ARTS youth add more smiles to National City!

A few weeks ago a corner store in National City was brightened by the young artists of A Reason To Survive (ARTS).

The Munchies Corner Store, at the corner of 18th Street and Palm Avenue, has been painted colorfully with many fun, smiling characters! (Including a few of the tasty snacks that await inside!)

The mission of A Reason To Survive is to lift and encourage South Bay youth to become confident, compassionate, and courageous community builders through the transformative power of creativity. As you can see, these young painters have made a positive contribution to their community!

Enjoy some photos that I took this morning. You can plainly see how the efforts of ARTS and inspired young people are making National City more welcoming and beautiful…

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!

Echoes of Africa at San Diego Library.

The Central Library in downtown San Diego has a stimulating new exhibition in its Art Gallery on the 9th floor. Echoes of Africa opened last weekend.

Contemporary works by local African American artists are contrasted with African artifacts from San Diego Mesa College’s World Cultures Art collection, including objects that demonstrate the mastery of African artisans in metal, wood, ceramics, beadwork, and textiles.

One can see how the spirit and traditions of African ancestors live on, helping to guide the hands of inspired creators in our community.

As I wandered about the gallery, I was drawn to the abstract spray painted pieces by popular San Diego muralist and graffiti artist Maxx Moses. Traditional masks were translated into complex, colorful canvases full of symbolism. I was also stunned by some truly extraordinary wood artwork by Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Other talented artists in the exhibition are Andrea Chung, Angie Jennings, and Jermaine A. Williams.

Filling the gallery are dozens of fascinating pieces, accompanied by extensive descriptions, giving curious viewers an opportunity for contemplation and learning.

Additional objects from the extensive Mesa Colleges collection can be observed in glass display cases on the first floor of the Central Library.

The exhibition will continue through August 20, 2022.

Benin, 2022, Maxx Moses. Spray paint and acrylic on canvas.
Detelumo (Helmet Mask) of the Ejagham (Ekoi) People of Cross River, Nigeria. Wood, animal skin.
AGAIN, 2021, Christopher Lloyd Tucker. Padauk, wenge, rosewood, aromatic cedar, purple heart, walnut, maple, poplar and epoxy resin.
Bwoom (Helmet Mask) of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Wood.
Kuba Cloth of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.
Ceremonial Dance Skirt of the Kuba People of Democratic Republic of Congo. Raffia fiber.

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 Symphony musicians perform magic!

The musicians of the San Diego Symphony performed magic this evening.

Together, using enchanted instruments, the magicians summoned beautiful, ephemeral music back into our world.

With quick, subtle fingers, visiting artist Gabriela Martinez cast potent spells through a grand piano. Her dancing fingers mysteriously conjured the eternal notes of Edvard Grieg’s Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16. Strong magic sprinkled the audience with soft, crystalline raindrops. And aural whirlwinds.

The concert also included Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Op. 35. Its timeless splendor was inspired by the stories of the Arabian Nights.

No wonder those fairy-tale notes were summoned by magicians!

If you’ve never listened to the San Diego Symphony at their outdoor Rady Shell, on San Diego Bay, you’re missing pure magic.

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 shaper of surfboards and lives in Oceanside.

An inspirational exhibit at the California Surf Museum in Oceanside remembers a surfing legend.

Donald Takayama: Shaping Boards and Lives highlights the accomplishments of a champion surfer and one of the world’s most recognized surfboard shapers.

Looking at the extensive exhibit last weekend, I learned how Donald Takayama at the age of twelve moved from Hawaii to Southern California, having been invited to work at a Venice Beach surf shop, shaping boards. He was paid to wear a company logo on his shirt while surfing. Wikipedia states he may have been the world’s first professional surfer.

Takayama would move to Encinitas and then Oceanside, and continue to gain international fame shaping boards. He also would win many surfing competitions, including three consecutive Masters titles in the US Surfing Championships.

More impressively, he would win the hearts of many in the community. He was beloved by friends and family and surfers all over; he mentored future champions; and he even taught his friend, San Diego Chargers legend Junior Seau–also an Oceanside resident–how to surf.

