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Laguna Playhouse to honor Otis Healy at annual gala on March 28

Laguna Playhouse is proud to honor Otis M. Healy at its annual gala at Fashion Island Hotel in Newport Beach on Saturday, March 28. 

Otis Healy has supported Laguna Playhouse as a donor since 1994 and served on the board twice between the years of 1998 – 2015. He now currently serves as a Board Member Emeritus and is on both the Irvine Hospital and Oncology committees for Hoag Hospital. 

Laguna Playhouse couple

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Otis Healy with wife JoAnn 

One of his greatest accomplishments was as a student at USC in 1948, when he founded Troy Camp for kids in South Central Los Angeles. It is one of the oldest and largest philanthropy organizations within the USC community, providing mentorship, tutoring, extracurricular programming, and an annual summer camp for 200 students. Today, the organization is run entirely by students and alumni and funded through philanthropic donations.

It is through the same vision Otis began Troy Camp with that Laguna Playhouse has been inspired to expand its outreach programs to underserved groups throughout Orange County. As Past-Chair of Laguna Playhouse, Otis Healy was instrumental in transforming the theatre from a community-based theatre to a regional professional theatre producing much of its own content.

“Otis has been part of the success of Laguna Playhouse for more than two decades and has been a vital part of our economical sustainability as a regional theatre,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director.

The gala on March 28 will pay tribute to Otis Healy and his great family attending in his honor, his energy and enthusiasm for promoting collaboration between community organizations, and for his great sense of humor that is loved by all who adore him and brings them together.

This year’s Gala, chaired by Lisa Hale, will feature a cocktail reception, live entertainment, a tribute to Otis Healy, a live and silent auction, music, and dancing.  Tickets are $500. 

For sponsorship information, visit www.lagunaplayhousegala.org.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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Bank of America supports Laguna Playhouse’s TheatreReach program

Laguna Playhouse is honored to receive support from Bank of America for its TheatreReach program done in partnership with Anaheim High School.

Laguna Playhouse is proud to announce the continuation of its workforce development program that provides Anaheim High School students with the workforce skills and knowledge that helps them enter the growing performing arts industry in Anaheim and Orange County. 

In a pilot program that began in fall of 2018, Laguna Playhouse brought theatre professionals to Anaheim High School over a period of thirteen weeks and provided hands-on training, teaching them how to produce a play from start to finish.   

Students were instructed in the technical aspects of producing a play, such as sound, lighting, costume and set design, and character building through research. In addition, students learned the professional aspects of theatre, including how to act on and off stage, how to audition for a role, and how to interview for professional cast and crew positions. 

Bank of outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Playhouse is honored to receive support from Bank of America for its TheatreReach program 

“In our work with Anaheim High School, Laguna Playhouse Education’s TheatreReach program trains students to collaborate, to communicate, to lead, to create, to question, to engage in critical thinking, and product iteration. 

“Theatre is the original maker-space where we explore the world in 3D and we are teaching them personal exploration, empathy, fabrication, and storytelling so these students can voice the next big idea to our world,” said Dylan Russell, Director of Education & Outreach.

Because of funding partners such as Bank of America, Laguna Playhouse will be able to continue its work in Anaheim, expanding this workforce development program in readiness of the growing performing arts and entertainment industries in the City of Anaheim and throughout Orange County.

“These skills that the students are learning are very marketable for positions at performing arts venues, theme parks, sports arenas, resorts, and hotels,” said Doug Vogel, Laguna Playhouse Director of Development. “Some of the interpersonal communicational skills learned from the experience can also be applied to business opportunities in general.”

“The arts matter in Orange County as both an important cultural driver and a local economic engine and exposing students to the creative arts industry is a terrific way to prepare them for many careers in business. Organizations today operate in a highly competitive, global environment, making creativity crucial,” said Allen Staff, Bank of America Orange County Market President. 

“We love Laguna Playhouse’s TheaterReach program that introduces students to the arts and to professional pathways because it reflects our own focus on the arts and on workforce development for teens and young adults.”

