Volume 14, Issue 95  |  November 29, 2022

Winter Fantasy: Sawdust launches holiday festival with snow, song and spirit


It was hard to tell who was more excited with the opening of the Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival this year – the kids, the artists or the parents who were able to let their children run around with cautionary warnings of “Remember, Santa’s watching.” 

After three long years of cobbling together an event due to COVID restrictions, the excitement of being able to freely wander around fully stocked art booths, sipping beverages and listening to live music was evident during opening day of the 32nd winter festival on November 19. The event included the official lighting of the Christmas trees and melodic music performed by the Top of the World Elementary School Honor Choir.

“It’s always nice in the winter because you get the locals who don’t come in the summer,” said Marcus Thesing, glass blower and longtime exhibitor at the Sawdust. “And they tend to buy more with the holidays.” 

New faces

Also, because the winter festival is open to artists outside Laguna Beach, there are often new faces and exhibitions. This year, 165 artists offer everything from bronze doorbell covers to finely crafted jewelry and glass sculptures. 

Art exhibitions, hands-on creative opportunities, a petting zoo, community Christmas trees decorated by local groups and, of course, Santa himself, enhance the festive atmosphere. 

winter fantasy santa

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf had a heart-to-heart with Santa during opening day festivities that included an afternoon ribbon cutting at the 32nd Annual Winter Fantasy 

Heather Reichard was so inspired by the art scene in Laguna Beach that, when she moved to California from the East Coast four years ago, instead of quitting art, she went at it with a vengeance.

“It’s just so exciting here. I can’t pass up this opportunity,” she said. Upon landing in the area, Reichard quickly went back to her chosen passion of creating whimsical scenes from vintage and forgotten items. Many reflect a homey, folksy East Coast upbringing. A potato masher that now doubles as a tree topper reminds her of her grandmother’s kitchen. Crescent-shaped bolts become moons that adorn fun night scenes.

“My works keep morphing and changing,” she said. “It blends my two loves: vintage items and bright, loud colors.” 

winter fantasy vintage

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Artist Heather Reichard, who creates art from vintage items including rulers and kitchen tools, is thrilled to participate in this year’s Winter Fantasy

After moving to the West Coast and seeing the desert for the first time, cacti started appearing in her scenes. Ocean themes are also now infiltrating her usual landscapes and the gathering of Reichard’s work on the wall at booth #603 is a fun cornucopia of intrigue and beauty. 

“It’s been a dream to be in this show,” she said, crediting the crowds and fellow artists as creating a uniquely supportive environment. “I know a lot of the folks and it’s really good people.”

winter fantasy vintage closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Reichard’s whimsical art is inspired by an East Coast upbringing and focuses on family and country homes 

Glass artisans Shea Roberts and Nathan Olvera, first-time Winter Fantasy artists, are having a hard time believing they’re actually exhibiting at the festival. 

“Until the art was actually up it just didn’t feel real,” said Roberts. She spent the night before the November 19 opening day painting their names on the walls of booth #234. Her stained-glass pieces – ranging from intricate astronauts to flowing jellyfish and even wildflower scenes – are neatly propped along the shelves. On the opposite side, Olvera has a variety of glass bowls and sculptures neatly displayed, as well as a bowl filled with colorful hand-blown glass balls. As a 2020 college graduate, he’s had plenty of COVID-era struggles, but since connecting with established glass blowers, including Thesing, it’s been easier to pursue his craft and find time in a glass studio. He looks forward to his scheduled demonstrations at the festival – in addition to thrilling passersby with the wonder of his craft, it’s also the warmest spot to be, should the nights get cold, he laughed.

winter fantasy glass balls

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The hand-crafted artwork of glass blower Nathan Olvera is available for purchase. This is the first year he is exhibiting at the festival. 

Roberts, who works mainly on commission pieces and portraits, is thrilled to move her artwork from her parents’ garage to the Sawdust Festival. 

“I can really collaborate with clients,” she said, and on opening night, already had one piece commissioned to create a lava lamp sculpture with whales. “It’s just so amazing to connect with potential customers.”

