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Laguna Beach

Rainbow Reflections: LGBTQ News and Events

By Craig Cooley

Rainbow Reflections Craig Cooley

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Craig Cooley

What’s up with Pride 365?

Laguna Beach Pride will now also be known as “Laguna Pride 365.” Why? There has been such a strong following of the last several events, including Pride 2018 and July 4th Indepen-DANCE, that the group is responding to the interest by having events all year long, thus the new tag line…Laguna Pride 365!

Rainbow Reflections Cowgirls

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Git on over to the ‘Bique for some Boot Scootin this Sunday

This Sunday Country Disco Jamboree

The next event is this weekend, on Sunday, July 29. Y’all cowboys and cowgirls get your wranglers on and mosey on down to Laguna Beach’s first “Boot Scootin Country Disco Jamboree” located at the Mozambique dance hall. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon of meeting new friends, line dancing and doing the hustle. 

What a great way to end the weekend! 

The next event will be on Labor Day weekend at the world famous Boom Boom Room, more details to come.

Rainbow Reflections OC Fair

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“Get Your Pride Out” at the OC Fair on Wednesday, Aug 1

Orange County Fair with flair? Yes!

Wednesday, August 1 has been designated as “Get Your Pride Out” at the Orange County Fair. Kind of like Disney Gay Day, the local Laguna Beach Pride has designated the date for showing your pride at the OC Fair, having fun, and meeting new people. How will we know who is part of this wonderful group? We ask that red shirts and red and white bandannas be worn. Or, if you are a bit more daring, a rainbow bandanna or just about anything rainbow may be worn. If you are so inclined, sport your colors and show up at 7 p.m. 

More details will be posted on as they become available.

Rainbow Car Club

Speaking of rainbows, there is a “Rainbow” car club called Great Autos of Yesteryear (acronym is GAY). In their own words: “Great Autos of Yesteryear is the largest gay and lesbian car club on the West Coast with almost 1,000 members, owning over 2,600 cars. This diverse organization was formed in 1983…as a club that could serve as both a social gathering place and as a means of bringing together gay and lesbian individuals who share a unique enthusiasm for the automobile and its preservation.”

For many years I have been a member, and speaking first-hand it is a fantastic and fun group for all ages and all interests, centered around the automobile. Perhaps the best part is you don’t need to own a classic automobile, or any automobile for that matter, to be a member, just a sense of adventure and camaraderie. 

I love their motto, “Out of the garage…into the streets”. Check them out at Or better yet, join the group and attend their pool party scheduled on August 5 in San Diego. Have a road trip and meet new friends!

Update on portions of Downtown Specific Plan to be presented at Planning Commission Meeting August 1

The City of Laguna Beach will continue its efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wednesday, Aug 1 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue). 

update on downtown

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Downtown view

City staff will present draft amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan for discussion with the Planning Commission. The focus of the presentation and discussion will be on MIG’s recommended draft amendments to portions of Section V Land Use Districts of the existing Downtown Specific Plan document. 

Specifically, the focus of Section V review will cover the following topics: property development standards, special planning and/or design criteria. Other topics pertaining to the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions were previously reviewed and discussed at the April 18 and June 6 Planning Commission meetings. A copy of the Section V draft amendments is available to review on the project webpage (link included below).

Additional meetings will occur in 2018 to review draft amendments to other sections of the plan. This meeting and future meetings play an essential role to obtain input from the community and direction from the Planning Commission, and to identify the City’s priorities for the future of the Downtown.

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update, contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.


Fun “Under the Sun” continues at Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters through September 1

There’s still time to enjoy the Pageant, Art Show, live music, hands-on art activities, special events and more this summer as Orange County’s iconic cultural landmark continues to ‘heat up’ our community. Celebrating its 85th anniversary, Pageant of the Masters is enchanting audiences nightly with 90 minutes of tableaux vivant, where real people pose to look exactly like their counterparts in the original art pieces. Tickets to the Pageant of the Masters are available now at

Since opening on July 7, the Pageant of the Masters has welcomed excited crowds nightly, including some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, including actress Christy Carlson Romano, who indulged in the ‘living arts’ with her husband and his family. The Pageant of the Masters is arguably one of the most unique productions in the world. The creative, one-of-a-kind show themed “Under the Sun” for 2018 combines theater, performance art, and art history to amaze and awe audiences of all ages. Tickets to nightly performances are still available online, by phone and in-person at the Pageant’s box office.

