Life imitates Art
August 19, 2004 4:07 PM   Subscribe

Pageant of the Masters : if the tableaux vivants presentation in the Olympics opening ceremony leaves you wanting for more, it's not too late to find your way to southern California this month. This is the 71st season of this famous and unique event in Laguna Beach. (More behind-the-scene stories here and here.)
posted by of strange foe (8 comments total)
I kind of suspect this is the inspiration for this charming 'Gilmore Girls' episode.

Asides: two brief but intriguing discussions on tableaux vivants.
posted by of strange foe at 4:13 PM on August 19, 2004

It's so weird that tableau vivants were considered fabulous party and theatrical entertainment in the 19th century. Whenever i come across a reference to it in a novel, it strikes me as a sort of performance art precursor, in a way, but i can't imagine the effect it had.
posted by amberglow at 4:15 PM on August 19, 2004

This stuff takes a lot of work and inhuman effort to pull off and is amazing to see.

However, if you're allergic to khaki, sweater sets, yuppies, art-that-matches-couches and Wyland, avoid at all costs. Or bring copious amounts of superior firepower.

Yeah, I'm a little bitter. I grew up in Orange County. Laguna Beach has a long, rich and interesting history as an artistic and beach community, and it's been thoroughly co-opted by uncultured yuppie bastards. The convoluted, tiny streets are now completely clogged with uselessly shiny luxury cars and SUVs and $3,000 a month rents for bungalows, and an ever-decreasing amount of truly passionate, unique or interesting art.
posted by loquacious at 4:25 PM on August 19, 2004

A version of it also appeared on Arrested Development.
posted by O9scar at 5:31 PM on August 19, 2004

I saw this as a kid many many moons ago, and it's still a very vivid memory. I've tried describing it to people, even with pictures, but it just doesn't grab you unless you see it in real life.

My 10 year old self highly recommends it, and if I'm ever back in Laguna at the right time to see it again I'll be sure to go.
posted by togdon at 7:26 PM on August 19, 2004

I was just there, the week after Comic Con in SD. I really enjoyed it, second time I've gone. I got lucky, an artist down there who I was chatting with at the Festival of Arts hooked me up with a great ticket - as far as I know the Pageant is technically sold out for the season, but there are often folks selling or even giving away their tickets at the last minute right outside the entrance. If you do get a chance to go, it's well worth it.

However, I agree with loquacious about the Yuppification of Laguna Beach. I like to go there and visit, and I pretty much ignore those folks. Rent is indeed impossible there... and there's a lot of poseurs. The Wyland stuff isn't overwhelmingly present so it can thankfully be avoided.

There's still some gems to be found amid the dross in Laguna. Worth going for a week and poking around like I did.

And yeah, it can't be described. You have to actually go see it. It's not that expensive, there are $10 tix on weeknights.
posted by zoogleplex at 7:45 PM on August 19, 2004

I married into a long-time LB family, and I looove visiting, despite the invading barbarian hordes. I would tell you more, but then, I'd have to...

We aren't gonna go to the show this year, I think. In the past I've enjoyed seeing meteors in the night sky overhead.
posted by mwhybark at 9:41 PM on August 19, 2004

My girlfriend used to live in that area and has spoken fondly of this showcase many times. I wish it weren't only in California, as I'd love to see something like this. Does anyone know of other similar showcases?
posted by etoile at 4:29 PM on August 20, 2004

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