Queen Mary’s July 4th festival spans from the East to the West

The festive spirit of the recently turned 80-year-old Queen Mary continues with a grand Fourth of July party celebrating America from Coast-to-Coast.' There's no need to travel cross-country for Independence Day fun!The Queen Mary's all-day celebration event thematically brings the East Coast, South, Southwest and West Coast to Southern California for a one-stop countrywide patriotic fete that ends with a spectacular musical fireworks show over the Pacific.The festivities welcome guests with a gateway to the East Coast's Coney Island. Carnival and strolling Circus performers, aerialists & acrobats, trackless train rides and a host of holiday activities and games for all ages start the celebration.The Nashville Tailgate brings country to the ship's luxurious Queen’s Salon complete with a live DJ & RedNeck Rodeo Band, line-dancing and friendly games of Texas Hold’em on the Promenade Deck. Guests preferring a jazzier sound can toe-tap to dueling pianos or catch a New Orleans marching band performance. As the fun gets closer to home, the bright lights of Hollywood will shine as a live DJ, band and Hip Hop dancers help usher in the Holiday.The party extends into Malibu with a Beach Boy Tribute Band and Tiki Dollz dancers and unto the Pacific as a Hawaiian Luau completes the border-to-border Queen Mary salute to the Fourth. The All-American Fourth of July delivers a national birthday party that showcases our diverse culture through entertainment, music, activities, libations and food.“On the heels of our own 80th Anniversary, the Queen Mary is celebrating the nation she calls home with a patriotic bash and a fireworks extravaganza like no other,” says Steve Sheldon, Director of Entertainment Events for The Queen Mary. “The already famous Queen Mary Fourth of July tradition will be even bigger and better this year. A festival of all that makes our nation great – from coast to coast!”The event runs from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. General Admission Adult Tickets $44 Advance/$49 Door, General Admission Child (4-12) $24 Advance/$29 Door and VIP tickets (4+) $99. VIP admission ticket includes access to the Queen Mary with exclusive access to premium firework viewing PLUS two extra West Coast destinations, Las Vegas and Malibu. General admission ticket includes access to the Queen Mary with a view of the fireworks show.All guests must have an All-American July 4th ticket to board the ship on July 4.

Cypress Festival to get a taste of Texas

The Chris Anderson Group, also known as CAG, will “rock out” at 12 noon on the main stage of the Cypress Community Festival on Saturday, July 26th. The musical trio has delighted audiences throughout Southern California at venues such as Lucille’s BBQ, Stubrik’s in Fullerton, Taps in Brea and the Cask and Cleaver in San Dimas with its Texas style blues, soul, rock and reggae tunes.The CAG three-some of Chris Anderson, Mike Casper and Nicolas DeGaulejac have a combined total of more than 60 years in the music industry. Anderson serves as the lead singer and plays guitar. Casper plays base and provides backup vocals. DeGaulejac, new to the trio, is a drummer with a Masters degree in music and studied at the Toulouse Conservatory in France.In 2012 CAG competed against bands from all over Southern California in the Anaheim Ducks OC/LA Concert Series. After the final tally of fan votes it walked away with the Grand Prize. Information about CAG and tracks from their latest album “Indecision” are available at: http://www.chrisandersongroup.com.CAG joins a growing list of entertainers schedule to perform at the Festival, celebrating its 34thyear. Also on the entertainment list is Peter Brandon, the Altar Billies and Creekwood. The Corral Stage will feature shows of special interest to the younger set such as the ReallyShooo Kids Music Review, Fun with Puppies, Fun with Reptiles and Ronald McDonald.The Festival features a 5/10K walk/run, Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, arts & crafts section, Cypress Chamber Business Expo, classic and vintage car show and the big chili and salsa contest. Also included in the day’s fare will be rides for the kids, softball games and a variety of food booths.For additional information on all facets of the Festival, including applications for all types of businesses, vendors, non-profit organizations and chili, salsa and car show contestants, go to the Festival website at www.cypressfestival.com.Photo Caption #1: Chris Anderson and his band CAG will bring their Texas-style blues, soul, rock and reggae tunes to the Cypress Community Festival on Saturday, July 26 at Oak Knoll Park in Cypress, CA.Courtesy photo:

