Town Crier: Week of Dec. 29


LOCA Expands to South Laguna, Offers extended learning classes

LOCA Art Education will offer new classes for all ages starting in January. Photo courtesy of LOCA Arts Education

LOCA Arts Education has expanded its class offerings to the south end of town, at the new Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center, overlooking Treasure Island Park. The location is easy to reach from town but also from neighboring communities of Dana Point, Laguna Niguel, and San Clemente.

LOCA’s all-new classes, open to the public, are offered in a series – rather than as single events. The classes are taught over several weeks, in three to eight sessions. “Our extended learning schedule allows students to get familiar with each instructor and slowly build a “toolbox of skills” that will make them better artists,” said Sherry Bullard, LOCA Education Coordinator.

Beginners and all levels are invited. Offerings include oil painting of nature scenes with Lisa Rainey, from Jan. 12 to March 1. Adult students will learn composition, drawing, color mixing, and brushstrokes, among other techniques. Lydia Delgado will teach watercolor painting over three sessions, with an emphasis on keeping colors fresh and lively. Sherry Bullard will teach clay building to after-school kids Jan. 17 through Feb. 28. Slab, pinching, coiling, and glazing will be taught and kiln firing is included. Nature lovers will love Art on the Wild Side, for kids and adults, taught by Allison Keefe and Elizabeth McGhee. Everyone will learn about native plants, animals, and tidepool life – and create drawings, paintings, and collages.

The center offers panoramic ocean views and free on-site parking. Register now on the Art Escapes pages at 30516 S. Coast Highway at Cardinal Drive.  

OCTA to offer free bus rides for New Year’s Eve

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley has released a statement highlighting the Orange County Transportation Authority’s free bus ride service on OC Bus for New Year’s Eve. OCTA will provide free bus rides from 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 31 to 2:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 1. 

“Many free options exist to safely party on New Year’s Eve. Don’t destroy your life or another’s by driving under the influence on New Year’s Eve or ever. You will regret it. And families will suffer. Designate a driver, call a friend or family member, call a ride share service or cab, or take the OCTA bus for free. Just don’t drink and drive,” Foley said.  

Riding OC Bus is a safe and reliable way to get to popular destinations around Orange County, including bus routes that operate to the beach communities in Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, and near destinations like the OC Fair and Event Center’s Winterfest, Downtown Fullerton, Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Irvine Spectrum and more. 

The free bus rides, which have been offered for most of the past 21 years, began in 2002. The complimentary service includes all Orange County fixed bus routes, providing a public transit option for those who choose to go out to mark the New Year. 

Passengers may board any fixed route OC Bus during the specified time, with no bus fares or special passes required. Those planning to ride the bus for New Year’s celebrations are encouraged to plan their trip ahead of time and review specific route locations and hours of operation on each route by visiting 

Free rides begin at 6 p.m., so those getting a start prior to that time must pay the $2 bus fare or use an OC Bus pass. 

To date, the free service has recorded more than 72,000 boardings since it began in 2002.

Opera and Shakespeare buffs are going to love January at the Susi Q

Continuing the goal of supporting the arts in Laguna Beach, the Susi Q will present two programs in the new year that will delight lovers of Shakespeare and of opera. 

On Tuesday, Jan 23, from 4 – 5:30 p.m., in partnership with Lyric Opera of Orange County, Susi Q will host a production of Puccini’s “La Bohème” following the success of Figaro in the same venue.

Lyric Opera OC’s operas are presented in a concert format, with minimal to no staging or costumes, but with piano accompaniment. English supertitles appear on Susi Q’s large flatscreen TVs to aid the audience in following the story behind the opera.

“[In this opera], a poet, a painter, a musician and a philosopher are living together in Paris when one freezing Christmas Eve their lives are changed forever,” explained Diana Farrell, Lyric Opera OC’s Artistic Director/President. 

The audience will enjoy an intimate up-close, one-of-a-kind, operatic performance featuring guest conductor Jacob Sustaita of the Pacific Symphony, and starring a distinguished LOOC cast of eight. The performance is generously sponsored by Faye & Wayne Baglin & Joy Dittberner.

While the concert itself is free, there will be a registration fee of $5 to cover administrative costs. Doors open at 3:15 p.m. for light refreshments. Click here to register.

Parking will be limited. Please consider carpooling, ride sharing or City transportation. 

