Visit Laguna Beach launches “From Radical Origins” – a Laguna docuseries at February 1 event

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Visit Laguna Beach brought on Schiefer Chopshop to produce “From Radical Origins,” a series that showcases the people, events and activism that has shaped Laguna Beach into what it is today. The mini documentaries and podcasts feature the dynamic artists, athletes, spiritualists, activists, entrepreneurs, dreamers and doers, that have contributed to the fabric of the city, adding layers to what visitors, locals and vacationers experience when visiting the iconic SoCal beach town.

To celebrate the seven-episode docuseries, Visit Laguna hosted a community event on Thursday, Feb. 1 at Rivian’s South Coast Theater in Laguna Beach. The event featuredFrom Radical Origins” participants, community members and fans of Laguna Beach who all came together to watch the acclaimed series together.

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Some of the people who made “From Radical Origins” possible

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Visit Laguna Beach board members – (L-R) Joanne Bear, Kurt Bjorkman and Debbie McDonald

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The event was attended by many well-known Laguna residents including (L-R) Greg MacGillivray, Toni Iseman, Barbara MacGillivray and Rich German

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 (L-R) Greg MacGillivray, Kristen Whalen, Councilmember Bob Whalen and Visit Laguna Beach President and CEO Rachel O’Neill-Cusey

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A packed house for the event

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Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi

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Intermission

“We created ‘From Radical Origins’ to tell the story of Laguna Beach’s rich and unique history while honoring people who have contributed so much to the community,” said Rachel O’Neill-Cusey, president and CEO of Visit Laguna Beach. “We hope the series inspires a new appreciation for the city and broadens the visitor experience by exploring the people and places highlighted in the series. See where skimboarding was born, bike and hike the many trails our community created, and connect with the Bohemian spirit of Laguna Beach to have a sense of where it all began.”

The seven-episode series includes:

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(L-R) Introduction to “Reef Madness” – (L-R) Brandy Faber (Brooks Street Classic Surf Contest Director), his daughter and Pro-surfer Jeff Booth

“Reef Madness”: In the ‘50s, surfers weren’t athletes who led aspirational lifestyles; they were rowdy vagabonds and boozers who lived life on the margins. To combat the privatization of the city’s beaches, they put on the first Brooks Street Surf Contest to protect public beach access, and effectively recast the feral surfers as locally grown athletes who became legends.

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International Professional Mountain Biker, Hans Rey, introduces “Trails Unbound”

“Trails Unbound”: Established in 1983, the RADS might be the oldest and most notorious mountain biking club around. But somehow, the club has achieved legendary status while retaining an aura of mystery, all while forging some of the most renowned trails we still use today.

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Pro Skimboarder, Amber Torrealba

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Tex Haines (founder of Victoria Skimboards) with his wife and daughter. He was featured in the “Birth of Skim.”

“The Birth of Skim”: Skimboarding has always been a true Laguna original, starting in 1920. In 1976, Tex Haines and Paul Prietto realized that the old wooden construction of the boards could be significantly improved with foam and fiberglass resin. The new Victoria boards transformed the coastal novelty into a true water sport that Haines renamed “skimboarding.”

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Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer of Crystal Cove Conservancy Hallie Jones introduces “Protect and Conserve”

Protect & Conserve”: Independent bookseller James Dilley returned from travels abroad with a huge idea, creating English-style green belts in Laguna’s backyard. Today, more than 200 nonprofits continue to protect Laguna’s 22,000-acre greenbelt, and efforts have grown beyond the canyon to also ensure the protection of Laguna’s Bluebelt.

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MC Kurt Bjorkman looks on as Jorg Dubin introduces “Long Live the Rejects”

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Shelton Taylor performed at the event and was in the film “Long Live the Rejects”

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Jay Grant (and his wife Nikki) appeared in the film “Long Live the Rejects”

“Long Live the Rejects”: The origin story of the famed Sawdust Festival, this installment tells the story of a group of local artists that rebelled against the Festival of Arts and formed their own organization, under their own rules, lovingly nicknamed the “Rejects Festival.”

“Innovation at the Source”: Transformative ideas are born from personal passion and experimentation that have reshaped culture, fashion and industries on a global level. Laguna Beach has always inspired brilliant, sometimes hair-brained pursuits that have made the city the home of creativity and radical entrepreneurism – developing art, film, innovations, brands and strategies.

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Star Shields talked about “The Happening” in 1970 and introduced “Short Strange Trip”

“Short Strange Trip”: The story behind the Woodstock of the West Coast, “The Christmas Happening,” and the music festival that was cut short when the police and military broke up the dream.

To view and listen to the “From Radical Origins” docuseries, visit www.visitlagunabeach.com/radicalorigins.


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