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The 7th Open Mic Night, July 25, 2015

Waterfalls and Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion

Can one go under the waterfalls and not be drenched and be thrilled by the gush of waterfall over your head? It is just as impossible to go to an Open Mic Night at the La Habra Art Gallery without being mesmerized by art and music;  not to be inspired and find joy and hope by the colors on the walls brought by the artworks of the Special Students of the VSA of Orange County.

The portrait artists brought everything they thought they needed.  It was supposed to be another pencil/charcoal drawing session, at a place they have never heard before.  Each one check off the items in their tool list – easel, paper, charcoal, pencil, stump, erasers, etc.  They were ready or so they thought.

Saturday night at an art gallery was not exactly the kind of adventure the young violin players and their friends had in mind.  But they were invited to play at an Open Mic at the La Habra Art Gallery.  They have performed with symphonies at famous performing arts theatres in different parts of the country but never at an art gallery, nor at the City of La Habra.   They planned to play a few pieces, bid adieu after the performance, and enjoy the rest of the evening at a more exciting place.

Mon Concepcion  and his friends, like any other Open Mic Night, set up and made sure the equipment were plugged in and  sound were checked.   One thing Mon has learned from 15 years of hosting Open Mics is to always prepare for the unexpected.  Each night is different because no one knows who is going to be in front of the microphone.  One goal that he sets for himself each night is to ensure the performing artists and the guests have a good time.

True to his goal and his vision, the next four hours turned out to be an evening of exciting and magical performances.  The inspiration brought by the art works displayed on the gallery walls, by the Special Education students of VSA of Orange County. the spontaneity of the musical performances,  brought this Open Mic Night a world of its own, a truly memorable experience.

“I have never been to an Open Mic and didn’t know what to expect.  I found out this is just a perfect way to unwind after a hard week” commented by a first time attendee.

Rafael Maniago and his artist friends were caught by surprise.  They did not expect  a drawing session and be entertained by great musical talents that night.   “How did you get all these great talents in one place, and how did you get this concept?  Art and music event at an Art Gallery on a Saturday night?”  They had a wonderful time creating pencil/charcoal portraits of three young models and taking pictures after they were done. They vowed to be back and invited the young ladies to be their models in future drawing sessions.  As long time artists, they still found inspiration and hope in the artworks by the Special Education of VSA of Orange County that were on exhibit at the gallery.  They spent the rest of the evening admiring listening and enjoying the musical performances.

Time literally stood still, when the young, beautiful, and talented violin player Alex Macalalad and the multi-awarded classical pianist, Resli Bagaygay, took center stage and gave the audience, a jaw-dropping, beautiful rendition of “Just the way you look tonight”.  It was magical!

Honestly, how does one prepare for a night like this?  No one can really.  One can only be open to all possibilities and let oneself be ready to have a good time.  Much like going under the waterfall and be ready to be thrilled and engulfed by the gush of water over your head.

With all the addiction to electronic gadgets, the daily grind of work assignments, the constant reminders to be perfect, many have forgotten how to simply have a good time without fireworks. Performing and enjoying the evening, and at the same time promoting arts, music, and the La Habra Art Gallery.  Genius!

The Open Mic experience is made possible by sheer kindness and generosity of –

the musical talents – Willie D. and wife Rose, Harry Brillantes, Oscar Bandoquillo, Raoul Pascual, Luz Spanks, Alex Macalalad, Resli Bagaygay, Benny, Romy and the Boyz

The artists – Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie, Raoul Pascual

The gallery exhibit – Special Education students  of the VSA of Orange County

The Open Mic host –  Mon Concepcion, aka Reckless and Blue.  His  love of discovering talents and taking them to center stage has what kept him doing what he does all these years.  The best performances are from those who genuinely enjoys what they do.  Mon surely has showed us how to have a good time.


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Artists, Guests, Musicians at the Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion on July 25, 2015
Artists, Guests, Musicians at the Open Mic Night with Mon Concepcion on July 25, 2015
Models with Artists - Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie
Models Alex Macalalad and friends with Artists – Rafael Maniago, Boi Sibug, Fulton and Eddie
Luz Spanks, Event Coordinator and Rafael Maniago, Portrait Artist
Luz Spanks, LHAA Event Coordinator and Rafael Maniago, Portrait Artist




Open Mic – Art and Music Fusion, Multigeneration Musical Experience

The Open Mic Night was an initiative to create art and music fusion at the La Habra Art Gallery.  The nights turned out to be a multi-generation musical experience as well. 

On June 20, each one came to showcase their talent, or at least hear a great performance – a graduate of La Habra High School, a senior at the Orange County High School of the Arts, a grandmother, father and daughter, husband, wife, son, brother-in-law.  At the end of the night, everyone had a good time and developed  a great appreciation of each other’s talents.  It was a grand exchange of musical gifts. The Open Mic Night suddenly was a fusion of music from different generations,  The host, Mon Concepcion, has masterfully managed to inspire artists to let go of insecurities, and give the best of what they can give.

