CAP Gallery “Honoring Lorna Mills” will end Oct 22


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Original hand steel etching of home office of Laguna Federal Savings and Loan Association. An Original Design by Josten’s, Owatonna, Minnesota

Time is running out to see this exhibit. A must see for Lagunatics, history buffs, Art lovers and anyone who has walked past or into the Wells Fargo Bank building at 260 Ocean Avenue.

Drawing from columns by Andy Hedden, originally published in the Laguna Beach Independent, a picture emerges of a woman who started in 1936 as a clerk at Laguna Federal Savings and Loan and rose to become the first woman in California to hold the positions of president, manager and vice chairman of a banking institution; positions that had only been held by men.

Viewing Hedden’s columns and copies of original materials of the time, provided from the files of Bonnie Rohrer, an image of a woman dedicated not only to her job but also to helping people navigate the financial realm of banking. She didn’t just invest in financial transactions, she also invested in the people who were involved; homeowners, merchants, realtors, business and personal borrowers, and homebuilders. Not only in Laguna Beach, but also elsewhere in Orange County. Through these transactions she grew Laguna Federal into one of the largest lending institutions at the time. Her community-based approach was always a backbone of her philosophy, along with strong customer service and providing what was best for the customer’s needs, not just Laguna Federal.

In 1961 Laguna Federal had grown to the point of needing a larger space. By then Mills had been head of the bank for four years. When working with architects Aubrey St. Clair and W.B. Verity she stipulated that there would be gallery space for the display of art.

Opening Day of Laguna Federal S&L featured a choral group

The resulting building was three levels; first floor for banking, second and third floors were galleries for art displays. Utilizing a rotunda structure open in the center with a skylight for natural lighting, the second and third floor were visible to bank visitors. This was a way to show Laguna Federal’s dedication to the encouragement of the spirit of Laguna’s Art Colony.

The brochure from the original opening of the building, financial statement brochures from the era give more information and photos of life in Laguna at that time. These items are a bit more creative and enjoyable to look at than ones we see today.

On view from Bonnie Rohrer’s archives is a copy of the original brochure for the opening of the new building, highlighting materials used in the construction and features that were built and not to be found in other financial institutions of the day. Also financial statements that are not only creative but also simpler to read than the ones put out today. There are brochures of arts events that happened in the galleries and in conjunction with the Festival of Arts.

From the Historical Society’s files are highlights of the beginnings of Laguna from the Historical Resumé written by Margaret Roley, Isabelle Ziegler, Virginia Oakey and Genevieve Daniels. Starting with the Indians who made their homes here to the early settlers and early place names, and on to the beginning of the art scene and also Hollywood’s love of filming in Laguna, this exhibit offers a lot of information in an enjoyable and interesting format.

Community Art Project and The Cap Gallery, under the creative guidance of Jennifer Griffiths, present this exhibition as a way of paying homage to Lorna Mills and her accomplishments and strong belief in community. Stop in and stroll the gallery to learn more about the Laguna you love. It will only be here till October 22.

The CAP Gallery on the second floor is open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

KX 93.5 presents Iron Butterfly at the Playhouse Nov 1

KX 93.5, Laguna’s only FM radio station, is bringing another classic band to Laguna Beach on Nov 1. Iron Butterfly, who sold 30-million copies of the 1968 anthem “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” will rewind time at Laguna Playhouse with a laser light show and a rocking set. 

Opening the evening will be Professor Columbo, a Huntington Beach-based garage rock band and KX 93.5 favorite. 

“We’re talking about a band that basically started heavy rock ‘n’ roll,” said KX 93.5 Founder and Program Director Tyler Russell. “Fifty years later, the band still includes original members and absolutely brings down the house. Iron Butterfly is a must see!” 

Iron Butterfly

The current drummer in Iron Butterfly is local Ray Weston, who can be seen performing with KX personality and musician Jason Feddy at Hotel Laguna on Saturday nights. 

Side orchestra and balcony seats are $35, and center orchestra seats are $50. A VIP upgrade is also available for $50, which includes special access to sound check, a private meet ‘n’ greet with the band, and a complimentary cocktail. 

The bar is sponsored by Tito’s Vodka and will feature unique drink creations. All the cocktail and ticket proceeds benefit non-profit KX 93.5. 

Pre-sale tickets went on sale Monday, Oct 3r for KX 93.5 members and will go on sale to the public on Thursday, Oct 6. Tickets are available through Laguna Playhouse,

Founded Oct 2012, KX 93.5 is Orange County’s best radio station for “Generational Alt Rock” and the only licensed FM radio station in Laguna Beach’s history. It’s a non-profit, non-commercial radio station with hundreds of volunteer contributors, focused on the music, the listener, and the local community. The station also features public affairs, surf reports, sports broadcasts and more. The station provides a voice and a creative outlet for the hundreds of talented local Orange County musicians and beyond that are squeezed out by commercial radio. 

