Documentary about LAM’s 100 years of history will be shown on April 19 at 7 p.m.

Laguna Art Museum will be presenting the premiere screening of the documentary Laguna Art Museum at 100, produced by filmmaker Dale Schierholt, on Thursday, April 19 at 7 p.m. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Laguna Art Museum under construction

The film will chronicle the museum’s history, from its founding as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, through its transformation to Laguna Art Museum in the mid-1980s, and continuing to today with its mission as the museum of California art.

Advance tickets are recommended. Go to www.lagunaartmuseum.org to reserve tickets online, or call (949) 494-8971 x203.


Art in our Backyard: “Survival Is Insufficient” exhibition by Sue Greenwood artist Joe Brubaker

Sue Greenwood fine artist Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners will present their “Survival Is Insufficient” exhibit at the Oceanside Museum of Art. The exhibit addresses the essential role the arts play in our daily lives. 

“Survivial is Inefficient” is set to run from March 17 - Aug 5. The reception will take place on opening night, Sat, March 17 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the gallery, located at 704 Pier View Way, Oceanside. 

Photo from Exquisite Garden website

Found art by Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners

Joe Brubaker and the Exquisite Gardeners use their artwork to visually express themes related to preserving culture in a dystopic landscape. These artists represent and utilize familiar objects, remnants of the built environment and artifacts and icons of everyday life in an exploration of the cultural threads that tie us together. 

For more information on this upcoming event, www.oma-online.org.


Opening night of The Graduate, starring Melanie Griffith, brings a tinsel town affair to Laguna Beach

The opening night audience of The Graduate was at capacity, with 420 major donors, corporate sponsors, Board of Trustees, press and Hollywood celebrities excited to experience Melanie Griffith’s Laguna Playhouse debut as Mrs. Robinson in this venerable and iconic 1963 story of the societal world that was Pasadena, CA.

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

(L-R) Costume Designer Kate Bergh, Costume Assistant Ghislaine Harding, Director Michael Matthews, Actress Valerie Perri (Elaine)

Ann E Wareham, artistic director, says, “I am so proud of this production. Melanie and I have been plotting her Laguna Playhouse debut for more than a couple of years now. The music, the fashion -- everything made a statement about the times. Women were looking outside of their place in the home to seek equal rights and opportunities in their economic and workplace activities, their personal lives, and politics. Mrs Robinson, Benjamin and this entire powerhouse cast of characters, directed by Michael Matthews, bring us a fantastic interpretation of what it meant to be living, loving, and working in the ‘60s.”

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

(R) Playhouse Season Spirit’s Sponsor Nolet’s President Bill Eldien, 

(C) Playhouse Trustee Melinda Masson and guests

Ellen Richard, executive director, greeted the audience, thanked and acknowledged supporters. “The show is made possible by the generosity of our supporters including: Season Producer: Lisa Hale, The Graduate Producers: Paul & Heather Singarella, 2017/20178 Season Sponsors:  South Coast Plaza, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Firebrand Media LLC, Gelson’s, Haskell White, Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin and Surterre Properties. The strong commitment from these philanthropists enables the Playhouse to elevate the audience’s experiences, and is essential revenue to fill the gap between ticket sales and the true costs of top-flight theatre.” 

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Playhouse Season Sponsor (South Coast Plaza) Michelle Barwick and husband

A post-show reception at Laguna’s Las Brisas Restaurant had cast and guests celebrating the terrific performance by the company of 20 including:  Melanie Griffith (Mrs Robinson), Nick Tag (Benjamin Braddock), Richard Burgi (Mr Braddock), Geoffrey Lower (Mr. Robinson), Valerie Perri (Mrs Braddock), Martha Magruder (Elaine Robinson).  

Even Jesse Johnson, Melanie Griffith’s son, who performed in the leading role of The Playhouse’s 2017 production of King of the Road: The Roger Miller Story, attended.

The Graduate, which closes March 25, serves as a centerpiece in bringing excitement and prominence to Laguna Playhouse’s 97th season.  

For tickets and information, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com or contact the box office at 949-497-2787.


LAGUNATOTS invade No Square Theatre on two weekends in March

This year’s pint-sized parody show takes a playful swipe at all things “kid,” including boba, homework, and the horrors of having an embarrassing mom. Laguna- specifics like the demise of our poor pepper tree and the new rolling chairs in the schools are cast favorites. 

The youngsters from grades one through eight will sing, dance, and entertain with comedic takes on timely topics set to familiar tunes. The show has a LAGUNATICS-like spirit, but it’s about kids, and every moment is perfect, fun-filled family entertainment.

Performances are March 16-18 and 23-25. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7 p.m. and Sundays are at 2 p.m.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Lagunatots “Slime tots” from the 2017 performance

LAGUNATOTS is directed by Ella Wyatt, music-directed by Susan Geiser, costumes by Brigitte Harper, and new parody lyrics by Ella Wyatt, with a number for the boys about “being a man” written by Laguna native Rufino Cabang, and a few special numbers written by cast members. 

