Art-A-Fair offers more than art: artist workshops, live musical entertainment, and more

Art-A-Fair Summer Workshops and Events Calendar

Artist Summer Workshops! Art-A-Fair 2016 hosts daily workshops for beginning through intermediate level artists. Expand, indulge and perfect your artistic horizons in weekly class sessions at a very affordable price. 

Photo from artist website

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Water Fun, by Laura Curtin

Purchase as many or as few sessions as you like. Class size is limited to six students, must be 16 years or older, and all supplies are included. Workshop sessions are $45/4hrs (a.m. & p.m. sessions), or $30/2hrs (morning session only). Hours are 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. daily. 

Contact: 949-494-4514, www.art-a-fair.com.

Tuesdays, Now  – Aug 23, Nohad Sabbagh, Clay Sculpture 

Clay Sculpting: Types of clay; Sculpting tools; Sculpture through the ages; How to see 3D; Material and structure.

Tuesdays: Now – Aug. 30, 4 – 7 p.m, Taco Tuesdays at Tivioli Too!

Tuesdays: June 28, 4 – 9 p.m., Local’s Night: Free admission for Laguna Beach residents and other O.C. cities with photo ID, check http://art-a-fair.com/events/list/ for a complete listing.

Wednesdays, Now – Aug 24, Carolyn Heiman-Greene, Acrylic 

Acrylic Workshop: Rules of composition; Basic rendering; Working & Glazing with acrylic paint; Defining the light source; Bounced light. Subject matter will cover realism in nature and wildlife.

Thursdays, Now – Aug 25, Barbara Kimmel-Palmer, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Watercolor wet-in-wet techniques; Dramatic lighting; Composition; Saving the white of the paper; Subject matter will include florals, children, land & seascapes. 

Fridays, July 1 – Aug 19, Laura Curtin, Oil 

Oil Workshop: Topics: Using oil paint; Value in color; Painting in high detail; Experimenting with color. Subject matter will cover wildlife with a twist.

Saturdays, July 2 – Aug 20, Rosemary Rush, Gourds 

Gourds Workshop: Topics: Cleaning gourds; Transferring designs; Burning and staining; Gold/Silver foiling; Embellishing and sealing. 

Sundays, July 3 – Aug 21, Robin Wethe Altman, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Using watercolor paint; Tricks of the trade; Use of color; Composition and design. Subject matter will include tropical landscapes, the ocean and flowers.

Sundays: July 3, 4 – 9 p.m., Local’s Night: Free admission for Laguna Beach residents and other O.C. cities with photo ID, check http://art-a-fair.com/events/list/ for a complete listing.

Mondays, Now – Aug 22, Emilee Reed, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Composition and how to “see”; Protecting the white of the paper; Keeping colors fresh; Warm, cool & complimentary colors; Techniques for using the paint in conjunction with other tools. Subject matter will cover still life & painting from photos.

Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Happy 4th of July - Free admission for everyone. Art-A-Fair closes early for July 4, at 6 p.m.

Tuesdays: July 5, 4 – 9 p.m., Local’s Night: Free admission for Laguna Beach residents and other O.C. cities with photo ID, check http://art-a-fair.com/events/list/ for a complete listing.

Art-A-Fair live music schedule for this week

Friday, July 1, 5 – 9 p.m.: Solspeak (Latin, Pop)

Saturday, July 2, 12 – 4 p.m.: Jason Feddy Duo (Singer, Songwriter) &

5 – 9 p.m.: Shades of J (Rhythm, Country, Blues)

Sunday, July 3, 12 – 3 p.m.: Kelly Fitzgerald (Acoustic, Folk, Rock) &

4 – 8 p.m.: Bob & Dave (Classic Rock) 

Thursday, July 7, 4 – 7 p.m.: Bob Johnson (Pop, Oldies & Blues)

For more information about Art-A-Fair artists, workshops, events, and to purchase event tickets, please call 494-4514 or visit http://art-a-fair.com/. Tickets for adults, $7.50 for seniors (65+), military and students $5.50 and children 12 and under are free. The one time ticket price allows for free entry during the season. Art-A-Fair is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Road.


Sawdust Art Festival event calendar this week, 

July 1 – July 7: 

There is something new and different every day at the Sawdust Arts Festival, ranging from special admission promotions, special events and entertainment.

Friday, July 1: Laguna Beach Locals Day -Laguna Beach residents get free entry all day, 10 a.m. – 10 p.m., with photo I.D.

Studio Art Classes, 10 a.m. 12 p.m., Oil Painting. Cost: $95.

Saturday, July 2: Saturday, July 2: Hawaiian Surf Day– featuring specialty beers, music and art classes. Dress up in your favorite surfer outfit.

Studio Art Classes, 10 a.m. 12 p.m., Screen Printing with eco-friendly artist Brynne Cogorno. Cost: $95.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Dancing on the Deck

Sunday, July 3: Dance Party with Lessons, 5 9:30 p.m., on the Main Deck. Shake up your Sunday night! Put on your dancing shoes and boogie with professional dancer and choreographer Alexey Ryazanov and perfect your dance moves. Cost: Free with festival admission.

Monday, July 4: Sawdust After Dark- Laguna Beach locals night. Residents get free entry after 5 p.m. with photo I.D. Sawdust hours on July 4 are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Tuesday, July 5: Musician Showcase - Some of the Sawdust’s amazing artists are also talented musicians and will perform from 5 – 10 p.m.

Wednesday, July 6: Sawdust After Dark - Sip, Talk, & Walk. Visitors can enjoy one of two - Sip, Talk, & Walk tours, 3 – 4 p.m. or 7 – 8 p.m. visitors will receive free entry to the Sawdust, a glass of wine, and a docent-led tour of the grounds. Visitors can enroll in a studio art class “after dark” and enjoy a glass of wine, while learning from an instructor on various art subjects, tonight’s will be creating your own succulent. 

Thursday, July 7: Sawdust After Dark- Laguna Beach locals night. Residents get free entry after 5 p.m. with photo I.D. Sawdust hours on July 4 are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Daily: Ceramic Center, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 9 p.m., Throw A Pot: One-on-one instruction at the potter’s wheel for all ages, Cost: Free with admission to take home as greenware, $10 to glaze, fire and pick up; $18 to glaze, fire and ship to your home.

Daily: Children’s Art Spot, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m., & 3:30 5:30 p.m.Classes are for kids ages 4+. Art fun for the little ones. *Free with admission, although most are complimentary, some classes and workshops may require a materials fee.

Daily: Studio One, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m. & 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. Painting, printmaking, collages and a wide variety of art workshops for visitors ages 7 to adult. Cost: Free with admission.

 

Daily Live Music Schedule, 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Cost: Free with Festival admission.

Enjoy live entertainment at three outdoor stages, the Tavern, Grill, and Main Deck, on the festival grounds. Musical acts of all genres, roving entertainment, and much more are on schedule to perform during our festival.

