Part I

Part I consists of four posts. The first post will describe the history of the Cuckoo’s Nest itself, as a venue. Formerly a playhouse and then an LSD-laden biker bar, a funky barn-like structure with a rainbow marquee located in the hinterlands of Costa Mesa becomes a hub of Orange County punk. The second post tells the story of the first punk show the Cuckoo’s Nest hosted, its backstory, and its significance. This may have been one of the few (maybe the first?) occasions the Hollywood scenesters journeyed to the southern nether regions. Did this show light the spark behind the Orange Curtain? Or did Hollywood punk not resonate in Orange County? The third post explores the Cuckoo’s Nest as the punk haven of Orange County. Without straying too far from our topic, this post attempts to give the reader a sense of the international, national, and local artists the Cuckoo’s Nest hosted. Looking back, it’s hard not to be amazed at the serious talent rolling through the nothing-city of Costa Mesa from ’79-’81. And finally, the fourth post digs deeper into the two main local scenes–the Fullerton-based and Beach Cities (primarily Huntington Beach) scenes in Orange County. Although it drew on international and national currents, Orange County punk was quintessentially parochial, such that “Orange County punk” is probably a fiction. Even the regional scenes were further subdivided. And this is not surprising: in the southern California sprawl, absent any form of mass transit or center, punk naturally sprang up along existing forms of organization.  Neighborhoods, high schools, and circles of friends were punk’s breeding grounds in Orange County; the Cuckoo’s nest would become one, too.

Stay tuned.

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