The talented company includes kids from Thurston Middle School: Sydney Alderson, Chase Benson, Lula Buckle, Alfie Cant, Kamryn Crawford, Chloe Flaherty, Laird Garcia, Grace Gilchrist, Lila Goldstein, Darcy Hurley, Hannah Kaiser, Lauren Kimball, Olivia Lane, Joie Lucas, Sienna Mason, Brooke Shaw, Talia Stewart, Kate Storke, Berkley Thacker, Maya Trengove, MaryJeanne Walker; From El Morro Elementary: Marco Lapayese Calderon, Lila Tacklind, Leah Turner; From Top of the World Elementary: Kate Baker, Tatum Brennan, Will Briggs, Mason Bruderer, Story Bullington, Nicolas Camacho, Grace Gilchrist, Jonah Goldstein, Ava Guziak, Marco Lapayese Calderon, Maris Morgan, Allie Nottage, Douglas Nottage; Other schools: Anna Gabriel, Taite Morrison, Kemper Rodi.

Tickets are $15 for children, $25 for adults, and $35 for VIP seats. Dinner is available for $10 and is served an hour before the performance. It’s the best bargain in town. Arrive early and enjoy dinner and drinks al fresco before the show. 

No Square Theatre is located in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion Street.

For more information, visit www.nosquare.org.


Suzie’s ARTiculation

Actor and longtime local Richard Burgi is loving his role in The Graduate & working with Melanie Griffith 

By SUZIE HARRISON

From the ocean to the outdoors, to the arts, and to the stage, esteemed actor and Laguna Beach resident Richard Burgi is a big fan of Laguna Beach and the Laguna Playhouse. Lucky for the longtime local, he gets to marry the two in the much-anticipated production of “The Graduate,” which opens on Sunday at Laguna Playhouse. 

Playing the role of Mr. Braddock, the main character’s father, and working with star Melanie Griffith as Mrs. Robinson, Burgi in real life seems nothing like the character he plays. Rather, he’s easy-going, laughing it up with fellow cast members during rehearsals and enjoying the moment. 

 “You know the movie is so iconic, so I love the material, and it was an opportunity to stretch,” Burgi said. “I had a couple auditions that day and that was one of them. I went up to LA for it. I didn’t think I was in the running. I don’t have a lot of theater credentials and there are some wonderful actors out there, a couple I saw at the audition.” 

A big fan of the iconic 1967 film, Burgi was all in.

“I was really eager to do something at the Playhouse. I had been wanting to do a show there for a while,” Burgi said. “I auditioned for ‘The Graduate’ and then I was asked to do ‘12 Angry Men,’ so that was my first foray at The Playhouse.”

 His last theater role was “Johnny on the Spot” in 2006, he said, seeming to disbelieve time.

“I bounced in and out of theaters over the years. And I really love the mercurial aspect of it. You know there’s nights when the audience is with you and nights that it’s off,” Burgi said. “Each glitch makes it more human and more dynamic and unpredictable. Film you can sanitize it, you can clean it up, do multiple takes, which also lends itself to potential bad habits - the safety net or illusion that you can create perfection, which I think is not necessarily a healthy thing.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of David Elzer, Laguna Playhouse

An actor for 30 years, Burgi is well known for his role in Desperate Housewives among myriad popular series and movies, like “In her Shoes”

I asked him the question everyone wants to know, what it has been like to work with Golden Globe winner and Academy Award Nominee Melanie Griffith and the rest of the cast.

 “Melanie has been wonderful. She brings a different element than I think that people might be used to. If they have the film etched in their mind, she has her own brand of elegance and beauty and art to the role,” Burgi said. “She’s had an incredible career. It has been fun watching her and being a part of it.”

Listing each actor on-by-one, he bragged about how talented and fun they are, including local Taylor Rene LaBarbera.

“The other cast members have been terrific. I just love watching all their process. We have lots of laughs. It’s such a funny, goofy group of guys, extremely eccentric and diverse. Gosh, we just laugh. And it’s such an incredible crucible at this time and age of such discord in our country,” Burgi said. “I love the aliveness of it; I love the dangling over the edge of a cliff feeling. The camaraderie is wonderful and finding new things in the same material is quite wonderful. It’s a wonderful metaphor for so many things in life.”

How Burgi discovered Laguna Beach

Burgi got his first taste of Laguna Beach in 1978 when his oldest and best friend drove him across the country from the East Coastto work one summer for his brother. 

“I couldn’t have loved it more. I am a real water rat, so I was just in love with the ocean, the energy and the climate, the typography, the town,” Burgi said. “And I would come down here when I moved to LA in 1990 to get out of town, go in the water, and to clear my head, see my friend, my old employer.

In the mid-nineties, Burgi decided to purchase a house in Laguna. He and his family – including his two sons – have made Laguna Beach their home for decades.

 “I had this thought that you know somehow you’re going to screw up your kids, but the ocean, she’s going to be the greatest teacher. She would always steer them in the right direction, so I got that one right,” Burgi said. Burgi also appreciates Laguna’s rich arts heritage. 

“I love it. My dad painted, I painted, my brother paints, and we are all involved in music, arts, theater, etcetera, so I love that aspect of Laguna.” 

He said he’s very grateful to live here in a place where everybody breathes well with clean air and beaches.

“We have this incredible environment that’s so unique and dynamic. Our school system is wonderful. I have two kids. I have a senior at the high school now and one that went through. It’s a great primer through the system for life,” Burgi said. “I can’t think of a better place to live than Laguna. I couldn’t see living anywhere else. I am certainly grateful to call it home and to raise my kids here, and to have given them the opportunity to call Laguna Beach home.”

Until next time… so lucky to live here, so much Laguna Playhouse excitement, so little time!


Modern Jazz Saxophonist Tom Luer’s Project Popular presented by Laguna Beach Live! on March 14

On Wed, March 14, Laguna Beach Live! presents Modern Jazz Saxophonist Tom Luer’s Project Popular. Luer is a freelance saxophonist who resides in Los Angeles, and is a Rico Reeds Performing Artist. He is joined by Andy Langham - piano, Edwin Livingston - bass, Dan Schnelle - drums, and Angela Parish - guest vocalist.