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Paint Like Manet


Four-part workshop: Learn to paint a still-life floral in the style of Edouard Manet as taught by Lani Emanuel.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Beach Community Center

1:00-4:00pm each class

$200 / $100 for LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.



Juried Fine Art Reception


The public is invited to attend the artist reception and awards ceremony for the 2022 Juried Fine Art exhibition on Thursday, November 3, 2022, at 6:00 - 7:00 p.m. There will be live music and light refreshments. The exhibition will remain open to the public during City Hall business hours through November 17, 2022. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Image: “Merry Christmas” by Vivian Gu, age 7

City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


More information HERE.



First Thursdays Art Walk


Please join us for First Thursdays Artwalk as Dawson Cole Fine Art hosts a special dance presentation in collaboration with Laguna Dance Festival founded by Jodie Gates. The evening will feature three of Southern California’s most talented emerging dance artists in an evening of solos revealing the complex and vast beauty of the human condition.

Laguna Dance Festival

Dawson Cole Fine Art

326 Glenneyre

Laguna Beach, CA 92651

6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.


Purchase tickets HERE.



Make Kirigami Holiday Cards

Laguna Dance Festival

Two-part workshop: Carolyn Machado and Mia Moore will teach how to make cards using Kirigami paper folding and collage techniques.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Beach Community Center

1:00-4:00pm each class

$100 / $50 LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.



Holiday Decor from Garden Trimmings

Laguna Dance Festival

Horticulture artist Ruben Flores shows how to cut, tie, and twist leaves, twigs, and grasses into gorgeous wreaths, table centerpieces, and gift wrap décor.

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Nursery


$20 / Free to LOCA members

Purchase tickets HERE.


NOVEMBER 15 - JANUARY 15, 2023

The Artists' Garden

JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present THE ARTISTS’ GARDEN, an exhibition of works by America Martin, Anna Kincaide, Audra Weaser, Isabelle van Zeijl, and Thai Mainhard. Inspired by Claude Monet’s renowned gardens at Giverny, the title celebrates the beauty and variety of the natural world while establishing the ‘artists’ garden’ as both a metaphor and point of departure to further understand the past, present, and self.

JoAnne Artman Gallery

346 N Coast Hwy. Laguna Beach, CA 92651



ABBA Rocks the 80s!

Laguna Dance Festival

An upbeat program of tunes from the 1980s, featuring the popular group ABBA!

LagunaTunes Chorus

Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theater

4:00 PM




Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibit Deadline


The Arts Commission invites artists ages 5-17 to participate in its annual Children's Holiday Palette Competition. All entries will be made available to view on the City's website. The Arts Commission will review all designs and select up to twelve for recognition by City Council and displayed at City Hall throughout December 2022. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Image: “Art Reflects Art” by Jennie Breeze

City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue


More information HERE.



People and Places Exhibit at foaSOUTH

The historic Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is continuing its commemorative festivities in celebration of the Festival’s 90th anniversary! The iconic arts organization is pleased to announce the debut of its latest off-site exhibit: People & Places, now open for guests to experience and browse through January 15th, 2023 at the Festival's off-site gallery, foaSOUTH. This exhibit presents artworks in a variety of styles and mediums including oil, watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, and photography. The works displayed are from well-known Festival artists including Scott Anthony, Lu Campbell, Carol Tolin, Gary Goff, R. Benson, Darlene Campbell, Agnes Copeland, Vinita Voogd, Scott Albert, Helen Weld, and Elizabeth McGhee. These works are all currently housed in the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection and will be on display for the public to enjoy during this limited time exhibition. As the title suggests the subject matter is focused on either people or places; however, the works are as varied as the mediums represented.

Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach

foaSOUTH, 1006 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

Open daily 9am - 8pm




Film festival celebrates an enduring love of surfing and the people who capture the moments through the years


It’s no surprise the Coast Film & Music Festival has a special focus on water. But this year’s event also featured the evolution, passion and commitment to capturing surfing through the generations.

