World-class sand masters smile for fun photos!

Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!
Cool sand artists rest for a bit near the foot of Broadway Pier as they create a welcoming sculpture for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge! A couple faces look familiar from past competitions!

Some of the world’s greatest sand artists smiled for my camera late this afternoon! They’re now carving sand sculptures on Broadway Pier that will greet people as they arrive for the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge.

During Labor Day weekend, these extraordinary artists will be working hard inside the Port Pavilion, where the public can watch them create spectacular pieces of fine art out of compacted sand!

If you’re in San Diego, it’s the big Labor Day weekend event you shouldn’t miss!

On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th anniversary of the city of San Diego!
On the other side of the welcoming sand sculpture, a design is being carved that celebrates the 250th Anniversary of the City of San Diego!
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by MTS. It's a work still in progress.
One of the outdoor sand sculptures near the Port Pavilion is sponsored by San Diego’s transit system, MTS. It’s a work still in progress.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during this annual competition. This sculpture he's working on promotes Natural Light Seltzer.
Sand master and TV star Chris Guinto smiles for my camera! I met him briefly five years ago during the annual competition. This sculpture he’s working on for an event sponsor will promote Natural Light Seltzer.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Compacting sand for world-class sculptures!

This morning sand is being compacted in wooden forms on the Broadway Pier. That means Labor Day weekend can’t be very far away, along with the 2019 U.S. Sand Sculpting Challenge!

During this annual festival, fine art will be created by some of the world’s top sand sculptors in the pier’s Port Pavilion. Meanwhile, I was told that the carving of several sponsored sand sculptures outdoors on the pier begins tomorrow!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter

Final rays of sunlight and a smile in Balboa Park.

Late yesterday I entered Balboa Park to enjoy a summer organ concert. I arrived well before the music began, so I took a leisurely walk along El Prado.

I was touched by the final rays of sunlight and a smile…

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A most extraordinary organ concert.

Over the years, during the course of many International Summer Organ Festivals in Balboa Park, I’ve been fortunate to hear concerts by some of the greatest organists in the world.

But this evening’s concert was extraordinary.

I’m at a loss for words to describe how much I was moved by the masterful, absolutely astonishing performance by Gunnar Idenstam.

Gunner Idenstam, from Sweden, has distinguished himself by winning some of the highest prizes and honors in the organ world. In 1984 he won the very prestigious international competition in improvisation, the Grand Prix de Chartres.

His concert tonight, to my ear, was perfect. He made the Spreckels Organ sound like a sparkling heart.

From his fingertips, through the pipes, came waves and droplets and streams of emotion from the deepest wells. The organ’s voice was complex, subtle, dancing, regal, triumphant, exuberant, sometimes manic, and it soared and soared, and stirred, and soared again, lifting me to a place of pure, exalted emotion.

I don’t know how to describe it.

Parts of his composition Metal Angel were so exultant I almost felt myself flying.

Listening with my eyes closed, I could feel my spirit whirling forward through an epic story. With victory in reach.

Architecture inspired by nature . . . and UFOs!

An exhibition of truly amazing architectural designs recently opened at the SDSU Downtown Gallery.

Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray showcases the futuristic architectural concepts of an emeritus professor from San Diego State University, who taught Environmental Design from 1969 to 1996.

Those who have driven through La Jolla might have seen the fantastic house and studio he built at 1699 Nautilus Street. It’s commonly referred to as the Silver Ship. It was erected in 1978 with the help of Environmental Design students from SDSU.

It’s no surprise that many of Eugene Ray’s designs appear a bit like spaceships. His inspiration comes not only from simple, efficient, resilient forms found in nature, but from his life-changing sighting of a UFO in 1947 when he was a boy.

According to one sign I read, many of the innovative designs synthesized “Ray’s concepts of the synergy of color, light, and sound to create holistic, healing and energizing environments.” He also sought to create modular structures, which would be affordable and easily assembled.

I was told that his organic, biomorphic designs are so futuristic, unusual and brilliant that world-famous science fiction author Ray Bradbury at one time had plans to make a movie about Eugene Ray’s work.

Here are a few photos of the original drawings, prototypes, renderings and highly creative artwork currently on display. This very cool exhibition at the SDSU Downtown Gallery runs through October 6, 2019.

James A. Perry Residence - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
James A. Perry Residence – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1968.
Aerodyne Sports House - 1984.
Aerodyne Sports House – 1984.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship - La Jolla, California, 1978.
Nautilus Street Residence aka The Silver Ship – La Jolla, California, 1978.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located at 1699 Nautilus Street in La Jolla, California.
Blueprint of The Silver Ship, designed by Eugene Ray, located in La Jolla, California.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School - New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Pavilion for Holy Cross High School – New Orleans, Louisiana, 1967.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.
Untitled, Eugene Ray, 1969 (restored 2019). Acrylic and aluminum on canvas.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Radiant Spire proposed for Notre Dame.

Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by architect Eugene Ray.
Appearance of rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral with Radiant Spire, designed by San Diego architect Eugene Ray.

I guess it’s too late now. Last month the French Parliament passed a law that states Notre Dame Cathedral must be restored to its exact condition before the recent, catastrophic fire.

But how might Paris have appeared if Notre Dame were crowned by a glowing spire?

The Radiant Spire is a fantastic concept created by architect Eugene Ray, who from 1969 to 1996 headed the Environmental Design program at San Diego State University. In 2019, with the help of architect Joe Cordelle, he designed a geodesic structure that unites a cone and sphere, and which radiates light.

I saw these images today while visiting the exhibition Radiant Architecture: The Visionary Work of Eugene Ray at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. As a proposal the Radiant Spire is inspiring and very beautiful.

But, alas, it will remain an idea.

Description of Radiant Spire for Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards...
Description of Radiant Spire for rebuilt Notre Dame Cathedral. The elegant structure evokes an exuberant spirituality reaching skywards…
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.
Elevation view of proposed spire for Notre Dame.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Raising a heavy yard on HMS Surprise.

During my Sunday walk along the Embarcadero today, I paused at the Maritime Museum of San Diego to watch some fascinating activity. Crew members and museum volunteers were carefully raising one of HMS Surprise’s very heavy mizzenmast yards. They hauled ropes, checked critical knots, hauled some more, swung the yard up and across the quarterdeck, then lifted it straight into the sky.

The strenuous, methodical work aboard a tall ship is a complex dance.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!