Laguna Playhouse announces dates for their Summer Youth Theatre Classes in acting and musical theatre

Give the gift of theatre to your child! Children ages 4 through 17 can have fun and gain impressive life skills by taking class in one of the Laguna Playhouse Summer 2014 Youth Theatre Classes.

Summer classes begin July 14. 

Kids on Broadway/ Musical Theatre Workshop (Ages 9 – 12) runs July 21 – 25 Performance / Showcase on July 25.  Meets Monday – Friday 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Positive Energy Dance Center in Lake Forest. Contemporary and classical musical theatre material. Create a show with choreographed numbers, ensemble pieces, solos and monologues. Each student receives individual instruction and coaching. 

The Magic Suitcase Workshop (Ages 4 – 6) runs July 14 – 18 with a showcase on July 18.  Meets Monday – Friday 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at The Laguna Playhouse in Laguna Beach. Working with music, movement and storytelling, students explore tales and stories theatrically. Taught by Marek Cantor, Julliard Theatre Graduate, Tony Award Winning Producer, Clinical Art Therapist & MFT.

Teen Acting Workshop (Ages 13-17) runs July 14 – 18 with a performance on July 18. Meets Monday – Friday 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Positive Energy Dance Center in Lake Forest. Improvisation, Writing, and Acting! Get experience that will help you get the part, get the job or nail the oral report! This class is a designed for Teens that are looking for an exceptional summer workshop.

For more information or to enroll in a class, call Donna Inglima at (949) 497-2787, ext. 230. Fees range from $150 to $250 depending on class. Additional information can be found on The Laguna Playhouse website at

To schedule press interviews, photos, press comps or for additional information, please contact David Elzer/DEMAND PR at 818/508-1754 or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit Photos and press information also available at


Michael F. Knill 

May 12, 1963 – June 21, 2014


Beloved father, son, brother, uncle and friend, Michael F. Knill passed away June 21, 2014. He was 51.

One of six children born to Jane and Bruce Knill, Mike lived in Canada as a child and excelled in sports, particularly hockey.  As a teenager, he moved with his family to Phoenix, Arizona.  He graduated from Brophy College Preparatory in 1982 and there made strong, enduring friendships that exist today. Mike earned a B.S. degree in Accounting from the University of Arizona in 1985 where he was active in the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity. Mike embraced college life as a Fiji. 

Mike began his professional career at Arthur Anderson in Phoenix and continued working in the financial field in Southern California. Mike was the proud father of three amazing children – Alexandra, Bruce and Claire – who were the lights of his life.  He dedicated many hours to volunteer service at the children’s schools in Laguna Beach, and to coaching soccer and baseball. An intensely private man, Mike also had an incredibly playful spirit, which he shared with his children, siblings, nieces and nephews and friends. 

Mike is survived by his children, Allie, Bruce and Claire, father Bruce, siblings Joanna, Fiona, John, Sarah and Mark, and former wife, Kim. He is remembered with love and admiration by his 23 nieces and nephews. He is preceded in death by his mother, Jane. Frank’s Memorial services were held June 29, 2014 at Little Church by the Sea, and later this week in Clayton, New York. 

Donations in honor or Mike, for the children’s education fund, can be made by check to “The Knill Children,” and sent to Alliance Bank of Arizona at 2901 N. Central Ave., Suite 100, Phoenix AZ 85012. Note account # 8010730847.

Here’s to a safe & fun 4th of July in Laguna Beach

The City of Laguna Beach is anticipating large crowds for the July 4th holiday and is requesting the public’s cooperation to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and visitors.

The City fireworks show will originate from Monument Point at Heisler Park. For this reason, the Monument Point area will be closed all day on July 4th. Beginning at approximately 12 p.m., the area of Heisler Park from the Rock Bench at Myrtle Street to the Rockpile Beach stairs at Jasmine Street will be closed to the public to allow for fireworks preparation. The City fireworks show will begin at approximately 9 p.m. 

