Monday, July 31, 2006

DAY 66

E and I spent the day in Laguna Beach. We roamed around downtown and came across this pretty fence. But all is not sunshine and pretty fences in Laguna. Oh no. I'm afraid not.

Specifically, I ordered sashimi for dinner ... only it came seared. I asked the waiter if it was my mistake: "Did the menu mention searing?" No, it did not. "Did I want it raw?" he asked. That was a major red flag right there. If your waiter does not know if you want your sashimi raw, you may be in the wrong restaurant.

A few minutes passed and the waiter came back to say: "It'll just be a minute because they had to go to the kitchen upstairs for your sashimi." This was my second red flag: it was a brewery upstairs. I don't want sashimi from a brewery! Finally, he comes back with a plate of what appears to be sashimi. So I bit into it and ... it was frozen solid. So, yeah. They basically served me tuna-sicles. I swear to god. Don't even get me started on the tomato soup which was actually a bowl of spaghetti sauce. Meh.

Things took a turn for the better though. We went to The Pageant of the Masters after dinner. If you haven't heard of the Pageant before, live models pose in a three dimensional backdrop and recreate classic paintings. It's an outdoor arena with a very large stage and an orchestra. Once the sun goes down, the orchestra starts to play and the stage lights go up. The curtains part and you see a massive replication of what appears to be a classic painting. If you look very very closely, however, you might see an arm waiver or a chest rise and fall as the model takes a breath.

It's truly amazing, you cannot tell that there are live models in the sets. It just looks like a beautifully lit two-dimensional painting. They use scores of models who each spend hours getting make-up applied.

In addition to recreating paintings, they do classic bronze sculptures (imagine having your entire body covered in metallic paint) but this year I was most impressed with the dramatic colors in the life-sized porcelain figurines pictured here. Again, there are live models under all that make up and costumes. The colors were simply stunning person. I must say the pageant draws an odd crowd though. Mostly ladies of a certain age with a bedazzler fetish. I have never seen so many bedazzled hats, denim jackets, jeans and Birkenstocks in my life.

pageant photos by Monica Almeida/The New York Times


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