Laguna Beach

LPAPA hosts Town & Country, a juried art exhibition, from Jan 16 – 29: Opening reception is Jan 20

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) will host “Town and Country,” a juried art exhibit of paintings that capture natural and urban landscapes. 

The exhibition will run from Jan 16 to 29 at the Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave, and will feature more than 60 original paintings created by LPAPA Signature and Artist Members. 

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Submitted photo

Saim Caglayan, Market Street, 8” x 10” oil

The public is invited to come meet the artists during the Opening Reception on Saturday Jan 20 between 5 and 7 p.m. Awards will be announced at 6 p.m.

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Submitted photo

Paige Oden, Walk to Town for Coffee, 8” x 16” oil

LPAPA was founded in 1996 to help preserve Laguna Beach’s rich artistic heritage and tradition of plein air painting. LPAPA is one of the best recognized and most respected plein air art associations in the world with a growing roster of more than 500 local, national and international artist members. 

In addition to providing opportunities for established and emerging artists to show their work, LPAPA has a strong commitment to education to benefit young artists and the greater community.

For show details, including a link to view the expanded online gallery show, visit:

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Friday & Sunday 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Laguna Presbyterian Church and the American Red Cross host a blood drive tomorrow (Wed Jan 17)

Laguna Presbyterian Church and the American Red Cross are teaming up to hosting a blood drive on Wed, Jan 17 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. in Tankersley Hall at 415 Forest Ave. Join the lifesaving mission and schedule an appointment today. 

The need for blood is constant and only volunteer donors can fulfill that need for patients in the community. Nationwide, someone needs a unit of blood every two to three seconds and most of us will need a blood donation in our lifetime.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Coordinator Laura Rudd at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 949-439-0551. Also available is the Red Cross Blood Donor App on the App Store, Google Play or text BLOODAPP to 90999. It gives you the opportunity to schedule appointments, get rewards and invite friends to join you on a lifesaving team.

Walk-ins are welcome tomorrow also.

I am astonished, I am amazed, I am in awe of I Am My Own Wife at Laguna Playhouse


Early in the play I Am My Own Wife, a blackboard behind the star John Tufts reads “a world turned upside-down.” As the story unravels, one understands just how truly tangled and out of sync Charlotte von Mahlsdorf’s world was, yet she prevailed. And the further realization that the play is based on a true story, makes her tale of survival as a man living as a woman in East Germany during World War II and postwar Communism, even more staggering. 

John Tufts, who masterfully transitions among a mind-boggling 30 plus characters—men and women, young and old—takes the audience on Charlotte’s journey, slipping seamlessly in and out of each character. On the outset, this monumental feat would appear almost impossible, but Tufts imprints each character with specific voice intonations and singular, but nuanced, gestures. Even in silence, when Tufts put a flat hand gently on her skirt, I knew it was Charlotte.

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Photo by David Bazemore

John Tufts as Charlotte von Mahlsdorf

As told by Charlotte at 64 years of age, refined and graceful in her dress and pearls, the audience learns about her life. Born Lothar Berfelde in Berlin-Mahlsdorf, Germany in 1928, she identified with being a young girl even as a child. When WWII broke out, her father, a member of the Nazi party, forced her to join the Hitler Youth. At 16, in an act of self-defense, Charlotte killed her father and was sent to a detention center. In 1945, she began living more openly as a woman and during the following decade established her antique collection as a museum. 

But her struggle continued. In 1974, the East German government, in an attempt to cut off the gay community’s ability to congregate, took over the museum. Eventually, her control was reinstated, and the museum provided a safe meeting place for gays and lesbians in East Berlin prior to the collapse of the wall. Charlotte is credited with playing a crucial role in the history of transgender Europeans.

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Crowd celebrates opening night

The story of how her life came to the stage is a fascinating one. In 1993, after a German documentary (I Am My Own Woman) was made of Charlotte’s life, Doug Wright, the playwright, traveled to East Germany to interview her. Over the next two years, he accumulated more than 500 pages of transcripts and correspondence. In 1997, he began writing the play, and it premiered in 2003. The next year, it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, the Lambda Literary Award for Drama, and Best Play at the Annual Tony Awards.

And after attending Sunday’s performance, it’s abundantly clear why it has won so many awards. In this production, everything works together to bring Charlotte’s world alive. All the behind the scene designers should be commended. With antiques hanging from the ceiling, the set is the perfect backdrop for Charlotte’s story to unfold. The everyday objects transform the stage into a startling contrast to what’s happening in the outside world. 

