NewLeftHeader

broken clouds

62.2°F

Laguna Beach


JoAnne Artman Gallery presents Art + Nature, an online exhibition through March 5

JoAnne Artman Gallery proudly presents Art + Nature, an online exclusive introducing artists Jane Booth and Carla Talopp. Celebrating organic forms, colors and textures, Booth and Talopp create works that illustrate the inextricably entangled relationship between art & nature. The exhibition runs now through March 5.

JoAnne Artman Orange Poppies

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of JoAnne Artman Gallery

“Orange Poppies,” acrylic, sumi ink, graphite spray paint, watercolor crayons on canvas, 78 x 64 inches by Jane Booth

Booth lives and works on a ranch overlooking broad, open vistas of native prairie, water and sky, and uses this environment as a foundation for her work. Schooled in ceramics, she pursued her love of sculpture and working with her hands by becoming a steel cutter and welder before she turned to fine art. This background continues to inform her paintings, which create a visceral sense of space and depth. Often creating monumentally scaled, color saturated canvases, her process is tactile and physical. Booth begins with large swaths of raw canvas on the floor. Engaging all of her senses, she accesses a nonverbal internal landscape, translating into a felt sense of color and mark. Paint is poured and pushed by hand into the canvas; the degrees of separation between feeling and fulfillment are narrow. Booth is based in the Kansas City area.

JoAnne Artman Jungle lll

Click on photo for a larger image

“Jungle III,” acrylic on canvas, 85.5 x 94.5 inches by Carla Talopp

Talopp’s work is a celebration of the power and beauty of life. Reflecting a feminine, lively, sensual nature, her cross-disciplinary practice reveals a plurality of forms. Nourished by the work of 20th century artist Sonia Delaunay and her revolutionary abstract experimentation, Talopp pursued an education in the visual arts at ESAG Penninghen (Paris) and at the Rhode Island School of Design. Through drawing, painting and ceramics, she explores environmental concerns and a rapidly changing world while echoing her personal history. Working in large formats, she measures herself against the vastness of her canvases, leading to the liberation of the painted forms and to bright, exacerbated colors that appear luxuriant and surreal. Talopp’s art transports and moves as boundaries are blurred between the realistic and the fantastical: whether they are teeming jungles or sparkling sea-beds, these painted worlds reflect the artist’s real understanding of the future of nature and its ecosystems.

These artists’ work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression.

JoAnne Artman Gallery is located at 346 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach. It is open by appointment. www.joanneartmangallery.com.


Laguna Playhouse receives $50,000 grant

The Laguna Playhouse has received a $50,000 grant through the Orange County District 5 “Arts Related Small Business and Nonprofit Grant Relief Program.” Supervisor Lisa Bartlett has chosen the Laguna Playhouse as a grant recipient due to her personal dedication to preserving the arts in Orange County, especially through the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Supervisor Bartlett, “During 2020, many arts-related businesses and nonprofit organizations in the 5th District of Orange County suffered severe financial distress as a result of COVID-19 and associated state mandates. To that end, I was pleased to launch the 5th District Arts Related Grant Relief Program last year, using American Rescue Plan funding, to provide much needed financial assistance to eligible arts organizations in my district. In 2020, Laguna Playhouse was prepared to celebrate its 100-year anniversary but was sadly forced to cancel its Centennial Gala and theatre season due to the pandemic. As such, it was my great pleasure to present Laguna Playhouse a check for $50,000 this week to help support its many wonderful theatre performances, programs and events going forward.”

Laguna Playhouse receives check

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

(L-R) Erin O’Flaherty, Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Ellen Richard and Heidi Miller at the $50,000 check presentation

“The Board of Trustees and all of the constituents of the Laguna Playhouse are very grateful to Lisa Bartlett and the Board of Supervisors for the level of support of the Playhouse and for all of the arts in Orange County,” said Executive Producing Director Ellen Richard. “This funding comes at a critical time as we recover from our extended closure.”

The Laguna Playhouse is incredibly grateful to Supervisor Bartlett for this recent funding of $50,000 and initial funding in the Fall of 2021 of $20,000 for a total of $70,000. This grant to the Laguna Playhouse provides funding for the main theatre and also the important Education & Outreach programs of the Playhouse including Conservatory and Our Stories. Learn more about the Our Stories program at https://lagunaplayhouse.com/education-community-engagement/our-stories/.