His album “Project Popular” was released in 2011 to critical acclaim. Luer has performed on the NBC broadcast of “Sports Illustrated 50 Years of Beautiful” and on the “X-Factor” on Fox, the American Music Awards, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the Ellen DeGeneres Show. 

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Tom Luer appears on March 14, hosted by Laguna Beach Live!

 Just two more concerts remain in the Winter series: New West Guitar on March 28 and Josh Nelson on April 11, followed by the Laguna Beach Live! Benefit Concert with jazz vocalist Leslie Lewis on April 25.

 Concerts are from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m. Full bar and buffet dinner menus are available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, and $30 at the door. Seating is assigned. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out. 

Jazz Wednesdays Winter 2018 is held in the distinctive [seven-degrees] event facility, 891 Laguna Canyon Rd

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org or call 949-715-9713.


Melanie Griffith slyly seduces audience on opening night of The Graduate at Laguna Playhouse

Written by DIANNE RUSSELL

As if it were still the ‘60s, I vividly remember watching the 1967 screen adaption of Charles Webb’s novel, The Graduate, in Palm Springs. This film is so ingrained in the consciousness of moviegoers of that era, one wonders why anyone would want to take on the monumental task of adapting The Graduate to the stage. 

However, Terry Johnson took it on in early 2000, reshaping it from Webb’s novel (and the screenplay by Buck Henry and Calder Willingham) into a stage production. The current production at Laguna Playhouse, under the direction of Michael Matthews, along with his talented cast and crew, succeeded in this interpretation, yet it’s difficult not to compare the two versions, no matter how hard one tries.

The opening night audience was delighted with the reimagined Graduate; laughing and responding to iconic dialogue and scenes. And when Mrs. Robinson and Benjamin are in the hotel room, and she asks him for a hanger, there was an audible collective gasp of recognition.

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Melanie Griffith as Mrs. Robinson tries to seduce Benjamin, played by Nick Tag

To say the least, Melanie Griffith is a big draw. She’s still gorgeous, sexy, and svelte enough to strut the stage in a garter belt, bra, and nylons. The only word to describe her is, “Wow.” 

As Mrs. Robinson, she has a kittenish and sensual allure that translates to the stage, even though the movie’s Mrs. Robinson had a more tragic and jaded glamour. But Griffith beautifully and effectively represents the corruption of the older generation in contrast to Benjamin’s innocence. 

The theme of an unmoored youth, trying to find his place, is well captured in Benjamin’s character by Nick Tag. He possesses the boyish looks, and a certain naivety that Benjamin requires, as he strugglesto search out an honest and sincere way to live his own life, without following his parents’ California lifestyle. 

The other actors embody their characters with confidence and significant talent; Richard Burgi as Mr. Braddock, Valeri Perri as Mrs. Braddock, Geoffrey Lower as Mr. Robinson, and Martha Magruder as Elaine, Gregory Butler as the psychiatrist.

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Mrs. Braddock (Valeri Perri), Benjamin and Mr. Braddock (Richard Burgi)

The one scene in which the Braddocks, Benjamin, and the psychiatrist sit in beanbag chairs is hilarious. Who of that era doesn’t remember trying to get out of one?

Everything works together to create the mood, surroundings, and sound of the era.

The wonderful settings by Scenic Designer Stephen Gifford bring back The Mad Men décor of the ‘60s, and the gaggle of hippies who move the furniture about between scenes is a wonderful touch. They are superb. 

Kate Bergh, costume designer, chose the perfect costumes. 

Songs such as “Downtown” and “Tell Him” convey the feel of the period.

Other behind the scenes designers should be commended as well; Mike Ritchey, sound designer, Tim Swiss, light designer, and Vernon Willet, production stage manager. 

The ‘60s were a singular time that embodied dual themes, the innocence of youth and the degradation ofthe older generation. This production of The Graduate was successful in bringing back the sights, the sounds, and, most significantly, the mindset of that decade.

The Graduate will run through Sunday, March 25.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd., (949) 497-2787.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Festival of Arts announces new exhibit, Fresh Faces, at the Wells Fargo building 

Summer time is just around the corner and the Festival of Arts is excited to announce its newest exhibit, Fresh Faces. Presenting the works of newly juried Festival artists, the exhibit will showcase a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, glass, pastels, photography, mixed media and more. 

Fresh Faces 2018 runs now through June 1 at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank, 260 Ocean Ave.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy FOA

Eileen McCullough, Lifeguard on Duty

Fresh Faces 2018 showcases a fascinating look into the world of the innovative and fresh new artwork of fourteen prestigious artists from Orange County. The artists and mediums being presented are Richard Bohn (sculpture), Jorge Burtin (glass), Gil Delinger (pastels), Lani Emanuel (oil painting), Carolyn Johnson (mixed media), Maaria Kader (scratchboard), Eileen McCullough (watercolors), Corine Schaff (hand-painted silk), Laura Seeley (acrylics), Joshua Serafin (mixed media), Andrew and Rebeca Snider (photography), Stephen Swintek (photography) and Sue Thompson (acrylics).

