Subscribe | Advertise

Volume 16, Issue 48  |  June 14, 2024



Congratulations to our 2024 LBHS graduates!

From the senior luau to the paddle out and the parade down to Main Beach, get to know the Class of 2024 through the photo pages and slideshows that captured some glimpses of their celebrations…

Council OKs three new firefighter positions, strategic plan to study other LBFD recommendations

Councilmembers voted on June 11 to add three full-time firefighter positions to the city’s fiscal year 2025 budget; receive a presentation on the results of the LBFD standards of cover study and more…


Laguna Beach Police and Fire rescue pup from cliffside

On June 6 at 9:35 p.m., Laguna Beach Police and Fire personnel responded to Three Arch Bay in reference to a dog that was stuck on the side of a bluff. Together, they initiated a drone and rope rescue operation of the Goldendoodle…

LBHS’ Ava Knepper named Sunset Conference Female Athlete of the Year

Knepper, a senior at LBHS, has achieved success in both water polo and swimming throughout her high school career – which earned her a scholarship to USC, where she will continue playing water polo…

LBHS Grad Parade 2024

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

The traditional graduating seniors walk to the beach

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Rich German

Rich German just happened to be out on his paddleboard when the grads threw their hats in the air. He captured a unique perspective.

Video by Scott Brashier

Photographer Scott Brashier documented the hat toss in motion

For more photos by Scott Brashier, go to slideshow below:

Open story in new window…


Council OKs three new firefighter positions, strategic plan to study other LBFD recommendations


City Council this week unanimously approved a study of the local fire department and several action items, including adding three firefighter positions and developing a strategic plan to further analyze other ideas.

Councilmembers voted 5-0 on Tuesday (June 11) to: Receive a presentation on the results of the Laguna Beach Fire Department standards of cover study; add three full-time firefighter positions to the city’s fiscal year 2025 budget; develop a strategic plan to continue evaluation and addressing the SOC study recommendations and reappropriate $25,000 from the remaining FY 2023-24 SOC budget to develop the strategic plan.

There is a strong consensus on the council that public safety is the most important topic they deal with in the city, said Councilmember Bob Whalen. These are good recommendations that should be adopted, he emphasized.

This is long overdue, not just for the fire department but the city as a whole, added Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi. Until the council subcommittee worked on the wildfire mitigation plan, the city – which has a significant wildfire risk – was “not doing nearly enough” to tackle the issue, he said. He also asked for an update at a future meeting on the implementation of the plan.

These are discussions they need to have for both fire and police departments, said Councilmember Geoge Weiss. However, if all of the recommendations are ultimately embraced, they also need to consider the cost-benefit analysis. Although it’s hard to pin down exactly how much these items would improve public safety, he added.

He’s supportive of some of the recommended actions the council was asked to vote on, Weiss said, but he was unsure about the additional full-time firefighters. He questioned if there would be space for the new employees and asked about the cost of the new three full-time firefighters.

“I’m all for improving public safety,” Weiss said. “We’re raising our budget. I’m just reluctant to add staff because I’m cheap on behalf of the residents.”

According to the staff report, the cost of three full-time firefighter/paramedics with benefits is $413,479.74 annually.

There would be space as the three firefighters would be placed at fire station one, next to city hall, explained Fire Chief Niko King. Adding them to the roster would allow engine one to stay in service more often at the city’s busiest station. The ambulance at the station completes about three or four transports every day, he noted, and on average two of those are advanced life support service. That means they’re out of service for a couple of hours a day because the ambulance and firefighter/paramedic is out of town, King explained.

Considering that a fire engine is currently out of service potentially for a few hours every day, depending on the number of calls for the advanced life support ambulance service, this is going to provide an immediate benefit, Whalen commented.

Weiss asked for a report back on other investments the city has made into public safety to find out how operations and efficiency has improved in the department.

That’s a valid point, Whalen noted. They should get feedback on the effectiveness of all added positions to the city staff roster, he said.

He’s supportive of the items and is satisfied that this is the right thing to do, Weiss reiterated, he just wants to be careful about spending and adding more staff.

Rounaghi agreed that they need to be fiscally responsible, but added that the report does a good job of explaining how these three firefighter positions will improve response time and enhance operations.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Josh Tanaka @j.t.films

A standards of cover study was recently completed on the Laguna Beach Fire Department and included several recommendations (pictured: LBFD responding to a car fire in April)

King would like to see the city move forward on the strategic plan within a three-year timeframe, he said, answering a council question. They could go through the recommendations, identify their resources, and with direction from the council and input from the community, prioritize the recommendations and develop objectives and goals.

“A big challenge is going to be to identify funding for implementation because there’s some big items in there,” he noted, including replacing fire stations and apparatus.

Whalen asked if they could do it in phases, in an effort to get some of the recommendations addressed more quickly.

There are some funds left over from the consultant contract, King confirmed, and the company is now familiar with the community and the details in the report. He believes a strategic plan could be created in as little as three months, King said.

“That would be record time,” Whalen responded.

He was encouraged to hear the potential for a fast turnaround on the plan.

“There’s a lot more to be implemented,” Whalen said. “What we’re adopting today is really just an initial baby step and the strategic plan will give us the road map to what else we have to do.”

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…


Inside City Hall

Dear Laguna Beach Neighbors,

We’ve gotten some good comments recently about adding back in an online platform (like Zoom) that would allow more people to offer their thoughts about City issues and items before the City Council.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach City Manager Dave Kiff

With the important caveat that I wasn’t here to experience the earlier Zoom-bombing events in Laguna (such as the Council meeting of February 13, 2024), my previous employer had seen these too. As I know you’ll agree, those interactions are traumatic for all, but especially for persons who may already feel marginalized or “othered” in society.

On the other hand, Zoom allows greater participation from many, including busy parents, seniors, mobility-impaired individuals and others who may not find it easy to attend in person.

Balancing the goals of increased access and ensuring that in-person attendees, councilmembers and city staff are somewhat protected from traumatizing speech isn’t easy. Because City Hall (and council meetings) is a workplace, we are especially aware of how we must avoid speech that can cause race-based, religion-based, or gender- or orientation-based trauma.

We did ask our City Attorney to take a look at this, and to specifically see if we could interrupt a person using hateful speech during a Zoom-bombing. Here’s what she thought (and I’m paraphrasing):

The effective way to cut off or end hateful speech is to determine that the comments are out of line because the comments are unrelated to City business. But, if the City and community want to continue to have the City celebrate things like LGBTQ+ Pride month, or Juneteenth, then someone making hateful speech might have a case that their hateful speech IS related to City business. In that instance, we’d likely have to endure the hateful speech.

I worry too that as November nears, the national discourse will get rougher. If (or when) that translates into local discourse – or non-local folks joining in on our discourse in a toxic way – then that’s going to be both hard to stop and really disruptive to community decorum and city business. And hurtful to those who can’t get away from it (such as in-person audience members and our city workforce).

This is just my opinion (and I am not a councilmember of course), but it may make the most sense to keep watching the law and the technology to see if protections can be improved, and to revisit our online platforms after November.

In the meantime, I know that all of us want to hear your voices – whether that be in person or via email or letter – and we warmly invite you to participate in the City Council meetings. Find out more about how you can participate by clicking here.

Thanks for your patience and understanding as we navigate this. Your involvement is essential as we work to ensure safe and inclusive participation for all. As always, I enjoy hearing from you on this and any other city issue – you can always email me directly at

Kind Regards,

Dave Kiff, City Manager

Open story in new window…


LBHS Senior Paddle Out 2024

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Click on photo for a larger image

The LBHS Seniors started their graduation week off with a 4 p.m. Luau at Heisler Park and a 5 p.m. paddle out at Picnic Beach on Monday, June 11. After taking a group picture, they headed down the ramp – most of them carrying a soft top or short board, plus a few paddle boards and a boogie board or two. The water temp was 64 degrees with an occasional 2- to 3-foot wave, so it took a while for everyone to make it out beyond the surf line.

Click on photo for a larger image


Click on photo for a larger image

Ready, set, go!

Click on photo for a larger image

Serious business

Click on photo for a larger image

Cool water temps took the paddlers awhile to get out beyond the surf line

Click on photo for a larger image


Click on photo for a larger image


Click on photo for a larger image

A trio of surfers

Click on photo for a larger image

Those who knew their limitations stayed at the shoreline or watched from the cliff as the boards formed a circle. You’ll have to ask someone who was out there what was said.

Click on photo for a larger image

Paddling in

Click on photo for a larger image

Then they headed back in, and the extra lifeguards on duty went to work, catching loose boards and helping those that were not the strongest of ocean swimmers…

Click on photo for a larger image

The word mayhem always comes to mind from watching many paddle out ceremonies!

Click on photo for a larger image

The smiles on everyone’s faces said they really didn’t mind

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, go to slideshow below:

Open story in new window…

Slide 3
Slide 4

Spirit Possession: Celebration of Ghanaian Faces, African Culture & Heritage at LBCAC


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


When I found I had crossed that line [to freedom], I looked at my hands to see if I was the same person. There was glory over everything. The sun came like gold through the trees, and over the fields, and I felt like I was in heaven. –Harriet Tubman, after crossing the Pennsylvania border in 1849

Textile artist Allyson Allen memorialized Tubman’s words on a quilt entitled “Jo’s Harriet” in 2012. The quote surrounds Tubman, who dances under the sun, arms stretched skyward into an open field ahead.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Marrie Stone

“Jo’s Harriet” (2012). Machine pieced and quilted. Cotton and ethnic prints. Glass bead and cowrie shell embellishments.

The quilt is part of Spirit Possession, a three-person show on display at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) through July. Allen is joined by photographers Tom Lamb and Thomas Fynn.

The exhibition intends to draw attention to Juneteenth, a commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States, which happened on June 19, 1865. A companion show of the same name is also currently on exhibit at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) in Santa Ana through June 29. The same exhibition showed in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, in May.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OCCCA

(L-R) Tom Lamb, Allyson Allen and Thomas Fynn at OCCCA opening of “Spirit Possession.” In the background is Allen’s “75% HEArt – Helping Earth Art” (2024).

Spirit Possession puts an intimate and modern face on West Africa and the origins of the slave trade. Fynn, a documentary photographer from Ghana, has visually recorded his country’s tragic history alongside its rich culture and beautiful people.

The transatlantic slave trade from West Africa to the Americas lasted centuries. For nearly 150 years, Ghana was its epicenter. Approximately 10 million enslaved people were transported in the transatlantic slave trade at rates of up to 100,000 persons per year. The remnants of that haunting period still exist in dozens of forts and castles built by Europeans between 1482 and 1786. Cape Coast, east of Accra, contains more than 30 dungeons where slaves were held by Europeans before transport to the United States, South America and the Caribbean. Images of these dungeons, as well as “The Door of No Return” (the last place Ghanaians would touch their homeland), are on display in this exhibit.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Lamb

A visitor looks at Lamb’s images of Ghana’s holding cells for African women enslaved in the transatlantic slave trade

Since the mid-1970s, Fynn’s photography has celebrated cultural heritage, high-profile personalities, Ghanaian national events, eco-tourism and everyday modern life. His portraits capture the essence of his subjects. His landscape and architectural pieces portray a country both grappling with its own past and honoring its many rich traditions.