The next Open Mic is going to be at the first La Habra Art Walk at the La Habra Market Place on July 18, 2015.

Please e-mail to sign up if you are interested to sign up as an artist or would like to sponsor an Open Mic event.

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Text and Pictures by Luz Spanks 6.21.13


Raoul Pascual, A Scanner

RaoulHis business card reads “Managing Partner, WYNK Marketing (WhatYouNeedtoKnow)” but that is a gross understatement of the make-up of Raoul Pascual.  He is a marketing specialist, web designer, and programmer but also possess a Scanner Personality.  A Scanner is a person with multitude of talents and choose bravely to follow all paths where his gifts will take him instead of focusing on one as society would dictate.  He knew he was an artist at a young age.  In his early years, after a teacher in high school discovered his aptitude in drawing, encouraged him to be the art editor for the school newspaper.  Since then he dabbled on art directing, stage design, developing political cartoons, corporate logos, digital art and flash animation.   He is happiest creating caricatures.  He enjoy making caricatures especially for people who have no voice or no money.  He wants the recipients of his caricatures to sell them if need be if his work suddenly amounts to something.  What sets him apart from other caricaturists is the speed he does them.  He can finish a caricature in less than 10 minutes.  He developed his speed through practice and persistence.  He does life caricatures for non-profit organizations and festivals.  You’ll know his booth because his line would be the longest.

Aside from managing his award-winning marketing company (with a long prominent client list), he also sends out a weekly e-mail Raoul’s TGIFJoke which contain a Joke of the week (selected from e-mail entries from all over the world), Words of Wisdom, anecdotes, comic strip, and a compilation of videos that are classified into funny, pleasant, inspirational, fascinating, spiritual, and interesting.  He collects these jokes and illustrate them with his own drawings.  He prepares the articles for Raoul’s TGIFJoke every Thursday night, for publication on Friday morning.  This is his contribution in freeing mankind from concerns after a long week of hard work.

In one of the Open Mic sessions at the La Habra Art Gallery, Raoul showed another of his talents.  He is a gifted musician, who plays the guitar, harmonica, and the keyboards.  He is also a lyricist having personalized popular spiritual songs with his own lyrics.  His tale of love lost sang in his heart-rending voice and poignant lyrics will cut your heart like a knife.  Geniuses, artists, like Raoul, are not spared from pains and struggles, but they possess the uncanny ability and unrelenting need to tell their story in whatever shape or form.

As serious as his music can be, his caricatures and his logos are original, current, and witty.  His entries in the Animal Affair Art Exhibit at the La Habra Art Gallery (on exhibit until June 27, 2015) possess all these qualities. He does truly follow his mantra in marketing, “Think outside the box”.  In the recent Open Mic Session, Raoul captured the performing artists in caricatures to the delight of all the artists.  The night was the ultimate fusion of art and music.  The caricatures are currently on display at the Gallery.

For artists, creating is intoxicating and enthralling.  Artists need to create something every day to feel complete.  They take every opportunity to create, to express. What’s the next path for Raoul, the  Scanner?    He’s thinking on going to the path of  Animation.  For sure, whatever he would think of, it will be extraordinary.  The world awaits.  He is after all,
not merely an ordinary talented artist but a genius in everything  (well almost anyway) he does.

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Animal Portraits and Renditions Exhibit at the Gallery, June 7 – 27, 2015

AnimalAffairPoster (2)The Gallery proudly presents Animal Affair Art Exhibit beginning June 7 through June 27, 2015 with the Opening Reception on June 7, from 2 pm – 4pm.  The exhibit will showcase the animal renditions of various artists with different media and styles – muralist, Les Knight, Caricaturist Raoul Pascual (you’ll definitely know him when you see his images as they have been posted all over the world), MarySchultz, La Habra Art Association President and her daughter Virginia Schultz, forever optimistic Luz Spanks, realist oil painter Patricia Stoner, and Michael’s Grumbacher instructor Lisa Suttle.


Call for Sponsors, Volunteers for the LHAA 60th Anniversary Celebration this September

Please leave name and area of interest in the “Leave a Comment” box below to specify interest as sponsor or volunteer for  La Habra Art Association.

2015 marks the 60th year  of the association’s commitment to serve  the community by promoting appreciation of fine arts through art exhibitions, conducting classes for all levels, and providing a place where artists can commune with fellow artists.  The Open Mic hosted by Mon Concepcion, aka Reckless  & Blue which has recently been added to the line up of activities  has turned out to be a hub of talented musicians, performers,  and singer-songwriters.

A series of art activities, symposiums, and an art exhibit  “Celebrating the past, looking to the future” is set to open on September 5.  The anniversary celebration will culminate  on September 26, 2015 with a dinner reception at the La Habra Art Gallery.  We need volunteers, contributions of art works, past news clippings, stories, anecdotes, pictures, videos that can be compiled in a Souvenir Program that will showcase the 60-year history of the Association.

Click here for schedule of classes and events.