LOCA presents an art & sea lions workshop on Sept 9 

LOCA Arts Education is presenting a fascinating art and sea lions workshop on Sat, Sept  9, from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. at the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Families, groups, and beginners are invited. 

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Submitted Photo

Sketch a sea lion in watercolor with Mike Tauber 

The morning includes a docent-led viewing of live sea lions, a presentation on the rescue and rehabilitation work of the center, and an easy watercolor class with noted artist Mike Tauber. Everyone will take home a beautiful color sketch of a sea lion.

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Submitted Photo

 The sketch will turn into a masterpiece

Cost is $20 for adults, and $15 for those aged six and up, with paid adult. Free on-site parking is included. Advance registration is required, call (949) 363-4700, or visit the calendar at www.LOCAarts.org. PMMC is at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, one block north of Dog Park.

Vibrant art by Jan Lord is now on show at LGOCA

Jan Lord’s masterpieces are now on display at LGOCA. These beautiful mixed media paintings are inspired by Jan’s love of music, in which lyrics appear etched into the layers of graphite, paint and metals. These vibrant pieces are on Baltic Birch wood rather than canvas. 

Born and raised in Canada, Jan Lord studied art from the time she was in grade school. During her childhood, she could be seen painting during the summer months in the beautiful parks in Vancouver, B.C. Throughout her career, she has studied under a variety of Canadian and American watercolor and acrylic artists.

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Submitted Photo

Girl on Fire by Jan Lord

Jan has found her total and unique style through many great instructors. Her techniques include acrylic and oil pastels, glazing, and adding a variety of elements such as aluminum, graphite, paper, iron, nuts and bolts.

LGOCA is a unique contemporary gallery showcasing top regional and international artists, offering a diverse mixture of paintings, sculpture, bronze, fused glass and metal creations. It’s not your typical white walled gallery affair: LGOCA promises to engage you in an experience you won’t find anywhere else. LGOCA is located at 611 South Coast Hwy.

LB Juried Fine Art 2017 submissions will be accepted until Sept 9

The 2017 Laguna Beach Juried Fine Art Exhibition is now accepting submissions.

The exhibition is open to Orange County artists 18 years of age or older. Entries must be made via https://lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com by Sept 9. 

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

For more information contact Michael McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

It’s almost a wrap: A Night with Janis Joplin at the Laguna Playhouse closes on Sunday, Sept 10

Anyone who hasn’t seen A Night with Janis Joplin by Sunday will soon be singing the blues. This critically acclaimed, Tony-nominated musical show is closing on Sun, Sept 10, and as of today, only eight performances remain. Don’t miss the opportunity to be transported back to the late sixties and become a part of the mysterious and mythical aura that surrounded Janis Joplin. 

This concert style revue was created, written and directed by Randy Johnson. It was brought to the Laguna Playhouse by Executive Director Ellen Richard and Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, and they are to be applauded for this dazzling choice.

Even though Kelly McIntyre looks and stunningly sounds like Joplin, it isn’t an impersonation or a re-creation, it’s as if Kelly channels Joplin’s raw emotion and pain in her electrifying performance. Her hair swinging, her voice raspy, the rendition of Piece of My Heart brings the audience to their feet. She punctuates her singing with dialogue about her childhood in Texas, occasionally sipping from a bottle of Southern Comfort.

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Kelly McIntyre as Janis Joplin in A Night with Janis Joplin

The show also pays homage to Joplin’s musical influences. Masterfully interwoven in the revue are unforgettable performances by the singers who comprise the Joplinaires/Chantels; Sharon Catherine Brown as Blues Singer, Tawny Dolley as Etta James, Carol Hatchett as Odetta and Bessie Smith, and Amma Osei as Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. 

The brilliant performances by Kelly McIntyre and the other singers, the band, lighting, sets, the clothes, all blend together to cast a magic and musical spell on everyone within earshot.

If one is lucky enough to purchase tickets before it closes and truly experience A Night with Janis Joplin, do not take a pair of the earplugs from the container on the bar. Audience members will want to hear every haunting note. 

The following performances remain: Tues, Sept 5, 7:30 p.m., Wed, Sept 6, 7:30 p.m., Thurs, Sept 7, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fri, Sept. 8, 7:30 p.m., Sat, Sept 9, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Sun, Sept 10, 1 p.m.

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

        For tickets, go to http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com/ or call 949-497-2787.

Auditions for the musical Annie will begin on Sept 22 

The audition schedule is set for the production of Annie at No Square Theatre. Adult roles and ensemble auditions will be Fri, Sept 22 at 6 p.m. with callbacks on Sun, Sept 24 at 6 p.m. Annie and orphan auctions will be Sat, Sept 23 at 10 a.m with callbacks on Sun, Sept 24 from 10 a.m.

The popular musical (music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin) will be directed by Joe Lauderdale and choreographed by Ellen Prince, with music direction by Roxanna Ward. 

This production employs minimal staging, based on the ideas of story theatre. It places emphasis on the actors and the story rather than scenery, making the ensemble even more important than it would be in a traditionally mounted production.

Strong performers are desired for leading roles and ensemble parts. In Annie, the spunky orphan with humble beginnings in 1930s New York City, inspires everyone with her enduring positive attitude. Standout songs include “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the ultimate anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”

The roles to be cast for Annie include: Annie – Appear around age 11. Energetic and optimistic orphan. Oliver Warbucks – Appear around age 40-60. Billionaire with a kind heart. Grace Farrell – Appear around 28-35. Loyal, intelligent private secretary to Warbucks. Miss Hannigan – Appear age 40-55. Character and comedic actor.

