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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 56  |  July 14, 2020

Barbara’s Column

Who says there is nothing to do in Laguna?


Anyone who complains there is nothing to do in Laguna except to go out to dinner isn’t reading Stu News.

Events last weekend alone ranged from the Opening Night of the 2019 Lagunatics on Friday, followed by Congressman Harley Rouda’s presentation about the homeless on Saturday morning under the auspices of the Laguna Residents Alliance. Saturday was all about art. The Laguna Art Museum previewed three new exhibitions and the Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational Gala was held at the Festival of Arts grounds.

Spoiler Alert

If you don’t like laughing, don’t go see “Shticks and Shtones,” No Square Theatre’s annual poke at the folks and foibles of Laguna Beach. 

Bring your sense of humor because it is likely that someone or something you know and maybe love will get roasted in the show.   

Who says Mo

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mo Honarkar and friends taking it in stride

The opening number of Act Two was “Mo Town,” which had the developer laughing, his daughter Hasty and Heidi Miller in stitches. There were some zingers, but it was done in fun.

“The Last Number,” written and sung by Lagunatics founder Bree Burgess Rosen, said it all. 

“Pick on ev’ry one

All of it’s true

Most of it was dumb, 

Anyway, it’s just a bit of fun”

The message is that a difference of opinion doesn’t have to get down and dirty. 

“Make your point 

Just be nice

Left or right 

That’s our pitch 

Share the world

Life’s a b---h

That’s not hard to believe

That’s the hitch 

Why not sing about trees


What’s funny to you, to one another.

You can always do something nice!”

The audience gave the cast a standing ovation, starting during the finale.

Who says Motown

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

“Motown” fun

Among them: Kirsten and Mayor Bob Whalen, Anne and Bob McGraw, Rosaura and Larry Ulvestad, Dora and Mark Orgill, Karyn Phillipson, Gayle Waite – and yes, the Honarkars.

As of Thursday, tickets were nearly sold out, with a few remaining for the October 25, 26 and 27 shows, as well as on October 24, which was just added due to demand.


Laguna’s Congressman Harley Rouda was the guest speaker Saturday at a meeting on homelessness, held at the Susi Q.

Rouda said the issue was near and dear to him and his wife. When they were in their 20s, they read an article about a breadwinner who lost his job, lost his home, and moved into a hotel. Then he moved into his car. 

“He died in a shelter,” Rouda said.

Who says Rouda

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Congressman Harley Rouda 

The story prompted the Roudas and others to build a shelter.

Rouda mostly confined his talk to federal measures taken or underway, rather than state or local measures. 

He did recommend that Laguna should provide quality health care like Anaheim does. 

“I don’t want to be involved with anything outside of Laguna,” said Councilman Peter Blake, who has sponsored the series of meetings on the homeless as a private citizen.

One thing that has been accomplished, Blake said, was achieving a full-time deputy district attorney to deal with Laguna’s repeat offenders.

Who says Blake

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Peter and Stephanie Blake

“We will be able to call the DA and say (this person) has been arrested 18 times for drug abuse and shows signs of violence,” said Blake. 

He also announced that the meeting would be the last in the series.

“I said I would keep doing them as long as I kept learning,” said Blake. “I am not learning any more. 

“I am going back to why I ran for office. I ran as a NIMBY and I am still a NIMBY.”

Saturday Night Art Events

The 21st Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational concluded Saturday Night with a Gala Dinner and presentation of awards – and would someone please explain the logic in spelling Plein the French way and Air the English way?

Oil painter Jane Hunt was selected by Laguna’s Plein Air Association to receive the $10,000 Best in Show Award.

Seawind Properties presented Aaron Schuerr with the $5,000 Award of Excellence. Schuerr also won the $1,000 Dr. Ed H. Boseker Award. 

Who says McVicker

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Courtesy of Reflective Images

Jim McVicker – “Bob Francis in Heisler Park”

Jim McVicker took home the $2,500 Jean Stern Award, given by the association and the $1,000 Spirit of Laguna Award, funded by Kinsman & Kinsman.

The Kinsman Family Foundation was represented at the Gala by former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman and her sons, Nickolas and Josh, who presented the foundation award to Michele Usibelli for her Resplendent oil painting. 

Michael Obermeyer, who recently donated a painting to the South Laguna Garden fundraiser, also collected two awards: the Artist Choice and Collectors Choice, each worth $1,000. 

The Laguna Board of Realtors presented the $1,000 Architectural Award to Katie Odom

Suzi Baker was the recipient of the $1,000 Ovation award, sponsored by Lynn and David Rahn.

Who says Usibelli

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Courtesy of Reflective Images

UCI Institute & Museum of California Art Award winning painting “Coast Highway” by Michele Usibelli

He was one of the founders of the Invitational Awards Gala. 

John Cosby had contact with the artists; I had the money,” said Rahn, master of ceremonies for the gala.

 The Swimm Family chose Terry Miura’s oil Between the Palms for the Directors Award. 

Rosemary Swimm is the director of LPAPA. Her husband, Tom, is a Festival of Arts exhibitor.

In all, 21 awards were presented to the participating artists and three scholarships to Laguna College of Art and Design students: Taylor Olivas, Opal LaFey, and Melanie La May.

LCAD President Jonathan Burke was at the gala to applaud the scholarship winners. 

Melanie Froysaa deserves an award for the centerpieces that graced the tables.

She was a member of the Invitational Committee, along with Celeste Gilles, Toni Kellenberg, Ludo Leideritz, Rahn, Linda Stern, Traci Sullivan, Madeline Swinden, Kathy Winton, and Swimm. 

Who says back bay

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of  Reflective Images

Best in Show Award Winning painting “Back Bay Evening” by Jane Hunt 

LPAPA’s mission is to build on and promote the renowned landscape painting heritage of Laguna Beach. The association serves its members regionally, nationally, and internationally through events, programs, and education.

You don’t have to be an artist to be a member of LPAPA. There is a Support Membership, which helps support LAPA’s community education and outreach programs, as well as preserving the legacy of landscape painting that gave Laguna the designation of Art Colony.

Donations are gratefully accepted.

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which means your gift is fully tax deductible as allowed by law. LPAPA is grateful for all of the support it receives and gratefully accepts donations in any amount.

Laguna Art Museum members previewed three new shows Saturday night.

The Thomas Hunt show will feature 50 paintings by the California modernist. The museum described his style as distinguished by broad brushstrokes, bold effects, light, and reflection. He is best known for his coastal and harbor scenes.

Etchings by Mildred Bryant Brooks were selected for a show from LAM’s collection of her works. Active in the 1930s and early 40s, she is known for landscape etchings, in particular trees – always a topic of interest in Laguna.

Newport Beach-based photographer Laurie Brown documents humankind’s relationship to the not always hospitable environment. The works in the show are from the 1970s to the present.     

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading Contributions are welcomed.

For more Lagunatics photos by Mary Hurlbut, see the slideshow below

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

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Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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