Days of the Vaqueros in Old Town San Diego!

Two vaqueros chat during an event in Old Town San Diego that reenacts aspects of Californio history.
Two vaqueros chat during an event in Old Town San Diego that reenacts fascinating Californio history.

I enjoyed the Trades That Shaped the West event in Old Town San Diego last Saturday so much, I decided to return today to experience another Stagecoach Days event: Days of the Vaqueros!

Days of the Vaqueros invited curious visitors to experience what life was like when San Diego was a part of Mexico. The emphasis was on the vaqueros–the first true cowboys. During the era of the Californios, wealthy ranch owners employed vaqueros to manage their stock.

For a couple of decades–from the early 1820s to the mid-1840s–cattle hides were the primary export of Alta California. Merchant ships from the East Coast (and other places about the Pacific Ocean) would trade the plentiful hides for finished goods that were in high demand in early, geographically isolated, sparsely populated towns like San Diego.

Someone reads Days of the Vaqueros sign on the Robinson Rose House in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Someone checks out Days of the Vaqueros activities. The banner hangs on the Robinson Rose House in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Taking place during Old Town's summer Stagecoach Days, today's event celebrated life in San Diego when the small town and surrounding area was part of Mexico.
Taking place during Old Town’s summer weekend Stagecoach Days, today’s event celebrated life in San Diego when the small town and Alta California were part of Mexico.
Ladies in period dresses at the Days of the Vaqueros event in Old Town San Diego.
Ladies pass by in period dresses. One of many cool sights at the Days of the Vaqueros event in Old Town San Diego.
Tables contained information about life during the era of huge Mexican land grant cattle ranches worked by vaqueros. Vaqueros, the first cowboys, were mostly indigenous people employed to manage cattle by the wealthy land owners.
Tables contained information about life during the era of huge Mexican land grant ranches worked by vaqueros. Vaqueros, the first true cowboys, were mostly indigenous people employed to manage cattle by the wealthy land owners.
A vaquero shows a visitor to Old Town how to properly handle a rope.
A vaquero shows a visitor to Old Town how to properly handle a rope.
The visitor successfully lassoes his cow--the rear end, that is--first try!
The visitor successfully lassoes his cow–the rear end, that is–first try!
A gentleman who used to work for Buck Knives makes unique knife handles with elk antlers. He has developed his own technique, which takes great skill and precision.
A gentleman who used to work for Buck Knives makes unique knife handles out of elk antlers. He has developed his own technique, which takes great skill and precision.
A hat maker shows how beaver felt material was steamed then pushed over a hat-form block.
A hat maker shows how beaver felt material was steamed then pushed over a hat-form block.
What's cooking on the campfire? Some tasty pozole, I was told!
What’s cooking on the campfire? Some tasty pozole, I was told!
Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, made from hominy, meat and various vegetable seasonings.
Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup or stew, made from hominy, meat and various vegetable seasonings.
Preparing eggs for the cascarón. Near the end of a fiesta Californios flirted by cracking eggs filled with scented water or confetti over the startled head of someone they liked.
Decorating eggshell cascarones. Near the end of a fiesta, Californios flirted by cracking eggs filled with scented water or confetti over the startled head of someone they liked.
A group called Los Californios played authentic early California music--tunes that were preserved over a century ago on wax cylinder sound recordings made by Charles Lummis.
A group called Los Californios played authentic early California music–tunes that were preserved over a century ago on wax cylinder sound recordings made by Charles Lummis.
A couple dances to the happy, gentle music.
A couple dances to the happy, gentle music.
Publications by a project called San Diego Friends of Old Time Music. Author Vykki Mende Gray is helping to preserve the musical history of California.
Publications by a nonprofit project called San Diego Friends of Old Time Music. Author Vykki Mende Gray is helping to preserve the musical history of California.
A display of braided ropes and cut rawhide, once commonly used by vaqueros as they worked on the large cattle ranches around San Diego.
A display of braided ropes and rawhide, once commonly used by vaqueros as they worked on the large cattle ranches around San Diego.
On this table I see more ropes, a canteen, iron brands and boot spurs.
On this table I see more ropes, a canteen, iron brands and boot spurs.
A gentleman who teaches students visiting Old Town about history holds up an illustration of bear-baiting, which early Californians found entertaining.
A gentleman who teaches school students visiting Old Town about history holds up an illustration of bear-baiting, which early Californians found entertaining.
These guys were making adobe bricks. I learned earth and water are mixed, and straw or manure are often added for strength and cohesion.
These guys were making adobe bricks. I learned earth and water are mixed, and straw or manure are often added for strength and cohesion.
These authentic adobe bricks take weeks or months to properly dry. When hard, they'll possibly be used in new construction or restored exhibits at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Authentic adobe bricks take weeks or months to properly dry. When hard, these bricks will possibly be used in new construction or to restore existing exhibits inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Traditional dancing in the courtyard of Casa de Estudillo of Los Camotes (which translates the sweet potatoes), a tune from Mexican and Spanish California.
Traditional dancing in the courtyard of Casa de Estudillo of Los Camotes (which translates the sweet potatoes), a tune from old Mexican and Spanish California.

