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LCAD Post-Baccalaureate program opens new
doors for women

Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) Post-Baccalaureate program gives artists a bridge in pursuit of a professional career or an MFA degree. 

Laguna Beach architect and resident Donna Ballard always wanted to major in art, but she took a more practical approach to marrying her love of drawing, painting, and math to forge a successful career as an architect. 

Today, as Principal Architect of BB Architects, Inc., a nationally and internationally recognized firm, Ballard decided it was time to pursue her lifelong dream and was accepted to the LCAD Drawing and Painting BFA program.

However, after closer inspection, Ballard found a perfect fit in LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate in Drawing and Painting, a one-year, 30-unit program that focuses on representational drawing and painting skills. 

LCAD Post houses

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Artist and LCAD alumni Donna Ballard

“My work has improved in leaps and bounds,” she said. “By learning best practices in how to apply the paint and important technical skills, my paintings are at a whole new level.”

Not surprisingly, Ballard’s work focuses on buildings, especially their geometry and light and shadows. In 2017, she graduated with her fellow classmate and architect Brad Neal. She is eagerly working on a collection she hopes to display at the Festival of Arts.

“The hardest part of the program was coming home after a long day at work to do my homework,” Ballard said. “I was working in my dining room while my home was being remodeled. But it was worth it. I would do it over again.”

Betty Shelton, who heads the program, said that this program gives serious artists a first step to pursuing a professional career or pursuing a terminal degree in their field. Approximately one-third of students continue into LCAD’s MFA program in Painting, while two-thirds pursue a professional career. 

“In the absence of these programs, a number of people who would be great artists would give up because they may not want to go through a second bachelor’s degree or have the skill for an MFA program,” Shelton said. “Our curriculum helps students develop conceptual and narrative skills to use their unique voice in their work.”

LCAD Post-Baccalaureate is attractive to students who earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art or a related major and are ready for a serious course of study. Just as with its other majors, LCAD screens applicants through a rigorous portfolio review. 

Lisa Mansour regularly studied with professional artists as she focused on raising her three daughters in Laguna Beach. Like Ballard, she was also accepted to LCAD’s BFA program in Drawing & Painting but transferred to its Post-Baccalaureate program.

LCAD Post painting

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Local artist Lisa Mansour

“I wanted to get better,” she said. “I could paint but I was missing the fundamentals. The most important thing LCAD teaches is to learn what you have to say in your art.”

Mansour started LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate the same year her oldest daughter started university and then matriculated the same year her youngest daughter graduated from Laguna Beach High School. Throughout the program, Mansour rigorously painted a series of works until she found her voice as an artist and realized a 20-year dream that she shared with her three daughters. 

“Every year we went to the Sawdust, my girls would ask, ‘when are you going to do apply, mom,’” she said. This past summer, Mansour participated in her first Sawdust Festival and is already at work preparing her next body of work for summer 2019. Her work was also exhibited at LCAD Gallery as part of the 2017 Study Aboard program.

Both Mansour and Ballard enjoy the perks as LCAD Post-Baccalaureate alumni who can audit one course per semester at LCAD. As current and former members of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission, they inspired current Laguna Beach arts commissioner and friend Suzanne Mellor to apply to the program. The three now share a studio space in South Laguna Beach.

For more information about LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate program in Drawing and Painting, contact Betty Shelton, chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Renee Johansson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about LCAD admissions, news, events and the college’s Annual Fund, visit www.lcad.edu.

Laguna College of Art and Design is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Laguna Playhouse to present Heisenberg,
opening March 31

Laguna Playhouse is excited to present a co-production with the Rubicon Theatre Company, the critically acclaimed (LA Times Critics’ Choice) production of Heisenberg, debuting on Sunday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m., and running through Sunday, April 14. 

Written by Simon Stephens, directed by Katherine Farmer, and starring Faline England (Valentine’s Day) and Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues and NCIS), this is going to be a production you won’t want to miss.

Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard comment, “What a special opportunity to co-produce this critically acclaimed production with the Rubicon Theatre Company. Simon Stephens has written a funny, tender and quirky love story that celebrates human relationships in all their complexity. Faline England and Joe Spano are giving masterful performances under the brilliant direction of the gifted Katharine Farmer. Our subscribers and audiences are sure to fall in love with this wonderful and extraordinary play.” 

Laguna Playhouse jacket

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“Heisenberg” debuts on March 31 at the Laguna Playhouse

In a bustling London train station, free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly plants a kiss on the neck of mid-70s British butcher Alex. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, she sets the suspicious man’s world reeling. As Alex is drawn into Georgie’s anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humor and quiet poeticism, Heisenberg brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection.

Playwright Simon Stephens’ plays have been produced in many languages throughout the world. Stephens won the Tony Award for his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2012 under the direction of Marianne Elliott. 

Director Katharine Farmer is a London-based artist who has been Rubicon’s Director of International Programming for the past three years. At the Rubicon, she recently directed an intimate version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets range from $56 - $86 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229.

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Dr.


LOCA Birthday Bash on March 24 to feature contributions from Nelson Coates & Chef Craig Strong 

LOCA Arts Education invites the public to its Birthday Bash fundraising party on Sunday, March 24, from 4 - 7 p.m. at Bridge Hall at Neighborhood Congregational Church. 

Nelson Coates and Chef Craig Strong are among the many esteemed donors. “We are grateful for their amazing generosity, and thrilled to feature their contributions!” exclaimed event chair Pat O’Brien.

LOCA hosts smile

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Executive Chef Craig Strong of Ocean at Main is among the contributors to LOCA’s Birthday Bash

Executive Chef Craig Strong, formerly of Studio at Montage and operator of prominent Michelin starred kitchens from Barcelona to Los Angeles, has recently opened Ocean at Main in downtown Laguna Beach. Strong is providing a certificate for a dinner for 12 in his private dining room, which promises to be an exceptional culinary experience.

LOCA hosts studio

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A tour of a film set by Nelson Coates is among items featured at LOCA’s Birthday Bash

Nelson Coates is an Emmy-nominated production designer and artist whose recent film projects include Crazy Rich Asians, Fifty Shades of Gray, and On The Basis of Sex. An enthusiastic supporter of LOCA programs, Coates is providing a special a day on the set during the filming of In the Heights by composer and co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The package includes vouchers for air travel to New York, and a stay at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge – offering expansive views of the East River and Manhattan Skyline.

  The LOCA Birthday Bash will feature great food and wine, festive games for grownups including a musical cakewalk, live music by South Laguna Garden Band, and spectacular auction items. Proceeds support LOCA’s award-winning programs serving people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities throughout Laguna Beach. 

Tickets are $50 each or $180 for a party of four. 

For more information including tickets, visit www.locaarts.org/event/loca-birthday-bash-annual-fundraiser/ or call (949) 363-4700. 

Neighborhood Church is located at 340 Saint Ann’s Dr.


Laguna Playhouse to honor Hershey Felder at May 18 gala

On May 18, Laguna Playhouse will honor an artistic icon, Hershey Felder, for his commitment to Laguna Playhouse, bringing original content and performing to sold-out audiences for a decade, and for his work to keep regional theatres, such as Laguna Playhouse, alive and vibrant across the world. 

This year’s gala, co-chaired by Trustees Lisa Hale and Glenn E. Gray, will begin with a VIP reception where Hershey Felder and special guests will perform in front of an exclusive intimate audience. 

Hershey Felder is an accomplished pianist, performer, playwright, producer, and director. He has staged over 4,700 performances of his unique solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres. 

Laguna Playhouse group

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Hershey Felder with Aviva and Fred Forster at previous Laguna Playhouse event

Felder has portrayed many world-renowned composers such as George Gershwin, Fryderyk Chopin, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, bringing both their music and their stories to life. 

Hershey is also the writer and director for the internationally performed play-with-music The Pianist of Willesden Lane, based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane; the producer and designer of Louis and Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford; and writer and director for Nathan Gunn Flying Solo.