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Photo by David Bazemore

I Am My Own Wife runs through Jan 28

Although this is John Tufts’ debut at Laguna Playhouse and a return engagement for Director Jenny Sullivan, this isn’t their first joint effort. She previously directed him in this production. Their superb collaboration brings Charlotte (and those in her world) alive. 

Sullivan says, “Mr. Wright called his play a one-woman show performed by a man.” 

And after leaving the theater, I couldn’t imagine anyone other than John Tufts as Charlotte.

Artistic Director of Laguna Playhouse, Ann E. Wareham, says, “I first saw John Tufts in this Jenny Sullivan-directed production two years ago and knew I had to bring it to Laguna Playhouse.” 

But John was booked until now, so he promised her a slot, and she waited.

And it was well worth the wait.

As Charlotte talks about her broken museum artifacts, she says, “I did not refinish the pieces…These things, they are proof of its history. And so you must leave it.” She says she is an artifact herself, and history has proven her right. She is an heirloom of the highest quality.

In that world turned upside-down, Charlotte von Mahlsdorf managed to maintain her humanity and, after all this time, it still speaks to ours.

I Am My Own Wife runs through Jan 28. For ticket information, go to: or call 949-497-2787.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Dem Club & Laguna Unites organize buses to Women’s March; Petrie-Norris kicks off campaign

Cottie Petrie-Norris, who is running for the California State Assembly as representative of the 74th District, is kicking off her campaign by organizing a group to go to the Women’s March in Santa Ana on Sat Jan 20. 

The Women’s March takes place between 9 a.m. and 12.

“For many of us, 2017 was a year of awakening,” Petrie-Norris said. “There were many dark moments, but there were also moments of light, moments of love and moments of hope. In 2018, that love and hope is going to fuel us and carry us to victory!”

Democratic Club & Laguna Unites organize buses to March

The Laguna Beach Democratic Club has organized at luxury bus to take residents to the March. The bus leaves the High School at 8 a.m. and returns at 1 p.m. 

The Democratic Club’s website is

Laguna Unites, founded in the wake of the first Women’s March last year to sustain and encourage local-level civic engagement in key issues affecting all Americans through its Huddle meetings and other actions, has also organized bus transportation. 

The bus will leave the Laguna Beach District Office parking lot at 8 a.m. on Jan 20 and return by 2 p.m. Cost for transportation only is $20, for bus and box lunch $30, and for bus, box lunch, and special commemorative T-shirt $40.

Damon Wayans launches weekly comedy night at Skyloft starting in Feb: limited tickets for first night

Starting in February, every Tuesday night at Skyloft will be Damon Wayans’ Comedy Night. Yep, you heard me correctly! The popular comedian known for multiple starring roles in movie, television and live improv comedy, will be hosting and performing at Skyloft on Tuesday, Feb 6,as he introduces his ongoing, weekly comedy event.

Tickets for the Feb 6 event are $35 and on sale at Just 200 tickets are available for this premier show. 


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Submitted photo

Damon Wayans, Jr

On Feb 6, Wayans will be personally introducing two top-ranked Hollywood comedians – Tony Baker and Vincent Oshana – who first take the stage beginning at 6:30 p.m. Wayans will close the evening with his own show, from 9 – 10 p.m., a rare chance to see this first-class comedian in person in Laguna Beach.

How in the heck did this come together?

Although Laguna Beach sees its fair share of A-list celebrities perform here, this is probably the first time an “A-lister” has committed to hosting and filling an ongoing, weekly event.

 Wayans, who has always been involved in promoting and booking comedic talent, founded the booking and promoting company, Special Guest, in 2016. The booking agency is filled to the brim with well-known investor partners that include Kris Jones, Black Eyes Peas’, comedians Kevin Hart and Marlon Wayans, and corporate investor Apple (to name a few). 

In recent weeks, Skyloft’s own talent booking agency, Pare Booking, merged with Special Guest. Wayans and Pare Booking’s Brandon Breitenbach have been friends for years, and started chatting about opportunities to showcase great, comedic talent in “The OC.”

Comedy show will be exclusive to Skyloft

The two came up with the idea of exclusive, weekly comedy shows at Skyloft. Owner Ivan Spiers readily agreed. Spiers, who’s recently begun booking headliner talent at Mozambique to sold-out crowds, says he’s committed to putting Mozambique and Skyloft on the map as Orange County’s best venues for top-shelf live music and stage performances.

Damon Wayans, Jr. won’t be able to host all of the weekly Comedy Nights because of intermittent work schedules. He has, however, put himself in charge of seeking out great comedians and “sending them south” to the popular Laguna Beach restaurant and live performance stage.

“This is a fun undertaking for Damon and he loves Laguna Beach,” says Breitenbach. “I think there’s a good chance he will be surprising the Tuesday night crowds, even if he’s just checking in to see how this brainchild of his is going.”

