Real People in Paintings: Pageant of the Masters Opens

The painting-pose'd pageant is a longtime Laguna Beach tradition.

You've been on the move, a blur, a whirl of busyness. In fact, you'd probably describe yourself, more frequently than not, as flat-out harried.

You chased an errant ball over the neighbor's fence, and drove everyone to swim lessons, and hunted for the phone number of your cousin with the loaner cabin. And yet? Seemingly every other internet article advises to slow down, be still, soak in the quiet spirit of summer.

Pageant of the Masters gets it. It was getting it long before such articles existed, or, for that matter, the internet itself. For this is the Laguna Beach two-month-long lark that is all about staying perfectly, totally, don't-move-a-muscle, don't-even-think-about-moving-a-muscle still.

It's a stillness celebrated far outside of Orange County, making Pageant of the Masters an oft-cited, sometimes lovingly parodied, and forever affectionate reference here, near, and far. It's a reputation the show has had time to build upon, since 1933.

Admiration, kudos, and loads of confetti should be rained upon the talented volunteers who stay so motionless, for several minutes, while standing "inside" a well-known painting or sculpture.

And the same respect goes to the make-up and costume crews, and tech-focused team, for creating such an alluring, gallery-like presence up on the stage.

The dates for all of this statue-like wonderment are July 7 through Aug. 31, 2017, and the theme for this year? "The Grand Tour," so count on seeing "tableaux vivant" odes to travel on and around the continent, as well as the nature of adventure.

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Walk-into-'em works by artists such as William Powell Frith, George Romney, Edmonia Lewis, and Duane Hanson will be featured, with more pomp than most pomp-packed ceremonies receive, in the nighttime presentation.

And, as is Pageant-true tradition, the final work is "The Last Supper" by Leonardo Da Vinci.

If you haven't snagged your ticket yet, no need to stand like a statue as you ponder your next step: Tickets are available on the Festival of Arts site, and there are some discounted sections on some select nights.

The Festival Art Show is also ongoing during the on-stage extravaganza, so be sure to make time to see the photography, textiles, and paintings (those without real, breathing people in them) found just outside the Pageant seating area.

Perhaps, though, we should rethink the whole rain-of-confetti thing, when it comes to honoring the performers. We don't want them to flinch, at all, in their yearly pursuit of absolute inaction.

Though "inaction" is hardly correct, either. Try to hold a pose, for even a minute, with hundreds of eyes upon you, and you'll likely feel highly active, as anyone surely would. It's a feat of the fanciest, most fun sort.

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