“Hershey Felder is a unique talent that transcends traditional theatrical boundaries putting the roles of artist, writer/composer, and director into that of one. He is no less an internationally acclaimed World Treasure, and we are proud to be able to honor him on this special evening,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director.

The evening’s program will also feature a performance by Hershey Felder and a heartfelt tribute to him. The gala will conclude with live music and dancing. Nearly 400 are expected in attendance at the gala. Last year, the Orange County Business Journal named the gala in the top five net fundraising galas in Orange County. 

More on the gala can be found at www.lagunaplayhousegala.org

Laguna Playhouse will also conclude its renovation of the historic Moulton Theatre in May celebrating 50 years since it was built, and will celebrate its Centennial Season in 2020-2021.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
opens this weekend

Laguna Beach High School Drama and Park Avenue Players return to the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre tonight, Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m., with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, 11 brothers, and the coat of many colors. The show will continue on March 16, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., and on March 17 and 24 at 2:30 p.m.

The musical follows preferred son Joseph who, after being sold into slavery by his brothers, ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the amorous advances of Potiphar’s wife. 

LBHS Drama school

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Join LBHS Drama and Park Avenue Players for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” opening this weekend

While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled, Elvis-inspired, Pharaoh. Joseph’s solution to Egypt’s famine elevates him to Pharaoh’s right-hand man and reunites him with his family.

The company of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” includes more than 50 Laguna Beach High School student cast and crew members and 12 students from El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, and Thurston Middle School in the children’s choir. 

The musical is directed and choreographed by guest artist Paul Nygro. A veteran performer, Nygro has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in productions across the globe. His credits as a producer, director, choreographer, and actor span a range of mediums, including theatre, film, and television.

“Paul’s (Nygro) energy is infectious. He dives into projects with passion, commitment, and creativity,” said Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Drama Teacher and Director, Alexis Karol. “We are grateful that amidst his many professional commitments in Los Angeles he is willing to share his talent and skill with our Laguna Beach High School students,” she concluded. 

Tickets are on sale  at lbhs.booktix.com. Tickets are $12 for students, $17 for adults, and $22 for premium. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave.


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat opens this weekend

Laguna Beach High School Drama and Park Avenue Players return to the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre on Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m. with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, 11 brothers, and the coat of many colors. The show will continue on March 16, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., and on March 17 and 24 at 2:30 p.m.

The musical follows preferred son Joseph who, after being sold into slavery by his brothers, ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the amorous advances of Potiphar’s wife. 

LBHS Drama school

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Join LBHS Drama and Park Avenue Players for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” opening this weekend

While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled, Elvis-inspired, Pharaoh. Joseph’s solution to Egypt’s famine elevates him to Pharaoh’s right-hand man and reunites him with his family.

The company of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” includes more than 50 Laguna Beach High School student cast and crew members and 12 students from El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, and Thurston Middle School in the children’s choir. 

The musical is directed and choreographed by guest artist Paul Nygro. A veteran performer, Nygro has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in productions across the globe. His credits as a producer, director, choreographer, and actor span a range of mediums, including theatre, film, and television.

“Paul’s (Nygro) energy is infectious. He dives into projects with passion, commitment, and creativity,” said Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Drama Teacher and Director, Alexis Karol. “We are grateful that amidst his many professional commitments in Los Angeles he is willing to share his talent and skill with our Laguna Beach High School students,” she concluded. 

Tickets are on sale  at lbhs.booktix.com. Tickets are $12 for students, $17 for adults, and $22 for premium. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave.


Live! at the Museum presents SAKURA cello quintet on Thursday

Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Art Museum are proud to present the talented cello quintet SAKURA on Thursday, March 14 at 7 p.m.

A unique and versatile cello quintet, hailed as “brilliant” and “superb” by Mark Swed in the Los Angeles Times, SAKURA is built on the artistry and virtuosity of its members: Michael Kaufman, Benjamin Lash, Gabriel Martins, Yoshika Masuda, and Peter Myers. 

