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LB Live! kicks off Jazz Summer International series with The Latin Jazz Syndicate on July 16

World-renowned trumpeter and Artistic Director of Jazz for Laguna Beach Live! Bijon Watson leads the commencing concert of the 2019 Laguna Beach Live! Jazz Summer International series. 

The Latin Jazz Syndicate introduces a fusion of Latin and World rhythms through famous jazz standards. These all-star musicians pay homage to America’s indigenous music, Jazz, while maintaining the rhythmic and harmonic authenticity required of a variety of ethnic styles.

LB Live! kicks off

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The Latin Jazz Syndicate hits the stage on July 16 

Jazz Summer International takes place every other Tuesday from July 16 to August 27 at the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach. 

Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m.; doors open at 5 for food, drinks, and social hour.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, or $100 for the full season. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders, and Laguna Beach Live! membership. Reservations are accepted until noon on the day of the concert or until sold out.

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

The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach is located at 286 St Ann’s Dr. 


Timeless wonder of Festival of Arts electrifies large crowd at Preview Party

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Wednesday evening, the buzz in the air was palpable as the crowd mingled among artist booths during Preview Night at the Festival of Arts (FOA). No matter how many times one goes to the Festival of Arts, the anticipation never wanes. Each year is different and the raw excitement of seeing the unique and innovative creations of longtime exhibitors and new propels visitors among the maze of booths. 

The Festival’s prestigious juried art show includes a wide variety of media such as paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more – all by 140 of Orange County’s finest artists. 

The timeless costumes

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Lisa M. Berman and artist Kathe Madrigal with time travelers Stacey and Benjamin 

Of course, the Pageant of the Masters theme of The Time Traveler echoed throughout the grounds. Attendees were asked to dress up in their favorite time period and many did, to the delight of all. Steampunk costumes were a favorite and added a wonderful whimsy to the night. 

Part of the overall party atmosphere was the fun of spotting friends and then enjoying the beautiful weather, food, libations, and music that played throughout the evening.

First-time exhibitor Lisa Kijak describes her pieces: “My textile work explores texture and its ability to illustrate the passage of time. I use layers of fabric and stitch to recreate the peeling paint and chipped surfaces of neon signs left in disrepair.”

The timeless Lisa

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First-time exhibitor Lisa Kijak and her textile works

After her first night at FOA, she said, “The experience of exhibiting at Festival of Arts for the first time has been magical and exciting. This is a community of supportive, brilliant, fine artists, who have welcomed me as a newcomer with open arms. I am truly honored to be the only fiber artist exhibiting this year. I can’t wait for the rest of the summer and look forward to sharing my work with the festival attendees.”

Jeweler Lance Heck has been exhibiting for 34 consecutive years and was juried in when he was just 18 years old. (He admits he misses the lawn and surrounding booths of the old FOA grounds, but is getting used to the new arrangement.) “While working mostly in 18k gold, platinum and fine gemstones, my pieces are contemporary in design with craftsmanship that is ‘old world.’”

The timeless Lance

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Jeweler Lance Heck has been exhibiting for 34 consecutive years

Accolades for the event came from first-time and return visitors as well.

Kristine Thalman, president of Laguna Beach Seniors says, “This is the most all-encompassing event in Laguna! Beautiful art, good friends old and new, expressive and fun dress, fantastic music, uninhibited dancing, and all in an extraordinary setting. I never take this for granted! We are truly blessed!”

The booth of photographer Jeff Rovner, who has been exhibiting since 2017, drew quite a bit of attention. This year he’s exhibiting a portfolio of six photographs that merge his passion for photography with his work experience in the field of artificial intelligence. Each photograph of a vintage toy represents an application of artificial intelligence. The lucite pane protecting each photograph is laser-etched with an excerpt of a machine learning computer code for that application. The etched letters cast a shadow on the photograph behind them.