From the opening night’s intimate showing of Five Summer Stories at the Downtown Hobie Surf Shop, to its sold-out showing (with live music) at the Festival of Arts and right on through to awarding the prestigious Follow the Light surf photography award, the love of this sport was evident throughout the festival.

Both esteemed filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, who in the 1970s was breaking into new film territory, as well as Follow the Light Surf Photography Grant Program (FTL) winner Kalani Cummins, spoke of the magic of capturing surfing as well as the wonder of filming the powerful ocean. The universality of their experiences may span decades, but it is timeless. 

“I had a hankering to do one more film, just for surfers,” MacGillivray recalled of his 1972 film. At the time, he was working with the late Jim Freeman, and they’d just connected with Hollywood assignments and were ready to move onto the big league. But as a Laguna resident, surfer and ocean lover, MacGillivray wanted to capture what was occurring in the surfing – and larger world – at the time. 

film festival honk

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

The popular band Honk, which provided the music for the original film, gathered again to accompany the sold-out showing of “Five Summer Stories” at the Festival of Arts 

 “Surfing was undergoing a shift of its own – boards were smaller, speed was becoming much more important,” MacGillivray recalled. “The culture was changing. There were various aspects of surfing that were controversial at the time, such as competition and losing surfing spots.” 

In addition, the country was changing. The Clean Water Act was signed into law, people gathered en masse for the first Earth Day, women were demanding equal treatment and there was a new sense of responsibility about the environment. 

“It was such a big change in society,” said MacGillivray. “There was a new attitude toward the ocean and the air as resources and that they needed protection.”

film festival greg

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Courtesy of MacGillivray Freeman Films

Following the showing of “Five Summer Stories” at Hobie Surf Shop, film director Greg MacGillivray signed copies of his new memoir “Five Hundred Summer Stories,” which chronicles his experiences producing movies for the past 50 years 

Five Summer Stories reflects these changes in the various movie sections, with each story lovingly capturing one aspect of surfing. While many thought MacGillivray was developing a new movie style, in fact he admits the separate stories were dictated more by necessity than inspiration.

“We kept going back to Hollywood and then would shoot this when we had the time and money,” he said. 

The movie became a cult-like hit upon its release in 1972. For years, people would return to the theater annually to celebrate the surf culture and lifestyle it celebrated. They’d dance to the joyous music of Honk, and often, would even be treated to a new addition of the film. Five Summer Stories ultimately became stories within stories with the additional footage.

“Everyone loves having the various sequences,” said MacGillivray. “Some are funny, some serious, some were straight surfing and commenting about styles. For the first time, there was a lot of slow motion and people could really see the sport.” 

film festival Kalanis rainbow

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Photo by Kalani Cummins

When a 14-year-old surfer was overcome with emotion, after successfully riding a wave in Tahiti, photographer Kalani Cummins captured the moment, complete with a rainbow, courtesy of Mother Nature

Decades later, Cummins was finding his own way and discovered, at age 15, the power of photography – especially that magical moment when water and surfing was the subject matter.

“At first I’d just shoot surfers from land,” he said. But he wanted to get closer, so he secured a waterproof housing unit for his equipment.

“When I was shooting in the water the first time, it was definitely scary,” he said. “I never thought I’d be in the water when the waves are that big. But you get a perspective that 90 percent of people don’t get.”

film festival opening show at hobies

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Coast Film Festival kicked off the 2022 event with an intimate – and sold-out showing of the film “Five Summer Stories” at Hobie Surf Shop. The crowd was introduced to the event’s lineup and then a discussion with people involved with the film before the showing began. 

Cummins spent his formative years being driven by his parents (he wasn’t old enough for a license) to The Wedge in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach or Salt Creek in Dana Point. He soon realized capturing surfing was a lifetime calling. 

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Laguna Concert and JaZz Bands Rock Hospitality Night

Laguna Dance Festival

Sing, swing, and be of good cheer at the Peppertree Parking lot on Hospitality Night for some great music courtesy of your Laguna Community Concert and JaZz Bands, featuring vocalists Lisa Morrice and Ginger Hatfield.

