Laguna Playhouse will honor the Moulton family’s role in the storied history of the theatre 

Laguna Playhouse has announced that in conjunction with their Gala on May 12, they will be honoring the Moulton family for their support of the 98 year old theatre.

Following their very successful gala at Island Hotel that took place on April 29 honoring Suzanne and James Mellor, Laguna Playhouse plans to build on this success as they look to their past honoring the family that built their current theatrical home that will turn 50 in 2018. 

Jared Mathis, great-grandson of Nellie Gail Moulton, currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Laguna Playhouse and is Chair of Laguna College of Art and Design. He serves as CEO of the Moulton Company along with his cousin, Scott Barnes, who is the CFO and also a supporter of Laguna Playhouse who will be present on May 12 to accept the honor.  

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Photo courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

Original concept for the Playhouse structure: Close encounter of some kind?

It was 1966 when Nellie Gail Moulton was approached to help fund the building of the now 420 seat “Moulton Theatre” named after her husband Lewis F. Moulton.  Donating a large principal amount of the $400,000 needed to build the theatre, Nellie Gail not only served as the major benefactor of the theatre, she co-founded the Laguna College of Art and Design served as President of the Laguna Art Museum.  

Nellie Gail was a major catalyst for the creation of an arts community in Laguna Beach. Today, the Moulton family fulfills her legacy through their commitment to Laguna Playhouse and the entire Laguna Arts Community.

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Photo courtesy Laguna Playhouse

Major benefactor Nellie Gail Moulton observes construction of the Playhouse

“We are honored and fortunate to have a multi-generational legacy Trustee serving on our Board of Trustees,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director. “I try and envision how happy Nellie Gail would be to see her great-grandson continuing the vision that she had for Laguna Playhouse and all of the arts in Laguna Beach.

 “Jared Mathis serves an important role for us and the community as he makes the investment of his time and leadership to carry on his family’s role in this beautiful town.” 

“We are truly honored and humbled to be recognized by The Laguna Playhouse,” said Jared Mathis. “Our family and The Moulton Company is dedicated to honoring and building on Nellie Gail’s vision and commitment through faithful service and support. We look forward to celebrating with the greater Laguna art community in May for this inspiring and memorable event.”

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Photo courtesy Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse shortly after construction was finished

The Gala, co-chaired by Laguna Playhouse Season Producer Lisa Hale, Jamie Walters El-Erian, and Annee Della Donna, will highlight some of the history of Laguna Playhouse with vintage photographs, literature, and personal interviews from supporters who participated in the original construction of the Moulton Theatre.  It will also feature a bit of flair from the era that the theatre was built.  

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to honor our past, present, and future relationship with the Moulton family at our upcoming Gala,” said co-chair Lisa Hale.

In coordination with the Gala and 50th anniversary of the Moulton Theatre, the Playhouse will begin work on a cosmetic upgrade of this historical theatre to celebrate it and making it vibrant once again.


International Fine Art Exhibition brings high quality realism and impressionism to Orange County

“Realism without Borders,” an exciting fine art exhibition, blurs boundaries combining Realism and Impressionism, both historical and contemporary, in a bold bi-coastal traveling exhibition that is the talk of the art world. 

The exhibit will run from Dec 15 - Jan 15, with Opening Day taking place on Dec 15 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Vanessa Rothe Fine Art, located at 418 Ocean Ave.

What started out as a group of artists and art historians who shared a strong common vision for art, has now become a successful Intesrnational traveling exhibition of museum quality fine art works - Realism Without Borders – the gallery notes.

Exhibiting, side by side, Soviet and historical works along with contemporary works by Russian, Ukrainian, American, French, Swedish, Italian, Chinese and English artists, Realism Without Borders aims to connect two centuries and two continents via the commitment to realist painting traditions. 

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Pensive in Blue by Vadim Suvorov 

From Lomakin to Gladchenko, Suvorov to Kovalenko, Westerberg to Lipking, Rothe to Krimon, this exhibition will unite historical works with contemporary International artists who have studied the same rooted fine art techniques and are working in similar styles today. 

This unique exhibition will allow collectors a rare chance to view and compare works from America, Europe and Russia, and to purchase items for their own fine art collection. Works will range from small affordable gems that make excellent gifts, to large scale museum-quality works of fine art. 

Curated by Vanessa Françoise Rothe, Realism Without Borders brings high quality fine art work to Orange County.  RWB is flourishing with many successful national exhibitions and over 30 Invited core contemporary artist members. 

This diverse and talented group of painters from around the globe have had impressive traditional training from such schools as the renowned St. Petersberg Academy of Arts, ( Repin Institute), Penza Art Institute, The Kharkov Art Institute, The Florence Academy of Art, Laguna College of Art and Design, University of Laval, The Academy of Art in San Francisco just to name a few. The artists have shown in top exhibitions worldwide from St. Petersberg, to Paris, to Los Angeles, and have impressive exhibition resumés as well as strong bodies of work. 

The collection ranges from classical academy works to painterly Impressionist pieces where many works boasts a combination of the two in the same canvas.  

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NYC by Jeremy Mann 

The international group of classically trained representational artists believes in the successful combination of objective traditional realism combined with expressive and personal subjects, and the work often boasts a broad range of tight to painterly styles and strokes. The new works being created follow the strong realist techniques of Russia’s Levitan landscapes, as well as others that mimic the loose and layered visual brushwork of California Impressionist Edgar Payne. 

Artists from all over the globe can now share their images of work thru social media and are influencing one another across borders. This exhibition celebrates those blurring of boundries of borders, in both the literal sense and the works. 

“We share an admiration of both ‘Realist’ and ‘Impressionist’ art, and many of our artists in fact combine these styles in order to make strong appealing works of art.” says Rothe. “The viewers will see similar works and styles being created from opposite ends of the globe, finding unity in the works, and likeness in the art that is being created.”

The collection of about 100 works at any given time, is always changing as works are being sold and new works created. 