The timeless Jeff

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Jeff Rovner (on right) and booth visitor

Bree Poort, who works in mixed media, is a first-time exhibitor and one of the youngest to ever exhibit at the Festival. “I never thought I’d be one of these artists. It’s so cool.” In a description of her work, she says, “My artwork is deeply inspired by the ocean and the power and peace she brings. Using resin and acrylics, my work is like flying over the ocean and getting the bird’s eye view perspective.”

Rachelle Weir’s figurative sculptures are “introspective and expressive.” She says of her work, “I take inspiration from vintage materials that are rich, tactile and authentic, most of which come from treasure hunts in dusty barns, wood piles, and flea markets.” She uses many diverse materials and construction techniques in her work and is especially drawn to woodcarving and the use of found elements in her sculptures. 

The timeless Glori

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No Laguna event is complete without Glori Fickling – with Harry Huggins at the booth of Rachelle Weir and her figurative sculptures

After attending on Wednesday, Joan Gladstone, artist and trustee of Laguna College of Art and Design, said, “I feel very fortunate to live in a town that values art and artists and offers exceptional venues like the Festival of Arts. I was impressed by the wonderful new works by longtime Festival artists as well as intriguing artwork by many new exhibitors. There were so many friends to talk to at the preview party, and so much to see, that I’m going to return very soon to take it all in.”

That seemed to be the general consensus – it requires more than one visit to take in all the incredible works of art. Time to go back.

Festival of Arts is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.

It runs from July 5 - August 31, 2019.

Festival hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 11:30 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. There is early closing on August 24 at 1 p.m.

For more information, go to www.foapom.com.

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, see slideshow below


Men Without Hats to perform 80s hits, including “The Safety Dance,” at Mozambique on July 9

Men Without Hats is bringing back the rhythm of the 80s to Mozambique in a special concert on Tuesday, July 9 at 8 p.m.

In the 1980s, Men Without Hats launched onto the global pop music scene with a unique electronic sound, illustrated best by the band’s 1983 hit song and universally iconic anthem “The Safety Dance”. 

Men Without Hats have been creating iconic and irresistible pop music for three decades and have soared back with the release of their latest album, Love in the Age of War, released in May of 2012 to widespread acclaim of critics and the universal enthusiasm of fans.

Although Love In The Age of War is Men Without Hats’ first full-length release in 21 years, all eleven tracks on the album hearken back to the early 1980s. 

Men Without Hats are a Canadian new wave/synthpop group, originally from Montreal, Quebec. Their music is characterized by the distinctive baritone voice of their American-born Canadian lead singer Ivan Doroschuk, as well as their elaborate use of synthesizers and electronic processing.

They told the world “You can dance if you want to” 30 years ago – and we did. A few years later they instructed that same planet – the third – to go Pop – and we did. 

Men Without group

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Men Without Hats

Produced by Dave “Rave” Ogilvie, whose engineering credentials include releases for Skinny Puppy and Marilyn Manson, Love In The Age of War is a highly danceable, upbeat experience with a deep, heartfelt message. And it’s all the work of the man who has been the driving force behind Men Without Hats’ success for the past three decades: lead singer and composer Ivan Doroschuk. 

“We wanted to make a record like a follow-up to 1982’s “Rhythm of Youth,” Ivan told Rolling Stone magazine in June 2012, “so for this record, we went and pretended that we were working on a 24-track machine…We went out and got the old synths that we used back then.”

The result is both a New Wave time warp and a modern masterpiece that rivals anything played on Top 40 radio today. 

“Love In The Age Of War is a remarkable comeback. It revives the sound and the spirit the band initially was known for, [including] very solid songwriting. The performance is superb, and Ivan’s voice never sounded better,” says Mark Kadzielawa, 69 Faces of Rock. 

“Listening to Love In The Age of War, it is remarkable how contemporary this ‘retro’ music sounds…[F]or all its electronic, futurist elements, this is pop music with a real, beating, warm human heart,” says Phil, Sonic Abuse. 