Friday, July 1: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.,Sam Bybee, Tavern & Beth Fitchet Wood, Grill; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., The Higgs, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Kindred Trio, Tavern, & Dave Cross, Grill; 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Watt Avenue, Main Deck.

Saturday, July 2: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.,Wheeland Brothers, Tavern & Selly Solo, Grill; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Kevin Miso Band, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Kalama Brothers, Tavern, & Kenny Hale Solo, Grill; 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., The Eliminators, Main Deck.

Sunday, July 3: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., David Rosales, Tavern & Caitlin Lucia Duo, Grill; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Masanga Marimba, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., The Dayna Lane Band, Tavern, 5 p.m. – 9:30 p.m., Dancing, Main Deck.

Monday, July 4: 10 a.m. 2 p.m., George Lawton, Tavern; 10:30 a.m. 12:30 p.m., Laguna Swing Band, Main Deck; 1 4:30 p.m., John Heussenstamm Solo, Tavern; 1:30 5 p.m., Kelly Fitzgerald Band.

Tuesday, July 5: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Acoustic Roots, Tavern; 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., OSND, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Oui 3, Tavern; 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Sawdust Artists Musician Night, Main Deck. 

Wednesday, July 6: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Poul Pederson, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Brother Yousef, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Gary Sharpio Duo, Tavern; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Pasion Gitana Main Deck.

Thursday, July 7: 11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Rich Folk, Tavern, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m., Undecided Future, Main Deck; 4:30 p.m. – 9 p.m., Pawnshop Kings, Tavern; & Eddie Allen, Grill; 5 p.m. – 9 p.m., Big Bills Medicine Show, Main Deck. 

 

The Sawdust Art Festival is open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. through August 28 with special July 4 hours, 10 a.m. 6 p.m. Tickets are Adults: $9, Senior 65+: $7, Children ages 6-12: $4, Children ages 5 & under: free. For more information on these and upcoming programs, visit the Sawdust Art Festival at www.sawdustartfestival.org or call 494-3030. The Sawdust is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Road.


Suzie’s ARTiculation

The sound of music defines art festivals’ events

By SUZIE HARRISON

The hills are alive with the sound of live music, thanks to the art festivals and the bevy of talented artists; the line-ups are revved and ready for your listening pleasure. 

Known for their stellar musicians that will get you on your feet, the Sawdust is jammin’ this summer with a veritable buffet of stellar performers, from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Savor every flavor, from acoustic to World Anthem, be it the Main Deck stage, Tavern or Grill.

And to help you get your red, white, and blue going on July 4, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., go see “American Pride,” performed by Laguna Concert Band’s SwingSet, an 18-piece swing band.

 “We’re going to play songs of Americana, nostalgic from the Big Band Era of the ‘30s & ‘40s, reflecting a time of a vibrant generation,” said Swingset band director, Gary Gould. “We’re definitely going to put people of all ages in a patriotic mood.” 

Lucky for me - my fave, fave, fave Jason Feddy will be playing at all three festivals, adding the Art-A-Fair to his repertoire this summer.

“It’s the biggest honor for a musician in Laguna Beach to get booked year-after-year to play at the art festivals,” said Feddy. “I always look forward to it. It makes me feel part of the Laguna Beach community, which is important.” 

Feddy said he’ll be playing original songs at the Sawdust, a mixture of original and cover tunes at the Art-A-Fair, as a duo with drummer Ray Weston, and for the Festival of Arts, Feddy has formed a trio to specifically play his own songs. Plus, he will play two Sundays of Beatles music with the Beatles tribute band, The Beatroots.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Jason Feddy (pictures here) performs at all three festivals this summer

“To be associated with such great artists, you feel part of the artistic community. It means you’re part of an elite club of people, part of the festivals in Laguna. It feels great! I love it,” said Feddy. 

The Art-A-Fair has music at the Art-A-Fair Stage Thursdays-Sundays with sets on Saturdays and Sundays in the afternoon and evenings.

“Our goal is to have a wide variety of great musicians. Our line-up for our 50th Anniversary year will include: Motown, Jazz, Blues, R&B, Classic Rock, Bossa Nova, South American Andes Region Pan Flutes, Pop/Folk, Latin, Country, Flamenco, Reggae, Calypso, Soca, Steel Drums, Adult Contemporary, Jump, Swing, Surf/60’s and indie jazz,” said Art-A-Fair entertainment chair, Emilee Reid. 

Although you will have to wait a little longer to hear music at the Festival of Arts, it’s well worth the wait. Opening on July 5, Peter Dobson will kick off the sounds of summer from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., followed by Slim Man on July 6.

Legendary Grammy-winning guitarist Lee Ritenour will commence the Festival’s “Concerts on the Green,” on Saturday July 9, 1 to 2:30 p.m., a series features award-winning performers on July 9 and 23 and Aug 6 and 20. 

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Lee Ritenour will perform July 9 at FOA

 “We’re thrilled to kick off the Festival’s exciting summer concert series with world renowned jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour on July ninth,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “Lee is a 19 time Grammy nominated artist and a founding member of the group Fourplay. We are also excited to present the amazing saxophonist Grace Kelly, who just joined the Stephen Colbert Show’s band. She will be at the FOA on Aug sixth.” 

Sundays are now fun-days with the Festival’s “Sunday Afternoon in the Park.” Enjoy an eclectic mix of entertainment from Bluegrass to Jazz and World Fusion, 2 to 4 p.m. every Sunday in July and August, starting July 10 with Street Corner Renaissance.

On Thursdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., starting July 7 through Aug 25, fill your senses with the popular “Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate” series, starting with Pretzel Logic. Cost is $20.

Catch the Rising Stars Music series Tuesdays, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Enjoy world world-famous musicians introduce their favorite up and coming performers with Mindi Abair introducing Greg Manning on July 12 to start the series.

  “So it’s all Jason at the festivals, all day long, you’ll probably get sick of me,” Feddy said.  

Me, not so much, I am elated!

Until next time…so much art, so little time!


Art-A-Fair hosting big time Art Auction & Wine on July 10 to benefit Laguna College of Art + Design

Art-A-Fair, Laguna Beach’s fine art festival destination, invites you to experience the excitement and fun of live auction bidding at ‘Art Auction & Wine’ on Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m., at the Art-A-Fair grounds.  Twenty-seven Art-A-Fair artists have donated their best original art in every medium for auction – you may find an appealing addition to your own collection, not available anywhere else.

Click on photo for a larger image 

 

Wine tasting will begin at 5 p.m. with the Live Art Auction and Wine to follow from 6 to 7 p.m. To participate in the live auction, bidders must register by 5:45 p.m.

Don’t miss the live art demonstration by renowned Laguna Beach artist Hugo Rivera with music provided by Magnolia Memoir.

