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.

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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

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

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Sawdust Artists’ Benevolence Fund Auction exemplifies the art of giving


The Sawdust Artists’ Benevolence Fund Auction on Sunday was a huge success, raising $22,000 net, according to Monica Prado, Sawdust exhibitor and President of the Artists Benevolence Fund Board.

 According to Linda Grossman, a trustee who oversaw the Benevolence Fund efforts this year, it was the best to date.

“It was extremely well received and brought in the most ever. We’re so thrilled,” Grossman said. “A lot of the pieces were donated by past recipients.”

 Grossman said the stories that were shared at the auction were heartbreaking. From an artist whose art studio was ruined during the mudslides to artists with cancer and other serious health issues, many tearful yet grateful moments were shared, as past recipients gave thanks for the money they’ve received from the Benevolence Fund.

“I estimate about 220 pieces of art of all sizes were donated. They were extremely generous,” said Grossman.

Prado contributed a mosaic, depicting a wetlands scene, valued at $1,100. It was purchased at auction for $1,000 by local philanthropist George Heed. And a glass blown sculpture by Gavin Heath, also a board trustee, brought in $3,000.

The Benevolence Fund is an indispensable source of financial aid for Laguna Beach artists who have suffered a catastrophic event and are unable to work. The Fund began as the Artists’ Relief Fund in 1987, when artwork was auctioned to help a critically ill Sawdust Festival artist. The auction is the primary means of growing the fund, said Prado.

“Many artists don’t have health insurance, they don’t qualify under Covered California nor can they can’t afford private insurance. In times of serious illness, injury, or disasters that wipe out studios, where do artists turn,” said Prado. “Most importantly, we look out for each other. That is what the Benevolence Fund is all about, artists helping artists. We couldn’t do it without the art lovers who attend the auction each year.”

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Photo provided by the Sawdust

The Sawdust Benevolence Fund raised a record amount at its auction 

Sawdust artist, Dr. Neon, who donated a piece, agreed, but expressed how much Laguna and the Sawdust have both significantly changed over the decades.

He has changed as well. Back in 1980, when he first exhibited at the Sawdust, he was fearless. Now, he said, everyone is aging and most of the artists he has worked with are either gone, dead, retired, or have moved on.

“The Benevolence Fund, for the many artists who are down on their luck or who have had a hard time, it really comes out to be quite handy and important,” said Dr. Neon. “As Blanche Dubois said, ‘I live off the kindness of others.’ So it’s good for other artists to support other artists. Altruism is a disease many of us don’t have.”

Sawdust artist and Laguna Beach native Karen Hedges donated a piece this year.

“I donated a framed original oil painting that I painted en plein air on the grounds of the Mission in San Juan Capistrano,” said Hedges. “Although I have not been a recipient of the Benevolence Fund, I know artists who have been very appreciative to have such a fund available in time of need. These recipients are often the most generous donors when they are able to give back to our close-knit community.” 

Over the years more than $125,000 has been distributed to Sawdust and Laguna Beach artists who have experienced an unexpected calamity.

“What people don’t realize is the Sawdust Benevolence is for all Laguna Beach artists, not just Sawdust artists,” Grossman said. “It’s such a support for so many people. It has helped hundreds over artists over the years.”

Until next time…so much benevolence, so little time!

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 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.

Tickets to an event that’s the talk of the town – the Annual Girls Night Out – are selling fast

Tickets are selling fast for theNinth Annual Girls Night Out event, which benefits the LB Boys & Girls Club. This event is exclusively for women will take place at the spectacular Wilson family home in Laguna Beach on Thurs, Sept 28 from 6 p.m. – 10 p.m. 

The ladies will enjoy an evening in a beautiful oceanfront home as well as amazing food, signature cocktails, wine, martinis, shopping, pampering, and fun! In addition to all of that, each lady will go home with a swag bag full of girly goodies.

Early bird tickets are selling for $150, and can be purchased on the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach website:

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Girls’ Night Out provides guaranteed fun – this year, it takes place on Sept 28

This event is sponsored by Wilson Automotive Group, Winston’s Crown Jewelers, Montage Laguna Beach, Newport Lexus, Starfish, PIMCO, State Street, and Whole Foods.

This event is the “talk of the town” and organizers promise that you will not want to miss it. For more information contact Michelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-7584.

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach provides childhood experiences designed to keep children healthy, active, and “thinking” while having fun. The CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, Pam Estes, says “The Boys & Girls Club has filled a vital role in our community and we will continue to do so for generations to come.”

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach occupies three sites in Laguna Beach; Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch and Lang Park Branch. Together, they offer a nationally recognized and award winning year round Out-of-School enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. 

From preschool to parenting classes, The Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. 

For more information about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit: or call (949) 494-2535.

Artists draw on their imaginations – and trash – for fashions that resonate in Laguna


Photos courtesy Festival of Arts

It is amazing what can be done with soda pop bottles, cleaner’s plastic bags, used crayons and losing lottery tickets.

Of, course it helps if you are talented artists, as are all of the participants in the 9th Annual Festival of Arts Runway Fashion Show, the brilliant brain child of Special Events Director Susan Davis.

Seven exhibitors in the 2017 show drew on their imaginations and their trash baskets to design fashions that resonate in Laguna---a combination of art and recycling.

Five prizes of $1,000 each were awarded.  

The show opened with ceramist Mike Tauber’s sassy dress composed of duct tape, blue and green paint chips and a belt buckle designed by the artist. The dress was modeled by Sophie Higuchi, one of the models in the very first festival fashion show, and daughter of Sharbie Higuchi, festival director of marketing.  

