Sit close to a world famous musician–for free!

Where can you sit in an audience very close to one of the world’s top musicians, and do so for free?

You can in San Diego!

Today I happened to be walking by the San Diego Symphony’s outdoor Rady Shell at Embarcadero Marina Park South, when I noticed a crowd had gathered at tables right up close to the stage.

Smiling ladies at a San Diego Symphony table indicated a rehearsal was about to begin, and said I could sit in front! Because during open rehearsals at the Rady Shell, anybody can!

Once the other symphony musicians and conductor Rafael Payare settled in, world-renowned pianist Marc-André Hamelin began the incredible Second Piano Concerto by Liszt. And, wow! One can understand why the New York Times called him a performer of near-superhuman technical prowess.

Anyone who likes fine music would love attending on open rehearsal at The Shell. In addition to fantastic, world-class music, there is sunshine and spectacular views of downtown, San Diego Bay and Coronado.

Today, however, I was so entranced by the magic of a very famous, nearly superhuman pianist, I barely noticed the passing sailboats!

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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 ready to welcome Elton John!

This evening a historic concert will be held at Petco Park in San Diego. Sir Elton John will be appearing for his long sold-out Farewell Yellow Brick Road – The Final Tour!

As I walked around Petco Park and the Gaslamp this afternoon, I saw colorful street banners, displays in shop windows and at the Hard Rock Hotel, people readying a tour merchandise truck, and even some very cool super fans of Elton John just hanging out, and smiling for the above photo! Is that dress awesome, or what?

I’ve loved the music of Elton John ever since I was a young man. It has been an important part of my life’s soundtrack. If by sheer chance you happen to read this, Sir Elton, thank you.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Evil clowns and ghouls arrive in Balboa Park!

Visitors to Balboa Park should be warned that an army of evil creatures is gathering in the southwest corner of the park, along what is known as The Haunted Trail.

Every October grisly ghouls, bloody demons and creepy clowns assemble under the trees to scare thrill-seekers in the dark of night.

Perhaps it all has something to do with the approach of Halloween.

Beware!

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!

Nayarit celebrated at the House of Mexico!

The Mexican state of Nayarit was celebrated today at the International Cottages in Balboa Park!

Baile folklórico dancers performed outside the House of Mexico cottage, and various displays promoting tourism in Nayarit greeted surprised visitors wandering through the park.

As soon as I noticed all the costumes and smiles, I was drawn right in!

As I understand it, the Mexican Secretary of Tourism teamed up with the House of Mexico to promote Nayarit with this special cultural event.

The state of Nayarit is located on the west coast of Mexico and features popular beaches, fascinating history and beautiful scenery.

This is what my camera recorded…

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!

Trolley Dances returns to San Diego!

The Trolley Dances have returned to San Diego!

The San Diego Dance Theater’s 24th Annual Trolley Dances are being held this year near several trolley Blue Line stations, in and around UC San Diego.

Five dances are included in this extremely unique event. Mobile groups gather to watch a dance, then ride the trolley to view performances at other locations!

Several of the dances this year take place next to the UCSD Central Campus Station. I was lucky enough to watch one group of dancers rehearsing before the first spectators would arrive.

The contemporary dance I previewed is called Estudiantes. The choreographer is Minerva Tapia. The dance is dedicated to all students, whose efforts and studies help make the world a better place. The dance moves were hopeful, exuberant, triumphant. My camera captured some smiles, too!

If you want to learn more about the Trolley Dances, here’s their website. The dances can be enjoyed this weekend only. If they’re sold out, make sure to mark this cool event on your calendar for next year!

The extension of the trolley’s Blue Line through UC San Diego, which the mobile audience is riding, opened late last year. I rode this new Mid-Coast Trolley extension on its Opening Day and posted photos here. (As you’ll see, the San Diego Dance Theater performed on that historic day, too!)

By the way, the Estudiantes dance in these photos takes place near the entrance to the new, high tech UCSD Design and Innovation Building, which I toured earlier this year soon after it opened. Check out those photos 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!

Sweet memories of Top Gun in Oceanside!

Fans of the original Top Gun movie would love visiting the recently restored Top Gun House near the foot of the Oceanside Pier.

The historic old Victorian beach house, an 1887 Queen Anne Cottage that was featured in the popular movie, has been turned into an ice cream shop filled with sweet Top Gun memories!

The first thing visitors to the Top Gun House might see is a motorcycle by the front porch steps. It’s a replica of the motorcycle ridden by Maverick when he visited his love interest Charlie at the house.

A plaque a few steps away describes the house’s history in Oceanside, its architectural importance, and its role in the movie.

