Anyone who follows my blog knows I love Hello Kitty. After the HK Convention in Los Angeles back in 2014, I heard a café was going to open in Orange County, California. It’s been open at the Irvine Spectrum for about a couple of years.
For years I have driven on the 5 and saw the lit up Ferris wheel. Turns out that is the same courtyard where the Hello Kitty Grand Café is. There are tons of beautifully decorated, upscale restaurants in the outdoor shopping mall. Many are very inviting with oversized plush seating. Brio, an Italian restaurant, has a glassed in patio with wicker furniture and right next to free parking. This mall seems too fancy for free parking. You can drive up to the valet. I feet like I am on a mini UCSD university campus. There is also a Dim Sum restaurant. It’s mostly seafood. I doubt there is anything vegan. There is a new Japanese restaurant called Robata Wasa that is glassed in and looks like a bank, but we head to Kabuki. Kabuki’s service is slow because a waiter didn’t show. The Green Roll with kale sauce is good.
After the meal we head to The Hello Kitty Café since it only has dessert. I order iced tea. It is so hot outside at 85 degrees, which makes for crabby people. A guy maybe twenty-eight years old in striped red shorts and hairy legs with flashy sunglasses whisked in with some beautiful gal his age—probably his sister. He keeps whining about not wanting to sit down or something. She ignores him and orders. When she sit down to eat her tiny blueberry pie and tea, he is gone. Goodbye cranky Richard Simmons.
The store is tiny and cute like you would expect anything Hello Kitty. There is a big Hello Kitty kinda like a Bob’s Big Boy statue. Then there is a window where you can watch a guy make tiny donuts. They roll them in sprinkles, crushed cookies, or cinnamon and sugar. On the corner are some shelves with mugs, T-shirts, tote bags, and pillows. I refrained from buying anything. Behind the glass are all the baked goods. There are tons of butter cookies of the friendly kitty’s face, the donuts in a cute cup, tiny cakes, and pies. You can get a mini, sprinkles birthday cake with a red bow. Personally, I’d never eat any of the food. But the tea is good and it’s in a to go cup with Kitty’s face, which I’ll keep.
I’m not the only one taking photos. People pan their cell phones inside the pretty café and at the food.
I wish I had stopped at the Spectrum sooner. It’s right off Alton Parkway next to the 5 freeway. Also it’s super close to the Musical Theatre Village where I saw the Music Man this summer. You could go out to eat at the Spectrum then go see live theatre over the bridge to Mauchly road.
Walking into the Sawdust Festival’s outdoor Hobbit house, we are greeted by the white rabbit sitting in a shack topped with a gray spaceship with a tiny man inside. Note the man and not an alien. Straight ahead is Kirk Milette Jewelry booth, the woman’s alarm on her phone rings. She says Kirk made the UFO and that it will move at this very minute. We stare, but no action.
Close to the time travel installation, is new-to-Sawdust, Artist David Kizziar from Blue Bird Studio Arts. Prisma pencil drawings of Laguna Beach are sepia tone photo like. Ornate, dark wood frames give the art a time travel vibe. I imagine being in a coffered ceiling and wainscoted family room with a lit stone fireplace and brown leather sofas. Let’s make them pleather. One frame is ordained with beach rock.
His effervescent wife explains David is self-taught and only went public with his art three years ago. She points at a piece and says he spent 300 hours working on the drawing. Pulling out a sample with sketches here and there, she explains he likes to draw the most difficult part first. From a photo, David begins sketching the grass rather than the buildings. Renaissance Man says, “He could have grown the grass faster.” She laughs and says, “I told him the same thing.”
At the entrance of the booth is a huge replica of David’s oil painted mermaid, which won the City of Laguna Beach Banner Juried Competition. His wife shows us a photo on her phone. It’s of David in his classic jeans and T-shirt standing under Ascend as the banner hangs from a streetlight on Coast Highway 101 in Laguna Beach.
David’s art has many personalities. His earthy drawings that Bo Derek and Robert Englund, known as Freddy Krueger, (Photos sit on a desk.) bought are completely different from his paintings of the blue mermaid. According to David’s postcard, “He wants his art to emit a ‘mood’ that reflects life’s camera and moves the person to ‘feel’ something.
Nancy gives me one of David Kizziar’s Ascend cards. I’d love to give you the card along with my new book Superfly, book three in the MerSea series. Sign up for my newsletter and one lucky winner will be mailed the mermaid card with a signed copy of my book. I’ll choose the winner from the new names on my newsletter list. Just go to my Newsletter page and wait for the pop-up. Newsletter sign up. (Contest is from July 11-July 15, 2019. This time around I’ll only mail to U.S. entrants.)
Pageant of the Masters
Across the street at The Pageant of the Masters, we stroll through fine art exhibits while waiting for The Time Machine show. I notice a jeweler who was at the Sawdust last year is showing at the Pageant. And the guy who makes gorgeous wood furniture is at the Sawdust and not at the Pageant like he has been for years. I’m not sure why people switch, but hopefully they are getting more traffic. I go to both because both exhibits are fabulous. An artist and I were saying how much we love being at the Sawdust. It’s good vibes.
The Time Machine production loosely follows H.G. Wells’ novella “The Time Machine” and one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s notebooks. The Victorian gentleman and his steampunk carriage are joined by Countess De La Maitrie in her equestrian dress and with her dachshund from the painting by Charles Albert Walhain. The Victorian gentleman finds Da Vinci’s notebook and they are off in a gold vehicle with a large disc and red carpet.
Living art begins with Napoleon And His General Staff In Egypt, 1867. Napoleon is on his camel with his men on camels and horse trudging through the desert. Narration explains the pyramids and hieroglyphs. There is only a mention of the advanced civilization and that there isn’t real explanation as to why. In the program under the photo of the painting is a quote.
“What is history but a fable agreed upon?” ~Napoleon Bonaparte
The show moves through different chapters like The Art of Science which includes Sir Isaac Newton with Prism, Unknown, Engraving, 1868 to Nikola Tesla Monument, Les Drysdale, Bronze, 2006 to Stephen Hawking Ubermensch, J. & D. Chapman, Fiberglass, 1995.
Marty McFly and Doc ride in their “modified” DeLorean, yep a DMC-12, in The Music Machine chapter. Jumping out of the car and onto the stage, Marty surprises the dancers around the jukebox as Working on the Jalopy, Stevan Dohanos, The Saturday Evening Post, 1950 sets up. There is a lot of great Jitterbugging as an audience member sings along.
One of the final chapters takes us to the moon with Norman Rockwell’s The Final Impossibility, Man’s Tracks On The Moon, 1969 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission. The props disappear and “Neil” floats reminding the audience these are real people not just paintings.
There is a floating earth and a floating spaceship. The show seems to have gotten cheesier through the years, but I still love it. We have been taught historical inaccuracies in school and in media and many are repeated in the show. The Time Machine isn’t enough to satisfy a MUFON member, but the “living pictures” are always perfection, which is what the show is about.
Festival of Arts • Pageant of the Masters • 650 Laguna Canyon Rd • Laguna Beach • CA • 92651 • 1-800-487-3378 (On 7/11/2019 I received an email with a savings code. Main Tier Madness $25, 3 Dates Only, Use Code: MTM25. Main Tier is where I sat and is good seating. Director’s Tier is also on sale, but too far.)