Medieval knights mock fight in Balboa Park!

Look what I watched today!

Every Sunday afternoon, on a large area of grass in Balboa Park’s Morley Field Sports Complex, medieval knights come together and engage in mock combat! These brave knights hail from the Realm of Andor. They are a part of the international Belegarth Medieval Combat Society.

Wielding foam weapons like swords, maces and battle axes, these guys get a super fun athletic workout. I was told by a friendly member of the Realm of Andor that the sport is like a mixture of fencing and rugby, with fairly simple rules. When a combatant receives a strike to a critical area, they fall down as if dead. A hit on a limb results in a loss of its use. Two limbs gone, you’re a goner. The last one standing wins!

I watched as the combatants veered all over the place, swinging a variety of formidable ancient weapons. Two or three knights would gang up on another; others would be struck by a sneaky knight from behind. Some of the members, in their cool costumes and bearing shields, appeared to be rampaging extras in the filming of Lord of the Rings. Many make their own weapons. It’s all about fantasy and high energy fun!

If you’d like to learn more, or perhaps join, check out their website!

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!

Fun photos for those who love Star Wars!

San Diego Comic-Con is approaching fast.

With the appearance of this year’s Comic-Con trolley wraps, many people I speak to are starting to get excited.

Now that I’m thinking about Comic-Con, too, it has occurred to me that over the years my blog has featured lots of photos concerning one of the absolute biggest franchises in pop culture: Star Wars!

I’ve rounded up a bunch of links that would be fun to check out. You’ll find unique photos of Star Wars artwork, models, cosplay, and even some humorous Star Wars street art!

Star Wars lightsaber combat at Maker Faire!

Cool–and funny–Star Wars street art!

A cool Star Wars character created by local artist!

Star Wars cosplay at Independence Day parade!

San Diego artist spray paints cool Star Wars images!

Three cool street art faces in East Village!

(Click the above link at your discretion. Yes, I’m afraid there’s an image of Jar Jar Binks.)

Comic-Con insanity! More cosplay and a TV star!

(Click to see many instances of Star Wars cosplay, including a Jawa.)

Cosplay photos and other 2017 Comic-Con stuff!

(Click to see more Star Wars cosplay, plus a full size replica of a Star Wars T-47 Snowspeeder.)

Some cool photos from Comic-Con Preview Night.

(Click to see a fair amount of Star Wars stuff, including the full size speeder used by Rey in The Force Awakens.)

Enjoy!

First 2018 San Diego Comic-Con trolley: Syfy!

The first trolley wrap for 2018 San Diego Comic-Con features two Syfy shows--Krypton and HAPPY!
The first trolley wrap for 2018 San Diego Comic-Con features two Syfy shows–Krypton and HAPPY!

More than a month to go until 2018 San Diego Comic-Con and trolleys are already getting wrapped! A record 40 or more trolley cars will feature Comic-Con graphics this year, according to MTS!

I spotted the very first wrap this morning at the Little Italy station! Here are my quick photos!

It appears Syfy will be returning to San Diego Comic-Con in a big way in 2018. The wrap promotes two of their shows: Krypton and HAPPY! Both series have been renewed for a second season.

I noticed that Syfy’s slogan from last year–It’s a Fan Thing–is being referenced once again. On this trolley the words read: It’s a Fan Made Thing.

The Krypton art was created by Moritat, a comic book creator who has done some work for DC.

The HAPPY! trolley art was created by a fan named Alyssa Veysey. You can see her personal DeviantArt page, including the HAPPY! trolley artwork, here.

Because I live in downtown San Diego, I plan to take hundreds of photos during Comic-Con, as I’ve done the past few years!

Stay tuned!

A closer photo of the Krypton trolley graphic.
A closer photo of the Krypton trolley graphic.
The other half of the trolley car features imaginary characters from the highly original fantasy-comedy-crime show HAPPY!
The other half of the trolley car features imaginary characters from the highly original fantasy-comedy-crime show HAPPY!
A three-headed dog named Raspberry!
A three-headed dog named Raspberry!
It's a a blue, flying unicorn named Happy!
It’s a blue, flying unicorn named Happy!

UPDATE!

A couple days later, and I’ve spotted a second San Diego Comic-Con trolley wrap that promotes the two Syfy shows The Magicians and Wynonna Earp.

I got some photos!

A cool Syfy wrap on a San Diego Comic-Con trolley. It's a fan made thing. Find your fan thing!
A cool Syfy wrap on a San Diego Comic-Con trolley. It’s a fan made thing. Find your fan thing!
A Comic-Con trolley wrap that promotes The Magicians on Syfy.
A Comic-Con trolley wrap that promotes The Magicians on Syfy.
Another photo of the graphics for The Magicians.
Another photo of the graphics for The Magicians.
The other half of the San Diego Trolley car promotes the Syfy show Wynonna Earp.
The other half of the San Diego Trolley car promotes the Syfy show Wynonna Earp.
The characters of Wynonna Earp are portrayed on playing cards.
The characters of Wynonna Earp are portrayed on playing cards.