Through Fynn’s photographs, viewers can discover Ghana’s many traditional festivals. The annual Aboakyer (Deer Hunting) Festival, celebrated by the Simpa (now known as Winneba) people, occurs the first Saturday in May. The Homowo (“Hooting at hunger”) Festival began after a period of famine following a lack of seasonal rainfall to nourish the crops. The annual Feok Festival, occurring in northeastern Ghana, celebrates the victory of the Builsa warriors in the late 1800s when they fought off invaders and avoided enslavement. The Simpa Aboakyir Festival marks the migration of the Simpa people in the central region from the ancient Western Sudan Empire. And the Abangye Festival marks an annual activity in pre-colonial times when men went into the bush, singing and chanting, to cut sticks to fence the abode of their gods.

Spirit Possession provides both a beautiful way to explore another country’s cultural practices and painful history while reflecting on our nation’s own complicated and shameful past.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jeff Rovner

Thomas Fynn poses with a wall of his photographs at OCCCA depicting various Ghanaian people and festivals

Lamb met Fynn on his first visit to Ghana in 1993. Lamb was part of an international design charrette team that intended to create sustainable tourism for the central region, including the first canopy walkway in Africa. He returned in 2002 and, most recently, in 2023. Some of Lamb’s early work can be seen in the OCCCA show. All the images at LBCAC are from 2023.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…


LBHS Senior Luau

Photos by Scott Brashier

Click on photo for a larger image

The Senior Class of 2024 Luau was held at Heisler Park on June 11 just before the paddle out

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Click on photo for a larger image

Open story in new window…


Multi-day Juneteenth observations planned for Laguna Beach will include movies, panels, concerts


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

Juneteenth celebrations are spreading throughout Laguna Beach this year, with a focus on the cultural elements of this observation.

“Juneteenth is much larger than the celebration of Emancipation,” said Rick Conkey, executive director of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center and coordinator of most of the events. “It’s a celebration of humanity.”

The events include films, panel discussions, concerts and a photography exhibit, all with a focus on the impact of Juneteenth within the community and society. The federal holiday commemorates the end of slavery in the country. (It observes the day when Union Army General Gordon Granger told slaves in Galveston and throughout Texas, they were free. It was 1865, more than two and a half years since Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.)

The selected events for the Laguna Beach observations address the current and long-term implications of racism in our society.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Dorothy Randall Gray

Writer and activist Dorothy Randall Gray will be participating in a panel during Laguna Beach’s Juneteenth celebrations

On the actual holiday, June 19, there is a free screening of Summer of Soul at the Cultural Arts Center and then more involved programming follows.

“A lot of fear, anger, concern and grievances have shaken this country to the core,” said Dorothy Randall Gray, a writer and activist who will lead the discussion panel following the showing of Ted Hawkins – Amazing Grace at the Rivian on June 20.

Hawkins was a talented musician who grew up in abusive situations and started singing while in reform school at age 12. Despite his many talents, he could never hold onto success and spent much of his adult life as a busker on a milk crate in Venice Beach.

Randall Gray says the societal hurdles that affect so many African Americans are only increasing and it’s imperative that people educate themselves about what is happening, and not just on Juneteenth.

“Whatever equity, balance was sought to be put into play is being uprooted every day,” she said. “Voting rights that were initiated after (President Lyndon B.) Johnson are being demolished. History is being rewritten.”

She cites redistricting that splits up politically powerful black communities, relocation of polling places, laws that prohibit anyone giving water to people waiting in line to vote. The rewriting of history books in Florida, where slavery is described as benefitting the slaves and in Texas, where slavery is being redefined, frightens her.

“I think these discussions are more timely than ever,” said Randall Gray. “You have this on-going denigration of power. There has to be a recognition this is happening.”

As a writer she conducts workshops designed to empower people and admits the past year has been overwhelming. War, the lies that are being embraced as truth and attacks on institutions that support black culture, initially left her unable to formulate a workshop.

Ultimately, she created her current series “Writing and Resistance in a Broken World.” She connects people by making the political personal. Instead of just telling her students to write about gun violence she gave each student a shell casing and asked them to write about it.

“I just want people to really think about and connect with issues that are larger than themselves,” she said. “There has to be a recognition of all that’s happened (and happening.)”

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Earl Thomas

Earl Thomas with Sister Leola and the Gospel Ambassadors will perform an acapella concert Friday, June 21 in Laguna Beach at the Cultural Arts Center

In addition to the screening and panel discussion, Laguna’s Juneteenth celebration will include a concert with two-time Grammy nominated musician Earl Thomas, who says he is currently in his “third act” of life. As a successful songwriter and touring musician, he will be performing acapella on Friday with Sister Leola and The Gospel Ambassadors.

“I always stayed away from gospel,” said Thomas. “It was too much brimstone.” But as he looked into his ancestral background – he’s a direct descendent of slaves in Tennessee – he gained a new perspective.

“The music they made was really their only free expression,” he said. “Once I saw it from that perspective, I felt it necessary to continue this tradition – it’s continuing the speech of my forebearers.”

While they are just back from a London tour, and will be performing in Norway in August, Thomas is thrilled the Laguna Beach concert at the Cultural Arts Center will be acapella.

“I love singing acapella. This is the way I learned these songs,” he said. “No instruments, just voices and the body singing. It’s all traditional. We’re using the voices as instruments.”

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…

Slide 1
Slide 1

Laguna Beach Little League crowns home run derby winners on Fiesta Night

One week prior to the Laguna Beach T-Mobile Home Run Derby, Laguna Beach Little (LBLL) hosted their long-standing Home Run Derby at Riddle Field on Fiesta Night, held on Saturday, June 1.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photos

Intermediate Home Run Derby Winner Nathan Vermilya (right) with teammate Jack Gonzalez, runner-up

Earning the crown in the Intermediate Division was Nathan Vermilya, with teammate Jack Gonzales as runner-up.

In the Majors Division, Mason Woravka hit the most dingers, with Kadin Chestelson earning runner-up.

Click on photo for a larger image

2024 Snack Bar Home Run Leaderboard

LBLL also celebrates home run hitters throughout the season with its Home Run Leaderboard in the Snack Bar. This year’s regular season champion was Jack Gonzales with 13 dingers.

Open story in new window…

Council directs staff to analyze potential redesign of Lang Park to relocate pickleball courts


City Council this week directed staff to analyze a potential redesign of Lang Park with the aim of moving the pickleball courts further away from the nearby homes.

Councilmembers voted 5-0 on Tuesday (June 11) to bring back a capital improvement program item for fiscal year 2024-25 (the CIP is scheduled to be adopted at June 25 meeting) to consider reconfiguring Lang Park to accommodate the relocation of the pickleball courts. In another motion, councilmembers voted 4-1 (Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi dissenting) to close the courts on federal holidays that fall on a Monday (the courts are currently closed on Mondays but staff had suggested opening them on holidays from 9 a.m. to dusk), as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas days.

Most of the discussion on Tuesday revolved around whether or not the existing Lang Park pickleball courts should remain open at the current location. Some suggested closing the courts and moving them to another area of the park and/or resuming the search for other locations in the city for pickleball courts. The primary concern was the noise impact to the neighboring residences.

There is a precedent of pickleball at Lang Park, said Rounaghi, who was the most vocal voice for keeping the existing courts as-is.

“Taking that away from our residents would really undermine the amazing community that pickleball has created,” he commented. “Pickleball is a great thing in Laguna Beach. It creates community, it brings people of all ages together, and it’s not something that us as a city council should be standing in the way of.”

Without doing a complete overhaul and redesigning the entire park and spending a fortune, Mayor Sue Kempf asked about the cost and timeline required to figure out the feasibility for moving the courts within the footprint of Lang Park.

“I don’t think we should go too overboard with it. We could just look at that particular area and where they could move the pickleball courts,” Kempf said.

They need courts at Lang Park, she emphasized, it’s heavily used and services a specific part of the community.

It’s clear that people want pickleball at the park, but they need to spend some time and thought to figure out how to move the courts so they’re not 25 feet from residences, said Councilmember Bob Whalen.

It was a bad decision to place them at the current location, which is too close to residences, he said.

“We put them in the wrong place,” Whalen said. “We, as a council, put it in the wrong place, so we ought to fix it.”

Pickleball is great and it sounds like a wonderful group of people that play there, he added, but the council made a mistake putting the courts at that specific location in the first place.

“If we had to do it all over today, you would not put pickleball courts 25 feet away from a house,” Councilmember Mark Orgill agreed.

It’s a noisy sport and that close to residences is “an unacceptable standard for propagating noise to vulnerable residents,” commented Councilmember George Weiss.

“We clearly know that there’s an issue here with noise,” Weiss said. “They deserve to have peace of mind, just like everybody else in this town, in their home and they’re not getting it.”

They should never have a court this close, he noted, the standards are between 250 to 500 feet. Keeping them in this location also opens the city up to the potential risk of a lawsuit. He also suggested reconsidering another area in Lang Park.

“We need to keep an open mind about these courts and the locations,” Weiss added.

Click on photo for a larger image

File photo/Courtesy of Claudia Redfern

Claudia Redfern playing pickleball at Lang Park

Whalen suggested using the $80,000 previously appropriated to do an environmental analysis on potential alternative sites citywide (an effort which was halted by a councilmember request in March, but staff this week recommended resuming) to instead look into reconfiguring Lang Park.

There are two issues they’re trying to tackle, Whalen noted, noise at Lang Park and more pickleball courts citywide. The suggestion to halt the environmental analysis of the additional sites contradicts the overall goal, he added.

“That sort of undercuts the broader effort that I thought was to see where we could add two pickleball courts to address the broader community need,” he said.

They should add courts, agreed Rounaghi, who had suggested stopping the environmental study on alternative sites at the March 12 council meeting, but they should be added through a different process. The way they made the decision to do the environmental analysis on these four sites isn’t how they should be planning for the future of the city’s facilities, he said, it’s not good planning to “randomly” pick sites to study.

“I don’t think the way that you add courts is by just arbitrarily picking different sites and then doing the environmental analysis,” Rounaghi said, it should be part of the facilities master plan or other long-term planning documents.

Although it’s not random, Whalen countered, they’re looking into the park space the city has available.

“We’ve got a limited number of parks and places to put these things, it’s not rocket science. We’re not making new locations where you could potentially put pickleball courts,” Whalen said.

The parks plan is not a part of the facilities master plan, Councilmember Mark Orgill clarified.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…


Slice Pizza & Beer releases sixth Laguna Beach artist-designed box

“In keeping with the concept of promoting community, we decided when we opened to have artists who have some association with Laguna Beach design our boxes,” said Suzanne Redfearn, co-owner with her husband Cary, of Slice Pizza & Beer.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Suzanne Redfearn

James Strombotne with the original painting

Their sixth pizza box features the work of acclaimed artist James Strombotne and he chose the quote on the inside flap by Albert Einstein: “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Pizza box by Strombotne

Click on photo for a larger image

Ella Mostajo shows off the new design

The first year’s design was created by Cynthia Fletcher, second year – Sharon Hardy, third year – Linda Mansour, fourth year – Lauren Howell and last year, it was created by Larry Stewart.

For more information on James Strombotne, click here.

Open story in new window…


City reports on community feedback for new Facilities Master Plan

City representatives recently engaged with local residents in a series of public meetings to gather feedback and ideas for a new Facilities Master Plan currently in development. This event marked the first phase of the plan, which aims to assess and address the present and future needs of more than 288,000 square feet of facilities across Laguna Beach. These facilities encompass public safety buildings, community and art centers, parking lots, the library and more.

