Off Center in the OC

Comedy and lively high jinks reign at the Segerstrom Center.

Wendy Lynch Redfern

JUBILANT JANUARY: We're not quite sure where January gets its humdrum reputation from. Sure, the chillier temps and grayer days might do it, or the fact that just about everyone seems to be grappling with holiday bills (and, moreover, complaining about grappling with holiday bills). It's too often seen as "that month" on the other side of the holidays, which is one reason why we like that the Segerstrom Center has scheduled one of its liveliest and most fun series in January. Make that January *and* February, another month that could use a dose of fun. (We know, we know, there's Valentine's Day, but winter is still hanging around and keeping people a little subdued.) The series is called the Off Center Festival -- the "center" in that being the Segerstrom, of course -- and it is filled with comedians and performers who have a bit of razzmatazz, poetry, and/or an edge to their vibe.

THE LIVELY LINE-UP: Word Becomes Flesh, Doug Varone and Dancers, Reggie Watts, and The Car Plays are just a few of the intriguing nights listed on the roster. Poets, musicians, underground theater groups, playwrights, and other thinkers who are making change happen, a word or an image a time, will be represented.

DATES: The Off Center Festival rolls from Wednesday, Jan. 23 through Saturday, Feb. 2 in Costa Mesa. If you buy your tickets early -- say, in December early -- you can nab a trio of shows for just ten bucks each.

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