Rooster Hannigan – Appear 20-35. Slimy con artist. Lily St. Regis – Appear 20-35. Rooster’s floozy girlfriend. Franklin Delano Roosevelt – 50s, strong character actor, minor group singing. Orphans – Ages 6-14. Gritty, lovable, strong singers and movers. (Molly, age 6-8; Kate, age 7-10; Tessie, age 10-12; Pepper, age 12-13; July, age 13-14; Duffy, age 13-14) Ensemble – Female and Male, ages 16 and up. Sing, dance (or move well), play multiple roles. The backbone of this production.     

Performances will be Fri-Sun, Dec 2 - 17. General rehearsals begin around Oct 1, Mon – Fri, 6:30-10 p.m. and Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (Schedule is approximate and subject to change.)

To schedule an audition appointment, email director Joe Lauderdale (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and indicate a preferred time. Complete information, forms, and suggestions on how to prepare for the auditions can be found on the No Square Theatre website, www.nosquare.org

No Square Theatre is in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion Street, two blocks south of the High School.

Laguna Beach Live! presents AlmaNova Duo at the Art Museum on Thurs, Sept 14 at 7 p.m.

Flutist Jessica Pierce and guitarist Almer Imamovic are AlmaNova, a talented and classically trained duo presenting an eclectic program of music from all over the world.

AlmaNova’s great love of all musical genres shines through by way of dynamic performances and mesmerizing stage presence. The duo has traveled the world playing their unique blend of classical repertoire infused with music from the Balkans, Spain, Latin America and the British Isles. 

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AlmaNova’s music has been featured for various film and TV projects. Most recently Almer’s song “StaniDraga” was featured in the film In the Land of Blood and Honey, written and directed by Angelina Jolie.

Live! at the Museum takes place the second Thursday of each month from 7 - 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 www.lagunabeachlive.org or phone 949-715-9713

Laguna Dance Festival features The Paul Taylor Dance Company and Ballet BC, begins Sept 7

This year, the Thirteenth Annual Laguna Dance Festival runs from Sept 7 – 17, and showcases the legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company from NYC and Ballet BC, a company from Vancouver, Canada, breaking new ground in contemporary dance.

Company performances will be held Sept 14 – 17 at Laguna Playhouse. 

Ballet BC has quickly established a reputation for breathtaking physicality and originality and will showcase three innovative dance works choreographed by women. Performances are Sept 15 and 17. 

16+ a room features unique choreographic language deployed by Ballet BC’s Artistic Director, Emily Molnar. In the poignant Solo Echo, celebrated choreographer, and director/choreographer of Kidd Pivot, Crystal Pite, explores the symbiosis of acceptance and loss—inspired by two sonatas for cello and piano by Brahms and the poem “Lines for Winter,” by Mark Strand. 

Tel Aviv-based Sharon Eyal’s Bill is a daring piece showcasing Ballet BC dancers in their most intricate expressions of the body. 

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Photo by Chris Randle

Gilbert Small and Nicole Ward of Ballet BC performing 16 a Room

The legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company, which broke the mold on dance fifty years ago, performs Sept 14 and Sept 16. Best known for dynamic modern choreography, Festival performances will include three representative works.

Esplanade, set to two Bach violin concertos, was first performed in 1975, when Taylor was inspired to create dance around found objects the way contemporary artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg fashioned paintings. 

Arden Court, a space age ballet, features athletic movement set to 18th century symphonic music. An audience favorite, Piazzolla Caldera, is a sensual exposé of tango as reinterpreted and reimagined with modern dance.

Off the stage, the Festival features a presentation at Laguna Art Museum of the academy award-nominated documentary “Paul Taylor: Dancemaker.” The film will be introduced by Patrick Corbin, former principle dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company. The screening on Sept 9 at 6 p.m. is free to museum visitors and members. 

“Backstage with Paul Taylor” will show on Sept 13 at 7 p.m. and is the Festival’s first Backstage event, featuring two Paul Taylor principle dancers in a 45-minute free on-stage rehearsal demonstration. 

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Photo by James Houston

Michelle Fleet of The Paul Taylor Dance Company

The evening prepares the audience for the upcoming shows and will be an informal event with a focus on three duets choreographed by Paul Taylor. Additional performances by Entity Contemporary Dance from Irvine and Kybele Dance Theater from LA will perform as part of First Thursday Art Walk on Sept 7, as well as master classes with each visiting dance company and our new educational workshop, “Choreograph your Career” featuring LA choreographers Andrew Winghart and Spenser Theberge. 

“This year’s Festival once again brings to OC the most exciting dancers to grace international stages,” says Festival Founder and Artistic Director, Jodie Gates. “Ballet BC is an astonishing international contemporary company with a repertory of movement second to none and the one and only Paul Taylor Dance Company will present three of their greatest works by one of the world’s leading modern dance legend’s, Paul Taylor. A winning combination for dance lovers.”

The following programs are scheduled for the Festival:

Thurs, Sept. 7, 6:30 and 7 p.m., Laguna Beach First Thursday ArtWalk

Kybele Dance Theater at Laguna Art Museum and Entity Contemporary Dance at Dawson Cole Fine Art

 Sat, Sept. 9, 12-2 p.m., Paul Taylor Dance Company Master Class with Patrick Corbin 

Sat, Sept. 9, 6 p.m., Dance on Screen, at Laguna Art Museum: Academy Award-nominated documentary “Dancemaker” introduced by Patrick Corbin. 

