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By DAVID BRO / FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

LAGUNA BEACH -(CA)- Laguna Beach Books held a brunch and book signing for about 100 people featuring New York Times best selling authors T. Jefferson Parker and Elizabeth George at Laguna Beach’s Aliso Creek Inn on Sunday afternoon. Parker and George each spoke briefly about their latest books, followed by a question and answer segment before moving onto the signing table where many event-goers held in their arms the latest mysteries from both authors.

“The Jaguar,” by T. Jefferson Parker, tells the story of Erin McKenna, a beautiful songwriter married to a less than honest Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy, who is kidnapped by a powerful gulf cartel and threatened with death unless she writes a folk ballad about the exploits of Mexico’s drug dealers, gun runners and outlaws.

Article Tab: T. Jefferson Parker, author of The Jaguar signs a book for Coto De Caza resident Joanne Redwood Sunday afternoon at the brunch and book signing at Laguna Beach's Aliso Creek Inn .
T. Jefferson Parker, author of “The Jaguar” signs a book for Coto De Caza resident Joanne Redwood Sunday afternoon at the brunch and book signing at Laguna Beach’s Aliso Creek Inn .
DAVID BRO, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

“Believing The Lie,” by Elizabeth George, unfolds as British police inspector Thomas Lynley is sent undercover to investigate an apparent accidental drowning only to discover, with the help of friends, the complicated secrets, motives and lies deep within the dead man’s family and how his death might not have been an accident.

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Nicolas Kiesecker is held by his aunt, Nancy Martin, and is intent on catching the streamer of Cirque du Shea WonderWorld performer \

I went for the first time to the Montage Resort and Spa in Laguna Beach about two weeks ago.  Normally, I try to get a story out right after I shoot it but with the crush of covering graduations and the general clamor that is the beginning of summertime in California, I let it go until now.  I think, perhaps, as well, I wanted to think about the event and comment on it with some perspective.  Really there are three elements of what went on that night and each could be a blog entry in and of itself.

 

 

 

“…If you have ever been on a horse or even near one, you will know what I mean; the meaning of life is on your mind every second…”

 

First:

 

The J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center, and the reason behind the “Cirque du Shea” gala is an organization that uses resources from donors to improve the lives of people with disabilities by integrating them into horse related programs.  In addition to what you might generally consider to be physical therapy in a clinical environment, the Shea center puts some life into it.  If you have ever been on a horse or even near one, you will know what I mean; the meaning of life is on your mind every second.

 

 

 Star Childe

 

 

 

It’s often that I am assigned a shoot and I don’t really know what it’s about.  Usually I get a call about it and generally it’s followed up by an e-mail with all the details.  If you know Orange County then you know that most people barely have enough time to get their socks on in the morning, let alone read an e-mail and get the whole story. 

                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got my first opening shots of couples as they entered and noticed that everyone was from Coto de Caza…but we were in Laguna?  Ahhhh, …the horse element of Coto and the equestrian estates.  After Cirque du Shea performers from WonderWorld of Los Angeles, Ringmaster, Lady and Bird, stand with Eric Wolff, Dr. Edward Peltier MD. and Cherri Farah on Saturday evening at the Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach during the Annual J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center Black-Tie Gala and Benefit.registration, guests were invited

to continue on to a grassy area overlooking the ocean.  There was a big bar and silent auction items were laid out on tables.  There was everything from handmade purses to fishing trips to Cabo San Lucas.  The event was black tie and so all the attendees looked sharp and were having a great time with a great view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second:

 

The Montage Resort and Spa is VERY NICE.  I had never been through it but wondered as the outside does not have the classic façade of other hotels in the area of the same scale and offerings.  The interior is well done and challenges the eye with something new to see in every direction.

 

 

 

The view of the ocean and beach is especialy spectacular and on a nice evening like the day of the event, it shines its brightest.  I can’t say this about too many places I go to but I would like to go back when I am not working so I can see it better.  I think it will be soon.

 

 

 

The best thing about the Montage would have to be the people that work there; pleasant with a capital “P”, helpful with a capital “H” and gracious with a capital “G”.  The service and care for their guests is evident in every move.  A guest, while getting into the elevator, stumbled on the metal lip of the car while going in and dropped his drink glass, shattering it on the floor.  Several Montage employees jumped to clean it up, while almost blaming themselves for the accident to save the guest from embarrassment.  I can only say that if the Montage group thinks that these things go un-noticed, they don’t.  Hard work and attention to detail goes a long way to making a big difference.Derek and Nancy Lewis stand with their son, Michael, the first rider,  on Saturday evening at the Montage Resort & Spa in Laguna Beach during the Annual J.F. Shea Therapeutic Riding Center Black-Tie Gala and Benefit.

 

“…The best thing about the Montage would have to be the people that work there; pleasant with a capital “P”…”

 

 

 

 Third:

 

I was not long at the reception when I noticed the entertainment would be “target rich” for me, as a photographer.  WonderWorld of Los Angeles, a group of athletic performers of all types, provided an ongoing “street” type display throughout the evening.  No sooner did a fantasized stilted woman in old school New Orleans Showgirl red feathers and corset appear and disappear than an acrobat was trussed up over the bar, slowly un-raveling herself back to earth in a swirl of fabric that matched the sky.

 

 

Other performers included an Orange crepe suited “sun-man”, a plumed raven called out jungle bird sounds and posed with guests for photos; they were led by a “ringmaster” that appeared as if from the pages of a Dr Seuss book.

 

Finaly:

 

Guests were led to the ballroom where they ate dinner and were presented with more characters from WonderWorld.  In between feats by contortionists and dramatically adorned gymnasts, the master of ceremonies addressed the crowd with the achievements of the Shea Group: some individual families that had benefited directly spoke a few words in how the lives of sons and daughters had been the past year with support from the Shea Group Riding Center.

 

“…led by a “ringmaster” that appeared as if from the pages of a Dr Seuss book…”

 

I continued to shoot through the live auction, which is always fun, as the auctioneer calls out the numbers and faces bidders one against the other.  The purpose of the event was to celebrate work by the Shea Group on behalf of the disabled and raise monies for the next year. 

 

 

There were 10 or 12 items for the live auction.  Atendees responded with over the top generosity; I won’t go into the amounts, but it was a lot.  It was impressive to see as will the MC call out for donations just for the sake of giving and several did just that with amounts that would be superior to the value of most of our cars.

 

 

 

The gala wrapped up and as I walked out to my van to go home, I passed in front of the Montage on the sidewalk; it was wet from the sprinklers and I saw I was not alone.  There ahead of me was a cat, sitting patiently for prey as only cats can do.  I got a little closer and he sped through the hedge and with authority moved furthur onto the grounds of The Montage.

 

I unlocked my van, warmed it up and left, thinking, that the evening had a little something for everyone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.sheacenter.org/index.html

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