Town Crier: Week of Jan. 6


Madonna & Beyoncé Concert Art Director Kathy Lajvardi Debuts New Art at Grace Galleries

Cutline: Artist Kathy Lajvardi debuts her new work starting Jan. 7 at Grace Galleries in Laguna Beach. Submitted photo

Artist Kathy Lajvardi has announced the launch of her empowering series of works born from her influential life experiences and Iranian heritage. Her new series, “Unbreakable Queens” and “Unstoppable,” are inspired by the Iranian female-led revolution. The six empowering pieces bring together years of creative motion design experience, concert graphics for Madonna and Beyoncé, and her training at the prestigious Otis School of Art & Design.

Lajvardi’s new work springs from decades of award-winning design projects for global icons, including Madonna and Beyoncé and deep reflection on her life as an Iranian-born woman growing up in Los Angeles, influenced by music and culture. Lajvardi’s time in concert graphics inspired her to meld music with her art. 

“With this series, I’m telling a story of empowerment, strength, breaking through struggle from my point of view as an artist and as a woman,” Lajvardi said.

Lajvardi’s four-part portrait series, “Unbreakable Queens,” recounts the impact Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, and the iconic Iranian singer Googoosh had on the artist throughout her life. 

“Each of these women broke through barriers and personal struggles beyond their art. Their drive and desire to win is very powerful. I drew inspiration from them at various stages of my life,” Lajvardi said.

Lajvardi and her family endured the revolution in Iran in the late ’70s before moving to Los Angeles; the recent atrocities happening in her homeland weigh heavily on her. “I’ve been a part of the protests in Los Angeles and Orange County, going with busloads of other Iranians. I felt the energy of the people. An energy not of despair, but of resolve.”

Lajvardi harnessed this energy in two special mixed-media on wood pieces called “Unstoppable.” 

These works combine symbolic elements that represent the heart, soul and energy of the Iranian people, from the Lion to the national flower, all draped in the battle cry of “women, life, freedom.”

“Unbreakable Queens” & “Unstoppable” will be touring Southern California starting Jan. 7  at Grace Galleries in Laguna Beach and private showings. More information can be found about Lajvardi’s work on Instagram at @Kathylajvardi or

Your DNA Matters – a free Susi Q lecture Jan. 11

Have you ever been told to “know thyself first?” That’s a deep statement. Because many of us don’t know ourselves. If we did, we would be able to better understand those outside our identified ethnic group and begin to appreciate those from other ethnic groups; those we may be genetically connected to.

Have you wondered why your genetic makeup: facial dimensions, hair texture, or skin tone differed from your parents or siblings? Ever remotely thought there would be any chance that you could be connected to another ethnic group other than the one you identify with? Did you ever want to find out why? Your DNA Matters event on Jan. 11 might provide those answers. 

The “Your DNA Matters” lecture will feature speaker Richard Hill, an avid DNA testing enthusiast who will explain why DNA matters. He will delve into the term genetic genealogy and show what a DNA ethnicity test can reveal. Attendees will learn the reasons why DNA ethnicity tests often yield unexpected results. Hill will help his audience understand why siblings can have surprisingly different ethnicities and also explain why Native American ancestry is rarely found in the ethnicity reports of a DNA test. He’ll compare one person’s ethnicity report from all the major DNA tests. You’ll learn why one test or another might be your best choice for ethnicity purposes, and LBPD Officer Martinez will share the unique results of his DNA test. This free event takes place at Susi Q, from 6 to 8 p.m.

Other ethnicity events this month are “Unveiling Multiethnic Artwork” on Jan. 19 from 6 to 8 p.m., and “Celebrating Multiethnic Artwork,” also from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m on Jan. 27. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Laguna Beach will play host to the events. 

Open for Construction workshop at Mozambique Restaurant on Jan. 17

On Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m., the City of Laguna Beach will host an Open for Construction workshop at Mozambique Restaurant. All are welcome to join fellow industry professionals for an overview of the New California Building Standards Code.
California Building Standards will soon be entering a new code cycle with significant changes that affect design professionals, engineers, builders,  property owners, and real estate professionals.
This presentation will cover updates to the 2022 California Residential and Building Codes Standards.
Contractors, architects, real estate professionals, residents, property, and business owners are invited to attend. Registration includes lunch for $35. The lunch ticket includes choice of: vegetarian pasta, chicken, or salmon. Please note that there will be no walk-in tickets available. Registration will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 13. The Open for Construction workshop at Mozambique Restaurant located at 1740 South Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

Jedidiah Coffee Ribbon Cutting to be held Jan. 12

On Jan. 12 at 5:30 p.m., all are welcome to join the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce for a ribbon cutting ceremony welcoming Jedidiah Coffee.

“We have thoroughly enjoyed being a part of the local chamber this year, and are excited to make it official with a ribbon cutting at our roasting studio in Laguna Canyon. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as we’re celebrating two years at our current space in January,” Jedidiah Coffee Co-Founder and Owner Embry Munsey said.

“Laguna Beach is very fortunate to have this gem,” said Erin Slattery CEO of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. “Jedidiah Coffee is delicious. The roastery is only one of the business’s current operations. The space is not only for roasting productions, but houses their mobile espresso bar that’s been used for catering since 2017. In 2023, the Munsey’s hope to host more private events and coffee workshops at the Laguna Canyon location, and we all look forward to the grand opening at their North Laguna café once the location is ready.”

Jedidiah Coffee will gift a fresh bag of their brand-new house blend coffee to those in attendance. The Jedidiah Coffee Roastery is located at 2177 Laguna Canyon Rd. Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

Jedidiah Coffee will provide complimentary espresso drinks and treats from some of their favorite local bakers.

Laguna Environmental Groups To Celebrate Toni Iseman Jan. 12

Toni Iseman’s history-making 24 years as a Laguna Beach City Councilmember is extraordinary, but it is her even longer commitment to environmental service that also deserves recognition. Her fierce dedication to the Save The Canyon efforts and the 1989 Walk in the Canyon are well known, and ever since that time, Iseman has been a constant promoter of expanding and preserving open space in and around Laguna Beach. In honor of her contributions, Laguna Canyon Conservancy, The Laguna Greenbelt, Village Laguna, Laguna Canyon Foundation and CANDO (Canyon Alliance of Neighborhoods Defense Organization) are co-hosting a retirement party for Toni on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023. 

The party will be held at Bridge Hall in the Neighborhood Congregational Church at 340 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach from 6 to 8 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. It will be a luau-themed event with live music, a catered dinner, photo displays, time for tributes and special surprises. Guests are encouraged to wear Hawaiian-style attire. The public is invited, and reservations are necessary by Jan. 6. The cost for dinner, which includes one glass of wine, is $25 per person for members of any of the sponsoring groups and $35 per person for non-members. One can reserve a space via the website

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