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Neighborhood Jazz Concert in Bluebird Canyon backyard brings sounds to soothe the soul

By DIANNE RUSSELL

It’s been said that, “Music does more than soothe the soul, it brings balance to the mind, body, and spirit.” With the world so off-kilter, there’s no doubt that we are all currently in need of a little balance. 

So, on Saturday afternoon, Craig and Ellen McKessar invited their upper Bluebird Canyon neighbors to enjoy a jazz concert featuring saxophonist Henry Alexander, but this was a concert with a twist. The venue was the McKessar’s backyard on Regatta Road and the audience members were comfortably situated at home on their own properties. 

Craig says, “With many stuck at home, we decided to invite an amazing musician from Los Angeles to play from our temporary ‘COVID garden’ backyard. Two 1,000-watt speakers carried sound to hundreds of neighbors in our mountainous setting, while we all socially distanced ourselves on our own properties. It turned out better than we envisioned as neighbors texted input and song requests throughout the performance and applauded from all over. We wanted to give back to our community with the sound of music and to support artists who are hit hard by these challenging times.” 

Neighborhood Jazz playing

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Courtesy of the McKessars

Henry Alexander plays for sequestered audience

With the breeze blowing through the trees on the McKessar’s beautiful property, and the delicious sound of the saxophone, it was the perfect venue. 

Henry Alexander grew up in Los Angeles and has been playing music since he was 16 years old and has decades of experience as a performer, a sought after studio session musician, and private instructor. He has played all over the United States: the Coach House, B.B. King’s, the House of Blues, and our own Laguna Beach Concert in the Park. The instruments he prefers to play are the saxophone, clarinet, and flute. Craig became friends with Henry when he was playing at another event.

Craig says, “Neighbors were given my cell number so that they could text song requests and share input prior and during the performance.”

A neighbor above the McKessars called Henry’s flute playing “majestic.” 

To prevent any neighborhood ruffling of feathers, the concert ended at 8 p.m. 

Craig says, “The feedback has been 100 percent positive thus far. There was a posting done by someone we do not know on Nextdoor. There are numerous pictures and video clips of the event. We heard applause as far away as one-fourth of a mile.” 

Neighborhood Jazz backyard

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the McKessars

Backyard venue 

After the concert, the neighbors showered the McKessars with complimentary messages. Craig says that there wasn’t one negative text or comment.

 “What a nice neighborhood gesture! Thank you from Scott and Carol Moore! We’ll be listening! ‘Satin Doll’ is our request, if possible. Thanks again and may you and all your family be safe and healthy!” 

“Thanks for filling the canyon with music!” 

“Hi there, this is your neighbor, Dawn Knepper, I live right above you on Bluebird Canyon. The music was delightful.” 

“We sat out and enjoyed it all the way through. Thank you very much!  Hopefully you can do it again!” 

“Thank you. Your offering is so lovely. Even the goats and coyotes in the Canyon are dancing.” 

 “Craig and Ellen, thank you so much, what a lovely concert. Our whole family has been really enjoying the music. Great idea, please do it again soon. The Stedman family”

“We love it! Sounds perfect throughout the canyon. Thanks for organizing!” 

“Thank you for brightening up our quarantine day!” 

“Hello! Yes it was amazing! My Dad was so happy to hear him play. He plays beautifully! It was a joy and the happiest thing that has happened in many weeks. Thank you so much for that. What can we do to have him back?  Can we donate? Pay? I can’t tell you how much joy it brought to us. It sounded like many people were listening and enjoying too.” 

Karin Klein said, “One of our neighbors in Upper Bluebird hired a jazz saxophonist to serenade the canyon for a couple of hours. I’m not even a jazz fan but it’s making for such a delightful evening. Thank you!”

Craig says, “I just wanted to do something nice, and it turned out so cool. It was better than I ever imagined.”

Thanks to the McKessars and Henry Alexander, for one glorious evening, the hills of Bluebird Canyon were alive with music that was savored by everyone within hearing distance – and a bit of balance was restored during our topsy-turvy times.

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Laguna Art Museum presents monthly Film Night from home

On Thursday, May 21 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum will host its monthly Film Night virtually, so that guests can experience the monthly series from home. Hear the director’s commentary and stream the biographical drama At Eternity’s Gate, a film on the final years of Vincent van Gogh’s life.

Julian Schnabel, the director of the film, will discuss Vincent van Gogh’s undying appeal. Schnabel is both an artist and a filmmaker. His paintings, sculptures, and works on paper have been exhibited all over the world. 