Give yourself a gift by taking a leisurely visit through beautiful Art-A-Fair prior to the live auction, and view all artwork to be auctioned in each participating artist’s booth. The Art Auction & Wine catalog can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.art-a-fair.com/wp-content/uploads/2016-Auction-Catalog.pdf

For those who cannot be present at the live auction, an Absentee Bid Form is available at this site. 

The bid form must be physically delivered to the sales booth any time before 4 p.m. on Sunday, July 10 in order to allow time for processing.

Proceeds will benefit the students at the prestigious Laguna College of Art + Design’s Annual Fund. Named by NIKE as one of the top three design schools in the world, LCAD is closely partnered with industry leaders such as Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Animation, DreamWorks, FOX, and Warner Brothers Animation.

Art-A-Fair offers many pleasures through the summer season. Live music plays for listening or dancing pleasure on Thursdays through Sundays. Daily art workshops are taught by professional artists. Tivoli Too! Restaurant provides a relaxing retreat in its garden courtyard overlooking a cascading waterfall, where fine cuisine is a work of art!

Art-A-Fair is open daily June 24 to Aug 28, Sunday-Thursday from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. A season pass is $7.50 for adults, $5.50 for seniors and military, children under 12 are free with an adult. 

Call 949-494-4514 or visit www.art-a-fair.com.


Sign up for Laguna Playhouse Summer Youth Theatre 

Children ages 4 through 12 can have fun and gain impressive life skills by taking class and performing live on stage in one of the Laguna Playhouse Summer 2016 Youth Theatre Classes.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Photo by Donna Inglima 

Laguna Playhouse Youth Theatre participants have fun

Summer Youth Theatre Classes run July 5 – 16 and July 11 – 15 and will culminate in performances of the following youth theatre productions:

Wickedly, Wizardly Oz for ages 9 – 12.  If you love all things Oz, come and sing, dance and act in this OZ Mash-UP of Wicked, the Wiz and The Wizard of Oz with a   final performance at the Laguna Playhouse.  Class meets in Lake Forest July 5 – 16 (not Sunday) 12:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. and the morning of July 16. Cost of this class is $250.

The Magic Suitcase for ages 4-6.  Inside the magic suitcase lie clues. Where will we travel? Over the ocean? To the deserts of Africa? It’s up to us! Pack your creativity and join us in an imaginative world of fun and adventure. Parents are welcome to participate. Class meets for five days July 11 – 15, 9:30 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. at the Playhouse with a final performance on the last day of class. Cost of this class is $125 plus materials fees.

For more information about Laguna Playhouse Summer 2016 Youth Theatre Classes or to register, call 497-2787 x 230 or visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com. Online registration is not available. The Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road.


Sawdust Art Festival event calendar this week, 

June 28-July 4: 

There is something new and different every day at the Sawdust Arts Festival, ranging from special admission promotions, special events and entertainment.

Wednesday, June 29: Sawdust After Dark, 7 8 p.m., Drizzle T-shirt Class. Cost: $45. Every Wednesday evening in Studio One Sawdust is offering exclusive art classes to the 21 and older crowd with a complimentary glass of wine.

Thursday, June 30: Sawdust After Dark- Laguna Beach locals night. Residents get free entry after 5 p.m. with photo I.D.

Friday, July 1: Studio Art Classes, 10 a.m. 12 p.m., Oil Painting. Cost: $95.

Saturday, July 2 and Saturday, July 2: Hawaiian Surf Day– featuring specialty beers, music and art classes.

Studio Art Classes, 10 a.m. 12 p.m., Screen Printing with eco-friendly artist Brynne Cogorno. Cost: $95.

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Sunday, July 3: Dance Party with Lessons, 5 - 9:30 p.m., on the Main Deck. Shake up your Sunday night! Put on your dancing shoes and boogie with professional dancer and choreographer Alexey Ryazanov and perfect your dance moves. Cost: Free with festival admission.

Monday, July 4: Sawdust After Dark- Laguna Beach locals night. Residents get free entry after 5 p.m. with photo I.D. Sawdust hours on July 4 are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.,

Daily: Ceramic Center, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. and 5:30 – 9 p.m., Throw A Pot: One-on-one instruction at the potter’s wheel for all ages, Cost: Free with admission to take home as greenware, $10 to glaze, fire and pick up; $18 to glaze, fire and ship to your home.

Daily: Children’s Art Spot, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m., & 3:30 5:30 p.m.Classes are for kids ages 4+. Art fun for the little ones. *Free with admission, although most are complimentary, some classes and workshops may require a materials fee.

Daily: Studio One, 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., 1 – 3 p.m. and 3:30 –  5:30 p.m. Painting, printmaking, collages and a wide variety of art workshops for visitors ages 7 to adult. Cost: Free with admission.

 

The Sawdust Art Festival is open daily from 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. through August 28 with special July 4 hours, 10 a.m. – 6p.m. For more information on these and upcoming programs, or to make a contribution, visit the Sawdust Art Festival at www.sawdustartfestival.org.


Art-A-Fair offers more than art: artist workshops, live musical entertainment, and more

Art-A-Fair Summer Workshops and Events Calendar

Artist Summer Workshops! Art-A-Fair 2016 hosts daily workshops for beginning through intermediate level artists. Expand, indulge and perfect your artistic horizons in weekly class sessions at a very affordable price. 

Photo from artist website

Welcome Home, by Robin Wethe Altman

Purchase as many or as few sessions as you like. Class size is limited to six students, must be 16 years or older, and all supplies are included. Workshop sessions are $45/4hrs (a.m. & p.m. sessions), or $30/ 2hrs (morning session only). Hours are 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and 1:15 – 3:15 p.m. daily. 

Contact: 949-494-4514, www.art-a-fair.com.

Tuesdays, June 28 –  Aug 23, Nohad Sabbagh, Clay Sculpture 

Clay Sculpting: Types of clay; Sculpting tools; Sculpture through the ages; How to see 3D; Material and structure.

Tuesdays: June 28 – Aug. 30, 4 – 7p.m, Taco Tuesdays at Tivioli Too!

Tuesdays: June 28, 4 – 9 p.m., Local’s Night: Free admission for Laguna Beach residents and other O.C. cities with photo ID, check http://art-a-fair.com/events/list/ for a complete listing.

Wednesdays, June 29 –  Aug 24, Carolyn Heiman-Greene, Acrylic 

Acrylic Workshop: Rules of composition; Basic rendering; Working & Glazing with acrylic paint; Defining the light source; Bounced light. Subject matter will cover realism in nature and wildlife.

Thursdays, June 30 – Aug 25, Barbara Kimmel-Palmer, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Watercolor wet-in-wet techniques; Dramatic lighting; Composition; Saving the white of the paper; Subject matter will include florals, children, land & seascapes. 

Fridays, July 1 – Aug 19, Laura Curtin, Oil 

Oil Workshop: Topics: Using oil paint; Value in color; Painting in high detail; Experimenting with color. Subject matter will cover wildlife with a twist.