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Photo by Paul Palmaro

Paul Taylor of The Paul Taylor Dance Company

Sun, Sept 10, 12-4 p.m., Choreograph Your Career, Workshop and Master Classes with professional dancers Andrew Winghart and Spenser Theberge, and Dance Festival Founder Jodie Gates.

Wed, Sept 13, 7 p.m., Backstage with Paul Taylor Dance Company, a special glimpse into preparation for the dance with two feature performers in a stage rehearsal. 

Thurs, Sept. 14, 7:30 p.m., Paul Taylor Dance Company Performance, Pre-Show Talk, 6:30 p.m. 

Fri, Sept. 15, 7:30 p.m., Ballet BC Performance, Pre-Show Talk, 6 p.m. Post-Show Reception Following

Sun, Sept. 17, 10 a.m., Ballet BC Master Class 

Sun, Sept. 17, 2 p.m., Ballet BC Performance, Pre-Show Talk, 1 p.m.

Tickets range from $35 for students to $75 for the Sat night show with a post-reception with the company. For tickets and information, www.lagunadancefestival.org or Laguna Playhouse Box Office: 949.497.2787. 

Laguna Dance Festival presents world-class performances on the local stage and provides quality dance education to increase public appreciation for the art. An award-winning non-profit enterprise in collaboration with many local arts programs, the Festival event schedule, tickets, and video excerpts of previous performances at www.lagunadancefestival.org

Grammy winners will headline Wheels 4 Life’s Rock 4 Bikes special event on Fri Sep 29

Laguna-based nonprofit Wheels 4 Life’s Rock 4 Bikes is planning a night filled with rock music, food, drinks, and great company on Fri, Sep 29 at 6:30 p.m. There will be an incredible musical line-up, starting with Nick-i and Billy Sherman from Common Sense, and featuring four Grammy Award winners, Charles Colin from Train with rock legends Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Buckley from America. 

Additionally, Chevy Metal will be introduced for the finale, showcasing one of the best drummers in the world, Taylor Hawkins from the Foo Fighters.

Proceeds from the event will go towards purchasing bicycles for people in several countries who desperately need a means of transportation in order to be employed in the workforce. 

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Photo from Wheels 4 Life website

Seven year old Adam rides his bikes to raise funds for W4L

Tickets must be purchased in advance by visiting the website www.wheels4life.org. Ticket prices range between $200 -$250 depending on when purchased, and $1900 for ten tickets plus a sponsor. This event will be held at a private residence in San Juan Capistrano, with a dress code of cocktail. 

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Gifting bikes to all those in need worldwide 

Wheels 4 Life life hopes to see a big turn out, raising fund to change lives for the better through the gift of bikes.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Wait a minute…after this weekend

the Festival Season will sadly fade away


To go from the excitement of the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters Celebrity Benefit Gala last Saturday night, to the closing of the Festival last night, and now the final weekend at the Sawdust, how much is an arts reporter like me supposed to take? Seriously, c’mon man! Or to make it perfectly clear, in Suzie-speak, Wait a minute! What is going on? 

 Yes, that is a rhetorical question. And of course, I’ve been well aware of the closing dates before they opened. Still, I am really not prepared. 

I’m going from red carpet runways to roadways and empty sidewalks. No longer will I be able to slink like a mink through the throngs of festival-goers, running in a zig-zag like I’m racing through a maze.

So as I say goodbye to this year’s Festival Season, I’d like to share a few of my personal highlights. 

Of course, the joy and merriment of opening of the Sawdust goes without saying. It takes practically the whole season to make it all the way through, stopping every few steps to talk with the artists, enjoy their art. Moments filled with a lot of laughter and fun along the way, as the minutes seem to turn into hours in a blink of an eye. And the live music at the Sawdust is a true delight, serving as the soundtrack to my summer. 

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Photo by Scott Brashier

An appreciative crowd at the Herb Alpert concert

And then, I enjoyed the excitement of the Festival of Arts opening with the new grounds…it’s five-star. They did an amazing job! My applause to the board and Mr. President, Fred Sattler. Obviously, anyone that doubted you could pull it off or suggested you were hiding out in a foreign land is foreign to The Festival of Arts. It was the best and most exciting opening ever! 

The Pageant of the Masters is always a highlight, enjoying a new adventure through famous works of art via the portal of each year’s new theme. Dee, Butch and Dan, thanks for all you do to keep the magic of the Pageant vibrant and alive every year!

Other highlights: potluck dinners with Festival artists, Concerts on the Green, enjoying everyone from Jane Lynch to Herb Alpert, which brings me to my next fave - chatting up the celebrities at the Celebrity Gala, Art-to-Go, fun and free art workshops, artist demos, and exploring the grounds through the lens of The Boys & Girls Club’s talented young photographers.

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

With Master glassblower John Barber retiring…the Sawdust will never be the same without you!

Last, but by far, not least. This is going to an exceptionally sad closing of the season with Master Glassblower Genius John Barber retiring from the Sawdust.

Watching him blow glass at the Sawdust was my first memory of awe of the art festivals. I cannot tell you how many times, or how many hours I’ve spend mesmerized, as I’ve stood glued, watching John create his breathtaking masterpieces, he’s truly one-of-a kind, gifted beyond compare. Truly an original…you’ll be missed beyond words.

There really are too many amazing moments to list this season, but the experiences have been abundant, now held cherished in my memory.

So, this weekend I will be soaking in every minute at the Sawdust with the grand finale appropriately punctuated with the killer sounds of World Anthem.   

Until next time…so long art festivals, so little time!