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Elizabeth McGhee walks the runway in an outfit she created

Elizabeth McGhee’s own childhood inspired the outfit she designed and modeled, winner of the Most Creative Concept Award. More than 600 crayon wrappers were sewn together to make the bodice. Construction paper for the skirt and collar was collected from children’s art classes, some of them perhaps taught by McGhee, a member of Laguna Outreach Community Arts that provides art workshops for the children and adults.

Artists Antje Campbell and Carla Bosch were inspired by the ordinary scraps found in the studios of a painter, a woodworker, a vinyl graphic designer and a seamstress. They transformed the disparate materials into their vision of a butterfly, complete with bubble wrap wings, modeled by Sara Bosch.

Kirsten Whalen won the Most Innovative Use of Materials Award for “Pop Diva.” The entry was constructed of hand-woven cassette tape for the bodice and old window screens for the skirt. Shoes and hat were decorated with guitar strings. A vinyl record was molded into a purse that carried a microphone, which Whalen’s daughter, actress and singer Erika Schindele, put to good use, performing “What the World Needs Now is Love.”

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Sierra Manos wears a dress created by Festival artist Brad Elsberry

Hundreds of transparent plastic water and soda and the little plastic boxes used for cookies were cut up by perennial winner Brad Elsberry, and reshaped by heat to create his ethereal entry, modeled by Sierra Manos. It won the Most Exciting Concept Award. 

The gown and cape were put together with hot glue, one of the few substances known to man that will glue one plastic water bottle to another. Layers of sunset colored paint overlaid the plastic.

An inner warrior queen hidden inside the power broker in her grey flannel suit burst forth in Mariana Nelson’s design. Model Laura Nelson strutted down the runway in a colorful gown of dry cleaners bags, topped with a crown of wire hangers.

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Mary Schmidt wears a dress created by Festival artist Richard Moren

The simple purchase of a lottery ticket inspired Richard Moren’s entry: $4,800 and 1,600 tickets later, he had yet to win the lottery, so he did something beautiful with them. 

His divine evening gown made from tickets, folded into origami-like flowers, won the Most Red Carpet Ready and People’s Choice awards

Actor, writer and singer Kate Flannery, who played Meredith on the nine-year run of “The Office,” hosted the show. 

Mar Luc Zanola, a French transplant to Laguna Beach, Emmy winning costume designer Marie Schley, actress Melissa Biggs, who recently starred in “Clarissa’s Gift,” and the 2,000 folks in the audience served as judges. 

Those who missed the show can see the costumes in the booths of the artists that created them.  

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Say “Meow” with haute looks on the catwalk at FOA’s Fashion Show Saturday


Forget Paris, Milan, New York and London, when it comes to the fashion scene, they have nothing like the fashion seen at the Festival Runway Fashion Show. See for yourself on Saturday, 12 to 3 p.m. View the truly original “recycled” stylings of eclectic elegance with these on-trend, lust-have, couture du jour featuring a collection of must-see, artful designs. 

Be close to the catwalk to witness festival artists compete to create the most inspired couture using reclaimed, reused or recycled material, boasting the most allure. Featuring Festival exhibitors Carla Bosch, Antje Campbell, Brad Elsberry, Elizabeth McGhee, Richard Moren, Adam Neeley, Mariana Nelson and Mike Tauber, vying for top cash prizes of $1,000 in four categories: Most Creative Concept, Most Exciting Ensemble, Most Innovative Use of Materials and Most Glamorous & Elegant “Red Carpet” worthy creation, and a “People’s Choice Award” to be voted, by you the audience, at the event.

The 9th annual Festival Runway Fashion Show will be hosted by actress Kate Flannery, a Festival favorite, best known for her role as Meredith on “The Office,” Flannery shared the stage with Jane Lynch in, “See Jane Sing,” last Saturday.

Selecting the winners will be a panel of judges including actress/model Melissa Biggs, Marc Luc Zanola, former Paris Boutique Manager for designer Gianfranco Ferre, and Lauren Shapiro, Costume Designer and Wardrobe Stylist for the “Late Late Show with James Corden.”

Fashion designer, aka ceramicist Richard Moren, said he loves the runway extravaganza. 

“The fashion show is one of the many shining gems here at the Festival. To be a part of it is artistically stimulating and exciting,” said Moren. “And, who doesn’t love a creative challenge?” 

Terms like reclaimed, reused and recycled are part of Moren’s nomenclature, so to speak.

“I grew up in a family where nothing was wasted. Everything was saved, just in case,” Moren said. “We, especially my mom, made magic out of scraps and bits of stuff and pieces. Both practical and fanciful magic. It’s part of my nature to want to do the same.”

His model is his wife’s friend, Mary Schmidt, a long time Laguna Beach resident, who will be wearing couture made of lottery tickets, inspired, of course, by “Lady Luck!”

“The act of buying a lottery ticket gives me a sense of unlimited possibilities, and inspires the dreamer’s imagination in me to soar to the heavens. This dress is constructed of approximately 1,600 lottery tickets,” Moren said. “My medium in the festival is clay, so exploring how to repurpose these, shall we say, ‘less than successful’ paper tickets into a dress, was great fun.”

 Moren estimates the “original purchase price” for the tickets used in creating the dress to be more than $4,800. Will he hit the jackpot with his couture? Let’s hope!

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Photo provided by Mike Tauber

Get ready to get your clap on with Tauber’s theme song at the FOA Fashion Show

Mike Tauber, ceramic tiles, calls his fashion design, Paint-Chips dress, inspired by his work and a recent tour of the Costume Studio at Denver Art Museum.

