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!

Amusing photographs from Comic-Con!

He told me his name is Pickle Rick.
He told me his name is Pickle Rick.

Here’s a collection of amusing photos I took today while walking around San Diego Comic-Con.

At least, they are amusing to me.

I've heard of pitching with extra mustard on it, but this is ridiculous.
I’ve heard of pitching with extra mustard on it, but this is ridiculous.
A little girl who hates clowns couldn't wait to see Pennywise munched to pieces by Sharkzilla.
A little girl who hates clowns couldn’t wait to see Pennywise munched to pieces by Sharkzilla.
The black Symbiote Costume is making Spider-Man act a bit erratically.
The black Symbiote Costume is making Spider-Man act a bit erratically.
It's Bullwinkle!
It’s Bullwinkle!
An odd pair.
A rather odd pair.
Waiting for the next moon walk.
Waiting patiently for the next moon walk.
That cosplay photo won't fit in one frame.
That cosplay photo won’t fit in one frame.
Joker tells reporter this town needs an enema.
Joker tells reporter this town needs an enema.
Fortunately, this guy doesn't need any sunscreen.
Fortunately, this guy doesn’t need any sunscreen.
Spaceballs cosplay! I gotta watch that great movie again.
A great Spaceballs cosplay! Woohoo! I gotta watch that movie again.
Captain Marvel in a police lineup.
Captain Marvel somehow ended up in a police lineup.
Forgive me, but I laughed.
Forgive me, but I laughed.
Absurd. But that's the wonder of Comic-Con!
Completely absurd. But that’s one wonderful aspect Comic-Con!
I think that's Lumière. Or a guy who missed a payment on his electric bill.
I think that’s Lumière from Beauty and the Beast. Or a guy who missed a payment on his electric bill.
Try to be more gruesome next time.
I’m not convinced. Try to be more gruesome next time.
A smiling Ebenezer Scrooge can't be too far behind.
A smiling Ebenezer Scrooge can’t be too far behind.
It appears these stormtroopers just got back from a vacation in Hawaii.
Looks like these stormtroopers just got back from a vacation in Hawaii.

Six blog posts in one day is a record for me. I suppose I’m having too much fun.

Perhaps I should take a nap.

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!

Amusing photos for April Fools.

"Ugly old crap." --Some Lady On Yelp
“Ugly old crap.” –Some Lady On Yelp

You should not be amused.

The following series of photos, taken over the past few weeks, are so high-minded and deadly serious that smiles are not permitted.

April Fools!

BEWARE OF SHARK
BEWARE OF SHARK
Live every day like it's Taco Tuesday!
Live every day like it’s Taco Tuesday!
NUNS ROCK!
NUNS ROCK!
Waffle hats are in style at Cafe 222.
Waffle hats are in style at Cafe 222.
I'd hit that!
I’d hit that!
BOODEGA - CORNER MONSTORE - KILLER DEALS - WE ACCEPT MONSTERCARD - EYE SCREAM -CHILLING DRINKS - GROSSERIES - DEAD MEATS
BOODEGA – CORNER MONSTORE – KILLER DEALS – WE ACCEPT MONSTERCARD – EYE SCREAM – CHILLING DRINKS – GROSSERIES – DEAD MEATS
Sometimes I open my mouth and my Mother comes out.
Sometimes I open my mouth and my Mother comes out.
The Empire Strips Back
The Empire Strips Back
You can caption this one!
You can caption this one!

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!

FOLLOWING THE WORDS of Quincy Troupe.

This morning I walked beside poetry. I followed a bright stream of playful words that were written in 2008 by Quincy Troupe.

FOLLOWING THE WORDS is poetry inscribed along the top of a low concrete wall. The wall stretches between The New Children’s Museum and their garden and playground.

To learn a little more about Quincy Troupe, and to see more photos of this small, joyful refuge in downtown San Diego, click here.

WORDS WALK A PATHWAY
INTO OUR MINDS, THEY JUMP QUICK
BEHIND A HOPPING
FROG, GUIDING US LIKE A SCOUT
INTO THE LANGUAGE WE BOP,
WORDS POP BIG AS EYES
OF FROGS, WHO HOP AND PLOP, BOP
THROUGH WORDS ZIG-ZAGGING
THROUGH SENTENCES, HOT AND COOL
AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS ARE WEARING,
THEY ARE COLORFUL,
THESE WORDS THAT BLIP, BLOP AND PLOP,
UP AND DOWN THEY GO,
LIKE OUR SCOUT, THE HOPPING TOAD,
THERE HE GOES, JUMPING LIKE WORDS,
SOME HE TOTES INSIDE
A SACK ON HIS BACK, BOUNCING,
BROWN-GREEN AS HIS SKIN,
THESE WORDS ARE HEAVY
LOADS FOR TOADS SAME THING AS FROGS
TO CARRY, THESE KNOTS, ZIG-ZAGGING, COOL, WORDS, BOPPING,
SKIPPING ALONG, SKEEDADLING
ALONG THIS PATHWAY,
WE FOLLOW WORDS AS THEY HOP
BEHIND OUR SCOUT-TOAD
OR FROG, IF YOU LIKE THAT WORD,
FOLLOW THEM TO WHERE THEY END
INSIDE THE MUSEUM,
WHERE WORDS BECOME FREEDOM, ART,
MUSIC AND KNOWLEDGE,
POETRY, DANCING, BIG FUN,
HIP AS FLIP-FLOPS KIDS HAVE ON

