Laguna Observed


A Parisian Salon: Just Like Home


By Ruth Yunker

Just before I left on a trip I’ll mention in a minute, I went to Laguna Beach High School for one of Laguna Beach Live’s fabulous concerts.

It was The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, and to say it was a fantastic show is to say it perfectly.

I’d heard the leaders of this band, John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton, play up in Los Angeles, so I felt like I was watching family. The woman sitting behind me actually was watching family.  Her daughter, it turned out, is married to one of the trumpeters.  When he had his solo, my row and hers clapped extra enthusiastically…because now, of course, he felt like family.

It was a perfect night. The theatre was full. The weather was perfect. And the music just sang.

John Clayton told us they loved Laguna, except for the fact there seemed to be only one way in, therefore one way out, which apparently had brought on a slight case of claustrophobia.  Since we all know there’s another way out, I’m surprised no one shouted it out, but I’m sure they planned to go back the way they’d come.  But John assured us that we had been such a wonderful audience, and had made them feel so welcomed, they would look forward to coming back again.

Or something to that effect.

There is such a wonderful variety of venues in Laguna. And being a part of audiences in these various places is a feast for the senses. I’m thinking of a dance performance I saw a few years ago up on the roof of the Surf and Sand. Or the classical guitar I heard at the Neighborhood Congregational Church last year.

I’m in Paris right now. Yesterday I went to a small concert in an ornate room in the Carnevalet Museum.  If I’d closed my eyes, it could have been Laguna Beach.  Because here, in this cosmopolitan city, sat a small audience, listening to violin and vibes. The windows were open, a gentle breeze was coming in, the sun was going down.

Maybe I shouldn’t have been thinking about Laguna Beach, but I was!


Ruth Yunker is a humorist and writer.  Her book “Me, Myself & Paris” is available at Laguna Beach Books and

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