Fun Under the Sun

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Pageant of the Masters’ tableaux vivant

As one of the nation’s oldest and most highly acclaimed juried fine art shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show has offered a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers for 86 years. The Festival’s prestigious juried art show includes a wide variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more, all by 140 of Orange County’s finest artists.

Attendees can continue to enjoy the summer art fun with the juried art shows, as well as a variety of exciting activities and events including youth, teen and adult art class, interactive art demonstrations, and nightly special events. Groove to the sounds of Southern California’s most well known tribute bands as Festival of Arts brings to the concert stage Tribute Tuesdays. 

In addition to Tuesday nights, nightly music performances will continue all summer long with Step into the Spotlight Music Series on Fridays, and Concerts on the Green, sponsored by Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery, on select Saturday afternoons.

Whether you’re an informed connoisseur, an amateur collector, or an art lover, you’re sure to enjoy the fascinating and informative discussions with the Festival of Arts artists at Art Talks and Tea, each Wednesday at 1 p.m. 

Fun Under the Antje

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Antje Campbell led a recent Art Talks and Teas session

Then, just like TV’s Project Runway, see who’s in and who’s out this year, as the Festival of Arts welcomes the return of the Festival Runway Fashion Show on Sunday, August 19 at noon. The Runway Fashion Show welcomes a celebrity host and features Festival artists who compete to create the most inspired couture using reclaimed, reused, or recycled materials.

For kids ages 5 and younger, continue the kid-friendly fun all summer long with Art and Story Time each Monday at 12:30 p.m. or indulge your little one in daily Youth Art Classes, at 1 and 3 p.m. Monday – Friday through August 17. 

Adult art lovers can ‘sweeten’ up their summer with the Festival of Arts’ Thursday night series: Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate sponsored by Charles Schwab, by indulging with samples of Kendall Jackson wines expertly selected to complement the nuanced flavor of chocolates from XAN Confections. Tastings are $20 per person and limited reserved seating is available for purchase. 

On Saturday nights, uncork your creativity with Wine and Painting, learning the step-by-step process to create their own masterpieces while sipping on complimentary wine. Reservations are required and participants must be ages 21+.

The 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will continue through September 1 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. Special events and workshops vary per class and prior registration is suggested. The Pageant of the Masters offers nightly shows through September 1 with advance tickets available now starting at $15 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets visit:

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part by Southern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5, Pavilions and the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

Climate Investment Grant application ratified


The City Council on Tuesday ratified City Manager John Pietig’s decision to apply for a California Climate Investment Grant.

Pietig was forced to move without prior approval from the Council because the grant was announced on May 9 and the deadline to apply was June 6. Due to the time constraints, Pietig authorized Fire Chief Mike Garcia to submit an application on June 5 for a $3,292,500 state grant.

“It would be a total home run if we are successful in getting this grant,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede.

The goal of the grant program is to minimize carbon emissions from wildfire and maximize carbon sequestration in healthy wildland habitat.

Sequestration is a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.

If awarded the grant, the City would be required to contribute $874,200 over three and a third years. Credit for the City administrative support would reduce the contribution by almost $400,000.

climate 1993 fires

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Unpleasant memories of the 1993 fires spur Council action

Grant funds would be used to create firebreaks around structures in Laguna Canyon and Canyon Acres, fuel treatments to reduce ignition and spread all the way to the Irvine City limits, and habitat restoration in parklands.

The city would be responsible for maintaining the grant benefit area at an estimated annual cost of $200,000 to $500,000. Allowed clearance methods would be by hand-crews or goats.

Laguna Canyon Foundation or the Orange County Fire Authority, both partners of the City in the proposal, were named for non-city jurisdiction.

“We are enthusiastic supporters of this project,” said Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones.

Other partners in the grant proposal include the City of Irvine, Greater Laguna Coast Firesafe Council, Natural Communities Coalition (formerly Nature Reserve of Orange County) and Orange County Parks. 

“My family and Hallie’s family lost homes in 1993,” said Supervising Park Ranger Barbara Norton. “We are very sensitive to this.”

Letters of support for the City’s application were submitted by Mayor Kelly Boyd, State Senator John Moorlach, and Assembly member Matthew Harper.

The Council directed Pietig to identify and secure funds to meet the required grant match and to research and identify funds for the annual maintenance starting in 2023.

Beautiful beseeching flower

Photo by Tom Berndt

beautiful beseeching

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Dennis’ Tidbits


July 27, 2018

Approaching August with above normal water and air temps 

Dennis 5Man, that was quick! Here comes August already. With only four days until the start of August, air and water temps have been running several degrees above normal for late July, and current models indicate similar conditions through at least the first week of August. The average hi-lo temp for August here in town is 78-65. 