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Lipstick by Aaron Westerberg 

Realism Without Borders also believes firmly that art is for the people. Their aim is to have a traveling exhibition in order to touch a wide and diverse audience and bring the work to the eyes of collectors and students alike. RWB realized that they did not want to reduce themselves to just one geographical area or gallery. 

Rothe notes “Since we wanted to reach a vast array of people, RWB is really a travelling exhibition that is able to exhibit at galleries, fine art clubs, art schools, and museums worldwide.” 

The current RWB collection will exhibit over 60 works by 30 top International artists featuring RWB newest French artist member Nicolas Martin. Participating artists include: Nick Alm, Grigory Ananiev, Mia Bergeron, John Burton, Michelle Dunaway, Michael Klein, Alexander Kremer, Olga Krimon, Sergey Kovalanko, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, Joshua La Rock, Jeremy Mann, Nicolas Martin, Dimitri Motov, C.W Mundy, Robert Pilsbury, Ray Roberts, Vanessa Rothe, Valery Schmatko, Vadim Suvorov, Aaron Westerberg, and Daniil Volkov. 

Historical Artists Include: Oleg Lomakin, Eric Borodin, Boris Gladchenko, Boris Gratchev, Edgar Payne, Yuri Podlaski, Erik Rebane and Vladimir Telegin. 

The exhibition will include a collection of rare small gems from the Thomas Marano collection available for resale with works by: Juliette Aristides, Casey Baugh, Daniel Graves, Jeremy Lipking, Jeremy Mann, Ted Minoff, Julio Reyes, Aaron Westerberg, and Vincent Xeus.


Laguna Playhouse Spooktacular Dine Around

Party proves to be a spectacular moveable feast

Laguna Playhouse’s Spooktacular Tricks & Treats, an exclusive and tasty Halloween Dine Around Party, was a fun adult night out for 60 costumed partygoers. Instead of Trick or Treating with candy and apples, Laguna Playhouse donors dressed in costume, dined with friends, and were treated to delectable food paired with enhancing beverages from four top Laguna Beach restaurants. 

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Vampires wait at Another Kind Café for a meal? Or a pint of blood?

Many attending had never been to the Festival Center or dined at the restaurants. The concept was dreamed up by Laguna Playhouse Development team who partnered with Another Kind Café, Kitchen In The Canyon, Ivory Restaurant and Lounge, and Seven Degrees Event Venue, all located in the Laguna Festival Center on Laguna Canyon Rd. They accomplished the goal of producing a tasty moveable feast that provided an opportunity to introduce Playhouse donors to some new dining establishments close to the theatre. 

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Spooktacular volunteers

 A team of 10 volunteers greeted guests and escorted them to each dining stop. Guests began their dining adventure with tastes from Vietnam and South-East Asia at Stop #1, Another Kind Café. Stop #2, Kitchen In the Canyon, served a seasonal menu of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup and Herb Marinated Hanger Steak Skewers. Stop #3, Ivory Lounge and Restaurant, provided tastes of a true comfort food, Veal Pelmeni served with a house pickled vegetables. 

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Mo Honarkar, owner of Seven Degrees, greets partygoers

Guests ended the evening dining on a dessert trio of Chocolate Pot de Crème, Lemon Meringue Tarts, and Cheesecake Bars at Seven Degrees with music, dancing, and awarding of “The Best Costume” winners by Batman Mo Honarkar, owner of Seven Degrees. 

 For more information on the Playhouse, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Live! at the Museum presents Artisan Guitar Ensemble on Nov 9 

Laguna Beach Live! presents Artisan Guitar Ensemble at the Laguna Art Museum on Thur, Nov 9, at 7 p.m.

Well received by enthusiastic audiences wherever they play, The Artisan Guitar Ensemble is Max Mendoza, Andre Giraldo, and Daniel Ramirez. This group of friends were the only guitarists selected to take part in the Cal State Fullerton 50th Anniversary musical gala concert, and were also the only chamber group selected, and highlighted on a week long tour of the Central Coast of California, with the CSUF guitar orchestra. Their goal is to be able to share their own musical expression, and bring a high quality musical experience into the lives of others. 

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The Artisan Guitar Ensemble will perform at the Laguna Art Museum Nov 9

Live! at the Museum takes place the second Thursday of each month from 7 p.m. -8 p.m. The concert is free to museum members and to non-members with museum admission. Pre-reservations are available online through the Museum’s website, or at 949.494.8971 x203. These seats are held until 6:45 p.m. Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information about the series and other concerts, visit us online www.lagunabeachlive.org or phone 949-715-9713


Renowned international artist Giorgio Casu will be at Tumbleweed Arts at Art Walk

The renowned international artist Giorgio Casu will be available for a meet and greet at his Artist’s Reception during the first Thursday Art Walk on Thu, Nov 2, from 6 p.m.- 9 p.m. This event will be at Tumbleweed Arts, located at 266 Forest Avenue. 

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Giorgio Casu’s work

Tumbleweed Arts is proudly presenting a diverse exhibition of Casu’s multiple collections. The public is invited to see his unique paintings, limited edition silk scarves and handmade Italian ceramics. Mural Art by Giorgio Casu is also available for public, commercial or residential projects.

For more information on the event of the gallery, call 949-715-1860.


Peter Blake Gallery presents Ron Cooper’s “Searching For Red...And The Blues,” reception Nov 2

 In conjunction with the Laguna Art Museum’s Annual Art & Nature Festival, the opening reception for the exhibition of Ron Cooper’s “Searching for Red…And the Blues” will be held at Peter Blake Gallery on Thurs, Nov 2, from 5-9 p.m. The Gallery, located at 435 Ocean Ave, is pleased to present this exhibition of Mr. Cooper’s recent works, which opened on Oct 14 and will continue until Nov 12.

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One of seventeen new Vertical Bar works by Ron Cooper

 Cooper is recognized as one of the pioneering California-based Light and Space artists, so-called because they broke beyond the bounds of the physical object to experiment with the manipulation of light and space and their effects on perception. 

