Cypress Community Festival adds “A Touch of Polynesia”

Let the sea winds carry you across the Pacific to an exotic tropical paradise – and never even leave your seat at the Cypress Community Festival this summer.Rose Cason, director and choreographer of “A Touch of Polynesia,” and her brightly-costumed dance troupe will bring a taste of the central and southern Pacific Ocean indigenous peoples to the Festival July 26 at Oak Knoll Park in Cypress.Cason has over 40 years of experience in teaching and promoting dances from the beautiful and exotic Polynesian islands. “A Touch of Polynesia…performs cultural and exotic dances from Hawaii, Tahiti and New Zealand with an emphasis on authenticity,” says Cason. “It’s a beautiful dance routine.”The brilliantly colored costumes worn by her dancers reflect the beauty of nature found in Polynesia, which embraces more than a thousand islands separated by hundreds of miles of open sea, but united by culture, including dance styles like the hula from Hawaii and Tahitian dance from French Polynesia. Dancers use their arms and hands as a way of communicating through dance.“A Touch of Polynesia” has more than 30 performers, ranging in age from four years to over 60. They have been performing for more than 38 years and will be featured on the Cypress Community Festival Main Stage during the Festival.The 2014 Cypress Community Festival, Orange County’s largest one-day Festival, is a popular event features exciting entertainment and fun for the whole family including the Cypress 5K and 10K walk/run and the Kiwanis pancake breakfast in the morning, the famous chili cook-off and car show, music and dancing on four stages, the Chamber of Commerce Business Expo, rides and games for all, Snoopy, face-painting clowns and many vendor and artisan booths and much more.Among the entertainers scheduled to appear are country artist Peter Brandon, the bluesy-rock band Chris Anderson Group, oldies from The Roadhouse Band, the Altar Billies, the Country Kickers, Miss Gingers’ dancers, ReallyShoo kids music review, storytelling by Miss Preschenda, country tunes from Creekwood, Zumba by Lettie, Fun with Puppies and Fun with Reptiles.For more information about the Festival, to help as a volunteer or sponsor, or to download vendor, chili and car show applications go to the Festival website at: www.cypressfestival.com, call or text to 714-886-9749, or email info@cypressfestival.com.

Why do youth flock to Coachella?

Coachella is a major music festival that happens once a year for two weekends in April. Youth flock to Palm Desert, California to experience soulful vibes and a cultural space where strangers can easily become friends and self-expression is celebrated rather than stigmatized.Tickets are a pretty penny with general admission at $399 plus travel expenses and hotel costs. At such an expensive price, what is it that drives youth from all over the world to make the trip to the deserts of Southern California? Surely, it is more than good music as most of them can experience that in their own hometowns.Many speak of wanting to be a part of the ‘festival experience.’ But, what exactly does that mean? For many, what really brings people to the grounds isn’t so much the entertainment but rather, the connection that happens within the entertainment.Music festivals create a cultural space wherepeople from all over the world can become a part of something that celebrates people of all backgrounds, melting the boundary of “neighbor and self” to create the type of connection that eliminates separateness.Social worker and researcher Brene Brown defines connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued, when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”When everyone is dancing, holding hands, high-fiving and above all- experiencing the type of connection Brene Brown speaks of- the energy in the festival makes youth feel like they belong. This energy is the basis for spiritual connection; an offering that Brene Brown says grows with trust, respect, kindness and affection.Many people may be thinking, “While it’s nice that all these boundaries seem to dissipate into a sense of unity…but is that just the effects of drugs and alcohol? Would people still be as full of appreciation, joy, compassion, and connection without these substances at the festivals?”Although its hard to answer objectively, at the root of doing drugs and drinking, youth really are still just looking to find a space to express themselves – drugs and alcohol tend to accompany this simply because of the insecurity that sometimes comes from seeking greater levels of intimacy and not really knowing how to reach it. After all, it’s not exactly modeled for them in this digital day and age.Youth are craving an understanding of who they are and where they fit into the world and festivals are place where they feel like they can just be themselves and that whoever they are is a perfect fit rather than feeling a need to do more, be more, or achieve more.If people were able to experience the connection that flowed freely in a festival without the atmosphere of drugs and drinking, would they still feel propelled to experiment with these substances? If people felt this greater sense of intimacy and rooted identity on a regular basis, would the ‘festival experience’ transcend into everyday life?Young people go to festivals thinking that what they want is to go hear music from their favorite bands, meet interesting people and party and in doing so, get a taste of the liberation that they really crave spiritually: to be loved exactly as they are and to love others in such a way in return.This yearning for connection and rootedness is what brings youth back to festivals again and again. Some are more aware of their ability to tap into this deeper well of unconditional love in their everyday life, while others are still grasping at how to translate the transformational connection they experience during festivals into their day-to-day reality. Regardless, the capacity to love boundlessly is felt and the freedom that it ignites keeps youth flocking to Coachella.