For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.


LOCA hosts Art Talk and an Instagram “Color of the Month” challenge in January

This month, check out this upcoming LOCA events featuring Art Talks with painter Kathy Jones and an Instagram “Color of the Month” challenge.

On Thursday, Jan. 20 from 4-5 p.m., LOCA’s Art Talks will feature painter Kathy Jones. She will talk about the development of the iconic figures that appear in her large-scale contemporary oil paintings, and share influences and inspirations. Cost: Visitors $20; Free to LOCA members. Takes place at LCAD Gallery at 374 Ocean Ave. Metered street parking is available. To register, go here. Advance registration is requested.

LOCA hosts Kathy Jones

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Painter Kathy Jones is the featured LOCA Art Talks artist in January

 The 2022 season opens with painter Kathy Jones. 

Educational and interactive Art Talks events are offered on the third Thursday monthly. “We invite everyone to come,” said coordinator Cindy Fletcher. “It’s a great way to learn how individual artists work, what their background is and how they have developed their body of work.”

LOCA hosts Instagram

Click on photo for a larger image

Artwork by Mada Leach

Courtesy of LOCA 

The LOCA Instagram Challenge “Color of the Month” is blue for January

Take the LOCA Instagram Challenge “Color of the Month,” which kick offs seasonal arts challenges on Instagram. Creative types can get inspired by sharing their photos, and photos of their artwork, that follows easy themes. “It’s been so fun seeing the variety of responses we get from our followers – all so creative!,” said Lisa Mansour, LOCA board member.

The challenge for winter is “Color of the Month” featuring images with a dominant or obvious color. The theme for January is blue, February is red and March is green. All mediums are invited including collage, drawing, printmaking, painting, photography and sculpture. To participate now, post photos or images of artworks featuring blue, to LOCA Instagram and be sure to tag @locaarts and use the hashtag #locaartschallenge.


Greg Rayes joins FOA Artists Fund Art-To-Go Committee

The Artists Fund at the Festival of Arts (FOA) board recently appointed Greg Rayes as a member of the Art-To-Go Committee. He joins Committee Chair Chris Brazelton, Hugo Rivera, Wendy Wirth and coordinator Mike Tauber on the team. Art-To-Go is an annual fundraising show and sale of art donated by exhibitors to support the Hardship Fund for artists in need.

Greg Rayes joins FOA Rayes

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of FOA

Greg Rayes

Rayes has volunteered as sales representative during the Artists Preview Reception on the Festival grounds for the past 12 years. “Greg gives great customer service to our Art-To-Go buyers, and is very detail orientated,” said Brazelton. “Being on our committee will allow him to offer more input in designing our exhibits and planning our events,” he said.

Rayes, a longtime resident of Laguna Beach, is a residential interior design and renovation expert, who has completed many contemporary homes in town. He also does home staging, events coordination and enjoys taking painting classes.

Those seeking to support artists are invited to consider The Artists Fund at the Festival of Arts. They are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and have distributed more than $240,000 in grants since their inception in 1999 – mostly through the Hardship Fund. Donors may specify that funds be directed to the Hardship Grant Fund, or the Enrichment Grant Fund for artists seeking to grow their careers. To visit their website, go here.


Laguna Craft Guild returns January 16

The Laguna Craft Guild will return to the Main Beach Cobblestones this Sunday, Jan. 16 from 9 a.m. to dusk. Laguna’s longest-running downtown art fair features a dozen or more artists exhibiting their works. Laguna Craft Guild continues a more than four-decade tradition of setting up fine arts and crafts on the cobblestones next to Greeter’s Corner. 

Laguna Craft Guild glassworks

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Among the featured artisans are Rachel Goberman (jeweler), Cliff Wassman (illustrator), Robert Jones (ceramicist), Muffin Spencer-Devlin (glass artist) and David Nelson (jeweler).

The Laguna Craft Guild, a non-profit organization, was created in 1978 to provide local artists the opportunity to sell their work. The artists must be present to show their work, so this is a great opportunity for the public to meet the craftspeople and pick up a handmade gift made by local artisans. For more information, visit www.lagunacraftguild.org.


