Oceanside festival celebrates Filipino culture!

The 20th Annual Filipino Cultural Celebration was held today at Oceanside’s Civic Center Plaza. I arrived at the popular festival as it opened and stayed for a bit to enjoy all sorts of colorful entertainment!

After National Anthems were sung and presentations were made by community leaders, costumed dancing and singing commenced. The audience was wowed by an incredible fire dance by Dane Kaneshiro. You might’ve enjoyed his energetic performances at SeaWorld. As you’ll see in the upcoming photographs, he also custom paints longboards with great Polynesian inspired art. See his Kinjo Arts Instagram page here.

I also enjoyed chatting with a representative of the House of the Philippines about their new cottage in Balboa Park and watching kids perform tricks with tiny fingerboards on a model miniature skatepark. Of course, there was lots of food, vendors and educational opportunities, too!

The family-friendly festival was presented by the Filipino-American Cultural Organization and the Oceanside Public Library.

I was surprised to learn the second largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines resides right here in San Diego!

Another big Filipino festival is coming up next weekend in downtown San Diego at Waterfront Park. I plan to 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!

Inter-Tribal dancing at 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow.

When I arrived at the 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow this afternoon, the Inter-Tribal Dancing was just beginning.

According to the event’s flyer, the Balboa Park Pow Wow, a project of the San Diego American Indian Health Center, is about dancing for healing and honoring heritage. It’s taking place this weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) at the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way.

I missed the earlier Aztec Dancers and Bird Singing, but I did experience what you’ll see in the following photographs.

The rhythmic beat of the drums was like a steady heartbeat. As I watched the different dancers, young and old, I saw eyes filled with dedication and pride. And I saw smiles like sunshine, 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!

A sky dance near Seaport Village.

Yesterday evening, as I walked along the waterfront to the Return of the Jedi concert at The Shell, I paused to watch Katch Zed (@KatchZed) performing her sky dance at Embarcadero Marina Park North near Seaport Village.

I took these photographs into the sun as she twirled on the moon.

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 festive mural in San Ysidro!

I really like this festive mural painted in San Ysidro late last year by Michelle Ruby, aka Mrbbaby. The colorful character you see above is named Chucho!

Find this mural on the side of the Carolin Shoes building at 660 E. San Ysidro Boulevard!

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!

Arts in the Park at Chula Vista’s Lemon Festival!

Chula Vista’s annual Lemon Festival has returned!

This year, the festival is primarily taking place in Memorial Park, where families can enjoy Arts in the Park. A full day of entertainment is scheduled for the big stage, and artist booths abound. The event is produced by the people of OnStage Playhouse, which is a community theatre located in Chula Vista.

I enjoyed the first hour or so of the festival, which included an inspiring dance performance as you’ll see in the upcoming photos!

Lots of family fun can be enjoyed at Arts in the Park during the 2021 Chula Vista Lemon Festival.
Artes en el Parque includes music, dance, and an evening performance by the Fern Street Circus!
A familiar piratical smile. I believe I’ve spotted it during past Comic-Cons!
A smiling mermaid!
Volunteers from Arts in the Park pose for a photo!
Students from Chula Vista Learning Community Charter Middle School were making art! And the community joined them!
Painting our beautiful Earth.
A String of Stories at one of the school’s tables is about Sharing in Community.
Unidos por la paz. United for peace.
I took some photos as I waited in Memorial Park’s amphitheater for the entertainment on stage to begin.
The helpful Honda people came by and offered me a water bottle! Thank you!

Do you know anyone who could use a helping hand? Check out the San Diego Honda Dealers “Random Acts of Helpfulness” web page here. Maybe they’ll provide some assistance! I hope so!

Okay! The program begins with a couple of short speeches…

Ashley Gardner from OnStage Playhouse is introduced. She was instrumental in organizing this great event. Hopefully it becomes a long-lived community summer tradition!

Then the entertainment begins!

An amazing, super positive and energetic hip hop dance group from Steele Canyon High School takes the stage! They’re the Club Groove Dance Team!

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!

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!

Friday evening drama in Balboa Park!

I encountered several dramatic scenes during my walk through Balboa Park this Friday evening!

First, as I passed the Old Globe Theatre complex, I noticed some sort of live event had begun in the plaza. I had stumbled upon the AXIS Free Performing Arts Series titled WORD UP!

As I understand it, the Old Globe’s summer AXIS program intends to engage the community, to make theatre matter to more people. The theme this evening was storytelling and community.

After a very brief, vague talk about the importance of oral tradition, the audience and online participants were asked an odd string of personal questions. Many shared how they feel about aspects of their lives and the people in their lives. I realize people communicating thoughts and feelings eye to eye in this age of isolated people staring at phones is a good thing. But the small audience appeared to be a clique of regulars.

I saw very few visitors in the park taking seats during my time in the audience. I’ll bet if there had been an exciting performance of live theatre in the plaza, many more casual passersby would have been drawn in and become engaged.

Next, as I wandered into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was thrilled to see an enthusiastic group of young dancers rehearsing for the big Reopening Celebration Concert tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm!

I asked a member of the Spreckels Organ Society who was helping with the rehearsal who this group was on stage, and he didn’t know.

Finally, look what I spied in one arm of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion’s beautiful colonnade!

An absolutely fantastic photo shoot by Living World Entertainment!

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!

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!

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!

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!