Town Crier: Week of Dec. 22

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Susi Q will offer two new opportunities to enjoy opera and Shakespeare in January. Photo courtesy of the Susi Q.  

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 opera.

On Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 4 to 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 subtitles will 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,” explains Diana Farrell, Lyric Opera OC’s artistic director.

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.

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 Lupton’s program, she’ll review 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 is the co-director of UCI’s New Swan Shakespeare Center and professor of English at UC Irvine.

Shakespeare Reading Circle’s “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].

Donate Toys for the Spark of Love Toy Drive

This year marks the 31st Anniversary of the Spark of Love Toy Drive, which will run now through Dec. 24. Make a child’s holiday brighter this year by donating toys to the Spark of Love Toy Drive! Toy drop-off locations include Laguna Beach Fire Stations Two, Three, and Four, City Hall and the police department. Any new unwrapped toy must be in its original packaging or box. Sports equipment (balls/tennis racquets, baseball bats) is not required to have a box or package. We cannot distribute clothing, personal care items, blankets etc. For questions about the Spark of Love toy drive, contact captain/paramedic Pat Cary at [email protected] or administrative captain John Kuzmic at [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 https://lbpab.org/theatre.

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.

Laguna Beach artist Rosalie Marsh-Boinus to exhibit at Grace Galleries

Rosalie Marsh-Boinus, a long-time Laguna Beach artist, is back again at Grace Galleries in Laguna Beach. Marsh-Boinus’s art is a fusion of post-French impressionism, German expressionism and surrealist abstract that she calls “modern expressionism.” Modern expressionism is a journey of color, light and line that features subjects reminiscent of a bygone era facing an unknown destiny in which the vibrancy of life’s journey is on full display.

Marsh-Boinus paints in oils, acrylics, and mixed media, using clay, gesso, sticks, leaves, and other natural materials to express her feelings that we are all connected to a shared planet and universe.

Marsh-Boinus’ background includes exhibiting 17 years at the Sawdust Art Festival, as well as many private art exhibits and a one-woman show at the Jewish Community Center in Irvine. For further information, email [email protected].

Laguna Art Museum events

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

Join us 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 www.lagunaartmuseum.org/events.

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