Last Spring, the students at Anaheim High School worked with Laguna Playhouse to produce The Giver for two nights on the stage at the Cook Auditorium. 

The play was performed in the round, a format where the audience sits on the stage surrounding the set and the actors as they perform. The production was attended by students, parents, elected officials, and other members of the community who came to support the students’ efforts.

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

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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Hortense Miller Garden presents free Art in the Garden Workshop on Saturday

On Saturday, Feb 15 from 9:45 a.m. - 12 p.m., Hortense Miller Garden presents a free Art in the Garden Workshop. Men, women, boys, and girls are invited to this free workshop at the world-famous Hortense Miller Garden. 

Take inspiration from the beauty around you to create your own interpretation of our coastal landscape of sea and flowers. 

The Hortense Miller Garden, a hidden Laguna Gem, features a 2.5-acre garden with over a dozen unique trails and a pristine Mid-Century Modern home build by Knowlton Fernald in 1958 on the slope of Boat Canyon. 

Hortense Miller view

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Hortense Miller Garden presents a free Art in the Garden Workshop on Saturday

Tucked under towering Torrey Pines, planted from one-gallon saplings in 1959, there are over 600 plant species of which about 150 are California natives.  The wondrous variety of plantings gives the garden color and texture during every season. The walls of glass of this home offer breathtaking ocean views. 

The original furnishings give the home a rare authenticity, fitting of a true Laguna artist. The Aviary Gallery features an exhibit of the original renderings of the home drawn by the architect in 1958.

The workshop and all materials are free to participants who must register in advance for the class by calling Marsha Bode at (949) 244-2010 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Directions on how to get to the garden will be provided with registration.

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Laguna Beach Live! presents Grammy-winning Peter Erskine on Wednesday

On Wednesday, Feb 12, Laguna Beach Live! kicks off its 2020 Jazz Winter Wednesdays series at [seven-degrees] with Grammy-winning drummer Peter Erskine and his trio. 

Joining Erskine on stage will be pianist Alan Pasqua, who has played and recorded with the world’s best jazz musicians including Stanley Clark, and Michael and Randy Brecker. 

His pop credits include being a member of Bob Dylan and Santana’s bands; he has also toured with Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Elton John, and Queen Latifah. 

Laguna Beach Erskine

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Grammy-winning drummer Peter Erskine hits the stage on Wednesday with pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Darek Oles

Also on stage will be bassist Darek Oles, one of the West Coast’s most sought-after bass players. Darek remains busy in studios, concerts, and jazz clubs, freelancing with jazz greats such as Billy Childs, Charles Lloyd, and Ravi Coltrane.

Jazz Wednesdays presents some of the hottest straight-ahead jazz musicians in the region. Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m.; doors open at 5 when a full bar and dinner will be available on a pre-sale basis. Tickets are $30 in advance, $35 at the door, and can be purchased at www.lagunabeachlive.org

For more information, call (949) 715-9713. 

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

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Rock for the Cause to benefit Friendship Shelter features local duo Ruby Haunt on Wednesday

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Rock for the Cause, which benefits Friendship Shelter, is always a great evening of fun, wonderful food, and amazing live music. This year’s event will be held at Mozambique on Wednesday, Feb 12 from 6 - 10 p.m. Tickets are available here.

Each ticket will include entry into the event, two hosted drinks, and appetizers. Additionally, Mozambique is generously donating 20 percent of all food and beverage sales back to Friendship Shelter. 

Rock for the Cause is a festive and raucous event to aid Friendship Shelter’s work ending homelessness in south Orange County. Stu News Laguna owner Shaena Stabler and local architect Marshall Ininns are co-hosting the event. The two are on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit together and have been co-hosting the event for almost a decade.

“I think this is the eighth year I have co-hosted with Marshall,” says Stabler. “Marshall asked Stu if we might want to get involved together. Stu told me ‘we’re doing it,’ and thus began my journey with Friendship Shelter. Stu had no idea of my first-hand experience with homelessness at the time.”

