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Laguna Beach

Second Annual LB Community Health Symposium focuses on Teen Mental Health on Tues, Jan 9

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic presents its Second Annual Community Health Symposium on Tues, Jan 9, from 9-11 a.m. in the City Council Chambers.  

“Our topic this year is teen mental health”, stated Dr. Jorge Rubal, medical director and CEO of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic. “We’re caring for 262 local teens, that care runs the gamut but we’re always keeping an eye out for mental health indicators.” 

The Clinic screens and treats a full range of mental health issues including anxiety, depression, eating disorders and other psychosocial disorders. “We’ve been planning this symposium for the last six months and think the community will be impressed by the caliber of speakers they’ll hear from, as well as engage during the Q&A session,” added Dr. Rubal, who will be moderating the symposium. 

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Submitted photo

(l-r) Dr. Keegan Tangeman and Dr. Jorge Rubal

 Dr. Keegan Tangeman, a noted Adolescent Psychologist, is slated as the keynote speaker.  “As inherently social creatures, we view experiences through an interpersonal lens. This interpersonal schema is especially salient for adolescents, where both peer and familial relationships are directly impacting brain development, along with corresponding emotional, behavioral, and cognitive regulation capabilities. 

“When parents, teachers, and practitioners can effectively integrate tenets of adolescent brain development, evidence-based interventions, and emotional awareness into their relationships, adolescents can thrive. In fact, this developmental period can be viewed as a tremendous opportunity for mental wellbeing and growth, as opposed to period of ‘storm and stress,’ as it has been historically referred,” stated Dr. Tangeman.

Panelists include Dr. Eric Speare, Psychiatrist; Melanie Balestra, Pediatric/Adolescent Nurse Practitioner; Dr. Mario San Bartolome, Teen Addiction Specialist; and Dee Perry, Laguna Beach School Board who underscored, “I’m so pleased to see our local community clinic presenting this timely and relevant event. I’m honored to be serving on the panel and look forward to the opportunity of sharing what the schools are doing to support teen mental health.”

The Laguna Beach City Council Chambers are located at 505 Forest Ave.

Tickets are $20 and available at

Start your year off right with the Fresh Start Workshop

On Wed, Jan 18, the Fresh Start Workshop will be presented by Dr. Gary Arthur of Health and Balance. The event will take place at 6:30 p.m. at 330 Park Ave, Suite #9. 

In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to utilize the knowledge and advice of trained doctors to create an attainable and effective action plan to achieve their health goals this year. It is also designed to create a solution to overcome any pain or health challenges that attendees may feel. 

Dinner will be provided and attendance is free. For more information or to RSVP, call 949-497-2553 or visit

Thoughts about happiness in the New Year, inspired by a Tibetan Buddhist Lama


All this “happy new year” chatter this week has me thinking about happiness, what it is exactly, and wondering why we don’t wish each other a “contented new year” instead – a much calmer, and possibly more achievable state, (if not nearly as melodious a greeting).

I mean, happiness? That’s a high bar. An underlying contentment with life in general (especially for those of us who live in Laguna Beach!) is surely attainable, traffic, parking and short-term lodging issues aside…

I thought back to the waning weeks of 2017, when I attended a public talk during which Tibetan Buddhist Lama Yangsit Rinpoche of the local Gonpo Ludup Study group spoke on the topic of How to Achieve Happiness.

Appropriately for a guru, Rinpoche was seated above us on a stage at the Woman’s Club, on a decorated chair of great distinction, but with his shaven chin, broad forehead, and regular flashes of an Obama-wide grin, he presented quite the opposite of the proverbial bearded figure on a mountaintop.

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Tibetan Buddhist Lama Yangsit Rinpoche speaks about achieving happiness

Rinpoche provided some interesting insights. One of his three key observations is that our happiness depends not on other people’s actions or words, but on our reactions to them.  

(A recent encounter with someone who has brought deep pain into my life reinforced the wisdom of Rinpoche’s words, as I instinctively reacted in a way that caused me even greater distress. Why didn’t I listen to Rinpoche??)

But should you then remain passive, when you feel badly done by, a member of the audience asked?

“Remember, they are suffering just as you are suffering,” Rinpoche said wisely. “They want happiness just as you want happiness.”