The magic of Yanni comes alive at Segerstrom Center

Just listening to the artistically beautiful sounds of the phenomenal musician/composer simply known as Yanni doesn't do the man justice. It is an absolute must to see Yanni perform live if you are a fan of the calm and soothing music genre. Yes, we get the 25 million or more albums that Yanni has sold worldwide.We get the 40 platinum and gold albums he has put out over the years. We understand all of the accolades Yanni has achieved and have garnered over the years with his mesmerizing sounds. But none of that compares to seeing the man live and in person. It is just another type of experience altogether.The once-in-a-lifetime Greek musician made a recent appearance at the Orange County-based Segerstrom Center for the Arts and wowed the audience with a plethora of charm, graciousness and with his magic bag of solitary and reflective brand of music.How do you describe music played by a musician that has captured the hearts of millions? You don't. Yanni is an artist that you cannot simply put in a box or make life easier for yourself by categorizing the sentimentality of his sound. On Sunday, Sept. 21, those attending Yanni's two and a half hour concert (with no intermission) at the Segerstom Center for the Arts, found out that boxing in this electric performer would be to deny themselves an opportunity of witnessing greatness in front of their own eyes.Hyperbole usually doesn't fly too well with this particular writer. But I must admit that Yanni is the real deal in person. He is as good as a showman as there is. His command of the stage and his show is much like the way a maestro takes charge of his orchestra. He is both master and servant to his intimate congregation, both captivating and desirous to please at the same time.The way Yanni mingles and interact with the audience with meaningful conversation, and not with idle gibberish, allows you to be part of his world, to understand the passion behind the music that he is able to extort from his spirituality, life experiences and his love to produce music that is in sync with one's inner soul.But by no means was this show a parade of elevator music subject to put you asleep. The beauty of Yanni's music is that it has a way of hitting the right notes at the right time, stimulating and uplifting. Whether it is a penned love acknowledgement to his mother which he plays with adoring stimulation or whether it is a fast-paced jaunt he seamlessly collaborates with his high-octane band of musicians, Yanni keeps his fans asking for more.

Why do youth flock to Coachella?

Coachella is a major music festival that happens once a year for two weekends in April. Youth flock to Palm Desert, California to experience soulful vibes and a cultural space where strangers can easily become friends and self-expression is celebrated rather than stigmatized.Tickets are a pretty penny with general admission at $399 plus travel expenses and hotel costs. At such an expensive price, what is it that drives youth from all over the world to make the trip to the deserts of Southern California? Surely, it is more than good music as most of them can experience that in their own hometowns.Many speak of wanting to be a part of the ‘festival experience.’ But, what exactly does that mean? For many, what really brings people to the grounds isn’t so much the entertainment but rather, the connection that happens within the entertainment.Music festivals create a cultural space wherepeople from all over the world can become a part of something that celebrates people of all backgrounds, melting the boundary of “neighbor and self” to create the type of connection that eliminates separateness.Social worker and researcher Brene Brown defines connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued, when they can give and receive without judgment and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”When everyone is dancing, holding hands, high-fiving and above all- experiencing the type of connection Brene Brown speaks of- the energy in the festival makes youth feel like they belong. This energy is the basis for spiritual connection; an offering that Brene Brown says grows with trust, respect, kindness and affection.Many people may be thinking, “While it’s nice that all these boundaries seem to dissipate into a sense of unity…but is that just the effects of drugs and alcohol? Would people still be as full of appreciation, joy, compassion, and connection without these substances at the festivals?”Although its hard to answer objectively, at the root of doing drugs and drinking, youth really are still just looking to find a space to express themselves – drugs and alcohol tend to accompany this simply because of the insecurity that sometimes comes from seeking greater levels of intimacy and not really knowing how to reach it. After all, it’s not exactly modeled for them in this digital day and age.Youth are craving an understanding of who they are and where they fit into the world and festivals are place where they feel like they can just be themselves and that whoever they are is a perfect fit rather than feeling a need to do more, be more, or achieve more.If people were able to experience the connection that flowed freely in a festival without the atmosphere of drugs and drinking, would they still feel propelled to experiment with these substances? If people felt this greater sense of intimacy and rooted identity on a regular basis, would the ‘festival experience’ transcend into everyday life?Young people go to festivals thinking that what they want is to go hear music from their favorite bands, meet interesting people and party and in doing so, get a taste of the liberation that they really crave spiritually: to be loved exactly as they are and to love others in such a way in return.This yearning for connection and rootedness is what brings youth back to festivals again and again. Some are more aware of their ability to tap into this deeper well of unconditional love in their everyday life, while others are still grasping at how to translate the transformational connection they experience during festivals into their day-to-day reality. Regardless, the capacity to love boundlessly is felt and the freedom that it ignites keeps youth flocking to Coachella.

Book of Mormon’s Alexandra Ncube brings righteous laughter to the Segerstrom Center

“Book of Mormon,” playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, March 22 – April 3, is exactly what audiences would expect from its non-conformist creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone of “South Park” who teamed with “Avenue Q’s” Robert Lopez.Yes, it’s funny; make that uproarious, outrageous and shocking but the tunes are catchy, the dancing energetic and underneath the satire, it deals with some very real truths about human nature. Bring an open mind to the Segerstom Center and tighten your seat belts for a hilarious theatrical ride. Sure, some may think that the Tony award-winning best musical is blasphemous.I prefer to consider it insightful concerning the nature of faith and the way America stamps its brand on the world. Fans of “South Park,” atheists, the skeptical and pertinacious types, will find “Book of Mormon”(BOM) side-splittingly funny, laughing until their bellies hurt. And interestingly enough, Mormons are enjoying the show just as much as non-believers. At least, that is what Alexandra Ncube, lead actress in "Book of Mormon," observed following the show’s run in Mormonism’s soul city.“When we performed in Salt Lake City, the majority of the audience were Mormons and the response was great,"Ncube said. "It could have gone either way: a complete disaster or a rock concert. It was a rock concert with the audience laughing the entire time. They had incredible respect for what we were doing. They came to the show with open minds and they got what we were doing.”Ncube, who has been on the road with “Book of Mormon” for the past couple of years, tape auditioned for the show at the urging of friends. The Arizona-based actress admits she was nervous about auditioning since she hadn’t seen the show, but she was a big fan of the score, liked BOM’s concept, the controversy of it and the characters as well.As it turned out, it was serendipity because according to Ncube, “the directors seemed pleased that I wasn’t influenced by past performances from other artists playing Nabulungi. They wanted me to bring my own take to the role. I have so much respect for directors Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker.They are amazing mentors, encouraging each artist to use their strengths to create their own character, not to necessarily duplicate the originals.”There’s no denying that BOM is controversial and while that is part of its appeal to audiences and actors alike, Ncube says, “True, there’s controversy but more importantly, it’s a conversational piece. People are talking about it and yes, there are parts some might find offensive, but writer/producers Matt (Stone) and Trey (Parker) brilliantly use satire to talk about really important issues. It’s not just a roast of the Mormon faith, any faith could be substituted.”She continues, “The show does have a lot of cheeky ideas, but I strongly believe that Trey and Matt carefully chose their words, backing them up with things that happen later in the plot. The characters and plot are so well developed that it is hard not to focus on the content. Satire is used as an effective devise o help audiences laugh while learning.”Because of its provocative humor it may seem as if “Book of Mormon” uses inflammatory comedy to cross an invisible boundary line. Director/co-author (book, lyrics, music) Parker explains this this. “There is a line that you can cross as long as you have a reason for doing it," Parker said. "If it has a point and it has a genuine story, real characters and emotion, then you can pretty much do whatever you want as long as you’re being truthful.” Ncube sums it up, saying, “BOM’s boundaries are set by the authors. They are not meant to be offensive, honestly, they have been carefully chosen to reveal the truth of the characters portrayed and these characters represent real things that are happening in the world.”Audiences overly concerned with the suggestive language and controversy in “Book of Mormon” are missing the point that this is fine musical theater. “It is a perfect storm of artists (Parker, Stone and the brilliant Bobbie Lopez) coming together to create not only a wonderful story but a traditional musical with show-stopping numbers and heartfelt Broadway ballads,” Ncube said.The original storyline is extremely entertaining. “Book of Mormon” as described by Ncube, “depicts two Mormon missionaries, one an all-American poster child of the faith, the other kind of quirky. The conventional one is set on going to a Disneyland for his mission but they are sent to Africa instead. Things go differently than expected as they attempt to convert Ugandan’s to "Mormonism.” Ncube had more to say about this topic.“My character, Nabulngi, the village chief’s daughter, is the driving force of optimism," she said. "All of the characters go through a failure of faith and belief but she wants to learn about stuff outside her Village, she wants to better her own and the villagers circumstances. She listens to the missionaries and views Salt Lake City as a magical place of happiness and joy.”"Book of Mormon” takes audiences to an equally magical place, despite explicit language, shocking imagery and raunchy humor, because as co-author Lopez explains, “the musical is a machine that’s designed to bring you down and raise you up and to give you a positive, uplifting experience. This musical is about faith, it’s about religious feeling. We show a character that loses his faith and we give his faith back to him in a better way at the end. I hope that the experience of the audience mirrors that, whether it’s a religious experience or just feeling entertained.”“Book of Mormon" is playing at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, March 22 – April 3. SCFTA and the BOM production company will conduct a pre-show lottery at the Segerstrom Center Box Office (600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, 92626). A limited number of tickets will be available for $25, cash only.To enter the lottery, arrive at the box office 2 ½ hours prior to the performance to have your name placed in the lottery drum. Winning names will be drawn 30 minutes later. Winners must be present when their name is called and have a valid ID. Tickets are limited to 2 per winning participants. For information and regular tickets: The Box Office or phone 714-556-2787 (hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily) and online at SCFTA.org.

