A summer staple for Laguna Beach is the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters festivities. Being a Southern California native, I’ve known about this beachside art event for years, but was never motivated enough to see what they were doing down in Orange County. I’m coming clean because my Los Angeles snobbery got the best of me, I’ve been missing out. I was invited to the Festival of the Arts/ Pageant of the Master media night in the beginning of June and both events officially open this Sunday, July 5th. I apologize for my delay is posting my thoughts, but it runs till August 29th.
First, let me clarify the difference between ‘Festival of Arts’ and ‘Pageant of the Masters’ because they aren’t the same thing. A ticket to the festival will not grant you access to the pageant. I was seriously confused by this, never being able to get the name straight, thinking these two separate events were one thing. Butchering this ridiculously long name into various configurations, Festival of Masters Art Pageant or Festival Pageants of the Masters Art.
Festival of Arts is a display of art from 140 Orange County based artists, along with various curated special events throughout the summer to celebrate the arts. Family oriented, there are youth art workshops, concerts on the green, and a family art day. For those without kids or who have hired a babysitter, every Thursday night there will be an Art, Jazz, Wine & Chocolate event from 5:30 – 7:30pm; three wines paired with three chocolates. The perfect setting to embrace a summer love.
Pageant of the Masters is a theatrical production of tableaux vivants (living pictures). Volunteers are dressed and made up to re-create great artistic masterpieces on a grand stage; it’s quite the site to behold. On media night you get an all access pass. We peaked inside the workshops of where artists create the massive sets that act as a backdrop to the actors. Sculpting elements of the master pieces out of Styrofoam and playing with perspective on a life size scale. The makeup department is located beneath the stage with a room filled with wigs and a closet of well-organized stage cosmetics.
Artist create representations of people in their art work. At ‘Pageant of the Master’ now real life people were creating representations of those people. Heavy face paint exaggerated shadows and defined brow lines to convey the emotion the artist wanted to portray in their work. Makeup applied with sponges, on stage looks like brush strokes or a skillful palate knife. In the casting processes every inch of the volunteers are measured to see if they fit the part of a particular piece. Suddenly being a representation of a person is more important than being real, all in the name of art! We were treated to 3 tableaux vivants, I was astonished at how remarkable it is, the feeling you get watching a work of art become life-size and knowing that what you are seeing is real people frozen in place for ninety-seconds. Imagine having to sneeze.
The full ‘Pageant of Masters’ show is ninety minutes of living pictures, which if they are all 90 seconds a piece, means there are around 60 or so pieces shown. It’s probably closer to 40 pieces considering set up time between each piece, but I’m seriously curious to see the rest of the show. Especially with its fun them, The Pursuit of Happiness!
Even if you are a post-contemporary art fan like myself and are more familiar with the work of Mark Ryden versus Monet, Pageant of the Masters will impress and excite you. It’s real people dressed up as fine art master pieces! Get into it.
Please visit the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters website for all pricing and admission info.
You can see more pictures from this night by searching #BBLagunaAdventure on Instagram and there is a bit of the show in my Laguna Adventure Vlog.