Men Without Hats followed up their record release with two tours: a swing through South America, the U.S. and Canada in late 2012, and a series of appearances in Europe in early 2013. In fall 2013, Men Without Hats joined the Regeneration Tour for dates on the U.S. West Coast and in Mexico City. In 2016, the band hit several Australian cities for the Totally 80s Tour. In 2017, Men Without Hats embarked on a tour of Quebec and Ontario, and crisscrossed the United States on the Retro Futura Tour. The band embarked on a tour of Canada in 2018, including two dates with Lost ‘80s Live.

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 day of the show.

For tickets, click here.

Mozambique is located at 1740 S Coast Hwy.


Celebrate summer at Laguna Art-A-Fair 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Celebrate summer outside

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Start the summer right at Art-A-Fair, which runs from June 28 - September 1 with exhibits, live music, and events; for more information, go to www.art-a-fair.com

Celebrate summer Tara

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Artist Tara Luther: Art-A-Fair features 100 artists from all over the world 

Celebrate summer quilts

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Colorful quilts: Art-A-Fair offers exciting artist workshops for adults and children

Celebrate summer Scott

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Children’s book author and Illustrator Scott Sutton, who specializes in whimsical and colorful fine art paintings for children of all ages – drop by to take a look


Forest & Ocean Gallery hosts book signing with artist David Solomon and author, his daughter, on July 11

On Thursday, July 11 from 6 - 8 p.m., Forest & Ocean Gallery will host a special book signing event for the release of David Solomon: 50 Years an Artist. Guests can meet the artist and the author, his daughter Gaylen Solomon Corbett. 

Born in East Los Angeles in 1943, David Solomon was first exposed to the arts by his uncle who taught him how to paint signs. “He encouraged me to watch how the big billboards were painted in the city around us. I could watch these billboard artists paint everything from new cars to high fashion. That was my first 

art class.” 

Forest and closeup

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David Solomon on location

It was his interests in art and engineering that helped him find his way out of the barrio. “I first studied engineering and geology, then architecture and design.”  In his late teens, he left the electronics firm he was working for and enrolled in Art Center College of Design, then located in Los Angeles. After a career as a product and architectural designer, he hung up his T-square and triangle to focus on fine art. He has never regretted that decision. It has led to a full life of travel and painting with fellow artists for over 50 years.

Forest and book cover

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Book launch on July 11

In the late 1960s, Solomon moved to Laguna Beach where he became immersed in the local arts culture. He was a regular exhibitor at the Festival of Arts for 30 years and was the first artist ever commissioned to create a painting especially for display in the Pageant of the Masters. David is a signature member of Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) and participates in the organization’s annual events and shows.

The book chronicles Solomon’s career from his early beginnings in East L.A. to his discovery of Laguna Beach in the early 1970s, through to the present day. Plein air history, photos, and stories by other local artists are also included. Selected works by David Solomon will be on display and for sale.

Forest and Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave.

For more information, go to www.forestoceangallery.com or call (949) 371-3313.


Art-To-Go Full Circle opens at Festival of Arts

Art collectors who love circles will enjoy the 2019 Art-To-Go collection at Festival of Arts. More than 100 exhibitors donated originals under the theme “Full Circle” in celebration of the fundraisers’ 20th Anniversary.

Works are available for purchase daily, July 3 through August 25, during regular Festival hours.

Art To Go Full vase

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Photo by Gar Cropser

Glass vessel by Marcus Thesing is among 100 items for sale

Those visiting the Festival July 3 - 6 may cast votes for the People’s Choice artist. All ballots will be entered into a drawing for a free prize from the Festival Gift Shop. Find ballots at the Art-To Go displays. The winning voter and artists will be announced on July 7 at 5:15 p.m. on the Festival stage. 

Art To Go Full ballots

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Photo by Gar Cropser

Kyle Larsen and Wendy Wirth count ballots for the People’s Choice artist

Proceeds from Art-To-Go sales benefit The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts, providing hardship and disaster relief grants for artists in need. 

