Archives for August 2019

Planes, Frogs & Obstacles? They’re All Happening at LA Fleet Week® 2019

Things will really be jumping at this year’s LA Fleet Week®—literally.  Added to the line-up of this annual multi-day LA Waterfront celebration of our nation’s Sea Services, Aug. 30- Sept. 2, will be two new crowd-pleasing events, U.S. Navy Leap Frog jumpers and an all-out battle of the fittest with USAA’s high-stakes Obstacle Course Competition. Aerial flyovers and demonstrations are back by popular demand as well.

The Leap Frogs” are the official parachute demonstration team of the U.S. Navy and part of the U.S. Naval Special Warfare Command. The team is made up of active-duty Navy SEALs, Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewmen (SWCC) and support personnel. Each day starting Saturday of LA Fleet Week, the Leap Frogs will make a spectacular parachute landing into the event. Often jumping from aircraft hovering more than two miles above, the Leap Frogs are a unique visual experience not to be missed. 

Also new this year at LA Fleet Week will be a high-intensity Obstacle Course Competition presented by USAA. As much a participant as a spectator sport, the relay-style competition will feature two-person teams racing against the clock to complete the athletically challenging course in the fastest time. From 150- to 200-lb. tire flips to track sprints, to weighted rope pulls and accuracy throwing drills, a winning team will be determined at the end of each competition day. 

For the Obstacle Course Competition, advanced team sign ups are recommended, though walk-up teams will accommodated as scheduling allows. Team competitions will be held Friday through Monday during LA Fleet Week from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. The obstacle course will be located in the Battleship IOWA parking lot near the Military Village. See more details here.

Dozens of military and first responder aircraft demonstrations will entertain event goers throughout the Labor Day Weekend. Aircrafts will soar over the Main Channel at the Port of Los Angeles to kick off Friday night’s Military Appreciation concert headlined by Cheap Trick, then regularly take to the skies between 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., Saturday through Monday.

On tap for the weekend will be U.S. Navy F/A 18 combat jet flyovers, as well as Search and Rescue (SAR) demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard. Other aerial demonstrations by various Los Angeles city and county first responders are also in the works. 

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U.S. Navy F-18 Aerial Demonstrations                                                                                          U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Demonstrations (SAR)

“It promises to be a great weekend of flyovers with the line-up we’ve got planned,” said Dennis Lord, LA Fleet Week aerial coordinator. “It’s a rare opportunity to see how the aviation component of so many agencies works to protect and guard the freedoms we all enjoy.”

Public ship tours will be available throughout the weekend on a first-come, first-serve basis, with no online reservations needed. Visitors will also be able to enjoy free live entertainment on the event’s Main Stage, a Veteran’s Village, a First Responder Village, a Military Village, a kids’ STEM Expo, and a selection of eats from food trucks onsite. 

Credit: LA Fleet Week®

The Angry Birds Movie 2 * A Fast-Paced Slapstick Sequel That Fans Will Particularly Enjoy

The flightless birds and scheming green pigs take their feud to the next level. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Damon F. comments, “The Angry Birds Movie 2 is an amazing sequel about a large group of birds who live on an island called Bird Island. These birds are always trying to fight their rivals, the pigs, who live on an opposite island called Pig Island. The first movie Angry Birds, was about how the rivalry between the islands first began. In this movie, while the two islands are still at war, a third island of eagles decide to join in, but in a more destructive fashion. The two enemy islands now must team up to stop the eagles from destroying them both.” Will C. adds, “The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a fast-paced slapstick comedy that fans of the first movie may enjoy. I liked seeing all the same characters again, plus a few new ones that were very funny. You won’t find the old angry Red in this movie, though. Now he’s a hero and everyone loves him. Personally, I prefer the Red of the first film, with his explosive outbursts.” See their full reviews below.

The Angry Birds Movie 2
Damon F., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 11

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is an amazing sequel about a large group of birds who live on an island called Bird Island. These birds are always trying to fight their rivals, the pigs, who live on an opposite island called Pig Island. The first movie Angry Birds, was about how the rivalry between the islands first began. In this movie, while the two islands are still at war, a third island of eagles decides to join in, but in a more destructive fashion. The two enemy islands now must team up to stop the eagles from destroying them both.

