Town Crier: Week of Sept. 30

From left to right. LAM Board Chair Joe Hanauer, Anna Hills Award Recipient Ranney Draper, LAM Trustee Rick Balzer and LAM Executive Director Julie Perlin Lee. Photo/Laguna Art Museum

Laguna Art Museum Celebrates New Philanthropic Giving Group with Inaugural Dinner and Awards Night

On Sept.15, the museum celebrated the newest giving group with an inaugural dinner and awards night held at the beautiful Montage Laguna Beach, a major sponsor of the evening. The event was filled with energy and excitement, as Haddy Music provided entertainment, with florals from Cargo Creative, and delicious food and cocktails.

Guests were also treated to limited-edition Electro Florals created by the 2022 Directors Circle featured artist Baldemar Fierro, and joined by artist John Sonsini, whose work is currently on display at the museum, and the forthcoming 2022 featured Art & Nature artist Rebeca Méndez.

The evening also toasted California Art Historian Nancy Dustin Wall Moure for receiving the Wendt Award for her contribution to the arts and honored Ranney and Priscilla Draper with the Anna Hills Award for their generous support of the Laguna Art Museum and establishing a $1 million museum endowment fund, as well as their dedication to supporting the arts, environmental and educational causes that strengthen the local community.

“One of the highlights of the night was the presentation of the Anna Hills Award to Ranney and Priscilla Draper for their generous gift of $1 million to the museum’s endowment,” said Perlin Lee. “After the event, the museum received word that the Draper family’s generosity inspired not one, but two, individuals to pledge $100,000 gifts to ensure the longevity of Laguna Art Museum in our beautiful city.”

The museum offers a variety of support groups and membership levels that help keep art access alive and thriving. For more information about Laguna Art Museum, visit To stay connected and learn about upcoming events, follow the museum on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Comedy Night Fundraising Gala at Festival of Arts to Support Children’s Mental Health and Wellness Oct. 19

Extraordinary Lives Foundation (ELF) – a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving children’s mental health and wellness – will present its annual Comedy Night fundraiser on Wednesday, October 19 on the scenic Festival of Arts grounds in Laguna Beach. This year’s featured comedians include headliner George Wang, Lowell Benjamin and comedian/host Frances Dilorinzo.

Over 200 guests are expected to attend the lively evening featuring silent auction, dinner, and comedy show. Headliner George Wang Jr is an actor, professional comedian and skate coach known for his Cruzzin with Laffter Comedy ShowInside the Laughter and What’s Up Fool? podcast. Lowell Benjamin is a professional comedian and cohost of “You Don’t Know Schiff” podcast and the quick-witted creator of Dry Bar Comedy Special Frances Dilorinzo returns for the third year as fundraising host.

Extraordinary Lives Foundation founder and CEO Mara James said, “While this evening will bring a fun evening of light and laughter, it also sheds awareness and generates funding for our important children’s mental health and wellness programs.”

An estimated one in five children have a diagnosable mental health condition and funds from the Comedy Night will fund ELF’s Piggie Bear educational resources to increase children’s emotional development and their HUGS for Life Healing Center bridging the gap between mental health medical professionals and holistic healers.

The evening is cocktail attire and begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour and silent auction followed by dinner, comedy show and live auction at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $225, and a limited number of tables of 10 and sponsorship opportunities are still available.

The Festival of Arts grounds are located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 and free valet parking will be available.

To register for the Comedy Night, visit For information about ELF,

Santa Barbara Wine Country Comes to Laguna Beach on Nov. 17

Santa Barbara Wine Country, named Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year for 2021 and recently honored with multiple wine scores over 90+ points, is bringing some of its acclaimed wines to Laguna Beach for special Wine Tasting Pop-Ups. 

The fall tasting events will feature various varietals, from small production to highly sought-after wineries. Guests will learn the best wines to gift and pour for their guests this holiday season. The event will be on Nov. 17, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Wine Gallery in Laguna Beach. Enjoy tasting a variety of wines and light bites. Guests must be 21 or older. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased on Eventbrite. Wine Gallery is located at 1833 S. Coast Hwy., #110, in Laguna Beach.

Festival of Arts Now Accepting Artist Applications for 2023 Summer Fine Art Show

Calling all Orange County artists! One of the nation’s most prestigious and highly competitive art exhibitions, the Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is now accepting artist applications for the 2023 juried fine art show. Heading into its 91st season, the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show showcases original artwork from over 100 of Orange County’s finest artists, attracting worldwide audiences of over 200,000 during the two-month summer season.

