FOA Permanent Art Collection selections on show at City Hall until Jan 19

The Festival of Arts presents “Selections from the Collection” at Laguna Beach City Hall now through Jan 18. Pat Sparkuhl, Curator of the Festival’s Permanent Collection, selected works illustrating the diversity of the artists and artwork from early 1900’s to present day. The exhibition will be on display through Jan 19.

The exhibition incorporates art by Kathy Jones

Comprised of pieces from the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection, the display features early Laguna Beach paintings from the early 1900s as well recent acquisitions by the Festival of Arts. “Selections from the Collection” showcases both classical and contemporary works in a variety of media. 

Artworks include “Homework” by Kathy Jones, “Mandala” by Mariana Nelson, “Queen of Hearts” by Vinita Voogd, “To His Glory” by George Gibson, “Saddleback” by Frank Cuprien, “Color Symphony” by Joane Cromwell, and the newest addition to the Festival’s collection, “Lighter than Air” a photograph by Jacques Garnier.

The Festival’s collection, made up of over 1,150 pieces, is composed of an eclectic mix of two-dimensional and three-dimensional work that date back to the early 1900s.

The Festival of Arts Permanent Collection, expanded annually through purchases and donations, includes painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, glass, photography, mixed media, furniture and jewelry that reflect the uniqueness and diversity that is synonymous with the Festival of Arts and the region surrounding it.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

The art of discovery comes naturally to Casey Parlette of Parlettei Jewelry


Known for his gorgeous sculptures of sea life, Laguna Beach artist and lifeguard Casey Parlette has fine-tuned the art of discovery. Influenced by his Southern California roots and surroundings, the true naturalist continues to exemplify his passion for the ocean in a new line of wearable sculptures, Parlettei Jewelry.

With the help of his wife, Gina, who works on the business and marketing side, Parlettei Jewelry was recently launched in mid-October.

“This jewelry has been an awesome thing. And it all started with a sculpture project that I had where I was using titanium. Titanium has a lot of interesting properties and sculpturally it has a lot of things that apply,” said Parlette. “One thing that’s really neat that it does, when you apply heat to it; it changes color. And color with titanium, it doesn’t erode or react, so the color stays that way.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Casey Parlette’s Tide Pool Kraken sculpture, unveiled in June at Heisler Park

With a torch in hand, Casey demonstrated his magic.

“We have some really cool techniques for making some really interesting textures, patterns, designs and the colors that are all put in with heat,” Parlette said. “You can go almost full spectrum, you can get gold, pinks and greens, purples and blues and things like that.”

I marveled as he transformed a piece of titanium into a gorgeous bracelet.

“All the texture, with the sculpture work I do, I like natural colorations and natural textures. So with all the hammering and blacksmithing with jewelry, it’s actually wearable sculpture,” Parlette said. That’s the way we look at it – a small piece of wearable sculpture. You still have that handmade touch to it and you have those tactile texturing from the hammering.”

“The pieces are pretty cool on their own without knowing the process, but I think when people find out a little bit more about the process, they’re like wow, that’s pretty cool,” Gina said. 

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

Sculptor Casey Parlette demonstrates the sculpting process of his new line of jewelry, how he brings out the color and shape the pieces

He said a lot of people think the pieces are painted, but it’s actually the color he’s created by heating the titanium. 

“Basically, you’re painting it with heat,” he said moving the blowtorch back and forth. “And see you paint the color onto it. See you can go through, different blues; there’s a spectrum.” 

“I have been working with titanium for quite a while and again for the jewelry. You have something that doesn’t ever tarnish, you can get a myriad of different colors and spectrums and different things. The thing that’s cool is even though this is blue, in different lightings, it looks different,” Parlette said. “And depending on what’s around it gets reflective by different things. So different times of the day, different lightings, and different angles of light, the color is represented differently. It has some really interesting qualities.” 

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

The Parletti family

Once the color sets in it’s permanent and will not fade.

“For me, part of the whole thing with the jewelry is to make something like you find when you’re walking down the beach, you find some cool little shell or you find some cool little thing like that, something that’s got that feeling of discovery,” Parlette said.

“That’s why our tagline is ‘The Art of Discovery’ because this is pretty unique jewelry,” Gina said. “They’re all a little bit different, all original and unique.” 

“Doing the jewelry and the sculpture both it’s fun. It’s great.  It’s all in the same family, you know, it’s all an artistic sculptural pursuit, really,” Parlette said. “The jewelry is kind of fun because it’s unlike a sculptural piece that can take months and months to get done. The jewelry I can have an idea and I can make it and have a finished product; it’s a quick rewarding thing. There’s a lot of fun things about it for sure.” 

For sales or information, please visit

Until next time…so many exciting Parlettei Jewelry pieces, so little time!

Plein air painters are plainly loving these stunning colors on a Laguna winter’s day

Photos by Scott Brashier

Jesse Fortune

Marissa Head

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LagunaTunes and its audience had a swingin’ good time last Sunday

Photos by Scott Brashier

Last Sunday a festive audience had a swingin’ good time when LagunaTunes Community Chorus sang its way through Christmas favorites, offering several light-hearted, some would say hilarious versions of holiday songs, along with some beautiful and inspiring choral selections. 

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Songsters do a Rudolph imitation – though one has lost her nose…

LagunaTunes, a no-audition chorus, welcomes singers of all training and experience levels. Some members read music, some do not, age levels cover a broad range, and all are united by a love of music. The emphasis is on fun, learning, improving performance skills, and the joy of group singing.

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The audience was enthralled

They perform two concerts a year, one in Dec and another in June. New members are welcome to join when rehearsals for the June concert begin in Feb. The 50-member chorus is led by Bob Gunn, popular director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. Gunn’s entertaining choral productions are well known throughout southern CA. 

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Even Santa dropped by

LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone. Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

For more information:

LAM will show the satire A Day Without a Mexican this Thursday Dec 21 at 7 p.m.

LAM will show the satire A Day Without a Mexican this Thursday Dec 21 at 7 p.m. (free with admission).

UC Irvine’s Dr. Joseph Morales will introduce the 2004 social and political satire directed by Sergio Arau.

A Day Without a Mexican offers a satirical look at the consequences of all the Mexicans in the state of California suddenly disappearing. A series of characters shows the apparent statistical impact of Mexicans on California’s economy, law enforcement, and education systems, and the resulting social unrest.

Advance tickets are recommended. Call 949.494.8971 x203 or visit

A musical and scriptural “Evening of Compassion” for the entire family presented at NCC on Christmas Eve

The community is invited to a musical and scriptural event, “An Evening of 

Compassion,” at Neighborhood Congregational Church on Sunday, Dec 24, at 7 p.m., to enjoy the blessings of Christmas with Reverend Rodrick Echols. This is a family 

service, so all kids are invited to attend this special evening with their parents and grandparents. 

