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Behind-the-scene creation of 2019 Pageant of the Masters dazzles previewers


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Time Traveler in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine says, “Scientific people know very well that Time is only a kind of Space.” This year’s Pageant of the Masters’ themed presentation of “The Time Machine” promises to amaze audiences with a trip around the globe and into the past, present, and future in search of great art and incredible stories. It’s described as a journey through both time and space. 

On Monday evening, previewers had the opportunity to visit the spaces where the wizards of costume, makeup, set design, sculpture design, technicians, as well as the people who wrangle the models onto the sets play their parts in contributing to the magic of tableaux vivants or “living pictures.” During this year’s show, real people will step into famous works of art by artists like Vermeer, Dali, Rockwell, and Da Vinci for a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

Behind the festival

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Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s “The Vintage Festival” Can you spot the five cast members in this scene?

This extraordinarily talented team behind the world-famous Pageant of the Masters is rockin’ around the clock with preparations and rehearsals for the highly anticipated production. 

Preparations are also underway for the new on-site concessionaire Intermission by Terra, and Monday’s attendees gleefully sampled some of their fare.

“To say this summer’s show is a very different Pageant is an understatement!” says Diane Challis Davy, now in her 24th season as the Pageant Director. “The story line will bring audiences on a journey through a series of clues and instructions from a notebook inspired by a famous artist, a first in the Pageant’s history.”

“We don’t want to give away too many surprises, but some over-the-top innovations for this year include laser lights, an authentic 1959 jukebox, and if you are paying attention…you may even see a UFO,” commented Challis Davy. 

In his introduction to preview attendees, Festival of Arts President David Perry said, “Without the volunteers, the Pageant wouldn’t exist. It takes 500 volunteers and collectively, they put in 60,000 hours.”

Behind the Challis

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Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy (on left) and Brittany Clark-Charnley

Brittany, who was a cast member back in her teens

As an added bonus to attendees, four of the 140 juried fine artists exhibiting at the Festival of the Arts were on site to answer questions. 

Elizabeth McGhee was busy working on one of her Mythica series of 80 paintings in which she takes figures from Greek mythology and transforms them into modern-day versions. On this evening, she was concentrating on the Ancient Greek Lethe, who was the goddess of the underworld river of oblivion. (The dead drank of its waters to forget their mortal lives.)

In her depiction of volunteers as ancient Greek figures, McGhee aims to modernize the interpretation of their stories and how they fit into present day. McGhee, who also paints vintage toys, graduated from LCAD in 2009 and has been exhibiting at FOA since 2010. 

“My favorite part of exhibiting here is the community of artists and collectors here at FOA. It’s like summer camp. Painting tends to be isolating.” 

For Artist Jeff Horn, who primarily paints landscapes, this is his 19th year at FOA. “I like the interaction with the people and their reactions to my work. You have to put yourself out there, it’s like hanging your children on the wall. I learned that I can’t please everyone. But there’s not a day I paint that I don’t feel alive in the world. It’s not the easiest way to make a living, but it gives form to my experience…in trying to record my emotional responses. If it resonates with someone, then it’s fulfilling.”

Behind the Jeff

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Jeff Horn, who has been exhibiting for 19 years

We soon move on to a warehouse where the scenic artists David Rymar and David Cooke recreate the original paintings into sets. 

Cooke, who has been creating sets for 14 years, says, “We have two weeks to paint each background scene. Every Thursday, we have a rehearsal, knowing there’s work to do on the scene, so we light it up and look at it. Then we have a second rehearsal, finish it up and move on to the next piece. We do 10-12 scenes in six months.” 

Describing this year’s production, Technical Director Richard Hall said, “The show is very entertaining. There’s a lot going on. It’s a very lively production with a great story line that will carry the audience on a journey through time.”

When asked if he has a favorite scene, he said, “It’s the show in its entirety, as a whole. It becomes something personal that we’ll never see again.”

Behind the sculpture

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Daniel Stonebreaker presenting a partially finished piece

Costume Director Reagan Foy, who has been part of the Pageant for 11 seasons, the last three as costume director, explains that given the cast doubles members for each scene, every costume has to fit two people. In addition, she has to figure out the best way to flatten out a three-dimensional costume into a realized piece that works with the scenic builders.”

Foy said, “This year it’s fun because we are recreating time traveling with colorful pieces and different time periods.” 

And what would the recreations be without the proper makeup?

Allyson Doherty, head of the makeup department, started as supervisor of makeup with the Pageant in the 1980s. There are 90 makeup people – one makeup artist does two cast members. Every night, they work from the head sculptures that Doherty paints as mockups beginning in January. She has a Fine Arts Degree in painting.

Doherty said, “Our busiest time is during the summer, because the makeup has to be redone every night.” 

