Newport by the Pier

The Orange County Launch Party for Dumb Angel #4: All Summer Long

Featuring the Ghastly Ones, the Boardwalkers, and special guest Billy Hinsche, who will be performing songs from the 1968 psychedelic surf film soundtrack for Follow Me — Sunday, April 2 — 6:00 p.m. to Midnight.

Balboa Beach

Do you smell it? The fresh salt water, the smell of seaweed crashing up against the pier barnacles, and the whiff of fresh seafood coming out from behind basin doors at the Dory Fleet?

There’ll be plenty of places to park right along the pier and oceanside, April 2nd, for the show at Sid’s Blue Beet

Balboa Beach

The Dory Fleet boats bring in fresh fish. Sid’s Blue Beet is in the alley between the brick buildings at the center of this photo.

Can you see it? There’s Charlie’s Chili, and next to it is the Sea Shell Shop . . . they have stuffed models of huge Alaskan crabs and Sand Sharks. You walk along the beach, there’s a ledge to sit on and watch the sunset. There’s plenty of waffle cones, corn dogs and strips to be eaten. And then you can get up and make your way to the end of the pier . . . just another wide-angle view at the end of the earth. You can look down the coast and see where others watch land’s end. Piers each way; to the North, Huntington Beach Pier, to the South, Balboa Pier, and you’re in the middle at the Newport Beach Pier in Newport Beach, California.

Beneath the Newport Beach Pier

Do you hear it, or will you hear it? Phil & the Flakes pounding out crunch-chords at Sid’s Blue Beet, a brick cabaret open since 1912, but more recently (1950s/1960s) a Beatnik Folk club hosting Flamenco guitarists, Bebop Jazz, Bluegrass and Folk music. Folk festival performers such as Jess Boggess would sing, or Chuck McCabe – real drop out kind-of shit . . . he was inspired by a girl he met at a clothing-optional resort. And when you walk out the beat goes on, via the angry young man pounding his bongos on the beach. All around, beach-side, angular apartments are rented by Surfer teens looking for girls or guys over the verandas, while the carry-all record player inside blasts out the Beach Boys’ Summer Days (and Summer Nights!!!) album. This is how it was in 1965.

Balboa Beach

Let’s Eat! D.I.Y. dining cultivation at the Newport Beach Pier, 1960s

When you drive up to the pier area, the overwhelming scent of good food, and the ocean, hits you right in the face. There’s a fancy, Victorian-looking steak restaurant, Pizza joints, the smell of Bay seasoning at the Crab Cooker, Fish and Chips at Woody’s Wharf, Mexican food aura everywhere . . . and the tar of the salt water . . . this smells like California.

Balboa Beach

The environment around the Newport Beach Pier, 1960s

The Ghastly OnesWhat we’re trying to do here on Sunday, April 2nd is bring actual Surf instrumental music back to the area, back to a place long-forgotten even in Los Angles, a locale purely “local” in recent years. In bygone times, the whole of the Greater Los Angeles area shook to phenoms from Balboa – the Stan Kenton Orchestra (’40s) and Dick Dale & his Del-Tones (’60s). This year, 2006, we’re bringing two of the finest Surf instrumental combos on the planet – The Ghastly Ones and the Boardwalkers – to Sid’s Blue Beet. On top of that, an acoustic set by Billy Hinsche (formerly of Dino, Desi & Billy, who also recorded great versions of “Mony Mony” and “Honkin’ Down the Highway” with the Beach Boys during the ’70s). Billy will be performing songs in support of his new CD, Mixed Messages, along with Beach Boy related songs written with Brian Wilson and performed by Carl Wilson. A few Dino, Desi & Billy gems will be thrown in for good measure. Don’t miss it! The sound will dwell into the deep pumice underneath our coastline existence. Go Go dancers will quake and shiver above the equatorial splendor of sounds right out of The Munsters theme. You just have to be there.


