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Arts Year in Review: Laguna gets serious

December 26, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • Joe Ramondetta smiles as he is allowed to relax after holding his position in Buster Keaton's "The General" during backstage tour during Pageant of the Masters Preview Night, Monday.
Joe Ramondetta smiles as he is allowed to relax after holding… (Don Leach, Coastline…)

2013 will go down as a dark and dismal year in the history of Laguna Beach. It was the year Laguna couldn't make fun of itself.

As always, Orange County's most arts-heavy community offered plenty of excitement in the past 12 months. But one ingredient was conspicuously missing amid all the merriment: Lagunatics, the annual song-and-sketch revue in which local residents, including some politicians, gather to skewer goings-on around town.

The 21st annual show, titled "Gagtime," was scheduled to run at the Forum Theater in October until a mold problem delayed production. Now, the Lagunatics team plans to put it on in January, which means residents will have to wait a few more weeks for parodies of the Village Entrance controversy, the Laguna Art Museum, local schools — and, most likely, the mold problem too.

But even with that production in limbo, Laguna still had a rich year on the arts scene. Here were some of the highlights for 2013:

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'The Artist' lives on: A couple years ago, silent movies were all the rage as "The Artist" won Best Picture and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" paid tribute to film pioneers. This summer, the Pageant of the Masters took a similar tack with "The Big Picture," which centered on movie-related images and offered a hefty dose of silent classics: Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd and even a reenactment of the 1878 experimental photo sequence "Horse in Motion."

I do like it, Sam-I-Am: Dr. Seuss had a stellar year in Laguna, as the late children's author got spotlighted in a pair of exhibits. In May, the Fingerhut Gallery hosted "Hats Off to Dr. Seuss!", which featured items from the real-life Theodor Seuss Geisel's art and hat collections. Currently, Artists Republic 4 Tomorrow is presenting "Straight Outta Whoville: The Night Before Grinchmas," with 30 artists doing twists on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!"

Plenty of 'Memories': Wayne Thiebaud, the National Medal of Arts winner whom the Los Angeles Times once dubbed "the dean of California painters," donated a small collection of works to the Laguna Art Museum in October and won the museum's second annual California Art Award. Two months later, officials announced that Thiebaud is at work on a career retrospective show, "American Memories: Drawings, Paintings, and Prints by Wayne Thiebaud," which will open at the museum in February.

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