Magic at the HeART fashion show: Tactile textiles, floaty fabrics, and hats with h-attitude wow the crowd


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

A woman sitting opposite me at the HeART of Fashion Show at the Sawdust, dressed in brilliant blue, caught my attention immediately. Waves of energy shimmered from her; throughout she was vocal in her approval; her enthusiasm was palpable. 

I would find out later that her name was Nikki Grant, one of Sawdust’s founders, and the wife of Jay Grant, the Deep Thinker behind the show.

Magical people do have an aura, and Nikki’s was in full bloom.

I was distracted only by the flow and glow of models wearing fabulous floaty fabrics, shawls with serious swagger, and hats with what can only be called h-attitude.

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Fabulous hats with h-attitude, created by Sue Winner

Introducing the show, Olivia Batchelder made the point that at the Sawdust, artists were their own jury, and that we would see “scrumptious” outfits worn extended family members of the 15 artists displaying their art via the human form. “There are even models who weigh more than 50 pounds!” she noted.

What Olivia didn’t mention was that several models would weigh less than 50 pounds. A number of kids brought whimsy and wonder to the catwalk, none more so than a young man in a chef’s outfit, whose Queen-of-England-wave – which just didn’t quit – and his wide-eyed enjoyment of the moment evoked frenzied applause. He did artist Mary Keating proud.

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Helen McNamara’s shawl is a fiery delight

Lagunan Caryn Kleinberg, who sat next to me, praised the HeART of Fashion show to the skies, noting the wide range of textiles employed and head-to-toe artistry on display. 

“I would have used that as a tablecloth,” Caryn said at one point as a model sashayed by, “not realizing what a fantastic outfit it would make in the hands of an artist. I love the way these fashions honor the elements of the earth and the sea and the sky.”

In true Sawdust style, the fashion was creative and quirky, from the Native American meets Conehead outfit by Helga Yaillen, to the slogans on some of the earthier (in every way) looks, for example, “Roll me in fairydust and call me a unicorn,” by Brynne Corgono.

I loved every moment, with background information brought to us by Terrell Washington Anansi, the Master of Ceremonies. “It’s clothing as an art form and storytelling,” he said.

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Models Dasha and Irena modeled earthily elegant headdresses by Reem Khalil

Once it was over, I dashed across to the woman who turned out to be Nikki Grant, who was bubbling with happiness over the show and raving about many of the gorgeous models, especially Irena and Dascha, whose intricate headdresses, by Reem Khalil, wowed the crowd.

“They’re so beautiful in every way,” Nikki remarked. “The models, the art, the clothes and especially those headdresses.”

Jay Grant, former president and a 44-year veteran of Sawdust, joined us. “This is a labor of love for everyone,” he said, clearly thrilled at the evident love of the crowd for the runway show. 

“You know for a long time we used to have these shows every Sunday. I’m thrilled that they’re happening again. We’ve already got the committee together for next year’s event, all volunteers, of course. Everyone did such a fantastic job this year. Art truly is at the heart of this! We want to do more!” Grant said.

And, with that and a final woo-hoo or two and a high-five from Nikki, it was time to leave. What a send-off to a successful Sawdust Festival! 


Enjoy a gallery of Mary Hurlbut’s photos, below:

LCAD alumna’s work is published in Nat Geo honoring the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund Anniversary 

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) BFA in Drawing & Painting (2014) and MFA in Painting (2017) alumna, Charity Oetgen, has had six of her paintings published in a recently released issue of National Geographic honoring the 50th anniversary of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. 

Oetgen will appear at three events during Dr. Jane Goodall’s US tour to mark the 40th anniversary of the Jane Goodall Institute.

“These projects embody everything I want to do with my artwork, blending conservation and art to make a difference,” Oetgen said. 

Oetgen was approached by Tara Stoinski, PhD, president and chief executive officer of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund, at The Joint Meeting of the International Primatological Society and the American Society of Primatologists in Aug 2016, where she was showing 58 of her paintings. Impressed by her work, Stoinski recommended Oetgen to National Geographic. 

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Charity Oetgen

Oetgen worked closely with the editorial team to sketch and paint the final watercolors of Digit, the gorilla who had formed a close bond with Fossey in 1967, as well as other gorillas the foundation has supported. 

For Oetgen, it was an emotional and serendipitous experience. “I would find myself in tears that all of this was happening,” she said. “The week after I was commissioned by National Geographic, the Jane Goodall Institute invited me to join Dr. Goodall on her institute’s 40th anniversary tour.” 

When Oetgen received her BFA from LCAD in 2014, she was asked by the Goodall Institute of France to create a painting as an 80th birthday gift for Dr. Goodall.

Oetgen credits Sharon Allicotti, artist and LCAD professor, for inspiring her on her journey of using art in support of conservation efforts of primates and other endangered animals. “She told me that I spoke more about bonobos than art and I should find a way to bring these two influences together in my life,” she says. 

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Jane Goodall with the painting Charity created for Goodall’s 80th birthday

Since then, Oetgen has completed independent study in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has exhibited work at Laguna Art Museum, Studios on the Park in Paso Robles, as well as the Jane Goodall Institute France. She has also showcased art at the Great Ape Summit in Jackson Hole, WY and was commissioned by Great Apes Survival Partnership (GRASP) to create art for their great ape infographic and the cover of their magazine. On behalf of Friends of Bonobos and Claudine André, Wallis Annenberg was presented with Oetgen’s bonobo paintings as a thank you to the Annenberg Foundation.

LCAD will exhibit Oetgen’s painting titled Maman Esperance with Boma at its new Administration Building, located at 2345 Laguna Canyon Rd. The public is welcome to visit between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Mon through Fri. For further information, go to http://www.lcad.edu/.  

