Haul yourself "Off the Beach" this Saturday and you may find some cool stuff to buy, make and groove to. The Huntington Beach Art Center is hosting an arts celebration with an outdoor art market and continuous acoustic performances by local musicians.

For children--in connection with the exhibition in the center's education gallery--there'll be a workshop in mixing, baking and decorating a traditional Day of the Dead loaf of bread and fashioning paper flowers for the community offering made by artist Ofelia Esparza.

* What: "Off the Beach," a fall arts celebration.

* When: Saturday, 1 to 9 p.m.

* Where: Huntington Beach Arts Center, 538 Main St., Huntington Beach.

* Whereabouts: San Diego (405) Freeway to Golden West Street exit, drive south for five miles. Turn left onto Yorktown, right onto Main Street and continue for three miles to arts center.

* Wherewithal: Free admission; $4 for kids' workshop ($5 for two children).

* Where to call: (714) 374-1650.


Steve McGrew likes to think of himself as a normal guy, but with his jet-black pompadour and a Southern twang, comparisons are inevitable to a most un-normal guy.

McGrew, however, refuses to milk his link to Elvis. Instead, the Tulsa native--who introduced himself to hundreds of thousands of fans a couple years ago when he opened for Dolly Parton on tour--relies on a wry, biting outlook to hook his fans.

* Who: Steve McGrew.

* When: Today and Sunday, 8:30 p.m.; Friday, 8:30 and 10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8 and 10:30 p.m.

* Where: The Improv, 945 E. Birch St., Brea.

* Whereabouts: Orange (57) Freeway to Lambert Road exit; go west. Turn left onto State College Boulevard and right onto Birch Street. The Improv is in the Brea Marketplace.

* Wherewithal: $8 to $10.

* Where to call: (714) 529-7878.


Vocal music ranging from the medieval to the contemporary falls within the purview of the well-regarded British Hilliard Ensemble--countertenor David James, tenors Rogers Covey-Crump and John Potter, and baritone Gordon Jones.

This quartet will sing two different Philharmonic Society-sponsored programs Sunday at two locations: "Arts Sacra--Sacred Music From Five Centuries and Six Countries" at the Irvine Barclay Theatre in the afternoon, and "Songs of Sundry Natures" at the Bowers Museum of Cultural Art in the evening.

* Who: The Hilliard Ensemble.

* When: Sunday, 3 p.m. at Irvine Barclay Theatre and 8 p.m. at Bowers Museum of Cultural Art.

* Where: Irvine theater, 4242 Campus Drive, Irvine; Bowers museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana.

* Whereabouts: To the Irvine theater: San Diego (405) Freeway to the Jamboree Road exit headed south, turn left onto Campus Drive. To the Bowers: Interstate 5 to the Main Street exit, drive south to the museum (parking adjacent on 20th Street).

* Wherewithal: Irvine theater, $15 to $25; Bowers, $20.

* Where to call: (714) 553-2422.

Special Event

Through poetry, stories, music and dance, performers who witnessed the Vietnam War and its aftermath as children take their audience on a journey from Vietnam to the United States, seeking along the way to celebrate the human spirit, honor immigrants' struggles, challenge the stereotypes of "Rambo" and "Miss Saigon," and perhaps redefine Vietnamese American identity.

That happens in "Laughter From the Children of War," to be presented Saturday at Irvine Barclay Theatre by UC Irvine's Vietnamese American Coalition and Los Angeles-based drama-comedy troupe Club O'Noodles.

* What: "Laughter From the Children of War."

* When: Saturday, 8 p.m.

* Where: Irvine Barclay Theatre, corner of Campus Drive and Bridge Road on UC Irvine campus, Irvine.

* Whereabouts: San Diego (405) Freeway to the University Drive exit; head west. Turn left onto Campus Drive.

* Wherewithal: $10 in advance; $15 at the door.

* Where to call: (714) 534-2582.

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