Family and friends are welcome on this most Holy night, which will feature the reading of the Christmas story, joyous sharing through traditional Christmas carols, 

inspiring music from local musical artists, and a special candle-lighting service. Candles will be provided.

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Past Christmas Eve service at NCC

Some of the entertainers include Beth & Steve Wood, Claire Howell, Eric 

Henderson, Jason Feddy, Terrell Washington Anansi, Pam Wicks & the NCC’s Platters, Doug Miller, John Cross, Jack Middleton and Sacred Dancers.  Narration is by Carrie 

Pohlhammer and Rev. Rod.

NCC also extends invitations to everyone to attend the Sunday Service each week at 10 a.m.  Dress is casual. 

Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Dr, behind Ralph’s Supermarket.  Parking is free, and Sunday School is available.  

For further information and events, call (949) 494-8061 or visit

CAP Gallery hosts Image Makers talk with exhibiting artists Walls, Tauber and Poeschl

By M. “Charlie” Ferrazzi

At the recent Artists Talk on Image Makers in The CAP Gallery, Tom Lamb served as moderator. Tom, well known for his aerial, landscape, ethnographical and interpretive photographs, was an excellent choice. Using the term “image makers” to describe the three artists, and how they view and treat the landscape to tell their stories, Tom gave a brief introduction for each of the artists.

Three different “image makers”: three different aspects.

Cheyne Walls searches for locations and subjects to explore and share. Looking for the perfect time, be it season of the year or hour of the day, when Nature is at her best.

Mike Tauber looks for painterly landscapes to interpret the values, hues, colors, the shadow and light play, texture and feeling of the scene onto ceramic tile works.

Troy Poeschl works in two different mediums; photography and sculpture. Shapes, structure, texture, light, shadow and material all play parts in his work.

How did growing up in California affect your lives?

Cheyne Walls grew up in Dana Point. Time spent outdoors at beaches, deserts and mountains made him aware of being able to see the most incredible sights everywhere he went, areas of Nature still untouched and wild just a short travel time from where he lived. Knowing these areas exist motivates Cheyne to go and find more to explore.

Mike Tauber came from Illinois to attend college. For Mike, the California climate is much more conducive to spending time outdoors exploring on a year-round basis. Catalina, the desert and more are so close and accessible at any time. Always on the lookout for landscape sights that are close to a completed composition with little editing, Mike explores wherever he goes.

Troy Poeschl grew up in Orange. His family enjoyed camping, and when not camping Troy was always outdoors. Yosemite is a frequent place he has explored and is still exploring. It is Nature and how it is constantly changing that stimulates his creativity.

Are there any artists who influence you and your work?

For Tauber there is no particular artist. Pulling from the Classic and Traditional schools, he looks to the California Plein Air movement for his palette of colors. Vintage advertising art, postcards and packing crate labels promoting an optimistic and vibrant life from the glow of the colors. Travel ads promoting health and beauty with a “Come to California” attitude. These are elements that enliven Tauber’s imagination and his urge to create.

Ansel Adams is an artist that inspires Walls. Adams’ black and white works caused Walls to look at his subject and see that sometimes more can be shown in a black and white image than a color one, by accentuating shape, form, texture and light.

The new advancements in technology is another aspect that pushes Walls’ creativity. Being able to manipulate an image in the lens, capturing what he sees at the moment he shoots, enriches his images letting him share what he visually experiences at that time and place.

Nature is what inspires Poeschl’s art, not a particular artist. Color, texture, shape, shadow, movement, change, exploration of an area, or a material, and the challenge of how to bring it into a completed work of art is a driving force for Poeschl and his work.

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CAP Gallery talk: (L-R) Tom Lamb, Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber, Troy Poeschl

What methods do you employ in creating your art?

The view can determine the shape of the finished image. After finding his subject area, Walls visits several times to find the best time and light for his composition. He also decides whether to shoot black and white or color. The ability to capture sharper images, bring elements to more prominence or push them back, similar to how the eye sees them, are all parts of his creative process.

Using a panorama technique to get his view, he can swap out lenses to get exactly what he wants to be the focus of his shot. Long exposures, lens filters, camera settings, detailed editing and in-depth printing, are parts of producing the natural beauty that exists at the time that Walls is shooting.

A majority of Tauber’s work is site specific and commissioned. This means that he is working with someone, in the design process, to create the finished piece. The challenge of using outside information and creating the finished piece is something Tauber enjoys.

Starting with blank terra cotta tiles from Italy, Tauber draws his design in pencil. Next he goes over the drawn lines with a brown colored wax, creating wells for the glazes to fill. Painting the glazes into the areas, he may apply a thick layer to give it texture and allow different colors to meld together to create interest. He may mix glazes to enrich and give the finished tile the look of a plein air brushwork painting. 

Baked in a kiln one to two times, the finished piece is ready for installation. Large works are done with multiple tiles in a grid pattern, giving the feeling of looking out a window to see the view.

Poeschl literally bends over backwards for his art

Poeschl starts out with sketching shapes for his sculpture works: How best to present the material to show its uniqueness and beauty. What other possible materials can be used to not just enhance the main material, but to also expand the overall design and feeling of the finished work. 

In Poeschl’s photography work, finding a unique and introspective location is the starting point. Pure colour is important along with the texture, light and shadow and shapes. There is also the intangible side of his photographs, the mood and atmosphere of the place he is at when photographing. All are part and parcel of communicating with the viewer.

Currently working with panorama perspective, Poeschl produces vertical as well as the usual horizontal scenes. Starting at the bottom and moving the eyes up the photograph, the viewer is given the feeling of being in the location front and back, in his vertical works. To accomplish this, Poeschl truly does bend over backwards.

Where do you go from here?

“I can’t see being anything else but a photographer,” Walls responded to this question. Having been involved with photography since college when he was sidelined by an injury in sports, it has been the focus of his world.

The freedom to go out and observe and experience Nature, then to share those perfect moments in time with others is one of the things that keeps Walls shooting. Another is to excite others to go and see it for themselves, not just appreciate the artistic merit of the work.

Tauber will continue in Art with his tile work but is looking towards expanding into larger projects that may take a year or two to complete. He would like working in a bigger scale than his current works, with an eye to mural work and large public works.

“Art is in my blood,” Tauber quipped.

Poeschl is pushing to combine works into more 3-D scaled projects. Being a sculptor along with a photographer, to combine the two mediums seems to be a logical move in his mind’s eye.

CAP’s mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of Art and serve as a catalyst for Art Education. CAP provides ongoing exhibition in The CAP Gallery, Banking on Art in the Rotunda Gallery space located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Avenue. 

The CAP Gallery is a unique space for juried, solo and retrospective exhibitions. Visit for information about ongoing or upcoming exhibits, to be on our e-mail list or to become a member and supporter of CAP. CAP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit funded by the member supporters, the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. Admission is free to this exhibit, which runs until Jan 30.

