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Laguna Beach Festival of the Arts

Music, Art and Pageantry in Laguna Beach

Festival of Arts Board President Fred Sattler

Toting picnic goodies, patrons in shorts and sundresses waited for the gates to open on a hot Saturday afternoon for the Pageant of the Masters at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts. On the other side of a velvet rope, media awaited a parade of notables attending the Celebrity Benefit Concert and Pageant hosted by Mira Sorvino. Once arrivals began, board members beamed. “This is more casual than the gala we used to do and more inclusive,” said board member Wayne Baglin. “The entertainment is more mainstream,” he said, referring to the concert by Melissa Manchester on the center green.

Celebs seemed pleased with the informality, lending their support to the cause, a night that netted $180,000 for the arts and arts education in Laguna Beach. Jane Seymour wore a blue-and-white block-print tea-length sundress by Alice and Olivia because, she said, “It reminds me of Matisse.” The star-studded lineup included Joe Mantegna and other cast members from CBS’ “Criminal Minds,” “Happy Days” star Don Most, and Connie Stevens and her daughters Tricia Leigh Fisher and Joely Fisher, who viewed exhibits and stayed for the pageant. Some were longtime enthusiasts. “The first time I came was 1983, and I was so impressed, I’m still here,” Mantegna said.

As cool ocean breezes finally drifted in, Manchester’s music began to fill the air. The songwriter performed with a bandaged ankle, singing her hits “Don’t Cry Out Loud,” and “Midnight Blue.” At last Sorvino appeared, lithe and lovely in a Parker minidress with silver beading.  “My father (actor Paul Sorvino) is a professional artist,” she said. “It’s been a huge part of my life and my children’s lives and I want to support it in all of its forms.” As the VIPs headed into the pageant, other guests settled in to hear Manchester sing. “Doesn’t art make you feel good even if you hate it?” she said from the stage. “It takes your mind off your stuff.”

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