Click here to read about the summer's FEATURED ARTISTS!

Visit the site's GUESTS page.

Click here for site NEWS.

*          *          *


*          *          *

     Welcome everyone to the site's TWELFTH summer, and a warm "thank you" to all who keep visiting the site year after year! For those of you who have been with the site for a while, you know that each year things change a bit, hopefully for the better. One very special new feature this year is available in conjunction with the website book. All past summer sites from 2003 to 2013 have been recoded and reposted. They can be accessed from the Book Preview page. Also, the site has a new online storefront. Your purchases in the shop will go to help keep the site going! If you'd like to know more about the site, you can find information here on the site's history and features. You can reach any of the four sections below by clicking the links, or continue scrolling down the page.


     The China Pavilion pictured above was one of the focal points of the last World Expo in 2010 in Shanghai, China. The event was said to have been visited by 73 million people. Fairs began in the Industrial Age when communication, information, transportation and entertainment technologies and practices were much different than they are today. In a world in which information is instantaneous, products and even industries can rise and fall in the five-year period between Expos, and global travel is much more common and widespread, the Expos also have evolved into showcases of public diplomacy and a means of concentrating on issues that effect all of humanity. The next Expo in 2015 in Milan, Italy will revolve around the theme of "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," and the focus will be human nutrition and the resources of the plant. The 2020 Expo will be the first held in the Middle East and will take place in Dubai. There are two video links on this page. The first, below this paragraph, is a "virtual reality" tour of the 2010 Expo. The video link at the bottom of the page is part of the closing performance for the Shanghai Expo, a multi-media program combining both traditional and contemporary elements. If you watch the video, see if you can answer the question that everyone seems to be asking about the performance: Where are the chairs?


     Not long ago I came across the quote which appears at the bottom of the summer site pages: The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and change amid order. If there was going to be a summer version of the site this year, it was going to be one which reflected on some way on both art and science, a nod to the concept of S.T.E.A.M. STEAM, or STEM to STEAM, is an initiative led by the Rhode Island School of Design to add art and design to the national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) agenda (the A in STEAM stands for art). While there is no substitute for the detailed learning and analysis which are part and parcel of a scientific or technical education, the a goal of the initiative is to add the creative touch to the process of innovation. But speaking of scientific and technical innovation and progress also goes hand in hand with progress and change affecting all of humanity.

     The World's Fairs were selected as one means of exploring the "art of progress" because as individual events they were snapshots in time of the state of the world. Strung together over time they paint a picture of various aspects of both human and technical progress over more than 150 years, both good and bad (as viewed by today's standards). For those unfamiliar with the World's Fairs (now called World Expos), they were massive events usually lasting about six months where the general public could come to see the newest in science and technical innovations, learn about and experience foreign cultures, see a bit of history on display, be entertained, sample a variety of cuisines and enjoy the newest amusement thrills. They have been attended by millions of people, even in times when transportation was much less convenient than it is today. Attendees and exhibitors through the decades included everyone from Thomas Edison to Walt Disney, and everything from cones for ice cream to television was introduced at the World's Fairs.

     The problem is that the World's Fairs were designed to be temporary events. Despite the fact that grounds for the events were like small cities, the structures were designed to be removed or torn down after the Fairs ended. Other than a few landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Seattle's Space Needle, little remains of the events except artifacts, photographs and some archival footage. Although they inspired everything from songs to films (in the Judy Garland movie "Meet Me in St. Louis," the family attends the St. Louis World's Fair), art to innovation, and some of today's theme parks, most of what existed is gone. It has been said that in his desire to create a "permanent" version of a world fair, Disney created what today is Epcot in Florida. But as the Paris-based organization for the Expos, the Bureau International des Expositions notes, the events which "constituted an inventory of all branches of human endeavor" were "events profoundly rooted in their era" at the "intersection of cultural diversity and innovation." They have continued to change and evolve with the times and are now held for six months every five years.

Why the Wings?

     In doing research on the World Fairs, I came across the picture included here in the digital archives and special collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum (Image SSC S0000548). The photograph caption said "John Donoghue at work on model for "Creative Spirit." Details indicated that the statue was intended for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, though it has not been possible to verify if the completed statue was part of the event. Still, there was something alluring about the figure - peacefully seated, eyes closed and head tilted slightly upward as if in quiet contemplation - but mostly it was the wings. The wings I created appear throughout the site as a symbol of the "creative spirit" that fuels artists and innovators alike, and they are wings for everyone.

     So . . . in beginning the journey on the "World's Fair Express" in 1889, it seemed fitting to start with a winged adaptation of an 1880s-era "S.T.E.A.M" engine. In something of an ironic twist to the notion of World's Fairs as the progenitors of modern theme parks, one can still ride on a train with a working steam engine of the era at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park! So dust off your concert chairs, find a seat at your favorite park or venue, and enjoy the summer of 2014 on the World's Fair Express!


     The site has its roots in the Cypress College Extended Education computer labs. In 2003, while I was working on a series of computer-based tutorials (covering everything from data warehousing to Linux), I came across tutorials for HTML computer code and the Front Page website design program. As a practice exercise I designed a basic website with the Front Page program and posted it to the internet for about six weeks. Since it contained primarily my works (and a page of concert schedules), I called it Little did I know then that the six-week exercise would ever have a first, let alone a twelfth, anniversary! Had I known, perhaps I would have come up with a more "catchy" name. You know what they say about hindsight, though . . .