(But whose happiness? I was tempted to interject that question, but it would have been a reaction of exactly the kind he was suggesting we resist. And I knew what he meant.)

The lama repeated (I’m paraphrasing), “Remember, it is your reaction that is causing the problem; you must learn to accept your own suffering, because that is the nature of being human; the answer is to try to maintain a positive intention [despite the suffering] and strive for equanimity.”

Positive intention is as good as a resolution

Rinpoche pointed out also that one can become “attached to devastation” and bad feelings – an itch we take pleasure in scratching. Compassion, for ourselves and for others, is one answer, he advised – a focus, again, on positive intention on both sides, no matter the provocation.

The talk was peppered with humor and wisdom, and I left feeling comforted, even if I question my ability to follow the wise lama’s lead and, as noted, did the opposite of what he’d advised only weeks later. I’m just so darn fallible.

Mostly I enjoyed his parting metaphor. 

“How should we live?” a member of the audience asked.

Rinpoche smiled that wonderful, bright, room-lighting grin: The way I see it, he said (and again I’m paraphrasing), is that we are like houseguests on this planet. We’re here for a while, and then we leave. Best not to leave a mess behind.

And that’s advice I hope to follow in 2018 – to avoid messy reactions and instead gain equanimity and thus greater contentment (I can but try) as I look forward to spurts of sheer happiness: Boris the cat, warm on my lap; laughter with friends and family; hot beach sand between my toes; seafood dinners and glorious sunsets; walking the trails (Bunnies! Birds! Butterflies!), hanging with my husband, and being the editor of this most marvelous newspaper in this most wonderful of towns.

R Star Foundation ends year with addition of 30 greenhouses for earthquake damaged Nepal villages

R Star Foundation announces that as 2017 ends, a greenhouse has been added in each of 30 villages in Nepal. Approximately 90 percent of the homes were destroyed in the 2015 earthquakes. R Star is finally receiving the necessary supplies for the designated families to receive a greenhouse to offset the cost of rebuilding homes.

However, the overwhelming need remains for adequate and humane housing, as only five percent of the destroyed homes have been rebuilt (or started).

Rosalind Russell, founder of R Star, says, “The goal of R Star is to put at least one greenhouse in each village for the poorest. We are at 51 villages, but we have 18 greenhouses to go. Progressing forward we wish to continue adding greenhouses and, of course, goats which we are more known for too, to help the continued struggling of the villagers which remain severe beyond our imagination.”

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Photo by Rosalind Russell

Earthquake damaged home

In each of the 30 villages, to determine who receives the greenhouses (referred to as tunnels), the villagers ‘elect’ the single woman or family to be the recipient. The greenhouses offer year-round organic farming, adding to the meager income they get from only two seasons in the fields they work each year.  

Russell says, “What a grand way to end the year with the long-awaited greenhouses for the 30 different villages, all castes I will add, and 30 different families benefiting. Obtaining the right bamboo caused a part of the long wait as we gifted the funds early this year while I was there hoping to have them all up and running by mid-summer.” 

Photo by Rabin Situala

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Greenhouse supplies

R Star greenhouses produce up to four crops per year, in some cases, five. The plants are started by organic seeds the villagers have for each growing time. Being organic means they bring in higher prices as organic produce is pricier.  

“I love knowing bamboo is a replenishable, sustainable product, even growing fast, but still with such a demand we have had to wait endlessly paying higher prices than ever known in Nepal for bamboo,” Russell adds. “Another election which pretty much slowed or stopped the country from progressing in building just concluded, and add in some of the holidays of the Hindus being celebrated, stopping [momentum] for building in Nepal with the festivities.”

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Photo by Rabin Situala

Bamboo bundles ready for transport

Russell discusses conditions in Nepal and the greenhouse constructed at TOW, that will in time become a place for students to learn first-hand about sustainability concepts.  

“Unlike the wonderful TOW Laguna school, there are no amenities beyond a water tank for the dry season, a hose, training on how best to produce the finest of crops, organic fertilizer, nails and wire. Other than the bamboo and water tanks, the supplies have reached their destinations with the ground being prepared to build upon. Having the humidifiers and other accoutrements as LB’s TOW elementary school has would be wonderful, but only the big investors in Nepal coming from India have grand greenhouses which I have seen by private tour. Regardless, our simple greenhouses are doing well to help our villagers, I am proud to say.”

