Brea Old and New: The go-to source for "All things Brea"!

Culture/Arts

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    Eagle Hills Christmas Lights!

    6 years ago by

    From the Brea Downtown, travel east on Birch Street, toward Valencia, any night after the first weekend of December. From Kraemer, as you approach Starflower, you see the lights. Brake lights and left turn flashers from your side of the street and twinkling headlights patiently making their way west on Birch, as right turn flashers wink their intentions. They're all going to the same place, to see the same thing. The Christmas Lights at Eagle Hills.

    One man, Bob Starbuck, decorated his home for Christmas at Eagle Hills, in 1981.  His neighbor, John McQuade, with encouragement from his wife, decorated his home as well. Some of their neighbors decided to join in the festivities and a 30-year tradition was born.

    BBON had the great pleasure of spending a few hours with John at his home to get the story behind the lights. Originally from York, England, John McQuade came to the States at age 17 and made his home in Placentia, before coming to Brea in 1981.  A lovely man with a delightful sense of humor and a twinkle in his eye, he's known as the "ringleader", though he says there is no neighborhood committee, no meetings and no pressure. "There is no competition", he says with a slight Irish brogue.  His neighbors, Don and Judy, who live across the street and have decorated their home for 27-years, seconded that saying they don't compete as neighbors and even help each other with their projects. They all agreed, while we talked, that despite the costs and hard work, it's all worth it when visitors give them a thumbs up or a "thank you" for their efforts.

    Taking us through the interior of his home, we learned John starts bringing Christmas out of storage in early October and begins the painstaking task of decorating from the inside out.

    A table with a Christmas Train, surrounded by all kinds of toys, is the first thing you see in the living room. When you close the door and take a few steps, you are immersed in Yuletide magic and enthralled by Santas, Snowmen, Elves, Fairies, Reindeer, stuffed animals, all-manner of whirligigs, doo-dads, moving, singing, sparkling, glittery, Christmas! We couldn't stop nudging each other and exclaiming, "Did you see this?!" in every room. Wide-eyed grown-ups behaving like wide-eyed children. It was wonderful!

    And when we weren't entranced by a dancing tree or a wiggling Santa, John told us that he stores his decorations in his home, his garage (at Christmas, the Bear Cave!), and at a separate storage unit. When asked, he says he has no idea how many lights he puts on his home, because he's never counted them.  John arranges all of the indoor decorations himself, including the lighting, and his son helps him with the outdoor arrangements.

    Neighbors and friends add to his collection by at least one decoration every year and he still adds new finds himself, but has no "favorite" in his menagerie.

    When John McQuade isn't making Christmas a little brighter in Brea, he spends his time volunteering for CHOC, so it made sense when I asked him before we left, why he does this year after year. He said two words, "the kids". Visitors who are aware of John's time with CHOC sometimes leave donations for the organization as a way of thanking him, and the neighborhood, for making their Christmas more cheerful and bright.

    The Christmas Lights at Eagle Hills are on every night starting this weekend until December 31. Remember to drive carefully, watch for children (young and old), be patient and enjoy. And if you get out of your car for a stroll around the neighborhood, look for John McQuade on Primrose. You can't miss him. He's at the house with all the Christmas Lights! And you'll want to see the decorations inside.


      By Kathy Cannon

       

       

       

  • BBON Behind the Scenes at Peter Pan

    6 years ago by

    A fascinating look behind the scenes at Stagelight Productions' 2011 Peter Pan production at Curtis Theater. Hosted by BBON Kid Reporters - Christine and Carly Johnnie.

