Big gathering of Azteca dancers in Chicano Park!

A group of about a hundred Danza Azteca-Chichimeca dancers filled Chicano Park today with life and color and tradition and joy!

To the rhythmic beat of drums, strummed lutes and rattled gourds, families danced within and around Chicano Park’s central gazebo, or Kiosko.

I don’t know a whole lot about the Mexican Concheros ceremony and dance, other than it’s a fusion of pre-Hispanic and Christian symbols and rituals. You can learn more here.

Additional elements in today’s dance I believe come from San Diego’s local Native American Kumeyaay culture–including the blessing of participants with white sage smoke, which purifies minds and hearts. Please write a comment if I need correction.

I do know that the energy of the performers and the spirit that emanated from their dance was uplifting. Even as I kept a respectful distance, the infectious beat made me want to dance, too! Perhaps because a human heartbeat is a thing we all have in common.

I hope these photos do justice to what those watching and listening experienced.

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!

Lowriders gather for Chicano Park Vive!

Chicano Park Vive! is a series of festive events taking place this summer in Barrio Logan. Families and neighbors gather in Chicano Park for entertainment, cultural enrichment, food and fun. The community events promote “Healing, Educating and Leading.”

Today the theme was lowriders!

I arrived in the early afternoon and was wowed by all the cool vehicles displayed by several lowrider clubs. Dozens of amazing lowriders lined the street, well beyond Chicano Park.

Another simultaneous event, called the Viva La Frida celebration, was taking place along Logan Avenue, making the entire area feel like one huge party!

Chicano Park Vive! is brought to the community by the Turning Wheel Project, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, the Chicano Park Steering Committee, and The San Diego Foundation.

I noticed the Turning Wheel Project was featuring their mobile classroom, which I visited a couple years ago in Chula Vista. You can see what I discovered back then by clicking here!

Today I learned that the Director of The Turning Wheel Project, Alberto López Pulido, PhD, Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of San Diego, wrote a book concerning our city’s lowriders! It’s titled San Diego Lowriders: A History of Cars and Cruising. You can find that book here!

I was told by the professor himself that next Sunday about a hundred dancers will be performing at Chicano Park Vive! The theme will be danza. You can bet I’ll be there!

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!

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Hopeful faces painted in Chicano Park.

During my most recent visit to Chicano Park, I passed under Interstate 5 while walking up Cesar E. Chavez Parkway. Even in the dim light under the concrete freeway, hopeful faces looked out from the mural beside me.

I saw bright hope in the faces of youth who were learning or at play. I saw hope in the faces of proud people at work, or taking flight on butterfly wings.

Back in 2016 I posted more photos of expressive faces that I’d encountered while walking among the murals of Chicano Park. See those 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!

Cool skateboard murals at Chicano Park Skatepark!

Today I headed to Chicano Park to look for a recently painted mural. A friend that I know from work told me about it. Searching among the dozens and dozens of colorful murals in Chicano Park, I’m afraid I couldn’t find it! But I’ll ask her about it again and make another attempt in the near future. (UPDATE! Turns out she was mistaken.)

As I walked at the southwest end of Chicano Park, I circled around the popular skatepark which is located under the Coronado Bay Bridge. The Chicano Park Skatepark was created in 2015 with a little help from San Diego skateboarding legend Tony Hawk and his foundation.

And check out what I spotted! Four cool skateboarding murals that I’d never seen before!

The small murals face the various quarter pipes, ledges and rails where youthful skaters were riding back and forth and performing tricks.

I saw an Aztec performing a handplant, and indigenous peoples Día de los Muertos skeletons skating up and down the bridge’s concrete pillars, too!

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!

Golden bust of Benito Juárez in Chicano Park.

If you walk to the northwest corner of Chicano Park and cross the intersection of Cesar E. Chavez Parkway and Logan Avenue, you’ll see what appears to be a statue on a checkerboard. Move closer and you’ll discover a golden sculpted head on a white pedestal. The bust is of Mexican national hero, Benito Juárez.

A plaque in Spanish at its base begins: “El respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz,” which translates into English as: “Respect for the rights of others is peace.” The full quote by Juárez, who is remembered for modernizing Mexico with liberal reforms, is: “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.”

According to the plaque, the bust was unveiled on June 25, 2005. It appears to have been placed here by Gran Logia Mexico, Americana San Diego California. I believe the organization is a local Mexican Freemasonry group. I can find nothing about this public artwork on the internet.

Another sculpture of Benito Juárez can be found in downtown San Diego’s Pantoja Park.

That less mysterious public art was a gift from Mexico. I once took a photograph of the fine bronze statue and posted it 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!

Powerful mural honors Kumeyaay people.

I recently came across an article about a newly painted mural in Chicano Park. So I headed to Barrio Logan today to see it up close.

The colorful, symbolic mural celebrates the Native American Kumeyaay story of Creation. It was designed by artist Carmen Linares Kalo. The painting was completed with the help of many artists. (You can see their names in some of the following photos.)

All of the murals inside Chicano Park are bold and vibrant, but I must say the imagery in this one is exceptionally powerful.

