Our Laguna: 'Tidings' gala goes plaid

There was more plaid in the audience than on the stage at the gala opening night of the Laguna Playhouse holiday presentation: "Plaid Tidings."

Mary Lawson poked around in her closet and found a plaid suit from her days on Wall Street.

"I haven't worn it in 15 years," Lawson said.

Some of the guests put their best foot forward, shod in everything from 6-inch stilettos to Linda Schmidt's quilted, red Stuart tartan ballet flats.

John Hoover sported a plaid tie. Advocate support group member Madeleine Peterson wore a plaid silk top.

Playhouse Development Director Elizabeth Pearson brought a big roll of plaid ribbon that she offered guests to use as headbands, belts, scarves, bracelets or pocket handkerchiefs.

Friends of the Library President Martha Lydick tied a bow to her black, beaded evening bag.

Pearson basted the ribbon to the hem of her short, holiday-green, ruched Betsy Johnson dress. Also decked out in plaid were Playhouse concierge, Teryll Sindell, in a Scottish plaid dress and matching beret; Walt Ziegler, Playhouse arts and audience services manager, accessorized with a plaid tie.

Executive Director Karen Wood set off her strawberry blond hair with a fuchsia and blue plaid, sleeveless blouse. Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham paired a green and gold plaid, silk skirt with a green velvet jacket.

But the honors went to Richard and Joanne Milo, who showed up in matching plaid pajamas. They were asked to take a bow by Wareham during her customary, pre-show welcome to special guests in the audience.

Then it was on with the show.

"Plaid Tidings" is the sequel to "Forever Plaid," the story of a quartet on the cusp of rock 'n' roll, who died in an automobile crash before they made it to the big time. Sounds grim? It's not.

According to the program notes, the power of harmony and the expanding holes in the ozone layer gave them a portal to be mortal long enough to perform the show they never did while alive.

The name of the show was inspired by the gaudy outfits they wore on stage, written and directed by the appropriately named Stuart Ross — Stuart being probably the best known plaid in the world.

One of the biggest laughs at the gala came when David Brannen, in the role of Sparky, stepped off the stage to track a ringing sound he heard from the front row of the audience. He pulled a glitzy, gold, evening bag from under a seat and pulled out a beaded object, which he could not identify.

"What is this?" he demanded.

And someone said. "I don't know, but that's my bag."

Those in the audience who recognized former City Manager Ken Frank's voice cracked up.

Frank attended the show with Laguna's Disaster Czar, Bob Burnham.

Others in the audience included Playhouse board members Tim Carlyle, Heidi Miller and Cody Engle; Otis Healy, former board president and member of the President's Circle (donors of $100,000 to$249,000); and Chamber of Commerce President Michael Kinsman and his wife, Cheryl, a former mayor.

Also: Catrina and newly-installed City Councilman Steve Dicterow, retired City Clerk Martha Anderson, and representatives of Playhouse sponsors: Nolet Spirits' Bill Eldien and Ed Jordan, Haskell & White's Rick Smetanka, The Capital Group's Maryann Herrera, Doctors Ambulance's Dave Sanford and Waste Management's Michelle Clark.

The event featured a pre-performance cocktail reception, at which guests nibbled on Nirvana Grilled hors d'ouvres, sipped Noblet Spirits Gin cocktails, and were entertained by carolers, led by Randy Hatfield.

"Plaid Tidings" runs through Dec. 23.


Children's Holiday Palette winners honored

Twelve winners of the 2012 Children's Holiday Palette competition were honored Tuesday at the City Council meeting.

There were 220 entries this year, 39 more than in 2011. Winning entries will be exhibited through Jan. 4 in City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The rest are displayed at the Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St., courtesy of Laguna Outreach Community Arts.

Winning artists and palettes: Bridget Blaser, "Holly Jolly Christmas;" Shad Betar, "Sitting by the Fireplace;" David Tax, "Let it Snow;" Lucinda Becker, "Snowflakes that Melt on My Nose and Eyelashes;" Ellie Scott, "Deer and Tree;" Arianna Patterson, "Oh My Deer;" Estrella Wenk, "Tree of Color;" Natessa Fratantaro, "Christmas Beach;" Grace Stewart, "Little Santa;" GG Banducci, "Elephant Beach;" Kate Allen, "Checkered Santa;" Reagan Hannus, "All I Want for Christmas Is a Pig."

The Children's Palette competition is funded by Laguna Beach hostelries.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (714) 966-4618 or email coastlinepilot@latimes.com with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.

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