Balboa Park’s magic reveals life and wonder.

The facade of the Casa del Prado is just one of many wonders in Balboa Park.
The facade of the Casa del Prado is just one of many wonders in Balboa Park.

Balboa Park is one of the most magical places in the world. Spells are cast, revealing life and wonder.

Please enjoy a few photos.

Another beautiful day in the park. The California Tower rises in the distance.
Another magical day in the park. The California Tower rises in the distance.
Spirits are lifted by the Woman of Tehuantepec in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality.
Spirits are lifted by the Woman of Tehuantepec in the courtyard of the House of Hospitality.
Ranger Kim relates the history of Balboa Park to a tour group. They stand by the original Administration Building, which was the first building constructed for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Ranger Kim relates the history of Balboa Park to a tour group. They stand by the original Administration Building, which was the first building erected for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition.
Ranger Kim talks about the historic Botanical Building and its rich collection of beautiful flowers and plants.
Ranger Kim talks about the historic Botanical Building and its rich collection of beautiful flowers and plants.
A wicker Electriquette follows walkers in the park.
A wicker Electriquette slowly moves through the wonderful park.
Daisy Girl Scouts plant new flowers by the reflecting pool.
Daisy Girl Scouts plant living flowers by the reflecting pool.
Photo from the Alcazar Garden of the House of Charm's tower.
Photo from the Alcazar Garden of the House of Charm’s tower.
Learning to tap dance at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Learning to tap dance at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Three friends together at Nate's Point Dog Park.
Three life friends together at Nate’s Point Dog Park.
A short but happy excursion on the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
A short but magical excursion on the Balboa Park Miniature Railroad.
A view across El Prado of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A view across El Prado of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
The splashing Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa attracts young and old.
The splashing Bea Evenson Fountain in the Plaza de Balboa attracts young and old.
Gazing from a balcony of the House of Hospitality down at the Plaza de Panama and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Gazing from a balcony of the House of Hospitality down at the life-filled Plaza de Panama and the San Diego Museum of Art.
Bicycles along El Prado.
Bicycles and sunshine along El Prado.
Big Slim plays guitar by the Casa del Prado.
Big Slim plays guitar by the Casa del Prado.
A musician strums in Spanish Village.
A musician strums in Spanish Village.
A magic trick produces many smiles.
A magic trick produces many smiles.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

World’s most amazing car, displayed in San Diego!

This 1947 Cadillac was transformed into an amazing cross-country contraption! This unusual car drove from San Diego to New York . . . and back . . . without stopping!
This 1947 Cadillac was transformed into an amazing cross-country contraption! The unusual car drove from San Diego to New York and back–without stopping!

Have you heard of the amazing car that features a toilet, washing machine, ironing board, shower, and even a kitchen sink?

Did you know this amazing car also has an electric stove, refrigerator, medicine cabinet, and drinking fountain?

And that this particular car holds the cross-country driving endurance record? In 1952, three men drove the car 6,320 miles nonstop–literally without stopping–from San Diego to New York and back, accompanied by a police escort the entire way! They refueled from a moving gas truck!

What else can this amazing car do?

The car automatically changes oil and refills the radiator. A movable platform and hydraulic jacks allows any tire to be changed without stopping the car. And repairs to the engine can be made while driving. The hood, when open, has transparent panels that allow the driver to see the road!

A shower and drinking fountain! Why not? The shower is on the right running board and the drinking fountain can be accessed at a rear taillight! The back seat conveniently contains several household necessities, including a refrigerator, stove, small washing machine, chemical toilet, and, of course . . . that kitchen sink!

Never heard of this crazy car? It once was quite famous, widely appearing on television, in magazines and newspapers. But that was decades ago.

Today you can see Louie Mattar’s extensively modified 1947 Cadillac for yourself.  It’s on display at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!

Here’s to the dreamers. And here’s to the actual doers. It took Louie Mattar five years to transform his amazing dream into reality!

