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Volume 16, Issue 42  |  May 24, 2024



Laguna Life & People: Donna McNutt, The Cancer Fashionista

Diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2015, a disease treated with a stem cell transplant, radiation, chemo and infusions, Donna McNutt’s path has been highlighted by inspiring others with her fashion. Read about her courageous entrepreneurial journey…

Lifesavers in Laguna Beach: Man saved from cardiac arrest thanks Laguna Beach Firefighters

On April 17, Laguna Fire Engine 4 responded to a local business to find a gentleman in cardiac arrest. The crew from Engine 4 took over CPR and began aggressive medical treatment protocols. Yesterday (May 23), he and his family thanked LBFD…


Council approves letters of intent for affordable housing proposals

City Council unanimously approved letters of intent on May 14 for two affordable housing proposals, including one for 72 units at Neighborhood Congregational Church, aimed at obtaining state grant funding. No project plans have been submitted yet…

Commission approves Hotel Laguna exterior modifications

After getting stalled, revised and continued multiple times over the past year, a plan for the exterior modifications for Hotel Laguna was unanimously approved on May 15 by the Planning Commission. Read about the proposed changes…

Donna McNutt, The Cancer Fashionista


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

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Jack and Donna McNutt relaxing at their home

Two challenges when planning to interview Donna McNutt, a fashion maven diagnosed with cancer. First, where to start. The medical angle seemed logical. A diagnosis of any serious illness is one of those before-and-after events that changes our trajectory, our identity, our decisions. But jumping into the very private matters of health isn’t always easy.

The bigger concern:  She’s a fashionista. What do I wear?

“Cancer” and “fashionista” seem opposing forces, the necessary “hook.” Brought together, might this be a pioneering medical clothing line with a fashion sensibility, yet suited to the business of accommodating the aftermath of an illness? A mash-up of form and function? Wrong, or at least not entirely right, which still left me in that quandary, where to begin. And what to wear.

Within five minutes of meeting McNutt, problem solved. Sitting on my sofa with her bottled water, she wanted to talk about the role of fashion throughout her life. “Back in the ‘60s my family moved from New Jersey to California. I was 6, and everything and everyone in California, all of it was strange. My older sister was a big reader and got her bearings, reinvented who she was through books. My path was different. Even then I loved getting dressed up.”

Her path was through the one pair of sandals she owned. There isn’t a girl out there who hasn’t felt awkward, hasn’t experienced the sting of “being outside.” During those awkward early years, we often believed how we looked, how we dressed, that’s the ticket. Childhood into teen years, a balancing act of fitting in while establishing our own unique voices. This made sense to me: Once dressed and out the door, minus a mirror, all that we can see is our feet. Shoes quite literally ground us.

Not that she turned her passion for fashion into a career. She fell in love with Jack McNutt, they married, raised three children (two sons Corbin and Hunter, followed by a daughter Tatum). A familiar path, both ordinary and extraordinary. I didn’t ask but am certain every parent/child, mother/daughter, Sunday barbecue, beach outing, holiday dance, she was smartly turned out. Not in a designer label way, though a label or two works, the salt on caramel ice cream.

And then…

McNutt is elegantly tall to my five feet. She walks with purpose. In equal parts she owns her space and lets others in. She doesn’t demur. And so, when not quite feeling physically right in early 2015, she gives those apprehensive thoughts some sort of inner test, a timeline. “This will go away, this has nothing to do with me, because I am busy.”

Except the pain didn’t go away, she did have something wrong. Her family insisted on Easter Sunday in 2015, that she go to an emergency room. She didn’t have enough stamina to challenge them. She needed more than sandals to guide her.

She had four broken ribs. No wonder the basic act of breathing was compromised. But a fall was not the cause. Lab tests revealed her kidneys were functioning at 20% capacity, and if possible, something far more serious was coursing through her body: multiple myeloma, one of the most severe forms of cancer with a show-stopping prognosis, not that anything is gained when ranking disease.

Multiple myeloma attacks bone marrow, thus compromising their strength until they break, often the first sign. The insides, the spongy plasma cells that make antibodies to fight infections also matters. Surgery to remove a tumor is not the answer; there is nothing to remove. Nor is remission the goal. Multiple myeloma is a chronic disease treated, in McNutt’s case, with a stem cell transplant with the usual risks of rejection followed by a maintenance program. This means radiation and chemotherapy and lots of infusions, lots of needles, lab tests and drugs and more drugs.

It took six months to medically prep her for the transplant. When she left the hospital in a wheelchair, she had changed so much she didn’t know how to connect with others, she couldn’t look at people. She didn’t want to be seen.

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Donna and Jack McNutt worked as a team during those early months

Once home, she discovered none of her clothes fit, not knit tops meant to forgive, not skirts with elastic waistbands. Nothing. Not even her shoes.

“I hated the cancer that was in me.” A legitimate reaction, but she also knew anger on its own wasn’t going to get her through this.

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Lifesavers in Laguna Beach: Man saved from cardiac arrest thanks Laguna Beach Firefighters

On April 17, Laguna Fire Engine 4 responded to a local business to find a gentleman in cardiac arrest. The crew from Engine 4 took over CPR and began aggressive medical treatment protocols.

On April 30, the patient was discharged from the hospital with no defects from the incident.

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Man saved from cardiac arrest thanks Laguna Beach Firefighters with his family on Thursday

On Thursday, May 23, the patient walked into Fire Station 4 with his family, to thank Captain Pacheco, Engineer Diamond, Firefighter Senecal, Ambulance Operators Schaefer and Funderburk.

Thank you for all you have done for the community!

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Woman’s Club honors Renae Hinchey as its “Woman of the Year 2024” on June 14

Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach will honor Renae Hinchey as their 2024 Woman of the Year at a luncheon on Friday, June 14 from 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at their Clubhouse.

“The Woman’s Club members nominate and then vote for a woman from our community who has made a significant contribution in the community, either through philanthropic, civic, charitable or nonprofit activities,” said Kitty Malcolm, Woman’s Club president. “This honor was first bestowed in 1995 to Sande St. John. Since then, there have been 27 annual honorees.”

Courtesy of Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach

Renae Hinchey, The Woman’s Club “Woman of the Year 2024”

Hinchey joined the Laguna Beach Susi Q Senior Center board in 2018 and has served as its board president for the past two years. During this time, more diverse programs and activities have been added to their on-going activities and the visibility of the Susi Q has increased.

She has been a member of the Woman’s Club for 24 years and served as its board president in 2008. She was also the first woman in Orange County to hold the position of general manager for a water district. Hinchey carried out the duties of general manager at Laguna Beach County Water District from 2000 until her retirement in 2020. Her greatest achievement was securing the district’s groundwater rights ensuring a reliable water supply for Laguna Beach.

Tickets to the luncheon are $55 for club members and $65 for non-members. RSVPs must be received by June 17 and may be dropped off in the mailbox at the clubhouse, or paid online at This is a sell-out event, and the seating is capped. Doors open at 11:30 am.

The Woman’s Club is located at 286 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach.

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Council to consider options on referendum for building height, mass ordinance, code amendments, transit CIP, parking meter contract


The agenda for next week’s Laguna Beach City Council meeting has a variety of notable items up for discussion.

At the Tuesday (May 28) meeting, council will consider: Referendum for a city ordinance relating to building height, mass, bulk and parking within commercial districts; amendments to housing and land use elements of the city’s general plan and local coastal program and city code; request to remove a property from the historic register; capital improvement program for transportation and transit improvement projects and contract for parking meter operations.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Council will consider options for a referendum for a city ordinance related to building height and bulk in commercial districts, including Downtown

Last up during regular business, council will consider options for a qualified referendum for a city ordinance relating to building height, mass, bulk and parking within commercial districts.

Council will be asked to either:

–Direct staff to return with an ordinance, and take all steps necessary, to repeal the ordinance and amend city code, relating to building height, mass, bulk and parking within commercial districts.

–Direct staff to return with the requisite election resolutions, and take all steps necessary, to submit the ordinance to the voters at the November 5 regular municipal election.

The ordinance initially stemmed from 2022 ballot initiatives tackling the same issues. Council voted to officially oppose both measures (along with another proposing to increase hotel worker wage) on July 19, 2022. At the time, most councilmembers agreed the initiatives (one sponsored by Laguna Residents First, the other by UNITE HERE Local 11 union) were confusing, over-reaching, or unnecessary. Staff proposed an ordinance with alternative guidelines related to building height, mass, bulk and parking within commercial districts, primarily the Downtown.

The Planning Commission unanimously voted on June 15, 2022, to recommend that the City Council adopt the ordinance with some suggested modifications.

During a special meeting on July 26, 2022, a split 3-2 council approved the introduction and first reading of the ordinance, an action on which was postponed from the July 12 meeting. Councilmember George Weiss and former Councilmember Toni Iseman dissented. During the second reading of the item, at the Aug. 16, 2022, meeting, councilmembers voted 3-2 to adopt the ordinance, but this time Weiss and former Councilmember Peter Blake voted no.

The ordinance notes that lot mergers shall not exceed 15,000 square feet for any property within 500 feet of the Downtown Specific Plan. The language also specifically exempts public facilities and public parking structures from these standards, something several speakers previously raised concerns about with the ballot initiatives.

It also changes the zoning code to amend variances that are heard by the Planning Commission to add that: Height variance limited to where emergency access is required; height variance for new or replacement of existing rooftop mechanical equipment, provided the equipment is required for the operation and maintenance of the building, does not unreasonably encroach into ocean views of neighboring building’s occupants, and respects the design integrity and character of the building and height variance cannot be issued for the expansion of existing floors or creation of new floors whose envelope would exceed the allowed height limit.

Language in the ordinance also notes that no element of a new building shall exceed 36 feet in height, including but not limited to rooftop elevators, equipment, furniture and other design features.

The ordinance also includes a section that development of existing or newly created parcels requires that the building be constructed on a parcel be designed to appear from the street frontage as two or more distinctly different developments to avoid the appearance of a single large project and to ensure maintenance of the city’s small scale and village character.

