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Barbara’s Column

Festival birthday celebrated with wishes for many more to come

 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Eighty-five years ago, a couple dozen artists hung their works on fences along the highway in Laguna Beach, hoping to entice folks to travel south from the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, the Festival of Arts invited art lovers to celebrate the anniversary of that singular event that would differentiate Laguna for all time from other beach towns.

It’s come a long way, Baby.  

“The Festival is now a two-month-long show featuring 140 artists in a dedicated (and renovated) space with close to one quarter million in attendance,” said Festival President Fred Sattler.

You can’t go wrong with 1,500 cupcakes on hand

But Sunday was a day for fun and games, live entertainment, art activities, giveaways, 1,500 cupcakes for the celebrants and congratulatory proclamations presented in the street-level amphitheater built as an entertainment venue.  

Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett was among the speakers wishing the festival happy birthday and many more.

“Institutions lasting 85 years are almost unheard of,” said Bartlett. “People come here from all over the world.”

Bartlett praised the recently completed renovation of the grounds that includes American Disabilities Act requirements and different elevations for artists’ booths that makes a more interesting layout. 

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Photo by Christopher Bliss

A festive couple at the Festival birthday party

Bartlett was followed by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley, who read a poem by an unknown author, published in the Aug 19, 1932 edition of the South Coast News, and her own poem “At the Festival.”    

Both can be found on the festival’s website. 

Mayor Toni Iseman spoke next, voicing her own appreciation of the Festival and presenting greetings from the city.

“The Festival has endured through World War II, the 1993 fires and various floods. Today, we celebrate the Festival, the newly renovated grounds, and the importance of the Festival to the arts and the very fabric of our community.

Iseman handed the microphone to Visit Laguna Beach President Ashley Johnson.

“The Festival and Pageant have been among the country’s earliest examples of cultural tourism,” said Johnson. “Both have contributed immensely to cement Laguna’s unique and authentic identity as an arts colony in the minds of residents and visitors. 

Laguna College of Art & Design President Jonathan Burke credited the Festival for founding the school.

“I can’t thank the Festival enough for their vision to create a college of that educates the next generation of artists and for (the founders) conviction that art is a positive force to change society and the world for the better,” said Burke. 

A presentation to surprised festival artist Jacqui Moffett was a fitting conclusion to the ceremonies. 

Moffett has been a festival exhibitor since 1967. She also has served on the Festival board of directors, the Festival Foundation board and the Scholarship Foundation Committee.

Moffett’s connection with the Festival goes back further than the 1960s. Her father worked at the Festival and her mother’s family ran the dairy ranch that occupied the site before the Festival moved in. 

“I love it,” Moffett said. 

Junior artists are presented with awards

The Birthday Bash began with the presentation of awards to the junior artists whose works were judged to be outstanding among the 91 selected to be exhibited in the 2017 show from thousands of entries.

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Photo by Tom Lamb

Junior Award winners

Awards were presented to Thurston School sixth-grader Lily Gabora, for her painting Friends Forever and to Boys and Girls Club members Abby Decker and Ashton Osbahr and Top of the World Elementary School first-grader Landre Lundbald for their photographs. St. Catherine of Siena Transitional Kindergarten student Franky Rasic was an award-winner in 2-D art.

The Junior Art Exhibit is funded in part by California First National Bank and Mark Porterfield in cooperation with the county Department of Education and Arts Orange County. 

Attending the day-long event: festival board members Kathy Jones, David Perry, Pat Kollenda,Tom Lamb, Anita Mangels, Bob Moffett and Scott Moore

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com.


Main Beach becomes the focus of activists this weekend after Charlottesville tragedy

The right-wing group America First, which demonstrates against illegal immigration and is led by activist Johnny Benitez, plans to hold a rally this Sunday, Aug 20, on Main Beach from 6 to 8 p.m. 

A recent tweet from Benitez about the event states, “We will be standing against political correctness and left-wing terrorism.”

In response to the rally and in reaction to the tragic events of Charlottesville, progressive groups from across the 48th District, including Indivisible OC-48, with the support of the Laguna Beach Democratic Club, have planned a Unity Rally to take place on Saturday, August 19 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., also on Main Beach. 

Mayor Toni Iseman speaks out

Mayor Toni Iseman plans to be at the Unity Rally on Saturday morning at Main Beach. She’ll be welcoming participants to the gathering and believes it is important for people to have the opportunity to express their views one way or another.

