Joy on a Mission Bay bench.

There’s a bench on Mission Bay where one can find joy. It’s located on the mostly quiet pathway of South Shores Park, by a small beach directly south of Fiesta Island.

There is water and sky, sunshine, a pleasant breeze. And a plaque…

IN JOY WITH

JOAN E. HELLER

MAY 29,1936 – SHE’S STILL HERE

SIT DOWN, RELAX & LOOK AT THE VIEW

ENJOY YOURSELF

Sit a while on this bench, resume your journey down the path, and you will still be here.

That joy will remain with you.

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’s joyful Reopening Celebration Concert!

This evening San Diego is celebrating the reopening of our city after the long, very difficult lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. An epic Reopening Celebration Concert is underway at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park even as I type this!

I watched for about an hour and a half, while there was ample light to take photographs. What I saw on the stage was pure joy. Love of life.

Before the concert began, everyone in the audience grabbed a free ice cream treat courtesy of Forever Balboa Park (the recent merger of two organizations: Friends of Balboa Park and the Balboa Park Conservancy).

Then here came the first performance!

The Enchanted Tail was an operatic fairy tale for kids, by the awesome group Opera4Kids. The sweet, very funny opera featured a woodsman turned into a fox by a wicked witch, a lost voice, a crown, a cunning princess under a sleeping spell–and how a potentially tragic conflict is resolved happily through self-sacrifice and mutual compassion.

Then here came the San Diego Youth Ballet!

Then, to rousing cheers, here came Balboa Park’s own amazing, super energetic dance group, San Diego Civic Dance Arts!

After a wardrobe change, the group danced to Queen’s rock and roll classic Bohemian Rhapsody, played on the Spreckels Organ by San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez!

A triumphant performance!

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!

The pure joy of Naruwan Taiko!

Pure joy.

Take a look at the faces of Naruwan Taiko. The San Diego taiko group performed yesterday afternoon in City Heights at Music en la Calle.

Imagine listening to these drums beating in unison. They shake you to the core with their thundering unabashed joy.

The unstoppable beats transmit a resounding Love of Life.

Diana, founder and director of the taiko group, wrote the final piece. It slowly rose, gained energy, soared. As it soared each member of Naruwan Taiko took a turn with their own unique drumming.

Diana explained how taiko awakens something big within you.

That big thing sounds like a heartbeat.

If you want to wear a smile that big, and get a good workout, too, why not join Naruwan Taiko? Here’s 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!

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!

Paloma Flamenco dancing at Music en la Calle!

Yesterday afternoon I spent a couple of hours at Music en la Calle, a wonderful, free cultural event brought to the City Heights community by Bodhi Tree Concerts. Families and neighbors were treated to music, dance and even a circus performance at the new permanent outdoor tent of Fern Street Circus.

I loved every performance. And I took oodles of photographs! So many that I’m going to share them over several blog posts!

To start, I thought you might enjoy these photos of Paloma Flamenco. Their expressive dancing, bursting with fire, passion, exuberance and joy, makes a fine visual representation of the diverse colors that were brought to life at Music en la Calle.

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!

Live organ concerts return to Balboa Park!

Hooray! Live organ concerts are returning to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park! The free Sunday concerts at two o’clock resume this weekend!

The COVID-19 pandemic made public gatherings of this sort out of the question for a very, very long time. Weekly concerts, performed on the Spreckels Organ by world-renowned San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez, could only be heard online.

But that horrible episode is over, and one of my very favorite activities is back!

Be sure to mark Sunday at 2:00 pm on your calendar. I just did!

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!

Trolley Dances at San Diego State University!

Late this morning I was at the SDSU Transit Center during a Trolley Dances performance!

I captured these images of a dance that took place by the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, at the end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over College Avenue.

As the mobile audience group arrived up the stairs from the underground SDSU trolley station, the dancers slowly took their positions, each providing the gathering onlookers with a small wave. It soon became clear to me the modest waves were the beginning of their dance.

The dancers began as individuals, performing small gestures in their own circle, seeming to prepare for a big moment together, but somehow shy. Sometimes they would gesture toward the audience, as if yearning for a joining.

Then came sudden magic. The dancers became one. They leaped, reached, swayed, strutted, energized by their joyful togetherness. And then came the victorious ending, when together they moved away into the distance, arms raised.

At least that’s kind of how I interpreted the dance.

What do you see?

Trolley Dances continues tomorrow only–Sunday–so if you want to experience this for yourself (plus three other fantastic dances, all near Green Line trolley stations), go to the San Diego Dance Theater website right now to find out more!

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 lights brighten historic house in Bankers Hill!

The historic Forward House in Bankers Hill is brightly lit with Christmas decorations once again! This amazing holiday display has become a tradition in San Diego!

The Forward House, located at the intersection of 1st Avenue and Ivy Street, was built in 1905 for John F. Forward Sr., who would become San Diego’s mayor from 1907 to 1909. The historic house is now home to American Security Mortgage.

I walked through Bankers Hill as night fell to see these fantastic Christmas lights. I wasn’t the only one snapping 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!

Holiday lights on two landmark buildings!

After sunset I photographed two landmark buildings in San Diego that are illuminated with colorful lights this holiday season!

Until this Friday, December 18, the County Administration Building is lit blue and white to celebrate Hanukkah.

The County Administration Building in San Diego lit blue and white during Hanukkah.

And as usual in Bankers Hill, the Manchester Financial Centre building, long-time home of Mister A’s, is lit red and green and strung with many colors to celebrate Christmas!

The colorfully lit Manchester Financial Centre building in Bankers Hill with Christmas trees at each corner!

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!

Colorful kites above Coronado Cays!

Colorful kites were filling the blue sky today above Coronado Cays Park!

I almost got a kink in my neck staring up at them!

They seemed like a flock of tropical birds taking flight above the palm trees. I walked along a winding pathway then over the grass, circling around the many kites and passing underneath them.

They were alive up there in the sunlight.

Many others had gathered in the park to observe the magic. And to fly their own kite.

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 bit of holiday magic in Balboa Park!

A bit of familiar holiday magic has returned to Balboa Park!

On Sunday the Old Globe had a virtual online event for the annual lighting of their Christmas Tree. Tonight, shortly after sunset, I walked from Bankers Hill into Balboa Park to see if the “Grinchmas Tree” was lit.

It was!

Fewer people than usual were walking about the park in the early evening. It’s the year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in the night the recently enacted curfew would begin.

As I continued walking down El Prado I saw no other holiday lights in the park, but I’m sure that will change during this year’s “drive-through” December Nights event.

Balboa Park might seem strangely quiet this holiday season, but in front of the Old Globe bright magic has reappeared!

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!