International Fine Art Exhibition brings high quality realism and impressionism to Orange County

“Realism without Borders,” an exciting fine art exhibition, blurs boundaries combining Realism and Impressionism, both historical and contemporary, in a bold bi-coastal traveling exhibition that is the talk of the art world. 

The exhibit will run from Dec 15 - Jan 15, with Opening Day taking place on Dec 15 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Vanessa Rothe Fine Art, located at 418 Ocean Ave.

What started out as a group of artists and art historians who shared a strong common vision for art, has now become a successful International traveling exhibition of museum quality fine art works - Realism Without Borders – the gallery notes.

Exhibiting, side by side, Soviet and historical works along with contemporary works by Russian, Ukrainian, American, French, Swedish, Italian, Chinese and English artists, Realism Without Borders aims to connect two centuries and two continents via the commitment to realist painting traditions. 

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Submitted Photo

Pensive in Blue by Vadim Suvorov 

From Lomakin to Gladchenko, Suvorov to Kovalenko, Westerberg to Lipking, Rothe to Krimon, this exhibition will unite historical works with contemporary International artists who have studied the same rooted fine art techniques and are working in similar styles today. 

This unique exhibition will allow collectors a rare chance to view and compare works from America, Europe and Russia, and to purchase items for their own fine art collection. Works will range from small affordable gems that make excellent gifts, to large scale museum-quality works of fine art. 

Curated by Vanessa Françoise Rothe, Realism Without Borders brings high quality fine art work to Orange County.  RWB is flourishing with many successful national exhibitions and over 30 Invited core contemporary artist members. 

This diverse and talented group of painters from around the globe have had impressive traditional training from such schools as the renowned St. Petersberg Academy of Arts, ( Repin Institute), Penza Art Institute, The Kharkov Art Institute, The Florence Academy of Art, Laguna College of Art and Design, University of Laval, The Academy of Art in San Francisco just to name a few. The artists have shown in top exhibitions worldwide from St. Petersberg, to Paris, to Los Angeles, and have impressive exhibition resumés as well as strong bodies of work. 

The collection ranges from classical academy works to painterly Impressionist pieces where many works boasts a combination of the two in the same canvas.  

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Submitted Photo

NYC by Jeremy Mann 

The international group of classically trained representational artists believes in the successful combination of objective traditional realism combined with expressive and personal subjects, and the work often boasts a broad range of tight to painterly styles and strokes. The new works being created follow the strong realist techniques of Russia’s Levitan landscapes, as well as others that mimic the loose and layered visual brushwork of California Impressionist Edgar Payne. 

Artists from all over the globe can now share their images of work thru social media and are influencing one another across borders. This exhibition celebrates those blurring of boundries of borders, in both the literal sense and the works. 

“We share an admiration of both ‘Realist’ and ‘Impressionist’ art, and many of our artists in fact combine these styles in order to make strong appealing works of art.” says Rothe. “The viewers will see similar works and styles being created from opposite ends of the globe, finding unity in the works, and likeness in the art that is being created.”

The collection of about 100 works at any given time, is always changing as works are being sold and new works created. 

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Submitted Photo

Lipstick by Aaron Westerberg 

Realism Without Borders also believes firmly that art is for the people. Their aim is to have a traveling exhibition in order to touch a wide and diverse audience and bring the work to the eyes of collectors and students alike. RWB realized that they did not want to reduce themselves to just one geographical area or gallery. 

Rothe notes “Since we wanted to reach a vast array of people, RWB is really a travelling exhibition that is able to exhibit at galleries, fine art clubs, art schools, and museums worldwide.” 

The current RWB collection will exhibit over 60 works by 30 top International artists featuring RWB newest French artist member Nicolas Martin. Participating artists include: Nick Alm, Grigory Ananiev, Mia Bergeron, John Burton, Michelle Dunaway, Michael Klein, Alexander Kremer, Olga Krimon, Sergey Kovalanko, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, Joshua La Rock, Jeremy Mann, Nicolas Martin, Dimitri Motov, C.W Mundy, Robert Pilsbury, Ray Roberts, Vanessa Rothe, Valery Schmatko, Vadim Suvorov, Aaron Westerberg, and Daniil Volkov. 

Historical Artists Include: Oleg Lomakin, Eric Borodin, Boris Gladchenko, Boris Gratchev, Edgar Payne, Yuri Podlaski, Erik Rebane and Vladimir Telegin. 

The exhibition will include a collection of rare small gems from the Thomas Marano collection available for resale with works by: Juliette Aristides, Casey Baugh, Daniel Graves, Jeremy Lipking, Jeremy Mann, Ted Minoff, Julio Reyes, Aaron Westerberg, and Vincent Xeus.

The BC Space Theatre will feature The Black Tongued Bells with Caitlin Jemma this Sat Dec 16

On Sat, Dec 16, The Black Tongued Bells, featuring Caitlin Jemma, will be performing their “Tales From the American Swamp”. They will showcase a steamy gumbo of gothic-gospel juju, hopped up rock & roll, and dirt-pounding juke joint blues. 

The performance will take place at the BC Space Theater located at 235 Forest Avenue. There will be two shows, the early show is from 6 -8 p.m., and the late show is from 9 – 11 p.m. 

Scenes from the Swamp

In downtown Laguna Beach, a Frisbee’s throw from the ocean, there’s an innocuous steel door with a discreet sign that says “BC Space.” Open that door, climb a steep, narrow stairway to a large, bright entryway lined with artwork. Continue into a large open area, the combined studio -entertainment/performance area.

Enter this “secret space” then find a perch so you can enjoy the swamp’s opera.

For more information or to purchase tickets, click here.

Aladdin performances are nearly sold out

American Panto has returned for the third year to Laguna Playhouse in Aladdin and His Winter Wish with this Lythgoe Family Panto production, written by Kris Lythgoe.  

Kira Kosarin (Nickelodeon›s The Thundermans), Jason Gotay(Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), Josh Adamson (Taboo), Jay Donnell (Miss Saigon National Tour), Jason Earles(Hannah Montana), Jason Graae (Forever Plaid) and Barry Pearl («Grease») star in this classic fairytale set to modern music, complete with dancing, humor, magic and audience participation.

An updated version of the classic Arabian Nights tale, in the style of a traditional British family Panto, Aladdin and His Winter Wish is a singing, swinging and soaring adventure that features family-friendly magic, with a comedic twist, dancing (with So You Think You Can Dance alumni), and contemporary music from Jai Ho (Slumdog Millionaire) to Treasure (Bruno Mars) to Fantasy (Earth, Wind and Fire) and many more!

