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Laguna Beach

International Sanctuary celebrates 11 years of aiding survivors of human trafficking with gala on Sept 16 

In support of their mission, which is to empower girls and women escaping human trafficking to embrace their true identity and worth, the not-for-profit International Sanctuary celebrates its 11th year by hosting an evening of powerful stories about human trafficking around the world. 

A dinner and reception held at [seven degrees] on Sunday, Sept 16 will raise funds for women and girls striving for a better future. By providing meaningful employment through International Sanctuary’s social enterprise, Purpose Jewelry, girls are able to support themselves and obtain job training and experience. 

“Human trafficking is an epidemic hidden in plain sight,” says International Sanctuary founder Wendy Dailey. “This criminal industry generates $150 billion annually and affects every country in the world, including the United States. This annual event helps us come together and socialize with fellow humanitarians who are passionate about fighting for freedom.”

International Sanctuary girls in school

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Girls obtain tools to rebuild their lives

International Sanctuary was founded in 2007 to empower girls and women escaping human trafficking. The organization has grown to four sanctuaries globally (India, Uganda, Mexico and OC, CA) and provides young women and girls escaping human trafficking the tools they need to rebuild their lives. 

Through iSanctuary’s wide range of holistic care services young women can begin to heal and grow in mind, body, and soul. It is iSanctuary’s mission to not just sustain victims of modern-day slavery, but to provide the tools and life skills they need to embrace their true identity and worth, and transform into survivors with true freedom. 

 Tickets are $200 per person and tables start at $1,200. The evening begins at 5 p.m. and cocktail attire is recommended. Attendees will enjoy a Ketel One martini bar, dinner buffet and dessert bar, and browse high-end items at the silent auction or shop exclusive PURPOSE Jewelry pieces, while socializing with others who care about fighting for freedom. 

The event celebrates the community coming together and facilitating efforts to end modern-day slavery. It will compose of storytelling, compelling subject matter speakers and the launch of a new collection from PURPOSE jewelry, International Sanctuary’s social enterprise. PURPOSE products are handcrafted by survivor artisans and every purchase changes lives.

International Sanctuary jewelry

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Learning the art of making jewelry

“The art of jewelry making, paired with holistic care, ensures every artisan gains dignity and hope for the future,” adds Dailey. 

International Sanctuary has served hundreds of girls and women escaping trafficking by providing them a safe, healing workplace where they can learn and grow. By providing transferable work skills, meaningful employment, and a steady income, International Sanctuary helps these women flourish into leaders, providers and advocates. 

International Sanctuary offers income, health, education and community, filling the gap between rescue and restoration. PURPOSE Jewelry is the social enterprise that supports International Sanctuary with sales of unique jewelry handcrafted by artisan survivors. Every purchase changes lives and 100 percent of PURPOSE proceeds go to the fight for freedom. 

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

For tickets, go to

Throwback to 2008 Festival of Arts Pranking

Throwback to 2008 Scott Young

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Photo from FOA

Scott Young’s work was pranked in 2008 Festival of Arts

With a little help from her friends, Dagmar Chaplin turns pranking into an art form at The Festival of Arts


On Friday night, only after Pageant goers straggled out, did a pair of copulating white bunnies appear on the purple forest floor in Varsha Patel’s painting, an ostrich face on Murray Kruger’s Oudtshoorn the guardian of the Cango Caves, the headphones on the presidents in Judith Cameron’s depiction of Mount Rushmore, and a bat almost within reach of a young monk in Jeff Rovner’s photograph. 

Those were only a few of the 34 artists who were pranked this year at the Festival of Arts. And strangely, the additions appeared as if they were always part of the pieces of art. Of course, that was precisely the prankster’s intention. 

However, how those alterations appeared isn’t such a mystery after all. It took Dagmar Chaplin and her two helpers, Elizabeth McGhee and Kate Cohen, until the wee hours of Saturday morning to accomplish this feat.

With a Chaplin

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Pranking is a year-round project for Dagmar Chaplin

McGhee admits, “I have been helping her with the pranks since my first summer in the Festival in 2010. But I am merely an elf on the team.” 

They may be just elves, but Chaplin confesses that she needs her helpers. “We’re running around, everybody does something, stenciling, gluing, someone sticks it on, or has to go back to get more material to make it perfect.”

