Suzie’s ARTiculation

Small is huge at the popular ‘Art That’s Small at City Hall’ art exhibit


I never knew that small could be so big, could have such a huge impact. However, those adjectives really do size up the affinity art fans feel for one of Laguna’s favorite exhibits, “Art That’s Small at City Hall.” The annual juried show requires that the featured worksmust be no larger than 12-inches along any edge and no deeper than 3-inches, thus the name.

“Small scale paintings are a quiet revolution in the arts scene. Small scale works are intimate, compelling and draw you into the artist’s eye,” said Siân Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager.” The exhibition was the inspiration of the Arts Commission and then Commissioner Mike Tauber. 

Tauber came up with the brilliant idea for the exhibit 15 years ago.

“We didn’t have exhibits at City Hall. At the time, I was an Arts Commissioner and City Hall wasn’t always seen as a fun place to visit,” Tauber said. “So I thought, how can I make it positive, a positive, fun reason to visit City Hall?”

“I came up with the theme small. With small size pieces, that means it could be more all inclusive, we could include a lot more artists in a limited space,” Tauber said.

He explained that the small theme creates unity because every piece is practically the same size, which is fun for the viewer and fun for the artists. 

 “The first year was an incredible success with over 60 entries,” Tauber said. 

And the show continues to be overwhelmingly popular with 60 to 80 entries every year since its inception.

“This is perhaps the most anticipated and enjoyed exhibit at City Hall,” Poeschl said.

“It is always a pleasure to see the creativity in these small artworks. The smaller size seems to bring out something more personal in the artists,” said Michael Ervin, Arts Commissioner and Chair of the Exhibits Sub-committee.

Local artist and Festival of Arts exhibitor, Elizabeth McGhee, said she has entered the show multiple times over the years since she first entered in 2010.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo provided by the artist 

Elizabeth McGhee’s entry: “Like Father, Like Son,” 8 x 8 inches, oil on panel

 “I love participating in ‘Art That’s Small’ because I get to see what everybody else has been working on,” McGhee said. “It is one of the most comprehensive shows in Laguna, since it covers so many media and artistic styles from abstraction, impressionism, realism, and assemblage.”

Since Tauber retired from the Arts Commission in 2010 (at least for now), he has participated in the show many years. This year is especially meaningful to him.

“I did a memorial piece for the family of friend who recently passed away,” Tauber said. “And after I finished it, I thought it would be perfect for the exhibit and the family agreed. He was really a great supporter of artists, so it completes the circle of his legacy perfectly.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo provided by the artist 

Mike Tauber’s piece is in memory of his friend, “Remember Mr. H,” a kiln fired ceramic relief of his friend’s glasses, on loan from the family, who feel is a perfect tribute to his legacy

“Art That’s Small at City Hall” is on exhibit through April 20 on the first floor at City Hall with an awards reception, before First Thursdays Art Walk, on April 6, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Prizes are $500, $250, and $125, respectively. 

This year’s jurors are Bryan Heggie, Gallery Director for Laguna College of Art + Design; Tom Lamb, Professional Photographer and on the Board of Directors for Festival of the Arts/Pageant of the Masters; and Christine Dodd, Creative Director for Laguna Beach and Palm Springs Art Patron Magazines. City Hall is at 515 Forest Ave.

Until next time…so much small art with big heart, so little time!

LBHS College and Career Center hosts Education Fair on Monday March 20 at 2:45 p.m.

The LBHS’s College and Career Center and Transition/WorkAbility Department will host its second annual Job and Career Technical Education Fair Monday, March 20 from 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. in the quad area for all students.

“We’re excited to have many of the same employers from last year plus several new ones,” said Cyndi Kimball, transition services coordinator and co-organizer of the event. “Last year we had over 200 students attend and a huge uptick in work permit application requests based on students that were hired by employers they met and interviewed with at the fair.”

Laguna Beach High School

Students will learn about part-time work opportunities and network with local businesses from different industries.

Ann Bergen, college and career specialist and co-organizer, also invited local college CTE programs, private career colleges, military recruiters and Congressman Rohrabacher’s office to provide students with information about their program offerings.

“Students will have the best opportunity to gain insight on career options in different industry sectors and learn about local programs available to them now as a high school student,” said Bergen. “If students can identify a career plan of action first before starting their college search, it makes their college search process infinitely easier.”