The Laguna Community Concert and JaZz Bands

Peppertree Parking Lot, downtown Laguna Beach

6:15 p.m. - 7:45 p.m.




The Laguna JaZz Band Swings the Season with Vocalist Ginger Hatfield


Get your joy on! Join the Laguna JaZz Band at the Suzi Q with vocalist Ginger Hatfield for a night of upbeat holiday classics! This concert is free.

The Laguna JaZz Band

The Laguna Beach Suzi Q Community Center, 380 3rd St., Laguna Beach

6:30 p.m.





Laguna Community Concert and JaZz Bands rock the holidays with three concerts

This holiday season brings a series of free concerts to fans of the Laguna Community Concert and JaZz Bands.

Both bands ring in the holidays on Friday, Dec. 2 for Hospitality Night, at the Peppertree parking lot on Forest Avenue starting at 6:15 p.m. The Laguna Community Concert Band kicks things off with holiday classics, “Sleigh-Ride,” “Christmas on Broadway” and “Christmas Pop Sing-Along,” featuring vocalist Lisa Morrice.

Laguna Community Concert Lisa Morrice

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Courtesy of Greg Carter Photography

Lisa Morrice will sing with the Laguna Community Concert Band on December 2 for Hospitality Night

Next, the Laguna JaZz Band plays its holiday blend of jazz and pop standards, Latin, pop and rock with talented vocalist, Ginger Hatfield. On Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 6:30 p.m., Hatfield and the JaZz Band swing the Susi Q Community Center with holiday favorites such as “Santa Baby,” “Feliz Navidad” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Laguna Jazz Band playing

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Courtesy of Peyton Webster

The Laguna JaZz Band plays at the Suzi Q on Wednesday, Dec. 14

Laguna Community Concert Ginger Hatfield

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Courtesy of Peyton Webster

Vocalist Ginger Hatfield will join the Laguna JaZz Band on December 14

The Laguna Community Concert Band performs its holiday repertoire at the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theater on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. The concert features favorites such as “The Hanukkah Song,” “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and “White Christmas,” as well as a visit from “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” and a rousing sing-a-long finale. Vocalists include Lisa Morrice, Gary Greene and Samantha Morrice.

Laguna Community Concert Band playing

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Courtesy of Peyton Webster

The Laguna Community Concert Band plays at the LBHS Artists Theater on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

“We just played a concert at the Laguna Playhouse to an enthusiastic crowd on November 18,” said Mark Lowery, co-conductor of the Laguna Community Concert Band. Everyone – audience and band – really enjoyed themselves. And that’s why we perform, to bring the joy of live music to Laguna Beach.”

Now in its 22nd season, the Laguna Community Concert Band rehearses at the Laguna Beach High School band room on Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. For the latest news about the concert and jazz bands and a calendar of concerts, or if you would like to play with the band, visit

Susi Q Community Center is at 380 Third St., Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.

How to get there

Visit Laguna Beach City Map Visit Laguna Beach Coast Map

Funds for this calendar are provided by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.


Pageant Legacy Society: Every plaque tells a story

With Giving Tuesday today, the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters celebrates the art of giving this holiday season with an opportunity to join the organization’s Pageant Legacy Society. The Pageant Legacy Society began in 2020 as a way for donors to support the Festival of Arts during financially challenging times due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as a way to leave a permanent mark in the Pageant’s iconic Bowl in Laguna Beach. When joining the Pageant Legacy Society, members select one of the 2,600 red seats in the amphitheater to have an engraved plaque installed on it, which acknowledges their gift.

There are now 250 members in the Pageant Legacy Society. Proceeds from this campaign helps to subsidize student scholarships, cultural and education programming and operational costs. “We are very grateful for the support received so far through this program. It has been such a great pleasure meeting and talking with our Legacy members and discovering that each plaque installed has a story to tell,” said Sharbie Higuchi, director of marketing/PR at Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach.