“This is my second year as Dagmar’s helper,” says Cohen. “I’ve just completed my 24th year as an exhibitor, after taking a six-year break. Last summer was my third year back. For Dagmar, it’s lots of work; then for the three of us, it’s lots of fun giggling and imagining the faces of the artist who were pranked.” 

But, this isn’t simply a seasonal project for Chaplin, who has exhibited at FOA for 38 years (she took a few years off, but says she’s been on the scene for 42 years). She’s pranked for the last 12 years. “A ballpark figure.”

“All year I cut up pictures from magazines, some very old, that people drop off at the Assistance League thrift store where I’m a volunteer, and my friends save them for me too. Whenever I see a goofy picture, I clip it.”

With a girl with dress

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Girl looks as if she is part of the crowd in Pil Ho Lee’s painting

Then once the Festival opens, “I walk around and look at everybody’s work and see what I have on file that would fit. We used to do a pranking contest with kids as the judges, but we stopped because sometimes the pranks were too racy, and I had to tone them down.” In that case, the copulating bunnies would not have made the cut.

Chaplin describes a few this year that seemed meant to be, “The lobster in Gerald Schwartz’s painting was just the right color, and the red mouth with the cherry was perfect for Joel Brown’s black and white photograph of the girl with the umbrellas on her head, and the woman walking away with her dress tucked into her underpants as if she had just come out of the bathroom (in Pil Ho Lee’s painting) appeared as if she was part of the crowd.”

Sometimes the pranks fit in so well that Festival goers think they’re part of the painting, and that’s exactly what Chaplin hopes to accomplish, and she’s adamant about it. “They must look like they belong. I’m fussy about the clipping.”

And evidently, the attention to detail works. 

Mike Tauber, a long-time exhibitor, says, “Dagmar’s pranks are an art form in themselves. Some are so well placed, they’re hard to find. Really well thought out. Last year, she attached a photo of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith in one of my landscapes – it fit in so well many viewers missed it.”

With a Tauber

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

This year’s prank on a Tauber tile mosaic, a well-placed lounging cat

“It’s great to close our Festival season on a light, humorous note,” he continues. “There’s lots of laughter and sharing on the grounds that day, from both artists and patrons. It makes everyone smile and that is great. Dagmar has always shown humor and satire in her own portraits, so this is, in effect, a collaboration between her and other artists. Very well done!”

Betty Haight, another long-time exhibitor, says, “I’ve have been pranked by Dagmar every year we have been in the show. I am a collaborative artist with Stephanie Cunningham. We paint on separate canvases and I always paint a figure and she always paints a landscape. We then attach the two canvases together and they become one piece, which we call a Duet.”

With a house purse

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Prank on Haight and Cunningham’s painting

“This year Dagmar pranked our largest piece, which had one of my rather abstract figures on the left and Stephanie’s moody landscape on the right. The prank was a cutout of a woman in a designer black dress carrying a purse that looked like a house and she was walking across Stephanie’s landscape. On Saturday morning I was in the booth working on a painting and a man came and was looking at our art. I didn’t pay much attention until he asked me if the large piece was ‘finished.’ I said it was but wondered what made him think it was not finished. He said that the figure on the right (the prank) seemed so much better than the figure on the left (mine)!”

With a prank purse

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Photo by Betty Haight

Clipping removed from painting

 Most artists remove the pranks, but some don’t. Tauber says, “My medium is durable tile – so I give her full permission to prank my work. It removes quite easily. I’m grateful she includes me.”

And he’s not the only one. Many of the artists look forward to it each year. So much so, sometimes they don’t remove the prank. 

Chaplin says, “Tom Lamb does aerial photos and one year he did an abstract, a cement road with circles, and I put pasties on it, and the pasties are still on there.” 

In a past year, a buyer thought that an artist’s pranked painting, which was a series of billboards, on which Chaplin put word(s) on like the old Burma-Shave billboards, was the actual painting. The buyer liked it so much, that when the words fell off, the artist painted them on permanently.

Chaplin says, “There are a few people I really like to get, and they look forward to it too. Bruce Burr is one and Tom Lamb.”

And Tom Swimm, as well. With them, she always wants to out-do herself. “Tom Swimm paints Italian villages, and one year, I put in flames coming out of a window of the building. Another year he did something with Leonardo Di Vinci, and I put a Michael Jackson glove on it.”

