Valery Gherman | December 16th, 2006
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the O.C. is the television show. It’s no surprise that we have been exposed to so many images of Southern California in music and films. From The Beach Boys to fake tan to bleached hair, my perception has been almost demented by what California is really like.
So when the opportunity arose to stay and shoot in Laguna Beach (located in the O.C.), I started to get excited at the idea of getting out of New York City and enjoying some sunshine and beach.
Contrary to the MTV reality television show about blonde airhead spoiled Hillary Duff look-a likes, Laguna Beach has that small beach village charm. The city evolved in the late 1800’s as an artist colony and by the 50s and 60’s, it was a haven for beats and hippies, which can be seen in all the galleries, festivals and quaint restaurants and cafes in the area.
Unfortunately, our timing was off for some of the town’s biggest attractions like the annual Pageant of the Masters where locals dress up replicate famous paintings. Another event is The Sawdust Festival, which began as a hippie event in the 1960’s and has become the biggest casual show featuring works by local artists. Nonetheless we encountered so many arts and crafts stores to keep us entertained for hours. It seems like everyone in town is a hobby artist on the side.
It’s no surprise that Laguna Beach has become a destination for summer crowds heading for the small village oasis. Surrounded by mountains and cliffs, the main beach, with its crescent shape and small size, compared to the more expansive beaches up north really gives off the postcard image of California dreaming. Watching a couple of surfers in one of the more secluded adjoining bays, I had a bit of envy for their lifestyle.
We stayed 10 minutes drive south in Dana Point at the St. Regis Resort located in Monarch Bay. The size of the resort was absurd and it had a Tuscan meets Vegas feel to it - water features, large columns, etc. The guests staying at the resort made us feel as though we had arrived at a Republican golf convention, which is not surprising because Orange County is predominantly Republican. This, however, did not deter us from living it up at the private beach club and hanging poolside like rap stars.
Leaving the O.C., confirmed all the best cliché’s I had embedded in my mind. I can now say that I am a fan.