


UCI Theater

  AngelsANGELS IN AMERICA Part One: Millennium Approaches

Written by Tony Kushner; Directed by Gavin Cameron-Webb
Performances:  Jan 25 - Feb 2 in the Robert Cohen Theatre (Grand Theater Re-Opening Production)

Today, as the issues and concerns of the LGBT community struggle to become more visible, the deeper issues of ANGELS appear to be more important than ever-the recognition that, within our own communities, among our own citizens, fear and ignorance and invisibility still drive much political


Written by Ngugi wa Thiong'o in collaboration with Micere Githae-Mugo; Directed by Guest Artist, Jaye Austin Williams, Choreographed by Sheron Wray

Performances: March 8 - March 16 in the Experimental Media Performance Lab (xPML)

These issues of citizenship, justice and fear are put into powerful relief in Ngugi wa Thiong'o and Micere Mugo's play THE TRIAL OF DEDAN KIMATHI, a piece that resonates across time and space from 1956 Kenya to speak to us in the United States in 2013 about ongoing divisions of race, gender, class, and language in our society. The play, resonating from within Kenya's heart and its history, reaches across historical and geographical divides to touch us locally, on our own UCI campus, as well as in the larger community in Southern California, and the US.

 AsYouLikeItAs You Like It

By William Shakespeare; Directed by Jane Page
Performances: April 26 - May 4 in the New Swan Theater in the Robert Cohen Theatre

Just like a fairy tale, with fantastical twists and turns, Shakespeare's story is a wild romp where brothers scheme and plot and young couples fall instantly and hopelessly in love. Originally set in France, this production will take place in that most romantic of American locales, New
Orleans (the Big Easy) and the outlying Cajun country. All ends as "we" would like it to... happily ever after.


The Irvine Barclay Theatre

screwtapeC. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters

December 27 - 29, 2013

C.S. Lewis' brilliant novel The Screwtape Letters, reveals spiritual warfare from a demon's point of view. A sold-out hit in New York, Chicago, Boston, Dallas and Washington, D.C., this funny, provocative, and wickedly witty theatrical adaptation, directed by Max McLean, will change the way you think about how demons influence your everyday life.   Performance includes after-show talkback about the play with Max McLean.

 tango Luis Bravo's Forever Tango (Dance)

January 16 - 17, 2014

A recent Broadway hit, Forever Tango features Argentina's best - 14 world-class dancers accompanied by a vocalist and the hypnotic rhythms of a live orchestra.  Passionate and sophisticated, the dancers of Forever Tango inhabit a world where everything can be said with the flick of a leg, the tug of a hand, the tap of a foot and the arch of an eyebrow.

JazzJazzReach: Miles Davis and the Blue Flame Incident

Featuring the Metta Quintet  (Jazz/Blues, Music)

January 24, 2014

A multi-media celebration of the groundbreaking music of the iconic trumpeter, bandleader and cultural provocateur, Miles Davis.  Using jazz and 20th century America as a backdrop, Miles Davis and the Blue Flame Incident (which alludes to one of Davis' earliest childhood memories)traverses the music of one of the most compelling, infinitely creative, and trailblazing artists the music world has known.

South Coast Repertory Theater

book by Craig Lucas
music and lyrics by Adam Guettel
directed by Kent Nicholson

January 24 - February 23, 2014

Filled with sunshine, light as a summer breeze, this exhilarating musical follows the Italian travels of Margaret Johnson and her stunningly beautiful daughter, Clara. When a dashing young Italian captures Clara's heart, Margaret is compelled to reveal the secret about her daughter. Even as she struggles with concern about Clara's future, she must decide whether or not to release her hold-and bravely give the young lovers her blessing.

by Samuel D. Hunter
directed by Martin Benson
March 28 - April 27, 2014

A nursing home in northern Idaho is shutting down. Only three patients remain-and one of them is lost. Gerald, 91 and suffering from Alzheimers, has wandered off, leaving his wife Etta and her friend Tom. Remaining staff includes a new 20-year-old cook and two longtime employees, women suddenly faced with a crisis of their own. In the midst of a record-breaking blizzard, the search for Gerald takes an unexpected turn-as the others find themselves powerless in the face of an uncertain future.

by Molière
adapted by David Ball; directed by Dominique Serrand
May 9 - June 8, 2014

They banned it in Paris. But that was in 1664. Three hundred years later, it would be the play to put SCR on the map. Now, celebrate the landmark 50th Season with a revival of this classic comedy about the man who gave the word "hypocrite" a bad reputation. A family watches in astonishment as the head of the household falls under Tartuffe's spell. While they scheme to get rid of the false prophet, he does himself in, proving that when your thoughts are supposed to be turned heavenward, it's a good idea not to reveal earthly desires, especially when someone is hiding in the closet-or under the table.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts



Disney's Beauty and the Beast
1/14/2014 - 1/19/2014

Based on Disney's Academy Award®-winning animated feature film, this eye-popping spectacle is filled with unforgettable characters, lavish sets and costumes, and dazzling production numbers including "Be Our Guest" and the beloved title song.



