Nearly 400 guests attended and raised close to $250,000 at the 12th annual Laguna Beach Taste of the Nation event, hosted by Montage Laguna Beach on May 5. Funds raised will be allocated to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry incentive, which was established to end childhood hunger in the U.S. by ensuring kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast, and families learn skills to shop and cook on a budget.
Australian celebrity chef and television personality, Curtis Stone, participated in the benefit and signed his cookbook “Good Food, Good Life,” donating all proceeds to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. In addition, his live auction bidding for a backyard barbecue by the award-winning Curtis Stone Events team for 30 guests raised $15,000.
Studio’s Chef de Cuisine Benjamin Martinek served as the event’s host chef. Other participating chefs included: Montage Laguna Beach’s Pastry Chef Lee Smith; Xavier Solomon and Alexis Palacios of Montage Los Cabos, Mexico; Eric Samaniego of Michael’s on Naples Ristorante; Brother Luck of Four by Brother Luck; Chef Bryant Taylor of Chianina Steakhouse; and Bryan Brown of Bourbon Steak, A Michael Mina Restaurant.
Hollywood Icon Rock Hudson Back on Center Stage for Playhouse Gala
The guests of honor at this year’s Playhouse Gala will be the dining table and chandelier that once graced the Beverly Hills home of Hollywood actor Rock Hudson.
Laguna locals and longtime Playhouse supporters Al Roberts and Ken Jillson have donated the pieces for auction at the Gala, to be held on Saturday, May 18, at Fashion Island Hotel.
Roberts and Jillson received the pieces in 1985 from Hudson’s estate after his passing. Designed by noted celebrity interior designer Peter Shore, the solid wood table was Hudson’s favorite home dining spot to entertain Hollywood elite.
Playhouse artistic director, Ann E. Wareham, said she’s appreciative of the donation.
“I have enjoyed getting to know both Ken and Al over my last eight years in Laguna Beach,” she said. “Their support of Laguna Playhouse has always been evident. But this manifestation of their generosity is a fitting and fabulous tribute to their dear friend. We are deeply grateful to be the recipients of this most creative gift.”
“The legend and mystique of one of the best loved stars in show business history lives on in this year’s Laguna Playhouse auction,” said Mark Griffin of his friends’ donation. Griffin is the author of “All That Heaven Allows,” a newly released biography on Hudson.
For more information about the 2019 Laguna Playhouse or to purchase tickets to bid on these pieces, visit www.lagunaplayhousegala.org.
LBHS Drama, Park Avenue Players present ‘Little Shop of Horrors’
A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, “Little Shop Of Horrors” has devoured the hearts of theatre-goers for over 30 years. Howard Ashman and Alan Menken are the creative minds behind what has become one of the most popular shows in the world.
This LBHS Drama presentation is performed in concert style with live on-stage musicians at Thurston Middle School’s Black Box Theater. The show will run May 24-26, with a 4 p.m. show on Friday and 2:30 p.m. shows on Saturday and Sunday.
Tickets are $10 for students and $15 for adults and can be purchased at lbhs.booktix.com.
Little Shop of Horrors is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International. Thurston Middle School is located at 2100 Park Avenue in Laguna.
LCAD Announces Commencement and Keynote Speakers
Brian Peterson, co-founder of Faces of Santa Ana, will deliver the LCAD commencement address at 4 p.m. on Monday, May 24, at the Laguna College of Art and Design main campus, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.
Faces of Santa Ana is the passion project of Brian Peterson, an artist from Miami, currently working as a car designer for Kia Motors in Irvine The mission of his project is to help those in need in cities around the world, while also inspiring and activating creatives and supporters to become involved in their community. He befriends and paints portraits of the homeless community and sells the finished work, using the proceeds to improve the lives of those he paints. “The creativity we’ve been given is meant for the outward pouring of love,” said Peterson.
“LCAD continually reinforces the positive impact art can have on society with our students, and Faces of Santa Ana supports that message,” said LCAD President Jonathan Burke.
The keynote address will be given by Julia Meni, an LCAD senior majoring in Graphic Design + Digital Media. A native of Brazil, Meni transferred to LCAD in 2015 and felt she’d finally found her home. In 2017, she participated in LCAD’s first Anaheim Ducks Honors Lab. “I was the youngest and least experienced student in that class, and it pushed me to work harder than I ever had,” she said. “The experience made me grow as a designer and a person.” She has taken other collaborative classes led by creative directors of companies with whom LCAD has educational partnerships. “I’m very honored to represent the class of 2019 and I believe when you become an LCAD student and alumnus, you are part of a family,” Meni said.
THE WRITE STUFF
Local Author Releases Second Novel
Lynnette Beers, of Laguna Beach, recently published her second book, a novel titled “Saving Sam”—a fast-paced story of intrigue, romance, and suspense. The book tells the story of a young lifeguard named Sam Cleveland who battles the raging ocean to keep beachgoers safe. One day while she risks her life to rescue swimmers from the rough surf, Sam’s world comes crashing down when she learns that her brother has been in a serious accident. She must leave San Diego to return to her hometown in Mississippi—a place that holds a horrid memory from her childhood. Always protective when Sam was a child, Robert clings to life while investigators search for the person responsible for his accident.
Lynnette sought help from local Laguna Beach lifeguards while doing research for the book. “Saving Sam” is published by Regal Crest Enterprises and can be purchased as an e-book or in print. For more information, visit regalcrest.biz/product/saving-sam.