Live at Sakura

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Enjoy a night of captivating music with SAKURA on Thursday

SAKURA explores great music of the past through dazzling arrangements that offer fresh perspectives on familiar notes, and continually expands the five-cello repertoire into the future by commissioning new works. In the tradition of the great chamber ensembles, the quintet distills its interpretations through time, reveling in the pure sonic pleasure of a unified and colorful sound.

Live! at the Museum is a partnership between Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Beach Live! and is generously sponsored by Compass.

Tickets are included with museum admission ($7 for adults and $5 for seniors or students), however advance reservations are recommended due to limited seating and can made here. 

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.


Laguna Playhouse presents seven-day Dublin Theatre Festival Tour, October 1-7, 2019

Theater buffs can experience an extraordinary seven-day trip to see the best of Irish and international theater at the Dublin Theatre Festival with insider access in an intimate group with an experienced tour guide. The trip takes place October 1-7, 2019.

Doug Vogel of Laguna Playhouse says, “The tour idea came about because Helen Rigby of Dramarama Theater Tours used to work for Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco and used to lead these trips for donors at ACT. Now she independently offers them and came to us with this opportunity for Dublin. There is a Dublin Theatrical Festival going on during this time, so that is the rare opportunity to experience the festival through a knowledgeable theatre guide. I believe this is the first of this kind for Laguna Playhouse and we are hopeful that patrons will want to attend.”

Laguna Playhouse Abbey

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Historic Abbey Theater

Rigby explains how she became a theater tour guide, “I was first enamored of combining my two passions, theater and travel, when I spent five days in Dublin, Ireland, with a book club, in 2008. It wasn’t even ‘my’ book club, but I met the leader at a party and she invited me to join the group. Having never been to Dublin, I thought, why not? When my boss, the executive director of the theater where I was currently Director of Development, heard about my plans, she said she would like to join me…and by the way, did I know that the Dublin Theatre Festival was going on while we would be there? I didn’t – but when I looked it up, I was fascinated by the myriad choices of performances and booked as many as I could possibly fit into a five-day jaunt. We never saw the book club members, but we did see two performances a day and three shows on one day (which made it really hard to remember which one was which!). We toured Dublin’s historical sites, ate food that surpassed any ideas of “Irish food,” drank numerous pints and Irish coffees and saw fresh new works as well as classics. I was hooked. Travel and theater – that is what I want to do!” 

Tour highlights

This tour offers theater access in a small group in the hip and historic city of Dublin, Ireland. Guests will enjoy performances at the Dublin Theatre Festival, including shows at the historic Abbey and Gate Theaters, plus talks with visiting guests led by a knowledgeable artistic guide. From the quaint hotel located in the city center, attendees will explore Dublin on a guided walking tour, take a day trip into the Irish countryside, enjoy fine dining and shopping – all offered with a dash of wonderful Irish hospitality.

Tour highlights include: Six nights at the treasured Buswells Hotel, complimentary Irish breakfast at the hotel each morning, five to seven productions featured at the Dublin Theatre Festival, discussions with festival artists led by a theatre professional, backstage tours, private chats with actors, directors, and other guest artists, post-show discussions, welcome and farewell dinners at fine restaurants (plus additional dinners), a guided tour of Dublin, hosted dinners at some of Dublin’s best restaurants, accompanied by Laguna Playhouse staff and led by a seasoned tour director, Helen Rigby.

Laguna Playhouse countryside

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Tour of the Irish countryside is a trip highlight 

Why these tours?

Rigby says, “Each tour meets with guest artists in discussions led by knowledgeable artistic guides, who also lead post-show discussions. This tour season we met with the two actors in the cast of Indecent, the director of Downstate (and the new artistic director of ACT in San Francisco) and a group of five young actors working (or not working) in Chicago. In Dublin we were treated to a discussion with Richard in Richard the III, Polonius from Hamlet and the playwright of Rathmines Road. Each discussion brought us more understanding of the thought and creative talent that is involved in ‘putting on a show.’” 