Asked what her connection to homelessness is, Stabler says, “I experienced homelessness – as a young child and in my early 20s. It’s something that impacted me personally. But it doesn’t define me anymore – I have a home, a community, and a very good life – in a way, it feels like an echo for me now.”

Rock for the Cause Shaena and Marshall

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Photo by Lisa Farber

(L-R) Marshall Ininns and Shaena Stabler at past Rock for the Cause event; together they have hosted almost a decade of events to benefit Friendship Shelter

Featured at the event will be Frank Turner Simes, who is a Grammy-nominated and platinum-record awarded musician, guitarist, songwriter, composer, and record producer. Simes is the musical director for Roger Daltrey, and has recorded and performed with Mick Jagger, Don Henley, and Stevie Nicks. As The Who and Roger Daltrey’s musical director and multi-instrumentalist, he has brought fresh elements to the sounds and arrangements for the world tours of Tommy, Quadrophenia, and The Who Hits 50!, as well as the 2012 Olympics performance. 

At this year’s Rock for the Cause, there will be an added musical bonus. Ruby Haunt – made up of two Laguna born and raised musicians, Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, will be performing in their hometown for the first time. They have joined the show to kick off the event before Frank Simes’ band.

Stabler is especially excited that Ruby Haunt is performing this year. “I have been listening to Ruby Haunt for five years; I was first exposed to them through Marshall (Wyatt’s father). I was immediately hooked to their music, they are so talented. Honestly, they could be future Grammy winners. I am just so excited to see where their path takes them and can’t wait to listen to them live on February 12th at Rock for the Cause.”

Marshall Ininns says, “I am very  proud of my son and his fast growing music career. I am even more proud of him for his willingness to give his time and talent to help resolve homelessness in southern Orange County.”

Rock for color duo

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Wyatt Ininns (on left) and Victor Pakpour

Ruby Haunt is an American musical project conceived by childhood friends Ininns and Pakpour sometime in 2015. The duo wrote their first three EPs while in school via opposite ends of the west coast (Los Angeles and Portland), exchanging musical ideas over email. During this time, they received support from Nowness, Henrik Purienne, Vogue Italia, and various taste-making YouTube channels for their unique songwriting and self-produced music videos.

They now have produced five albums: Sugar, 2016; Nevada, 2017; Blue Hour, 2018, Bully, 2019, and Middle of Nowhere, 2019.

The duo became close friends in middle school and found they were inspired by the same music. Ininns sings and writes lyrics, and Pakpour composes the songs and produces. 

Evidently, the match is working, as they have received rave reviews.

Their music has been depicted as alternative/indie, which by definition, means it doesn’t fit into any particular genre.

A review introducing Ruby Haunt on Musicallyproper.com in August of 2016 says, “Currently based in L.A., this duo is making some of the best minimal pop I’ve heard in a long time. Ruby Haunt takes after more of an aesthetic than a genre.”

Aesthetic is the perfect word. I agree, no matter the song – whether pop, a ballad, or one with a nostalgic melody – it’s all gorgeous and artful.

In a review in Honey Punch Magazine, Emma Watts says, “What I love so much about music is that the simplest of sounds put into an interesting pattern can affect your emotions and what you’re visualizing in your head. With these songs you can feel on top of the world, out of this world, or the smallest thing in the world.”

After listening to their song “Honey,” I would describe their sound as silky and smooth as honey. It’s liquid, and lush, and haunting at times. 

Rock for playing

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Ruby Haunt performing

A 2019 review of the their album Middle of Nowhere on janglepophub.home says, “This Los Angeles based two piece, consisting of Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, certainly know how to develop the aural soundscapes within their songs with ‘Cobwebs,’ ‘Answering Machine’ and the impeccable ‘Breather displaying a somewhat unnerving ability to attach a musical picture to an initial isolated jangle-gaze riff and then creating subtle and multiple layers of sound upon this foundation of beauty.”

