Fun photos of Chula Vista’s Pacific Rim Festival!

A performance by Japanese drummers at the 2018 Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista.
A performance by Japanese drummers at the 2018 Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista.

Yesterday I headed down to the South Bay to check out the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista. The fun event, sponsored by the Port of San Diego, featured food and entertainment representing many nations that share the Pacific Ocean.

I lingered for over an hour and watched a rousing performance by the Naruwan Taiko Drummers, lion dancing by the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association, and Philippine martial art demonstrations by the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis.

Please enjoy a few photos from my walk through Bayside Park, and many more after I arrived at the colorful event!

A family enjoys the small beach near the fishing pier at the south end of Bayside Park.
A family enjoys the small beach near the fishing pier at the south end of Bayside Park.
A father plays super hopscotch in the park!
A father plays super hopscotch in the park!
Walking slowly through sunshine, on the way to a cool festival in San Diego's South Bay.
Walking slowly through sunshine, on the way to a cool festival in San Diego’s South Bay.
Downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge are in the hazy distance.
Downtown San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge are in the hazy distance.
I've arrived at the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival.
I’ve arrived at the 2nd Annual Pacific Rim Festival.
The first thing I saw was lots of yummy food from many countries around the Pacific Rim.
The first thing I saw was lots of yummy food from many countries around the Pacific Rim.
Beautiful crafts were also on display and available for purchase. A nice lady made this amazing glasswork by hand.
Beautiful crafts were also on display and available for purchase. A nice lady made this amazing glass artwork by hand.
Continuing through the festival. One vendor had unique clothing for sale. Another perfect San Diego day.
Continuing through the festival. One vendor had unique clothing for sale. Kids had a bounce house. Another perfect San Diego day.
An audience has gathered at the stage to watch energetic drumming by Naruwan Taiko.
An audience has gathered at the stage to watch energetic drumming by Naruwan Taiko.
Meanwhile, some lion dancers are waiting to one side for their turn to perform.
Meanwhile, some lion dancers are waiting to one side for their turn to perform.
People have gathered to celebrate many cultures around the Pacific Ocean.
People have gathered to celebrate many cultures around the Pacific Ocean.
The lion dancing has begun. This local group is the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association.
The lion dancing has begun. This local group is the Southern Sea Kung Seng Keng Lion and Dragon Dance Association.
Music accompanies the fun lion dance.
Music accompanies the traditional lion dance.
Banners unfurl, wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year.
Banners unfurl, wishing everyone a happy and prosperous year.
The two lions come down onto the grass to the delight of everybody.
The two lions come down onto the grass to the delight of everybody.
A young girl offers the red lion a dollar bill for good luck.
A young girl offers the red lion a dollar bill for good luck.
After this performance, I stretched my legs with a short walk along the nearby water of San Diego Bay. Others were enjoying the day, too.
After this performance, I stretched my legs with a short walk along the nearby water of San Diego Bay. Others were enjoying the day, too.
I stumbled upon some wild California poppies. They are the official flower of the state of California.
I stumbled upon some wild California poppies. They are the official flower of the state of California.
As I returned to the stage, students from the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis had assembled.
As I returned to the stage area, students from the Cardenas School of Modern Arnis had assembled.
People get ready to view a Philippine martial arts demonstration.
People get ready to view a Philippine martial arts demonstration.
The exciting demonstration begins.
The exciting demonstration begins.
Celebrating the cultures of many Pacific Rim nations at a very fun event!
Celebrating the cultures of many Pacific Rim nations at a very fun event!

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!

Naruwan Taiko’s thundering, unabashed joy!

This afternoon I headed to the Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista’s Bayside Park. I’ll blog more about this fun event shortly!

The highlight of my day was an incredible performance by Naruwan Taiko!

Imagine resonant, heart-pounding, pulsing beats, and drummers swinging unstoppable arms in a synchronized dance. Imagine smiles and shouts, muscles and sweat, powered by a pure love of life. For a few moments Bayside Park was stirred by magic. Hearts were lifted by thundering, unabashed joy!

I was ready to leap over the sun!

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!

Dance on Sunday afternoons in Balboa Park!

On Sunday afternoons I seem to be spending more and more time in the grand Ballroom of the Balboa Park Club. Cushioned chairs line the walls, and I can sit peacefully as I read or write, listening to gentle, sprightly folk music, occasionally looking up at happy people dancing.

I don’t do much in the way of dancing–not with my feet. But I’m sure some of you do! And I bet some of you’d like to learn all sorts of different folk dances!

I spoke to a nice lady who is a member of one of Balboa Park’s dance clubs, and she told me they are looking to grow their membership. There’s an opportunity for ordinary people with varying levels of experience to learn folk dances from many different cultures. And each lesson costs only a couple bucks!