Laguna Art film

Click on photo for a larger image

Laguna Art Museum will present its monthly Film Night virtually on Thursday, May 21, featuring “At Eternity’s Gate”

Schnabel has written and directed the feature films Basquiate (1996), Before Night Falls (2000), Berlin (2007), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) – for which he won Best Director at both Cannes and the Golden Globes –and Miral (2010). At Eternity’s Gate (2018) is Schnabel’s most recent film.

At Eternity’s Gate is a 2018 biographical drama about the final years of painter Vincent van Gogh’s life. The film dramatizes the controversial theory put forward by Van Gogh biographers Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith, in which they speculate that Van Gogh’s death was caused by mischief rather than it being a suicide.

The film is directed and co-edited by Julian Schnabel, from a screenplay by Schnabel, Jean-Claude Carrière, and Louise Kugelberg, and premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. For his portrayal of van Gogh, Willem Dafoe was nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Actor and won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 75th Venice International Film Festival.

To select an option to view the film at home, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org/events/at-eternitys-gate.

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JoAnne Artman Gallery presents online exhibition Begin Again featuring Brooke Shaden

Currently available and continuing through May 20, JoAnne Artman Gallery is featuring Brooke Shaden’s Begin Again exhibition online at www.joanneartmangallery.com. 

Imaginative, versatile, and a master of concept, Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer specializing in staged photography that combines allegorical symbolism with personal narrative. Utilizing props as well as commonplace objects, Shaden transforms the world around her into compelling, intricate dreamscapes that combine the strange with the familiar. 

Yet despite some of the darker elements, Shaden’s new body of work maintains resounding optimism and hope. Aptly titled, her series Begin Again depicts a rebirth of self. Alluding to a reimagined future, reevaluated preconceptions, and a reinvention of the artistic process, Shaden thoroughly explores humanity, renewal, and evolving with change. 

JoAnne Artman Contain

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Submitted photo

“Contain” – photograph on velvet fine art paper, edition 1 of 2, 44 x 44 inches, framed

“Change – the most difficult of human experiences, and we do it over and over again. A new job, a new partner, a death, a life...all changes, all bittersweet. We call them different things – grief, joy, excitement, anxiety – but it’s all change. 

Metamorphosing is not a single experience. At any given time, we are exploding with butterflies and decay. We are constantly letting go of old and ushering in new,” Shaden explains. 

Capturing her subjects with vulnerability in their poses, Shaden’s portraits are unusual, emotional, and transformed, exposing the beauty and darkness of human nature to establish a real human connection. Metaphorically rising from the darkness to be born anew, the compositional focus of her photographs is placed on the figure’s relation to their environment and the implied narrative, rather than on human likeness or facial expression. The relationship between the background and the figures highlights the difficulties of navigating a decidedly modern and confusing world and how it can overwhelm a sense of self. 

JoAnne Artman Release

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

“Release” – photograph on velvet fine art paper, edition 1 of 2, 44 x 44 inches, framed

While each figure in the series is Brooke Shaden (sometimes with 80 clones of herself), ambiguity of the figures’ identities provides unity and inclusivity to the viewer – two invaluable mindsets during times of uncertainty or change. Printed on a velvet paper, the soft texture lends the appearance of a diffused watercolor painting, adding further mystique and intrigue to the already ambiguous location, era, and ethnicity of her figures. 

Chronicling the human condition, she concludes, “We need art right now. We always do, but now especially. We need it to feel connected, to find something beautiful in darkness, to find darkness in something beautiful, and to see ourselves reflected in ideas bigger than us as individuals. That is how we find connection – when we see a piece of who we truly are mirrored back through fragments of the world.” 

For more information, contact gallery owner JoAnne Artman at (949) 510-5481 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Live! at the Museum presents virtual concert with Encore Saxophone Quartet on Thursday

On Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m., the award-winning Encore Saxophone Quartet will perform a virtual concert, in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Art Museum. 

Last year the quartet performed a concert inside the museum. A recording of that concert, plus arrangements from another performance, are featured. Click below for the program and join together from the comfort and safety of home for this month’s Live! at the Museum concert with Encore Saxophone Quartet.

Live at Encore

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Submitted photo

The Encore Saxophone Quartet will peform a virtual concert on Thursday 

The award-winning Encore Saxophone Quartet is among Los Angeles’ premier performing ensembles. Formed in 1984 by internationally renowned saxophonist Douglas Maseko, the Quartet’s extensive repertoire spans original compositions and arrangements that bridge styles from the Classical to Modern Jazz.