Shakespeare Reading Circle attracts would-be thespians

Julie Lupton’s “Shakespeare Reading Circle” is another Susi Q nod to the classics of the past. She’ll lead participants – you! – in reading from Shakespeare’s play “The Merry Wives of Windsor.” The play, focused on love and marriage, jealousy and revenge, features Falstaff – who appears in the Henry IV and V plays – as a man in love.

Lupton assigns parts scene by scene, breaking frequently for discussion. No background in Shakespeare or drama is required. 

During the course of Lupton’s program, she’ll be reviewing clips from Verdi’s “Falstaff” which she calls “the play’s greatest adaptation and operatic masterpiece.”

And in a happy coincidence, Lyric Opera’s next presentation at the Susi Q following La Boheme will be “Falstaff,” on April 24. 

Lupton, Ph.D., is the co-director of UCI’s New Swan Shakespeare Center and Distinguished Professor of English at UC Irvine.

Shakespeare Reading Circle: “The Merry Wives of Windsor” will take place on consecutive Tuesdays between 4 and 5:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 30, with the last session on Feb 27. This class is being offered only on Zoom. 

To RSVP by phone, call 949-715-8105 or email [email protected].

Tickets Available for LBHS Theater Boosters January fundraising gala 

Laguna Beach High School Theater Boosters are hosting a gala on Jan. 20 at the Woman’s Club called A Night at the Copacabana, featuring former Laguna locals and special guests, Mark Waters, Director of Mean Girls, along with his wife, renowned actress, Dina Waters and a plethora of high school talent. Mark will conduct a Q&A session with the audience about his experience directing Mean Girls. The play adaptation of the movie is this school year’s theater spring musical, which has just been cast and will premiere in March 2024. At the gala, dinner will be included, and a silent auction will be part of the festivities, along with some surprises. The gala promises to be a fun and memorable evening, with the feel of “A Night at the Copacabana” driving the decor and vibe. Please note that The Woman’s Club’s capacity is limited. Ticket information can be found at

The LBHS Theater Boosters is on a quest to raise funds for the theater program this year. Not since before COVID have they had any major fundraising efforts. They hope this year’s gala raises enough money to help supplement the costs of our theater director, Meghan Marshall’s wish for her students to attend three thespian festivals while bringing awareness of the program back to the community. As many may know, the high school theater program has a rich history of great entertainment and widespread community support. The Boosters are trying to restore the program to its former glory.

Global Climate Generation Event: ‘The Climate Generation: Born into Crisis, Building Solutions’

Learn how young people confronted by global climate issues are actively shaping change. A team of journalists from The Christian Science Monitor traveled for eight months to report on the work of young emerging leaders on several continents and will share their stories and photos next month at the Newport Beach Civic Center. The event is especially geared toward environmental groups, nature study groups, climate-oriented organizations, educators, universities, community colleges, high schools and middle schools.

The event is based on a Monitor series supported by the Pulitzer Center and will be held Thursday, Jan. 18, at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Newport Beach Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach. Reservations are required and can be made by emailing [email protected] and leaving each attendee’s name and contact information. All are welcome.

Project editor Clara Germani shared how the project impacted her, “I was seeing positive connections across the world that give me hope. There was not a single place we traveled to where there wasn’t a sense of a solution focus. [Those interviewed] are taking the first steps of living amid global warming.”

For more information, contact Christine Negley, Monitor Distribution Chair, [email protected] or [email protected] or 312-330-6855 to leave a voicemail. Event is locally sponsored by the Christian Science Reading Room at 2436 West Coast Highway, Ste. 105, Newport Beach.

Laguna Art Museum events

Self Help Graphics & Art: Special Event and Celebration – Jan. 13 at 6 p.m.

Join LAM for a panel discussion with artists and administrators who will discuss the past, present, and future of Self Help Graphics & Art (SHG) as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Self Help Graphics & Art at a special closing reception for the exhibition. Discussion will include SHG’s support of artists and its role in the evolution of Chicano practices. Speakers are: Cultural leader and former director of Self Help Graphics Tomas J. Benitez; artist Alex Donis, whose work is included in the exhibition; SHG Director of Artistic Programs and Education Marvella Muro, and artist Patssi Valdez, whose work is also included in the exhibition. The panel will be moderated by Rochelle Steiner, LAM Curatorial Fellow and Guest Curator of Marking an Era: Celebrating Self Help Graphics & Art at 50, which is on view at Laguna Art Museum.

More information about LAM events can be found at

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