Following the recommendation from planning commissioners (after quite a bit of back and forth), the ordinance also includes limiting the maximum length of any individual building street frontage to 125 feet, including those buildings which have exposures on two or more street frontages. Longer building lengths may be approved by the Planning Commission when all other design objectives of the section are met.

Other requirements listed in the ordinance relate to public accessible open space, public way improvements, parking and sustainability.

On Sept. 26, 2022, the city clerk received signatures for the referendum petition seeking to repeal the ordinance. The Orange County Registrar of Voters verified a total of 2,613 valid signatures on the referendum petition.

On Nov. 15, 2022, councilmembers unanimously decided to receive and file the referendum against the city ordinance.

Initially, the council was scheduled to consider options and take action, either entirely repeal the ordinance or submit the ordinance to the voters, but a lawsuit filed by the Laguna Beach Company on Nov. 14, 2022, changed the recommended course of action. After the lawsuit was filed looking to invalidate the approved ordinance, council decided to wait on taking action in response to the referendum until they discussed the litigation in closed session.

According to next week’s staff report, ordinances that are the subject of a referendum are automatically suspended once the petition with sufficient signatures is submitted. Therefore, Laguna Beach’s ordinance related to building height, mass, bulk and parking within commercial districts has not been in effect since the referendum qualified.

Staff also note in the report that in order to meet the relevant deadlines for the upcoming November election, council must now choose to either repeal the ordinance or submit the referendum to the voters.

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Circus Bella prepares to WOW Laguna in 4th annual show on June 8


This story is a part of our Arts section. For more arts stories as well as our arts calendars, visit

Step right up, folks. Don’t be shy. Bring the kids and prepare to witness the wonderful, whimsical world of Circus Bella on Saturday, June 8 in Bluebird Park. Two shows will take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They’re sure to blow your minds while warming your hearts.

Circus is becoming synonymous with summer in Laguna. Every year since 2021, Circus Bella has taken center stage in Bluebird Park. This year, they’re preparing to wow the crowd with their all new 2024 show, “WOW!”

After last year’s banana costume bonanza, Director Abigail Munn wondered how she could top it. “The world needs an injection of joy, compassion and things we can agree on,” Munn said. “An explosion of love. That’s the feeling we’re trying to capture.”

Circus Bella delivers a perfect family show for audiences ages one to 100. The crowd will be treated to clowns and contortionists, acrobats and jugglers, a hooper, a trapeze artist and a Rola Bola solo act.

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Photo by Emil Alex

Circus Bella will perform two free shows in Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

If you’ve seen Circus Bella in the past, many of their performers will feel familiar to you. But they’ve each upped their circus game, incorporating more ensemble work and specialized routines. They’re also debuting two new acts, one of which we’ll keep a surprise.

But the Rola Bola act is new, as is the performer – Ori Quesada – who began training and performing at age 7 under Master Lu Yi and Teacher Xia Ke Min in traditional Chinese acrobatics. “It’s a rare act,” Munn said. “Nobody does these kinds of tricks.” Quesada has had the chance to perfect it over his 25-year career, lending a new note to this year’s show.

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Photo by Emil Alex

Ori Doria Quesada performing his Rola Bola act

“Part of our message, especially built into the ensemble pieces, is celebrating diversity. We’ve got an incredibly diverse company – gay, straight, trans, every color of the rainbow – so you see this beautiful company of people working together. Rather than talk about [diversity and collaboration], our audience sees it and experiences it. That’s important,” Munn said. “We’re trying to create the world I want to live in.”

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Photo by Emil Alex

Strongman Toni Cannon

It takes a village to create a circus. Beyond the six-piece band, there are nine performers and a sizable production crew responsible for making the show happen. Performers include Toni Cannon (strong man), Jamie Coventry (clown), Joel Herzfeld (hand balancer), Jefferson Freire (juggling and unicycle), Dwoira Galilea (aerial hoop), Elise Hing (contortion), Natasha Kaluza (clown and hula hooper) and Calvin Kai Ku (clown).

“Clowns may be ‘third responders,’ but our job is no less important,” Coventry said. “We pour our hearts into our art in the hopes that we’ll provide lasting joy for those that spend an afternoon outside with the circus.”

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Photo by Daisy Rose Coby

Circus Bella clowns bring the ambience and spark to every show

And no better place than Bluebird Park. “It’s such a beautiful park,” said Munn. “I have this memory of standing up on the hill, looking down at the circus set with the flowers and trees. It’s circus in paradise. Maybe it sounds a little hippie-dippy, but you can feel the energy of different parks. That ground has good vibes.”

Speaking of good vibes, we can’t talk about Circus Bella without talking about the band. For some circuses, the band is background (if it exists at all). For Bella, the band plays an equal role in the show. There’s a saying in Circus Bella: “Be brave, be safe, be funny, be better than the band.” For Munn, a live band was essential for Circus Bella to function. The All-Star band includes Rob Reich (bandleader, accordion, keyboard and glockenspiel), Ian Carey (trumpet), Kasey Knudsen (saxophone), Michael Pinkham (percussion) and Jonathan Seiberlich (tuba). They’re even arriving with all new costumes this year.

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Photo by Emil Alex

Circus Bella All-Star band, led by Rob Reich (center)

There are few live performances that are equally satisfying for kids and adults alike. That straddle cultures, language and time. That cut across geographical and generational boundaries alike. “What I think is amazing about the circus is that it’s so universal,” said Munn. “A whole family can go to the show and every person in that line-up is going to find something that’s enjoyable about the experience.”

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Photo by Brandon Irving

Circus Bella Director Abigail Munn

Circus Bella will perform in Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. All performances are free, though donations are appreciated. To support Circus Bella and learn more about their organization, visit

The event is a City of Laguna Beach program and funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

This story is a part of our Arts section. For more arts stories as well as our arts calendars, visit

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Breaker Artist Spotlight: Meg Gardner’s artistic journey in Laguna Beach High School’s ceramics program

The ceramics program at Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) offers a comprehensive journey into the world of ceramic arts, beginning with Ceramics 1 and advancing through to AP Studio Art 3D Design. Open to students from grades 9-12, the program provides a solid foundation in clay-building techniques and surface finishing effects.

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Photos courtesy of LBUSD

Meg Gardner in the school studio

Under the expert instruction of Somer Selway, a seasoned educator with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in ceramics and a master’s degree in education, students develop their technical skills and artistic expression. The program culminates in the AP Studio Art 3D Design course, where students create high-quality, college-level artworks.

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Gardner with LBHS Ceramics Teacher Somer Selway

In this edition of Student Artist Spotlight, they proudly feature the exceptional work of Meg Gardner, a ceramics student whose journey and achievements exemplify the excellence of the LBHS program.

“Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic when she first took up ceramics, Meg quietly excelled, and her passion for clay was unmistakable. Watching her grow into a peer mentor and a leader has been incredibly inspiring,” said LBHS Ceramics Teacher Somer Selway. “Meg’s dedication, resilience and ability to balance so many responsibilities while still creating amazing art is nothing short of phenomenal. She truly embodies the spirit of perseverance and creativity, and I am so proud of everything she has accomplished,” she concluded.

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Gardner working on her ceramic pieces

Here is a Q&A with Gardner to learn more about her artistic journey and inspirations.

Q: What initially drew you to ceramics, and how has your interest evolved over the years?

A: I’ve always loved art. Throughout my early childhood, I experimented with so many different mediums. When I came to high school, I was so excited to learn something new. Little did I know how much I would end up absolutely loving ceramics.

Q: What is your favorite piece that you have created, and why does it hold special significance for you?

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Gardner’s favorite piece – Spiky Vase

 A: My favorite piece that I created is a spiky vase. For me, it really symbolizes everything that I have learned in ceramics. I took multiple different techniques and pulled them together making something that is truly my own.

Q: What advice would you give to other students interested in pursuing ceramics or starting an art club?

A: Some of my biggest advice is to take your art credit earlier in high school. There are so many students who take art for the first time during their senior year and absolutely love it but are unable to pursue it on their own. If any student has a love or even an interest in art, just take the class.

Q: What are your future plans, and how do you see ceramics fitting into them?

A: I’m currently undecided in my specific college choice, but I am planning on majoring in biology with a minor in ceramics.

LBUSD extends an invitation to local community members to inspire the next generation. If you work in arts, media, or entertainment, they encourage you to share your journey and insights with students. Connect with Work-Based Learning Technician Staci Stangarone at to join them as a guest speaker in their school’s career talks and play a vital role in shaping the aspirations of LBHS students.

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Laguna Beach residents offer early thoughts on Facilities Master Plan

City representatives met with residents during an evening of public meetings at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center last week, holding four back-to-back sessions to gather initial impressions and ideas for a Facilities Master Plan that has just started development.

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Evening of public meetings regarding Facilities Master Plan

This is the first phase of development for the Plan, which will assess the present and future needs of more than 288,000 square feet of facilities throughout Laguna Beach, including public safety facilities, community and art facilities, parking lots, the library and more. Last week’s sessions were specifically focused on the Laguna Beach Library, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Festival of Arts complex, the Laguna Playhouse and the city’s key recreation facilities.

By the evening’s end, the walls of the meeting room were filled with pages of ideas taken from the passionate residents who attended, offering perspective on what needs these facilities have today and how they can evolve to better suit tomorrow’s challenges. These notes are being organized and compiled into a summary that will be posted on the project website.

These meetings were just the kick-off of a development filled with community engagement – there will be many more chances for the public to have their voices heard. Upcoming meeting dates will be posted to the project website, but residents can also send in their thoughts at any time via email to

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Visual Creations: Newest art show at Gallery Q at the Susi Q includes section devoted to CAP artists


This story is a part of our Arts section. For more arts stories as well as our arts calendars, visit

Gallery Q at the Susi Q was a critical component why the community center was recently named Art Patron of the Year. But the latest show, Visual Creations is a new feather in their cap, as the show partners with Community Art Project (CAP).

“This is the second time we shared with CAP and many visitors were impressed on preview night,” said Bill Atkins, artistic director of Gallery Q.

“We bring art to the community to have conversations,” said CAP Vice President Adrienne Fayne. All the CAP shows are invitationals, and for this show the CAP board selected seven artists whose work reflects the theme and ultimately creates a cohesive show. They are featured in the library area of the Susi Q Center.