The Quartet’s unique blending of innovative and diverse programming, along with informational narrative, transports listeners on a musical journey that exhibits the many colorful possibilities encompassing the sound spectrum of the saxophone in a quartet setting.

Individually, the members of the Quartet are distinguished soloists and chamber music artists who perform nationally and internationally. In addition to performing, they are dedicated educators that serve on the faculties of UCLA, Vanguard University, La Sierra University, and California State University at Fullerton, where they teach private lessons, coach chamber music, and mentor the next generation of emerging musical artists.

Live! at the Museum is presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! 

To listen and view the concert, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org/events/
encore-saxophone-quartet-virtual-concert
.

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Laguna Beach Schools Performing Arts Boosters – Band receives FOA Foundation grant

The Laguna Beach Schools Performing Arts Boosters – Band was awarded a grant of $2,500 from the Festival of Arts (FOA) Foundation to continue the group’s support of the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) and Thurston Middle School (TMS) instrumental music programs.

In 1989, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Foundation was established in order to financially support the arts in Laguna Beach in the form of scholarships to graduates of Laguna Beach High School and as grants to nonprofit art organizations and educational institutions in and about the city of Laguna Beach. The Foundation operates independently from the Festival of Arts. 

Laguna Beach band

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Steve Wade conducts the LBHS Jazz Band at Laguna Beach Live!’s Generational Jive concert

To date, the Festival of Arts along with the Foundation cumulatively has awarded nearly $2.6 million in grants to the arts community in Laguna Beach and over $3 million in scholarships.

The Laguna Beach Schools Performing Arts Boosters has used the grants to provide students with professional coach instruction at summer band camp at  LBHS and guest clinicians throughout the year at both LBHS and TMS.

“The music program is very thankful for the continuous generous donations from the Festival of Arts Foundation. This allows us the opportunity to bring in professional experts to work with our students and keep on improving their skills set,” says Mr. Jeremy Chung, director of LBHS instrumental music program. “This is a huge asset for the students and the program as a whole,” he adds. “Thank you to everyone at the foundation.”

Mr. Steven Wade, director of the TMS instrumental music program and LBHS jazz program states, “The grant awarded to the music programs in Laguna Beach helps provide expert training and exposure to professional performers. With the assistance of the Foundation, we are able to help students reach their potential through additional opportunities that we would otherwise not be able to offer.” He adds, “The Thurston Middle School music program and Laguna Beach High School jazz band are very grateful for the kind support of the Festival of the Arts Foundation.”

The FOA Foundation has been a longtime supporter of the instrumental music program at Laguna Beach Unified School District and will be recognized at the next instrumental music concert. 

For more information about the Festival of Arts Foundation, including its grants and scholarships, visit www.foapom.com/about/grants-scholarships.

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Enjoy Sunset Serenades from your sofa

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission Sunset Serenades series, due to start May 8 at Heisler Park, has been postponed. Due to perform was musician Geoff Pearlman, who has filmed a special performance from his home for the Laguna Beach community.

Pearlman has performed with many musicians including Shelby Lynne and Jakob Dylan. He was also featured with Dylan in the recent film Echoes in the Canyon, which celebrated the music of Laurel Canyon from 1965-67 and featured notable performers such as Eric Clapton and Tom Petty. Pearlman is also featured on the accompanying soundtrack.

Enjoy sunset Pearlman

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Jim Krantz 

Enjoy a special performance by Geoff Pearlman from your home

Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner said, “We are here for you and want to help the community recover in an appropriate manner, taking into account physical and social distancing, and present our Sunset Serenades series to you virtually in the safety of your homes. We hope to be together again with an exciting series in September.”

“Although we will all miss the beautiful setting of Heisler Park for our annual Serenades series, we will soon return, but in the meantime, we appreciate this personal and heartfelt message and performance by Geoff Pearlman,” added Arts Commissioner Karen Wood.

To watch the performance, click here.

Sunset Serenades is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

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Festival of Arts cancels 2020 shows; Council to review Sawdust plan for modified festival

By BARBARA DIAMOND

For the first time since World War II, there will be no summertime Pageant of the Masters or Festival of Arts exhibit in Laguna Beach. 

Festival officials announced the cancellations on Monday, blaming COVID-19. 

