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Local actor Luzma Ortiz gets rave reviews for her role as Tracy Turnblad in HAIRSPRAY

Local actor, Laguna’s Luzma Ortiz, is currently starring in a production of HAIRSPRAY at the Norris Theatre, Palos Verdes Performing Arts Center, through May 12 – and she is getting rave reviews.

local actor luzma“Outstanding performers of note in this Broadway-quality production, staged on a multi-level set designed by Matt Scarpino, Go Button Productions, begin with Luzma Ortiz as the always energetic and positive Tracy Turnblad. This musical could never succeed without a strong presence in this role, and Ortiz fits the bill to a tee, her never-ending energy a wonder to behold,” raves Shari Barrett of Broadway World.

The petite but dynamic actor – she’s less than five feet tall – has also starred in many shows, including playing Eva Peron in Evita as well as Emma Goldman in Ragtime and Dora in Dora the Explorer productions.

The Broadway World review continues, “Even if you have seen many productions of the totally entertaining Broadway musical-comedy HAIRSPRAY, do not miss the larger-than-life production, with its infectious music, show-stopping dance numbers and uplifting story…With a talented cast of 28 local triple-threat performers, directed to perfection by Kari Hayter with some of the most demanding and athletic constant choreography by Christopher M. Albrecht, producer Chris Gilbert is to congratulated for bringing one of the best total packages to the stage.”

Tickets are still available for this weekend’s performances. Visit www.palosverdesperformingarts.com for more information.


Sawdust Festival sets up for summer

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Sawdust Festival poppies

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Cliff Wassmann’s finished mural for the 2019 Summer Sawdust – 

California poppies with painted lady butterflies, bees and dragonflies 

Sawdust Festival outside

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Opening Day is June 28 and soon there’ll be lines outside

Sawdust Festival sycamores

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Three new sycamore trees were planted along the main aisle of the Sawdust Art Festival, part of the ongoing plan to reestablish a natural shade canopy and restore the original grove with native trees

Sawdust Festival booths

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Sawdust exhibitor’s Andrew Soliz, Carrie Rae Woodburn, Nevada Silva (with his son), and Beau Donnan stand in their booth spaces for the summer 2019 show.

Booth Picking Day was May 7th – each person picks his/her space according to years spent exhibiting in the show. Now they have a little over a month to get the main structures built before inspections and then finishing details and art hung for Opening Day!


Fabulously funny Avenue Q opens tonight at No Square Theatre

No Square Theatre’s Avenue Q debuts tonight, Friday, May 10. For older teens and adults, Avenue Q will be a rollicking good time and includes puppets and lots of humor. The 2004 Tony Award Triple Crown winner (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book) Avenue Q is the funny and touching story of a starry-eyed college grad named Princeton in New York with big dreams and little money. Although he can only afford to live on Avenue Q, he lands in an intriguing neighborhood full of funny characters. 

Avenue Q has music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and is based on a book by Jeff Whitty and an original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. The story, complete with puppets and plenty of humor, follows a group of young adults seeking their purpose in big city life.

Avenue Q comes to No Square Theatre directed by Joe Lauderdale, with music directed by Roxanna Ward, and with the puppetry skills of Puppet Master McKay Mangum teaching the talented singers and actors how to maneuver their alter-egos, the puppets. The cast includes Eileen Goodwin, Ella Wyatt, Eric Anderson, Gloria Henderson, Jonathan Haidl, Richard Kilgo II, and Sarah Loya.

Fabulously funny puppet

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Submitted photo

Eric T. Anderson rehearses with his (un-costumed) puppet

With all those adorable puppets, is Avenue Q appropriate for kids? Adults love Avenue Q, but they seem a little fuzzy on whether it’s appropriate for kids. Avenue Q is great for teenagers because it’s about real life. It may not be appropriate for young children because Avenue Q addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. It’s hard to say what exact age is right to see Avenue Q – parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children. But No Square promises that if parents bring their teenagers to Avenue Q, they’ll think you’re really cool.

Performances are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, May 10-26. Performances on May 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 are at 7:30 p.m., and on May 19 and 26 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.nosquare.org for $25 and $35. 

Other upcoming No Square productions include: Bugsy Malone, July 18-21; Heathers, July 26-August 4; My Midlife Crisis, September 15; and Hilarious, September 22. 