Remarks Becky Lythgoe, “We are delighted to be a holiday tradition at the Laguna Playhouse and thrilled to announce this star-studded cast and creative team that will take you on yet again another magical journey, this time with flying carpets, singing camels and all of your winter wishes coming true!” 

Directed and choreographed by Spencer Liff (Broadway›s Falsettos, So You Think You Can Dance), with musical direction by Keith Harrison (American Idol). 

Add more fun to your holiday festivities this winter and don’t forget to bring the entire family. It’s the best new holiday tradition in town!

Aladdin and his Winter Wish opened on Fri, Dec 8 and runs through Sun, Dec 31. Performances will be Wed, Thurs & Fri at 7 p.m.; Sat & Sun at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

Performances on Thurs, Dec 21 are at 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Sat, Dec 23 at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. & 7 p.m.; Wed., Dec 27 & Thurs, Dec 28 at 3 p.m. only, and Sun, Dec 31 will perform at 12 p.m. only.

Ticket prices range from $20 - $70 and can be purchased online at  or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Ticket prices are subject to change. Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229. 

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

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Live! at the Art Museum presents Quarteto Nuevo on Thurs Dec 14 

Laguna Beach Live! presents Quarteto Nuevo at the Laguna Art Museum on Thurs, Dec 14, at 7 p.m. Founded in 2001 by percussionist Christopher Garcia, the current edition of Quarteto Nuevo also includes cellist Jacob Szekely, acoustic guitarist Kenton Youngstrom and Damon Zick on soprano sax and alto flute. Quarteto Nuevo features individual solos, but the main emphasis is their ensemble sound. 

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Quarteto Nuevo ensemble will perform at the Laguna Art Museum

Influenced by styles from India and Mexico in addition to jazz and classical music, Quarteto Nuevo’s music is modern yet also has the sound of ancient times. Their performances are atmospheric, full of subtle surprises and unlike anything else heard in the jazz world.

Live! at the Museum takes place the second Thurs of each month from 7 - 8 p.m. The concert is free to museum members and to non-members with museum admission. Pre-reservations are available online through the Museum’s website, or at 949.494.8971 x203. These seats are held until 6:45 pm. Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information about the series and other concerts, visit or phone 949-715-9713.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

‘Annie’ finds the perfect home at No Square Theatre

Story and photos by SUZIE HARRISON

Seeing a dress rehearsal of No Square Theatre’s production of “Annie” the other night, I was impressed by the level of talent across the board. With Joe Lauderdale at the helm, music direction by Roxanna Ward, choreography by Ellen Prince, and of course the phenomenal cast, I was captivated. 

“The production is another testimonial to Joe’s magnificent three-dimensional creativity. To put that show together in that little space is extraordinary. And he does it again, and again, and again. It’s amazing,” said No Square Founder and Artistic Director Bree Burgess Rosen. “I think it’s possibly the most challenging cast we’re ever had. You heard them, they’re amazing. A lot of them are locals and I’m just so impressed by it.”

Celebrating No Square’s 40th Anniversary, Burgess Rosen said it’s the first time the theatre has brought the seven time Tony award winning “Annie” to Laguna. She said it takes a long time to get the rights and is expensive to produce an original Broadway show.

Memorable songs “more beautiful in context”

 “It has these great memorable songs that most people have heard a lot, but then you hear them in the context of the show, and they’re just so beautiful,” she said.

“I think the most important thing for people to know is that Joe has created this outside of the box, and we don’t have sets, so to speak,” said Burgess Rosen. “The only set pieces that we have is those moving trunks that become everything, a couple of coat racks, and then we have this huge tree, a beautiful real Christmas tree that’s 20-feet tall. And then that’s it, there’s no other set, except a rolling chair and a desk. And you just get it.”

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Don’t miss the many exciting dance numbers in Annie

It’s definitely a case of less is more.

Lauderdale, who has directed close to 90 productions, had the challenge of finding a way to do such a big production in such a small place. 

“So I thought, okay, I will take a look at the script and see if there is some way to do this in an 80-seat theater with a minimal amount of space. And really what I called upon are techniques that have been used for many, many, many, years of just taking simple items and costume pieces and pulling them out and taking on a character. That’s where it all started,” Lauderdale said. “And then I had this image of the orphan girls sleeping in trunks. I don’t know where that image came from; it just popped in my head, and I went from there.”

He knew he had to have a small cast to fit in that space and yet it’s the biggest cast for No Square with 16 actors plus a dog, Wrangler. And six of the actors play multiple roles and are in almost every musical number except the solos.

 “I took a chance with a few things, our Annie is not a particularly strong redhead and our daddy Warbucks is not bald,” Lauderdale said. “I think that now we are so far removed from the comic strip that it’s the characters and character relationships that are really important in the story telling. 

Scaling down allows for a greater focus on relationships

“When you scale the show down like this you can really focus on those relationships. It’s really quite lovely to watch. I hope people that know Annie will see it in a different way.”

Laguna local and part of the Stu News crew among other exciting talents, Laura Buckle is one of the cast members, who has multiple roles. She is starring in the production with her daughter, Lula (11).

Buckle started acting when she was five years old back in England. Involved in musical theater, she studied at a performing arts college and toured with a traveling theater. She has been in well over 20 productions and said it’s harder to do a musical because you’ve got to be a triple threat - acting, singing, and dancing. Watching her at rehearsal, Buckle is super talented and indeed defines a triple threat. 

“But I have not been on the stage in 17 years. This is my first show and I am loving it. I think I decided to do it because Lula has been involved with No Square Theatre from the get go since we moved here [in 2014]. It’s been a real outlet for her because she is very creative,” said Buckle, who became a No Square board member last year. 

Buckle is quite busy in the production playing several roles Lily St. Regis, Annette, Hull, Connie Boylan, and in the ensemble as an apple seller.

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You know it’s trouble when Miss Hannigan, Rooster, and Lily are together

 “Yah, there’s a few costume changes. I don’t find it difficult to be the character. It’s just difficult getting in to the costumes,” Buckle said. “The backstage area at No Square is tiny, so you had to become very friendly with your costars. There’s no room for being shy, let’s put it that way.”

She said that she’s thrilled and excited to be a part of the production. 

 “I prefer small intimate theaters. I prefer acting in a small intimate theater and I prefer watching a show in a small intimate theater,” Buckle said. “There’s such a skill in performing to people when you have an audience all around you, very close to you. It’s a totally different way of acting. I think it’s much more intimate. I think it’s much more exciting to watch. You really get to know the characters.”  

Like her accomplished mother, Lula Buckle is no stranger to theater and is quite brilliant herself. She started acting when she was six or seven and has done myriad productions, mostly with No Square.

Two Buckles shine bright in the Annie production

“When I first heard about the show ‘Annie’ at first I kind of wanted the Annie part. But I realize, I am probably too tall and not the right fit for that part. So then my second choice was Pepper actually,” said Lula. “My character is the mean orphan. I still don’t like Miss Hannigan, but I am mean and shove people to the ground. I am not nice to anyone, I get in fights with people.”

