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Saturday, November 27, 2004

Steve Rocco and OC Weekly
You'll recall that we had an election not too long ago, and that in this election, one Steve Rocco was elected to the Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees. At the time, hardly anything was known about him.

Well, according to OC Weekly, Adelphia recently aired some old episodes of a public access cable show that Rocco hosted in the 1990s. Their verdict - he's pretty boring, just like any other politician.

Rocco, you may recall, is the reclusive Santa Ana resident who made national headlines by winning a seat on the Orange Unified School District’s Board of Trustees on Nov. 2 and then not bothering to claim his victory. As reported by the Weekly...little about Rocco is known other than scary anecdotes whispered by his neighbors and what’s in his 1992 memoir, ROCCO Behind the Orange Curtain, which alleges a conspiracy between Kodak Film Co., Albertsons Supermarket and SmokeCraft Sausage led to Rocco’s 1980 arrest for shoplifting.

Thanks to Adelphia, however, the world can now view another piece of the Rocco puzzle. In the early 1990s, Rocco produced 17 shows through Santa Ana College’s television department. Adelphia, which owns the rights to Rocco’s shows, decided to re-air episodes three, four and five....Any Orange County Adelphia subscriber could tune in—except those located in Orange. Time for another novel, Rocco!

P.S. Rocco’s format remains the same for each half-hour segment. It opens with shots of four art pieces—an illustration of a solder slaying the devil, a Spanish Baroque-era woodcut of royal and squire, the rising-sun/despaired-stick-man cover of Behind the Orange Curtain, and a zoo painting. The camera then fades to Rocco behind a desk, wearing Roy Orbison-dark shades and a John Holmes-worthy mustache. He begins each episode by decrying a Santa Ana handbill ordinance that apparently prohibited people from distributing fliers to households. Calling the ban "unconstitutional," Rocco vows that he and unnamed friends "will be watching that" issue at upcoming Santa Ana City Council meetings.

After the five-minute ramble, Rocco gets down to his best Merv Griffith (sic) imitation. Of the three guests he interviewed—a Wiccan practitioner, Santa Ana College professor George Wright and the drummer from the 1960s band Spirit—all are personal friends. Questions are of the softball variety, and the topic invariably returns to Rocco, who speaks in a trembling, whiny voice that suggests he just came off a cold....

Rocco...is a poorly dressed, droning, solipsistic bore—in other words, a perfect school-board member. About the only hint of eccentricity occurs before his interview with the Wiccan: he pulls out a garlic belt and a Bible, and then tosses some salt over his right shoulder as he tells the bemused Wiccan, "I brought protection. You watch yourself."...

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