Hilarious noir comedy Billy & Ray will open at the Laguna Playhouse on Oct 9 and run through Oct 30             

The second show of the Laguna Playhouse’s 2016/17 season, Billy & Ray, written by Mike Bencivenga and directed by Michael Matthews, will open on Sunday Oct 9 and run through Oct 30.

“Old Hollywood comes to Laguna Beach in this comedy about the making one of the most iconic films of the 1940s,” said Laguna Playhouse artistic director Ann E. Wareham. “I have been wanting director Michael Matthews to direct at the Playhouse for so long and think this is the perfect show for his unique vision. Our audiences and subscribers are in for a hilarious and wild ride.”  

In 1943, Hollywood legends “Billy and Ray” – director Billy Wilder and crime novelist Raymond Chandler – battled censors, and each other, to write the classic film noir “Double Indemnity.” In this play, the audience will go behind the scenes to watch this deadly funny journey through a war of creativity between two brilliant writers who nearly killed each other during the making of this Academy Award nominated masterpiece.

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Prepare to enjoy a great evening with Billy & Ray at the Playhouse

The cast of Billy & Ray features Blake Ellis (“Jarhead,” “Red Tails”) as Billy Wilder, Nick Searcy (“Justified,” “American Gothic”) as Raymond Chandler, Scott Lowell (“Queer as Folk,” “Bones”) as Joe Sistrom and Joanna Strapp (“Medium,” “Studio 60”) as Helen Hernandez.

Scenic design is by Stephen Gifford, lighting design by Luke Moyer, sound design by Juan Sanson, and costume design by E.B. Brooks.  The hair consultant is Bobby Chamblee. The stage manager is Vernon Willet.

BILLY & RAY will begin previews on Wed, Oct 5, open on Sun, Oct 9 and run through Sun, Oct 30 at the Laguna Playhouse.

Performances will take place Wed through Sat at 7:30 p.m., Sat at 2 p.m. and Sun at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thurs, Oct 6, 20 and 27 at 2 p.m. and Sun, Oct 9 and16 at 5:30 p.m. 

Tickets range from $35 - $75 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com 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: 12 to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sun 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  For more information on all shows and programming visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

CAP Gallery exhibit - Honoring Lorna Mills – through Oct 22

The CAP Gallery, located on the second floor of Wells Fargo Bank downtown, is featuring a new exhibition now through Oct 22.

This free exhibition acknowledges Lorna Mills and her impressive accomplishments in the financial realm and contributions to the Arts. Jennifer Griffiths, CAP Gallery Director, has curated and researched to compile historic photographs and written materials from newspaper archives and original materials from the files of Bonnie Rohrer.

Starting as a clerk at Laguna Federal Saving and Loan in 1936, she retired 50 years later as president, manager and vice chairman. Along the way she took risks in financing entrepreneurs, giving homeowners extensions to help avoid foreclosure, financing building on leased land and growing Laguna Federal in assets and branch offices.

Her most outstanding accomplishment, in Laguna’s eyes, is the design and construction of 260 Ocean Avenue. In 1961 Lorna Mills was instrumental in not only getting the building built but also including a multi-purpose rotunda, with large walls, specifically to display Art.

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Postcard image. Original Hand Steel Etching of Home Office of Laguna Federal Savings and Loan Association, 260 Ocean Ave. An Original Design by Josten’s, Owatonna, Minnesota.

This exhibit is a must see for Lagunatics, history buffs, Art lovers and anyone who has walked past or into the building.

There will be an exhibit reception on Saturday, Oct 1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is cordially invited to come explore this unique gallery space while learning the story behind it. It is a free event.

LAM will be first museum in North America with a partnership using SMARTIFY – a free mobile app

On Sept 24, Laguna Art Museum (LAM) will become the first North American partner for SMARTIFY, a free mobile app that enhances the museum experience by providing extended artwork information at the tip of your fingers. Using SMARTIFY’s advanced image recognition and augmented reality technology, museum visitors may scan artworks to gain access to information and commentary, artist biographies, and other content relating to the artworks on view. 

Visitors may also create their own personal “collections” within the app for later viewing and to extend their museum visit, giving a sense of direct engagement and participation with the curatorial process.

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Since its launch in May, SMARTIFY’s partners include the Cartoon Museum and Sluice Art Fair in London, and the Accessible Art Fair in Brussels. Laguna Art Museum is the first North American partner for SMARTIFY, and will launch the app on Sept 24 to coincide with Smithsonian magazine’s annual Museum Day Live! celebration, which provides free admission to participating museums and cultural institutions. 

LAM and SMARTIFY aim to reach and engage new audiences with this innovative app by having it coincide with this complementary event.

SMARTIFY is your personal digital curator. It is a mobile app that allows users to scan artworks and gain access to rich commentary left by friends, curators, and the artists themselves. It transforms museums and galleries into a place for dialogue and shared experiences.

It hopes to enrich visits to art venues by creating meaningful connections with the artwork and the communities who love it. The app is currently available to iOS users with Android coming soon. SMARTIFY’s ambitious vision is to bring positive disruption to the way audiences experience art in museums, galleries and other venues. 

It is a platform to interpret, share and respond to art.

