A quiet December morning on the Broadway Pier.

It's early December in San Diego. JOY has returned to the foot of Broadway Pier for the holiday season.
JOY has returned to the foot of Broadway Pier for the holiday season.

It’s early December and San Diego’s latest rainstorm has passed. This morning I walked out onto the Broadway Pier.

What did I see?

A United States Coast Guard buoy tender is docked at Broadway Pier.
A United States Coast Guard buoy tender is docked at Broadway Pier.
It appears a navigational buoy is being replaced in the bay, or the ocean off San Diego. A very unusual sight!
It appears a navigational buoy is being replaced in the bay, or perhaps in the Pacific Ocean off San Diego. A very unusual sight!
A reflection in a puddle of downtown high-rises.
A reflection in a silver puddle of downtown high-rises.
Looks like a food truck might be missing their menu board!
Looks like a food truck might be missing their menu board!
Early morning at the end of Broadway Pier. All is quiet.
A little after sunrise at the end of Broadway Pier. All is quiet.
Dew drops on the outdoor chairs and tables.
Dew drops on the outdoor chairs and tables.
Here comes the Coronado Ferry, passing the USS Midway Museum.
Here comes the Coronado Ferry, passing the USS Midway Museum. Not many passengers this early in the day.
A gull takes flight as I turn on the pier back toward Broadway. Time to catch the trolley for work.
A gull takes flight as I turn on the pier to head back toward Broadway. Time to catch the trolley for work.

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!

Christmas Around the World at Balboa Park.

Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.
Carnival mask with Christmas ornaments at the House of Italy.

Christmas on the Prado is being held today in Balboa Park. The event, while not nearly as large as December Nights, is special to many in San Diego because it is primarily religious, celebrating the birth of Christ.

This afternoon I wandered randomly about the International Cottages, seeing what I might see. Most of the cottages were open for the event and many contained Christmas trees and unique decorations.

I photographed a variety of crafts and beautiful displays, which are said to represent Christmas Around the World.

People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
People roam about the International Cottages to get a taste of Christmas Around the World.
Making paper Christmas tree ornaments at the House of Norway.
Making paper Christmas ornaments at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A folksy Christmas tablecloth at the House of Norway.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
A craft bedecked Christmas tree at the House of Denmark.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Entertainment at the International Cottages during 2019 Christmas on the Prado.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
Beautiful holiday season decorations at the House of Finland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
A golden Black Madonna with Christ child at the House of Poland.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
Season Greeting and Jingle Bells seat covers at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
A bright little Christmas tree at the House of England.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Kids could make holiday crafts in the patio at the House of Ireland.
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
Painting pine cones in Christmas colors!
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
A traditional Christmas tree at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Happy needlework at the House of Germany.
Father Christmas and children in a winter wonderland. Joyful needlework at the House of Germany.

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!

Concert celebrates organist Jared Jacobsen.

This evening there was a special concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. Former Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen was celebrated.

Jared Jacobsen was the fifth official San Diego Civic Organist, serving from 1978 to 1985. In more recent years, I was fortunate to hear him extract magic from the great Spreckels Organ on those memorable Sundays when he was a substitute organist.

This summer he tragically passed away.

Thinking back, I recall that whenever I attended one of his concerts, his easy smile, wit, and his sparkling music always made me feel joy.

The concert this evening, performed by Civic Organist Emeritus Robert Plimpton and current Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez, featured the exact same selections that were performed during Jared Jacobsen’s final concert on the Spreckels Organ, on January 1, 2019.

During the concert many words were spoken of Jared Jacobsen’s character, and of how he touched those around him. There were heartfelt tributes by Jean Samuels, President of the Spreckels Organ Society; Lyle Blackington, Spreckels Organ Curator Emeritus; Jeremy Kaercher, of the First Lutheran Church of San Diego where Jared was Director of Music; and a very moving recollection of Jared’s humanity and generous spirit by Christine Micu, of The Bishop’s School in La Jolla where Jared taught.

I jotted down some words that were spoken.