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Staff photo by Cliff Getz

Monument Point fireworks -2013

City trolleys will operate under a modified schedule and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Additionally, there will be no public parking in the Pavilions center parking lot located at 600 North Coast Highway at Boat Canyon. Free public parking will begin in a designated portion of the Pavilions lot on Saturday, July 5th, and will extend through the end of the summer festival season.

The public is expected to observe all City park and beach rules, including:

No alcohol or smoking on the beaches. 

No tents, canopies, or barbeques are allowed in City beaches or parks.

No fireworks of any kind are allowed in Laguna Beach. The Laguna Beach Police and Fire Departments will be strictly enforcing the fireworks prohibition.

No dogs are allowed on City beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer season, which extends from June 15 through September 10.

After the fireworks show, expect heavy traffic as many visitors will be leaving the city via Laguna Canyon Road and Pacific Coast Highway. Members of the Police and Public Works Departments will be conducting increased traffic control to facilitate the flow of vehicles out of town. As part of this effort, the center lane of Laguna Canyon Road, between Canyon Acres and El Toro Road, will be reversed to add an additional northbound traffic lane. 

ReadyOC provided the following safety tips for Laguna Beach residents and visitors alike:

Grilling Safety: The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.

Keep children and pets at least three feet away from the grill area.

Always make sure your gas grill lid is open before lighting it. Never leave your grill unattended and be ready to extinguish potential flames with a working fire extinguisher. If you smell gas while cooking with a propane grill, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department.

Firework Area Safety: Leave fireworks to the professionals. Do not use consumer fireworks. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public display conducted by trained professionals. If you’re close to the display area, clear away debris and combustibles. Your viewing area should be at least 20 feet away from the firework display area. An adult must be present at all times during fireworks discharge.

Keep streets clear for emergency vehicles, and report illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, to the fire or police department. Sparklers cause 16% of fireworks injuries. In 2011, almost 18,000 fires were caused by fireworks.

The ReadyOC site has additional fire safety information as well. You can read more safety information at

The cooperation of all residents and visitors is greatly appreciated. The City of Laguna Beach wants to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.

A Bit of the Abstract

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Scott Brashier

We love the abstract – and Scott came through!

Thank you…

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Greece is the Word – travelling across the Ionian Island of Kefalonia where life slows down and the beaches inspire


Sitting on a balcony overlooking the Mediterranean with a view of Ithica, I hear a sweet symphony of natural sounds. Chickens cluck, goat bells ring, birds sing, dogs bark and crickets chirp. A slight breeze blows and it is peaceful. I am peaceful. No wonder I am peaceful, because this is close to heaven. 

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Welcome to Fiskardo – a little port at the north end of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian Islands in western Greece. After landing at the airport (on a short runway with the sea on both ends), a friend picks me up in a jalopy that she has just bought. Actually she hasn’t completely bought it yet, but has put down a third of the money she owes the car dealer, and they’ve trusted her to take the car and come back next week to pay the rest – a fine example of how the island of Kefalonia operates. 

Fiskardo is a bumpy two-hour drive from the airport, although distance wise, it’s only 35 miles. Problem is an earthquake has damaged the main road and the secondary roads the commuters are now forced to use, wind over steep hills, aren’t always paved, and have potholes and goats as obstacles. And at times the goats are overly lethargic and refuse to move, calling for a gentle nudge from the car to provide them some inspiration to yield. 

You can’t blame the goats; life simply slows down on the island. Villagers stop to chat to each other (whether in their cars, on their scooters, or on foot), children play happily in the streets, and stray cats (of which there are ample) stretch out languidly in the hot sun. Plus the heat literally brings the place to a standstill as everyday between 2 and 5 pm, the Greeks take a break from the midday sun to enjoy “hours of popular quiet”. This is a legally mandated siesta time during which it is considered extremely impolite to make a noise. While the Greeks rest in the shade, the tourists laze on the incredible beaches, diving into the clearest of waters to cool off. 

