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Santa Ana Sites Series Brings Performance Art to the City

June 6, 2014

I stopped in my tracks even though I was just a block away from the only burger I have ever loved -- the fresh meat patty topped with a chile relleno and spicy tomato chutney at Tabu Burger on Fourth Street at Broadway.

John Spiak, director and chief curator of Cal State Fullerton's Grand Central Art Center, offered to show me a secret racquetball court in downtown Santa Ana. Hunger dissipated and curiosity peaked as we approached the private court enveloped by lofts and law offices at 200 N. Main St.

This is the next location for Santa Ana Sites, an initiative of the art center that offers contemporary performances in public and private spaces that are as juicy as the burger and at least as spicy as that chile relleno.

On June 14, the private racquetball court, that most don't even know exists, will be transformed into an unorthodox stage for a sound performance by artist Steve Roden. For 45 minutes or so, Roden will take over the subterranean space, volleying himself between two stages.

The performance is the fifth in the Santa Ana Sites series. One can find the court by attending the pre-event reception at 7:30 p.m. at adjacent Q Art Salon, 205 N. Sycamore St.

If you've missed the Santa Ana Sites gatherings, they also offer unique bites of performance art.

In February, musicians and performers took over downtown's Santora building. Another featured 10 instrumentalists and singers from Inner Mongolia. In yet another, audience members were invited to roam about a loft space as the dance by Backhausdance played out around them.

While these events might be a pin in a haystack in larger city, they represent a concerted effort to inject culture into a city where, unfortunately, there is often a push and a pull between residents, artists, developers and elected officials.

Santa Ana Sites is the brainchild of Spiak and community collaborator and artistic director Allen Moon, who has divided Orange County into people who are "boring" or "bored." The idea, Spiak said, was to offer food for the bored even if it weren't served in the confines of the Grand Central Art Center, a collaboration between the university and the city.

Spiak is dedicated to putting Santa Ana on a cultural map that erases the prejudices some folks in Orange County still harbor about the city and fomenting an arts scene.

"We want to provide something that makes people see that Santa Ana has a unique downtown," he said. Continue reading the original story.

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