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.

Rabbitville gallery celebrates Gaslamp during Comic-Con.

Rabbits have been painted to commemorate the history of San Diego's Gaslamp Quarter, which once was nicknamed Rabbitville.
Rabbits have been created to commemorate the history of San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter, which once was nicknamed Rabbitville.

A “hop-up” art gallery can be found in the Gaslamp during 2017 San Diego Comic-Con! This fun Rabbitville exhibition, located at 453 Fifth Avenue, features a roomful of large colorful rabbits created by local artists! Their artwork celebrates the rich, unique history of the Gaslamp Quarter and San Diego.

You might recall we saw the Willabee rabbit at the Jacaranda Spring Thing, when I blogged about it here. Well, now you can enjoy a whole warren of art bunnies!

Swing on by during Comic-Con (through Sunday) and check them out!

People attending 2017 San Diego Comic-Con look at an artfully painted rabbit outside the Rabbitville "Hop-Up" Gallery.
People attending 2017 San Diego Comic-Con look at an artfully painted rabbit outside the Rabbitville “Hop-Up” Gallery.
Honoring the Disdained, by artist Tasha Hobbs. Art that honors the contributions of Chinese immigrants in early San Diego.
Honoring the Disdained: Carp Jumping Dragon Gate, by artist Tasha Hobbs. Art that honors the contributions of Chinese immigrants in early San Diego.
Alonzo Horton is the father of modern San Diego. He journeyed to San Diego in 1867, then purchased the area now known as downtown and called it New Town.
Alonzo Horton is the father of modern San Diego. He journeyed to San Diego in 1867, then purchased the area now known as downtown and called it New Town.
The Stingaree was a red-light district filled with prostitutes and gamblers, including the famous Wyatt Earp, who would run three gambling halls in San Diego.
The Stingaree was a red-light district filled with prostitutes and gamblers, including the famous Wyatt Earp, who would run three gambling halls in San Diego.

Steampunk author Jack Tyler is writing an exciting novel about San Diego’s infamous Stingaree. I blogged about it here!

It’s an exciting read. Check it out!

Mirrored Rabbit, by artist Mario Herbelin-Canelas.
Mirrored Rabbit, by artist Mario Herbelin-Canelas.
Ordinate, by artist Rebecca Nuvoletta. This rabbit celebrates the visions of a distant future in the founding of New Town.
Ordinate, by artist Rebecca Nuvoletta. This rabbit celebrates the visions of a distant future in the founding of New Town.
Willabee, by artist Matt Forderer. This rabbit has traveled through time to collect historical images of San Diego.
Willabee, by artist Matt Forderer. This rabbit has traveled through time to collect historical images of San Diego.
Against All Odds, We Thrive! by artist Sarah Soward. Alonzo Horton's passion and vision for San Diego are celebrated.
Against All Odds, We Thrive! by artist Sarah Soward. Alonzo Horton’s passion and vision for San Diego is celebrated.
Diego, by artist Monty Montgomery. The colors and shapes on this rabbit are visual impressions of experiences on the streets of San Diego.
Diego, by artist Monty Montgomery. The colors and shapes on this rabbit are visual impressions of experiences on the streets of San Diego.