The Kumeyaay people lived on this land thousands of years before the existence of a United States or a Mexico or a Spain, and their spiritual connection to nature is beautifully conveyed. Different native animals represent different people in the story of Creation.

Sadly, one person in this world that we all share, when I approached the mural, was buried among painted flowers, homeless.

If you want to learn more about this mural, and its special dedication event a couple months ago, check out the article here.

If you’d like to read Kumeyaay stories concerning their world, its ancient creation and unending life, visit the web page Kumeyaay Religions and Legends and follow the links!

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!

Turning Wheel Project brings culture, history to life.

During my walk around the Chula Vista Library early this afternoon I stumbled upon The Turning Wheel Project. A very colorful bus was parked behind the library, and a group of youth was learning about the culture and history of Chicano Park, Logan Heights and other nearby communities!

The Turning Wheel Project, I learned, is a partnership between the Chicano Park Steering Committee, the Chicano Park Museum and Cultural Center, and the University of San Diego. The bus serves as a mobile classroom where students can learn about the unique culture and history of their own community. Curious minds learn about the power of art, science and engineering, and contemplate the past, present and future.

I stepped into the bus and saw many interesting photographs depicting activism and the historic struggle to create Chicano Park. Representations of Chicano Park’s world-famous murals were also on display. As I poked my nose about, professors from USD were speaking to some students.

If you’d like to learn more about The Turning Wheel Project: El Pueblo En Movimiento – A Community In Movement, check out their website 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!

Art at Chicano Park Herb Garden and Alchemy.

Whenever I drive off the San Diego–Coronado Bridge into Barrio Logan, I notice two enormous eyes painted on a building below the curving bridge offramp.

During a recent walk, I directed my feet through Chicano Park to the place on Logan Avenue where I’ve seen those eyes. It turns out some very cool art adorns the front of Alchemy Motorcycles, including the face of legendary musician Prince. I believe the two bright sections on the left were painted recently.

The first four photographs you see, however, are of the Chicano Park Herb Garden and its mural, which are located immediately to the left of Alchemy. The very colorful mural is painted on the Coronado Bay Bridge’s ramp to south Interstate 5. A sign among the native plants describes: a collective community herbal garden for healing, restoring, learning, praying, meditating and grounding.

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!

Six amazing murals in front of the Museum of Art!

Close up of a colorful mural now on display in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.
Close up of a colorful mural now on display in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.

Many extraordinary artists make San Diego their home. They help our city sparkle with culture and energy.

Amazing works by distinguished local muralists are now on display in Balboa Park, directly in front of the San Diego Museum of Art.

The six colorful murals, painted live a couple weeks ago, are inspired by a world-class exhibition now running inside the museum. Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection is an exhibition of modern Latin masterpieces that no art lover should miss. I blogged about it here.  Go soon. It will be closing in two weeks.

I don’t know how long these murals will be on display outdoors in front of the museum, so swing by Balboa Park soon to enjoy them in person!

To see the murals of Chicano Park, you can click here.

Visitors to Balboa Park check out a couple of the murals temporarily on display in the Plaza de Panama.
Visitors to Balboa Park check out a couple of the murals temporarily on display in the Plaza de Panama.

Sign in front of the San Diego Museum of Art explains the outdoor Local Latin American Masters exhibition. Six murals were painted live in front of the museum.
Sign in front of the San Diego Museum of Art explains the outdoor Local Latin American Masters exhibition. Six murals were painted live in front of the museum.

Art by Victor Ochoa. His work has been widely published. He was one of the original muralists to work in Chicano Park.
Art by Victor Ochoa. His work has been widely published. He was one of the original muralists to work in Chicano Park.

Art by Carmen Kalo. She is a San Diego native who actively leads Chicano Park tours, builds social awareness, and works with at-risk youth and the homeless.
Art by Carmen Kalo. She is a San Diego native who actively leads Chicano Park tours, builds social awareness, and works with at-risk youth and the homeless.

Art by Hector Villegas. He is a teacher who has painted three murals at Chicano Park.
Art by Hector Villegas. He is a teacher who has painted three murals at Chicano Park.

Art by Cesar Castañeda. He owns the Chicano Art Gallery in Barrio Logan.
Art by Cesar Castañeda. He owns the Chicano Art Gallery in Barrio Logan.

Art by Stephanie Cecilia Cervantes. A painter first inspired by Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night, she was a muralist during Chicano Park's 2011 restoration project.
Art by Stephanie Cecilia Cervantes. A painter first inspired by Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night, she was a muralist during Chicano Park’s 2011 restoration project.

Protecting Our Water and Earth by Mario Torero. He is an artivist and founding member of the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.
Protecting Our Water and Earth by Mario Torero. He is an artivist and founding member of the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park.

Amazing artwork that the public can see close up and in natural sunlight, not unlike the fantastic murals of Chicano Park!
Amazing artwork that the public can see close up and in natural sunlight, just like the many fantastic murals of Chicano Park!

Today I published a new short story. It’s titled One Magic Bubble. I suppose the short piece is about life.

Curious? You can read it here!