Saturdays, July 2 – Aug 20, Rosemary Rush, Gourds 

Gourds Workshop: Topics: Cleaning gourds; Transferring designs; Burning and staining; Gold/Silver foiling; Embellishing and sealing. 

Sundays, July 3 – Aug 21, Robin Wethe Altman, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Using watercolor paint; Tricks of the trade; Use of color; Composition and design. Subject matter will include tropical landscapes, the ocean and flower.

Sundays: July 3, 4 – 9 p.m., Local’s Night: Free admission for Laguna Beach residents and other O.C. cities with photo ID, check http://art-a-fair.com/events/list/ for a complete listing.

Mondays, Now – Aug 22, Emilee Reed, Watercolor 

Watercolor Workshop: Topics: Composition and how to “see”; Protecting the white of the paper; Keeping colors fresh; Warm, cool & complimentary colors; Techniques for using the paint in conjunction with other tools. Subject matter will cover still life & painting from photos.

Monday, July 4, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m., Happy 4th of July - Free admission for everyone. Art-A-Fair closes early for July 4, at 6 p.m.

Art-A-Fair live music schedule for this week

Thursday, June 30, 4 – 7 p.m.: Bob Johnson (Pop, Oldies & Blues)

Friday, July 1, 5 – 9 p.m.: Solspeak (Latin, Pop)

Saturday, July 2, 12 – 4 p.m.: Jason Feddy Duo (Singer, Songwriter) &

5 – 9 p.m.: Shades of J (Rhythm, Country, Blues)

Sunday, July 3, 12 – 3 p.m.: Kelly Fitzgerald (Acoustic, Folk, Rock) &

4 – 8 p.m.: Bob & Dave (Classic Rock) 

For more information about Art-A-Fair artists, workshops, events, and to purchase event tickets, please call 494-4514 or visit http://art-a-fair.com/. Tickets for adults, $7.50 for seniors (65+), military and students $5.50 and children 12 and under are free. The one time ticket price allows for free entry during the season. Art-A-Fair is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Road.


Suzie’s ARTiculation

Art-to-Go redefines the meaning of shoeshine

By SUZIE HARRISON

While Dictionary.com defines shoeshine, as “an act or instance of cleaning and polishing a pair of shoes,” or “the surface of a polished pair of shoes or shoe,”this year’s Festival of Arts’ Art-to-Go theme, “The Shoe Show” has redefined the meaning; taking it to a whole new level. 

Not only do these shoes shine, they are truly works of art: 100 to be exact. 

That’s how many shoe themed pieces of art Festival exhibitors have generously donated for the Art-to-Go Artists Fund fundraiser. All proceeds will benefit artists in need due to disaster, health, or hardship. Since its inception in 1999, the Festival has granted over $175,000 to qualified artist applicants.

To kick-off the event, over 80 attendees enjoyed a fun pre-Art Walk, mini-preview, with 40 of the two-dimensional displayed at an exhibit at City Hall, which runs through Tuesday, June 28, 5 p.m. Always impressive creative Festival artists, these pieces are exceptional, such as printmaker Varsha Patel’s “Good Luck Purse,” a beautiful silk purse with bead embellishments and horseshoes as the handles, and Jacquie Moffett’s, “Mock Moccasin,” made from watercolor paper.

 

Click on photo for a larger image

 

Photos by Mike Tauber

“Good Luck Purse,” by printmaker Varsha Patel

So, why the shoe theme, The Shoe Show? Art-to-Go program coordinator Mike Tauber explains, “We like to relate the theme to the Pageant of the Masters theme, which is ‘Partners.’ So we were thinking, what theme would be about partners, and that evolved into thinking about pairs, which evolved into pairs of shoes!” said Tauber. 

Well, Pageant director Dee Challis Davy told me that some of her favorite pieces in “Partners” are of famous dance duos. Let’s face it, dance shoes…Right!! 

“Mock Moccasin,” by Jacquie Moffett

 “The artists are having fun with the shoe theme. It relates back to 2000-2005, ‘Tie-One-On,’ with artist decorated ties; a stepping point for the artists,” Tauber said. “This year the artists have really stepped it up and put their best foot forward, coming up with some fantastic art to really support and help other artists.”

Art-to-Go Shoe Show special dates: 

The entire show opens on July 2, and July 5, with exhibits at Tivoli Lane and by the Junior Art Exhibit through Aug 13, and with a silent auction, 1 to 4 p.m., during the Festival’s Fashion Runway Show.

There will be an Awards show on Sunday, July 10, 5:15 p.m. Vote for your favorite piece to win the “People’s Choice Award.”

While I’ve been trying, not really, to “eschew” all shoe related metaphors, I’d say if the shoe fits, buy it. Then you too can shine, helping artists in need, while procuring a one-of-kind piece of art. 

For more information, view the online galleries, or to purchase a piece online, please visit, http://theartistsfund-foa.org/, then click “online gallery,” or go to https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsFundAtFestivalOfArts/

Side note: I originally learned about the Artists Fund and Art-to-Go when I interviewed the co-founder, Anne England, for a story in 2002. What an incredible cause! As everyone knows, Anne has done so much for Laguna Beach and our artists. She is an artist I truly adore.

Until next time, so much kick ass shoe art…so little time!


Vintage Jazz on July 6 with Tim Gill and Adryon DeLeon: it’s Laguna Beach Live! in the Rose Garden 

Tim Gill with special guest Adryón DeLeon brings his Vintage Jazz band to the Rose Garden on July 6 as part of the Jazz Wednesdays series by Laguna Beach Live!

The Rose Garden of Hotel Laguna is a delightful outdoor space and offers personal table service with a menu of tempting food and beverages. Concerts are 6 to 8 p.m. and the doors and kitchen open at 5 p.m. for a great pairing of outstanding talent and delicious food.

Submitted photo

Tim Gill

Tim Gill is a dynamic, award-winning vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and tongue-in-cheek comedian who combines timeless love songs, wry knee-slapping humor, and inventive original material; he wraps them in high-octane, hard-swinging arrangements to create a dynamic show that puts an exciting 21st century twist on the iconic Vegas crooner image. This Downbeat Award-Winning performer has appeared on Good Day LA and the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and at prominent SoCal venues that include Disneyland, the Honda Center, and the world-famous Cicada Club.

Submitted photo

Adryon DeLeon

Adryon DeLeon is a rising star and a plucky prodigy who knew how to sing onstage at the age of four. Ms. DeLeon has brought crowds to their feet nationally and internationally as a featured soloist and ensemble member in such venues as the Honda Center, Segerstrom Center for the Arts, the Roxy, Cat Club and the Mint in Hollywood and a wide range of venues around the US, Canada, Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales and Luxembourg. In addition to live performance, Adryon lends her vocals to commercial studio sessions around LA.