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Courtesy of Bill Atkins

The florals of CAP member Karen Wiechert, including “White Anemones” (above), is on display at the current Gallery Q show

“I am always grateful to be included in a community-sponsored art show,” said Karen Wiechert who is a CAP member from San Juan Capistrano. She was invited by CAP president M “Charlie” Ferrazzi to show her two floral oil paints in the show.

“I like to paint with traditional oil paints,” says Wiechert, explaining not only that oil was the medium she trained in while attending Laguna College of Art + Design, but also for a more practical reason.

“Oil paints are very forgiving,” she said. “(They) allow me to rework pieces at any time.”

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Photo by Kevin Twombly

Adrienne Fayne, vice president of the Community Art Project, addresses the crowd during the opening night reception of the Gallery Q show “Visual Creations”

The Gallery Q and CAP partnership has taken on a special relationship said Fayne, as the group seeks to find display space. The nonprofit, founded in 1998 is committed to increasing visibility and appreciation of art, and serves as a catalyst for art education. It has about 75 members – not all are artists, as some are patrons of the arts.

In addition to the current showing at Gallery Q, CAP also has an upcoming show this summer at City Hall, entitled Real & Imagined. The group will also be the featured artists at the Art Walk preview reception in September at Hotel Laguna.

“We want to help local artists get their work out there,” said Fayne. “There are many artists in Laguna who are not represented and are not in the festivals, but they can be CAP artists and can show in town.”

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Photo by Kevin Twombly

Christine Sullivan is one of the seven CAP members selected to have her work displayed at the current Gallery Q show

CAP is also committed to sponsoring murals throughout Laguna.

“The community always benefits from art,” said Fayne.

Besides the CAP exhibit at Gallery Q’s current Visual Creations show, other artists in the area also have work on display. As is true in many Gallery Q shows, it’s a broad collection.

“This is my first time participating,” said Linda Ruddy. “I feel honored to be chosen and it helps to validate me as an artist.” The Laguna Woods resident, who works in mixed media, has her art shown at other locations, including in her community and at the art galleries in both Saddleback College and San Clemente.

“This show helps me build momentum and energy,” she said.

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Photo by Kevin Twombly

Adrienne Fayne stands by her artwork currently on display in the Gallery Q show, which she entered as an independent artist, not as a CAP artist

Artist Brian Jones, who has shown at LPAPA Gallery and recently received third place at the Art That’s Small exhibit at City Hall, has been participating in the Gallery Q shows for years.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for aspiring artists to show their work,” he said. “The staff at the Susi Q, especially Bill Atkins and Judy Baker, have been very encouraging and welcoming to the artists.”

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Photo by Kevin Twombly

Artist Kathy Lin stands next to her painting of “Boys of Balboa Island,” now on display at the current Gallery Q show

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Laguna native graduates medical school

Navy Lieutenant, Dr. Thomas (“Tommy”) J. Renner, son of Beth and Bill Renner of Laguna Beach, graduated with an M.D. degree from the prestigious military medical school, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Washington D.C., on Saturday, May 18.

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Submitted photo

Navy Lieutenant, Dr. Thomas J. Renner

Renner was born in Laguna Beach and attended St. Catherine’s and Laguna Beach High School, where he was on the water polo and swim teams. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University in public health, he returned to Laguna Beach to work as an ocean lifeguard which cemented his want to pursue a career as a physician. His emergency medicine residency will begin in July at Naval Medical Center San Diego and other San Diego area hospitals.

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The mournful note floats o’er the crowd

A somber tune…our heads are bowed

The empty boots stand sentinel

A tribute to our brave who fell


A grieving mother makes her way

And places dog tags and a lei

The sacrifice…too great to bear

A brother, son…we say a prayer


The price of freedom’s…never free

These young men gave their lives for me

A gift that I cannot repay

Except by remembering every day


The mournful note hangs in the air

The boots remain…an empty pair

I raise my eyes up to the sky

Safely Rest, God is nigh


by Suzy Siegrist

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American Legion and VFW to conduct Memorial Day ceremony

On Monday, May 27, Laguna Beach American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct their Memorial Day ceremony in remembrance of all their comrades who died in all the wars and conflicts, protecting our country. The ceremony will take place at Monument Point in Heisler Park beginning at 11 a.m. sharp.

The keynote speaker will be Carla Hogan, Gold Star Mom. Music will begin at 10:30 a.m. The public is invited to come early, as seating is limited.

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Laying of wreaths in honor of our veterans at a previous Memorial Day ceremony

Many organizations place floral offerings on the Heisler Park Memorial Monument during the ceremony. If you send or bring floral arrangements, please make sure your organization’s name is attached. It is suggested that those having flowers to have them delivered by 9:30 am. If you intend to send or bring floral arrangements, call Sandi Werthe at 949.494.6016. No glass containers please.

For more information, contact Richard Moore at 949.637.4437.

Heisler Park is located at 375 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

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World Affairs Council of Orange County announces the appointment of Jayne Herring as new president & CEO

Jayne Herring, a resident of Laguna Beach, brings a wealth of nonprofit and international experience to her new role as president & CEO of the World Affairs Council of Orange County. At the age of 16, she was awarded a full scholarship to participate in a summer abroad program through Youth for Understanding USA. When employed by ICSC in New York, she planned and managed conferences and events for the association’s international board of trustees, in locations including Cape Town, Dubai, Merida, Paris, Berlin, Vancouver, Beijing and Shanghai, in addition to many cities around the United States.

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Photo by Davini Photography

Jayne Herring with David Petraeus, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency

After time focused on family and volunteer work, she returned to school to complete a degree in International Studies (Asia focus) and Human Rights (Public Policy Focus) from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. While at SMU, she took condensed coursework in London and in Nishinomiya, Japan, at Kwansei Gakuin University. She became an active member of the World Affairs Council in Dallas/Fort Worth, and later served as an “elder intern” for a semester, supporting the education, protocol, membership, programs and development departments.

With her previous experience as director of special events at the Pacific Symphony, Herring has extensive expertise in fundraising event management, having successfully orchestrated annual events that generated more than $2.8 million in net revenue over the span of one year, surpassing all goals. Her strong abilities in securing sponsorships, cultivating donor relationships and managing large teams has not only sharpened her fundraising acumen, but has also instilled in her a profound appreciation for the arts and their impact on communities. Herring’s skills are essential for driving fundraising success and fostering meaningful community connections within the nonprofit organization.

Herring has also served in various leadership positions, including organizing director for a state-level political campaign and development director at Laguna Radio, Inc. Her commitment to humanitarian causes led her to serve as a volunteer assisting resettlement caseworkers at the International Rescue Committee in Dallas. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated leadership and advocacy, serving in roles such as trustee of the Tony Award-winning Dallas Theater Center, and as board secretary and human rights ambassador for the United Nations Association of Orange County.

This trajectory showcases Herring’s evolution into a seasoned leader with a deep understanding of organizational dynamics and a profound dedication to driving positive change. Her experiences in politics, community engagement and donor stewardship have equipped her with a diverse skill set crucial for leading the World Affairs Council of Orange County into its next phase of growth and impact.

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Dogfight musical at No Square Theatre extended through June 1

After sold out audiences in its opening weekend, No Square Theatre’s Dogfight musical has been extended through June 1. As reviewed by The Orange Curtain Review, “Even musical skeptics may want to attend this rendition of Dogfight. No Square Theatre manages to create an elaborate, engaging and wildly funny show that is well worth the audience’s time.”

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Courtesy of No Square Theatre

Braxton McGrath and Brooklyn Vizcarra in a scene from “Dogfight”

This hauntingly beautiful musical, by Pasek and Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen) and Peter Duchan, was praised by countless critics and nominated for numerous awards, winning the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical. Based on the 1991 Warner Brothers film, Dogfight takes audiences on a romantic and heartbreaking theatrical journey set in the 1960s that stays with you long after the performance.

No Square Theatre, winner of Laguna Beach Arts Alliance’s Best Arts Program for its 30th Anniversary production of local favorite, Lagunatics last year, is in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St., Laguna Beach, just two blocks south of Laguna Beach High School. The high school has ample free parking. Seating is extremely limited, and the theater has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. Drinks and refreshments are available for purchase.

No Square Theatre is generously sponsored by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach, Carolyn and Tom Bent, Carol Normandin in Memory of Emily Normandin-Parker, Chris Quilter, Jon Cobain, Mary and Carl Winefordner, Hall Charitable Foundation, Goldstein Family Fund and the FOA Foundation.

For additional information on events, auditions, classes and to purchase tickets, visit the website at

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Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble presents The Vast Eternal Sky on June 8

Prepare to be swept away by an extraordinary concert experience unlike any other as Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble presents The Vast Eternal Sky featuring music for voices and strings on Saturday, June 8 at 4 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. For tickets, click here.

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Courtesy of Meritage Vocal Arts

Meritage Vocal Arts performs on June 8 at Laguna Presbyterian Church

In this groundbreaking concert, Meritage will showcase the extraordinary synergy between chorus and string quartet, a combination that promises to evoke profound emotional resonance. Led by the visionary director, Brian Dehn, the ensemble will traverse a diverse repertoire featuring compositions by esteemed artists such as Eric Whitacre, Elaine Hagenberg, Dan Forrest and more. However, this concert will also highlight the talent of local composers, with the debut of two world premieres, offering a unique and immersive musical experience.

From soaring melodies to intricate and fast-paced compositions, and even pieces featuring up to 12 vocal parts, The Vast Eternal Sky promises to be an exploration of the human spirit. Delving into themes of friendship, nature, love and community, the music selected for this concert is as uplifting as it is inspiring, promising to leave audiences deeply moved and uplifted. The audience will also be delighted by engaging solo performances from a few chorus members to round off the diverse program.

“This concert is a testament to the power of music to touch the soul,” said Artistic Director Brian Dehn. “We are thrilled to present this fusion of voices and strings, inviting our audience on a journey of discovery and emotion.”