I have no idea what a jangle-gaze riff is, but it sounds as if it’s a good thing.

Asked about their appearance at Rock for the Cause, Ininns says, We have always admired what the Friendship Shelter does, and we are super excited to be able to take part in such a great event. Victor and I both grew up in Laguna but this will be our first time playing a concert in town. We are thrilled to be able to join this year and get to play alongside some amazing musicians for a good cause.”

Pakpour agrees, “We are really humbled to be included in the cause. My band member Wyatt and I have lived in Laguna our whole lives and have seen first-hand the impact that homelessness has had on those individuals. We are happy to support this fundraiser and are excited to be playing for members of our hometown trying to make a difference.” 

Giving back 

Stabler says of her time homeless, “With that experience comes a responsibility to give back. I’ve definitely had angels along the way, people who have mentored me and lifted me up. I feel it’s my responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ and help others too.

“With Friendship Shelter, I am able to give back and support a nonprofit that is doing the work to end homelessness – which means literally getting people off the streets and into housing because then they are no longer ‘homeless’. From there, the services and ‘path up’ can happen. It all starts with housing – get a roof over your head, and then anything is possible. Without housing, without the stability of knowing that you have a place to rest your body and mind for the night, it’s almost impossible to do be the best version of yourself that you were meant to be.”

So come out and join the fun, enjoy the food and fantastic musical entertainment – and celebrate Ruby Haunt’s first time playing in Laguna – all for a good cause.

Tickets start at $75 and are available on Friendship Shelter’s website at www.friendshipshelter.org/events.

For more information on Friendship Shelter’s programs and services, visit www.friendshipshelter.org

Mozambique is located at 1740 South Coast Hwy.

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Laguna born and raised artist designs Festival of Whales logo for 2020

Two years ago, Laguna native Mika (pronounced Meeka) Denny was in the running for the Festival of Whales in Dana Point’s logo design contest. This year, the festival has decided to use her logo for the 2020 event. 

“Good things come to those who wait,” she says. 

The Festival of Whales Foundation Board was very impressed with the submission,” says Festival Coordinator Andrea Swayne. “This design really stuck out to the board. Mika’s artwork is the perfect celebratory feel to represent all the fun new additions we have planned for the Festival of Whales in 2020.”

The festival, which is commemorating its 49th anniversary, celebrates the annual migration of whales along the coast, and this year will be held on March 7, 8, 14, and 15.

Laguna born Mika

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Mika Denny with her design for the 2020 Festival of the Whales

Mika has lots of Laguna Beach connections. 

Laguna Beach is my hometown, actually born at the hospital there as were my kids – attended Aliso Elementary, Thurston, and LBHS. I was the cheerleading coach at LBHS for five years. My 20-year-old daughter is currently attending LCAD.” 

As a kid, Mika used to love to search for whale spouts and spent most every summer day at the beach. She loves the sea and says she is amazed by all of the ocean’s creatures, especially whales. She has been on whale watching trips many times with Captain Dave’s Safari and Dana Wharf Whale Watching. 

Upon graduating from Laguna Beach High School, Mika was awarded a four-year art scholarship from the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts. With that she attended Cal State Fullerton and earned a degree in graphic design. 

Laguna born logo

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2020 Festival of the Whales

During her later years, she lived and worked in Laguna Beach as a Creative Director for a publishing company. She started her own graphic design agency in 2010 and won several awards for logo design, graphic design, and illustration.

As stated in the Dana Point Times,She solely used Adobe Illustrator to create her design. She says it all came down to color and shape. ‘I picked out the complementary colors that I know would make the eye happy. I love playing around with interesting shapes. I love distinguishing shapes within other shapes. And I think that’s pretty evident in this design.’”

She currently resides in Santa Ana and has since retired from her graphic design business and is pursuing fine arts projects in ceramics and drawing. 