The Rose Garden provides limited seating, so early ticket buying is recommended.

Tickets can be purchased online for $25 for Premium seating and $20 for regular at www.lagunabeachlive.org or by phone at 800-595-4849. Tickets at the door are $25-30. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out. 

Information line is 949-715-9713. Seating is limited.

The series continues with Straight Ahead Jazz guitarist Graham Dechter Trio with Katie Thiroux and Matt Witek (July 20), Lao Tizer’s contemporary jazz quartet (August 3), Besos de Coco with special guest Robert Dove on winds (August 17) and Classic Jazz Dave Damiani and The Investigators with special guest Bijon Watson on trumpet  (August 31).


Sawdust: Celebrating the soul of art for 50 years

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Sawdust arts grounds, dotted with eucalyptus trees, is the summer “home” to more than 200 artists from June 24 – August 28 (10 a.m. – 10 p.m. daily).  The artist’s hand-made booths, the variety of works represented, and the host of friendly cafes make a veritable feast for body and soul for the thousands of visitors every year. It’s no wonder the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival was properly honored last week for featuring “the soul of art for 50 years.” 

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Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow congratulated the Sawdust Festival at ribbon cutting for the 50th season opener

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Donning certificates of award to the Sawdust are (from left to right) Assemblyman Matthew Harper, representative for Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, Naz Namazi, representative for Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Sergio Prince, Laguna Beach Mayor Steve Dicterow, Sawdust Art Festival Board President Jay Grant, and Senator John Moorlach.


JoAnne Artman Gallery is featuring two new artists

By SUZIE HARRISON

JoAnne Artman Gallery announced that they are showing the work of two new artists they represent, Greg Miller and Lee Waisler.  

Drawing from the diverse cultural and geographic makeup of his Californian roots, Miller explores his relationship with the space he inhabits to communicate a particular urban experience. Working with both paint and collage, he constructs and deconstructs exploring the contradiction, ambiguity, and truth between urban streetscape and history.

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“Rose/5th,” Acrylic, Collage and Resin on Canvas, 48” x 48,” by Greg Miller

Miller’s art is clever and cool. His abstracted backgrounds of drips, patterns, and phrases and the peeling back of layers provide a study in the impermanence of the things that surround us. His large-scale paintings and installations aim to make the most fleeting parts of American culture tangible. They grab us nostalgically, rousing us to enjoy the momentary beauty found in the impermanent parts of our lives. There is a fragile heroicness conveyed within the temporary nature of it all, especially within his construction of paper, wood, and natural materials, that gives Miller’s work liveliness and depth. Miller spends his time between New York and Los Angeles.

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“Red 60_2,” Acrylic, Silicon Carbide and Maplewood on Canvas, 59” x 59,” 

by Lee Waisler

Waisler lives and works in Palm Springs and Venice, CA. “Inspiration comes from work, the most effective way to find inspiration is by working,” he said. “The Artist’s intention/idea of a work takes precedence over the means by which the work is executed. The varied subject matter of my work issues from reactions that I have to people, events and ideas. With reference to the portraits, I believe that certain individuals have been significant in the development of world culture. Some of those who have advanced social justice are now being diminished or marginalized. I want those people to be remembered.

“Over the years, my painting has developed sculptural qualities with the inclusion of dimensional elements such as wood, sand, and glass. These materials themselves have come with strong symbolic associations. Wood is life, a living material. Glass is reflective and introspective. Sand is the ancient symbol of time. Through the use of these means and others, I wish to create a unique interaction between the viewer and the painting: a kind of confluence resulting in deepening insight via imaginative perception.”

JoAnne Artman Gallery is located at 326 N. Coast Highway. For information about these artists and galley exhibits, call 510-5481 or visit www.joanneartmangallery.com


Husband & wife team will be featured at Artists Republic

Artists Republic will showcase “Aquatics,” a duo exhibit by Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock, July 2 to Aug 14 with an artist reception on July 2, 6 to 9 p.m. Kelly Tunstall and Ferris Plock are a husband and wife team living and working in San Francisco. Their international art careers have spanned over a decade - working individually on solo projects and together in the form of the art duo KEFE.

Kerry Tunstall Ferris Plock

Tunstall’s work can be seen on permanent display in prominent bay area establishments Bar Crudo and A16, as well as Palm Springs venues Alcazar and Cheeky’s. 

Both artists have works in prominent collections around the globe. In their upcoming show Aquatics, Tunstall and Plock focus on the theme of the ocean and underwater creatures. 

“We live by the ocean; we can hear the fog horns by the golden gate bridge at night. The ocean and water was a big part of both of our childhoods - I personally love the feeling of weightlessness and silence you get when immersed…” said Tunstall. When asked about their process and the idea of collaboration; “The big ideas come out of the title for the show, so we make sure everything we do works within that parameter first.” 

“For ‘Aquatics,’ we will be doing some floating compositions. Ferris has aquatic creatures that cross with his ukiyo-e works, and I will have a lot of rich patterning in my work too. Since we work in the same space, and with the same materials, it’s a very fluid, fluent process with a lot of crossover. The conversation is basically- do you want to work in on this? Or hey this thing would look great there. Some of the works will be done individually, but we naturally try to complement the other work in the show, reflexively almost. So the whole body of work is really a collaboration,” said Turnstall.

This will be the first time the artists will be showing as a duo in Southern California. For hires images and artist interviews, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The gallery is located at 1175 S. Coast Highway.


Festival of Arts temporary sculpture will be at bus depot

The City of Laguna Beach is collaborating with the Festival of Arts by providing a sculpture pad near the Broadway Bus Deport for the exhibition of sculpture from the Festival’s permanent collection. 

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Hal Pastorius

“Bulk Head”

Artist’s rendering

The Festival will be installing the sculpture “Bulk Head” by artist Hal Pastorius for a three year exhibition. The installation is a nod to the Sawdust Art Festival’s 50th anniversary, as Pastorius was the first president of the organization in 1966. 

The lodging establishment and City of Laguna Beach fund this project.


Estate Sale will offer Terry Thornsley’s art June 25 & 26

An estate sale of Terry Thornsley art works will be held on June 25 and 26at his studio on Laguna Canyon Rd. Thornsley was a renowned Laguna Beach artist and resident for over 30 years where he showed his work at the Festival of the Arts, Sawdust Festival and his home studio.

He was a versatile artist whose modes of expression included watercolor, soot, stone and bronze. As an avid sea kayaker, outdoorsman and naturalist, most of his inspiration came from the natural world. 

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Submitted photo

Terry Thornsley painting in Old Borego in 2012 

Thornsley’s public artworks can be found along the California coast at the San Diego Airport, several places in Laguna, Balboa Island, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Long Beach and also in Maui. His final Laguna piece was “Grace,” which is displayed next to the Main Beach Lifeguard Headquarters. 