Wayans recently guest-starred in Curb Your Enthusiasm

Damon Wayans, Jr., best known for his role as Brad Williams in the TV show, Happy Endings, has been performing in movies and television since 1994. Initially in roles cast by his father, Wayans began writing comedy for TV characters (including his own characters), received a rare standing ovation for his debut appearance on Def Comedy Jam, and has most recently guest starred in TV shows, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Curb Your Enthusiasm, as well as the movie, How to Be Single.

  Buy your tickets now at for the Feb 6 tickets. 

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book,

The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of ideas and upcoming events at her blog,

Dennis’ Tidbits


January 16, 2018

January 1969 marked the wettest month ever – 18.81 inches – no such luck for us in the 2000s

Ready for some stats? Here are some January rainfall totals in Laguna since 2000. Normal January rainfall is 3.11 inches. 

2000: 2.01, 2001: 4.16, 2002: 0.34, 2003: 2.69, 2004: 0.78, 2005: 8.12, 2006: 1.09, 2007: 0.07, 2008: 1.56, 2009: 1.72, 2010: 8.02, 2011: 0.98, 2012: 0.76, 2013: 1.00, 2014: 0.69, 2015: 0.78, 2016: 2.92, 2017: 6.94, 2018 up to Jan 15: 1.64.

In January of 1969 by the way we got 18.81 inches – the wettest January on record and the wettest month of all time. That total will be a hard record to break but when we get a 200 or 500-year rain event, who knows?

Meanwhile, local ocean temps continue to hover around the 60-degree mark, roughly four or five degrees above normal for this date.

There’s rumor of a big WNW ground swell coming our way. A very deep low has been trekking across the Pacific and instead of making a sharp turn to the northeast because of that strong stubborn ridge, it’s tracking straight east and at lower latitudes. Hawaii is getting that swell as we speak with places like Waimea, Jaws, and outer Kings reef outside Hanalei bay on Kauai are going off. ‘ Bout time! There hasn’t been an overhead day here in town for nearly three months so we are more than ready!

Our next chance of measureable precipitation is toward the end of the work week but don’t expect a whole lot. The ridge that sent us our blue banner weekend is weakening somewhat but it’s still there so most of the energy from the first front will happen from the Bay area north and the second low is poised to give us only about a quarter inch. Most of the activity will be aiming at the soggy, gray Northwest where they’re looking at a week of suicide weather. I’d rather live in a shack in Laguna than have a mansion in Portland! That’s why we live here! 

See y’all on Friday! Aloha!

Famous Polynesian tall ship visits Ocean Institute 

for cannon battles, sunset sails and ship tours

During the month of January, the public can experience a special tall ship, The Lady Washington, in Dana Point Harbor, where Ocean Institute is offering sunset sails, cannon battles and ship tours. 

What do King Kamehameha, Jack Sparrow, and Spock have in common? They all set foot on The Lady Washington, whose beautiful billowing sails have brought her to the Ocean Institute. 

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The Lady Washington

Visitors will enjoy blasting cannons, towering rigging, bustling decks and the magnificence of canvas full of wind. Guests work with the crew hauling up sail or simply sit back and appreciate the spectacular demonstration of skill, knowledge and survival. Battles with Lady Washington: Sat, Jan 20 at 2 p.m., Sun, Jan 21 at 2 p.m., Sat, Jan 27 at 2 p.m., Sun, Jan 28 at 2 p.m. Must be at least four years old to board. For ticket prices (and dates of Lady Washington Adventure Sails and Tours), go to website listed below.

The Lady Washington is a Hollywood star, having been featured in mega-blockbusters and television shows including Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Star Trek: Generations, Once Upon A Time, and Revolution. Her story is also based in the islands, as she opened the black pearl and sandalwood trade between Hawaii and Asia when King Kamehameha himself became a partner in the ship. 

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The Spirit of Dana Point on left

The Institute’s resident tall ship Spirit of Dana Point will also be offering trips on select dates: Sat, Jan 20 at 2 p.m., Sun, Jan 21 at 2 p.m., Sat, Jan 27 at 2 p.m., Sun, Jan 28 at 2 p.m.  Passengers get to experience the adventure of blasting cannons, towering rigging, bustling decks and the magnificence of a canvas full of wind as history comes alive on the water. 

Tickets include day-of admission to the Ocean Institute, which is located at 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr, Dana Point, 949-496-2274.