Laguna Art Museum presents, “Where Did All the Animals Go?” workshop

On Sunday, Jan. 16, the Laguna Art Museum is presenting, “Where Did All the Animals Go?” at 11 a.m. virtually.

Laguna Art Museum presents Animals collage

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LAM

“Where Did All the Animals Go?” has been rescheduled for January 16 virtually

Artist and founder of Drawing for the Planet, Jane Lee McCracken leads a virtual drawing workshop for all ages which will inspire empathy for the animals we share this beautiful planet with.

This workshop has been rescheduled from November 28, 2021. 

Supplies needed for participants: ballpoint pens, paper, scrap paper and a printed image (Participants will receive an email of reference images ahead of the program). A Zoom link will be emailed to all ticket holders 24 hours prior to the program.

Cost: Museum members: $5; Non-members: $10. For tickets, go here.

New and exciting events are added on a regular basis. Find more information about events being offered in 2022 at www.lagunaartmuseum.org.


Can you stand still for 90 seconds? If so, answer the Pageant of the Masters casting call 

The legendary Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, the world’s most famous presentation of living pictures, are looking for men, women and children of all sizes and ages to volunteer for next summer’s show, Wonderful World with an open casting call January 14-16.

Do you enjoy art, theater and being in the spotlight? Can you stand still for 90 seconds? Perfect! You could be a volunteer cast member in the 2022 Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach.

The Pageant of the Masters Open Casting Call will be held outdoors on the Festival of Arts grounds at 650 Laguna Canyon Road during the following dates and times:

–Friday, Jan. 14 from 7-9 p.m.

–Saturday, Jan. 15 from 7-9 p.m.

–Sunday, Jan. 16 from 2-5 p.m.

Can you stand still

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Festival of Arts

The Pageant of the Masters casting call is looking for men, women and children of all sizes and ages to volunteer for next summer’s show, “Wonderful World”…and no theater experience is necessary

For some cast hopefuls, the audition will be their first. For others, trying out for the show is an annual tradition. Typically, about 40% of cast members have been in the show before. “It is common to see several generations of the same family volunteering for different aspects of the show,” said Sharbie Higuchi, Festival of Arts marketing/PR director. “Not only is it a great way to spend your summer with friends and loved ones, but also, by volunteering for the Pageant, students can earn credit towards community service requirements.”

 Prospective volunteers will be measured and photographed. Refreshments will be served and those in attendance will be able to meet the behind-the-scenes Pageant staff. Pageant volunteers are also needed for the wardrobe, make-up and headdress departments, as well as, cast area coordinators and refreshment servers, among other positions. No theater experience is necessary. Masks are required to be worn by all Casting Call attendees regardless of vaccination status.

 The Pageant of the Masters production, Wonderful World, will present nightly from July 7-September 2 and advance tickets are now on sale starting at $25 per person. To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts, follow the Festival at @FestivalPageant and visit www.foapom.com.


LOCA hosts ceramics two-part workshop, artist talk and an Instagram “Color of the Month” challenge in January

In January, LOCA kicks off the new year by hosting a two-part ceramics workshop, Art Talks with painter Kathy Jones and an Instagram “Color of the Month” challenge.

Here’s the lineup:

LOCA hosts ceramics

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LOCA 

Artist Kate Cohen will teach a two-part workshop, “Sgraffito Ceramics” 

–Wednesdays, Jan. 12 and 26 from 1-4 p.m. join the two-part workshop, “Sgraffito Ceramics.” Artist Kate Cohen will introduce students to sgraffito – the process of creating scratched designs on unfired, glazed clay. Everyone will create their own personal tile or pinched pot bowl. This class will be held in the Art Room of the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center, 380 Third St. Cost: Visitors $100; $50 LOCA members. To register, go here.

LOCA hosts Kathy Jones

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LOCA

Painter Kathy Jones is the featured LOCA Art Talks artist in January

–Thursday, Jan. 20 from 4-5 p.m., LOCA invites art lovers to its educational and interactive Art Talks events, offered on the third Thursday monthly. “We invite everyone to come,” said coordinator Cindy Fletcher. “It’s a great way to learn how individual artists work, what their background is and how they have developed their body of work.”

 The 2022 season opens with painter Kathy Jones. She will talk about the development of the iconic figures that appear in her large-scale contemporary oil paintings, and share influences and inspirations. Cost: Visitors $20; Free to LOCA members. Takes place at LCAD Gallery at 374 Ocean Ave. Metered street parking is available. To register, go here. Advance registration is requested.