With a ostrich

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Ostrich face adorns Murray Kruger’s Oudtshoorn

“Sometimes,” she says, “they’re just an afterthought. That’s what happened with Murray Kruger’s painting. I had four or five big faces, but I held the ostrich up and then took it home to clip the feathers. It’s one of my favorites this year.”

Cohen agrees, that’s her favorite as well.

And do the prankers prank each other? Apparently so.

With a tightrope walker

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Cohen and McGhee pranked Chaplin’s painting

Cohen says, “Dagmar did indeed prank me. I pranked HER as well for a second year. Dagmar is the chief engineer and works all summer cutting out, with great detail, ideas for pranks then asks for our input. Other than running all over the grounds laughing after hours (until 2 a.m. for me), Dagmar went back till 4 a.m., we must’ve looked like idiots to some new members of Security who’d not witnessed our shenanigans before.” 

After Chaplin took Cohen and McGhee home around 2 a.m., she came back and pranked them. And then early the next morning, before she arrived at the FOA, they pranked her.

With a Cohen red hat

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Cohen says of Chaplin’s prank, “The red hat was so perfect. I laughed all day over it!”

Chaplin says, “There are about five artists that I don’t prank. Some people don’t like it. I used to be a secret pranker, but then they announced me as the pranker, and so now I ask the artists if it’s okay with them. Now some artists ask for it.”

However, things didn’t always run smoothly. Chaplin says, “One year we decided to start pranking while the Pageant was still going on, because we didn’t think anyone would walk through the exhibits after the show was over, but some lady walked through, pulled the pranks all off and turned them into security.”

With a mouse in hand

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Chaplin pranked Elizabeth McGhee

Now the reaction to her pranking is quite the opposite. Chaplin says, “On Saturday, I didn’t get here until 3 p.m., and one of the board members told me that at 10 a.m., there was a line of people waiting to see the pranks. Some people come back just to see them.”

As Tauber said, “She’s made it into an art form.”

A mischievously spectacular art form that FOA artists and visitors alike anticipate every year.

Laguna Beach City Info

Did you know?

Ask Laguna – Did you know? Ask Laguna is a service the City offers as a way for residents and visitors to report concerns and make service requests to the City. It’s fast, free, and the easiest way to communicate directly with City Hall. You can access Ask Laguna via the easy-to-remember link of To report an emergency or immediate safety concern, please call 9-1-1.

Electric Lawn Mower Rebate – Did you know? The South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) offers a year-round Electric Lawn Mower Rebate Program for residents of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Residents can purchase a new, cordless electric lawnmower, scrap their old gas mower and receive a rebate check based on the purchase price of their new mower. 

Help improve air quality by participating in the electric Lawnmower Rebate Program. The online application is available at For more information, call (888) 425-6247 Tuesday through Friday.

Laguna Health Club celebrates 50th Anniversary with Customer Appreciation Day Sept 13

Laguna Health Club is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a Customer Appreciation Day on Thursday, Sep 13 from 6 to 8 p.m., at the Hanger Boutique, 28051 Greenfield Drive in Laguna Niguel. The event will feature wine, appetizers, music, and shopping, all for a good cause.

We want to celebrate our amazing clients, some of whom have been at the gym since its inception,” Club Owner Doug Schulein said. “The goal of the event is to have fun and celebrate while raising awareness and funds.”

Four years ago, Schulein started a program called, Work It, Drop It, Give It, with the intent of motivating the club’s clients both at the gym and in the corporate wellness locations to donate clothing to Working Wardrobes. 

“The concept is simple. As you lose weight and inches through exercise and better nutrition, you donate your clothes, so you are helping others as you help yourself,” Schulein said. “We want to help raise funds and clothing for the clients of Working Wardrobes and Vet Net. All proceeds from the event will go back to funding programs like: Vet re-integration, Resume writing, professional wardrobing, employment, career, financial education and life skills, training, image workshops.”

Laguna Health Club

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Laguna Health Club is celebrating its 50th Anniversary with a Customer Appreciation Day on Sept 13 in coordination with a Working Wardrobes clothes drive

Three months ago, staff began posting on Facebook and Nextdoor about the ongoing clothing drive. 

“We have had the amazing people of Laguna Beach stop into Laguna Health Club and drop off over 1,000 units,” Schulein said. “Everyone has clothes that they don’t wear anymore. Many of us don’t know where to take them or are unsure of a charity that will put them to good use.” 

