August 13, 2018

It’s Just Not Summer Without a Trip to The Pageant of the Masters

On a steamy August afternoon 52 DayTripper Tours passengers and I made the pilgrimage up the coast to Laguna Beach for the 85th year of the “living pictures” known as the Pageant of the Masters. For many of us, it just wouldn’t be summer without seeing this one-of-a-kind show and Daytripper Tours makes it easy to do. Driver Ernesto took care of the driving, the parking, and even put a piece of carpet on the dusty ground where we climbed off the bus. Now that’s service!

In case you don’t know what the Pageant of the Masters is, let me explain. It is a 90 minute theatrical performance where famous works of art are brought to life onstage. A live narrator guides the audience through the story of each piece, complete with music by a full orchestra. Also known as “tableaux vivant,” the works of art (including statues, posters and even lamps this year…), look exactly like their counterparts in the original art pieces with real people holding perfectly still for 90 seconds.  It’s amazing. Even as we looked through binoculars, it was hard to believe there were real people up there! I shared that I was actually in the show, painted up as a Meissen porcelain figurine many years ago. It was for the TV show PM Magazine which I hosted on Channel 8. I showed a video of the story on the ride up and told everyone what it was like backstage and on stage.

We arrived in the middle of the afternoon which provided plenty of time to wander through the charming town of Laguna Beach, do some shopping, take some photos, and eat dinner.  Not to be overlooked was the Festival of the Arts featuring 140 of Orange County’s most accomplished artists. They were displaying and selling original paintings, sculpture, photography, ceramics, jewelry, woodworking and more. Several passengers also checked out the Sawdust Festival across the street. Here, the art is more affordable and the atmosphere more casual. The highlight though is the evening performance of the Pageant of the Masters which starts at 8:30 p.m. in the outdoor Irvine Bowl Amphitheater which seats 2600 people. Our seats were about half way back from the stage which provided an excellent view.

The theme for 2018 is“Under the Sun.”  The first half traced the history of Southern California from the Mission Era to the Surf Culture.  The final act of the first half included live actors skateboarding, carrying surf boards and dancing to Beach Boys music in and around the audience.  To top it off they launched dozens of big yellow beach balls into the audience and everybody kept hitting them skyward all over the seats. So much fun! The second half had beautiful reproductions of impressionism, art nouveau, and of course, concluded with Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” The secret is the lighting and hand-painted backdrops that make a three dimensional scene look two-dimensional. It was a splendid Pageant and we can’t wait to do it again next year with Daytripper Tours!

– Pat Brown
DayTripper Tour Manager
Tour: Laguna Beach Festival of Arts & Pageant of the Masters
Date: August 9, 2018



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