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Laguna Beach

What happened to the streetlight in the ocean? The scoop: Art & Nature was still a resounding success

Photos by Eric Stoner

This year’s Art & Nature weekend, organized by Laguna Art Museum, was a resounding success, though the streetlight art installation, Seascape, didn’t quite make it to Laguna Beach – more on that below. 

However, more than 300 visitors visited the Museum during the First Thursdays Art Walk. Participating galleries and partners on Thursday evening included Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Kelsey Michaels Fine Art, Laguna Beach High School/City of Laguna Beach Environmental Sustainability Committee, Peter Blake Gallery, The Redfern Gallery, and saltfineart + RAWsalt.

On Friday, internationally known artist Pablo Vargas Lugo gave a really wonderful presentation of his work including some description of Seascape – an adventurous and inspiring work of art which it is hoped will be on view soon.

On Saturday, California Mexicana curator Katherine Manthorne, Seascape artist Pablo Vargas Lugo, and UC Riverside professor and historian Steven Hackel discussed California Mexicana: Land Into Landscape in conjunction with the California Mexicana exhibition. Each gave a ten-minute presentation in their own areas of expertise, then participated in a panel moderated by Laguna Art Museum executive director Malcolm Warner.

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Executive director Malcolm Warner and artist Pablo Vargas Lugo

Later that day, the museum screened Through the Repellent Fence, a documentary that premiered earlier this year. The film followed the three-person Native American art collective Postcommodity as they constructed Repellent Fence, a two-mile-long outdoor artwork that straddled the US-Mexico border 2015.

That evening, William Deverell, the renowned California historian, Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West, and author of Whitewashed Adobe, gave the Art & Nature keynote lecture.

And on Sunday, the Art & Nature Family Festival attracted more than 400 visitors from 2-5 p.m. with free admission to the museum and a variety of art, nature, and science activities for visitors of all ages. 

Partner organizations included Art Division with a printmaking project; the Consulate of Mexico in Santa Ana with information about the culture of Mexico; Crude Life: Gulf of Mexico Biodiversity Museum, which is a portable museum created by artist and biologist Brandon Ballengée; Laguna Canyon Foundation with a leaf rubbing project; and Laguna Bluebelt Coalition offered an artful octopus project to teach about our coastline and marine creatures. 

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Kids enjoy Art and Nature Family Festival 

Also, MY HERO Project joined in with a project to make “harmony in nature” flags; Laguna Ocean Foundation with a tide pool fish necklace project; Ocean Institute with knot-tying demonstrations and a presentation about life aboard the brig Pilgrim; and Newport Bay Conservancy and Surfrider Foundation presented information about environmental issues; and OC Face Paint brought fun face painting.

And what about Seascape?

On Friday, Laguna Art Museum sent a note to supporters, regretting that Seascape, the outdoor artwork created by Mexican artist Pablo Vargas Lugo for the fifth edition of Art & Nature, would not be on view during Art & Nature weekend. 

In consultation with state resource agencies, the California Coastal Commission has directed the museum to hold off on installing the piece while some environmental issues and concerns are addressed.

The museum’s executive director, Dr. Malcolm Warner, wrote:

“As you might imagine, we were in unfamiliar regulatory territory with this particular piece, and have proceeded in the belief that with enthusiastic support from the City and the approvals we secured from the Coastal Commission, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the US Coast Guard, we could safely go ahead.

“As a museum founded by artists who were inspired by nature, and as neighbors of Laguna Beach’s Marine Protected Area, we treasure the beauty of our city’s landscape and seascape. Indeed the theme of Art & Nature is art that takes the beauty of our coastline as its inspiration and encourages environmental awareness. It is strongly educational and includes lectures, panel discussions, and films relating to the art-nature dialogue, as well as a family festival.”

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Seascape didn’t quite make it to Laguna Beach – or not yet, anyway 

“The event extends outside the museum walls, and this year Laguna Beach High School and the City of Laguna Beach Environmental Sustainability Committee have crafted an installation on Main Beach, entitled Rising Tides, that seeks to foster public consciousness of rising sea levels due to climate change. In tandem, the noted contemporary artist Pablo Vargas Lugo designed an outdoor work of art, commissioned by the museum, that addresses the same issue in a more poetical fashion. 

[Seascape was intended to be] “A lonesome-looking streetlight out in the ocean (in fact a buoy-like Styrofoam lookalike), a deliberately surprising and memorable sight that symbolizes the inundation of our cities and highways with sea-level rise—a beacon showing the way we are headed unless we change course. Art can play as powerful a role as facts in conveying the urgency and significance of such an issue.”

The museum will continue to work with the Coastal Commission and the relevant agencies in Sacramento in the hope that there will be a future opportunity to display Seascape. While the outdoor artwork was not on view during Art & Nature weekend, related programs took place as scheduled.