 “I have always wanted to be an actress. I started out singing because there’s not much acting opportunity back in England. And then, I started kind of getting into the acting thing,” said Lula. “To be in a musical is a little harder because it’s live and on stage and if you mess up there’s not much you can do. It’s kind of hard in that way. But it’s easy in that you can express yourself with your character and you only get to do it once.” 

Like Laura, Lula is a big No Square fan.

“They make it seem so big,” Lula Buckle says of small No Square

“No Square is probably one of the best theater companies. It’s so fun and people are so involved in it. And they may not have the biggest theater or the biggest sets. So what they do is that they make it so it seems big,” said Lula. 

So what’s it like to be in a production with her mom?

“This is the only production I have been in with my mom so far. I told her that we would do ‘Annie’ together when they announced it a couple of months ago. She said, ‘well, we’ll see,’” said Lula. “I got her to audition and now she’s Lily so… It’s fun. It’s really fun to get to see her act because she’s like really good.”

At No Square, ever single cast becomes like a family, Lula said. “It’s super sad when shows are over for the cast and for the people who couldn’t get tickets.”

But she knows the sun will come out tomorrow.  

Tickets for the upcoming shows of “Annie” are selling fast. Hurry! Performances are Dec 8 & Dec 9 at 7:30 p.m., Dec 10 at 2 p.m., Dec 15 &16 at & 7:30 p.m., and two added matinees on Dec 9 and 17 at 2 p.m. due to high demand. Tickets are $12.50 for children ages 5 and older, adults $25, and $35 for VIP seating. Enjoy an al fresco $10 dinner available 45 minutes before curtain call. No Square is located in Legion Hall, 384 Legion St. For tickets and information, visit

Until next time…so much No Square talent, so little time!

Year-long series of LAM 100th anniversary celebrations kicks off with Centennial Bash on Jan 27 

Save the date: on Sat, Jan 27, Laguna Art Museum initiates a year-long series of centennial celebrations to mark this incredible milestone. The Centennial Bash will bring hundreds of art lovers and enthusiasts together for the ultimate late night party. The event will feature site-specific installations by artists Megan Geckler, Elizabeth Turk, and FriendsWithYou; live music by Matt Costa and DJ Nina Tar; a craft beer tasting by Laguna Beach Beer Company; and delicious bites by Las Brisas. 

The Centennial Bash starts at 8 p.m. and continues until midnight.  Pre-sale tickets are $25 for students and members, or $35 for non-members. Tickets increase to $35 and $45 on the day of the event. 

Megan Geckler will transform the museum’s lobby into a wondrous and colorful optical illusion for a spectacular entrance to the Centennial Bash. Since the mid-1990s, Geckler has consistently refined her process of making large-scale, site-specific artistic interventions within architectural spaces. 

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Optical illusion created by Megan Geckler

Elizabeth Turk, the subject of a 2014 exhibition at Laguna Art Museum and commissioned artist for Art & Nature 2018, will create a site-specific and immersive experience during the Centennial Bash. In Turk’s work, the shape of the line is created by extreme loss. 

FriendsWithYou, the LA-based collaborative of Samuel Borkson and Arturo Sandoval III, will join the Centennial Bash with their sole purpose of spreading the positive message of Magic, Luck, and Friendship. 

Matt Costa will headline the Centennial Bash and bring his singular acoustic guitar-driven lyricism into the galleries. The Huntington Beach local’s body of work can be characterized by its constant evolution and frequent shifts in style and impetus.

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Matt Costa

 DJ Nina Tarr, one of the most talented and in-demand DJs in So Cal, will spin a unique blend to take the Centennial Bash to midnight. 

Flight of ales and lager from their collection of high-quality and creative beers will be served by Laguna Beach Beer Company. The co-founders and lifelong Laguna Beach residents, Brent Reynard and Mike Lombardo, established the brewery in 2014 with a mission to brew a broad range of high-quality beers, to promote local artists, and create lasting memories for their visitors with a way to preserve the unique Laguna experience.

Art from the Start: The Art Museum is where it all began for Laguna

Beginning in Jan 2018, the museum will celebrate this milestone with a year-long series of special exhibitions, events, programs, and collaborations. Continuing the work the LBAA began, promoting the best of California art, offering art education and programs in music, dance, and film, and the visual arts, the museum invites Laguna Beach to honor the community’s shared history and look ahead to its future.

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Laguna Art Museum under construction

Centennial Celebration Events, 2018

Art Auction 2018: California Cool, February 10

Art Auction 2018 will include 100 museum-curated works by California artists. This lively affair will include both live and silent auctions, delicious cuisine, and creative cocktails.

Opening of Tony DeLap: A Retrospective, February 24

Accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, this retrospective of Tony DeLap’s work will include approximately eighty paintings, sculptures, and drawings by Orange County’s foremost living artist.

Patriots Day Parade, March 3: The museum will join Laguna Beach’s 52nd annual Patriots Day Parade with a centennial-themed float. 

Film Screening of Laguna Art Museum at 100, April 19: The museum will premiere a documentary film chronicling its history, from its founding as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, its transformation to Laguna Art Museum, and continuing to today as the museum of California art. 

Palette to Palate, June 8: This all-star edition will showcase the culinary talents of Executive Chef Craig Strong, exquisite wines, and the work of ten artists who have participated in Palette to Palate since its beginning in 2006.

Laguna Beach Art Association: The Founders, June 23: This special exhibition, accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, will feature key works by the LBAA founders and document the critical role they played in the development of the city of Laguna Beach.

LBAA Birthday Party, August 25: To celebrate the birthday of the Laguna Beach Art Association, the museum will host a free day with family art activities, docent tours, and special giveaways. Come and enjoy a piece of birthday cake!

Centennial Ball, Saturday, September 29: This one-time exclusive event will celebrate Laguna Art Museum’s history in grand style with dinner, dancing, and world-class entertainment, to be held at the Festival of Arts Grounds in Laguna Beach. 

Art & Nature, November 1-4: The museum’s annual Art & Nature program presents special exhibitions, a commissioned outdoor artwork, lectures, discussions, performances, and family activities on the theme of art’s engagement with the natural world.  

Centennial Collaborations and Projects

A Pictorial History of Laguna Art Museum, January: This publication will include a journey through the museum’s first 100 years, including the LBAA, founders, and key moments in its history, with historic images and reproductions of key works of art.

Laguna Art Museum at 100, April: The documentary film by Dale Schierholt will chronicle the museum’s history, from its founding as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, its transformation to the Laguna Art Museum, and continuing to today with its mission as the museum of California art. 