Louie Mattar's car was driven 6320 miles without ever stopping. Refueling, tire changes and repairs are done on the run.
Louie Mattar’s car was driven 6320 miles without ever stopping. Refueling, tire changes and even engine repairs are done on the run!
You can see Louie Mattar's fabulous car at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park.
You can see the most amazing car in the world at the San Diego Automotive Museum in Balboa Park!
The car tows a trailer, which stores gasoline, water and oil. At the rear is an outdoor dining area!
The car tows a trailer, which stores gasoline, water and oil. At the rear is an outdoor dining area!
A look at the complicated dashboard. I'm reminded of an airplane's cockpit.
A look at the complicated dashboard. I’m reminded of an airplane’s cockpit.
Diagram shows the many gauges and switches available to the driver. A bar and hookah are within easy reach of the front seat passenger!
Diagram shows the many gauges and switches available to the driver. A bar and hookah are within easy reach of the front seat passenger!
A crazy tangle under the hood. It looks like dish of spaghetti!
A crazy tangle under the hood. It looks like a dish of spaghetti!
Diagram shows numerous modifications and additions to the 1947 Cadillac's original stock engine.
Diagram shows numerous modifications and additions to the 1947 Cadillac’s original stock engine.
A passenger on the moving car could stand on this projecting platform to change a tire! The axles are drilled, so tires can be inflated while turning!
A passenger in the moving car could stand on this projecting platform to change a tire! The axles are drilled, so tires can be inflated while they are turning!
A video in the San Diego Automotive Museum shows the amazing car in action!
A video in the San Diego Automotive Museum shows the amazing car in action!
Not many cars feature an electric stove and ironing board!
How many cars in the world are equipped with an ironing board?

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Memorial Day at The Veterans Museum in Balboa Park.

Vietnamese Community of San Diego wreath stands in front of the San Diego Peace Memorial.
Vietnamese Community of San Diego wreath stands by Peace Memorial.

Today I attended two Memorial Day ceremonies.

First, in the morning, I walked up to Balboa Park.  There I joined others in remembering those who’d lost their lives in a terrible war. An emotional ceremony was held at the San Diego Vietnam Peace Memorial, which is located right next to The Veterans Museum. Special attention was given during this event to those who died serving their country during the Vietnam War.

Please forgive me. When I arrived I was in a quiet mood. I stood off to the side mostly, took no notes, snapped a photo now and then. I mostly just absorbed the speeches, the music, the flowers, so many names on bronze plaques and proud salutes by veterans in attendance. I felt a bit shy and didn’t grab a program. I regret that now. I forget the names of the speakers, and the lady who sang so beautifully.

Members of Vietnam Veterans of America, 472, were present. Before the morning program commenced, they had read names of the fallen–the Calling of the Names.

Many from the local Vietnamese community also attended. Some among them had fought in the war.

I remember that the keynote speech was very clear and very powerful. It was about service, and courage, and liberty, and friendship, and pain, and sacrifice, and history. It acknowledged the horror of war. Those who fought would rather have been at home in peace. All gave some; some gave all.

Those whose names are eternally engraved on the Peace Memorial have earned the gratitude of many.

Here are a few photos.

Flags are presented.
Flags are readied.
Salutes.
Salutes.
A dignified program commences. The Vietnam War is remembered, and those who fell during the conflict are honored.
A dignified program commences. The Vietnam War is remembered, and those who fell during the conflict are honored.
Speeches recall the harsh realities of war, and the democratic ideals many fought to defend.
Speeches recall the harsh realities of war, and the democratic ideals many fought to defend.
All quietly listen, some remember.
All quietly listen, some remember.
Joyful, triumphant singing. America the Beautiful.
Joyful, triumphant singing. America the Beautiful.
Love for country. Young and old salute.
Love for country. Young and old salute.
A folded flag above the plaque marking the Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial in Balboa Park.
A folded flag above the plaque marking the Vietnam Veterans Peace Memorial in Balboa Park.
Names of San Diegans who were killed or designated missing in action during the Vietnam War fill half a dozen bronze plaques.
Names of San Diegans who were killed or designated missing in action during the Vietnam War fill half a dozen bronze plaques.
Flags, flowers and photos. A loved family member.
Flags, flowers and photos. A loved family member.
On March 7, 1971, at the age of 21, David Jesus Naranjo perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Nam.
On March 7, 1971, at the age of 21, David Jesus Naranjo perished in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Nam.

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!

The fantastic art of Richard Deacon in San Diego!

Double Talk by artist Richard Deacon, winner of the Turner Prize. Laminated wood and imitation leather. 1987.
Double Talk by artist Richard Deacon, winner of the Turner Prize. Laminated wood and imitation leather. 1987.

Look at these photos! Enjoy a taste of some wonders that have materialized inside the San Diego Museum of Art!

My docent friend took me on a tour yesterday morning of the jaw-dropping exhibition Richard Deacon: What You See Is What You Get. The abstract artwork of this world-renowned British contemporary sculptor, winner of the Turner Prize, is being shown for the first time in a major American museum–right here at the San Diego Museum of Art!

I don’t know how to begin explaining the various pieces. I did plainly see that Richard Deacon takes joy in inventive creation, working diverse materials, seeing organic forms bubble and expand into life. Gazing at his often huge pieces, I felt myself tumbling through a space filled with living shapes, mythological symbols, dreamlike visions. His muscle-crafted marvels have been extracted from infinite possibility, bent into reality.

I don’t know what else to say. I’ve added a little more description in my photo captions. But words are insufficient. What you see is what you get!