To view the online gallery, visit www.theartistsfund-foa.org. For more information, call (949) 612-1949.

Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Laguna Beach Live! welcomes Susan Davis to Board of Trustees

Laguna Beach Live! is pleased to welcome Susan Davis to its Board of Trustees. Susan grew up in New York and has also lived in Boston, Chicago, Houston, and in Laguna Niguel for the past 22 years. 

Davis has a BA in Art History from Emmanuel College in Boston. She is currently the Director of Special Events and Member Services at Laguna’s Festival of Arts where she has been for almost 20 years.

Laguna Beach Susan

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The newest Laguna Beach Live! Board of Trustees member, Susan Davis

The nonprofit organization Laguna Beach Live! formed in 2001 to increase the awareness of and participation in diverse musical experiences, enhancing the reputation of Laguna Beach as a music town and enriching the lives of residents, students, and visitors to Laguna Beach. The organization annually presents over 30 live music concerts and free education events. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.


The Latin Jazz Syndicate kicks off LB Live! Jazz Summer International series on July 16

World-renowned trumpeter and Artistic Director of Jazz for Laguna Beach Live! Bijon Watson leads the commencing concert of the 2019 Laguna Beach Live! Jazz Summer International series. 

The Latin Jazz Syndicate introduces a fusion of Latin and World rhythms through famous jazz standards. These all-star musicians pay homage to America’s indigenous music, Jazz, while maintaining the rhythmic and harmonic authenticity required of a variety of ethnic styles.

The Latin Jazz group

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

The Latin Jazz Syndicate hits the stage on July 16 

Jazz Summer International takes place every other Tuesday from July 16 to August 27 at the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach. 

Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m.; doors open at 5 for food, drinks, and social hour.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door, or $100 for the full season. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders, and Laguna Beach Live! membership. Reservations are accepted until noon on the day of the concert or until sold out.

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

The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach is located at 286 St Ann’s Dr.


Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund receives grant from FOA 

The Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund has been awarded a generous grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation. The grant will assist in providing funds for art classes that are offered free to military personnel and their spouses. 

This successful and rewarding program began in 2016 and offers classes in a variety of media including jewelry fabrication, print making, drawing, painting, and more. SAEF classes are taught by professional local artists on the Sawdust grounds. The classes provide an opportunity to receive art as therapy, or as a pathway to making a business for entrepreneurship. 

Sawdust Art project

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Students working on a project with SAEF 

The Sawdust Art Education Fund is a philanthropic effort which supports educating the public through art programs that provide hands-on experiences. The art workshops are offered to seniors, at-risk youth, and military and their families. SAEF has also worked alongside the nonprofit organization American Family Housing to provide art classes to formerly homeless at-risk youth. 

For more information about the Sawdust Art Enrichment Fund or to make a contribution, visit www.sawdustartfestival.org/about/saef.


Laguna Beach Live! and LBHS Jazz bring music to Boys & Girls Club of LB

Laguna Beach Live! recently brought musicians from the Laguna Beach High School Jazz Band to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach to give members a chance to experience the feel and sound of instruments such as the violin, clarinet, and various saxophones. 

Before allowing the instruments to be tried and “petted” by B&G Club attendees, the musicians, Elijah Dawson, Adam Retana, and brothers Will and Theo Coffey, demonstrated their instruments and talked about the joys and benefits of being in a band. 

Laguna Beach classroom

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LBHS Jazz Band students performing for the Boys & Girls Club of LB

At the end of the visit, club director Hans Laroche encouraged an impromptu performance by the band members, enjoyed by everyone at the club. 

The Instrument Petting Zoo is one of the free programs presented at the Club by Laguna Beach Live! that is made possible by a $3,000 grant from Festival of Arts Foundation. 

Laguna Beach instrument

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Submitted photo

Students had a chance to feel the instruments

Other education programs include performances at the Club and public schools by musicians who perform in the Live! at the Museum on the second Thursday of each month and free concerts at the Susi Q Senior Center.

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.

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