But Iseman urges Laguna residents to ignore the America First rally the following day, and not to mount a counter-protest at that time.

“This group’s whole intention is to get attention, so why take their invitation?” she says. “They’re looking for a spectacle. The best thing we can do on Sunday is ignore them. They can’t get into a fight with themselves – or maybe they can… They picked Laguna Beach on purpose, because we embrace diversity, we’re known for our artistic heritage, our support of feminism, inclusion, everything they don’t like. If they get a big turnout of counter-protestors, it will only encourage [America First] to return. We shouldn’t give them that satisfaction.”

Iseman understands, however, that there’s a lot of angst and pain in the community, so she feels that attendance at the Unity Rally on Saturday is a great vehicle for people to express their opinions about the Sunday rally.

“Also it is a lot easier for the police to do their job if we don’t make it harder for them on Sunday,” Iseman says. “Our police officers are strong, well-equipped, and ready – but we can help by attending a peaceful Saturday demonstration instead of going to the Sunday event.”

Mayor Iseman has been personally attacked by the group on its Facebook page.

“You know what, I’m proud of everything [this America First group] has called out about my record,” she says. “I’d love to address those attacks. But that’s for another day. In the meantime, let’s focus on a peaceful protest on Saturday and show what Laguna is all about. Let’s not validate the Sunday rally.”

The LBPD is ready

LBPD spokesperson Sgt Jim Cota wants to reassure the community that the police department is fully prepared for a possible influx of hundreds of people, pro and con the rally. 

“We’re fortunate to have fantastic resources and we have the full support of the Newport Beach, Irvine and Anaheim police departments as well as the OC Sheriffs,” Sgt Cota says. “Police officers will be visible on the streets and there’ll be plenty of support that isn’t immediately visible either.”

Sgt Cota will be at the command center at all times. “We want to urge residents and visitors not to change their plans. Go to the beach, eat at restaurant, shop at local stores. We’re ready to protect you. We ask for your support, believe in us. We’re ready.”

Sgt Cota adds that the police department has been in touch with organizers on both sides of the issue. “We’ve let them know that the LBPD has a no-nonsense approach,” he says. “There won’t be any grey areas. People need to play by the rules or they go to jail.

“We’ve had meetings every day and we are prepared,” he adds. 

Democratic candidate and Laguna resident Harley Rouda reacts

 Harley Rouda, Emerald Bay resident and Democratic candidate hoping to oust Rep Dana Rohrabacher in the 2018 elections, has, along with his team, been active in their support of the Saturday rally. He’ll be there.

“We will let the world know that hate is not welcome here,” Rouda said. “As a community, Laguna Beach is responding peacefully by holding a Unity Rally and demonstrating unity and diversity by covering Main Beach with colorful ribbons.”

Rouda’s wife, novelist Kaira Rouda, came up with the idea for the Unity Ribbons Campaign, which was quickly embraced by other groups.  

Submitted photo

Harley Rouda and his wife Kaira spearhead the Unity Ribbons Campaign

Harley Rouda says the ribbons are not a campaign tactic – “they’re a way to unite the community and to reflect Laguna’s diversity and commitment to stand together in the face of racism and hate.” Volunteers from a variety of progressive groups will be fanning out to disperse the ribbons and they’ll encourage residents to do the same.

Two Sunday gatherings planned for counter-protestors

Also, the Neighborhood Congregational Church in Laguna Beach at 340 St. Ann’s Drive plans a “day of training, of witness, and of keeping vigil” on Sunday afternoon.

According to the church’s website, from 2 – 4 p.m. there will be training in nonviolence, then the group will take a break, have an interfaith worship service at 5 p.m., and then rally.

 “We do this in support of our immigrant and refugee siblings, and we are in solidarity with our black, Jewish, and Muslim siblings,” NCC’s Facebook page offers. 

An “Anti-Fascist Protest” planned by the Democratic Socialists of Laguna Beach will take place at 5 p.m. Sunday at Main Beach.

And – because this is Laguna, after all – there’s talk of the Laughter Yoga group bringing some needed light and humor to the rally on Saturday.


A Night with Janis Joplin sets the Playhouse ablaze, with one standing ovation after another

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

One night wasn’t enough, let me say that right now. I’ll be going back.