Balboa Beach

SID’S BLUE BEET – 107 21st Place, Newport Beach, California – Sunday, April 2nd from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The Ghastly Ones, The Boardwalkers, Go Go dancers Kari French (etc.) and DJs Penelope Pitstop, Domenic Priore, and Brian Chidester – editors of Dumb Angel #4: All Summer Long. Plenty of parking next to the pier on Sunday nights.

Directions to Sid’s Blue Beet:
From the Santa Ana Freeway (Interstate 5) or the San Diego Freeway (Interstate 405), go to the NewportFreeway (55) and head West toward Newport Beach . . . all the way to the end. This becomes Newport Boulevard. As the road splits, bear to the right (Balboa Boulevard). Finally, make a right on West Oceanfront. Park in the lot next to the Newport Pier, which can be seen in postcard #2 from the ’40s on this blog. Sid’s Blue Beet is in the first alley in the brick-walled business district seen in that same postcard.

Domenic’s suggestion: Spend the afternoon seeing the Balboa Fun Zone, have an early dinner in the Newport Pier area, or head to the Blue Beet at 6:00 when the Boardwalkers start playing. Sid’s Blue Beet serves burgers, fish ‘n’ chips and a bunch of other stuff.

Donna Loren

This is what it will look like at Sid’s Blue Beet on Sunday, April 2nd, 2006
at 6:00 p.m. Don’t be late!

Billy Hinsche

Billy Hinsche, formerly of Dino, Desi, & Billy . . . with the cover of the soundtrack for Follow Me



Newport’s own version of Don the Beachcomber

Newport Balboa Savings

The Modernism of Newport-Balboa Savings, 1960s


Charlie's Chili

Dig the resemblance between the Charlie’s menu art and Michael Dormer’s classic boho mural during the credits of Muscle Beach Party

Charlie's Chili

Charlie’s Chili (established 1967)

Dory Fleet

Dory Fishing Fleet (established 1891)

“To live in an old shack by the sea, and breath the sweet salt air. To live with the dawn and the dusk, the new moon, and the full moon, the tides, the wind and the rain, and know the thrill of lonliness, to lose all sense of time… and be free.” – eden ahbez

Collecting shells and sea creatures of this size is a competitive tradition amongst locals of Newport Beach

Oceanic book shelf of Terry Beattie (a.k.a. the Shell Guy)

21 Oceanfront Restaurant boasts a sleek Victorian dining room akin to a high-class New York City steakhouse. The paintings on the wall here are inspired by 18th Century Rococo whimsy, with hints of exotic oceana.

This painting sits above the side exit at 21 Oceanfront . . . the door dumps you out onto the pier area, with an incredible view of the ocean.

Established 1963 . . . just in time for the reign of Eddie & the Showmen

Newport Beach is home to one of the last beachside stands that offers strips . . . thee classic snack treat of surfers and beach-dwellers from the ’60s.

1960s postcard drawing from the Crab Cooker. Many locals did great Beat drawings of restaurants and cafes . . . The best of these artists was Earl Newman, who drew such classic venues as Shelly’s Manne Hole, the Insomniac Café and Pacific Ocean Park . . . L.A. artist Frank Holmes employed a similar style for the front cover of Brian Wilson’s 1966 Smile album. The artist signature on this postcard is Hart Lawrence. Other artworks unknown.

The Crab Cooker (established 1951) — not the Whisky a Go Go corner, but an incredible simulation . . . and much cooler these days, for sure.

A great example of the California Crazy signage genre.

Woody’s old boat sits on top o’ the restaurant. All other fish & chips plates must kneel before Woody’s Wharf

Mermaid tiki carving along the wall of the entrance to Woody’s Wharf. Inside you can have dinner right on the Bay waters

We had a great reaction for the ’60s Stuft Shirt photo from last month’s blog about Balboa. So, for all those out there clamoring for more . . . here’s a color shot of the building taken in March, 2006. The restaurant is long closed, but water reflection still dances beneath the shell-curves of the cantilever roof.