Seats have been reserved and named in memory of loved ones, recognition of a milestone, or a celebration of memories spent together at the Pageant of the Masters. Below are the stories behind five of the engraved plaques. Learn how you can join the Pageant Legacy Society and add your story at

 Colin King from Highland, Calif. requested two specific seats for his plaques to go on. His grandmother, Mary-Ann, had brought him to the Pageant of the Masters nearly every year since he was 10 years old until she passed away in 2021. “The Pageant holds a special place in both mine and my grandma’s hearts. It was the last event we had attended together, so I decided to make a donation to add our names on our last seats, so we can watch the show together in spirit, in perpetuity,” King said. Their names are engraved in plaques permanently installed into the seats they last shared together, Row H, seats 33 and 31.

Jade-Addon Hall of Redondo Beach wanted to give a truly special and memorable gift to his grandfather for his 90th birthday this past October. As big fans of the Pageant of the Masters, he had two plaques engraved with the name of his grandfather Raymond and grandmother, Lolita. His grandfather was surprised and grateful for this meaningful gift. The number 90 also holds a special significance this year for the Festival of Arts, which celebrated its 90th birthday as well in 2022.

Luciana Coutchie of Laguna Beach donated to the Pageant Legacy Society in recognition of her beloved son, LBPD Motor Officer Jon Coutchie, who died tragically on duty in 2013. She picked Row M, seat 13 in the Irvine Bowl in honor of Jon’s call sign M-13.

Pageant Legacy Society Malino and Waldron

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Courtesy of Festival of Arts

Julie Malino and Lynn Waldron sitting next to their Pageant Legacy Seat in the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach

Pageant of the Masters super-fan Julie Malino of San Diego donated to have her name engraved alongside her significant other, Lynn Waldon. “For the last 10 years we have driven up from San Diego and stayed in Laguna Beach just to see the Pageant of the Masters. When we learned about the Pageant Legacy Society, we had to get involved,” shared Malino. “We wanted to be a part of something that is bigger than us and helped us feel like we’re part of the larger community. To be able to leave our mark with the Pageant, and help make sure it returns year after year – it’s truly the best gift there is.”

 Longtime supporter of the Festival and Pageant Lois Mastrocola generously donated to reserve a block of seats in Row M of Loge Center. While some seats are engraved with names of her family members and friends, there are a few that she left blank. These plaques will be engraved with the names of her future grandchildren – the first, Chiara Loren, was added to her family this past August.

Other seats in the Irvine Bowl have been named for current and former Pageant volunteers, Laguna Beach high school graduates, local arts organizations, art lovers, patrons, family members and friends.

This holiday season, consider joining the Pageant Legacy Society and sharing your story. Tax-deductible donations begin at $500 for a seat in the Director’s Tier, $1,000 for Main Tier and $2,000 in Loge. Specific seat requests will be honored on a first-come, first-served basis. In recognition of donations, a plaque will be attached to a seat in the Irvine Bowl and the engraving will be listed in the annual souvenir program and on the Festival’s website. A printable certificate is also available to gift the lucky recipient. To become a Pageant Legacy Society Member,

“Dedicating a seat is a timeless gift that can enrich the life of the recipient for years to come. Your plaque will remind future audiences of your loved one, or company, and be a reflection of your personal commitment to help make the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters possible for future generations,” concluded Higuchi.

To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show, visit, or follow @FestivalPageant on social media. To support the Festival of Arts, visit


City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission

Community Art Project (CAP)

Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

First Thursdays Art Walk

Friends of the Laguna Beach Library


Gallery Q at THE SUSI Q

KX 93.5 Radio

Laguna Art-A-Fair

Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC)

Laguna Beach Live!

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association

Laguna College of Art + Design

Laguna Concert Band

Laguna Craft Guild

Laguna Dance Festival

LOCA Arts Education

Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association


No Square Theatre

Sawdust Art Festival


The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts

Third Street Writers

Visit Laguna Beach

LBCAC presents Opera Re-Imagined “Holiday Special” on December 17

Celebrate the holidays in style when Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center (LBCAC) presents their Opera Re-Imagined “Holiday Special” on Saturday, December 17 at 8 p.m. (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.)