LOCA hosts Instagram

Click on photo for a larger image

Artwork by Mada Leach

Courtesy of LOCA 

The LOCA Instagram Challenge “Color of the Month” is blue for January

–LOCA Instagram Challenge “Color of the Month.” LOCA invites everyone to engage in seasonal arts challenges on Instagram. Creative types can get inspired by sharing their photos, and photos of their artwork, that follows easy themes. “It’s been so fun seeing the variety of responses we get from our followers – all so creative!,” said Lisa Mansour, LOCA board member.

The challenge for winter is “Color of the Month” featuring images with a dominant or obvious color. The theme for January is blue, February is red and March is green. All mediums are invited including collage, drawing, printmaking, painting, photography and sculpture. To participate now, post photos or images of artworks featuring blue, to LOCA Instagram and be sure to tag @locaarts and use the hashtag #locaartschallenge.


After pandemic hiatus, Laguna Live! shows will brighten community’s musical offerings – jazz series and annual festival scheduled to return

By Theresa Keegan

More than two decades have passed since Joe Byrne was searching for a place to hear live jazz music in Laguna Beach and Cindy Prewitt was expanding the town’s offerings as a member of the city Arts Commission. The solution, they decided, was to create Laguna Live!. The rest is a melodious history that has brought world-class talent to our small beach community, converted winter nights into toe-tapping jazz reveries and summer afternoons celebrating foot-stomping outdoor bluegrass concerts. 

“We started doing chamber music at the art college on first Sundays,” recalled Prewitt. “Then Sally Kellerman did a cabaret and the music festival was the next spring.” 

Offering diverse, quality music that’s accessible to all residents remains the non-profit’s mission. And for the past two decades the programming has expanded Laguna’s place as leader in the musical art form.

after pandemic Chris Thile

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Josh Goleman, CQ

Grammy-winning mandolinist Chris Thile has been selected as the artist for the 2022 Laguna Beach Music Festival, an on-going collaboration between the Philharmonic Society and Laguna Live! to bring world-class musicians to the community 

One highlight of Laguna Live! is the annual “Laguna Beach Music Festival” which is held in conjunction with the Philharmonic Society of Orange County. This prestigious partnership has brought world-class musicians to Laguna Beach, including violinist Joshua Bell. This year the group is thrilled to present Chris Thile, the Grammy-winning mandolinist who will be in town March 28-April 3. In addition to his weekend performances at the Laguna Playhouse, he will visit schools and schedule other educational outreach opportunities, depending on current guidelines. 

“This is a great festival and it’s unique. We’re lucky to have this caliber of artists and to offer outreach to the schools and senior center,” said Prewitt. “This is our 20th anniversary of bringing world-class musicians to Laguna Beach.” 

The community appreciates the effort, as most festival performances quickly sell out. “We have filled the Playhouse and the Artists Theater when we were there, with 350-400 people at shows,” she said. 

But while the popular festival is a springtime highlight, the far-reaching mission of Laguna Live! extends year-round. 

“Live! at the Museum” has been held the second Thursday of every month for the past decade, except when things were shut down because of the pandemic. It creates a magical setting as classical and contemporary chamber music is performed amid the displays at the Laguna Art Museum after hours. This year, Laguna Live! is expanding its partnership with the museum. This Sunday, Jan. 9, multi-instrumentalist Ryan Whyman will present a special family-friendly performance at 11 a.m. (with art-making activities) followed by a more traditional concert at 2 p.m.

after pandemic LA ensemble quartet

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Live!

Live! at the Museum transforms the Laguna Beach Art Museum. Classical musicians, such as the Los Angeles Ensemble Quartet, perform the second Thursday of the month, after hours. 

 “The family programming is new,” said Prewitt. “We want to get kids interested in music to learn about new instruments and excite them to join the (school) bands.”

after pandemic Ryan Whyman piano

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Live!

It’s fun for all ages when multi-instrumentalist Ryan Whyman performs a family-friendly show at 11 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 9 at Laguna Art Museum. A traditional concert will also be held at 2 p.m.

In addition, Laguna Live! is also featuring Beth Fitchet Wood, accompanied by numerous talented musicians, the first Tuesday of the month. 