Ed “Kookie” Byrnes takes his date to the Stuft Shirt building (here designated the Captain’s Grotto) in a mid-’60s issue of the 77 Sunset Strip comic book

Matisyahu– JDub on the Fringe

In the 1920’s, when Jazz and Big Band music was at it’s apex, a new type of sound started to appear. Invented by church choirs across the south, it was pioneered by Blues luminaries like Thomas A. Dorsey, Sallie Martin, Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, Willie Mae Ford Smith. It was originally known as "holy rolling," but would evolve into what became known as Gospel. Gospel, originally a grassroots movement, would influence Ray Charles and James Brown to give us soul, help Elvis Presley swing his hips, and let singers like Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin and Al Green find their groove.

Today, another grassroots movement is emerging. A stranger genre, more obscure today then Gospel was 90 years ago– Jewish Modern Music.

Like all good grassroots movements, Jewish Music, or JDub to some of it’s fans, has had it’s own  Thomas A. Dorsey– an Alternative music sensation named Matisyahu who has been capturing the interest of orthodox Jewish teens who otherwise might not pay the slightest attention to music. Matisyahu has not only provided Jews a look into the music world, he has provided the music world a look into JDub music, and all that it has to offer. Matisyahu

The Jewish reggae star is, despite his platinum albums, national acclaim, and worldwide tours, still only part of a fringe music type, one that is still growing out of it’s stages of infancy– for now.


One new band in particular, a rock group known as Blue Fringe, personifies the grassroots origin of JDub music. Four twenty-something year olds that met at Yeshiva University of New York City in 2001, Blue Fringe began their musical careers touring Jewish summer camps in places like Upstate New York. With a growing young adult fanbase, it was no surprise that Blue Fringe’s first album, entitled My Awakening, sold more then 15,000 copies, and firmly established Blue Fringe as the "best thing to happen to Jewish teens since Oreos were made kosher."


Blue Fringe is a major force today in JDub music, and some of it’s counterparts have also risen to prominence in the Jewish underground music scene, including the Jewish Rock bands Moshav, Balkan Beat Box, Beyond Eden, and Slivovitz… Blue Fringe's My Awakening

More news on JDub as it develops. A new gospel? You never know.

Take that one home and chew on it. It’s delicious.

Till Next Week.

Alex E.

A last note- When I first heard Blue Fringe in 2002, at a summer camp in the Poconos, I asked their bassist, Avi Hoffman, if the band was a long term thing. No, he replied, just temporary to earn some cash. Fast forward to fall of 2005, I ran into Avi again. "Still temporary?" I asked.

Avi just smiled…

Cruel Words

  I long ago discovered that the quickest way to get Lost In The Grooves is to take Johnny Dowd all the way down to The Wrong Side of Memphis.

But if that was indeed Then,  and Now is Here,
I find on The Pig Player today this particular JD’s Latest and Possibly Greatest creation  (so far, that is):

It’s called Cruel Words, it’s fresh out on Holland’s very own Munich Records,
and shall be available on this side of the biggest muddy come June care of the bountiful-and-Then-some Bongo Beat label.

in the meantime however,
Allow me to partake in a little game of virtual Cruel Word Association with the titles of this disc’s fourteen Required Listens:

 1. HOUSE OF PAIN…..Play that Funky Music, cowboy!!

 2. MIRACLES NEVER HAPPEN…..Elvis’ Mysterious Train has Left the Station.

 3. PRAISE GOD… Johnny comes Rolling Home.

 4. UNWED MOTHER…..“Billie Jean v. 06”

 5. CRADLE OF LIES…..Stretching from California to the Jersey Shore.

 6. DING DONG…..Is that someone at The Doors?

 7. FINAL ENCORE…..a Rare and Intriguing Peek backstage at this (or last) (or
     next) year’s Grammys

 8. WILDER THAN THE WIND ’66…..truly Too Cool for Words.

 9. DRUNK…..Who once sang, you can go sleep at home tonight, Johnny, if
     you can get up and walk away.

10. POVERTY HOUSE…..We’ve ALL got room there.

11. CORNER LAUNDROMAT…..Spins a dry cycle of (the OTHER) Brian Wilson’s
      “My Solution,” by way of our sweet Jon Lord.