Thornsley loved Laguna Beach and was very appreciative of the clients, contacts and friends he made here. We would like to invite those who have supported and admired his work over the years to come by the studio and view his remaining works of art, June 25 and June 26, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., 2375 Laguna Canyon Road.


“All Shook Up” – an all Elvis musical coming to Laguna Playhouse July 6 and will be running through August 7

Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham is thrilled to announce the first show in the Laguna Playhouse 2016-2017 season, the perfect family summertime, fun-time musical, “All Shook Up,” book by Joe DiPietro, musical direction by Jeff Biering, choreography by Paula Hammons Sloan and directed by Steve Steiner. 

“There’s no better way to open a season than with Elvis. Our subscribers and audiences can’t help falling in love with this infectious, summertime confection that the whole family is going to jailhouse rock & roll to,” says Wareham. “All Shook Up” will begin previews on Wednesday, July 6; will open on Sunday, July 10 and will run through Sunday, Aug 7, at Laguna Playhouse.

In “All Shook Up,” one girl’s dream and a surprise visit from a mysterious leather-jacketed, guitar-playing stranger help a small town to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock & roll in this all Elvis musical, loosely based on William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, featuring hits “All Shook Up,” “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Love Me Tender,” “Don’t Be Cruel,” “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” and many more.   

The cast of “All Shook Up” features in alphabetical order: Joseph Ambrosia, Gabrielle Beckford, Michelle Bendetti, Alexa Briana Crimson, Cole Fletcher, Lily Ganser, Christopher Hansell, Dwan Hayes, Clark Helman, Dereis Lambert, Stevie Ann Mack, Melissa Mangold, Jonathan D. Mesisca, Noah Pattillo, David Sasik, Alan Slabodkin, Jill Slyter, and Siena Yusi.

“All Shook Up” will begin previews on Wednesday, July 6; will open on Sunday, July 10 at 5:30pm and will run through Sunday, Aug 7. Performances will be Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be additional performances on Thursday, July 7; Thursday, July 21 and Thursday, Aug 4 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, July 17 and Sunday, July 31 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $40 - $75 and can be purchased online www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling 497-2787. Group discounts are available by calling 497-2787 ext. 229. Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Road. 


Art-A-Fair set to open for 50th season on June 24

Juried fine art festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair, will open its gates on Friday, June 24, at 10 a.m. with a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting, free entry and a golden ticket contest entry for people who attend the ribbon cutting.

Now entering its 50th year of operation, the festival features the work of 125 local and national artists. Art media on display include painting, ceramics, glass, jewelry, photography, sculpture, mixed media, fiber, digital art, charcoal, pencil and wood. 

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Submitted photo

To commemorate its 50th year in Laguna Beach, Laguna Art-A-Fair is hosting celebratory events, local collaborations with other art festivals, and much more, including: 

Golden Ticket: Any customer who spends $200+ at the Laguna Art-A-Fair sales booth from June 24 until Aug. 13 will have a golden ticket entered into the golden box. A winner will be drawn from the golden box on Aug. 13 and will receive a $500 gift certificate at Laguna Art-A-Fair to use this summer.

July 10: A Live Art Auction and Wine event, with proceeds benefiting the prestigious Laguna College of Art + Design. Art for the auction will be donated by Laguna Art-A-Fair artists and wine will be provided by The California Fruit Wine Co. 

Aug. 13: A Golden 50th Celebration with a gold-themed party at Laguna Art-A-Fair, where guests will dance to a live band, enjoy drinks and small bites, and have a last chance to receive a Golden Ticket before the winner is drawn at 7 p.m.! Entrants must be present to win.

Aug. 20: A collaborative Sea Lion Sculpture painted by Laguna Art-A-Fair artists will be viewable in progress at the Laguna Art-A-Fair grounds throughout the summer. On Aug. 20, this coveted sculpture will be paraded from the Laguna Art-A-Fair to its ‘furever’ home at Pacific Marine Mammal Center for all to enjoy.

“50 Gifts for 50 Years” social media giveaway, where Laguna Art-A-Fair followers will have the chance to win Laguna Beach-themed gift baskets.

Passport to the Arts Clock Collaboration: The three art festivals (Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of Arts, & Sawdust Art Festival) are collaborating on an “Art Is Timeless” project. Festival artists will create 50 clocks that will be found throughout the city of Laguna Beach. More information on this project will be made available on the http://lagunabeachpassport.com/ website in early June.

Throughout the summer, the Laguna Art-A-Fair will also offer daily adult art workshops in watercolor, oil, acrylic painting, clay sculpting and gourds. To maximize instructor-to-student time, class size is limited to six students. Fees for the classes range from $30-45 per person. Call the number below to sign up.

Enjoy live entertainment on the grounds Thursdays through Sundays. Outdoor dining at full-service restaurant, Tivoli Too!, encourages patrons to refresh and reflect on the art while enjoying a cool beverage and tasty meal.

Laguna Art-A-Fair is open daily June 24 through Aug. 28; Sunday–Thursday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Friday–Saturday 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. The festival is co-located with Tivoli Too! restaurant at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, please call (949) 494-4514, or visit their website, Art-A-Fair.com


Ed. Note: Artist Fitz Maurice has set out to paint live at all of the US National Parks. She will be submitting her stories from the road to StuNewsLaguna from time to time. 

 

Bristlecone pine trees are like wisdom personified

Story and photos by Fitz Maurice

After leaving Arizona I headed up to Nevada to discover Great Basin National Park. It’s an astonishing experience that inspires and humbles you when you realize that you’re standing with trees that are 5,000 years old and growing. This is a sacred place – forests being the first temples on earth. Perhaps that is why the bristlecone pine trees are only whispered about. They are a rather well kept secret, for good reasons.

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Ancient bristlecone pine tree and Fitz, on the QUEST, May 2016

Bristlecone pines stand alone and unprotected, too vulnerable to the graffiti and theft of indecent people who are selfish enough to impose destruction on this sacred ground, stealing something that should be holy to all of mankind.  

“On the QUEST” means to me, first and foremost, my desire and commitment to protect and preserve our national parks. Even if you personally never go, you have the comfort as an American of knowing the most rare of natural beauty is there, just waiting for you. The truth that you may have been searching for is there, waiting for you to behold. God bless America and keep our national parksours: the People’s Parks!

When I visited the Bristlecone Pines, it was the kind of day that they thrive on but not so friendly to we humans. At a high altitude of over 10,000 ft. it was below freezing and blowing a cruel snowy wind up to 30 mph! As you can see in the photo, I’m wearing five layers of wool, a down coat, and I had the scarf across my face so I could breathe. The air was that frosty cold! These types of conditions provide the old tree souls with some protection from the public. It is exactly the freezing weather and constant snow that spares these ancient trees from too many visitors, diseases, insects and drought and, worst of all, vandals.