On May 16, four 45-minute stakeholder meetings were held, each dedicated to specific topics: the Susi Q Center and the Community & Recreation Center, the Festival of Arts complex and the Laguna Playhouse, the Animal Shelter and the Library. Participation ranged from 10 to 35 residents per meeting, providing valuable community insights.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Feedback addressed key themes

Feedback gathered through discussions, highlighted on flip charts for further discussion, and via resident emails prior to the meetings, emphasized several key themes:

Susi Q Center and Community & Recreation Center

Residents expressed the need for more meeting spaces for non-profits, improved parking and accessibility, and better utilization and modernization of existing spaces. Enhanced emergency and digital capabilities were also important, along with the addition of outdoor and social spaces like bocci ball courts and lounges. Some suggested temporary and rooftop community pools as long-term solutions to meet community needs.

Festival of Arts and Laguna Beach Playhouse

Feedback emphasized the urgent need for ADA compliance and structural updates at the Playhouse. Residents suggested repurposing existing spaces, such as tennis courts, for arts centers, and identified a need for more performance and rehearsal spaces. Parking issues, particularly during peak times, were a significant concern. There was also strong support for expanding spaces dedicated to performing arts.

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Community members highlighted the need for expanding the shelter’s space and improving its outdated facilities. Upgrading technology to provide better animal information and creating dedicated adoption spaces were also important. Enhancements for volunteer facilities and ensuring ADA compliance were discussed, along with the necessity for power backup systems and overall facility resilience during emergencies.

Laguna Beach Library

The community strongly supported keeping the library at their current Downtown location while undergoing comprehensive renovations to improve study spaces and meeting areas. Addressing parking and traffic issues around the library was a key concern. Residents also suggested integrating local art and expanding the library’s role as a cultural and educational hub, emphasizing their cultural, historical and communal importance.

Additional Feedback

Residents highlighted broader issues, including the need for better parking solutions citywide and creative options like converting fields into parking lots. There were calls for improved mobility plans to address the lack of bike and pedestrian infrastructure, and suggestions to mitigate traffic and noise impacts on nearby homes.

Gavin Curran, assistant city manager/CFO, expressed the importance of community input. “Listening to residents and understanding their perspectives on the history, use and vision for our facilities provides invaluable insights toward developing the Facilities Master Plan. Their feedback will help create a plan that reflects the community’s needs and improves facilities that serve everyone in Laguna Beach,” Curran said.

This community feedback will help shape the Facilities Master Plan, ensuring it meets the needs and aspirations of Laguna Beach residents. The next phase will refine these ideas into actionable plans.

Click here for the Facilities Master Plan informational webpage and full report on the FMP Community meetings feedback.

Open story in new window…

Artwork wrap on lifeguard tower at Moss Point Beach completed

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Nolan Miura

On May 17, the city celebrated the opening of the new beach access stairs at Moss Street with a ribbon cutting. Part of the renovation project was to install a permanent lifeguard tower. Funded by Laguna resident Nolan Miura, a wrap, “Smooth Roll Blues,” created by artist Breck Rothage was just installed on the tower.

Open story in new window…

24th Annual Bob Margolis Golf Tournament benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach to be held August 5

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has announced the 24th Annual Bob Margolis Golf Tournament will take place on Monday, Aug. 5 at Aliso Viejo Country Club. The event will include a shotgun start, with 144 golfers, a silent auction, Jersey Mike’s lunch and an awards dinner party. You will not want to miss this fun tournament. Sponsorship opportunities and foursome slots are still available, but they will go fast! Please click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

One hundred percent of the proceeds raised at this event benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. The club provides mentorship and youth development programs to more than 3,000 young people every day at seven sites located in Laguna Beach and Saddleback Valley.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of BGCLB

Players wait to tee off during previous Bob Margolis Tournament

One of the tournament highlights is the Helicopter Golf Ball Drop which has a grand prize of a Montage Staycation that includes a two-night stay in an ocean view suite, two 60-minute spa treatments and a $60 daily breakfast credit. This package is valued at $5,500 and you can have a chance to win it for only $10!

For more information on how to purchase tickets, contact Jake at, or 949.715.7931.

For more than 70 years, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has been an indispensable asset to the community. From preschool to parenting classes, the club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. The club serves youth ages 3-18 years of age at their two sites – Canyon Branch and Bluebird Branch – in Laguna Beach. For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit, or call 949.494.2535.

Open story in new window…

58th Annual Sawdust Festival early bird discount

Where art meets magic. Sixty-six days of pure creativity and 180-plus artists, makers and musicians, along with endless opportunities for making favorite memories. Laguna Beach welcomes you to the legendary Sawdust Art Festival. Now in its 58th season, this iconic gathering is a vibrant celebration of sights, sounds and community.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Sawdust

Buy online and skip the line

Come for the magic, stay for the memories.

Until June 27 at 11:59 p.m., enjoy a discount of $2 off tickets with advance online purchase. Use coupon code: SUMMER24.

To purchase tickets, click here.

Open daily: Friday, June 28 through Sunday, Sept. 1.

Hours of Operation: Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.,

Friday – Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Single-day admission tickets may be used any day of the summer festival. $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, ages 65 and up. $5 for Children ages 6-12. Children ages 5 and under receive free admission and do not require a ticket to enter.

Tickets will arrive by email with a QR code.

Open story in new window…

Artist James Hayward walk-through at Peter Blake Gallery tomorrow, June 15

Tomorrow, (Saturday, June 15) from 1-2:30 p.m., visitors to the Peter Blake Gallery at 435 Ocean Ave. will have the opportunity to view the exhibition Monochromes by artist James Hayward.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Peter Blake Gallery

Artist James Hayward

Hayward’s (b. 1943, San Francisco, Calif.) focus on the monochrome easily positions his interpretation within the lineage of abstract painting, from Malevich and Mondrian to Reinhardt and Ryman. They exist as immediate visual experiences apart from any representational reference, where the reception of the work is reflected within the work itself.

Click on photo for a larger image

Hayward’s exhibition “Monochromes”

Beginning in the 1970s with the “automatic” or flat paintings devoid of the artist’s mark to the thicker, impasto “monochrome abstractions” that have defined his more recent work, both techniques explore color – extending from pure hues to complex combinations – through different effects, varying grades of opacity, thickness and texture. Every subsequent marking, built up from the surface to the point where they form sculptural peaks and fissures, is pivotal to the structural physicality of the work. This process creates an irreproducible distinct identity that dually epitomizes and affirms the physical act of painting. The end results are seductive studies of color effortlessly intertwining with the materiality of paint.

Offsite exhibitions:

Click on photo for a larger image

From the exhibition by artist Joe Goode, Laguna Beach, 1993

Artist Reception, Joe Goode, June 15, 4-6 p.m. at Honarkar Foundation for Arts and Culture, 298 Broadway St., Laguna Beach.

Exhibition: June 4-July 20

Curated by Genevieve Williams at the Honarkar Foundation.

Click on photo for a larger image

From exhibition “On the Edge”

Laguna Art Museum

On the Edge Exhibition: Los Angeles Art from The Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection at the Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

Exhibition: March 24-September 22

Open story in new window…

The Plant Man: Appreciating the beauty of yellow flowers

By Steve Kawaratani

“Yellow is my favorite, but what is yellow? – sunlike, golden as a crown, buttercups in a field, marsh marigolds, a finch’s wing, a plastic flute.” –Richard Grossinger

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

My father, Pete, loved flowers; from daffodils to sunflowers, yellow seemed to catch his eye. I believe he felt that yellow blossoms symbolized sunshine and happiness, and I remember him this Father’s Day weekend as a man who was a friend to all he met.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

My father, Pete, who loved yellow blooms, in his beloved Laguna garden

The beauty of yellow flowers rises above their visual appeal; golden blooms attract pollinators and signal an abundance of nourishment. They are the gift of millions of years of co-evolution and inspired survival strategies.

Plants have evolved over the eons, and those with yellow flowers attract their preferred pollinators. Bees, butterflies and other insects are often drawn to the brilliance of yellow, which stands out against a backdrop of greenery.

Yellow petals act as a visual invitation, beckoning pollinators towards their nectar-rich sustenance and facilitates successful cross-pollination – the survival of both flora and their fauna is dependent on this exquisite act.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

The Narcissus blooms during the spring, and is commonly known as the daffodil

For some plants, yellow flowers signify ripening. The blooms communicate to animals, birds and even us that the plant’s fruits, seeds or edibles are ready for consumption. It’s nature’s way of saying, “it’s time for a tasty and bountiful meal.”

Yellow flowers also contribute to a plant’s survival in various ecosystems. In some instances, the yellow hue may assist in repelling predators, by indicating the presence of a defensive chemical. Evolution has equipped plants with remarkable adaptations, allowing them to thrive and flourish in a wide range of locales.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Catharine Cooper

Tecoma stans (yellow bells), is found from Laguna to Palm Desert to Loreto, Baja California Sur

When you next visit a garden bed bursting with yellow flowers in Laguna, pause and appreciate the wonderful workings of nature. The vibrant yellow blooms will inspire you, brighten your day and remind you that it is a great day to be alive. See you next time and Happy Father’s Day to you all!

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.

Open story in new window…

Laguna Beach Police Department holding DUI Checkpoint tonight

Tonight (Friday, June 14), the Laguna Beach Police Department (LBPD) will conduct a driving under the influence (DUI) Checkpoint from 8 p.m.-2 a.m. at an undisclosed location.

DUI checkpoint locations are determined based on data showing incidents of impaired driving-related crashes. The primary purpose of DUI checkpoints is to promote public safety by taking suspected impaired drivers off the road.

Impaired drivers put others on the road at significant risk, any prevention measures that reduce the number of impaired drivers on our roads significantly improve traffic safety.

The LBPD reminds the public that impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Some prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may interfere with driving. While medicinal and recreational marijuana are legal, driving under the influence of marijuana is illegal.

Drivers charged with a first-time DUI face an average of $13,500 in fines and penalties, as well as a suspended license.

Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

For more information, go to

Open story in new window…

My Hero World Oceans Day celebration at Rivian South Coast Theater

The Rivian South Coast Theater was packed on Saturday evening (June 8), to celebrate World Oceans Day. The MY HERO Project hosted the event, which featured short ocean-themed films, music and speakers.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Doug Miller

Mike Beanan on stage

The program began with a selection of short films from the Laguna Eco Heroes documentary, funded by the Massen Greene Foundation. The films highlight the work of Laguna Bluebelt, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, One World One Ocean, the Kelp Lady – Nancy Caruso, Eco Warrior James Pribram and Wyland.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of MY HERO

Amazing shot of a whale

Speakers from local organizations gave updates on their efforts to protect our coastline. Mike Beanan, of Laguna Bluebelt, spoke of their efforts to expand Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas. Nancy Caruso, founder of Get Inspired Inc, acknowledged the collective efforts that had helped bring a healthy environment for fish to thrive off of Laguna’s ocean waters. Ed Alonzo, of Laguna Ocean Foundation, spoke about the organization’s work protecting tidepools and efforts needed to clean up water from polluted creeks that feed into our oceans.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Doug Miller

Nancy Caruso, founder of Get Inspired Inc.

Paddleboard photographer Rich German, founder of Project O, received a local hero award for his efforts to use photography and his love of the ocean to inspire future environmental activists by bringing inner city youth to Laguna to experience the magic of the ocean.

