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Join local Wellness and Aesthetics doctor, Dr. Anita Wang, MD for Meet & Greet on Jan 24

On Thursday, Jan 24 from 4 - 7 p.m., the public is invited to join Dr. Anita Wang, MD for a fun and informal Meet & Greet. Learn what’s new in Dr. Wang’s office including the Emsella Chair for firming and tightening the pelvic area. Find out more details on the valuable Ultra Femme & Ultra 360 treatments. 

Dr. Wang, both an Emergency Physician and Wellness and Aesthetics doctor, will speak about preventive medicine, anti-aging, and skin health. 

Inspired to start her Wellness and Aesthetics practice by her many patients that requested her to continue to care for them following their care in the Emergency Department, Dr. Wang is dedicated to ensuring that wellness and natural healthy beauty is maintained inside and out for her patients.

Join local Wellness Anita

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Get questions answered about your health and how Dr. Wang can help

Dr. Wang’s compassion and skills have taken her around the world and allowed her to adapt a unique skill set that merges eastern influence and western technology. She is dedicated to delivering the highest quality holistic wellness, preventive medicine, and medical aesthetics and continues to practice Emergency Medicine as well as running her own practice and providing care to online patients.

An avid cyclist, Dr. Wang has cycled around the world on philanthropic bike tours for Keshet – A rainbow of hope for special needs children – and Bao-ji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids. She believes in helping others with limited resources and has volunteered her services with Doctors Without Borders to provide medical aid to the impoverished regions of China.

In addition to being a Board Certified Emergency Physician, Dr. Wang is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent over 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

For more information, call (949) 734-0580. To schedule an appointment, visit www.anitawangmd.com

Dr. Anita Wang is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B.


Local foundation headed by Laguna Beach resident Bill Gross donates $21.5 million to nonprofits

The William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, founded by Laguna Beach resident Bill Gross and his son and daughter, announced yesterday that it donated a total of $21.5 million to 28 nonprofits in 2018, including Doctors Without Borders and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).

The donations will help important initiatives that range from supporting people who are experiencing a lack of or limited access to food, to international human rights campaigns through the VII Foundation. Other donations were made to assist the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund, and the Friendship Shelter serving homeless adults in Laguna Beach. The Foundation also supported educational causes, including a previously announced contribution of $1.1 million to the Orange County Teachers of the Year awards, adding to the $3,387,800 previously donated by Gross to the preeminent program recognizing excellence in Orange County education.

Local foundation Bill Gross

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Bill Gross

“I am pleased to work with my son Jeff and daughter Jennifer in identifying and supporting worthy and important causes that benefit California as well as global communities,” said Gross. “We are committed to doing our part to help others in their times of need, as well as furthering educational and healthcare organizations that are working to create better lives locally and around the world.”

The following nonprofits received donations of more than $1 million from the William, Jeff and Jennifer Gross Family Foundation in 2018: The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund ($2,161,250), Doctors Without Borders ($2,161,250), Action Against Hunger ($1,161,250), Orange County Teachers of the Year ($1,161,250), CHOC Small Baby Unit ($5,000,00), Harbor Day Endowment Corp. ($2,000,000), VII Foundation ($4,795,000), and SDSN Association Inc. ($1,350,00).

Key donations to Laguna Beach nonprofits included Laguna Beach Community Clinic, Laguna Food Pantry, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Senior Center, Sally’s Fund, and Friendship Shelter. 

These contributions support Bill, Jeff, and Jennifer Gross’s longstanding commitment to provide financial resources to organizations that provide a direct benefit to the communities in which they serve. Gross has previously announced he is also donating all proceeds from past and upcoming auctions of his world-renowned stamp collection to charity.


Start the new year off on a great note with Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Live! is kicking off its Jazz Wednesdays Winter 2019 series on January 30 with the world-renowned Grammy award winner, Modern Drummer magazine Hall of Fame Member, first-call studio artist, and foremost educator Peter Erskine. Peter is bringing his phenomenal trio that includes pianist Alan Pasqua and bass player Darek Oles. 

The popular cabaret series hosted by Laguna Beach Live! returns to the distinctive [seven-degrees] event facility every two weeks through March 27. The continuing lineup is: 

--February 13: World-renowned saxophonist Rickey Woodard Quartet featuring vocalist Melissa Morgan

--February 27: Acclaimed guitarist Will Brahm and the World Music All-Stars

--March 13: Critically acclaimed bassist/vocalist Kristin Korb Trio featuring Andy Langham on piano and Duncan Moore on drums

--March 27: An All-Star Tribute to Chet Baker and Peggy Lee featuring world-renowned trumpeter Bijon Watson, guest vocalist Lucy Woodward, and the Laguna Beach Live! All-Stars.