Gallery Q celebrates art’s engagement with the natural world at its current and final exhibit of 2016, Nov 3 - 6

Gallery Q at The Susi Q is pleased to announce its current and final exhibit of the 2016 season — “Art & Nature.” In partnership with the Laguna Art Museum’s popular Art & Nature Festival, which runs from Nov 3 - 6, artists of all ages have submitted more than 50 nature-inspired works in a variety of mediums.

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Visitors to Gallery Q will be impressed by exhibitors’ talent

The show runs through Nov 18 and exhibits can be viewed from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. weekdays. Visitors are invited to meet and mingle with the artists at the free Artists’ Reception on Fri, Oct 14from 4:30 - 6 Gallery Q, located at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center, 380 Third Street. 

Limited, free underground parking is available. Wine and light refreshments will be served. Selected pieces of art will be available for sale with a percentage helping to support the arts program at the Susi Q.

Gallery Q is a public exhibition space dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the talent of emerging, semi-professional, and professional artists of all ages in Orange County. Five to six shows per year honor local artists and the exhibitions begin with a public art reception. 

For more information about Gallery Q or Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q, visit or contact Carole Zavala, Arts Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Artists Republic Gallery will showcase Softer World, a solo exhibition by Laura Berger, opening Thurs Nov 3 

Artist Republic Gallery will feature Softer World, a solo exhibition by Laura Berger, from Nov 3 until Dec 31. The Artist’s Reception will take place on the first day of the exhibition from 6 – 9 p.m.

Laura is a full time artist working mainly in acrylic and gouache, creating works that focus on the connections of humans to each other, ourselves and the world. Based in Chicago, Laura is extremely successful and exhibits her work worldwide. Her paintings are whimsical and light hearted, following her characters on their adventures in their colorful, calm worlds. 

In her upcoming solo show Softer World, Laura focuses on creating an escape from the violence happening around us. 

Painting positive possibilities rather than focusing on darkness not only serves as a way to see through negativity or fear, but also has become very therapeutic as a daily practice for me,” Laura says. “It helps to reinforce a sense of calm and to physically envision a peaceful world where we’re all honoring our connectedness and just hanging out together in a place of total ease.” 

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Laura’s work is inspired by rituals, symbols, nature, dreams, and travel

Laura has created a body of work that truly makes the viewer feel good, successfully creating an escape from the negativity of the world. Laura is interested in and inspired by rituals, symbols, nature, dreams, travel, our quest for self-development and freedom, and how we piece it together to create personal meaning and a sense of belonging to the greater whole. 

She’ll be exhibiting new works in her traditional acrylic and gouache medium as well as new works in ceramics for Softer World

“My goals are simple, I guess -- I mostly just want to keep painting and learning, showing my work in spaces that feel good and getting to work with nice people. I love doing murals, ceramics, and animation work, so I definitely want to do more of that in addition to exhibitions...But honestly if things kept going just as they are I’d be nothing but grateful.” 

Laura’s opening reception on Thurs, Nov 3, will coincide with the fourth annual Art & Nature festival held by the Laguna Art Museum. 

Since opening its doors in 2010, Artists Republic has been one of Orange County’s premier venues for new contemporary art. The gallery is dedicated to the support of emerging and mid-career artists whose work has impacted and influenced lives through youth culture. 

Artists Republic is located at 1175 S. Coast Hwy and specializes in original works, prints, books and more. Visit for more information.

New installation good to go for the red phone booth

A mixed media installation by Santa Monica artist Douglas Turner was selected by the city Arts Commission to replace the current installation at the red telephone booth on Forest Avenue.

The Arts Commission voted unanimously for Turner’s “Nine Billion,” composed of numerous silicon figures dressed for the beach jammed inside the phone booth. Turner’s piece was one of 12 submittals for the space. It was described by the city Arts Manager Siân Poeschl as a whimsical reference to overcrowding and the prediction that the world population will reach nine billion by 2050.

Turner will be paid $3,500 for the temporary installation and retain ownership. Funding came out of the Arts Commission Special Programs budget of the Business Improvement District. 

The City Council authorized City Manager John Pietig at the Sept 27 meeting to enter into a contract. As approved, the installation will be on exhibit for 24 months.