  • Laughter and Joy=A Wonderful Holiday Mix

    6 years ago by

    "A Kodachrome Christmas" will be seen at the Curtis Theatre in Brea December 1-4 this year.  It's another show filled with laughter that the whole family can enjoy.  Written and Directed by Pat Hazell, an Emmy winning writer from The Seinfeld Show, it's the story of Earlene Hoople, the Queen of Rural Media.  Ready to leave the world of show biz, she tapes her last Christmas Special in front of a live audience.  After crafting herself nearly out of her mind, Earlene is ready to tickle your sanity with Letter to Mrs. Claus, an outrageous family slide show, fresh-baked snicker doodles and the church hand bell choir.  Performances are at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.  Ticket prices range from $30 to $23 for children.  The Curtis Theatre is located in the Brea Civic and Cultural Center at the corner of Birch and Randolph.  Parking is free in the underground lot.

  • Meet the Author! Brea Choir Director speaks at Library

    6 years ago by

    Dave Willert will speak at the Brea Library on Saturday, December 10th at 10 a.m.   Willert is the Choir Director at Brea Olinda High School as well as the author of his third novel in the "Dimensions" series The  Cloud Monsters.  The Dimensions series is a blend of science fiction and  fantasy, with the addition of spiritual and mystery genres.  Books will be available for purchase and signing. Willert is a musical director, composer, author and educator.  He began writing in 1969 in an Honors English classd and has been creating fiction ever since.  If you have questions about this event, pleae call 714 671-1722 to reach the library.

  • Holiday Tree Lighting at the Brea Civic and Cultural Center

    6 years ago by

    You can kick off your family's holiday festivities at the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony at the Brea Civic and Cultural Center on Thursday, December 8, 2011 at 6:30 p.m.  Everyone will feel the beginning of their holiday feelings as their watch the lights begin to sparkle on the giant tree.  When Santa arrives, the children's eye's light up.  You can get a professional 5X 7 photo with Santa for just $5!  The Country Hills Cougar Choir, The Singing Pastors and the Darden Family will be the special musical guests for the evening.  Clever, artistic and decorative gifts will be on sale at the Brea Gallery with a 25% discount if you visit during the evening of the tree lighting. For more information, you can visit the City of Brea website.

  • Fascinating Facts: Brea and the Arts

    6 years ago by

    Brea's Red Lantern Theater. (Photo from Brea: Celebrating 75 Years)

    1.) In 1921, a group of Brea  businessmen formed an investment group, and in October, broke ground on Pomona Avenue (now Brea Blvd) for Brea's first theater, The Red Lantern.

    2.) By the 1930's, The Red Lantern theater was renamed The Brea Theatre and in 1938, when she was 14-years-old, child star Judy Garland made an appearance on its stage.  One Brean, who was at the event, recalled that Miss Garland  "didn't sing,  she just stood there for a few minutes and then left the stage".   Her uncle, Robert Gumm, managed the theater at the time of her appearance.

    3.) In the 1920's and 30's, Brea was the backdrop for more than a few Hollywood "moving pictures".  Mary Pickford shot scenes for a silent movie in the hills above Brea.  William Boyd, who would later make a name as "Hopalong Cassidy", played a heroic oilman near the intersection of today's Brea Blvd and Lambert Road.  In the 1940's, John Garfield and Lana Turner drove in a car down Brea Blvd, between Lambert and Central, taking advantage of the scenic California Pepper Trees that once lined the road for "The Postman Always Rings Twice".

    4.) At the Curtis Theater, in 1982, the Brea Foundation was host to Nobel Prize Winner, Dr. Henry Kissinger, for a special fundraising event.  Other foundation fund raisers at the theater have featured noted actors, teen idols, and singers.

  • BREA LIBRARY OPEN ON FRIDAY NOW

    6 years ago by

    For the second week, the Brea Library has been open to patrons on Fridays.  Previously closed on that day due to budget cuts at the county level, the library was given the funds to reopen on that day as a result of increased patronage and increased circulation.  Patrons will find the facility ready for use from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  With this increase in time available to the public, the Friends of the Library are looking for volunteers to keep the book store open then, too.  If you can give 2 hours on Fridays, please contact Jeanne Lerner at 714 990-65456.

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