Paintings really come alive in California

I pulled this “Where they Went” out of the files to coincide with the timing of Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, California. If you haven‘t heard of this amazing annual event, which this year runs through Aug. 30, read on. This year’s theme is “All the World’s a Stage” and, as always, the “living pictures” are stupendous!!

“Where they Went” by Diane Daniel
(Published Dec. 16, 2007, in the Boston Globe)

WHO: Kathy McIntyre, 61, of Needham, Mass.; Chris Ward, 61, of Mattapoisett, Mass.; Janet Lurie, 61, of Vancouver, Wash., and her sister, Linda Hayes, 59, of Coronado, Calif.

WHERE: California.

WHEN: One week in August 2007.

From left, Kathy McIntyre, Linda Hayes, her sister Janet Lurie, and Chris Ward savor Main Beach in Laguna Beach, Calif. (Click to enlarge)

From left, Kathy McIntyre, Linda Hayes, her sister Janet Lurie, and Chris Ward in Laguna Beach, Calif. (Click to ENLARGE)

WHY: The trip was a reunion and 60th birthday celebation for McIntyre, Ward, and Lurie, who together attended St. Mary’s in Lawrence (now Notre Dame High School) and Emmanuel College in Boston. Hayes hosted the trio.

WESTWARD, NO? : It was McIntyre’s idea to meet in California. “My husband and I lived there in 1978 and I absolutely love the West Coast.” While McIntyre had visited her friends consistently, Ward and Lurie hadn’t seen each other for 30 years. “Janet was jumping up and down on the sidewalk when she saw us.”

LOCAL HIGHLIGHTS: In the San Diego area, where Hayes lives, the women took in several sights, including downtown and Balboa Park, as well as Cabrillo National Monument. “It’s out on Point Loma on the tip of the peninsula and faces San Diego Bay. You have a view [of] downtown and the Coronado Bridge.”

An actor is made up for a role in the painting "Italian Comedians in a Park" by Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

An actor is made up for her role in the painting "Italian Comedians in a Park" by Jean-Baptiste Oudry.

MASTERFUL TIMING: McIntyre timed the trip to coincide with the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, where actors replace characters in enactments of classic pieces of art, and which had been on her wish list for decades. Shows often sell out far in advance. “Chris and I took a membership in the Festival of Arts, the sponsor, so we could get tickets early,” she said. “We got seats in the 12th row of the center orchestra.”

NUNS ARE FUN: They stayed at By the Sea Inn in Laguna Beach for two nights. “We stayed in one room and had lots of laughs talking about the nuns at St. Mary’s. Laguna Beach is lovely, and the beaches are pristine.”

Living version of "Le Café Concert" by Edgar Degas, in 2008 show. (Click to ENLARGE)

Living version of "Le Café Concert" by Edgar Degas, in 2008 show. (Click to ENLARGE)

REJUVENATION EFFECT: The pageant, held in July and August at the 2,600-seat Irvine Bowl, had its 75th year last summer. “They have two casts that alternate every other week,” McIntyre said. “Most of it is run by volunteers, about 600 people. … This year’s theme was `Young at Heart,’ which was most fitting for us.”

HOW ART WORKS: Music and narration accompany the 35 pieces of “artwork,” McIntyre said. “Each piece is lit on the stage for a minute and a half, but it seems longer.” Re-created pieces included covers from The Saturday Evening Post, Sir George Frampton’s bronze Peter Pan statue at Kensington Gardens in London (“You can’t believe it’s a person”), and “Apple Gathering,” an 1856 painting by Jerome B. Thompson (“nine people in an orchard setting”). A highlight for McIntyre was “The Giant” by N.C. Wyeth. “I work at the Needham library. Wyeth grew up in Needham, and we have 10 of his original paintings in the library, but not that one.” Halfway through the program, “they show you how they do everything. It’s fascinating.”

HEARTFELT ART: The friends spent the rest of their time in Laguna popping into shops and cafes and attending the Sawdust Art Festival, connected to the pageant. “It’s an amazing place, with 200 artists and bands,” said McIntyre, who treated herself to silver earrings. She also gave her friends necklaces of red sea glass bearing the Chinese symbol of long life.

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3 Responses to “Paintings really come alive in California”

  1. stacysnewportbeach Says:

    I agree. Pageant of the Masters is phenomenal. I got a group of 11 couples together last summer, most of whom had never been to the POM (go figure). I organized a dinner early in the evening, had chocolate favors from Downey’s Chocolates (Laguna Niguel) for each, then we took the free Laguna shuttles to the Festival of the Arts and Pageant of the Masters. We definitely got lots of “Wows” from everyone in our group after the POM was over. (How could we not!) It was a great evening.


  2. Ed Baranosky Says:

    This small comment by Mr MacEntyre, re the Needham Library.
    Having grown up in Needham I knew of only two NC Wyeths
    at the library. Have they added more, or did I miss something
    while there. I’m considering ravelling in the next few years and
    it would be a pilgrimmage in many ways (also having family buried there).
    As for the pageant referred to in California; yes I can understand
    the interactive tradition, though I think there is a real difference
    between being a tourist and an immigrant or resident. Some things must be missed,


  3. Ed Baranosky Says:

    RSVP, indeed.

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