Barbara Diamond

Montage welcomes Laguna Beach Live! on Oct 12

Oct 12 marks the first of what is hoped to be several annual events presented by Laguna Beach Live! at Montage Laguna Beach. The music is the mega funky sound of Greg Adams & East Bay Soul, a ten-piece band that blends R & B, soul and funk jazz. The setting is fun, cabaret style seating on the beautiful Cliffside at Montage.

The sound of Greg Adams is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. Adams has recorded six solo albums, three releases with East Bay Soul and fourteen recordings as a founding member of Tower of Power, legendary for his arrangements that made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all its own.

Greg Adams will perform with his band East Bay Soul

Ticket costs for the sunset concert, 6 - 8 p.m., are: VIP $75, which includes best seating, Meet & Greet with Greg Adams and a CD; premium $45 at center tables; and standard $25 in the rear.  

Doors open at 5 p.m. Montage is cooking up some delicious sliders, poke, and cheese and charcuterie plates for only $15 and is offering a parking fee reduced to $5 for ticket holders. Buy online at or call 800-595-4849. 

For more information, call 949-715-9713.

Hilarious noir comedy Billy & Ray will open at the Laguna Playhouse on Oct 9 and run through Oct 30             

The second show of the Laguna Playhouse’s 2016/17 season, Billy & Ray, written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Michael Matthews, will open on Sunday Oct 9 and run through Oct 30.

“Old Hollywood comes to Laguna Beach in this comedy about the making one of the most iconic films of the 1940s,” said Laguna Playhouse artistic director Ann E. Wareham. “I have been wanting director Michael Matthews to direct at the Playhouse for so long and think this is the perfect show for his unique vision. Our audiences and subscribers are in for a hilarious and wild ride.”  

In 1943, Hollywood legends “Billy and Ray” – director Billy Wilder and crime novelist Raymond Chandler – battled censors, and each other, to write the classic film noir “Double Indemnity.” In this play, the audience will go behind the scenes to watch this deadly funny journey through a war of creativity between two brilliant writers who nearly killed each other during the making of this Academy Award nominated masterpiece.

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Prepare to enjoy a great evening with Billy & Ray at the Playhouse

The cast of Billy & Ray features Blake Ellis (“Jarhead,” “Red Tails”) as Billy Wilder, Nick Searcy (“Justified,” “American Gothic”) as Raymond Chandler, Scott Lowell (“Queer as Folk,” “Bones”) as Joe Sistrom and Joanna Strapp (“Medium,” “Studio 60”) as Helen Hernandez.

Scenic design is by Stephen Gifford, lighting design by Luke Moyer, sound design by Juan Sanson, and costume design by E.B. Brooks.  The hair consultant is Bobby Chamblee. The stage manager is Vernon Willet.

BILLY & RAY will begin previews on Wed, Oct 5, open on Sun, Oct 9 and run through Sun, Oct 30 at the Laguna Playhouse.

Performances will take place Wed through Sat at 7:30 p.m., Sat at 2 p.m. and Sun at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thurs, Oct 6, 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. and Sun, Oct 9 and16 at 5:30 p.m. 

Tickets range from $35 - $75 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices subject to change.

The box office is open Mon – Sat: 12 to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  For more information on all shows and programming visit

CAP Gallery exhibit - Honoring Lorna Mills – through Oct 22

The CAP Gallery, located on the second floor of Wells Fargo Bank downtown, is featuring a new exhibition now through Oct 22.

This free exhibition acknowledges Lorna Mills and her impressive accomplishments in the financial realm and contributions to the Arts. Jennifer Griffiths, CAP Gallery Director, has curated and researched to compile historic photographs and written materials from newspaper archives and original materials from the files of Bonnie Rohrer.

Starting as a clerk at Laguna Federal Saving and Loan in 1936, she retired 50 years later as president, manager and vice chairman. Along the way she took risks in financing entrepreneurs, giving homeowners extensions to help avoid foreclosure, financing building on leased land and growing Laguna Federal in assets and branch offices.

Her most outstanding accomplishment, in Laguna’s eyes, is the design and construction of 260 Ocean Avenue. In 1961 Lorna Mills was instrumental in not only getting the building built but also including a multi-purpose rotunda, with large walls, specifically to display Art.

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Submitted photo

Postcard image. Original Hand Steel Etching of Home Office of Laguna Federal Savings and Loan Association, 260 Ocean Ave. An Original Design by Josten’s, Owatonna, Minnesota.

This exhibit is a must see for Lagunatics, history buffs, Art lovers and anyone who has walked past or into the building.

There will be an exhibit reception on Saturday, Oct 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is cordially invited to come explore this unique gallery space while learning the story behind it. It is a free event.