For more information about Oetgen’s work, visit www.artbycharity.com.

Broadway stars and Hello Dolly Bars will be featured at the Ocean Institute Fundraiser, Sept 9

What are Hello Dolly Bars? Guests attending the Sand Dollar Guild’s “An Evening On Broadway” on Sept 9 will find out. According to organizers, in addition to an amazing musical journey through favorite Broadway musicals, performed by Broadway star Ivan Rutherford and friends, attendees will taste a bit of Broadway history.

Hello Dolly Bars were created by the original caterer for the opening night party of Hello Dolly on Broadway. One of the local Sand Dollar Members inherited [the recipe] from her mother in Aztec New Mexico, who got it from the caterer. These melt-in-your-mouth memories will be served as dessert for a delicious dinner prior to the start of the musical evening.

Mission Viejo Country Club Executive Chef Bob Peterson has planned a special menu for the occasion, starring a plethora of appetizers and food stations at the lovely venue. Crostini of Gorgonzola, Fig spread, Malaysian Chicken Satay provide the pre-course for the Chinese Chicken salad and the Fusilli Pasta Alfredo with Meat Sauce. 

Bob is a graduate of the Western Culinary Institute, and has been in the hospitality and culinary industry for over 25 years.

The event will take place at the Mission Viejo Country Club, 26200 Country Club Drive, Mission Viejo from 5 to 8 p.m. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Ocean Institute’s popular Ocean in Motion program. The specially equipped van and trained instructors reach out to special needs and underserved children in Orange County and beyond. 

Doors open for this year’s event at 5 p.m. to a special menu light supper and no-host bar. The elegant evening of favorite musical pieces from hit Broadway shows like Les Miserables, West Side Story, Hello Dolly, Grease, and Oklahoma will be performed by Ivan Rutherford, whose acclaimed Broadway singing career includes over 2300 performances playing the lead role of Jean Valjean in Les Misérables. He is joined by Shannon Brennan, co-director and co-star of Broadway Nights Cabaret,  and Robert Meffe, Director of Music for the MFA Musical Theater Program at SDSU.

A silent auction with exciting vacation and restaurant packages and services will also hit a high note of the evening. Palm Springs Hilton offers a stay that includes the use of a car from Allen Cadillac. A stay at The Ranch has spa treatments included. A charming condo and dinner in exclusive Rancho Mirage courtesy of Mavar Realty is the perfect get-away.

Rounds of golf from area golf courses, merchandise and services from local businesses such as Stance, Mike’s Pet Care, Salon Incognito and original signed artwork by local artists, theater tickets and more will round out the evening’s fun.

Tickets are on sale now.  Premium seating is on a first come first served basis. Contact Katy Moss, Sand Dollar Membership Chair, for ticket information. 949-494-4281, or www.ocean-institute.org/general-information/sand-dollar-guild.

Laguna Dance Festival announces Master Classes 

Master classes with dance masters and a one-of-a-kind on-stage rehearsal this year are part of the expanded Laguna Dance Festival. Feature performances begin Sept 14 with the iconic Paul Taylor Dance Company of NYC and conclude with the groundbreaking Ballet BC of Canada at Laguna Playhouse.  

“We’re delighted to once again offer an opportunity for aspiring dancers and dance professionals to take classes with some of the most extraordinary performers and choreographers on the stage, and learn more about the business of dancing as well as the art,” says Jodie Gates, Laguna Dance Festival Founder/Artistic Director, and Vice-Dean, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. 

Up first, Patrick Corbin, alum of the prestigious Paul Taylor Dance Company, will conduct a master class on Sat Sept 9, from noon to 2 p.m. A celebrated dancer and choreographer, Corbin currently teaches dance at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and also directs and choreographs for worldwide audiences.

Submitted Photo

Patrick Corbin set to teach a master class for the Laguna Art Festival 

“Master classes provide access to movement theory, practice, technique, and choreography that many students haven’t experienced, which creates a unique opportunity for professional and personal growth. As a master teacher, it is a special pleasure to expose dancers to the diverse choreography of Paul Taylor,” says Corbin. 

Master Class with Ballet BC’s rehearsal director, Makaila Wallace, will be held on Sun, Sept 17, from 10 a.m. to noon, just before the company’s final performance. This is a unique opportunity to explore contemporary dance movement and choreography with some of most inventive dancers on the modern stage. 

Master Classes are held at Laguna Beach High School. Tickets are $25 for students, and $15 for observers. Students must be age 12 or older and at an intermediate or advanced level. 

Master-class performance packages are also available

As the master classes will focus on elements of dance performed at the Festival, there is an opportunity for students to tie the two together with a master class-performance package ticket of $50. There is also a group rate for ten or more students taking the Sunday morning Ballet BC class followed by the matinee performance.

Tickets are available at www.lagunadancefestival.org.

A very special program, “Choreograph Your Career” will take place on Sun, Sept 10, from noon  to 4 p.m. The event will feature top LA choreographers and dance administrators, and includes a mock audition with Laguna Dance Festival founder and artistic director, Jodie Gates. 

Also, in a first for the Festival, “Backstage with Paul Taylor Dance Company” features Patrick Corbin and two of the company’s lead dancers in a rehearsal on stage at the Playhouse, on Sep 13, at 7 p.m. This is a free event, first come, first seated. 

Laguna Dance Festival presents world-class performances on the local stage and provides quality dance education in an effort to increase public appreciation for the art. An award-winning non-profit enterprise in collaboration with many local arts programs, see the Festival schedule, tickets, and video excerpts of previous performances at http://www.lagunadancefestival.org.

