LAGUNA BEACH, CA--(Marketwire - March 8, 2011) - This year's Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts (LBaa) Art Stars event on April 1 at [seven-degrees] will be quite the "Rockn'" event. Stray Cat, and renowned bass player, songwriter and longtime Laguna Beach resident Lee Rocker will be honored with a "Visionary Arts" award. Rocker grew up surrounded by music. His father is a Grammy-nominated principal clarinetist with New York Philharmonic and his mother teaches music at Hofstra University. Rocker, classically trained on the bass fiddle, shifted his focus to the enthusiastic rockabilly offerings of The Stray Cats in the 80's. He made his mark singing, playing, standing on spinning and rocking his giant upright bass in the legendary music group The Stray Cats. Grammy-nominated, The Stray Cats have sold nearly 10 million albums and garnered an astounding 23 gold and platinum certified records worldwide. The Stray Cats remain a radio staple, were music video pioneers at the infancy of MTV, and repeatedly brought rockabilly music to the top of the charts. Lee Rocker has just finished a stint on Broadway in the smash hit musical Million Dollar Quartet as rock and roll legend Carl Perkins' brother Jay Perkins. Rocker also regularly performs and will be playing select dates in 2011.

"I'm genuinely honored to be receiving the 2011 Laguna Beach Alliance for the Arts Award," says Rocker. "The community is my adopted home and where my wife and I raised our family. The Laguna Beach community is well known for its support of the arts and living here, I've been able to find my creative, personal and professional home base."

Also as the keynote speaker of the Art Stars event, Rocker will talk about his unique artistic journey and connection with Laguna Beach and beyond. He will touch on the importance of the arts and growing up and raising kids in an art-filled environment and community.

"Art Star Awards," custom designed by Louis Longi, will also be presented to organizations, businesses and individuals who have contributed and shaped the arts and culture of the community and the county. The categories and the nominees are:

  • Best New Arts Program:
    Artist Open Studios (City of Laguna Beach),
    Marine Mammal Studios (Laguna Outreach for Community Arts),
    Musical Theatre University (No Square Theatre)

  • Arts Patron of the Year:
    Robert Hayden III, The James Irvine Foundation, Wells Fargo Bank

  • Outstanding Arts Collaboration:
    Festival of Arts, The PIMCO Foundation and Orange County Schools - Junior Art Exhibit and Award Ceremony,
    Laguna College of Art & Design and Hurley - Action Sports Track,
    Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau - Studio Art Classes.

  • Innovation and Arts Leadership:
    Bolton Colburn (Laguna Art Museum),
    Dennis Power (Laguna College of Art & Design),
    Karen Wood (Laguna Playhouse)

  • Laguna Beach Artist of the Year: 
    Beth Fitchet Wood, Scott Moore, Mike Tauber.

Additionally, the winner of the $5,000 [seven-degrees] inspiration grant will be announced. The three finalists are Katlin Evans (a visual arts project "Mapping family, making art; from England to Laguna Beach California and back"), Jodie Gates (a contemporary dance work with interdisciplinary research in movement therapy and behavior studies), Roark Gourley (a film/documentary showcasing underwater footage of the human form in a liquid environment). "The three finalists represent very different and unique art forms. We thank [seven-degrees] for not only hosting the event, but for funding this amazing grant opportunity," said event Chair Lisa Mansour.

To purchase tickets to attend the 5th Annual Art Star Awards, please contact:

Contact Information:

Media contacts:
Lee Rocker Press Contact:
Leslie Hermeli
Susan Blond Inc.
212.333.7728. ex 131