Behind the close makeup

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Makeup artist prepares cast member 

What happens to the mockup heads? “At the end of the season, the heads are washed and reused. They have layers of paint on them,” Doherty said.

And, one assumes, a plentiful and intriguing history from past shows.

Next stop, where it all comes together backstage.

Volunteers and technicians help the costumed cast members onto their respective scenes, matching their positions perfectly to the original work of art, adjusting an arm here or a prop there. Then, in order to bring the scene to life for the audience, the behind-the-scenes professionals and volunteers must move the sets in and out of position. At intermission, the first half sets are removed, and the new sets brought in for the second half of the show. An arduous process.

As night began to fall, we previewed three of the scenes, Johannes Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Vintage Festival, and A Collection of Empire Clocks, each jaw-dropping in its own right.

Behind the posers

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Backstage five cast members are helped onto the set of Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s “The Vintage Festival”

During the tour, more than one of the Pageant staff mentions the word “surprise.” One even cautions Pageant goers not to leave before the end of the show otherwise they will miss a big one.

I can’t wait to see entire production of The Time Machine, which I would travel through time and space to see now that I’ve gotten a peek at it. And anyone who witnessed the preparation that goes into the production can’t help but be in awe of the finished performances. Prepare to be dazzled. I will not budge from my seat until the final surprise.

For more information or tickets, go to

Troy Lee Design hosts benefit for LCF trails

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Troy Lee table

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Sponsored by Specialized and hosted by Troy Lee Designs on June 15, all proceeds benefitted Laguna Canyon Foundation trails

Troy Lee crowd

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Party goers enjoyed a night under the stars with free tacos, local drinks, live music, and a silent auction

Troy Lee Hallie

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Bosch eBike team and (on right) Executive Director of Laguna Canyon Foundation Hallie Jones. Jones says, “The only thing better than a fun party is a fun party for a great cause. All of us at Laguna Canyon Foundation are so grateful for the support of Troy Lee, Specialized, and everyone in the community who came together to support our trails!”

2019 Music in the Park schedule announced

Music in the Park, Laguna Beach’s local summer concert series, returns every Sunday from 5 to 7 p.m. starting July 14 at Bluebird Park. Free trolley service is available to the park.   

2019 Music crowd

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Savor the sounds this summer at Music in the Park

The concert lineup includes: 

--7/14: 80’s Daze (80’s Tribute Band) 

--7/21: Cubensis (Grateful Dead Tribute) 

--7/28: Hollywood Blondie (Blondie Tribute) 

--8/4: Bill Magee (Blues) 

--8/11: Upstream (Reggae/Calypso) 

--8/18: Boys of Summer (Eagles Tribute) 

--8/25: LA Sound Machine (Gloria Estefan Tribute) 

The City asks that concertgoers please note the following rules when attending the concerts: Low-back chairs only (tall chairs will be asked to move to the sides and back of the seating area); no set-up prior to 3 p.m. (this is a courtesy request); no vendor or merchant tables allowed in the park; umbrellas must come down at the start of the concert; no dogs allowed in the park – Municipal Code 6.16.020 (a); no smoking or vaping allowed in or around the park – Municipal Code 7.40.030; alcohol allowed for adults (21+) with a full meal only and may not be taken out of the park – Municipal Code 8.04.010.

2019 Music turtle

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Photo by Scott Brashier

 “Laguna Tortoise” is a favorite public art piece adored by people of all ages at Bluebird Park. The piece was created by Michele Taylor, who sadly passed away this year.

City staff will be present on site with an available First-Aid kit. 

These concerts are a function of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission and are funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Bluebird Park is located at Bluebird Canyon Drive/Cress Street.

Laguna Art Museum presents Film Night: The Gamble House on June 20

On Thursday, June 20 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum will host Film Night: The Gamble House

A tale of American craftsmanship, international influence, artistic frustration, loss, and triumph, which led to the completion of one of the shining examples of American architecture, The Gamble House is the incredible story of brothers Charles and Henry Greene who were pushed reluctantly into architecture by their forceful father only to design and build one of the most seminal and stunning Arts and Crafts houses in America. 

Laguna Art house

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Courtesy of

“The Gamble House” will play at LAM’s upcoming Film Night 

The house, however, did not come without its price, both personally and professionally, for the Greene brothers, and David and Mary Gamble who commissioned it. 

The house is known to fans of Back to the Future as Doc Brown’s house, and to fans of architecture simply as The Gamble House.

Film Night is generously sponsored by Compass.

Tickets are included with museum admission, but advance reservations are recommended. For questions or to purchase tickets by phone, call (949) 494-8971 ext. 203.