“…he was gifted, charming, and he showed us all how to be a great human being…he was a superstar…his vitality was infectious…contagious zest for life…he was never a self-promoter…his verbal skills were equal to his musical skills…a living encyclopedia…elegant simplicity…the kindest and most caring person…to put it simply, he made people happy…his capacity to sparkle and spread light wherever he went…”

The popularity and success of the great Spreckels Organ today owes much to the tireless efforts and optimism of Jared Jacobsen.

More importantly, thousands of lives have been enriched by the spirit of one beloved man.

His music plays on.

A celebration of life in Balboa Park.

A violin, drums, didgeridoo and belly dancers fill the Plaza de Panama with life.
Violin, drums, didgeridoo and belly dancers fill the Plaza de Panama with life.

Life is celebrated every day in Balboa Park. But today was special. It’s the weekend of Día de Los Muertos.

This is a special time when we remember those who’ve gone before. A time to reflect and be grateful.

As I walked through the park, I could see glowing memories from the past; and new memories that will be cherished in future life.

Walking through green Balboa Park one bright Sunday afternoon in early November.
Walking through green Balboa Park one bright Sunday afternoon in the beginning of November.
The Casa del Prado Theater rises beyond the Natural History Museum.
The dreamlike Casa del Prado Theater rises beyond the Natural History Museum.
The Bard shows me a wise quote about human failings and nobility.
The Bard shows me a wise quote about human failings and nobility.
The smile of a street performer in Balboa Park.
The sudden smile of a street performer in Balboa Park.
Día de Los Muertos scene inside an aquarium at the San Diego Tropical Fish Society show.
Día de Los Muertos scene inside an aquarium at the San Diego Tropical Fish Society show.
Resting with a best friend by the Lily Pond.
Resting with a best friend by the Lily Pond.
Pumpkins add color to the many plants growing inside the Botanical Building.
Pumpkins add seasonal color to the many plants growing inside the Botanical Building.
Enjoying life while hanging out in sunshine at Nate's Point Dog Park.
Enjoying life while hanging out in sunshine at Nate’s Point Dog Park.
Strolling through the beautiful Panama-California Sculpture Court.
Strolling through the beautiful Panama-California Sculpture Court.
Walking and rolling through the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Walking and rolling through the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
A bird greets people in front of the House of Ireland. I learned this cockatoo knows one word: Hello!
A bird greets people in front of the House of Ireland. I learned this cockatoo knows one word: Hello!
Yummy kababs on the grill during the House of Iran lawn program.
Yummy kababs getting ready on the grill during the House of Iran lawn program.
Looks like a Batmobile coming through the park.
Looks like a Batmobile is coming through the park.
The audience participated with the Spreckels Organ as a fun rendition of the Addams Family theme song was produced with odd instruments!
Audience members participated on stage with the Spreckels Organ. A fun Halloween rendition of the Addams Family theme song was produced with odd instruments!
Your smile is love, is the world, is magical fairies, is contagious, is happiness.
Your smile is love, is the world, is magical fairies, is contagious, is happiness.
Setting up for the Day of the Dead Celebration by the Old Globe.
Setting up for the Day of the Dead Celebration by the Old Globe.
A face is painted to resemble a skull, to honor and remember the departed.
A face is painted to resemble a skull, to honor and remember the departed.
Día de Los Muertos crayon art produced by someone during the Old Globe's festival.
Día de Los Muertos crayon art produced by someone during the Old Globe’s festival.
These musicians were ready to celebrate life!
These musicians were ready to celebrate life!

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!

Public art in Escondido: two female bronzes.

Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.

Two female bronze sculptures welcome visitors to the Plaza Civic Center shopping mall in Escondido. I saw them yesterday as I walked to the California Center for the Arts. The sculptures can be found on North Escondido Boulevard, directly across from the regional cultural complex.

Both fine pieces of public art were created by local sculptor Gale Pruitt. Lorelei depicts a woman summoning with her outstretched arm as she lies on a rock, just as the siren-like figure in German lore. Elation depicts a girl with her head bent skyward in joyful ecstasy.

I took several photos!

Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Lorelei, Gale Pruitt, 2005.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.
Elation, Gale Pruitt, 2006.

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 most magical circus in the world!

Today I was wowed by amazing, dazzling, stupefying performances at the most magical circus in the world!

I know for a fact that I experienced the most powerful magic. I saw it, heard it, smelled it, got goosebumps. I felt magic in my sudden laughter and in my soaring heart. I saw magic in the joyful smiles of each circus performer.