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Emblisi Beach

If you’ve seen the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”, then you’ll know how stunning the scenery in Kefalonia is. Based on the novel written by Louis de Bernières, “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” was filmed in Kefalonia in 2000. In my humble opinion, you should read the book because it is brilliant. In fact, you should take the book with you to Kefalonia and read it while lying on one of the superb beaches. 

Here are some other things you might like to do…

Visit Emblisi beach  where the iridescent water couldn’t look more inviting. 

Watch the sunset at Alaties Beach while seated at Acqua - an outdoor restaurant right on the water that offers decent prices, appetizing food, a considerable cocktail menu and has a super friendly owner who will make you feel most welcome.

Make sure you stop in at Emmelies Hotel – hands down one of the best places I’ve been to in my life. The views are spectacular, the infinity pools (yes, plural – there are several) are incredible, and you can leave poolside to venture down on the rocks where they have oversized bean bags to bask on, and water polo nets set up in the sea in case you’re in the mood for team sports. I spent two fabulous afternoons at the main pool drinking frappaccinos, dipping into perfection and suntanning on fresh, fluffy towels. In the late afternoon, a handsome Greek waiter meanders through the guests with a silver tray piled high with fresh fruit singing “fruit time”.                   


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One of the many pools at Emmelies Hotel

Take time to stroll through the port of Fiskardo, a perfect setting for dinner with loads of restaurants to choose from. Most of the restaurants are right on the water front and a few are in the back alleys, but no matter where they are positioned, they are all charming.

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If you desire a more local experience, pop into “Picnic Café”. Sitting on the patio at Picnic, you’re guaranteed to end up talking with the other patrons. You’ll meet folks from all walks of life, catch up on the village gossip, and wave at practically everyone that drives by. Picnic offers scumptious breakfasts, mouthwatering sandwiches and delicious coffee.

And a quick side note – I was enormously pleased to find that the owner of Picnic (a lovely lady from Zimbabwe) had read my memoir “Hell Camp”….how about that? 


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Lastly, make sure you get to enjoy some authentic Kefalonian folk music. There’s a reason why the theme of music was predominant in the film “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”. In the film, the music plays in direct contrast to the destruction that the war has brought, and armed with his mandolin, Captain Corelli shows how something beautiful can arise even during horrific times. 

Kefalonian folk music is uplifting and stirring, and I felt very lucky to catch a local group perform especially since one of the musicians had actually appeared in “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”. His name was Dimitris Dimoulas, and he’s the one wearing a sailor hat in the group shot…and what an adorable flirt he was. 

Okay, one last thing – try a slice of Ekmek Kataifi. I’m sure the calories in this cake are beyond sinful, but boy is it worth it. Simply glorious. 

There’s plenty to do in the enchanting Fiskardo area. 

Walk out to the old lighthouse, explore ruins, swim, snorkle, sample local cuisine, sip local wine, and simply relax.

Art-A-Fair and Sawdust Art Festival previews

Festival season begins today – officially – and it began unofficially earlier this week when both the Sawdust Art Festival (Tuesday night) and Art-A-Fair (Wednesday night) held their invitation-only previews.

For many locals, a Sawdust preview invite is the must-have ticket and exhibitors hand them out with careful and well-planned consideration.

Mary Hurlbut, an exhibitor, and Scott Brashier were there Tuesday night and took some photos for us.

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Mary Hurlbut

Visual and multi-media artist Deborah Paswaters worked with a live model


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Scott Brashier

As usual, preview night at Sawdust Art Festival was filled to capacity

Please enjoy a Sawdust Art Festival slideshow below with photos by Mary and Scott.

Click on the lefthand photo to see them all 

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Scott Brashier

Scott was busy and stopped by Art-A-Fair the following night for their preview

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillespie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, 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.

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