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!

Trolley Dances returns to San Diego this weekend!

Trolley Dances, an annual San Diego cultural event, is returning this weekend!

For the past 23 years, the San Diego Dance Theater has worked with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to put on outdoor performances at or near different trolley stations around the city. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding, a scaled-back version of the event is returning for this weekend only!

The audience will board at the 70th Street trolley station and follow guides on a unique adventure full of unexpected dances!

To learn more about this very cool event, check out the San Diego Dance Theater website here.

I’ve viewed some of the dances in past years, and the following photos provide a taste of the very creative contemporary dancing you might see…

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!

Photos of Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

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 phone or 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.

Dancing children on a marble bench in La Jolla.

Perhaps you remember a blog post from years ago, when I shared photographs of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial in La Jolla, with its beautiful sculpture of a young girl dipping her finger into a pool of water. For photos of the sculpture, and to learn more, click here.

On Saturday I headed to La Jolla again to photograph playful images carved on the back of the nearby marble bench. I added contrast to my photos, so you can see the fine, fluid carvings of children making music and dancing, and the lines from Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Like the original sculpture, which was commissioned by the City of San Diego (and which went missing in 1996, to be replaced by a different sculpture) this curved marble bench was created by James Tank Porter in 1926. Inscribed in the front of the bench are the words: “Presented to the people of La Jolla by the people of San Diego, in honor and appreciation of Ellen Browning Scripps.”

The happy, carefree carvings make me wish I were a child again.

The world is so full of a number of things…
…I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

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!

Cool photo memories from March 2016.

We’ve stepped into a new month, so it’s time to look back at some of the things Cool San Diego Sights featured five years ago!

Back in March 2016 there was a whole lot going on in San Diego!

The following links will take you to photographs of various events and places of interest that you might enjoy seeing again. Unless, of course, you’re new to my blog. In that case, you’ll see these photos for the very first time!

Click the following links for lots of photographs…

Mountain men, a gunsmith and a blacksmith.

Irish pride on display at big St. Patrick’s Day Parade!

Photos of International Mariachi Festival in National City.

History comes alive during tour of Spanish Village.

Photos of National City Depot museum and streetcars!

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 phone or 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.

Fantastic exterior of Tango Del Rey!

If you’ve ever driven south on Interstate 5 east of Pacific Beach, a short distance past the Balboa/Garnet Avenue offramp, you’ve probably glimpsed dancers on the side of a building. That building is the home of Tango Del Rey.

I walked around the building the other day and took photos of its fantastic exterior!

Decorating the building are sculpted Spanish dancers, bullfighters, Don Quixote…even medallions that commemorate San Diego’s settlement by the Spanish centuries ago that resemble artwork found in Balboa Park!

This web page concerning Tango Del Rey explains “this stunning venue was built by Don Francisco Ballardo in 1984 and was originally known as Tablao Flamenco. Don Ballardo was an eccentric supporter of the Arts who gave San Diego a landmark that is unique, not for just our city, but the whole country and maybe the world…”

In their photo gallery you can see photos of the large, eye-popping interior hall, which resembles a Moorish castle! It’s available for rental.

I’m afraid I can’t dance, but if I wanted to learn the tango, it appears their Tango Academy is the place to go!

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 phone or 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.

Painter creates vivid dreams in Balboa Park.

I was walking through the recently reopened Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park today when my feet carried me into Gallery 21, where exhibitions by local artists are in frequent rotation.

A painter was busy working on a canvas inside, and I quickly learned her name is Minnie Valero. Every wall in the gallery was covered with her work!

Minnie Valero was born and raised in Argentina, but has now lived in Southern California for over a decade. She is both artist and teacher–she has taught painting in southern France for fifteen years. She has also published several books. I could plainly see her unbounded passion for creativity.

According to Minnie’s website, she enjoys “working with watercolor, pastel, acrylic and oils, artfully blending classical and contemporary. I let the painting choose the medium. Portraits, landscapes, figures: my divergent interests in genre stem from a deep love of the interplay of light, shadow, mood and drama, always trying to convey harmony in the composition. I am a contemporary impressionist…”

I really like how she captures a moment’s mood, whether it’s a couple walking down a street, dancing the tango, or simply sitting on some sun-splashed grass by a river. Every emotion is authentic. And every emotion is vivid, rendered with much color and light.

Her paintings are so vivid, to me they seem almost like powerful dreams. Dreams captured with a brush, framed.

(Incidentally, she said she’d love to do some public art, such as painting murals. Anyone out there looking for a muralist?)

If you’d like to see some fine art by a painter who has won many awards, head over to Balboa Park’s Spanish Village and look for Gallery 21. Minnie Valero will be exhibiting her pieces, which are also available for purchase, through August 24, 2020.

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 festival of diverse cultures in Balboa Park!

The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.
The House of Scotland Pipe Band marches musically to the stage during the HPR Entertainment Sampler.

Today many diverse cultures were celebrated in Balboa Park at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages. That’s because this Sunday afternoon was the festive HPR Entertainment Sampler!

As I enjoyed San Diego sunshine on the lawn at the International Cottages, I watched different groups dance, sing and play music representing people around the world. Participants in this year’s “HPR Entertainment Sampler” were Queens from the House of Philippines and the House of Peru, plus entertainers belonging to the House of China, the House of Israel, the House of Chamorros and the House of Scotland.

Today’s entertainment was a small sample of the welcoming, colorful culture that anyone can enjoy during a visit to Balboa Park’s International Cottages, which are open Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 4 pm!

These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
These costumed pipers were providing entertainment as people arrived at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.
Queens representing some of the Houses at the International Cottages performed dances during the festival.

The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.
The smiling Queens were obviously enjoying themselves.

The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!
The Chinese Dance Lover Group of the House of China performs!

A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.
A guitarist representing the House of Israel sings a Hebrew song while people dance happily on the stage.

Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.
Musicians from the House of Chamorros entertained those listening with several catchy, fun songs.

The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with the assembled bagpipers.
The big, booming House of Scotland Pipe Band drum keeps rhythm with bagpipers.

Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park's unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Many cultures from around the world are celebrated and live in harmony at Balboa Park’s unique House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.

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!