A highlight of the program was a live performance by Laguna local Whitney Winefordner of her original song “My Blue Heart,” a beautiful musical tribute to Dr. Sylvia Earle. With her brother Ian on keyboards, Winefordner sang in front of a stunning backdrop of ocean footage, courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Doug Miller

(L-R) Wendy Milette and Barbara MacGillivray

Wendy Milette, director of The MY HERO International Film Festival, announced the winners of the 2024 Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award. The annual award is named for renowned oceanographer and marine biologist Dr. Sylvia Earle and is sponsored by MacGillivray Freeman Education Foundation’s One World One Ocean campaign. Barbara and Greg MacGillivray were on hand to share in the festivities and Barbara spoke about their desire to highlight, through this award, the work of individuals who are making a positive difference.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of MY HERO

From Max Romey’s winning short documentary “If You Give a Beach a Bottle”

The two winning films were screened. Artist Max Romey’s short documentary If You Give a Beach a Bottle, shows the efforts of a group in Alaska, working to clean up tons of ocean debris in the water near a remote shoreline.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of MY HERO

Shot from the winning student film “Spear. Spatula. Submarine,” by Shannon Morrall

The student winner was Spear. Spatula. Submarine directed by USC student Shannon Morrall. Her documentary focuses on the efforts of passionate Florida residents who are battling the predatory lionfish, an invasive species that is destroying sea life in their local waters.

Previous winner Dana Frankel flew in from San Francisco to participate in the screening of her film Voice Over Water, which features an 80-year-old Indonesian man who uses his kayak to retrieve plastic from the ocean. All winning films can be viewed on The MY HERO Project website at

Jeanne Meyers, cofounder and director of MY HERO, acknowledged Wendy Milette for her outstanding work producing The MY HERO International Festival for the last 20 years. “MY HERO began as an idea for a TV series, 30 years ago, from my home in Laguna Beach. To see the accomplishments of our local and global heroes on the beautiful screen at the Rivian as part of MY HERO World Ocean Day Celebration was a dream come true,” said Meyers. “We hope to have an opportunity to continue to program here and invite everyone to explore the library of short films we host online on MY HERO.”

Submissions are now being accepted for other Special Awards and Best of Fest, for The MY HERO International Film Festival. The final deadline is September 1.

Open story in new window…

Laguna Beach Recreation Division unveils exciting array of summer camps

The Laguna Beach Recreation Division has announced a diverse selection of summer camps kicking off the week of June 17! With registration now open, new camps are scheduled to start each week throughout the summer, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Surf Camp

Returning camp favorites such as Tennis and Swimming, Art Adventures, Ocean Camps, Youth Beach Volleyball, Lego, Soccer and Radio Camp are back by popular demand. This year, the city is also introducing several new and exciting camps to the community, including youth lawn bowling, youth theater, beginning golf and a Barbie-themed dance camp.

To secure a spot, early registration is highly recommended as camps fill up quickly. For a full list of camps and to register, visit Laguna Beach Recreation Division’s activity guide by clicking here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Art and Nature Camp

Featured New Camps:

Youth Rollers Lawn Bowling (ages 8-18):

Youth Rollers is an engaging and fast-paced summer camp designed for children aged 8-18 interested in trying out the international sport of lawn bowling. This camp aims to get young people active through sport, offering a fun, social and inclusive environment. Participants will develop their playing skills and game knowledge through social play, modified games, drills and instructional support. Equipment is provided by the Laguna Beach Lawn Bowling Club.

Click on photo for a larger image

Acting and Theater Camp at Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse Acting & Theater Camp (ages 8-19):

Laguna Playhouse Teaching Artists will lead these exciting musical and non-musical camps, where students learn to work as an ensemble, build self-confidence and engage in the performing arts.

The camp culminates in a showcase for friends and family, providing a platform for creative expression and the development of essential life skills.

Skyhawks Beginning Golf Camp (ages 5-8):

Designed for entry-level players, this camp simplifies instruction on fundamentals such as swinging, putting, body positioning, etiquette and scoring. Young golfers will make an easy transition onto the golf course, learning valuable physical, social and mental skills. All equipment is provided.

Click on photo for a larger image

Skateboarding Camp

KDA “Barbie” Dance Camp (ages 6-11):

Campers will live out their Barbie dreams in this weeklong dance party, learning styles like Barbie Ballet, Jazz/Hip Hop, Barbie Movie Choreography, POM/Cheer Dance and Tumbling. The camp includes Barbie-themed crafts and concludes with a fashion show. Kyne Dance Academy’s summer camp offers a transformative experience, fostering artistic growth and connection among dancers of various ages and skill levels.

Registration Information:

–Online: Click here.

–In Person:

–Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third St., 949.464.6645

–Community & Recreation Center, 30516 South Coast Highway, 949. 715.8620

Many new summer camps will be hosted at the city’s new Community & Recreation Center. “This new space gives the city so much flexibility in the kinds of space we have available and the programs we can provide,” said Alexis Braun, recreation manager.

Don’t miss out on these fantastic opportunities for summer fun and learning. Sign up today and make this summer unforgettable.

Open story in new window…

Summer Reading Kick-Off Ice Cream Social at the LB Library on June 17

Members of the Laguna Beach Police Department will be at the Laguna Beach Library to scoop ice cream and help with toppings at the Library’s Annual Summer Reading Kick-Off Ice Cream Social on Monday, June 17 at 3 p.m.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBPD

Scoop up a sweet treat and start on your summer reading

This summer, OC Public Libraries is offering a reading challenge, in-branch programming and exciting events.

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

Open story in new window…

Be Well OC announces Healthcare Executive Blair Contratto as New Chief Strategy Officer

Be Well OC announced that Blair Contratto has joined the organization as Chief Strategy Officer. A well-respected industry executive, she has acquired extensive knowledge and diverse experience over her career leading prominent organizations across Southern California through times of growth and evolution.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Be Well

Blair Contratto named Chief Strategy Officer of Be Well OC

“Blair joins our leadership team at a pivotal moment for Be Well OC as we continue to expand our vital programs and partnerships, coupled with the planning for our Irvine Campus set to open in 2025,” said Phillip Franks, chief executive officer, Be Well OC. “Her strategic expertise will be instrumental in developing and extending our partnerships, amplifying our philanthropic endeavors, and driving our mission forward to expand access to critical mental health and wellness care for the Orange County community.”

Contratto most recently served as president and CEO of Mount Carmel Health Ministries in Duarte, where she oversaw the development and implementation of the strategic plan for the company’s three post-acute campuses and a retreat center. She also served for seven years as CEO of Providence Health System’s Little Company of Mary in Torrance, where she led a $500 million net revenue region with 25 integrated healthcare entities. During her tenure, she achieved significant milestones such as implementing a comprehensive medical record system, increasing market share to 25%, leading a successful $50 million fundraising campaign and driving performance improvements recognized by multiple awards.

Contratto has more than three decades of governance experience and currently serves on the board of directors for both CalOptima Health and Mount Carmel Health Ministries. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from University of California Los Angeles and a Master of Public Health from University of Tennessee.

“I am thrilled to join Be Well during this exciting time of expansion for the organization,” Contratto said. “I look forward to collaborating with the talented team at Be Well OC and our community partners to create impactful, strategic initiatives that will increase access to mental health and substance use disorder services for all Orange County residents, and ultimately improve the well-being of our community.”

Be Well OC is a transformative initiative bringing together public, private, academic and faith-based organizations, as well as others, to create a coordinated system of mental health care and support for all Orange County residents. The Be Well OC mental health system, which also includes substance use services, features a first-of-its-kind mental health and wellness facility in Orange and a robust mobile response program currently serving seven cities. Be Well OC’s movement spans across all cities of Orange County including Laguna Beach with a range of needs, from prevention and early intervention to crisis aversion, crisis management, acute care and recovery.

For more information about Be Well OC, visit

Open story in new window…

Letters to the Editor

Thank you to the Neighborhood Congregational Church

Hats off to our local Neighborhood Congregational Church and its willingness to use excess space to build low-income housing. This is such a Christian act. We have a large number of residents who would qualify for this type of housing. These individuals are facing challenging difficulties and navigating the increased rental costs happening all over Laguna. A large number of these individuals work in our stores and restaurants. They have been good citizens for a long time. The rental situation is constantly changing in Laguna as landlords find they can get more money for their rentals. It would be a shame to lose these great workers because there is no affordable housing in town.

Laguna Beach Unified School District has worked with the County of Orange to establish a 55-year agreement, allowing National Church Residences to transform a vacant school into 70 units of low-income senior housing in South Laguna. One of our servers from a local restaurant finally cleared the waiting list, and she was able to move into this wonderful residence. This move has made all the difference to this older individual’s ability to stay in Laguna comfortably and pay her rent. The renters have added to the neighborhood, bought goods and services from local merchants, and not caused any problems over the last 50 years.

I am sure the Congregational Church will be a good steward of its land and involve its neighbors in making decisions to make the projects work and fit into the community.

I hope that our other churches that are wealthier and have more land will consider doing this Christian act of providing housing for needy residents.

Jim Kelly

Laguna Beach

Open story in new window…

School Notes

News and notes from our colleges and universities

Catherine Herrick, of Laguna Beach, has been named to the spring 2024 Dean’s List at the University of Rhode Island.

To be included on the Dean’s List, full-time students must have completed 12 or more credits for letter grades which are GPA applicable during a semester and achieved at least a 3.30 quality point average. Part-time students qualify with the accumulation of 12 or more credits for letter grades which are GPA applicable earning at least a 3.30 quality point average.

The University of Rhode Island (URI) is a diverse and dynamic community whose members are connected by a common quest for knowledge. As a global education leader and the state of Rhode Island’s flagship public research institution, URI offers distinctive opportunities designed to meet the global challenges of today’s world and the rapidly evolving needs of tomorrow. Founded in 1892, URI now enrolls more than 18,000 students and offers more than 200 degree programs across nine schools and colleges.

Open story in new window…

LPAPA Gallery presents solo exhibition by John Cosby

Click on photo for a larger image

John Crosbys-Gallery Solo Exhibition runs through July 1

Photos courtesy of LPAPA

John Cosby, Artist in Residence

John Cosby “Artist in Residence” LPAPA Gallery Solo Exhibition

Looking West, a Portrait of the Places I Love

The LPAPA Gallery is proud to present a special “Artist in Residence” Solo Exhibition featuring major works, and plein air studies, created by Signature Artist and Founding Member John Cosby on June 6 through July 1.

Call for Nocturne Artwork!

Deadline: Monday, June 17 (before midnight)

The entry deadline is Monday June 17 (by 11:59 p.m.) to submit your artwork for LPAPA’s Annual “From Dusk to Dawn” juried nocturne art show. Both plein air and studio works are eligible. Gallery exhibition dates for the juried Finalists are August 1 through September 2 with juried Semi-Finalists to be exhibited at City Hall.

Five cash awards to be given with the top prize of $500. Plus, all submitting members receive $5 in LPAPA Loyalty Reward credits. Details can be found by clicking here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Less is More – Show opens on July 1

18th Annual Less is More

The show opens with an online Art Catalog and Preview Auction on Monday, July 1, followed by the LPAPA Gallery opening for First Thursdays Art Walk on Thursday July 11, 6-9 p.m. (a week after the first Thursday due to July 4th holiday).

Four cash awards to be presented.

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association/LPAPA Gallery is located at 414 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

Click here to access LPAPA’s calendar and event schedule.

For more information, go to

Open story in new window…

A glimpse at Crystal Cove in June

“Summertime at Crystal Cove is magical – and our programs team has been working all year to create new opportunities for folks to explore the park and to reimagine old favorites,” said Crystal Cove Conservancy President & CEO Kate Wheeler. “Our team has been testing new ideas like science hikes and rethinking and expanding classics like the Historic District Walking Tours and movies on the beach to create a menu of programs to help parkgoers deepen their connection with the park and become part of protecting it.”