Emerging in the 1960s, these artists used industrial materials such as resins and plastics to capture the unique properties of So Cal’s atmosphere in sculptural form. 

Identified by his enigmatic semi-translucent sculptures, which activate when the viewer moves around them, Cooper has created seventeen new “Vertical Bar” works for his first solo exhibition at Peter Blake Gallery. 

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Part of the Vertical Bar series

By meticulously and methodically applying several coats of acrylic lacquer mixed with nacreous pigments, Cooper creates works that simultaneously hold, refract, and reflect light. Though his vocabulary is Minimalist, his works are luminous, insubstantial, and seemingly devoid of mass and solidity.

For additional information, contact Genevieve Williams, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or go to lagunaartmuseum.org/artandnature/


LAM’s Missions to Murals exhibit is magnificent, multi-layered, mesmerizing – and includes movies

Story and photos by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I don’t use the word “wowzers” lightly, especially when it comes to art, but that’s what I found myself muttering last week as I left the Art Museum and headed toward my car after attending a VIP tour of the California Mexicana: Missions to Murals exhibit, led by executive director Malcolm Warner.

The cross-cultural influence of cultural, historical and political events on the art produced by Californian and Mexican artists from the early nineteenth century to today is intelligently and insightfully displayed throughout the exhibition at LAM. 

There’s plenty of space for visitors to wander, wonder and ponder, and the spacious layout, in several rooms, offers a number of unexpected moments of surprise and delight. 

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The Mission Play at the Mission San Gabriel, Postcards, c. 1925, Reproduced courtesy of a Private Collection

One example: the realization that a large mural on display is one of four that were installed in the interior of South Coast Cinema in 1935. The mural, by Edgar Payne, has been carefully restored over a two-year period. And so Laguna’s own history takes its rightful place in the show.

I was intrigued also at the way the exhibit wove in aspects of the entertainment industry, providing a common thread from the swashbuckling bandit portrayed in Charles Christian Nahl’s La Plaza de Toros – said to be inspired by the same story that birthed the dashing fictional vigilante Zorro – to the continuous showing, upstairs, of old Hollywood movies, some silent, incorporating Mexican themes, notably Ramona, starring Mary Pickford in the 1910 film.

(Overheard: “They used to say we didn’t have words, but we had faces.” I love that. The movies alone are worth a visit. Plan on spending several hours at the museum.)

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Settlement: Mural, now restored, used to be displayed within South Coast Cinema

From the earliest of paintings, Ferdinand Deppe’s San Gabriel Mission, painted circa 1832, to the more modern, many colors in the artwork seemed to echo one another over the years. As a lover of blue, and especially teal, I was drawn to the hue of the skies in many of the pieces. I don’t know if it is true that our Western skies are bluer than most, but several paintings seemed to confirm that as a fact.

Fellow attendees were equally impressed with the sophistication and power of the show, which is part of the Getty’s initiative Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA, a wide-ranging and ambitious exploration of Latin American and Latino art. 

“The Museum is really reaching new heights with this exhibition,” Nancy Bushnell said. “I’m so impressed. It’s wonderful.” 

She was not alone in her opinion. Similar sentiments were expressed by many of the guests, who included Lisa Mansour, Rick Balzer, Chris Quilter and Daniel and Francine Scinto.

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Charles Christian Nahl, La Plaza de Toros: Sunday Morning in Monterey, 1874, Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Malcolm Warner explained that Deppe’s painting was one of the first to be portable, since art mostly took the form of murals during that era in that part of the world. 

Of course some art will never be portable. So it was that the Museum displays a cloth banner reproduction of the first US fresco painted by Diego Rivera – Allegory of California, 1931,  – which graces the grand stairwell of the City Club in San Francisco. Rivera used the tennis player Helen Wills Moody as his model for Calafia, the female figure representing the spirit of California.

The hard work and dedication that went into the show from everyone in the museum is obvious. Warner explained that the exhibition drew on art from more than 50 locations, from Mexico City to Baltimore to New York.

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(Foreground) Donald Hord, Mayan Mask, 1933, Courtesy of Steve Turner and Victoria Dailey

(Background, from left to right) Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Indian with Cactus, 1931, San Diego Museum of Art; Dorr Bothwell, Translation from the Maya, 1940, Laguna Art Museum Collection; Everett Gee Jackson, Spring in Coyoacan, c. 1926, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mango Seller, c. 1938, Private Collection, courtesy Louis Stern Fine Arts.

There’s so much to enjoy: See a depiction of the Saint of Keeping Secrets, and learn why he was eventually killed; marvel at the religious overtones of Andrew Grayson surveying the “Promised Land” of California; see the original model for the bear on California’s flag – there is so much in the exhibit that delights, informs, and entertains.

You may not walk out muttering “wowzers,” exactly – most readers are probably more educated about art than I am – but you will be impressed, of that I am sure.

This exhibition is curated by Professor Katherine E. Manthorne, The Graduate Center, CUNY, assisted by Professor Alberto Nulman, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.

Major support for the California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820–1930 exhibition and publication is provided through grants from the Getty Foundation.

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Hours: Sun, Mon, Tues, Fri, Sat: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Thurs: 11a.m. – 9 p.m., Closed
Wed, General admission: $7, Students, seniors (60+), and active military: $5, children under 12: Free, Museum members: Free 

For further information, go to http://www.lagunaartmuseum.org/


The CAP Gallery presents Interpreting Views: Images in Nature – Reception Sat Oct 21 at 11 a.m. 

Community Art Project (CAP) presents a new exhibit featuring the works of three Laguna Beach artists, Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl. The exhibition, Interpreting Views: Images in Nature runs from Oct 7 – Jan 30, 2018.

Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl have all spent time exploring the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite and now present their views of and appreciation for the beauty of the area. 

Each artist speaks through art in a unique voice: Walls and Poeschl through the camera’s eye, and Tauber through his ceramic tile work. 