“They have an awesome exhibit of tools, samples, and techniques used for creating wearable art,” Tauber said. “My design is made from scraps from my studio, objects found on our shorelines, paint chip samples, Duct Tape, and hot glue. My starting point was one of my seascape paintings in my booth. It’s an ocean scene and I love the blues and greens of our local coastline.”

Tauber said he entered the Fashion Show because he sees the FOA as a multifaceted art venue.

“I love being involved with things like the Art-to-Go Fundraiser, the Festival stage and concerts, and I have been in the Pageant in the past,” said Tauber. “And Project Runway is a great way for exhibitors to engage with audiences.”

And engage he will, having fun with the fashion show-goers.

“To bump it up a notch, I think it’s important to have audience engagement. So I picked a song by Fitz and the Tantrums called, “HandClap,” for my soundtrack,” said Tauber. “I am seeking out attendees who know the following two things - how to count to six and how to clap, so they can clap along to my theme song,” Tauber said. “I thought it would be a great way to bring in the audience and to engage them. I want everyone to join together in the fun and clap along with my model Sophie.” 

To get your clap on and learn the moves of your palms, Tauber provided a link to “HandClap,” on or visit the band’s YouTube video

“It will be an upbeat interactive experience, and after all, the day is about fun, fun, fun,” Tauber said.

Until next time…so much creative couture, so little time!

Art-to-Go features travel-themed works: 20 percent off sale takes place at FOA, Sat Aug 12 11:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Art collectors who love travel will enjoy the 2017 Art-To-Go fundraising collection at Festival of Arts. More than 100 exhibitors donated originals under the theme “The Art of Travel”. 

A special 20 percent-off sale will be featured Sat Aug 12, 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Sealed bids will also be accepted, opened at 2 p.m, and items sold by 3:30 p.m. Bid forms are available now at the displays on the Festival grounds.

Works are available for purchase daily, now through Aug 31, while supplies last.

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Marlo Bartels’ Diamond Planter 

“My travel involves flying over Avalon,” said painter Michael Obermeyer, “So I painted an aerial of a seaplane over the famous casino.” The collection also features originals by Marlo Bartels, Kate Cohen, Toni Danchik, Rick Graves, Mark Jacobucci, Greg LaRock, Tom Lamb, Tom Swimm, Jacquie Moffett, Mariana Nelson, and many more.

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A stunning piece of art from the talented Tom Swimm is available

Proceeds from Art-To-Go sales benefit The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts, providing hardship and disaster relief grants for artists in need. View the online gallery at or call (949) 612-1949. Visit the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd,

Suzie’s ARTiculation

The City is working with the community to help solve affordable Artist Work/Live space issues


Last week consultants came to Laguna Beach for an initial visit to help facilitate plans for affordable housing for local working artists. 

Cultural Arts Manager Siân Poeschl explained that the City Council approved an implementation plan, which including hiring Artspace to undertake an assessment of Artist Work/Live in Laguna Beach. Over 100 people attended workshops over a two-day period, and included residents, artists, employers and financers.

While the action orientated study is a directive of the City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Plan, the discussion of affordable housing and working spaces has been a goal for years, including in the Vision Laguna Plan 2030 from 2000. 

The Cultural Arts Plan notes:

Goal 1.3 Support development of affordable artists work/live, work and production spaces.

Goal 1.3.1 Explore development of a new artists’ work/live project in partnership with a nonprofit developer, such as Artspace. Nonprofit developers typically bring financing to such projects and require a minimal investment on the part of City government, such as land assembly, soft costs for preplanning and permitting assistance. Begin with a feasibility study conducted by Artspace, PLACE or other nonprofit developer.

Goal 1.3.4 Develop an inventory of land and buildings that can be considered as potential sites for artist work/live, studios and cultural facilities.

Established in 1979, Artspace is well-known for their Artist Work/Live expertise. Since 2004, Artspace has worked with over 223 communities in 45 states. 

Poeschl gave thanks to Artspace’s Senior Vice President, Consulting & Strategic Partnerships, Wendy Holmes, and Vice President, Consulting & Strategic Partnerships, Teri Deaver.

“Wendy Holmes and Teri Deaver from Artspace really engaged and embraced the community and its culture,” said Poeschl. “They are aware of our challenges and their goal is to help identify solutions that not only make our collective vision possible, but also make our community safer, and more livable.”

Art Commissioner Suzi Chauvel, who was also on the Steering Committee that helped formulate the Cultural Arts Plan agreed.

“Artspace is the gold standard for these kinds of projects with successful examples of their work all over the U.S.,” said Chauvel. “I was impressed that all their projects are completely suited to each community’s unique needs.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Over 100 Laguna Beach artists, residents, employers, and financers attended Artist Work/Live workshops last week

Laguna Beach has 164 low-to-moderate income housing units. There is now low-income housing, disabled/HIV and senior housing in Laguna Beach, and the City Council directed the Arts Commission to provide innovative ideas about facilitating affordable working/living space for working artists. 

The creative sector is an anchor point of Laguna Beach that contributes $95.4 million is economic spending by non-profit arts organizations and its audiences generating $4.4 million in local revenue. 

“Art and Artists are not just good for the economy, they put the heart in our home,” said Poeschl.

She explained that the study is not a one-fix to a large issue facing not only Laguna Beach, but the state as a whole.

“It is a holistic approach to progressive thinking and innovative solutions. Artspace has a successful background in undertaking just that, and we have been fortunate in having them on board to help guide solutions,” Poeschl said. “They have undertaken their first fact finding visit and will now be doing a lot of research before presenting their preliminary report to the Arts Commission which is expected in November.”

