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ORANGE COUNTY ARTS FALL PREVIEW 2000

Restored Temple a Symbol of Revival

September 15, 2000|Mike Boehm

Like much else in the awakening downtown that surrounds it, the Santa Ana Performing Arts and Event Center--the 70-year-old former Masonic Temple at 505 N. Sycamore St.--is a work in progress.

But its potential appeal is undeniable: stairways lined with carvings of knights in armor and heraldic shields; an arched theater ceiling decorated with peach and green designs that have a medieval flavor and look like textured tapestries; and a facade that boasts four carved, bright-yellow lions' heads roaring from just under the roof line.

The four story Gothic-revival building, topped by a fifth-floor tower, dates from about 1930 and has been vacant for 17 years. It has three theaters--a 700-seat main stage on the third floor and 250- and 50-capacity halls on the second floor. It also will house a restaurant called Aphrodite's.

On Sept. 22, visitors will get a sneak peek at the building when the California Art Club will exhibit plein-air paintings in the lobby and jazz acts Triple Threat and Idris Muhammad play a concert at 6 p.m. in the main theater.

The event kicks off a three-day celebration, "Sights of Santa Ana." It is meant as a preview, not a grand opening of the center, which will still be weeks or perhaps a month away.

Tickets for "Sights of Santa Ana" are $15. Call (714) 571-4272.

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