The record high temp for the month is August 6, 1983 and August 22, 1981 with 100 degrees on both days. The coolest night all time was 49 in 1943. Average water temp is 70. Warmest August water temp was August 8, 1994 with 79. 

Coldest water was in August of 2010 with almost two solid weeks of bone chilling temps as low as 55! That’s the average for January around here. The party responsible for the burly water for so long was some serious upwelling thanks to some pretty stiff west wind up to 15-18 mph day after day for nearly two weeks running. The other player in all this was a La Nina event on steroids, one of the stronger events in recent memory. For our August water to be that cold for that long was unprecedented. 

August is normally a pretty decent month for south swells from the Southern Hemisphere and tropical swells born in the hot waters off deep Southern Mexico. The Southern Hemisphere’s roaring 40s storm machine is at its peak, popping out big ol’ 960 millibar lows with gale force winds blowing over an expanse of 600,000 square miles or more. 

Every so often, we’ll get a huge swell from way down there with waves over 20 feet at the world famous Newport Wedge. Our other source of summer surf is Mexico’s chubasco (Spanish for tropical storm), which can whip up some strong waves of its own if positioned properly in our swell window. The frequency of these Baja swells varies greatly sometimes from year to year. An average season would see at least five or six decent swells between June and October. El Nino events play a large part in the tropical system’s strength and productivity.

Just a quick follow up on my weather records…I also kept daily weather and surf when I was stationed in Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu from June of 1967 through September of 1970. This included all shores of Oahu, focusing on the North Shore during the winter season and the South Shore in the summer. I even kept a daily weather journal while I was in South Africa in summer of 1974, their winter. I logged every swell in July and August while I was in Jeffrey’s Bay, which is considered one of the best righthand pointbreaks in the world. Even if I was in the mountains for just a couple of days, I would still document general conditions while I was there. I kept daily records while traveling through Mainland Mexico on surf adventures. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Loreen Gilbert testifies before US House Subcommittee in Washington DC 

Loreen Gilbert, President and Founder of WealthWise Financial Services, former National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) National Board Member, recently provided testimony to the US House Education and workforce Subcommittee on health, employment, labor, pensions. The Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Tim Walberg, held a hearing entitled HR 4219, Workflex in the 21st Century Act.

“Standardizing flexible work arrangements and paid leave will enable employees to strike the work-life balance they desire and gives employers the certainty of being in compliance. Best of all, this legislation is voluntary at both the employer and the employee level,” explained Loreen Gilbert in her testimony.

Loreen Gilbert group

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Loreen Gilbert is the founder of Wealthwise Financial Services – she is seen here with Mimi Walters 

“Through Workflex, we can encourage greater employer adoption of paid leave and flexible work options. And by simplifying regulations, we can embrace the changes that are taking place around us, adjusting the workplace in line with the values of today’s employees,” continued Gilbert later in her testimony.

Gilbert pursued a career in financial services after growing up seeing her single mother struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. In that era there was no flexibility for working mothers.

Gilbert left the male-dominated corporate investment world, realizing in order to have workplace flexibility she’d have to start her own wealth management business.

A few years ago, Gilbert’s company provided a measure of workplace flexibility when the father of a key employee was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to commute to a different state every week, quickly followed by a grandmother needing care, also dying in another state.  She offered support, time off and took on the workload. 

Loreen Gilbert portrait

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Laguna resident Loreen Gilbert testifying before Congress for HR 4219 Workflex in the 21st Century Act in DC

With the strong economy and unemployment at historic lows, employers are in a war for talent. To top it off, Millennials will often quit if they don’t perceive flexibility and paid leave in the workplace. Regrettably, the current patchwork of state and local laws makes facilitating paid leave and flexible work arrangements overly complicated for multi-state employers.

For the past 21 years, Gilbert built her business in California and the state laws change so much that she regularly hires an HR expert to make sure her employee guidebook is accurate and in compliance. She’d like to expand, but the multistate workplace regulations have stopped her.

“If I could opt into federal legislation, such as this one, that would cover me across all states, I could expand my business and employ workers across the country,” said Gilbert. “This bill strikes the right balance between the flexibility needed by employees and the stability and consistency necessary to employers.”

Reverend Dimitris Boukis serves as guest preacher at Laguna Presbyterian Church this Sunday, July 29

During both worship services this Sunday, July 29, Laguna Presbyterian Church hosts special guest preacher, Reverend Dimitris Boukis, who will speak from the book of Jonah on, “It is My Fault that this Great Storm has Come Upon You.” Services are held on 8:30 and 10 a.m.