For donations for greenhouses or goats, (a tax deduction), go to or mail to: PO Box 4183, Laguna Beach, CA 92652. A greenhouse is currently $600. A goat is $200 which also provides microfinancing for village ladies.

Live! at the Museum presents cellist Nicholas Mariscal on Thurs Jan 11 at 7 p.m.

Laguna Beach Live! presents Nicholas Mariscal at the Laguna Art Museum on Thurs, Jan 11, at 7 p.m.

Nicholas Mariscal is a 24-year-old cellist currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music under the distinguished cellist (and Heifetz Institute faculty member) Ralph Kirshbaum.

Nicholas has won a number of competitions and awards and has had numerous distinctions as a cellist, including concerto performances at the Aspen Music Festival, performing Tan Dun’s Snow in June, and at Indiana University, performing Gubaidulina’s Canticle of the Sun for solo cello and choir, as well as Beethoven›s Triple Concerto.

Live! at the Museum, a special collaboration of Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Art Museum, takes place the second Thursday of each month from 7-8 p.m. 

The concert is free to museum members and to non-members with museum admission. Pre-reservations are available online through the Museum’s website, or at 949.494.8971 x203. These seats are held until 6:45 p.m. Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

For more information about the series and other concerts, visit us online or phone 949-715-9713

You Play the Girl discussed by author Carina Chocano at Laguna Beach Books on Jan 14

On Sunday, Jan 14 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books (LBB) welcomes author Carina Chocano, who will be discussing her new book, You Play the Girl: On Playboy Bunnies, Stepford Wives, Trainwrecks, & Other Mixed Messages.

In this smart, funny, impassioned call to arms, a pop culture critic merges memoir and commentary to explore how culture shapes ideas about who women are, what they are meant to be, and where they belong.

Photo by Titia Vermeer

Carina Chocano, Author of You Play the Girl

Who is “the girl”? Look to movies, TV shows, magazines, and ads and the message is both clear and not: she is a sexed-up sidekick, a princess waiting to be saved, a morally infallible angel with no opinions of her own. She’s whatever the hero needs her to be to become himself. She’s an abstraction, an ideal, a standard, a mercurial phantom. 

From Bugs Bunny to Playboy Bunnies, from Flashdance to Frozen, from the progressive ’70s through the backlash ’80s, the glib ’90s, and the pornified  aughts – and at stops in between, Chocano blends formative personal stories with insightful and emotionally powerful analysis. 

She explains how growing up in the shadow of “the girl” taught her to think about herself and the world and what it means to raise a daughter in the face of these contorted reflections. In the tradition of Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, and Susan Sontag, Chocano brilliantly shows that identities are more fluid than one thinks, and certainly more complex than anything seen on any kind of screen. 

Carina Chocano is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. Her work has appeared in New York magazine, Elle, Vogue, Rolling Stone, Wired, The California Sunday Magazine, Bust, The Washington Post, Vulture, The Cut, GOOD magazine, Texas Monthly, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and many others. She has been a film and TV critic at The Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and She lives in Los Angeles. 

LBB is located at 1200 So Coast Hwy, Ste 105, 949-494-4779

For more information, go to

Active shooter exercise scheduled for Jan 10 at LCAD: Do not be alarmed by simulated gunfire, sirens

Laguna Beach Police Department has partnered with the Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) who will be hosting a full-scale active shooter exercise on Wed, Jan 10,, from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. at their main campus, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road. All activities will occur on LCAD property. 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LCAD campus will be the epicenter of an active shooter exercise on Jan 10

The purpose of this exercise is to test our interagency capabilities and the mission readiness of our first responders during an active shooter incident. In addition to Laguna Beach police officers and firefighters, the exercise will involve personnel from our surrounding law enforcement and fire department agencies including Irvine, UCI, Newport Beach, and Costa Mesa. 

During the exercise you may hear sirens and simulated gunfire coming from the area of Laguna College of Art & Design, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road. 

Laguna Canyon Road will remain open throughout the event and traffic control officers will be in place to mitigate any traffic congestion. 

The exercise will not be open to the public and only authorized personnel and the media will be allowed to attend. 

This exercise is partially funded through a federal grant received by the Anaheim/Santa Ana Urban Area Security Initiative. 