Needless to say, I had the entire frozen and sacred temple to myself and was able to learn so much about how these 5,000 year-old trees survived and thrived. It was a great opportunity, witnessing how these remarkable trees lived yet another day on earth. After all, they love freezing cold snowy days and have thrived on them for thousands of years.

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“Bristlecone Pine Tree, Great Basin National Park, Nevada,” 

Charcoal Drawing by Fitz Maurice

The ancient trees are still growing – another excellent example to us all. As long as we are alive, we should be growing.

I also observed the tree’s willingness to bend, which saves them from breaking. When the force of storms beat on them, they simply grow with the flow. This tooling by the wind has sculpted the bristlecone pine trees into forms that are gnarled as if by determination, yet they remain green and growing.  Above all, their goal is to reach up to the light. They will weave around anything and turn and twist until they have stretched in every way possible to reach an inch higher. 

I’m struck by the realization that these ancient trees started growing there in Nevada during the time of the Egyptians!

I’m left with this question: When will mankind truly honor nature? When will we admit that we are still very adolescent and need to grow up enough to realize that humans must learn from nature? We need to learn from wise trees such as these that have proven their successful existence despite all odds. I’m learning so much living immersed in nature. I’m learning to bend and twist my life to God’s way, like the way the trees seek His light.

I believe that bristlecone pine trees are truly wisdom personified.

To see some of the newest National Park Paintings visit Woods Cove Art Gallery, 1963 South Coast Hwy, in Laguna Beach. 

 

FITZ Maurice has been on her “quest” to paint live in every national park in America. Now totally committed to help promote and protect the parks, the artist is traveling by truck and trailer; hiking, kayaking and horseback riding in search of the ultimate scene. Finally setting up with portable easel and oil paints, FITZ sets out to capture in paint the wonders that make each national park a treasure to Americans and all the people of the world.To see her National Park Paintings: www.nationalparkpaintings.com


Magical Mystery Tour – Pageant of the Masters preview night

By SUZIE HARRISON

Photos by Lynette Brasfield 

Going behind the scenes at Pageant of the Masters for press preview night is always magical. I think of it as the Magical Mystery Tour, where Director Dee Challis Davy and her collaborative team are, “waiting to take you away,” into a world of illusion, where art comes to life. 

In this year’s Pageant, “Partners,” the theme illustrates the stories of some of the mostmemorable partnerships and compelling collaborations that led to the creation of many of the world’s most treasured works of art.

Like many of the famous collaborators featured in “Partners,” the brilliance behind this year’s show illustrates the theme in action, the true partnership between Challis Davy and her team, who are absolute partners in genius.

From the unveiling of the largest recreation ever done in the Pageant’s 83-year history, a fresco by Diego Rivera, “Detroit Industry,” Challis Davy said this Pageant was going to be the biggest year ever.

“We are all really excited about how big and ambitious the show is this year,” said Challis Davy. “It’s going to be a little bit exciting and a little bit terrifying for us at the same time.”

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Scott Methvin painting Frida Kahlo

To add to the excitement, “Partners” will feature new special effects, including an explosion effect and new lights with Co2 effects. 

Over her 21 years as director, Challis Davy finds that the advancement in digital projection has made a big difference in the show.

 “It’s almost like the ability to change the scenery instantaneously. It makes our stories much more compelling when we can illustrate them with video imagery,” she said.

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The Butterfly Brooch

Richard “Butch” Hill, Technology Director, now in his 34th year concurs. He also said that the Pageant would feature better lighting effects with the use of LED lighting. Now they are able to dim the lights better and create and smoother fade out.

“These technologies really have made a big difference on the paintings,” said Hill. “These lights stay white all the time, so the colors really pop on stage. It really makes a big difference. The color is so vibrant now and almost looks electric it just pops colors.”

David Cooke was the artist working on the biggest piece yet to be shown at the Pageant. Cooke, now in his 11th year behind the scenes, explained the enormity of the piece. 

“It’s 33-feet long and15-feet high and it will fill the entire opening of the stage. The rest of the mural will be projected from the director’s booth at the back of the bowl and will be projected on the front of the stage building,” Cooke said. 

Scenic artist Scott Methvin pointed out the magic of the Pageant - it’s truly theatre with gorgeous paintings and sculptures that come to life. Their work has to be exacting in every way. 

“We have to use a special acrylic paint on the sets that don’t reflect the light, but soak it in,” Methvin said. “And on the costumes another special type of paint for the costumes that also blend in with the set. It’s very complicated.”

Setting up the actors for the sets, making adjustments to the costumes, pulling on them just right for movement and positioning them just right, it was exciting to see the magic come together. 

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Gerolamo Induno’s Kiss on the Hand

 “Sometimes it’s challenging. It depends on the person’s pose, what the garment is supposed to be doing,” Director of Costumes and Headpieces, Reagan Foy said. “You’re trying to create it flat, but yet at the same time there’s some dimension to it.” 

Sharon Lamberg, a Pageant veteran of 30 years as a scenic artist and costume assistant said she enjoys that through the magic of the Pageant, that they are able to fake the audience into seeing something they’re not.

We’re taking basic acrylic paint and making you believe that it’s an oil painting or a watercolor,” Lamberg said. “You’ll see jewelry that’s made out of Styrofoam and making you believe it’s an enamel and gold piece. Because it’s all an illusion.” 

While some of the pieces may seem daunting this year, Hill said he has never turned Challis Davy down. “We always find a way.” After all, isn’t that what true partnership is all about!

The Pageant runs nightly July 7 to Aug 31 at 8:30 p.m. Advance tickets cost $15 to $230. For information, visit foapom.com or call (800) 487-3378.

Please look for a preview of the Festival of Arts in Tuesday’s edition.


A stellar Buyer & Cellar at the Playhouse stars Emerson Collins in a superb one-man tour-de-force

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Emerson Collins, star of Buyer & Cellar, on the red carpet at Laguna Playhouse

Lithe actor Emerson Collins cuts a distinctive figure walking downtown Laguna, coiffed as he is with a Beatles-on-steroids hairstyle guaranteed to draw attention to his handsome looks and warm smile. For the next couple of weeks, he’ll be playing the role of Alex More in the sweetly ironic, deeply inspired and witty comedy Buyer & Cellar, currently on stage at the Laguna Playhouse. 

Collins’s high-energy yet nuanced performance during the 100-minute one-man play mesmerized me. It’s not easy to keep the audience’s attention after an opening event including good wine and good food, but Collins, assisted by bright red pants, attitude, and plenty of talent, succeeded magnificently, dominating the sparse stage set. 

Buyer & Cellar was inspired by Barbra Streisand’s 2010 book, A Passion for Design, in which the singer describes the simulated shops in her basement where she displays her collection of prized objects. The play imagines that Collins’s character has been hired as a salesperson for a similarly constructed basement mall: Alex is a lone salesperson with a lone customer, a fictional diva who closely resembles Babs herself.