“This started virtually during the pandemic. We were reaching out to new people because we had to discontinue so many programs,” said Prewitt. “And now it’s great because you can come in person and see her, and fellow musicians, at the Cultural Arts Center.” The shows are then broadcast, following the concert, on Laguna Live’s Facebook page. 

One staple of Laguna Live! (and the initial focus of founder Byrne) is the jazz programming the nonprofit brings to the community. The annual jazz series has been held in various venues, from the rose garden at Hotel Laguna to the patio at The Ranch, and the group is delighted that it will finally return this year, having been on a forced COVID-created hiatus, since 2020. 

“The vision is to do again all the wonderful things we’ve always been doing and add in some of the new things we learned during the pandemic,” said Prewitt. 

after pandemic Bijon New

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Bijon Watson

Bijon Watson, director of the “Laguna Live! Jazz Series,” is thrilled to be back at Seven Degrees, starting February 23

Trumpeter Bijon Watson is returning as director of the jazz series, and he’s delighted the program will kick off with a “Tribute to Stevie Wonder” on February 23 at Seven Degrees. 

“A lot of things are in flux, but we’re happy to get back to performing,” said the Boston-based musician, who was the former Director of Jazz and Commercial Music at OC School of the Arts, as well as a USC graduate. He’s played all over the world with various musicians but appreciates the intimacy of a Laguna Live! concert. 

“It’s always a great audience of people who are hungry for something different,” he said. With family in Laguna Beach, he personally knows the expectations of audience goers and is thrilled at their openness for new music.

 “This is a chance for people in Orange County to check out the A-list of artists in the area. Many artists do the regular American jazz book, but here artists can play original music, or (perform) an original project.”

The offerings are as unique as Laguna Beach and, in keeping with the mission of Laguna Live!, high quality and fun. 

“It’s the community, the friends and the music,” said Prewitt. “That’s the fun part of Laguna Live!” 

For tickets or more information about Laguna Live!, visit their website at www.lagunabeachlive.org.


KXFM management changes, but the music plays on at Laguna’s independent radio station

By Theresa Keegan

Leave it to Laguna Beach to have its own radio station, built upon a dream and with programing as eclectic as the community. 

“This station is one in a million,” said General Manager Alyssa Hayek. “To be part of something that is not commercial allows creativity to flow and gives people a voice.” It’s a rare opportunity. 

Of the 30,367 total broadcast outlets in the country, only 3,989 are nonprofit FM stations. Most are affiliated with colleges and educational endeavors but few have a goal as ambitious as KXFM: “Enriching our listeners with the discovery of alternative music, views and culture that elevates Laguna Beach on a global scale.” 

The far-reaching mission statement is a mature version of what founder Tyler Russell McCusker envisioned when he began developing the station with his father in 2010. 

“I just wanted to play cool music that would resonate with the town – and feature volunteers,” he recalled. It was a desire manifested after his experience as a young DJ working evenings at a rock station in Palm Springs. “I didn’t have a lot of freedom. I couldn’t interact with listeners, couldn’t deviate from the play list,” he added. “Commercialization had sucked the soul out of radio.” 

KXFM management Hayek

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Theresa Keegan

Alyssa Hayek, the new general manager of KXFM, is seen in the office. She previously was the station’s music director after working in radio in New Jersey. 

Rather than give up on his profession, McCusker investigated establishing a nonprofit radio station in Laguna Beach, where his parents had recently moved. One great advantage at the time, well before streaming, was that the topography of Laguna blocked most mainstream radio stations from the community. When he discovered in 2012 that Laguna Niguel had an available frequency, and it could be moved 5.6 kilometers, KXFM came to life in Laguna Beach. When a more powerful frequency became available in early 2020, the station moved to its current airwave at 104.7 FM. The broadcasting antenna is strategically located – adhering to all FCC and city regulations – atop the station building on Pearl Street. 

McCusker is the first to acknowledge he had no idea what was involved with running a business, much less a radio station when he began this endeavor. But he adds he now knows more than he ever wanted to about FCC regulations, city zoning, insurance and business development plans. 

“There was not any training that I could have had that would have prepared me for all of it,” he said. But somehow for the past 10 years, KXFM has been running continuously. And with the nonprofit on stable footing, a $300,000 annual budget, loyal sponsors and strong community support, McCusker decided it was time to step aside. 