Surfer Magazine named Donald Takayama one of 25 surfers who changed the sport. He has been inducted into the International Surfboard Builder Hall of Fame.

Visitors to the California Surf Museum will observe how one person changed the world around him in so many positive ways. They will see the enduring achievements of a great man.

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 Perfect Day (and other stories) in Oceanside!

What does a Perfect Day look like in Oceanside? To find out, you should visit the Oceanside Museum of Art!

In one museum gallery, the exhibited art of James E. Watts not only includes the above Perfect Day Blocks, but numerous other visual stories!

Here’s how the story of one Perfect Day begins…

…and how that Perfect Day ends.

Here’s the story of Frankenstein and his monster creation…

…and the story of Don Quixote, Sancho Panza, and two small horses…

…and the story of a female Prometheus…

…and the story of Quasimodo, Esmeralda and a goat.

Do these stories appear familiar? Perhaps you’ve already seen them “written” in James Watts’ little-known downtown San Diego studio: here and here and here.

If that’s the case, you might also recognize a few of these storytelling pieces in the Oceanside Museum of Art’s gift shop…

Art enthusiasts, take note! James Watts is a creative genius and an absolute, 100% original. He’s also a cool guy!

You need to visit the Oceanside Museum of Art to jump into his rich stories firsthand. Do so by July 17, 2022, when JAMES E. WATTS: STORYTELLER turns its last page.

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!

Fusion and the futuristic science of Star Trek!

A fascinating panel convened yesterday at San Diego’s Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park. The Science of Star Trek – Travel at Warp Speed featured a Star Trek editor, a Star Trek writer, and three scientists from General Atomics, which is headquartered here in San Diego.

The event coincided with the Comic-Con Museum’s current exhibition honoring Gene Roddenberry, the creator of Star Trek.

Five panelists focused primarily on the technology of nuclear fusion, which has been pioneered at General Atomics for many decades. Fusion powers the fictional impulse engines of Star Trek’s starships.

It was fun to learn that Star Trek was a major inspiration of David Humphreys, a nuclear fusion scientist who has worked at General Atomics for 40 years! (Incidentally, his favorite captain is Kirk.)

All sorts of different Star Trek technology, like the matter/anti-matter warp drive, tricorders and communicators, were touched upon. The panelists loved that much of Star Trek’s speculative tech has been based on real physics and scientific possibility. Remember how Kirk would sit in the captain’s chair and sign off on a device that looked like a tablet? Some of that once-fictional tech exists today!

Other not-so-realistic Star Trek technology would be used merely as a plot device. The transporters allowed a story (and Dr. McCoy’s scrambled molecules) to quickly transition from scene to scene. Human scale teleportation remains a somewhat unlikely dream. (But who knows?)

The most exciting part of the discussion concerned the imminent emergence of sustained nuclear fusion as a potentially limitless source of cheap, clean energy. Unlike nuclear fission, with its dangerous radioactive waste and chain reaction, the technology that produces fusion is inherently safe. And its “fuel” is hydrogen, which is practically limitless. The trick is energizing and concentrating hydrogen atoms so that they fuse and become helium, as they do inside the very, very hot sun. No easy task!

Fusion has made such tremendous advances that the world now stands at the brink of major breakthroughs, due primarily to the ITER project–one of the largest scientific programs in human history–where 35 nations from around the world hope to perfect and share practical working technology. General Atomics produced the super powerful magnets utilized by ITER.

Another thing the panelists addressed is how young people today can take part in this exciting future. Diverse, good-paying jobs connected to fusion technology are going to be plentiful. General Atomics is looking for interns! Can you imagine a more interesting place to work and learn?

It was great to see how San Diego’s own General Atomics is helping to lead the way to a world that will be completely transformed in a positive way by nuclear fusion. And it was inspiring to see scientists from General Atomics out in the community. They also participated in the Barrio Logan STEAM Block Party, which I blogged about last weekend.