Chauvel said the community’s support is integral.

“I would like to thank the Laguna Beach Community for all of their valuable feedback. We had a healthy discourse in our community engagement with the Artspace team,” said Chauvel. “I think everyone came away from the experience more knowledegable about the possibilities for Artist Work/Live projects.”

Poeschl said the City and the Arts Commission are committed to retaining artists working and living in our community and will explore all avenues to achieve this for future generations to call Laguna Beach home.

“Laguna Beach has for generations been a socially and economically diverse community generating an authentic character and sense of place,” said Poeschl. “The work we are doing now is to look towards our future, not for next year, or the year after that, but what we want to identify ourselves as 20 to 40 years from now.”

Until next time…so much in the works for our artists, so little time!

Sawdust Artists Benevolence Fund auctions – silent and live – will take place on Sun Aug 13 

The Sawdust Artists Benevolence Fund, a source of financial assistance for artists living in Laguna Beach who have suffered a catastrophic event, leaving them unable to work, will host its 31st annual Art Auction on Sunday, August 13.  

A silent auction will be held in the Healy House at the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival at 10 a.m. followed by a live auction on the main deck, beginning at 1 p.m.

The auction features paintings, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, photography and more, created by Sawdust artists with the goal of raising funds for fellow artists in times of need. Professional auctioneer, Tony DeZao, who will be presiding over the live auction, is sure to pack the experience with lots of laughs, entertaining stories and amazing art.

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Donita Lloyd is donating an original oil painting as a way to say thank you

“Last year we celebrated our best auction to date, and we hope the community turns out again to support our artists,” stated Monica Prado, President of the Artists Benevolence Fund Board of Trustees.

Two recent recipients shared their story and donated original works to the auction. “Six months ago my world was falling apart. A grant from the Artists Benevolence Fund made a huge difference and got me back on my feet,” said Donita Lloyd, who is donating an original oil painting to the auction.

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Cliff Wasserman is also donating an original oil painting in gratitude

Cliff Wassermann, who also is donating an original oil painting said, “While in recovery from knee surgery and unable to maintain my art show schedule the Benevolence Fund came through for me and helped me get past that difficult time.”

To attend the auction, email Franky Duschane at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for complimentary tickets. 

For more information on the Sawdust Artists’ Benevolence Fund, visit:

Chicago at NoSquare is so successful, the theatre is adding a matinee this Sunday Aug 13


Not surprisingly to me after watching the show last week, Chicago at NoSquare has done so well that the theatre will be adding a matinee this coming Saturday, Aug 12, at 2 p.m.

As I wrote, I felt part of the show because of the intimate setting and the actors’ energy, which enveloped the entire audience. I was mesmerized by the tale of the two murderesses, intrigued by the drama, swept up in the singing, and immensely grateful to be able to experience such terrific performances right here in Laguna Beach close to home.

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Juliet Schulein (Velma), center of photo, and fellow actors during rehearsals

Every production at this venue, I’m in awe of the bravery and accomplishment of the actors who make maximum use of the small stage without ever appearing to be aware of how close they are to the edges.

According to Director Joe Lauderdale: “Chicago was based on the real murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, as chronicled by Maureen Dallas Watkins for the Chicago Tribune. Watkins turned her reports into a play called Chicago, which opened on Broadway in 1926. 

“The amazing thing about Chicago, whether it was 1926 or 1975 [when it was first performed on Broadway] is that celebrities who do bad things are made media darlings by a public that craves controversy. The ideas are never out of date.”

I’m not sure if it is comforting or not to know that there have always been OJ Simpson figures – will there one day be a musical called Brentwood? – but either way, this show entertains, illuminates, and proves once again that we humans are happy voyeurs at heart. 

We’re lucky to have access to such great talent in our town, thanks to the dedicated NoSquare team. NoSquare is located at Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St.

Playhouse is awarded $20,000 grant from S.L. Gimbel Foundation to benefit Youth Education programs

 The Laguna Playhouse was recently awarded a $20,000 grant from the 2017 S.L. Gimbel Foundation Fund, administered by The Community Foundation, according to Executive Director Ellen Richard. 

The grant will support the Playhouse’s year-round, award-winning Youth Education and Outreach Programs: Youth Theatre; TheatreReach:  Bringing Books to Life; and workshops. 

“We are extremely pleased to provide this grant, which is to support the Playhouse’s proposal to engage homeless/underserved youth in literature-based theatre,” said Celia Cudiamat, executive vice president of programs of The Community Foundation.

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Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre summer workshop

“The Community Foundation is a new and important partner in support of our youth education programs. This grant-funding will enable Laguna Playhouse to develop new collaborations with local agencies serving homeless youth to provide artistic enrichment by bringing them to the Playhouse for Youth Theatre performances,” Ellen Richard added. “We are convinced that participation in the arts is necessary and highly beneficial for all youth and provides hope and inspiration to help all youth succeed.”

Playhouse Youth Programs provide the joy of live theatre based on classic children’s literature and innovative, high-quality arts education for youth. Grant support also enables low-income children to participate, which is often their first exposure to live theatre. In schools that benefit from the TheatreReach program, 100 percent of the teachers report that most of the students are more involved in the curriculum because of this program.

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Youth Conservatory students perform with professional actors in Romeo & Juliet

“Support of Laguna Playhouse Youth Education Programs helps provide innovative, high quality arts education for approximately 7,500 youth throughout the year. Arts education improves critical thinking and spatial reasoning skills, while encouraging creativity and stimulating imagination. Theatre training encourages discovery and innovation, offering children a more complete picture of their own identities and an expanded view of the world around them,” explained Donna Inglima, Playhouse director of youth programming.