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Laguna Art Museum today

John Wayne Airport Exhibition, April-September: In collaboration with the John Wayne Airport Arts Program, the museum will present an exhibition inside the airport illustrating the history of the museum and art in the community and the county. 

Creative Design Collaborations: Local designers and artists, inspired by the museum’s 100-year history, will create limited-edition items and artworks available exclusively in the Museum Store.

Community Collaborations: The museum, with local organizations including the Pageant of the Masters and the Festival of Arts, Laguna Playhouse, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, and others, will celebrate the legacy of the LBAA and the thriving creative community of Laguna Beach.

New Website: In time to celebrate the centennial year, and looking ahead to the future, Laguna Art Museum will present an engaging new website. Designed by Studio Misfits, the new site will reach audiences in communities beyond Laguna Beach, with a focus on presenting California art and engaging programs.

Laguna Art Museum is the museum of California art. Its mission is to collect, care for, and exhibit works of art that were created by California artists or represent the life and history of the state. The museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, on the corner of Coast Highway and Cliff Drive.

Tickets and information for the Centennial Bash can be found at 

For other event information, visit

Auditions for the upcoming spring musical All Shook Up are now open to all LBHS students 

LBHS is presenting the musical All Shook Up for their spring production, featuring the songs of Elvis Presley in conjunction with the book by Joe DiPietro. The play focuses on a young man who changes everything and everyone he meets when it comes to music.

Auditions for this show are open to all LBHS students, and will take place on Sunday, Dec 10 and Monday, Dec 11 from 6 – 9 p.m. The auditions will take place in the LBHS Room 55, otherwise known as the Green Room. 

To sign up for an audition time, fill out a form, or for more information, visit

Local artist Isabel Mansour earns YoungArts Honorable Mention in Cinematic Arts

Isabel Mansour, from Orange County School of the Arts, has been named a 2018 National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) Honorable Mention winner in Cinematic Arts. 

Selected from the most competitive pool of applicants to date, Mansour has been recognized for her outstanding artistic achievements and joins 757 of the nation’s most promising young artists from 47 states across visual, literary, design and performing arts.

 Mansour will receive a cash prize of up to $10,000; is eligible to participate in YoungArts’ regional programs, including YoungArts Miami (February 20–25), YoungArts Los Angeles (March 24–29) and YoungArts New York (April 24–29); and will join a professional network of distinguished artists.

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Isabel Mansour earns YoungArts honorable mention in cinematic arts

“YoungArts congratulates all of the 2018 winners. This extraordinary group of young artists represents the vibrancy of our culture for years to come and we look forward to supporting and encouraging them at key junctures in their careers,” stated Carolina García Jayaram, YoungArts President and CEO. 

“I’m so happy that my four years at OCSA has led to this,” said Mansour. “It’s truly an honor to be an Honorable Mention in Cinematic Arts.”

Throughout the year, Mansour will be offered opportunities to share her work with the public at renowned institutions such as the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Sotheby’s (New York) and New World Center (Miami); and access to mentors including Academy Award-winning director, producer, editor, writer and cinematographer Doug Blush; award-winning photographer Corinne May Botz; three-time New York Dance and Performance Awardee Nora Chipaumire; award-winning visual artist Teresita Fernández; Grammy-award winning vocalist and songwriter Lisa Fischer; best-selling authors Michael Grunwald and Kristen Simmons; acclaimed violinist Corin Lee; award-winning journalist, author, and provocative cultural critic Joan Morgan; American stage and television actress Karen Olivo; critically acclaimed pianist Elizabeth Joy Roe; multi-Grammy nominated artist Patrice Rushen; and nine-time Grammy winner and a 17-time Grammy nominee Janis Siegel, among others.

Selected through a blind adjudication process conducted by an independent panel of highly accomplished artists, the 2018 winners represent the top 10 percent of applications. Of this year’s 757 winners, some have been awarded for excellence in multiple disciplines at various levels.  

The National YoungArts Foundation (YoungArts) was established in 1981 by Lin and Ted Arison to identify and nurture the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts, and assist them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development.

Annual holiday art show and sale in the canyon Saturday, Dec 9, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Join Maggie Spencer, Sian Poeschl, and Troy Poeschl for loading up on handcrafted holiday gifts at 2707 Laguna Canyon Road on Saturday, Dec 9 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. There will be refreshments and lots of holiday spirit.

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Sian Poeschl’s fused glass

Home décor to stocking stuffers! You’ll find all original art, including fused glass, jewelry, ornaments, mixed media, sculpture, photography, accessories and much more.

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Troy Poeschl’s mixed media

The season of giving and appreciating is upon us – a time to give friends and family special gifts that are unique, handmade and made in Laguna Beach.

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Fused glass by Maggie Spencer

The three artists have very different styles and variety of work – all on sale.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

New Jazz Night Seven-Degrees style … 

That’s the way aha, aha I like it!


It was love at first sight, a love that remains steadfast since 2001, when I first experienced [seven-degrees]. I couldn’t believe the award-winning architecture, design, the ambiance, that such a forward-thinking art and event space existed, let alone in Laguna Beach. I savor the seven-stars memories from the Laguna Shanti 2003 Benefit “Hunks in Trunks” and the 2005 cast of MTV’s “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County” Fight the Slide Benefit Fashion Show, to the many Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Annual Art Star Awards, art exhibits extraordinaire, and glorious galas. 

And now with their new, funky Jazz Night [seven-degrees] continues to exceed my expectations as the venue brings in a brand new band to command the stage on these evenings. 

Performing a perfect mix of jazz, funk, fusion, favorites, and fun, the cool musical stylings of Late Shift proved to be the right gear to get Laguna Beach grooving on Wednesday night.

(Note: Jazz Night Seven Degrees is a new venture with its own vibe, not to be confused with Laguna Beach Live!, which during the winter holds its Winter Jazz series at this venue also. More on this later in this article.)

Jazz Night Seven Degrees is a new event, features the band Late Shift

The idea for Jazz Night Seven Degrees was brought to life via [seven-degrees] new owner Mo Honarkar, a longtime Laguna resident and prominent businessman, who also owns the Art-A-Fair and the Festival Center among other Laguna Beach real estate holdings.

Honarkar became friends with Late Shift, the uber-talented band that performs at Jazz Nights, and brought them together from LA to liven up Laguna, while promoting one of his favorite art forms.

He hopes the monthly event builds and continues to bring more people together to enjoy live music and Late Shift.

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Photo by Destiny Muse

Good times were had at Jazz Night enjoying the talented Late Shift band

The captivated crowd was loving the latest installment of Jazz Night, soaking in the soulful voice of Bermudian singer, dancer, and musician Hanna on vocals, the sweet sounds of Bermudian recording artist Gianluca on saxophone, the versatility of Cody on guitar, classically trained pianist Israel on keyboard, the gifted multi-stylistic bass player, Peter on bass guitar, and skillful percussionist Kevin on drums. The band members charmed the crowd roaming around and playing close-up and personal.