Based on state, federal, and local guidelines surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, mass gatherings this summer, such as the crowds attracted to the Festival of Arts each year, are not plausible, according to the announcement. 

“We were hopeful and tried our best to open our doors this summer, but sadly our shows have become another victim of COVID-19,” said David Perry, Festival of Arts Board President. “The decision to cancel our shows was not taken lightly. But given these unprecedented times, we believe it is the right thing to do.” 

The statement continued: “The Pageant of the Masters’ highly anticipated performance of Made in America has been postponed to the summer of 2021, with dates and details still to be announced. Artists juried into the 2020 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will be guaranteed a spot in the 2021 exhibit. The Festival of Arts team is exploring the possibility of a virtual art exhibit that could be available later this summer, as well as other art initiatives. Details will be announced on the Festival’s website (www.foapom.com) and on social media when available.”

Festival of Arts

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

The Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters have been canceled for the first time since World War II

Pageant ticket holders for 2020 will be contacted by email regarding ticket cancellation options. Anyone who donates their tickets back to the organization may not only be eligible for a tax benefit but will also be automatically entered into a drawing for a walk-on role in the 2021 Pageant. 

The drawing is scheduled for September 4, 2020; 10 winners will be selected. More information can be found at www.foapom.com/covid19. 

To support the Festival of Arts, for more information, and to stay up-to-date, visit www.foapom.com/supportnow.

The Sawdust Festival is proposing sweeping modifications to its annual show to allow it to open. The proposals will be reviewed by the City Council at tonight’s meeting. 

“Nine board members, three committees, and our staff worked for two weeks on the proposals in an effort to safely open this summer,” said Sawdust President Monica Prado on Monday. “We are very fortunate that the grounds allow us to be nimble in how we configure the layout of the show.” 

In a letter to Sawdust artists, Prado wrote, “The Governor has established stages for reopening. These modifications are designed to position the Sawdust for approval to open by strategically reducing crowd size and addressing social distancing by widening aisleways and creating more open space.”

The plan stipulates that should restrictions relax in the coming months, modifications will be relaxed.

Festival of Michael

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Michael Minutoli at the 2019 Sawdust Festival

Tentative dates in order of preference: 

--July 18 - August 30 with an option to extend to September 5 

--July 23 - September 5 

--August 1 - September 5

Proposed modifications: 

--50 percent reduction to maximum crowd capacity 

--33 percent reduction in daily operational hours 

--33 percent reduction of concessions 

--33 percent reduction in live stage areas (no public access for audience seating or dancing) 

--25-30 percent reduction in overall exhibitor space (fewer booths, no mini- booths) 

--No interactive art classes (demonstrations only, with social distancing)

 Additional Safeguards:

--Plexiglass barriers at ticket stations, and sales and information booths 

--At this time, the use of plexiglass in individual artists’ booths and the wearing of face coverings is at the artists’ discretion

--Hand sanitizing stations throughout 

--Continual sanitizing of restrooms 

--Creative social distancing signage 

--Adhering to separate entries and exits

Also of note: 

--While there will be no mini-booths, there will be “gallery” locations on the grounds where artists’ creations can be displayed for sale through the sales booth. 

--City staff is not recommending the city oblige the festival’s request for limited trolley service as officials are considering the suspension of the summer service.

In her letter to the artists, Prado said the board understood how severe the proposed changes are and difficult to embrace.   

“In our hearts, we know that the Sawdust is both loved by its artists and beloved by the community,” she wrote. “Therefore, we are pressing into the challenging work of finding a path forward, knowing that many artists rely on income generated directly or indirectly by this show and that what we offer, even in this scaled-back form, is of great value to our community.”

The 2020 Laguna Plein Air Painting Invitational is scheduled for October 3-10. 

“We haven’t been told we can’t do it,” said Executive Director Rosemary Swimm. “We have to get the Governor’s permission and city permission. But we are proceeding as if it will happen.

“The word of the year is ‘reimagining.’ We are right up there, and it’s not just for the Invitational. We have moved the show planned for this month to July, which will go forward either as a physical show or virtual.

“We are Zooming ‘webinars’ – talk, classes, and interviews to keep our artists out there and energized.” 

Art-A-Fair has not yet presented a plan to the city but is expected to follow the lead of the Sawdust Festival.