     Over the next couple of years I taught myself a bit more of HTML code and website design -- not enough to have a lot of flashy bells and whistles, but enough so that now I do everything for the site. I design it, write the code, research and write the articles and content, take the pictures (and incorporate many from my personal photo archives), compile the listings, manage it, and let you all know that it exists. For those music fans who have found the listings and are new to the site, you will need to know that there are two distinct phases to the site each year. The fall/winter/spring site is mostly text and in a much more succinct three-page format (Concerts By City, Concerts By Date, and an Arts/Special Events page). In the summer, generally from June to September, the site expands and takes on the format which you see now.


     The main pages of the site have evolved somewhat since 2003, and they are:

  • Poetry: In 1998 I wrote a short volume of poetry based on photographs which I had taken while travelling and living overseas. The volume was reworked in 2004 and new poems were added. Each year a few poems from the volume have been posted to the site, and in 2005 the works of a Guest Poet were also included for the first time. When possible, new poems are added to the site each year in conjunction with the year's theme.

  • Essays: Each summer there is a new series of three or four essays on a topic of technology-related current/consumer interest. The Essay Archives contain all the previous works which have appeared on the site from 2003 - 2013. In addition, the current year's essays are placed in the essay archives the month after they appear in the "This Month's Essay" section.

  • Free Concerts: This is the most visited section of the site. The listings are for free concerts and music-related events in Orange County, parts of Los Angeles County, and parts of the Inland Empire. Events in clubs, cafes, bars and similar venues covered elsewhere generally are not included. In the summer, concerts are listed both by date and by city for the three areas and in total in order to make it easier to find relevant information more quickly. Each year a few more cities and/or venues usually are added, and the cities currently covered for the summer concert programs are listed on the "Concerts By City" main page. You also will find the main concert calendar on the "Concerts By Date" main page. In 2010, a new section was added to the concert pages - Concerts by Type of Music - and it is now a permanent section of the site.

  • Links: This page was added primarily due to requests for more information about the musicians/bands appearing at the concerts. It includes both links to the cities and venues in which the concerts are held, and to the websites of bands/musicians appearing during the summer (when available). A small section of art and poetry links is included as well. Over the years, the page became one of the longest on the site, so it was split into three sections to avoid the page loading too slowly. The three links pages are City and Art/Poetry Links, Band Links A-L and Band Links M-Z.

  • Extras: The extras page was added in 2005 and offers a few other ideas for things to do or see for free during the summer months. The page is dynamic and continually being updated, and suggestions for items to be included are appreciated. The page also incorporates the type of information which appears on the site's Twitter and Facebook pages during the rest of the year.

  • About the Site: You're here now!

     Two other sections have been added since 2003. The Featured Artists page (2004) and Show of the Week section (2005), which has been found on the "Concerts By Date" main calendar page. Both were added in response to requests for more information about the summer entertainers. "Featured Artists" have a large number of performances over the summer in two or three counties, or, as in the case of a group such as the Long Beach Municipal Band, a number of performances in a particular venue or venues. As a general rule of thumb, and in order to give a wide number of groups the opportunity to appear as "Featured Artists," groups will be included in the section no more than once in a three-year period. The "Show of the Week" section included acknowledgements of a wide variety of summer artists, special events, and whenever possible, the individuals, organizations and others who so generously make the shows possible. Due to changes in the summer concert schedules and other factors beyond site control, it has since been cancelled and the information no longer appears on the site.

     Website Guests: The works of a guest photographer were included in the site for the first time in 2004. In 2005, the site exhibited works of a guest photographer, guest painter and guest poet. These special guests are invited to exhibit works on the site which, as of 2006, either express or in some way interpret the summer theme. The site is called "," and if you understand a bit about how it has evolved, you'd know why the works on it have been mine. If the site stays in existence, however, my hope is that it will become much less about my materials and much more of a summer exhibition space for the works of other poets, painters, photographers and artists. Eventually this may also include a guest website designer/programmer, but only time will tell . . .

Photograph "Australian Protea" © 1985 Dorothy A. Birsic

     There is no logo for the site, but if there was, it might include a protea flower like the one shown in the picture above. The word "protean" has its roots in mythology in the god Proteus, a legendary sea god who had the power of assuming different shapes. In its more modern use it describes something capable of great change or readily assuming different shapes or forms. Hopefully this will continue to be a "protean" site in the sense that it can readily adapt to the changing circumstances in which it exists and become an ever more interesting stop for those who take the time to visit.


     Dorothy holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California.  She also designed and completed a graduate program combining an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School with an M.A.L.D. (Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy) from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.  She has taken additional coursework in Human and Plant Biology, Genetics and Neuroscience.

     Dorothy's professional background includes work in public relations and management consulting.  She has been a Fulbright Scholar in the former Yugoslavia, a Rotary International Scholar/Ambassador in Sydney, Australia, and lived and worked in Japan.  She speaks Croatian, has passed oral and written translation exams in Japanese, and is currently teaching herself Spanish. In previous years, there also has been a section on the site featuring excerpts from a variety of Dorothy's personal and professional writings. Please click here to view those excerpts on a new page.

"Dorothy With Kangaroos"

     Miss Birsic is an avid sports and music fan.  She plays tennis, basketball, runs (well, used to, at least), is a certified PADI diver, bikes, and enjoys photography and playing the piano. She spends a bit of time in the garden, too, tending to everything from lemons and roses to passion flower vines and dahlias.

     If you have any questions or comments about the website, please send e-mail to


Follow on TWITTER!
"Like" on FACEBOOK!

Home |  Essays | Poetry | Free Concerts | Links | 2014 Extras |  About the Site 
Featured Artists | 2014 Website Special Guests | News © 2003 - 2014 Dorothy A. Birsic. All rights reserved. Comments? Questions? Send an e-mail to: