Archives for July 23, 2019

PBS SoCal 10th Annual PBS KIDS Writers Contest Celebrates Young Students on Their Writing Achievements

The winners of PBS SoCal’s 10th Annual Writers Contest. Photo courtesy of PBS SoCal.

On Sat., June 8 from 3-4:30 p.m.,PBS SoCal celebrated young students on their writing achievements at the Los Angeles Public Library in Downtown LA. Guests were welcomed with opening remarks from PBS SoCal’s Director of Early Learning Susie Grimm as well as Senior Librarian for the Children’s Literature Department of the Los Angeles Public Library Brooke Sheets. Hosted by KPCC’s Education Reporter Kyle Stokes, the celebratory and free event included an awards presentation and live storytelling from the contest winners themselves. The sixteen winners received their awards onstage while proud families looked on and took selfies with Clifford the Big Red Dog. Three of the winners will have their stories animated using their illustrations and they will air on PBS SoCal later this year. A few of the top awards went to the following children in local communities:

Four 1st Place winners:

Kindergarten: Ezra K. (Fort Irwin, CA)

First Grade: Melvin G. (Los Angeles, CA)

Second Grade: Moses H. (Carson, CA)

Third Grade: Hannah Y. (Porter Ranch, CA)

Four Genre winners:

Humor: Sathvik V. (San Ramon, CA)

Kindness: Allyson O. (Glendale, CA)

Science Fiction: Katherine M. (Los Angeles, CA)

Illustration: Brittany C. (Irvine, CA)

For a full list of the winners and to read their stories, visit:

The Writers Contest is locally funded by Compass Charter Schools.

Credit: PBS SoCal.

Biggie Smalls, July 24th Pet of the Week!

One look at this big boy’s face, and you might think “Whadda sourpuss!” But looks are deceiving. Biggie Smalls is a cuddly sweetie-pie of a kitty. He’s only 4 years old and needs a home fast. Biggie’s got a medical issue in the form of an abscess that needs attention. If you’re one of the special people whose heart goes out to animals who can have a future and only need the means, Biggie’s for you. Meet him on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A628686.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Hosts Annual Cast & Crew Auditions July 27 – 28

The Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor Hosts Annual Cast & Crew Auditions July 27 – 28, 2019

SoCal’s most authentically terrifying haunt, Dark Harbor at the Queen Mary, will host monster auditions and operations interviews for Dark Harbor 2019 on July 27 – 28, 2019 from 10:00 AM  – 5:00 PM at the Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown.

Calling all monsters! The legendary Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor is back for another record-breaking, twenty-three haunted nights, and you can audition to be a part of the bloodcurdling action. If you aren’t afraid of things that go bump in the night, The Queen Mary wants you! Dark Harbor needs hundreds of performers to help bring the ghoulish nightmares to life this October. 

    • Main Cast / Back Up Cast (Chef, Scary Mary, Graceful Gale, Samuel the Savage, Half Hatch Henry, Iron Master, Maze and Street Monsters)
    • Specialty Acts (juggling, singing, magic, fire dancing, poi, acrobat, Cyr wheel, silks, contortion, blockhead, etc.
    • Sliders
    • Assistant Stage Managers (Maze Supervisors)
    • Operation Supervisors
    • Show Ushers & Greeters; Support ushers
    • Sales Associates
    • Guest Services Associates
    • VIP Hosts
    • Tour guides
    • Payroll assistants
    • Themed Beverage Attendants including: bartenders, bar-backs, beverage supervisors, and cabana attendants.

To audition for the 2019 Dark Harbor cast or operations team, register online at


  • Saturday, July 27, 10AM – 5PM
  • Sunday, July 28, 10AM – 5PM

Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown
500 E First Street, Long Beach, CA 90802

Credit: The Queen Mary.

Zookeeper Appreciation Day at the OC Zoo July 27th!

First 100 Kids will Receive a Free Train Ride Ticket for Irvine Park Railroad

Join the County of Orange and OC Parks for Zookeeper Appreciation Day on Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. to thank zookeepers for their hard work in caring for the animals at the OC Zoo.

Celebrate the efforts of the zookeepers with a fun-filled day of children’s activities including games, crafts and making thank you cards for zookeepers. Learn about the role of zookeepers as they give special treats and toys to the zoo animals.

Zookeepers will also be giving special “keeper chats” throughout the day along with a special talk called “So You Want to Be A Zookeeper” at 10:30 a.m. Visitors will have the opportunity to get a closer look into a zookeeper’s day, see some of the “tools of the trade” and meet some zoo animals up close.

Children are encouraged to come dressed in zookeeper attire and costumes. The first 100 children ages 12 and under will receive a free train ride ticket for Irvine Park Railroad.

Reservations for Zookeeper Appreciation Day are not required. Event activities are free with a paid zoo admission of $2 per person, ages 2 and under are free.

Zookeeper Appreciation Day at the OC Zoo

Date: Saturday, July 27

Time: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Location: OC Zoo

Address: 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange, CA 92869

Event Cost: Free with paid zoo admission of $2 per person, ages 2 & under are free

Parking: $5


Public Contact: (714) 973-6846

Credit: OC Parks.

