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Author Martin J. Smith

  • Martin J. Smith

    Editor-in-Chief

    Smith is a veteran journalist and magazine editor who has won more than 40 newspaper and magazine writing awards. He became Orange Coast’s top editor in 2007 after nearly eight years at the grandly ambitious but ultimately doomed Los Angeles Times Magazine. He also spent nine years as a reporter and columnist for The Orange County Register. In addition to his 30-plus years as a journalist, he is the author of three crime novels (including the Edgar Award-nominated “Straw Men”) and two nonfiction books. Still, he’s most proud of his ongoing series of crank letters to inept service vendors and the makers of faulty home appliances. He considers “Re: Cuisinart Toaster Model CBW-177” to be his masterpiece.

 

From Surf to 70mm to the South Pacific, Orange County Legend Featured at Newport Beach Film Fest

Locals will get the rare chance to celebrate an Orange County film legend this month when the Newport Beach Film Festival spotlights the work of Laguna Beach's Greg MacGillivray and MacGillivray-Freeman Films, one of the world’s foremost independent producers and distributors of giant-screen 70mm films with 37 films for IMAX and other giant-screen theatres to its credit. Throughout the company’s 50-year history, its bigger-than-life films have won numerous international awards, including two Academy Award nominations, and had three of its films inducted into the IMAX Hall of Fame. Read more...

The Thinking Person's Vacation

Not that you asked, but some of the smartest people in America have chosen their favorites from among the nation's 58 national parks. Read more...

Solve This Mystery: "Ladies of Intrigue" Isn't Just For the Ladies

Which is why anyone who aspires to writing crime novels, male or female, should plan to be at the Hotel Huntington Beach (near Bella Terra) on Saturday, March 29, for "Ladies of Intrigue," a day-long conference featuring L.A. and O.C. writers such as the internationally popular creator of the Molly Murphy and Her Royal Spyness series, Rhys Bowen, shown, Death on Demand series bestselling author Carolyn Hart, and a dozen others. They'll reveal how they come up with murderous plots, villainous killers, and brilliant sleuths in panels such as “Down a Dark Alley: How Setting Shapes Story,” “Tough Cookies: Strong Female Protagonists,” and “Passport Required: Mystery Goes International.” Read more...

The Wild Duck Chase Continues

From the day in 2009 that I began work on a story for Orange Coast about the strange and wonderful Federal Duck Stamp Program, I've believed that the story someday should be told as a documentary film. First, I wrote it as a piece for the magazine, "The Wild Duck Chase." Then I wrote it as a book which is now available in both paperback and digital formats. (Here's the Amazon link.) Read more...

Pier Nostalgia

We’re always prowling for art by locals that speaks to something elemental about Orange County. So we were thrilled when long-time friend Lynne Cox, the cold-water marathon swimmer who trains off Seal Beach, mentioned during lunch on Sept. 16 that a local postal worker/artist was building some wonderful coffee tables, benches, and other furniture out of timber salvaged from the Seal Beach Pier. The artist is Gino Dominic Nardo, and you can at least see some of his creations (now, alas, mostly sold) at artbygino.com. Read more...

TEDx Orange County

Among the speakers scheduled for the TEDx Orange County event (Sept. 20-21 at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts) are a couple of local standouts, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis of Corona del Mar and UC Irvine’s groundbreaking memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus. Read more...

Mountain Bike! Orange County

For you mountain bikers out there, David Womack of Laguna Beach has written what surely is the definitive guide to off-road biking in Orange County. I’m familiar with a few of the dozens of rides he recommends, mostly in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, and his distance and elevation estimates, tips, and trail descriptions are spot-on, even six years after its original publication. Order “Mountain Bike! Orange County” through online retailers, or at Two Wheels One Planet bike shops in Lake Forest and Costa Mesa. Read more...

OC Guides

Guides

OC Guides
  • Best of 2014: New York Pizza

    Seal Beach’s A Slice of New York makes pizza the way it’s supposed to be—with a thin, chewy crust that oozes cheese and can be enjoyed the New Yawker way: folded in half.
    142 Main St., 562-493-4430, asliceofnewyorkpizza.net

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Bird-Watching

    When the throngs of beachgoers are too much, spend a day with the birds. Here, with the wind whipping off the ocean and herons, egrets, ducks, and more soaring above, you'll get a chance to be the amateur ornithologist you never knew you wanted to be. Free
    3842 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, 714-846-1114, bolsachica.org

    Read More
  • Best of 2014: Green Cleaners

    Sold from her website and a refitted retro travel trailer, these earth-safe cleaning products are Marilyn Nowak of Coto de Caza's propriety formulas. Products for laundry, surfaces such as glass and wood - even an ecological drain cleaner - all have dispenser bottles and bulk refills $8 to $48
    Resuming in September at Great Park Farmer's Market, Sand Canyon Avenue and Marine Way, Irvine, 949-292-1648, lilgreenwagon.com

    Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Vanilla

    Plain vanilla extract is fine for large-batch baking, but vanilla snobs like to play with other varieties, including the skinny, leathery beans. We won’t delve into the classic Mexican-versus-Tahitian debate, except to say we like Tahitian for creamy concoctions and the bolder Mexican in concert with dark chocolate. Find plump, vacuum-sealed beans of both varieties at Surfas Culinary District. Read More
  • Food Lovers Guide - Kouign Amann

    Butter worship is a birthright in Brittany—the French region that invented this transcendent caramelized pastry with the funny name (say Queen a-MAHN). Read More

Style Stuff

  • Hot Shop: Popping With Petals

    Petals and Pop would be at home in a Paris street scene. Blooms and foliage spill onto the sidewalk from old aluminum buckets and vintage German pickling jars. Inside, a floor-to-ceiling library ladder slides along the shelves of this flower and home goods store, providing access to vases, table linens, garden and kitchen tools, specialty chocolates, and cookbooks. Read More
  • Ruffle Some Feathers this Fourth of July!

    We're all familiar with the food truck craze, but now there's a new kind of truck to get excited about. Pekok Within Boutique is Orange County's first fashion truck to hit the streets. The peculiar name is intended to encourage customers to embrace the idea of peacocking, or "Pekoking": using fashion as a means to attract attention and distinguish oneself. The new business is taking part in the Fourth of July event at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina July 4th from noon to 10 p.m. and July 5th from 1 to 10 p.m. Read More
  • Here Come the Brides!

    Looking for wedding inspiration — something that will set you apart from the crowd? Then keep from 12 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 3, open. That's when Something Lovely Wedding returns to Orange County, with an impressive collection of more than 30 high-end wedding resources here in SoCal. Read More
  • Brea Mall is Home to O.C.'s Second Kiehl's Store

    In addition to getting a newly renovated mall, Brea now has bragging rights to a Kiehl's boutique. Elevating the skin and hair-care routines of loyal customers since 1851, Kiehl's chose The Brea Mall as the lucky landmark to expand the chain's presence, making it the second Orange County location (the other is at South Coast Plaza). Paying homage to Kiehl's East Village New York roots, the store brings a modern Big Apple apothecary to north county, blending antique fixtures with modern neon flair. Read More
  • California Cool: Oliver Peoples Launches WEST Sunglass Line

    This being the land of perpetual sun, it's no surprise that sunglass brand Oliver Peoples decided to launch a new line inspired entirely by coastal California. Read More
 
 
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