For a list of events for the Festival of the Whales, go to www.festivalofwhales.com

For more information about Mika, visit  www.mikaworks.art/about-mika, www.instagram.com/mikaworks/, or www.mikaworks.art/work.

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Laguna College of Art and Design Animation

celebrates 20th anniversary with new exhibition

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) BFA program in Animation celebrates its 20th anniversary with an exhibition that honors the history of hand-drawn classical animation, Line-Form-Motion-Emotion: The 2D Classical Animation Process. The exhibition at LCAD Gallery in downtown Laguna Beach opened on Thursday, Feb 6 and will run through February 27. 

During Art Walk on February 6, students and visitors had the opportunity to watch a live animation demonstration by LCAD Alumna and freelance animator Sophia Green. She will also be at a vintage animator’s desk on the following dates and times: Saturday, Feb 15 and Saturday, Feb 22 from noon to 3 p.m. 

Laguna College Sophia

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LCAD Alumna and freelance animator Sophia Green

The exhibition features rarely seen hand-drawn images of the character Doc from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, by legendary Disney animator Fred Moore. Visitors will see hand-drawn animation sequences that detail the creative stages of 2D character animation. Works by prominent animators from the personal collections of Dave Kuhn, former chair of LCAD Animation, and Daniel Boulos, current Animation program chair, are also on display. 

Laguna College animation

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Hand-drawn animation sequences

“From the very beginning, each student who undertakes the LCAD Animation degree program is trained in the tradition of hand-drawn animation to bring characters to life through motion and emotion,” said Boulos. “Whether our students are working with paper, pixels, or puppets, they become exceptional storytellers who understand the entire process of filmmaking.” 

Laguna College Burke

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President of LCAD Jonathan Burke

Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD, says, “We hope our neighbors as well as visitors from far and wide come and see this extraordinary exhibition showing how animators become actors with pencils. Not only does this exhibition celebrate the rich artistic heritage of traditional animation, it also gives an insight into the emotional storytelling abilities an animator must possess to bring hand-drawn characters to life. What sets LCAD Animation apart, is that students develop the ability to conceptualize stories, then draw the 2D characters that convincingly move, speak, and act.”

Laguna College Rayna

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Rayna Lenski, recent LCAD Animation graduate

Founded in 1961, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is one of the top art and design schools in the nation. LCAD offers undergraduate degrees (BFA) in Animation, Drawing + Painting, Experimental Animation, Game Art, Graphic Design + Digital Media, Illustration and Illustration in Entertainment Design, as well as Master of Fine Arts degrees (MFA) in Drawing, Game Design, and Painting. 

Since its founding, LCAD’s BFA program in Animation has produced a cadre of diverse alumni who have gone on to work at studios such as Cartoon Network, Disney, DreamWorks, Industrial Light & Magic, Nickelodeon, Obsidian Entertainment, Pixar, Sony, and Warner Bros. to name a few. 

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave and is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is always free. 

For more information, visit www.lcad.edu.

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Laguna Playhouse presents Barefoot in the Park with Rida Rudner and Paul Rodriguez

Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard are thrilled to announce that two comic legends, Rita Rudner and Paul Rodriguez, will star in the hilarious and heartfelt comedy Barefoot in the Park, written by Neil Simon and directed by Michael Matthews. 

Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “To have not one, but two comedy icons sharing our stage in the upcoming revival of Neil Simon’s classic comedy certainly makes this one of the theatrical events of the new year! Our subscribers and audiences are in for such a treat with this fresh look at the story of a free-spirited young woman and her much less spirited husband.” 

Barefoot in the Park begins previews on Wednesday, Feb 26, will open on Sunday, March 1 at 5:30 p.m., and runs through Sunday, March 22. 

Laguna Playhouse Rudner

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Comic legend Rita Rudner to co-star in “Barefoot in the Park”

In Barefoot in the Park, Paul and Corie Bratter are newlyweds in every sense of the word. Fresh off a honeymoon at the Plaza Hotel, free-spirited Corie and her buttoned-down husband Paul find themselves struggling to adjust to married life in their too expensive, run-down New York walk-up. 