 The Laguna Playhouse is widely noted for its Youth Theater, Education and Outreach programs. Donna Inglima received a 2017 Life-Time Achievement Award from the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance, and was named Arts Educator of the Year in 2009 by Arts OC. The TheatreReach program, which brings books to life on-stage for elementary school children, was awarded the ‘Outstanding Arts Entity Award’ by Arts Orange County.  

Because of its longstanding commitment to the arts, The Laguna Playhouse has been recognized for excellence by the LA Drama Critics Circle, NAACP, Backstage, ArtsOC, OC Weekly, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and more.  Laguna Playhouse’s educational programming, which includes classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre) and a school tour, has been honored by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education, Arts Orange County and the Orange County Department of Education.

Live! at the Museum presents renowned violin artists YuEun Kim and EtienneGara at LAM on Aug 10 

On Thu, Aug 10, Laguna Beach Live! presents YuEun Kim and Etienne Gara at the Laguna Art Museum. Live! and the Laguna Art Museum have partnered to present an evening of art and music on the second Thursday of each month from 7 – 8 p.m. 

Born in Seoul, Korea, violinist YuEun Kim is forging a significant international career. Having earned her Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in violin performance from the prestigious Seoul National University, Ms. Kim is presently working toward her Artist Diploma, as a Starling Fellow on full scholarship at the USC-Thornton School of Music.

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Musician YuEun Kim 

French born violinist Étienne Gara has performed extensively worldwide since making his orchestral solo debut in 2005 with the Savaria Symphony Orchestra in Hungary. 2010 laureate of the prestigious Fondation Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, Etienne currently is the artistic director of the Open Academy Orchestra, in Los Angeles. 

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Ètienne Gara on the violin 

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 pm. Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information about the series and other concerts, go online at or phone 949-715-9713.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

For Festival freshmen life is good, living the dream


Time seems to be passing by at an exceptional pace, exceeding the speed limit for my taste.I can’t believe I am writing this, but we’ve already reached the halfway mark of the Festival season. So, I thought it would be a good time to check in with the freshmen class at the Festival of Arts now that they’ve had a chance to get their bearings. Here’s what a few of them had to say about themselves, their work, and their experience of being a first-time FOA exhibitor.

Pil Ho Lee, Oil Painting

“I’ve always admired the level of work shown here at FOA. Seven years ago, when I decided to put more time into painting, I remember being inspired by some of the artists that I’m exhibiting with this year. It’s such a privilege and I’m so grateful to have this opportunity.

It’s already met my expectations and we’re half way into the season. I’m thankful just to be an exhibitor this year but also with how this show’s been going. From the people, artists I’ve met, to the paintings sold, it’s been very encouraging. One of my goals at the end of the season is to try to make it back for the 2018 season.

I’m learning how important it is to meet with patrons to get feedback on my work. It’s very interesting to hear their take on my work and what they look for and draws them in. Most of the time it’s very affirming and encouraging. It’s often the subject matter and the style of my paintings that they connect to on an emotional level which encourages me the most.

I’ve always been drawn to a painterly, loose style. And it was about three years ago I started experimenting with abstract work. Although abstract and representational are two very different approaches, I respect both forms of painting. And I like to have elements of abstraction in all my paintings. I will continue my work both in abstract and representational work and see where it takes me.

I enjoy being able to create something that’s part of who I am. Painting is a beautiful way to express my emotions and it’s special when others connect with it. I think this is the reason why artists have to be authentic. I believe that’s the only way you can do good hard work.”

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Photo by the artist

Check out pieces by new Festival artists like Pil Ho Lee’s “Twilight Reflections”

Joy Vansell, Printmaking

“The experience has been fantastic, the camaraderie of all the artists. The festival is like going to adult art camp. To spend my days with like-minded folks and discussing methods with other printmakers, art struggles and inspiration with others, medium choices and papers and frames and techniques. It’s a family. My goal was to thoroughly enjoy it as a newbie of the festival.

Art is my way of life. When my children were young and the studio seemed impossible, I’d garden. Unlimited texture, waves of color, creating space, all lends itself to creating. Art has always been a part of my life, it enhances the quality in my life.

I’m attracted to strong images that reflect emotional feeling, reference to a thought or time. As it develops the tenor or mood evolves to suggest and reveal something. Facial representation, mood reflection, language, layers, serenity. Whatever image I work with I always end up back to the figure.

I love color. My background is in ceramics where you build a piece and after the first firing the piece is stark white and you create over again with color. Printmaking allows me the use of color while the figure is being investigated. The use of the primary colors, red, yellow and blue allows me to layer and create all variety of colors.”

Leslie Bonanni, Pastels

“It has been absolutely amazing. The other artists are as extraordinary personally as professionally. Management is organized and efficient. It is better than I thought it ever could be, exceeding my expectations. Yes, my goals were to have new experiences, meet new friends, gain exposure, and sell work. To my delight, I’ve already met all these of these goals and look forward to continuing the momentum. 

What a full circle moment, when a viewer connects with my paintings. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. Patrons ponder, they look, they move closer, they look deep. They stay with it, and I leave them in silence to allow an emotional connection. 

Some are surprised the medium is pastel, as they did not recognize it as such. With comments like “simple, elegant, soothing, moody, contemplative, fresh, unusual, never seen anything like it, emotional, evocative, atmospheric, and meditative,” I feel grateful. The viewer has been taken on a journey, and is at one with the message and the messenger. 