When I was in middle school, many moons ago, we went on a field trip to General Atomics. I remember how the scientists briefly fired their fusion reactor under a huge protective pool of water. Now, almost half a century later, we are at the cusp of something so huge, the world might be transformed beyond anything that even the creators of Star Trek envisioned!

Oh–the next photo, taken on the main floor of the Comic-Con Museum, is of Star Trek cosplayers belonging to the Science Fiction Coalition. Live long and prosper!

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 secret place for High Flight in Coronado.

In Coronado, in a secret place overlooking the Coronado Yacht Club, there’s a shady nook where the human spirit can find High Flight.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England during World War II. On December 11, 1941, at the age of 19, his Spitfire accidentally collided with another plane and he crashed to his death. Learn more about him here.

If you’d like to sit on this special bench in Coronado, and gaze quietly out at the world’s beauty, make your way to the corner of Glorietta Boulevard and Ynez Place.

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!

Beautiful geometry at South Chula Vista Library.

In the quiet of a public library, the world’s infinite pages readily open and curious minds flourish.

Certain libraries offer even more. They are designed for the spirit. The South Branch of the Chula Vista Library is such a place. It’s an urban retreat where eyes hungry for beauty can feast!

I walked around the South Chula Vista Library last weekend. I had never visited it before.

The building’s unusual architecture became apparent as I approached from the street.

Wandering about, I was struck by the many basic geometric shapes that, joined together, help produce the library’s unique beauty. Colorful forms are contrasted with green plant life, and the many indoor and outdoor windows make the library feel like a fluid three-dimensional space that’s both intimate and part of a larger sunny world. Anyway, that’s what I felt. I felt inspired.

The South Chula Vista Branch Library was built under the direction of renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorretta in 1995. Learn more about the architect and his other work here.

I took these random photos…

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!

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Exhibit of 19th century patent models at UCSD.

Anyone interested in inventions, technology and history would love an exhibit now on display at UC San Diego. The fourth floor of the Design and Innovation Building is where you’ll find Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention.

The exhibit features 19th century patent models from the collection of the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware.

Some of the artifacts might appear primitive and quaint to those who live in the 21st century, but they’re a reminder that unlimited human imagination and generations of visionaries, experimenters and builders have produced the complex technology that we take for granted today.

I walked around the exhibit last Saturday, peering into various glass display cases and reading signs that detail the history and progress of American invention.

I learned that by the late 1860’s, during the golden age of American invention, more than 13,000 patents were issued every year. But as applications continued to increase in number, the resulting deluge of patent models became difficult to cope with. After a change in regulations by the Commissioner of Patents in 1880, models eventually became a rare part of the patent application process.

Inventors highlighted in the exhibit include women, immigrants and people of color, and there are descriptions of struggles through the years for equal recognition and opportunity. Many of the inventors were “everyday” people inspired by a really good idea.

Patent Models: A Celebration of American Invention is open through November 6, 2022. Reservations are required. You can reserve a tour by visiting this page.

I took a few photos…

The spirit of ingenuity characterizes America…
Patent Model – Life-preserving state room for navigable vessels. Patent #20,426.
Patent Model – Improvement in electro-magnetic induction-coils. Patent #138,316.
Women invented in industries ranging from agriculture to shipping…
Patent models by 19th century women inventors.

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!

Inspirational street art at Allied Gardens school!

Look at all the inspirational street art painted in Allied Gardens, just outside Stephen C. Foster Elementary School!

The artwork on several electrical boxes was painted by Mindful Murals, whose positive messages inspire and motivate students at a variety of schools around San Diego.

Colorfully written outside Foster Elementary are the words Creativity Is Contagious…Pass It On. To encourage learning, there are also images of a pencil, a palette, a book and a computer, a question mark inside a light bulb, and the mathematical symbol for pi.

As I walked through Allied Gardens this past weekend, I was excited and pleased to happen upon this great Mindful Murals art!

Three years ago I was given a cool tour of their motivational art at Edison Elementary School in City Heights. See 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!