From hands-on explorations of history and nature to art classes and conservation stewardship, there is something for everyone to explore during the summer at Crystal Cove. The Conservancy’s summer programs will also take place during the third annual California State Parks Week happening June 12-16.

Click on photo for a larger image

Sign up to spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines

The Great Plein Air Art Experience every Monday and Wednesday through 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.

Tuesdays in the Commons, through Sept. 10: Hands-on Educational Activities from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Stop by the Education Commons in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District each week on Tuesday for new hands-on educational activities that will help participants learn about ongoing conservation work at the park, the critical habitats at Crystal Cove, and how it all connects with landscape scale efforts to protect and preserve the natural world. Park at the Los Trancos lot near the trailer then walk through the tunnel to the Education Commons (PCH inland at stoplight Los Trancos). $15 day use fee.

Click on photo for a larger image

Join a fun, family-friendly nature hike through Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Canyon

Native Plants: The Key to Climate Resilience, Friday, June 14 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (Part of California State Parks Week).

Join a fun, family-friendly nature hike through Crystal Cove State Park’s Moro Canyon as you learn about the coastal sage scrub plant community and how native plants are resilient in our changing climate. This three-mile trek, which includes a short incline, will wind through the canyon to visit a current habitat restoration project. Participants will meet restoration team members and participate in stewardship activities.

Celebrate Crystal Cove State Park’s Natural & Cultural History, Saturday, June 15 from 4-8 p.m. (Part of California State Parks Week). Registration is required for this event.

Join Crystal Cove State Park and Crystal Cove Conservancy for an afternoon filled with fun and learning, as you celebrate the cultural history of the park. Participants will take part in a variety of activities exploring the indigenous history of the area, learning about the Acjachemen and Tongva People who have been here from time immemorial, and continue to call Crystal Cove and surrounding areas their home. Parking can be found in the Los Trancos Parking Lot. Event is free after the $15 day-use fee. For more information and to register, go here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Sign up to spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove

Historic Beach Cottages & Coastline Restoration Tour, Sunday, June 16 from 5-6:30 p.m. (Part of California State Parks Week). Registration is required for this event.

Step back in time for a guided walking tour of the restored Crystal Cove Beach Cottages in Crystal Cove State Park’s Historic District, as Crystal Cove Conservancy expert staff share stories of how each cottage was lovingly and painstakingly restored to preserve the architectural charms and details of the original structures. Participants will also learn about the extraordinary coastal engineering measures taken to ensure the cottages remain resilient to sea level rise. For more information and to register, go here.

Explore the Cove Science Hikes, Fourth Saturday each month: June 22, July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Registration is required for this event. Take a hike with a Conservancy educator to explore Crystal Cove State Park’s geological and ecological systems. Explore the impacts and challenges of climate change including fire ecology, ecological restoration, coastal engineering and marine conservation, as well as native versus non-native species and their impact on natural communities and ecosystem functions. Registration is required for these events.

Historic District Walking Tours, Fourth Saturday each month: June 22, July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 2-3 p.m. Historic District Walking Tours return to Crystal Cove State Park. During this 60-minute tour led by Conservancy educators and former cottage residents, participants will step back in time to explore the history of Crystal Cove and the Historic District’s rescue and restoration.

Movies on the Beach, monthly from July through September. Click here for upcoming events.

Cove Talks, Ongoing. Click here for upcoming events. Registration is required for these events.

Grunion Run, One night only. Click here for details. Registration is required for this event.

For more information about summer programming at Crystl Cove and to register for upcoming programs, go here.

For a complete calendar of events, go to

Open story in new window…

Artists Fund invites public to visit Art-To-Go FOA

–Tuesday, July 2, 2024 (hours TBA)

“Art-To-Go at FOA Preview Reception” to view 100 originals donated by FOA exhibitors and vote for Art-To-Go People’s Choice!

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Artists Fund

“Necessary Vices” by John Straub, photography

July 2 – August 28

“Art-To-Go at Festival of Arts” View 100 originals donated by FOA exhibitors, new items added weekly. Proceeds support their Hardship Grant fund. Free with regular Festival admission.

Festival of Arts, 650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Coming Up

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.

Open story in new window…

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.

Photo courtesy of Sawdust

Intro to Sewing: Messenger Bag – June 21

Friday, June 21, 10 a.m.

Intro to Sewing: Messenger Bag

Learn how to sew a one-of-a-kind messenger bag on a sewing machine in this introduction to textiles with Carmen Gundelach. Working with a selection of sewing supplies (needle, thread, buttons, webbing, scissors and a sewing machine), Gundelach will show you how to cut out the bag pattern, the basics of sewing on a sewing machine (if you’ve never used one!) and using straight stitches to assemble your pieces. You can choose to bring your own materials if you wish, but upholstery fabric and lining is included in the price of this class.

This class is not suitable for children under 7 years of age; children aged 7-10 years must be accompanied by an adult.

Cost: $125.

Open story in new window…

A picture-perfect ceremony

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

As the sun sets on Laguna Beach on Thursday, the Class of 2024 says goodbye to high school…and hello to new adventures

Open story in new window…

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

Open story in new window…

Experience the magic of Laguna Beach’s Sawdust Art Festival, June 28 through September 1

The enchanting Sawdust Art Festival returns for its 58th season, June 28th through September 1. Nestled in the heart of Laguna Beach, Sawdust Art Festival transforms into a unique artist village where visitors can shop for handcrafted treasures along sawdust-covered paths, enjoy lively musical performances on three entertainment stages and indulge in complimentary art classes or mesmerizing glass-blowing demonstrations. Sawdust Art Festival celebrates the arts in all forms, a diverse array of artistic mediums created by more than 180 local Laguna Beach artists, makers and musicians.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

2023 Sawdust Festival

“I am honored to be among the many artists who have contributed to this multi-generational art festival, sharing our work with the community amidst this ancient eucalyptus forest,” said Andrew Soliz, president of the Sawdust Art Festival board of directors. “On behalf of the artists and entertainers who came before us, and all of us present today, I extend a hand of friendship to everyone attending the 58th Annual Sawdust Festival,” Soliz added.

Click on photo for a larger image

Visitors enjoy the art (2023)

In addition to immersive artistic experiences, the Sawdust Art Festival offers a feast for the senses with the legendary Sawdust Saloon and four outdoor dining venues. This year marks the highly anticipated return of Chef Rebollar’s Taco Loco, a Pacific Coast Highway staple for 37 years before closing in 2023. Attendees can also enjoy a variety of specialty coffees, craft beer and Jackson Family Wines.

Click on photo for a larger image

Just one example of the treasures to be found at the Sawdust

Sawdust Art Festival offers a vibrant blend of experiences for all ages. Live music all day, every day, featuring local musicians, known as the heart and soul of Laguna Beach. Tickets start at $5 for children and $12 for adults and can be purchased by clicking here.

One legendary grove of eucalyptus trees. Sixty-six days of pure creativity. And endless opportunities for making favorite memories. This is where art meets magic. This iconic gathering brings together art lovers of all types for a summer celebration of art, music, food and community. Come for the magic, stay for the memories. See you at Sawdust.

The Sawdust will run from Friday, June 28 – Sunday, Sept. 1, 2024. 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday – Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday – Saturday. The Sawdust is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. For more information, visit

Open story in new window…

Festival of Arts announces 2024 Summer Concert Series

From July 3 through August 30, join Festival of Arts (FOA) for live music on the Festival’s Concert Stage. This year’s concert line-up features Grammy winner Poncho Sanchez; jazz all-stars Grace Kelly and Gregg Karukas; Eric Clapton-approved tribute band, The Cream of Clapton, funk legend Greg Adams and more. Concerts are free with Festival admission.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of FOA

Greg Adams and East Bay Soul perform July 6

The daily schedule for Festival of Arts Summer Concert Series is now available online by clicking here.

All concerts are free with Festival admission.

For select concerts, limited “nightclub” seating is available in the reserved section for an additional fee. To reserve seats, click here.

Wed., July 3, 5:30-7 p.m., Street Corner Renaissance, Acapella

Fri., July 5, 5:30-7 p.m., Terry Wollman, R&B/Jazz

Sat., July 6, 1-2:30 p.m., Greg Adams and East Bay Soul, Jazz Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 6, 5:30-7 p.m., Missiles of October, Blues, $45

Sun., July 7, 1-2:30 p.m., The Afro Peruvian Jazz Orchestra, $20

Sun., July 7, 5:30-7 p.m., Melanie Taylor, R&B/Jazz, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 8, 5:30-7 p.m., Shawn Jones, Rock/Blues, Americana, $30

Tues., July 9, 5:30-7 p.m., The 133 Band, Rock, $30

Wed., July 10, 5:30-7 p.m., Kay-Ta Crypto String Society, Jazz, $30

Thurs., July 11, 5:30-7 p.m., Téka, Brazilian Jazz, $50

Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate, sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery

Fri., July 12, 5:30-7 p.m., The Cream of Clapton Band, Rock/Blues, Tremendous Tributes, $45

Click on photo for a larger image

Grace Kelly performs July 13

Sat., July 13, 1-2:30 p.m., Grace Kelly, Jazz, Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 13, 5:30-7 p.m., Josh Nelson, Jazz, $45

Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano, Sponsored by City of Hope

Sun., July 14, 12-3 p.m., Family Art Day, Special Event

Sun., July 14, 5:30-7 p.m., Paris Chansons, French, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 15, 5:30-7 p.m., Miskey Mountain Boys, Bluegrass, Americana, $30

Tues., July 16, 5:30-7 p.m., Slim Man, R&B/Jazz, $30

Wed., July 17, 5:30-7 p.m., Laguna Community Jazz Band, Jazz, $30

Thurs., July 18, 5:30-7 p.m., The New Jet Set, Jazz – Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery, $50

Fri., July 19, 5:30-7 p.m., The Eagles Allstars, Country Rock, Tremendous Tributes, $45

Sat., July 20,1-2:30 p.m., BP.M. (Brian Bromberg, Paul Brown, Michael Paulo), Jazz Concerts on the Green, $60

Click on photo for a larger image

John Proulx Trio performs on July 20

Sat., July 20, 5:30-7 p.m., John Proulx Trio, Jazz, Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano

Sponsored by City of Hope, $45

Sun., July 21, 1-2:30 p.m., Laguna Community Concert Band, Jazz

Sun., July 21, 5:30-7 p.m., Raffia Thomas, R&B/Soul, Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 22, 5:30-7 p.m., Buzz Campbell and the Heartaches, Rockabilly Americana, $30

Tues., July 23, 5:30-7 p.m., Quarteto Nuevo, Jazz, $30

Wed., July 24, 5:30-7 p.m., Beth and Steve Wood, Folk/Rock, $30

Thurs., July 25, 5:30-7 p.m., Spencer Day, Jazz – Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Sponsored by Charles Schwab and Cambria Estate Winery, $50

Fri., July 26, 5:30-7 p.m., Tony Guerrero – A Tribute to Chuck Mangione, Jazz Tremendous Tributes, $45

Click on photo for a larger image

Poncho Sanchez – July 27

Sat., July 27, 1-2:30 p.m., Poncho Sanchez, Latin Jazz, Concerts on the Green, $60

Sat., July 27, 5:30-7 p.m., Scott Wilkie Trio, Jazz, Spotlight on the Music of Hope Blue Piano

Sponsored by City of Hope, $45

Sun., July 28,12-3 p.m., Miskey Mountain Boys, Bluegrass

Sun., July 28, 5:30-7 p.m., Lia Booth, Jazz Wow… That Girl Can Sing! $45

Mon., July 29, 5:30-7 p.m., Eugene Edwards Band, Country/Rock, Americana, $30

Tues., July 30, 5:30-7 p.m., “Listen to the Seventies” – Folk/Rock, $30

Wed., July 31, 5:30-7 p.m., Opera Laguna, Opera, $30

Open story in new window…

Local Wildlife Care Center to release rehabilitated pelicans at Aliso Beach

The Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center (WWCC) is gearing up for a heartwarming event set to take place at Aliso Beach on June 17 at 11 a.m. Approximately 10 brown pelicans, fully recovered from a recent mass-stranding event, will take flight back into the wild, marking a significant milestone in their journey to recovery.