UPDATE!

Here’s another Syfy trolley car I’ve spotted! This one promotes the shows Nightflyers and Deadly Class!

Nightflyers graphics on a 2018 San Diego Comic-Con Syfy trolley wrap.
Nightflyers graphics on a 2018 San Diego Comic-Con Syfy trolley wrap.
A second photo of the Nightflyers trolley graphics.
A second photo of the Nightflyers trolley graphics.
Deadly Class, another show on Syfy, is promoted on another half of the trolley.
Deadly Class, another show on Syfy, is promoted on another half of the trolley car.
Deadly Class on Syfy is being promoted on a San Diego trolley car with cool fan art.
Deadly Class on Syfy is being promoted on a San Diego trolley car with cool fan art.
Second photo of the Deadly Class San Diego Comic-Con trolley wrap!
Second photo of the Deadly Class San Diego Comic-Con trolley wrap!

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.

The little-known studio of an amazing artist!

A small army of Japanese kokeshi fill the James E. Watts Studio in downtown San Diego.
A small army of life-size Japanese kokeshi fill the James E. Watts Studio in downtown San Diego.

I had an utterly amazing experience today.

I was walking through downtown San Diego, along Seventh Avenue, when I noticed a small table saw out on the sidewalk. It was set up in front of an unmarked door–one that I’ve passed many times over the years. When I peered through the open door my eyes nearly popped out of my head!

Through that mysterious door I saw a wonderland!

A friendly person told me that I might step inside. That very cool, funny and interesting guy was James E. Watts, a local artist who has been creating unique works of imagination for decades in San Diego. His pieces have appeared in a variety of exhibitions and at important museums, including both the San Diego Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

Why the table saw? James Watts was just beginning a new sculpture of Quasimodo, and wooden blocks would be used to form the interior structure. Thin aluminum sheets nailed to the surface would produce the sculpture’s skin.

As you can see from the above photograph, his studio is dominated by a series of these large sculptures. They are based upon Japanese kokeshi, and his fun, symbolic pieces represent all sorts of characters from literature and history. He showed me a female Atlas, Don Quixote (with two small horses), Prometheus, Pandora, Jonah and Leviathan, and Joan of Arc. The humorous, collage-like skins were originally lunchboxes, signs, cans and other bits of colorful aluminum.

Another cool piece he showed me appears to be a combination of the Shroud of Turin, a horizontal religious shrine, and that wacky game Operation. Human anatomy is partitioned. Old age is contemplated. Bones fill box-like compartments. Colorful foam dots and dashes spell out a message in Morse code around the perimeter. The word BEAUTIFUL appears beneath the skull. (If you decipher the Morse code message, please leave a comment!)

And so I found myself standing in the middle of a fantasy world turning my eyes every which way. Rampant creativity jammed every wall, crammed every corner, was stacked high upon the floor. I could have happily lingered in that extraordinary studio all day long.

Thanks to James Watts for showing me around his artistic playground! There’s a special, little-known nook in the heart of San Diego, where one man’s imagination produces great treasures, and now I recognize the door!

James Watts near some artwork in progress. The wood blocks will fill the interior of a hunchbacked Quasimodo. I was told a bell will be placed atop the literary character's head!
James Watts near some artwork in progress. The wood blocks will fill the interior of a hunchbacked Quasimodo. I was told a bell might be placed atop the literary character’s head!
On the left a female Atlas holds up the world. To the right Don Quixote appears ready to tilt at windmills.
On the left a female Atlas holds up the world. To the right Don Quixote appears ready to tilt at windmills.
Many nudes also decorate the walls of the art gallery. They are done in various styles, reflecting famous painters of the past.
Many nudes also decorate the walls of the art gallery. They are done in various styles, reflecting famous painters of the past.
James Watts opens up a brain pan to reveal a brain!
James Watts opens up a brain pan to reveal . . . a brain!
So much cool artwork that I could barely take it all in.
So much amazing, cool artwork that I could barely take it all in.
Like a playground for a creator whose imagination seems to have no limits.
Like a playground for a creator whose imagination seems to have no limits.
I was told this abstract piece represents that brave person who stood in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square.
I was told this abstract piece represents that brave person who stood in front of the tanks at Tiananmen Square.
An imaginative piece that represents the artist's contemplation of aging. Those colorful dots and dashes form a Morse code message!
A playful piece that has emerged from the artist’s contemplation of aging. Those colorful dots and dashes form a mysterious Morse code message!

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!

Sexy space warriors and aliens in North Park!

A cool mural on the Supercuts building in North Park depicts sexy lady space warriors and wacky, evil aliens!
A cool mural on the Supercuts building in North Park depicts sexy lady space warriors and wacky, menacing aliens!

There’s a relatively new mural in North Park that replaces a cosmic mural that I blogged about here. This cool spray paint street art features two sexy space warriors and several wacky aliens! You can find it near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street.

It appears to me that certain elements of the old mural have been preserved. Have you “eyed” it?