Reverend Boukis serves as the Secretary for the Executive Committee of the General Synod in the Evangelical Church of Greece, and as a proxy-member of the Central Committee of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. He is a visiting professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece, and a regular keynote speaker at conferences and events throughout Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Egypt, Australia and the US.

Reverend Dimitris closeup

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Laguna Presbyterian Church hosts guest preacher Rev Boukis on Sunday

He has been extensively involved with philanthropic work with refugees and victims of trafficking in the Evangelical Church of Greece. Reverend Boukis is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and a visiting professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece. 

Born in 1965 in Athens, Greece, he received a BA in History in 1992 from Deree College in Athens, Greece and an MDiv in Theology in1996 from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Being a minister of the Evangelical Church of Greece since 1996, he has served primarily as a Youth Pastor at Large and as a pastor in its parishes in LA from 2000-2002 and from 2004 as pastor of the 3rd Evangelical Church of Athens. 

He is married to Lorraine Kefalas and is the father of Dimosthenis and Alexander. 

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

For more information, go to or call (949) 494-7555.

First Thursdays Art Walk on August 2 will feature creative tastings at Temecula Olive Oil

Temecula Olive Oil will hold its soft opening at its new location in Laguna Beach during Art Walk on Thursday, Aug 2, from 5 - 9 p.m. Guests will enjoy tastings of the olive oils and vinegars as well as samples of freshly made cheese from a local farmer. 

Thom Curry, the man behind the olive oil, is certified by the International Olive Oil Council as a Master Taster, and sat on the California Olive Oil Council’s Taste Panel for over 20 years. Thom, president and farmer, will be present at the opening along with “Farmer Jack.”

Thom ensures the health of the groves and the exceptional quality of the oils and vinegars. The company has been around for 17 years of “hard work, dedication, and passion,” says a spokesperson for Temecula Olive Oil.

“We are proud to open its fifth tasting room here in town. Bringing the farm experience to the local community and connecting them to their food source and the people that grow the products will be exciting [for us and for them].” 

first Thursdays thom

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Thom Curry, the man behind the olive oil

Stu News writer Marrie Stone recently paid a visit to the Laguna store. (Click here to read her review.)  She wrote then, “Thom and Nancy Curry, co-owners and husband/wife duo, began in the wine industry, working a vineyard in Temecula. Grapes, it turns out, are much more difficult to grow than olives. In 2001, Nancy discovered an abandoned grove of trees near their property and began picking, and then experimenting, and then expanding.

“Their working ranch in Aguanga (about 20 miles east of Temecula) is idyllic. In addition to olive groves, Thom and Nancy keep bees, host farm-to-table dinners for up to 200 guests (some of whom fly in from all over the US), provide the beautiful backdrop for weddings and other events, offer tours, and more.”

first thursdays interior

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The Laguna Beach location is stunning and spacious 

Founded in 2001, Temecula Olive Oil’s goal was to prove that the best olive oil can only come from the best olives. 

As a family owned and operated olive farm, only sustainable farming practices are used and the company notes that pride is taken in every product that is produced. Oils are made strictly using the highest quality California olives, never using chemicals or heat. 

After the soft opening, olive oil aficionados can get to know the growers even better. Ranch tours and tastings, as well as special events, are all offered by the company. 

The Laguna Beach store is located at 263 Forest Ave. To learn more, visit, call (949) 715-4673, and/or follow on social media @temeculaoliveoilcompany. For special events, contact (866) 654-8396.

As an added attraction, the store will display (as it does in all its tasting rooms) artwork by LCAD graduate Tracie Riordan-Fearing. But visitors will have to wait for the official ribbon-cutting in mid to late September to see more of her art.

Free professional contemporary dance performances by LA troupe at the Festival of Arts this Sunday

Laguna Dance Festival presents free public dance performances by LA-based Entity Contemporary Dance on Sunday, July 29 at the Festival of Arts grounds’ outdoor stage. 

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There’ll be free contemporary dance performances at FOA this Sunday

Entity, directed by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, is a professional contemporary dance company that interweaves modern, jazz, and hip hop dance techniques to present dynamic repertory that explores the depths of human emotionality and connectivity. 

Fostering creative, communal collaboration and emphasizing a cross-genre dance education, Entity has performed in numerous festivals, benefit shows, and industry showcases throughout California and has produced two full-length works. 

Be in the audience on July 29 at the beautiful Festival of Arts grounds for a moving performance followed by an interactive dance class. Performances will take place at 1 and 2 p.m., and are free with FOA admission.

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