For further information, contact Public Information Officer Sgt. Jim Cota at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ';document.getElementById('cloak110172db1fad4c709d0de700fc85bb7a').innerHTML += ''+addy_text110172db1fad4c709d0de700fc85bb7a+'<\/a>'; or 949-464-6671.

Barbara’s Column

LAM’s 100th anniversary begins with facelift approval



The Planning Commission on Wednesday approved a facelift for the Laguna Art Museum, a propitious start in the New Year for Orange County’s oldest ongoing cultural institution.

The museum will celebrate its 100th anniversary this year, kicking off the celebration with the Centennial Bash on Jan 27. 

“I am looking forward to the event,” said Malcom Warner, museum director since 2012. “It’s something different for us. It will have a more edgy character that we think will enjoyable for all ages but attractive to a younger audience.” 

The late-night party will feature live music, craft beer, specialty cocktails, “lite bites” and site-specific art installations by Megan Geckler, Elizabeth Turk and Friends With You. General admission is $35. 

Centennial activities will include LAM’s annual art auction on Feb 10. The auction was born in the early 1980s when local artists were sent a paper bag and asked to return it as donated art.

The late Andy Wing was one of the donors. 

The sale of the bags raised pennies compared to the haul made at recent auctions, but staff and volunteers were delighted.

More fun planned

Major announced centennial events will continue with Film Night on Aug. 25 when a documentary on the museum’s history will be screened. 

LAM has survived floods, ridicule of the So-called Eucalyptus School of painters, staff upheaval, numerous name changes and major renovations.

The last major overhaul took place in 1987. Interior changes included a new gallery and artistic restrooms on the lower floor. Outside, alterations were significant---most noticeable were the sloped window grid on the upper story, which reflected sun into offices opposite the museum on Cliff Drive to the fury of the working folks. Oh, and the bubble gum pink was also somewhat noticeable.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Art Museum today

The absolute nadir in the museum’s history was the short-lived merger of the old Laguna Art Museum and Newport Harbor Art Museum in 1996. LAM’s independence was reestablish in April of 1997. 

The museum has also suffered from inadequate staffing and financing. In 1981, when Bill Otton took over as director, the museum had a paid staff of two – and Otton was one of them. The annual budget was $150,000.

You could say things are better now. The annual budget hovers around $3 million, according to Warner. 

“We have 15 full-time staff members, as well as part-timers and the endowment fund is in the region of $1.2 or $1.3 million,” said Warner. 

But his heart is warmed by the increase in personnel in the museum’s education department from none in 2012 to the present two and one half people---two full-time and one half-time. 

Warner is also gratified by the increase in financial support from individuals and grant-giving bodies.

The city pledged in 2016 a $1 million matching grant in $250,000 increments, the first of which will be used to fund improvements approved on Wednesday as proposed by noted Laguna Beach architect Anders Lassiter, who is working pro bono on the project.

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The early days of Laguna Art Museum

Facades on North Coast Highway and Cliff Drive will be updated, and a disintegrating sculpture will be removed. 

Lassiter hopes the project will get underway around Valentine’s Day and be finished by spring.

“We hope it will be lasting and tasteful contribution to the museum for the next 50 years,” said Lassiter. 

Although there have been major changes in the architecture, the building is still highly regarded by the city as a valued cultural resource.

Begun as a sales gallery in 1929 by the Laguna Beach Artists Assn, the museum has evolved into an outstanding collector and exhibitor of art created by California artists or that represents the life and history of the company.

The construction was funded by drive headed by Laguna Beach painter, Anna Hills. The custom-built gallery designed by the well-known Los Angeles architect Myron Hunt. This survives as the Steele Gallery within the present museum building, honoring major donors Harry and Grace Steele

Malcolm Warner wants to talk to you about your memories 

With the growth of a permanent collection of donated works and the beginnings of a program of loan exhibitions, the gallery took on some of the characteristics of a museum. In 1972 it became the Laguna Beach Museum of Art. The name changed to Laguna Art Museum in 1986 with the physical expansion that completed the building as it now stands. 

Warner is working on a book, telling the story of the museum in photographs, to be published next year. He would love to meet and talk to folks who were around in the early days of the museum and might have photographs of such folks as Edgar Payne or one of Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson and Ken Jillson taken at a press conference prior to a joint fundraiser for the museum and AIDs Services Foundation in 2002. 

You know where to find him. He can be reached at (949) 494-8971.