For more information, contact Ann Bergen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Cyndi Kimball at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dennis’ Tidbits


March 17, 2017

Waking up in a fog recently? This could be why…

Happy St. Patty’s! Yet another excuse for some people to get drunk on green beer and act stupid.

High pressure continues to run the show over the Southwest as temps in the interior desert are running as much as 20 degrees above normal. From Palm Springs to Phoenix afternoon temps are pushing well into the 90’s for maybe the next week or so. Normally on this date Palm Springs and Phoenix the average high is 77. 

The high isn’t quite strong enough to bring us Santana offshore winds and the high is not quite situated in the right place to drive strong NE winds our way so that’s why we’ve had this AM fog as of late. The combination of very warm temps inland and chilly ocean temps have created a strong temperature gradient and has resulted in a slight inversion layer. 

At least the fog burns off and we have generally sunny mild conditions here at the beach. Surface visibilities go from a quarter mile in the morning to 20-30 miles at sunset with Catalina visible. This early heat up in the deserts combined with substantial rains in the low deserts are making for an incredible cavalcade of color on wildflowers that haven’t been seen in at least twelve years. Even the high desert flowers are starting to blossom up to three weeks early. 

All it takes is a couple of 80 degree days on the heels of copious rains. It’s all about the timing and Spring of 2017 all of the planets have lined up for an incredible array of color so get out there as soon as possible and check it out.

Local ocean temps are still hovering in the 58-60 degree range as it has been for most of the winter making it the third consecutive winter with above normal surface ocean temps. With Spring just four days away the winter of 2016-17 will go down as one of the flattest winters on record with 63 days with waves less than three feet here in town and only a handful of days with overhead surf and those days were accompanied by strong onshores with heavy rain. Actually it’s been meager surf for over a year now.

Even though the Equinox isn’t until the 21st our equal amount of sun time was Thursday with a sunrise at 7:01 a.m. and sunset actually at 7:02 p.m. It’s the same deal in September when the 12 hours of sun happens a few days after the autumnal equinox on the 21st. The sun has now cleared the north side of Catalina, actually happening on March 8 if your vantage point is Main Beach. 

Finally, have fun on St. Patty’s and if you do get hammered, pretend you don’t own a motor vehicle. Better yet, don’t even go out in public. Our local jail doesn’t hold that many drunk fools! 

ALOHA! See you on Tuesday!

Cinderella’s stepmother spills the beans on the new production

Special feature by Carmen Fernandez, LBHS senior

Our cast is thrilled to see all of its hard work come to life when our magical production of “Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella” opens this weekend. This show, which is based on the classic fairytale, champions the idea of self-empowerment while throwing in a bit of humor and lots of fun. 

I am a currently a senior at Laguna Beach High School and play the role of the stepmother. I’ve been a part of the drama department since my freshman year. I’m so glad that my last musical performance as a Park Avenue Player will be this production of Cinderella. Not only is the show beautiful both visually and musically; but all of the cast members and directors are incredibly talented. This has culminated in what is likely one of the most stunning shows that the high school has ever produced. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo credit: Kalani Gee

L-R: Bayley Thomas (King Maximillian); Jordan Burton (Queen Constantina); Hunter Mills (Prince Christopher); and of course, the glass slipper

The cast alone is made up of almost fifty students, comprised of not only high schoolers, but also younger children from the Laguna Beach elementary and middle school. “These kids are just little bundles of joy,” says Jordan Burton, who plays Queen Constantina in the show.  “The age range is from around six to eleven or twelve, and they are so excited.” 

Many of those participating in and working on the show feel that the cast is not only incredibly talented but also has great chemistry. Wyatt Shipp, who plays the Royal Steward agrees, saying that “This has been one of the best casts. They have [been growing] ever since the beginning of the rehearsal process and have really skyrocketed to the top.”

No production of Cinderella would be complete without its beautiful costumes. Much of the magic is a result of the efforts of our costume designer Angela Irish, and her volunteer helpers. “Her costumes, props and set decoration enhance every single aspect of the show, and our audiences will be amazed,” Director Paul Nygro comments.

Though a few of the costumes are rented from other schools, many of them have been donated to the high school’s drama department. From the elegant gown that Cinderella dons when she goes to the ball, to the (purposefully) frumpy outfits the stepsisters wear, the costumes are a vital element that help the actors and audience members immerse themselves in this fantastic world. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo credit: Kalani Gee

The joyous Cinderella cast (post-slipper-fitting)

What makes many of the musical numbers so impressive is the sheer amount of diversity in choreography. Ellie Glade, who plays the title character in the show, comments, “It’s cool watching some of the scenes where there is choreography with twenty different things happening at once. It makes it look so good as a whole.” 