An evening with photographer Todd Glaser

On Saturday, Nov 18, from 5 - 8 p.m., renowned surf photographer Todd Glaser will give a presentation at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center with special guests. Entrance is $5, and is an all ages event.

Todd’s work has taken him to remote surf spots from Tahiti to Alaska to Indonesia to Mexico. Todd has captured some of the biggest names in the surf world in images and photographed some of the world’s most famous and dangerous waves.

Todd Glaser is a San Diego-born photographer, surfer, and waterman. A Surfer Magazine staff photographer since 2008, Glaser is prolific for his young age, earning more than a dozen covers during his tenure at the magazine. Equally talented shooting land, water, and lifestyle photography, his work has also appeared in The New York Times, Outside, Rolling Stone, Men’s Health, GQ and the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, in Washington DC. 

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Submitted Photo

Todd Glaser: professional photographer ever since he was young

He recently released his first book titled Proximity, a 300 page hardbound color book documenting the eight of the world’s best surfers traveling to new waves and capturing their relationships. 

Todd was awarded a Follow The Light Foundation grant in 2008 and won 2009 Surfer Magazine Photo of the Year, amongst numerous other awards. Glaser can be found riding waves around his home, on a variety of equipment types, and enjoying the company of his wife, Jenna.

Dennis’ Tidbits


November 7, 2017

Our wet seasons are their dry seasons and ours are unpredictable

Now it’s totally dark by 5:30 p.m. as the sun set tonight at 4:54 and we’ll lose some more sun time until December 8-11 when it sets at its earliest time of 4:43 at our latitude, then we’ll gain a minute here and there until January 9 when it’ll start setting after 5 p.m. once again. By the end of January that setting time has moved up to 5:19. The latest sunrise will occur at 6:58 a.m. from Dec. 28 through about January 15.

We were only able to squeeze a measly three hundredths of an inch from the skies as that predicted rain bearing front pretty much fizzled out once it reached Southern Cal. That three hundredths brought our season total since July 1 to a paltry six hundredths of an inch compared to the normal to date of about an inch by this time. This week looks pretty dry as well with clear to partly cloudy skies with near normal temps. As usual all the action is from Northern Cal northward. As you know, we do live in what’s called a semi arid climate meaning we receive between 10 and 20 inches a season. Here in Laguna we average about 13.95 inches a year so 20 inches would be considered a wet season, unlike the Northwest where 20 inches would qualify as their driest season on record. Places like Portland, Oregon average around 38 inches a year with their driest on record was 22.48 inches in 1985.

Here in Laguna our rainfall varies quite dramatically from year to year. We’ve had as much as 37.27 inches in 1997-98 and as little as 3.41 inches in 2006-07. We’ve gotten less than five inches on four different occasions and more than 30 inches five times since I started keeping track of this stuff in 1958. Twice we’ve had five consecutive seasons with below normal rain, from 1986-1991 and 2012-2017. Our longest run of consecutive above normal rain was 1965-1969.

We’re still waiting for our first west or northwest ground swell as the ocean has been in a coma around here a lot this year, especially the past few days with the waves being measured in inches. Lake Laguna. I can’t recall a year that was so flat, but it’s all part of the system of checks and balances. Remember the previous winter was epic. Last summer was a fraud. Back in the day we used to get at least five or six Baja swells in an average summer. Now we can’t buy one! The storms have been down there; they’re just not tracking the right way. It’s been the trend now since 2014. Like I said, checks and balances. One of these seasons we’ll get paid back with interest, hopefully before I get too old to paddle out on a regular basis! 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

Dogged about dogs and art, Michael Jacques signs new book at The Forest & Ocean Gallery on Nov 18

During his creative life, Michael L. Jacques has made countless paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures. Yet he emphasizes that none of them have engaged his heart and mind as much as his multitudinous depictions of dogs. “It’s fair to say that I am almost as passionate about dogs as I am about art,” he says. 

The Forest & Ocean Gallery presents a result of Mr. Jacques’ passion, a hard-cover book titled “The Blue Rabbit and Other Dog Affairs” at a special book signing event on Sat, Nov 18, from 6-9 p.m. 

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Michael Jacques signs book “The Blue Rabbit and Other Dog Affairs” on Nov 18

Additionally, on Sun, Nov 19, from 6-9 p.m., Mr. Jacques will share his insights into the effect color has on all aspects of daily life in a special presentation “Color in Your Life.” 

The gallery will display paintings from the book and giclée reproductions for sale between Nov 13 and Nov 26.

Filled with delightful paintings and drawings, as well as serious and humorous insights into the natures of humans and their canine friends, the book is a treasure for art lovers of all ages. “Drawing and painting allows me to share my way of seeing this special relationship,” Mr. Jacques explains. Proceeds from the sale of “The Blue Rabbit and Other Dog Affairs” help homeless and otherwise endangered children. 