A fabulous 2014/2015 season expected at the Segerstrom Center

Segerstrom Center for the Arts patrons had a sneak peek at the upcoming Broadway and Curtain series for 2014/2015. The Center has once again scheduled a crowd pleasing variety of top notch musicals. There’s a bit of everything from classic favorites to the hottest Broadway tickets. Artists flew in, from locales around the country, to share song highlights from upcoming shows. The inspiring performances of company cast members tempted theater fans into purchasing tickets for the outstanding new season.The Broadway series opens with Best Musical Revival Tony winner “Pippin.” Victoria Grimmy, a fifth generation circus performer demonstrated a few of the feats that make “Pippin” a magical musical with its circus themed world and the sizzling hot Fosse style of dance.Grimmy wasn’t the only “Pippin” player to take the stage. Mike Schwitter has moved on from the national tour of “Book of Mormon” to delighting the preview crowd with his take on the adventurous Pippin.Schwitter says, “The best thing about ‘Pippin’ is going from the ordinary to the extraordinary in a timeless musical that has thrilled audiences since it debuted 40 years ago.” He describes Pippin as "seeing the world through different eyes.”Years before Cirque du Soleil, Pippin created a ‘circus of a show while telling a tale of an adventurous youth. Pippin narrates the precarious journey undertaken by a Prince seeking the meaning of his existence. Schwitter relates to the character because “everyman is searching for something greater then himself.This is the heartbeat that lies under all the color and razzamatazz.” Schwitter continues, “As for Fosse’s razzamatazz, it looks easy but it’s not because the movement drifts off our bodies – it just ooze’s with coolness.”Moving on to “Motown, the Musical,” Trisha Jeffrey and Jamarice Daughtry showcased the songs that transformed the American music scene. Motown is the story of Berry Gordy’s rise from featherweight fighter to music mogul with a Midas touch for creating stars. Diana Ross is a notable example.Jeffrey (Diana Ross) and Daughtry (Berry Gordy) may be ensemble players in the Motown touring company but they’re stars on the Segerstrom preview stage. Jeffrey is beautiful and believable belting out Ross hits. Daughtry as Gordy sweeps us along to the magic of Motown. Jeffrey says “going on Diana’s journey is simply wonderful” and she adds, “the entire cast spreads love and awareness through the Motown’s music.”Jeffrey and Daughtry enjoyed performing their ‘dream roles’ during the preview show. Getting back to reality, they agree that it’s tough but fun being in the ensemble. Daughtry explains, “we sing, dance and act out the music. To do this we have to be strong in all creative disciplines.”If the Motown cast coming to the Center in 2015 is as gifted as this talented pair, audiences can look forward to another smashing show.It would be impossible to have a best of Broadway season without a return of “Phantom of the Opera” to the Segerstrom Center. Critics are hailing this spectacular new production as “bigger and better than ever.” With all new scenic design and a cast and orchestra of 52 it is one the largest and most spectacular productions touring. Preview patrons were introduced to the latest Phantom by cast members Celia Hottenstein and Eric Ruiz.Opera trained Hottenstein, who plays Princess in the touring company and understudies Christine Daae, remembers the original Phantom as her inspiration for pursuing a musical theater career. For Hottenstein, previewing Christine Daae at the Center was an ‘incredible experience.’ She says “it gave me chills.” Hottenstein’s operatic voice gave the audience a few ‘goosies’ as well. Eric Ruiz (understudy for Phantom and Raoul) jumped from Porter (on tour) to Phantom on the Segerstrom stage, delighting spectators with his powerful vocal performance. Kicking off the 2014/2015 with a sneak peak at what’s coming to the O.C. is a surefire way to excite Segerstrom Center patrons. And the frosting on the cake is the caliber of talent that entertained preview fans. If all touring company players are as multitalented as the understudies and ensemble actors that performed at the preview, Broadway and Curtain Call ticket holders are set for a wonderful new season of theater.The Broadway season will pop off with Pippin (Nov.11-23, 2014). Next jump into your “Kinky Boots” (Dec. 30, 2014 – Jan. 11, 2015) and get ready for “Dirty Dancing” (Feb. 2015). Leaping Lizards, “Annie” is back in Orange County featuring the young hopeful who won the title role through reality TV. Moving along, the season goes from the soulful songs of “Motown, the musical” to the dramatic allure of “Phantom of the Opera.”“How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (Dec. 10-14, 2014) opens the Curtain Call series, followed by the new musical “Nice Work If You Can Get It.” Take a Curtain Call trip down memory lane with the classic “Guys and Dolls.”Ordering tickets for both 2014/2015 series is as easy as one, two, three. One: online at SCFTA.org/broadway; two: call 714-556-2787; three: visit The Center Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. Box Office and phone hours are daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Season ticket prices ranges from $159 ($124 weekdays) to $652 ($582 weekdays) for a Broadway series of six shows. The curtain call (3 shows) series is priced from $95 ($75 weekdays) to $298 ($272 weekdays). Individual tickets for all shows will be available to the public approximately six weeks prior to performances.

Ho-Down at Cypress Senior Center

The Cypress Senior Center had a stompin good time with country music by Highway 91 on Friday, Sept. 19. Over 150 people attended the event. Many participants got up and danced to the Electric Slide, Good Time, and Ten step, just to name a few. Lunch was provided and the event was sponsored by Dignity Memorial and the floral centerpiece giveaways were sponsored by Sandra Williams with Colonial Homercare Services. The Cypress Senior Center is located at 9031 Grindlay Street. For more information please contact the Cypress Senior Center at 714-229-2005

From Goon-baa to Pumbaa, Ben Lipitz in the Lion King at the Segerstrom Center

It’s magnificent. It’s awe-inspiring. It’s “The Lion King,” playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Oct. 6 through Nov. 1. With visual artistry, “The Lion King” brings to life the African Savanna, where graceful gazelles leap, exotic giraffes glide and lion cubs tumble in play. It’s little wonder that this magical musical created by Director Julie Taymor has gathered more than 70 global theatrical awards.From the start Taymor’s vision was to liberate audiences from memories of the film. “I wanted them to take a leap of faith and imagination,” she said.To achieve this, the principle characters in “The Lion King” use a Japanese style of puppetry called Bunraku to craft a "double event." The audience sees the puppeteer/actor manipulating the puppets and within seconds no longer delineates between actor and animal. This double event or multi-layered performance is specifically designed into the show to bring out the humanity within the animal because according to Taymor “the theater functions best as a poetic medium. “Actor Ben Lipitz, who has rumbled through the jungle as Pumbaa, the lovable Warthog since 2003, claims “Hakuna Matata – no worries” marrying his personality with his congenial counterpart Pumbaa. Lipitz has the heaviest costume, 45 pounds, in the production, but he says, “at this point, it’s such an extension of me that I feel naked without it.”For the 30-year veteran of stage and screen this isn’t his first rodeo portraying an animal. The character actor who sings and dances as well as acts says, “I’ve becomean animal impersonator. I once played a Rhino with low-esteem, animals are in my wheelhouse.”Lipitz started his career in straight theater, film and television, moving towards musical theater these past fifteen years, primary as Pumbaa in the “Lion King.” Lipitz counts among his credits a stint on the “Sopranos” which he explains as going from “goon-baa to Pumbaa.”There are perks to playing Pumbaa says Lipitz, who is married with children. His wife Rosalie, a recovering actress and his two kids Matthew, age 10 and Mikaela, age 7 think he’s a “Rock Star.” He recounted a funny story about Matthew entering first grade costumed in his “Lion King” gear. When the teacher asked the class about their family, his son answered “my dad is Pumbaa.” The teacher, assuming he was confusing make-believe with reality, sent him to the Principal’s office. When the Principle explained that Matthew’s dad was the actor playing Pumbaa on Broadway, she apologized. Matthew replied “Hakuna Matata – no worries.”For Lipitz being part of “The Lion King” is life-changing. He says “This is the kind of theater I dreamed of doing in College. It changes people’s lives and I am fortunate to be part of it every day. One of the highpoints of my career is working with a genius, Julie Taymor,” Lipitz said. “After 5000 performances, I perform every night as if for the last time because it’s so exciting to bring this electrifying show and my character to life. After 12 years as Pumbaa, it never gets tiring or boring.”“Lion King” started life as a Disney movie for youngsters but its allure has grown to include audiences of all ages. There are many reasons for this: the artistry of the puppetry, the daring choreography of Garth Fagan, actors skilled with movement within masks and puppets (200 different types) and the ingenuity of Julie Taymor in allowing audiences to realize “magic can exist in blatantly showing how theater is created rather than hiding the ‘how’.”