At the event, any non-member that brings in 10 items will receive the first month at 50 percent off as well as $0 initial fee.

Current members that bring in ten items or more will receive a 20 percent discount on Laguna Health Club shirts and products.

Fully remodeled three years ago with Freemotion resistance equipment, Freemotion treadmills, Precor ellipticals, and Cybex bikes, Laguna Health Club provides a relaxed, air conditioned experience with best in class equipment.

Laguna Health Club is located at 870 Glenneyre St. For more information, call (949) 494-9314. For more information about Working Wardrobes, visit

Studio at Montage Laguna Beach names Benjamin Martinek as chef de cuisine

Montage Laguna Beach has promoted Benjamin Martinek to chef de cuisine of Studio, its highly recognized bluffside signature restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean. With over 10 years of hospitality industry experience at award-winning restaurants, resorts and hotels, Martinek will oversee all culinary operations for Studio, utilizing the 1,000-square-foot working garden adjacent to the restaurant.

Studio at Montage chef

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Chef Benjamin Martinek is Studio’s new chef de cuisine

“I am pleased to announce Ben’s promotion to chef de cuisine. He has already established an exemplary rapport with the culinary team at Studio and has a great relationship with our guests as well,” said Anne-Marie Houston, general manager of Montage Laguna Beach.

Over the last seven years, Martinek has served on Montage Laguna Beach’s culinary team, first as a cook at fine dining Studio, as an executive sous chef at all-day, casual The Loft, and then as sous chef at Studio. His dedication to the hospitality and service that is a trademark of Montage Laguna Beach was recognized in 2013 when he was named Montage Laguna Beach employee of the year. 

Previously, Martinek worked as chef de partie at Raya at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and at Cortez and Jardinière, both in San Francisco. He holds an associate degree in occupational studies in culinary arts from California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco.

Studio at Montage Interior

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Studio at Montage is an elegant 5-star restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean

Studio is located on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean along the South Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. Studio is Montage Laguna Beach’s Forbes Five-Star elegant, free-standing signature restaurant. Built in the Laguna Beach Craftsman-style, it serves ever-changing innovative Modern French Cuisine with California influences and has a working 1,000-square-foot raised bed garden. Studio is known for its tasting menus, impeccable, warm professional service, and Wine Spectator Grand Award wine program, comprised of approximately 2,500 selections with 30,000 bottles in inventory. 

For information and reservations, contact Montage at (888) 715-6700 or visit

Laguna Beach Chamber presents Catmosphere’s ribbon cutting ceremony Sept 13

On Thursday, Sept 13 from 6 - 7 p.m., the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host Catmosphere’s ribbon cutting ceremony. The ribbon cutting is open to the public and free to attend.

Laguna Beach Chamber kitty

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Photo by Dianne Russell

The cat lounge is a foster home for adoptable cats and kittens

Catmosphere Laguna is Orange County’s first Cat Café founded by Gail Allyn Landau. Catmosphere Laguna serves as both a community café and a foster home for adoptable cats and kittens. Originating in Taiwan in 1998, cat cafés have since become a global phenomenon, inspiring similar business models to open across Japan, London, and most recently, the US. 

Catmosphere Laguna has partnered with the Laguna Woods Cat Club, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, and local feline rescues to serve as a foster home for healthy cats and kittens with the goal of placing them in their forever homes. 

Catmosphere is located at 381 Forest Ave. Visits to the cat lounge are $22 for adults and $12 for children (ages 6-17). 

Catmosphere is ADA friendly.

For more information on Catmosphere, to book an appointment, watch the web cam, or read the bios of the kitties, go to

Women Trail Blazers highlighted during upcoming AAUW-LB Membership Mixer at LCAD

AAUW-LB members, prospective members and the public are invited to join together for a stimulating time in a welcoming, relaxed setting on Sunday, Sept 23 from 3 - 5:30 p.m. at LCAD. Appetizers and drinks will be served and both the event and parking are free. 

Women Trailblazers Tammi

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Dr. Tammi J. Schneider’s presents “Women in the Book of Genesis: They May Not Be Quite Who You Think They Are”

The Laguna Beach’s branch of the national American Association of University Women (AAUW-LB) is one of the most active and exciting in the country. This marks the 52nd year of the annual membership mixer, an informal event held at the Laguna College of Art and Design.