LAM will be first museum in North America with a partnership using SMARTIFY – a free mobile app

On Sept 24, Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will become the first North American partner for SMARTIFY, a free mobile app that enhances the museum experience by providing extended artwork information at the tip of your fingers. Using SMARTIFY’s advanced image recognition and augmented reality technology, museum visitors may scan artworks to gain access to information and commentary, artist biographies, and other content relating to the artworks on view. 

Visitors may also create their own personal “collections” within the app for later viewing and to extend their museum visit, giving a sense of direct engagement and participation with the curatorial process.

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Since its launch in May, SMARTIFY’s partners include the Cartoon Museum and Sluice Art Fair in London, and the Accessible Art Fair in Brussels. Laguna Art Museum is the first North American partner for SMARTIFY, and will launch the app on Sept 24 to coincide with Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live! celebration, which provides free admission to participating museums and cultural institutions. 

LAM and SMARTIFY aim to reach and engage new audiences with this innovative app by having it coincide with this complementary event.

SMARTIFY is your personal digital curator. It is a mobile app that allows users to scan artworks and gain access to rich commentary left by friends, curators, and the artists themselves. It transforms museums and galleries into a place for dialogue and shared experiences.

It hopes to enrich visits to art venues by creating meaningful connections with the artwork and the communities who love it. The app is currently available to iOS users with Android coming soon. SMARTIFY’s ambitious vision is to bring positive disruption to the way audiences experience art in museums, galleries and other venues. 

It is a platform to interpret, share and respond to art.

LCAD Gallery presents:

The Visual Story: Entertainment and Beyond

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Michael Humphries

Hunchback Graves

LCAD Gallery announced next month’s exhibition, opening Oct 6, with a reception from 6-9 p.m. and running through Oct 20. This is the first-ever retrospective of Michael Humphries’ work, spanning the celebrated and illustrious illustrator’s career as a background artist for The Walt Disney Company. 

He created memorable scenes for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and, more recently, as Art Director on Fantasia 2000 and as Production Designer for Sony Pictures’ Open Season.

The Visual Story: Entertainment and Beyond is curated to entertain audiences with a broad range of work by Humphries that always tells visual stories through light, color and dynamic compositions. 

The exhibit is curated by: LCAD Illustration Professor, Jason Dowd; LCAD Gallery Director, Andrea Harris-McGee; and Michael Humphries.

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announces new faculty and staff appointments for 2016-2017

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) has announced new faculty, leadership positions and staff appointments for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

Sean Bishop will assume leadership as chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Animation. Bishop comes to the College directly from DreamWorks Feature Animation, where he was a story artist. Bishop also has worked at DisneyToon Studios, Disney Television Animation, and Hanna-Barbera. He holds a degree in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and steps in for Dave Kuhn, who will continue to teach full-time at LCAD Animation. 

Catharine Eure has been named Dean of Innovation and Corporate Partnerships. In this role, Eure will conduct research and work closely with faculty and staff in all departments and programs to identify trends and innovation of value to LCAD’s mission and goals, with a particular view to interdepartmental initiatives.

To enhance opportunities for the College and its students, Eure also will develop strategic partnerships with companies and corporations. Eure will continue to chair LCAD’s BFA program in Design + Digital Media.

Gavin Rich has taken over the reins as chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Game Art. Rich has been a full-time Game Art faculty member since 2009. Sandy Appleoff, who founded and chaired LCAD Game Art, will head and develop LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design.

Sol Smith is the new chair of LCAD Liberal Arts. After 18 years at the helm, Grant Heir stepped down, but he will continue to teach and to represent LCAD in the Faculty Senate. Smith has been teaching part-time in the department since fall 2015. He holds an Ed.S in Teacher Leadership from Walden University in Minneapolis, an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont, and a B.A in English from San Diego State University.

Dominic Mumolo has been named Director of College Advancement and will lead LCAD Office of College Advancement. He joined LCAD in 2015.

For more information, visit

LCAD hosts VR Workshop with Mark Schoennagel of Unity 

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announced Unity Virtual Reality Workshop for LCAD Art of Game Design MFA students and USC GamePipe Graduate students from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct 1, at LCAD Big Bend Studio 5. 

Mark Schoennagel of Unity will present the workshop on VR development that will also be live-streamed to additional classrooms at LCAD Big Bend Campus, allowing the undergraduates and public to attend. 

“Unity has been a partner with LCAD’s Art of Game Design MFA since its beginning,” said Sandy Appleoff, chair of LCAD Art of Game Design MFA program. “VR games have been in development in our trans-university community, which includes Game Art BFA at LCAD and USC GamePipe, for the last two years.”