12. ANXIETY…..our Working Class Hero’s special affliction.

13. WORLD OF HIM… we merrily take the Last Waltz to War!

14. JOHNNY B. GOODE…..The original War Pig?!!

cult of the week – Richard Strange and the Engine Room

artist: Richard Strange and the Engine Room

title: Going-Gone

year: 1987

label: Interphon Records

personnel: Richard Strange (vocals), James T. Ford (electronic hardware), numerous guests

tracklisting: damascus, the lion’s den, banco celestial, dominoes, the fall of the house of ‘u’, fear is the engine, wounded, love scare, pride time and inspiration, pioneering surgery

further info:

cotw say

A-Ha! A fresh view

If you are familiar with the authors on this website, you will notice that alot of the blogs are about the 1980’s. To teenagers today, the eighties was a complicated time– filled with change, baby formula, and first words (mine were all four verses of Elton John’s Rocket Man).

Since most teenagers didn’t experience the eighties, it is viewed by many of the members of Generation Y as a decade filled with Pac-Man, bad hair, and ugly shirts. But thanks to Family Guy, a popular show created by televisionary Seth MacFarlane, teens today are getting a little dose of the eighties once more– this time without the Gerber.

 In 1986, the music video for A-Ha’s single, ‘Take On Me’ was nominated for an MTV Music Video award– and for good reason. The movie version of ‘Take On Me,’ featuring a special type of animation known as "roto-scoping," was a smash hit the US and UK alike, and quickly made A-Ha one of the most popular bands of the 1980’s.

It has been more then twenty years since ‘Take On Me’ was popular, but it only took a fifty-second segment on Family Guy to bring it all back, providing you old-timers with a healthy bit of nostalgia and us youngsters with yet another punchy Family Guy gem.

Take a look

Chris Griffen Meets A-Ha!

Chew on that. It’s delicious.

Until Next Time:

Alex E.


Chris Griffin Meets A-Ha!

Dream Lake Ukelele Band

Dream Lake Ukulele Band is a Lost in the Grooves exclusive. Click to sample the music or purchase.

Dream Lake Ukulele Band
Dream Lake Ukulele Band
(Crest, 1976)

What do you get when you cross twenty-seven ukuleles, a Little Marcy record, and the Langley Schools Music Project? The result is a bizarre hybrid called the Dream Lake Ukulele Band, a Florida school group whose performances are documented on Crest Records, a New York vanity label. The back cover shows twenty-seven grade school aged students, all wearing white shirts and red vests, the boys also wearing neckties. Sound boring? Not when every kid is smiling and holding a ukulele.

The lead-off, “There’s So Many, Many Ways,” is one of the more charming Christian songs around, but I’m sure my opinion is altered by the sheer innocent joy of twenty-seven children’s voices singing in harmony while strumming their ukuleles. That spirit changes a bit though, when the songs veer off into the Bicentennial patriotic songs that fill the rest of Side 1. Such lyrics as "My Sunday school teacher loves me when I am never late" preceded by "God loves when I learn to shoot the gun" makes one wish that the band director would have been cool enough to be teaching the kids David Bowie songs.

Fortunately, Side 2 has the perfect antidote, for that is where the children present and sing their own original compositions. Compiled under headings such as "Wish Songs," "Name Songs," and "Music Songs," each features a progression of five to ten kids strumming and singing solo. These aren’t loud bratty kids singing "Tomorrow" at the top of their lungs, but more often small waif-like girls singing with very timid voices.  My heart melts whenever I hear one girl who sings, "I am Mary, I like to play the ukulele" or another girl whose verse starts by saying her parents are always busy, and then proceeds with "Daddy is a band director, Mommy is a piano teacher, I love them." This record is listed as being Volume Seven, which definitely makes me wish that I also had volumes One through Six. (Vern Stolz, from the book Lost in the Grooves)

Are you a member of the Dream Lake Ukelele Band? If so, please contact us!