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Volume 15, Issue 25  | March 28, 2023Subscribe

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Fair Game


California Cool ‘Bash’ raises some $450,000 for Laguna Art Museum

TJ headshot AugThe California Cool Art Auction, Benefit & Bash, “a uniquely California experience supporting Laguna Art Museum,” that was held on Saturday, March 4, ended up raising $450,000. The evening’s atmosphere included California-themed libations and appetizers and live entertainment provided by Lee Rocker of the Stray Cats, along with the contributing artists and art lovers alike.

The 41st Annual California Cool Art actually took place from February 17 up to March 4, with their art auction running online. 

If you feel like you missed out, or want to take another look, there are 40 art lots remaining still available for purchase. These works are offered at the auction’s minimum bid price of 50% of the full value. You may take a look here.

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Something big to note, Promenade concepts will be shared next Thursday, March 23 at the city’s in-person Public Workshop at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Go to

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Next Thursday, March 23, the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education will hold a Study Session to allow staff to present proposed updates to the facilities master plan.

Staff will present a plan that updates the high school and district office facilities into community-integrated school buildings to meet the current and future needs of all students and expand recreational opportunities for the community. 

The proposed projects include a unified student counseling center at the high school, a pool, tennis facilities and a parking structure.

I’m excited to find out more.

• • •

On Tuesday this week, Laguna Beach High School held its Celebration of the Arts, an annual showcase of student visual and performing arts talent. The community then came out and enjoyed the artwork on display and many performances offered throughout the evening.

As part of this, LBHS teacher Mr. Wittcop’s design class collaborated with art students who were tasked with creating a leisure T-shirt design for the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

They got a number of great designs, but in the end, ninth-grader Brighton’s design was selected. 

Congratulations…and good for her.

Fair Game kids around dog SNL

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach High School freshman Brighton stands by the wall of art pieces submitted that were considered for a Laguna Beach Fire Department leisure T-shirt

Fair Game kids around dog SNL

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBUSD

Brighton’s selected work up-close

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Do you follow the Michelin Guide? Of course their guides feature write-ups of select restaurants, including short summaries, that are then awarded stars by a sort of secret shopper who anonymously comes in to dine and then submits their thoughts.

It’s certainly something restaurants and their chefs want to be included in.

Earlier this month, after this “anonymous shopper” or diner as is the case here reported back, obviously impressed, Selanne Steak Tavern, here in Laguna Beach, was one of six new restaurants added this year.

It’s big stuff!

Here’s what the guide says: “Once a home, this historic setting on Pacific Coast Highway now houses a winning steakhouse. Inside, a variety of settings welcome guests, ranging from the upstairs Loft, the bistro-style Wine Library, the handsome Tavern, or outside on the Veranda or Sunset Terrace. The buzzy bar is also a favorite perch for a crowd that’s both relaxed and regulars.

“Steak is revered in this place and it lives up to its promise with tender, well-marbled meat, but the kitchen ratchets it up with expert cooking (and dousing it in butter never hurts). Thick seared mushrooms in a Madeira reduction are a nice touch and creamy, buttery mashed potatoes are a must, but don’t monkey around when it comes to dessert – Selanne’s monkey bread can’t be missed.” 

Make your reservations early!

Congrats to Teemu (Selanne) and to his business partner Kevin Pratt.

• • •

Laguna Playhouse has announced its 2023-2024 Season of Shows.

Here’s the schedule and scenarios provided by the Playhouse:

2 Pianos, 4 Hands (July 5-23), “not only hits all the right notes, but tickles the ivories and your funny bone too”; followed by “the legendary classic play turned iconic film, “The Rainmaker (September 20-October 8); then, “a delightful new screwball comedy,” The Angel Next Door (October 18-November 5); before they “head to Harlem to celebrate the extraordinary music of Fats Waller with the Tony Award-winning musical,” Ain’t Misbehavin’ (January 24-February 11, 2024); followed by “the power and resilience of the human spirit with the moving family drama,” A Shayna Maidel (March 13-31, 2024); next, a “wonderful production of Moliere’s classic” Tarttuffe (April 17-May 5, 2024) and, finally, they complete the season with “one of the great whodunit mysteries of our time,” Holmes and Watson (May 29-June 16). 

Interim Artistic Director David Ellenstein said, “This is truly an exceptional season of plays and musicals as we head into our second century. Our subscribers and audiences are going to be moved, inspired, thrilled, engaged and mesmerized by the seven theatrical events we have planned for them over the coming year!”

Season subscriptions will go on sale this Tuesday, March 21. The Seven-Play Season Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 949.497.ARTS (2787).   

Single tickets go on sale Monday, May 15.

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Don’t forget, across town is the partnership between Sherman Library & Gardens and Laguna Art Museum presenting Unseen Ties: The Visual Collection of Sherman Library & Gardens, bringing this legendary collection out of the library for the first time.

Each artwork in Sherman Library’s collection is “an opportunity to make connections between past and present, tell a tale of local lore and notoriety and see the ties that weave California’s coastal and artistic communities together. Unseen Ties correlates the culture of Southern California with its storied history of art collecting, featuring artists Rex Brandt, Phil Dike, Anna Althea Hills, Clarence Hinkle, Edgar Payne and William Wendt.”

 The exhibition will be on view until June 4.

• • •

Finally, 6-year-olds from Montessori School of Laguna Beach recently visited and toured City Hall. They got to meet with Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, and visit the Fire and Police departments.

And although no surveys were taken, what do you think was the most popular subject that night when the kids were around their dinner tables talking about the day?

Fair Game kids around dog SNL

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Montessori School of Laguna Beach 6-year-olds greet and show their love for Cooper, the city’s emotional support dog

If you said Cooper, the 1 1/2-year-old Black Lab Laguna Beach Police Support Services dog, go to the head of the class!

I didn’t see them smiling and hugging the Mayor Pro Tem like that!


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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