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IRVINE 2018 TRACKING THE 10 MOST IMPORTANT INITIATIVES THIS YEAR
Civic success story 2017: It’s been an eventful year in Irvine FEATURE
by Irvine City News staff
n hindsight it’s clear that 2017 was the year that Irvine got things done. The city saw significant progress addressing key issues that have long sat stalled on the civic to-do list. They include major advances at the Orange County Great Park, including opening of the first phase of the Sports Park and the start of construction for a new world-class ice complex; approval of a widely lauded and fiscally prudent plan to build the Southern California State Veterans Cemetery on the former MCAS El Toro Base; and the planning and approval of numerous traffic improvement projects. Thanks to invigorated city leadership, public/private/nonprofit partnerships and innovative actions by visionary companies and individuals, 2017 was a year to remember. Here are
by Irvine City News staff
rvine continues to evolve as Orange County’s most important and vital city. Here are significant events, plans, projects and improvements to (mostly) look forward to over the next 12 months.
1. Transportation and traffic improvement projects
Traffic congestion will remain a hot topic in 2018, but the coming year should show progress on projects approved under the city’s $116 million plan designed to help address the issue. Construction should commence soon on the widening of University between MacArthur and Campus, adding one new lane in each direction and upgrading signals. City staff and Caltrans are working on a plan to update and improve timing on 40 signals CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 >>
CONTINUED ON PAGE 4 >> THE YEAR 2017 WAS ONE OF PROGRESS AND PROMISE FOR THE FUTURE OF THE CITY AND ITS CITIZENS
JANUARY 2018 2
“2018” FROM PAGE 1
NEW YEAR RENEWAL
s a voracious consumer of media in its many forms, I have a guilty pleasure: year-end lists. Every publication produces them, it seems, and I read many of them. Regular readers know that Irvine City News produces opinion pieces, in-depth features and even a share of breaking news, noteworthy for a monthly. But we don’t shy away from a fun “listicle” feature, either. As I was reading the weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal last October, I was pleased to see the prestigious publication dedicated an entire section to lists. That was enough to free us to something we’d secretly been hoping to do: an issue dedicated to roundup stories, bests, superlatives and other lists. Time will tell if it becomes a January tradition. Whatever
time of year they’re observed, New Years celebrations in different countries, cultures and faiths often include an opportunity to look at our lives and focus on the bigger issues we face as individuals, families and communities. Whether this past year has been one of the greatest of your life, or one that you’re glad is finally over, a fresh calendar brings with it a feeling of opportunity. And often it starts with a list. We do some soul-searching, make some resolutions, and prepare to take on the year’s challenges with a renewed and revived sense of purpose. Whatever your hopes, dreams and aspirations for the New Year, we hope 2018 is a happy, healthy and productive year for you and yours. n
near freeway ramps. The widening of University between Ridgeline and the 405 is approved and the widening of Jamboree in the IBC is in the planning and approval stages. The ongoing 405 project to extend the second auxiliary lane from Culver to Jeffrey is expected to be complete by late 2018 or early 2019. And one of our most anticipated projects should hopefully get a green light in 2018: the construction of a pedestrian bridge over Jamboree at Michelson between Park Place and Central Park West. Two design options are currently being studied, and the project likely will commence once the CPW phase of housing currently under construction is completed. We’re also interested in what boutique retail and dining options will be added to the corner, mainly designed to serve CPW residents.
2. The election
With political and partisan turmoil a fact of life since the 2016 races and results, it sometimes seems as if we’ve never left election mode. Observers expect another political power struggle this year. The election is Nov. 6 and the deadline for candidates to file to run in municipal races is Aug. 10. Irvine’s mayor serves a twoyear term, so Mayor Don Wagner will likely face a challenger (assuming he runs, which we hope he will). There will be two seats on the Irvine City Council up for election, those currently held by Councilmembers Jeffrey Lalloway and Lynn Schott. Since several crucial city votes were decided 3-2, with Lalloway and Schott on the losing side, those races should be intriguing, to put it mildly. So far the field consists of four candidates, including longtime Irvine Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo, who received 15.29% of the vote in 2016, and Community Services
Commissioner and attorney Lauren Johnson-Norris. The other two candidates are Farrah Khan, who ran for council two years ago and finished with 11.84% of the vote, and Kev Abazajian, a UCI Physics & Astronomy professor. Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Irvine) is said to be a target of Democrats in 2018, and is considered vulnerable by some national pundits. Walters has been criticized for not holding public forums, and there have been rallies and DACA demonstrations at the congresswoman’s Irvine office as well as one at UCI that drew U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris. The Korean Resource Center co-sponsored the three DACA demonstrations at Walters’ office and the UCI rally, according to the OC Register. Walters’ district is 18 percent Latino and 44 percent Asian. Seven Democrats are reported to be primary candidates for Walter’s 45th Congressional seat. The primary election is on June 5, 2018. Two seats on the IUSD school CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>
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firstname.lastname@example.org • 949.296.8338 Irvine City News is a monthly publication serving the city of Irvine, CA. Irvine City News distributes 100,000 copies monthly via direct delivery and at 45 news racks in select locations throughout Irvine. FROM LEFT: ANAHEIM DUCKS CEO MICHAEL SCHULMAN, ANAHEIM DUCKS OWNERS SUSAN AND HENRY SAMUELI AND IRVINE MAYOR DON WAGNER AT THE GROUNDBREAKING FOR THE GREAT PARK ICE COMPLEX.
