Paper theaters open to audiences in La Jolla!

Dozens of theaters have recently opened in La Jolla. Audiences have been gathering to view some of the most unusual theatre productions ever conceived. And it’s free!

Yes, dozens of small paper theaters have been carefully folded open in the Wisteria Cottage Gallery of the La Jolla Historical Society. The exhibition is titled The Smallest Show on Earth: Paper Theaters Explored.

Those who are interested in art, theatre, Victorian Era London (where toy theaters originated) or collectibles will be intrigued by this important collection.

Popular in the 19th century, paper theater kits were sold at the concession stand of an opera house, playhouse, or vaudeville theater. The kits included tabletop theaters that one could easily assemble, plus paper doll players and scripts. Tiny dramas could be played out at home. Better yet, original productions could be imagined and performed!

These paper theaters might seem a quaint reminder of a simpler time, a time when there was no television, no radio and no internet. For home entertainment, people had to rely on their own intelligence, creativity and imagination.

This cool exhibition includes many paper theaters from that era long past and the posters that promoted them. You’ll also see new, contemporary creations that were inspired by this very unique do-it-yourself art form!

The Smallest Show on Earth: Paper Theaters Explored continues through January 22, 2023.

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Japanese spiritual dolls exhibit in Balboa Park.

I’d never heard of the expression “spiritual dolls” until I visited Balboa Park last weekend.

KOKORO NO KATACHI | Image of the Heart is an exhibition of spiritual dolls at the Japanese Friendship Garden. It features the work of Kimiko Koyanagi and Michiko Stone, artists who combine traditional Japanese doll-making with contemporary art.

The two sisters are third-generation ningyo doll-makers, descendants of the Japanese Doll-Making Muraoka Family of Tokyo. Their work has been exhibited internationally.

The dolls on display are beautiful in their simplicity. The sculptural figures appear serene, pure of spirit, almost angelic.

According to the JFG website’s description, these dolls are meant to be poetic. They convey deep emotion and philosophical meaning.

Many of the spiritual dolls are thin and elongated. To me their soft forms seem to have emerged from inside growing wood, or bone, or from living beams of light.

One fascinating display shows the many steps taken to make these unique dolls. If you’re a crafty person, you certainly want to see this!

Image of the Heart can be experienced in person inside the Exhibit Hall at the Japanese Friendship Garden through October 30, 2022.

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Help the House of Mexico build their cottage!

The House of Mexico had a table in the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration.
The House of Mexico had a fun display in the Plaza de Panama during the 2018 Cinco de Mayo celebration.

Yesterday during the Cinco de Mayo celebration in Balboa Park I walked around the Plaza de Panama checking out a variety of colorful tables. At the House of Mexico’s table, I learned how these good people are raising money to build their own casita at the International Cottages. The necessary permits have been obtained, now they just need to raise more money for the construction!

The House of Mexico has been a member of the House of Pacific Relations since 2004. Their mission is to promote the beauty, history, and culture of Mexico, San Diego’s close neighbor to the south.

If you’d like to help this cultural project, by becoming a member or perhaps by making a tax deductible donation, please visit the House of Mexico’s website!

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Scarecrows and pumpkins along India Street!

A couple of tiny smiling scarecrows occupy flower planters on India Street in Little Italy.
A couple of tiny smiling scarecrows occupy flower planters on India Street in Little Italy.

It must be autumn in San Diego! Because this morning I was greeted by all sorts of pumpkins and friendly scarecrows as I walked up India Street in Little Italy! Thanksgiving is almost here!

As I walked up India Street I was greeted by all sorts of scarecrows and pumpkins. It must be autumn--almost Thanksgiving!
As I walked up India Street I encountered many scarecrows and pumpkins. It must be autumn–almost Thanksgiving!

Three pumpkins and three smiling friendly scarecrows beside the base of the famous Little Italy landmark sign.
Three pumpkins and three friendly scarecrows on bales of hay at the base of the famous Little Italy landmark sign.

Elegant pumpkins in a Little Italy shop window.
Elegant pumpkins in a Little Italy shop window.

A welcoming bright orange pumpkin in another shop window.
A welcoming orange pumpkin in another shop window.

That scarecrow in the middle looks like a crow in disguise!
That scarecrow in the middle looks like a sneaky crow in disguise!

Walk up India Street in Little Italy and you're reminded that it's autumn in San Diego!
Walk up India Street in Little Italy and you’re reminded that it’s autumn in San Diego!

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Photos of Chinese New Year celebration in Balboa Park.

A special House of China lawn program at Balboa Park's International Cottages celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year with music and dance.
A special House of China lawn program at Balboa Park’s International Cottages celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year with food, music and dance.

Today I headed to Balboa Park hoping to catch part of the House of China’s lawn program at the International Cottages. The cultural event celebrates the Chinese Lunar New Year, which occurs on February 8. It’s the Year of the Monkey!

I wasn’t the only one who thought of attending! An unusually big crowd turned out for the colorful festivities.

Here come a few cool pics!

Many displays were at the Chinese New Year event in Balboa Park. This gentleman wrote people's names using Mandarin characters.
Several fascinating displays were at the Chinese New Year event in Balboa Park. This gentleman wrote people’s names using Mandarin characters.

Lots of authentic Chinese food was being gobbled up, including these Green Onion Pancakes!
Lots of authentic Chinese food was being gobbled up, including these Green Onion Pancakes!

Many Balboa Park visitors were heading into the House of China cottage today.
Many Balboa Park visitors were heading into the House of China cottage today.

Fine exhibits inside the House of China include this interesting carp made of animal horn.
Fine exhibits inside the House of China include this interesting carp made of animal horn.

Kids look into a display case containing many porcelain dolls.
Kids look into a display case containing many porcelain dolls.

A colorful collection of beautiful porcelain dolls inside the House of China in San Diego's always wonderful Balboa Park!
A colorful collection of beautiful porcelain dolls inside the House of China in San Diego’s always wonderful Balboa Park!

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