Since April 2024, the WWCC has been on the front lines of a rescue operation, admitting a staggering 217 brown pelicans suffering from starvation. The exact cause of this mass stranding is still under investigation, but what’s clear is that these birds were found in dire conditions – severely emaciated, dehydrated and infested with parasites. Thanks to the diligent efforts of volunteers and staff, coupled with generous donations from the public, most of these pelicans have been nursed back to health.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Ten brown pelicans will be released on June 17

“Many of the pelicans we’ve cared for came in with secondary issues, ranging from fishing gear injuries to skeletal abnormalities,” said Debbie McGuire, MBA, executive director of the WWCC. “While some are still undergoing treatment, we’re thrilled that at least 10 of them are now ready to be released back into their natural habitat.”

The pelicans scheduled for release have been federally banded with aluminum USGS bands for tracking purposes, contributing valuable data to conservation efforts. However, McGuire emphasizes that their work is far from over. With 76 pelican patients still under their care, ongoing support from the community is vital to sustaining their mission.

“We’re incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support we’ve received,” said McGuire. “Every donation, no matter the size, helps provide food and care for these magnificent birds. Together, we can ensure a brighter future for brown pelicans and other wildlife.”

The WWCC invites the public to join them at Aliso Beach for this special event, celebrating the resilience of these pelicans and the collective efforts that have brought them back from the brink of demise. For those unable to attend, donations can be made through the WWCC’s website at

Open story in new window…

17th Annual Fête de la Musique returns to Laguna with a spectacular line-up of music and festivities on June 15

Get ready to immerse yourself in the joyous sounds of the 17th Annual Fête de la Musique, presented by Laguna Beach Sister Cities. Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m., as the picturesque streets of Laguna Beach come alive with a celebration of music and unity. This international event, observed in more than 1,000 cities worldwide, promises to be an unforgettable experience for music enthusiasts of all ages.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of LBSC

A band playing at a previous Fête de la Musique

The Fête de la Musique will once again take center stage on the Main Beach Cobblestones. The festivities will kick off at 11 a.m. when the Main Beach Cobblestones come alive with the 16-piece Laguna Beach Community JaZz Band, which will set the tone for an incredible day of music, dancing and celebration. At 1 p.m., all attention will switch to the large, elevated stage for the Opening Ceremony, which will begin with words from Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi and Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. They will introduce the performance of the U.S. National Anthem followed by the singing of the French National Anthem, both by the French-Canadian singing duo Perfect Blend.

Following the Opening Ceremony, the stage will host an array of remarkable performances throughout the afternoon, starting with the four-piece band Perfect Blend performing their amazing harmonies. Following Perfect Blend will be Laguna Beach belly dancers JJ and the Habibis. Finally, the Ken Garcia Band will perform until 5:30 p.m. or later. By this time, lots of people will be dancing on the Cobblestones.

Click on photo for a larger image

More great entertainment Downtown at Fête de la Musique

Simultaneously, from 1:30-4 p.m., the Downtown area will be transformed into a musical paradise, with performers delighting audiences across 32 different locations. Forest Avenue will have 14 performance venues, while Pacific Coast Highway and Ocean Avenue will have 10 and eight venues, respectively. Prepare to be enchanted by the incredible talents of these artists as they bring their diverse styles and creative expressions to the streets of Laguna Beach. If you want to see all of them, you will only have about five minutes at each venue!

Be sure to walk all the way up to the end of Forest Avenue to the Water District Garden on 3rd Street, where the energetic Argentinian Folk Music band Los de Alla will be attracting a crowd.

Adding to the charm of the festival, the iconic Retro Roll Citroen van will be on the Main Beach Cobblestones, offering a nostalgic touch and a unique photo opportunity. Laguna Beach Sister Cities volunteers will be inside the van to answer questions throughout the day.

Click on photo for a larger image

Win a two-night stay at The Ranch in Laguna Beach

In addition to the musical festivities, Laguna Beach Sister Cities is offering an exclusive opportunity to win a two-night stay in a Cottage Two-Bedroom Suite at The Ranch in Laguna Beach, including room, tax and resort fee. With only 60 tickets available, priced at $60 each, your chances of winning are high. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Pre-Fete VIP party on Friday, June 14. Proceeds will aid in the production of the annual Fête de la Musique. Tickets can be purchased by clicking here.

As the Fête de la Musique is a celebration that unites people through the power of music, this year’s event promises to be an unforgettable experience. Immerse yourself in the joyous melodies and rhythms that will fill the air, creating a sense of unity and harmony among attendees.

Make sure to save the date for the Fête de la Musique on Saturday, June 15. Let the melodies transport you and let the power of music bring a smile to your face and warmth to your heart.

Open story in new window…

Art Workshop with artist/instructor Elizabeth McGhee at Hortense Miller Garden on June 29

On Saturday, June 29 from 9:45 a.m.-12 p.m., artist/instructor Elizabeth McGhee will teach an art workshop on Colored Pencil Cactus Drawing at the Hortense Miller Garden (HMG).

Space is limited and registration is required.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Hortense Miller Garden

McGhee’s workshop to be held on Colored Pencil Cactus Drawing on June 29

Learn to draw with colored pencils and blend them like paint through a step-by-step process taught by LOCA arts Education artist McGhee. Using layering and blending techniques on toned matboard, each person will complete a finished rendering of a flower. All materials will be provided.

The workshop will take place at Hortense Miller Garden and a short tour of the residence will follow the workshop.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Elizabeth McGhee

Students during a previous workshop

Hortense Miller Garden, a hidden Laguna gem, features a 2.5-acre garden with more than a dozen unique trails and a pristine Mid-Century Modern home built by Knowlton Fernald in 1958 on the slope of Boat Canyon. Tucked under towering Canary Pines, planted as one-gallon specimens, there are more than 600 plant species of which about 150 are California natives. The walls of glass in this home offer breathtaking ocean and canyon views. The original furnishings give the home a rare authenticity, fitting of a true Laguna artist.

Request a reservation at

Friends of Hortense Miller Garden, P.O. Box 742, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.

Open story in new window…

Meet Pet of the Week Ruby

This smart red Dachshund Chihuahua mix wants only some loving – and she’ll give plenty in return! Ruby is a shy dog initially who came from an abusive situation. However, she is more than ready to find her forever home. It would be best, if there are other dogs in the house that they be friendly, as she can get a bit overwhelmed. Ruby is spayed, 4 years old, and ready to fill up your heart with love.

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

Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Ruby is a Dachshund Chihuahua mix, who is ready to move into a loving forever home

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,

Open story in new window…

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!

June 11: Carol Josepher, Maria Lupita, Mark DePalma, Shelley Arends

June 12: Caley Versfelt, Chris Desmond, Jeanine Stafford, Lynn Corcoran Fair

June 13: Elliot Leeds, Eric Obre, James Rushing, Justin Rawlins, Kate Somerset, Pamela Waitt, Stacey Zee Brettin, William Levin

June 14: Charlie Rainey, Cindy Landsiedel, Shannon Kavlich, Sherwin Riahi

June 15: Danielle Brown, Eric Bergstrom, Joe Blecha, Kerry Swank, Leah Freidenrich, Pamela Knudsen, Todd Williams

June 16: Lucas McConnell, Mark Payne, Samantha Ferri, Sharbie Higuchi, Susan Immel

June 17: Candace MacWilliam, Celia Fischbeck, Dawn Alexendra, Josephine Brooks, Lauren Harris, Patrick Quilter, Rachel Gilson

Open story in new window…

Catmosphere Laguna Foundation and Laguna Beach Animal Shelter Feline Adoption Event on June 15

On Saturday, June 15 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Catmosphere Laguna cats and kittens will be featured for adoption at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Catmosphere

Janet and family with lucky kittens Lars and Millie

Catmosphere Laguna Foundation introduced Orange County’s first Cat Café & Lounge. Catmosphere Laguna Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit feline rescue which serves Laguna Beach and the surrounding communities every day of the week dedicated to finding forever homes for homeless, relinquished, abandoned and special-needs cats and kittens.

Click on photo for a larger image

Kathy and Catmosphere Laguna Foster Director Adrian Robertson

Laguna Beach has long been known and loved for its artistic community and embrace of nature in all its forms. Catmosphere Laguna Foundation enhances and strengthens that reputation in its mission to prevent cruelty to animals by rescuing, fostering, and assisting in public adoptions and awareness of the plight of homeless felines. Their adoption events are fun for the whole family with snacks and giveaways for all – volunteer opportunities available.

Click on photo for a larger image

Siren and her new Human Mama Lena

Future Adoption Event dates continue monthly throughout 2024:

Laguna Beach Animal Shelter and Catmosphere Laguna Adoption Event Dates 2024: Saturday, June 15 and Saturday, August 17, October 26 (Halloween Event) and year-end holiday events.

New: Gelson’s Rancho Mission Viejo, 30731 Gateway Plaza, Rancho Mission Viejo and Catmosphere Laguna Adoption Event Dates 2024: Saturday, July 20, Saturday, Sept. 21 and Saturday, Nov. 16 and year-end holiday events.

New: First Saturday of every month at PetSmart Lake Forest, 23602 El Toro Road, Lake Forest.

For details, contact Catmosphere Laguna Foundation at 949.619.MEOW (6369), or

Open story in new window…

Laguna Canyon Foundation to hold annual “Ales and Trails” fundraiser on June 15

Laguna Canyon Foundation (LCF) will be holding their annual “Ales and Trails” fundraiser at Troy Lee Designs in Downtown Laguna Beach on Saturday, June 15 from 6-10 p.m. Admission is free, and free tacos will be served. The event includes live music, limited-edition mugs for purchase, local beer on tap and a silent auction benefiting Laguna Canyon Foundation’s Trails Program. Auction items include a one-of-a-kind GT Sensor ST Pro Trail Bike, which was built out with top-of-the-line parts from Shimano, Crank Brothers, The Fox Factory and more.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of LCF

A Laguna Canyon trail

Laguna Canyon Foundation’s 2023/2024 trail season, which began in October, will be wrapping up on June 29. Over the past nine months, LCF held 39 volunteer trail stewardship days that resulted in noticeable trail improvements in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. In total, staff and volunteers improved 3,470 linear feet of trail tread, brushed 15,480 linear feet of trail and installed or improved 258 drains to better control the impact of water on the trail during the rainy season. These improvements create a better user experience for all trail users while also ensuring that critical trail-adjacent habitat is protected.

A project that many mountain bikers and hikers have been excited about is the recent improvements to Cholla Trail in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. Thanks to funding by an anonymous private donor, Cholla Trail has been significantly improved over the last six months. LCF staff and volunteers smoothed out rough tread and narrowed the trail, which in some places had eroded the surrounding landscape and become as wide as a road.