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Join Laguna Dance Festival for “dance and dinner at home” on Saturday

By DIANNE RUSSELL

What’s better than an evening of dance and dinner? In these challenging times, the Laguna Dance Festival (LDF) has organized an event that will make “your home their venue” on Saturday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. The nonprofit has also partnered with three local restaurants – Lumberyard, Nirvana Grille, and Roux Creole Cuisine – who will generously donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to LDF. 

“While these are difficult times for everyone, the live arts have been impacted particularly hard due to restrictions on gathering. Laguna Dance Festival was forced to cancel its Spring Gala and largest fundraiser of the year, constraining finances,” says LDF Executive Director Joy Dittberner. “However, during this time of sheltering in place, the arts and dance are so important to lift spirits. That is why we are learning to present virtually.” 

Jodie Gates, Founder and Artistic Director of LDF and Vice Dean, Artistic Director & Professor of Dance at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, says, “‘Your home is our venue’ was a collective decision by the LDF team. We have responded to social needs remotely, finding ways to lift spirits, educate our viewers, provide dance classes and wellness activities, and of course, raise awareness to LDF. On Saturday, May 16th, I will be curating various aspects of dance and also moderating a Q&A. Our patrons will have the opportunity to peek inside our classes and watch choreography we have been offering since April 6th. 

Join Laguna ballet west

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Bill Hebert

2019 Laguna Dance Festival – Ballet West

“Additionally, our dinner guests will view short solos performed by our talented scholarship dancers followed by our main stage/entree event. A showcase of professional dance companies and artists will be viewed in your home. This experience does not replace going to the theater, buying a ticket, and watching dance live, but it does provide a bit of entertainment and also supports our mission and our local restaurants. Look forward to seeing everyone on May 16th and thank you.”

“The ‘Dinner & Dance’ event on May 16 is our attempt to stay connected and bring some joy into our patrons homes,” Dittberner says. “We asked for just a $20 donation and request that people order from one of three local restaurants who are donating a portion of the proceeds to LDF. This will also help our struggling restaurants.” 

(The cost of dinner is separate from the LDF donation.)

Order your take-out dinner from the following restaurants: Delivery or pick-up – Lumberyard: (949) 715-3900, click here for website. Nirvana Grille (shop the co-op, restaurant, or wine shop): (949) 497-0027, click here for website. Roux Creole Cuisine: (949) 715-3707, click here for website.

Other LDF activities

In the interim, LDF is offering “Dance into the Week,” a daily schedule with Monday Movies, Tuesday live dance class, Wednesday Health tips, Thursday dance with professionals, and Let’s Dance Friday. 

Dittberner says, “We want to stay in touch with our patrons by bringing some happiness into their lives. Who can be sad while dancing?”

LDF is moving forward with the Summer Intensive for pre-professional students June 15-19, hoping it will be live, but planning to teach virtually if necessary. Ms. Gates has scheduled a stellar lineup of teachers versatile enough to teach either format. Ms. Gates is now proficient at virtual teaching since USC went fully online in April. 

To donate $20 for the performance, click here

Participants will be sent a link with details to the fun night of dinner and dance.

For more information on LDF, go to www.lagunadancefestival.org or call (949) 715-5578.

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LAM awarded grant for Arts Education Exposure program

Last week the California Arts Council announced a grant award of $13,036 to Laguna Art Museum as part of its Arts Education Exposure program.

With support from the CAC, Laguna Art Museum will bring third and fourth grade students from Santa Ana for tours of the museum’s exhibitions, followed by related art-making activities, and supported by materials provided in advance of the visits. 

With this far-reaching program, the museum will expose at least 300 students to art, art history, art techniques, and museums, ensuring that they receive high-quality arts education. Laguna Art Museum has engaged in outreach projects in Santa Ana since 2016. In collaboration with Santa Ana teachers, the program in 2020-21 will continue to inspire children to engage with art by learning the fundamentals in a fun and hands-on environment.

LAM awarded outside

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Art Museum has received a grant for its arts education program

“We are delighted to be able to continue expanding our audience in Santa Ana,” said Marinta Skupin, Laguna Art Museum’s Curator of Education. “The museum’s 2016 PST LA/LA exhibition, California Mexicana: Missions to Murals, 1820-1930, provided us with the perfect opportunity to launch education outreach efforts and to establish formal relationships with our Santa Ana neighbors. As Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art, we are proud to continue to reach out to all of California’s citizens and particularly to the growing Latino community.”