Before Sunday evening, the closest I’d gotten to Janis Joplin was seeing the stage where she performed at The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967. 

But on Sunday, it only took one look at the Laguna Playhouse stage to realize this was going to be a special night, a “happening,” as we used to call them. Yes, it involved the most lighting ever used at the Playhouse, but something else shone brighter…an aura, mysterious and mythical and drenched in nostalgia, that enveloped the audience throughout the evening. 

This concert style revue was created, written and directed by Randy Johnson. It was brought to the Laguna Playhouse under the leadership of Executive Director Ellen Richard and Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, and they are to be applauded for this dazzling choice.

Even though Kelly McIntyre looks and stunningly sounds like Joplin, it isn’t an impersonation or a re-creation, it’s as if Kelly channels Joplin’s raw emotion and pain in her electrifying performance. Her hair swinging, her voice raspy, the rendition of Piece of My Heart brought the audience to their feet. She punctuates her singing with dialogue about her childhood in Texas, occasionally sipping from a bottle of Southern Comfort.

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Submitted Photo

Kelly McIntyre as Janis Joplin in A Night with Janis Joplin

The show also pays homage to Joplin’s musical influences. Masterfully interwoven in the revue are unforgettable performances by the singers who comprise the Joplinaires/Chantels; Sharon Catherine Brown as Blues Singer, Tawny Dolley as Etta James, Carol Hatchett as Odetta and Bessie Smith, and Amma Osei as Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone. 

And eight blazing hot musicians create a formidable presence on stage; Todd Olson, Mark Chosak, Michael Praisler, Aiden Moore, Aaron O. Smith, Patrick Lenertz, David Catalan, and Shannon Ford. 

The behind the scene people should also be commended: Scenic Designer, Brian Prather; Costume Designer, Amy Clark; Lighting Designer, Ryan O’Gara; Sound Designer, Rafe Carlotto, Production Stage Manager, Hethyr Verhoef, Associate Director, Grady McLeod Bowman; Music Director, Todd Olson; Original Music Arrangements, Len Rhodes; Operations Manager, Jim Prodger. 

The brilliant performances by Kelly McIntyre and the other singers, the band, lighting, sets, the clothes, all blend together to cast a magic and musical spell on the audience.

If you’re lucky enough to experience A Night with Janis Joplin at Laguna Playhouse, do not, I repeat, do not take a pair of the earplugs from the container on the bar.  You will want to hear every note. And every note will haunt you.

The show runs through Sept. 10. 

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For tickets, go to http://www.lagunaplayhouse.com/ or by calling 949-497-2787.


An introduction to mindfulness and meditation for adults takes place on Wed, Aug 23

On Wed, Aug 23, Marion K. Jacobs and Elizabeth “Betsy” Parker, who both have PHds, will be presenting an introduction to mindfulness and meditation for adults. This is a one-time program for people that are curious about mindfulness, and the opportunity to try simple and relaxing meditation practices.

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Jumpstart your meditation on Wed, Aug 3  

The event takes place from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m, and is located at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third St. 

No prior experience required. Both Marion and Elizabeth welcome anyone who wants to join and further their knowledge about the wellness topic. 

Admission is free, but to attend this class, log on to www.lagunabeachcity.net to register, or call 949 464 6645. 


Another fabulous shot by one of the young photographers of Frothy Films

Frothy Films is a group made up of friends who love to have fun and take photographs and edits. We are an extreme team that does crazy stuff,” Michael Tanaka (17) tells Stu News. “We all have been friends with each other for a long time and one day decided why not start a team of ocean lovers?

“We chose the name Frothy because of the meaning. Frothy is light and entertaining, always making it fun. Since summer just started we will meet up daily to get surf and sunset shots and most importantly have fun!” 

Team members include Michael Tanaka, 17, Josh Tanaka, 14, Danny Huffman, 15, Luke Carter, 14, Austin Plank, 13, Bobby Schwartz, 13, Raphael Ortzin, 14, and Michael Cox,15.

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Photo by Josh Tanaka


Assistance League of Laguna Beach helps military families go back to school

Along with AL chapters from Orange and San Diego counties, the Assistance League of Laguna Beach participated in a back to school event at Camp Pendleton Marine Base on Saturday and Sunday, August 5 & 6. The purpose of the event was to help military families with their back to school expenses by providing clothing for their school age children.