She adds, “And the big one: the patrons on my tours are theater aficionados. They love theater. They attend theater, they enjoy talking about theater and sharing their opinions about theater. Somehow, every single time, the group becomes a family of wine drinking, loud laughing, discussion hungry theater critics.”

Deeper understanding of theatre

“We hope that this trip will help facilitate a deeper understanding of theatre for many of our patrons who wish to take the journey with us and a greater sense of what theatre means to the Dublin community and what it could mean to our community,” says Vogel.

 The cost is $4,450 per person, double occupancy, and $5,250 for single occupancy. There is an early bird discount of $200 for reservations made before April 5, 2019. The tour group is limited in size, so places should be reserved. Reservations require a $1,000 per person deposit, along with a completed and signed reservation form, which will reserve a place for each participant(s) on this program. The balance of the trip is due on or before July 15, 2019.

For more information, contact Doug Vogel at (949) 497-2787 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Helen Rigby at (510) 350-7675 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Pageant of the Masters to hold additional casting call on Thursday

Can you stand still for 90 seconds? Perfect, you could be a volunteer cast member in the 2019 Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach. The Pageant of the Masters will hold another casting call on Thursday, March 14 from 6:30 - 9 p.m. 

The team behind the world’s most famous presentation of living pictures is in search for men, women, and children of all sizes and ages to be cast members for this summer’s Pageant of the Masters, The Time Machine.

 “I’m thrilled that we can offer another opportunity for folks to get a look backstage at the Irvine Bowl and sign up to be a volunteer cast member for the Pageant,” comments longtime Pageant Director Diane Challis Davy. “I especially wish to invite the ‘locals’ who have never seen our wonderful amphitheater and facilities.”

Pageant of the kids

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All ages are invited to volunteer in the 2019 Pageant of the Masters 

Volunteering for the Pageant of the Masters is a terrific way for people of all ages to spend their summer, and it is common to see several generations of the same family volunteering for different aspects of the show. Additionally, students can earn credit towards community service requirements.

“Back when the Pageant started in the 1930s, all the volunteers lived right here in Laguna Beach. Today, they come from all over Southern California,” Davy continues. “The production staff and creative team are looking forward to offering new-comers a warm welcome.”

The Pageant of the Masters casting call is an exciting experience for all involved. Prospective volunteers will be measured and photographed, enjoy refreshments and meet the behind-the-scenes Pageant staff. No theater experience is necessary. The only requirement is the ability to stand still and have fun.

Pageant volunteers are also needed for positions in the wardrobe, make-up, and headdress departments, as well as, cast area coordinators and refreshment servers, among other positions. 

The casting call will be held at the Irvine Bowl Park at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information on volunteering, call (949) 464-3663.


Laguna Beach Live! presents Kristin Korb Trio tomorrow at Jazz Wednesdays at [seven-degrees]

Tomorrow night (March 13), Jazz Wednesdays Winter Series 2019 presented by Laguna Beach Live! will feature the critically acclaimed bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb, with Andy Langham on piano and Duncan Moore on drums, at [seven-degrees].

There are few bassists who can sing and there are even fewer who can do it well. Kristin Korb is one of those artists who make you forget that she is playing the bass when you hear her crystalline voice. Inspired by the days when music was romantic and made you want to dance, Kristin and her trio embody that spirit and carry their audiences along for the ride.

Laguna Beach trees

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Courtesy of Kristinkorb.com

Critically acclaimed bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb performs tomorrow night at Jazz Wednesdays presented by Laguna Beach Live!

Kristen has taught at the University of Southern California where she was coordinator of vocal jazz studies, Azuza Pacific University, Grossmont Community College, and was Director of Jazz Studies at Central Washington University.

She continues to be involved in educational outreach and teaches at universities, jazz camps, and festivals with young students. She tours across the world and has performed with jazz artists such as Llew Matthews, Kim Richmond, Pete Christlieb, Jeff Hamilton, Alex Riel, and Jan Lundgren.

Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Seating is assigned. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out.

The concert is from 6 - 8 p.m., with doors opening at 5 when a full bar and buffet dinner menu are available for purchase. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org or call (949) 715-9713. 

 [seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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