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“Merced Reflections” by Mike Tauber 

The Artists Reception will take place on Sat, Oct 21 from 11 a.m.- 1 p.m. The Artist’s Talk will take place on Sat, Dec 2 from noon -  1 p.m. This event will include live discussion and Q&A with Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl in The Gallery. 

Located at 260 Ocean Ave., 2nd Floor Wells Fargo Bldg, the CAP Gallery invites the public to explore this inspiring exhibition in this unique gallery space.


Juried Fine Art Exhibition – Artist Reception and Award Ceremony takes place on Nov 2

 On Thurs, Nov 2, at 5:30 p.m. the winners of the eleventh annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition will be announced at an Artist Reception at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. 

The exhibition can be viewed through Nov 22. 

The juror, Mackenzie Stevens, Curatorial Assistant at the Los Angeles Hammer Museum, reviewed submissions from artists from throughout Orange County and selected 34 for exhibit. 

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Painting with Passion Plus: A course for artists who love the challenge of a blank canvas

Talented local artist Carole Zavala will again be offering her five week course, Painting with Passion Plus, through the City of Laguna Beach, beginning Thurs, Oct 26, from 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Classes are held in the Art Room at the Susi Q.

“Are you motivated by the challenge of a blank canvas? Are you looking for ways to enhance your work and take it to the next level?” Carole asks. “Then Painting with Passion Plus is just the course for you.”  

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One of Carole Zavala’s beautiful paintings

Carole recently finished an intensive art boot camp at the Watts Atelier in Encinitas under the direction of well-known artist, Jeffrey Watts. The school focuses on the classic and traditional forms of painting and drawing, and Carole is looking forward to sharing some of the techniques and insights she gained during the sessions.

All media are welcome and participants are encouraged to have some specific goals or ideas in mind when they arrive. Carole integrates contemporary art trends along with information relating to the more traditional forms from the past.  

This “Plus” session also include explorations into wire sculpture (materials will be provided) and other art forms and materials that allow the artist to “push the boundaries” of their art making. The course is $175 for the five sessions, $35 for drop-ins.

Bring your own materials, and bring non-toxic Gamlen if using oils. Some experience in painting and/or drawing is recommended.

For additional information contact Carole at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  Sign up through the City website or in person at the Susi Q.


Pageant of Masters portraits by acclaimed photographer Matthew Rolston featured in LA exhibit, opens Oct 27

Ralph Pucci L.A. presents Art People: The Pageant Portraits, an exhibition of new works by photographer Matthew Rolston, which will run from Oct 27 through Feb 23, 2018, at Gallery Nine. The exhibition is based around a groundbreaking series that furthers Rolston’s investigations into the nature of portraiture and the methods in which society and the human condition are mediated through artwork and art creation. 

Comprised of intimate portraits of participants of “Pageant of the Masters,” Rolston’s photographic subjects reenact pivotal historical figures and works from art history, from antiquity through 20th century modernism. Rolston uses his distinct grasp of photography to trace a densely referential lineage of protagonists, connecting aspects of his own portraiture to the fragile boundaries between reality, artifice, the animate and inanimate.

Operating within a space of theatrical performance, the Pageant is best known for its famed tableau vivant presentations of art masterpieces, which Rolston began documenting on editorial assignment for The Wall Street Journal in 2015. 

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Art People: The Pageant Portraits by Matthew Rolston, installation view Ralph Pucci LA, (foreground) Frishmuth, The Dancers (#1), 2016, Diptych, (background) Bayre, Roger and Angelica (Roger), 2016, Diptych

Growing familiar with members of the Pageant, he gained privileged access to the performers, spending several weeks photographing them in a makeshift studio set up backstage during the run of the show. Each photograph is activated through a deep sense of intimacy with its subject, utilizing painterly lighting and featuring Rolston’s mastery of color harmonies – all hallmarks of his practice, one that interrogates the nature of the subject and the space of photography to propagate overlapping narratives of both truth and fantasy.

Matthew Rolston, who resides in Beverly Hills,, is an artist who works in photography and video; his practice centers on portraiture, most notably subjects drawn from celebrity culture. One of a handful of artists to emerge from Andy Warhol’s celebrity focused Interview magazine, Rolston is a well-established icon of Hollywood photography. Rolston helped define the era’s take on celebrity image making, ‘gender bending,’ and much more.

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Matthew Rolston, celebrated photographer and videographer 

Rolston’s work has been shown internationally at galleries and institutions. His work is included in the collections of LACMA, Los Angeles and National Portrait Gallery, The Smithsonian Museum, Washington D.C. Art People: The Pageant Portraits is Rolston’s third major fine art project in the past decade. A retrospective publication of Rolston’s earliest entertainment portraits, entitled Hollywood Royale: Out of the School of Los Angeles, will be released in Oct 2017, published by teNeues.

Ralph Pucci International is a luxury furniture, lighting and mannequin company based in New York City. What began as a family business in the 1950s fabricating mannequins has grown to a gallery and showroom regarded as one of the best in the world. The mannequins include innovative and avant-garde collaborations with fashion designers, illustrators and supermodels and are featured in high-end department stores and boutiques worldwide 

In 2009, Ralph Pucci was the recipient of DDI’s Markopoulos Award, the highest distinction in the visual merchandising industry. Among his many awards, in 2016, the Museum of the City of NY presented him with its City of Design Award. Additionally, there are two books about the history of Pucci and the variety of exhibitions staged over the years: Show and Wall.

Gallery Nine is located at 1025 N McCadden Pl, LA, 310-360-9707, or for more information, go to http://www.ralphpucci.net/


OC Artists submission deadline for FOA Fine Art show is Oct 31 by 4 p.m.

The deadline to apply to exhibit at the 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show is quickly approaching. After today, only 11 days remain. The Festival of Arts is a prestigious, highly competitive, regional juried fine art show featuring original artwork by Orange County’s finest artists. The annual exhibit will run July 5 – Sept 1, 2018 in Laguna Beach. 