 “This is Mo’s vision, he’s our new owner and his vision was to start having jazz, so this is our experiment to see how it is going to materialize and what shape it’s going to take,” said Dora Wexell Orgill, [seven-degrees], Vice President and General Manager. 

Wexell Orgill said the event kicked off in October on Halloween. 

“We piggybacked on a Playhouse event, a Dine-Around night and they ended up here for a Halloween party,” Wexell Orgill said. “And that was the first time we had this band. This band Mo put together with friends he has from LA. So Late Shift, it’s kind of our band.” 

“We’re going to do a six-month trial with one every month, on no specific day. The first three were all on different days,” said Wexell Orgill. “The first three of 2018 will be on a Thursday. And we’ll reevaluate from there to see if we’ll do the same or if we want to change it up.”

They’re also planning to schedule a meeting with Laguna Beach LIVE! because they have Jazz Wednesdays at [seven-degrees]. 

“So we’re going to talk to them and see if there’s a way we can collaborate, a way to help each other out,” said Wexell Orgill. “We’ll start from there and see how we’ll will grow and change – we’ll see what happens.”   

Discussing Jazz Night with Mark Orgill, he said that he’s always been more visual and Mo’s more audio. 

“And so, he is really into the music end of things, so this is his passion and he wanted to do it. So he did it,” Orgill said. “I love the band, they’re great. I’ve heard them in the past, and I’ve also had time to spend with them personally; they’re nice guys. Their cover songs that they do are great and their 70s stuff is really awesome. It’s cool to get into some of that old stuff, funky music, and all that. They do a great job of that.”

A first step as part of a vision to reinvigorate Laguna’s Arts District

Jazz Night is Honarkar’s first event as part of his vision of reinvigorating Laguna’s Arts District. 

“It’s super important to [seven-degrees] as you know. You probably read the paper yesterday, (the story in Stu News),” said Wexell Orgill. “So he’s very vested in the Arts District and excited about doing anything he can. He’s got some big visions, some big plans. You’ll see. He’s very excited.”

Wexell Orgill is excited because she thinks it’s going to make the neighborhood more cohesive. 

“I think we’ll have more events – he really likes that. So he’s just getting the hang of that and figuring out what he wants to do,” Wexell Orgill said. “It’s like a refresh with [seven-degrees]. “It’s kind of nice to have old partners out and new fresh ideas in. So that’s been good for us.”

Mark Orgill confirmed what his wife said. 

“We’re going to continue the plans of growing the Arts District that’s one of the big plans,” Orgill said. “But it’s really the fact that Mo is all on board with the philosophy of this thing I started some time ago, it’s kind of like a creative eco-system, and it’s all the components that I think we need to make that whole system work. He’s saying let’s do it.”

He added, “We’re working on some stuff right now. I don’t know if you would call them events, but we’re working on art-based projects. There are still some details being worked out.” 

For more information about Jazz Night at [seven-degrees], visit, or call 376-1555. [seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Road.

Until next time…so much Jazz Night dancing and grooving, so little time!

Artists Talk at CAP gallery – “Interpreting Views” on Dec 2 with three local artists

The Community Art Project (CAP) presents a new exhibit featuring the works of three Laguna Beach artists: Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl. The exhibition runs through Jan 30, 2018. 

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Cheyne Walls’ “Gates of the Valley”

Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl have all spent time exploring the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite and now present their views and appreciation for the beauty of the area, each artist in their own unique voice; Walls and Poeschl through the camera’s eye and Tauber through his ceramic tile work.

The public is invited to explore this inspiring exhibition in the unique gallery space known as The CAP Gallery, on the 2nd floor of the Wells Fargo building from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Saturdays. Admission is free.

This Saturday, Dec 2, artist Tom Lamb will moderate a live discussion with the artists in the show, from noon – 1 p.m. The public is invited to come and learn the backstories to the works and the motivation that drives Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber, and Troy Poeschl. 

With Tom, an internationally known Laguna Beach photographer, as moderator, this is sure to be an engaging and fascinating event. 

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Mike Tauber’s  “Merced Reflections”

For more information visit:

The CAP Gallery presents Interpreting Views: Images in Nature, running through Jan at Wells Fargo Bldg

Community Art Project (CAP) presents a new exhibit featuring the works of three Laguna Beach artists, Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl. The exhibition, Interpreting Views: Images in Nature runs from now – Jan 30, 2018.

Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl have all spent time exploring the beauty and grandeur of Yosemite and now present their views of and appreciation for the beauty of the area. 

Each artist speaks through art in a unique voice: Walls and Poeschl through the camera’s eye, and Tauber through his ceramic tile work. 

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“Merced Reflections” by Mike Tauber 

The Artist’s Talk will take place on Sat, Dec 2 from noon -  1 p.m. This event will include live discussion and Q&A with Cheyne Walls, Mike Tauber and Troy Poeschl in The Gallery. 

Located at 260 Ocean Ave., 2nd Floor Wells Fargo Bldg, the CAP Gallery invites the public to explore this inspiring exhibition in this unique gallery space.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Walking in a Winter Wonderland… Sawdust Winter Fantasy glows with the magic of the season


Let it snow, let it snow, let it glow…with thousands of holiday lights and decorations, the Sawdust’s three-acre eucalyptus grove has been transformed into a holiday wonderland called Winter Fantasy. The spirit of the season and the feeling of joy sparkle with magic, as kids enjoy the gingerbread house, seeing Santa, and posing for pictures in Santa’s sleigh. 

The winter show is truly an only-in-Laguna experience, thanks to our amazing artists, who turn the whimsical holiday dream world into an amazing reality for the community. Enjoy original works in a spectrum of mediums by 175 artists that are perfect for gifts, along with live entertainment, art classes and demonstrations, and fun galore!

Cliff Wassmann, painting and photography

“I have been in the summer show for eight years and this is my fourth year at the Winter Fantasy. This year everyone is commenting on how good the show looks. We invested in more lighting and the Winter Fantasy committee did a phenomenal job decorating the village.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Cliff Wassmann has a chat with Santa in the artist’s Sawdust booth

“The artists booths are all special too. We have 22 new artists this year and many of the returning Winter Fantasy artists are different than the summer show, so there is a lot of different work from the summer show. We had our best opening weekend ever. Over 8,500 [people] came the first weekend and the artists are reporting strong sales.

“I like the cooler weather and the holiday ambience. Everyone seems to be in a great mood when they’re walking around and people are definitely there to shop as opposed to summer when we get a segment of visitors that come for the entertainment. It’s great to see people so happy. There is a lot of negative stuff going on in the world and it’s great to just forget about it for a while. 

“My work is the same, but I offer smaller sizes and holiday note cards for people that need gifts. This year, the photos I took of the solar eclipse are selling very well and my wave paintings are doing well.” 