“2018” FROM PAGE 2
board will be on the 2018 ballot, as will former Irvine Mayor Steven Choi’s California State Assembly District 68 seat. No candidates for those races have been confirmed.
3. Trails and open space
When the beautifully designed Upper Bee Canyon and Upper Bosque debut this year, the trails, tunnels and paths will bring greater connectivity to and within the Orange County Great Park. The 40-acre Bosque and 36-acre Upper Bee Canyon open space corridor improvements run from Irvine Boulevard to the Great Park Sports Park. Heritage trees saved from MCAS El Toro have been transplanted, three tunnels that allow bicycle and pedestrian trails to cross under major streets have been completed and playground equipment and other amenities have been added.
4. Expansion of the Great Park Sports Park
The first phase of the Sports Park debuted in 2017 to great acclaim, and we look forward to attending events, matches and games at the Soccer Stadium and other fields through the year. The remaining phases of the Sports Park are coming along nicely as well and are expected to open by summer including a 1,000-seat championship baseball field and 500-seat championship softball field; five softball and seven baseball fields and additional flex athletic fields.
5. Macy’s replacement at Spectrum Center
Some 20 new shopping and dining venues are expected to open at the Spectrum Center this year, replacing the 140,000-square-foot Macy’s store that closed. The new additions will also improve parking and access to the center, which has been compromised during construction. While no official tenant announcements have been made, insiders hint at impressive new
LACROSSE IS AN INCREASINGLY POPULAR SPORT REGULARLY PLAYED AT THE GREAT PARK SPORTS PARK
stores for H&M and Apple, and a brick and mortar space for the Hello Kitty Café.
6. Taking the ice
The Great Park Ice & Sports Complex is scheduled to be completed late in the year. The center will feature four ice sheets, including one that could seat up to 2,500 spectators, and will be the largest of its kind in California.
7. Jobs and growth
Expect continued discussion and debate over sustainable and smart growth and the importance of economic development, jobs and the business community to Irvine’s wellbeing. There have
been discussions of ballot measures on the 2018 Irvine ballot addressing growth, and the city council continues the process to update the city’s General Plan.
8. Summer music season at FivePoint Amphitheatre
The first full season at the 12,000-capacity interim amphitheatre is an exciting prospect for music fans. The first three shows last October revealed the community aspects of the venue, including intriguing food and beverage options, excellent sound and a closer connection to the musicians on stage. Announced acts are Foreigner on Aug. 1 and One Direction member Niall Horan on Aug. 5.
9. Retail and restaurants
The remodeled Woodbridge Village Center is lovely, as far as it goes. Upcoming openings should bring additional buzz to the center, with The Pizza Press, Sessions West Coast Deli, The Lost Bean and Cha for Tea slated to debut in coming months. Retail and restaurant fans are also anxiously awaiting news about the design and tenants at Base Camp, the mixed-use commercial project at Great Park Neighborhoods. Early renderings revealed a walkable European village concept, with intriguing retail and restaurant spaces along alleyways and rooftops, and there have been hints about an
innovative indoor/outdoor dining space. Think the food court trend, but version 2.0.
10. Cultural Terrace creativity
After several studies and lots of input from locals, this is the year we hope the city council finalizes plans for the 260-acre Great Park Cultural Terrace. The foundation for the city of Irvine’s greatness was its masterplan, so we agree with Mayor Wagner and others who don’t want the Cultural Terrace to be planned and created piecemeal. No doubt there are some spectacular concepts in the works. We can’t wait. n
JANUARY 2018 4
IT WAS A MILESTONE YEAR IN IRVINE (CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT): GROUNDBREAKING FOR CADENCE SCHOOL; OPENING OF FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATER; DEDICATION OF THE VETERANS CEMETERY; AND A NEW CITY COUNCIL MAJORITY.
“CIVIC SUCCESS” FROM PAGE 1
2017 SUPERLATIVES Irvine continued to be lauded as one of America’s finest cities, with a number of high rankings, accolades and superlatives bestowed upon the city in recent months. n No. 1 Major City in Fiscal Strength, The Fiscal Times n One of 20 Western Dream Towns, Sunset magazine
some highlights. Irvine’s new mayor and 1.17 city council began the New Year. Sworn in at a December session, re-elected councilmember Christina Shea joined new councilmember Melissa Fox and new mayor Donald Wagner on the city council that includes Councilmember Jeffrey Lalloway and Mayor Pro Tem Lynn Schott. “We don’t have to like each other, but we have to act professionally to do city business,” Mayor Wagner told the OC Register about the new council he would lead into 2017.
talents, you want the same thing from government for you and your family: The ability to live and work productively, in safety; to provide a quality education to your children; and to be free to speak, worship, participate, and thrive in your community. This is a city where goals and dreams can be realized, and are being realized every day.” n Some 300 civic, community and sports leaders gathered at the Orange County Great Park as the Anaheim Ducks hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the $100 million-plus Great Park Ice and Sports Complex, which will be the largest of its kind in California.