LCAD Gallery presents:

The Visual Story: Entertainment and Beyond

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Michael Humphries

Hunchback Graves

LCAD Gallery announced next month’s exhibition, opening Oct 6, with a reception from 6-9 p.m. and running through Oct 20. This is the first-ever retrospective of Michael Humphries’ work, spanning the celebrated and illustrious illustrator’s career as a background artist for The Walt Disney Company. 

He created memorable scenes for The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and, more recently, as Art Director on Fantasia 2000 and as Production Designer for Sony Pictures’ Open Season.

The Visual Story: Entertainment and Beyond is curated to entertain audiences with a broad range of work by Humphries that always tells visual stories through light, color and dynamic compositions. 

The exhibit is curated by: LCAD Illustration Professor, Jason Dowd; LCAD Gallery Director, Andrea Harris-McGee; and Michael Humphries.

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announces new faculty and staff appointments for 2016-2017

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) has announced new faculty, leadership positions and staff appointments for the 2016-2017 academic year. 

Sean Bishop will assume leadership as chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Animation. Bishop comes to the College directly from DreamWorks Feature Animation, where he was a story artist. Bishop also has worked at DisneyToon Studios, Disney Television Animation, and Hanna-Barbera. He holds a degree in Illustration from Massachusetts College of Art and Design and steps in for Dave Kuhn, who will continue to teach full-time at LCAD Animation. 

Catharine Eure has been named Dean of Innovation and Corporate Partnerships. In this role, Eure will conduct research and work closely with faculty and staff in all departments and programs to identify trends and innovation of value to LCAD’s mission and goals, with a particular view to interdepartmental initiatives.

To enhance opportunities for the College and its students, Eure also will develop strategic partnerships with companies and corporations. Eure will continue to chair LCAD’s BFA program in Design + Digital Media.

Gavin Rich has taken over the reins as chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Game Art. Rich has been a full-time Game Art faculty member since 2009. Sandy Appleoff, who founded and chaired LCAD Game Art, will head and develop LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design.

Sol Smith is the new chair of LCAD Liberal Arts. After 18 years at the helm, Grant Heir stepped down, but he will continue to teach and to represent LCAD in the Faculty Senate. Smith has been teaching part-time in the department since fall 2015. He holds an Ed.S in Teacher Leadership from Walden University in Minneapolis, an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in Vermont, and a B.A in English from San Diego State University.

Dominic Mumolo has been named Director of College Advancement and will lead LCAD Office of College Advancement. He joined LCAD in 2015.

For more information, visit www.lcad.edu.

LCAD hosts VR Workshop with Mark Schoennagel of Unity 

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) announced Unity Virtual Reality Workshop for LCAD Art of Game Design MFA students and USC GamePipe Graduate students from 4 to 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct 1, at LCAD Big Bend Studio 5. 

Mark Schoennagel of Unity will present the workshop on VR development that will also be live-streamed to additional classrooms at LCAD Big Bend Campus, allowing the undergraduates and public to attend. 

“Unity has been a partner with LCAD’s Art of Game Design MFA since its beginning,” said Sandy Appleoff, chair of LCAD Art of Game Design MFA program. “VR games have been in development in our trans-university community, which includes Game Art BFA at LCAD and USC GamePipe, for the last two years.”

With the rise of mobile as well as room-scale VR and a slew of new developments coming down the pike, LCAD has proactively provided its MFA students with the tools necessary to compete in this brave new world is certainly worthy of note. 

For more about the workshop and to confirm attendance visit: www.lcad.edu.

Game Art & Design students exhibit at LCAD Gallery

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Life Through Twisted Lenses Game Art

LCAD Gallery opened its first exhibition of the academic year this week. It will run through Sept 30. 

“Life Through Twisted Lenses”, features new, traditional and digital takes on familiar landscapes as envisioned by the highly creative and sometimes-warped minds of LCAD Game Art BFA and Game Design MFA students. 

Curated by Chair of LCAD’s BFA program in Game Art, Gavin Rich; Chair of LCAD’s MFA program in Art of Game Design, Sandy Appleoff; and LCAD Game Art faculty member, Lou Police.

Avran Fine Art will present Hungarian Glass Show featuring critically acclaimed glass sculptors on Oct 1

Avran Fine Art will present an exhibition of glass sculptures by critically acclaimed artists Laszlo Lukacsi and Peter Borkovics on Saturday Oct 1 from 6 – 9 p.m.

Both artists will be in attendance to discuss their work and speak about the meticulous processes that are involved in the formation and creation of their pieces.

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“Palm” – a fine example of Lukacsi’s “fluid, organic shapes”

According to Avran Fine Art’s assistant director, Margo Kosin, viewing Laszlo Lukacsi’s art is a connoisseur’s journey through the history of the art movement in Hungary. 

She notes that, “Lukacsi’s structured training in applied arts, dedication to the tradition of the medium, and the influences of his predecessors are illuminated in each of the cold-worked laminated glass sculptures. The fluid, organic shapes and optic illusions reveal not only his vision but also the laborious techniques involved.”

Peter Borkovics is known as a synthesizing designer, solving problems with a creative approach reminiscent of Stefan Lindfors or Ron Arad.