My work is painted in a Tonalist style, with an emphasis on atmosphere, mood, and a limited color palette. I paint intuitively, from memory, and in one setting, until I feel the painting is finished. My approach is self-taught, using my hands and fingers like paintbrushes and a few select tools to blend many thin layers of soft pastel pigment into the pastel paper. These passages build up an atmospheric dreamlike quality that render evocative, emotional, personal and spiritual paintings.

It is my persistent desire for the process of painting that beckons me to the studio and awakens my senses. While there, I am energized by the thrill of anticipation, not knowing what will happen. Each day is a new discovery, an opportunity for passionate self-expression. It’s all part of living life out loud, making a difference for myself, and for those who hear my artistic voice.”

Rachelle Chuang, Mixed Media

“I have known about FOA for many years. I can’t even express how amazing being at the Festival has been. I am extremely grateful, humbled and honored to be there. Without a single exception, every staff or security person and fellow artists have been gracious, helpful and kind. This is confirmed by my other fellow first year artists as well. It is beyond my expectations and my personal and business goals are being reached. 

The response has been favorable and gracious. Most people respond that my work is very unique and I have to say it is. I’ve come up with a unique process and art form combining relief printing and collage that strikes people. I am very grateful. If people walk away with just a moment of joy by viewing color, then I have succeeded.

My work is the result of experimentation and chance using four things that I love: paper, print, collage and color. Full sheets of heavyweight paper are uniquely printed from antique wood type, cut into strips and collaged on wood panels using archival PVA glue. Thick layers of epoxy resin are used to coat each work, resulting in brilliant, lively colors that show natural mark-making from relief printing as well as overprinted color shapes. I consider this series a demonstration of creative color play showcasing the multiple processes used in its creation. I hope that every viewer receives a “color benediction” or blessing as an enjoyable, visually-saturated experience.

My motto and sign-off is ‘May your soul be filled with vibrant color!’” 

Until next time…so much art and talent, so little time!

Laguna Playhouse announces change: Twelve Angry Men now opens Oct 4, The Graduate opens March, 2018

Due to scheduling conflicts beyond the production’s control, Laguna Playhouse has announced that the previously scheduled dates for The Graduate, starring Academy Award nominee Melanie Griffith as Mrs. Robinson, will move to March 2018. In its place, Twelve Angry Men, which was scheduled to open in March 2018, will now perform from Oct 4 - 22. 

Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “This schedule change of switching our two anticipated upcoming plays of The Graduate with Twelve Angry Men ends up working out best for both these important productions for the Playhouse.” 

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Twelve Angry Men will now open on Oct 4

Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham. “We are thrilled with the team that director Michael Matthews is putting together for a very timely Twelve Angry Men,and we look forward to having Melanie Griffith on our stage next March.”

Single tickets range from $40 - $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.

Subscriptions to the 2017-2018 – 97thseason are now available by calling the box office at the number above or going to the website.

The box office is open Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Salute to the Arts spotlights Maile Meloy during a special author discussion on Sun, Aug 6, at FOA

As part of a new series of Sunday afternoon events at The Festival of the Arts, Salute to the Arts hosts Maile Meloy in a discussion of her new novel, Do Not Become Alarmed on Aug 6 from 2 - 4 p.m. Inspired by the original Festival, which featured a variety of artistic endeavors in theater, literature, dance, and more, the FOA introduced Salute to the Arts as part of its 2017 calendar.

Do Not Become Alarmed is a story about the protective force of innocence and the limits of parental power, and an insightful look at privileged illusions of safety.

Celebrated for her spare and moving fiction, Maile Meloy has written a gripping novel about how quickly what we count on can fall away, and the way a crisis shifts our perceptions of what matters most.

On Sun, Aug 6, Maile Meloy discusses her new novel Do Not Become Alarmed

Maile Meloy is the author of the story collection Half in Love and the novel Liars and Saints, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Orange Prize. Meloy’s stories have been published in The New Yorker, and she has received The Paris Review’s Aga Khan Prize for Fiction, the PEN/Malamud Award, the Rosenthal Foundation Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in CA.

FOA is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd. Tickets for the event are $30 and include FOA admission, hardcover book, author reading and discussion, Q & A, and book signing. For tickets, call 800-487-3378, or go online at

LagunaTunes receives $4500 grant in support of its musical performances 

LagunaTunes Community Chorus, a local non-audition choral singing group, has received a grant of $4500 from the Lodging Establishments and The City of Laguna Beach in support of its musical performances. 

This grant program is made possible by revenues from the Laguna Beach Business Improvement District. The funds will be used for facility rental, artist fees, and the marketing and promotion of concerts. 

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Submitted Photo

LagunaTunes hard at work  

LagunaTunes, a 501(c)(3) organization, accepts everyone who enjoys singing and learning about different musical styles. 

Under the direction of Bob Gunn, the fifty-member group gives two free concerts every year. Fall concert rehearsals are held weekly from September to December, and Spring concert rehearsals from February to June. 

LagunaTunes includes schooled musicians as well as non-musicians who just like to sing. Music genres have ranged from serious and traditional to pop, rock, and jazz. The emphasis is on improving skills, learning to perform, and enjoying the experience. 

More information, contact Patti Jo Kiraly the president at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

JoAnne Artman Gallery will present America Martin’s new works, This is America II, beginning on Feb 15

JoAnne Artman Gallery will present THIS IS AMERICA II: New Works by AMERICA MARTIN, from Feb 15 – April 15. The Artist Reception will take place on Thurs, March 2 from 6 – 8 p.m.