As you can see from one of my photos, kids and parents can also learn how to dance the third Sunday of every month, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Sounds like fun!

Interested? Visit the International Dance Association of San Diego County website by clicking here!

If you can walk, you can dance!

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 tour inside the historic Spreckels Theatre.

A tour group has entered the Spreckels Theatre from the Grand Lobby of the Spreckels Theater Building in downtown San Diego.
A tour group has entered the Spreckels Theatre from the Grand Lobby of the Spreckels Theater Building in downtown San Diego.

Several years ago I wrote a short blog about the Spreckels Theater Building on Broadway. I took a few photos of the six-story office building’s exterior and Grand Lobby. You can see those here.

During the San Diego Architectural Foundation 2018 OPEN HOUSE event last weekend, I enjoyed a tour of the Spreckels Theatre, which is found inside the large mixed-use building. Our group met in the building’s Grand Lobby near the original old box office, which for many years had been hidden and forgotten behind a wall. We then ventured into the theatre’s smaller elegant Baroque lobby.

After learning some fascinating history, we headed down an aisle through the theatre, up over the orchestra pit and right up onto the stage! By tilting our heads back we could gaze six floors straight up at the stage’s complex workings, and by walking a few steps off the stage, we could poke our noses into the three “Star” dressing suites.

Our group was provided with in all sorts of cool information, but sadly I didn’t write it all down. We did learn that the Spreckels Theatre and the building that it’s housed in was built by San Diego entrepreneur and philanthropist John D. Spreckels, and was designed by Harrison Albight. The structure is built of concrete and steel–it actually contains more steel than nearby modern high-rises. The Grand Lobby outside the theatre entrance contains a vast quantity of beautiful onyx that was shipped in from Mexico.

When the theatre opened in 1912 it was the largest theatre of its kind west of New York City. The theatre originally had 1915 seats, to celebrate the 1915 Panama-California Exposition which would be held in Balboa Park. The theatre has been operating continuously for its entire existence–well over a hundred years. To this day, the theatre has one of the best acoustic ratings anywhere in the world.

Everyone in our tour group smiled when we heard about a 1923 production of Ben Hur, which included horse-drawn chariots actually racing across the Spreckel Theatre’s stage! Apparently the chariots raced in a circle through the lot behind the building, and would periodically come into the building to thunder across the stage!

The interior of the theatre was fairly dark during our tour, so many of my photographs didn’t come out very good. Please read the captions to learn some more about this very cool old theatre.

One additional thing! When questions were posed to the theatre’s manager, I asked whether Conan O’Brien would be returning to the Spreckels Theatre for 2018 San Diego Comic-Con. The answer was he almost certainly will!

The Grand Lobby shines with onyx brought in from Mexico. I learned this original box office was hidden for many years behind a wall and forgotten.
The Grand Lobby shines with onyx brought in from Mexico. I learned this original box office was hidden for many years behind a wall and forgotten.
A sign describes the Spreckels Theatre story. In the 1920's, it was transformed into a grand movie house, hosting Hollywood premieres and the leading stars of the day.
A sign describes the Spreckels Theatre story. In the 1920’s, it was transformed into a grand movie house, hosting Hollywood premieres and the leading stars of the day.
We've stepped into the lobby of the theatre. The amazing glass artwork above the entrance was created in 1983 by Yaakov Agam, commissioned by theatre President, Jacquelyn Littlefield.
We’ve stepped into the lobby of the theatre. The amazing glass artwork above the entrance was created in 1983 by Yaakov Agam, commissioned by theatre President, Jacquelyn Littlefield. Check out its very different reflection in the mirror!
The very elegant concession counter in the theatre, still in use today.
The very elegant concession counter in the theatre, still in use today.
Old photos in glass displays behind the lobby counter show the historic building, past movie stars and John D. Spreckels.
Old photos in glass displays behind the lobby’s counter show the historic building, past movie stars and John D. Spreckels.
Spreckels Theatre. Opening Night August 23, 1912.
Spreckels Theatre. Opening Night: August 23, 1912.
Looking up at light fixtures, one at the theatre lobby and one up some stairs at the Mezzanine.
Looking up at light fixtures, one at the theatre lobby and one up some stairs at the Mezzanine.
Portraits of Hollywood stars left of the front counter.
Portraits of Hollywood stars left of the front counter.
Early movie stars on the right side.
Early movie stars on the right side.
Resolution by San Diego City Council honoring Jacqelyn Littlefield Day, owner and operator of the beautiful Spreckels Theatre since 1970.
Resolution by San Diego City Council honoring Jacqelyn Littlefield Day, owner and operator of the beautiful Spreckels Theatre since 1970.
Cool poster from Conan O'Brien's appearance at the Spreckels Theatre during 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Cool poster from Conan O’Brien’s appearance at the Spreckels Theatre during 2015 San Diego Comic-Con.
Now we've entered the dark theatre where my camera struggles. Here's an idea of what you will see.
Now we’ve entered the dark theatre where my old camera struggles. Here’s an idea of what you will see.
Balcony seats surrounded by fantastic Baroque elegance.
Balcony seats surrounded by fantastic Baroque elegance.
One of two plaster sculptures by Charles C. Cristadoro, who would go on to work for Walt Disney.
One of two plaster sculptures by Charles C. Cristadoro, who would go on to work for Walt Disney.
Looking out toward some seats from the theatre's stage.
Looking out toward some seats from the theatre’s stage.
A distinctive Spreckels Theatre design at the end of every seat row.
The distinctive Spreckels Theatre design at the end of every seat row.
A quick peek into a modest suite to the side of the stage. A mirror, sink and restroom are reserved for the biggest stars.
A quick peek into a modest suite to the side of the stage. A mirror, sink and restroom are reserved for the biggest stars.
Our group learns some of the fascinating history of one of San Diego's most treasured places.
Our tour group learns some of the fascinating history of one of San Diego’s most treasured places.