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Borkovics is known as a “synthesizing designer” utilizing “controlled chance” to produce solidified glass movements

“[Borkovic’s] designs are consistently elaborated formal technical analyses, inquiring into melting, flowing, and suddenly hardening glass at a certain stage, in a certain form. The beauty of these solidified glass movements is not only the outcome of the matter, but the conscious planning of controlled chance, producing a light-conducting organic crystal, a light-space dissolving real space,” Kosin notes in a press release.

Avran Fine Art offers clients its unique perspective on contemporary art for collectors and enthusiasts. The gallery exhibits museum-quality glass sculptures, original paintings, and distinctive jewelry that appeal to lovers of both contemporary and traditional art.

Avran Fine Art is located at 540 South Coast Highway, Suite 106. For more information, call 949-494-0900. The gallery’s Facebook page is reachable at www.facebook.com/AvranArt.

“Wine and Sign” cabaret at No Square Sept 9

Laguna’s No Square Theatre will host a cabaret and book-signing event on Sept 9 at 7 p.m., highlighting “From the Errors of Others: How to Avoid Embarrassing Mistakes in Writing and Speaking” by local author Rebecca Lyles. 

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The evening includes dinner, followed by original parody songs performed by popular entertainers Saif Eddin, Rufino Cabang, Kathi Gillmore, and Chloe Lovato, readings from the book, Q&A with the author, and book signings afterward. 

The musical numbers take a satirical poke at subjects from the book: editing, punctuation, deceptive language, and how others judge us by the way we speak. All delivered with irreverent, tongue-in-cheek humor. “From the Errors of Others” is a collection of short, instructive essays and true anecdotes about awkward – often funny – blunders and missteps that the author has observed throughout a long corporate career as a technical writer, editor, and manager. Lyles invites readers to laugh about the guilty without laughing at them, and learn how to avoid repeating their mistakes. 

The author lives in Laguna Beach, sings in the LagunaTunes Community Chorus, and is a contributing lyricist for the annual “roast of the coast,” No Square Theatre’s Lagunatics. 

Wine and Sign Cabaret tickets are $20, and include dinner. Purchase tickets online at http://bit.ly/2aCfKIm. No Square Theatre is in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion Street, two blocks south of the High School. 

Buy “From the Errors of Others” at the event or online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

A musical parody that celebrates women but may give some men pause – unless they’re laughing along

Photo and story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Hot flashes, I had a few/but then again, too few to mention/Yes, there were times, I’m sure Bill knew, when I bit off his head/more than I usually do...but the record shows/he stood tall, and took the blows/and more, much more than that/when I did it my way…

These lyrics, as not sung by Frank Sinatra, might be my contribution, were I to write for the fabulous show Menopause the Musical, a 90-minute-long skit offering new takes on sixties, seventies and eighties songs to highlight the challenges of “the change,” including sleeplessness, mood swings and weak bladders.

The talented foursome of Linda Boston, Rebecca Fisher, Megan Cavanagh and Roberta T. Wall sing and dance to revised versions of songs such as the Gibbs’ brothers’ “Staying Alive” (“Staying Awake”) featuring “night sweats,” and a yearning “Please make me over” derived from Hal David/Burt Bacharach’s “Don’t make me over.”

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This lobby display reflects the witty vibe of Menopause the Musical

This hilarious production attests that menopause is no longer “the silent passage”: for these women, anyway, it’s loud and brassy and ebullient.

Highlights of the show have to be said to include versions of the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” and “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” I will leave it to you to imagine the relevant lyrics and dance moves, or, better yet, I suggest that you head on over to the Laguna Playhouse and enjoy this fast-paced, funny, fabulous show.

For more information, visit www.MenopauseTheMusical.com.

Performances will be Wed, Thurs and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road through Sept 11. 

Tickets prices range from $50 - $60 for all seats and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling 949-497-ARTS (2787).  Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mon – Sat 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Laguna Dance Festival will feature contemporary cool with companies from L.A., Philadelphia and New York 

From Sept 21 – 25, the Laguna Dance Festival, now in its 12th year, will bring to the intimate Laguna Playhouse stage three world-renowned dance companies: New York-based Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion, Philadelphia’s BalletX and Los Angeles’ BODYTRAFFIC. 

The program will include audience talks with the directors, free public performances, and four master classes. 

Download the complete Festival schedule as a PDF here

Kyle Abraham/Abraham.In.Motion will perform on Thurs and Friday, Sept. 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. Both performances will be followed by a post-performance conversation with Kyle Abraham, the 2013 MacArthur “genius grant” winner. Abraham will teach a 6 p.m. master class on Wed, Sept. 21, onstage at the Playhouse.

Abraham’s thought-provoking “Pavement,” called  “a work of great subtlety and beauty” by The New Yorker, is a meditation on the 1991 film Boyz N The Hood as well as W.E.B. DuBois’ 1903 book The Souls of Black Folk. With his full-length, 55-minute piece, Abraham examines the history that led to the conflict represented in the movie, and finds relevance in the Du Bois essays, which were influential in African-Americans’ struggle for equality in the twentieth century. 

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“…beautiful and severely honest…dancing that is lush and seductive…”: from a Washington Post review of “Pavement”

The dance is set on a basketball court in the historically black Pittsburgh neighborhoods where Abraham grew up, and the eclectic soundtrack includes 23 names from Baroque selections by Bach and Vivaldi to Sam Cooke vocals and rap. 

