|"Butterfly Brooch," an Art Nouveau gem by Gaston Lafitte|
Brilliantly staged, this year's "Partners" highlights how art emerges from partnerships of all kinds: spouses, siblings, artists and models, even artists and their patrons. My favorite segments include Lewis and Clark (aided by Sacajawea and her husband), the Wright Brothers, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, and even Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. And, of course, the magnificent duo, Astaire and Rogers.
I particularly like the backstage glimpse of how the models were selected and outfitted for "The Perfect Match." We watched how that painting come to life to the tune of "It Had To Be You," as the chosen two were garbed and groomed and led to their positions.
|The Kiss on the Hand, Gerolamo Induno|
Perhaps the most surprising story for me involved the complex partnership that developed between Antoine Lavoisier and his wife, Marie-Anne. During the 18th century and before Lavoisier's breakthroughs in modern chemistry, many natural philosophers still viewed the four elements of Greek natural philosophy—earth, air, fire, and water—as the primary substances of all matter.
Marie-Anne! What a helpmate!
All day today I've thought of personal partnerships, and what makes them work. How do two individuals become a compatible "us"? Is it because they have similar values and goals, like the Wright brothers? Is it because one leads masterfully and one follows gracefully, like Rogers and Astaire? Is it because both share a passion for exploring together, like Lewis and Clark?
Do we even recognize when we've found the ideal partnership that we've been destined for? The only sad aspect in last night's celebration of wondrous partnerships was when the narrator, Richard Doyle, cited Rivera's words during the segment on his tempestuous relationship with Kahlo: “I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And would continue to be, up to the moment she died, 27 years later.”
Consequently, I've renewed my awareness that my habit of fully savoring the moments that spell magic in my life have enabled me to lay claim to an contented old age. Last night I absorbed how the Pageant's magnificent setting, combining those ancient elements, took center stage:
the evening air, sultry so close to the sea;
the fiery descent across a hazy sky of one of the last of the Persiads;
the adobe earthen walls of of Laguna Canyon, incorporated into many of the displays (Lewis and Clark with their spyglasses high up the hill toward the left);
and always the water...the omnipresent Pacific Ocean ambience of Laguna Beach.