For more information and tickets, go to

Laguna Art-A-Fair seeks artists for 2018 Fine Art Festival with home design feature, Jury Day, Feb 11

In 2018, Laguna Art-A-Fair marks its 52nd year in scenic Laguna Beach Canyon.  The juried fine art exhibit provides opportunities for 120 established and emerging artists to present their works to thousands of art lovers each summer. 

Jury Day for the 2018 festival is Sunday, Feb 11, at Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club (1085 Laguna Canyon Rd), when applications and submissions can be hand delivered between 8 and 11 a.m. Digital submissions must be posted by Fri, Jan 26. 

Laguna Art-A-Fair is a nationally recognized fine art exhibition featuring original works across all mediums including oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, charcoal, pencil, drawing, mixed media, photography, ceramics, wood, glass, jewelry, gourds, leather, sculpture and digital art. 

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Submitted photo

A night at Art-A-Fair

Run as an artist cooperative, Art-A-Fair participants produce the annual exhibition in various volunteer positions with a goal to enhance art appreciation by presenting a broad spectrum of visual arts at the annual Art-A-Fair, and through ongoing outreach programs. 

This year’s Laguna Art-A-Fair, known as the Gem in the Canyon, will present a new feature connecting fine art with luxury home design. Festival promoters Gina Waggener and Jo Beth Prudhomme partnered with interior design expert Nancy Vengoechea of Vengo Design International to showcase an expansive new luxury home display area and home design-related workshops to help festival goers envision fine art in their own homes. 

UC Luxury Real Estate (, a division of Union Choice Enterprise, will offer advice on how redesign increases home values and options for utilizing home equity for improvements.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2017 Art-A-Fair by day

As there are no residency restrictions, all fine artists are welcome to participate in Laguna Art-A-Fair. Prospective artists must submit three original works of art within the same medium. A registration fee of $40 per medium is required, and separate booth fees are determined upon selection. Submitted work must be picked up between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb 11, and artists will be notified of their selection that day.

Laguna Art-A-Fair Preview Night is June 27, and the festival is open to the public from June 29 through Sept 2. Festival grounds are shared with the award-winning restaurant Tivoli Too! located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Applications and other details are available at

For more information, call (949) 494-4514 or visit

Laguna Friends of Architecture feature Oscar Niemeyer- The Man Who Loved Curves - at LCAD on Jan 26

Award-winning teacher and lecturer Jacqueline Hahn and the Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA) present a narrated slideshow of noted Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer on Fri, Jan 26, at 7 p.m. at Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD), Studio MC1. For attendees with a passion for architecture, it will be an evening of discovery and history pertaining to Neimeyer, whose work is well known for its futuristic, abstract and curved forms. Non-alcoholic refreshments will be served.

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Cathedral of Brasilia

Oscar Niemeyer (1907-2012) is revered as a key figure in the development of modern architecture, and is best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city that became Brazil’s capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the headquarters of the United Nations in New York. His exploration of the aesthetic possibilities of reinforced concrete was highly influential in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. 

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Palácio do Planalto, official workplace of the President of Brazil

LFA is a non-profit group created by volunteers to foster the appreciation and understanding of fine architecture and design. LFA meets regularly to present events and topics related to architectural design. Through lectures featuring knowledgeable guest speakers, interesting films, and a variety of home tours, LFA provides a venue whereby people with a passion for architecture can gather and learn about the history of buildings, communities and the architects who envisioned them.

LCAD is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information on LFA, visit

Women must get smart about salary negotiation

Are you, or is some woman in your life, currently working for 80 percent of what a man would get for doing the same job? Or are you, or is some woman in your life, about to enter or reenter the labor market? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, attending AAUW’s  (American Association of University Women)  upcoming free salary negotiation program can pay off in added paycheck dollars over the life of your career. 

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Submitted Photo

Lesley Danzinger leads a workshop for LCAD (Fine Arts and Illustration) students

Negotiation skills and strategies will be offered in these Start Smart and Work Smart workshops that will take place on Sun, Jan 28 at the Laguna College of Art and Design from 3 - 5 p.m. in Studio 1. Lesley Danziger, Start Smart Chair, will share workshop exercises, along with persuasive tips and tactics to use in real-life salary negotiation interviews. Parking is free and refreshments will be served.  

In 2018 in U.S. women are still earning 80 percent or less on average than men for the same job. Many factors feed into the gender pay gap. One immediate, proactive thing women can do to close the gap is to learn to negotiate better.  

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Submitted Photo

Pat Griggs leads a workshop for students earning certificates as Speech and Language Pathology Assistants at OCC

For program questions contact Madeleine Peterson at 949 376-8494 or visit the AAUW-LB website at For general membership information contact membership co-chairs: Leah Vasquez (949) 494-5787 or Rachelle Cano (818) 307-7562.

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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