“Audiences identify themselves as characters in the story at different times,” Lipitz said of the “Lion Kings” universal appeal. “We have all felt lost and abandoned just as Prince Simba does when he feels responsible for his father Mufasa’s death. We can see ourselves as parent, child, or trusted advisor. It is easy to identify with each role because they are so clearly delineated.”He added, “I lost my father the same year that my son was born so I have experienced the ‘Circle of Life’ which ‘Lion King’ illustrates very clearly.”According to Lipitz, the “Lion King” stage production has stayed true to the film and they are similar. “However,” he said“characters and relationships are deeper. Some characters, Pumbaa included, are more fully realized, more 3-dimensional.”Director Taymor says of the film: "One of the most powerful elements is the rich humanity of animal characters.” In the musical, she presents “the ironic duality of the human and the animal through design concept, choosing not to hide actors behind a whole mask or inside an animal body suit.”Lipitz believes the moral behind “Lion King” is that “you have to be right with the world in order to take your place in it and to be true to yourself. Pumbaa is perhaps one of the best examples of this philosophy.Although they bring on the laughter, Pumbaa, the Warthog and his buddy Timon, a Meerkat are more than comic relief. They become young Simba’s family and guild him into maturity with Hakuna Matata, no worries. Lipitz says, “Pumbaa is the walking embodiment of Hakuna Matata. He wearshis heart on his sleeve. He wants everyone to be friends and he’s an unconditional best friend. I think everyone wants to be like Pumbaa. Pumbaa is so well known and beloved that it is a great feeling as an artist to fulfill the audience’s expectations of him.”Lipitz recommends “Lion King” to audiences, saying “it’s an individual piece of theatrical artistry that has the potential to change lives. It can be seen over and over, yet there is anyways something new that audiences can identify with.”After 18 years on Broadway and 14 years on tour the “Lion King” continues to resonate in today’s society. “The Lion King” is at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Oct. 6 – Nov. 1. For tickets and information: in person, The Box Office (600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa); phone, 714-556-2787; or online: SCFTA.org.

Sonia Rykiel Resort 2018

Sonia Rykiel founded her house in 1968, making 2018 the brand’s 50thanniversary. During a preview of the resort collection, Lola Rykiel, the founder’s granddaughter and the company’s head of public relations, explained that the label will be celebrating all year. Fashion-wise, the year begins with resort.Julie de Libran designed the collection to illustrate the Sonia Rykiel woman today, steeped in 50 years of house history, and she has become a perfect example of that woman. After a few years at brand’s creative helm, she’s gradually made her aesthetic voice stronger, more clear without drowning out the Rykiel codes. Her collection was a semiautobiographical story of a Parisian woman who moves to California, basks in the West Coast culture and sun and returns to the Left Bank full of new influences.French anemones were worked on black corduroy tailoring, embroidered on boho tie-neck blouses and worn as necklaces. Rykiel’s signature stripes were reworked Cali-style as retro sporty rainbow stripes on surf-inspired T-shirts and paints, and as a thick mélange crocheted dress. American workwear references came in structured oversized cotton shirts, with a little French ruffle around the neck and wide-leg culottes. Nothing was purely American or purely French. The clothes were a balanced fusion of both attitudes that made each feel fresh and current.