I recently learned that a special utility box painting event will be taking place in North Park all along University Avenue and 30th Street tomorrow, and I hope to be there for the creativity, live music and fun! But right now I seem to be coming down with a cold, plus rain is predicted–so we’ll see. If I go I’ll take photos!

Ten street artists have their names on one side of this fantastic, complex spray paint art in North Park.
Ten street artists have their names on one side of this fantastic, complex spray paint art in North Park.
Looks to me like a sexy lady Boba Fett and Marvel's lethal super villain MODOK in his hover chair.
Looks to me like a sexy lady Boba Fett and Marvel’s lethal super villain MODOK in his hover chair.
Two weird space aliens and a sexy warrior with a couple of classic ray guns.
Two weird, wacky space aliens and a sexy female warrior holding two ray guns.
Looks to me like a cross between an evil green Jar Jar Binks and a toothy Alien or Venom.
Looks to me like a cross between an evil green Jar Jar Binks and a toothy Alien or Venom.
Two elements of a fun spray paint mural near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street in North Park.
Two elements of the fun spray paint mural located near the corner of El Cajon Boulevard and 30th Street in North 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!

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!

The fantastic, amazing Harper’s Topiary Garden!

People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!
People ride past what is possibly the most amazing, fantastic front yard in all of San Diego!

I walked through Middletown yesterday on a mission. I wanted to pay a visit to the locally famous Harper’s Topiary Garden!

What a fantastic, amazing creation! This private front yard on a hillside has been transformed by the residents into a eye-popping landscape of weird animals and delightful designs. I felt as though I’d stepped into a small world touched by magic.

This is one super cool sight that is undeniably extraordinary!

Human imagination coupled with passion can actually turn wildest dreams into reality!

Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I'll bet it's nothing like the Harper's Topiary Garden!
Mission Hill Garden Club asks How Does Your Garden Grow? I’ll bet it’s nothing like the Harper’s Topiary Garden!
Harper's Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah's Ark and an army of unearthly creatures paralyzed by magic.
Harper’s Topiary Garden seems to be a combination of a vegetable Noah’s Ark and an army of fantasy creatures paralyzed by magic.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A green guy in a sombrero takes a siesta. Perhaps this is his dream.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary creatures.
A funny rabbit stands and points among many topiary oddities.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
It appears that Edna Scissorhands is kept quite busy.
Harper's Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Harper’s Topiary Garden is a marvel of human creativity.
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Those who drive up this street might be in for a great surprise!
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Cats and critters with long ears lounge in the sun near the top of the wonderfully weird garden. I think I also see a robot.
Perhaps the garden was inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
Perhaps the garden is inspired a bit by the fantastic worlds of Dr. Seuss, who lived in nearby La Jolla.
A most fantastic topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!
A most amazing topiary garden. A treat for the eyes!

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!

Star Wars lightsaber combat at Maker Faire!

This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group's table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.
This member of the San Diego Sabers has personally made many lightsabers. Some examples lie on the group’s table during Maker Faire in Balboa Park.

The last couple of years at Maker Faire San Diego I’ve watched a group of Star Wars enthusiasts entertain audiences with lightsaber duels. They have engaged in their elaborate play on the main stage, swinging their illuminated lightsabers in mock combat, to rousing music from the Star Wars movies.

This year, as I walked around Maker Faire, I happened upon this group’s cool lightsaber exhibit. These local Star Wars fans call themselves the San Diego Sabers. They are one of many similar groups all around the world that make their own lightsabers and engage in mock combat.

I asked all sort of questions and learned more than I expected. Most of the extremely elaborate lightsabers used by the members produce colored light, illuminating a long clear tube that can be attached, thereby appearing much like the Jedi and Sith weapons made famous in the movies. Most of the mock weapons also generate that distinctive lightsaber sound. I learned that it’s also possible to order a variety of lightsabers from several online vendors.

Regional competitions are often held between groups, and the method of scoring is similar to that used in fencing. The sport is lightning fast, highly athletic and incorporates various styles of martial arts. The San Diego Sabers provide demos free to the public, teach all ages including kids (often using foam lightsabers for safety), and encourage acceptance, respect, and a positive attitude.

And it’s obvious they have a lot of fun!

Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
Many DIY lightsabers are surprisingly elaborate, generating light and sound, while appearing as authentic as any movie prop.
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it's free!
The San Diego Sabers provides full contact lightsaber training based on fencing, HEMA, Kendo and Wu-shu. Kids are welcome and it’s free!
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Someone picks up one of the cool lightsabers on display.
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they've got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
Members of the San Diego Sabers demonstrate mock combat using foam attachments. Together they’ve got enough lightsabers to take on General Grievous!
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
A kid checks out one of the cool lightsabers. As you might have noticed, I took these photos on two different days during Maker Faire San Diego.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Kids have a lot of fun with the foam lightsabers.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
Members of the San Diego Sabers arrive at the Maker Faire main stage in the Plaza de Panama. A combat exhibition is about to begin.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.
As Star Wars music plays, two members of the San Diego Sabers simulate an epic battle between the Jedi and Sith.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!