• Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center partners with Neighborhood Congregational Church to offer Juneteen

    LAGUNA BEACH, Calif., May 24, 2023 –– The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center and Neighborhood Congregational Church have partnered to create Juneteenth Jubilee, a celebration of history and cultures that will include an array of events and activities at both venues.
    On Monday, June 19, the Juneteenth national holiday, at 1 p.m., the Cultural Arts Center will show "Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace," a film about the resilience of the human spirit embodied by the late musician Ted Hawkins, followed by a talk with the film's director Janice Engel and his manager, Nancy Meyer; at 2:30 p.m., a stirring presentation by Los Angeles poet, storyteller, and author Dorothy Randall Gray, and at 3:30 p.m., a concert by renowned Chicago Blues musician and social activist Brother Yusef. Admission to any or all of this lineup is $15 for youth 21 and under, $25 general, $50 VIP seating and refreshments. lbculturalartscenter.org
    On Wednesday, June 21, at 7 p.m., the Cultural Arts Center will offer a free screening of "Summer of Soul," the joyous, inspiring documentary about a 1969 Harlem music festival that featured a superlative lineup of Black musicians. Admission is free, donations are welcome.
    Continuing the emancipation celebration are events on Saturday, June 24 at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive at Glenneyre. At 5:30 p.m., guests can enjoy a Tibetan meal prepared by Nawang Jungtuktsang of Cafe Zambala in Emeryville, Calif. and Tenpa Dorjee of Tibet Handicrafts in Laguna Beach. At 6 p.m., the four powerful female voices of Los Angeles Black group VISION will perform a soul-stirring concert. Tickets to the dinner and performance are $35 per person. All tickets are available at lbculturalartscenter.org.
    The church will display artworks by two notable Black artists. Allyson Allen uses traditional materials to create unique, dimensional textile art, quilts, dolls, and handmade books. Her work often references social issues, Black history, and African folklore. Many of her quilts are explicitly created for storytelling presentations. Her works were displayed last year at the church and the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center after being ejected from the Wells Fargo Bank building in downtown Laguna for generating discomfort among bank patrons.
    Also on display at the church will be Los Angeles artist Eugene Warren's oversize sculpture series titled "A Guide for African Americans: How to Survive a Police Stop." Warren's art piece is designed to save lives. It includes step-by-step procedural instructions for drivers of color, especially young men, encouraging conversational exchange. His artistic and practical goal is to reduce shootings arising from police officers' fear. Part of the exhibition is a memorial of 50 Black and brown people killed during police encounters. Allen's and Warren's art will be on display at the church on weekdays, June 18–30 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
    Juneteenth Jubilee – Event and Artist Details
    Monday, June 19 at LBCAC
    "Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace," a film by Janice Engel with post-screening discussion – 1 p.m. $15/$25/$50 inclusive
    Ted Hawkins was often called the world's greatest street singer. Abandoned by his parents as a boy, Hawkins came to California in his early twenties, determined to make a career for himself as a musician. When record deals fell through and paying gigs failed to pan out, Hawkins would set up on the boardwalk of L.A.'s Venice Beach, singing to passersby for tips. In 1994, Hawkins was signed to a major record deal and released an acclaimed album, "The Next Hundred Years," which earned rave reviews and paved the way for a successful international concert tour. But just as Hawkins was enjoying newfound success, he died on New Year's Day 1995. "Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace" offers an in-depth look at Hawkins' remarkable life and career, with footage of Hawkins onstage, including performances with Charlie Musselwhite and Pete Seeger, as well as interviews with family, friends, and fellow musicians Billy Bragg, John Doe, and others. Harry Belafonte narrates. A fascinating discussion will follow the screening with the filmmaker Janice Engel and Hawkins's manager Nancy Meyer.
    Conversation with the Sage: Dorothy Randall Gray Speaks – 2:30 p.m. $15/$25/$50 inclusive
    Dorothy Randall Gray is a poet, teacher, storyteller, global activist, and author of the bestseller Soul Between The Lines: Freeing Your Creative Spirit Through Writing, as well as Taste of Tamarinda, Muse Magic, Family, Creative Rituals for Daily Living, and The Passion Collection. Her work has been published in many notable periodicals and anthologies: The New York Times, Drum Voices, Heart&Soul, SisterFire, HealthQuest, and Conditions. She is a former NYU faculty member, National Public Radio commentator, and poet in residence at Hunter College. She was recently selected to represent the City of West Hollywood for National Poetry Month. For the 2018 PEN writer-in-residence program, Dorothy held an eight-week storytelling workshop at California State Prison, Los Angeles County. Dorothy is the founder of the Heartland Institute for Transformation. In her commitment to global healing, she has served as a UNESCO delegate and conducted educational supply campaigns for African schools.

    Chicago Blues musician Brother Yusef – 3:30 p.m. $15/$25/$50
    Brother Yusef is a self-taught musician, master solo guitarist, and unique vocalist. Honed over 30 years, he calls his multifaceted style "fattback blues" for its rich mix of Delta, Chicago, and Texas blues with a hard-driving Louisiana stomp. Fattback blues combines traditional fingerpicking and slide guitar playing with contemporary urban blues, rock, and funk. He uses his right-hand thumb to beat out a percussive bassline and shuffle while the index finger plays rhythm and lead lines, creating a full band sound with a solo guitar. His performances are raw, honest, and as real as the genre has ever aspired to be.
    Wednesday, June 21 at LBCAC
    • "Summer of Soul" Film – 7 p.m. Free admission
    In his acclaimed debut as a filmmaker, Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson presents a powerful and transporting documentary—part music film, part historical record created around an epic event that celebrated Black history, culture, and fashion. Over six weeks in the summer of 1969, just one hundred miles south of Woodstock, The Harlem Cultural Festival was filmed in Mount Morris Park (now Marcus Garvey Park). The footage was never seen and largely forgotten until now. "Summer of Soul" shines a light on the importance of history to our spiritual well-being and stands as a testament to the healing power of music during times of unrest, both past and present. The feature includes never-before-seen concert performances by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, Sly & the Family Stone, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Mahalia Jackson, B.B. King, The 5th Dimension, and others.
    Tickets to all events are available at lbculturalartscenter.org. Note that the second-floor Center is not currently ADA-accessible from the street level.
    Saturday, June 24 at Neighborhood Congregational Church
    • VISION – concert 6 p.m. Tibetan meal at 5:30 p.m. $35 inclusive
    VISION is the sultry vocal union of Sharetta, Leara (Measha), Shari, and Ashley, four young Black women who have each been singing in and around Los Angeles since childhood. They will perform all genres of music, from soul and R&B to gospel and jazz, displaying their natural adeptness at elaborate harmonies and challenging arrangements.
    About Neighborhood Congregational Church
    A welcoming place of connection and acceptance led by the Rev. Rodrick Echols, "The Neighborhood" has a long history as a safe and welcoming venue. It is a center for community engagement with open dialogue, nonjudgmental exploration, and personal spiritual discovery.
    Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann's Drive at Glenneyre Street, Laguna Beach. ncclaguna.org
    About the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center
    The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center is a creative hub that offers a community space for music, film, drama, dance, poetry, visual arts, and video production. Beginning in 2022, the Center has presented several firsts in Laguna that are now annual events: Women's History Month Film Festival, the Make Earth Cool Again film series, Juneteenth, and a Regathering of its hippie community. The Center is off Coast Highway at 235 Forest Avenue, upstairs above the Promenade in Laguna Beach, the heart of Southern California's premier art colony. lbculturalartscenter.org