St. Crispin’s Day speech and medieval armor in San Diego!

Performers in medieval chain mail and shining breastplate armor pose inside the main entrance of the San Diego Central Library downtown!
Performers in medieval chain mail and shining breastplate armor pose inside the main entrance of the San Diego Central Library downtown!

Check out a few pics of a certifiably cool event I witnessed at noon today! There was a pop-up performance of the St. Crispin’s Day speech from Shakespeare’s play Henry V! Complete with medieval costumes and shining armor!

The short performance honored the birthday (and death day) of Shakespeare, and was put on in the Central Library’s lobby as part of the San Diego Public Library’s First Folio multi-month extravaganza. Shakespeare’s rousing fictional speech by King Henry V–meant to inspire his English army in 1415 before the Battle of Agincourt, where he faced a vastly larger French army–was recited at several libraries around San Diego.

The enthusiastic performers were all great! And super friendly! I spoke to them and learned about their love for the Age of Chivalry. They make their own armor and other items associated with medieval life. They are deeply interested in the history of the Middle Ages and learning how to craft objects with historical authenticity. According to their website, Chivalry Today, they offer a variety of presentations, workshops and activities to introduce chivalry into your education, business and life. They provide quality historical interpretive programs for schools studying Medieval and Renaissance history.  Click on the above link to check these guys out!

(If I may provide some constructive criticism of the library, which I otherwise love. I arrived early because I wasn’t sure where exactly in downtown’s large Central Library the performance would take place. I asked five different library employees. Not one of them knew. One severe lady at the reference desk after searching for about five minutes on her computer told me there was no such event. Ouch. Worse, it appeared I was the only person to intentionally show up for the performance. The others in the small audience arrived after an announcement over the library public address system. Isn’t a library essentially about maximizing communication?  Hello!  We live in the age of the internet!  Okay, my rant is over.  I love you guys.)

Reciting Shakespeare's rousing speech by King Henry V, urging his English army to bravely fight the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
Reciting Shakespeare’s rousing speech by King Henry V, urging his English army to bravely fight the French at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415.
At the end of the short pop-up performance, banners are raised by the small troupe in the lobby of the San Diego Central Library.
At the end of the short pop-up performance, banners are raised by the small troupe in the lobby of the San Diego Central Library.
Henry V inspires his troops in the Age of Chivalry, while historical commentary is provided in a modern library. The performance was part of an ongoing summer-long First Folio celebration of Shakespeare.
Henry V inspires his troops in the Age of Chivalry, while historical commentary is provided in a modern library. The performance was part of an ongoing summer-long First Folio celebration of Shakespeare.

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Shakespeare’s First Folio exhibit coming to San Diego!

William Shakespeare

I learned something extraordinary today!

From June 4 to July 7, free to the public, an authentic First Folio of William Shakespeare will be on display at the San Diego Central Library downtown, in their 9th floor art gallery!

Here’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see a very rare First Folio, containing some the most important works of English and World Literature ever penned! The book will be opened at Hamlet’s famous line “To be or not to be” — and unquestionably many eyes will read it! In addition, the exhibition will include other material concerning Shakespeare, his history and his work. There will also be interesting items from the world-famous Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park, including Shakespearean props, costumes and photographs of past theatrical productions.

The First Folio is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The special exhibition is in honor of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

But that’s not all! Throughout this spring and summer, over the course of several months, the Old Globe Theatre and the San Diego Public Library will be teaming up with various schools and organizations to bring our city a whole slew of exciting activities celebrating William Shakespeare. There are plays, recitations, lectures, reenactments, games, film screenings, teas and a whole bunch more. Many of the activities will be held at different libraries around the city. It’s all too much to detail here. So check out the official website!

This is going to be great fun!

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

Do you like to read short pieces of thought-provoking fiction? You might enjoy checking out Short Stories by Richard.

Powerful genius at San Diego’s Ion Theatre.

The Aliens, a powerful award-winning play by Annie Baker, is now playing at the Ion Theatre in San Diego.
The Aliens, an award-winning play by Annie Baker, is now playing at the Ion Theatre in San Diego.

Yesterday evening I experienced something completely unexpected. Out of the blue I received a powerful jolt, as if struck to the core by a hammer.

What happened? I went to see The Aliens at the Ion Theatre. The Ion Theatre Company produces cutting edge live theater in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood. The Aliens is a very unusual and surprising play that won the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play. It was written by Annie Baker.

I wasn’t expecting such power.

The Aliens is well performed by three great actors: Brian Butler, Tyler Oakley and Reed Willard. The characters they portray are absolutely human–slightly absurd and terribly broken. They are troubled in ways that are disturbing, heart-wrenching. They are frustrated, uncertain, in pain, alienated, almost hopeless.

But they aren’t hopeless.

Each character possesses awkward warmth and connection. And humor.

Then, like a bolt from the blue, at the very end, the emotional hammer strikes. I won’t tell you what happens. You’ll have to find out for yourselves.

Here’s a hint. In everyone there is unique genius. And while some people might not go far in this world, that genius–that yearning outflow from each individual heart–never stops. Life’s path might be unexpectedly short, but genius does not die.

Thoughtful adults should see this play. Check out the Ion Theatre’s website. The Aliens runs through December 12.

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Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? Visit my Short Stories by Richard writing blog!

San Diego Comic-Con trolley wrap: Scream Queens!

A cool San Diego trolley wrap for 2015 Comic-Con promotes Scream Queens on Fox. A killer new series from the creators of Glee and American Horror Story.
A cool San Diego trolley wrap for 2015 Comic-Con promotes Scream Queens on Fox. A killer new series from the creators of Glee and American Horror Story.

