The 19th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Invitational begins on Oct 7 

The 19th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Invitational begins on Sat, Oct 7 with a “warm-up” paint out at Treasure Island Park that afternoon in preparation for the Sunday, Oct 8 Quick Draw painting competition, and it culminates in a Gala Artist Award Ceremony on Sat, Oct 14 and Public Sale on Sun, Oct 15.

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The Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Invitational begins on Oct 7

Laguna Beach will once again celebrate the legacy and tradition of plein air art as professional artists arrive from around the country and help capture its iconic imagery on canvas and paper. 

Throughout the week, daily events and exhibitions will be happening, from Crystal Cove to Treasure Island Cove and everywhere in between, offering the public numerous opportunities to revel in the beauty and inspiration captured by an elite group of extraordinary artists.

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The Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters in action at their different events 

On Sat Oct 7, artists will be arriving from near and far as they gather at Treasure Island Park with a warm-up paint out from 4 p.m – 6:30 p.m. 

On Sun Oct 8, Quick Draw Paint Out will be at
Heisler Park, Cliff Drive, from
2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
 Thirty five invited artists will gather at Heisler Park to compete in the annual Quick Draw plein air painting competition sponsored by Southwest Art Magazine which requires the completion of a plein air masterpiece in two hours. 

The Meet & Greet Artists Reception
will take place at the Festival of Arts from 4 – 5 p.m.
The public is invited to join the LPAPA hosted Meet & Greet Reception. Enjoy refreshments, meet the artists, mingle with art lovers, and preview the 35 framed Quick Draw paintings, finished just moments earlier, that will be sold at 5 p.m.

The Quick Draw Quick Sale offers a fantastic opportunity to add a special plein air painting to your collection that was just created before your eyes by an award winning plein air artist. 

In a new twist this year, the Quick Draw paintings will be offered in a Quick Sale rather than auction, but not to worry, there will be an auction of Small Works on Wednesday. 

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View the final touches of a masterpiece overlooking the beautiful ocean 

On Mon Oct 9, Kids Paint Out & Cookie Reception
will be at Heisler Park, from
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Local school children are treated to a plein air painting experience guided by LPAPA Mentor Artists. The artwork created by the children will be exhibited at Forest & Ocean Gallery Oct 12 - 30. 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of the children’s artwork is donated to the participating schools. This program is made possible through the generous support of LPAPA sponsors and grant funding provided by The Festival of Arts Foundation, the Laguna Chapter of the National Charity League, Blick Art Supplies & our Mentor Artists.

Plein Talk with the Artists: “Ask Us Any Question”
 at the Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Avenue
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.: An open and lively discussion with Invitational Artists who will share their journey and their plein air painting experiences. 

On Wed Oct 11, LPAPA’s Next Generation Paint Out will be at
Heisler Park, Cliff Drive
 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
This event is designed to cultivate the next generation of plein air painters from the 2017 participating colleges:  Laguna College of Art + Design, Saddleback College and the University of California, Irvine. The students are competing for scholarship prizes.

Crystal Cove Paint Out
 will be at Crystal Cove State Park from
8 a.m – noon
. All 35 Invitational Artists will be painting out at the Crystal Cove State Park.  The public is invited to come watch the Artists as they paint “en plein air.”

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See each artist paint hands on with their tools and skills while making an unforgettable piece 

Later there will be a Plein Talk  and Book Signing by Art Historian and Museum Director of The Irvine Museum Collection at the University of California, Irvine, Jean Stern, plus a Small Works Auction
at Tivoli Too from
6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
 Mr. Jean Stern has prepared a special Plein Talk presentation in association with the book he co-authored, PAINTING CALIFORNIA: Seascapes & Beach Towns. Mr. Stern will take the audience on an artistic journey along the California coast, showing contemporary and historic painting images. 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the book for a special discounted price. LPAPA will showcase a selection of small works created by our Invitational Artists in a silent auction.

On Sat Oct 14, the Collectors Gala Reception (tickets available at
takes place at Tivoli Too, from 7 – 10:30 p.m.