In this film, there is a subplot about three cute hatchlings who accidentally lose some eggs while playing around. Throughout the movie, it shows them trying their best to bring them back home safely before their parents realize what they have done.

This movie is based on a popular game by Rovio Entertainment called “Angry Birds”. In the game, you play as the birds use a giant slingshot to take back eggs from the pigs. The slingshot and other items from the game are replicated in the movie in some appealing animation.

Throughout out the movie there are a lot of different references to old TV shows and movies. For example, the way Red builds his team is similar to the character introductions in Ocean’s 11. I found this cool and funny.

My favorite scene in this movie is when the three hatchlings are trying to get the eggs off a cloud. They miss it and keep going up higher and higher. As they leave the planet and enter space, the song “Major Tom” by David Bowie starts playing. This scene is hilarious because the animated characters are put in front of a realistic space picture and they look completely out of place. My favorite character in this film is Chuck. I like him because he is very fast and almost instantly gets things done. Chuck is also very funny because he is very possessive about his sister. The message of this movie is that sometimes you need to work with your enemies to win.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 4 to 18 because there are a bunch of different jokes that will appeal to kids and adults. I think adults will enjoy watching this with their kids. This film opens in theaters August 17, 2019.

The Angry Birds Movie 2
By Will C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Angry Birds Movie 2 is a fast-paced slapstick comedy that fans of the first movie may enjoy. I liked seeing all the same characters again, plus a few new ones that were very funny. You won’t find the old angry Red in this movie, though. Now he’s a hero and everyone loves him. Personally, I prefer the Red of the first film, with his explosive outbursts.

In the first Angry Birds movie, the birds and pigs were at war. In The Angry Birds Movie 2, they have to team up against a common threat. As the movie begins, the pigs and birds are still happily fighting each other, but then a mysterious frozen ice ball lands on Pig Island. King Leonard Mudbeard realizes he can’t fight this himself and calls a truce with the birds. Together, they find out that a very angry bird named Zeta is trying to destroy their islands to create her own paradise. The rest of the movie involves their plan to sneak onto Zeta’s Island and crush her island-destroying machine.

There are a lot of funny sequences where the voice actors really excel, including a subplot where baby birds rescue a group of eggs. The animation is really well done – it brings the characters to life as well as creates a beautiful world of islands.

The message of this film is that teamwork is always better than fighting. Parents should know that there’s some mildly crude humor, like butt jokes. A bathroom scene with potty humor got the most laughs at the screening I attended.

I rate this film 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for children ages 7 to 12. Angry Birds 2 opens in theaters everywhere August 13, 2019.

Blinded by the Light * Inspirational Dramatic Comedy With Excellent Performances And Lively Script

In 1987, during the austere days of Margaret Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family, and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Blinded by the Light is a very inspirational comedy-drama based on the accounts of real-life writer Sarfraz Manzoor. It is buoyed by excellent performances and a lively script. The movie truly has something for everyone.” Ivey H. adds, “Blinded by the Light is a very interesting film about a boy wanting to become a writer.  He is introduced to a famous American singer and becomes inspired. It is a humorous film, but does touch on serious issues of family as well as cultural and economical struggles.” Morgan B. wraps it up with, “I love how the people who made this film brought back a bit of the past by making it take place in the 1980s. That makes it even more fun to watch, because we get to see things such as huge phones record players, cassette tapes and so much more. This makes it feel more realistic and fun to watch.” See their full reviews below.

Blinded by the Light
By Arjun N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Blinded by the Light is a very inspirational comedy-drama based on the accounts of real-life writer Sarfraz Manzoor. It is buoyed by excellent performances and a lively script. The movie truly has something for everyone.

The film follows music fanatic and writer Javed (Viveik Kalra), who after discovering the back catalogue of Bruce Springsteen or “the Boss,” is inspired by lyrics that feel all too familiar to the aspirational teenager. Wanting to escape his racist hometown and the rules of his traditional Pakistani family, Javed finds himself caught between two worlds and must discover if he is born to run.

Viveik Kalra, as Javed, is phenomenal at making his character relatable and inspiring. Kalra, like Himesh Patel from Yesterday, debuts with charm as well. Javed is hilarious, but also takes the surroundings of Thatcher-era Britain seriously. He is a role model for all. Aaron Phagura, as Rhoops, is also a standout as his character’s similar situation to Javed’s adds layers to their identity complexes. Hayley Atwell, as Ms. Clay, is an English teacher who inspires Javed to write. I quite enjoyed her inclusion as she fits the role well. Kulvinder Ghir, as Malik, also impresses as Javed’s dad. His character can be too stereotypical of ethnic ways, but this feels intentional as it satirizes both his culture and English culture.

Gurinder Chadha directs with a nice blend of comedy and drama. He brings life to Manzoor’s memoirs and I never felt any awkward total shifts. Some editing choices also bring great style. But, substance is at the main focus here as Chadha’s and Paul Mayeda Berge’s script is smartly witty. My favorite scene is Javed’s final speech to the school. Kalra’s performance is award-worthy and the script boasts great messages in the movie’s themes of pursuing dreams. My only flaw is that the second act sometimes drags with a romantic subplot that spins its wheels quickly, despite Nell Williams’ impressive performance as Nell.

The message of this film is about pursuing your dream, and also about remembering your family and always staying in touch. I give this film 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 8 to 18 as some language and racist behavior could be inappropriate for younger audience. The movie releases in theaters on August 16, 2019, so check it out.

Blinded by the Light
By Ivey H., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 13

Blinded by the Light is a very interesting film about a boy wanting to become a writer.  He is introduced to a famous American singer and becomes inspired. It is a humorous film, but does touch on serious issues of family as well as cultural and economical struggles.

Viveik Kalra plays his character Javed extremely well. Javed lacks confidence and struggles dealing with his father and his culture. He doesn’t feel like he fits in anywhere. You get the feeling he is held back by this. Along the way, people in his life believe in him and encourage him to go for his dreams.  His friend introduces him to Bruce Springsteen’s music, which inspires him. Then he transforms his look and gains more confidence.

His parents do not support his dream of becoming a writer.  The parents are excellent in this movie. His father is played by Kulvinder Ghir and his mother is played by Meera Ganatra. The father is hilarious and thinks that if an American is good at something, then they are Jewish. The whole family is dealing with money problems. I have to mention that his best friend, Matt is played by Dean-Charles Chapman who is fantastic in this role. He deals with his own issues in a different way.  They have a true friendship. My favorite part about Matt is his crazy 80s style hair. I love the costumes, music and dancing. It really takes you to another era. The wigs and the old jogging suits that they wear made me laugh! The costumes are bright for the 80s and the Pakistani outfits suit the family.  One of the funny parts that I like most is when the car won’t start and, instead of the dad pushing the car, he makes the entire family push it. Another funny part is when Javed celebrates his birthday and, to treat him like an adult, he is given pants as his gift. The movie exposes you to more serious matters of racism and what other cultures go through. It has very good timing and is a little quirky which I like.

The director Gurinder Chadha really delivers with this film. His timing and costumes are perfect. I didn’t really know who Bruce Springsteen was before, but I really like his music now. Thanks to Blinded by the Light, I am now a fan of this legendary musician.   


I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages xx to xx. It opens in theaters August 16, 2019. Look for it and give it a chance.

Blinded by the Light
By Morgan B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 14

Everyone get ready for a new adventure about a man and his relationship with a great artist who we all know as Bruce Springsteen.

My favorite character is Javed (Viveik Kalra), because he is someone that many people can relate to. He is a person dealing with many issues with his family, because they are very religious people who think that writing poems is wrong and that listening to nontraditional music is unheard of. On top of that, he is trying his best to become his own person and, with everyone on his back, it can be a bit hard for a young college student to do that.

I love how the people who made this film brought back a bit of the past by making it take place in the 1980s. That makes it even more fun to watch, because we get to see things such as huge phones record players, cassette tapes and so much more. This makes it feel more realistic and fun to watch.

The music is so good. I love how it all comes together to make a movie that sounds and looks so incredible. At times it not only looks like a film, but also a music video, all in one. This is a masterpiece in my mind and I greatly appreciate it.

I can’t wait to get the soundtrack of this film. The music is fun and friendly and has a deep meaning, which is something I admire. All the music is by Bruce Springsteen and now that I have heard some of his greatest hits I love him and his artwork. Can’t wait to get the soundtrack of this movie.

This one-of-a-kind true story is very inspirational as well as fun and lighthearted. It has a lot of meaning with its morals and values about following your dreams no matter what anyone tells you, have fun with your friends and family while you still can, and it’s okay to grow apart from your family and their values.

I recommend Blinded by the Light for ages 13 to 18. I think that adults will like this film as well even if they aren’t Bruce Springsteen fans. I give Blinded by the Light 5 out of 5 stars.  Make sure to look for Blinded by the Light at a theater near you when it opens August 16, 2019

How to have a fun staycation!

So residents of Southern (or Northern) California, there are so many delightful attractions and activities in our backyard in Southern California that you can easily plan a staycation instead of having to make a trip for a faraway destination.

The following are some attractions and locations that you and your family may want to explore or add to your bucket list:

Sunset Cliffs in San Diego is a spectacular spot and a marvelous destination for glorious walking trails, breathtaking views, and a place to take picture-perfect snapshots.

Idyllwild is a charming small mountain town with an artistic vibe. They celebrate with an annual Jazz in the Pines summer festival.

Gold Mine Tour in Julian, CA – The one-hour tour by the Eagle Mining Company is through an actual gold mine that takes you back to what life was like during the California gold rush.

Balboa Park in San Diego is a breathtaking urban park with its magnificent picturesque architecture, world-renowned galleries, and walking paths.

Chantry Flats Recreation Area in Sierra Madre is the perfect destination for picturesque hikes in the lush green Los Angeles National Forest.

Carpinteria in Santa Barbara County is a coastal city where you can shop along a quaint main street, dine in unique local restaurants, and walk along scenic trails.

Cedar Creek Falls in Ramona, CA offers a cool dip in the water created by a beautiful waterfall. If you are able and so inclined, you can take a challenging and strenuous hike before or after.

Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge is the picturesque place for a leisurely stroll through the scenic gardens and taking a ride on the Enchanted Railroad.

For overnight stays, you can download the app takeabed and make a commission (just like a travel agent would) on your booking (it’s like a rebate!) or share your favorite hotels with friends and family and earn commission from their bookings . Like a travel agent, takeabed allows users to earn a 10% commission on a booking. There is no cost for the app, no quotas, and no minimum to meet. The takeabed PLUS option gives you easy-to-use access to exclusive deals, the best prices in the market (wholesale rates) and payment up to a 30% commission of your bookings. If you want to try it, you can use promo code: Agent10 to avoid having to enter credit card information for a free-trial! The best part of it is, you do not need a travel agent to download takeabed and earn commission, so take advantage of the money-saving offers – it’s free! 

The savings are sure to make enjoying your mini getaways and day trips in sunny Southern California that much easier!

Queen Mary’s First-Ever Doggie Paradise 9/14 Giveaway Opportunity!

Bark Your Calendars for a Pawfect afternoon of Puppy Photo Ops
and Meet n’ Greets, Workshops, Adoptions and More

The Queen Mary invites all dog lovers, friends, and fanatics to the first-ever Doggie Paradise on Saturday, September 14 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Bring the pups and pooches out for a one-of-a-kind event celebrating the four-legged family members. Doggie Paradise offers a full day of entertainment and workshops, puppy photo-ops, pup arts and crafts, doggie free runs, mobile grooming, splash pools, ball pits, treats, merchandise, on-site pet adoptions, cutest dog contest and activities fit for all dogs and humans alike.

Who wants to treat their favorite pup to a day out? This is the pawfect opportunity for your four-legged loved ones! I can’t wait to take our pup Bink to this event!

Our pup Bink

We have teamed up with our friends at the Queen Mary to offer two tickets to this event! To enter, leave a comment below telling us something special about your furry family member. We would also love to see your pups photo on our Facebook page! Look for the FB post! Deadline is September 7th, 2019 at noon PST. One winner will randomly be selected.

For more info about the event, check out the Featured event post!

Self Disclosure: I received images to use for this post. We have teamed up with The Queen Mary for this pawfect opportunity!

Blossom, Aug. 22nd Pet of the Week!

Blossom at 4 months old has just begun to bloom. She’s a rare flower indeed, with her lovely face divided down the middle into a dark and a light side, like a tortie moon! With beauty like this, she’s bound to be a social-media darling, but Blossom would far prefer the love and security of a forever home. Meet Blossom at the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A626996.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

Festival of Arts Calendar of Events and Workshops August 24 – August 31

Celebrity Benefit Concert & PageantDate: Saturday, August 24

Times: 5pm Red Carpet, 6pm Concert

Cost: Tickets start at $50

This private event, presented by Southern California Acura Dealers and KOST 103.5FM, begins at 5pm with star-studded red carpet arrivals and fine art, followed by an exclusive live concert with Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated singer/songwriter Melissa Manchester and the Citrus College Blue Note Orchestra.

After the concert, award-winning actor, John O’Hurley, best known for his role as Mr. Peterman on “Seinfeld,” will draw the winning ticket for a 2019 Acura RDX and introduce a special performance of the 2019 Pageant of the Masters production of “The Time Machine.” Proceeds from this fundraising event go towards the Festival of Arts future arts programing.

Tickets to this star-studded event start at $50 and can be ordered at www.PageantTickets.com or by calling the Box Office at (800) 487-3378.


Adult and Teen Art Classes

Ceramic Glazing with Marty Barth

Date: Saturday, August 24

Time: 10am – 12:30pm

Cost: $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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Weekend Nightly Music Schedule

Dates/Times: July 5 – September 1

Daily at 5:30pm

Cost: Free with $15 Festival Admission

  • Saturday, August 24: Private Event (see Celebrity Benefit information above)
  • Sunday, August 25: Billy Valentine

Adult and Teen Art ClassesDrawing with Ray Brown

Date: Saturday, August 25

Time: 3pm – 5:30pm

Cost: $60 (includes Festival admission)

Students will learn the foundational principles of illustration. 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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Weekday Nightly Music Schedule

Dates/Times: July 5 – September 1

Daily at 5:30pm

Cost: Free with $10 Festival Admission

  • Monday, August 26:Quattrosound
  • Tuesday, August 27:Mad Dogs and the Englishman (part of the Tribute Tuesday music series)
  • Wednesday, August 28: Peter Sprague
  • Thursday, August 29: Black Market Trust (part of the Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate series)
  • Friday, August 30: Terry Steele (part of the Step into the Spotlight Music series)

Art & Story TimeDate: Monday, August 26

Time: 12:30 – 1:30pm

Cost: 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! Monday, August 12, will feature the book “The Duckling Gets a Cookie” by Mo Williems. Much to the chagrin of Pigeon, little Duckling uses very polite manners to request a cookie, and actually gets one. Filled with righteous fury, Pigeon loses his temper and complains bitterly about this terrible state of affairs. However, things aren’t what they seem, and Duckling has a secret plan! Part of the bestselling Pigeon series by genius children’s book author and illustrator Mo Willems.


Portraits on the Green

Dates: Tuesday, August 27

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 SoCal

Date: Wednesday, August 28

Time: 1 – 2pm

Cost: 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. The final Art Talk on Wednesday, August 28 will feature Joshua Rose, editor of American Art Collector magazine, for a discussion on up and coming artists and galleries in today’s art market.

Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate

Sponsored by Charles Schwab

Performance by Black Market Trust

Date: Thursday, August 29

Time: 5:30 – 7pm

Cost: $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.

The Black Market Trust is a five member jazz band based in Los Angeles. Since the 2012 release of their all instrumental debut album “The Black Market Trust,” a milestone in the genre of gypsy jazz, the band has gone on to record two more albums, maintain a busy touring schedule, and have their music featured on TV shows like the ABC television series “Happy Endings” and the Hulu original program “Casual.” The band features the Django Reinhardt inspired gypsy sound of acoustic instruments, and infuses classics from the Great American Songbook with intricate vocal harmonies inspired by The Beach Boys, and other artists influential to the group. Their sophomore album “II” featured a Top Ten hit on the Adult Contemporary charts, a signature version of “Route 66”.


Art and Yoga with Lululemon

Dates: Friday, August 29

Time: 1 – 2pm

Cost: 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.


Step into the Spotlight Music Series

Sponsored by Viking Cruises

Terry Steele

Date: Friday, August 29

Time: 5:30 – 7pm

Cost: 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.

Grammy winning singer/songwriter Terry Steele’s career has crossed musical boundaries and international borders.  His songs have sold millions of copies and have touched the heart and soul of millions of people around the world. Terry has written for or collaborated with megastar artists such as Whitney Houston, Dionne Warwick, Patti Labelle, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, The Spinners, Barry White, The Pointer Sisters, Arif Mardin, David Kershenbaum, George Duke and saxophonist Richard Elliott among many others. As the principal writer of the blockbuster hit, “Here And Now,” Terry garnered a Grammy nomination for “Best Rhythm & Blues Song” in 1990 and in that same year his composition won Luther Vandross his then first Grammy in the “Best R&B Male Vocal Performance” category.

Concerts on the Green

Sponsored by Cambria Estates Winery

Isaiah Sharkey

Date: Saturday, August 31

Time: 1 – 2:30pm

Cost: Free with $15 Festival admission Limited seating available in reserved section for $40 per person (includes Festival admission).

Isaiah Sharkley is poised to take center stage as he fuses together his background in rock, gospel, jazz, R&B, blues, and funk to create an original sound with an unmistakable dose of soul. His first digital offering is his distinctive rendition of Cream’s classic “Sunshine of Your Love.” The second offering Isaiah wrote, “Sandy,” is also now available digitally worldwide. His highly anticipated debut album Love.Life.Live. was released in September of 2017 and earned him the iHeart Radio Artist of the month in November for his single “It’s a Shame” featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff. His sophomore album Live is the Key: The Cancerian Theme will be released this summer.

Currently, Isaiah can be found on tour with 7 time Grammy Award winner John Mayer’s “The Search for Everything World Tour.” He has worked, recorded and toured with several world-renown and Grammy Award winning artists including Patti LaBelle, Christopher Martin of Coldplay, Paul Simon, Corrine Bailey Rae, Mike Posner, Keith Urban, Brian McKnight, Boyz II Men, Lalah Hathaway, Raphael Saadiq, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Dave and the Drumhedz, Regina Bell, Ruben Studdard, Lupe Fiasco, Kelly Price, Faith Evans, Rance Allen, The Winans, The Clark Sistaters and many others.

The Festival of Arts is one of the most highly-acclaimed juried fine art shows featuring the artwork of 140 award-winning artists. In the newly renovated facility, patrons may enjoy the work of exhibiting artists, demonstrations and art workshops, daily art tours, live music, special events, on-site restaurants and more. For a full listing of events, visit LagunaFestivalofArts.org. The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part bySouthern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5, San Diego County Credit Union and The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

DATES & TIMES
July 5 – August 31, 2019

Open weekdays:  12noon – 11:30pm

Open weekends:    10am – 11:30pm
Early closing August 24 at 1pm

TICKET INFORMATION
General Admission: Weekdays $10, Weekends $15

Students & Seniors: Weekdays $7, Weekends $11
Children 6 – 12: Daily $5
Free Admission for Children 5 and under, Military, and Laguna Beach Residents.

LOCATION
Festival of Arts Grounds
650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA 92651

FOR INFORMATION & TICKETS
(800) 487-3378
www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org

Credit: The Festival of Arts.

The Art of Racing in the Rain * Happy, Sad, And Funny With Lovable Characters

Dog lovers believe their canine family members understand language, comprehend events, have opinions, exude loyalty. In “The Art of Racing In The Rain”, wise old dog Enzo Swift shares thoughts about the life experiences which prepared him to protect his family in times of greatest need. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Sahiba K. comments, “The Art of Racing in the Rain, brings the beloved novel to life but ultimately lacks memorability. The changes made in the movie make it a common story that is too well known. However, the losses in the screenplay are covered by clever character development and the lovable dog, Enzo.” Brock T. adds, “The production values for this film are high. The cars are super dynamic and fast. Director Simon Curtis brings the book to life in an appealing way and make you feel like you are at the race track. All the cast deliver wonderful performances.” Eva W. continues with, “The Art Of Racing In The Rain is a fantastic movie. Some scenes are very emotionally heavy and I don’t believe this film is suitable for young kids. There are parts that a younger child simply will not understand. I know because I am ten years old.” Zoe C. wraps it up with, “The Art of Racing in the Rain has happy moments, sad moments, funny ones and more. It has it all! At first, I didn’t know what to expect because, what does a dog have to do with racing? Well, there’s actually a lot more to the story than you would expect, and I absolutely fell in love with this film and all its characters.” See their full reviews below.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Sahiba K., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

The Art of Racing in the Rain, brings the beloved novel to life but ultimately lacks memorability. The changes made in the movie make it a common story that is too well known. However, the losses in the screenplay are covered by clever character development and the lovable dog, Enzo.

The story follows the golden retriever Enzo (Kevin Costner) and his adventures alongside his owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia). They walk through life together and in doing so, Enzo learns the secrets of living happily.

Milo Ventimiglia has positives but also some negatives when taking on the role of Denny. In morose scenes, he fails to fully express the pains of his character while in loving and joyful scenes, he excels. However, from the beginning, Ventimiglia plays a large role in developing an unspoken apprehension that builds between Denny and his father-in-law, Maxwell (Martin Donovan). Donovan’s one look aroused tension in me. Whenever the two characters interact, I felt uneasy as if something wrong was bound to occur. This development of the characters is one of my favorite parts. Everything that happens is intentional so that the audience is aware of what each character is capable of doing.

The movie mostly lives up to the expectations that the novel sets with a few weaknesses to note. Enzo’s narration is kept to a minimum as the entire movie could not be narrated by the dog. So to make up the loss, the relationships and development of Denny and his family are heightened. Music and cinematography techniques are incorporated to help bolster Enzo’s emotions and are highly effective tools. In several scenes, the music is lyrical, providing insight into what Enzo might wish to say. Similarly, the cinematography provides insight with a first person view from Enzo. It often switches to this perspective when there are emotions by other characters only Enzo can see. Thus it made me feel as if I was Enzo, observing intimate moments and experiencing his emotions. These techniques work well but with Enzo’s role slightly lessened, the story weakens and does become more mundane and predictable.

The message is “that which we manifest is before us,” or we make our own destiny. I give The Art of Racing in the Rain, 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18. Be sure to check it out when it opens in theatres August 9, 2019.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

By Brock T., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 9

The Art Of Racing In The Rain is a spectacular movie.  It takes on many emotions: happy, sad, thrilling, scared, then feeling all those emotions again.  The movie is based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein.  

The Art Of Racing In The Rain is about a dog named Enzo (Kevin Costner, voice) who knows how to race cars really well. The dog studies the track and is great at helping – the best in fact. Enzo’s owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) is trying to make it big as a race car driver and providing for his family. Enzo helps his owner Denny with knowing the track and also with navigating things in life. The film follows Denny and the people he loves – his wife, Eve (Amanda Seyfried), their young daughter Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), and his best friend, Enzo. 

The production values for this film are high. The cars are super dynamic and fast. Director Simon Curtis brings the book to life in an appealing way and makes you feel like you are at the race track. All the cast deliver wonderful performances. My favorite part of The Art Of Racing In The Rain is when Denny gets to see his daughter again, and wins quality time with her.  This is dynamic.  My least favorite part is when the dad can’t be at the house for a significant life event, which made me sad.  I wish he could be there for comfort.

The message of this film is that when you get torn apart, you have to get back up.

I rate this movie 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 5 to 18. Adults might like this too. It opens in theaters nationwide on August 9, 2019 so look for it.

The Art Of Racing In The Rain

By Eva W., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

The Art Of Racing In The Rain is a fantastic movie. Some scenes are very emotionally heavy and I don’t believe this film is suitable for young kids. There are parts that a younger child simply will not understand. I know because I am ten years old. Plus, there are scenes that are hard to watch and a few that are just plain scary. I definitely would not let my 8-year-old brother watch this movie.

The storyline is about a dog, Enzo (Kevin Costner, voice) who belongs to a race car driver named Denny (Milo Venimiglia). As Denny starts to have a family, Enzo is not pleased to have other people in the apartment. But as time goes on and the family gets bigger, Enzo warms up to everyone. 

The casting in this movie is amazing! Milo Venimiglia is known for his role as Peter Petrelli in the show Heroes. Denny’s girlfriend Eve is played by Amanda Seyfried, known for her work as Sophie in Mamma Mia Here We Go Again. I love Kevin Costner’s voice as Enzo. He sounds just like what I think Enzo would sound if he could actually speak.

The production values are quite high here. One example is shown in the dog’s training, which was done by Bonnie Judo. The dog almost seems part human. He stands on his back legs, barks like he is speaking and more! The casting is very well done as well. I was particularly impressed by the actresses who play the younger and older versions of Denny’s daughter.

There are a lot of funny parts in this film, but there are just as many sad parts. I laughed, cried, gasped and had so much different emotions throughout the film. You might want to bring your tissues. And, oddly enough, after you see this film, you will never feel the same way about Zebras again. There are also a lot of surprising parts too, so be ready.

I give The Art Of Racing In The Rain 3.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, as well as adults. It opens in theaters August 9, 2019 so look for it. 

The Art of Racing in the Rain

By Zoe C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

The Art of Racing in the Rain has happy moments, sad moments, funny ones and more. It has it all! At first, I didn’t know what to expect because, what does a dog have to do with racing? Well, there’s actually a lot more to the story than you would expect, and I absolutely fell in love with this film and all its characters.

This movie is about a dog who is adopted by a race car driver, Denny. Denny’s dog, Enzo, slowly learns about the human life, and he and Denny create a powerful bond. Enzo loves Denny no matter what, and he develops a love for car races and TV, too. But when Denny’s girlfriend Eve comes along, Enzo becomes a bit jealous. Denny and Eve get married and have a baby girl named Zoe. Later on, Denny has to face the obstacles of life as he does on the track. While Denny is very good at racing in the rain, he faces the unpredictable in life.

Enzo feels more human than dog, thanks to the beautiful voice narrating the story (Kevin Costner) from the dog’s point of view. This film makes me emotional, but I think that’s good because I definitely feel a connection when watching The Art of Racing in the Rain. I also think that at one point in the story there might be too much going on at the same time.  Even though that makes the movie interesting, it could have all happened at a slower pace.

I love the acting in the film, especially Enzo’s voice narration, and feel it is all believable. And I have a completely different perspective of my dog now, and wonder what she is thinking because Enzo has very interesting thoughts of the human world. I enjoy the comedy –  it’s a nice balance to what happens in the story. Milo Ventimiglia is great as Denny, and you care about him throughout the whole film. Amanda Seyfried plays Eve, Denny’s wife, and her character—although she doesn’t love dogs at first—experiences with her new four-legged friend one of the most important connections in her existence.

The message of this film is that we are all in control of our own lives, and dogs are the best friends that can join us in the ride of life.

I give The Art of Racing in the Rain 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 11 to 18 and adults as well. There are parts in this film that little kids would not understand and moments that wouldn’t be very appropriate for younger viewers. The Art of Racing in the Rain releases in theatres August 9, 2019.