Washington Post reviewer Sarah Kaufman wrote, “Beautiful and severely honest…(but) despite its name and subject matter, ‘Pavement’ is not all hard edges. It delivers a sharp sense of reality with extraordinary softness, in dancing that is lush and seductive.”

With the company’s performances described as “solid from beginning to end” (New York Amsterdam News) and “effortless-seeming smoothness and grace” (Los Angeles Times), A.I.M.’s premiére performance in Orange County is certain to garner attention and initiate conversation. 

BalletX will return to the Laguna Beach stage to present its entertaining, diverse choreographic style in a shared bill with BODYTRAFFIC on Saturday, Sept. 24 and a full-length show on Sun, Sept. 25 at 3 p.m. with a pre-show talk at 2 p.m. 

Committed to producing new works that cultivate in audiences a collective appetite for bold, new dance, BalletX was founded in 2005 by Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan. Now under the direction of Cox as artistic and executive director, BalletX challenges the boundaries of classical ballet by encouraging formal experimentation while preserving rigorous technique. 

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Photo credit: Iziliaev


The New York Times praises BalletX’s dances, which it says “have suspense, vitality, comedy, freedom”

BalletX’s dances “have suspense, vitality, comedy, freedom,” according to the New York Times. The company “…creates a coherent, poetic realm of the imagination.” Its performances are “a feast of music and dance,” noted the Philadelphia Inquirer, and “remarkably moving.” 

BODYTRAFFIC, a Laguna Dance Festival audience favorite, will head down the freeway from Los Angeles for a Sat, Sept. 24 performance at 7:30 p.m. in a combined program with BalletX. In addition, BODYTRAFFIC dancers will present a master class at Laguna Beach High School at 10 a.m. the same day.

Founded in 2007 by Lillian Barbeito and Tina Finkelman Berkett, the company has surged to the forefront of the concert dance world and is helping to establish Los Angeles as a major center for contemporary dance. 

“BODYTRAFFIC suggests invention, attitude, and urban edge,” wrote Karen Campbell in the Boston Globe. In the Los Angeles Times, Laura Bleiberg called it “one of the most talked-about young companies, not just in LA but nationwide.” 

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Photo credit: Tomasz Rossa


A review in the Boston Globe says that BODYTRAFFIC suggests invention, attitude and urban edge.”

Festival founder and artistic director Jodie Gates commented, “The companies selected for this fall’s festival hail from three uniquely American cities – Kyle Abraham from New York by way of his hometown of Pittsburgh, BalletX out of Philadelphia, and BODYTRAFFIC from Los Angeles. Presented over four days, these companies offer audiences a dazzling representation of the current freshness, depth, and breadth of contemporary American dance.” 

The four onstage performances by these three extraordinary companies will be presented at the 420-seat Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road. Ticket prices are: general admission $60, students with ID $35. 

The three master classes will be held at two locations – check listings for details. Master class costs are $25 per student; $15 for an observer; and the student package of a master class and performance: $50. Tickets go on sale in July. check the Festival website for updates. 

Also, on Sept. 1 as part of the First Thursdays Art Walk, Laguna Dance Festival will present “Sculpted Motion,” two free performances at the Laguna Art Museum, 307 Cliff Drive. Dancers will perform amid works by maverick modernist Peter Krasnow. 

Performing at 6:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. will be Los Angeles-based Kybele Dance Theater, fusing contemporary dance with Turkish imagery while offering a global perspective, and L.A. Contemporary Dance Company, a collaborative contemporary dance company working out of downtown L.A.’s Brewery Arts Complex to bring together choreographers, dancers, and artists of all disciplines.

Barbara’s Column

Canvas for a Cause - LPAPA raises funds to match city grant


Photos courtesy LPAPA

Plein Air is to painting, what al fresco is to eating

Both bring a breath of fresh air that satisfies a hunger.

Laguna’s long love affair with plein air painters began with Norman St. Clair, who is credited with enticing other artists to Laguna after acclimating himself to warmer, sunnier climes - and the light, ah, the light of Southern California. They brought fame to Laguna in the early 1900s as an Art Colony. 

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. founded in 1996 by Saim Caglayan, revived and has continued the traditions of those pioneering artists.  

Sunday, the association hosted Canvas for a Cause to raise funds to match the city’s $50,000 grant. Ten teams set up easels on Main Beach, followed by an auction of their works at the Ocean & Forest Gallery. 

Each team included a prominent member of the community and at least one artist, except for Caglayan’s, which had three painters: himself, Kyoko Ishigami and Pierre Bouret

The teams had two hours to complete a painting and all members of the team were required to participate.    

“I touched the brush and the brush touched the painting,” said Mark Christy, the local celebrity for the Celeste Gilles team, which included painter John Crosby.

Team Cheryl Kinsman was converted to Team Tom Lamb when she was unable to attend the event. Anthony Salvo was the team’s painter. Festival of Arts board member Anita Mangels completed the trio. 

“I laid the foundation for the entire work,” said Mangels. 

Team Harry Bithell was the first to complete a painting, well ahead of the two-hour limit. The prominent participant was City Councilman Kelly Boyd, the painter Tom Swimm. Suzi Bithell observed.