Step inside the beautiful little cottage and you’ll discover movie posters, photographs and other memories from Top Gun. I thought you might enjoy a look…

The 1887 Top Gun House was built by Dr. Henry Graves as a vacation home. Scenes from Top Gun were filmed around the house in 1985. In 2022 the house was fully restored.

The Kawasaki Ninja ZX900 is a replica of the motorcycle made famous in the movie Top Gun. Actor Tom Cruise, playing lead character Maverick, rode it to this house.

It was cool to see the work of an artist I often encounter while walking. Paul Strahm has a painting inside the Top Gun House!

Memories of Goose, Maverick and Iceman.

A sweet smile!

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!

Cool photographs for Star Trek Day!

Today, September 8, is Star Trek Day!

September 8, 1966 was the day when the very first Star Trek episode of the Original Series aired, titled The Man Trap. Remember the shape-shifting creature that sucked the salt out of Enterprise crewmembers?

For over fifty years, the popularity of the ever-growing science fiction franchise has persisted, providing the world with numerous movies, television series, novels, comics, video games, and even a few futuristic technological ideas that have (more or less) been realized!

In the past I’ve photographed all sorts of Star Trek related stuff: from Comic-Con cosplay and extraordinary Paramount exhibits, to artwork at IDW’s San Diego Comic Art Gallery, to the old Captain Kirk’s Coffee in South Park (a block from where Whoopie Goldberg–who played Guinan–once worked), to an amazing Gene Roddenberry exhibit at the Comic-Con Museum . . .

To celebrate Star Trek Day, please enjoy a few of these photographs!

If you’d like to see even more photos on my blog that concern Star Trek, plus written descriptions, click this tag and scroll down. You’ll notice lots of other fun stuff mixed in, 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!

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 September 2017.

How many big events are scheduled for this coming Labor Day weekend? Searching online event calendars, I haven’t noticed too many. That certainly wasn’t the case five years ago!

Back in September 2017, during Labor Day weekend, San Diego hosted an amazing international sand sculpture competition on Broadway Pier, another beautiful Festival of Sail on the Embarcadero, and there was the traditional stickball tournament in Little Italy.

Then later that September I recorded even more fun and inspirational stuff! Like Brazilian Day in Mission Beach, Fiestas Patrias in Old Town, the Trolley Dances downtown, and a special Remember Me Thursday in Balboa Park!

Here’s your opportunity to relive some of those moments. Check out the upcoming links for all of the colorful photographs!

Click the following links to see many photos…

World’s top sand sculptors create fantastic art!

Another perfect day at the Festival of Sail.

Stepping aboard the beautiful Bill of Rights.

Royal Marines, an admiral, pirates, dancers!

Photos from the Labor Day Stickball Tournament.

9/11 Firefighter’s legacy: Two Sons and Stickball.

Photos of the San Diego Brazilian Day Festival!

Green Flash public art in Mission Beach!

Festive culture and tradition at Fiestas Patrias!

Bells ring in San Diego for Constitution Day!

San Diego Convention Center stripped of sails!

Photos of San Diego Bonsai Club exhibition.

Remember Me Thursday love in Balboa Park.

Trolley Dances at the downtown Central Library!

Scouts remove gum at Cabrillo National Monument!

Do you know of any fun public events coming up this weekend? Leave a comment! I might head on over with my camera!

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.

Online petition to reopen the Starlight Bowl.

A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.
A performance in the Ford Bowl (now the Starlight Bowl) during the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park. No known copyright restrictions image from Flickr.

The historic Starlight Bowl in Balboa Park has been out of operation since 2011. The organization Save Starlight has been working diligently to bring this beloved open air amphitheater back to life!

If you’d like to lend a hand, consider signing this online petition. Add your voice to others who urge the City of San Diego to grant Save Starlight a lease, so that they can begin the needed renovations and finally open to the public!

I added my name to the petition a moment ago. Will you?

You, too, can sign the petition, or learn more about the project, by clicking 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!

Dvořák, Liszt and laughs on Silent Movie Night!

Where can you listen to exquisitely played classical music, then laugh at absurdly silly slapstick humor . . . all in one sitting?

At Silent Movie Night!

This evening, acclaimed concert organist Clara Gerdes played classical compositions by Dvořák, Duruflé and Liszt on the incomparable Spreckels Organ in Balboa Park. Then immediately after, the audience was laughing uproariously to the gag-filled antics of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton! (Accompanied by organ, of course!)

From the sublime to the absurd. That was the magic of Silent Movie Night at the 34th San Diego International Organ Festival!

You didn’t go? Why not?

Silent Movie Night is one of the most fun events every summer in Balboa Park. A couple thousand happy people fill the benches at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. And it’s free!

So watch for it next year!

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!