Around Town 29

A Dynamic Duo Honored

Segerstrom Center for the Arts held its third annual Arts and Business Leadership Awards Dinner, which honored Zelma “Zee” Allred, chairman and CEO of Pool Water Products, with the Distinguished Leader Award and attorney Ashleigh Aitken Of Counsel for Aitken • Aitken • Cohn with the Rising Leader Award. Both women were recognized for their exemplary business leadership and their generous support to Orange County’s arts organizations. The evening included a cocktail party, dinner and awards in Samueli Theater, a performance by Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jackson Brown in Segerstrom Hall, and a post-performance party on the Arts Plaza featuring Nicholas David of NBC’s hit talent show, The Voice.

One of Our Own

Newport Beach resident and award-winning choreographer and artistic director Molly Lynch, who is currently an associate professor of dance in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts at UCI, is leading the 13th annual National Choreographers Initiative (NCI) as its founder and founding artistic director with a lineup of four choreographers and 16 professional dancers from across the country. The intensive three-week process at UCI will showcase new dance works, culminating in a public performance at the Irvine Barclay on Saturday, July 30, at 8 p.m. The Southern California project has gained national influence, with 25 of its new works produced by dance companies throughout the country since its founding.

Pig Races, Anyone?

Catching the All Alaskan Racing Pigs at the OC Fair is always great fun, along with all the things the fair is known for: food, rides, shopping, exhibits, animals, headline performances at the Pacific Amphitheatre, nightly music in The Hangar and adrenaline-inducing events in the Action Sports Arena. The Fair runs 23 days–from July 15 to August 14–and is open Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit

Super Couple!

Teresa and Jose Hernandez hosted a lovely reception for family and friends at The Center Club prior to Jose’s rousing Cinco de Mayo performance at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with Mariachi Sol de Mexico, the Grammy-nominated group he founded 35 years ago. The Newport Beach couple, through their nonprofit, Mariachi Heritage Society, heads up an after-school program to teach mariachi in all 10 middle schools in the Santa Ana School District, thanks to a three-year National Endowment for the Arts grant. They also draw 150 young mariachi performers from low-income families around the country through their Mariachi National Summer Institute at Cal State LA to study the art form under the tutelage of nationally known mariachi performers and educators, with the winners of the adjudicated festival competition performing at the OC Fair.

Summer and Shakespeare

The New Swan Shakespeare Festival, UCI’s unique design of a mini-Elizabethan theater, is Orange County’s only professional Shakespeare festival performed outdoors in a sustainable, portable theatre, where the audience and actors inhabit the same in-the-round space. If you are a fan of the bard, and, in particular, Hamlet and As You Like It, check the website for performance dates in July and August. Also of note are other performances: Mozart Monday III on August 15th with the New Swan String Quartet, Las Colibri, or “The Hummingbirds,” all-women mariachi ensemble, on August 1st, and Jason Freddy’s guitar driven trio featuring modern tunes set to Shakespeare’s words on July 25.

Jazz in Newport

The Seventh Annual Sunset Jazz at Newport Summer Series will present its 11-week series on Wednesday nights, beginning July 6 and concluding on September 14 at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa. Taking place in the Rose Garden (Seaview Terrace on 7/6 and 8/10), the doors will open at 5 p.m. featuring food and beverage at reasonable prices, with performances from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Look for a stellar lineup dedicated to “Straight-Ahead & Contemporary Jazz.”