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy FOA

Corinne Schaff, Room with a View

These exhibitors were recently juried into the Festival of Arts by a panel of six knowledgeable artists and/or art experts including painter Paul Bond, Creative Director of USC Design Studio Sam Carter, photographer Rick Graves, former Director of Irvine Fine Arts Center Wendy Shields, ceramicist Mike Tauber and Arts Coordinator of the Orange County Department of Education Steve Venz.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy FOA

Laura Seeley, The Whole of Us

 “We are very excited to have 14 of the 16 new artists joining us for this exhibit,” said Director of Exhibits, Education and Permanent Collections, Ron Morrissette. “Their work, along with our longtime exhibitors, will help create one of the most exciting years the Festival has ever seen.”

The Wells Fargo building is open to the public Monday through Friday 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is free. The Festival of Arts is a non-profit organization whose proceeds support the arts in and about Laguna Beach. For more information call (949) 494-1145 or go to www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org

For more information, visit www.foapom.com.


Landscape painting events; Artists Paint at TOW on March 10 and Paint Along at Alta Vista Park on March 12

LOCA Arts Education and Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) offers two unique landscape painting activities in Laguna Beach. The first is on Sat, March 10, from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. at Top of the World Elementary School. This indoor workshop, for adults and families, will feature a choice of beginner, intermediate or advanced workstations. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo submitted by LOCA

Indoor workshop for adults and families at TOW on Sat, March 10

Using photos, participants will follow easy steps in sketching and finishing a trees and skies painting. Instructors include Rick J Delanty, Rita Pacheco, and Wendy Wirth.  

Advance registration of $40 is required and includes all supplies. Register at website listed below.

Click on photo for larger image

Photo submitted by LOCA

Alta Vista Park site for outdoor workshop on Mon, March 12

The second activity will take place on Mon, March 12, from 9 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. The Mentor Paint Out is offered outdoors at the breathtaking Alta Laguna Park. This activity allows painters to improve skills by positioning themselves and painting alongside acclaimed artists, Lisa Mozzini-McDill and Anthony Salvo, while receiving helpful guidance. The event is free, and no is registration required. 

  To register and find all the LOCA -LPAPA class offerings, visit the calendar page at www.locaarts.org or call (949)363-4700.


Festival of Arts is honored for Outstanding Historical Renovation Project

Orange County’s most iconic cultural landmark, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts, has been awarded the 2018 Outstanding Historical Renovation Project by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for its exceptional design and aggressive schedule of completion. 

The Festival of Arts grounds are home to some of California’s favorite outdoor summer events including the Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, offering live music, hands-on art activities, exhibitions of local student artwork, and a wide variety of special events.

“This award exemplifies our dedication to offering world-class art and stunning, cultural, live performances for our local community and visitors to enjoy,” said former board president and current treasurer, Fredric Sattler. 

“We are honored to be recognized by American Society of Civil Engineers and excited to see our patrons continue to experience rich culture, art history and unique performances at Festival of Arts for generations to come.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Fred Sattler holding the 2018 Outstanding Historic Renovation Award 

Hailing its 85th anniversary in 2017, the Festival of Arts debuted the brand new multi-million-dollar facility which features a 31,774 square-feet art exhibit space, workshops, a retail area and concert stage. The Festival Directors commissioned BAUER Architects with Fuscoe Engineering (civil engineer of record) and landscape architect Spurlock Poirier to design a state-of-the-art and inviting facility on the grounds.

Last remodeled in 1964, the renovated grounds were updated to meet accessibility standards and incorporate progressive sustainability features. New elements include a tensile roof pavilion that shelters artwork from weather, the green lawn for picnics and concerts was positioned to be easily accessible, the retail space was relocated and expanded, and the junior art exhibit space adjusted to a prominent location near the facility entrance.

Since opening in 1932, thousands of artists have shown and sold their work at the Festival of Arts and many of the artists have their work featured in the private collections of leading art collectors, celebrities, and museums around the world. 

The 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will take place July 5 – Sept 1 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. The Pageant of the Masters is July 7 – Sept 1 with advance tickets now available starting at $15 per person. 

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Art With Provenance opens new art exhibit on April 5 

On Thurs, April 5, Art with Provenance will hold an opening night show from 5 p.m.- 8 p.m. featuring local as well as international artists: Mark Fehlman, Jesse Powell, John Burton, Ray Roberts, Craig Pursley, Jeff Sewell, Jim Wodark, Debra Joy Groesser, Vanessa Rothe,  Rodolfo Rivadelmar, Sergey Kovalenko, Vadim Suvorov, Daniil Volkov, and more.

The show, a collaborative event with Vanessa Rothe Fine Art and Provenance Realty, will run through April 3, two successful luxury companies joining forces for art. The exhibit includes works by leading famed American Impressionists as well as imported Russian and Ukrainian Impressionists, both historical and contemporary. 

Provenance is located at 540 South Coast Hwy, Suite 202 upstairs.

With top listings in Laguna Beach and Orange County, Provenance Realty has lived up to its name providing provenance, or “proven years of quality” service and homes. With this show, the company joins a local art curator, editor and artist to bring to residents a very fine collection of art for home or office. For more information on this upcoming event, call Vanessa Rothe at 949-280-1555.


JoAnne Artman Gallery presents Deconstructing Gender: New Works by America Martin

JoAnne Artman Gallery has just opened Deconstructing Gender: New Works by America Martin. 