 Team harry: Kelly Boyd (L), Tom Swimm, Harry Bithell

Swimm who prefers studio painting, was made an offer to participate in the paint-out that he couldn’t refuse: his wife, Rosemary, is the executive director of LPAPA.

Laguna College of Art and Design President Jonathan Burke also had some adjusting to do.

“My medium is oils but plein air - not so much,” said Burke, decked out in T-shirt designed by a LCAD staff member Carol Covarrubias. “It’s so challenging - the light keeps moving.”  

Burke was the celebrity member of Team Jeff Sewell, an artist. Artist Fernando Micheli was the third member of the team.

Team Jeff: Jeff Sewell (L) and Jonathan Burke

Mayor Steve Dicterow served as the prominent local on Ludo Leideritz’s team. David Downes was also a member.

Team Debra Huse’s team was composed of Carol Urie, artist Calvin Liang and Randy Higbee

The irrepressible Pat Kollenda said Team Melanie Froysaa’s entry was mostly grey and white.

“I couldn’t screw it up,” she said. “But watching an artist bringing it to life was inspiring.”

The artist was Rick Delanty.

Team Melanie: The winners! Rick Delanty (L), Pat Kollenda and Melanie Froysaa 

Rita Pacheco was the artist on the team headed by LPAPA board member Mary Linda Strotkamp. Jeff Pierce and Faye Baglin completed the team.

Team Toni Kellenberg’s team included artist Michael Obermeyer and Jean Stern, executive director of the Irvine Museum. 

Team Toni: Toni Kellenberg and Michael Obermeyer

When the two-hour deadline was called, all the paintings were framed and carted off to the gallery for the wine and cheese reception and the live auction. 

National Charity League member Luci Becker assisted. The 15-year-old Laguna Beach High School student was a bronze winner in the recent Festival of Arts Junior Gallery judging.  

Team Melanie’s work brought in the highest bid - $6,275. “I did the sky,” said Baglin.

Mary Linda team’s entry raised another $5,570 and Team Toni’s entry brought in $4,825.

All told, the auction raised $32,300. 

“Because of that and donations, we will match the city’s grant,” said Swimm. 

But wait - There’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com.

Six Laguna kids won awards at FOA Junior Art Show

Six young Laguna Beach artists were among the medalists announced recently at the Festival of Arts Junior Art Gallery awards ceremony. 

Top of the World kindergartener student Andrew Collins placed first in the Pre-kindergarten to 12th grade Photography Category. Fellow TOW kindergartner Lars Knepper came in second, followed by third-grader Juliette French, whose entry came from the Laguna Beach Boys and Girls Club.

Laguna Beach High School Senior Colin Soloff placed first in the 10-to-12-grade group for his photograph titled “An Ethereal World”. 

Two ninth graders were awarded medals in the Pre-Kindergarten to 12th grade age 2-D category. Chloe Flanagan’s untitled work was awarded the second place medal and Luci Becker’s “Land and Sea” painting came in third. 

The medals were presented in the ceremony with parents, friends and teachers there to applaud. 

Orange County teachers entered 6,000 pieces of art to the exhibition this year. Three hundred were hung in the gallery, one of the most popular exhibits in the festival. 

Inaugurated in 1947, the Junior Art Gallery is a joint effort of the festival and the Orange County Department’s Imagination Celebration. The exhibition underscores the importance of art education in our schools.

Here’s a hot flash for a change – Menopause the Musical will run for two weeks only at the Playhouse

GFour Productions, winners of 54 Drama Desk and 44 Tony Awards, are thrilled to bring back the international hit show Menopause The Musical® to Laguna Beach in all its hilarious glory. The show will open on Wed, August 31 at 7:30 p.m. and run through Sun, Sept 11.

Menopause The Musical® is a groundbreaking celebration of women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived “The Change.”  Now celebrating 15 years of female empowerment through musical comedy, Menopause The Musical® has evolved as a “grassroots” movement of women who deal with life adjustments after 40 by embracing each other and the road ahead. 

Set in a department store, the show features four women who meet by chance while shopping for a black lace bra at a lingerie sale. After noticing unmistakable similarities among one another, the all-female cast jokes about their woeful hot flashes, mood swings, wrinkles, weight gain and much more. These women form a sisterhood and unique bond with the entire audience as they rejoice in celebrating that menopause is no longer “The Silent Passage.”

The laughter-filled 90-minute production gets audience members out of their seats and singing along to parodies from classic pop songs of the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s.  

Menopause The Musical®, now in its 15th year of production, is recognized as the longest-running scripted production in Las Vegas and continues to entertain nightly at Harrah’s Hotel and Casino. 

The musical has entertained audiences across the country in more than 450 cities, nearly 300 international cities and a total of 15 countries. 

For more information, visit www.MenopauseTheMusical.com.

Performances will be Wed, Thurs and Fridays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road. 

Tickets prices range from $50 - $60 for all seats and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling 949-497-ARTS (2787).  Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. The box office is open Mon – Sat 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); Sundays: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Bare Bones Theatre’s three fall 2016 Playreadings

All the Good in the World by Cory Hinkle

In Williston, North Dakota, a pastor opens his church to unemployed men who have come north looking for work in the oil fields. But his decision to invite a convicted felon to live in his guest bedroom threatens to destroy his family. A drama about faith and how hard it is to know if you’re doing the right thing.

Monday, Sept 12, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7.