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America Martin’s Boxers, paper collage, 44” x 73.5”

Bursting with life, vigorous in line, form and color, America Martin’s work showcases her unique and humanist approach to portraying the natural world as well as the human form. Constantly re-defining her artistic practice and the possibilities of expression, Martin’s work is both visionary and diverse in its approach. 

Martin works in a diversity of mediums including painting, mixed media on cotton rag paper, and sculpture. Beyond her affinity for modernism and iconic forms, Martin’s work is informed by her intensive approach to material and process. 

Rooted in art historical lexicon, Martin’s work is narrative of the various cultural, anthropological as well as sociocultural frameworks inherent in her subject matter. 

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Music and Three Men, oil and acrylic on canvas, 67” x 71”

Martin’s work is an expansive as well as inclusive expression of her Colombian-American cultural heritage. Her iconic nudes are reminiscent of the prototypical, heroic female nudes of antiquity and of classical inspiration and are impossible to ascribe to any one place or time. Through her diversity of medium the state of the human condition is expressed as well as felt through her work, bringing a closer understanding of the harmonious balance crucial to the natural world. 

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Women Swimming and Whistling, oil and acrylic on canvas, 72” x 79”

Humanist and positivist compositions that reaffirm life and the continuity of our modes of thought and the human experience ground the exhibition through Martin’s unique visual language. Scenes of everyday life that link the human form to the continuity of nature permeate her work. Martin continually redefines her oeuvre through new material considerations, continuing the ubiquitous theme of human nature and our relationships with the physical world. 

America Martin’s work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and viewers are sure to find the right artistic expression.

RSVP for the March 2 Artist’s Reception by calling 949.510.5481 by Feb 24. The JoAnne Artman Gallery is located at 326 N Coast Hwy. Visit the website at

Art-A-Fair hosts a call for Artists Jury Day on Feb 12

The Laguna Art-A-Fair announces a Call for Artists Jury Day on Sunday, Feb 12 with an opportunity to join one of California’s premier summer fine art festivals.  

Artists and artisans may enter three pieces of their original artwork along with a $40 jury fee from 8 – 11 a.m. at the Boys and Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Road.  

Artwork pickup and jury scores are provided from 4 – 4:30 p.m. with a complete prospectus available at

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Photo credit: Al Gerk

Laguna Art-A-Fair artist Hugo Rivera demonstrates his signature technique on a portrait of fellow artist Victor Dworak

For more than 50 years, the Laguna Art-A-Fair has enabled established and emerging artists to display their best creations to the tens of thousands of art-lovers who visit Laguna Beach each summer. This year’s festival runs from June 30 to Sept 3.

Visitors can choose from a broad spectrum of affordable original fine art, crafts, and reproductions.  

There are daily art workshop classes, frequent art demonstrations, and live entertainment Thurs through Sundays. 

Excellent cuisine and renowned margaritas are also available at Tivoli Too!, a restaurant retreat on the festival grounds.

FOA funding grants are available: deadline is Feb 10

The Festival of Arts (FOA) Foundation announced that applications are now available for 2017 Art Grants. 

Nonprofit organizations that have programs that promote fine arts in and about the City of Laguna Beach may apply. Submission deadline is Feb 10.  

Grant applications are available online at or may be picked up at the Festival of Arts administration office located at 650 Laguna Cyn Rd. 

 “The Foundation board looks forward to reviewing your organization’s grant application this year,” said FOA Foundation President Scott Moore. “We’re proud to be able to help fund the many art-related non-profits in the Laguna Beach community, emphasizing the enrichment of our children and young adults in all disciplines of art.”

 For more information on the grant application process, contact Moore at 494-9680. 

In 1989, with a S1.5 million donation, the Festival of Arts established the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, in order to guarantee annual financial support for the arts in Laguna Beach. 

The FOA Foundation, co-founded by John Rayment and David Young, was designed to hold these funds in a permanent endowment. The earnings and income from this endowment would be distributed annually in the form of scholarships to graduates of Laguna Beach High School and as grants to nonprofit art organizations and educational institutions in and about the city of Laguna Beach.

The FOA Foundation operates independently from the Festival of Arts. In 2007, the Festival of Arts assumed the financial responsibility of the art scholarships, enabling the FOA Foundation to focus on its grant program for local non-profit art organizations.

The FOA Foundation is comprised of a five-member board of trustees who oversees and administers the program including Scott Moore (president), John Campbell (vice president) Bob Earl (treasurer), Jacquie Moffett (secretary), and John Rayment (board member).

Laguna Art Museum’s highly anticipated Art Auction takes place on Feb 4, featuring California Cool artwork

On Feb 4, Laguna Art Museum will present Art Auction 2017: California Cool. With works by more than 100 California artists, the museum-curated Art Auction will feature original art at great prices, delicious cuisine, and creative cocktails. 

Among the many wonderful works available in the live auction, Lita Albuquerque’s Emanation is one of communications director Cody Lee’s several personal favorites. Lita had an exhibition at LAM in 2014. She is also this year’s Artist of the Year for Art Palm Springs.

“We expect a lot of excitement among bidders,” Lee says, given the superb quality of the works available.

The evening will include a silent auction as well as a live auction led by Aaron Bastian, senior specialist in California and American paintings at Bonhams in San Francisco and featured appraiser on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow.

As the museum concludes simultaneous exhibitions of works by Phillip K. Smith III and Kristin Leachman, the Museum is delighted to announce that Art Auction 2017 will feature works by both artists. Phillip K. Smith III and Royale Projects have donated an archival digital print from an edition of ten, and Kristin Leachman has donated an untitled gouache on paper ($5,500 value) from her Xylem Rays series.