Fearless, bold use of line and color, a profound sense of form and space - the work of America Martin transcends cultural as well as internalized gender aesthetics in a conversation with universal, underlying themes of beauty, nature, and the human form.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Woman & Rocks by America Martin 

Formal idealization of the figure exists for both genders and although the exact form this “perfect” figure takes has changed over time, there are certain standards of beauty related to gender that are constant in addition to ingrained ideas of the essential male and female. JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of Martin’s recent work that explores nuances of gender perception by addressing the formal aspects of gender constructs.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Woman in Grey & Day Roses by America Martin 

Although Martin’s focus is primarily on the female form, aspects of gender neutrality and ambiguity permeate her work. Both male and female figures are solid in width and girth, commanding the space that they occupy within her work, lacking most of the gendered signs of normative beauty standards. Women are distinguishable through their generally rounder forms and associations with nature, while the male figures are portrayed through a more angular approach.  

However, there is a distinct de-sexualization in the appearance of both genders such as in Martin’s emphasis on expressive, exaggerated hands and feet that draw us to inherent similarities and androgyny within both genders, rather than the differences that separate them. Narrative compositions place these figures in various contexts that speak to archetypal, universal themes of the human condition. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Wild Creatures I, by America Martin

Martin explores new modes of representation throughout her practice approaching the human form through a diversity of mediums. Expressive of her Colombian-American heritage and rooted in modernism, Martin’s visual language feels iconic and familiar as the artist utilizes the essential elements of line, form and color in vibrant, humanist compositions. 

America Martin’s work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression. 

For more information visit, www.joanneartmangallery.com.


Suzie’s ARTiculation

Actor and longtime local Richard Burgi is loving his role in The Graduate & working with Melanie Griffith 

By SUZIE HARRISON

From the ocean to the outdoors, to the arts, and to the stage, esteemed actor and Laguna Beach resident Richard Burgi is a big fan of Laguna Beach and the Laguna Playhouse. Lucky for the longtime local, he gets to marry the two in the much-anticipated production of “The Graduate,” which opens on Sunday at Laguna Playhouse. 

Playing the role of Mr. Braddock, the main character’s father, and working with star Melanie Griffith as Mrs. Robinson, Burgi in real life seems nothing like the character he plays. Rather, he’s easy-going, laughing it up with fellow cast members during rehearsals and enjoying the moment. 

 “You know the movie is so iconic, so I love the material, and it was an opportunity to stretch,” Burgi said. “I had a couple auditions that day and that was one of them. I went up to LA for it. I didn’t think I was in the running. I don’t have a lot of theater credentials and there are some wonderful actors out there, a couple I saw at the audition.” 

A big fan of the iconic 1967 film, Burgi was all in.

“I was really eager to do something at the Playhouse. I had been wanting to do a show there for a while,” Burgi said. “I auditioned for ‘The Graduate’ and then I was asked to do ‘12 Angry Men,’ so that was my first foray at The Playhouse.”

 His last theater role was “Johnny on the Spot” in 2006, he said, seeming to disbelieve time.

“I bounced in and out of theaters over the years. And I really love the mercurial aspect of it. You know there’s nights when the audience is with you and nights that it’s off,” Burgi said. “Each glitch makes it more human and more dynamic and unpredictable. Film you can sanitize it, you can clean it up, do multiple takes, which also lends itself to potential bad habits - the safety net or illusion that you can create perfection, which I think is not necessarily a healthy thing.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy of David Elzer, Laguna Playhouse

An actor for 30 years, Burgi is well known for his role in Desperate Housewives among myriad popular series and movies, like “In her Shoes”

I asked him the question everyone wants to know, what it has been like to work with Golden Globe winner and Academy Award Nominee Melanie Griffith and the rest of the cast.

 “Melanie has been wonderful. She brings a different element than I think that people might be used to. If they have the film etched in their mind, she has her own brand of elegance and beauty and art to the role,” Burgi said. “She’s had an incredible career. It has been fun watching her and being a part of it.”

Listing each actor on-by-one, he bragged about how talented and fun they are, including local Taylor Rene LaBarbera.

“The other cast members have been terrific. I just love watching all their process. We have lots of laughs. It’s such a funny, goofy group of guys, extremely eccentric and diverse. Gosh, we just laugh. And it’s such an incredible crucible at this time and age of such discord in our country,” Burgi said. “I love the aliveness of it; I love the dangling over the edge of a cliff feeling. The camaraderie is wonderful and finding new things in the same material is quite wonderful. It’s a wonderful metaphor for so many things in life.”

How Burgi discovered Laguna Beach

Burgi got his first taste of Laguna Beach in 1978 when his oldest and best friend drove him across the country from the East Coastto work one summer for his brother. 

“I couldn’t have loved it more. I am a real water rat, so I was just in love with the ocean, the energy and the climate, the typography, the town,” Burgi said. “And I would come down here when I moved to LA in 1990 to get out of town, go in the water, and to clear my head, see my friend, my old employer.

In the mid-nineties, Burgi decided to purchase a house in Laguna. He and his family – including his two sons – have made Laguna Beach their home for decades.

“I had this thought that you know somehow you’re going to screw up your kids, but the ocean, she’s going to be the greatest teacher. She would always steer them in the right direction, so I got that one right,” Burgi said. Burgi also appreciates Laguna’s rich arts heritage. 

“I love it. My dad painted, I painted, my brother paints, and we are all involved in music, arts, theater, etcetera, so I love that aspect of Laguna.” 

He said he’s very grateful to live here in a place where everybody breathes well with clean air and beaches.

“We have this incredible environment that’s so unique and dynamic. Our school system is wonderful. I have two kids. I have a senior at the high school now and one that went through. It’s a great primer through the system for life,” Burgi said. “I can’t think of a better place to live than Laguna. I couldn’t see living anywhere else. I am certainly grateful to call it home and to raise my kids here, and to have given them the opportunity to call Laguna Beach home.”

