Monday Smiles – 8/26/2013

lagunaThere is nothing like a night out with friends to lift a long week out of the doldrums.   And fortunately, we’d purchased tickets to Laguna Beach’s Pageant of the Masters with our friends Ron and Kerry long before the stuff hit the fan this week.  Laguna is a lovely seaside community tucked around a beautiful beach at the end of a wooded canyon.   It is known as an artists’ colony, with many galleries scattered along Forrest Avenue, the main street through town, and the Pacific Coast Highway.  It is also a popular tourist destination in summer and attracts locals all year with its many restaurants, clubs and retail stores.  It’s the kind of place we can sometimes take for granted until we see the wide-eyed tourists appreciating its beauty.   And every summer through July and August, it is home to the Pageant of the Masters, which celebrated its eightieth anniversary this year.

The Pageant of the Masters doesn’t describe well: You see, over 150 volunteers dress up and pose as famous works of art.  Then you get to look at them while an orchestra plays light classical music and a narrator tells you about the artist.  That probably wouldn’t send you rushing to buy tickets.  But it is, in fact a remarkable and unique experience.   For one, it is held in airvine bowl beautiful location, the outdoor Irvine Bowl amphitheater, tucked among the trees and cooled by the sea breezes.   The music is beautiful, performed by a full orchestra and tailored to the individual pieces of art.   First timers may scratch their heads when the first few pieces of well-known art are presented, particularly if they haven’t brought binoculars.  The framed works on stage look like enormous one-dimensional reproductions.   But you might notice veteran Pageant-goers watching through binoculars, looking for a slight movement by one of the figures.  It is only when a piece is assembled under full lighting, letting the audience see the costumed, made-up volunteers take their places on the backdrop, that you really appreciate the illusion.  The light blink out, the stage lights go on … and it’s a painting.   Like I say … doesn’t describe well.  Check out this video:

The Pageant tickets include the juried Festival Art Show which features paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more – all by 140 of Orange County’s finest artists.  And Saturday, entertainment was provided by James Ingram (I Don’t Have a Heart) and his band.   It was a lovely, relaxing evening with good friends, good food, music and art.  It’s Monday … I’m smiling.

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2 Comments on “Monday Smiles – 8/26/2013”

  1. territerri Says:

    I didn’t really get it until I watched the video. Now I can see why you enjoy it so much. That looks really fun and fascinating. I was surprised to see the works of Norman Rockwell included. He’s a favorite of mine. Glad you had an enjoyable distraction to help lift your spirits for a while.

  2. oldsunbird Says:

    Amazing! I enjoyed the video immensely! Thank you for sharing it. Watching it was a real treat. I can only imagine what it must have been like in person.

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