Submitted photos

Lita Albuquerque, Emanation (from the Auric Field Series), pigment on panel and gold leaf on resin, 2017, 18 x 18 inches, courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery

Other notable works include a resin work by Peter Alexander ($35,000 value) donated by the artist and Peter Blake Gallery; a painting by Billy Al Bengston ($25,000 value) donated by the artist; a Light Sentence sculpture by Laddie John Dill ($40,000 value) donated by the artist; a lithograph by Sam Francis ($5,000 value) donated by the Sam Francis Foundation; as well as works by Lita Albuquerque, Helen Lundeberg, and Ed Ruscha. 

With something for every taste and pocketbook, there are many opportunities for attendees to add top-quality art to their collections. The works range in price from $250 to $50,000, and bidding starts at 50 percent of the stated value. Proceeds from the event will support Laguna Art Museum’s dedication to collecting and preserving California art, presenting critically acclaimed exhibitions, and enhancing art education programs for all. 

Laguna Art Museum’s Art Auction, in its 35th year, is the longest running art auction in California and one of Orange County’s most exciting art and social experiences.  

Tickets to attend the event are $125 for museum members at the Friend level and higher, and $150 for all others. Tickets include auction admission, complimentary parking, food, and drinks.  

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Bradley Hankey, The Beginning, oil on wood panel, 2016, 36 x 36 inches, courtesy of the artist and Skidmore Contemporary Art

The event takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. at Laguna Art Museum, with a silent auction from 6 to 8 p.m. and a live auction of twenty works at 8 p.m.  

The live auction, in partnership with Paddle8, will add a further element of excitement to the competitive bidding with absentee bids placed from around the world.

In addition to art, guests will enjoy the culinary talents of West Coast Event Productions, wine by Wine Gallery, and desserts by Simply Sweet Cakery served alongside specialty coffee and teas provided by Urth Caffé. 

The evening’s cool ambience will feature floral design by Laguna Nursery; event lighting and production by The Showpros Group; and upbeat music through the night.  

Attendees will have the chance to mingle with featured artists, fellow collectors, and the museum’s curators and executive director.

The Art Auction 2017 team is led by co-chairs Sara Heeschen and Deborah Lake; committee members Tina Cook, Jeannie Denholm, Ruben Flores, Vanessa Helin, Lauren MacLaughlin-Brinker, and Karen Morally; and Laguna Art Museum’s director of special events, Sarah Strozza.

From Sat Jan 28 to Fri Feb 3, Laguna Art Museum will be open with free admission for patrons to preview the works featured in Art Auction 2017: California Cool.  

On Sunday, Feb 5, the museum will host a public sale during which any unsold works will be available for purchase at 50 percent of the stated value. Unsold works will also be for sale online from Feb 6 to 13.

Laguna Beach’s 15th annual – and classically eclectic – Music Festival will take place from Feb 8 – 12

The 2017 Laguna Beach Music Festival, the 15th Annual Festival, is just one month away. 

A co-presentation of Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, the Laguna Beach Music Festival is an annual multi-day celebration featuring outstanding classical and contemporary concerts in intimate spaces, community outreach programs and dynamic special events.

The opening reception, the Festival Prelude, will take place on Wed Feb 8 at 5:30 p.m. at [seven-degrees]. The evening will include dinner, performance, dessert and champagne with artists.

This year’s Festival highlights will include Johannes Moser in solo and collaborative performances; appearances by guest artists such as the Calder Quartet; the world premiere of Stellar Remnants, a new work for solo cello and electronics by Ellen Reid; and an interactive musical sculpture by sound artist Stephanie Cheng Smith that will be installed on-site at the Laguna Playhouse.

The grand finale performance will feature twelve cellists playing music ranging from Bach to Michael Jackson. 

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Artistic director and cellist Johannes Moser is one of the many renowned musicians who will perform during the Music Festival this February

This year’s opportunity prize packages include an unforgettable weekend in New York City with coveted tickets to the smash hit musical Hamilton on Broadway and hotel stay at the Grand Hyatt New York, just steps from Times Square and other NYC attractions.

There are also chances to win a stay at Laguna Beach’s newest private luxury resort The Ranch, with tickets to Laguna Beach’s celebrated arts offerings including the world-renowned Pageant of the Masters, Sawdust Festival, and more.

And in addition, VIP tickets for four to the Chicago Symphony with Riccardo Muti or LA Phil with Itzhak Perlman – two of the world’s most celebrated symphony orchestras and conductor/musicians – will be available to win.

Winners will be announced on Sun, Feb 12, immediately following the concert. Winners need not be present. The Festival offers special thanks to the friends of Laguna Beach Music Festival for their generosity. Tickets are  $25 each, or five for $100. 

For more information, visit

The schedule is as follows:

Festival Prelude

Wed, Feb. 8 | 5:30pm

Seven Degrees

Opening Night Reception, 


Concerts at Laguna Playhouse


Opening Night:

J.S. Bach & Ellen Reid

Fri, Feb. 10 | 8:00pm

Hear Bach’s beloved Cello Suites No. 4, Hindemith’s Sonata for solo cello, and the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s Stellar Remnants. 


Schoenberg & Schubert Masterworks

Sat, Feb. 11 | 8:00pm

Johannes Moser and the award-winning Calder Quartet perform Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night and Schubert’s String Quintet in C major.


One to Twelve:

The Johannes Moser Project

Sun, Feb. 12 | 3:00pm

Johannes Moser joins forces with eleven SoCal cellists to perform an exciting variety of works written for up to twelve cellists, running the gamut from Bach to contemporary pop and everything in between!

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