With the rise of mobile as well as room-scale VR and a slew of new developments coming down the pike, LCAD has proactively provided its MFA students with the tools necessary to compete in this brave new world is certainly worthy of note. 

For more about the workshop and to confirm attendance visit:

Game Art & Design students exhibit at LCAD Gallery

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Life Through Twisted Lenses Game Art

LCAD Gallery opened its first exhibition of the academic year this week. It will run through Sept 30. 

“Life Through Twisted Lenses”, features new, traditional and digital takes on familiar landscapes as envisioned by the highly creative and sometimes-warped minds of LCAD Game Art BFA and Game Design MFA students. 

Curated by Chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Game Art, Gavin Rich; Chair of LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design, Sandy Appleoff; and LCAD Game Art faculty member, Lou Police.

Avran Fine Art will present Hungarian Glass Show featuring critically acclaimed glass sculptors on Oct 1

Avran Fine Art will present an exhibition of glass sculptures by critically acclaimed artists Laszlo Lukacsi and Peter Borkovics on Saturday Oct 1 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Both artists will be in attendance to discuss their work and speak about the meticulous processes that are involved in the formation and creation of their pieces.

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“Palm” – a fine example of Lukacsi’s “fluid, organic shapes”

According to Avran Fine Art’s assistant director, Margo Kosin, viewing Laszlo Lukacsi’s art is a connoisseur’s journey through the history of the art movement in Hungary. 

She notes that, “Lukacsi’s structured training in applied arts, dedication to the tradition of the medium, and the influences of his predecessors are illuminated in each of the cold-worked laminated glass sculptures. The fluid, organic shapes and optic illusions reveal not only his vision but also the laborious techniques involved.”

Peter Borkovics is known as a synthesizing designer, solving problems with a creative approach reminiscent of Stefan Lindfors or Ron Arad.

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Borkovics is known as a “synthesizing designer” utilizing “controlled chance” to produce solidified glass movements

“[Borkovic’s] designs are consistently elaborated formal technical analyses, inquiring into melting, flowing, and suddenly hardening glass at a certain stage, in a certain form. The beauty of these solidified glass movements is not only the outcome of the matter, but the conscious planning of controlled chance, producing a light-conducting organic crystal, a light-space dissolving real space,” Kosin notes in a press release.

Avran Fine Art offers clients its unique perspective on contemporary art for collectors and enthusiasts. The gallery exhibits museum-quality glass sculptures, original paintings, and distinctive jewelry that appeal to lovers of both contemporary and traditional art.

Avran Fine Art is located at 540 South Coast Highway, Suite 106. For more information, call 949-494-0900. The gallery’s Facebook page is reachable at

“Wine and Sign” cabaret at No Square Sept 9

Laguna’s No Square Theatre will host a cabaret and book-signing event on Sept 9 at 7 p.m., highlighting “From the Errors of Others: How to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Writing and Speaking” by local author Rebecca Lyles. 

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The evening includes dinner, followed by original parody songs performed by popular entertainers Saif Eddin, Rufino Cabang, Kathi Gillmore, and Chloe Lovato, readings from the book, Q&A with the author, and book signings afterward. 

The musical numbers take a satirical poke at subjects from the book: editing, punctuation, deceptive language, and how others judge us by the way we speak. All delivered with irreverent, tongue-in-cheek humor. “From the Errors of Others” is a collection of short, instructive essays and true anecdotes about awkward – often funny – blunders and missteps that the author has observed throughout a long corporate career as a technical writer, editor, and manager. Lyles invites readers to laugh about the guilty without laughing at them, and learn how to avoid repeating their mistakes. 

The author lives in Laguna Beach, sings in the LagunaTunes Community Chorus, and is a contributing lyricist for the annual “roast of the coast,” No Square Theatre’s Lagunatics. 

Wine and Sign Cabaret tickets are $20, and include dinner. Purchase tickets online at No Square Theatre is in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion Street, two blocks south of the High School. 

Buy “From the Errors of Others” at the event or online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A musical parody that celebrates women but may give some men pause – unless they’re laughing along

Photo and story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Hot flashes, I had a few/but then again, too few to mention/Yes, there were times, I’m sure Bill knew, when I bit off his head/more than I usually do...but the record shows/he stood tall, and took the blows/and more, much more than that/when I did it my way…

These lyrics, as not sung by Frank Sinatra, might be my contribution, were I to write for the fabulous show Menopause the Musical, a 90-minute-long skit offering new takes on sixties, seventies and eighties songs to highlight the challenges of “the change,” including sleeplessness, mood swings and weak bladders.

