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Our Laguna: Mixing it up with the stars at gala

September 02, 2010|By Barbara Diamond
  • Lydia Cornell and Fred Sattler at Pageant of the Masters gala.
Lydia Cornell and Fred Sattler at Pageant of the Masters… (Coastline Pilot )

The Festival of Arts rolled out the red carpet Saturday for the 12th Annual Gala benefit, which raises money improvements and renovations to the city-owned facility.

About $200,000 was raised, in no small part due to the celebrities who attend, some of them year after year.

"When Joe Montegna first Twittered that he was bringing the cast of 'Criminal Minds' to the gala, we sold out the next day," said Sharbie Higuchi, festival director of marketing and public relations.

"Criminal Minds" cast members A.J. Cook and Matthew Gray Gubler were in the audience this year. Gubler was without the crutches he needed last year after a fall on a dance floor, but with a new short haircut, which makes him look even younger than he does in the show, and his brother.

Gubler plays Spencer Reid on "Criminal Minds." He is also professional model and was the voice for Simon in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."

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Montegna said Saturday that he first came to the Pageant of the Masters in 1983.

He was involved in a show that summer that had a connection to the Last Supper. Someone suggested he attend the Pageant of the Masters, which closes with the Leonardo Da Vinci's "Last Supper."

Shortly thereafter he was cast in a Broadway play, which Montegna said changed his life.

"I connect this place with good things," said Montegna, who has served as gala host in the past.

The gala was hosted this year by Mario Lopez, who began his career as one of the main characters in the hit teen series, "Saved By The Bell," is the star of "Extra," a popular daily TV entertainment news show, nationally syndicated. He also hosts MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew."

Lopez made it to the finals of the ABC's hit show, "Dancing with the Stars" and many people at the gala, Martha Lydick for one, thought he should have won.

As a memento of the his gig as gala host, festival artist David Milton presented Lopez with a print of his watercolor of the Hollywood sign.

Lopez first became familiar with the pageant in the early 1990s during a segment of "Name Your Adventure" hosted by him.

"I think the Pageant expresses something I've always believed: that art has something for every one of us," Lopez told the gala audience.

Lopez said the commitment to the arts shown by the volunteers who make the pageant possible is nothing short of inspirational.

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