Don’t miss your chance to experience the breathtaking harmonies of the 65 voices of the Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble as they unite with the sublime sounds of a string quartet. Mark your calendars now for an unforgettable evening of musical brilliance.

About Meritage Vocal Arts Ensemble is a renowned choral ensemble noted for excellence in performance of an eclectic repertoire from masterworks to contemporary choral and often features solo performers from among their 65 voices. The ensemble is ably led by Artistic Director Brian Dehn, who has more than 25 years of experience in choral music, conducting ensembles from venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall to the Beijing Central Conservatory to local churches. Dehn displays expertise in a broad spectrum of music from sacred to secular, working with student singers to professionals of renown.

Dehn is pursuing his Doctorate of Musical Arts at Claremont Graduate University. He is an accomplished tenor soloist as well, performing for a variety of professional music ensembles, colleges and churches throughout Southern California.

For more information, visit, or contact Michael Buss, call 714.512.2027 or email

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Laguna Live! at the Museum features ACE Trio: flute, clarinet and keyboard at LAM on June 2

Laguna Beach Live’s monthly chamber music concert Laguna Live! at the Museum in collaboration with the Laguna Art Museum, presents ACE Trio on Sunday, June 2 from 1-2 p.m.

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Courtesy of Laguna Live!

ACE Trio (L-R) Leon Thomasian, Shannon Canchola and Micah Wright

Coined a “Musical Tour de Force,” ACE Trio is a classical modern ensemble rapidly distinguishing themselves as one of the newest leading groups of their generation. Pushing the edges of what it means to be a contemporary chamber ensemble, ACE perform their own innovative arrangements and all accessible contemporary music by living composers from around the world.

“…exceptional ensemble work at high speed and spectacularly virtuosic individual flights from all three players.”  LA Opus

Laguna Live! at the Museum is on the first Sunday of each month. A feast of sight and sound, the concert remains free to members of Laguna Beach Live! and to members of the Museum; $14 museum admission to non-members.

Advance reservations are recommended and can be made at, or by calling the museum at 949.494.8971.

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Guest Column

Craig Cooley, President

Laguna Beach Pride 365

June is Pride Month: Festooning Laguna Beach with Rainbow Pride flags celebrating diversity and equality!

With June Pride Month coming close, it is time to reflect and look to the future…

With a Rainbow Flag and Summer of Pride Celebration, Laguna Beach Pride 365 speaks up with a message that diversity and equality are basic human rights and matter for everyone. Starting at 1 p.m. and continuing to 4 p.m. on May 31, on the eve of June Pride Month, we will gather at the west end of the Forest Street Promenade, where we will organize and distribute rainbow flags to anyone from local businesses, residences and to individuals. From 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., we will take the celebration to the Susi Q Community Center patio-veranda with entertainment, beverages and lite bites; a $10 donation is suggested. The next day, June 1 the City of Laguna Beach will raise the rainbow flag in front of City Hall as they have done for the last five+ years and where it will proudly fly for the next 30 days.

The details…

What: Rainbow Flag distribution and Summer of Pride Celebration

When: Friday, May 31 from 17 p.m.

Where: Forest Avenue Promenade, 1-4 p.m. and Susi Q Community Center, 4-7 p.m.

More details…

For the Rainbow Flag distribution, from 1-4 p.m., we will meet at the west end, the ocean side of Forest Avenue Promenade in Downtown Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach Pride 365 will provide flags of various sizes to distribute to anyone, business, residence, or individual to display and share a message embracing diversity and equality. We suggest comfortable shoes and clothing. We will have bottled water and a limited amount of energy snacks available. Bring a friend if possible, as it is always better to work in pairs. Consider UBER, LYFT, or public transportation, as parking is limited. You are not required to arrive at 1 p.m. to participate. If you can make it at a later time, we will need your help! Or just come to show your support!

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Courtesy of Craig Cooley

Rainbow Lifeguard Tower of Diversity on West Street Beach

We also celebrate these milestones:

Laguna Beach Pride 365, established in 2018 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, is in its 6th year of operation bringing “Pride” events to the community with the mantra: “Building unity and commerce through the power of diversity.” From one-of-a-kind pride festivals to supporting the Laguna Pantry and Friendship Shelter, Laguna Beach Pride 365 has an excellent record for supporting the community.

Club Q, an LGBTQ+ senior social organization established by Larry Ritchie, has been organizing events for more than 10 years. Events range from drag bingo, movie shorts, fun and games, and informational guest speakers, to whale watching and day-long excursions.

Rainbow Lifeguard Tower of Diversity. This past year, we embarked on a project for the placement of a rainbow-colored lifeguard tower on West Street Beach at Camel Point. Last summer, that dream became a reality with generous donations from the community and many hours of organization by Laguna Beach Pride 365. This summer, we will place a commemorative plaque on the tower expressing a welcoming message of diversity and equality for all.

Proclamation! In 2017, then-Mayor Toni Iseman submitted a proclamation before the Laguna Beach City Council to celebrate the contributions, heritage and culture of the LGBTQ+ community in June each year. It was unanimously approved!

Rainbow Radio, now in its seventh year on KX FM 104.7, has expanded to two hours every Sunday from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The program brings local, national and international LGBTQ+ news and hosts conversations with movie producers, book authors, event organizers, business owners, activists and LGBTQ+ allies.

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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announces Summer Camp Program focused on empowering youth

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, also serving Saddleback Valley, is excited to announce their upcoming summer camp programs, tailored to provide safe, fun and enriching experiences for children from June 17 through August 16 in Laguna Beach.

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Courtesy of BGCLB

Exciting summer field trips await

With a steadfast commitment to nurturing the inherent strengths of every child, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach offers a dynamic array of activities tailored to foster personal growth, social development and a passion for life-long learning.

At two convenient locations in Laguna Beach:

–Canyon Enrichment Center

1085 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

For Grades K-5th and 6th-8th

–Bluebird Enrichment Center

1470 Temple Terrace, Laguna Beach

For more information on activities and schedule, go to

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The Plant Man: Garden touring in Palm Desert

By Steve Kawaratani

“Beneath the desert sky, my plants thrive.” –Unknown

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

I think often of America’s “A Horse with No name,” when we make the drive from Laguna towards the desert; it feels good to get away for a few days to the unfettered sun and warmth of an off-season Palm Desert. And there are always the “plants and birds and rocks and things” to observe during our early morning walks for sure.

Nestled in the Coachella Valley, the landscapes in the towns and cities of the desert are a testament to nature’s remarkable adaptability. With really hot summer temperatures and paucity of rainfall, plants have evolved to not only survive but thrive in harsh conditions.

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Lily’s Garden in Palm Desert is a collection of reclaimed desert plants

Lily’s Garden is right down the street from our son’s home. A plaque commemorates Lily and her girlfriends’ restoration of a landscape by collecting “fallen bits and pieces of cacti” over a period of two years. Her garden is a fine collection of agaves, cholla, prickly pear cactus and yuccas that blend in perfectly with the well-tended desert landscapes of the neighborhood.

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The Madagascar Ocotillo is a doppelgänger of the ubiquitous desert ocotillo of California, Arizona and Baja

I spotted a Madagascar Ocotillo (Alluaudia procera) just around the corner from Lily’s Garden, which in many ways resembles the locally occurring North American Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens). It is interesting that the physical similarities of the two plants are due to convergent evolution (when different species evolve similar features or tolerance) as these two plants are not genetically related Nevertheless, a great find from a faraway land.

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The stately Desert Museum Palo Verde is a popular garden and street tree in Palm Desert and allied cities

The Desert Museum Palo Verde is a hybridized cultivar that reigns supreme as a street and garden tree in desert cities, the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts and throughout Baja. Its name refers to being a “green pole or stick” in Spanish, due to its distinctive green trunk and branches. The tree possesses bright green foliage and is covered with yellow blossoms during the spring.

Garden touring in Palm Desert offers a unique opportunity to discover nature’s boundless creativity up close. By embracing the resilient plants of this hot and dry land, gardeners can enjoy and create beautiful and sustainable landscapes that celebrate the enduring spirit of the desert. See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani, a regular columnist with Stu News Laguna, has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at or 949.494.5141.

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Laguna Beach Library to hold Reading of the Winning Poems on June 1

On Saturday, June 1 at 11 a.m., stop by the Laguna Beach Public Library as they host Reading of the Winning Poems.

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Library

Join this public reading of winning poems from the 26th Annual John Gardiner Community Poetry Contest with the theme, “To Walk in Different Shoes.” Winning poets are of all ages. Refreshments are provided.

The Annual Contest is funded by the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

Laguna Beach Library is located s 363 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach.

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LBPD emphasizes E-bike laws

By Nicole Rice | CSO Crime Prevention, Neighborhood Enhancement Team (N.E.T.), LBPD

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Courtesy of LBPD

Remember the laws when you get on your E-bike

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Cultural Arts presents Circus Bella on June 8

Stage on Forest

Friday, May 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Felisha Dunne

Saturday, May 25, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Molly Bergman

Sunday, May 26, 5-7 p.m.

Jodi Siegel

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Courtesy of

Circus Bella performs at Bluebird Park on June 8

Saturday, June 8, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Circus Bella

The Arts Commission invites kids of all ages to a free performance of Circus Bella’s “WOW!” – a captivating blend of circus enchantment and madcap mayhem. Circus Bella offers a modern twist on a one-ring circus overflowing with heart and soul. This exhilarating family event promises to delight and astonish you.

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Free.

Sunset Serenades

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

The 2024 Sunset Serenades concert season starts the first Friday in May at the Heisler Park Amphitheater

Free Admission, click here for more information.

Friday, May 24, 6:30 p.m. – sunset

Uncanny Valley (Rock)

World Music

Friday, May 31, 6:30 p.m. – sunset

Caro Pierotto (Brazilian samba)

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Courtesy of

Caro Pienotto – May 31

Friday, June 7, 6:30 p.m. – sunset

Quarteto Nuevo (Western classical, eastern European folk, Latin and jazz mix)

Friday, June 14, 6:30 p.m. – sunset

Jessica Fichot (Multilingual fusion of French chanson, Shanghai jazz, gypsy swing and international folk music)

Low-back beach chairs are encouraged. Alcohol is permitted for guests 21 or older but must be accompanied by a full meal. Solicitation of any kind is not permitted at city events.

