Arts Year in Review: Surfing for the high points

Next year will mark a major centennial in Huntington Beach — 100 years since George Freeth visited the pier for a surfing demonstration and helped brand the city as a beach-culture mecca.

Count on plenty of 1910s reflections in the coming months. In 2013, though, remnants from another decade kept popping up around Surf City. Appropriately enough, it was the decade that provided the Jan and Dean song that later gave Huntington its official nickname.

In July, the Munster Koach — the vehicle from the 1960s sitcom "The Munsters" — cruised down Main Street en route to "Kustom Kulture II," a car-themed exhibit at the Huntington Beach Art Center. The Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts performed the Beatles' 1968 self-titled LP, a.k.a. the White Album, in its entirety. And former patrons of the Golden Bear, where '60s legends once played, got a dose of nostalgia when guitarist Peter White returned for a show at the Hyatt. (OK, White actually played at the Golden Bear in the '70s. Close enough.)

Typical for a city that the Beach Boys name-checked in "Surfin' Safari," Huntington offered plenty of car- and surf-themed entertainment in 2013. But it offered plenty more than that. Here were some highlights on the arts scene this year:

Three's company: Huntington Beach loves its surfers — as evidenced by the Surfers' Hall of Fame and Surfing Walk of Fame that face each other across Main Street at Pacific Coast Highway. This fall, the 36 legends whose names line the pavement on both sides of the street got feted a third time with "Famers," an exhibit at the newly renovated International Surfing Museum.

Boy wonder: Cameron Lew, a senior at Huntington Beach High School, made the lineup for the first All-American High School Film Festival in October with his film "Swung," the tale of a teenage romance interrupted by an accident. The festival took place in New York, but Lew had to miss out on seeing his name in lights — the week of the event, he was busy preparing for the SAT.

Beatles 29, Jesus 1: In 1966, John Lennon commented that the Beatles were "more popular than Jesus now." Forty-seven years later, students from the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts played all 30 songs of the White Album in concert, and while they stuck to the original arrangements on 29 of them, they altered "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" to "Why Don't We Go Out in the Road?" Teacher Jamie Knight admitted after the show that the location — First Christian Church — inspired the band to be more chaste.

Kustom komeback: Two decades after the Laguna Art Museum hosted "Kustom Kulture: Von Dutch, Ed 'Big Daddy' Roth, Robert Williams & Others," the Huntington Beach Art Center hosted a similar exhibit of auto-culture art. Inspiration for the show came from Hurley artist John-Paul Olson, who told the curators about the time he went with his baby-sitter — at the ripe age of 5 — to the 1993 show.

Back to the beach: Several years ago, surfboard designer Robb Havassy settled a copyright infringement lawsuit with Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister Co. and ended up with 365 surfboards bearing his design. In May, the artist raffled off 150 of the boards at the International Surfing Museum to raise money for the venue's renovation.

And the band plays on: Costa Mesa's South Coast Repertory, which kicked off its 50th season this year, wasn't the only Orange County performing institution to hit a milestone: The Huntington Beach Concert Band turned 40. To celebrate, the band solicited original compositions — including "Of Surf and Shore" by Kansas resident Gavin Lendt, who described his piece as "like a Cadbury egg, but not as sweet."

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