Until next time… so lucky to live here, so much Laguna Playhouse excitement, so little time!


Dynamic Argus Quartet performs at series Live! at the art museum on Thursday, March 8

Laguna Beach Live! presents Argus Quartet at the Laguna Art Museum on Thurs, March 8, 2018, at 7 p.m. Praised for their “supreme melodic control and total authority,” (Calgary Herald), the Argus Quartet is quickly gaining a reputation as one of today’s most dynamic and versatile young ensembles. 

The Argus Quartet is dedicated to reinvigorating the audience-performer relationship through innovative concerts and diverse repertoire. Connecting with and building up a community of engaged listeners is at the core of the quartet’s mission. 

Click on photo for larger image

(l-r) Joann Whang, Dana Kelley, Jason Issokson, and Clara Kim

The quartet also believes that today’s ensembles can honor the storied chamber music traditions of our past, while forging a new path forward. In that spirit, their repertoire includes not just staples of the chamber music canon, but also numerous pieces by living composers.

Live! at the Museum is a special collaboration of Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Art Museum, and 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 p.m. Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

For more information about the series and other concerts, visit the website at www.lagunabeachlive.org or call 949.715.9713.

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr.


Free dance performances will take place at saltfineart Gallery during First Thursdays Art Walk on March 1

Laguna Dance Festival will host free dance performances on March 1 at the Salt Fine Art Gallery, located at 346 N Coast Hwy. Performances will take place 6:30 p.m.and at 7 p.m., and will feature dancers from USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Carla Azente seen here last year at her saltfineart Gallery, which will be the site of free Dance Festival performances this Thursday during ArtWalk

Dancers Alyssa Allen and Jake Tribus will perform a selection of captivating solos and duets surrounded by the beauty of the art gallery. Rebecca Troyal will be creating a commissioned work for the evening as well. 

For more information on this upcoming event, visit www.lagunadancefestival.com.


MacGillivray Freeman Film’s America’s Musical Journey is a smash hit at giant screen theatres

MacGillivray Freeman’s new film, America’s Musical Journey, kicked off its global release last week with a world premiere at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, followed by a second premiere at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. 

The two-day event featured live performances from the film’s star, singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc, as well as teenage banjo-playing sensation Willow Osborne, a youth choir and local salsa dancers. The audience was dancing in their seats as they celebrated creativity and innovation as told through the story of America’s music.

“It was outrageously fantastic,” said one viewer.

America’s Musical Journey, narrated by Academy Award winning actor Morgan Freeman, was produced in association with Brand USA and presented by Expedia. It opened in select museums and institutions on Feb 16. The film celebrates the rich cultural diversity of America as seen through the story of its music.

The 3D documentary follows Grammy Award-nominated singer and songwriter Aloe Blacc as he traces the roots of America’s music, following the footsteps of Louis Armstrong through the colorful locales and cultures where America’s music was born.

Click on photo for larger image

America’s Musical Journey opened in giant screen theaters on Feb 16

The New York Times said, “An exuberant exploration of the country’s creative roots…tells the story of how jazz, country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll melded to fuel American creativity.”

“The thrilling experimental film opens up the minds and hearts of music lovers everywhere,” says LA Pulse Magazine.

Academy Award-nominated director Greg MacGillivray threads all these images together to create an immersive experience of American culture and creativity with a soundtrack that showcases the national passion for creative innovation at its purest.

For more information, visit www.americasmusicaljourney.com.


Gallery Q calls for artists to submit works with the theme “Figuratively Speaking” 

Gallery Q is inviting all-media artists to create visual works that interpret the theme “Figuratively Speaking” in art depicting human forms, faces and features in representational or abstract works. 

Artworks may offer a broader interpretation of the theme, such as figurative language and figures of speech. 

Paintings, photography, sculpture, collage, jewelry, mixed media, textiles, ceramics…unique and creative expressions of all kinds are encouraged.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Created by artist Sabra Lande

Gallery Q will be accepting artwork on Thurs, March 8 from 10 a.m. - noon and from 5 - 7 p.m. There is an entry fee of $25 per piece. Additional entry pieces are $5 each, with a limit of three. Scholarships are available to individuals 65+ on a limited income. Visit the Susi Q front desk or download the guidelines online. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Created by artist Bobbi Fulcher-Smith

A free Artists’ Reception with beverages and light refreshments will take place on Fri, March 23 from 5 - 6:30 p.m. The exhibit will be on display from March 12 through April 27 from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

Gallery Q is located at the Community and Susi Q Senior Center at 380 Third Street. Many of the art pieces in the show will be available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Laguna Beach Seniors. 

For additional information please visit www.susiq.org or contact Laurie Smith, Arts Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Love to sing, but hate to audition? LagunaTunes wants you…Tenor Pete explains why you’ll love it

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I first learned about LagunaTunes through my friend Lorraine Hornby, a Sawdust artist/jeweler, whose husband, Pete – a dapper Brit with a great sense of humor – is an enthusiastic member of the Laguna chorus.

The first time I attended one of the concerts, I expected to be mildly entertained by their renditions of Christmas songs. 

For some elusive reason, (elusive, given that I’d heard a number of the songs quite often before and I’m a confirmed Grinch at that time of year), I walked out feeling markedly more cheerful about life. 