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Submitted photo

Kids loved the plush bulldogs, representing the Marine mascot

The Assistance League provided vouchers for $40 from Famous Footwear along with a very cute plush bulldog.  The bulldog is the Marine mascot and the children were thrilled to have their very own puppy. The Assistance League of Laguna Beach gave out 800 vouchers during the two-day event. Other chapters gave out underwear and socks, two pairs of pants, two tops, jackets, and a hygiene kit for each school age child. 

Judy Soulakis, VP of Philanthropy stated, “This is my all-time favorite program! I love seeing the appreciation from the families, and it gave us an opportunity to thank them for their service.”

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Submitted photo

So much choice for young fashionistas

This outreach was made possible from the proceeds of Laguna Beach Assistance League Thrift Shop located at 526 Glenneyre. The store is closed for the month of August and will start accepting donations on August 21. Gently used goods including clothing, household items, books, toys and other treasures are greatly appreciated. 

The Assistance League Thrift Shop will have its grand re opening on Tuesday, Sept 5.


Best in Show: Rotary Club’s Annual LB Invitational Classic Car Show attracts finest cars on Oct 1

On Sun, Oct 1, classic car enthusiasts gather for The Rotary Club’s Annual Invitational Classic Car Show, which will be held on the city grounds opposite the Festival of Arts. It opens at 9:30 a.m. and continues until 3 p.m. 

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Photo by Rick Lang

Close-up example of past entry

This event features 200 cars in 26 award categories and continually draws the best examples in each category. A few of the categories this year are Antiques through 1931, muscle cars, and woodies (for a full list of the 26 categories, go to the website below).

Participants will enjoy strolling among the cars, food, drink, and live music.

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Photo by Rick Lang

Car enthusiasts mingle among cars and enjoy festivities

The entry fee is $45 and includes two gate passes and a special gift pack. The proceeds go to local charitable and non-profit organizations.

To purchase tickets, or to enter a car in the show, go to www.lagunabeachcarshow.com.  

For more information, call Harry Bithell at 949-874-1742


For cat lovers only: Have you ever wanted to lick your cat? Now you can, without the fear of fur balls

Reported by Joyce Buettner, volunteer for the Blue Bell Sanctuary for Senior Cats

This was the third year for CatCon and this year was by far the best. They moved to a larger location – Pasadena Convention Center - and there was a great variety of vendors, big and small, with something for everyone…and their cats. People dressed up in their best cat-themed outfits also.

I purchased a bunch of things for me and my cats, and three things for Blue Bell – a new cat clock for the upper house main room, USB recharging laser pointers and Licki Brushes – have you ever wanted to lick your cat?

Now you can – without the fur balls. https://www.pdxpetdesign.com/licki/. The website notes: “Licking your cat is an oddly meditative practice, soothing for both you and your feline.” 

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Slim Mittens loves the Licki Brush

You don’t really have to lick the cat with the Licki Brush, but it has soft rubber bristles that do a great job of pulling out the undercoat and the cats love it. It’s hard for us to find brushes that the cats like and can be cleaned frequently. And many of our senior cats are thin and this product massages them and as Mittens can attest, it feels wonderful.

The cats love the lasers. It’s great to give them exercise and bring out their prey instincts. Thirteen-year-old Minnie in the lower house is quite the huntress.

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Cats love boxes, and these are durable and easy to keep clean

Also, I’m very excited about a product called Kitty Kasas (www.kittykasas.com) We all know cats love boxes. These are cubes, made of durable molded plastic. They were designed specifically for a shelter in Florida, so can be cleaned and disinfected daily – always something we are looking for but rarely find. 

They can be stacked also – they have three models and they are really cute! We are talking about trying some out to see how the cats like them, because after all, they have final approval.

For more information about Blue Bell Sanctuary for Senior Cats and the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, visit www.bluebellcats.org


Heartfelt’s cardiac screening saves young lives: offered on Mon Aug 28 during Breaker Day at LBHS

Laguna Beach-based nonprofit Heartfelt will be offering cardiac screening at the high school during the school’s Breakers Day on Monday Aug 28 – because heart disease, if detected early, does not have to lead to death, emphasizes founder of Heartfelt, Holly Morrell. 

Screenings will be offered in the North Gym between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. for anyone ages five and up.

Morrell says that knowing the difference between a heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest is a vital factor in prevention.