For full details, click here.

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and city of Laguna Beach.

Music in the Park

Sundays, July 7 – August 18, 5-7 p.m.

Bluebird Park, 772 Cress St.

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Courtesy of

Great North Special performs at Bluebird Park on July 7

Music in the Park is a free public concert series held Sunday evenings in July and August, at Bluebird Park. Concerts start at 5 p.m. Set-up is not permitted before 3 p.m. No dogs are allowed at Bluebird Park (LBMC 6.16.020). No smoking (LBMC 7.40.030). No display or sale of merchandise (LBMC 18.04.015). Low-seating beach chairs are encouraged. Alcohol is permitted for guests 21 or older, but must be accompanied by a full meal. Solicitation of any kind is not permitted at city events.


–July 7 – The Great North Special

(Psych-rock, Country, Blues and Funk-soul)

–July 14 – TABU


–July 21 – The Shagwells

(‘60s and ‘70s hits)

–July 28 – Upstream

(Caribbean, Reggae, Calypso, Steel Drum)

–August 4 – 133 Band

–August 11 – Betamaxx

(1980s cover)

–August 18 – The Tina Turner Tribute featuring Debby Holiday


This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For questions, contact Cultural Arts at 949.497.3311.

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Laguna Live! presents Annual Bluegrass and BBQ on June 9

Tuesdays through May, 11:30 a.m.

Live! Music Matters, free children’s program returns

Laguna Beach Live! is delighted to announce another series of their free, children’s program “Live! Music Matters.” An interactive music class for ages up to 6 years old, with caregiver involvement. Local musician Zach Churchill leads the sessions while attendees sing, dance, and play child friendly percussion instruments.

​The Tuesday morning sessions are held at Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St.

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

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ACE Trio – June 2

Sunday, June 2, 1 p.m.

Live at the Museum presents the ACE Trio

Laguna Art Museum

Shannon Canchola (flute), Micah Wright (clarinet) and Leon Thomasian (piano)

Coined a “Musical Tour de Force” by the Mountaineer Progress newspaper, ACE Trio is a Los Angeles-based classical modern ensemble rapidly distinguishing itself as one of the newest leading groups of its generation.

For tickets, click here.

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Gabriela Friedman and Mark Turnbull – June 4

Tuesday, June 4, 7 p.m.

Beth’s Tuesdays

Gabriela Friedman and Mark Turnbull

Concerts are in person and held at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center – 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach on a Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Gabriele Friedman is a singer songwriter from Laguna Beach who now resides in Volcano, Hawaii. She has drawn inspiration from many legendary folk, blues and jazz greats – Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald – but more recently her mentor, Beth Wood. Writing and performing came to her later in life and she credits Wood with helping her carve a path toward greater expression of one’s truth in singing and songwriting.

Grammy-nominated songwriter Mark Turnbull started his performing career at the age of 5 on the Jimmy Durante Show and hasn’t looked back. His first album (1968) for Reprise Records “Portrait of the Young Artist” was a Billboard pick, and Turnbull was listed in F.M. & Fine Arts magazine (along with Randy Newman, Laura Nyro and Bob Dylan) as one of the finest songwriters of the era.

Sunday, June 9, 4-7 p.m.

Annual Bluegrass & BBQ

Laguna Beach Live! Annual Bluegrass & BBQ is taking place on Sunday, June 9, 4-7 p.m. This Laguna Live! favorite returns to the picturesque grounds at Laguna College of Art and Design, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Rain or shine. Chairs are provided.

This year’s Bluegrass and BBQ entertainment is the Wimberley Bluegrass Band. They are comprised entirely of four siblings based in Southern California and were named one of Los Angeles’ Top Five Bluegrass Bands by CBS-LA. They provide fun and wholesome musical entertainment and strive to keep the traditional sounds of bluegrass music alive and well by taking it to new audiences.

Tickets: Concert only $25 in advance $30 at the door, kids 12 and under are free; Concert and BBQ $52 in advance, $57 at the door; VIP $110 (incl. concert, BBQ and reserved table seating).

Tickets are non-refundable: Thank you for your understanding.

Sorry, no outside food or beverages.

Barbeque is provided by Richard Jones Pit BBQ with beverages by Bianchi Winery, offering a selection of their award-winning Paso Robles wines, plus, Costa Mesa’s master beer maker, Salty Bear Brewing Co. will be serving their most popular brews.

For tickets, click here.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in May

During the spring, the beaches and park are less crowded, providing the perfect opportunity to hike, explore and discover the flora and fauna, and take in picturesque ocean vistas.

Here is a glimpse at two of the upcoming offerings as the month comes to a close.

Friday, May 24: Full Moon Hike from 7:45-10 p.m.

Explore the Park After Dark, on a guided interpretive two-hour, four-mile Full Moon Hike at Crystal Cove State Park. A park naturalist will lead hikers on this moderate to difficult loop trail with uneven terrain and a steep uphill climb, elevation gain of 600 ft. This hike is suitable for ages 10 and up. Hikers must wear sturdy shoes, bring water, a snack and dress in layers. Bring a red flashlight, but if you don’t have one, they will have plenty to share. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs to the Ranger Station). $5 entrance fee. Please RSVP to Lets Go Outside at

Speaker event with Rich German, founder of Project O: Tuesday, May 28 from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

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Courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Rich German, founder of Project O

Join Crystal Cove Conservancy as they fall even more in love with the ocean during a special speaker event featuring marine conservation advocate and founder of Project O, Rich German.

Guests will enjoy a special presentation and Q&A conversation with German, as he highlights the ocean’s beauty and its marine life as seen through his eyes, while also sharing about the perils our planet faces that impact humans. A post-event reception will be held for guests to mingle, as they enjoy complimentary lights bites and drinks on the Cottage Check-in Deck #35.

The event is free to attend, but RSVP is required, so register here.

Save the Date:

The Great Plein Air Art Experience every Monday and Wednesday from June 3-October, except June 19, July 1, July 3 and September 2 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration is required. Celebrate more than 100 years of plein air art at Crystal Cove State Park and spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines. During these four-hour classes, you’ll take part in living history while learning the step-by-step process of creating your very own plein air painting from beginning to end. Each class will have a break for lunch, but lunch is not provided. Classes are for ages 18 and up. Register here.

For a complete calendar of events, go to

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LAM offers kids a summer of fun, art and learning

Kids Camp

A Summer of Fun and Learning, begins in June

Throughout summer 2024, LAM will be welcoming kids into the museum for expanded learning and creative opportunities that can be found only at Laguna Art Museum. Starting off with their Summer Camp, they will announce new phases of LAM Kids Summer on this page. Stay tuned and make sure you register!

For classes, click here.

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Courtesy of LAM

Kids Camp runs through July 29

LAM Kids Summer Fridays

Drop in and create masterpieces of your own. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. every summer Friday, their Studio/Lab is open to all kids who want to explore their creativity and participate in hands-on art projects. Members of the Education Staff will be onsite to help kids find inspiration and create their works of art.

Drop ins are free with museum admission.

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Courtesy of LAM

Adam Neeley, “Modern Alchemy” continues through July 29

–Modern Alchemy: The Fusion of Art and Nature in the Jewelry Designs of Adam Neeley

Adam Neeley is an award-winning artist/jeweler who transforms precious metals and gemstones into wearable art by traditional goldsmith techniques and modern technologies. His unique designs are inspired by the vast variety of shapes and colors found in the natural world. In fact, it was his childhood interest in collecting rocks that eventually drew Neeley to the master goldsmiths in Italy, where he would study the art of jewelry making. Eventually he developed his own style and techniques of goldwork that have won him international acclaim, as well as prestigious awards across the jewelry industry.


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Courtesy of LAM

“Skyward” by Eric Theodore

Reflections of Resilience through August 25

Reflections of Resilience presents a sampling of the artwork from the 2024 Master of Fine Art graduates from Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD). Remarkable artists are attracted to LCAD because of the understanding that time-honored skill joined with personal contemporary concerns can create vital, memorable art.

LAM is delighted to introduce Cara Baxter, Jason Dowd, Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

On the Edge through September 2

Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

Joan and Jack Quinn represent a crucial moment in art history, as Los Angeles came to symbolize an innovative and prolific brand of creative freedom. On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection, explores the experimental approaches to minimalism and new materials from the 1960s through 2000s, the diversification of practices and makers, and the vital role the Quinns played in both documenting and contributing to the story of Los Angeles art. Revealed is a period of artmaking that is pivotal to understanding current practices and the west coast mentality, and collectively exudes a unique spirit of anti-conformity and the “California Cool” ethos.

Courtesy of LAM

Art Workshop – May 24

Friday, May 24, 4-7 p.m.

Art Workshop, Figure Drawing

Join Peter Zokosky, Chair of MFA Drawing + Painting at LCAD, for a figure drawing workshop. Learn the basics and build on your knowledge of how to draw the human form with a live model. Supplies included with purchase of ticket.

Class Dates: May 24, June 21, July 19

Please note that the model will be nude.

Advance tickets recommended. Adults (18+) only. Museum members: $30, Non-members: $45. For tickets, click here.

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Courtesy of LAM

Kids Studio – May 25

Saturday, May 25, 11 a.m.

LAM Kids Studio

Unleash your imagination and create your own masterpieces at their monthly LAM Kids Studio program. With guidance from LAM’s Education Team, kids will experiment with different artistic mediums and styles, explore the museum galleries and engage in fun-filled activities.

LAM Kids Studio activities and themes change every month.

This month, kids will practice printmaking to create fun abstract portraits inspired by Laguna Art Museum’s On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection exhibition.

Free with admission: Members: Free; Adults: $12; Youth 12 and under: Free; Active Military, Seniors, Students: $9.

Every student must be accompanied by an adult for the duration of the workshop.

For tickets, click here.

Courtesy of LAM

A Jeweler’s Muse – June 1

Saturday, June 1, 6 p.m.