Mayor Don Wagner 2.17 gave an upbeat and inspiring State of the City address, his first as mayor. “I firmly believe that wherever you come from, and whatever your interests and
The Irvine City Council 3.17 unanimously approved a plan between FivePoint and Live Nation Entertainment to build and operate an interim outdoor amphitheater next to the Orange
County Great Park to temporarily replace the beloved Irvine Meadows Amphitheater, which closed last fall after entertaining music fans for 35 years. “We couldn’t be happier to continue to be part of the unique culture of live music in Irvine,” said Bret Gallagher, president of Southern California Live Nation. n The City Council unanimously approved the Irvine Ice Foundation’s proposal to name the 2,500-seat arena at the Great Park Ice and Sports Complex as FivePoint Arena at Great Park Ice. The foundation was set up to oversee the rink’s construction and management and is backed by Ducks owners Henry and Susan Samueli. The Irvine City Council renewed the city’s commitment to build a Southern California Veterans Cemetery on the
former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro at a council meeting in April. The final vote was 3-2, with the final result being a dual path forward toward a place of final rest for military veterans. The Irvine City Council 5.17 voted 4-0 to approve Concordia University Irvine’s revised campus renovation plan that includes a new music and worship center, and a new science and nursing building. Turtle Rock neighbors successfully challenged a more ambitious plan. n The new Irvine home to Pacific Symphony, the Charlie and Ling Zhang Musical Arts & Education Center opened.
Mark Linsenmayer was appointed as Irvine’s new Director
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n Happiest Residents, 3rd out of 150 biggest cities in the U.S., WalletHub n FBI’s Safest City with the lowest rate of violent crime among cities with a population of 250,000 or more, the 12th consecutive year Irvine has earned the Safest City accolade. n Irvine ranks No. 2 as the safest big U.S. city based on categories that go beyond violent crime rates, including motor vehicle safety n Best Public Parks, 8th in U.S., Trust for Public Parks n Healthiest Lifestyles, 9th in U.S., WalletHub n Best Places to Buy a Forever Home, 15th in the U.S., GoodCall.com n Best Cities to Raise a Family, 8th out of 80, based on crime rate, vehicle safety, air quality, and educational attainment, goodcall.com THE NEW IRVINE HOME TO PACIFIC SYMPHONY, THE CHARLIE AND LING ZHANG MUSICAL ARTS & EDUCATION CENTER OPENED LAST YEAR.
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of Transportation. Formerly the Deputy Executive Officer of Countywide Planning for the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Linsenmayer oversees all aspects of transportation and serves as the staff liaison to the newly created Transportation Commission. His appointment was a key part of the mayor and city council’s commitment to improve traffic.
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The L.A. Rams training camp opened at UCI, in preparation for a breakout season.
On Aug. 5, the long 8.17 awaited and much anticipated Orange County Great Park Sports Park opened. The 53-acre first phase includes six soccer fields, 25 tennis courts, five sand volleyball courts, and the Championship Soccer Stadium. Construction of the remaining phases continued, with an anticipated 2018 opening.
The Irvine City Council 9.17 approved an agreement to exchange 125 acres of city-owned land for the same amount of land near the 405/5 interchange as the approved site for a veterans cemetery. Referred to as the Strawberry Fields, the approved site doesn’t require the estimated $30 million for demolition and site preparation required for the alternate site. Both sites were on the MCAS El Toro base. n The City Council unanimously approved a project to widen University Dr. from four to six lanes for the 1.1 miles between MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Dr. The $17 million project will begin in January 2018 and calls for it to be completed in May 2019. n The Irvine Unified School District broke ground on its newest school, Cadence Park, a cool and contemporary K-8 school in the Great Park Neighborhoods.
The new FivePoint Amphitheatre debuted with three concerts to the new interim facility
replacing Irvine Meadows. n The American flag was raised at the future site of the Southern California Veterans Memorial Park, which will be the first veterans cemetery in OC. n A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the affordable housing neighborhoods Luminaira and Espaira was held in the Great Park Neighborhoods, drawing housing advocates, developers, nonprofits, designers, and landowners that made the much-needed units for 166 families possible. Broadcom began moving to its new Irvine office at FivePoint Gateway, located on the corner of Alton and Barranca. At the same time, the company made headlines for a $130 billion bid to acquire Qualcomm in what would be the richest tech deal in history.
