Free lectures explain opera in San Diego!

19th Century engraving depicting Count Almaviva and Susanna in Act 3 of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
19th century engraving depicting Count Almaviva and Susanna in Act 3 of The Marriage of Figaro. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

By sheer chance I stumbled upon a very cool event this afternoon. I was walking through the San Diego Central Library’s courtyard when I noticed a sign posted by the entrance to the Neil Morgan Auditorium. It announced that a free lecture was about to begin!

I hurried in, took a seat, and found myself quickly mesmerized by a talk about the San Diego Opera’s upcoming performance of The Marriage of Figaro!

Dr. Ron Shaheen, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Music Department at the University of San Diego, made the fascinating presentation. With the help of photographs, video clips and audio samples, he provided a wide range of information concerning Mozart’s famous opera. Even a complete opera novice like myself could appreciate the beautiful, timeless and amusing qualities of The Marriage of Figaro.

Many in the audience chuckled at the antics of its characters. The story, imbued by Mozart with deep emotional richness, turns upon all-too-common human weaknesses. The Marriage of Figaro is a mixture of crazy schemes, sudden surprises, human desire, selfishness, misunderstanding, love, jealousy, even more silliness . . . and concludes with a poignant scene of forgiveness.

Intrigued? Visit the San Diego Opera website here. The Marriage of Figaro will be performed in the next couple of weeks.

More free lectures in the Opera Insights Series will be coming to the Central Library. You can learn when and where by clicking here.

Dr. Ron Shaheen provides an entertaining lecture concerning The Marriage of Figaro during the San Diego Central Library 2018-2019 Opera Insights Series.
Dr. Ron Shaheen provides an entertaining lecture concerning The Marriage of Figaro during the San Diego Central Library 2018-2019 Opera Insights Series.
Information concerning music prodigy Mozart, his opera The Marriage of Figaro, and the San Diego Opera's upcoming performances.
Information concerning Mozart, his opera The Marriage of Figaro, and the San Diego Opera’s upcoming performances. (Click the image to enlarge it for easy reading.)
Mozart c. 1780, detail from portrait by Johann Nepomuk della Croce. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Detail from a portrait of Mozart, by Johann Nepomuk della Croce. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Solve Who, world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

A crime scene at Solve Who titled Murder at PROstate Farm. A team of detectives gathers clues, watches video interrogations of three suspects, then deliberates to determine who the murderer is.
A crime scene at Solve Who titled Murder at PROstate Farm. A team of detectives gathers clues, watches video interrogations of three suspects, then attempts to determine who the murderer is.

A unique and very cool attraction recently opened in downtown San Diego. It’s called Solve Who!

Neither an escape room, nor murder mystery dinner theatre, Solve Who offers would-be detectives something far more immersive and realistic. Solve Who is the world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

Enter the front door of Solve Who and you suddenly become a detective investigating a detailed crime scene using your wits, a notepad and pen, and a variety of forensic tools. Groups of up to ten people operate as a team, collecting clues, watching short video interrogations of three suspects, then deliberating to determine the identity of the murderer.

Questions one might ask during the investigation include: Was the crime premeditated? Who had the motive to commit murder? Was there a break-in? Was there a struggle? What was the murder weapon? Are any fingerprints that you find with an ultraviolet light relevant? What is the meaning of a series of emails that periodically appear on one computer? Is any object at the crime scene out of place?

I was given a little bit of a preview this evening and I must say this entertainment concept is absolutely unique and brilliant! The super friendly guys behind Solve Who have worked hard to make the experience very realistic–they have even worked with law enforcement experts to ensure this fully interactive crime scene simulator is very close to authentic. With some crazy humor injected for fun!

It seems to me that Solve Who would be an ideal place for corporate team building, having a night out with friends, or for simply meeting new people. Right now they offer one scenario titled Murder at PROstate Farm, with three new, completely unique crime scenes to appear in the future. Solve Who will also offer beer and wine to participants in the near future.

Check out the Solve Who website here and perhaps make a reservation. You’ll be one of very few people in the entire world to have experienced a realistic interactive crime scene simulator!

A brief video introduction explains how each team of detectives can work together to logically deduce which suspect is guilty of murder.
A brief video introduction explains how each team of detectives can work together to logically deduce which suspect is guilty of murder.
The funny, satirical brochure of PROstate Farm. The insurance agent was murdered, and his three employees are suspects.
The funny, satirical brochure of PROstate Farm. The insurance agent was murdered, and his three employees are suspects.
Inside the mock insurance office. PROstate Farm has policies to protect the insured against icebergs, apocalypse, zombies, talking apes and much more.
Inside the mock insurance office. PROstate Farm has policies to protect the insured against icebergs, apocalypse, zombies, talking apes and much more.
Some of the tools used by participants at Solve Who include forensic lights, magnifying lenses, string for trajectory pinpointing, and more.
Tools used by participants at Solve Who include forensic lights, magnifying lenses, string for trajectory pinpointing, evidence markers, and more.
The crime scene includes many clues--a few are critically important. Deductive reasoning and acute observation are required to identify the murderer.
The crime scene includes many clues–a few are critically important. Deductive reasoning and acute observation are required to identify the murderer.
An overturned chair and a big blood stain on the carpet.
An overturned chair and a big blood stain on the carpet.
Blood splattered on the wall!
Blood splattered on the wall!
Detectives at Solve Who will watch as three suspects are interrogated. It is important to listen to words and watch body language.
Detectives at Solve Who will watch as three suspects are interrogated. It is important to listen to words and watch body language.
Solve Who is a very cool new attraction in San Diego, located at 1570 Fifth Avenue. It is the world's first interactive crime scene simulator!
Solve Who is a very cool new attraction in San Diego, located downtown at 1570 Fifth Avenue. It is the world’s first interactive crime scene simulator!