Artists who would like to apply for the 2018 fine art show should submit three digital images per media and a completed application form to the Festival of Arts by October 31 (by 4 p.m.). Applicants must apply online through the Festival’s website, http://www.foapom.com/apply. For more information call 949-464-4234. 

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Patrons enjoying the work of artist Sandra Jones Campbell at the 2017 FOA

Artists applying to the Festival of Arts must be able to show that they have resided in Orange County for at least one year prior to October 31, 2017. Jurying fees are $50 per medium submitted.

The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization whose proceeds support the arts and art education in and about OC. This prestigious juried art exhibition is So CA’s oldest and most respected outdoor art show and has been rated one of the top festivals in the nation. Each summer the works of 140 accomplished artists are showcased to the public in a six-acre art haven. 

The event is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd, LB.  For general information, visit http://www.lagunafestivalofarts.org/ or call (949) 494-1145.


Laguna College of Art and Design holds successful 28th Annual Collectors Choice Gala and live auction 

Laguna College of Art and Design, (LCAD) raised more than $315,000 at its 28th Annual Collector’s Choice Gala and Live Auction held on Sat, Oct 7 at Montage Laguna Beach. The total amount raised beat last year’s record. 

Orange County art collectors joined LCAD trustees, faculty, students and staff for a live auction of paintings, sculpture and luxury experiences donated by college alumni, faculty, respected artists and local businesses. 

LCAD Trustee and owner of LCA Wine Nancy Milby donated a Jeroboam of Spanish Cava by Juvé and Camps to kick off the live auction. The artists who donated paintings and sculptures included Gerard Basil Stripling, Jonathan Burke, James Galindo, Michael Harnish, Mark Jacobucci, Kathy Jones, Jason Kowalski, Richard MacDonald, Wade Reynolds, Henry L. Richter, Carolyn Robles and Jeff Sewell. 

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The bidding was brisk at the Collectors Choice Gala

LCAD Trustee and owner of Salt Fine Art in Laguna Beach Carla Arzente donated a mystery item later revealed to be a sculpture titled, Goodbye My Love by Cuban Artist Esterio Segura.

Additionally, Tesla donated a two-day test drive of the Tesla Model X which was coupled with a weekend stay at L’Auberge Del Mar + Spa. Montage Laguna Beach donated a dinner at the Chef’s Table at Studio. 

During the evening, The Decorative Arts Society, Orange County honoring Julia Argyros made a gift of $10,000 to merit-based scholarships. More than fifty attendees spontaneously raised their bid cards raising more than $93,000. The College also honored Vans with the LCAD Creative Partnership Award.  

“Since 2012, Vans has collaborated every semester with LCAD in an Honors Lab that teaches design students the creative process of footwear design and marketing,” said LCAD President Jonathan Burke. “The LCAD community has benefited greatly from our relationship with Vans, giving our students internship opportunities as well as employing many of our alumni.” 

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LCAD Graphic Design and Digital Media senior Alexis Lanz

Vans’ generosity has totaled over $45,000 in its history of giving to LCAD. Vans partners with the LCAD’s Graphic Design + Digital Media program to host Vans’ annual Vans Custom Culture design competition by hosting immersive workshops on campus for competition finalists and offering scholarships to the winners contingent upon their acceptance to the College.

LCAD Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Honorary Co-Chair Jared Mathis shared a story about his great grandmother, Nellie Gail Moulton. 

“On her 90th birthday, rather than accept birthday gifts for herself, this daughter of a store merchant, born on the plains of Kansas, gave the gift of education. She committed to paying for the full tuition of twenty-one students,” he said. 

“She explained to the Los Angeles Times, ‘I’ve traveled the globe and points in between multiple times. I’ve lived a blessed life, but there has always been something missing. You see, I never could go to college.’ She went on to say that while it was a little late for her to start college, she wanted to make sure that others could have the opportunity she never had.”

In 2015, LCAD commissioned LCAD Drawing and Painting Alumna and Sculpture Coordinator Brittany Ryan to sculpt the Creative Partnership Award using the likeness of Moulton.

Senior Alexis Lanz spoke about her gratitude for Vans scholarships

LCAD Graphic Design and Digital Media senior Alexis Lanz spoke about her gratitude for receiving scholarships in support of her education. She is also currently enrolled in this year’s Vans Honors Lab. 

“Going to college is a privilege, and the privilege of attending LCAD was made possible for me and many LCAD students because of the support of each and every one of the generous donors and trustees,” Lanz said. “Now more than ever, the world needs creativity. Your donations are the investment in the future of designers and artists who have the ability to change the world for the better through their creativity. Thank you for your constant support and overwhelming generosity.”

LCAD’s 28th Annual Collector’s Choice Gala and Live Auction was co-chaired by LCAD Trustee Terry Jones with his wife, Judy. There will be a 28th Annual Collector’s Choice Silent Auction held on Fri, April 20, 2018 at [seven-degrees] in Laguna Beach. For more information about this event, visit www.lcad.edu.


Lagunatics is a must-see: Pepper tree skit brings entire audience to its feet, teary-eyed with laughter

Story and photos by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

The first half of Lagunatics this year features some terrific numbers, to which I can attest (though a few are a little edgier than some may like): the second half, I hear from several sources, is beyond sensational – and sadly I missed that half due to a family emergency that forced Bill and me to leave at intermission (all sorted out now).

So I will be back next weekend to see for myself. But clearly the show is un-missable for anyone who is a true Lagunan. 

I’m told by several very reliable sources that the pepper tree number, “And I Am Telling You,” with lyrics by Chris Quilter and music by Henry Krieger, was sung exquisitely by Eric Anderson, who commanded the stage with his performance.

And the skit was so clever and so well performed, it had people crying with laughter and holding their stomachs in pain (the good kind of pain). 

“I saw so many people wiping away tears of laughter,” Sande St. John tells me. “That’s the only time I’ve witnessed a standing ovation in all the years I’ve attended Lagunatics. It went on and on.”