12.17 session. n
Christina Shea will be mayor pro tem in 2018 after a 3-2 vote at the Dec. 11 council
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The OC Soccer Club will play all its 2018 home matches at the championship stadium at Great Park Sports Park. The team is the affilliated farm club for Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC), the newest Major League Soccer team in SoCal. The stadium and playing fields of the Sports Park are quickly becoming one of the most important venues for soccer and other youth sports in the region. The Sports Park soccer stadium will be the venue for a preseason exhibition match on Feb. 17 between the LA Galaxy and the San Jose Earthquakes. Irvine is also home to LA Galaxy Orange County, the MLS team’s soccer development program. Adidas and LA Galaxy Orange County are presenting the OC College Showcase there in early March. The event draws top teams and clubs and features full-length matches. Other tournaments drawing players and their families to Irvine and the Great Park Sports Park include the OC Summer Invitational in August and the OC Tournament of Champions in early December. orangecountysoccer.com
Get a room
Irvine’s travel and hospitality industry has had a significant upgrade with the debut of the Marriott Irvine Spectrum. It’s sure to be the preferred
choice for corporate travelers to the Irvine Spectrum business district. We anticipate that locals will fall in love with Hive & Honey, the hotel’s rooftop terrace and bar, when it opens in January, and the Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen in the lobby. The improvement in the city’s $600 million-plus tourism sector will continue with the final approval by the Irvine City Council of the The Landmark project, a hotel and office complex near John Wayne Airport. Located at the corner of MacArthur Boulevard and Campus Drive, the project includes a 386-room, 15-story hotel, along with a swimming pool, restaurant and retail. The Landmark is designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, the architectural firm founded by renowned architect I.M. Pei, and is a development of Irvine-based Great Far East. The city council approved the project 3-1 after additional aviation safety studies and consultation. The Federal Aviation Administration approved the project, but the Airport Land Use Commission for Orange County came out against it. The seven-member commission, which has meetings scheduled monthly, only convened three times in 2017, cancelling the nine other meetings. The commission met a total of five times in 2016 and six times in 2015, according to the meeting archive on its website.
One of the most popular foodie spots in Irvine is 85°C Bakery Café. While the brand was founded in Taiwan in 2003, the Irvine location debuted in 2008 and was the first in the United States. The Diamond Jamboree location has remained a bustling sensation since its first days, with a line that often stretches out the front door. 85°C offers fluffy breads baked fresh all day, as well as pastries, cakes, coffee and tea. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, the Irvine bakery will close in 2018 for a brief refresh and upgrade. There are also plans to open a second Irvine location in 2018, and another in nearby Tustin. Several other SoCal cafes are opening soon, for a total of 22 in the region and more than 1,000 globally. n
AT THESE LOCATIONS DIAMOND PLAZA BCD TOFU HOUSE TOKYO TABLE BON EPI PATISSERIE CAFE JAMBA JUICE HONEY MEE PACIFIC MAIL EQUINOX IRVINE AIRPORT EXPRESS SANDWICH WAHOO’S FISH TACO AL PHILLIPS CLEANERS
2700 ALTON PKWY. 2700 ALTON PKWY. 2710 ALTON PKWY. 2750 ALTON PKWY. 17585 HARVARD 17595 HARVARD 17585 HARVARD 1980 MAIN 3198 AIRWAY # H 2967 MICHELSON 2636 DUPONT # 30
IRVINE CO. APT. COMMUNITIES RACQUET CLUB OF IRVINE JUICE IT UP CHRONIC TACOS DONUT STAR SUNNY FRESH CLEANERS JOHNNY’S PIZZA KAISER PERMANENTE KAISER PERMANENTE WAHOO’S FISH TACOS AMTRAK STARWOK EXPRESS BEACON PARK ARBOR ANIMAL HOSPITAL THAI SPICE JUICE IT UP BIKRAM YOGA IRVINE IRVINE FINE ARTS CENTER HERITAGE PARK LIBRARY PIZZA 949 NORTHWOOD MKT IRVINE FAMILY HEALTH CENTER SUPER IRVINE MARKET CASPIAN PERSIAN CUISINE CELEBRITY CLEANERS
110 INNOVATION DR. 5 ETHEL COPLEN WAY 5365 #G ALTON PKWY. 5365 #D ALTON PKWY. 5366 #C ALTON PKWY. 5367 #E ALTON PKWY. 6721 QUAIL HILL PKWY. 6670 ALTON PKWY. 6650 ALTON PKWY. 81 FORTUNE DR. 15215 BARRANCA 15215 BARRANCA #600 501 BENCHMARK 14775 JEFFREY 15455 JEFFERY 14031 JEFFERY RD. 680 ROOSEVELT 14321 YALE / WALNUT 14361 YALE 13925 YALE #135 13925 YALE #155 14150 CULVER DR. 14120 CULVER DR. 14100 CULVER DR. 3963 IRVINE BLVD
WHAT REALLY MATTERS
JANUARY 2018 8
ART AND CULTURE
TOP 10 ART AND CULTURE ATTRACTIONS
Irvine has been an important center of culture for decades and its creative impact on California continues to grow. Here’s an alphabetical listing of some of the city’s most significant artistic institutions and attractions.
