Kate Buckley, Laguna’s first Poet Laureate, launches Poet Laureate’s Showcase at the Library

Kate Buckley, Laguna Beach’s inaugural poet laureate, is launching a Poet Laureate’s Showcase series of readings, aimed at bringing nationally known poets to Laguna Beach. 

She’s kicking off the series with two events featuring such literary luminaries as Christopher Merrill, Kathryn Nuernberger, and Noah Blaustein. 

The first event, featuring readings by Blaustein, Buckley, and Merrill, followed by a Q&A, will be held this Wednesday evening, June 21, at the Laguna Beach Public Library, 363 Glenneyre Street. The reading will be held from 5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. 

Christopher Merrill has published six collections of poetry, including Brilliant Water, and Watch Fire, for which he received the Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets; translations of Aleš Debeljak’s Anxious Moments and The City and the Child; as well as several edited volumes. 

His journalism appears in many publications, and his awards include a knighthood in arts and letters from the French government. He directs the International Writing Program at The University of Iowa. In April 2012 President Obama appointed Merrill to the National Council on the Humanities.

Noah Blaustein has published poems in many literary magazines, from Zyzzyva and the Harvard Review to Art/Life. Interviews with him have been featured at The Georgia Review, The Los Angeles Times, and National Public Radio. 

The anthology he edited, “Motion: American Sports Poems,” was pick of the year by the editors of National Public Radio, The Boston Globe, The New Orleans Picayune, and the Librarians of The New York Public Library. His second collection, After Party, will be published Fall 2018 by The University of New Mexico Press. www.noahblaustein.com

Kate Buckley holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press), named a Midwest Book Review Selection, and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach). 

A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Kate’s awards include a Gabehart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. Her short story, “The Gods of Flight,” was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Kate is currently serving as the Poet Laureate of Laguna Beach. www.katebuckley.com

To receive information on upcoming events, visit www.katebuckley.com/events.html

Laguna Food Pantry will benefit big-time from Locals’ Day at Another Kind Café this Thursday June 22

 On the cusp of festival season in Laguna Beach, the owners of Another Kind Café have announced they will hold “Locals’ Day” to benefit the Laguna Food Pantry. The popular restaurant, which serves Vietnamese and Thai-inspired cuisine, will donate a generous 50 percent of the day’s sales to the Pantry, the volunteer-run nonprofit that provides free groceries to 300 low-income families a week.

Manager Thinh Nguyen said, “We and the Laguna Food Pantry are both in the business of feeding people, so it was a good fit for us. My wife Vy and I are very interested in helping and being part of the community that has supported us.”

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Manager of Another Kind Café, Thinh Nguyen, and his wife Vy

Another Kind is located at 793 Laguna Canyon Rd at the entrance to the frontage road. Their hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The contemporary eatery, which opened last fall, has indoor and outdoor dining areas with canyon views, ample parking, and takeout service.

Visit www.anotherkindcafe.com to view the menu or call 949-715-9688.

The Laguna Food Pantry provides free, nutritious groceries to anyone in need. Half of the families served include babies and children. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd, north of the dog park, the Pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Mon through Fri. New volunteers are always welcome. Phone: 949-497-7121 www.lagunafoodpantry.org.

LagunaTunes presents Broadway Baby! a free concert at 4 p.m. on Sunday June 25 at LBHS


LagunaTunes Community Chorus will present a free concert entitled Broadway Baby! at 4 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at the Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theatre, 625 Park Avenue. 

Broadway Baby! is a musical romp through Broadway favorites spanning seven decades, from the forties to the present. The concert includes highlights from Cole Porter to Monty Python, Irving Berlin to Andrew Lloyd Webber, Rodgers and Hammerstein to Mel Brooks, and Stephen Sondheim to Stephen Schwartz. 

Monty Python! Mel Brooks! Stephen Sondheim!

I’ll be going for sure. Mention Monty Python and Mel Brooks in one sentence describing a performance and you have a winner, as far as I’m concerned.

Indeed, the performance promises to be a high-energy family show that runs the gamut from beautiful and inspiring to downright silly. Whether you love magical music moments or a good belly laugh, there’s something in it for you, Rebecca Lyles, publicity coordinator for the group, is willing to guarantee.

LagunaTunes is a 60-member chorus is led by Bob Gunn, popular director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. Gunn’s entertaining choral productions are well known throughout Southern California. 

Submitted photo

Annette Stutzman says that singing with LagunaTunes is one of the best decisions she’s ever made: “Being a part of this family of music lovers gets better every year.”

Lyles says that Bob Gunn is the most talented musician, the best teacher, and the kindest, funniest, dearest director she’s ever worked with. 

“Sounds like hyperbole, I know, but it’s true,” Lyles says. “Every year he takes a rag-tag bunch of walk-ons (we don’t require auditions) and makes us into performers. He sets high standards and, under his guidance, we meet them. Rehearsals are high-energy, positive, and non-threatening. And the concerts are always a delight!”

I can attest to that, after attending the LagunaTunes Christmas concert last year at the high school. I’m not much of a one for traditions, but their joyful singing really did stir my soul at a time when it needed some stirring.

Submitted photo

Patti Jo Kiraly, one of the first LagunaTunes singers, and still singing

LagunaTunes singer Patti Jo Kiraly recalls, “I joined LagunaTunes while the concept was in discussions with Pat Kollenda, Lisa Morrice and Roxanna Ward in the holiday season of 2002/03. We started rehearsing in the early months of 2003 in the basement of Legion Hall (now NoSquare Theatre). We had about 15 members, 14 women and one man. Brave soul. 