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Mr. Jacques serves as instructor and admissions advisor at LCAD

Mr. Jacques, BFA, MFA, is an instructor and admissions advisor at the Laguna College of Art and Design. His award-winning work can be found in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institute, the US House of Representatives and the Museum of American Art in Washington, DC.

The Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave., 949-371-3313.

Hours: Sun-Fri, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Sat: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., closed Mon.

For further information, go to

Local Tina Larsen discusses her book, My Own Darling, her parents’ WWII love story, at LBB, Nov 12

Through her parents’ war time correspondence, Laguna Beach author, Christina Valentine Larsen, artfully captures their voices in her book, My Own Darling, A Love Story for the Ages from the Greatest Generation. On Sun, Nov 12, at 4 p.m., Tina appears at Laguna Beach Books to discuss this new release from Windflower Press, which documents a more innocent time in American history.

Like those of many others, the lives of her parents, Mary and Grant Valentine, changed on Dec 7, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Within a few months, her father was sent to the South Pacific. Tina says that her father’s obligation in the Army Reserves led to a long and illustrious career in the military. 

During WWII, it could take weeks for the letters to arrive, she says. Even though the military censored their letters, Grant and Mary were adept at veiling information. 

“Censors were unable to extract the intimacy from their words of love and loss,” Larsen says. “Daddy spoke of harrowing experiences when Americans took the Philippines from the Japanese. My mother tells of making tough decisions alone, something she never thought she would have to do.” 

Tina Larsen discusses her new book My Own Darling on Nov 12 at LBB

After Grant returned home in 1945, the letters were packed in a large brown pigskin suitcase with straps, most likely from Grant’s college days. Both Grant and Mary were quick to point out that their words were “racy” and very personal, and the family was not allowed access. 

“The suitcase was not opened until my mother’s death in 2002,” Larsen says. “The stationery had yellowed, but the lines of love were still legible.”

During the creation of this book, the author insisted the messages sent between her parents remain unchanged and just as her parents wrote them. Tina says, “To alter their perfect words in any way would diminish their voices, as they tell their own story of a man and woman torn apart, staying alive until they could be together again. This was a desperate time for my parents. When others lost loved ones, they wondered if they would ever see each other again.” 

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. 949-494-4779. 

For further information, go to

LPAPA’S “Art and Nature” exhibition and sale gallery reception on Nov 11 

On Sat, Nov 11, Laguna Plein Air Painter Association presents “Art and Nature” artist reception from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. in coordination with LAM’s Art & Nature exhibits. The award ceremony will take place at 6:30 p.m. at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave.

Participating artists include Jacquelyn Blue, Gobind Boyes, Larry Cannon, Monica Edwards, Brandon Gonzales, Susan Gordinier, Scott Hamill, Kraig Hogan, Ellen Howard, David Marty, Patricia Matranga, Patricia McGeeney, Brad Neal, Deborah Newman, Bonnie Joy Sedlak, Christine Thomas, Sharon Weaver, and Kathleen Williams.

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A Cool Spot, by LPAPA member Scott Hamill

LPAPA presents juried art exhibitions at its “LPAPA in Residence” gallery home located at the Forest & Ocean Gallery. The gallery creates opportunities for our artist members from across the country to show their work in this thriving art colony and be part of the painting tradition that established Laguna Beach as an Art Colony over 100 years ago. It also provides LPAPA with the opportunity for our nonprofit art organization to connect with our community, supporters and art lovers.

For more information, visit

Poet John Gardiner’s memorial service takes place Sunday Nov 12 at NCC at 2 p.m.

A memorial service to celebrate poet John Gardiner’s life an legacy will take place on November 12 at 2 p.m. at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive, in the church sanctuary. 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

John reading from one of his books

There will be a reception immediately following at the church in Bridge Hall. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter.

When the moon hits your eye…

Photo by Scott Trimble

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Taken “in that tiny alley behind the church on Park and Third”...a spectacular moon shot

When the sun came out

Photo by John Pribram

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By the light of the silvery sun…

Worlds AIDS day in Laguna Beach on Dec 1 

On Fri, Dec 1, there will be a candlelight memorial to remember Laguna residents who were lost to AIDS. Gathering for the meet and greet will take place at 4:30 p.m. at the Cobblestones, Main Beach. The candlelight memorial will take place from 5 p.m.- 5:30 p.m. 

There will be inspirational words, a reading of names belonging to Laguna residents who lost their battle with AIDS, and free HIV testing vouchers will be provided by the Laguna Beach Community Clinic. 

This event is sponsored by Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee. The mission of the HIV Advisory Committee is education about HIV, HIV transmission and HIV prevention, plus assistance and support of those living with HIV/AIDS. The goal is to strive to diminish the social stigma still associated with HIV/AIDS.

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