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Pocket mouse (not actual size) 

From pepper tree to pocket mice to police chief  – Laguna’s peculiarities get the full Bree Rosen treatment, enhanced by a great cast, crazily good writers, and props and costumes that wow the audience, given how over-the-top, so giddily ridiculous and yet how apt they are. 

Rebecca Lyles, who wrote several of the song lyrics, says, “I’m amazed at how the simple words we put on paper come to life with costumes, choreography, talented singers, and comedic point of view. 

“It’s a special thrill to see theater-goers lap it up they way they did last night. How often do you see audience members dabbing at laughter-tears and jumping to their feet to applaud?”

I’m told Lyles’s “Chump” was also a great hit with the audience.

“Send in the Drones” sends audience into convulsions

The standout in the first half was unquestionably Bree Rosen and Bridget English’s “Send in the Drones,” sung by Rufino. It was a unique take on the issue and perfectly suited to Rufino’s brand of talent.

Sande St. John also praised the incredible skills of costume designer Brigitte Harper. “She’s just amazing,” Sande says. She adds that the trolley skit, featuring outer-wear of the automotive kind, was also enormously popular with the audience. “A hit!” Sande says.

Another of my favorites from the first half was “Farinella,” with lyrics by Chris Quilter, whose brilliant, quirky wit shone through many of the performances. Other standouts, I hear, were “My Shot,” which apparently had Gregg McGillivray moving to the beat, clearly enjoying the music and the lyrics, and another favorite was “I’ve Just Seen a Space” parodying parking problems.

You had to be there! So go!

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For a moment, I thought I was doing a dining feature: delicious al fresco dinner

And a word to the wise (oh, to the unwise, too, what the heck!): the dinner served beforehand, for just $10, is exquisite. Prepared by The White House, eaten al fresco, and paired with wine in the gloaming, as my Scottish father used to call the twilight hours, this is a great way to begin an evening of laughter and escapism, something we all dearly need these days – some days more than others.


12 Angry Men provides thought-provoking drama at Laguna Playhouse audience this month

Opening night of 12 Angry Men brought together Playhouse major donors, corporate sponsors, community leaders and Board members in a thought-provoking evening. The Pre-Show Reception enabled Playhouse management and guests to mix and mingle while enjoying appetizers catered by JM Events and complimentary wine and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin cocktails.  

The 90-minute performance about the American justice system kept patrons engrossed in the sociological discourse which could just as easily take place in present day jury rooms as it did in this 1957 fictitious one. 

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Director Michael Matthews with Kirsten Vangsness, who stars in Criminal Minds

The post-show Artistic Director’s Party celebrated the powerful performance by a stellar cast directed by Michael Matthews, producer Laura and Louis Rohl, 2017/2018 Season Producer Lisa Hale and The Hale Family, and Season Sponsors South Coast Plaza, Firebrand Media LLC, Gelson’s, Haskell White, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin and Surterre Properties.  

12 Angry Men company included:  Andrew Barnicle, Daniel Berlin, Richard Burgi, John Colella, Rick Cosnett, Seamus Dever, Matthew Henerson, Mueen Jahan, John Massey, David Nevell, Erick Odom, Dennis Renard, Tony Sancho, Scenic Designer Stephen Gifford, and Costume Designer Kate Bergh.

Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in 2017, 2016 and 2015 as one of Orange County Register’s “Best of OC” in the category of Live Theatre, and has been recognized by OC Hotlist in their “Best Theatre Group” winning first place in 2017 and 2016. 

The Laguna Playhouse has featured many talented performers on stage, including Ed Asner, Leslie Caron, Hershey Felder, Harrison Ford, Val Kilmer, Gregory Harrison, Dan Lauria, Hal Linden, Wendie Malick, Rita Rudner, Charles Shaughnessy, French Stewart, Loretta Swit, and Bette Davis.

For more information, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Harvest Festival on Sat Oct 14 will support Growing Skills educational program

Now that the crowds have gone home for the summer, crisp fall weather is upon us, and the holidays are just around the corner. Bluebird Canyon Farm and Transitions Laguna is inviting everyone to a Harvest Festival on Sat Oct 14 from 4 – 8 p.m. to share in the bounty of the season and celebrate community.

There’ll be food, music, family fun and a pie contest.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tomatoes at their lushest, reddest best, grown on the farm

The cost is $10 for guests arriving with a dish to share and $20 for those arriving empty handed. Food and beverages will be available.

Photographer Mary Hurlbut will be offering three holiday portraits for $12 with free digital download.

There is no on-site parking for this event. Personal vehicles should be parked on Rancho Laguna Road. 

Those under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian. Minors under the age of 16 will be admitted free. Tickets can be bought online at www.bluebirdcanyonfarm.com or at the door at 1085 Bluebird Canyon Drive. Phone number 949-725-0325.


Playhouse presents Spooktacular Tricks & Treats: dine at four scarily good restaurants this Halloween

On Tue, Oct 31, Laguna Playhouse will present Spooktacular Tricks & Treats, an exclusive & tasty Halloween dine-around party. 

Instead of trick or treating with candy and apples, guests will be treated to delectable food paired with wine and beverages from four top restaurants located within the Canyon Festival Center. 

If attendees are so inclined, they may choose to dress in a favorite Halloween costume and be rewarded with prizes for best male, female, and couples costumes. Restaurants include Another Kind Café, Kitchen in the Canyon, Ivory Lounge, and [seven degrees].

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Photo from website

The cozy interior of Ivory Lounge will welcome you on Halloween

The first stop of the night is at Another Kind Cafe from 6 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. where the dining adventure begins, with tastes from Vietnam and South-East Asia. The restaurant will be serving Bun Cha Ca, a traditional white, buttery fish that is pan fried, marinated with turmeric, and served on top of vermicelli noodles and mixed greens. The dish is topped with caramelized onions, red onions, scallions, fresh baby dill, and roasted peanuts and paired with a 2015 Simonnet Febvre Sauvignon Blanc. 