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!

Fun, laughs and thrills at Busker Festival!

Sam Malcolm, a juggling comedian from Denver, Colorado, performs high atop a ladder during the Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival!
Sam Malcolm, a juggling comedian from Denver, Colorado, performs high atop a ladder during the Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival!

Today I enjoyed an hour or so at the 2018 Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival. It’s hard to believe, but this is the fourth time I’ve blogged the annual event. Considering how quickly the years have flown by, I must be having fun!

This year’s busker festival is just as colorful and entertaining as ever. It continues tomorrow, so make sure you head down to Seaport Village for lots of fun, laughs and thrills!

Here are photos from a few of today’s performances…

The 2018 Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival is taking place this weekend!
The 2018 Seaport Village Spring Busker Festival is taking place this weekend!
Dango (Derrick Gilday of San Diego) climbs a stack of chairs near Seaport Village.
Dango (Derrick Gilday of San Diego) climbs a stack of chairs in Embarcadero Marina Park North, right next to Seaport Village.
Dango juggles flaming torches to the delight of the gathered crowd!
Dango juggles flaming torches to the delight of the gathered crowd!
I was laughing out loud at the screwball antics of Wacky Chad.
I was laughing out loud at the screwball antics and absurd comedy of Wacky Chad.
Wacky Chad jumps rope every which way. An exhibition of amazing physical dexterity.
Wacky Chad jumps rope every which way. An exhibition of amazing physical dexterity.
More juggling. This time atop a super tall unicycle.
More juggling. This time atop a super tall unicycle.
Some crazy, super high pogo sticking was the highlight of Wacky Chad's routine.
Some crazy, super high pogo sticking was the highlight of Wacky Chad’s routine. He has appeared on America’s Got Talent twice!
The Lynx Variety Show, coming from San Francisco, included a feat of amazing sword swallowing.
The Lynx Variety Show, coming from San Francisco, included a feat of amazing sword swallowing.
Mitchell Walker is a regular at Seaport Village, and so is his cool didgeridoo!
Mitchell Walker is a regular at Seaport Village, and so is his cool didgeridoo!
Greg Frisbee prepares to begin his funny Rubber Chicken Show.
Greg Frisbee prepares to begin his funny Rubber Chicken Show.
Extreme Rahim prepares to wow his audience with magic and positive clean humor. I often see him performing at Seaport Village.
Extreme Rahim prepares to wow his audience with magic and positive clean humor. I often see him performing at Seaport Village.
Extreme Rahim provides a smile and many good memories in San Diego!
Extreme Rahim provides a smile and many good memories in San Diego!

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!

Fern Street Circus at Cesar Chavez Park!

A juggler belonging to the Fern Street Circus practices his balancing skills before a special performance.
A juggler belonging to the Fern Street Circus practices his balancing skills before a special performance.

My walk today included a short visit to the Carnival in the Park event hosted by the Port of San Diego. Lots of families came down to Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan to enjoy a free performance by San Diego’s much-loved Fern Street Circus!

I arrived a few minutes early, stayed for a bit, got a yummy free hot dog and enjoyed watching several performers. I didn’t hang around to see the main act, but I bet it was terrific! As I departed, a whole bunch of people were still arriving!

