From the original couple Adam and Eve to dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Partners is the celebrated theme of 2016s Pageant of the Masters.
POM opens with The Garden of Eden with the Fall of Man by Rubens and Breughel in Oil in a staged art gallery. Patrons study the painting. Eve gives the apple to a male patron and then next two patrons whip off their clothes and dance the tango. There is a lot of impressive ballroom dancing from Gary Franco and Cindy Ricalde.
Two of my favorite pieces La Belle De Nuit, c. 1900 by Edmond H. Becker and Butterfly Brooch, c. 1904 by Gaston Lafitte are enamel and gem butterfly brooches on the main stage. Taking pins and making them life-size and sparkle like diamonds, just amazing. You could see the belt on one of the butterflies move as she did shallow breaths.
I would think they teach the volunteers how to breath, hold their breath and blink. Sometimes they don’t breathe. And if they blink sometimes it’s a slow blink if they are able to control themselves.
It seems every year movies are a focal point. This year lithographic posters for Top Hat with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers comes alive. The audience is thrilled by the poster for Singin’ in the Rain. A dancer comes out to do the famous dance in the rain with an umbrella as a police officer stares him down. “Gene” glides near a small stage where a man dumps a bucket of water on him. A drop hits me from the splash—that’s how close I am.
I love the Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera section, but the dancing seems to be filling in time and gets a bit distracting from the fine art. Towering skeletons (Frida and Diego) are rolled out to celebrate Dia de los Muertos. There is a lot of cheese, but your kids will love it. Diego Rivera’s Detroit Industry mural is stunning as working men hold still.
The most impressive piece is The Dancers by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth, a bronze statue of a man and woman, leaning back from each other holding hands. There is an inch of metal piping holding them up below one foot and up their back. One foot is in the air! Since they are in bronze paint they can’t move at all or the reflection will show breathing. No breathing could be seen in that long minute!
As always Pageant of the Masters is amazing! I am delighted to hear the harpist Amy Wilkins showcased. Our seats are in the third row, but I would suggest farther back so you can see the art above the smaller stage. Whether you sit close or far away you will still get the mystique of the Pageant.
This is always my favorite annual post since there is nothing like the Pageant. On the night of the show with your ticket, go to the Art-A-Fair and they will give you a pass for the rest of their fine art festival. Art-A-Fair is across the street close to the Sawdust Festival with more art. Then go back to the Festival of Arts and meander through the fine art until the Pageant starts in the same area. The gelato is good, but you can take your own snacks. On a Monday night, the parking ($7-$15) is open everywhere, but get there early.
Festival of Arts • Pageant of the Masters • 650 Laguna Canyon Rd • Laguna Beach CA 92651 • 1-800-487-3378