Claire Trevor School of the Arts, UCI
The Claire Trevor School of the Arts (CTSA) is arguably the most significant art and cultural institution in Irvine. The school produces more than 200 plays, concerts, dance performances and art exhibitions annually, while providing a world-class liberal arts education, with undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, dance, drama and music. UCI’s art school played a pivotal role in the development of contemporary art in California, as documented by the Best Kept Secret exhibit at Laguna Art Museum in 2011. Now, that role will be amplified with the recently announced UCI Museum and Institute for California Art to be built on campus. arts.uci.edu
The live concert venue opened for three shows in October 2017. This summer, live music at the 12,000-seat interim venue will return for a full season. Expect the amphitheatre to be a popular community spot this year and for two more to follow, while a larger permanent amphitheatre is planned at the Great Park. livenation.com/venues/33640/ fivepoint-amphitheatre
Great Park Gallery/Orange County Great Park The small art gallery at the Palm Court Arts Complex is a wonderful venue at the Great Park. The exhibitions are eclectic and expertly curated, covering everything from contemporary abstract painting, to surf photography and even military history with last year’s “Walt and the Flying Bull” exhibit about the emblems and mascots Walt Disney created for MCAS El Toro and other units. Exhibits in 2018 include the current “Eureka: A California Design Story” and “Golden Parks: Huell Howser,” opening in March. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park/palm-court-artscomplex
and adults in fully equipped art studios. It’s one of the best places in Southern California to learn to make, appreciate and experience art. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter
Irvine Unified School District
When the band Young the Giant opened the new FivePoint Amphitheatre in October, the band with Irvine roots was quick to credit their public school education in the city for giving them a foundation for success. The same story is told at Irvine Public Schools Foundation gala fundraisers by honored actors, artists and musicians honored at the event, which have recently included musician Tom Dumont from the band No Doubt, actress and comedian Nasim Pedrad, and members of the rock band Thrice. IUSD provides a comprehensive arts education in visual arts, dance,
theater, and music from grades kindergarten through twelve. The results include virtuoso musicians such as Sierra Vista Middle School student Kevin Miura, whose music educators include Sierra Vista’s Henry Miller, who was named one of 10 finalists for the GRAMMY Foundation’s 2017 Music Educator Award. The Grammy Foundation has awarded 12 Gold and Signature Grammy awards to IUSD high schools for outstanding music programs, with Woodbridge named the top Grammy school in the nation in 2016. IUSD high school students significantly outperform their peers throughout California, the U.S. and the world in performing and visual arts. For some, this leads to careers in the arts. For many thousands more, an IUSD arts education contributes to a fuller, more creative life. iusd.org/department/visual-performing-arts
Irvine Barclay Theatre
Since its debut in 1990, Irvine Barclay theatre has offered wide-ranging theater, music and contemporary dance programs in the 756-seat Cheng Hall. The theater is a collaborated venture between UCI, the city of Irvine and the private sector created to showcase top quality artists, to provide a superior facility for local and regional arts groups, and to enhance UCI’s educational mission, particularly the programs generated by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. thebarclay.org
Irvine Fine Arts Center
The Irvine Fine Arts Center offers exhibits and juried shows from local artists, as well as hundreds of art classes, art camps and other programs from beginning to advanced levels for youth, teens, AN IRVINE STUDENT MUSICIAN. PHOTO COURTESY IUSD
Maple Conservatory of Dance
This past season’s performances of “The Nutcracker,” by Maple Youth Ballet, were held at Portola High School’s impressive Performing Arts Center. Founded by Kathy Crade and award-winning ballet choreographer and artistic director Charles Maple, Irvinebased Maple Conservatory of Dance teaches and trains ballet students to the highest standards, with the goal of joining professional ballet companies and university dance programs. mapleconservatory.com/
The Reneé and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa is the hall where most performances by Pacific Symphony are enjoyed, but the headquarters for OC’s major orchestra is in Irvine. The Charlie and Ling Zhang Musical Arts & Education Center includes the
5 reasons why UCI’s new art museum would be better at the Orange County Great Park
FESTIVAL BALLET THEATRE’S PRODUCTION OF THE NUTCRACKER
orchestra’s home, along with the offices of Arts OC and the nonprofit Orange County Music & Dance (OCMD). Charles Zhang created the nonprofit O.C. Music & Dance to provide top-quality musical arts education and training for children, regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Its 21,000-square-foot facility in Irvine has practice rooms, classrooms, studio space for recording and dance, and a 140-seat theater. Pacific Symphony also performs one of its Symphony in the Cities programs at Irvine’s Mike Ward Community Park each summer. After decades of success at Irvine Meadows, the symphony’s much-loved Summer Festival concert series was presented last summer at Pacific Amphitheater. This summer the symphony will hopefully return to Irvine at FivePoint Amphitheatre. pacificsymphony.org
