June  2004 / Vol 6 No 6


15th Street Surf Shop
2W Market
Abbondanza Italian Bistro


American Bevel
American Legion 
Amy's Psychic Boutique

Back to the Beach

Balboa Angling Club
Balboa Bakery
Balboa Beach
Coin Wash

Balboa Beach Treats
Balboa Bikes 'n'
Beach Stuff

Balboa Boat Rentals
Balboa Eyewear
Balboa Fun Zone
Balboa Gift Alley
Balboa Gift House
Balboa Inn
Balboa Island Ferry
Balboa Kitchen & Bath
Balboa Pharmacy
Balboa Pilates
Balboa Saloon
Balboa Sushi 21
Balboa Thai Cafe
Balboa Theater
Balboa Village Market
Bal Harbor Liquor
Bay Arcade
Bay Boat Rentals
Bay Burger
Bayside Sunglasses
Beach Island
Bibi Anna's
B.J.'s Pizzeria
Blue Sails
Cabo Cantina


Catalina Passenger Service
Christ Church by the Sea Methodist

City Hall
Class of 47
Cold Stone Creamery
Davey's Locker
Discovery Tours
Easy-Ride Bike Rentals
Electric Tattoo
Fun n Sun
Fun Photo Studio

Fun Zone Boat Co
Gina's Pizza
Glamour Nails
Global Mortgage Funding
Great Mex
Hair by Holly
Harborside Restaurant
Harbour House Coffee
Hill's Boat Service
Hurd Surf Designs

Island Design
Island Marine Fuel
Island Petals
Jazzz Hair Salon
J.J.'s Haircutting
Kathryn Aileen's
Kids at Heart
Kites Etc
Knot Just Candy
Kyle's Alterations
Labels Resale Boutique
Local Color
Mack - San's Cafe
Main St. Surf Shop
Marina Water Sports
Mifflin's Taffy
Mr. Balboa Barbershop
Mrs. Fields Cookies
Natalie's Beach Cafe
Naturally Newport
Natural Nails by Daisy
Newport's Coffee Bar

Newport Harbor Cruises
Newport Jet Sports
Newport Landing
   Fuel Dock
   Sport Fishing
Newport Whale Watching
New York Style Pizza
Noize Music
Notary Public
Ocean Front Bar & Grill
Our Lady of  Mount Carmel Catholic Church
Pavilion Real Estate 675-8120
Pizza Pete
Police (Business)
Post Office
Pretzel Factory
Rif Raf Body Piercing
Rock n Bungee
Ruby's Diner
Seascape Air
Shellback Yacht Cruises
Shore House Cafe
Siena  Italian Restaurant
Silver Star Castings
Skinworks Tattoos
Surfside Silver
T's Toe Rings & Gifts
Taste of Napa
Wedding Boat
Young & Restless

Photo of the Month

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A few thoughts on the demise of Balboa's world famous Studio Cafe.... you may publish this if you wish, but I write not to be published as much as just to share how I feel about it! Enjoy...
I finally had the courage, after a number of weeks, and stopped in at the Cabo Cantina [fomerly the Studio Cafe] the other day, Sunday, and I have to say, I about died! They turned that place where I'd been hanging out all my life [it seems!] and watched great music into another Newport Beach BAR! My good friend Mark and I had been saying over the years, ''soak Jimmy and Voodudes in as often as you can, because it can't last forever;'' but we never KNEW how spoiled we were. I don't think a band can really play at the 'new' place. They don't fit this guy's vision for his cluttered drinking establishment, and fully half of those kids - yes, KIDS! - will hightail it outta there as soon as any great musician cranks it up.
I don't mind saying, I feel a little old. Most of the time, I feel young, but seeing what they'd done to my place - I first walked in and drank an Adios at the age of 19 (1977!) - made me feel like, hey, things change when you get older. It was quite a disappointment. I loved the Studio Cafe - some of the most enjoyable times of my life were enjoyed there. I made friends there that I still cherish to this day. I worked there for four years, 1995-1998, broke up fights there, took dates there late at night for great jazz, sat in the dark kissing there *laughing* and hell, I took my ex wife there for our first date in 1987 - we sat waaaaaaaaaaay in the back and ate ribs and talked for three hours. I drank too much there a few times, I watched some of the most brilliant music I've ever enjoyed in my life there. I met one of my childhood heroes there - Keith Emerson, from Emerson, Lake and Palmer. My brother met HIS first wife there, my chums in the late 70s and I would go there and enjoy Charles Owens' black four-peice jazz combo, Chiz Harris' monster three piece jazz combo and the brilliant Secret People band, and more recently, my best friend and roommate and I spent 4 years on sundays watching the phenominal John Heussenstamm walk outside with his transmitter hookup, playing electric blues guitar OUTSIDE back in the mid 80's. [My brother shot a great image of John standing outside at the corner with his Stratocaster guitar - if you want a scan of it, let me know] We used to go swimming in the ocean out at the pier during the band's breaks. I walked waitresses to their cars after closing, I gave some waitresses rides home late at night. I sat outside and watched the big flag in the park blow in the cool night air while I waited for time to pass in the evening on slow nights as the Studio Cafe's weekend doorman. There were times I was depressed, and there was one thing to do - go watch live music at the Studio Cafe. I always felt better. I smoked a few cigarettes there and had a latenight shot after we kicked out the folks and closed up for the night. I wiped down all the tables in the back, put away the menus and the candles, said goodnight and locked the door. Then I headed out to my car, tired as hell, and drove home.
I'm glad I was there to catch all those amazing times. I'm sorry there's so many people who missed out.
Best regards,
Lots of studio cafe images from the last great summer can be had at imageevent.com/dirkbag/thevoodudes