This will be an enchanting evening under the stars with the artists, surrounded by art lovers and some of the finest plein air fine art you can find anywhere. Attendees will have the opportunity to view and purchase artwork in advance of the general public.

The artists will be hanging what they consider to be their best three paintings created during the week for prize consideration — over $20,000 in prizes will be awarded, with the top prize being the coveted $10,000 “Best in Show” award judged by Mr. Jean Stern. The artists will also have additional artwork created during the week, and a selection of paintings from their personal collection, available for purchase.

On Sun Oct 15,  Public Art Show and Sale
takes place at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road
 from 10 a.m. – 5  p.m.
 Door will open on Sunday for all to visit the Invitational Art Show, meet the artists and watch live painting demonstrations.  

This event is free to the public. This will be the last chance to meet the artists and collect an original work of art created during the Invitational by one of today’s plein air masters.

Parcipating artisits include the following: Jacobus Baas / Suzie Baker / Zufar Bikbov / Carl Bretzke / John Burton /John Cosby Rick J. Delanty / Gil Dellinger / Jennifer Diehl / Aimee Erickson / Andy Evansen Debra Joy Groesser / Joseph Gyurcsak / Stephanie Hartshorn / Jane Hunt Charlie Hunter / Greg LaRock / John P. Lasater IV / Richard Lindenberg  Daniel Marshall / James McGrew / Jim McVicker / Clark Mitchell  Michael Obermeyer / Rita Pacheco / Colin Page / Jesse Powell / Jason Sacran Anthony Salvo / Patrick Saunders / Jeff Sewell / Michael Situ / J. Ken Spencer Michelle Usibelli / Jove Wang

For additional information about the 19th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational, or the nonprofit art organization, contact Rosemary Swimm, LPAPA’s Executive Director, by phone 949-376-3635, by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , or visit the website: or 

The Drifters & The Coasters & the Doo-Wop era come to Laguna Playhousefor four performances, Nov 3-5

Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard announce The Drifters & The Coasters, live in concert, for four performances only, from Fri, Nov 3 – Sun, Nov 5.

 Head back to the 1950s and the sweet vocal harmonies of the Doo-Wop era. With memorable songs like “Under the Boardwalk,” “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay,” and “On Broadway,” The Drifters offer a blend of tasteful music and class, all wrapped up in their famous patented choreography. They were the first musical rock and roll group to include string instruments into rhythm and blues music with their hauntingly beautiful song, “There Goes My Baby”. They were also the first musical group to sell two million records with their pop classic “Up on the Roof.’’ Their classic tune ‘’Under the Boardwalk” is the most played R&B disc of all time. 

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The Drifters

The Cornell Gunter Coasters were known as the supreme comedians of rock and roll. The monumental songs “Yakkety Yak (Don’t Talk Back)” “Charlie Brown” and “Poison Ivy,” helped The Coasters to become the first vocal group to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of Cornell Gunter’s Coasters out of the ashes of the surprising breakup of the original Coaster group several months earlier. Cornell believed that The Coasters could be reborn. In fact, he believed that all of the groups from that era could be reborn, and thrive as live performing groups and ultimately he led the way to what was soon to become known as “classic rock”.

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The Coasters

Performances are Fri., Nov 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Sat, Nov 4 at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. and Sun, Nov 5 at 1 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Ticket prices range from $45 - $65 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Ticket prices are subject to change. Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.

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

For more information, go to the website above.

The Historical Society will present a program on the Laguna Playhouse in City Chambers Oct 11

Historian Glenna Matthews will present a program on the Laguna Playhouse, sponsored by the Laguna Beach Historical Society, on Oct 11 in the Council Chambers. 

Matthews grew up in Laguna and attended plays with her parents and participated in theater productions. Her mother ushered, father and daughter performed. 

Her first role was in “You Can’t Take It With You” in 1946, according to a blurb in the Historical Society newsletter.  

Matthews will draw on her own experience and on her Master’s thesis on the history of the theater until 1960 for “The Laguna Playhouse – A Treasured Community Institution.”