Start the hat

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Grammy award winner Peter Erskine will kick of Jazz Wednesdays hosted by Laguna Beach Live! on Jan 30

Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner and social hour, with concerts from 6 - 8 p.m. A full bar and buffet dinner menu will be available for purchase. Tickets are $25 in advance, or $30 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at www.lagunabeachlive.org or by phone at (800) 595-4849. The information line is (949) 715-9713.

Also coming up, on February 6, Laguna Beach Live! welcomes the Laguna Beach Music Festival with Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang as Artistic Director. Blessed with “poetic and sensitive pianism”(Washington Post) and a “wondrous sense of color”(San Francisco Classical Voice), pianist Joyce Yang captivates audiences with her virtuosity, lyricism, and interpretive sensitivity. 

The 2019 Festival showcases Joyce Yang’s unique exploration of “Art Inspires Art,” with multiple disciplines from live music to dance, to visual art, all converging on one stage. 

Start the piano

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Courtesy of KT Kim for pianistjoyceyang.com

Musician Joyce Yang is the 2019 Laguna Beach Music Festival Director

The 2019 Laguna Beach Music Festival takes place February 6 - 10 at a variety of venues in Laguna Beach and features appearances by special guest artists and free engagement events for students, seniors, and the community-at-large. 

Guest artists include the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, cellist Efe Baltacigil, violinist Augustin Hadelich, violinist/violist Yura Lee, and pianist Conrad Tao. The Laguna Beach Music Festival is a presentation of Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. 

This year, Laguna Beach Musical Festival is excited to welcome a special collaboration with Laguna Dance Festival who is co-presenting a Friday evening concert of music and dance. 

Tickets for the 2019 Laguna Beach Music Festival are now on sale and can be purchased at www.lagunabeachmusicfestival.com.


Dianne’s Creature Feature(s)

Cats and the creative mind: Muse or just meows?

By DIANNE RUSSELL

For centuries, cats and writers have possessed a particular kinship. Many famous authors have had cats and considered them muses or at the very least necessary companions to the imaginative process: Mark Twain, Charles Dickens, Ray Bradbury, Harriet Beecher Stowe, W. H. Auden, Stephen King, Raymond Chandler…to name a few. Cats have inspired works of literature including Edgar Allan Poe’s Catterina, Cleveland Amory’s Polar Bear, and T.S. Eliot’s Jellylorum.

In his book A Cat, Leonard Michaels says, “People wonder how a cat resembles them psychologically. A cat wonders similarly about people.” Curiosity exists on both sides, yet there’s an unmistakable bond. 

Canadian novelist and playwright Robertson Davies once wrote, “Authors like cats because they are such quiet, loveable, wise creatures, and cats like authors for the same reasons.” This may be true in some cases, but not all writers could be described as quiet and lovable nor would their cats.

Cats and Bukowski

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Charles Bukowski and one of his furry friends

Furry friends were frequently Charles Bukowski’s muse. His cats were brawlers, bruisers, and bloodthirsty boozers, much like the poet himself. He said they were both funny animals and beautiful devils. 

Bukowski had a one-eared tomcat named Butch Van Gogh Artaud Bukowski. He said, “Having a bunch of cats around is good. If you’re feeling bad, you just look at the cats, you’ll feel better, because they know that everything is, just as it is. There’s nothing to get excited about. They just know.”

But it goes beyond that. Where does the fascination lie? Are authors attracted to cats because of their intelligence and otherworldly qualities? Or are cats enamored of writers because they are smart and imaginative, or is it merely because they create laps while they work? Agreed, a lap is a big draw.

Cats and Oates

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Courtesy of windling.typepad.com

Joyce Carol Oates’ cat kept her in the chair writing

Author Joyce Carol Oates has written more than 70 books, as well as edited the collection The Sophisticated Cat: A Gathering of Stories, Poems, and Miscellaneous Writings About Cats. How does she manage to write so much? She once divulged her secret on Twitter: “Having a fairly hefty, warm furry cat on my lap who would not budge for hours, during the composition of long, convoluted ‘gothic’ novels.”

Oates sums up the contemporary writer’s interest in cats: “The writer, like any artist, is inhabited by an unknowable and unpredictable core of being which, by custom, we designate the ‘imagination’ or ‘the unconscious’ (as if naming were equivalent to knowing, let alone controlling), and so it is the accessibility of Felis catus, we sense the secret, demonic, wholly inaccessible presence of Felis sylvestris. While cats doubtless provide comfort, they may also serve the important purpose of preventing the writer from getting up from her chair and doing something other than writing.”