I caught up with Collins the following Monday, intrigued by the actor and the incredible focus he brings to his part.

LB:  Let’s talk about your impressions of Laguna Beach first. Are you having fun? I noticed this on your Twitter feed: “Nothing is more terrifying about a gay beach adventure than the possibility of a matching swimsuit disaster.” Please tell me this hasn’t happened to you here.

EC:  Not to me, thank god. You know, for gay men, swimsuits are an important fashion statement. We like them skimpy and preferably unique. The other day my friend and I saw two guys with identical navy blue Speedos decorated with palm fronds approaching each other. It could have been a train wreck! Fortunately they just giggled… But seriously, I’m having a wonderful time staying in Laguna, feeling like a local in town. I can tell that this is an amazing community of people who love each other. I adore the restaurants, the beach, the artsy stores, the unique ambience of this tiny enclave. And opening night was wonderful, what a great audience.

LB:  Great! Tell me a little about your background, how you became an actor.

EC:  I guess my career started with Christmas pageants when I was a kid. I remember being very jealous of both my siblings, because they were young enough to be Baby Jesus. I was upset that I could never be Jesus! I had to be satisfied with being a shepherd! Then, in college, I decided in my sophomore year to focus on acting. I headed out to Dallas where I did 18 shows in just a few years, from Shakespeare to children’s theatre. 

My big break came when I starred in the LA production of Southern Baptist Sissies, and my proudest accomplishment was producing and starring in the film version of the play, both written by the talented Del Shores. The film won 15 film festival awards including nine Audience Awards, and I won Best Actor in a Feature Film from the Red Dirt International Film Festival. I love Southern Baptist Sissies because it’s fun but also has a meaningful message, challenging hypocrisy but also offering hope to gay adolescent boys everywhere. Del’s a great writer.

LB:  You’ve won many awards, too many to list. What’s another favorite?

EC:  Well, Buyer & Cellar is a favorite play of mine because it is witty and poignant at the same time. It says so much about our relationship to celebrity, and how alienating it can be to be a celebrity. And the play is becoming a piece that nearly all young male actors want to do, because it’s challenging, it’s just you, a chair and a piano bench on the stage. So getting the role – three days after an appendectomy, by the way! – was so affirming. Then winning the Desert Theatre League Award for Best Actor in a Comedy for my performance in the role of Alex meant and means a lot to me. The playwright, Jonathan Tolins, is a genius. Every word, every phrase matters.

LB:  I know you must be tired of answering this question, but how on earth do you manage to memorize 100 minutes of monologue?

EC:  Not easily. I spent an hour and a half every day for five weeks learning and relearning three pages at a time. Every day I’d add a few more until I’d memorized all 60 pages. Quite often I did this while wandering around West Hollywood. I’m not sure what kind of figure I must have cut, talking to myself like that. Also, as I worked, I mentally broke down the script into scenes with transitions, which helps, though the play isn’t written that way. Plus every movement I make on stage, every hand gesture and step, is part of the choreography, so that jogs the mind as well. It’s all part of the journey on stage. My director Larry Raben is great that way.

LB:  Where do you find the energy to perform, sometimes twice a day?

EC:  Oh, protein. Sleep. Deep breaths. Actually, I never feel tired when I’m on stage, only afterwards. I feed on the audience’s energy, even when they are dead quiet, because that means they’re focusing. And hearing them laugh is wonderful.

LB:  What lines usually get the most laughs?

EC:  The longest, loudest laughs are usually at the part where Barbara comes down to the basement to shop – for things she already owns, of course – and I say I don’t have enough change. She responds, “No wonder I never see anyone else here.” Those lines push the boundaries of make-believe and they’re somehow funny and sad at the same time, revealing the self-delusions that can come with celebrity. 

LB:  What’s the saddest line, in your view?

EC:  When Barbara says, “It’s terrible to be a little girl who has never been told she’s pretty. It’s something you never get over.” The audience I think at that point realizes the poignancy of the make-believe mall, what it means for her and for us.

LB:  Such a great play! What are your leisure plans during the run of Buyer & Cellar?

EC:  I’m going to enjoy the beach, enjoy wandering around town like a local, enjoy the restaurants. Nick’s, for one, is great. I Iove Laguna!

In addition to acting on stage and in film, Emerson Collins has his own production company with partner Del Shores. He’s also starred in four seasons of the hit “The People’s Couch” on Bravo. His website is www.emersoncollins.com 

Buyer & Cellar will run until June 26. For more information on the play, visit www.lagunaplayhouse.com


Barclay Theatre hires former Playhouse executive 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Karen Wood, whose contract with the Laguna Playhouse was not renewed in February, has been hired as Executive Director of the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Wood began her stint with the Playhouse in 2008, taking over when Richard Stein left abruptly in 2007, “Out of the blue,” said then-Artistic Director Andrew Barnicle. 

It was not a good time for theater or any of the arts. Recession was drying up donations only to get drier as the recession deepened. 

Wood dealt with the problems with a serene mien, according to Siân Poeschl, city cultural arts manager.

“She is the absolute professional,” said Poeschl. “She takes everything in and makes educated decisions.

During her eight years with the Playhouse, she bailed the theater out of the red with successful programs that brought in audiences and she successfully reworked the business model, according to American Theatre Editors. 

She also opened the backstage door to groups such the popular Laguna Dance Festival and the Laguna Concert Band, broadening the audience. 

Wood is proud that her regime left the Playhouse in the black 

Proof of the high regard the Laguna arts community feels for Wood was her selection to the Arts Commission. 

She will be seated July 1 for a two-year term.

“I was so pleased,” said Wood. “It keeps me connected to Laguna.” 

Wood’s credentials include serving as managing director of the San Diego Repertory Theatre when she was wooed by the Playhouse. Prior to that she had held positions with the Music Center, John Aston Ford Theatre, and the Mark Taper Forum Center Theatre Group.  

“She will bring that experience within the performing arts and a strong understanding of the Laguna Beach arts community to the commission,’ said Poeschl.


LCAD’s 2016 Master of Fine Arts Exhibition will be hosted by the Laguna Art Museum starting June 18

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Trevor Christiansen

On End 3 – 2016

Oil on canvas – 48 x 62

Look for the unusual at LCAD’s annual MFA Thesis Exhibition this year 

For a month this summer, the Laguna Art Museum will feature works by Laguna College of Art and Design’s MFA candidates, with the opening reception taking place on Saturday June 18 from 5 to 8 p.m.  Artists will be available during the reception to discuss their work. 

The exhibition – the MFA Thesis Exhibition, Emerging Masters 2 – focuses on the work of students from the school’s Drawing and Painting programs, and will run through July 17.

For more information, visit www.lcad/site/mfa/ or follow on social media including Facebook at LCADMFA, Twitter@LCADMFA and Tumblr @lcadmfa. 

Or simply call 949-376-6000.

 

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