The talented foursome of Linda Boston, Rebecca Fisher, Megan Cavanagh and Roberta T. Wall sing and dance to revised versions of songs such as the Gibbs’ brothers’ “Staying Alive” (“Staying Awake”) featuring “night sweats,” and a yearning “Please make me over” derived from Hal David/Burt Bacharach’s “Don’t make me over.”

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This lobby display reflects the witty vibe of Menopause the Musical

This hilarious production attests that menopause is no longer “the silent passage”: for these women, anyway, it’s loud and brassy and ebullient.

Highlights of the show have to be said to include versions of the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” I will leave it to you to imagine the relevant lyrics and dance moves, or, better yet, I suggest that you head on over to the Laguna Playhouse and enjoy this fast-paced, funny, fabulous show.

For more information, visit

Performances will be Wed, Thurs and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road through Sept 11. 

Tickets prices range from $50 - $60 for all seats and can be purchased online at or by calling 949-497-ARTS (2787).  Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mon – Sat 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Laguna Dance Festival will feature contemporary cool with companies from L.A., Philadelphia and New York 

From Sept 21 – 25, the Laguna Dance Festival, now in its 12th year, will bring to the intimate Laguna Playhouse stage three world-renowned dance companies: New York-based Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Philadelphia’s BalletX and Los Angeles’ BODYTRAFFIC. 

The program will include audience talks with the directors, free public performances, and four master classes. 

Download the complete Festival schedule as a PDF here

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion will perform on Thurs and Friday, Sept. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. Both performances will be followed by a post-performance conversation with Kyle Abraham, the 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” winner. Abraham will teach a 6 p.m. master class on Wed, Sept. 21, onstage at the Playhouse.

Abraham’s thought-provoking “Pavement,” called  “a work of great subtlety and beauty” by The New Yorker, is a meditation on the 1991 film Boyz N The Hood as well as W.E.B. DuBois’ 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. With his full-length, 55-minute piece, Abraham examines the history that led to the conflict represented in the movie, and finds relevance in the Du Bois essays, which were influential in African-Americans’ struggle for equality in the twentieth century. 

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“…beautiful and severely honest…dancing that is lush and seductive…”: from a Washington Post review of “Pavement”

The dance is set on a basketball court in the historically black Pittsburgh neighborhoods where Abraham grew up, and the eclectic soundtrack includes 23 names from Baroque selections by Bach and Vivaldi to Sam Cooke vocals and rap. 

Washington Post reviewer Sarah Kaufman wrote, “Beautiful and severely honest…(but) despite its name and subject matter, ‘Pavement’ is not all hard edges. It delivers a sharp sense of reality with extraordinary softness, in dancing that is lush and seductive.”

With the company’s performances described as “solid from beginning to end” (New York Amsterdam News) and “effortless-seeming smoothness and grace” (Los Angeles Times), A.I.M.’s premiére performance in Orange County is certain to garner attention and initiate conversation. 

BalletX will return to the Laguna Beach stage to present its entertaining, diverse choreographic style in a shared bill with BODYTRAFFIC on Saturday, Sept. 24 and a full-length show on Sun, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. with a pre-show talk at 2 p.m. 

Committed to producing new works that cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold, new dance, BalletX was founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. Now under the direction of Cox as artistic and executive director, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. 

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Photo credit: Iziliaev


The New York Times praises BalletX’s dances, which it says “have suspense, vitality, comedy, freedom”

BalletX’s dances “have suspense, vitality, comedy, freedom,” according to the New York Times. The company “…creates a coherent, poetic realm of the imagination.” Its performances are “a feast of music and dance,” noted the Philadelphia Inquirer, and “remarkably moving.” 

BODYTRAFFIC, a Laguna Dance Festival audience favorite, will head down the freeway from Los Angeles for a Sat, Sept. 24 performance at 7:30 p.m. in a combined program with BalletX. In addition, BODYTRAFFIC dancers will present a master class at Laguna Beach High School at 10 a.m. the same day.

Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, the company has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world and is helping to establish Los Angeles as a major center for contemporary dance. 

“BODYTRAFFIC suggests invention, attitude, and urban edge,” wrote Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe. In the Los Angeles Times, Laura Bleiberg called it “one of the most talked-about young companies, not just in LA but nationwide.” 

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Photo credit: Tomasz Rossa


A review in the Boston Globe says that BODYTRAFFIC suggests invention, attitude and urban edge.”

Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates commented, “The companies selected for this fall’s festival hail from three uniquely American cities – Kyle Abraham from New York by way of his hometown of Pittsburgh, BalletX out of Philadelphia, and BODYTRAFFIC from Los Angeles. Presented over four days, these companies offer audiences a dazzling representation of the current freshness, depth, and breadth of contemporary American dance.” 