My joyful feeling later manifested itself in humming

Was it the hilarious original lyrics of some of the songs that made me so happy? The sense of shared joie de vivre among chorus and audience? The sight of so many people of different ages, genders, shapes and sizes joined in harmony?

Or the somewhat uncoordinated jazz hands that brought out the humanity of the singers and made them, as they say, relatable?

My joyful feeling lasted a few days and manifested itself in occasional humming.

It happened again at the next concert. I left feeling inspired, happy, unfazed by life’s challenges. I even sang (once) in the shower.

Unfortunately, LagunaTunes only holds two concerts a year, so I have had to turn to other mood-enhancers during the six months in between. 

Soon, though, there’s Countdown to Motown, on Sunday, June 10!

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Tenors Pete Hornby and Rebecca Lyles before a Christmas concert

What I experienced during and after the concerts, Pete told me, is the same feeling that members of LagunaTunes experience every week at Monday night rehearsals. Sheer joy.

LagunaTunes is looking for new members…and you don’t have to audition. 

I wanted to know more.

L: Why should people who love to sing join LagunaTunes?

P: You’ll read through the music at the first rehearsal, and think ‘I can’t possibly do this.’ Three months later, you’ll receive a standing ovation for singing the same music. There’s nothing like that feeling. 

L: What do you wish people knew about LagunaTunes?

P: That anyone can join. We’re not auditioned. And Bob Gunn, our artistic director, will get you to do things that you didn’t think you could do. And you get back rubs. [All consensual, Pete quickly adds.]

L: You’re a busy man, you work fulltime, you’re a member of the Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley too. Why LagunaTunes?

P: The group itself is a delight to be a part of. It’s Laguna in miniature - friendly, eclectic, supportive and funny. We laugh a lot.

It’s all fun. But it’s all serious. We work hard to be the best we can be, and when it works, on stage at the Artists’ Theater, it’s exhilarating in a way that’s hard to explain - the sound of harmonizing voices, the feeling of pride and satisfaction in being a part of something magical and bigger than yourself.

Amazing things are achieved under the Gunn – Bob Gunn, that is

L: What’s the most impressive thing about LagunaTunes? 

P: So many things. Bob Gunn, our artistic director, is the most upbeat and energetic director I’ve ever worked with, and he’s also the best. Bob hears everything. Miss an entrance, and he hears it. Drop a note and he’ll make a correction.  

It’s simply not possible to turn a non-auditioned group of 50-60 aspiring singers into a concert-ready ensemble ready to sing 18 songs from memory. But he does it - I’ve no idea how.

The two hours of practice every Monday evening are the most exhilarating two hours of the week, as we start from nothing and meld, over three months, into a really high-quality performing ensemble.

“I’ll join your choir if you join mine”

L: How did you first find out about LagunaTunes and how long have you been performing with them?

P: I have known about LagunaTunes for a long time. Like everything else in my life, I needed a kick to get me to take the first step. In this case, it was my dear friend Randy Hatfield, whom people may know from Lagunatics and his riotously spot-on impersonations of Ken Frank and Carol Reynolds, among others.  

Randy and [my wife] Lorraine have known each other since their student days at Rice in the 1980’s. In fall 2014, Randy made a proposal to me - I’ll join your choir (Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley) if you’ll join mine (LagunaTunes).  

We agreed, and that was that. Randy is, sadly, long gone from both choirs (although we have hopes), but I’m still there, and loving every minute.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Pete and wife Lorraine on a visit to England

L: What is the funniest thing that has happened during your tenure at LagunaTunes?

P: It’s funny to be the only man in a five-voice tenor section. Rebecca, Annette, Pat and Laura have been very gentle with me.

Rebecca is one of the amazingly gifted Lagunatics writers.  Last Christmas, she rewrote the words to “Santa Baby”, to bring it up to date - “Santa Baby, I’d really like a new Tesla S, oh yes, no pollution for me, Santa Baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight.” Brought the house down.

L: What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you?

P: Well, I guess the bright green leisure suit I wore for the summer 2015 concert ‘Sock it to me - a 70’s celebration’ must come close. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Pete’s most embarrassing moment: outfitted in a green leisure suit – and a camera angle that, he says, doesn’t do justice to his “full and luxuriant hairline”

L: What has been the most emotional moment/performance for you and why?

P: I’m not a natural soloist. I like being safe in the chorus. In my first summer concert, Bob asked me to sing a solo in John Lennon’s “Imagine”. I had not sung a solo on stage for over 40 years, and started out petrified. But it worked, and it meant so much when I returned to my position and heard my new friends whisper “Good job.”  

L: Thanks so much, Pete. See you at Countdown to Motown! 

How to become a member of LagunaTunes

LagunaTunes Chorus reconvenes on Monday, Feb 26 at 7 p.m. in the Thurston Middle School Theatre, 2100 Park Ave. Both new and returning participants are encouraged to attend the initial rehearsal. Tenors and baritones are especially encouraged to join. Singers with LagunaTunes are not auditioned, they’re simply welcomed.

Preparation begins immediately for the June concert, Countdown to Motown, set for Sunday, June 10. This year’s June concert centers on favorites from the Motor City’s musical heyday. Dancing in the aisles is a definite possibility!

LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone (no auditions) and presents two concerts per year, in Dec and June. Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

For more information go to www.lagunatuneschorus.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Weekend Art Market will offer original artwork by LCAD artists at downtown gallery on Ocean Ave

On Sat, Feb 24, and Sun, Feb 25, LCAD students will be selling arts, crafts, and other goodies at the LCAD Art Market at 370 Ocean Ave. The show will take place from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on both days. Admission is free and open to the public. There will be complimentary coffee. 