Fabulously funny group

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“Avenue Q” cast: (L-R) Richard Kilgo II, Gloria Henderson, Eric T. Anderson, Eileen Goodwin (center), Sarah Loya (partially covered in the back), Ella Wyatt, Jonathan Haidl,) and un-costumed puppets rehearse

No Square Theatre is generously sponsored by the Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach, Yvonne & John Browning, Dorene and Lee Butler Family Foundation, Patrick Quilter, and FOA Foundation, with additional support from Stella Charton in Memory of Lloyd Charton, Ann & Charlie Quilter in Honor of Joe Lauderdale, Patrick Quilter/Quilter Labs, Dr. Korey Jorgensen/Jorgensen Family Charitable Gift Fund, William, Jeff, & Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, Laguna Beach Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund, Vicki & Steve McIntosh and the Hall Family Foundation, Nolet Spirits USA, Chris Quilter, Nina & Larry Ragle, and Mark Brisley DDS.

No Square Theatre is located in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St, two blocks south of Laguna Beach High School, which has ample free parking. Seating is extremely limited and the theatre has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. Drinks and refreshments are available for purchase.

For additional information on events, auditions, classes, and to purchase tickets, visit www.nosquare.org.


Laguna Art Museum presents Murder, My Sweet at May 16 Film Night

On Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m., Laguna Art Museum presents Murder, My Sweet during its monthly Film Night. Curator of historical art Janet Blake introduces the 1944 film noir that was a key influence in the development of the genre.

Laguna Art couple

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1944 film “Murder, My Sweet” will play at LAM on May 16

In Murder, My Sweet, Philip Marlowe is drawn into a deeply complex web of mystery and deceit after being hired to find an ex-con’s former girlfriend. Based on Raymond Chandler’s 1940 novel Farewell, My Lovely, the film was the first to feature Chandler’s primary character, the hard-boiled private detective Philip Marlowe, and was a key influence in the development of the film noir genre.

Film Night is generously sponsored by Compass.

Tickets are included with museum admission. Advance tickets are recommended.

For questions or to purchase tickets by phone, call (949) 494-8971 ext. 203 or visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.


LAM receives FOA Foundation Grant in support of educational programs

Laguna Art Museum has been awarded a grant in the amount of $3,000 from the Festival of Arts Foundation in support of the museum’s arts education programs. The funds will be used for art supplies, professional teaching artists, and educational activities throughout 2019.  

The museum’s educational programs reach a broad range of audiences, including students and families, who will benefit from the FOA Foundation’s support. Last year, the museum hosted more than 1,300 students for interactive school tours facilitated by highly trained docents. Tours for all grade levels will continue to be offered free of charge in 2019, including the costs of school bus transportation.

Throughout the year, the museum offers family art-making programs both on- and off-site. Inside the museum, the LAM+LAB space is supplied with art-making materials and instructions for visitors of all ages. On select Saturdays, professional teaching artists in the LAM+LAB Open Studio invite families to create artwork inspired by the museum’s exhibitions and to collaborate by adding to evolving art installations.

Laguna Art class

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Courtesy of LAM Facebook

Students enjoying LAM’s arts education program

LAM+LAB and Open Studio are included with museum admission, which is free for visitors aged 17 and under. Beyond Laguna Beach, the museum offers a free monthly outreach program to an intergenerational audience at the Santa Ana Boys and Girls Club. Nearly 300 children and their families attended the programs last year; with many returning each month to acquire a new art skill.

On April 27, the museum participated in Imagination Celebration, the countywide family arts festival presented in partnership with Arts Orange County and the Orange County Department of Education. Nearly 300 visitors attended and the museum offered free admission and hands-on art activities presented in partnership with Barrio Mobile Art Studio, Art Division, and volunteers from Arden: Helena Modjeska Historic House.

 In November, the museum’s annual Art & Nature Family Festival will offer free admission with art, nature, and science activities for all ages, offered by the museum and community partners such as the Ocean Institute and Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Each of these community events provides free educational programs and art-making opportunities to hundreds of visitors. 

The Festival of Arts and Laguna Art Museum share a commitment to arts education with more than 100 years of rich histories and connections to the artistic community of Laguna Beach. The museum is grateful to the FOA Foundation for its important support of the arts and for its generous grant to help fund the museum’s educational programs.

For more information on the Laguna Art Museum, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.


Laguna Playhouse presents Holocaust education play to schools and community groups 

Laguna Playhouse announces performances of I Never Saw Another Butterfly from October 19 - 27 as part of its youth theatre offerings during its 99th season.

With a history of producing thought provoking plays that touch on various humanitarian topics, and following an increase in anti-Semitic public comments and events locally and at the national level, Laguna Playhouse will produce the play written by Celeste Raspanti to offer as part of its “Theatre for a New Generation,” which includes youth actors and is suitable for an audience of fourth grade and up. 

I Never Saw Another Butterfly tells the true story or a young child, Raja, who is one of only a hundred children out of 15,000 that survives the concentration camp at the end of WWII. While teaching the other children in the camp she helps create an imagery of hope through butterflies and flowers as a way to occupy the children living behind barbed wire. 