I finally got pics of the very first trolley wrap for the upcoming 2015 San Diego Comic-Con. The bold graphics promote Scream Queens, an American horror-comedy television series, which is having its world premiere at Comic-Con. The series will be televised on Fox starting in September.

I spoke to a super friendly trolley driver on Thursday (she always smiles and waves at me!) and I learned that more trolley wraps are in the process of being readied for Comic-Con. What they are, I don’t know. We’ll find out together!  Stay tuned!

Keke Palmer, Diego Boneta and Lea Michele all have scary bloody hands!
Keke Palmer, Diego Boneta and Lea Michele all have scary bloody hands!
Faces of Scream Queens on a San Diego trolley include Ariana Grande, Lucien Laviscount and Nick Jonas.
Faces of Scream Queens on a San Diego trolley include Ariana Grande, Lucien Laviscount and Nick Jonas.
A bloody-handed Jamie Lee Curtis peers between trolley cars at me! Yikes!
A bloody-handed Jamie Lee Curtis peers between trolley cars at me! Yikes!

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The dramatic faces of Ion Theatre’s street mural.

Dramatic faces compose Ion Theatre's complex outdoor mural. The photos are taken from past productions.
Dramatic faces compose Ion Theatre’s complex outdoor mural. The photos are taken from past productions.

I walked past the Ion Theatre in Hillcrest early this afternoon. I’d planned to take some pics of their cool new street mural, which I’d seen several times while heading up Sixth Avenue.

Not only did I get photos of the mural, but I caught some folks setting up for the Ion Theatre Company’s big outdoor I’ll Take Manhattan gala!

The eye-popping black-and-white photomosaic, I was told, is composed of images from Ion’s 72 productions over their 10 years of history. Ion Theatre has become an important cultural presence in San Diego. According to their mission statement, they are dedicated to “forging bold, vital, diverse new work…powerful, provocative new plays from emerging playwrights… (and reimagining) classics using the lens of theatrical innovation…”

Support local artists and check out their website!

A visual mosaic of human stories dazzles the viewer.
This mosaic containing many human stories dazzles the eye.
Ion's parking lot becomes the unique setting for a fundraising gala.
Ion’s parking lot becomes the unique setting for a fundraising event.
I'm told this image is from Ion Theatre's latest play, Kin.
I’m told this image is from Ion Theatre’s most recent play, Kin.
Jumbled emotions seen from the street become more potent when approached.
Jumbled emotions seen from the street become more potent when approached.
Countless expressions on faces that are turned in all directions.
Countless expressions on faces that are turned in all directions.
This is a one very engaging piece of urban art!
This is an extremely engaging piece of urban art!
Ion Theatre and its mural are located in San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood.
Ion Theatre and its mural are located in San Diego’s Hillcrest neighborhood.
A timeworn face on a city wall that, too, will soon become weathered.
A timeworn face on an ordinary city wall that, too, will soon become weathered.
Setting up for a special gala in the small parking lot.
Setting up for a special gala in the small parking lot.
The Ion Theatre Company provides a cool sight for my camera!
The Ion Theatre Company provides a cool sight for my camera!

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Leonard Nimoy lives at Spock Block in Encinitas.

The Spock Block celebration centered upon Encinitas City Hall on Vulcan Avenue.
The Spock Block celebration is taking place near Encinitas City Hall on Vulcan Avenue.

The City of Encinitas, a coastal beach city in San Diego’s North County, has a week-long celebration underway honoring the late Leonard Nimoy. If the immensely popular actor, author, director, poet, songwriter and photographer had not passed away in February this year, he would have celebrated his 84th birthday last Thursday. Nimoy’s rich life and artistry is being remembered, as well as his iconic role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek. Encinitas City Hall is located on Vulcan Avenue, and as every Trekker knows, Vulcan was the name of Spock’s home planet. So by official decree, a short stretch of Vulcan Avenue has been temporarily renamed Spock Block.

Today I took a long stroll around Encinitas, hoping to spot a few cool sights in and around Spock Block. Unfortunately, there didn’t seem to be much going on. I guess there wasn’t enough time for preparation and publicity. Maybe next year the festival (or Enterprise!) can grow into a much more interesting phenomenon.  How about some cool displays?  A science fiction film fest?  A cosplay contest?  Get creative!

Fortunately, I did get lots of other awesome pics around Encinitas, so I suppose more blog posts will be forthcoming!

A restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway had a special Live Long and Lobster deal!
A fun-loving restaurant on Pacific Coast Highway had a special Live Long and Lobster deal!  Seems entirely logical to me!
Encinitas surfers arrive from Vulcan Avenue--or perhaps from Spock's home planet...
Encinitas surfers arrive from Vulcan Avenue–or perhaps an avenue located somewhere on Spock’s distant home planet…

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LEGENDS painted mural: Don’t kill Sean Bean!

Legends mural in San Diego. Don't kill Sean Bean!
LEGENDS mural in downtown San Diego. Don’t kill Sean Bean!

A couple blocks from downtown’s Gaslamp Quarter, a huge painted mural on the side of a building depicts actor Sean Bean holding a gun and the Twitter hashtag #DontKillSeanBean. This eye-catching public artwork was created during the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con to promote the upcoming TNT television spy thriller LEGENDS.

Poor Sean Bean never seems to survive his roles. Many of his fans are hoping he makes it through this series. He has died over twenty times onscreen.

Some of his more notable deaths?

Shot through with Uruk-hai orc arrows as Boromir in Lord of the Rings.

Falling from and then crushed by a huge antenna structure as Agent 006 in Goldeneye.

Impaled by an anchor and then blown up during a boat chase in Patriot Games.

Chased off a cliff by a rampaging herd of cows in The Field.

Shot through the neck by a grappling hook and then hung in The Island.

Beheaded as Eddard Stark in the first season of Game of Thrones.

Better luck this time around, Mr. Bean!

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