Colorful photos of Chicano Park Day celebration!

Cool graphics on the side of a customized lowrider on display at this year's Chicano Park Day Celebration. Many of the cars were fitted with hydraulic systems.
Cool graphics on the side of a customized lowrider on display at this year’s Chicano Park Day celebration.

I headed down to Barrio Logan this morning to enjoy a bit of the 47th Annual Chicano Park Day celebration!

The big festival celebrating Mexican and Chicano culture drew huge crowds as usual from all around Southern California. There was traditional folklorico dancing, Aztec indigenous dance, and a huge contingent of lowriders and motorcyclists who converged to enjoy the scene and showcase their cool rides. Families enjoyed great food, the park’s playground, and a look at artwork and unique gifts at the many vendor tents. It was fun to just hang around, absorbing San Diego’s warm sunshine and the lively entertainment. The famous murals of Chicano Park infuse the much-loved event with a sense of history and potent meaning. The murals tell of the hard-fought struggle for civil rights.

Chicano Park Day this year was dedicated to Ramón Chunky Sánchez, a very popular musician and a leader of San Diego’s Chicano community who passed away late last year. Speakers also provided emotional tributes to the four who died last year at the annual La Raza Run motorcycle festival in Chicano Park when a car tragically plummeted onto the crowd from a ramp to the Coronado Bay Bridge.

On a happier note, I must mention that in January Chicano Park was designated a National Historic Landmark! Chicano Park contains our nation’s largest collection of outdoor murals.

Please enjoy some colorful photos from this morning!

A family heads toward Chicano Park, where a big annual celebration of Latino history and culture took place today.
A family heads toward Chicano Park, where a big annual celebration of Latino history and culture took place today.

The first thing that caught my attention were lots of awesome vehicles. Southern California lowrider culture is unmatched in the entire world.
The first thing that caught my attention were lots of awesome vehicles. Many were fitted with hydraulics. Southern California lowrider culture is unmatched in the entire world.

Cool cars in a world-famous park.
Cool cars in Barrio Logan’s world-famous park.

Motorcycles and their proud owners also rode in from far and wide for the event.
Motorcycles and their proud owners also rode in from far and wide for the event.

One corner of one mural. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil porque soy Chicano!
One corner of one mural. As I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil porque soy Chicano!

Vendor has lots of fun gifts ready for the growing crowd.
Vendor has lots of fun gifts ready for the growing crowd.

These guys were enjoying the lively scene from one of the public park's picnic tables.
These guys were enjoying the lively scene from one of the public park’s picnic tables.

Some old photos at one booth show Chicano Park being claimed and created by activist community members in 1970.
Some old photos at one booth show Chicano Park being claimed and created by activist community members in 1970.

A variety of images that tell some of the history of Chicano Park.
A variety of images that tell some of the history of San Diego’s unique Chicano Park.

A memorial still remains in Chicano Park, where four were tragically killed last year when a driver veered off the bridge above.
A memorial still remains in Chicano Park, where four were tragically killed last year when a driver veered off the bridge above.

A large crowd had gathered around the pavilion to hear family members remember the deceased and thank the community for its undying love.
A large crowd gathered around the pavilion to hear surviving family members remember the deceased and thank the local community for its undying love.

A large crowd, and the festival had barely opened.
A large crowd, and the festival had barely opened.

And then the entertainment began!
And then the entertainment began!

People enjoy Chicano Park Day Celebration among the many expressive murals.
People enjoy Chicano Park Day among the many expressive murals.  A beautiful image of Virgin Mary has a shrine at its base.

Another photo of the festival today.
Another photo of the festival today.

The folklorico dancing produces smiles, cheers and applause. The park's pavilion, also called the Kiosko, was designed to look like a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican temple
The folklorico dancing produces smiles, cheers and applause. The park’s pavilion, also called the Kiosko, was designed to look like a pre-Colombian Mesoamerican temple.

Traditional Mexican ballet folklorico is a delightful slice of Latino culture and much loved in San Diego.
Traditional Mexican ballet folklorico is a delightful slice of Latino culture and much loved in San Diego.

Some bold artwork on display at the festival. I spotted lots of Aztec and Dia de los Muertos designs.
Some bold artwork on display at the festival. I spotted lots of Aztec and Dia de los Muertos designs.

And more cool stuff.
And more cool stuff!

Photograph at one table shows the late Chicano musician Ramón Chunky Sánchez.
Photograph at one table shows the late Chicano musician Ramón Chunky Sánchez.

Many dancers who would perform at the Chicano Park Day Celebration wore resplendent Aztec costumes.
Many dancers who would perform at the Chicano Park Day celebration wore resplendent Aztec-inspired costumes.

Another fantastic sight in culturally rich San Diego.
Another fantastic sight in culturally rich San Diego.

The High Class Car Club out of Los Angeles had lots of amazing lowrider vehicles on display at nearby Mercado del Barrio.
The High Class Car Club out of Los Angeles had lots of amazing lowrider vehicles on display at nearby Mercado del Barrio.

A cool design on the side of one very cool car!
A cool design on the side of one very cool car!

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!