Playing with design at the Mingei!

A super fun and enjoyable exhibit is now on display at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park!

Toying with Design intentionally coincides with San Diego Design Week 2022, which concludes today. Fortunately, however, this very unique exhibit will continue on until February 2023.

So what will visitors to one corner of the Mingei’s upstairs gallery see? Lots of clever designs! Including all sorts of inspired designs that make common functional household items as playful as toys!

I particularly enjoyed how ordinary kitchen utensils were creatively infused with surprising humor!

Check it out!

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!

Nayarit celebrated at the House of Mexico!

The Mexican state of Nayarit was celebrated today at the International Cottages in Balboa Park!

Baile folklórico dancers performed outside the House of Mexico cottage, and various displays promoting tourism in Nayarit greeted surprised visitors wandering through the park.

As soon as I noticed all the costumes and smiles, I was drawn right in!

As I understand it, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism teamed up with the House of Mexico to promote Nayarit with this special cultural event.

The state of Nayarit is located on the west coast of Mexico and features popular beaches, fascinating history and beautiful scenery.

This is what my camera recorded…

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Memories of Queen Elizabeth II at House of England.

Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away earlier this month, is being memorialized inside the House of England at Balboa Park’s International Cottages.

Inside the cottage visitors will find notes of sympathy and bits of artwork accompanying photographs of the late Queen. During her long reign, through seven decades of the world’s turbulent history, Queen Elizabeth II remained beloved by many.

I stepped into the House of England’s cottage during my walk through Balboa Park today and took these photographs…

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Online petition to reopen the Starlight Bowl.

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.

The historic Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has been out of operation since 2011. The organization Save Starlight has been working diligently to bring this beloved open air amphitheater back to life!

If you’d like to lend a hand, consider signing this online petition. Add your voice to others who urge the City of San Diego to grant Save Starlight a lease, so that they can begin the needed renovations and finally open to the public!

I added my name to the petition a moment ago. Will you?

You, too, can sign the petition, or learn more about the project, by clicking here!

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!

Dvořák, Liszt and laughs on Silent Movie Night!

Where can you listen to exquisitely played classical music, then laugh at absurdly silly slapstick humor . . . all in one sitting?

At Silent Movie Night!

This evening, acclaimed concert organist Clara Gerdes played classical compositions by Dvořák, Duruflé and Liszt on the incomparable Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park. Then immediately after, the audience was laughing uproariously to the gag-filled antics of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton! (Accompanied by organ, of course!)

From the sublime to the absurd. That was the magic of Silent Movie Night at the 34th San Diego International Organ Festival!

You didn’t go? Why not?

Silent Movie Night is one of the most fun events every summer in Balboa Park. A couple thousand happy people fill the benches at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. And it’s free!

So watch for it next year!

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!

Pandemic art: Paintings from the Confinement.

The COVID-19 pandemic was difficult for all of us. Tragically, many would not live through it.

We all remember the long days of uncertainty, fear, loneliness, forced isolation.

If you head to Balboa Park today, you need to stop by the San Diego Museum of Art to experience Paintings from the Confinement. Today is the final day of this emotionally moving exhibition.

I viewed the small egg tempera paintings, created by San Diego artist Marianela de la Hoz, at the urging of my museum docent friend Catherine.

The images are symbolic, spare, often grim. There is darkness. There are claustrophobic spaces. There is flat human life on small cold screens. But there are a few rays of hope beyond the confining walls. Thank goodness those walls have now mostly come down.

The artist found it hard to honestly paint her many feelings. In particular, it was very hard to portray death.

In her statement, Marianela de la Hoz explains the only treasures I have are my loved ones, family, friends, and art; everything else remained as non-essential.

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!

Wild beasts invade San Diego Museum of Art!

The Clearing, André Derain, circa 1906. Oil on canvas.

The San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park has been invaded by wild beasts!

Les Fauves is French for Wild Beasts, and paintings by early 20th century artists known as the Fauves are running rampant in one amazing gallery!

These particular paintings are part of a wider exhibition titled Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation. I visited the San Diego Museum of Art back in May and blogged about the exhibition here.

During my visit yesterday, my docent friend Catherine took me through several of the museum galleries and explained how Impressionism evolved into Post-Impressionism and other avant-garde movements.

Fauvism was a modern movement that shocked art lovers in France between 1905 and 1908. It was led by Henri Matisse, André Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck.

Looking at these canvases, museum visitors can see how the Fauves loved strong contrasts, saturated colors and bold brush strokes producing abstract, often weirdly unexpected forms.

Trees can appear as gangly streaks of pure color. Thick smudges and dabs of paint create startling still life images and brilliant landscapes.

In a strange way the dreamlike effect is similar to the gauzy, delicate work of the Impressionists. The viewer feels the momentary impression of a place or object. But these particular dreams are quite vivid!

The more I looked at these unique works, the more I appreciated the artistry and visionary genius of the Wild Beasts.

Head down to the San Diego Museum of Art and experience this famous artwork with your own eyes!

Monet to Matisse: Impressionist Masterpieces from the Bemberg Foundation was to end in August, but it has been extended through October 10, 2022.

The Gulf, Henri Manguin, circa 1920. Oil on canvas.

Still Life with Fish, Maurice de Vlaminck. Oil on canvas.

View of Chatou, Maurice de Vlaminck, circa 1907. Oil 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!

Drive Your Pantera Day in San Diego!

Look what I stumbled upon this morning!

I was walking through Balboa Park near the San Diego Automotive Museum when I spied a bunch of Pantera sports cars. And the proud owners were taking a group photograph.

What was going on?

Today, August 27th, is Drive Your Pantera Day!

From what I could gather, these were all members of the San Diego Panteras club.

Considering the fact that only about 7,000 Panteras were manufactured, it was awesome to see about a dozen of these cool cars collected in one spot!

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!

Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

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 festive summer Sunday in Balboa Park!

Summertime? A sunny Sunday? San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park?

Combine these three to discover lots of fun, festive stuff!

Come with me. Let’s walk around Balboa Park this afternoon, taking in various cool sights…

Performers on and off stage in Balboa Park at the 35th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival.

A big outdoor audience enjoys Filipino culture in Balboa Park.

Kids dance on outdoor stage at the SAMAHAN Filipino American Performing Arts and Education Center’s annual festival in Balboa Park.

Filipino food was plentiful at the 35th Philippine Cultural Arts Festival, in San Diego’s Balboa Park.

Walking around Balboa Park at the Plaza de Panama.

Super cool guys promote the San Diego Loyal soccer team. They’ve got a home game coming up on August 24th versus Oakland. The team is currently in second place!

An amazing film about Balboa Park plays in the auditorium at the San Diego History Center.

A beautiful summer day near the Japanese Tea Pavilion.

Visitors walk toward the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden. There’s a new exhibition concerning Japanese dolls that I will blog about soon.

People sit in the shade of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade during the Sunday two o’clock concert.

Colorful rented umbrellas provide more shade for the pavilion benches.

Organist Amanda Mole plays a musical piece on the Spreckels Organ. It’s a preview of her Monday night performance for the 34th San Diego International Organ Festival.

A variety of lowriders were parked between the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and the Plaza de Panama.

Taking photos near flowers at one end of the Balboa Park Lily Pond.

A Spanish speaking church group sings joyfully along El Prado, hoping to attract passersby.

Dancers in folk costume perform for the House of Panama lawn program at the International Cottages.

Cultural lawn programs can be enjoyed almost every weekend in Balboa Park during summer months!

If you’d like to see more colorful photographs from today’s House of Panama lawn program, click here!

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!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!