COOL RAP, FLIP-FLOPPING,
WORDS THAT RATTAMATAT, JAZZ
ZIG-ZAG THROUGH VOICES,
CARRY CHOICES THROUGH TALKING,
SENTENCES SKEEDADLING, WORDS,
BRIGHT INSIDE KID’S MINDS,
MADE NEWS, ABOVE THEIR FUTURE,
A NEW SUN RISING
EACH MORNING NEW, AND WE CAN
TOUCH IT WHEN WE SPREAD OUR WINGS
AND FLY LIKE A BIRD
THROUGH OUR OWN MINDS, THROUGH OUR OWN
SKIES, INSIDE OUR MINDS,
WE CAN TOUCH MAGIC INSIDE
OUR OWN IMAGINATIONS,
TOUCH IT, THE MAGIC,
WATCH YOUR MIND GO FLYING
LIKE A BIRD, NOW, HIGH
UP IN THE BLUE, WATCH YOURSELF,
YOUR MIND SOAR, SKEEDADLING, NOW

SKEEDADLING VOICES
SHIMMY SHIMMY SHANGLE, BOP,
SASHAY, SKEEZOOZOO
THROUGH, HIP WORDS THEY HOP, POP,
AS RAINBOW CHILDREN PLOP, SHINE
IT’S PLAYTIME, SPARKLING
WITH LAUGHTER, SKEEDADLING LIKE
OCEAN WAVES DRUMMING,
A CHOIR OF BIRDS, SHOWERING
RAIN, SOFT AS CHILDREN’S FOOTSTEPS
CHILDREN’S FACES BLOOM
LIKE FLOWERS IN JUNE, DAZZLING,
SPARKLE LIKE TINKLING
WATERFALLS, RINSING, PURE SOUNDS,
BRIGHT ROSE PETALS ON THE GROUND,
YOU ARE YOUR OWN SONG
SINGING SWEET MUSIC, COLORS,
NOTES INSIDE LAUGHTER,
FREEDOM IS TIME, NOW,
YOU ARE LIVING IN YOURSELF
WHEN YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE,
THEIR FACES AGAINST
WHITE WALLS, ARE FLOWER PETALS
POPPING INTO ROOMS
OUT IN GREEN BUSHES
FROGS SERENADE THE MOON, SKY
AS CATS CHASE SHADOWS
YOU CAN TOUCH IT, TOUCH
IT, NOW, THROUGH YOUR POET’S PEN,
YOUR PAINTER’S BRUSHSTROKE,
THE SUN INSIDE YOUR MIND, TOO,
REACH IN, TOUCH IT, TOUCH IT NOW

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 short story about travelling hearts.

I was startled this morning during my walk through the Gaslamp Quarter.

Something peculiar was moving directly toward me along the sidewalk. For a split second I thought it was a person.

Then I did a double take.

A bundle of heart-shaped balloons was heading my way!

The cluster of balloons moved slowly down the sidewalk, propelled by a gentle breeze. Occasionally they’d float upward a foot or two, then quietly float back to Earth.

The travelling hearts came to a street corner. They seemed to hesitate. They turned decisively and began steadily down another sidewalk!

After venturing into a patio space in front of one building, they lifted with apparent delight and settled down. They leaned against the rail.

Perhaps they wanted to watch people–other travelling hearts–go by.

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!

To read a few honest-to-goodness short stories that I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A small bird, and humor’s saving grace.

This morning I published another short story. This one is titled The Station Sparrow.

The humorous little tale was inspired by my own life experience.

I often see birds inside the enormous passenger waiting room of Santa Fe Depot, the train station in downtown San Diego. Feathered infiltrators come through the wide open doors and walk about the floor pecking at crumbs.

That got me to thinking. And imagining. And laughing.

The Station Sparrow is mostly about life, and humor’s saving grace. Click the link to read it.

I hope it makes you laugh, too.

Photos of beautiful flowers in Mission Valley.

This morning I was walking to work through Mission Valley, searching right and left for something interesting to photograph, when I had to suddenly laugh at myself. I was passing hundreds of wonders that grew inches from my feet!

Beautiful flowers bloomed all along the city sidewalk!

These photos were taken as I walked up Mission Center Road north of Friars Road, near Civita.

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!