Festival of Arts Calendar of Events & Workshops July 27 – August 2, 2019

Festival- Photos by Jeff Rovner

Weekend Nightly Music Schedule
Dates/Times: July 5 – September 1Daily at 5:30pmCost: Free with $15 Festival Admission

  • Saturday, July 27: Greg Manning
  • Sunday, July 28: Quarteto Nuevo

Concerts on the Green Sponsored by Cambria Estates Winery Russell Ferrante and Bob Mintzer from the Yellowjackets. Date: Saturday, July 27Time: 1 – 2:30pm Cost: Free with $15 Festival admission Limited seating available in reserved section for $40 per person (includes Festival admission).Multi-Grammy winning pianist Russell Ferrante is best known as a founding member of the Yellowjackets, whose 22 acclaimed albums over 35 years have made them a guiding force in modern jazz. He has worked with a variety of musicians including Joni Mitchell, Al Jarreau, Take Six, Bobby McFerrin, Michael Franks and many others. The Russell Ferrante Trio is made up of Russell on piano, Steve Schaeffer on drums, and Michael Valerion on bass. Twenty-year member of the Yellowjackets, saxophonist Bob Mintzer has recorded over 30 solo projects and was awarded with 4 Grammy nominations and a Grammy award for best large jazz ensemble recording. He has done session work for James Taylor, Steve Winwood, Queen, Donald Fagan, Milton Nascimento, and countless others.
Adult and Teen Art ClassesCeramic Glazing with Marty BarthDate: Saturday, July 27Time: 3pm – 5:30pmCost: $60 (includes Festival admission)This class is an introduction to the world of exotic glazes, showcasing the techniques behind unusual glazes not readily available to the general public. Using a ceramic piece created by Instructor Marty Barth, students will apply color and shine to their clay base. Participants will receive step-by-step instruction on proper application technique to create a stunning one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Discover your inner artist at the Festival of Art’s Adult and Teen Art Classes! Ages 13 and up. Reservations preferred. For full schedule and reservations, visit
Wine & Painting Nights Crystal Cove Perspective with Mark Jacobucci Date: Saturday, July 27Time: 8:30 – 10pmCost: $75 (includes Festival admission)Uncork your creativity this summer at the Festival of Arts! Enjoy a fun painting workshop, while surrounded by beautiful art. Learn easy step-by-step processes, as taught by noted Festival exhibitor Mark Jacobucci. Beginners and all levels are invited – take home your finished masterpiece! All supplies and complimentary wine or beverage are included. $75 materials fee per person, per class. For adults 21 and up. Reservations required. For full schedule and reservations, visit
Adult and Teen Art ClassesDrawing with Ray C. Brown, Jr.Date: Sunday, July 28Time: 3pm – 5:30pmCost: $60 (includes Festival admission)Students will learn the foundational principles of drawing. Working from a still life set-up, participants will be guided as a group and individually starting from a basic block-in all the way through to a completed rendered drawing. The students will also be informed as to the best materials and supplies to use when making their own drawings. All skill levels are welcome, from beginner to advanced. Discover your inner artist at the Festival of Art’s Adult and Teen Art Classes! Ages 13 and up. Reservations preferred. For full schedule and reservations, visit
Weekday Nightly Music ScheduleDates/Times: July 5 – September 1 Daily at 5:30pmCost: Free with $10 Festival Admission

  • Monday, July 29: Echoes
  • Tuesday, July 30: True Willie (part of the Tribute Tuesday music series)
  • Wednesday, July 31: Crystal Lewis
  • Thursday, August 1: Billy Valentine (part of the Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate series)
  • Friday, August 2: Wendy Smith-Brune (part of the Step into the Spotlight Music series)

Youth Arts Education WorkshopsDates/Times: July 8 – August 16 Mondays – Fridays 1pm & 3pmCost: $20+ material fee/session Bring out that creative spark in your young artist at the Youth Art Classes this summer at the Festival of Arts. Kids will enjoy art classes taught by professional Festival artists in mixed-media, watercolors, collage and more. Meanwhile, parents will have free time to view the artwork on display throughout the Festival grounds. Festival artists will also share some of their creative techniques in a fun and friendly environment that will inspire your kids to come back every week! Open to children ages 5 – 12. Reservations required. For schedule and reservations, visit

  • Monday, July 29: Printmaking (1pm), Drawing (3pm)
  • Tuesday, July 30: Ceramics (1pm), Painting (3pm)
  • Wednesday, July 31: Painting (1pm), Watercolors (3pm)
  • Thursday, August 1: Wax Painting (1pm), Ceramics (3pm)
  • Friday, August 2: Sun Prints (1pm), Mixed Media (3pm)

