Pet Peeves


Where Life Happens

By Mark Crantz
By Mark Crantz

This column will make me unpopular. What did you say readers? Oh, I’m already unpopular. Good to know. Then there’s no reason to bathe today. I’ve always aspired to Howard Hughes’ life of solitude and uncleanliness. I’ll just hold off on those time weary pedicures. Here’s my big stinky pronouncement. I don’t like the new Festival of Arts facade. I saw a picture of the model in the Indy. According to the article, this model won the Orange County Chapter of the American Institute of Architects award in ‘a building that hasn’t been built yet’ category. What’s that all about? Can’t the industry wait until after the building is put up and then give out a ‘that-a-boy.’ Maybe there’s industry fear that the actual building won’t look as good as the model or that traffic on 133 won’t ever permit getting a real life picture of the new facade without interfering with angry motorists or frantic Coastal Commission representatives looking for the four eliminated parking spaces.

Nah, that’s not it. I think the people models in the model will sue the architect once they realize that their stature will be out of proportion to the real building’s size. Nobody likes knowing they have to live in a model or ant farm to look normal. I live that life. “No, you can’t go left or right. There’s glass there. Quit complaining. Just follow the guy in front of you.”

I believe the model is the 19th location for Norm’s restaurant. Go ahead look at the model, again. Put in your mind’s eye the Norm’s sign right over the entrance. It’s a shocker, isn’t it? Imagine what the Tivoli owners are going through. You can’t beat Norm’s. Their motto says it all, “Where Life Happens 24/7.” Norm Roybark opened the first one in 1949 and has stuck to the same 1950s look since. The look must resonant with customers because the family keeps opening more. But could this be the first time that the owners open an art venue first and then sneak in the naming rights second?

Corporations put their names on baseball and football stadiums all over the country. Why not art venues? “I’ll take Pageant tickets and a Norm’s original patty melt, 1949 please. Sure, I’ll have fries with that.”

Maybe I’m wrong. It’s not Norm’s. Then my second guess is a new regional airport. I’ve been to plenty. The model is looking at the departure area. The people in front have arrived two hours ahead of their departures in hopes to take in a play before take off. Little do they know that airport security will require that they remove belts, shoes and three-ounce jells and liquids so passengers can participate in a modern version of a Kabuki performance. The drama depicts revolting luggage that have paid for travel, too, and the struggle that ensues with their toting passengers on who goes in the overhead. The sing-dance drama climaxes with U.S. marshalls sending luggage and passengers to different airports. In the final tragic scene, a little girl sits weeping outside of the Festival of Arts Airport and fades stage right to a jubilant Hello Kitty suitcase rolling in the sands of Hawaii.


That’s why I don’t travel. Who can trust luggage? Until the government can assure me that luggage will carry me, then I’m not taking the chance that my luggage will go somewhere I’m not and have a better time.

“Hello. I’d like to order Pageant tickets. One center seat, no carry-ons.”


Mark is a transplant to Laguna from Chicago. He occasionally writes the guest column “Pet Peeves.” His recently deceased Border Collie, Pokey, is his muse and ghostwriter.










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