Michael Panetta, blown glass

“I have been in the Sawdust for eight years and the Winter Fantasy for 10. The first thing that you notice are the decorations and being able to get in the Christmas spirit or holiday spirit right away because it’s so beautifully decorated. Everybody takes time to decorate their booths. The Sawdust Festival themselves have decorated the whole Santa’s Village area and all the trees there. So it’s a beautiful show to come and look at.

“As far as my product, I do a little more gift-style products that are a little more affordable for everybody to buy as a gift, compared to the summer, when I sell more of my high-end fine art. 

“I have two daughters. They love it and look forward to coming and seeing Santa every year. They enjoy all the lights, festivities, and getting in the Christmas spirit with the carolers, the snow, and the main area. They love it.”

Reem Khalil, clothing, textiles made of all natural dye and organic fabrics

“The show looks better than ever. It’s one notch above five stars. It has only been two days and I have already had a great show. We’ve had the best attendance in one weekend than in multiple years.

“My new designs for winter are an organic bamboo swing coat along with a velvet silk swing coat, and to stop traffic, a sexy, stretch velvet silk pencil dress is perfect for the holidays.

“We have 22 new artists this year. It’s been great. I think the social media has really helped. Marketing Coordinator Franky Duschane is one noteworthy person that we really love here.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Reem Khalil with her daughter, Zia

Sarvi Hosseini, jewelry

“This is my tenth year in the Winter Fantasy. I like the aspect of the new artists that come; it just gives it a different feel. I really like that it’s on the weekends and that we can spend some time during the week to replenish our work. It seems like every weekend is new and exciting.

“Because it’s Christmas time you have to consider a lot of gift giving. I don’t really have a lot of low priced [pieces] because I work with a lot of precious metals, like gold and silver, so not a lot under $50 or $60, but I do have some. I find, actually, that I don’t really sell a lot of those. I sell more of my high-end stuff. 

“This is called ‘Wish Upon a Moon,’ I have a love for the moon, particularly a full moon, maybe because of the energy you feel with a full moon. I do diamonds that are flush set in the piece. That has been the fun thing. Once I started doing this piece, then I got inspired to do a lot of other stuff. So now I have a little collection, including ‘My Dreams Come True,’ piece.

 “I am doing a lot of stud earrings now with gold, and it’s fun to do with rubies or just a different contrast of stones, the diamonds, and the precious stones. It’s fun and people like it too because it’s really unique and it’s a nice quality piece. The people that collect my work they want to see what’s new.

“Everyone loves that during the Winter Fantasy it’s the perfect weather. They’re excited about the new artists. It gets people in a festive mood – people decorating their booths with their lights and garland. It’s fun and it’s different.”

Doug Miller, painting and photography

“Sawdust winter opening is the biggest ever. It has become a family show – a family experience. Everyone taking pictures and selfies – smiles on their faces. It’s really happening folks. This is my 47th Sawdust year and I’m never sure about my years in the winter show – I was in the first and third years – and the fifth year on consecutively to now. I sell my little paintings. I’ve sold about 450 to 500 per year in the summer and about 60 to 80 average in the winter show.

“I have such a free reign to play music with different bands and be in my booth. Little time to concentrate on just one thing since I give toys to the kids and paint and wrap paintings.”

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Artist Doug Miller

Jan Koelle, who runs fused glass artist Jane Slowsky’s booth, was immersed in the joy of the Winter Fantasy opening. “The gleeful screams of the children in Santa’s Playhouse, now that’s what the season is all about.”

Sawdust Winter Fantasy opened on Nov 18 and will run every weekend until Dec 17 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are $8 for adults, $7 for seniors 65 plus, $4 for children, 6 to 12, and free for children five and under. The Sawdust Winter Fantasy Art Festival is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road. For information, call 494-3030 or visit 

Until next time…so much Winter Fantasy art and holiday fun, so little time!

Laguna Playhouse will honor the Moulton family’s role in the storied history of the theatre 

Laguna Playhouse has announced that in conjunction with their Gala on May 12, they will be honoring the Moulton family for their support of the 98 year old theatre.

Following their very successful gala at Island Hotel that took place on April 29 honoring Suzanne and James Mellor, Laguna Playhouse plans to build on this success as they look to their past honoring the family that built their current theatrical home that will turn 50 in 2018. 

Jared Mathis, great-grandson of Nellie Gail Moulton, currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Laguna Playhouse and is Chair of Laguna College of Art and Design. He serves as CEO of the Moulton Company along with his cousin, Scott Barnes, who is the CFO and also a supporter of Laguna Playhouse who will be present on May 12 to accept the honor.  

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Photo courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

Original concept for the Playhouse structure: Close encounter of some kind?

It was 1966 when Nellie Gail Moulton was approached to help fund the building of the now 420 seat “Moulton Theatre” named after her husband Lewis F. Moulton.  Donating a large principal amount of the $400,000 needed to build the theatre, Nellie Gail not only served as the major benefactor of the theatre, she co-founded the Laguna College of Art and Design served as President of the Laguna Art Museum.  

Nellie Gail was a major catalyst for the creation of an arts community in Laguna Beach. Today, the Moulton family fulfills her legacy through their commitment to Laguna Playhouse and the entire Laguna Arts Community.

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Photo courtesy Laguna Playhouse

Major benefactor Nellie Gail Moulton observes construction of the Playhouse

“We are honored and fortunate to have a multi-generational legacy Trustee serving on our Board of Trustees,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director. “I try and envision how happy Nellie Gail would be to see her great-grandson continuing the vision that she had for Laguna Playhouse and all of the arts in Laguna Beach.

 “Jared Mathis serves an important role for us and the community as he makes the investment of his time and leadership to carry on his family’s role in this beautiful town.” 

“We are truly honored and humbled to be recognized by The Laguna Playhouse,” said Jared Mathis. “Our family and The Moulton Company is dedicated to honoring and building on Nellie Gail’s vision and commitment through faithful service and support. We look forward to celebrating with the greater Laguna art community in May for this inspiring and memorable event.”

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Photo courtesy Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse shortly after construction was finished

The Gala, co-chaired by Laguna Playhouse Season Producer Lisa Hale, Jamie Walters El-Erian, and Annee Della Donna, will highlight some of the history of Laguna Playhouse with vintage photographs, literature, and personal interviews from supporters who participated in the original construction of the Moulton Theatre.  It will also feature a bit of flair from the era that the theatre was built.  

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to be able to honor our past, present, and future relationship with the Moulton family at our upcoming Gala,” said co-chair Lisa Hale.

In coordination with the Gala and 50th anniversary of the Moulton Theatre, the Playhouse will begin work on a cosmetic upgrade of this historical theatre to celebrate it and making it vibrant once again.

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