Throw in a loopy meddling mother, an eccentric Bohemian upstairs neighbor, and a double date that goes disastrously wrong, and you’ve got the perfect recipe for laughter! Director Michael Matthews (Twelve Angry Men, The Graduate) returns to direct this hilarious new look at this “bubbling, rib-tickling comedy” (The New York Times). 

Rita Rudner (Mrs. Ethel Banks) has performed over 2,000 solo shows in Las Vegas since the MGM Corporation built a theatre for her in 2002. She was named Las Vegas “Comedian Of The Year” nine years in a row, in 2006 received The Nevada Ballet’s Woman Of The Year Award, and in 2017 received a Casino Entertainment Legend Award. 

Paul Rodriguez has been making audiences laugh all over the world (in Spanish and English) for over three decades with his unique brand of humor that is a perfect blend of his Latin heritage, the American dream. and his undeniable universal appeal. 

Laguna Playhouse Rodriguez

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Comic legend Paul Rodriguez to co-star in “Barefoot in the Park” 

As an actor and comedian, Paul Rodriguez’s multi-faceted career includes starring roles and featured appearances in over 45 films and countless television series and comedy specials. 

The Cast for Barefoot in the Park will also feature: Lily Gibson (Harvey) as “Corie Bratter,” Nick Tag (The Graduate) as “Paul Bratter,” John Massey (The Graduate) as the “Telephone Man,” and Thomas Silcott as the “Delivery Man.”

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. and 5:30 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, Feb 22 and Thursday, March 19 at 2 p.m. and Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. There will be no performance on Sunday, March 1 at 1 p.m.    

There will be Talk-Backs following the performances on Saturday, March 7 at 2 p.m. and Thursday, March 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $61 - $101 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. Prices are subject to change.

The box office is open Mondays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days), and on Sundays from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. 

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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Laguna Craft Guild sets up on Cobblestones at Main Beach for show on Sunday

Although the location has changed over the years, on Sunday, Feb 9, the Laguna Craft Guild continues an over four-decade tradition of setting up their wares for the community. The artisan group will be displaying at the Cobblestones at Main Beach from 9 a.m. until sunset. 

The Laguna Craft Guild was started in the early 1970s as a way for local artists and craftsmen to sell their work. It is a non-juried show with two simple rules: you live in Laguna Beach and you make what you sell. Originally Forest Avenue was closed on Sundays, and the artists set up for the day a few times a year. Later the show was on Ocean some days and on Forest some days. 

The group’s current home is on the Cobblestones next to The Greeter’s Corner Restaurant on 14 Sundays a year. The artists must be present to show their work so this is a great opportunity for the public to meet the makers. 

Laguna Craft umbrellas

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Vendors set up on Main Beach Cobblestones from 9 a.m. until sunset on Sunday

A few of the many vendors represented are:

Oil painter Cliff Wassman (a graduate of The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) whose work garnered attention from Lucasfilm’s art licensee Acme Archives, which went on to publish his work for sale at Comic-Con and Star Wars events. Cliff has a studio and gallery in the Village. Sold and collected worldwide, his latest  theme is mixing time periods and blending the familiar with the fantastic in a whimsical mash-up of classical realism and contemporary culture. Cliff is on the Board of the Laguna Craft Guild and has also served on the Board of the Sawdust Festival.

Illustrator Laurel Meister (a graduate of Art Center College of Design) once did a mural at the home of Michelle Pfeiffer and has illustrated children’s books. Laurel sits on both the Laguna Craft Guild Board of Directors and The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund, whose purpose is to bring art education to the underserved. Her current series is inspired by fortunes from fortune cookies. Next up she plans to combine iconic GenX symbols with iconic paintings. Laurel’s work is in collections worldwide. 

