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July 25, 1993|M.H.

Ask any pelican: Human beings are funny.

I'll be flapping lazily over the waves off Malibu, diving for breakfast fish, minding my own business, when I'll spot tiny figures stirring on the shore.


Painters will be scrambling over the rocks to set up the tripods of their easels. Photographers will be shouldering those giant lenses that look like bazookas.

All so they can include little old me in an otherwise ordinary view of sailboats and sky, clouds and driftwood, seaweed and sand.

It's a hoot.

Don't tell anybody, but for years now the Malibu Chamber of Commerce has kept us pelicans under contract. In return for all the fish we can eat, we're supposed to hang around in case any artist gets the urge to create.

It's hard to tell, sometimes. In Malibu, a human being who looks like an artist can be anybody from a homeless person to a movie star in casual dress. And a tripod may mean oils or watercolors are about to be applied to canvas--but it also may mean surveyors are laying out yet another wildly controversial hillside golf course and housing development.

Like I say, people are funny. Their view out to where I munch and frolic isn't half as interesting as my view of the Porsches on Pacific Coast Highway, the movie stars and the movie stars' houses.

Take today, for instance. At 8 a.m., I'll fly in close enough to peek through the windows of the Malibu Civic Center, 23525 Civic Center Way, and see human beings chow down at the Optimist Pancake Breakfast, opening the second day of the 22nd annual Malibu Art Festival.

Then, in "Taste of Malibu" at 10:30 a.m., gourmet morsels from leading restaurants will be on sale for $2 to $5. Works by 180 West Coast artists will be exhibited in the Civic Center grounds. Docents will lead a bus tour of outdoor sites where works by 30 sculptors will be displayed in the Malibu International Sculpture Exhibition.

Festival admission is free. Parking is $1. For information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (310) 456-9025.

Quite a spectacle, no?


Of course, you can't expect much in the way of art from creatures who'd rather eat pancakes for breakfast than nice raw pescado.

I know what I'm talking about. My bosses at the chamber may disagree, but they have no idea that pelican art, in sheer conceptual majesty, makes human-being art totally insignificant. For centuries now, we've dropped the bones of all the fish we've eaten into vast, intricate patterns on the ocean floor. They form a 700-mile-long petrified fish-bone mural that replicates the whole California coast--the mountains, the Indians, the padres , the '49ers, the lettuce farmers, the movie stars and Porsches--everything. When the next Ice Age comes, and the sea level drops, that mural will be unveiled for the world to gasp at.

That'll be the real art festival.

I can hardly wait.

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