Around Town

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The ocean is the lifeline of human existence, covering more than 70 percent of Earth’s surface, although more than 95 percent of this precious resource remains unexplored. Yet, one Laguna Beach local has had the rare opportunity to venture into the ocean depths with one of the sea’s most formidable explorers, Fabien Cousteau, grandson of renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, on a mission to build ocean conservation awareness. Filmmaker Marc Ostrick (back right in photo) joined Fabien and a team of scientists, educators and production crew in June on the longest-ever expedition in an undersea habitat called the Aquarius Reef Base, a submarine research laboratory. Called Mission 31, the project aimed to strengthen the human-ocean connection through educational outreach, scientific research and filmmaking. During the 31 days that Fabien and crew were 63 feet below sea level, they completed more than 70 sessions via Skype with student classrooms as part of Fabien’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) program. “I am still amazed at how little we know about what lies beneath the surface and how important it is for our survival as a species,” says Marc, who helped produce a documentary and online video content for the mission. “… Imagine what we could learn if there was an undersea lab off Catalina, Monterey or even Laguna Beach.” —A.T.


MakenzieFischer_credits to Carlos Delgado USAWPWATER PRO

Makenzie Fischer is certainly making waves—literally and figuratively—in her life for not even being out of high school yet. An incoming senior and a star water polo player for Laguna Beach High School, Makenzie was selected earlier this year to join the U.S. Women’s Senior National Team for water polo and compete in the FINA Water Polo World League Super Final in China from June 10-15. At the Super Final, Makenzie scored five goals over the course of the tournament, helping to lead the U.S. team to the finals against Italy, where the Americans won 10-8 in a comeback victory. Through its win, the U.S. team clinched its eighth World League crown. “I was really excited to play at such a high level with such talented teammates,” says Makenzie, who was the only high school student on the team. “It was a great learning experience.” —K.M.



After begrudgingly serving Laguna natives for more than 30 years, Jean Paul’s Goodies closed its doors for the last time Aug. 9. A so-called “champion versus the evil Starbuck’s empire,” Jean Paul’s Goodies spent the entirety of its existence making coffee drinkers feel inadequate and uneducated. According to the store’s announcement, owner Jean Paul is moving his work address to “anywhere you people aren’t” and asks that in honor of the store closing, Lagunans should “raise a Styrofoam cup of his favorite drink (Drano for the rookies, latte with half and half for the pros … no sugar).” Although we can all go back to drinking our frilly Starbucks concoctions, it will be with a great deal of guilt—for all its commotion, Jean Paul’s Goodies taught us a lot about being proper coffee drinkers. —K.M.




Students from the Laguna College of Art & Design (LCAD) were given the opportunity of a lifetime this past spring: the chance to collaborate with Thalia Surf Shop and Vans to create a new sportswear line for men and women, including T-shirts, shorts, swimsuits, wetsuits, hats and shoes. The collaboration was made possible by connections with LCAD alumni, and the fact that LCAD is one of the first colleges to offer an action sports design degree for students. Over the course of the spring semester, students in a design class created the sportswear line, which was featured at the Festival of Arts’ sixth annual Festival Runway Fashion show Aug. 2. The sportswear is available at Thalia Surf Shop and on its website. ( —K.M.



Eiler Larsen, a local icon known as The Greeter in Laguna Beach for more than 30 years, was famous for his friendly smile and waving to passersby along South Coast Highway. City leaders even declared Eiler to be Laguna’s official greeter, adding his footprints to the sidewalk for all to remember his welcoming ways long after his death in 1975. Now, Laguna-based Elestial Productions is filming a documentary about those who have adopted the role through the years, including Michael Minutoli who is often seen biking around town in his captain’s hat, greeting those he meets along the way. “The inspiration to do this film came to me when I saw Michael waving at traffic while in front of the statue of Eiler Larsen,” says Martin Yewchuk, producer, director and head writer. “I wanted to find out why someone would engage total strangers in such a way.” The film, which explores the history and motivation of these greeters, is on track for a Jan. 1 release date with local screenings to be announced. —S.S.



Those in search for the perfect blowout no longer need to travel to neighboring cities to achieve a coveted, voluminous ’do. In fact, they need look no further than Forest Avenue. Since opening Aug. 8, the stylists at Belo Blow Dry Bar have been offering signature blowouts, braids and updos, all from the comfort of their downtown Laguna Beach studio. With a variety of hairstyles ranging from a classic topknot (“The London”) to casual beachy waves (“The Laguna”), Belo’s arsenal of city-themed coifs will fit any taste. Those who desire something a bit more unique can even opt for “The Jetsetter,” a create-your-own option. (

The newest venture from the owners of The Vault Men, The Vault Women and Melrose Place, The Vault Kids opened its doors to the public July 25. Sticking to the same edgy trends as its sister shops, The Vault Kids caters to children up to 16 years old. With products from the likes of Paul Frank and Jagged Culture—as well as designer denim brands True Religion and Hudson—The Vault Kids stays in line with the rocker image that has made the owners’ other stores so successful and is perfect for every pint-sized fashionista. (

Though it has been in operation since 2012, it was just recently that Remember When Home Furnishings secured a storefront at the Village Faire Shoppes on South Coast Highway. A mecca for lovers of all things vintage and vintage-inspired, Remember When Home Furnishings finds pre-loved or forgotten home decor and repurposes it for modern uses. The shop’s collection includes an array of items, including desks, chairs, doors, signage, candles and more. The store also provides custom furniture painting services. (rememberwhenhome —B.B.


Emerald Canyon - credits to Laguna Canyon FoundationBACK ON THE TRAIL, AGAIN

After a four-year hiatus, hikers and bikers can once again enjoy one of Laguna’s most popular trails. Emerald Canyon Trail in the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park was reopened in late June upon the completion of two new bridges along the trail. The bridges make it possible for visitors to safely cross two gullies created by a rainstorm in 2010. The large gullies prevented people from safely enjoying the beauty of Laguna, but thanks to the Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks, funds were raised to complete the $60,000 project. Local volunteers also helped by clearing brush and installing the bridges, ensuring that Lagunans can continue to enjoy the natural beauty of the coast for years to come. —K.M.




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