Sandra Jones Campbell Studio, 2173 Laguna Canyon Road

$20 in advance; $25 at the door.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Lojo Simon

Featuring Mark Miller, Deb Conroy, Charlie Pacello and Evie Cant, with Ava Burton reading stage directions.

Community conversation to follow about faith, fear and following your heart.

Final Arrangements: The New To-Die For Musical™ by Ken Jillson

Set at a home-going service in Savannah, Georgia, this brand new musical by local writer/composer Ken Jillson (Big Splash) tells the uplifting story of Rita Mae Williams, who, though she died too soon, has an important message for her friends and family: Live now, because tomorrow may never come. Featuring 15+ original songs and a cast of 10.

Monday, Oct 10, 7 p.m.

Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road

No charge, but you must RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Michele Spears.

Music directed by Roxanna Ward

Featuring Jennifer Leigh Warren as Rita Mae (Broadway: Big River, Little Shop of Horrors; Laguna Playhouse: I’m Still Getting My Act Together, Lonesome Traveler, Having It All). This powerhouse cast also includes: Amber Mercomes (Idelta) and Angie Whitney (Viola).

The Good Father by Christian O’Reilly

It’s New Year’s Eve in Ireland, and two strangers hook up at a party. A few weeks later, she calls him with some unexpected news: she’s pregnant. A comedy about how life can change on a dime, and how the prospect of parenting changes everything. By the writer of Chapatti, coming to Laguna Playhouse in January 2017.

Monday, Nov 14, 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7.

Sandra Jones Campbell Studio, 2173 Laguna Canyon Road

$20 in advance; $25 at the door.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Directed by Mark Miller

Featuring Bare Bones resident actors Ava Burton and Ben Farrow.

Community conversation to follow about dealing with unexpected news.

LCAD’s 27th annual Collector’s Choice will support higher education in fine arts, design and animation

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The Collector’s Choice Gathering will take place at the sensational Montage hotel

Collector’s Choice, LCAD’s premier annual fundraising event, now in its 27th year, showcases the talents of dedicated artists who continue a legacy of focused and passionate support for arts education. This year’s contributing artists are comprised exclusively of LCAD faculty, alumni, visiting artists and select BFA and MFA students.

Thanks to LCAD’s partnership with Montage Laguna Beach, Collector’s Choice attendees will enjoy fine wine, an elegant dinner and entertainment in a five-star rated luxury resort. 

Last year, more than 330 guests including trustees, donors, artists, alumni, faculty and friends of the College raised $310,000 for LCAD students and programs.

The event will take place on Friday, Nov 18, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. at Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 Coast Highway.

For more information please contact Tracy Hartman at 949-376-6000, ext. 241 or email mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Festival of Arts Exhibitor Loyd Walter, 83, shows why it’s never too late to unveil one’s hidden beauty

He didn’t know it at the time, but Loyd Walter’s “canvas” surrounded him, beckoned him, since he was a child.

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Loyd Walter

Walter is now 83, having retired from a long career teaching engineering and technology. But from his early upbringing, the signs were all around him. Different types of trees produced different types of wood. And woodwork was a long-time hobby for Walter that now has become his passion.

“Raised in the eastern slope of Washington’s Cascade Mountains in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, a country-ranch beginning helped me develop a sense of practicality and self-reliance,” Walter said. “I was born and raised in Western Washington State. My father’s family were pioneers in the Methow Valley.”

Walter has made it from the Methow Valley to Laguna Beach, where he is one of 140 selected artists asked to present their work at the Festival of Arts through Aug. 31.

From an early age, Walter could see the beauty of wood in its natural state. So while others take wood and make it functional, Walter simply aims to bring out its essence.

This orientation leads to natural and bark edge work. Walter works mostly with found wood rather than with lumber because the challenge is to realize the shape and design that will bring out the natural beauty of the wood. Each piece is a unique creation and during turning the character and spirit is revealed.

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 “I am constantly discovering wood with new qualities, character, difficulties and opportunities,” said Walter, who estimates he’s worked with more than 40 different species of wood.

“This challenges me to develop new approaches, techniques and skills. The enjoyment, challenge and fascination I get from woodworking is derived from the characteristics and beauty of the wood itself. Wood, with its infinite variations of grain, texture and color continually gives me the potential to create pieces of interest and grace.”

Walter says his inspiration isn’t tangible; it simply comes from living a long life and observing every step of the way.

“[His inspiration comes from]…a lifetime developing a sense of grace in line and proportion, plus a desire to show the unique quality and character of each piece of wood,” he said.

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Walter was always about the art and not about artist competitions, but he was convinced his work was worth displaying in such a fashion.

Yosh Sugiyama, a nationally recognized artist, advised Walter in 2006 to enter juried shows. Consequently, Walter participated in and won several awards in a number of shows and continues to enter competitions. But he is clear that the work and creativity are the motive and pleasure of his woodworking. The competitions, he said, add extra discipline and challenge to his art.

Walter’s awards over the years include winning at San Diego’s “Design in Wood” and winning Best of Division at the 2006 California State Fair. His work can be seen at Northwest Woodworkers Gallery in Seattle, Gallery M in Half Moon Bay, Highlight Gallery in Mendocino, Carter House Gallery in Redding, Denise Oliver Gallery on Lake Coeur D’Alene in Harrison, Idaho, Skyline Gallery in Tucson, Ariz., and Highland Art Center in Weaverville, Calif.