The four onstage performances by these three extraordinary companies will be presented at the 420-seat Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road. Ticket prices are: general admission $60, students with ID $35. 

The three master classes will be held at two locations – check listings for details. Master class costs are $25 per student; $15 for an observer; and the student package of a master class and performance: $50. Tickets go on sale in July. check the Festival website for updates. 

Also, on Sept. 1 as part of the First Thursdays Art Walk, Laguna Dance Festival will present “Sculpted Motion,” two free performances at the Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive. Dancers will perform amid works by maverick modernist Peter Krasnow. 

Performing at 6:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. will be Los Angeles-based Kybele Dance Theater, fusing contemporary dance with Turkish imagery while offering a global perspective, and L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, a collaborative contemporary dance company working out of downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex to bring together choreographers, dancers, and artists of all disciplines.

Barbara’s Column

Canvas for a Cause - LPAPA raises funds to match city grant


Photos courtesy LPAPA

Plein Air is to painting, what al fresco is to eating

Both bring a breath of fresh air that satisfies a hunger.

Laguna’s long love affair with plein air painters began with Norman St. Clair, who is credited with enticing other artists to Laguna after acclimating himself to warmer, sunnier climes - and the light, ah, the light of Southern California. They brought fame to Laguna in the early 1900s as an Art Colony. 

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. founded in 1996 by Saim Caglayan, revived and has continued the traditions of those pioneering artists.  

Sunday, the association hosted Canvas for a Cause to raise funds to match the city’s $50,000 grant. Ten teams set up easels on Main Beach, followed by an auction of their works at the Ocean & Forest Gallery. 

Each team included a prominent member of the community and at least one artist, except for Caglayan’s, which had three painters: himself, Kyoko Ishigami and Pierre Bouret

The teams had two hours to complete a painting and all members of the team were required to participate.    

“I touched the brush and the brush touched the painting,” said Mark Christy, the local celebrity for the Celeste Gilles team, which included painter John Crosby.

Team Cheryl Kinsman was converted to Team Tom Lamb when she was unable to attend the event. Anthony Salvo was the team’s painter. Festival of Arts board member Anita Mangels completed the trio. 

“I laid the foundation for the entire work,” said Mangels. 

Team Harry Bithell was the first to complete a painting, well ahead of the two-hour limit. The prominent participant was City Councilman Kelly Boyd, the painter Tom Swimm. Suzi Bithell observed.

 Team harry: Kelly Boyd (L), Tom Swimm, Harry Bithell

Swimm who prefers studio painting, was made an offer to participate in the paint-out that he couldn’t refuse: his wife, Rosemary, is the executive director of LPAPA.

Laguna College of Art and Design President Jonathan Burke also had some adjusting to do.

“My medium is oils but plein air - not so much,” said Burke, decked out in T-shirt designed by a LCAD staff member Carol Covarrubias. “It’s so challenging - the light keeps moving.”  

Burke was the celebrity member of Team Jeff Sewell, an artist. Artist Fernando Micheli was the third member of the team.

Team Jeff: Jeff Sewell (L) and Jonathan Burke

Mayor Steve Dicterow served as the prominent local on Ludo Leideritz’s team. David Downes was also a member.

Team Debra Huse’s team was composed of Carol Urie, artist Calvin Liang and Randy Higbee

The irrepressible Pat Kollenda said Team Melanie Froysaa’s entry was mostly grey and white.

“I couldn’t screw it up,” she said. “But watching an artist bringing it to life was inspiring.”

The artist was Rick Delanty.

Team Melanie: The winners! Rick Delanty (L), Pat Kollenda and Melanie Froysaa 

Rita Pacheco was the artist on the team headed by LPAPA board member Mary Linda Strotkamp. Jeff Pierce and Faye Baglin completed the team.

Team Toni Kellenberg’s team included artist Michael Obermeyer and Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum. 

Team Toni: Toni Kellenberg and Michael Obermeyer

When the two-hour deadline was called, all the paintings were framed and carted off to the gallery for the wine and cheese reception and the live auction. 

National Charity League member Luci Becker assisted. The 15-year-old Laguna Beach High School student was a bronze winner in the recent Festival of Arts Junior Gallery judging.  

Team Melanie’s work brought in the highest bid - $6,275. “I did the sky,” said Baglin.

Mary Linda team’s entry raised another $5,570 and Team Toni’s entry brought in $4,825.

All told, the auction raised $32,300. 

“Because of that and donations, we will match the city’s grant,” said Swimm. 

But wait - There’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading

Six Laguna kids won awards at FOA Junior Art Show

Six young Laguna Beach artists were among the medalists announced recently at the Festival of Arts Junior Art Gallery awards ceremony. 