1/28/2014 - 2/2/2014

A true New York City institution, CHICAGO has everything that makes Broadway great: a universal tale of fame, fortune and all that jazz; one show-stopping-song after another; and the most astonishing dancing you've ever seen.

 wizard of oz

The Wizard of Oz
2/11/2014 - 2/23/2014

Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of THE WIZARD OF OZ is an enchanting adaptation of the all-time classic, totally reconceived for the stage with all the beloved songs from the Oscar®-winning movie score, all the favorite characters and iconic moments, plus a few surprises along the way, including new songs by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber.


Holiday Wellness

Posted by: Amanda Nguyen
Posted on: Tuesday, Dec 17, 2013

holidaystress relaxedorstressrelaxedinfrontoffire

Does this holiday season have you feeling like a dog (or Reindeer?) chasing its tail due to the amount of events to attend and shopping, wrapping, and labeling you have to undertake? The best way to find the calm within and after the storm is to take time for yourself to maintain mental and physical health; after-all, you can't help and give to others unless you help yourself first. Sure, it seems like there isn't enough time in the day to do every little thing that 'needs to be done' and before we know it, it's going to be the New Year, but why not try our Top Five Wellness Ways that range from simple to a bit more pampering that may just put the cheer back into your holiday season.

 TOP FIVE WAYS to help with a Stress-Free Holiday Season (and the NEW YEAR)

1. Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy can instantly put your mind at ease with a scent. Scents and fragrances are a memory trigger, so pick a smell that brings back your favorite memory! You don't need to go over the top and purchase a slew of essential oils; here's how oils can be used in your home:

a) Squeeze a couple drops into a cotton ball and inhale

b) Use a diffuser, which either dispenses the oil into the air with a vapour or sits in a clay or ceramic holder and is heated by a tea light

c) Use with a humidifier, but do not put the oil in or on the humidifier, just add a couple drops of the oil into a cloth and place in front of the steam that is exiting 

d) Pour hot water into a bowl and place a couple droplets into the water and let the aroma fill the room

Scents that are known to be relaxing are Lavender, Basil and Ylang-Ylang. When I want to wind down but also feel refreshed, I use a Lavender and Orange Oil Spray that I quickly spritz around the room. Yes, you can combine scents and yes, oils do come in a spray form as well!

Too much hassle? Just burn a candle, and get into the holiday mood with a spiced scent!


2. Take a Soothing Bath

Your muscles are sore, joints are aching, and you've either been running around all day or sitting down at a desk or in traffic. At the end of the day, go home and draw a bath, enhancing the water for more of a spa setting by adding essential oils, flower petals, or bath salts; before submerging yourself into the water, grab a washcloth and run under hot water, ring it out so it's slightly damp and place over your eyes or behind your neck while soaking in the bath! Light candles and dim or turn off the lights for an extra soothing, deep relaxation.


3. Meditate...and take a Deep Breath

One of the easiest things you can feed your body to feel refreshed is oxygen. If you can, go outside and take deep breaths and stretch your limbs. 

If you are just waking up or about to go to bed, find a comfortable and preferably open space, take a seat and let your body be still as you focus on your breathing, clearing out any of the clutter in your mind, then easing into meditation by saying positive things or your own mantra. I also like to say affirmations about myself and that I can totally' DO THIS' or 'TACKLE THIS SITUATION', and 'I AM GREAT'! 


4. Exercise...Get Moving!

You don't need to get into cardio-mode to get exercise, just move! It's quite nice to be residing in an area where we can enjoy mother nature's gifts of the canyon trails and sandy beaches. Go for a hike, walk, jog, or run on a trail, the sand, or around your neighborhood. Don't forget ear-buds and a music player for some tunes. Add an extra workout with dumbbells or add in some moves like lunges, squats, or knee lifts. Pinterest is great for exercise ideas! Of course, if you have your favorite workout, stick to it! And everyone, don't forget to stretch!


5. Chiropractic Adjustment & a Therapeutic Massage

I usually didn't see my chiropractor to get an adjustment unless I have been experiencing the most immense back pain. After dancing for many years and going through all sorts of injuries, I've come to realize the importance of caring for and maintaining my overall wellness by seeing a chiropractor to get aligned and receive massage therapy on a more regular basis to avoid injuries. Although everyones' bodies are different, spine alignment is key in being able to properly carry out daily activities; if your spine is slightly tweaked to one side and you constantly are sitting at a desk or are ultra active and continually put stress on your bones and muscles; the pressure can build and start to negatively affect the nerves that operate your tissues and organs. Did you know that there is a wellness center located right here in Irvine that can treat your discomforts?

Pacific Spine & Sports is a boutique holistic wellness center that  has been dedicated to delivering quality treatment for patients to recover quickly and be able to regain a healthy, active lifestyle. Owned and operated by Dr. Anne Dinhluu, the wellness center, much like the ambiance of a spa, offers a wide range of services by the chiropractors, massage and physical therapists, a dietitian, acupuncturist, and personal trainer on staff. PSS is currently working on a 6-Week Wellness Program that encompasses all aspects of lifestyle; nutrition, weight, and overall body health from the inside out; that is set to launch in the new year! 