Laguna Art Museum was featured as part of a larger announcement from the California Arts Council of more than 1,500 grants awarded to nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state for their work in support of the agency’s mission to strengthen arts, culture, and creative expression as the tools to cultivate a better California for all. The investment of nearly $30 million marks a more than $5 million increase over the previous fiscal year, and the largest in California Arts Council history.

Organizations were awarded grants across 15 different program areas addressing access, equity, and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and directly benefiting our state’s communities, with youth, veterans, returned citizens, and California’s historically marginalized communities key among them. Successful projects aligned closely with the agency’s vision of a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the California Arts Council recognizes that some grantees may need to postpone, modify, or cancel their planned activities supported by CAC funds, due to state and local public health guidelines. The state arts agency is prioritizing flexibility in addressing these changes and supporting appropriate solutions for grantees.

“Creativity sits at the very heart of our identity as Californians and as a people. In this unprecedented moment, the need to understand, endure, and transcend our lived experiences through arts and culture is all the more relevant for each of us,” said Nashormeh Lindo, Chair of the California Arts Council. “The California Arts Council is proud to be able to offer more support through our grant programs than ever before, at a time when our communities’ need is perhaps greater than ever before. These grants will support immediate and lasting community impact by investing in arts businesses and cultural workers across the state.”

For more information, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.

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Join Laguna Dance Festival for dance and dinner as they make “your home their venue” on May 16

By DIANNE RUSSELL

What’s better than an evening of dance and dinner? In these challenging times, the Laguna Dance Festival (LDF) has organized an event that will make “your home their venue” on Saturday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m. The nonprofit has also partnered with three local restaurants – Lumberyard, Nirvana Grille, and Roux Creole Cuisine – who will generously donate a portion of the evening’s proceeds to LDF. 

“While these are difficult times for everyone, the live arts have been impacted particularly hard due to restrictions on gathering. Laguna Dance Festival was forced to cancel its Spring Gala and largest fundraiser of the year, constraining finances,” says LDF Executive Director Joy Dittberner. “However, during this time of sheltering in place, the arts and dance are so important to lift spirits. That is why we are learning to present virtually.” 

Jodie Gates, Founder and Artistic Director of LDF and Vice Dean, Artistic Director & Professor of Dance at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, says, “‘Your home is our venue’ was a collective decision by the LDF team. We have responded to social needs remotely, finding ways to lift spirits, educate our viewers, provide dance classes and wellness activities, and of course, raise awareness to LDF. On Saturday, May 16th, I will be curating various aspects of dance and also moderating a Q&A. Our patrons will have the opportunity to peek inside our classes and watch choreography we have been offering since April 6th. 

Join Laguna ballet west

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Bill Hebert

2019 Laguna Dance Festival – Ballet West

“Additionally, our dinner guests will view short solos performed by our talented scholarship dancers followed by our main stage/entree event. A showcase of professional dance companies and artists will be viewed in your home. This experience does not replace going to the theater, buying a ticket, and watching dance live, but it does provide a bit of entertainment and also supports our mission and our local restaurants. Look forward to seeing everyone on May 16th and thank you.”

“The ‘Dinner & Dance’ event on May 16 is our attempt to stay connected and bring some joy into our patrons homes,” Dittberner says. “We asked for just a $20 donation and request that people order from one of three local restaurants who are donating a portion of the proceeds to LDF. This will also help our struggling restaurants.” 

(The cost of dinner is separate from the LDF donation.)

Order your take-out dinner from the following restaurants: Delivery or pick-up – Lumberyard: (949) 715-3900, click here for website. Nirvana Grille (shop the co-op, restaurant, or wine shop): (949) 497-0027, click here for website. Roux Creole Cuisine: (949) 715-3707, click here for website.

Other LDF activities

In the interim, LDF is offering “Dance into the Week,” a daily schedule with Monday Movies, Tuesday live dance class, Wednesday Health tips, Thursday dance with professionals, and Let’s Dance Friday. 

Dittberner says, “We want to stay in touch with our patrons by bringing some happiness into their lives. Who can be sad while dancing?”

LDF is moving forward with the Summer Intensive for pre-professional students June 15-19, hoping it will be live, but planning to teach virtually if necessary. Ms. Gates has scheduled a stellar lineup of teachers versatile enough to teach either format. Ms. Gates is now proficient at virtual teaching since USC went fully online in April. 

To donate $20 for the performance, click here

Participants will be sent a link with details to the fun night of dinner and dance.

For more information on LDF, go to www.lagunadancefestivalorg or call (949) 715-5578.

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