House of Holland Resort 2018

Designer Henry Holland reimagined the British artist Albert Irvin’s vivid prints and put a fun Anna Piaggi-style spin on a collection that was filled with arty pieces.Holland had worked directly with Irvin, who died in March, referencing his bright colors and use of abstract shapes and named the range “Bert” after Irvin’s nickname. “It’s been really nice to explore his work in a completely different context and showcase it in a new way. We wanted to really focus on staying true to his memory and we worked with his daughters,” he said.Holland took another cue from former Italian Vogue editor Piaggi’s love of structured tailoring and suiting. That came through in a monochrome woven jacquard tailored suit, to which Holland added playful red buttons. Piaggi’s love of bright color was translated into a bright, acidic yellow for a corduroy peacoat and knee-length shorts.

Ellery Resort 2018

Empowering women through luxury design is Kym Ellery’s objective. She’s become synonymous with ultracool cropped flares and statement bell sleeve tops that balance femininity against volume and off-kilter construction. Those signature elements were present for resort through romantic puff sleeves on shirting and outerwear, feminine draping on colorful asymmetric dresses, and flyaway ties that provided a sense of motion.She had a rather comical inspiration for her chic lineup: a girlfriend’s conservative parents who moonlight as cowboys on the weekends in France. It sounded off-brand, to say the least, but a perfect opportunity for the designer to play on the ideals of classic, modern and fun design on which she’s evolved.She mined the Wild West for references, placing an Ellery spin of volume and precision tailoring on encompassing silhouettes. A buttery soft black leather shirt featured curved Western design lines along the front pockets, as did tailored black outerwear with white topstitching. Shirting featured long, swishy fringe where pockets should be; it showed up elsewhere as exaggerated sleeves on a floral robe dress that could be worn with a high neck or wrapped front. And she couldn’t help but channel Dolly Parton in a rhinestone-studded suede coatdress that could easily pair back to matching flats or her signature perspex heel boots done this season in patchworked water snakeskin. The inspiration was always modestly applied, ensuring the clothes were still relevant for now.

See by Chloé Resort 2018

While the Chloé main collection woman was in the Palm Springs desert, her little sister at See by Chloé was having an earthier arid moment in North Africa. Gauzy bohemian dresses and pants came in Moroccan shades of golden yellow and terracotta, as well as midnight. Fabrics were light, dry and casual — cotton poplins, mélange ribbed knits, cheese cloth, striped blanket jacquard — and looks were layered. At See by Chloé there’s always a city tomboy contrast to the flirty boho girl. A cropped leather bomber was worn with ultrawide cropped jeans with a swirly frayed hem. There were utility denim overalls worn over a chunky knit and an oversize bleached denim shirt.See More From the 2018 Resort Collections:Mara Hoffman Resort 2018:“The goal was small but impactful,” explained Mara Hoffman of her newest, one delivery, refined resort 2018 collection.

Cottweiler Men’s Spring 2018

Cottweiler designers Matthew Dainty and Ben Cottrell looked to the optimism and escapism of off-grid desert communities for spring and created a mobile home setting with models strutting around caravans.“We’ve always been interested in technology and also in that kind of whole environment and technology together,” said Cottrell. “People that survive those kind of environments. We went to the California desert for a week and we stayed in a really small kind of town in the middle of nowhere and spent a week researching and just spending time together. The feeling of the plants, the grounds, the lizards and everything. It was good.”This helped update their signature track suit silhouette, yielding a contemporary range. They worked in lightweight hoodies, a poncho, shorts, T-shirts and track pants in desert hues of sand, sage, ivory and a deep lava.