The improvements to Cholla Trail are just one example of the trail work Laguna Canyon Foundation does around the parks every day to maintain Laguna Beach’s world-class trail system while protecting the surrounding wilderness. To get involved and help improve your favorite trails and better protect wildlife habitat, visit Upcoming trail volunteer days will be held on June 22 and 29.

Laguna Canyon Foundation is dedicated to preserving, protecting, enhancing and promoting the 22,000-acre South Coast Wilderness. They are the stewards of Laguna Canyon, advocating for our open space as the leading organization for education, public outreach, habitat restoration and trailwork in the canyons. They are the bridge between the open space and the surrounding world.

For more information, visit

Open story in new window…

French chanson/Shanghai jazz at Sunset Serenades on June 14

The Jessica Fichot Quartet will perform on Friday, June 14 at Sunset Serenades at Heisler Park from 6:30 p.m. through sunset.

The Heisler Park Amphitheater is located at Cliff Drive and Jasmine Street, Laguna Beach.

This is a free concert.

The quartet is comprised of Chloe Feoranzo (clarinet, sax), Alexis Soto Jr. (upright bass), Tom Moose (guitar) and Jessica Fichot (vocals, accordion, toy piano).

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Diego Ruvalcabras

The Jessica Fichot Quartet

Los Angeles-based chanteuse/songwriter Fichot is a lot like her hometown of Paris: French at heart, but with a truly international soul. Drawing from her multi-ethnic French/Chinese/American upbringing, her music takes the listener on a twisting journey out of the French chanson tradition, into the land of 1940s Shanghai jazz, gypsy swing, international folk and into the wilderness of her imagination.

With three acclaimed albums under her belt, Fichot has charmed audiences around the world – performing her lively songs at concert halls, festivals and clubs in China, Mexico, Singapore, Canada and across the U.S. and western Europe. Featuring scorching performances from her bandmates on clarinet/sax, upright bass and guitar, as well as her own beautiful, clear vocals in French, Mandarin Chinese, Spanish and English, Fichot’s music is truly a dazzling trans-world journey.

Fichot is also an active composer, who has written hundreds of children’s songs for various educational programs, as well as music for many independent video games. She is currently working on her fourth album.

Accolades include:

“Brings an art-song sensibility to delightfully catchy tunes.” – LA Times

“Enchantingly original.” – LA Weekly

“A delicious blend of acoustic styles” – San Francisco Chronicle

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

For more information, go to

For more detailed information on Sunset Serenades, go here.

Open story in new window…

Laguna Art Museum gets wild with Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will present Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature, set to showcase the influential work of Southern California native artist, Fred Tomaselli. The exhibition, exploring the intersections of art, nature and contemporary culture, will be on view from October 6 through February 2, 2025.

Tomaselli, who grew up and formed his early artistic sensibilities in Southern California, attended California State University, Fullerton, where he graduated with a BA in Painting and Drawing in 1982. His work is deeply influenced by the fantasy culture and natural beauty of the coastal environment, themes that are prominently reflected in his artworks.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dan Bradica Studio

Fred Tomaselli, “Irwin’s Garden,” 2023, acrylic, photo collage, leaves and resin on wood panel, 48” x 48”, courtesy of the artist and James Cohan, New York, ©2024

“Fred Tomaselli’s work offers a vital narrative emphasizing the beauty and turmoil of our times. His uncanny ability to incorporate contemporary issues within his unique and eye-catching artistic approach allows for important conversations and deeper enjoyment of his stunning work,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director of Laguna Art Museum.

The exhibition, guest-curated by Laguna Art Museum Curatorial Fellow Rochelle Steiner, will feature approximately 50 of Tomaselli’s new and recent works. The works highlight his unique approach to collage-based resin paintings and his engagement with topics such as global warming, the impact of the pandemic and today’s most pressing social issues.

“Tomaselli’s work is a powerful exploration of the world at large through ideas of individual perception, shared reality and the altered states between,” said Steiner, guest curator for the exhibition. “This exhibition promises to provide an insightful look at today’s most pressing issues by considering collisions of nature and culture, humans and animals, science and art and our need to process the fever pitch noise that surrounds modern life.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Laguna Art Museum will publish a fully illustrated catalog authored by Steiner; it will also feature a conversation between Tomaselli and writer Dan Nadel and include images of all the works in the exhibition. Specially designed by Barbara Glauber/Heavy Meta, the catalog provides insights into Tomaselli’s West Coast inspirations and deeper understanding and appreciation of his recent practice. The publication will be available in late 2024.

The exhibition aligns with the museum’s annual Art + Nature initiative and will include public programs such as a talk by Tomaselli on October 6. Further details about the series of talks, and lectures elaborating on the exhibition themes, as well as the launch of the new publication, will be announced.

Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature is organized by Laguna Art Museum and guest curated by Rochelle Steiner. Generous support for the exhibition provided by Elie Weaver and Hilton Weinberg. Generous support for the publication provided by James Cohan, New York.

For more information about Fred Tomaselli: Second Nature, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

Open story in new window…

Laguna Ocean Foundation partners with Pacific Vocal Series for “Out of the Sea” at the Rivian on June 28

Join the Laguna Ocean Foundation and Pacific Vocal Series at their charitable collaboration, “Out of the Sea,” on Friday, June 28 from 7-9 p.m. at the historic Rivian South Coast Theater in Laguna Beach. This evening invites guests to gather within timeless Laguna Beach culture in a relaxed summer setting. Cocktail hour prior to performance will feature small bites, craft cocktails, complimentary wine and live music from local Laguna vendors.

The event proceeds will benefit Laguna Beach nonprofits.

From the expansive ocean to the delicate microcosms of the tide pools, “Out of the Sea” epitomizes the essence of Laguna Beach through its dedication to arts and conservation.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Ocean Foundation

“Out of the Sea” brings Laguna Ocean Foundation together with Pacific Vocal Series

Laguna Ocean Foundation is dedicated to sustainable ocean ecosystems along the Laguna Coast. They envision an evolving understanding of our local marine resources in order for Laguna Beach to better protect and enhance this valuable wilderness.

The “Art for a Cause” entertainment portion of the evening invites listeners into a meaningful story of conservation and nature through music, cinematography and curated storytelling.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of The Rivian

The Rivian provides an extraordinary venue for “Out of the Sea”

Founded in Laguna Beach, Pacific Vocal Series is celebrating its fifth year providing accessible and culture enriching opera to the city. Pacific Vocal Series serves as an inspired testament to the relationship between a community and its art.

Pacific Vocal Series President and Executive Director Jay Colwell, said, “As an art colony, Laguna makes it possible to engage the community in charitable events such as our collaboration with Laguna Ocean Foundation. The Rivian South Coast Theater provides the perfect background for live performances. Our performance will interweave a ‘cabaret-ish’ approach with traditional opera to create a truly bespoke experience. The story the program tells connects music and the sea, using the human voice to inspire listeners.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Z Mendez

Jana McIntyre

The artists featured in this program are two of the finest in American opera. Soprano Jana McIntyre, born and raised in coastal California, has a voice with “a dancer’s grace, mercurial wit and vibrant soprano tone” (Opera News). McIntyre is a George London Foundation top prize winner and Metropolitan Opera National Council grand finalist, and frequents the rosters of premier opera houses and symphony orchestras. The curated musical program will also showcase solo thematic piano selections by the renowned pianist Lyndon Meyer, who will also accompany the vocal selections.

Tickets are $130.

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

To learn more or purchase tickets, visit

Open story in new window…

Celebrate the Bluebelt and win a prize

The spectacular 13th Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest continues to accept entries until June 22. Photo Contest winners in professional and amateur categories will receive cash prizes and be exhibited at the Laguna Beach College of Art + Design Gallery following an Artist Reception on Thursday, Aug. 1 at 6 p.m.

The widely popular photo contest celebrates the many ways residents and visitors experience and enjoy Laguna Beach’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – the only citywide MPA in California dedicated to sea life recovery. The contest invites entries to include photos from the beach to the deep ocean.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Bluebelt Foundation

“Misty Morning Hop” by Brian Sciacca

This year’s photo contest coincides with KelpFest 2024 on Worlds Ocean Day, June 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Main Beach. Kelp forests can capture 20 times more carbon than tree forests and are a hidden, underwater natural way to address climate change, coastal erosion and sea level rise threatening coastal communities like Laguna Beach.

Contest judges include past winners Julianne Steers, a marine scientist and Rich German, Project O. Kate Vylet, a conservation photographer and videographer based in Monterey Bay, Calif. will join the judges this year to select the winners.

Vylet specializes in underwater photography and documenting the kelp forest ecosystem. Trained as a marine scientist, she has been monitoring kelp forest and climate change research for the past decade. Capturing images of kelp forests recovering from a century of neglect and over-fishing impacts helps to validate the success of California’s dramatic network of marine life protection over the past 10 years. As a photographer and scientist, Vylet recognizes the power of images to communicate research and inspire conservation of the underwater world.

For more information, visit and visit their Instagram page here.

Open story in new window…

City of LB Tenancy Termination Ordinance now in effect: Community Workshop to be held June 18

The City of Laguna Beach has announced the adoption of Ordinance No. 1696, which establishes new notice and reporting requirements for tenant evictions, effective as of April 12, 2024. This ordinance is designed to enhance transparency and compliance with state laws, particularly Assembly Bill 1482 and Senate Bill 567.

Key Provisions of the Ordinance:

1. Submission of Eviction Notices: Property owners and landlords must submit a copy of any notice to terminate tenancy to the City of Laguna Beach within three calendar days of issuing an eviction notice to a tenant. This requirement aims to ensure that the city is informed of all eviction notices, promoting accountability and adherence to legal standards.

2. Consequences for Non-Compliance: Failure to submit the required notice will serve as an affirmative defense in unlawful detainer actions and may result in the city withholding building permit inspections for substantial remodels. This measure is intended to enforce compliance and protect tenant rights.

3. Tenant Access to Information: Tenants can use the Tenancy Termination Notice portal to verify that their property owner or landlord has submitted the necessary eviction notice. This portal provides tenants with the assurance that their eviction process is being monitored for legal compliance.

4. Demolition and Substantial Remodels: Property owners must provide detailed information to tenants regarding any intended demolitions or substantial remodels. This includes the scope of work, estimated duration, and relevant permits or contracts. Such transparency helps tenants understand their rights and the timeline of any significant property changes.

Resources and Support: For more information on state laws governing evictions and rent rates, tenants and landlords are encouraged to visit the following resources:

Consumer Alert from the California Office of the Attorney General

The California Office of the Attorney General’s webpage for Landlord-Tenant Issues

Tenant Protections website

Legal aid may be available through organizations such as Community Legal Aid So Cal and Seaside Legal Services, offering support to those who cannot afford counsel.

“With this ordinance, we are taking a decisive step toward greater fairness and transparency in our housing practices,” said Mayor Sue Kempf. “Our goal is to uphold the rights of tenants while ensuring that property owners adhere to clear and consistent standards. This ordinance reflects our commitment to creating a balanced and just community for all Laguna Beach residents.”

“This ordinance adds important safeguards protecting the rights of tenants and ensuring transparency in the eviction process,” said Councilmember Bob Whalen, who spearheaded the effort. “By requiring timely submission of eviction notices and providing tenants with access to critical information, we are fostering a more equitable and accountable housing environment in Laguna Beach. Our community deserves to be informed and supported, and this ordinance is a crucial step in that direction.”

