Orange Coast

Gregory Wolfe Forever Young

Since 1984, he has been performing as Rod Stewart, paying tribute to the British rock star by perfecting his natural Rodlike looks and singing voice. A longtime entertainer on the Orange County circuit, Wolfe has performed at the OC Fair as well as with the Pacific Symphony. But the 59-year-old impersonator says there’s more to his act than just his appearance. “I can get the crowd going, and that’s half the show. It really is.” First performance as Stewart? It was a mock rock contest back in
Orange Coast

Mark Daukas: The Ice Master

In the ’90s, Mark Daukas was just about unbeatable at ice-sculpting competitions. Now the champion, who turns 59 this month, is teaching up-and coming artists how to carve a niche of their own. Daukas was odd man out when he first started competing in ice sculpting. Pennies in his pocket, and brandishing a blowtorch, the newcomer went on to break records and introduce game-changing techniques to set the ice art world afire. Behold the 8-foot saber-toothed tiger making its way down a precarious
Orange Coast

eSports Entrepeneurs

Tyler Endres and Paul Ward, childhood friends-turned-business partners, say their new competitive gaming and entertainment complex, the first of its kind in North America, is the next big thing to top the pro sports circuit. The owners of Santa Ana’s eSports Arena knew if they built it, video gamers would come. In August nearly 11,000 fans packed Madison Square Garden to watch top pros compete in “League of Legends,” a multiplayer game with more than 85 million players worldwide. Some prize pool
Lit Central O.C.

WTF: What the Find!

An arm shot out, blocking my view of the greeting cards display. The arm’s owner was a senior gal who’d just snuck into my personal space. I returned her smile but drew the line there. No talking to strangers, not even cute little old ladies wearing boiled wool coats all buttoned up against the mall’s air-conditioned cold, reminding me of my mom. “Excuse me, dear,” the newcomer asked in a cheery British accent. “Is this what it says inside?” The Papyrus store, you see, likes to wrap their gou
Lit Central O.C.

A Sticky Situation

It was the sticky tables that finally got to us. Our small but mighty writers critique group had been meeting for a few years at a local diner before Debbie freed her bare forearms from the syrup-kissed table for the umpteenth time and cried, “I can’t take it any more!” Or something last-strawish like that. Alan, our newest recruit, offered: “We could always meet at my house. You can bring snacks, wine, whatever you want.” Non-stick furniture guaranteed. Tempting, but we’d been down this hos
Orange Coast

Signer to the Stars

The certified sign language interpreter, often seen on stage in theaters and comedy clubs in O.C., has signed next to some of the most famous folks in showbiz, including Jerry Seinfeld, "Weird Al" Yankovic, and Julie Andrews. Dunn is professionally bound to blend into the scene, but her animated translation puts her in the spotlight, too, sometimes making her about as invisible as the man behind the curtain we're supposed to ignore in favor of the great and powerful Oz.
Orange Coast

Anna Chinowth - Legally Blondie

For belting out ’80s tunes while wearing tulle and leg warmers in public, this Orange County deputy district attorney is guilty as charged. During a typical day, the lead singer of the tribute band Back to the 80s goes from working cases to working the mic at local hot spots. And what do the Laguna Niguel resident’s suited coworkers think about her extracurricular activities? “They’re often shocked by my stage persona, since I’m quiet at work. But they think it’s pretty cool.” How did you land
Orange Coast

Rich Cowley, Wedding Wizard

For his next trick, Rich Cowley will pronounce you legally wed. The magic castle magician and minister has married nearly 700 couples, including pait-ups on “the Biggest Loser” and “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” The Westminster resident once worked wonders on the streets of Philadelphia—“I took over Penn & Teller’s spot.” Now, instead of escaping from a straitjacket 18 times a day, he helps couples perform a magical feat of their own: tying the knot.
Lit Central O.C.

Me, My Pajamas, and Harrison Ford

I’ve been writing for magazines and such again, keeping the next Signs of books simmering on the back burner. It’s been exciting to reconnect with readers after the seclusion of book writing. Sprucing up my queries … landing some assignments … seeing my name spelled correctly in the byline. Heady stuff, to be sure. But nothing compares to that magic writing moment a few years back involving Harrison Ford and my pajamas. I’d been assigned to do a “celebrities and their charities” piece for a l
The Atlantic.com

Complaining, for Your Health

In his 1964 book Games People Play, psychiatrist Eric Berne describes what he calls the “Yes, but” communication pattern: First, one person states a problem. Next, another person responds by offering suggestions on how to solve it. The first then says, “Yes, but …” and proceeds to shoot down any solutions offered. “Because [problem-solving] is not the purpose of the exchange,” Berne writes. “Its purpose is to allow the subject to gain sympathy from others in his inadequacy to meet the situation.
Lit Central O.C.

Finding My Muse in All the Wrong Places

Much is said about the fabled inner voice or muse that writers hear as they pen their prose. (Or sweat out a few salty words every 15 minutes or so like I do.) Tales of how to find this elusive creature/higher power/hunger pang are varied. Every writer or other creative sort wants to know the secret to tapping into the rich reservoir of imagination that most certainly lies within us. My muse is found in the company of the people I care about most in this life. It is their attention, their affection, their laughter despite difficult times that I want and will do—or write—anything to get.
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