Lefévre Sets The Stage Ablaze at Pacific Symphony

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Audience members found themselves physically moved to stand and—quite literally—bow at the feet of Pacific Symphony conductor Carl St. Clair, and guest pianist Alain Lefévre, these two pillars of classical music having just gone head to head in what can only be described as a “race to the finish” in Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Concerto in C Minor for Piano & Orchestra, Op. 18.

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FILM REVIEW: Dinosaur 13

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“When Paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute of Geological Research made the world’s greatest dinosaur discovery in 1990, they knew it was the find of a lifetime; the largest, most complete T. rex ever found. But during a ten-year battle with the U.S. government, powerful museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists, they found themselves not only fighting to keep their dinosaur but fighting for their freedom as well.”

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Alegria Cocina Latina

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ALEGRIA Cocina Latina’s Grand Re-Opening: Vamped-up Alegria renews our palatable desires. In the quest for something great, I came across Alegra Cocina Latina when invited to attend their grand re-opening. Tucked away under a swath of trees along Pine Avenue, guests enjoy a comfortable patio space whilst flamenco guitar music spills around their ankles, and South American-inspired cuisine fills the air.

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First Annual Bite at the Beach

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Beyond the studio’s guard post, at which a cluster of security officers are checking driver license’ and writing down names, sits a long, lonely road–one which must be traveled by foot— manned on both sides by volunteers sporting white shirts with “Bite at the Beach” emblazoned across the chest in bold blue and orange hues. One of said volunteers catches my eye, points to a white tent further down, and answers before I can ask: “The party’s thataway!”

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‘Cas and Dylan’ Film Review 2014

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An exercise in the futility that comes with trying to dissect what it is that makes life worth living, Priestley’s film is largely successful on the backs of the mesmerizing Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and veteran actor Richard Dreyfuss. Cas & Dylan follows one terminally ill Dr. Cas Pepper (Dreyfuss) on his way home one day from work at the hospital, when he is approached by the charming Dylan Morgan (Maslany), a 22-year-old quick-witted, smooth-talking social misfit, and talked into giving her a road home.

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‘Follow Friday the Film’ REVIEW

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Technology is a funny thing. In the 21st century, we’ve come to a point in society where we decry the notion of having to live without it; children get their first iPhone in kindergarten and first grade, debates are no longer over ‘phone versus no phone’ but ‘Android versus Apple’, and sightings of anything resembling a flip phone are met with an awe usually reserved for historical museums (and yes, I’m speaking from personal experience).

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‘Welcome Nowhere’ Film Review

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It always blows my mind that in a day and age where we can communicate and socialize with anybody, anywhere in the world, at any given moment, our biggest problem remains to be that of racial prejudice, especially against minorities. In some ways we’re doing better than our grandparents, and even our parents, but we all know we have a long way to go before we can even begin to mumble of having rubbed out perhaps one of the most embarrassing aspects of U.S., indeed World, history.

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ART in the Folds of the Subconscious

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The Orange County Museum of Art opened its doors this past weekend in Newport Beach to the aptly titled, yet deceptively simplistic, Sarkisian & Sarkisian: a father and son co-exhibition of works spanning a combined fifty years, from as early as the 1960s to today. Originally thought up as a survey of one Peter Sarkisian’s video installation work over the last twenty years, it was decided by OCMA Interim Director and Chief Curator Dan Cameron that parallels seen between Sarkisian’s work and that of his father, Paul, warranted a side-by-side unveiling of the two masters’ crafts, in a collective of astonishing pieces that perform double helixes around one another without ever really colliding or crossing paths.

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TINY: A Story About Living Small hits the nail on the head

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TINY: A Story About Living Small hits the nail on the head. TINY, which premiered at the SXSW festival in early March of 2013, follows the filmmakers’ journey toward self-discovery when Smith decides one day that he’s going to build a tiny home on a trailer that he can then haul out into the middle of a plains-area (of which he owns some property) and live “the simple life.” Although the internet and research tell him otherwise, Smith optimistically predicts that construction will be completed by the end of the summer.

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Matthew Morrison Impresses Segerstrom Audience

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The set pieces all come from Morrison’s latest album release, Where it all Began, which can aptly be described as a collection of standards, many first made famous in Broadway musicals. An appropriate assemblage when you consider that the singer/dancer/actor himself got his comeuppance in the Great White Way many years prior to his television namesake.

