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The Valley Line: Taking in the Big Picture in Laguna Beach

August 14, 2013
  • This close up shot of an oil painting by Reginald Marsh called, "The Twenty Cent Movie," was colorfully recreated on the Pageant of the Masters stage in Laguna Beach.
This close up shot of an oil painting by Reginald Marsh… (Photo by Jane Napier…)

What fabulous, cool weather we have had during the first part of this month. Whoever thought that those two words would ever describe August weather in our area, for crying out loud? I hope my words don't jinx the situation.

I have to keep pushing the thought away that we are soon going to get slammed by the unbearable heat that usually shows up in this month. Shhh, we'll be very quiet about it so we don't disturb the furies.

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This past week I made my annual pilgrimage down to the Laguna Art Festival and Pageant of the Masters. I absolutely couldn't miss my favorite event of the entire summer season. I've been making this trek for more than four decades.

This year's pageant theme is "The Big Picture." Indeed, it is so thrilling as the pageant wizards waved their magic wands and showed us how Hollywood's moving pictures not only became their own art form but also embraced traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture from the masters whose works of art are placed in gardens, museums, churches and private homes around the globe.

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"The Big Picture" showcases how the genius of Michelangelo found expression in the film, "The Agony and the Ecstasy," how Thomas Gainsborough's portraits influenced Stanley Kubrick, and how the works of Jean-Leon Gerome can be seen in films by directors like David Lean and Ridley Scott.

"I thought it would be a new twist for the pageant to take a look back at the work of the masters that inspired great works of cinema" explained Pageant Director Diane Challis Day.

Walt Disney received an artistic nod in a pageant replica of a bronze statue called "The Storytellers," which depicts him and Mickey Mouse and is installed at Disney California Adventure Theme Park in Anaheim. There was also much ado about Disney's first major full-length film, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" in the pageant commentary. An art piece created by Gustaf Tenggen that was shown on stage at the pageant was a movie poster of that film.

By the way, two of Disney's original animators who worked on "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" — the late Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston — were longtime residents of La Cañada Flintridge and had neighboring properties.

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, which is spectacular in every way, runs through Aug. 31. Tickets are still available online and through ticket agencies.

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