In this fifth edition of their ongoing classical music series, audiences will enjoy holiday classics from some of Southern California’s sweetest voices, including mezzo-soprano Molly Noori and sopranos Bella Rusin and Christa Stevens (making her LBCAC stage debut!). They’ll be joined by the incomparable Katherine Bode on piano.

LBCAC presents Katrina Murphy

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Courtesy of LBCAC

Katrina Murphy will be taking the stage during the Opera Re-Imagined “Holiday Special” at LBCAC

As a special holiday treat, they’ll also be featuring Katrina Murphy, who starred as Christine in the London production of Phantom of the Opera.

Murphy will be performing a medley from Phantom of the Opera and transform the LBCAC into the Kit Kat Club to keep the party going.

The evening is hosted by Laguna Tenor Rick Weber.

Tickets are VIP, $50; General admission, $30. Click here for tickets.

Grant funding was made possible by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center is located at 235 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach.

LCAD presents “DESIGN AT WORK” alumni stories

Laguna College of Art + Design is presenting “DESIGN AT WORK,” an exhibition showcasing the creative process and actual products from professional practices by LCAD’s Graphic Design + Digital Media Alumni. The opening reception is taking place on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 6-9 p.m. at LCAD Gallery. The exhibition runs through Jan. 22, 2023.

LCAD presents alumni stories

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Courtesy of LCAD

The “DESIGN AT WORK” exhibition showcases stories from alumni of LCAD’s Graphic Design + Digital Media BFA program

Through conceptual prototypes and professional projects, LCAD’s Graphic Design + Digital Media alumni stories and experiences demonstrate the design process from concept, research and ideation sketches to actual applications for clients, products and services.

The alumni of LCAD’s Graphic Design + Digital Media BFA program produce creative solutions within a broad range of industries both nationally and internationally. This exhibition showcases design concepts and solutions in technology, apparel, footwear, publishing, experiential design, professional sport and creative agencies.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach. Admission is always free. Hours are 11a.m.-4 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday. For more information, visit

LagunaTunes rocks the house

It wasn’t a stadium packed with thousands, it was the Laguna Beach High School theater. An enthusiastic crowd, standing, waving lighted cell phones and literally dancing in the aisles, rewarded LagunaTunes (not your father’s community chorus) on Sunday, Nov. 20 with a rock-star-worthy ovation. 

Directed by Bob Gunn and backed up by a band (Alexander Niles on keyboards, Richard Niles on guitar, Garrett Wolfe on bass and Kurt Hamernik on drums), LagunaTunes launched into a string of high-energy ‘80s hits such as “Beat It,” “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” and “Footloose.” Decked out in ‘80s outfits (and ‘80s hairdos), the group finished with popular titles from the Swedish group ABBA. 

LagunaTunes singers and band

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Photos courtesy of LagunaTunes

LagunaTunes singing with the band, led by Bob Gunn

LagunaTunes John and Jeff

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(L-R) John Holcombe and Jeff Whittiker show off their ‘80s gear

LagunaTunes backstage

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Hanging out backstage

Props, sight gags and “choralography” during crowd favorites such as “Mamma Mia,” “Money, Money, Money” and a show-stopping “Dancing Queen” drew audience laughs in all the right places. And an all-girl medley of tunes including “Honey, Honey,” “Does Your Mother Know” and “Gimme, Gimme, Gimme (A Man After Midnight)” prompted announcer Pat Kollenda to quip, “This probably set back Women’s Lib 50 years!” 

LagunaTunes city council

LagunaTunes singing at City Council

Sunday’s concert capped a busy week in which LagunaTunes sang their thanks in City Hall to meetings of both the Arts Council and the City Council for cultural arts grants they received from Festival of Arts and the City of Laguna Beach. 

LagunaTunes will reconvene in early 2023 to prepare for a June concert commemorating 20 years. Past, present and new members are welcome to participate – with no auditions – to “build community through the joy of group singing.” 

LagunaTunes Chorus is led by Bob Gunn, known for his past years as director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and, currently, as director of Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone (no auditions). Financial support is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and the City of Laguna Beach Cultural Arts funding. 