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Photo courtesy The Historical Society

Laguna Playhouse back then…

She will be assisted by Carolyn Hobart Fisch, Deborah Paul Kermode and Jennie Williamson. Matthews, who lived away from Laguna for decades, wants to share her treasured memories now that she has returned to the city. 

Admission to the presentation is free. However donations are appreciated and may be made online by Pay Pal or credit card at or by mail to Laguna Beach Historical Society, 278 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach, CA, 92651. 

Membership is $25 for an individual, which includes the newsletter, entry to society programs, and visits to Murphy Smith Bungalow on Ocean Avenue, next to Whole Foods.

The next presentation will be on No. 16, at the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in Laguna Beach.

--By Barbara Diamond 

The Sea Dog Skim Challenge PMMC fundraiser takes place at Aliso Beach on Oct 7 at 8 a.m.

The Sea Dog Skim Challenge is a one-day skimboarding event held to raise funds for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center and its patients. The competition is held in a single elimination format.

For the second time, Sam Stinnett, four-time Skimboarding World Champion, will host the Challenge, which this year takes place on Oct 7, starting promptly at 8 a.m. at Aliso Beach.

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Sam Stinnett

This year, Poler Laguna will be hosting the awards ceremony and fundraiser. All contestants will have free entry, and non-contestants will be asked to make an optional $5 donation at the door. A raffle will offer items from Vissla, Catch Surf, Sector 9, The Ranch, and many more.

There’ll also be a special performance by favorite local band Soulag Vibrations. Anyone who purchases a raffle ticket or makes a donation will get a wristband, which will allow them free entry and one free drink at The Sandpiper Lounge after the event (21+).

All net profits from the contest, awards ceremony, and individual donations go directly to PMMC. The contest is open to Amateur and Professional skimboarders of all ages and genders.

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Sam Stinnett, four-time Skimboarding World Champion

Last year’s event was a big success. The Sea Dog Skim Challenge raised over $3,500 for the PMMC, and this year, the organizers hope to raise even more. 

Residents are asked to join in the fundraiser, either by signing up to compete, coming to the awards ceremony, donating directly to the PMMC, or simply enjoying a fun-filled day at the beach. 

To sign up and/or donate, or for more information about the event and sponsors, visit and follow along at @theseadogskimchallenge on Instagram.

For further information on PMMC, visit

Dianne’s Creature Feature

Oh, what a tangled web: Laguna’s spiders weave works of art


When someone mentions webs, I picture the scene in the original 1958 The Fly movie, when Vincent Price discovers the ill-fated Dr. Andre Delambre (well, not exactly, only his small head, shoulders and one arm on a fly body) caught in a spider web in a garden crying, “Help me, help me.” 

I’m having a similar out of body experience tackling the subject of webs. They’re miraculous and complicated feats of engineering, and again, Lenny Vincent, AKA, The Spiderman, provided expert information that will hopefully untangle the mysteries.

However, there is no mystery to the picture below, and this web can only be described as a survival web. “Not exactly beautiful, but what can you expect from a black widow living in the entrance to a rodent burrow,” says Lenny. “I found this guy a day or two after the 1993 Laguna Beach fire. It survived by hunkering down within the burrow until things cooled off.” 

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Photo by Lenny Vincent

Black widow living in a rodent burrow during the 1993 Laguna Beach fire

Although there are many types of webs, Lenny narrowed it down to the three most commonly encountered in Laguna: funnel webs, orb webs, and lattice-like webs. But first, it might be helpful to talk about the silk (there are up to seven kinds) spiders use. Depending on the function in the web (strong, delicate, sticky), a different type emerges from silk glands in the spider’s abdomen by way of spinnerets. 

Granted, web construction is a serious architectural endeavor, the spider’s survival depends on the ability to build an ideal trap. And they do it very well, constantly repairing and rebuilding (only to have it blown away by a strong wind or smashed by a broom). 

In housing terms, the first web would be considered a tiny house, (with built in trap lines). “Funnel webs are among the most common and conspicuous spider webs to be observed in Laguna Beach. They consist of a flat horizontal sheet of densely woven, non-sticky silk that leads to a funnel shaped silken retreat. Many individual silk lines extend upward from the sheet to the vegetation,” says Lenny. “These lines are used to knock down flying prey.”