Nature: A Jeweler’s Muse

Join curator Timothy Adams for a fascinating talk that will explore Mother Nature as a muse in the work of four visionary artist-jewelers: Carl Fabergé, Paulding Farnham, Katey Brunini and Adam Neeley. They each have a unique interpretation of the world around them which they express through gold, gemstones, enamel and more. Though 100 years separate Fabergé and Tiffany & Co.’s Farnham from Brunini and Neeley, one thing that connects them is the inspiration from the greatest designer of all – Mother Nature.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity to embark on a journey through the eyes of these remarkable artists and experience the magic of nature brought to life in precious jewels.

Advance tickets are recommended. Members: $12 per person, Non-members: $18 per person.

For tickets, click here.

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Artists Fund invites public to Art-To-Go Reception at City Hall during Art Walk on June 6

Art-To-Go Preview at City Hall from June 3-13

First Thursday Art Walk

Thursday, June 6, 6-7 p.m.,

Art-To-go Reception Event, for exhibit at City Hall, free to the public

On display will be 35 originals donated by Festival of Arts exhibitors. The theme is inspired by the Pageant of the Masters A’La Mode: The Art of Fashion program.

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Photos courtesy of Artists Fund

“Bess” by Brian Haberlin

“It’s exciting to see how each artist interprets Head-To-Toe” said Chris Brazelton, Art-To-Go committee chair. “Some take it literally, and others have inventive interpretations. It’s really a great collection.”

Attendees are encouraged to wear festive attire. Live music by Felisha Dunne and free refreshments will be provided. The event is presented by The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts in collaboration with City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Department and First Thursdays Art Walk. The exhibit runs through June 13.  505 Forest Avenue.

Spring Collection at City Hall – View 40 originals by Artists Fund Board Members and Art-To-Go winning artists. Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Viewing is available during regular business hours.

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Photos courtesy of Artists Fund

“Early Moon” by Wendy Wirth, part of Spring Collection

Special Sale Gallery

Now through May 2024, view the Artists Fund “Special Sale Gallery” collection of affordable originals. Proceeds from sales support their Hardship Grant fund.

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“Botanical” by Natalia Eremeyeva-Duarte, 17” ceramic platter

All works are originals donated by past and present Festival exhibitors. Prices shown are reduced – to support their Hardship Grant fund for artists in need. Works may be collected in Laguna Beach or shipped at an additional cost.

To purchase artwork, contact curator Mike Tauber, call or text at 949.497.3597.

To view them online, click here.

Thursday, June 6, 6-7 p.m.

Art-To-Go Head-To-Toe, Reception Event at City Hall

First Thursdays Art Walk

The public is invited to an opening reception of Art-To-Go Head-To-Toe at Laguna Beach City Hall, June 6, 6-7 p.m. The event is free.

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Susan Hoehn, Wendy Wirth and Chris Brazelton

On view will be 35 originals donated by Festival of Arts exhibitors. Viewers will enjoy seeing how various artists interpreted the theme Head-To-Toe, which is inspired by the Pageant of the Masters A’ La Mode: The Art of Fashion program.

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“Anemone” by FOA exhibitor Sharon Williams

Among the Head-To-Toe subjects are those covered in spots, fur and even tentacles. Refreshments will be provided, and live music by Felicia Dunne will add to the fun. Attendees are encouraged to wear festive or creative attire. The event is presented by The Artists Fund in collaboration with the City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Department, and First Thursdays Art Walk. Takes place at 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.

Coming Up

Through May 30: Spring Collection at Laguna Beach City Hall and Online.

June 3-28: Art-To-Go Preview Show at Laguna Beach City Hall.

June 6, 6-7 p.m.: Reception Event, Art-To-Go at City Hall, free to public.

June 15:  FOA Exhibitor Yearbook (digital) launches.

July 2, 5-9 p.m.: Art-To-Go opens at FOA Preview Night Invitational.

July 2-5: Vote for People’s Choice Art-To-Go piece at the displays.

July 6, 5:15 p.m.: Awards Presentation to winning Art-To-Go exhibitors.

To view them online, click here.

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Sawdust Festival looks forward to more exciting classes

Sawdust Art Classes has many expressive and informative classes offered every week that the Sawdust Art Festival wants to share with you (far too many to mention here!). For more information, click here.

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Photos courtesy of Sawdust

Mixed Media Collage – May 25

Saturday, May 25, 2-4 p.m.

Mixed Media Collage

Embark on a journey of texture, color and composition in Michelle Burt’s creative explorations Mixed Media Collage class where the traditional boundaries of art meet innovative expression. This class is designed to allow you to dive into the world of mixed media, exploring the unique potential of handmade and specialty papers, sheet music, mixed mediums and Burt’s own images. In this engaging class, you will discover the limitless possibilities of incorporating diverse materials into your collage, allowing you to freely explore and express your creativity to create a truly unique composition.

All levels are welcome – all you need is enthusiasm and a desire to explore.

Cost: $110.

Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m., second of two-part class

Fused Glass – Reactions and Metals

In this class, you’ll learn about the alchemy of glass types and how they react with each other. The magic of copper and silver foil will surprise and delight you. Create abstract ideas in glass and transform it into a wall pocket vase using frit (small pieces of glass), glass powder and sheet glass. Step-by-step, Barbara Lolli will guide you on how to design, assemble and prepare your glass for firing. Create a piece of art that will truly be unique to you.

Please note: The firing of your pieces will be done offsite and will be available for pick-up at the Sawdust or mailed to you by USPS priority mail at a small extra cost depending on the size of the piece.

Cost: $125.

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Fused Glass Pocket Vase and Coaster – May 26

Sunday, May 26, 11 a.m.

Fused Glass Pocket Vase and Coaster

Learn how to create a scene or abstract idea in glass and transform it into a wall pocket vase and coaster using frit (small pieces of glass), glass powder and sheet glass. Glass artist Barbara Lolli will guide you step-by-step on how to design, assemble and prepare your glass art for firing. The firing of your pieces will be done offsite and will be available for pickup at the Sawdust or mailed to you by USPS priority mail at a small extra cost depending on the size of the piece.

Cost: $125 per student. This three-hour class includes all materials and firing costs.

Bunting Banner Whimsy – June 6

Wednesday, June 6, 10 a.m.

Bunting Banner Whimsy

Make this simple but beautifully finished bunting that you can use to decorate either inside or outside your home to add fun and whimsy to any occasion. Choose from an array of beautiful fabrics (or bring your own). Learn how to measure and cut out the triangle pennants to achieve maximum use of material. Using a sewing machine, you will then learn how to sew the back and front of each pennant together to achieve a neat triangular point. Finally, attendees will “string” all the triangles together (again using a sewing machine) into bias binding tape ready to hang. The approximate length of your finished string of bunting will be about 4’ long. This class is for all skill levels.

Cost: $50 per person which is fully inclusive of all materials including fabric, threads, bias binding and use of a Singer sewing machine.

Five students maximum per class.

Note: If you purchase this class with their “Little Hearts Simple Sewing,” you will receive a reduction of $25. Call to reserve and receive the discounted price.

Little Hearts Simple Sewing – June 7

Friday, June 7, 10 a.m.

Little Hearts Simple Sewing

Master the charming craft of sewing simple stuffed fabric hearts which you can string together to make a beautiful garland. Choose from an array of beautiful fabrics and embellishments (or bring your own) and learn how to transform soft, colorful fabrics into adorable hearts.

In this class you will learn how to make a simple heart template and trace it onto fabric, sew the fabric together using a sewing machine and then “seam rip” to make an opening for the stuffing. You will also learn how to hand stitch (to close the opening) and how to string the hearts together using ribbon, beads and other little jewels. This class is for all skill levels.

Cost: $50 per person which is inclusive of fabric, threads, needles, ribbon and beads. Five students maximum per class.

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LBCAC features the Luke Pytel Band on May 31

Through May 25 

Exhibition: Climate: Air, Earth and Water

April is Earth Month, an extension of the annually recognized Earth Day on April 22. In the 34 years since Earth Day went global, environmental awareness has improved. Our situation has not.

Climate: Air, Earth and Water is on display at LBCAC through May 25. Photographers Jacques Garnier and Tom Lamb are joined by artist Roberto Salas in this special exhibition.

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Photos courtesy of LBCAC

Luke Pytel Band – May 31

Friday, May 31, 8 p.m.

Luke Pytel Band

Known for his fiery guitar playing along with his solid vocals and high energy blues. When you catch his band, be ready to interact with him and sing along as you will be a part of the show.

For more than 17 years, Pytel has backed up many artists at Blue Chicago including Shirley Johnson, Big Time Sarah, Nellie Travis, Grana Louise, Laretha Weathersby, Claudette Miller and Sheryl Youngblood. In addition, he has performed with local and national legends of the blues: Jimmy Johnson, Chico Banks, Big James Montgomery and Buddy Guy, to name a few.

Pytel, now leading his own band for the past 13 years, will bring you the sounds of old school blues, contemporary blues, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Albert King and many more.

Having been fortunate to travel the world, Pytel has performed in Belgium, France, England and Latvia, to name a few. He is a gifted and popular performer, and a valuable addition to the line-up at Blue Chicago.

For tickets, click here.

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Eric Henderson – June 2

Sunday, June 2, 2-3 p.m.

Eric Henderson, Malaga Summer: A Summer Concert Series with Special Guests

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Eric Henderson is a guitar virtuoso and composer who covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has toured throughout the United States and Europe, as well as Japan and Russia.

For tickets, click here.

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center concessions available, not currently ADA accessible, steep stairs only.

LBCAC is located at 235 Forest Ave., Newport Beach.

Check out the calendar at

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Photos by Scott Brashier

Capturing the setting sun from High Drive

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Laguna Beach Master Community Calendar

The following are calendar links for regularly scheduled meetings and events in Laguna Beach:

City of Laguna Beach meetings & events calendar

Laguna Beach Public Library – everything at the library calendar

Laguna Beach Unified School District news & events calendar

Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce community events calendar

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Laguna Ocean Foundation celebrates National Ocean Month

The Laguna Ocean Foundation (LOF) is gearing up for National Ocean Month in June. What better time to celebrate the ocean and the amazing life it supports than the start of summer? Events kick off on Saturday, June 8 on World Oceans Day with LOF’s annual event KelpFest and culminate on June 28 with a Pacific Vocal Series recital.