For more information, visit, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cultural Arts Updates: What’s happening in the arts around town in December?

cultural arts tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Promenade all decked out for Christmas

December Performances at the Stage on Forest/Promenade:

Thursday, Dec. 1

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Ryan Heflin

Saturday, Dec. 3

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Felisha Dunne

Sunday, Dec. 4

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Adam Lasher

Friday, Dec. 9

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Jodi Siegel

Saturday, Dec. 10

5:30- 7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Ava August

Sunday, Dec. 11

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Andrew Corradini

Friday, Dec. 16

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Beth Wood

Saturday, Dec. 17

5:30-7:30 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Kelly Fitzgerald

Sunday, Dec. 18

5-7 p.m.

Stage on Forest - Molly Bergman

“There’s No Place Like Home” for the Holidays: Laguna Playhouse presents four magical shows

Laguna Playhouse presents four enchanting ways to celebrate the holiday season: The Wonderful Winter of Oz: A Holiday Panto, The Skivvies: Sleigh My Name, Sister’s Christmas Catechism and Rita Rudner: Its Beginning To Look A Lot Like New Year’s with performances beginning Thursday, Dec. 8 and continuing through Thursday, Dec. 29.

The “There’s No Place Like Home” for the Holidays shows are:

The Wonderful Winter of Oz: A Holiday Panto

December 8-29: Tickets: $36-$71 (with Golden Ticket Add-on $121).

there's no oz

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Photos courtesy of Laguna Playhouse

“The Wonderful Winter of Oz: Holiday Panto” begins on December 8

Laguna Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Panto invite everyone to join Olivia Sanabia (Amazon’s Just Add Magic) and Barry Pearl (Grease) to take a new adventure to the enchanted Land of Oz in their fantastically fun production. Based on the British tradition of pantomime, where the audience’s participation is part of the show, expect a hilarious, heartwarming evening full of song, dance and holiday merriment! The classic American tale gets a holiday makeover as Dorothy is spirited away by a blizzard on Christmas Eve and finds herself in a strange and wondrous land full of witches, munchkins and more. With beloved holiday tunes and a talented cast, you’ll discover the magic of panto to enrich your holiday season. 

The Skivvies: Sleigh My Name

December 12-13: Tickets: $41-$51.

there's no sleigh

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“The Skivvies: Sleigh My Name” begins on December 12

Out Magazine described the show as, “Part Weird Al-parody and part sexy/burlesque…an unusual explosion of satire and sultry.”

The Skivvies are back! Broadway’s Lauren Molina and Nick Cearley return to the Laguna Playhouse for two nights of the most outrageous holiday show of the season. This undie-rock, comedy pop, award-winning duo perform stripped-down, mashed-up versions of holiday favorites and more. Expect to see ukulele, electric cello and an array of zany instruments.

Featured in People magazine’s Hottest Bodies Issue and as Sports Illustrated’s Favorite New Band, The Skivvies’ award-nominated live shows will again feature celebrity special guests, (which in past years have included Kirsten Vangsness, Dylan Mulvaney, Emerson Collins and Blake McIver), having wild fun, packed with big voices and crazy harmonies. But no pants!

Sister’s Christmas Catechism

December 19-20: Tickets: $51.

there's no sister

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“Sister’s Christmas Catechism” begins on December 19

It’s “CSI: Bethlehem” in this holiday mystery extravaganza, from the author of Late Nite Catechism, as Sister takes on the mystery that has intrigued historians throughout the ages – whatever happened to the Magi’s gold? (“We know that Mary used the frankincense and myrrh as a sort of potpourri – they were in a barn after all.”) Retelling the story of the nativity, as only Sister can, this hilarious holiday production is bound to become a yearly classic. Employing her own scientific tools, assisted by a local choir as well as a gaggle of audience members, Sister creates a living nativity unlike any ever seen. With gifts galore and bundles of laughs, Sister’s Christmas Catechism is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday traditions.