Laguna Craft glassware

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Beautiful vases for sale

Gold and silversmith David Nelson has been exhibiting in Laguna Beach since 1969. David has been an exhibitor at the Sawdust for 50 years, a member of the Laguna Craft Guild since 1972, and is a founding artists of the Sawdust Winter Fantasy. During the summer, David moves his entire shop to his Sawdust booth and can be found creating, sizing, designing, and customizing his jewelry late into every night. He has also exhibited in numerous art shows in Southern California for many years.

Glass Artist Muffin Spencer-Devlin, whose first career was as a professional golfer, studied glass blowing under longtime Laguna resident and artist John Barber. Muffin will incorporate ashes of loved ones into her glass vessels. 

Hodel McRae has been designing and creating jewelry for over 20 years. She hand makes every piece, which makes them unique and one of a kind. Hodel works with sterling silver, 14K gold-filled, and leather. She exhibits her work at the Laguna Craft Guild shows, the Sawdust Festival, in the Laguna Art Museum gift shop, and on her Etsy page. She sits on the Boards of the Laguna Craft Guild and The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund.

Mark Sanderson is a photographer who has captured our beautiful coastline for over 30 years. His vibrant images are dazzling.

For more information on Laguna Craft Guild, go to www.lagunacraftguild.org.

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Rock for the Cause to benefit Friendship Shelter features local duo Ruby Haunt on Feb 12

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Rock for the Cause, which benefits Friendship Shelter, is always a great evening of fun, wonderful food, and amazing live music. This year’s event will be held at Mozambique on Wednesday, Feb 12 from 6 - 10 p.m., and tickets are now on sale.

Each ticket will include entry into the event, two hosted drinks, and appetizers. Additionally, Mozambique is generously donating 20 percent of all food and beverage sales back to Friendship Shelter. 

Rock for the Cause is a festive and raucous event to aid Friendship Shelter’s work ending homelessness in south Orange County. Stu News Laguna owner Shaena Stabler and local architect Marshall Ininns are co-hosting the event. The two are on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit together and have been co-hosting the event for almost a decade.

“I think this is the eighth year I have co-hosted with Marshall,” says Stabler. “Marshall asked Stu if we might want to get involved together. Stu told me ‘we’re doing it,’ and thus began my journey with Friendship Shelter. Stu had no idea of my first-hand experience with homelessness at the time.”

Asked what her connection to homelessness is, Stabler says, “I experienced homelessness – as a young child and in my early 20s. It’s something that impacted me personally. But it doesn’t define me anymore – I have a home, a community, and a very good life – in a way, it feels like an echo for me now.”

Rock for the Cause Shaena and Marshall

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Photo by Lisa Farber

(L-R) Marshall Ininns and Shaena Stabler at past Rock for the Cause event; together they have hosted almost a decade of events to benefit Friendship Shelter

Featured at the event will be Frank Turner Simes, who is a Grammy-nominated and platinum-record awarded musician, guitarist, songwriter, composer, and record producer. Simes is the musical director for Roger Daltrey, and has recorded and performed with Mick Jagger, Don Henley, and Stevie Nicks. As The Who and Roger Daltrey’s musical director and multi-instrumentalist, he has brought fresh elements to the sounds and arrangements for the world tours of Tommy, Quadrophenia, and The Who Hits 50!, as well as the 2012 Olympics performance. 

At this year’s Rock for the Cause, there will be an added musical bonus. Ruby Haunt – made up of two Laguna born and raised musicians, Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, will be performing in their hometown for the first time. They have joined the show to kick off the event before Frank Simes’ band.

Stabler is especially excited that Ruby Haunt is performing this year. “I have been listening to Ruby Haunt for five years; I was first exposed to them through Marshall (Wyatt’s father). I was immediately hooked to their music, they are so talented. Honestly, they could be future Grammy winners. I am just so excited to see where their path takes them and can’t wait to listen to them live on February 12th at Rock for the Cause.”