Artists interested in applying for the 2023 Fine Art Show must submit three digital images per media and complete an online application on the Festival’s website at by Oct. 31, 2022. Artists applying to the Festival of Arts must be able to show that they have resided in Orange County for at least one year prior to Oct. 31, 2022. Jurying fees are $50 per medium submitted. The Festival jurors score the submitted artwork based on excellence of craftsmanship; facility with media; excellence in the use of design elements; and professional presentation.

The Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA) will host a free seminar to share all the necessary information on the Festival’s application and jurying process on Oct. 9, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. PST. The event will include a presentation by Festival of Arts Exhibits Director Christine Georgantas and offer attendees the opportunity to meet current and past Festival of Arts exhibitors.

The seminar will be hosted at OCCCA, located at 117 N Sycamore Street, Santa Ana, CA 92701. Reserve a spot by Oct. 5. Refreshments will be served. For questions on the seminar, email [email protected], call 949-464-4205, or visit . To stay up to date on all things Festival of Arts, follow the Festival on social media at @FestivalPageant and visit

Dr. Yarchin to speak at LBUMC World Religions Series this Sunday

Dr. William Yarchin, the Emeritus Endowed Professor of Religious Studies at Azusa Pacific University, will speak about today’s Christian church’s status, challenges, and commonalities with other faiths, this Sunday, Oct. 2 at 11:15 a.m. in the sanctuary at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church. Yarchin recently led a well-received study of the Dead Sea Scrolls at the church. The series is also being live streamed and recorded for viewing on LBUMC’s Facebook page.

Yarchin is one of three distinguished speakers who will address the nine-week World Religions Study. Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi, Director of the Islamic Society of Orange County in Garden Grove, will speak on Oct. 23, and Rabbi Peter Levi, Director of the Anti-Defamation Leagues’ Orange County office and former president of the Orange County Board of Rabbis, will speak on Nov. 13. Each speaker will discuss his own religion as well as similarities and common ground with the others.

Dan Gara, chairman of adult education at LBUMC, will provide the history of each religion on Oct. 9 and Oct. 30; LBUMC’s pastor Lynn Francis will offer their theologies on Oct. 16 and Nov. 6.

Following his studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Dr. Yarchin earned a PhD in Religion at Claremont Graduate School and directed the Ancient Biblical Manuscripts Center at Claremont School of Theology. He later served as Associate Dean in the School of Theology at Azusa Pacific. His publications center on the history of Biblical interpretation, and his research on Hebrew Psalms manuscripts has established a revision in the understanding of them that is globally accepted. In 2019 he was invited to lecture on his research at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church is located at 21632 Wesley Drive, up the hill from the Gelson’s Shopping Center. Find out more at 

No Square Theatre Audition Classes

No Square Theatre brings expert advice to young people who plan to audition for any singing role. Children and teens 11 to 18 years old now have affordable access to instruction and the “inside knowledge” of successful professionals in theater entertainment thanks to a new program, Access Excellence. The program consists of two opportunities—Square One and Square Two. Learning how to audition well is the secret to success in musical theatre. Casting decisions are sometimes based on factors you can’t control (age, height, vocal range), but consistently good auditions—and call-backs—are the key to long-term success.

The Vocal Audition – Square One

Respected professional entertainers and educators with decades of experience in the industry will teach the 12 hours of instruction (six two-hour classes), beginning Nov. 1, plus two performances on Dec. 10. The performances will simulate actual audition experience and entertain friends and family. The cost is $50, and scholarships are available. Sign up at

The Remote Audition – Square Two

No Square Theater offers help with self-recordings for remote university and scholarship submissions. This support is available to any student seeking higher education in any musical theatre discipline: Dance, acting, or voice. The course is approximately two hours, or as needed to create your best video. This is a free support service provided by No Square Theatre to the community. Visit to register. 


No Square Theatre, located on 384 Legion St., is sponsored by Lodging Establishments & City of Laguna Beach, Patrick Quilter, Dorene & Lee Butler Family Foundation, Yvonne & John Browning, City of Laguna Beach, Chris Quilter, Rotary Club of Laguna Beach, FOA Foundation, Laguna Real Estate Charitable Assistance Fund. ACCESS EXCELLENCE is made possible by a grant from The City of Laguna Beach.

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