You really are an expert! I remember when the bank was built, I had an account there for a while. I didn't think the original building had lasted that long.
Does anyone else remember the short-lived trampoline amusement that was installed between that building and Bay Ave?
By the way, Tim Morgon has produced three new discs that will soon be available on his site.
I have a comment on the swim/dive platform in front of the Fun Zone. The Hanniford's put about as much maintenance into it as they did the rest of
the Fun Zone. It was an accident waiting to happen. Nice that they provided it but at least they could have taken care of it. The whole thing was never cleaned or maintained. The swim ladder was always overgrown with algae, the deck was rough and splintered and growth on the "hull" threatened to sink it. I don't remember the accident itself but I do remember when the platform was removed, and why it was removed. You are totally accurate on that one.
In my mind this was the beginning of the end for the Fun Zone as us old timers knew it. It really was all about the beach. The amusements were a side attraction. I remember many times when there was simply no space to lay out a towel on the beach because it was covered with tourists. That wasn't a problem for me, I had the arcade right there and I could change into my swimming clothes, go swim, and go right back to the arcade. (My parents hated it when I tracked sand and water into the arcade!)
First the swim platform was removed, then the unkindest cut of all, they removed the beach. The sea wall was put up and that one action changed Balboa forever. At that moment Balboa, on the bay side, was no longer a place where you could simply spread out a towel or a blanket and kick back for however long you liked.
Right away the Fun Zone suffered. The people who used to spend an entire day "at the beach" were suddenly transformed into transients. If they wanted to plant themselves for a while the best offered to them was a bench. Not exactly a "beach" experience. No way to swim or touch the water.
The first businesses to suffer in the Fun Zone were the food establishments. Their captive audience was suddenly lost. It's a lot different having people at the beach all day and having people who were there simply for a couple of hours. Hit the rides, hit the arcades, go home. No need to eat there other than a traditional snack like Sno-Cones or a Frozen Bananna. Maybe a slice of pizza. The food vendors dropped like flies, so to speak! Maintenance in the Fun Zone became even worse, if that's possible, and people simply stopped coming to Balboa. At least they stopped coming in the numbers that would maintain an active and viable tourist destination. I have LOTS of other things to say about Balboa but one thing I can point to as the worst thing that ever happened there was building that sea wall
and eliminating the beach in front of the Fun Zone. It is a continuing disaster.
I doubt the current owner of the Fun Zone would give up the somewhat lucrative rental payments from his tiny marina, and of course restoring a beach there is unthinkable with current regulations on the shoreline. I know I can't go back but I remember how it was back then. Balboa in the late 50's and early 60's was an active, vital and fascinating place. I find the diversity of the businesses and business owners compelling. Even as a kid I got to know lots of these people. I loved the place and how it was then. I'm less than thrilled with what it has become.
Having said all that, I'm astounded that the rest of Newport hasn't simply found a way to bulldoze the whole area and put in multi-million dollar homes. The idea that Peninsula Point residents really want to turn Balboa into a source of local services is a joke. "Get rid of all the tourists and I'll have my dry cleaning done there" seems to be prevailing attitude. Right.
I sure admire the tenacious attitude of those who chose to attempt to do business in Balboa. By 1992 I'd had enough.
I took my 85 year-old mother on a driving tour of Balboa today. She was once known locally as "The General" for her persuasive personality.
She didn't recognize the new Fun Zone even though I explained to her it had been built in 1986. So it goes,

Words of Wisdom

Always read stuff that will make you look
good if you die in the middle of it.