Philharmonic Society of OC
The Philharmonic Society of Orange County’s mission is to foster an appreciation for music by presenting national and
international performances of the highest quality, including many of the world’s most acclaimed symphony orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists. While most performances of the Irvine-based arts organization are at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Philharmonic Society presents several engaging events each year at Irvine Barclay Theatre. The Philharmonic Society also provides an extensive array of music education programs, free of charge, to nearly 200,000 children from kindergarten through high school each year. philharmonicsociety.org
Southland Ballet Academy/Festival Ballet Theatre
Though its main headquarters are in Fountain Valley, the acclaimed Festival Ballet Theatre has a branch of its Southland Ballet Academy in Irvine. The ballet company performs regularly at Irvine Barclay Theatre, including its annual “Nutcracker” programs, as well as annual engagements at Pretend City. festivalballet.org n
The citizens of Irvine should be thrilled with the late 2017 announcement of UCI’s new Museum and Institute for California Art (MICA), featuring the Buck and Irvine Museum collections of California art. The dual donations to the university that will form the core of the new museum’s collection significantly elevate Irvine as a cultural center. The museum and research center is slated for a site across from the Irvine Barclay Theatre. It’s an admirably visible location on the (let’s be real) hard-to-navigate campus. But is it the best place for such a prominent new cultural institution? Perhaps. But imagine if MICA were to become the major institution at the Orange County Great Park? The Cultural Terrace needs a significant center of gravity, and a museum centered on California Art, as well as space for touring exhibits, would be it. A Great Park location wouldn’t preclude having a significant research center with galleries for the UCI collection on campus, either. The dual collections are large enough to support two locations, and could possibly encourage other major collectors (especially well-known titans of SoCal real estate said to be looking outside the county for their major gifts) to donate to the museum. Perhaps the gifts come with stipulations that the museum be located at UCI. But it’s at least worth a meeting between city officials, Heritage Fields (which is helping plan the Cultural Terrace), and UCI’s administration to get creative about the possibilities. Here are five reasons why.
1. Easy Access
Though UCI is a key driver of
Irvine’s success as a community, its location is far from the heart of the city. Easy access to the campus was limited by design. The Cultural Terrace promises to be one of the epicenters of creative Orange County. It’s next to the many amenities of the Orange County Great Park, neighborhoods where the next generation of Irvine residents are choosing to live, as well as freeways, new and planned hotels, the train station and the commercial and retail centers of the Spectrum.
capital campaign at UCI. In exchange for locating the museum at the Great Park, the city should be willing to underwrite a significant portion of the building’s cost. There are redevelopment funds already earmarked for the Great Park from the $292 million settlement with the state of California.
The site on campus has limitations based on the dimensions of the available property and the existing uses on campus and nearby. A museum at the Great Park can be surrounded by open space, fountains, gardens and/or other architectural amenities.
5. Traffic and parking
If done right, MICA will draw art loving-visitors from throughout the region and around the world.
PEOPLE AND EYE TREES IN THE PARK IN MADRID, BY JOAN BROWN. CREDIT: THE BUCK COLLECTION AT THE UCI MUSEUM AND INSTITUTE FOR CALIFORNIA ART
2. Artistic Impact
UCI is committed to hiring an important architect to design its new museum. Imagine having a culturally significant building by the likes of Renzo Piano or Frank Gehry, or by an important mid-career architect or firm of similar impact, in the heart of the Great Park.
Estimates for creating the new museum are put at $100 million and will require a significant
Where should we put them? Driving to and around the UCI campus and finding parking is a challenge. UCI students using the retail center across the street are an issue, despite attempts to limit parking by the owner. Imagine if a worldclass museum was just across the bridge. The blank canvas of the Cultural Terrace comes complete with space for plenty of parking, and is adjacent to the Irvine train station making transit options and easy pedestrian access more practical. n
JANUARY 2018 10
by Irvine City News Editorial Staff
e have voiced our strong support for a veterans cemetery at the approved Strawberry Fields location on the former MCAS El Toro base for many months, in many different ways. The choice seems so clear to us, the politically motivated opposition so wrong-headed, that this issue we’ll give other voices a chance to speak. Here are excerpts from editorials, letters and opinion pieces published online, in the OC Register, and elswhere. “It may surprise you, but there is no veterans cemetery here in Orange County. That’s not for lack of trying. Orange County veterans have fought and lobbied for years to create a local cemetery for those who have bravely served our country….But now a new and totally unnecessary obstacle has been placed in the way of our veterans cemetery. A group of individuals with a different agenda have decided to support an initiative that would stop the construction of our cemetery. “The most offensive and candidly disgusting part of their opposition is that they are saying they are supportive of a veterans cemetery. Just not this one. “Those of us who fought for our freedoms are tired of waiting and tired of being prevented from being laid to rest with our brothers and sisters at home. We’re tired of being prevented from leaving this earth under the American flag—in our county. “No one who has served would stand in the way of an Orange County veterans cemetery that is