In the meantime, if you want to experience what Pacific Spine & Sports has to offer, check out their website, facebook, or give them a call and take advantage of a one-time FREE consultation with Dr. Anne as well as an introductory 1-hour massage for only $39! Give yourself the gift of a well-balanced lifestyle.

Pacific Spine & Sports
3 Corporate Park Suite 168
Irvine, CA 92606 


Call the number above or go online to make an appointment!

PSS accepts all PPO insurance, but please call the office to verify acceptance of your insurance carrier. Cash rate is available for those without insurance.

neckpain massage

All Images via Pinterest

Filed In: History

Christmas Traditions on the Irvine Ranch

Posted by: Ellen Bell
Posted on: Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

James H. Irvine celebrated Christmas on the Irvine Ranch with annual traditions and personalized greetings.

Christmas Traidiotns

The Irvine family home, now replicated at the Katie Wheeler Library, would be decorated with holiday trimmings. Of course, Mr. Irvine would find no celebration complete without his Irish Setter hunting dogs nearby.

Every year, during the Christmas holiday season, James H. Irvine hosted a special dinner for the members of the Five Year Club; those male employees who had worked for the Irvine Company for at least five years. This annual event was held at the mess hall of the agricultural headquarters which still stands today near the Katie Wheeler Library. 

Christmas TraditionsJames Irvine, seated center in the background,  personally hosted the holiday dinner. Irvine would welcome new members, share films of his travels to Australia, Africa and Alaska, and offer his opinions about hard times and taxes. He would also give each member a Christmas turkey and a month's wages as a bonus.

The men of the Five Year Club would wear suits to Mr. Irvine's party, even if they had to borrow one.  Former Irvine Ranch farmer and warehouse manager Bill Cook recalled the Christmas party.

"There would be a delicious dinner and kind words from Mr. Irvine," he said. "Then after dinner, the men politely watched the motion pictures of Mr. Irvine's most recent travels. Sometimes it was kind of boring." 

The members of the Irvine family shared a creative streak, and James Irvine was no different. Each year, he would design his own personalized Christmas card, including a poem that he composed himself.

Christmas Traditions

The cards would highlight a different location on the Irvine Ranch, like this one from 1932. It shows the newly completed Irvine Lake reservoir.Christmas TraditionsUsually the verse inside revealed that Irvine's best talents were as a businessman, not a poet.

Christmas Traditions

Some years, Irvine would use his annual Christmas greeting to express some of his strong opinions... 

Christmas Traditions

At the beginning of World War II, the government bought two of Irvine's most prized fields to build the El Toro Marine Base and the Santa Ana Lighter Than Air Base, now in Tustin.

Irvine expressed his displeasure with the transaction that changed life on his ranch forever.

This year, as in years past,

Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season from The Irvine Ranch!

Christmas Traditions 

Cirque Du Soleil's Totem at the Orange County Great Park

Posted by: Sharlene Earnshaw
Posted on: Monday, Dec 09, 2013

It is a journey through evolution.  A spectacular story revolving around water, whether it is rippling through a brook, crashing on a beach, or meandering inside a marsh.  Oh, and there are some pretty insane acrobatic feats that will keep you on the edge of your seat! Cirque du Soleil's Totem has come to Irvine at the Orange County Great Park, thrilling attendees with the unique brand of artistry, acrobatics, and humor that the French Canadian troop is famous for the world over.

Orange CountyTotem 

Totem, written and directed by Robert Lepage, takes us on man's evolutionary journey; beginning with man's amphibious ancestors, traveling through ape evolution, and leading us into the future. Many legends and myths from Native American culture are tied into the story, along with a playful glance at man's current form,  seemingly attached to his brief case and cell phone.

Totem Orange County

As a Cirque du Soleil virgin, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I knew there would be acrobats and beautiful costumes, but what I didn't realize was just how intimate the setting inside the Totem tent actually is. Before the show, some of the cast members wander around the spectator seats in character, entertaining guests with quirky charm.  Many of the seats hug the stage and those in the front rows will find themselves directly below some of the action as performers swing out over the crowd.  The intimacy of the venue allows the crowd to become fully immersed in the story, never missing a moment of the spectacle.

 Totem OC

I also didn't expect the show to include as much humor as it did. I suppose every circus needs a troop of clowns and Totem's come in the form of nerdy Italian tourists, bumbling Neanderthals, and beefy, beachside bodybuilders.  Another surprise was the live music that accompanied the performances. From the drums of that accompanied the thrilling Native American hoop dancer to the angelic voice of a talented singer narrating a love story, the music was an essential part of the experience.


Of course, the real thrills of any Crique du Soleil performance are the acrobatics and unusual feats of skill performed by an immensely talented group of artists which consistently make the impossible possible. Prepare to squirm with anxiety and squeal with amazement as you find yourself wondering time and time again "how on earth do they do that?"

Totem Great Park 

Totem's engagement in Irvine is limited but there I still plenty of time to catch the action this holiday season. The final performance at the Orange County Great Park will take place December 29th before the tent breaks down and makes it way up the coast towards Santa Monica. For more information and tickets, check out the Cirque du Soleil website.  

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