For more information on LAM and to purchase tickets online, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

BC Cultural Arts Center hosts fundraiser to preserve vision of historic BC Space on June 22

Rick Conkey, who is undertaking the transformation of BC Space into BC Cultural Arts Center, maintains that venues such as BC Space are irreplaceable because they present valuable performing and visual arts for the public. To this end, there will be an event to raise funds to bring this vision to fruition.

On Saturday, June 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Moss Point, the festive fundraiser will feature an open bar, silent auction, and live music from Jason Feddy. Admission is $50.

Participants can be a part of launching Laguna’s first Cultural Arts Center on historic Forest Avenue and maintaining Mark Chamberlain’s legacy. Sadly, Mark, co-founder, owner, and curator of BC Space Gallery, passed away from cancer last year.

BC Space Chamberlain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mark Chamberlain leaves long legacy

This art-filled fundraising event will bring like-minded art loving people together to ensure a bright future of Laguna’s first Cultural Arts Center. The funds raised will help us harness the power of the arts for the benefit of the community.

As more than an art gallery, and more than a music venue, BC Cultural Arts Center’s 2,400 square feet will also present the history of Laguna Beach’s visual and performing arts, while introducing new artists. 

“Mark had a vision for BC Space. In order to preserve this historic Laguna Beach venue for the future, the building’s owner will generously invest $80,000 to protect the historical aspects of the space, while making the improvements to meet the cultural, visual, and performing arts needs of Laguna Beach. This fundraiser will help finance the final improvements necessary to make this BC Cultural Arts Center a reality,” says Conkey.

BC Space Feddy

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Courtesy of

Jason Feddy will be featured at the fundraiser

According to Conkey, BC Cultural Arts Center will provide an opportunity for our residents and visitors to understand the town’s rich art culture and history. It will also serve as an epicenter and engine for music, pre-screenings for films, classes, dance, poetry readings, artists’ talks and more. 

The BC Space remodel will amplify visitors’ sensory experiences by presenting artists of all kinds in a setting that ascends to the quality of their talents.

 “Mark Chamberlain would call you an ‘Artivist’ if you loved Laguna and love making a difference,” says Conkey.

As a community, the goal is to get together and ensure top-notch programming and experiences for residents and visitors.

Event planners are still looking for silent auction items.

BC Space Gardiner

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Local Poet John Gardiner often read at BC Space

For those who want to help but can’t attend the fundraiser, it is still possible to become an “Artivist” by joining this GoFundMe effort and making Mark’s vision a reality. 

To make an impact, go to the GoFundMe page here.

--The Fan - $50 Contribution

--The Local - $100 Contribution

--The Artivist - $200 Contribution 

--Performer’s Patron - $500 Contribution 

--Buy A Brick (engraved name displayed in venue) - $1,000 Contribution 

--Arts Underwriter (branding tastefully displayed in venue) - $5,000 Contribution

Moss Point is located at the end of Moss St at PCH.

BC Cultural Arts Center is located at 235 Forest Ave. 

For more information or to RSVP, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 573-8624.

Rock sculptures 

Rock Sculptures Monument

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Craggy rock formations at Monument Point, courtesy of Mother Nature

LCAD alumni and MFA candidate to exhibit at summer festivals

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD), one of the nation’s top colleges of art and design, proudly announced twelve alumni who were selected to exhibit at the 2019 Festival of the Arts of Laguna Beach’s Festival Art Show, the 53rd Sawdust Art Festival, and the 2019 Laguna Art-A-Fair Fine Art Festival.

MFA candidate Pegah Samaie began exhibiting last year at Art-A-Fair and this year will be at Festival of the Arts also. Born and raised in Tehran, Iran, Pegah uses art as a tool to face the experiences she and other women have encountered in a culture dominated by patriarchal governments and households.

LCAD alumni abstract

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Courtesy of LCAD

A piece by LCAD MFA candidate and Festival of Arts and Art-A-Fair artist Pegah Samaie 

“The Festival of the Arts was the birthplace of LCAD and to see successive generations of artists showcase their work reinforces our legacy in Laguna Beach,” said Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD. “We also love that the Sawdust Art Festival and Art-A-Fair give our students and alumni the opportunity to grow their careers and to bring their art to the community.”

The LCAD alumni who will exhibit in the 2019 Festival of the Arts of Laguna Beach’s juried Festival Art Show are: Lillian Anna Blouin, Dennis Carrie, Lani Emanuel, Alice Gamez, Dana Christine Lewis, Elizabeth McGhee, Brad Neil, Pegah Samaie, Christopher Scardino, Kirsten Whalen, and Patrick James Whelan.

The LCAD alumni who will exhibit at the 53rd Sawdust Art Festival are: Donna Ballard and Lisa Mansour. Christopher Scardino will exhibit at this year’s Laguna Art-A-Fair Fine Art Festival.