Guided Tidepool Tour – Saturday, June 8, 9-10 a.m.

Join LOF’s biologists for a guided tidepool tour at Heisler Park.

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Photos courtesy of LOF

LOF biologist points out different species found in the tidepools during a guided tidepool tour

Kelpfest* – Saturday, June 8, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Join LOF and other local organizations as they promote ocean awareness through hands-on educational activities. Stop by the LOF booth to receive free raffle tickets for items donated by KelpFest sponsors. Enjoy live music provided by Mana and the Garden Band as you check out the day’s festivities.

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Participants learn how to do the Kelp song and dance during KelpFest in 2023

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Learn all about cetaceans at the booth of KelpFest exhibitor American Cetacean Society Orange County Chapter

Film ScreeningSaturday, June 8, 6-9 p.m.

Continue celebrating World Oceans Day at the Rivian South Coast Theater where you can catch an ocean-themed movie screening. KelpFest raffle items will be raffled off after the screening. so be sure to stop by the LOF booth at KelpFest to receive your free raffle ticket!

Beach Clean-UpSaturday, June 22, 10-11 a.m.

The Laguna Ocean Foundation is partnering with the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and The Ritual Refill to host a beach clean-up at Main Beach. Anyone interested in assisting with the clean-up is asked to register ahead of time by visiting

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Beach Clean-up: Group shot of volunteers who participated in the Beach Clean-up at Crescent Bay on Earth Day showing off the amount of trash picked up in just one hour

Pacific Vocal SeriesFriday, June 28, 7-9 p.m.

To round out National Ocean Month, join the Laguna Ocean Foundation and the Pacific Vocal Series for Out of the Sea – Arts & Conservation on Friday, June 28, 7-9 p.m. Hosted at the historic Rivian South Coast Theater in Laguna Beach, this “Art for a Cause” recital invites listeners into a meaningful story of conservation and nature through music, cinematography and curated storytelling, and features Southern California artist Jana McIntyre who has been seen on the stages of the world’s most prestigious opera houses.

Tickets are now available to the public with all proceeds going towards supporting Laguna Beach nonprofits. To learn more about the event and all that is included in this special evening of pure Laguna Beach culture, click here.

*A special thank you to the sponsors of KelpFest who keep the event free for everyone to enjoy: Marc & Rose Hospitality, Laguna Beach County Water District, Laguna Bluebelt, Beach Cities SCUBA, South Coast Water District, Raising Canes Laguna Hills location, Breaking Free Industries, Raw Elements, Alani & the Giant Kelp Elf, KX FM, 12 Tides, Waterlust and Rivian South Coast Theater.

Laguna Ocean Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to preserve and protect the beaches, intertidal zone, watersheds and ocean waters of Laguna Beach by promoting ocean literacy, emphasizing the importance of coastal ecosystems, community involvement, and an interest in nature for all residents and visitors of Laguna Beach.

For more information on upcoming events or how you can help support LOF, contact Alayna Ader at Event details can be found at

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Güneş Çağlarcan presents a new and impressive exhibition, Not Without You

International Artist Güneş Çağlarcan brings together art lovers with a new and impressive exhibition. Çağlarcan’s fourth solo exhibition titled, Not Without You, will open at GGLB Gallery on Saturday, May 18.

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Photos courtesy of GGLB Gallery

From the “Shadow Collection”

For his fourth solo exhibition, Çağlarcan was inspired by Laguna Beach, where he fell in love with the sunrises and sunsets. During the opening ceremony of the exhibition, Çağlarcan will present art lovers with his collection of a series of works that reflect his romantic and sensual nature.

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Another selection from Çağlarcan’s “Shadow Collection”

The opening ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 18 from 3-6 p.m. at GGLB Gallery, 347 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artist and examine his works closely.

Not Without You will be on exhibit until May 31.

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This is as close as we can come to actually singing to our readers on their birthdays!

We’d love to include yours – and/or your children’s birthdays here.

Just email to:

Celebrate and enjoy your birthday!

May 21: Steve Contursi

May 22: Johnny Martinez, Kelly Browning, Nick McConnell, Shannon Bishop

May 23: Denise Puglisi, Jay Strotkamp, Krissy Hauer, Marta Hullihen, Mary Gulino, Robb Mitchell, Robert McGraw, Ryan Heimbach, Tommy Kemp

May 24: Jenifer Burge, Jordan Kyle, Mandy Flemming, Randy Hunt, Walt Winfield

May 25: Cameron Jones, Debra Kubisak, Jack Luster, Kerry Rubel, Michelle Bendetti

May 26: Catharine Cooper, Jackie Saffer Miller, Lindsay Smith, Mark Meisberger, Regina Hartley, Richard Belyea, Sara Truedson, Vicki Orgill

May 27: Jude Hannah, Layton Turner, Marcus Sotelo, Suzanne Lilly

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Festival of Arts brings art, music and more to Laguna Beach July 3 through August 30

One of Southern California’s most beloved summer attractions, the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, returns July 3 through August 30. Set in the vibrant arts destination of Laguna Beach, this annual event continues to captivate and inspire audiences with a stunning showcase of creativity and talent from local artists. In addition to the artwork on display, guests can enjoy daily live entertainment, art classes, special events and more. The Festival of Arts is sponsored in part by Volvo Cars, City of Hope Orange County, Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach Resort & Club and KOST Radio 103.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Festival of Arts features 120 exhibiting artists

Taking center stage at the Festival of Arts are the 120 exhibiting artists, showcasing their talents at the fine art show during its two-month summer season. This professionally juried art exhibit features a diverse selection of artwork, including paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry and more, all crafted by artists from across Orange County. Since its inception in 1932, the Festival has served as a platform for thousands of artists to showcase and sell their creations, with many pieces finding their way into the private collections of esteemed art collectors, celebrities and museums worldwide.

Festival attendees will also have the opportunity to engage directly with the artists, gaining insight into their inspirations, techniques and creative processes. Interactive art classes (sponsored by Bank of America), live demonstrations and guided art tours (sponsored by PBS SoCal) further enrich the visitor experience, fostering a deeper connection between the creators and their audience. For a comprehensive list of the 2024 participating artists, click here.

During the two-month summer season, the Festival of Arts hosts daily live concerts and a variety of event series, sponsored by City of Hope Orange County and Yamaha. After making their debut at South Coast Plaza, The Music of Hope continues at the Festival of Arts all summer long. City of Hope’s blue “Hope” piano will be prominently featured on the Festival’s stage, honoring everyone whose lives have been touched by cancer. As part of this partnership, the Festival introduces Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano on select Saturday nights, showcasing talented musicians who will enrich the lives of community members through this uplifting concert series.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Attendees mingle at FOA 2023

On Sunday, July 14, the ever-popular Family Art Day returns with an exciting new animal theme featuring creature-inspired art projects as well as furry and feathered special guests! For the adults, Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate (sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery) provides the perfect atmosphere to pair wine, chocolate and smooth jazz amongst an unmatched gallery setting.

According to Sharbie Higuchi, Festival of Arts marketing and PR director, “The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re an art aficionado, a music lover, or simply looking for a fun artful experience – the Festival has it all.”

Event Information:

Special Events:

For a complete list of special events, click here.

Free with admission unless otherwise noted.

Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate

Thursdays, July 8 – August 26, 5:30 p.m.

$25 additional fee for tastings

Sponsored by Charles Schwab & Cambria Estate Winery

Tremendous Tributes Music Series

Fridays, July 12 – Aug 29, 5:30 p.m.

Concerts on the Green

Saturdays, July 6 – Aug 17, 1 p.m.

Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano

Saturdays, July 6 – Aug 10, 5:30 p.m.

Sponsored by City of Hope Orange County

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Courtesy of FOA

Festival of Arts features a variety of art experiences

Wow…That Girl Can Sing! Music Series

Sundays, July 7 – Aug. 25, 5:30 p.m.

Family Art Day

Sunday, July 14, 12 p.m.

Festival Runway Fashion Show

Sunday, August 18, 12 p.m.

Art & Fashion Affair Gala

Saturday, Aug. 24

Separate ticket required

Art Workshops for Everyone (Presented by Bank of America)

For schedule and reservations, click here.

Creativity runs wild at the Festival’s Teen and Adult Art Classes where students will make their own masterpieces under the instruction of professional artists. ($45)

Uncork your creativity Thursday nights at Prints and Pinots or Friday nights at Paint and Sip Classes. Create a work of art with easy-to-follow instruction by Festival artists and enjoy complimentary wine or beverage. Must be 21 and up. ($50)

Friday through Sunday, the Festival hosts Youth Art Classes, art classes for children ages 5-12. Classes include sculpture, mixed media, painting and much more. ($25)

The Festival Art Center will be open weekdays from 4-8 p.m. and weekends from 12-8 p.m. for hands-on artistic fun. Reservations are not required, so drop in anytime.

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Laguna Playhouse presents the final production of the season, Holmes & Watson, starting on May 29

Laguna Playhouse presents Holmes & Watson, written by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Laguna Playhouse artistic director David Ellenstein. Holmes & Watson will begin previews on Wednesday, May 29 (with a press opening on Sunday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m.) and run through Sunday, June 16 at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Prepare for a fast-paced, thrilling, suspenseful story that will keep you guessing until its final moments. In this worthwhile addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon, there are more twists and turns than a rollercoaster! The legendary Sherlock Holmes is dead. Or so it is assumed. When a telegram arrives informing his loyal companion Dr. Watson that there are three men who each claim to be Holmes, it’s left up to the famous sidekick to take on the case and try to discover if one of the mad men is actually the real Sherlock Holmes.

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Courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

“Holmes & Watson” runs from May 29-June 16

Commented David Ellenstein, “Some years back, I had a great time directing Jeffrey Hatcher’s Holmes & Watson. It is a thrilling mystery that keeps you guessing right up until the last moment. It was as exhilarating for those of us that worked on the production as it was for the audience that experienced it and overwhelmingly cheered for the wild ride that they had. Years later, audiences that saw that show still tell me what a great time they had.