LCAD’s talented artists will showcase original artwork for sale including clothing, digital/graphic designs, jewelry, paintings and prints, pins, stickers, totes, and other unique creations.


New mural by LCAD MFA alumnus is unveiled on east side campus

Laguna College of Art and Design unveiled Upside Downtown, a new mural by LCAD MFA alumnus and Fine Arts faculty member, Timothy Robert Smith at the LCAD East Campus, 2265 Laguna Cyn Road, last Monday. 

The project was initiated by Smith, who asked LCAD President, Jonathan Burke, if he’d like to replace an older mural that had been in place for many years.

“Jonathan liked a painting I had done a couple of years ago called Upside Downtown but asked me to do a Laguna Beach version,” Smith said. 

His proposal was accepted and, over the summer, he and ten LCAD students were given a painting studio on LCAD’s Main Campus in which to create the mural. 

“We have so many talented painters at LCAD, not just in the Drawing and Painting major, but in Illustration, Game Art and Animation, too,” he said. “Though everyone has a slightly unique painting style, it was gratifying to see all these different personalities come together to create one cohesive image.”

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Before the unveiling: Jonathan Burke and Timothy Smith

Burke selected Smith’s dramatic multi-perspective style because it symbolizes LCAD’s commitment to infusing observation and description with a creative and contemporary sensibility. Smith’s work has been exhibited at Copro Gallery at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica and has featured in Juxtapoz Magazine. 

“By engaging professional, successful and recognized artists such as Timothy Robert Smith, and partnering them with our own students, many positive outcomes will impact our LCAD community, as well as our Laguna Canyon neighbors,” Burke said. “Not only will the area be beautified, and professional-quality artwork be presented, but the learning experience was a tremendous opportunity for our students.”

 “Multiple versions of reality exist in one space”

Smith describes his style as based on a modern physics theory that posits multiple versions of reality exist in one space. “Everyone has their own perception of reality,” Smith said. 

“I try to see the world from everyone’s POV at once and all these visions come together. My goal is to get people to think about what’s actually happening outside of their own limited perspectives and to demonstrate how these pieces fit together to create the bigger picture.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Revealed: Upside Downtown

After the mural unveiling, Smith will install an immersive, interactive project at Lancaster Museum of Art and History to open in May 2018. “I’m taking multi-dimensionalism to its next level by using 2D flat painted walls and 3D sculpture with sound and video,” he said. 

For more information about LCAD admissions, news, events and Annual Fund, visit www.lcad.edu.


Auditions for A Little Night Music will begin on Feb 23 – time to practice sending in the clowns? 

Auditions and callback times for the No Square Theatre’s upcoming show A Little Night Music have been announced. The popular musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, will run from May 11-13 and May 18-20. It will be directed by Joe Lauderdale and choreographed by Ellen Prince. Musical direction is yet to be determined. 

Auditions will be held at No Square Theatre. In order to be cast, all performers must be able to attend auditions and callbacks. Auditions (by appointment) are from Thurs, Feb 22 from 6 p.m., Friday, Feb 23 from 6 p.m. Callbacks are Sat, Feb 24, from 1 p.m. and  Sun, Feb 25, from 1 p.m. Additional callbacks may be held at other times. General rehearsals begin March 19 and run Mon through Fri from 6:30 to 10 p.m. and Sat from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Auditions begin on Feb 23 at No Square Theatre

Strong singers are desired for leading roles and ensemble parts, and there is some dancing (waltz). All roles are available to all ethnicities. Sondheim’s lush score includes the popular favorite, “Send in the Clowns.” There will be contemporary dress, but with elegance and sophistication (ladies in hats and gloves, gentlemen in tail coats). No accents will be used, but proper English is required. 

The roles for A Little Night Music include: Desirée Armfeldt: Age 40–50, Mezzo. Somewhat self-absorbed, a former actress, Fredrik Egerman: Age 40–50, Baritone. Successful, dashing lawyer. [This role is pre-cast.] Anne Egerman: Age 19 (Actor age 19–30), Soprano. Fredrik’s young second wife, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm: Age 30–45, Baritone. 

Arrogant, vain, military man, Madame Armfeldt: Age 65–80, Contralto. Desirée’s mother, a former courtesan. Will use a cane instead of a wheelchair, Petra: Age 20–30, Mezzo. Anne’s earthy maid and confidante, Fredrika Armfeldt: Age 12–26 (Actor age up to 18), Soprano. Desirée’s daughter, clever and poised young lady, Frid: Age 25–35, Non-singing. Madame Armfeldt’s lusty and passionate, but proper, manservant. 

Liebeslieder Singers: Age 20s and up. A Greek Chorus commenting on the action and occasionally joining in. Strong singers: Mrs. Anderssen, Mezzo, Mrs. Nordstrom, Soprano, Mrs. Segstrom, Soprano, Mr. Erlanson, Tenor, Mr. Lindquist, Baritone. 

For exact vocal ranges, how to prepare for an audition, audition form, and conflict calendar visit: www.nosquare.org

To schedule an audition appointment, email director Joe Lauderdale This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and indicate a preferred time. 

The No Square Theatre in Historic Legion Hall is located at 384 Legion Street, two blocks south of LBHS. 

For additional information on events, auditions, classes, and to purchase tickets, visit website listed above.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster.

Katie Ford is our Ad Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are the staff photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Account & Instagram Manager.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: Lynette@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.

949.715.1736