Historic opening of new cottages in Balboa Park!

History was made today in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park. Nine beautiful new International Cottages finally opened to the public!

A ribbon cutting ceremony late in the morning was followed by a procession of flags and youthful House of Pacific Relations Queens. Inspirational and congratulatory speeches were then made, including words from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

After various dignitaries and consulate representatives spoke, a happy crowd watched cultural performances by each of the nations with new cottages!

Those nations or cultural units are: Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

Everyone received great applause. Smiles like sunshine radiated from every face. The audience and participants formed one big very colorful family. History was made.

If only this troubled world could take notice.

I took photographs before, during, and after the ceremony…

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!

San Diego’s joyful Reopening Celebration Concert!

This evening San Diego is celebrating the reopening of our city after the long, very difficult lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An epic Reopening Celebration Concert is underway at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park even as I type this!

I watched for about an hour and a half, while there was ample light to take photographs. What I saw on the stage was pure joy. Love of life.

Before the concert began, everyone in the audience grabbed a free ice cream treat courtesy of Forever Balboa Park (the recent merger of two organizations: Friends of Balboa Park and the Balboa Park Conservancy).

Then here came the first performance!

The Enchanted Tail was an operatic fairy tale for kids, by the awesome group Opera4Kids. The sweet, very funny opera featured a woodsman turned into a fox by a wicked witch, a lost voice, a crown, a cunning princess under a sleeping spell–and how a potentially tragic conflict is resolved happily through self-sacrifice and mutual compassion.

Then here came the San Diego Youth Ballet!

Then, to rousing cheers, here came Balboa Park’s own amazing, super energetic dance group, San Diego Civic Dance Arts!

After a wardrobe change, the group danced to Queen’s rock and roll classic Bohemian Rhapsody, played on the Spreckels Organ by San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez!

A triumphant performance!

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 celebration of Korean culture in Balboa Park!

Yesterday afternoon the House of Korea in Balboa Park hosted a big lawn program! Traditional music, colorful fan dance, K-pop, martial arts and more took the stage in a wonderful celebration of Korean culture!

Participants in the event gathered at the International Cottages from all around Southern California, including representatives from the Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles. As you might expect, many were in the audience!

It was interesting how some of the performances were a fusion of both Korean and American culture. When an expressive solo dancer began to dance with great emotion to the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody, there was loud applause from the audience!

Enjoy these photographs!

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!

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!

Big community celebration coming to Balboa Park!

There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.

An exciting community celebration will be held in Balboa Park at the end of July!

Everyone is invited to gather at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion on the evening of Saturday, July 31, 2021 to enjoy this amazing free event, featuring notable performers from all around San Diego.

Participating in the celebration will be Opera4Kids, San Diego Civic Dance Arts, San Diego Civic Youth Ballet, Grupo Folklórico Sabor de México, San Diego Master Chorale accompanied by San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, and the fun Organ Pavilion Rock Band! The entertainment starts at 5:30 pm!

What is this big community celebration all about?

The reopening of San Diego after the pandemic!

Learn more by clicking here!

Unexpected music, folk dance in Balboa Park!

The House of Austria, along with the House of Germany, put on a cultural show at the International Cottages in Balboa Park this afternoon!

After the Spreckels Organ concert ended, I hurried over to the lawn between the International Cottages to see if anything was going on. And I found myself enjoying the last few minutes of a small festival!

Four costumed dancers and six accordion players were entertaining the gathered audience with folk music and dance.

The lively dancers belong to the Performing Folk Dancers of Balboa Park. Look for their information on this page.

The half dozen musicians are members of the Accordion Lover’s Society International! Learn more about them here!

The cottages have been closed to the public throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s my understanding that all of the cottages will fully open next weekend for the Fourth of July celebration.

Hooray!

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!

The many colors of Music en la Calle!

Yesterday I headed to City Heights to enjoy a good chunk of the Music en la Calle cultural festival. It was held at the new Fern Street Circus tent, which is set up outdoors at University Avenue and 41st Street.

The colorful event featured a wide variety of music, dance, and even a fun circus performance! Plus tasty food, games and activities for kids!

Like everybody else in the audience, I was wowed by the exceptionally high quality of entertainment. A big thank you is due to Bodhi Tree Concerts, who put on this free show for the City Heights community.

Perhaps you’ve seen the annual “ALL IS CALM: The Christmas Truce of 1914” opera during the holidays in San Diego. That is their production. According to their website, Bodhi Tree Concerts celebrates diversity and inclusion and performs intentional acts of kindness through music.

If you’d like to help them spread joy, visit their donation page here!

Here’s a taste of what I experienced at Music en la Calle.

(A little while ago I also posted photos of the Paloma Flamenco dancers and Naruwan Taiko drummers here and 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!

Paloma Flamenco dancing at Music en la Calle!

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours at Music en la Calle, a wonderful, free cultural event brought to the City Heights community by Bodhi Tree Concerts. Families and neighbors were treated to music, dance and even a circus performance at the new permanent outdoor tent of Fern Street Circus.

I loved every performance. And I took oodles of photographs! So many that I’m going to share them over several blog posts!

To start, I thought you might enjoy these photos of Paloma Flamenco. Their expressive dancing, bursting with fire, passion, exuberance and joy, makes a fine visual representation of the diverse colors that were brought to life at Music en la Calle.

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, dance and circus festival coming to City Heights!

Oh, wow! Check out the big, free cultural event that’s coming to City Heights on Saturday, June 26!

From noon to 6 pm, Music en la Calle is going to feature a ton of music and dance, not to mention a fun circus performance!

I see there will be mariachis, Azteca dancers, flamenco dancers, taiko drummers (I’ve been to several Naruwan Taiko performances and they are absolutely incredible!), jazz musicians, and performers from everybody’s favorite Fern Street Circus!

Music en la Calle will take place at the intersection of University Avenue and 41st Street, in City Height’s new community performance venue by the outdoor “Characters” sculpture garden!

I’ll be there!

Trolley Dances at San Diego State University!

Late this morning I was at the SDSU Transit Center during a Trolley Dances performance!

I captured these images of a dance that took place by the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, at the end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over College Avenue.

As the mobile audience group arrived up the stairs from the underground SDSU trolley station, the dancers slowly took their positions, each providing the gathering onlookers with a small wave. It soon became clear to me the modest waves were the beginning of their dance.

The dancers began as individuals, performing small gestures in their own circle, seeming to prepare for a big moment together, but somehow shy. Sometimes they would gesture toward the audience, as if yearning for a joining.

Then came sudden magic. The dancers became one. They leaped, reached, swayed, strutted, energized by their joyful togetherness. And then came the victorious ending, when together they moved away into the distance, arms raised.

At least that’s kind of how I interpreted the dance.

What do you see?

Trolley Dances continues tomorrow only–Sunday–so if you want to experience this for yourself (plus three other fantastic dances, all near Green Line trolley stations), go to the San Diego Dance Theater website right now to find out more!

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!