The Zoppé Family Circus is performing this weekend at the California Center for the Arts in Escondido. They are a circus whose history goes back to 1842, when, according to their website:

“. . . a young French street performer named Napoline Zoppé wandered into a plaza in Budapest, Hungary, looking for work. There, his eyes glanced upon a beautiful equestrian ballerina named Ermenegilda, who captured the hearts and minds of the crowd with her grace and showmanship. More important, this talented beauty captured Napoline’s heart.

Unfortunately, Napoline was a clown, and Ermenegilda’s father saw him as beneath her and disapproved of their relationship. The two ran away to Venice, Italy, and founded the circus that still bears their name . . .”

Today, the Zoppé Family Circus is filling our world with the time-tested magic of an Old World traditional circus. As Giovanni Zoppé explained when he welcomed the audience to the show, an authentic circus is all about family, tradition and struggle, and happiness and heartbreak.

I could see that the performers are also motivated by passion and a very deep love for what they do.

I spoke to Giovanni briefly, and he was such a nice person. I mean really nice.

After I got home, I did some reading and learned: “Giovanni Zoppé, the director of the circus and a sixth-generation performer, says the show aims higher than what passes for circuses these days. ‘We try to touch every emotion during the show,’ he says. ‘They’ll laugh, they’ll cry, and they’ll feel for the characters. It’s more of an event than a show.’

His performance as Nino the clown was hilarious, winning and utterly human. It was perfect. It was masterful.

The entire spectacle was fantastic.

Under the big top, in the spotlight at the center of the ring, the magic of the Zoppé Family Circus never ceased. There was magic in the acrobats, trapeze act, jugglers and tightwire act. There was magic in the trick horse riding and the lady who shot an arrow with perfect accuracy using her feet while doing a handstand. There was magic in the mustachioed fellow who flew through the air absurdly with a rope tied to his hair. He spun like a top, circled high above the ring, soared like a bird. There was magic in the glittering costumes, and the smell of sawdust and buttery popcorn, and the excited chatter and laughter of children. There was magic when Nino couldn’t find his hat, then couldn’t reach it when it dangled from the top of a broomstick that he held.

There was magic in every single moment.

My camera failed to take good photos in the subdued light under the big top. But I got some photos in front of the tent during a humorous pre-show performance.

In my photos you can see a little bit of that magic. And much of the humanity.

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!

Remembering the music of Jared Jacobsen.

Notes of elegance and joy are missing from the world.

Today, during the Sunday organ concert at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I learned that former San Diego Civic Organist Jared Jacobsen has passed away.

The news is sudden and painful.

I don’t believe I ever heard Jared play during his tenure as San Diego Civic Organist, which lasted from 1978 to 1985. But I have occasionally heard him playing the Spreckels Organ as a Sunday substitute, and have been dazzled by his artistry during past International Summer Organ Festivals.

The music that flowed through him was polished, elegant and above all joyful.

His notes uplifted every person who listened in the audience. He made thousands of lives more beautiful. He had a great smile and sense of humor, and uncommon poise, and a love for the organ, the King of Instruments. His passion came through during every performance.

I was told a memorial concert is being planned, to be held during an evening at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

I just want to say I miss him.

UPDATE

There is to be a special concert to honor Jared’s life and music. From the Spreckels Organ Society blog:

Celebration for Jared: Free Concert on Saturday Nov 23 at 5 p.m.

A special concert, presented free to the public by Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego Civic Organist, and Robert Plimpton, San Diego Civic Organist Emeritus, together with other artists as noted below. The purpose of this concert is honor the life and music of Jared Jacobsen (1949-2019), San Diego’s Fifth Official Civic Organist from 1978-85. Jared was a musical inspiration to all who knew him! This concert will convene friends and admirers from near and far for a reprise (and augmentation) of his final concert on the Spreckels Organ, which was held on January 1st of this year.

To honor Jared, the Spreckels Organ Society has named its Education Fund for him. All donations received by the Society at Saturday’s concert will be matched dollar-for-dollar by individual gifts from the Spreckels Organ Society’s Trustees, up to the amount of $12,000. Online donations are also accepted.