“I can’t imagine a life without singing. Both my parents are music teachers and I was raised to think of music as the most important and influential form of art. I am lucky to have sung with LagunaTunes all these years and to have been directed by Roxanna Ward, Christine Cornell and our current conductor and musical genius Bob Gunn.”

LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone (no auditions) and presents two concerts per year. Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

More information: www.lagunatuneschorus.com or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

See you at Broadway Baby! on June 25 at 4 p.m. at the Artists’ Theatre.

On July 1, Brightside lights up the night during Fourth of July weekend as part of Blue Water Music Festival

The Blue Water Music Festival Concert Series presents Brightside on Sat, July 1, at the BC Space Theatre at 235 Forest Ave. Two shows will be performed: 6:30-8:30 p.m. and 9-11 p.m.

This exclusive showcase takes place in downtown LB. BC Space is a Frisbee’s throw from the ocean, and attendees will encounter an innocuous steel door with a discreet sign, then open the door, climb a steep, narrow stairway to a large, bright entry way lined with artwork, and continue into a large open combination studio/entertainment/performance area. 

Once guests enter this secret space, they can grab a beer or wine and find a place to watch the show.

Click on photo for larger image

(l-r) Austin Nicholson, bass, BG vocals, Daniel Konscious Krieger, lead guitar, BG vocals, Clayton Joseph Scott, guitar, lead vocals, Steve “Shag” Aguilar, keyboards, Will Phillips, percussion

Brightside was born in a small dance studio on Electric Avenue in Venice Beach. The band has branded their unique sound “California Roots Rock,” a cross between the worldly sounds of West African Pop, Caribbean Reggae, and American Rock and Roll.

Fans across the US have been moved by the positive lyrical message and high-energy performances. Even though Clayton Scott is the creative force behind the band, each member is an all-star musician. The group cites many diverse influences, including Paul Simon, Jack Johnson, Van Morrison, and Bob Marley. 

Brightside takes listeners on a musical soul journey, celebrating the power of love, cultural preservation, hope, and the richness of the human spirit.

Tickets are $20 for general admission and $35 for VIP (VIP includes: Preferred seating, a drink ticket and a Meet & Greet.) 

To purchase tickets, go to https://event.attendstar.com/event/show/blue-water-music-festival-presents-brightside/

Sunday June 25 is the date of the Second Annual International Greeter Day

Festivities to celebrate the Second Annual Greeters Day will take place at 10 a.m. on Main Beach on Sunday June 25. 

We will be serving Gina’s Pizza, deserts from Ce’ La Vie, and beverages provided by the Heidelberg Cafe.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

In 2016 a large crowd celebrated: this year the event take place at Main Beach

Greeters around the world are dedicated to spreading peace, love, joy and acceptance. Their goal is to illuminate the fact that we are here to enjoy this beautiful world we live in and that it is imperative we connect with one another and share in the joy and wonder it is to be human.

Residents are asked to come out and show their love and support for local greeter Michael Minutoli, as he continues the 127 year tradition of greeting In Laguna Beach.

More information can be found at www.thegreeter.org

The smoke clears: Effective June 23, Laguna Beach expands Smoke-Free Ordinance citywide

On May 23, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to adopt Ordinance 1624, which expands the City’s current smoking prohibitions to include all public places, such as sidewalks, streets, and alleys as well as common areas of multi-unit residences, including laundry rooms, play areas, and pools. The ordinance, which goes into effect on June 23, is aimed at all types of smoking products, including tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaporizers, and marijuana.  

Laguna Beach’s existing Municipal Code included a smoking prohibition at public beaches and beach access ways, parks, outdoor eating areas, public transportation, in hazardous fire areas, and inside places of employment. To promote and protect public health, safety, and general welfare, the City Council adopted a citywide smoking ordinance that prohibits smoking in all public places, common areas of multi-unit housing, in City facilities, and on City property. 

The ordinance is further intended to ensure a cleaner and more hygienic environment for the city, its residents and visitors, and its natural resources. Other CA cities that limit smoking in public places include Manhattan Beach, Calabasas, Beverly Hills, Carpinteria, Coronado, El Cajon, and San Luis Obispo.


Under the ordinance, smoking will only be permitted in the following locations within the City, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law: Private residential properties, other than those used as a child-care or health-care facility subject to State licensing requirements, and within a moving or stationary vehicle, including a vehicle on a public street or right of way, or parked in a public place. 

Hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments may institute rules permitting or prohibiting smoking on portions of their property that is not open to the public, such as guest rooms, pools, and similar facilities and areas, provided such rules comply with all applicable laws. 


Staff does not intend to assign police officers to seek out and ticket individuals who are smoking in public places. The ordinance is designed to be self-enforcing to obtain voluntary compliance through visible signage and community outreach materials. 

However, police personnel as well as any peace, fire, marine safety, or code enforcement officer will be asked to: maintain an awareness of the City’s smoking regulations; warn and educate members of the public of the smoking prohibitions; and enforce as needed. 

Violations of the ordinance are infractions of the City’s Municipal Code and fines ranging from $100 to $500 may be issued.

City staff will continue to inform the public of the new smoking ordinance through a community outreach and education campaign.

More information on Laguna Beach’s smoking ordinance can be found at: http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/smoking.


Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising


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