“Until people understand this, they will fail to realize that their seemingly healthy, active, young loved ones can be at risk,” she says. “The media often shares the tragic story of a young athlete dying on the playing field (it happens every three days in this country) yet often fail to inform the public that it was most likely a preventable tragedy.” 

Morrell adds. “You can live a full and happy life with heart disease, you just need to know you have it.” 

 Six of Morrell’s family members, including her father, died as a result of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, and several others – including Morrell herself – have been diagnosed with the condition. 

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Submitted photo

Never too early to screen for heart disease, Holly Morrell says

“Laguna Beach High School recently experienced a miracle of a young student/athlete surviving full cardiac arrest while in his Spanish Class.  I am sure his family had no idea he could be at risk. He lived … thousands don’t,” Morrell adds. “I hope my Laguna Beach community will take advantage of my Heartfelt cardiac screening and protect their loved ones.” 

The difference between sudden cardiac arrest and a heart attack

The American Heart Association explains it this way: Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart malfunctions and stops beating unexpectedly. Cardiac arrest is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia). With its pumping action disrupted, the heart cannot pump blood to the brain, lungs and other organs.

Seconds later, a person becomes unresponsive, is not breathing or is only gasping. Death occurs within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment. 

On the other hand, heart attacks do not necessarily lead to cardiac arrest, AHA says. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked: a heart attack is a circulation problem. A blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die.

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Photo by Lynette

Police and ambulance respond when a student suffered a full cardiac arrest

Morrell notes, “SCA is the #1 Killer in the US.  It is also the #1 killer of women in this country and a young athlete dies from SCA every three days in the US. Early detection saves lives but is not generally offered for the public and/or not typically covered by insurance.

“HCP has saved and protected hundreds of lives throughout Orange County and wishes to help keep our own community from losing loved ones to what can often be a preventable tragedy. Protect your loved ones and schedule your family today.”

The event is open to the public, ages five and up. Participants will receive $1,500 worth of comprehensive cardiac evaluation, including an Electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) and Echocardiogram (cardiac ultrasound), for a donation of $85.

Register and schedule appointments online at http://heartfeltcardiacprojects.org/schedule-a-screening/


Movietime at Susi Q from Sept 5 to Oct 31 

On Tues, Sept 5, filmmaker Kathryn Kramer (Irvine Valley College’s 2017 Emeritus Teacher of the Year) begins her ninth year of featuring recent global cinema at Susi Q. The series continues thru Oct 31 and takes place each Tues from 12:30–3:20 p.m. 

For a fee of $20, students can enjoy a mix of recent releases and overlooked indies or classics with the theme, “The past is still with us.” All the characters possess some baggage, whether self-made or inherited.

From period dramas to heavy dramas, comedy, thrillers, and foreign films, the course covers a wide variety of genres.

9/5 - Shanghai Triad 1995 China 108 min. Gorgeous period drama. Directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Gong Li.

9/12 - Begin Again 2013 USA 104 min. Musical talents unite. Stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine, and James Corden. Won four awards.

9/19 - Ida 2013 Poland 82 min. Won 67 awards, including the Oscar for Foreign Film.

9/26 - The Descendants 2011 USA 115 min. Stars George Clooney, directed by Alexander Payne, won 67 awards.

10/3 - Flame and Citron 2008 Denmark 130 min. Directed and co-written by Ole Christian Madsen (Prague), Stars Mads Mikkelsen. Won nine awards. Warning: More violent than average selections.

10/10 - Brassed Off! 1996 UK 103 min. This surprise winner of 10 awards stars Ewan McGregor, Tara Fitzgerald, and Pete Postlethwaite. Rom-Com-Drama. 

10/17 - Made in Britain 1982 UK 76 min. Tim Roth stars as an unruly skinhead in Act Two of his life, condensed to a week in the David Leland (Mona Lisa) teleplay. 

10/24 - Moliere 2007 France 120 min. Written and directed by Laurent Tirard, film imagines a missing chapter in the playwright’s life, stars Romain Duris, Laura Morante, and Ludivine Sagnier. 

10/31 - The Conjuring 2013 USA 112 min. Paranormal investigators help a terrorized family. Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson star as the true-life couple. Warning: More intense than The Exorcist. 

Register at http://www.123getsmart.com  “Emeritus” or phone (949) 451-5555 Course: English 435: Film Genres Emeritus #68180. Location:  Laguna Beach Community Center, 380 Third St. 

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