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If You Build It, A Film

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The film is split into three distinct sections seamlessly tied together with the help of Oscar-nominated editor, Doug Blush, and appropriately, iconic graphics. Following Pilloton and Miller, we meet the wood shop class students: boys and girls who are depicted at first to fit the uncertain, marsh-riddled town stereotype of drowning in muddled obscurity. Students who seem so woefully different from what we—especially in Orange County—expect or are used to when it comes to 16-year-olds (arguably), but who we very quickly realize are as different from us as we are from ourselves.

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Pacific Symphony Orchestra

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A rousing performance from start to finish, the 35th Anniversary of the Pacific Symphony Orchestra segues into the pre-holiday season with an eclecticism of pieces as profoundly intuitive as they are performed. Led by Music Director Carl St. Clair, the players outdo themselves once more as they partake in transformative renditions of, first, the overture to the folktale odyssey, Russlan and Ludmilla, then finishing the evening off with Béla Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra. However, it’s a fact (well, depending on who you ask) that if you really want to hit the proverbial nail on the head when it comes to classicist grandstanding, you need look no further than the beloved—and oft-referenced—Tchaikovsky poesy, Piano Concerto no. 1, performed tonight by the gracefully fierce guest artist, Joyce Yang. In a production as equally “altogether everywhere” as its conductor, the only truth more fully realized is that tonight will surely be unforgettable.

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Eroica Trio

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And yet, all of this pales in comparison to the headliner of the evening, Beethoven’s Triple Concerto in C Major for violin, cello, piano, and orchestra, performed by one of the most successful all-women chamber ensembles in the world, the Eroica Trio. Garnering its name from a Beethoven piece denoting a “middle-period” in the composer’s work where pieces henceforth were riddled with emotional depth and structural rigor, the group—made up of cellist Sara Sant’ Ambrogio, pianist Erika Nickrenz, and violinist Sara Parkins—similarly takes audience members aback with their incredibly magisterial ferocity and practiced wit. What better piece to emphasize the skills of the titan threesome than the Triple Concerto, a sporadically played arrangement that brings out the magical allure of each member, burdened with individual yet simultaneous solos throughout. Sant’Ambrogio said it best in a recent interview: “It is incredibly exciting watching three soloists toss these amazing melodies and virtuosic fireworks back and forth to each other and the orchestra while the conductor holds it all together and shapes that lush wave of orchestral sound that Beethoven is so famous for.”

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Wine and Wagyu

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The “Dairyman”, in my opinion, had much more character than the Silver Oak, and certainly complimented the intricate blueprint of the Wagyu. Rather than compounding the flavors into a long-after-finished linger as its Cabernet counterpart, this Pinot Noir serves more as a brief, albeit refreshing, clearing of the palate between bites. However, being the glutton that I am, my love affair with the smoother and prolonged effect of the Silver Oak’s constitution was almost a given before I’d sat down to enjoy the meal.

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Hankin, ’16 Acres’ appeals to the human side of politics

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When it comes to politics there are generally two sides of the fence: you’re either interested, or you aren’t. Then there are the rare moments when an event is so catastrophic, a policy so egregious, that everyone, young and old, find themselves getting involved whether they like it or not, out of moral obligation or personal vendetta. The devastating tragedy of September 11, 2001 is one of these. However, busy as we are supporting our troops, admonishing our government, or going about our lives with an air of indifference, it is perhaps the revelatory spotlight on the question of what to do with the 16 acres of land where the twin towers once stood that has plagued the nation—especially New Yorkers; a question whose answer lies in the celluloid folds of Richard Hankin’s aptly-named biographical documentary, 16 Acres.

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Wild in Wichita

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“Act your age.” It’s a phrase all of us have heard at one point or another, usually voiced by a parent or other magisterial figure upon discovering some sort of uncovered mischief. Many times, the phrase is as warranted as it is stiff in meaning, especially in regards to children, young adults, and even the middle-aged authoritarians that youth often finds itself in subjugation to. But when does staunch despotic naysaying apply to the elderly: those who for most of our lives would keep us from swallowing gum or “borrowing” items that don’t belong to us? Watching Denise Blasor’s Wild in Wichita, the answer might surprise you.

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