The second stop is the Kitchen in the Canyon,  from 6:30 p.m.- 7:15 p.m., serving a seasonal menu of roasted butternut squash soup with nutmeg cream, and herb marinated hanger steak skewer with truffle butter, paired with a Seasonal Aqua Fresca. 

Ivory Lounge and Restaurant, the third stop, will offer a true comfort food of veal pelmeni which is Russian style dumplings filled with tender veal and complemented by a creamy mushroom sauce. This dish will be paired with Angeline Pinot Noir. 

The final stop is [seven degrees] from 7:30 p.m- 9 p.m., with a dessert trio of mini chocolate pot de creme, lemon meringue tartlet, and cheesecake bar, along with an array of beverages including Michelle champagne, sparkling apple cider, sparkling water, gourmet coffee, and fine hot tea station. 

The evening ends there with music, dancing, and the awarding of prizes to the “The Best Costume” winners.


LOCA will present an Art and Sea Lions printmaking workshop on Oct 14

Those who like art and animals will love “Art and Sea Lions” presented monthly by LOCA Arts Education at Pacific Marine Mammal Center in Laguna Canyon. The next workshop, offering a printmaking class, is on Sat, Oct 14, from 9 - 10:30 a.m. Families, groups, and beginners are invited. 

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Submitted Photo

Enjoy the view of sea lions in action while creating your masterpiece 

The morning includes a docent-led viewing of live sea lions, a presentation on the rescue and rehabilitation work of the center, and a fun, step-by-step printmaking class with Alison Keefe. Everyone will take home a colorful print from their original drawing.

 Cost is $20 for adults, and $15 for those aged 6-up, with paid adult. Free on-site parking is included. 

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Enjoy a step-by-step printmaking class with Alison Keefe 

Advance registration is required, visit the calendar at LOCAarts.org or call 949 363-4700. PMMC is at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, 1-block north of Dog Park.


“Quick draw” Plein Air painting event was quickly successful at the 19th Annual Invitational

Photos by SCOTT BRASHIER

The 19th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational kicked off with Sunday’s “Quick Draw” painting competition sponsored by the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit art organization, and Southwest Art Magazine. 

The 35 participating artists, who are considered to among the best in the nation, have been invited from near and far to participate in the nine-day Laguna Plein Air Invitational. 

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Trees, doubled, by John P Lasater IV

The “Quick Draw” competition allows the artists a two-hour painting window to create plein air masterpieces. Visitors strolling through Heisler Park enjoyed watching as the artists painted, working their magic to capture the beauty of our community’s landscape and the glistening summer-like day on canvas. 

Visitors described the experience as “amazing” and likened the artists to “Iron Chefs” and “Rock Stars” of the art world, who are competing for over $30,000 in cash and prizes, including the $10,000 “Best in Show” and the “Best Quick Draw” painting prize, all to be revealed at the Collectors Gala being hosted at Tivoli Too on Saturday October 14 (tickets available online at LagunaPleinAir.org).

At the end of the painting competition at Heisler Park the artists hustled to frame their paintings for the “Quick Draw Quick Sale” Art Show. The public was invited to come meet the artists and see the Art Show presented at the Festival of Arts grounds.

As the crowds enjoyed refreshments and mingled with the artists, watching as the wet paintings were hung, the time for sales to commence approached as collectors went shoulder to shoulder and jostled to view and buy the wet paintings.  

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Artist Clark Mitchell OF Cotati, CA, at work

At 5 p.m. the “Quick Sale” began with many paintings drawing the attention of multiple collectors, so LPAPA settled the purchase competition with blind-bid opportunities. The event was a resounding success with over $23,000 in art sales, and happy collectors and artists all around, Proceeds from this event benefit the working artists and non-profit LPAPA. 

If you missed the Quick Draw, not to worry as there will be many more paintings painted this week. For more information about the week’s events, and tickets for Saturday’s Collectors Gala, visit LagunaPleinAir.org or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone (949) 376-3635.

On Wed Oct 11, LPAPA’s Next Generation Paint Out will be at Heisler Park, Cliff Drive from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. This event is designed to cultivate the next generation of plein air painters from the 2017 participating colleges: Laguna College of Art + Design, Saddleback College and the University of California, Irvine. The students are competing for scholarship prizes.

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Artist John Cosby also decided to focus on trees

Crystal Cove Paint Out will be at Crystal Cove State Park from 8 a.m – noon. All 35 Invitational Artists will be painting out at the Crystal Cove State Park.  The public is invited to come watch the Artists as they paint “en plein air.” 

Later there will be a Plein Talk  and Book Signing by Art Historian and Museum Director of The Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine, Jean Stern, plus a Small Works Auction at Tivoli Too from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

On Sat Oct 14, the Collectors Gala Reception (tickets available at www.lagunapleinair.org)
takes place at Tivoli Too, from 7 – 10:30 p.m.


Lagunatics will sell out fast with so much to parody this year: Drones & clones, trollies & follies & more

Lagunatics, around for an unbelievable 25 years of rhymes and raucous behavior, opens its new production on Oct 13 at 7 p.m., with all the costumes, song parodies, and irreverent laughs Lagunans have come to expect. 

This year is especially festive because Lagunatics celebrates two and a half decades, according to this year’s motto, of “spreading rhyme disease since 1992.”

Smoking bans? Uber and sharks? Trolleys, follies, and drones over parks? Nothing (and no one) is safe from the jokes and jabs delivered through song parody and shameless overacting. 

Will there be goats? Residents will have to come to the show and see. 

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Photo by Larry Tenney

There will be flowers: Rufino Cabang models the latest in … goat fodder?

Lagunatics 25 is directed by creator Bree Burgess Rosen and choreographed by Paul Nygro, with music direction by Roxanna Ward. The expected sillifest of costumes, sets, and props are by Rosen, Brigitte Harper, Jean Fallowfield, Larry Lewis, and Patrick “Acme” Quilter.  Writers are Rufino Cabang, Bridget English, Rebecca M. Lyles, Paul Nygro, Chris Quilter, and Bree Burgess Rosen.

