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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Childhood Nostalgia: I

There are several California things that I've long wanted to share with Doug but we've either not had the time on previous visits or it was the wrong time of year. Going to the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach is one of those things. So when a chance to go with friends emerged this past Monday, I jumped at the chance. Doug was very uncertain about what all the hullabaloo was about but he was pretty happy to get out of the desert and near the coast for a couple of days.
I was pretty giddy. I had not been to this part of California for ages and it's where I spent so many hours of my growing up years that I was just happy to see it all again. And Laguna Beach is a very special place with its ocean side cliffs and artist colony vibe. We found a great last minute deal on a hotel so with Tanner safely camped with my cousin and his wife, we took off late Monday morning and arrived in Laguna by 12.30.
The view from our hotel patio
This is one of the wonders of the area where we have settled. From the desert to the beach and to the mountains if you so desire, all within 2 hours of each place!
Anyway...we watched the temperature drop as we headed to the coast.
I spent many hours of my youth watching beach volleyball.
I played, but mainly indoor.
We started at 104° in the desert and by the time we reached the beach it had dropped to 66°! Wow, how refreshing and even chilly it felt at first! It was pretty cloudy so we weren't compelled to sit on the beach.
Main beach Laguna: Still loads going on even on a cloudy day
But we enjoyed watching others playing in the surf and sand.

We wanted to get to the art show to view the artists on display so we jumped on a free trolley for a ride to the site. Set outside under tents, the Festival of the Arts shows off 140 local award winning artists.
Outside the Festival grounds
It's very cool that it's all local artists. And they feature a special section for elementary children in the area whose art is very impressive indeed. One must wonder, is there a budding Van Gogh or Monet lurking in the Laguna? Doug and I saw 5 different pieces that we thought we'd buy if we had unlimited resources. Not surprising, the beach motifs appealed the most. The price of some could purchase a small car so we passed on buying at this time. I loved these sculptures that featured beach couples and their dog. I couldn't help but wonder if down the road, this is what Doug, I and Tanner would all look like! At one time in life I had a VW bus...I could envision owning a VW once again!

After a short rest in the late afternoon, it was time for the Pageant. The Pageant of the Masters is set in an outdoor amphitheater with a large stage where master piece paintings and sculptures are re-created using live human beings. It's hard to imagine that real people are standing in these giant recreations but part of the fun is watching them put the art together before your eyes. The stage goes dark and it's really the lighting that "creates" the painting. I last saw the show over 25 years ago and it has developed nicely using modern technology and a vast array of spaces all around the amphitheater. The recreated sculptures were simply breathtaking and the narration and the live music coming from a 29 piece orchestra made for a marvelously magic evening.
Just before the show began, Doug whispered to me, "I still don't get this." Once the first "painting" was rendered, he was a believer in why I love this show so much! Our favorite was this piece, "Snap the Whip" by Winslow Homer.
The bottom photo shows our fav. You were not allowed to take photos
The kids in the frame had to remain very still while holding quite difficult poses. Dazzling indeed!
One beautiful piece of art after another was recreated before our eyes for a glorious 90 minutes.

I have no idea if we'll get back to do this again (tickets are hard to get) but I am so thankful that we were finally in town when this wonderful art event was taking place. And being back near the coast was particularly satisfying.