While some of the cast members were initially tripped up by the famous Cinderella Waltz sequence, many found it gratifying to learn a new style of dance that they previously had known. “Paul relates to us well which is a huge help when we are learning these numbers,” Ava Pacheco, who portrays the stepsister Joy, states. “He knows how to choreograph to fit the abilities of the individuals performing in it.”

Audience members of all ages will be delighted with our gorgeous, hilarious, and poignant production that runs March 17-19, 24 - 26, and 31, as well as April 1 and 2. Friday and Saturday night shows begin at 7 p.m.; Sunday matinees start at 2:30 p.m. in the Artists Theatre at 625 Park Avenue.

BOOM goes the new Coast Inn remodeling proposal


The Planning Commission on Wednesday sent the proposed remodel of the Coast Inn back to the drawing board.

All five commissioners expressed reservations about the proposed pool and the size of rooftop deck. They all found fault with the response to their concerns voiced at the previous hearing on the project 

“The majority of the issues raised at the previous meeting have not been addressed,” said Commissioner Ken Sadler. “The Design Review Board allows only three hearings.

“My feeling,” he told project architect Marshall Ininns, “you get one more shot and then we vote it up or down. I am not close to supporting this project.”

Members of the audience, many of whom had sat through the lengthy hearing on the proposed revisions to the Historical Preservation Ordinance, were evenly split. 

Ininns said the project would have had a lot more supporters if the hearing had not been held so late. The project was listed as the second item on the agenda but the commission flip-flopped it with the third item and the Coast Inn hearing didn’t start until about 9:50 p.m., ending well after 11 p.m.  

Gregg Abel leads off for supporters of the remodel

Architectural designer and contractor Gregg Abel led off for the supporters.

“I am surprised at the pushback on this project,” said Abel, son of the late architect Chris Abel. 

The elder Abel had remodeled the exterior of the hotel and designed the longtime liquor store across Mountain Street, which is part of the proposed project. 

“Marshall is taking the two buildings and trying to bring them back to their original charm,” said Abel.

Village Laguna President Johanna Felder said the project was just too big and Boom Boom probably never held 600 people at one time, as claimed. 

Ininns said the fire department posted a limit of 600 occupants, which would indicate a possibility of even bigger crowds. He was backed up by project supporter Aaron Talerico, who said he’d been there back in the day and place was always packed.  

The project is huge. The hotel and Boom Boom Room stretch along Mountain Road from South Coast Highway to Gaviota Drive. 

As proposed, the project includes a 24-room hotel, with three restaurants, a pool deck with a bar area, covered parking garage, conference room, spa/gym and includes the deli/liquor store and an Olympic Cottage, across the street.

Girven suggests recommending the Pacific Ocean to guests instead of building a swimming pool

Darrylin Girven recommended eliminating the pool from the project.

“It is really hard for me to understand why the property owners need a pool,” she said. “They should encourage their guests, as if they need to, to swim and enjoy one of the best water quality oceans in Southern California. 

“If it’s about a nice warm pool to swim in, in the winter time I might suggest they rent out wet suits just like the rest of us wear when the ocean is cold in the winter.”  

Chamber of Commerce President Ken Fischbeck urged the commission to approve the project as proposed.

“Get this project off the dime so the area can get back to the vital area it used to be,” said Fischbeck.

Commission Chair Sue Kempf summed up the commission’s dissatisfaction. 

“It looks like our issues were not addressed or nominally addressed,” she said. “Take another stab at it.”

The next hearing is scheduled for May 17.

Mystic Arts Gallery celebrates an evening of art on March 18 from 6 to 9 p.m.

Mystic Arts Gallery recommends enjoying an extended St. Patrick’s Day Party at their place, 664 S. Coast Hwy, on Sat March 18. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Ceramicist Jaime Weber’s new work will be on display

The Gallery will feature new work from ceramicist Jaime Weber as well as onsite poetry writing by mixed media artist and poet Brent Kreischer. There will be live music, appetizers and an original raffle.

At this one-time event, Mystic Arts will also welcome guest artist Josh Cardinali of Stoney Eye Studios, who is showcasing his fantastic stencils of original pinups. 

Visit for information.


Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

Lynette Brasfield is our Managing 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: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc