Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw – An Effortless Blend of High-Octane Action and Charismatic Leads

Ever since hulking lawman Hobbs (Johnson), a loyal agent of America’s Diplomatic Security Service, and lawless outcast Shaw (Statham), a former British military elite operative, first faced off in 2015’s Furious 7, the duo have swapped smack talk and body blows as they’ve tried to take each other down. But when cyber-genetically enhanced anarchist Brixton (Idris Elba) gains control of an insidious bio-threat that could alter humanity forever — and bests a brilliant and fearless rogue MI6 agent (The Crown’s Vanessa Kirby), who just happens to be Shaw’s sister — these two sworn enemies will have to partner up to bring down the only guy who might be badder than themselves. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Arjun N. comments, “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a fun Fast & Furious spinoff with the series’ effortless blend of high-octane action and charismatic leads. Fans of the beloved series and action movies in general must check this out. It has something for everyone.” Brad M. adds, “This new film is so action-packed it rarely has a dull moment. If you are looking for an entertaining night full of laughter, this is the movie to watch.” Kendall M. wraps it up with, “From the special effects to its storyline, you would not want to miss this. This movie is an action-packed, thrilling and comedic film makes you wonder what’s coming next.” See their full reviews below.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

By Arjun Nair, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a fun Fast & Furious spinoff with the series’ effortless blend of high-octane action and charismatic leads. Fans of the beloved series and action movies in general must check this out. It has something for everyone.

The film follows series’ favorites, lawman Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and the lawless Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) as the two “frenemies” must team up to stop the cybernetically modified super-soldier Brixton Lore (Idris Elba). Amid all this carnage are even some family reunions involving Shaw’s sister Hattie (Vanessa Kirby) and Hobbs’ own Samoan relatives.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham, as Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw, are the main highlight here, with the two as polar opposites of one another. Still, the actors work well together and their bickering and bantering is buoyed by Chris Morgan and Drew Pearce’s script. The pair even impress in action scenes with Johnson’s hard hitting knockdowns and Statham’s suave martial arts. Vanessa Kirby, as Hattie Shaw, gives the duo a run for their money. She proves capable in the many action scenes and holds many quips with Hobbs. Their flirtatious banter and Deckard’s awkward reactions are some of the film’s funniest. Unfortunately, her contributions to the plot are very loosely strung, but her character is delightful to watch. Same goes for Idris Elba, as Brixton Lore, who owns up to his character’s craziness. Elba really has a way with things, making even the most clichéd characters engaging. There are multiple surprising big-list cameos, which I can not spoil. All really add to the movie’s layers of self-awareness and comedy, and make the movie much more engaging to watch.

David Leitch, as the director, brings new life to the franchise, providing more variety in action, from fisticuffs to shootouts to over-the-top car chases. The veteran director of John Wick and Atomic Blonde, he really knows how to make each sequence engaging and unique. The finale in Samoa is one such example. My favorite scene is the “pick a door” fight scene in Lore’s compound. Impressive choreography and well-timed comic relief from Johnson and Statham elevate this scene. Unfortunately, at two hours, the movie is a bit too long and some sequences towards the end feel like filler and really drag. On top of that, the marketing for this film really spoils some of the best action beats and comedic moments. It’s a shame that a poor marketing campaign ends up hurting some of the film’s surprises. Thankfully, they hide some things, like those surprise cameos.

The message of this film is in the franchise’s core values about family. Hobbs’s choice to reconnect with his family, despite past disagreements, proves this. I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18, due to intense action sequences, suggestive references and language. The movie releases in theaters on August 2, 2019, so check it out.

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

By Brad Martin, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 17

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a hilarious new spin-off movie for the Fast & Furious franchise. This new film is so action-packed it rarely has a dull moment. If you are looking for an entertaining night full of laughter, this is the movie to watch.

Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Shaw (Jason Statham) form an unexpected partnership while attempting to save the world from a deadly bio-weapon. The cyber-genetically-enhanced criminal Brixton (Idris Elba) will stop at nothing to ensure the evolution of humanity through this deadly bio-threat. The two heroes must settle their long-standing rivalry in order to save the human race.

The all-star cast came together to make an incredible film. The banter between Luke Hobbs and Deckard Shaw is super amusing and had viewers erupting with laughter. Jason Statham was born to play the role of Deckard Shaw. He is an extremely convincing actor who gave me everything I wanted and more from his character. The plot of the film is intriguing for the first half of the movie, but I found the second half to be more slow and dull. A small problem I encountered while watching the film was believing the villain. Every time he seems to get knocked down, he stands right back up, without a scratch on his genetically-engineered body. It would be more realistic to see him become progressively more damaged throughout the movie while fighting this action-filled war. On a separate note, the special and visual effects are dazzling and bring life to this action film. The fight scenes are brilliantly crafted as well. I was happy to see this movie and it definitely has the opportunity to create a sequel.  They use the last chunk of the film to set the basis for a future film. 

The message displayed in this film is about the importance of teamwork. When people bicker amongst each other, it is unproductive, but if they work together they can accomplish the seemingly impossible. This message carries over into our lives for how we get along with people in our own community. Parents should be aware that this movie has a fair amount of violence and foul language.

I give Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw 3 out 5 stars and recommend for ages 13 through 18. Make sure to check out this film when it storms into theaters August 2, 2019. Movie fans, you won’t want to miss it!

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw

Kendall, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 13

Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw is a spot-on well produced and directed film that keeps you on the edge of your seat. From the special effects to its storyline, you would not want to miss this. This movie is an action-packed, thrilling and comedic film makes you wonder what’s coming next.

The storyline is about two rivals, Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) and Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham), who are forced to team up to defeat the emerging threat of Brixton Lore (Idris Elba), a cyber-genetically-enhanced terrorist, armed with a deadly virus. This virus can potentially destroy planet Earth and all of humanity. Hobbs and Shaw must work through their differences to save the world once again.

Some things that really stand out in this film are the production, the screenplay and the editing. Big ups to director David Leitch and screenwriter Chris Morgan for making that happen. It is truly thrilling and amazing to watch and enjoy. Of course, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham and Idris Elba give us excellent performances as well. I should also point out Vanessa Kirby who plays Hattie and Helen Mirren who plays Queenie as their performances need mention too.

The message of the movies is that “no matter what differences you have with people, you still have to work together to make the world a better place.” If we focus on being mad at each other, we are not making the world better, we’re making it just angry and sad. So, I resonate with the message. You should know that there is quite a lot of profanity and some rude humor.

I give this film 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 14 to 18. Make sure you check it out when it opens in theaters August 2, 2019.

5 Fun Baseball Activities for All the Family

Doing activities as a family is an enjoyable pastime, especially during the summer months when the weather is warmer and younger children have time off school for the holidays. Sometimes it can be tricky to think of new things to do together, but if you’ve got a family of sports fans, or are just looking to venture out a little more into a new sport, then baseball is a great choice in regards to the variety of experiences it offers.

  1. Play Sports Simulation Games

There’s nothing like playing a game as a family, or sharing the experience with your family members if they all have a passion for a certain sport. Playing fantasy league baseball can be a great opportunity to channel that sporting energy and create the best teams based on legendary figures. Your family can compare and share the experience of perfecting your line-up.

2. See a Baseball Game in California

The baseball following in California was able to have more of an uplift when the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants relocated to California back in the day. The Los Angeles Dodgers are now one of the most famous teams to play in this region, along with the Los Angeles Angels, but whichever game you choose to watch, you should expect a great family day out, especially if you haven’t seen a baseball team before. Try and opt for the best seats to make the experience the best it can be.

3. Set up a Pitch Yourself

Why not play a game as a family? If you have an outside space big enough, set up your own baseball field in your back yard and choose your positions. Or, take it to the nearest park and spend a day enduring a little friendly competition within the family. It doesn’t matter if any of you have ever played before, you can research the rules and have fun with it.

4. Visit a Baseball Museum

If you’re interested in experiencing a little baseball history and culture as a family, why not consider visiting one of the best baseball museums in America? As well as being fun, outings of this kind can be educational for all the family.

There are plenty to choose from, including:

  • The National Baseball Hall of Fame – based in Cooperstown, New York, and has important artifacts and exhibits on show.
  • Negro Leagues Baseball Museum – based in Kansas City, Missouri, and preserves the history of the Negro League in American baseball
  • Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory – based in Louisville, Kentucky, and is a museum and factory tour dedicated to the history of Slugger baseball bats.

5. Get Crafty

If you have a family of sport and baseball fans but would rather spend more time at home, try baking some tasty baseball-related treats like ball-shaped cookies or a cake in the colors of your favorite team. You could handmake some awesome baseball-related homewares or new ornaments, like large baseballs crafted from white paper plates!

Venus, Aug. 1st Pet of the Week!

All cats consider themselves deities, but Venus insists on making sure you know she’s worthy of worship! Venus is a beautiful steel-gray goddess—so beautiful, in fact, that no matter what trouble she gets into—and she will—she’ll be forgiven. Venus is only 4 months old and, unlike the famous statue, has all her limbs. She’s very friendly and will greet you on the shelter side of the Companion Animal Village at 7700 East Spring St., (562) 570-PETS. Ask for ID#A629129.

(This rescue encouraged by the usual suspects.)

Credit: Courtesy of the Companion Animal Village.

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: https://www.pbssocal.org/education/writers-contest/

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.

DETAILS:  
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. 

  • 2019 OPEN CASTING
    • 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
  • 2019 OPERATIONS TEAM
    • Assistant Stage Managers (Maze Supervisors)
    • Operation Supervisors
    • Show Ushers & Greeters; Support ushers
    • Sales Associates
    • Guest Services Associates
    • VIP Hosts
    • Tour guides
    • Payroll assistants
  • 2019 BEVERAGE TEAM
    • Themed Beverage Attendants including: bartenders, bar-backs, beverage supervisors, and cabana attendants.

AUDITIONS VIDEO:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlROKMpicfo&feature=youtu.beREGISTER:
To audition for the 2019 Dark Harbor cast or operations team, register online at www.queenmary.com/calendar-of-events/dark-harbor/dhauditions/

WHEN: 

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

WHERE:
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

Website: www.ocparks.com/zoo/events

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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.
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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.
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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.
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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.

  • 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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.
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 LagunaFestivalofArts.org.

Credit: Laguna Festival of Arts.