No Square Theatre announces upcoming classes for youth plus auditions for Annie

No Square Theatre has announced the start dates for four different youth classes, all under the direction of Ella Wyatt, as well as the timing of auditions for Annie.

No Square Theatre’s youth programs are created and directed by performing artists with both professional experience and degrees in their respective fields. 

In the winter session, there will be four different classes to choose from.

Classes one and two will take place on Tuesdays from Sept 19 – Dec 19 (no classes on Oct 31 or Nov 21). Class one will be from 4 - 5:15 p.m. Kids will learn a capella arrangements of popular Christmas carols and holiday songs, complete with harmonies, to perform at the opening gala for Annie on the evening of Sat, December 2. There will be opportunities for solos as well.

Guest teachers will liven up the classes

Class two will be from 5:15 - 6:30 p.m., teaching stage production to kids ages 10 and above. This class will focus on all of the non-performance elements of putting on a show - sets, costumes, props, and lighting will all be covered, with plenty of guest teachers from the entertainment industry, including Sammi Wallschlaeger, an art director from The Voice and the hit Disney TV show, KC Undercover. 

There is also the potential of being director’s assistant for future No Square Theatre youth productions.

Acting, schmacting!

Classes three and four take place on Wednesdays from Sept 20 – Dec 20 (no class on Nov 22). Class three will be from 4 - 5:15 p.m. learning schmacting for ages six and above. 

Geared towards LagunaTots cast members past, present, and future, the Schmacting class will focus on perfecting that over-the-top performing style that will get you a featured part in the next production of LagunaTots. Learn how to ham it up and get the laughs that every performer craves while telling the silly stories of LagunaTots parody songs. 

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Photo by Alexis Amaradio

Kids loved the summer camp at No Square this year

Class four will be from 5:15 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. learning improv for ages 10 and above. During this class, kids will explore the elements of improvisation, learning the core fundamentals and principles of improv, focusing on various games and exercises that encourage trust, communication, agreement (“yes and”), active listening, character, and making your scene partner look good, all culminating in an improv performance showcase during our class time on 12/20 at 5:30pm. 

Prices range according to how many classes are taken, one class is $300, two classes are $550, three classes are $825, and four classes total out to be $1,000.

For more information on registering for any of these classes, visit www.nosquare.org.

Auditions for Annie are set to begin on Friday Sept 22

Adding more exciting news, is the announcement of the play Annie and the opening of auditions. Directed by Joe Lauderdale and choreographed by Ellen Prince, this production will be a minimal staging based on the ideas of Story Theatre. The Ensemble will be even more important than a traditionally mounted production.

Auditions for adult roles and ensemble only will be on Fri, Sept 22 at 6 p.m. Auditions for Annie and orphans only will be on Sat, Sept 23 at 10 a.m. Callbacks for Annie and the orphans  will be done on Sun, Sept 24 at 1 p.m. and must be able to sing and read from the script. Callbacks for adults and ensemble will be on Sun, Sept 24 at 6 p.m. For more information on scheduling an audition with the director, visit www.nosquare.org/auditions.

Sunday series on Progressive Christianity begins on Sept 10 at Neighborhood Congregational Church

Neighborhood Congregational Church invites residents of Laguna and surrounding communities to a Sunday series on Progressive Christianity. Beginning on Sun, Sept 10, and continuing for another six weeks, participants will learn what it means to be a progressive Christian, and how it can affect one’s daily life. 

Each program begins at 10 a.m., dress is casual, and includes contemplation and live music by local artists. There will be a question and answer period after each session, along with coffee and refreshments. The series will also highlight a Homecoming Event and potluck lunch on Sept 24. 

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Reverend Rod Echols, NCC pastor

During the series, many vital questions will be addressed: Is it possible to take the dogma out of religion and move forward focusing on truth, justice, and love? What values can it teach children today as they strive to navigate this difficult world?  What opportunities will it give children to learn compassion for others, how to work as a team, and find a wider family? Can Christianity provide both answers and pose questions?

Rev. Rod Echols says, “We’re going to begin Sun, Sept 10, focusing on “an old story for a new time.” 

The subsequent weekly topics include: Sept 17, We are Not Alone; Sept 24, A Pilgrim State of Mind; Oct 1, What Exactly Do We Believe; Oct 8, Living the Questions; Oct 15, Peace & Justice for All; Oct 22, Standing on the Side of Love.

 Neighborhood Congregational Church is open and affirming, and no matter where one is on life’s journey, each guest is welcome. The Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive behind Ralph’s Supermarket. Children’s Sunday School is available. 

To download a flyer, visit www.ncclaguna.org, or call the office at (949) 494-8061.

Chamber Singers invite qualified singers to audition for the 2017/18 season

Laguna Beach Chamber Singers, a dues-free community chamber choir conducted by Cory Winter, invites qualified singers to join them for the 2017-2018 season. Rehearsals are held in the Music Room at Thurston Middle School on Tuesdays from 7:15 – 9:15 p.m.

 Their season extends from Sept 5 (when rehearsals begin) to April 29 (final performance). 

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Laguna Beach Chamber Singers

The Chamber Singers offer two concerts each season – a Dec 3 Winter Concert and April 29 Spring Concert, allowing enough rehearsal time to feel really comfortable and confident in its preparation. 

The group prefers new members to experience the group before auditioning. Auditions are arranged after a prospective new member has attended two rehearsals. 