The 2019 Festival of the Arts of Laguna Beach’s juried Festival Art Show will run from July 5 to August 31. For more information, visit

The 53rd Sawdust Art Festival and the 2019 Laguna Art-A-Fair Fine Art Festival run from June 28 to September 1. For more information, visit or

For more information on LCAD, visit

12th annual Fête de la Musique to fill the streets of Laguna with music on Saturday

On Saturday, June 15, the streets of Laguna Beach will be filled with music and much fanfare when the 12th Annual Laguna Beach Fête de la Musique presented by Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA) takes place. The day’s festivities start at 12 p.m. at Main Beach with the Laguna Community Big Band playing their first swing/jazz set. From 12 - 12:30 p.m., youngsters can get face painted and costumed for the Children’s Parade that starts at 12:30 p.m. Starting on the Main Street Cobblestones, kids will march up and down the boardwalk, and finish with dancing on the cobblestones.

Opening ceremonies with local dignitaries take place from 1 - 1:20 p.m. on the cobblestones, with welcoming speeches by a Laguna Beach City Council member, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, and Karyn Phillippsen, founding president of the LBSCA. The U.S. national anthem will be sung by 13-year-old Lauren Kimball, and La Marseillaise (the French national anthem), will be sung by April Walsh, accompanied by the Community Band.

12th annual Fete Folkloric Dancer

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Photo by Takata Photo

A Folkloric dancer performs at last year’s Fête de la Musique

Additional performances will take place at Main Beach throughout the afternoon, including a second set by the Community Band; The Andersons, a five-piece soft rock band; JJ and the Habibis (Laguna Beach belly dancers); Corazones Alegres Folkloric Dancers; and a band yet to be determined. Throughout the streets, artists will perform from 1:30 - 4 p.m. at approximately 48 locations, with most along Ocean and Forest avenues, and along Coast Highway. A few musicians will be located in the HIP District, further south along Coast Highway.

This year, among the popular returning performers are The Budrows playing their unique cigar-box guitar music in the Kush Gallery alcove; The Montones with their island-inspired melodies at Wells Fargo Bank; The Andersons, a five-member band from LA, performing on Main Beach; April Walsh, chanteuse, on the steps of 2bella Boutique; The Agave Brothers at Skyloft; the bluesy guitar/vocals of Yael & Vlady in the Lumberyard patio; Charles Fullwood inside Hobie Sports; student performances in the Presbyterian Church garden; Elvis; and our French mimes, to name just a few…

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LAM and Laguna Beach Live! present a night of music and art on Thursday

On Thursday, June 13 at 7 p.m., Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Beach Live! will partner to bring a night of music and art featuring the Encore Saxophone Quartet. 

The award-winning Encore Saxophone Quartet will perform a concert inside the museum, presented in partnership with Laguna Beach Live! Advance tickets, free with museum entrance, are recommended.

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

LAM and instrument

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Submitted photo

Award-winning Encore Saxophone Quartet 

The Quartet’s unique blending of innovative and diverse programming, along with informational narrative, transports its 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 generously sponsored by Compass.

To purchase tickets, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

LAM presents Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill, the first exhibition to present work from artist’s entire career

On Sunday, June 16, Laguna Art Museum will open Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill, the first exhibition to present work from the artist’s entire career, spanning the early 1970s to today. The artist will discuss her work in a public program at Laguna Art Museum on August 29.

The Los Angeles-based artist Gwynn Murrill is best known for her sculptures of animals. At once contemporary and timeless, her works show a fine balance between formal simplification and observation from nature.

Since the early 1970s, her practice has been rooted in the close study of the landscape’s inhabitants around her home in Southern California, as well as in photographs, memory, and imagination. In wood, marble, and bronze, Murrill’s sculptures reduce a naturally detailed visual form to its most basic line and volume.

Exhibition of animals

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Courtesy of LAM

Gwynn Murrill, Coyote I, Coyote III, and Coyote IV, 1983, with Black Antelope, 1972, Laminated wood, Collection of the artist

With an elegant and playful hand, she both identifies a particular animal and imbues them with life. Her human figures appear equally streamlined and energetic. When viewed together, the relationship between both subjects suggests a primal link between animal and human.

Gwynn Murrill has been an exhibiting artist for over 40 years. She has been granted numerous awards and fellowships for her artistry, such as the Year in Review Award from the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network, the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Prix di Roma Fellowship. Her sculpture is in many public and private collections of note including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Norton Simon Museum, the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and the U.S. Embassy, Singapore

Sculptures by Gwynn Murrill features 20 works that span the full scope of Murrill’s practice, from subject, to material, to experiments in scale. The exhibition is curated by Elizabeth Rooklidge and will be on view through September 22.

For more information on Laguna Art Museum, visit

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

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