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!

Terracotta female figures at Heritage Plaza.

Two terracotta female figures stand at corner of Heritage Plaza, near the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Hortensia Street.
Two terracotta female figures stand at Heritage Plaza, near the intersection of San Diego Avenue and Hortensia Street.

A number of fine sculptures by artists T.J. Dixon and James Nelson can be spotted around San Diego. During a walk down San Diego Avenue in Old Town, I paused to photograph their 1995 sculpture of two life size female figures in terracotta. If you drive down the street past Heritage Plaza, it can be easy to miss them. Here’s a look…

Plaque reads Sculpture by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Tile by Mark Emery.
Plaque reads Sculpture by T.J. Dixon and James Nelson. Tile by Mark Emery.
Graceful female figure sculpted with lifted head and smile.
Graceful female figure sculpted with lifted head and smile.
The second terracotta figure.
The second terracotta figure.
Art can represent essential human truth.
Art can represent essential human truth.

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!

Bayou Brothers rock the House of France!

Folks dance on the stage at the center of Balboa Park's International Cottages. The lawn program today was hosted by the House of France.
Folks dance on the stage at the center of Balboa Park’s International Cottages. The lawn program today was hosted by the House of France.

For a moment I thought I’d taken a wrong turn. Was this Louisiana? Upon entering the lawn area of Balboa Park’s International Cottages, the energetic, rollicking Zydeco music coming from the stage made me suddenly feel like dancing about! And I don’t dance!

San Diego’s own Bayou Brothers band was the main entertainment this afternoon for the House of France’s lawn program! And they appeared to be an enormous hit!

An accordion starts hands clapping and feet stomping.
An accordion starts hands clapping and feet stomping.
A nice crowd enjoyed some great entertainment on a perfect Sunday afternoon.
A nice crowd enjoyed some great entertainment on a perfect Sunday in the park.
People gathered outside the House of France to listen to the music, talk, and look at some cultural displays.
People gathered outside the House of France to listen to the music, talk, and look at some cultural displays.
A poster says Welcome to the House of France. It depicts Mont St. Michel, Château de Versailles, la Tour Eiffel, and other popular national attractions.
A poster says Welcome to the House of France. It depicts Mont St. Michel, Château de Versailles, la Tour Eiffel, and other popular national attractions.
Some visitors inside the House of France sample treats and enjoy more good conversation.
Some visitors inside the House of France sample treats and enjoy more good conversation.
While outside, the music played. Another wonderful event in Balboa Park.
While outside, the music played. Just another wonderful day in Balboa Park.

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!

Artists add life to the Ocean Beach Street Fair!

Peace. Love. Art. OB.
Peace. Love. Art. OB.

Late this morning I went to the annual Ocean Beach Street Fair. As usual there was lots of live music, tons of yummy food, endless smiles, and a whole bunch of friendly artists creating amazing art.