Support for a veterans cemetery from many voices ready to be built, approved to be built and funded to be built. Stop the selfishness, stop the self-interest, stop the opposition and stop the initiative. Build the Orange County veterans cemetery now.” —Nick Berardino, committee member of the OC Veterans Memorial Park Foundation “Which is a more fitting site to honor those who sacrificed their time and lives to maintain your privilege to live in a free country: an unfunded, polluted, more expensive, hidden, and unapproved property, or one that is funded, not-polluted, less expensive, visible, and approved? “You are doing such a disservice to the nation, the state, and the local community. Please stop wasting taxpayer time and money by stopping your petition efforts.” —Mike Padian, former Irvine Co. executive, in a letter to Larry Agran cc’d to media “This [Strawberry Field] site has the support of neighbors, veterans, the developer and a majority of the City Council. That is why the politics must end now. And it shouldn’t have been made a political issue or an election year issue in first place. It is about local veterans deserving an appropriate final resting place— and this is the place.” —OC Register Editorial Board “The current senseless battle over where veterans will be able to find their ultimate resting place is demonstrating that the very worst of political opportunism is alive and well in OC. But even more importantly, it is conversely providing a rare glimpse
of the power of bipartisan action to do good….Both political parties overwhelmingly endorsed the same location for Orange County’s first veterans cemetery.... The governor supports the Strawberry Field location. So does the majority of Irvine’s City Council. A local developer, FivePoint, has pledged $10 million toward phase one of construction. The Orange County Register supports it. Most importantly, veterans carry the hope that this might actually be a place where they can rest. “A small group of politicallymotivated individuals are attempting to derail construction on the Strawberry Fields location by launching a misleading campaign to gather signatures claiming to ‘Save The Veterans Cemetery.’ Of course, the cemetery has been approved, dedicated and doesn’t need ‘saving’… “On the battlefield, the men and women of our great military don’t fight under the banner of Republican or Democrat. They sacrifice their lives in defense of our American flag, under the banner of red, white and blue. “When they come home, they deserve to rest in a place that represents that same unity of purpose they brought with them in fighting for our nation. They deserve a place that’s close enough for their wives and children and grandchildren to visit, to reflect, to remember and to find peace. The current veterans cemetery location, widely supported across party lines, fulfills each of those obligations we owe to our county’s veterans. —Jennifer Muir Beuthin, general manager of the OC Employees Association n
FIRST CLASS PIZZA
BEST OF IRVINE RESTAURANTS
It’s one of the questions that we’re asked most: What are the best restaurants in Irvine? Our answer is that... it depends. A cop-out, we know. But not everyone wants cutting-edge cuisine. Some want the comfort of familiar food, others eclectic global dishes. Many seek family-friendly options or best spots when on a budget. Irvine City News staff writers will provide our list in a future issue, but for now we’ve culled through critic’s picks and online popularity contests from several sources for a selection of local restaurants named “best” by critics or the crowd.
Popular online social network Nextdoor.com recently launched its Neighborhood Favorites, “an annual awards
program that allows neighbors to recommend and recognize the most-loved businesses in and around their neighborhood.” Here are winners from the Irvine area announced in November 2017. PIZZA PLACE Northwood Pizza 4900 Irvine Blvd. First Class Pizza 6420 Irvine Blvd. Square One Pizza 5789 Alton Pkwy. BURGERS In-N-Out Burger 4115 Campus Dr. Habit Restaurants 14474 Culver Dr. The Counter 6416 Irvine Blvd.
Angelina’s Pizzeria Napoletana on his list of best pizza in the county. Brad Johnson’s authoritative list of the 75 best places to eat in OC included these Irvine restaurants: 19. Ootoro Sushi 2222 Michelson Dr. 23. Bistango 19100 Von Karman Ave. 44. North Italia 2957 Michelson Dr.
OC Weekly Best of OC
Critics and food writers for the alternative weekly included several Irvine restaurants among their 2017 favorites. THE CUT HANDCRAFTED BURGERS
MEXICAN Taco Rosa 13792 Jamboree Rd. Super Mex 14370 Culver Dr. Javier’s Restaurant 536 Spectrum Center Dr.
Sam Woo Restaurant 15333 Culver Dr. Capital Seafood Restaurant Irvine Alton 2700 Alton Pkwy.
BREAKFAST & BRUNCH Stacks Pancake House 14421 Culver Dr. Mimi’s Cafe 4030 Barranca Pkwy. Irvine
AMERICAN Urban Plates 13380 Jamboree Rd. Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar 13290 Jamboree Rd. California Fish Grill Inc 3988 Barranca Pkwy.
ITALIAN North Italia 2957 Michelson Dr. CUCINA enoteca Irvine 532 Spectrum Center Dr. Square One Pizza 5789 Alton Pkwy.
ICE CREAM SHOP Stricklands Ice Cream 4523 Campus Dr. Yogurtland 13260 Jamboree Rd. Creamistry 3972 Barranca Pkwy.