Auditions will consist of performance of a piece of the singer’s choosing, vocalizing, and sight-reading. 

The Winter Concert this year will feature the entire Poulenc Gloria, excerpts from Bach’s Magnificat in D, Copland’s The Promise of Living, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Chanukah songs – some serious and some not so. 

Those who are interested in joining the Chamber Singers, contact Deborah Rabben, Membership Coordinator, at (949) 370-4723 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , so that there is music available when you arrive. 

For more information about Laguna Beach Chamber Singers, visit our website at www.lbchambersingers.org.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

The stars shined bright at the FOA/POM Gala 


Photos by Scott Brashier

Lights, cameras, action, the spotlight was aimed at the red carpet arrival of the many celebrity guests, who came to support the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters Celebrity Benefit Gala on Saturday night. 

 The media was especially clamoring to interview and take photos of this year’s Celebrity Gala host Bryan Cranston. He’s very familiar with the Festival and Pageant, as he has attended the summer events for 30 years. 

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Suzie interviews Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad fame

“What I look forward to every year is the unknown,” Cranston said. “This is called ‘The Grand Tour’ tonight. I don’t really know what the details of it are. But what I do know is that I am going to experience something unique. And every single person who comes here every year experiences something very unique. It’s just a wonderful experience. You learn something about art and you’re with other people who have a mutual appreciation for art.” 

He called the whole experience, a grand experience, including checking out the Junior Art exhibit, which features the next generation of artists.

 “If anyone hasn’t seen the Pageant, they are in for a real treat. It’s not just an experience of art but it’s experiencing it with everyone. It’s like being in a very comfortable environment like a live museum, but in a comfortable seat and you can have a nice glass of wine with you,” Cranston said. “It’s like no other.”

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Legendary trumpeter Herb Alpert in silhouette

Cranston lauded the history of the Pageant and the fact that it has been going on for nearly 85 years.

“Every year that we come my wife and I bring someone who doesn’t know anything about it. The don’t know what they’re in for,” Cranston said. “So I can’t wait to see their reaction because it’s magnificent.”

Cranston talked about how the paintings with the lighting, the music, and the way everything comes together that it truly brings these famous works of art to life. 

“I think that coming to the Pageant of the Masters and the Festival of Arts should be on every Californian’s bucket list,” Cranston said. “You’ve got to see this in some point in your life. It really is that important.”

Asked about whether he had seen the new renovation of the Festival grounds, Cranston said he had on Friday, the day before the Gala.

 “I did a complete tour of the art. I bought another piece of art, which I think is important, not just to come for the Pageant, but to support it,” Cranston said. “Laguna has a rich history of artists and they need to be supported. So if you have the means to do it; it’s important to buy the art and support the artists. But it’s more than just about that person you support; it’s a culture you support.”

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Lani Hall sings with husband Herb Alpert

Legendary actor Donna Mills said she likes to come and support the Pageant and the Festival.

“I just think it’s such a unique and wonderful thing that they do, and I look forward to it every year because it is always different and always has different paintings,” said Mills. “I encourage friends and lots of people that I know to come always, and everybody that comes loves it.”

Actor John O’Hurley said, “Bryan reminded me that he was the one who took me here 20 years ago.” 

He said he hasn’t seen it since then, but this year, he brought his family with him to experience the magic of the Pageant together.

“I haven’t described it to them. It’s something you can’t really describe to someone. You have to see it then understand what it is,” O’Hurley said.

He said his family also looking forward to hearing Herb Alpert perform.

And perform Alpert did, with his wife Lani Hall, they held the crowd captivated during their entire performance with the crowd on their feet loving every sweet sound of the legendary musician playing his greatest hits and new works alike. 

Ending in a standing ovation, the whole event was sensational from start to finish. Hats off to the FOA & POM, well in my case, caps off. Thank you for the wonderful, five-star evening!

Until next time…so many stars and memories of delight, so little time!

Vibrant art by Jan Lord is now on show at LGOCA

Jan Lord’s masterpieces are now on display at LGOCA. These beautiful mixed media paintings are inspired by Jan’s love of music, in which lyrics appear etched into the layers of graphite, paint and metals. These vibrant pieces are on Baltic Birtch wood rather than canvas. 

Born and raised in Canada, Jan Lord studied art from the time she was in Grade School. During her childhood, she could be seen painting during the summer months in the beautiful parks in Vancouver, B.C. Throughout her career, she has studied under a variety of Canadian and American watercolor and acrylic artists.

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Submitted Photo

Girl on Fire by Jan Lord

Jan has found her total and unique style through many great instructors. Her techniques include acrylic and oil pastels, glazing, and adding a variety of elements such as aluminum, graphite, paper, iron, nuts and bolts.

LGOCA is a unique contemporary gallery showcasing top regional and international artists, offering a diverse mixture of paintings, sculpture, bronze, fused glass and metal creations. It’s not your typical white walled gallery affair: LGOCA promises to engage you in an experience you won’t find anywhere else. LGOCA is located at 611 South Coast Hwy. 

19th annual LPAPA Invitational Collectors Gala set for Sat Oct 14: early bird tickets available now

On Sat, Oct 14, the 19th annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational Collectors Gala is set to take place. Each year the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) transforms the town into an outdoor painting studio with the West Coast’s most prestigious plein air fine art event. The gala goes from 7 - 10:30 p.m. and will be located at Tivoli Too at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

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2016 Best in Show:  Jim McVicker’s “Morning at Main Beach”

Purchase tickets early and receive the early bird special lasting through Aug 31 when tickets will be the cheapest at $125. Starting Sept 1, they go up to $150, and on day of event (if available), tickets will be $175. 