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Balboa Events Calendar

2nd Wednesday of the Month
 Book Club Luncheon 2 PM
Bibi Anna's


Saturdays at Sundown
June 12 thru August 28
Annual Flag Lowering Ceremony
Patriotic Music, Taps, Canon Salute.
Balboa Boat Rentals
By the Balboa Island Ferry Landing
Balboa Peninsula

Thursdays 6 pm to 8pm
July 1 - August 12
Concerts on the Peninsula

Peninsula Park Gazebo

Sunday July 4
Old Glory Character Boat Parade
 & Wooden Boat Festival

Sunday July 25, 1pm
69th Annual Flight of the Lasers

Thursday August 12, 2am
2004 Perseid Meteor Shower

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Time Capsule


It was in the early 1970s when Woody Payne, owner of "Woody's Wharf," Jerry Overland, owner of "The Alley West," and Bear Davis, owner of "Bear's Lair," started a friendly game of one-upmanship.
At first the pranks were of little consequence, such as bumper stickers stating "Woody Drinks At Alley West." Then the game started to move to new ground, with the competitors gaining entrance to each others bars after hours, having a few drinks and leaving the dirty glasses on the bar along with a signed I.O.U..
The contest was finally called off when Bear Davis and Bob O'Niell cut a hole in the roof of Woody's Wharf at three a.m., and lowered two wild goats inside to spend the night.

Hello Jim,
There is a PBS news program which airs on KOCE in the evenings called Real Orange. There is a beautiful backdrop photo of the Balboa Fun Zone & Pavilion (looking down Edgewater)...my guess is that it was taken from the balcony of one of the bayfront homes on Edgewater or from the apartment building at Cypress & Edgewater. I have emailed Real Orange about this photo asking if it was available anywhere for download and never recieved any form of reply...this would make a great desktop background for the PC. With you being a such prominant and wonderful photographer of the Balboa area, I wondered if maybe you had a source for this photo (or even if you maybe took the photo yourself). Any info you have on this would be greatly appreciated.
BTW, I really enjoy Tales of Balboa and am a 2 week out of the year "resident" of Balboa (we rent at 416 1/2 East Bay Ave from Rolf and Ruth Laib). We will try and stop in your shop/studio and say HI the next time we are there!
Thanks for your time and any info...if you see the Laib's, tell them Sergey and Leslie say HI!
Sergey Zakharov

Thanks for the new picture. When it is hot and sunny and busy and I am under pressure, I can just go to my desktop and see a wonderfully quiet Balboa foggy morning and cool and relax for a minute. I love the contrast of the three different birds and the boats, too.
Susan in Utah

Good Morning Jim! What is the fascination/detestation with Charlie? Having grown up on 7th St.(1958-'75), & still a very regular visitor to Balboa from Newport Heights, I've always considered him to be a pleasent acquaintance, and a harmless considerate resident. What are these people so angry or fearful about? Am I missing something here? If you have the time, or the desire to respond, I would welcome it. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO! -GK

May 10, 2004
  I'd really like to know how large you could print the picture of the Lifeguard Station at sunset with the kid feeding the gulls? Do you know which picture I'm talking about? I'd like to have it printed on canvas 24x36. Do you think thats possible? I already have a guy that'll print it on canvas for me but I would need #1 your permission and #2 something on disc (in photoshop format) to have it printed. Let me know.
Steve Langbein

Dear Jim,

I enjoyed looking at your e-newsletter. It is full of many things I didn't know about the area. Are you still publishing it? The one I found was from August, O2.
I belong to a small nonprofit in Northern California and found a safe  deposit key for Laguna Federal Savings and Loan in our old stuff. Looking it up on the internet gave me your newsletter. Do you have
any idea of which bank took over, or did the company just fold?
Thanks for your help,
Beth Wrightson

I don't know who this is going out to, but my mother, who's 88, would love  to hear from anyone who remembers loving the chocolate éclairs at the Balboa  Bakery near the Pavilion during the fifties and sixties. my dad's gone  now--to the Big Bakery in the Sky--and no one's left to make eight-inch long  custard-filled made-from-scratch chocolate éclairs and sell them for a  quarter. those were the days.
  joel leonard
 NHHS 1953

Feature Cartoon

From London's Times

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Help! I'm a young man trapped inside this old geezer's body.
Editor And Chief
Cook & Bottle Washer
Jim FournierI'd really love to hear from you.

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