“I felt I had reached the ceiling of what I could bring to the table,” he said. “And a new set of ears and eyes would be of best service for the future.” 

KXFM management McCusker

Courtesy of Tyler Russell McCusker

Tyler Russell McCusker will no longer be in the Pearl Street studio at KXFM. His new endeavor involves podcast publishing. 

In April 2021, the transition began when Hayek was promoted from music director to general manager, intern Erika Delamare became music director and in December, McCusker fully stepped away from the station’s operations, although he still is around to advise on things. 

“A lot of things are moving forward,” said Hayek. “The transition has been a dream and to be in the next phase of this station is amazing.” 

With more than 16 years of radio experience, many in commercial radio, Hayek warmly embraces the creativity of the independent station. The many voices that the “amazing and wonderful” volunteers represent means that on-air content reflects diverse aspects of the community, as well as different music genres.   

“The volunteers host shows starting at 4 p.m. and on Saturday and Sundays,” said Hayek. “They curate their own shows and their passion for radio is evident.” Ed Steinfeld hosts the morning show and Hayek, in addition to being general manager, is the afternoon host. 

“We really want to keep listeners informed about the arts groups and the nonprofits,” she said. “Laguna Beach is unique in the way it embraces the arts. We keep the pulse on different organizations, and we’re always making different connections with groups in town.”

KXFM management Hayek and Delamare

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Theresa Keegan

Alyssa Hayek, general manager (right, and Erika Delamare, music director, review scheduling plans at the radio station’s office on Pearl Street 

The one ground rule of what won’t be aired on KXFM is politics. 

“We stay out of political talk,” Hayek declared. McCusker says navigating public opinion and strong influential forces was one of the toughest things he learned in running the station. 

“It’s hard to toe the line and Laguna has some pretty disparate groups,” he said. “There are so many opinions in and out of the radio station…doing business with the political and social elements in town was the biggest challenge I had to step up to.” 

But the station seems to have withstood the challenges and now garners 35,000 unique listeners each month. It showcases new as well as local musicians and includes shows such as “Guitar Gods Power Hour,” “Reggae Running,” “Laguna Tropical Surf” and even “School’s Out,” with Gavin O’Neill, which gives Laguna Beach students a voice on air. 

The Wednesday afternoon show has come a long way since its initial airing when O’Neill, now a 16-year-old sophomore at LBHS, had just finished radio camp and was so unsure of the equipment he had others loading the music and handling the soundboard. 

KXFM management Gavin O'Neill

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Erika Delamare

Gavin O’Neill, 16 and a sophomore at LBHS, is the host of KXFM’s “School’s Out” program, which airs Wednesday afternoons 

“I think the toughest thing about doing a live show is keeping things fresh and not totally repeating myself every time I talk,” he explained. “It really isn’t that hard, but sometimes I catch myself repeating things during talk breaks.” Most of the work for his show occurs before he even enters the studio, when he puts together his playlist based on a specific theme. 

“Generally it’s a super fun thing to do and I love listening through new and old songs each week for the show.” He’s had bands reach out asking him to feature their music and prior to COVID friends would sometimes host with him in the Pearl Street studio. “They always loved doing that. But (we) haven’t done that in a while though.” 

The skills he’s learned from hosting the show go well beyond loading the music and handling the soundboard. “The communication and public speaking skills I gained from doing the show have definitely helped me be more open and out there in general. I’m not 100 percent sure what I want to do later in life, but I’m glad I have the option to do radio if I chose to pursue it.” 

Hayek is determined that voices like O’Neill’s and all the volunteers, as well as independent music, will continue to ring out through Laguna via KXFM.     

“Running a nonprofit is a challenge,” she said. “But we’re set up for success.” 

And McCusker is taking many lessons from KXFM with him into his new endeavor with a podcast publishing company. The most important one? Humility.      

“I went into this with a ‘guns a-blazing’ kind of attitude, that I can do anything,” he recalled. “And then I realized you have to ask for help, seek out people who are better than you. In the beginning it was me, me, me but in the end it’s the least about me as possible. It’s about the station.” 

For more information on KXFM, tune in at 104.7 FM or visit their website at www.kxfmradio.org.

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: Editor@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.

949.212.1499

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

© 2022 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.