BIG BASH: No less than Newport Beach itself recently implored interested parties to purchase tickets to the upcoming Taste of Newport. Are you an interested party? It is hard to imagine who wouldn't be. We have to thank Newport Beach for being on this; after all, the Taste of is still a ways ahead ("a ways" here meaning Friday, Sept. 16 through Sunday, Sept. 18). But the suggestion is right on. Tickets do go for this grub-happy party. It is billed as "Southern California's Premier Food Festival," after all. A daily general admission is $22, but note that that's the advance price. There are 26 restaurants set to get cooking -- that's a "so far" addition, we'll add -- and a bevy of top-notch performers. Joan Jett! Joan Jett. Yes. Plus Barenaked Ladies. And an ABBA love-a-thon. And Taylor Dayne. There are some separately ticketed VIP deals for the shows, so check those out if you're inclined.