BAKERY French’s Bakery 14443 Culver Dr. 85C Bakery Cafe - Irvine 2700 Alton Pkwy. Champagne French Bakery 4628 Barranca Pkwy.
BAR/PUB Bj’s Restaurant 13130 Jamboree Rd. Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar 13290 Jamboree Rd. TAPS Fish House & Brewery 13390 Jamboree Rd.
CHINESE P.F. Chang’s 514 Spectrum Center Dr.
STEAK HOUSE Ruth’s Chris Steak House 2961 Michelson Dr.
Houston’s Restaurant 2991 Michelson Dr. BARBECUE Wood Ranch BBQ & Grill 57 Fortune Dr. Lucille’s Smokehouse Barbeque 23760 El Toro Rd. Famous Dave’s BBQ 13122 Jamboree Rd.
OC Register Bests
In September, the results of OC Register’s Best of Orange County 2017 reader vote named Square One Pizza Café in Irvine for having OC’s best pizza, best happy hour and being the best family friendly restaurant. Other local restaurants that did well in the Best of OC voting include: Best Sunday Brunch, #1 Taps Fish House & Brewery 13390 Jamboree Rd. Best Burger, #2 The Cut Handcrafted Burgers 3831 Alton Pkwy. Best Steakhouse, #3 Ruth’s Chris Steak House 2961 Michelson Dr. The Register’s award-winning restaurant critic Brad Johnson includes North Italia and
BEST DESSERT Zov’s “It’s OC dining royalty, of course, but way underrated for its desserts, especially at its Irvine location.” 3915 Portola Pkwy. BEST CHINESE RESTAURANT Best Foods “The sweetbread soup is the best offal dish in Orange County: earthy and milky and delicious.” 2626 Dupont Dr.
IRVINE FARMERS MARKET
BEST MARGARITA Taco Rosa “Whether sipping with a gourmet Mexi meal or imbibing during happy hour, Taco Rosa’s slew of margaritas are perfect for whatever the occasion. 13792 Jamboree Rd. BEST KOREAN BARBECUE Kang Ho-dong Baekjeong “Meats are top-notch, and those grills with the built-in side troughs are a work of genius.” 14160 Culver Dr. BEST VEGAN RESTAURANT Butterleaf at TRADE Food Hall Vegetarian and vegan cuisine should taste as good as any other, and Butterleaf’s mission is to prove it. 2222 Michelson Dr. BEST FARMERS MARKET Irvine Farmers Market “With one of the most comprehensive and varied collections of food retailers in SoCal, it’s easy to spend a couple of hours on a Saturday in the Mariners Church parking lot.” 5001 Newport Coast Dr. n
JANUARY 2018 12
Top Through 1.16 Skating Under the Stars
The ice rink at Irvine Spectrum Center remains open daily in the center’s Giant Wheel Court. Dress up on Theme Thursdays to save $5 per ticket! skatespectrum.com
Through 2.3 Drawn from a Score at UCI
Starting with early visual scores by John Cage, artists taught by him as well as contemporary works, the exhibit at Beall Center for Art + Technology includes traditional written scores, drawings, sculptures, performances, video projections and computer-generated forms of art. arts.uci.edu/event/drawn-score
Things To Do in January Through 2.8 Moods of California at Irvine Museum
California painters exploring the unique ecological regions and picturesque landscapes of the state is the focus of this museum exhibit. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu/ event/moods-of-california
Through 2.11 Graphic Design at Great Park Gallery
Eureka: A California Design Story with The Hoods and Friends explores graphic design movements from the Gold Rush to the present. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park/palm-court-artscomplex
1.6 Rahim Shahryari at The Barclay
The renowned Persian singer and musician from West Azerbaijan, Iran, perform with a variety of world musicians. Thebarclay.org
1.7 Butterfly Volunteers at Mason Park
For those who like to garden and be outdoors, help create and maintain the beautiful butterfly sanctuary at Mason Park on the first Sunday morning of every month. letsgooutside.org
PINKALICIOUS THE MUSICAL AT THE BARCLAY. COURTESY VITAL THEATRE COMPANY
1.12 Jane Lynch in concert
Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Jane Lynch comes to the Barclay stage for an evening of musical comedy, wit and wisdom. thebarclay.org
1.14 ‘Pinkalicious, the Musical’
Vital Theatre Company’s longrunning hit, “Pinkalicious,” is a one-hour family musical for ages 3-8, based on the best-selling children’s book “Pinkalicious” thebarclay.org
1.16 Patriot Comedy Event at Irvine Improv
Jeff Dunham, Billy Gardell and other comedians gather for a funny fundraiser in support of Folds of Honor, nonprofit providing scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and disabled service members. irvine.improv.com
1.27 Chita Rivera and Tommy Tune
Two of Broadway’s most celebrated artists, winners of 12 Tony Awards, come together for a unique concert event. thebarclay.org
THE OLD AND THE NEW, 1925, BY WILLIAM WENDT. COURTESY THE IRVINE MUSEUM COLLECTION
Published on Dec 29, 2017