The play will be available to the general public at a reduced rate and the Playhouse will offer free tickets and transportation to many schools and groups that serve the community. 

Laguna Playhouse chairs

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

The Laguna Playhouse presents a Holocaust education play October 19 - 27

Since 2017, the Laguna Playhouse’s TheatreHope program has offered free tickets and transportation to select shows for homeless and food insecure youth, veterans, and military families, and individuals with disabilities or chronic disease. 

 “With the course of recent events that have occurred nationally as well as in our own backyard, we are happy to extend this educational opportunity for the entire family that explains the dangers of bigotry and hatred leading to genocide,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director.

During the run of the play, select shows will include a panel of speakers including holocaust survivors that can tell their unique stories and answer questions from the audience. Laguna Playhouse has produced content in past years regarding the holocaust such as Hana’s Suitcase and Number the Stars through the Theatre for a New Generation program that offers an annual production for teenagers that explores more mature topics such as school violence, eating disorders, bullying, and complex historical matters.

“While most students learn about the Holocaust as part of their high school curriculum, many have a hard time conceptualizing the gravity of what they have learned and have never had the opportunity to meet a Holocaust survivor,” explained Donna Inglima, Director of Youth Theatre, Education and Outreach at Laguna Playhouse. “These plays allow the students to feel the emotion of the actors and better empathize with those portrayed in the story.”

For more information on the Laguna Playhouse, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


LOCA invites members to Art Club featuring Chef Craig Strong

On Thursday, May 16, LOCA is proud to feature Chef Craig Strong in “The World of Culinary Art,” from 4 - 5:30 p.m. at Ocean and Main on the patio. Chef Strong, formerly of The Studio at the Montage, will talk about all the creative thought that goes into running a top-notch restaurant. 

Strong opened Ocean at Main, fulfilling a longtime career dream to open his own restaurant. The location is exceptional – 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach – and the 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot eatery is open daily for lunch and dinner.

LOCA invites pose

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Chef Craig Strong’s restaurant Ocean and Main is close to the ocean with Coastal California Cuisine 

After nearly 25 years of working at luxury hotels and resorts around the globe, Strong has come full circle to his native Southern California roots with the opening of Ocean at Main. From growing up in San Diego and cooking with produce from the family garden, this chef/owner is now sharing his Coastal California cuisine with the community he has embraced for the last 10 years.

This event is for members only and space is limited. 

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit coalition of arts educators, professional artists, and advocates interested in arts education for people of all ages. LOCAS has been serving the community for over 25 years.

To register or become a member, visit www.locaarts.org/events

Ocean and Main is located at 222 Ocean Ave.


Laguna Plein Air Painters Association presents  “Waterworks” juried watercolor art show

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) is proud to present “Waterworks,” a unique exhibition dedicated to watercolors, in collaboration with the Joe Hanks Van Cleave Foundation for the Arts. The exhibition opens on Saturday, May 11 and runs through May 20. 

The public is invited to join the celebration at the Opening Reception with the artists on Saturday, May 11, from 5 - 7 p.m. (awards to be announced at 6 p.m.) at LPAPA in Residence located at Forest & Ocean Gallery. This is a free event – all art lovers are welcome. 

“Waterworks” is a special juried exhibition of original works of art in watercolors created by members of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association. Close to 100 entries were received for this prestigious show with jurors Cindy Baron (Signature Artist Member of LPAPA), Celeste Gilles (LPAPA Board Member), and Ludo Leideritz (LPAPA Board Member & Forest & Ocean Gallery owner) choosing 38 original framed paintings for the show’s coveted spots. 

An expanded online gallery show is available through www.dailybrushwork.com.   

Laguna Plein surfer

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Tanabe Keiko, “Morning Surf, Laguna Beach”

In addition to the artwork, a selection of historical paintings by Joe Hanks Van Cleave from the family’s private collection will be exhibited. Joe Hanks Van Cleave painted in all media, and she was a member of the original Laguna Beach Art Association. 

The Foundation was founded in 2014 in memory of artist Joe Hanks Van Cleave and supports both individual and collaborations with established charitable organizations in the education and artist expression of Plein Air Watercolor artwork in its infinite forms. “Joe’s work tells the story of her family life, travels, her local community, and the architecture and landscapes of California and the southwest.”

LPAPA was founded in 1996 with a mission to preserve Laguna Beach’s rich artistic legacy founded by early plein air artists and promote the tradition of plein air painting in our community, across the nation, and around the world. 