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!

Dancers portray the homeless in San Diego.

Audience looks down with expectation as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.
Audience looks down as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.

This morning I watched the first dance of the 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center shopping mall. This unique annual event is a production of the San Diego Dance Theater.

Arriving early, I stood a couple of floors above the outdoor performance, and let my eyes wander about as I took in the entire scene.

The first dance portrayed the homeless. As the invisible curtain rose, dancers, who sat alone among their scant possessions, rose and converged in a dizzy, tragic performance.

Two male dancers tussled over a shopping cart, but that seemed to be the extent of their malice. The twisting dance showed troubled souls coming together, having a moment of hope and happiness, raising each other up before departing to go their separate ways.

After the first dance ended, I followed the mobile audience as they were led west down the nearby San Diego River Trail to the next outdoor stage. Chairs were set up short of the place where Highway 163 crosses Mission Valley.

I continued walking. What I saw thereafter wasn’t part of the program.

As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes on to the stage.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes onto the stage.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The dance portrays different people who are homeless.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The raw, disturbing dance portrays the lives of different people who are homeless.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is actually empty.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is empty.
Performers tussle over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
Performers tussle briefly over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
One dancer is raised up by the others.
One dancer is raised up by the others.

The dancers exit the stage by struggling up two sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
The dancers finally exit the stage, struggling up sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
This performance is over.
This performance is over.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie as the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie at the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dance stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dances stage.
This is as far down the path the audience would venture.
That is as far down the path the audience would venture.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather--in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather and take shelter–in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.

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 virtual reality tour around San Diego!

Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.
Visitors to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park prepare to enjoy a short virtual reality tour around San Diego.

During my random walk through Balboa Park today, I stumbled upon something that is unique and really fun! I wandered into the San Diego History Center and was immediately drawn to a sign at the entrance to one gallery that read: Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure.

I wasn’t looking to blog anything after my walk today, but this short VR tour around San Diego is so cool, I definitely want to share it!

After having my VR headset strapped on, I suddenly found myself transported to a wide variety of places and events around San Diego. I was standing atop the California Tower in Balboa Park, turning my head to gaze in every direction . . .

Then suddenly I was floating over Oceanside in a hot air balloon . . . standing among hockey players during a San Diego Gulls game . . . riding a helicopter along our beautiful coast . . . right up close among the dolphins at SeaWorld . . . riding the Giant Dipper Roller Coaster at Belmont Park in Mission Beach . . . flying above the desert in Anza Borrego State Park . . . floating on a boat among sea lions on San Diego Bay . . . and much more–all in virtual reality!

The whole experience is made possible by 4DSCI. A ticket costs just five dollars and the virtual reality tour lasts for perhaps ten minutes. If you want to experience San Diego in a whole new way, head down to the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park and check it out!

Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Experience San Diego, The Virtual Reality Adventure. You will see many cool sights as if you were there in person!
Around the corner is the VR Theater...
Around the corner is the VR Theater…
The fun kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can experience the virtual reality in every direction.
The fun, kid-friendly room where the experience is enjoyed. Chairs swivel so visitors can easily turn and experience the virtual reality in every direction.
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the places that will surround you--as if you are there!
Cabrillo National Monument is one of the beautiful places that will surround you–as if you are 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!

Creepy clowns, ghosts and demons in a park!

Legions of creepy clowns, ghosts, demons and undead are slowly gathering in a popular city park. I photographed them lurking among shadowy trees and spooky buildings, waiting to terrify nice, innocent, completely unsuspecting people who happened to be walking down the park trail!

IMG_0076z

As you might have guessed, this morning I took a stroll around the perimeter of The Haunted Trail, which is being built once again in the southwest corner of Balboa Park for Halloween!

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!

Art, Color and Fiesta in Balboa Park!

The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.
The San Diego School of Ballet performs during Arte, Color y Fiesta, a special event in Balboa Park celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

This evening I enjoyed a special event at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The House of Mexico presented Arte, Color y Fiesta, a cultural program rich with dance, music and patriotism celebrating Mexican Independence Day.

I successfully photographed the first few groups that provided entertainment before daylight waned. Many smiles shined into the evening.

To learn more about the House of Mexico, and perhaps become a member, or provide a donation as they prepare to build their new cottage among the existing House of Pacific Relations International Cottages, visit their website here!