Quinn VanAntwerp as “Jersey Boy” Bob Gaudio

Some musicals have such universal appeal that that they are overnight sensations. “Jersey Boys,” coming to the Segerstrom Center for the Arts, June 24 – July 13, has been winning over audiences and receiving standing ovations since its La Jolla debut in 2004.Now on its 2ndnational tour, the Tony award winning show is coming home to California.Shows about musical success stories come and go. At first glance, “Jersey Boys” seems like another ‘jukebox’ musical – lots of top of the chart hits from the 60’s and a likeable group of clean cut crooners. That’s just the first impression, because Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons have a real, if little known, story to tell and tell it they do, each in his own voice.“Jersey Boys” Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi struggled hard before making it. Their story could have taken a different road without the twists of fate that allowed four Italian kids from Jersey to ride the hit parade train. With their blue collar backgrounds and mob ties this could have been a gangster story instead of a biography with a string of hit songs. Fate, in the person of Joe Pesci (yes, the actor and a fellow Jersey boy) told the group’s founder Tommy DeVito that he knew a singer-songwriter who’d make the perfect fourth for their band, Bob Gaudio. As it turned out, if they hadn’t connected with Gaudio, a musical wunderkind, they may have ended up in prison or worst.Bob Gaudio, tenor and keyboardist for the Four Seasons, wrote most of the Broadway score and a whole string of “Four Seasons” hits. Quinn VanAntwerp, who stars as Gaudio describes what it’s like to play a living legend, saying “there are challenges to portraying a Rock and Roll Hall of famer but it’s so fulfilling playing a musical icon nightly. It’s a thrill having this incredible character available to me and to introduce audiences to who he really is. Bob is an amazing talent. He’s a role model for the way I want to live my life as an artist and it’s almost personal to be able to play him.”VanAntwerp, who grew up in California, says “playing Gaudio at the Segerstrom Center is like a homecoming because I’ve seen so many shows there.” This is VanAntwerp’s first appearance on the Segerstrom stage but he’s not a stranger to the Center. He took at Master Class there. While here he’ll also be visiting another familiar haunt – the California University at Irvine where he’ll officiate as Keynote Speaker at Irvine’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts commencement ceremony. He says “I’m so honored because I was working and unable to attend my own graduation so it’s as if my life has come full-circle.”Quinn credits “Jersey Boys” with influencing his life as an actor as well as on a personal level. He’s spent the last five years playing Gaudio, first in Toronto, followed by the 1stNational Tour, a year stint on Broadway, and back on the road again with the 2ndNational Tour. As for the personal part, he and his wife connected, after meeting in Toronto’s “Jersey Boys.” “I was young when I started the show and I’ve learned so much,” he says.So how did this California kid morph into a “Jersey Boy?” Quinn says “It would be interesting to look back at my early performances because it’s the years in the part that have allowed me time to perfect the Jersey style of speech and attitude. It’s exciting to be part of that different culture. It has a coolness about it that I’ve grown into – we, the cast have all become Jersey boys.”VanAntwerp describes “Jersey Boys as a dark tale of the rise and fall of an American rock group. These guys seem clean cut but walked on the wild side.” As for the term ‘Jukebox’ musical, Quinn admits that it’s a fair if inept description because “the show tells a story we don’t actually know. It goes into the artists lives and explains why each song was written. ‘Jersey Boys’ could stand on its own as a play – it just happens to have a rock concert throughout the script.”Perhaps that’s why Clint Eastwood has released it as a movie. Quinn says “The musical adapts so easily to the Big Screen. The book is authored by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, who are experienced script writers. And it’s so fast-pasted, that it’s almost like a Scorsese film.”The Four Season’s story is certainly one that Scorsese might have told. The quartet fought hard to vault from the mean streets to the top of the pop world, all before they were thirty. These blue collar guys never forgot their roots. As Valli and Gaudio said, “we aren’t exotic or glitzy and while the fans of more high-profile bands were marching to Washington,our fans went to Vietnam.”Along with a younger crowd discovering the uniqueness of “Four Seasons” songs, audiences are packed with working class fans that danced and dreamed to their sound back in the day. VanAntwerp says, “Valli and the boys were never a social movement. The songs were about a different culture at that time in America. Don’t be surprised to see tough hardhat types bringing their ladies to this show. It resonates with them as clearly as it does to with the real Jersey Boys.”“Jersey Boys” is at the Segerstrom for the Arts, Segerstrom Hall from June 24 – July 13. For tickets and information: In person, the Box Office, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, California 92626; Online, SCFTA.org; by phone, 714-556-2787. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