It’s great news that this special exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art has been extended through Labor Day, September 04, 2017. Go feast your eyes!

Richard Deacon. What you see is what you get. To see it, head over to the San Diego Museum of Art!
Richard Deacon. What you see is what you get. To see it, head over to the San Diego Museum of Art!
Eyes are met with an astonishing work of abstract art. Dancing in Front of My Eyes, 2006. Wood, aluminum.
Eyes are met with an astonishing work of abstract art. Dancing in Front of My Eyes, 2006. Wood, aluminum.
In places the screws, glue, and the wood itself seem to be unfinished parts of a living whole. The fluid piece undulates from the hand of its inventive creator.
In places screws, glue, and the wood itself seem to be “unfinished” parts of a living whole. The fluid piece undulates from the hand of its inventive creator.
An intangible tangle of shadow on the floor seems to be an important part of the sculpture. The artist calls himself a fabricator.
An intangible tangle of shadow on the floor seems to be an important part of the sculpture. The artist calls himself a fabricator.
An amazing creation, that seems to me like active muscles or tendons in a living body. Dead Leg, 2007. Steamed oak, stainless steel.
An amazing creation, that seems to me like active muscles or tendons in a living body. Dead Leg, 2007. Steamed oak, stainless steel.
The wood is artistically bent using steam and heat. During this process, Richard Deacon has about two minutes to permanently alter the wood’s shape.
This looks to me like supple leather. A portion of Fish out of Water. Laminated hardboard, screws. 1986-87.
This looks to me like supple leather. A portion of Fish out of Water. Laminated hardboard, screws. 1986-87.
Richard Deacon creates astonishing art using many different materials. These huge pieces are ceramic. They seem to have bubbled up from the Earth, or the artist's mind.
Richard Deacon creates astonishing art using many different materials. These huge pieces are ceramic. They seem to have bubbled up from the Earth, or the artist’s mind.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow C. Glazed ceramic. 2000.
Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow C. Glazed ceramic. 2000.
Housing 10, 2012. Marbling on folded STPI handmade paper, constructed with magnet button.
Housing 10, 2012. Marbling on folded STPI handmade paper, constructed with magnet button.
Richard Deacon enjoys playful, suggestive language and has called this huge piece Double Talk. The viewer can decide what is meant.
Richard Deacon enjoys playful, suggestive language and has called this huge piece Double Talk. The viewer can decide what is meant.
The abstract sculpture stretches and curves in an inviting way. It is both natural and larger than life.
The abstract sculpture stretches and curves in an inviting way. It is both natural and larger than life.
Falling on Deaf Ears, No. 1. Galvanized steel, canvas. 1984. My docent friend explained this represents the ship of Odysseus, as he sailed by the treacherous Sirens.
Falling on Deaf Ears, No. 1. Galvanized steel, canvas. 1984. My docent friend explained this represents the ship of Odysseus, as he sailed past the treacherous Sirens.
Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.
Across this room soars Like a Bird. Laminated wood, 1984. Richard Deacon creates spacious wonders that tickle the mind and expand the spirit.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Colorful photos from 2017 Fiesta Botanica!

The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and botanical information.
The 2017 Fiesta Botanica in Balboa Park featured lots of plants, flowers and useful botanical information.

Of course I had to go to Fiesta Botanica! I love flowers, plants, sunshine and Balboa Park!

What used to be called Balboa Park’s Garden Party is now Fiesta Botanica, in keeping with the surrounding Spanish-style architecture. And who would want to miss a colorful fiesta!

I’m sorry to say I missed the floral wagon parade this year, because I was privileged to receive a very special morning tour at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about that tomorrow.

Anyway, I just happily wandered about Fiesta Botanica after leaving the museum and did my best to learn a little about gardening and the miraculous world of nature. There was quite a lot to see!

As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
As the annual event got underway, a large crowd gathered on El Prado to enjoy gardening displays and San Diego sunshine.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
I missed the Floral Wagon Parade this year. A number of tours and lectures were held in the beautiful gardens of Balboa Park.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
The Southern California Plumeria Society had a very active booth.
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
So did the San Diego Cactus and Succulent Society!
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
I learned this is a fig atop a huge Ficus dammaropsis leaf.
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
As I walked about I spotted this colorful banner with a hummingbird and American flag. Perfect for Memorial Day weekend!
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
Gorgeous blooms were being shown by the San Diego Epiphyllum Society.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant now-fenced Moreton Bay Fig near the Natural History Museum. A platform would allow visitors to closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
The Friends of Balboa Park has a number of great future projects. I like the idea of a platform around the giant, now-fenced-off Moreton Bay Fig, which stands near the Natural History Museum. A raised platform would allow visitors to more closely approach the majestic giant, while preventing the pressure of human feet from compressing the soil and endangering the roots.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Photograph taken in the Alcazar Garden.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
Amazing blooms in the Alcazar Garden. Not sure what they are.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
As I walked back along El Prado, I got another photo of the smiling plumeria folks.
Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park's landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
Artist Michelle Gonzalez of Spanish Village was sitting in the Plaza de Panama painting three of Balboa Park’s landmark towers: the iconic California Tower and towers from the House of Hospitality and the House of Charm.
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
The Zoro Garden had a number of butterfly releases which proved very popular with families. I saw butterflies flitting all over the place!
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado.
Checking out one of the floral wagons that participated in the morning parade down El Prado. I believe this one was sponsored by Save Starlight.
In Spanish Village I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!
In Spanish Village, I was stopped in my tracks by this amazing painting by artist RD Riccoboni. An image of Claude Monet composed of flowers!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Amazing youth exhibition at San Diego Museum of Art!

Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Senna Osawa, Tamayo Watermelon, mixed media, Second Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

Look what I discovered!

The San Diego Museum of Art has a free exhibition of art that was created by local school students. It’s called Young Art 2017: Beyond the Ordinary. You can find it in the hallway that leads from the museum’s outdoor sculpture court to the restrooms that are often used by diners at Panama 66.

Every two years, a new exhibition of Young Art is presented by the museum. All I can say is once you step through the door your jaw will drop! Dozens of outstanding, truly amazing works of art line the walls and fill a few display cases.

Inspired students from Kindergarten to Twelfth Grade, from schools throughout San Diego County, have created all sorts of fantastic still life artwork, including paintings, drawings, mixed media, photography and ceramic sculptures. Some of the students have written a sentence or two explaining their thoughts and creative process.

My quick photos of these few examples barely scratch the surface. I just chose some of the art that I personally like. Funny–perhaps my favorite piece was created by a talented young artist in Kindergarten!

If you visit Balboa Park, you must take a look!

Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Beyond the Ordinary. Young Art 2017. Amazing, inspired artwork in a free exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park!
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Catherine Zhao, Message in a Bottle, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
The Great Fruit Bowl, a drawing by many Christ Church Day School Second Grade student artists.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Fizzah Arshad, Tea, drawing, Ninth Grade, Otay Ranch High School.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Arissa Diaz-Lelevier, Multi-media Still Life, mixed media, Eighth Grade, Stella Maris Academy.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Mirabella Komniey, Pitcher, mixed media, Fifth Grade, Vista Grande Elementary.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Emma Cecil, Enticement, painting, Twelfth Grade, Torrey Pines High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Camryn Melendez, Apricot Sunrise, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Eric Pak, Flora and Skull, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Karina Spinazzola, Lemons and Lilies, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Anh Huynh, Distilled, painting, Twelfth Grade, Westview High School.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Caden Glazner, Time for Tea, painting, Third Grade, Del Sur Elementary.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Joy Zou, Tea Time, drawing, Eleventh Grade, Westview High School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Bella Anderson and Cate Hunsberger, Medieval Lunch, painting, Seventh Grade, Coronado Middle School.
Skylar Britt, O'Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Skylar Britt, O’Keeffe Flower, mixed media, Kindergarten, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.
Jenna Vo, Magritte Floating Still Life, mixed media, Fourth Grade, Kumeyaay Elementary.

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!

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!

Journey through dreams at the San Diego Art Institute.

Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.
Visitor to the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park journeys through a dream.

Stepping into the San Diego Art Institute in Balboa Park is like entering a world of dreams. Weird, unexpected dreams hover around corners, dangle overhead, emerge mysteriously from the floor and walls.

A journey through this dreamworld opens one’s eyes to the possibilities of human creativity. During my recent visit I felt as though I were floating through some sort of Twilight Zone. The unearthly sounds, the psychedelic whirls of video, the explosions of imagination, the seemingly sublime and inexplicable visions.

If you’re in San Diego and love provocative art, head over to Balboa Park! The San Diego Art Institute is more gallery than museum, with exhibits that change every couple of months.

One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity.
One can wander through a maze of rampant human creativity  The current exhibit focuses on mixed media.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Upside down, strange and sudden.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Through alleys of dazzling images.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Aaron Garretson, Sunday Morning Cocktails. Threat, yarn, cloth, found materials. 2016.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Weird visions on a wall include spinning blobs of video.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Elise Amour, Untitled. Mixed media with vintage photo. 2017.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Surrounded by art. Slow feet meander from dream to dream.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.
Eight pieces by Jodi Hays. Gouache, ink and collage on paper. 2015.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk! You can enjoy even more Cool San Diego Sights by following me on Facebook or Twitter!

Do you like to read original, thought-provoking fiction? To read a few stories I’ve written (and something that resembles a poem), click Short Stories by Richard.