For more information on event details, purchasing of tickets, or questions, visit https://lagunapleinair.org. Support from the Gala will help the Laguna Plein Air Painters continue their mission, present world class art exhibitions, create opportunities for working artists, and provide education programs.

LPAPA art is on show at City Hall

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association has installed an exhibition of its members’ new paintings on the first floor of City Hall located at 505 Forest Avenue. 

Photo from City website

The exhibition can be viewed Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and alternative Fridays 7:30 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. through October 6.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Don’t miss the star-studded FOA/POM Celebrity Gala – so says celeb Joe Mantegna, a huge fan


For actor Joe Mantegna, the Pageant of the Masters seems to have been life changing. The well-known, popular, and award-winning actor, writer, and director, best known for his current starring role as FBI Supervisory Special Agent, David Rossi, on the hit CBS crime drama Criminal Minds, has been a huge supporter of the Pageant of Masters and Festival of Arts for 34 years. He said he looks forward to the Celebrity Gala every year.  

“I first went to the Pageant of the Masters in the summer of 1983. I was getting ready to direct a play about Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Tucci, the play’s producer, said they do this thing in Laguna Beach called the Pageant of the Masters, it has Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” we have to go see it,” Mantegna said. “We had our minds blown.”  

Although Tucci was well known, he said he (Joe) wasn’t back then. But Joe Mantegna has never been an ordinary Joe, that’s for sure.

“Just a few weeks later, I got a call from David Mamet who said I would love for you to be in my play Glengarry Glen Ross. The play wonaPulitzer and I won a Tony,” Mantegna said. “It was important to me, very significant; the Pageant was one of the last events before my life and career changed dramatically. The play toured and I didn’t get to see the Pageant again until 1986. And I have been coming ever since, whenever I can.”

Mantegna said he always looks forward to attending his favorite summer event every year, usually accompanied by his wife Arlene and his two daughters Mia and Gia, who are also ardent supporters.

“Ever since, I have become dear friends with Sharbie, the writer Dan, and the director Dee, and some of the people on the board. It’s really become a family, like my extended family in Laguna Beach,” said Montagne. “I actually wanted to buy a place there and had offers on three different houses, but none of them went through. And while I didn’t buy a home in Laguna, I go to the Pageant every year my work schedule allows me to.”

He even introduced the cast of Criminal Minds to the event and ever since they have been loyal supporters as well.  

Mantegna has hosted the Gala as has the cast of Criminal Minds. He called the experience a thrill. I too was thrilled as I am a huge fan of the show. Most every year cast members come, and most faithfully Mantegna is there. It was wonderful to have my pictures taken with cast members Matthew Gray Gubler and JJ Cook. The entire cast is absolutely delightful, caring, and kind and went out of their way to make everyone feel special.

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Photo by Festival photographer

One of the benefits of being the arts reporter at Stu News is hanging out with the lovely cast of Criminal Minds at The FOA/POM Celebrity Gala

“I think the Pageant is one of the treasured jewels of the U.S. and Southern California. I am so thankful that I have been able to go to the Pageant Gala almost every year. It’s really special to us. My kids have grown up going,” Mantegna said.

His daughter Mia, who is 30, will be attending with him this year. His wife and other daughter are out of town. Mantegna explained that Mia is autistic and very much fell in love with the arts. 

“She’s literally seen the Pageant since she was born. For her, it’s so special. There is no doubt that it has been an influence because she has pursued a career in art and as a make-up artist. She is the first autistic student to graduate from the Mudd School, a professional makeup school,” said Mantegna. “And now she is the makeup artist for Inclusion Films. So there’s this whole personal connection.”

He lauds Pageant Director Dee Challis Davy and Dan Duling, the Script writer, for the fabulous job they do every year and enjoys the creative themes each year.

“The Gala this year, well, I look forward to it every year. I look forward to all of it. I look forward to seeing my dear, dear friend Sharbie and her family. I’ve seen her children grow up,” Mantegna said. “From the minute I am walking up the Laguna red carpet, to going inside and seeing different artists, listening to music, to the lovely dinner in the garden, and the Pageant; I look forward to all of it. And I love all the people there.” 

He reminisced about the fact that it’s been such an important part of his summers since that magical summer in 1983, and how his life has changed. But one thing that has remained the same is his passion for the Pageant and the people that he calls his Laguna Beach family.

“I’m all in for the Pageant - it will always have a warm spot in my heart. It’s one of the greatest places,” Mantegna said.

His said one of the hardest things to do is to explain what the Pageant is like. He tried to describe it to actor Esai Morales before she attended. He said it’s impossible, to put into words; it’s something you need to experience. One thing he can say, “I can tell you it’s going to blow your mind,” Mantegna said.

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Maters Celebrity Benefit is on Saturday, Aug 26, starting with a celebrity red carpet arrival at 5 p.m. Many celebrities will be attending in addition to Mantegna. The Pageant will be introduced by actor Bryan Cranston with a special music performance by the legendary, platinum-selling musician and song writer, Herb Alpert, and his wife Lani Hall, at 6 p.m., followed by a special performance of this summer’s popular Pageant of the Masters, “The Grand Tour.”

Tickets are $50 to $250. For tickets, a list of celebrity attendees, or more information, call 1-800-487-3378 or visit www.PageantTickets.com. The Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters is at 650 Laguna canyon Road.

Until next time…so much fun at the FOA/POM celebrity Gala, so little time!

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor.

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Katie Ford is our Ad Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are the staff photographers.

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Email: Lynette@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.