The A-List to perform at 35th Annual Cypress Community Festival

Want to renew your sense of wonder?Come out to the 35th Annual Cypress Community Festival on Saturday, July 25, to meet The A-List, a highly energetic and exciting live band specializing in musical diversity.Comprised of some of the Disneyland Resort's finest performers, The A List covers everything from Stevie Wonder to Journey to Lady Gaga.The band's wildly diverse playlist comes in part from its eccentric members. Featuring Nathan Shrake and Sheena Loza on lead vocals, Todd McCool on guitar, George Castells on bass, and Pat Leon on drums, this core unit has been performing together at Disney's California Adventure's Mad T Party for over three years in addition to other numerous gigs across Southern California.The A List strives to present the best live show possible incorporating choreography, audience participation, and a commitment to honoring the songs of the artists they cover.See them at the Cypress Festival in July at 3:30 p.m. on the main stage.Join the online conversation! Use hashtag #cypressfestival.The Cypress Community Festival will be held at Oak Knoll Park, 5700 Orange Ave. in Cypress (between Valley View St. and Walker St.). For more information, visit www.cypressfestival.com.

Mantu Resort 2018

At Mantu, seaside references gave the collection a serene tone. For starters, the sophisticated palette of different shades of blue, crispy whites and sand tones went nicely with the easy, effortless silhouettes. A great fluid trench, for example, featured a pleated back, while white men’s wear-inspired shirts were generously cut and, in some instances, featured open backs or floral embroideries — reinforcing the collection’s constant attempt to balance feminine and masculine elements. Other highlights included great silky polka dot pajama ensembles and a mid-length dress. On the more summery side of the spectrum, great linen shirtdresses and voluminous ample tunics stood out.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.

Vivienne Westwood Men’s Spring 2018

For a collection that was inspired by the end of the world, it was relentlessly colorful and upbeat. After all, fashion is about business, and Vivienne Westwood, who took her bow dressed in scrappy clothing and riding on the shoulders of a muscly acrobat, embraces that — with some caveats.First, a clarification: Last week, Westwood made waves at the Bread & Butter preview event in Berlin when she voiced her mantra: “Buy less, choose better, make it last,” and then went a step farther, telling her shocked audience “so this season, don’t buy anything.”Backstage after the show, WWD asked Andreas Kronthaler, Westwood’s husband and design collaborator, how she could run a fashion business and urge people not to shop.

Martine Rose Men’s Spring 2018

Martine Rose continued to explore the archetypes of men and took on a trio of references: outdoor enthusiasts, Trevor Hughes’ images and electronic dance club culture.She staged her show at the Stronghold Climbing & Bouldering Centre where models walked down the runway held in the indoor climbing facility in Tottenham Hale.“I was looking at Toronto’s underground scene in the Eighties and Nineties,” said Rose. “While I was researching, I was really inspired by the outdoor lifestyle. I started looking into all sorts of outdoor activities like climbers and golfers. It was about making ordinary extraordinary again.”