Program Chair Barbara Hamkalo is especially delighted to announce that the group’s first featured speaker of the year is Dr. Tammi J. Schneider, noted Professor of Religion at Claremont Graduate School, whose fascinating, eye-opening topic is one you won’t want to miss: “Women in the Book of Genesis: They May Not Be Quite Who You Think They Are.” Dr. Schneider’s research draws together the varied fields of archaeology, Assyriology and Biblical studies in an effort to understand the ancient Near East, especially the interactions among various peoples. 

AAUW’s mission is to empower women and girls to reach their full potential through education. “I’ve taken the prerogative to select the theme ‘WE,TOO’ (an obvious spin off) because this year AAUW-Laguna Beach will be focusing on women in various professions that are not typically viewed as female “friendly”. We want to get the message to younger women that it’s possible to follow their passion when choosing a career. We’re really telling them the sky can be the limit, but you have to reach, sometimes reach hard, for it,” notes Dr. Hamkalo. 

LCAD is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd. For membership information, contact membership co-chairs Leah Vasquez at (949) 494-5787 or Rachelle Cano at (818) 307-7562, or visit AAUW-Laguna Beach online at For questions about the program, contact Barbara Hamkalo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach City Info

Cultural Arts Calendar

Don’t miss out on all the cultural arts opportunities in Laguna Beach – The 2018 Fall edition of the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Calendar is now available. The calendar features arts related events and opportunities for September, October, and November 2018. A digital version is available at

This is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

2018 Juried Fine Art Exhibition

Calling all Laguna Beach creatives…artists don’t miss out on exhibiting in the City’s 2018 Juried Fine Art Exhibit. The deadline is Sept 8 with a fee of $25. The honorarium is $1,000 for 1st Place; $500 for 2nd Place; and $250 for 3rd Place. 

The juried exhibit, led by juror Heather Bowling, Director of City of Brea Gallery, is open to all Orange County artists 18 years of age or older. Work must be original and executed within the past two years. Work must not have been previously exhibited at City Hall. Entry in this exhibit establishes an agreement on the part of the artist to all conditions listed in the prospectus. Media must be two dimensional art works measuring no more than 36” x 36” framed. Entry is a non-refundable entry fee of $25 for up to three entries.

Selected artwork must be delivered to City Hall, 505 Forest Ave, between 9 and 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 8. Work will be on exhibit until Nov. 30. All work must be completely dry, framed, wired and ready for hanging, or otherwise suitably prepared for exhibition. No sawtooth hangers will be accepted.

For information, contact Michael McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator at (949) 497-0722 x5 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Free Arts Marketing Workshop

On Friday, Oct 5, the Arts Commission in partnership with National Arts Marketing Project will be holding a free arts marketing workshop for artists. The workshop “The Art of Relevance” will be led by Art Marketing Project founder Cindy Hohman. 

For information and registration visit

City Council Election Update

Sue Kempf to hold voter registration drive this Sunday

Are you new in Laguna Beach? Have you never voted before? Did you recently turn 18? These are the questions that are prompting Laguna Beach City Council candidate Sue Kempf to hold a voter drive this Sunday at The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, 286 St. Ann’s Dr. 

“Voter registration reminds our citizens that they have a voice at the local level where issues impact them the most!” says Kempf.

The voter registration event is on Sunday, Sept 9, from noon to 3 p.m.

Village Laguna’s candidate forum will be broadcast live on Cox

Village Laguna announced this week that their City Council candidate forum, to be held on Monday, Sept 17 starting at 7 p.m., will be broadcast live on Cox on the City’s government access channel (852).

Village Laguna also announced that its moderator for the forum will be John Monahan, who has lived in Laguna for over 30 years and volunteered with Village Laguna (former board member), the Laguna Canyon Foundation as a geology docent, Laguna Beach CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), and the Red Cross.

The forum is free to attend.

Judie Mancuso announces election committee

City Council candidate Judie Mancuso announced her election committee this week. The group is led by Jason Mills (campaign manager) and LagunaBeachCHAT founder Michael Morris (campaign treasurer).

The committee also includes Mj Abraham, a social justice center consultant, and Mike Beanan on water issues. Mancuso says that she “reaches out to long-time residents who are experts on a specific issue.”

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