Art & Story TimeDate: Monday, July 29th Time: 12:30 – 1:30pmCost: Free with $10 Festival admission Art and Story Time is a weekly series for children 5 and under. Every Monday from 12:30 to 1:30pm, enjoy a different book read aloud plus a hands-on art project. Fun for children and their parents! On Monday, July 29, special guest Spiderman will be reading “The Very Busy Spider”  by Eric Carle. Early one morning a little spider spins her web on a fence post. One by one, the animals of the nearby farm try to distract her, yet the busy little spider keeps diligently at her work. When she is done, she is able to show everyone that not only is her creation quite beautiful, it is also quite useful! This multi-sensory book allows children to feel the pictures as well as see them. And with its rhythmic text, “The Very Busy Spider” becomes an experience to touch, to see, and to hear.
Portraits on the GreenDates: Tuesday, July 30th Time: 1 – 2pm Cost: Free with $10 Festival admission. Watch as Festival of Arts exhibitors paint, sculpt or photograph live models on the Festival’s Concert Stage. This series will focus on how an artists’ interpretation of the same subject matter can vary based on their own unique style and perspectives. Patrons are invited to observe the artists at work for an up-close look at their creative process.
Art Talks and Tea Sponsored by PBS SoCalDate: Wednesday, July 31Time: 1 – 2pmCost: Free with $10 Festival admission. Whether you’re an informed connoisseur, an amateur collector, or an art lover, join us for fascinating and informative discussions with the Festival of Arts exhibitors at our Art Talks and Tea, sponsored by PBS SoCal. Enjoy tea on the Festival’s green while listening to artists talk about their inspiration, history, and careers in art. On Wednesday, July 31, the topic will be “Artists Who Teach,” featuring art instructors Vinita Voogd and Greg LaRock.
Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate Sponsored by Charles Schwab Performance by Billy ValentineDate: Thursday, August 1Time: 5:30 – 7pmCost: $20 in addition to $10 Festival admission. Limited seating available in reserved section for $35 per person (includes Festival admission).Chocolate, wine, and all that jazz sweetens up the Festival of Arts this summer! On Thursday nights, indulge your senses at the Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate series. Sample a wide variety of Kendall-Jackson wines expertly selected to compliment and enhance the nuanced flavor of high-end chocolates from Cocoa Parlor. The Festival’s casual and classy outdoor setting, together with the soulful sounds of jazz surrounded by fine art, creates an ideal evening for friends, sweethearts, and family. Multitalented vocalist Billy Valentine’s varied career has taken him across the United States, throughout the many countries of Europe and even to Oman, a small country in the Middle East. Lately, he’s been frequenting local Los Angeles clubs, such as Vibrato in Bel Air, Café Cordiale in Sherman Oaks, and both The Vic and The Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica. His glorious singing voice can be heard on the hit series Son’s of Anarchy and on
 the television series, Boston Legal, from the theme song right through to the end of each and every episode.
Art and Yoga with LululemonDates: Friday, August 2 Time: 1 – 2pmCost: Free with $10 Festival admission. Grab your yoga mat and get ready to flex your creative muscles at the Festival of Arts for “Art and Yoga” with Lululemon. Experienced yoga instructors will guide participants through a relaxing and meditative session outdoors surrounded by fine art. Whether you are brand new to yoga and want to test the waters or an experienced Yogi, all skill levels are welcome.
Adult and Teen Art WorkshopsPainting with Carole Heiman-GreeneDate: Friday, August 2Time: 3 – 5:30pm Cost: $60 (includes Festival admission)In this easy, fun and entertaining class, students will create their own painting inspired by nature. With step-by-step guidance from the instructor, you’ll create a beautiful finished painting to take home. Discover your inner artist at the Festival of Art’s Adult and Teen Art Classes! Ages 13 and up. Reservations preferred. For full schedule and reservations, visit
Step into the Spotlight Music SeriesSponsored by Viking CruisesWendy Smith-BruneDate: Friday, August 2Time: 5:30 – 7pmCost: Free with $10 Festival admission. Limited seating available in reserved section for $20 per person (includes Festival admission).On Fridays the Festival brings to center stage some of those amazing voices that are usually seen (and heard) in the background with the music series “Step into the Spotlight.” There’s an extraordinary lineup of back-up singers or background vocalists who will take the stage this summer. As a music student at Norfolk State University, Wendy studied classical flute. She was a top scholar, which earned her a position with the prestigious “President’s Own”, which is also known as the White House military band. She graciously declined in order to seek musical ventures in Los Angeles. Although the orchestras of the West Coast were her main goal, word of an audition with Ray Charles caught her attention. With no vocal experience, she sang for Charles and was hired immediately.  She traveled the world with the genius of soul, and eventually went on to work as a backup singer for Michael Bolton, Sheena Easton, Chaka Khan, Gloria Estefan, Aaron Neville and Barry White.
Pints, Pinots and PrintsDate: Friday, August 2 Time: 8:30 – 10pmCost: $75 (includes Festival admission) Create a beautiful one-of-a-kind print with Festival exhibitor Vinita Voogd! Using a variety of colorful handmade papers and hand cut relief blocks, students will learn the basics of monoprint and overprint techniques in this creative printmaking class. Beginners and all levels are invited – take home your finished masterpiece! All supplies and complimentary wine or beverage are included. For adults 21 and up. Reservations required, visit

Credit for the event: Laguna Festival of Arts.