Rita Rudner: “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like New Year’s”

December 31 at 7 p.m.: Tickets: $105-$131.

there's no rudner

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Rita Rudner in her seventh annual New Year’s Eve celebration 

Join superstar comedienne Rita Rudner at her It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like New Year’s, Laguna Playhouse’s seventh annual New Year’s Eve celebration. Rudner is back to usher in a hilarious start to 2023! Not only one of America’s top comediennes, she is also a New York Times bestselling author, as well as an award-winning television personality, screenwriter, playwright, Broadway dancer and actress. Don’t miss this comedy legend hosting her early evening New Year’s Eve party at Laguna Playhouse. Attendees will watch the ball drop on the East Coast, toast the end of 2022 and welcome in 2023. This very special evening includes a Champagne toast with a fabulous array of post-show desserts and festive New Year’s Eve party accessories, all included with the price of a ticket. 

All performances will take place at Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. 

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling 949.497.ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949.497.2787, ext. 229. Prices are subject to change.    

The box office is open Tuesdays through Sundays: 12-4 p.m.; Mondays it is open two hours prior to showtime until 15 minutes after curtain. It is open until showtime on all performance days.

For more information on all shows and programming, visit

Current art exhibitions at Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum’s (LAM) 10th annual Art & Nature Festival is currently on view through February 15, 2023. The Art & Nature festival raises environmental awareness and explores the cross-sections between nature and the arts. 

 Art & Nature exhibitions include The Sea Around Us by artist Rebeca Mèndez, an immersive 360-degree video art installation, that transports viewers to an area of the Pacific Ocean located 30 miles from the Laguna Beach coast, portraying the ocean as a fully animated body as well as a place of deep interconnectedness for all living things. Using scientific footage, the video shifts to thousands of oozing barrels of DDT on the seafloor being sampled by robotic arms. Pyramidion by artist Kelly Berg is an interactive sculptural experience that invites viewers to contemplate the layered history and unique geology of Laguna Beach. 

current art the big one

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Photos courtesy of LAM

“The Big One” by Robert Young

The Big One by artist Robert Young is thought to still hold the record as the largest painting ever created in Laguna Beach and is on display in the California Gallery. Five Summer Stories: The Exhibition, is presented in partnership with MacGillivray Freeman Films and Coast Film Festival in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic surf documentary, including a sneak peek of the film and historic imagery, clothing and items from the era of the film.

current art DeVerley

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Artist Ivy DeVerley (1879-1963) “Mask,” Dr. Iliana Rosen, c. 1925, Pastel on board, 22” x 15,” Gift of Nancy Dustin Wall Moure

  In addition to the Art & Nature festival exhibitions, Her Great Gift: The Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection is on view through February 12, 2023. The collection includes 40 artworks made from the 1830s through the 1970s that trace how artists documented the California experience. Her Great Gift is the first presentation of the Nancy Dustin Wall Moure Collection and features some of the earliest known oil paintings made in Southern California, California plein air paintings, watercolors from the WPA period, mid-century abstractions and explorations into Light and Space. Artists include Mabel Alvarez, Karl Benjamin, Norton Bush, D.J. Hall, Roger Kuntz, Fernand Lungren, James McCray, Arnold Mesches, Charles Rollo Peters, F. Grayson Sayre, Stanislav Szukalski, John Law Walker, Julian Bracken Wendt, William Wendt and many others.

current art torse

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“Torse” (Torso), c. 1935, by William Mortensen, Gelatin silver print from Mortensen’s Portfolio series; 5.14” x 6.5,” Courtesy of Dennis Reed Collection

The museum also presents Photography & Seduction: William Mortensen’s Laguna Beach, on view through January 15, 2023. The exhibition honors the Laguna Beach resident and is one of the only museum exhibitions of his work, illustrating his ascent as one of the most famous photographers of his time. Photography & Seduction is a journey through Mortensen’s career from his star-studded Hollywood beginnings to his teachings, as well as influences, processes and more. The exhibition aims to share Mortensen’s contributions to and influence on American photography, while also sharing his connection to Laguna Beach.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

For more information, go to

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