The Stones, Monster Jam and The Shell.

The Rolling Stones are returning to San Diego this year!

Monster Jam is coming to Petco Park next weekend!

The Shell, the San Diego Symphony’s new performance stage at Embarcadero Marina Park South, will be completed in time for this year’s Bayside Summer Nights!

I saw evidence of all this during my morning walk near Petco Park and behind the San Diego Convention Center…

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!

Mysterious musicians painted downtown!

Is a new live music venue, nightclub or restaurant coming to 640 C Street in downtown San Diego? It sure looks that way!

In the past few days musicians have been painted on the windows of the 1928 Hamilton Fine Foods Building at the corner of Seventh Avenue and C Street. I noticed today that the stylish artwork is nearly finished. There are images of musicians that seem be be performing jazz, blues and even some country.

(All I know about the Hamilton Building is that when I first moved downtown it was the home of the San Diego Computer Museum, which displayed some of the earliest computers and had a Computer Hall of Fame. I visited that museum once and it was awesome–but that was years before I started Cool San Diego Sights. The San Diego Computer Museum closed their doors in 2006.)

These painted musicians are a mystery to me!


It occurred to me after I published this blog that I didn’t take photos of the historic building, with its striking “columns” and classical friezes.

I walked by at a later time with my old camera, and got a few quick shots.




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!

Bayside Performance Park rises on San Diego Bay!

Look what I spotted this afternoon during my walk along San Diego Bay. I was approaching the Marriott Marina when my eyes were surprised by a monumental steel structure rising from Embarcadero Marina Park South.

It’s the enormous stage of the new Bayside Performance Park, now under construction!

This permanent concert venue is an amazing gift from the San Diego Symphony to all of San Diego. How appropriate it appeared in time for Christmas!

As I walked around the construction site on my way to the Embarcadero Marina Park South pier, I spoke to a crew member of the Silvergate, a Coronado ferry that docks nearby, and he informed me the steel structure you see in my photographs went up rapidly four or five days ago.

You can also see a banner on a fence that shows what Bayside Performance Park might look like when completed. The concert stage’s curving shell is not only visually attractive, but it’s designed to provide a high quality acoustic experience.

Bayside Performance Park is due to open in time for the 2020 season of San Diego Symphony’s Bayside Summer Nights.

I can’t wait to see how it looks (and sounds) when completed!

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Concert celebrates organist Jared Jacobsen.

This evening there was a special concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Former Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen was celebrated.

Jared Jacobsen was the fifth official San Diego Civic Organist, serving from 1978 to 1985. In more recent years, I was fortunate to hear him extract magic from the great Spreckels Organ on those memorable Sundays when he was a substitute organist.

This summer he tragically passed away.

Thinking back, I recall that whenever I attended one of his concerts, his easy smile, wit, and his sparkling music always made me feel joy.

The concert this evening, performed by Civic Organist Emeritus Robert Plimpton and current Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, featured the exact same selections that were performed during Jared Jacobsen’s final concert on the Spreckels Organ, on January 1, 2019.

During the concert many words were spoken of Jared Jacobsen’s character, and of how he touched those around him. There were heartfelt tributes by Jean Samuels, President of the Spreckels Organ Society; Lyle Blackington, Spreckels Organ Curator Emeritus; Jeremy Kaercher, of the First Lutheran Church of San Diego where Jared was Director of Music; and a very moving recollection of Jared’s humanity and generous spirit by Christine Micu, of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla where Jared taught.

I jotted down some words that were spoken.

“…he was gifted, charming, and he showed us all how to be a great human being…he was a superstar…his vitality was infectious…contagious zest for life…he was never a self-promoter…his verbal skills were equal to his musical skills…a living encyclopedia…elegant simplicity…the kindest and most caring person…to put it simply, he made people happy…his capacity to sparkle and spread light wherever he went…”

The popularity and success of the great Spreckels Organ today owes much to the tireless efforts and optimism of Jared Jacobsen.

More importantly, thousands of lives have been enriched by the spirit of one beloved man.

His music plays on.

Moved by music at the San Diego Symphony.

A new era of music has begun under the leadership of San Diego Symphony music director and conductor Rafael Payare.
A new era of music has begun at the San Diego Symphony.

Music was potent last evening. It swirled like a wind in Copley Symphony Hall.

As I sat in the mezzanine listening to the San Diego Symphony, I could see the music rising. More powerful than the waves of an ocean, music lifted the body of conductor Rafael Payare. It flowed through the arms and shoulders of the gathered musicians.

Music swayed the enraptured head of famed young pianist Vikingur Ólafsson as it danced through his fingers.

Where the music came from, I don’t know.

It moved the artists that sat upon the stage as if they were the instruments.

The music swelled inside me, too, then the concert ended and I had to walk up a steep hill to go home.

My legs worked in rhythm.

Perhaps the music is always within us. And when those who listen come together, it multiplies into a whirlwind.

The revitalization of Seaport Village!

I was walking along the Embarcadero this evening after dark when I heard some music in the “Lighthouse District” of Seaport Village. I headed over to see what was going on.

To my delight, I discovered a serious attempt is being made to revitalize Seaport Village, and the concert I stumbled upon is part of this effort. The weekly event is called Seaport Sessions.

Important speakers from around San Diego provide presentations about art, culture, history and other fascinating subjects every Thursday evening, followed by drinks and live music at the East Plaza Gazebo. (Next Thursday Adam Smith, Executive Director of the Comic-Con Museum will be the speaker!)

Learn more at the Seaport Sessions page here.

I also observed that Seaport Village now offers a podcast studio for rent, and I stepped inside for a moment and took the following photo.

I asked a few questions of a nice lady, and she informed me that Seaport Village is working to upgrade its image and will be getting new tenants. From what I could gather, the long term plan to redevelop Seaport Village into a completely different, greatly enlarged Seaport San Diego is apparently in flux and any groundbreaking is still many years away.

I have special childhood memories of Seaport Village, so it has pained me to watch its gradual decline in recent years. But now things appear to be on the upswing!

I hope so!

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!

Music like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

This evening I enjoyed another extraordinary concert of the 2019 San Diego International Organ Festival.

In a groundbreaking musical performance, San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez was joined on stage by a symphonic string quartet. Kathryn Hatmaker and Wesley Precourt played violin; Hanah Stuart played viola; and Alex Greenbaum played violoncello. The result was nothing less than brilliant.

The highlight of the concert was a sublime performance of César Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor, transcribed by Raúl Prieto Ramírez for the organ.

The resonant voice of the Spreckels Organ and the yearning quality of the strings combined to bring forth exquisitely complex emotions. Bittersweet joy and heartbreak flowed together. The notes were rich with passion and tinged with regret. A whole lot like life.

A standing ovation concluded the evening.

Before the concert began in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I walked through the nearby Japanese Friendship Garden.

When I saw my photographs of the garden’s natural beauty, it occurred to me that the music this evening was much like shadow and sunlight in leaves.

The rare magic produced this evening was the result of three San Diego treasures coming together: the world-class San Diego Symphony with its many talented musicians, one of the world’s most accomplished organists, and the Spreckels Organ, one of the most amazing musical instruments in the world.

May this magic become a tradition.