Cats and Hemingway

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Courtesy of johnnytimes.com

Ernest Hemingway and one of his six-toed cats

It’s well known that one of our legendary authors, Ernest Hemingway, was also a cat lover. His love of cats is well-documented, and he had 23 of them by 1945. His first cat, named Snowball, was given to him by a ship’s captain and was six-toed (polydactyl). His former home in Key West, Florida, currently houses nearly a hundred descendants of Snowball, about half of whom are polydactyl, which is an inbred genetic mutation. 

Key West is a small island and it’s possible that many of the cats on the island are related. The polydactyl cats are not a particular breed. The trait can appear in any breed, Calicos, Tabbies, Tortoise Shell, white, black, etc. They vary in shapes, sizes, colors and personalities. Hemingway named his cats after famous people, and the keepers of the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum carry on that tradition today.

French poet, novelist, and filmmaker Jean Cocteau, most famous for his novel Les Enfants terribles (The Holy Terrors) and his films, including Blood of a Poet, Beauty and the Beast, and Orpheus, was also a cat devotee. He helped establish a club in Paris called the “Cat Friends Club” that had a membership pin and sponsored cat shows. “I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul,” he said.

Cats and Spark

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Photo from rereadinglives.com

Muriel Spark and her muse

But no one has made a greater case for the cat as a creative stimulant and a mystical muse of writing than Muriel Spark in this passage from A Far Cry from Kensington:

“If you want to concentrate deeply on some problem, and especially some piece of writing or paper-work, you should acquire a cat. Alone with the cat in the room where you work…the cat will invariably get up on your desk and settle placidly under the desk lamp. The light from a desk lamp… gives a cat great satisfaction. The cat will settle down and be serene, with a serenity that passes all understanding. And the tranquility of the cat will gradually come to affect you, sitting there at your desk, so that all the excitable qualities that impede your concentration compose themselves and give your mind back the self-command it has lost. You need not watch the cat all the time. Its presence alone is enough. The effect of a cat on your concentration is remarkable, very mysterious.” 

Best-selling Japanese author Haruki Murkami’s love for cats is evident in his fiction. All of his books contain cats as a precursor to a certain event and none more so than in Kafka on the Shore. When a cat disappears something strange is likely to happen. “‘Hey, do you smell something Human? one of the cats says. ‘Now that you mention it, I thought there was a funny smell the past few days’ another chimes in twitching his nose.”

Cats and Murkami

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Photo from windling.typepad.com

Haruki Murkami features cats in all of his books

Patricia Highsmith, 1921-1995, wrote widely-acclaimed psychological thrillers, including Strangers On A Train, famously adapted by Alfred Hitchcock in 1951, and The Talented Mr. Ripley

Highsmith was an animal lover who kept pets of both cats and hundreds of pet snails. Urich Weber, the curator of Highsmith’s archive, once explained that “She was very happy among cats. They gave her a closeness that she could not bear in the long-term from people. She needed cats for her psychological balance.”

Colette, the author of Gigi, said, “There are no ordinary cats.” 

Any cat lover would agree. Whether they be muses or necessary companions, it’s true, if you love cats, sometimes it’s difficult to tell where they end, and you begin. They are bewitching and singular beings that see deep within our souls, and all the while, sometimes to no avail, we attempt to see into theirs. 

And, of course, there is that lap thing (but it keeps writers in their chairs). 

So if you’re a cat lover and are feeling creative, consider entering the Kit-Lit Writing contest, sponsored by Catmosphere Cat Café, a nonprofit that fosters and finds permanent homes for felines. 

For information on the Kit-Lit contest, go to www.catmospherelaguna.com

I like the little they know, which is so much…Excerpt from My Cats by Charles Bukowski


In the misty meadows

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

In the mist tree

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Fog, mist, and wind on Thursday in eerie Moulton Meadows 

In the playground

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Rain turns playground into a ghost town

In the aloe

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The scarlet Aloe brightens a dreary day 


Join ECO-Warrior for first beach cleanup of 2019 tomorrow

ECO-Warrior Foundation invites the community to join in for the first bean cleanup of 2019 tomorrow, Saturday, Jan 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at Aliso Beach Park. 

ECO-Warrior Foundation will have everything you need to “Do Your Part,” including gloves, bags, waivers, and Chronic Tacos serving up free tacos for all participating ECO-Warriors. 

Join Eco Warrior group

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Courtesy of James Pribram

Celebrate the new year by cleaning up our beaches and oceans, keeping them litter free

According to ECO-Warrior, one million seabirds die every year from plastic pollution, and 46,000 pieces of plastic are present in each square mile of the ocean.

