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Irvine, Newport Beach Get an 'ArtsBreak'


NEWPORT BEACH — Staff members were putting the finishing touches on the new Terry Allen exhibit at the Newport Harbor Art Museum Friday, stenciling the exhibit name ("Youth in Asia") across the main gallery entrance. Allen himself stood nearby, calmly smoking a cigarette and flicking the ashes and finally the butt into one of his own installations.

"It's just a big ashtray," he joked, referring to the piece "China Night," which re-creates the sandy, bottle-littered front lot of a Southwestern tavern.

Adding to the afternoon's pre-opening scene at the museum was a video crew from the cultural news TV show "ArtsBreak," making its first foray in a two-day blitz of the arts scenes in Newport Beach and Irvine.

After interviewing Allen and taping the opening reception for his exhibit, the crew members taped segments on Saturday on the Orange County Chamber Orchestra and the Arpana Dance Co., a local troupe that focuses on Asian dance.

The crew wrapped up Saturday night at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, shooting a performance of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans. The program--produced by and for Bravo, a national cable network that specializes in arts and independent films--is to be shown this fall.

The "ArtsBreak" crew travels the country producing 10- to 12- minute segments that attempt to showcase local art scenes outside such obvious spots as New York and San Francisco. The idea is to feature "areas that basically don't get a lot of attention for their cultural institutions," explained Camy Metcalf, a publicist for Bravo. Orange County and the arts "are maybe not such a household association," she noted.

With the weekend's taping, Newport Beach and Irvine join such previous "ArtsBreak" locations as Las Vegas, Honolulu, Sacramento, Phoenix and Scottsdale, and Columbus and Cleveland. "ArtsBreak" made one previous visit to Orange County, to spotlight Laguna Beach in 1991.

"We try to give the cross-cultural view that (an) area represents," said Vienna Steiner, one of the program's producers. "High culture often seems to be the same people over and over again."

In addition to filming, the "ArtsBreak" crew sponsored a post-concert reception at the Irvine Barclay Saturday and presented a $5,000 check on behalf of Bravo to the theater in support of its 1993-94 season. Artworks were presented to the cities of Irvine, Newport Beach, Tustin and Orange.

"ArtsBreak," in its fourth season, is produced four to six times a year and is shown repeatedly between Bravo's longer programs. Bravo is offered in parts of Central and South Orange County by Dimension Cable Services and by other systems in parts of Costa Mesa, Brea, Yorba Linda and Orange.

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