April Raber’s influences stretch from sea to shining sea

Trying to define the artistic influences of April Raber might be a little like trying to catch a butterfly with a spoon.

Not gonna happen.

Raber is one of the 140 artists selected to present their work at the Festival of Arts through Aug. 31, and simply getting her to sit in one spot for a little while is a victory unto itself.

Raber, whose medium is oil painting, was born in Hawaii, raised on the rural outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida and spent some formative years in the American West, including living on an Indian Reservation.

But if we want to really trace her roots, her greatest influence has been her family. She is the oldest of 10 children, born to parents who were the epitome of self-starters.

“My parents were designers and innovators,” said Raber, of Laguna Beach. “They architected and built their own homes, designed and made most of their own furniture and clothing. They immersed their children in these projects. All of this was inspired by a strong sense of Scandinavian sensibility and influenced by the experience their parents had of being early covered-wagon pioneers in the American West.”

Raber knew, early in her life, that she would be an artist.

“Even at an early age I had a natural inclination for visual rendering,” Raber said. “My favorite was to take my sketchpad and paints and head for the woods. I was fortunate to have a wilderness out my back door. I would spend hours there sketching and painting both small details from nature as well as large vistas.”

She studied fine art at Brigham Young University under several masters, but was particularly struck by the university’s collection of the work of Maynard Dixon. Once she had her degree, the real world beckoned, but Raber wasn’t quite ready for it.

“The next major turning point came when I returned to my roots in the rural American West,” Raber said. “In an effort to stretch my limited resources and still continue painting I moved to a small adobe on an Indian reservation. I was able to paint the real, rural, intermountain west, day after day. I was living those Maynard Dixon paintings. This was a profound experience that even continues to influence my present work.”

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April Raber

Into the Light

Raber’s focus soon shifted again, but this time it was forced upon her.

“Shortly after receiving my bachelor’s degree I began exhibiting my work in galleries,” Raber said. “During this time I encountered and overcame two episodes with cancer. These encounters left a deep impression on my work reflecting not only on the frail nature of existence on Earth, but also our struggle with the perception of opposition.

“It was during this period that I created a controversial ‘dream’ series, renditions of pivotal scenes from the subconscious. These paintings, often autobiographical, deal with emerging self-awareness and growth from the perspective of a woman’s psyche.”

After moving to Southern California in the 1990s, her interest in traditional landscapes began to be more influenced by the urban and industrial world that has been superimposed on the natural landscape.

“Over the years I have turned my attention to mid-Century industrial landscapes, focusing on structures that were built from the 1920’s through the 1950’s,” she said. “These include old railroad yards, bridges, grain elevators, factories, refineries, and generating plants. I approach this new subject matter in the same interpretive style, expanding the traditional California Plein-Air movement.”

Festival of Arts exhibitor Barry Robin engineers new career and his lifelong passion as a woodwork artist

There’s nothing quite like aerospace engineering to prepare you for life as an artist.

Wait, what?

Actually, if you are Barry Robin, that is exactly what serves as the foundation for his art.

Robin has lived in Southern California his entire life and currently lives in Aliso Viejo. About the age of 12, he discovered his two passions — surfing and working with wood.

Surfing didn’t pay the bills, but woodwork was different. Robin once held a job as an apprentice yacht carpenter in Newport Beach, but his very first job was building wooden boxes. Those boxes were meant to hold something — specifically, aerospace components, which were related to his dad’s career.

“Those wooden boxes held components that eventually made their way to the moon,” Robin said.

Naturally, Robin followed his dad’s footsteps into aerospace engineering and worked in the field for 25 years.

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Barry Robin

But he never lost his love for woodwork, and now Robin is one of 140 select artists displaying his handiwork at the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach through Aug 31.

While you look at his work, know that there are years of aerospace engineering experience that goes into each piece.

“I create art furniture and wood sculpture which I’ve done my entire life part-time,” Robins said. “Twenty-five years in aerospace engineering gave me my strength in precision measurement which is an integral aspect of my art.”

The Festival of Arts is a special place to show one’s art. And Robin isn’t the type to show his work off in a gallery setting.

“I try to avoid placing my work in competitive environments, which tend to shape one’s art into what is currently popular and away from my weird imagination,” Robin said. “I’m a showoff! The Festival of Arts gives me the mechanism to exhibit my work and interact with thousands of people.

“I prefer to interact directly with my clients. Placing my work in galleries seems to place an additional step between my vision and my clients’ desire.”

Like any good artist, Robin can find inspiration for his work in almost anything. Look around, the world has plenty to offer an artist, and Robin’s eyes are wide open.

“Everything I see!” Robin said when asked what inspires him. “My work has organic lines as well as precision geometric aspects. I guess I’m a bit like a sponge, soaking up imagery as I float through life. I wring out my mental sponge when I design my pieces.”

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“Winter Creek”

Robin now works full-time as an artist, having opened up Studio Robin seven years ago.

“I am constantly thinking of new furniture styles and unique joinery techniques. The result makes my furniture pieces one of a kind,” Robin said. “I’m intrigued by the whole design process of each project. I love working in the medium of wood, textures and color. It’s beautiful and no two pieces are the same. Every project is different and must be approached in its own unique way. I love searching for just the right piece of exotic woods and turning them into something not only beautiful, but functional.”