Here is just a little of what I saw…

Someone tries their hand at creating with chalk during the Ocean Beach Street Fair. I Love Art.
Someone tries their hand at creating with chalk during the Ocean Beach Street Fair. At the center, I Love Art.
A large Artists' Alley was full of life and energy.
A large Artists’ Alley was full of life and energy.
One artist was painting while people looked at her colorful canvases.
One artist was painting while people looked at her colorful canvases.
This artist was just getting started. All art begins with an empty space that is full of infinite potential.
This artist was just getting started. All art begins with an empty space that is full of infinite potential.
Many different musical artists entertained the crowd at the OB Street Fair. This band could be heard at the Wonderland Stage.
Many different musical artists entertained the crowd at the OB Street Fair. This rollicking band could be heard at the Wonderland Stage.
Meanwhile, another keg of beer is arriving in an alley by the Kilowatt Ocean Beach mural.
Meanwhile, another keg of beer is arriving in an alley by the Kilowatt Ocean Beach mural.
Kids enjoyed a bounce house that featured comic book art.
Kids enjoyed a bounce house that featured comic book art.
This bubble blower guy is an artist. He creates shimmering joy.
This bubble blower guy is an artist. Right? He creates shimmering joy.
Another artist at the Ocean Beach Street Fair concentrates on her work.
Another artist at the Ocean Beach Street Fair concentrates on her work.
One guy in Artists' Alley had a bunch of cool robot artwork for sale.
One guy in Artists’ Alley had a bunch of cool robot artwork for sale.
Kids were learning how to make music, and were entertaining the crowd like rock 'n roll superstars!
Kids were learning how to make music, and were entertaining the crowd like rock ‘n roll superstars!
Some surfers pass fun public art on Newport Avenue. They hear music coming from the main stage by the beach.
Some surfers pass fun public art on Newport Avenue. They hear music coming from the main stage by the beach.
These skateboarders hear it, too.
These skateboarders hear it, too.
A band pleases the OB crowd.
A band pleases the OB crowd.
Others were happy to just sit by the sand and gaze out at the ocean.
Others were happy to just sit by the sand and gaze out at the beautiful ocean. The sun finally came out.
A local photographer was showing off his art to those passing by.
A local photographer was showing off his art to those passing by.
Members of the Ocean Beach community (or anyone) could paint a square of a new community mural.
Members of the Ocean Beach community (or anyone at all) could paint a square of a new community mural.
A number of colorful squares have already been painted!
A number of colorful squares have already been painted!
Love of life and love of art combine at the Ocean Beach Street Fair!
Love of life and love of art combine at the always wonderful Ocean Beach Street Fair!

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!

More art pops up in breezeway by MCASD.

A big cat roars a bouquet.
A big cat roars a bouquet.

A new batch of public art has popped up in the breezeway between the Santa Fe Depot and Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. I believe these pieces were all created by youth.

On Saturday I took a few photos after stepping off the trolley. Enjoy!

Half face of husky.
Half face of husky.
Ali times eight.
Ali times eight.
Pink face with closed eyes.
Pink face with closed eyes.
Defying gravity. Something appears odd.
Defying gravity. Something appears odd. Can you spot it?
King, with a Dream.
King, with a Dream.
Patchwork elephant.
Patchwork elephant.

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!

To read some short fiction I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Life takes form in a new Ion Theatre mural.

Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.
Ion Theatre artist Kate Schott paints a cool mural on a wall in Hillcrest.

A mural is being painted on a wall next to the entrance of the Ion Theatre in Hillcrest. I first saw the new artwork a few days ago, so I snapped several photos. Today I swung by again after work to see what progress had been made.

By comparing photos, you can get a glimpse of the creative process. Kate Schott, the muralist, is a multi-talented Ion Theatre artist who is bringing this cool vision to life.

I hope to swing by on a later day to see the finished work! I’ll post photos!

A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!
A few days later, a human figure in the mural is coming to life. I look forward to seeing the finished work!

UPDATE!

On June 7th I walked by the Ion Theatre again. More painting has been completed! The mural is gradually coming to life!

A second figure has been painted in the growing forest of green trees.
Detail has been added to the first figure. And a second figure has now been painted in the forest of green trees.
A third figure on the left side of the developing mural. Many colors outline the sitting figure of a woman.
A third figure on the left side of the developing mural. Many colors outline the form of a sitting woman.
I don't know what this is. We'll have to find out!
I don’t know what this is. We’ll have to wait a little longer and find out!
Finally, a face has emerged in the lower right corner of the Ion Theatre mural!
Finally, a singing face has emerged in the lower right corner of the new Ion Theatre mural!

ANOTHER UPDATE!

I took this photo on June 19:

The left side of the new Ion Theatre mural is taking form!
The left side of the new Ion Theatre mural is taking form!

FINAL UPDATE!

The mural is finished! Here are a few elements that have come to life:

Declaration of Independence on a wall, altered to condemn instances where power is abused.
Declaration of Independence on a wall, altered to condemn instances where power is abused.
A seeing eye in hand.
A seeing eye in hand.
Standing across water from a fiery skyline.
Standing across water from a fiery skyline.
Lady Liberty shines light from atop a piano keyboard. Ignite.
Lady Liberty shines light from atop a piano keyboard. Ignite.

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!