Top of the World kindergartener student Andrew Collins placed first in the Pre-kindergarten to 12th grade Photography Category. Fellow TOW kindergartner Lars Knepper came in second, followed by third-grader Juliette French, whose entry came from the Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club.

Laguna Beach High School Senior Colin Soloff placed first in the 10-to-12-grade group for his photograph titled “An Ethereal World”. 

Two ninth graders were awarded medals in the Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade age 2-D category. Chloe Flanagan’s untitled work was awarded the second place medal and Luci Becker’s “Land and Sea” painting came in third. 

The medals were presented in the ceremony with parents, friends and teachers there to applaud. 

Orange County teachers entered 6,000 pieces of art to the exhibition this year. Three hundred were hung in the gallery, one of the most popular exhibits in the festival. 

Inaugurated in 1947, the Junior Art Gallery is a joint effort of the festival and the Orange County Department’s Imagination Celebration. The exhibition underscores the importance of art education in our schools.

Here’s a hot flash for a change – Menopause the Musical will run for two weeks only at the Playhouse

GFour Productions, winners of 54 Drama Desk and 44 Tony Awards, are thrilled to bring back the international hit show Menopause The Musical® to Laguna Beach in all its hilarious glory. The show will open on Wed, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. and run through Sun, Sept 11.

Menopause The Musical® is a groundbreaking celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.”  Now celebrating 15 years of female empowerment through musical comedy, Menopause The Musical® has evolved as a “grassroots” movement of women who deal with life adjustments after 40 by embracing each other and the road ahead. 

Set in a department store, the show features four women who meet by chance while shopping for a black lace bra at a lingerie sale. After noticing unmistakable similarities among one another, the all-female cast jokes about their woeful hot flashes, mood swings, wrinkles, weight gain and much more. These women form a sisterhood and unique bond with the entire audience as they rejoice in celebrating that menopause is no longer “The Silent Passage.”

The laughter-filled 90-minute production gets audience members out of their seats and singing along to parodies from classic pop songs of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.  

Menopause The Musical®, now in its 15th year of production, is recognized as the longest-running scripted production in Las Vegas and continues to entertain nightly at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. 

The musical has entertained audiences across the country in more than 450 cities, nearly 300 international cities and a total of 15 countries. 

For more information, visit

Performances will be Wed, Thurs and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road. 

Tickets prices range from $50 - $60 for all seats and can be purchased online at or by calling 949-497-ARTS (2787).  Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mon – Sat 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bare Bones Theatre’s three fall 2016 Playreadings

All the Good in the World by Cory Hinkle

In Williston, North Dakota, a pastor opens his church to unemployed men who have come north looking for work in the oil fields. But his decision to invite a convicted felon to live in his guest bedroom threatens to destroy his family. A drama about faith and how hard it is to know if you’re doing the right thing.

Monday, Sept 12, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7.

Sandra Jones Campbell Studio, 2173 Laguna Canyon Road

$20 in advance; $25 at the door.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Lojo Simon

Featuring Mark Miller, Deb Conroy, Charlie Pacello and Evie Cant, with Ava Burton reading stage directions.

Community conversation to follow about faith, fear and following your heart.

Final Arrangements: The New To-Die For Musical™ by Ken Jillson

Set at a home-going service in Savannah, Georgia, this brand new musical by local writer/composer Ken Jillson (Big Splash) tells the uplifting story of Rita Mae Williams, who, though she died too soon, has an important message for her friends and family: Live now, because tomorrow may never come. Featuring 15+ original songs and a cast of 10.

Monday, Oct 10, 7 p.m.

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road

No charge, but you must RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Michele Spears.

Music directed by Roxanna Ward

Featuring Jennifer Leigh Warren as Rita Mae (Broadway: Big River, Little Shop of Horrors; Laguna Playhouse: I’m Still Getting My Act Together, Lonesome Traveler, Having It All). This powerhouse cast also includes: Amber Mercomes (Idelta) and Angie Whitney (Viola).

The Good Father by Christian O’Reilly

It’s New Year’s Eve in Ireland, and two strangers hook up at a party. A few weeks later, she calls him with some unexpected news: she’s pregnant. A comedy about how life can change on a dime, and how the prospect of parenting changes everything. By the writer of Chapatti, coming to Laguna Playhouse in January 2017.

Monday, Nov 14, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7.

Sandra Jones Campbell Studio, 2173 Laguna Canyon Road

$20 in advance; $25 at the door.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Mark Miller

Featuring Bare Bones resident actors Ava Burton and Ben Farrow.

Community conversation to follow about dealing with unexpected news.

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