This year’s stellar cast includes Eric T. Anderson, Yvonne Browining, Bree Burgess, Evie Cant, Rufino Cabang, Bridget English, Rob Harryman, Chloe Lovato, McKay Mangum, Marc Marger, Kristen Matson, Jay Rechter, Roxanna Ward, and Ella Wyatt.

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The cast, downcast about the pepper tree: odds are they’ll cheer up fast

Productions take place at the No Square Theatre in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St, two blocks south of LBHS. The school has ample free parking. Patrons can come early, and enjoy dinner and drinks al fresco before curtain. Seating is extremely limited, and the theatre has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. 

Performances will be held on Oct 13-14, 20-22, 27-29, and Nov 3-5. All Fri and Sat performances are at 7 p.m., and the first three Sun are at 6 p.m. The Nov 5 performance, at 5 p.m., is the 25th Anniversary Gala with a live auction, and al fresco dinner sponsored by Ketel One Vodka, Sterling Gin, and Rodney Strong Vineyards.

Tickets, available at nosquare.org, are $35 and $50 for Sun performances, $45 and $60 for Fri and Sat, and $100 and $125 for the final night Anniversary Gala.


Playhouse announces new leadership as Paul Singarella is elected chairman

Paul Singarella has been elected Chairman of The Laguna Playhouse, succeeding Joe Hanauer who has completed nearly six years as Chairman of the 97-year-old organization.  Singarella has been vice-chair for two years and co-chair for the past two, partnering with Hanauer over that span.

Singarella is a senior partner at the global law firm Latham and Watkins LLP.  He has been recognized as a Top 100 lawyer in the State of California by the Los Angeles and San Francisco Daily Journals.  His love of theatre dates back to high school, when he championed the HS administration to invest more in the arts.

Singarella was instrumental in the success of the 2017 Laguna Playhouse Gala honoring longstanding Playhouse patrons Suzanne and Jim Mellor and raising more than $600,000, including funds to underwrite the Mellor Ticket program, offering free tickets to the 21-and-under set. 

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Photo courtesy Laguna Playhouse

Heather and Paul Singarella at 2015 Playhouse gala

Through his leadership, the Playhouse has expanded its Board of Directors and presence in the community; and Singarella was instrumental in bringing on a new Executive Director, six-time Tony Award winner Ellen Richard, who took the reins in June 2016.  

This new leadership in the past year has enabled the Playhouse to elevate its productions, including last month’s hit, A Night with Janis Joplin. This year’s season is the first showcasing what is possible at the Playhouse under the theatre-savvy team of Ms. Richard and the Playhouse’s longstanding artistic director Ann E. Wareham, who also has an astounding reputation in the theatre world. 

Under the leadership of Singarella and Past-Chair Hanauer, The Playhouse is in the midst of a project to revitalize the appearance of the Moulton Theatre (named after Playhouse patron Nellie Gale Moulton), an architecturally important building that opened in 1968. This project will make the Playhouse more inviting for its patrons, and will earn the Playhouse’s tag line, What’s Going On. 

Playhouse undergoing revitalization

Commenting on the transition, Singarella said, “I look forward to continuing the good work of Mr. Hanauer, and am grateful for his tireless dedication to the Playhouse.  I am grateful to my board members for their confidence in me, and appreciate how hard they and our entire staff work to make the Playhouse as great as it can be.  

“It is an honor to serve this fine theatre-- a cornerstone of the renowned Laguna Beach arts scene since 1920.  I invite not only the residents of Laguna Beach, but also the entire region, to come visit us as we put on our best and brightest season ever, and as we prepare to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Nellie Gale’s theatre and our 2020 Centennial.” 

Mr. Hanauer became board chair at a time when theaters throughout the country were experiencing financial pressures largely driven by the Great Recession.  The Playhouse persevered through  these economic challenges, and is now experiencing a renaissance with strong support for its growing artistic excellence.  

Beyond achieving financial stability for the Playhouse during Hanauer’s  tenure, the Board has developed into one of Laguna’s most distinguished organizations, and theatrical productions have been lauded for their strong appeal to growing audiences. Hanauer was instrumental in securing for the Playhouse a four-year, $1 million matching grant from the City of Laguna Beach, which has provided timely and important revenue, and which has helped to galvanize fundraising and capital improvements.  Hanauer remains an officer of the Playhouse as Immediate Past Chair.

Commenting on his successor, Hanauer said, “Having worked very closely with Paul, I couldn’t be more pleased with the leadership in place at The Playhouse.  Many of our accomplishments these past few years have been accomplished through partnering with Paul. This, combined with his love for theatre and specifically, The Laguna Playhouse, will result in the Playhouse reaching new heights under his strong leadership.”

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Longtime Playhouse supporters Jim and Suzanne Mellors, recently named Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year

At its annual meeting, the Playhouse Board also elected Mr. Glenn Gray as Treasurer and Ms. Terri Turner as Secretary to continue their fine work for the theatre in their respective leadership positions.  The Playhouse’s officer slate is rounded out by Ms. Hale, the underwriter for the exciting 2017-18 Playhouse season, and Mr. Jim Mellor, a highly respected patron of the arts and long-time Playhouse supporter and board member, who, along with his wife Suzanne, recently was named Outstanding Philanthropists of the year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals for this year’s National Philanthropy Day Nov 16.

Paul Singarella, Partner, Latham & Watkins LLC, Chair of the Orange County office Environment, Land & Resources Department, has received numerous mentions in “Best Lawyers in America.” Most recently, he was part of the trial team that tried a case to apportion the water rights to three rivers in the Southeastern United States, which is pending decision from the U.S. Supreme Court.  

Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in 2017, 2016 and 2015 as one of Orange County Register’s “Best of OC” in the category of Live Theatre, and has been recognized by OC Hotlist in their “Best Theatre Group” winning first place in 2017 and 2016. Learn What’s Going On and how to obtain your Mellor Tickets at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

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