You’re looking at the Old Globe Theatre. It’s modeled after the original Globe Theatre in London, where Shakespeare enjoyed watching many plays that he’d penned. This beloved building is a popular San Diego landmark.
The Tudor-style building was originally constructed in 1935, and was first used for the California Pacific International Exposition to stage Shakespearean plays. In 1978 it was burned down by an arsonist. A nearby festival stage was quickly erected so that performances could go on, then the Old Globe was rebuilt with the generous help of many San Diegans.
Since 1949, The Old Globe has hosted an annual summer Shakespeare Festival. During the summer and winter, the theatre puts on about 15 different shows including modern plays, comedies, musicals and classics.
Many productions that originated here have gone on to Broadway. These shows have won nine Tony Awards and almost 60 nominations!
Every weekend, folks dressed in white are out on the bowling green near the west end of Balboa Park. The San Diego Lawn Bowling Club must have a pretty good membership, because I’ve seen scores of players all out enjoying the sport at the same time.
I usually linger for a couple minutes to watch a game unfold. Excellent accuracy is required to win.
Over the decades, many of Hollywood’s biggest movie stars have stayed at the world famous Hotel Del Coronado. Most checked in for personal pleasure; others were working. The Hotel Del Coronado has been used in the filming of over a dozen movies.
Outside the hotel, a few steps from the sidewalk, you’ll find a glass display containing photos of movie superstar guests. I tried to take a bunch of photos, but most didn’t come out so great.
In my first decent pic, you see a photo with the caption: Screen legend Clark Gable stayed at the Del during the filming of Hell Divers, shot in 1931.
I also recorded a photograph from 1958 of the acting trio starring in Some Like It Hot. The caption reads: Tony Curtis, Jack Lemmon and Marilyn Monroe proved to be a winning combination for Billy Wilder’s romantic comedy.
And here’s a third photo (which I took on a later date) with the caption: Tony Curtis and Marilyn Monroe’s steamy love scenes still heat up the screen more than fifty years after the 1959 film was released.
These pics offer a sample of the sort of Mexican-themed eateries one encounters in the commercial part of Old Town, which runs several blocks south of the State Park along San Diego Avenue. Lots of seating outdoors, an eyeful of festive colors and a cool, laid-back Southern California atmosphere.
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Who’s that person at the microphone in the Spreckels Organ Pavilion? It looks like Robert Plimpton, San Diego’s Civic Organist Emeritus! Most of the time he uses his amazing musical talent as resident Organist of the First United Methodist Church.
Robert Plimpton was San Diego’s official Civic Organist from 1984 to 2000, when Dr. Carol Williams (first woman in the United States to be appointed Civic Organist) took his place. She happened to be out of town, so he returned for last Sunday’s free public concert in Balboa Park . . . and played magnificently, of course!
I tried to get a good photo of the organ’s enormous pipes, but the images turned out too shadowy. I’ll try again at some future time!
Here’s a photo I took in late 2015, during Balboa Park’s yearlong centennial celebration.
It must be around two o’clock on a Sunday afternoon. Time for the weekly free concert at Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion!
Crowds gather in the sun under colorful umbrellas to listen to the majestic sound of the Spreckels Organ, one of the largest outdoor organs in the world. The city of San Diego employs an official Civic Organist, none other than Dr. Carol Williams, one of the top performing organists in the world! Each Sunday she plays classical music, jazz, marches . . . and occasionally one of her excellent original compositions. The Spreckels Organ Society helps to raise funds to keep the tradition of free public concerts alive. It’s a tradition that has lasted a hundred years!
The beautiful Spreckels Organ Pavilion is used for various concerts and events throughout the year, including the yearly December Nights festival around Christmas. It’s also a favorite venue for wedding photography. The ornate, elegant architecture makes it interesting to visit even when the stage and benches are empty.
Late this morning, loads of Padres fans anticipating a great baseball game were entering Petco Park from its east side. Before filing through the gate and past the cool new Jerry Coleman memorial, they passed this colorful vendor. All sorts of Padres gear was on display for supportive fans.
Sunny summer days of baseball are full of life, sounds, smells, color and pageantry. Going to a Padres game in San Diego is always a fun experience, win or lose!
I took a couple more related pics at the beginning of the 2015 season…
Here’s a photo taken on a weekday morning of Dick’s Last Resort in the Gaslamp. This wacky bar and restaurant chain with an intentionally-trained-to-be-obnoxious staff is jam-packed with all sorts of colorful customers most evenings and especially on weekends. Beer and good times are known to flow freely here!
The Gaslamp Quarter is not only the Historic Heart of San Diego, as the iconic sign proclaims, but it has become the center of entertainment and dining for downtown’s burgeoning nightlife. The popular Hard Rock Hotel, seen in this photograph, is but one of scores of cool attractions lining bustling Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Avenues between Broadway and Harbor Drive. Pouring even more life into the Gaslamp is nearby Petco Park, the San Diego Convention Center and Horton Plaza.
This area of town, a few decades ago, had become the home to vacant old buildings, half-deserted warehouses and seedy bars attracting lonely sailors homeported in San Diego. Many say the catalyst for its modern transformation was the establishment of Croce’s restaurant and jazz bar on Fifth Avenue in 1985. The popular Croce’s was created as a tribute to legendary singer Jim Croce by his surviving wife Ingrid. As of 2014, Croce’s has moved to a different location on Bankers Hill.
The two photos above show the Louis Bank of Commerce Building. In the late 1800’s it became home to the Oyster Bar, one of four saloons and gambling halls operated by Wyatt Earp when he lived in San Diego.
One of the best things about Seaport Village is its historic carousel. I like to buy a hot dog or onion rings from the nearby food court, or an ice cream from Ben and Jerry’s, then sit down at a shady table and watch families and kids flock to the merry-go-round. It’s also pleasant to take in a bit of live music from local artists who perform near the carousel on weekends.
This fun Looff carousel was built in 1895 and features over fifty colorful animals including a dragon, a giraffe, a teddy bear, a lion, and two horse-drawn chariots. Master wood carver Charles Looff is famous for inventing the uniquely flamboyant Coney Island style of carousels. In his lifetime he produced many popular carousels, amusements parks, roller coasters and Ferris wheels. Very cool!
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