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.

A place like heaven, and full of surprises.

Balboa Park to me is a place like heaven. A place overflowing with joy and sunshine and smiles and wonder. A carefree place that is full of surprises.

Today I enjoyed a few delightful surprises during my walk–as you’ll see.

The House of Peru hosted a lawn program today at Balboa Park's International Cottages.
A huge crowd had gathered at the International Cottages. The House of Peru hosted a colorful lawn program today.

Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.
Peruvian born Mario Torero, internationally famous muralist and activist, greets the audience before receiving an honor.
The brass ring might appear any moment.
The brass ring might appear at any moment.

Balboa Park is one of the most wonderful places on Earth.

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!

Summer of Love’s Art Car in Balboa Park!

What’s did I see today in Balboa Park? There’s a car parked in the middle of Spanish Village Art Center’s patio and it’s decorated with all sorts of fun, colorful artwork!

According to a sign on the windshield, the Art Car was donated for this project by the San Diego Automotive Museum. It appears to be a cool work in progress during this Summer of Love!

Nobody was painting the car when I walked by, but I saw plenty of space for more creativity!

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!

Flamenco dancing at San Diego Museum of Art!

This evening the San Diego Museum of Art held a free public event titled On the Steps At SDMA: The Golden Age Of Spain. The small outdoor festival, which was held in Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama, celebrated the museum’s current exhibition, which features fine art produced in the Spanish Empire from about 1600 to 1750.

Local artists had booths near the museum’s front steps, as did Balboa Park’s House of Spain, but my favorite part of the event was the fantastic flamenco dancing.

I lingered for a good while and enjoyed performances by Flamenco Sur (Carlos Hernandez and Students), Olé Flamenco, and Luna Flamenca Dance Company.

Each dancer possessed fire, intensity, passion.

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!

Batman takes over the Comic-Con Museum!

Today I checked out the Batman Experience at the Comic-Con Museum!

This fantastic exhibition is running during 2019 Comic-Con and is well worth the short trip from the San Diego Convention Center to Balboa Park. It’s free to the public–no badge required!

All three levels of the Comic-Con Museum have been taken over by Batman, as has a section of lawn outside the museum’s front entrance. That’s because Batman, celebrating his 80-year publishing history, is the very first inductee into the Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame!

Walk through the looming gate of Arkham Asylum and feast your eyes on authentic, original items from the Warner Bros. Corporate Archive. You’ll see a couple of Batmobiles, iconic props from the major motion pictures, and costumes from the movies and the television series Gotham. There’s a Bat-Signal that projects Commissioner Gordon’s urgent call for assistance on the museum’s ceiling. In the lower level there’s a super cool Batcave Gaming Lounge, with current and old school video games featuring the Caped Crusader. You can also punch a villain. BAM! ARRGH! POW! Or play Batman pinball games. Or view the complete 100-piece series of collectible Batman Black and White statues.

After you do all this, you should step through a door and enjoy looking at the original Jim Lee artwork for the 2019 Comic-Con Souvenir Book. It’s on display in the museum’s ongoing exhibit Cover Story: The Art of Comic-Con 50.

Finally, if you’re feeling heroic, put on Batman’s cowl and try out the skydive simulator on the grass outside. The Dark Knight Dive allows brave crimefighters to simulate soaring over Gotham City!

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!

Photos of Tanabata Festival in Balboa Park!

Late this afternoon I stepped into the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park to enjoy their first ever Tanabata Festival!

I arrived half an hour before the festival officially opened, and as time progressed more and more people arrived for this joyful summer event. I lingered for a while to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes, and to learn about various aspects of Japanese culture and the Tanabata holiday.

According to the Japanese Friendship Garden website: “Originating from Chinese folklore, Tanabata is a holiday that celebrates the meeting of Orihime and Hikoboshi. Separated by the Milky Way, the stars Orihime and Hikoboshi are able to meet once per year on the seventh day of the seventh month. On Sunday, July 7th, JFG has partnered with the Minatomo Japanese Community to have their inaugural Tanabata Festival in San Diego!”

As I walked randomly about I learned about the Tanabata tradition of tanzaku: wishes are written on small pieces of paper which are then hung with other happy decorations on bamboo. I paused to admire some living moss art–kokedama. I then walked down into the Lower Garden.

Outside the Inamori Pavilion yummy Japanese food was being prepared. Inside the elegant pavilion there was artwork, including some bright, very colorful fluorescent paintings. I caught the first scheduled performance in the pavilion, which was an onigiri (rice ball) preparation demonstration. I was shown how to easily fold a paper flower.

I then headed back to the Upper Garden and listened as Write Out Loud presented a Japanese fairy tale. I paused to admire a bunch of origami artwork that was being created.

Every person I met was smiling.

I hope this is the first of many wonderful Tanabata Festivals at the Japanese Friendship Garden. That is my wish.

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!