This fun, kid-friendly event was put together by the Port of San Diego’s Tidelands Activation Program. The program celebrates all sorts of cool artwork around San Diego Bay and encourages creativity in the South Bay and other bayside communities.

Here are a few photos!

Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan was the venue today for a fun show by the Fern Street Circus, hosted by the Port of San Diego.
Cesar Chavez Park in Barrio Logan was the venue today for a show by the Fern Street Circus, hosted by the Port of San Diego.
Friendly people from the Port of San Diego's Public Art Program look on as the crowd slowly grows at Cesar Chavez Park.
Friendly people from the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Program look on as the crowd slowly grows at Cesar Chavez Park.
This smiling lady was handing out Kinetic Sand to youth at the event. Young artists can mold it to express their creativity.
This smiling lady was handing out free jars of Kinetic Sand to youth at the event. Young artists can easily mold it to express their creativity.
Members of the Fern Street Circus ready props on the main stage as the kid-friendly community event gets underway.
Members of the Fern Street Circus ready props on the main stage as the kid-friendly community event gets underway.
An aerial silk performer takes to the air above the grassy park.
An aerial silk performer takes to the air above the grassy park.
A smile in the San Diego sky!
A smile in the San Diego sky!
The circus juggler and some kids play with colorful hula hoops.
The circus juggler and some kids play with colorful hula hoops.
A small circus school at the event showed people how to walk a tightrope!
A small circus school at the event showed people how to walk a tightrope!
Lots of smiles and fun were enjoyed today at Cesar Chavez Park, courtesy of the Port of San Diego and the Fern Street Circus!
Lots of smiles and fun were enjoyed today at Cesar Chavez Park, courtesy of the Port of San Diego and the Fern Street Circus!

There’s an author in San Diego by the name of Jack Tyler. He has published all sorts of steampunk fiction and offers great advice about how to write effectively. If this interests you, please follow his blog by clicking here!

You might recall Jack has written an exciting tale of adventure that takes place in San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. To learn more about his novel Stingaree, click here!

Fun stage dioramas at Paper Theatre Festival!

An example of a elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.
An example of an elaborate paper toy theater, a source of family entertainment in the 19th century.

Today, just for fun, I headed up to the Paper Theatre Festival, which is held every year at UC San Diego.

Upon entering the Seuss Room at the Geisel Library, I couldn’t help smiling. Scattered about the room was a large collection of Victorian stage dioramas, character cut-outs, books and ephemera from the 19th century when paper toy theatre was a popular family entertainment.

All of the colorful artwork exhibited at the festival is part of an immense paper theatre collection assembled over the course of eighteen years by Scott Paulson. I listened to him talk to visitors young and old about his collection, and tried to absorb a bit of this unique art form’s history. I learned how in that bygone age, families would construct these paper theaters from kits, then act out plays with the included scripts and paper doll actors. The entertaining hobby encouraged people to learn about the operation of a real theater, including set design and stage lighting effects.

Walking about the Seuss Room, I bent over to peer into many highly ornate 3-dimensional dioramas. Slots at intervals on the stages allow different paper backdrops–scenery sheets–to be inserted, as you can see from my photos. Paper characters, which are often mounted at the ends of sticks, can be moved about on a stage as a dramatic performance demands.

The festival is geared toward kids, who are encouraged to handle these fun paper playhouses, learn about their history and create their own small dramas. The event continues Sunday and Monday. Click here to learn more!

Paper Theater - It's the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Paper Theater – It’s the smallest show on Earth! Historical amusements are on display at the Paper Theatre Festival at the UC San Diego Library.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to craft paper theaters.
Objects on display include books, posters and materials to create paper theaters.
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A mirthful dance of magical characters!
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the festival.
A variety of paper toy theaters and related items are on display at the annual festival.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations.
A scenery sheet depicting a London street to be used in a play of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations.
Detail from one highly ornate paper stage.
Detail from one ornate paper stage.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
These cut-out paper actors include dragons, knights and other fantastic characters.
Mr. Jackson's Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Mr. Jackson’s Elizabethan Theatre includes the characters and text for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
An example of a French paper theatre kit.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face's shape can be altered with a jiggle.
The exhibition includes a crazy MOV-I-GRAFF card. The outline of the face is a fine chain. The face’s shape can be altered with a jiggle.
This stage features a troupe of ballet dancers!
This stage features a troupe of dancers!
Edward Gorey's Dracula, a toy theatre!
Edward Gorey’s Dracula. Classic horror and toy theatre!
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Teatro de Mexico. A folk art toy theater.
Benjamin Pollock's Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop. Hansel and Gretel. A model to cut out and make.
A fun Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!
A fun, very colorful Hansel and Gretel scene made of paper!

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!