Marshall Ininns says, “I am very  proud of my son and his fast growing music career. I am even more proud of him for his willingness to give his time and talent to help resolve homelessness in southern Orange County.”

Rock for color duo

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Submitted photo

Wyatt Ininns (on left) and Victor Pakpour

Ruby Haunt is an American musical project conceived by childhood friends Ininns and Pakpour sometime in 2015. The duo wrote their first three EPs while in school via opposite ends of the west coast (Los Angeles and Portland), exchanging musical ideas over email. During this time, they received support from Nowness, Henrik Purienne, Vogue Italia, and various taste-making YouTube channels for their unique songwriting and self-produced music videos.

They now have produced five albums: Sugar, 2016; Nevada, 2017; Blue Hour, 2018, Bully, 2019, and Middle of Nowhere, 2019.

The duo became close friends in middle school and found they were inspired by the same music. Ininns sings and writes lyrics, and Pakpour composes the songs and produces. 

Evidently, the match is working, as they have received rave reviews.

Their music has been depicted as alternative/indie, which by definition, means it doesn’t fit into any particular genre.

A review introducing Ruby Haunt on Musicallyproper.com in August of 2016 says, “Currently based in L.A., this duo is making some of the best minimal pop I’ve heard in a long time. Ruby Haunt takes after more of an aesthetic than a genre.”

Aesthetic is the perfect word. I agree, no matter the song – whether pop, a ballad, or one with a nostalgic melody – it’s all gorgeous and artful.

In a review in Honey Punch Magazine, Emma Watts says, “What I love so much about music is that the simplest of sounds put into an interesting pattern can affect your emotions and what you’re visualizing in your head. With these songs you can feel on top of the world, out of this world, or the smallest thing in the world.”

After listening to their song “Honey,” I would describe their sound as silky and smooth as honey. It’s liquid, and lush, and haunting at times. 

Rock for playing

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Submitted photo

Ruby Haunt performing

A 2019 review of the their album Middle of Nowhere on janglepophub.home says, “This Los Angeles based two piece, consisting of Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, certainly know how to develop the aural soundscapes within their songs with ‘Cobwebs,’ ‘Answering Machine’ and the impeccable ‘Breather displaying a somewhat unnerving ability to attach a musical picture to an initial isolated jangle-gaze riff and then creating subtle and multiple layers of sound upon this foundation of beauty.”

I have no idea what a jangle-gaze riff is, but it sounds as if it’s a good thing.

Asked about their appearance at Rock for the Cause, Ininns says, We have always admired what the Friendship Shelter does, and we are super excited to be able to take part in such a great event. Victor and I both grew up in Laguna but this will be our first time playing a concert in town. We are thrilled to be able to join this year and get to play alongside some amazing musicians for a good cause.”

Pakpour agrees, “We are really humbled to be included in the cause. My band member Wyatt and I have lived in Laguna our whole lives and have seen first-hand the impact that homelessness has had on those individuals. We are happy to support this fundraiser and are excited to be playing for members of our hometown trying to make a difference.” 

Giving back 

Stabler says of her time homeless, “With that experience comes a responsibility to give back. I’ve definitely had angels along the way, people who have mentored me and lifted me up. I feel it’s my responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ and help others too.

“With Friendship Shelter, I am able to give back and support a nonprofit that is doing the work to end homelessness – which means literally getting people off the streets and into housing because then they are no longer ‘homeless’. From there, the services and ‘path up’ can happen. It all starts with housing – get a roof over your head, and then anything is possible. Without housing, without the stability of knowing that you have a place to rest your body and mind for the night, it’s almost impossible to do be the best version of yourself that you were meant to be.”

So come out and join the fun, enjoy the food and fantastic musical entertainment – and celebrate Ruby Haunt’s first time playing in Laguna – all for a good cause.

Tickets start at $75 and are available on Friendship Shelter’s website at www.friendshipshelter.org/events.

For more information on Friendship Shelter’s programs and services, visit www.friendshipshelter.org

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