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Photo by Lenny Vincent

Agelenopsis aperta eating a ctenuchid moth

Lenny explains, “In Laguna, we have two common genera of funnel web weavers. Those in the poorly defined genus Hololena are most often found in great abundance in shrubbery. The adults are mostly brown in color and about one-half inch in length. A much larger funnel web weaver, Agelenopis aperta, is typically found closer to the ground and in a larger web. A. aperta is most often seen in the undisturbed, natural areas surrounding Laguna. Funnel web weavers tend to lurk in the funnel portion of their web and only rush out when prey is detected.”

Which is good news, because these funnel webs are abundant in the Laguna Wilderness Park, so many in one spot, they sometimes look like a condominium complex.

Next we move on to what could be called the tract houses, orb webs. “If you walk into a face full of web at night, chances are it is one of the orb weavers’ webs. N. crucifera along with Araneus gemma are the two most common nocturnal orb weavers in Laguna Beach,” Lenny says. “The abundant silver garden spider Argiope argentata tends to weave lower to the ground.”

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Photo by Lenny Vincent

Neoscona crucifera on orb web, Sept 24, at Village Green Park in South Laguna

Orb webs are wheel-shaped, featuring outer bridge lines with internal anchor lines pulled down to create spokes. An elastic capture thread is used to make the spiral lines that connect the spokes together, giving the web the ability to absorb an oncoming insect. The spirals are peppered by sticky droplets to secure the victims. If conditions are favorable, up to 250 insects can be collected in one day.

Like artistic embellishments, some spiders, e.g. the silver garden spider, add a bit of flourish to their webs, zig zags, spiral or bands called stabilmenta, but the purpose is unknown. One wonders why, to camouflage their appearance in the web, to help trap the prey or simply to express some type of individualism? Custom abode versus tract house? 

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Photo by Lenny Vincent

Bolas spider 

A descendant of the orb weaver is a maverick in its non-conventional approach to snaring insects. Instead of building a web, the Bolas (named after a traditional South American throwing weapon) holds a sticky globule at the end of a silk thread on its leg and throws it at its all-male moth prey. Less work than a web it seems, but they must have good aim.

If you’ve ever observed a lacy web, it’s most likely the lattice-like web which belongs to the gray house spider, Badumna longingua, says Lenny. “The spider is non-native, having been introduced from Australia. It is very abundant in Laguna Beach. The lattice-like web often ends in a tubular retreat. In this case, a piece of pipe. They are very easy to see against a black background, such as a black, plastic flower pot. Very common in gardens but not natural areas.” This tubular retreat can’t be described using a housing term, it looks more like a straw-sized coffin. A dwelling of sorts.

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Photo by Lenny Vincent

Lattice-like web built by gray house spider, tubular retreat is at the top

Even though Lenny has categorized the webs, their properties, and spider inhabitants, it remains impossible to understand the cognitive skills required to craft them, particularly the orb web. It will forever remain a mystery how these small creatures can engineer such architecturally extravagant and precise works of art. 

And contrary to what we’d like to believe, it’s not just because they live in Laguna. It’s speculated that orb webs came into being with the evolution of flying insects more than 100 million years ago. I guess that means they’re here to stay.

For all you ever wanted to know about spiders, go to Lenny’s spider guide website,

I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so called) and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me.

Mark Twain, Letters from the Earth

St. Mary’s Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals and bratwurst lunch takes place Sun Oct 8

St. Mary’s Church’s annual Blessing of the Animals and Bratwurst lunch takes place Sun Oct 8. It’s a fun service during which pets (or pictures of pets) and their humans are given a special blessing by the priest in charge, Fr. Lester Mackenzie.

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The outside service is perfect for the furry, the feathered, and the scaly

The service is at 10:30 a.m. in the upper garden behind the church (across the alley). Animals are welcome to attend the whole service.

Lunch, at around noon, includes a bratwurst sandwich, salad, dessert, and a beverage. The cost is adults $10, kids $5. St. Mary’s Church is located at 428 Park Ave.

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