An upcoming community workshop will be held in-person on Tuesday, June 18 to provide an overview of the new ordinance with the community.

If you’re going:

What: Community Workshop on Tenancy Termination Ordinance

When:  Tuesday, June 18 from 3-4 p.m.

Where: City Council Chambers – 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach

For further details and to access the Tenancy Termination Notice portal, visit the City of Laguna Beach website here.

For more information, contact Jennifer Savage, housing program coordinator at 949.715.1141, or

Open story in new window…

June at the Susi Q: You, too, can play the ukulele or catch a co-ed core strengthening class

Tom Joliet, Laguna Beach’s favorite ukulele instructor, will be offering both beginning and intermediate classes in person at the Susi Q this June and July.

“People who come to our classes are attracted to the sheer joy of making music on this easy-to-play 4-string instrument, and they love singing familiar tunes with old friends and newly met strummers,” he said.

“Some of the original students have gone on to form their own Kanikapila, or ‘play along meetups,’ all around Orange County and beyond, some with 60 to 100 players or more,” he added.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Gayle Joliet

Illustration of Tom Joliet drawn by Gayle Joliet

Joliet emphasized that the ukulele is quickly rewarding and fun to play, making it a great way to learn how to play an instrument and socialize with others. He noted that no prior music knowledge is a requisite for the beginning class.

“If you know how to read music you are probably too advanced,” he said.

Starting with ground zero basics, by the end of nine weeks participants will have been introduced to 13 chords, five strum patterns and over 35 songs.

As usual at the Susi Q, though programs are intended primarily to provide local seniors and boomers with information, education and fun, all ages are welcome to attend Joliet’s classes.

“Our goal at the Susi Q is to be a lively place where older adults mix with their younger cohorts – in other words, we’re not your grandmother’s senior center,” said Nadia Babayi, executive director of the Susi Q. “People attend our programs because they’re enjoyable, regardless of age, and that’s certainly true of Tom’s classes.”

The beginning class takes place between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. from Thursday, June 20 – Aug. 29, with a break from July 4. Fee is $70. Students should bring a three-ring binder to class to start collecting songs and worksheets.

Joliet’s Intermediate Uke Techniques class will take place on the same days from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Attendees in the intermediate class must be able to play all the “EZ Dozen plus 2” chords. The workshop focuses on advanced strumming techniques, finger picking and playing chord melodies. Everyone will be encouraged to share tunes and techniques.

Visit, click on classes/events and registration, and scroll down to the link to register.

Tune up your core, too: newcomers can try out a class for free

Leslie Davis is back in person in Studio 1 teaching her kinesiology-based workout, Leslie’s Co-ed Stretch & Strengthen Workout, founded on the Harris Method.

“The workout that I teach was developed by Ian Harris to keep injured ballet dancers exercising who had been injured during performances at his Philadelphia ballet company,” Davis explained. “[This approach] strengthens the ligaments around every joint in your body, increasing circulation to speed healing from any injury.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Susi Q

Leslie’s Co-ed Stretch & Strengthen Workout

“Most students in my class have been coming off and on for over 23 years and it is fifty percent an exercise class and fifty percent a social get together of friends twice a week for an hour. [That helps take] care of their ‘human contact’ needs as well as having a healthy body.”

Davis said she welcomes everybody to try the class one time for free to see if this class is a good fit for their physical ability.

“Come join us to meet up with old and new classmates,” urged Davis. “[This is a chance] to pursue a healthy lifestyle and friendships in a low impact heart healthy class.”

Participants should bring a towel, mat, a pair of two- or three-pound hand weights and water.

Call Christine Brewer at 949.715.8105 to sign up or register by visiting and clicking on classes/events and registration. Scroll down to find the direct registration link.

Visit to review the many ongoing programs that Susi Q offers, from ukulele lessons, to standing yoga, to bridge and mahjong classes, not to mention support groups and clubs for special interest groups ranging from genealogy to current affairs to books and so much more. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department (now the Dorene Cares Office) provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent.-

Open story in new window…

Cultural Arts presents World Music at Heisler Park on June 14

Sunset Serenades

Click on photo for a larger image

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.

World Music

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.

Click on photo for a larger image

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.

Open story in new window…

LAM schedules new events; enjoy art, music and kids activities

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.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos 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.

Click on photo for a larger image

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.


Click on photo for a larger image

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.

Click on photo for a larger image 

A Magical Night of Alchemy – June 15

Saturday, June 15, 6 p.m.

A Magical Night of Alchemy

Join a magical night of alchemy inspired by Adam Neeley’s masterful jewelry designs in Modern Alchemy: The Fusion of Art & Nature. Get ready to immerse yourself in an evening of transformation – from the ordinary to the extraordinary – delighting all of the senses through food, art, music, and libations. As you explore the exhibition, enjoy edible works of art and sip on creative modern cocktails with seasonal flavors from Heirloom Potager’s Showcase Garden.

Advance tickets are recommended. Limited space. Age 21+ Non-Alcoholic Options. LAM members: $125, Non-members: $145.

For tickets, click here.

Thursday, June 20, 9-10:30 a.m.

New Moms at the Museum

Navigating the waters of new parenthood? Join other new moms at the museum to engage and enjoy the art museum in the quiet hour before the museum opens to the public. You will learn from industry professionals about postnatal recovery and baby care – and return home with practical tips to put into practice.

Note: Bring a yoga mat for your baby to lie on and a comfy blanket for extra warmth.

This program is for pregnant moms to one year post-partum, and they welcome new dads. Small bites and beverage are included.

Advance tickets are ecommended. For tickets, click here.

Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18, Children under 12: Free.

Art Workshop – June 21

Friday, June 21, 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 are included with purchase of a ticket.

Class Dates: June 21, July 19

Please note that the model will be nude.

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

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…

LBCAC adds Summer Concert Series featuring Eric Henderson and Malaga

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBCAC

Eric Henderson – June 16 and 30

Sunday, June 16 and 30, July 14 and 28, August 11 and 25

Summer Concert Series, every other Sunday

Step into the world of musical enchantment with a LBCAC Summer Concert Series, featuring the internationally acclaimed Concert Guitarist Eric Henderson and his extraordinary quartet, Malaga.

Witness the magic as Curtis Mathewson and Richard Bredice mesmerize on electric guitar, Henderson serenades on Spanish guitar, Jimmy Perez sets the rhythm on bass and Frank Cotinola brings beats to life on drums.

Experience the soulful resonance of the guitar in the intimate setting of OC’s premier listening room, where every note is a symphony of emotions. Join this unforgettable evening filled with Spanish classical guitar masterpieces by Henderson and a captivating blend of new tunes and timeless classics like “Little Wing” and “Paint It Black.” Embrace the harmonious fusion of talent and passion at LBCAC’s Summer Concert Series.

For tickets, click here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBCAC

Summer of Soul – June 19

Wednesday, June 19, 5 p.m.

Summer of Soul

In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary-part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture and fashion.

Over the course of six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one 100 miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten – until recently.

Summer of Soul shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Ray Baretto, Abbey Lincoln & Max Roach and more.

To RSVP, click here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBCAC

Ted Hawkins: “Amazing Grace” documentary – June 20

Thursday, June 20, 6-8:30 p.m.

Screening of Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace

Join LBCAC at The Rivian Theater for an unforgettable Juneteenth Celebration screening of Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace in partnership with the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center.

This rare 1994 documentary is a cherished gem that not only entertains but also uplifts the soul. It beautifully captures the remarkable odyssey of a man who stayed authentic to his music and himself until the very end. While waiting for the day, his narrative graces the silver screen; this film continues to ignite inspiration in all who experience it, underscoring the enduring values of resilience, dedication and an unwavering devotion to the art of music-making.

Following the screening, prepare to be mesmerized by the captivating storytelling performance by Dorothy Randall Gray. Join LBCAC in commemorating Juneteenth with this heartwarming celebration of music, storytelling and compassionate discussion.

Featured Speakers:

Rick Conkey – Artivist & Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center Founder/CEO

Dorothy Randall Gray – Poet Provocateur and Bestselling Author

Pastor Rodrick Echols – Neighborhood Congregational Church

Cadillac Zack – Southern California’s premier blues music promoter

Grant funding made possible by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

To RSVP, click here.

Courtesy of

Click on photo for a larger image

Earl Thomas and Sister Leola – June 21

The Sky and Ocean Aren’t the Only Way to See Inspiring Blues in Laguna in 2024

Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.

Juneteenth Weekend Celebration Concert

The 2x Grammy-nominated Blues Ambassador Earl Thomas featuring Sister Leola

The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) has stepped up to preserve one of America’s most powerful and influential art forms, by providing a memorable OC haven for national touring blues legends.

The LBCAC offers their intimate listening room, stellar acoustics, state-of-the-art sound system and a host town recognized as one of the nation’s leading arts-centric resort destinations.

Hailing from the realm of blues stardom, the illustrious 2x Grammy-nominated Ambassador, Earl Thomas, has graced the music industry for more than three decades with his unparalleled voice and style. With a staggering 21 recordings under his belt, he stands as a beacon of influence and productivity in the blues genre, captivating audiences worldwide. Not only has he garnered acclaim from legends like Etta James, Solomon Burke and Sir Tom Jones through his songwriting prowess, but he has now embarked on a new musical journey back to his gospel roots.

In what he dubs his “third act,” Thomas seamlessly blends his legendary status with a modern-day innovation, solidifying his place among the greats of African American gospel. Thomas continues to reign supreme, a living legend and a pioneer in his own right.

For tickets, click here.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…

Laguna Live! presents Live! at the Museum on July 7

Tuesdays, 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.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Laguna Live!

Zach Churchill at Laguna Beach Library – every Tuesday

Taso Comanescu and Anastasia Malliaras – July 7

Sunday, July 7, 1 p.m.

Live! at the Museum

Laguna Live! welcomes Taso Comanescu and Anastasia Malliaras guitar and soprano to Laguna Art Museum.

American guitarist Taso Comanescu is a colorful performer full of subtle nuance and strong musicianship. His programs present a variety of repertoire that creatively captures his audiences. He is an in-demand solo performer, ensemble artist and instructor whose accomplishments have taken him around the globe.

Soprano Anastasia Malliaras is gracefully exploring new depths of her artistry and voice. With a beautiful blend of warm and bright colors, her timbre is distinguishable, and vocal tone elegant and natural. Her voice has led her to play the classic operatic roles of Nannetta, Olympia, Zerbinetta, Marie and Frasquita, to name a few. In 2017, she was seen in the world premiere of the opera Tesla where she portrayed the role of Marie Astor Hampton.

Advance reservations are recommended. Come early to enjoy the art.

For tickets, click here.

Open story in new window…

LCAD’s Emerging Masters 2024 exhibition runs through July 14

LCAD’s Emerging Master 2024 exhibition, which opened on June 6 at LCAD Gallery will run through July 14.

Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) is proud to present Emerging Masters 2024. This diverse and impressive group exhibition features artwork by the most recent graduating students from LCAD’s Master of Fine Arts programs in Drawing and Painting. These skilled creatives are among today’s most promising emerging artists.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LCAD

Cara Baxter, “The Journey,” acrylic on panel, 36” x 24”, 2024

Students come to LCAD because the college believes that enduring art comes from a fusion of contemporary ideas and time-honored skills. Learning how to draw and paint with a high level of skill is a discipline that enables the artist to truly see and effectively communicate.

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

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

LCAD Gallery admission is always free.

Open story in new window…

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.