Pageant of the Masters Salutes the Cinema

The venerable "pose like art" extravaganza takes on a movie theme.

THE MOVING IMAGE: The reasons that the Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Beach's hold-still-and-pose-like-a-painting summer extravaganza, is known around the world are plentiful. Maybe it was being lovingly satirized in "Arrested Development" (the Bluths, an Orange County family, would of course participate). Maybe it is because the long-running stage spectacular is, well, spectacular, in a more silent, quiet sense, as compared to 99.9% of all other performance genres. People get painted to fit into artworks, or to be the artwork, and then they keep very still and very quiet. See? That's charming. And it's unique, at least fairly so in these modern times (people have been paying homage, via poses, to paintings and sculptures for centuries). So knowing all of this, and being aware that actors have been remaining still on the Pageant stage since the mid-'30s, it can surprise one to learn what the 2013 theme is to be: The Big Picture. As in movies. As in moving movies. Has the Pageant entered a new chapter?

THE STILLNESS REIGNS SUPREME: Fear not, tradition mavens. The Pageant's film tribute will be dedicated to the "classic art that inspired legendary filmmakers." This means those quintessential "living pictures" will remain still, while summoning the spirit of Thomas Gainsborough (an artist loved by director Stanley Kubrick) and recreating work by Jean-Leon Gerome, a favorite of Ridley Scott. It's always interesting for cinephiles to see the art their star helmer loved, but to see it recreated in a rather filmic way, with human beings, right before the eyes, is positively cinematic in scope. Plus, think of all the Hollywood people who've loved and lived in Laguna Beach over the years. It's a great fit, we think, for a tradition that keeps the parts people love while breaking things out a little, too, in offbeat and fresh ways. The Pageant of the Masters runs from Sunday, July 7 through Saturday, Aug. 31.

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