LPAPA is one of the best recognized and most respected plein air art associations in the world with a growing roster of more than 600 local, national, and international artist members. In addition to providing opportunities for established and emerging artists to show their work, LPAPA has a strong commitment to education utilizing the organization’s Plein Air Project to benefit young and emerging artists and the greater community.

LPAPA in Residence is located at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave. 

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., and Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. (closed on Mondays).

For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., call (949) 376-3635, or visit www.lpapa.org.


LB Live! partners with LB Seniors for a special performance by the Triada Guitar Trio on Thursday

On Thursday, May 9, from 3 - 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Live! will partner with Laguna Beach Seniors for a special musical performance by the Triada Guitar Trio. The event is free to the public. 

The performance will also include a Q&A with one of the most brilliant guitar ensembles performing today. 

LB Band

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Submitted photo

The Triada Guitar Trio – three brothers and guitar virtuosos Nikola, Petar, and Vasil

Triada combines the unique talents of Nikola, Petar, and Vasil Chekardzhikov, forming one of the most brilliant guitar ensembles now performing. The three brothers are individually virtuoso guitarists, and their intuitive sense of ensemble gives a synergy that makes their concerts very special and exciting events.

Peformances by Triada feature innovative repertoire, including traditional classics, modern favorites, and vibrant, colorful ethnic music to engage and delight any audience. 

There is limited seating and reservations are recommended. 

Reserve your spot at the front desk of call (949) 464-6645.

The Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.


Avenue Q brings fun and frivolity to No Square Theatre beginning Friday

No Square Theatre’s Avenue Q debuts on Friday. For older teens and adults, Avenue Q will be a rollicking good time and includes puppets and lots of humor. The 2004 Tony Award Triple Crown winner (Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book) Avenue Q is the funny and touching story of a starry-eyed college grad named Princeton in New York with big dreams and little money. Although he can only afford to live on Avenue Q, he lands in an intriguing neighborhood full of funny characters. 

Avenue Q has music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, and is based on a book by Jeff Whitty and an original concept by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. The story, complete with puppets and plenty of humor, follows a group of young adults seeking their purpose in big city life.

Avenue Q comes to No Square Theatre directed by Joe Lauderdale, with music directed by Roxanna Ward, and with the puppetry skills of Puppet Master McKay Mangum teaching the talented singers and actors how to maneuver their alter-egos, the puppets. The cast includes Eileen Goodwin, Ella Wyatt, Eric Anderson, Gloria Henderson, Jonathan Haidl, Richard Kilgo II, and Sarah Loya.

Avenue Q puppet

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Eric T. Anderson rehearses with his (un-costumed) puppet

With all those adorable puppets, is Avenue Q appropriate for kids? Adults love Avenue Q, but they seem a little fuzzy on whether it’s appropriate for kids. Avenue Q is great for teenagers because it’s about real life. It may not be appropriate for young children because Avenue Q addresses issues like sex, drinking, and surfing the web for porn. It’s hard to say what exact age is right to see Avenue Q – parents should use their discretion based on the maturity level of their children. But No Square promises that if parents bring their teenagers to Avenue Q, they’ll think you’re really cool.

Performances are on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings, May 10-26. Performances on May 10, 11, 17, 18, 24 and 25 are at 7:30 p.m., and on May 19 and 26 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available at www.nosquare.org for $25 and $35. 

Other upcoming No Square productions include: Bugsy Malone, July 18-21; Heathers, July 26-August 4; My Midlife Crisis, September 15; and Hilarious, September 22. 

Avenue Q group

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Submitted photo

“Avenue Q” cast: (L-R) Richard Kilgo II, Gloria Henderson, Eric T. Anderson, Eileen Goodwin (center), Sarah Loya (partially covered in the back), Ella Wyatt, Jonathan Haidl,) and un-costumed puppets rehearse

No Square Theatre is generously sponsored by the Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach, Yvonne & John Browning, Dorene and Lee Butler Family Foundation, Patrick Quilter, and FOA Foundation, with additional support from Stella Charton in Memory of Lloyd Charton, Ann & Charlie Quilter in Honor of Joe Lauderdale, Patrick Quilter/Quilter Labs, Dr. Korey Jorgensen/Jorgensen Family Charitable Gift Fund, William, Jeff, & Jennifer Gross Family Foundation, Laguna Beach Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund, Vicki & Steve McIntosh and the Hall Family Foundation, Nolet Spirits USA, Chris Quilter, Nina & Larry Ragle, and Mark Brisley DDS.

No Square Theatre is located in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion St, two blocks south of Laguna Beach High School, which has ample free parking. Seating is extremely limited and the theatre has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. Drinks and refreshments are available for purchase.

For additional information on events, auditions, classes, and to purchase tickets, visit www.nosquare.org.

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