“I’m very fortunate to lead a life where people value my imagination and abilities. I place emphasis on keeping life simple and not taking things too seriously. I have a wonderful, supportive family which allows me the time to imagine and create.”

Artist Eye Gallery: John H. Stewart, featured artist for August

Artist Eye Gallery announced that John H. Stewart would be their Featured Artist through August 31. See a wide variety of John’s bronze and stone sculptures, and his remarkable photography all month long. In addition, all are invited to attend an Artist Reception for John from 6 – 9 p.m. on Saturday evening, Aug 20, featuring live music by David Lally. 

All the way from Galway, on the West coast of Ireland, San Diego based singer/songwriter David Lally will play a wide variety of contemporary and traditional Irish, original and folk/pop tunes throughout the evening.

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John Stewart

On The Move


John H. Stewart is an award winning Southern California artist who is also a world traveler and adventurer. Being an avid scuba diver and naturalist has prompted John to create beautifully crafted works of art since 1996. His love for animals and marine life along with his masterful ability to see and bring to life the most delicate and subtle details in his creations, has allowed him to share the beautiful wonder of nature with others. 

Through John’s masterful and carefully crafted bronze and stone sculptures, one is able to experience a special frozen moment in time that is able to mesmerize the viewer and allows them the unique opportunity to feel both the majesty and fragility of nature at the same time. 

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Photography by John Stewart

“I have found my true passion in being able to share my love of nature through my photography and sculptures. It is a true joy for me to share my experiences and the wonderful and innocent life around us with the world,” said John H. Stewart.

The Artist Eye Gallery, located in the picturesque Hip District of Laguna Beach, displays a remarkable and beautiful collection of works by 16 of Southern California’s most prolific and talented award winning artists. Allow yourself to be transported to the vibrant and eclectic world of original fine art through masterful paintings in watercolor, oil and acrylic; sculptures in bronze, stone and marble; and photography. When you enter our gallery, you will experience art at its finest in a joyful atmosphere, and in the company of our friendly and knowledgeable world class artist. 

In operating the gallery, each artist contributes his or her own individual experiences and they are always happy to interact with guests to answer any questions. Each month during First Thursdays Art Walk, visitors to the gallery enjoy a unique opportunity to engage in conversations with all the artists regarding their artistic style, technique, inspiration and technical skill.

A prescription for calm and harmony: Festival artist and physician Andrew Ko has the antidote for chaos

A connection between being a doctor and an artist might not seem obvious at first. But meet Andrew Ko, and you’ll understand the linkages.

Ko is among 140 artists presenting their works at the Festival of Arts through Aug 31, so these days you’re more likely to see him with a camera in his hand than a stethoscope around his neck.

Both physician and artist, Ko is a photographer with a unique perspective. He came to the United States from South Korea at the age of 15 and eventually went to medical school.

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Ko is a photographer with a unique perspective

Photography, however, had already become one of his favorite activities.

“I have been pursuing photography since my college years before going to medical school,” Ko said. “I was living in a dormitory that had a photography darkroom during my sophomore year. I also took courses in the history of modern art as well as drawing for a year as a pre-med student, where I studied the masters of modern art. This interest in art has stayed with me ever since.”

A Coto de Caza resident, Ko, who graduated from Rosalind Franklin University Medical School in Chicago, is a gastroenterologist practicing in Fountain Valley.
He believes his photography can positively affect the emotions of those who view his images. Thus the artist in him finds satisfaction in knowing that perhaps even one of his works might produce a sense of calm and order in a world of chaos. Similarly, he believes, his medical expertise can provide a sense of peace, comfort and harmony.

“I strive to balance the unbalanced mind, providing a sense of peace through the virtue of photography, and imparting human emotion through the simple power of composition, lighting and timing,” he said.

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Ko’s photography invites the viewer to experience harmony in the midst of chaos

Ko’s images may not always include people, but they are never too far away from civilization. Most of his landscape photography contains some aspect of human activities, as he sees such human activities as central in providing meaning to one’s environment.

“Most of my photographic images are taken while traveling within the U.S. or abroad,” he said. “However, my intention is not necessarily to represent particular locations. I try to obtain raw images with the desired atmosphere and correct lighting regardless of location.”

Ko also believes his photography is helping him place his stamp on history, and in particular, providing a reference point for his family.

“I am particularly fond of the idea that I am finally transferring electronic pixels to palpable objects that I can leave behind for my three lovely daughters,” Ko said. “These would be my simple gifts to them. If I could share the same with the rest of world, I would be that much better for it. I am also utterly indebted to my wife, who always travels with me and points her finger where to shoot.”

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Ko’s travels around the world inform much of his imagery

The physician/photographer has received numerous awards for his photography, including first place in the Architecture and Bridges category and third place in the Advertising Travel/Tourism category at the Moscow International Foto Awards (MIFA).

He received numerous honorable mentions at the MIFA, the International Photography Awards, and the Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3). His work was exhibited at the MIFA Winners Exhibition in Moscow, Russia, and his photographs are currently being exhibited at the Forest and Ocean Gallery in Laguna Beach.

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