Urban Ocean Fashion Show in Long Beach

Ecology, recycling, and humor play a part on the aquarium runway.

Fish can be rather fictional, if not in the literal sense then how they can seem, visually, to we humans, at least at first glance.

Some watery denizens glow in the deepest trenches of the ocean. Some have eyes in unusual places. And what's with starfish and seahorses and those wiggle-onto-the-beach grunion? If these incredible beasts appeared in a storybook, and not in our real world, we might have trouble suspending disbelief.

But sometimes the whimsical elements of aquatic life leap onto the land in different forms. Look to the Aquarium of the Pacific's Urban Ocean Festival, which contains an important topic -- the waves just off the Southern California coast -- and several not-so-usual ways to celebrate it.

Like? There are cooking demos at the Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 fest, with a focus on sustainability. An Urban Ocean Art Contest ups the whimsicality of the event, by putting emphasis on how creative makers interpret the ocean, its denizens, and the many themes within.

And the weekend's much-photographed happening? It's the Trashin' Fashion Show, which includes a number of stylish and sometimes surreal outfits created out of found items and recycled goods. Not only are the togs pretty darn inspirational, sartorially, but the viewer can't help but ponder all of the trash that ends up in the ocean, rather than in the right receptacle.

Would you don a pretty skirt made of coffee filters? Or a hat created from aluminum cans? See the fashion in person and decide then.

Rounding out the weekend will be live tunes, poetry enjoyment, and more oceanic enjoyment viewed through a creative and sometimes outlandish prism.

It's a fine way to honor a place that has a few fictional elements, such as those glow-in-the-dark fishies. To bring that sense of wonder and whimsy onto land, via what humans create, only draws us closer to our nearest coastline, and that all-important, SoCal-snug urban ocean.

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