The prediction is that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans could weigh more than the ocean’s fish population.

“It’s going to be a great day of giving back to our beaches, oceans and community,” said James Pribram, ECO-Warrior Foundation founder.Thank you for doing your part!” 

Free parking passes will be available for all the volunteers courtesy of Orange County Parks.

The ECO-Warrior Foundation is a CA and Federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving our oceans and beaches through education, activation, and motivation. 

For more information, go to www.eco-warrior.org.


Water, water, everywhere

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Water water bridge

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Thursday at Aliso Creek, lots of water 

Water water ocean

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From the Santa Ana mountains to the ocean at Aliso Creek Beach


Laguna Beach legend featured in documentary The Remarkable Life of John Weld screens on Friday, Feb 8

The Laguna Beach Historical Society invites the community to the world premiere of the documentary The Remarkable Life of John Weld on Friday, Feb 8 at 7:30 p.m., at the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m. with an introduction by one of the executive producers, Roger Jones. 

This event benefits and showcases the history of Laguna. Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit, Laguna Beach Historical Society/Murphy Smith Bungalow. LB Historical Society will also give out shopper bags with new memberships.

The documentary features the ever evolving and amazing life of John Weld and the love story between John and Gigi Parrish, both residents of Laguna Beach. John and Gigi ran the Laguna Beach News Post. 

Laguna Beach Post

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John and Gigi Weld ran the Laguna Beach News Post

Weld was a man of many hats. During the peak of Hollywood’s Golden Era, he came to Hollywood at age 18 and became a stuntman after performing a 135-foot dive from a cliff for the film The Folly of Vanity

He went on to have a prolific stunt career performing high-risk stunts for the likes of Laurel and Hardy, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, and Tom Mix. A chance meeting with famed gossip columnist Louella Parsons lead Weld into a career of journalism, working for the New York Herald in Paris. While in Paris he interviewed and wrote stories about influential Americans including aviator Charles Lindbergh, industrialist Henry Ford, and future president Franklin Roosevelt.

Laguna Beach interviewing

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John Weld was a journalist and best-selling author

Under the mentorship of renowned 20th-century author James Joyce, Weld became a best-selling novelist after writing his book Don’t You Cry for Me. He held many influential people within his social circle; however, his muse was the love of his life, American actress Gigi Parrish, whom he married in 1937. 

After moving to Laguna, John and Gigi produced numerous travelogue films. On one trip, they barely survived the sinking of the ship they were on, the Laust Maersk. John chronicled that adventure and a lifetime of remarkable journeys in his 1991 autobiography, Fly Away Home: Memoirs of a Hollywood Stuntman. Those who knew Weld said that he was quite possibly the most extraordinary, ordinary man they ever knew.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.JohnWeldOfficial.com. 

The Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.


Laguna Beach Beautification Council features Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick Jan 24 at the Montage

Laguna Beach Beautification Council invites locals to join together at the Montage Resort on Thursday, Jan 24 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. as Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick present on Laguna’s new Landscape and Scenic Highway Plan.

Five years in the making, the Laguna Beach City Council recently approved Laguna’s new Landscape and Scenic Highway Plan and Resource document. These documents serve as a guide to our City, residents, and landscape architects for planting trees, and designing public and private landscapes. 

Laguna Beach Ann

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Former council member, Ann Christoph 

Ann Christoph has been practicing landscape architecture in southern California for over 30 years. She designed Alta Laguna Park, Bluebird Park, South Laguna Village Green, and the Coast Highway streetscape/medians.

As a volunteer, Ann designed and organized South Laguna Community Garden Park. She is a former council member and mayor and recently was a candidate for city council. Her work includes project design, planning and implementation for public gardens, parks, and streetscapes, and private residences. 

Bob Borthwick founded BGB Design Group firm in 1979, and serves as Senior Principal. Bob designed Alta Laguna Park, Ken Frank Park, the Dewitt property (now home to Laguna Canyon Foundation), and the Laguna Canyon Frontage Road Mini-Park. 

Laguna Beach Bob

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Bob Borthwick, Senior Principal of BGB Design Group

Working with Laguna Greenbelt, Bob prepared a master plan for restoration of Laguna Creek. Bob was also a volunteer member of the Laguna Canyon Road and Flood Control task forces. He has designed noteworthy public projects including parks, trails, historical waterfronts, scenic highway planning, and canyon preservation. 

For more information and to RSVP, contact Leah Vasquez, LBBCP President at (949) 494-5787 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Montage Resort is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy. Complimentary parking will be provided. 

The meeting will be held in Executive Suite #227.

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