The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
The colorful program at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion was presented by the House of Mexico, member of the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico's cottage in Balboa Park.
A poster on display during the event showed construction plans for the House of Mexico’s new cottage in Balboa Park.
Los Chinelos De Morelos dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes Carnival-like costumes and masks.
Los Chinelos Unidos por Siempre de San Diego dance in Balboa Park. The traditional dance of the State of Morelos, Mexico includes fantastic Carnival-like costumes and masks.
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
During the program, a color guard advanced the Mexican flag to the stage, and the traditional Grito Mexicano was shouted. Viva México!
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego perform during an event that celebrates Mexico's independence from Spain.
Mariachi Juvenil de San Diego, a musical group composed of local high school students, perform during an event that celebrates Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park's Food Truck Friday.
Meanwhile, in the nearby Plaza de Panama, the Flavor Company dance group had people dancing the Conga for Balboa Park’s Food Truck Friday.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego at Balboa Park's Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Life, color and joy thrive in San Diego’s amazing Balboa Park.

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 Labor Day in Balboa Park.

A street musician smiles on a sunny Labor Day in Balboa Park.
A street musician smiles on a beautiful Labor Day in Balboa Park.

Labor Day in Balboa Park is no different than any other day. Most museums and attractions are open, and everyone is smiling.

I wanted to take it easy–just enjoy the day–so I headed into the park for an aimless, leisurely stroll…

San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez rehearses Stairway to Heaven with a rock band for tonight's final International Summer Organ Festival concert.
San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez rehearses Stairway to Heaven with a rock band for tonight’s final International Summer Organ Festival concert.
People enjoy the beauty near the Japanese Friendship Garden's Koi Pond.
People enjoy the beauty near the Japanese Friendship Garden’s Koi Pond.
Progress is being made on the Japanese Friendship Garden's new river, where an historic Great Buddha statue will soon be unveiled.
Progress is being made on the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new river, where a Great Buddha statue will soon be unveiled.

You can see additional photos of the Japanese Friendship Garden’s new stream under construction by clicking here.

Labor Day was quiet at the International Cottages, which were all closed for the holiday.
Labor Day was quiet at the International Cottages, which were all closed for the Monday holiday.
As I walked behind the Balboa Park Club building, I gazed northwest toward the Cabrillo Bridge.
As I walked behind the Balboa Park Club building, I gazed northwest toward the Cabrillo Bridge and took this photo.
On Labor Day, like most days, the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden in Balboa Park is a quiet place for solitude.
On Labor Day, like most days, the 1935 (Old) Cactus Garden in Balboa Park is a quiet place for solitude.
Families enjoy Labor Day in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
Families enjoy Labor Day in front of the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
People relax on a bench by the old Mack Water Truck just outside the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum.
People relax on a bench by the old Mack Water Truck just outside the entrance of the San Diego Automotive Museum.
Walking through Pan American Plaza between the San Diego Automotive Museum and nearby Recital Hall.
Walking through Pan American Plaza between the San Diego Automotive Museum and nearby Recital Hall.
Balboa Park was the ideal place for a picnic this Labor Day.
Balboa Park was the ideal place for a picnic this Labor Day.
Young and old enjoy the famous beauty of Balboa Park's lily pond.
Young and old enjoy the famous beauty of Balboa Park’s lily pond.
All sorts of people were out on the grass enjoying the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden at the San Diego Museum of Art.
All sorts of people were out on the grass enjoying the May S. Marcy Sculpture Garden at the San Diego Museum of Art.
Visitors were touring the California Tower and gazing across Balboa Park.
Visitors were touring the iconic California Tower and gazing across Balboa Park, one of the most wonderful places in the world.
This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.
This group wanted to see fine art so they headed into the San Diego Museum of Art.
Some smiling street musicians were setting up on El Prado.
Some smiling street musicians were setting up on El Prado to entertain passersby.
The silly Lärabar Street Team danced for my blog, then I got some yummy samples to eat!
The silly Lärabar Street Team danced for my blog, then I got some yummy samples to eat!
Mentalist, hypnotist and super nice guy Ralph Hamrick greets me with his usual smile! I still haven't recovered from that weird mental trick he performed on me.
Mentalist, hypnotist and super nice guy Ralph Hamrick greets me with his usual smile! I still haven’t recovered from that weird mental trick he performed on me.
Street magician Kenny Shelton delights some young people with one of his amazing tricks.
Street magician Kenny Shelton delights some young people with one of his amazing tricks.
Lots of people were enjoying hula hoops on the grass!
Lots of people were enjoying hula hoops on the grass!
The San Diego Blood Bank was saving lives in front of the Museum of Man.
The San Diego Blood Bank was saving lives in front of the Museum of Man.
A quiet moment on Balboa Park's broad, green West Mesa.
A quiet moment on Balboa Park’s broad, green West Mesa.
This squirrel had no notion it was Labor Day. It was just another day in the park.
This squirrel didn’t know today was a holiday. It was just another day in the park.
Even street performers have to eat lunch, you know!
Even street performers have to eat lunch!

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!