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

Based on a true story, the production of I Am My Own Wife opens at Laguna Playhouse this week

Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, playwright Doug Wright began a conversation with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transvestite who, against all odds, navigated a path between the Nazis and East German Secret Police — in a pair of high heels. 

The result: the astonishing performance, “I Am My Own Wife,” which opens at the Playhouse this week.

Wright uses more than 30 characters—all played by a single actor—to piece together Charlotte’s controversial life to create a profound story of survival and inspiration. This provocative and bold production is highly engaging for ages 16 and up.

 Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham “I Am My Own Wife is a remarkable piece of theatre and even more so that the story is true, and still has so much relevance today. Our subscribers and audiences are in for an unforgettable experience.” 

Real-life Charlotte von Mahlsdorf is played by John Tufts 

 Directed by Jenny Sullivan, the play stars John Tufts. I Am My Own Wife begins previews on Wed, Jan 10; will open on Sun, Jan 14, at 5:30 p.m. and will run through Sun, Jan 28.

 “We are so fortunate to start 2018 with this exquisite play and extraordinary performance,” comments Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard. 

John Tufts, who stars in I Am My Own Wife, has had an extensive career in the theater, film and television: 12 Seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, The Cherry Orchard, Into the Woods (also Wallis Annenberg Center in LA). 

He also received several awards: the Indy Award for I Am My Own Wife; Wall St. Journal Best of 2016 for Tug of War; Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting. 

 The Director Jenny Sullivan has previously directed at Laguna Playhouse: Year of Magical Thinking, Love Loss and What I Wore, and Steel Magnolias. She has also directed at Acorn Theatre in NYC and The Wallis Annenberg in Beverly Hills and many prestigious theaters across the country. 

 Doug Wright, the playwright, wrote the book for the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. In 2004, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award for his play I Am My Own Wife. 

Jenny Sullivan, Director, returns to Laguna Playhouse 

This season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family. Additional Season Sponsors are South Coast Plaza, Haskell White, Surterre Properties, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Gelson’s, and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin.

 Performances will be Tues – Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Thurs and Sat at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 1 p.m. There will no performance on Thurs, Jan 18 at 2 p.m. There will be an additional Sun performance on Sun, Jan 21 at 5:30 p.m. 

Special Post-Show Audience Talk Back Performance on Sat, Jan 20 at 2 p.m. & Special “Pride Night” Performance on Sun, Jan 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $45 - $70 and can be purchased online at the website below or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices subject to change.

 The box office is open Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

 For more information on all shows, programming and for a complete biography of the talented actor, director, and playwright, visit  

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Chef Craig Strong offers cooking classes at Studio, Montage Laguna Beach 

Acclaimed Executive Chef Craig Strong of Montage Laguna Beach’s signature fine dining restaurant Studio will be giving a series of interactive cooking classes starting Sat, Jan 13. The classes will be held at Studio, located at 30801 Coast Highway, panoramically perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, and will include hands-on cooking experiences complete with tips and tricks from Chef Strong, lunch with wine pairing, recipe sharing and a Studio apron.

The series includes: Spanish Cooking 101 on Sat, Jan 13, at 11 a.m. Strong leads the way for participants to learn how to throw a Spanish-themed party, complete with tapas and paella. On the menu: Gambas ajillo, Serrano ham con pan and Tomate, Brandade in Pequillo Sauce, Patatas Bravas and Chicken Paella with Shellfish.

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Submitted Photo

Since 2009, Strong has helmed the kitchen at Studio with its highly acclaimed modern French cuisine with California influences

Another event included is the Sweet Tooth: Pastry Basics on Sat, Feb 17, at 11 a.m. Participants will learn to make decadent desserts just in time for Valentine’s Day – from classic recipes with techniques demystified by the Chef. On the menu: Lemon Tart, Warm Chocolate Cake and Crème Brûlée infused with garden herbs.

Additionally, there will be an Italian Love Affair with Pasta on Sat, March 17, at 11 a.m. Students will make three types of pasta - hand-rolled, dumplings and noodles with a variety of delicious sauces to compliment each. On the menu: Ricotta Cavatelli with Basil Sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo and Trofi with Checca Sauce and Mozzarella.

Cost for each class is $150, plus tax and gratuity. Class size is limited. For reservations, call (949) 715-6420.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

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