Before I directed this play, I was not a huge Sherlock Holmes enthusiast, but the play led me to read the Conan Doyle source material and I gained a new understanding for the lasting appeal of the detective. These stories are extremely well written. I became captivated by the detail and specificity of the character and literary style. I became a Sherlock fan. There is a reason Mr. Holmes endures through all sorts of adaptations and across time.

“Jeffrey Hatcher is such an accomplished and skillful playwright. His specialty is exactly this genre – so this play bristles with intrigue, humor and verve. It truly captures the Holmesian style and mystery. The idea of a new production of Holmes & Watson at Laguna Playhouse fills me with eager anticipation. I am so excited by the exemplary cast we have assembled and the amazing design plans that will lift this play to its full potential. I believe Laguna Playhouse audiences are going to have a great time with this one.”

David Ellenstein (Director). Born into a theatrical family, Ellenstein has been working in professional theater for the better part of five decades. In May 2023, he was named artistic director of Laguna Playhouse, after filling the role in an interim capacity since September 2023. In addition, he has been the artistic director of North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach since 2003.

Jeffrey Hatcher (Playwright). His Broadway, off-Broadway, theater and film/television credits are varied and numerous. Grants and awards he has received: NEA, TCG, Lila Wallace Fund, Rosenthal New Play Prize, Frankel Award, Charles MacArthur Fellowship Award, McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, Barrymore Award (Best New Play) and the 2013 Ivey Lifetime Achievement Award.

The cast of Holmes & Watson features (in alphabetical order): Richard Baird as “Watson,” Matt Koenig as “Holmes #2,” Matthew Floyd Miller as “Holmes #1,” Nicholas Mongiardo-Cooper as “Dr. Evans,” Mike Peebler as “Orderly/Moriarty/Inspector,” Alice Sherman as “The Matron/The Woman” and Christopher M.  Williams as “Holmes #3.”

The design team for Holmes & Watson is as follows: scenic design by Stephen Gifford; costume design by Kate Bergh; lighting design by Jared A. Sayeg; sound design by Ian Scot; props design by Kevin Williams, and hair and wig design by Peter Herman. Casting is by Michael Donovan, CSA & Richie Ferris, CSA.

The Production Stage Manager is Vernon Willet.

Schedule and Pricing:

Holmes & Watson will preview on Wednesday, May 29 at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Friday, May 31 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 1 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; (with a press opening on Sunday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m.) and run through Sunday, June 16.

Performances are Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, May 30 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, June 6 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, June 11 at 7:30 p.m. There will be no performance on Sunday, June 16 at 5:30 p.m. There will be a post-show talkback following the Friday, June 7 performance.

Tickets range from $45-$84 and can be purchased online at, or by calling 949.497.2787. Group discounts are available by calling 949.497.2787 ext. 229. Prices subject to change.

The box office is open Tuesdays through Sundays: 12-4 p.m.; On Mondays it is open two hours prior to show time and until 15 minutes after curtain. It is open until showtime on all performance days.

For more information on all shows and programming, visit

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Meet Pet of the Week Manny

This smiling puppy can be the perfect addition your home.

Manny is a 6-month-old terrier mix who has been neutered. His black and white fur has been shaven, so it’s unknown how long his hair will be when it grows out, but he is very friendly. Manny loves every human he’s ever met, and is very friendly with other dogs.

Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, is hoping to have Manny adopted as soon as possible.

Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Manny is a smiling and loving terrier mix

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is 5% as compared to the national return rate of 50%.

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. Call 949.497.3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures,

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LCADs MFA Exhibition featured through August 25

LCAD congratulates all of its 2024 grads.

Reflections of Resilience: MFA Exhibition at Laguna Art Museum.

Features artwork by the 2024 Master of Fine Art graduates from Laguna College of Art + Design. It will be on display until August 25.

The quality, creativity and individuality of these featured artists are testaments to their dedication and independence. Remarkable artists are attracted to LCAD because of the understanding that time-honored skill joined with personal contemporary concerns can create vital, memorable art.

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Photos courtesy of LCAD

Eric Theodore, “Skyward,” oil on panel, 42×28, 2023

These artists share an earnest, hopeful sensibility amid unsettling times. As we emerge from a pandemic, they reflect upon what is most meaningful and how to navigate an often distant and uncertain world. There is optimism behind the urge to create and contribute. A shared sense of resilience resonates beneath the surface, reflecting honesty while avoiding cynicism.

Through carefully considered paintings and drawings, these artists represent how mindful reflection of the outer world builds personal insights, expressing appearances as well as emotions. In Reflections of Resilience, the rational and the poetic are made apparent to the viewer, who takes time to observe, consider, and reflect.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Laguna Art Museum (LAM).

Exhibiting Artists: Cara Baxter, Jason Dowd,Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

LCAD BFA Fine Arts Exhibition 2024

Laguna College of Art + Design’s (LCAD) BFA Fine Arts exhibition 2024 is now on display at LCAD Gallery.

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Piper Bangs, “The Garden (Detail),” 2023, Oil on Linen, 59” x 39”

LCAD undergraduate Fine Arts department is thrilled to showcase the outstanding talents of its senior BFA students with the 2024 BFA Fine Arts Exhibition. This group exhibition features paintings, drawings, and sculptures, each one a testament to the dedication and creativity of our graduating seniors in the Drawing + Painting program.

The exhibition presents a carefully curated selection of works that represent the culmination of LCAD’s Senior Thesis project. This project serves as a guiding force, empowering our seniors to develop a cohesive and meaningful body of work that demonstrates both their individual conceptual growth and mastery of academic skillsets.

LCAD is proud to present the following exceptional artists, whose works will be on display at the exhibition. Gabrielle Anievas, Piper Bangs, Kyra Beal, Rylee Cook, Emma Crespo, Lauren Duplissey, Anna Eisen, Anne Goldman, Chase Heindel, Carly Mann, Amber Jodoin, Rachel Joy, Julianna Lazio, Xochitl Leal-Bailon, Rafael Mejia, Kat O’Brien, Arely Sojo, Isabella Stockbridge, Jenna Swerdfeger and Luke Silverthorne.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach.

LCAD Gallery admission is always free.

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LOCA offers unique custom classes for adults and children

Art lovers will meet Laguna Beach’s most fascinating artists and industry professionals at LOCA Art Talks. Events are Thursday evenings through May in Downtown Laguna Beach. Attendees will receive a post-event coupon for 15% off dining at nearby restaurants.

LOCA’s New Teaching Location:

LOCA’s newest teaching location is in the south end of Laguna Beach, easily reached from Downtown, Dana Point, Laguna Niguel and San Clemente.

The expansion allows LOCA to offer “extended learning” series of classes whereby students, both adults and families, can build a “toolbox of skills” over several weeks.

LOCA students will enjoy the hilltop location, panoramic ocean views and free onsite parking. Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center, 30516 S. Coast Highway. Enter on Cardinal Drive, just south of Nyes Place.

Know someone who loves art and Laguna Beach? Surprise them with a LOCA 2024 membership and they’ll enjoy a full year of art experiences of their choice! Your $50 purchase ensures them a bounty of benefits including free admission to six LOCA Art Talks lectures, an exclusive Membership Sunday Brunch and Art Talk, a shout-out feature in their eNewsletter, half-priced registration to LOCA’s workshops taught by well-known Laguna Beach artists throughout the town – and much more.

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Courtesy of LOCA

Give the gift of art experiences for a full year

What they’ll get:

Your thoughtfully chosen gift will be presented as a charming reusable box, topped with a LOCA pencil, and elegantly wrapped with a bow. Inside is a 2024 membership card listing the fantastic benefits. A $250 value!

Buy it now for $50:

Use LOCA’s secure and easy “Gift a Membership” red checkout button on their membership page by clicking here. Your package will arrive by mail in 4-7 business days.

Courtesy of LOCA

(L-R) LOCA teachers Allison Keefe and Elizabeth McGhee

–Thursday, May 23, 30, 4-5 p.m.

Art Classes for Kids at the Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach.

“Art Classes for Kids” held in the Children’s Wing of the Laguna Beach Library – Thursdays at 4 p.m. through June 6. Classes are free and no registration is required, but space is limited on a first come, first served basis for children 5 and up. Please gather at 3:45 p.m.

Families Love LOCA at the Library

LOCA’s Family Art Classes at Laguna Beach Public Library have been a smashing success. The “happy hour” 4-5 p.m. timeslot has made it convenient for parents and kids to enjoy a creative learning space, led by Allison Keefe. “We encourage parents and kids to work together,” Keefe said.

LOCA Arts Education has provided top quality visual arts education to all ages in Laguna Beach, and beyond, for more than 30 years. LOCA’s unique strength is its ability to be mobile, providing free and affordable lectures, demonstrations, and classes throughout the city at commercial spaces, community centers, galleries, parks, resorts and studios.

Courtesy of LOCA

Student loves art

Laguna Beach Public Library is among LOCA’s many institutional partners. Here, in the children’s wing, LOCA conducts a series of art classes, free to the public, each season. Spring 2024 brought “Family Art Day,” where parents and their children do an art project together and “Art Classes for Kids” which begin with a librarian reading a book, followed by an art project that ties to the theme. The drop-in classes offer a new creative project each week for up to 20 children at a time. Students may attend one, several, or all, and many do.

LOCA and Me, The Teachers

LOCA hires local professional artists to teach their classes, who assist and complement their full-time careers as artists. Library classes are taught by Allison Keefe and Elizabeth McGhee, both accomplished exhibitors at local festivals. According to McGhee, “I enjoy teaching at the library because not only do local Laguna Beach kids attend, but children from throughout Orange County come to learn new art techniques and stories. These classes not only help the students and parents who attend, but also engage and retain teachers like me in the community, and for that I am so grateful.”

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Compiled by Suzie Harrison

Police Beat derives from information in the daily police and arrest logs published on the City of Laguna Beach’s website and required under CA Government Code Section 6254 (f). Additional information is obtained through communication with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s Public Information Officer.

Information in the logs is deemed reliable and Stu News Laguna is not responsible for any mistakes made available as public record by the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Any person arrested is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.