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!

Myth, wonder and WOW in San Diego!

Wonder, surprise, and plenty of WOW was experienced by those visiting Liberty Station today. That’s because La Jolla Playhouse was in their final day of the 2022 Without Walls Festival!

Among many outdoor performances free to the public was the colorful, kinetic procession TransMythical.

Strange, never-before-seen spirits, nature gods, high priests and mythological creatures appeared from the arches at the edge of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

As they emerged, they seemed to step tentatively into an unfamiliar world–our world.

The mysterious creatures looked about with wonder. They wandered, gathered, formed a procession.

Appearing beautifully strange–and strangely familiar–the giant puppets and masked characters interacted with the crowd in a very human way. But then–all elemental myths are composed by us human types–right?

During the performance a baby deer was born.

The mythical creatures and we humans all looked on with wonder. The fawn was greeted with happiness.

The tiny deer looked about our shared world with newly opened eyes.

These strangely wonderful myths were brought to life by the San Diego-based Animal Cracker Conspiracy!

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!

Unexpected magic inside Space 4 Art!

Unexpected magic can be discovered inside an old East Village warehouse.

The apparently unremarkable brick building is the surprising home of Space 4 Art’s artist studios!

I’ve walked near the old warehouse several times in the past, taking photos of murals on the building’s exterior, but I had no idea that rampant creativity could be found behind those walls!

Thanks to Space 4 Art’s “Open Studio” event this evening, which was combined with the San Diego Architectural Foundation’s annual Open House San Diego, I and other curious folk could look into the studios and meet friendly artists.

I learned that Space 4 Art provides affordable creative space for local artists, and acts as a neighborhood cultural center, engaging in educational outreach, particularly for youth from underserved communities.

The dream is big. They want to build a large-scale multidisciplinary Arts Center in San Diego. Want to help out? Read more about the Space 4 Art mission here! Read about their history here!

Now, do you want to see what lies behind those murals painted on the old warehouse at 340 16th Street? (A few of which can be seen on a black brick wall here.)

Take a look!

Inside the cool old warehouse. Magic awaits around every corner.
Richard is a friendly artist who creates beautiful custom ceramic pieces. Learn more about his amazing artwork here!
A peek inside another one of the studios.
One hallway wall is covered with these surprising antique clocks. In many cases, small scenes such as the one above can be found inside the clockwork.
This awesome cathedral-like creation made of crutches stands at one end of a studio work area. I learned the sculpture is for sale. Any hospitals out there need some unique artwork?
Everywhere you turn at Space 4 Art, magic produced by local artists appears.
Feeling creative?

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!

Walking down from Cortez Hill on a shining morning.

The light early this morning was magical.

A few minutes after sunrise, I walked from the top of Cortez Hill south into the heart of downtown San Diego.

Many of these photographs were taken as I turned my camera west. Look at all the golden reflections!

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!

Another Whomping Willow at City College?

It appears Hogwarts isn’t the only school with a dangerous Whomping Willow. Because our own San Diego City College seems to have one of its own!

I was walking up Park Boulevard this morning, on my way from downtown San Diego to the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park, when I spied the fantastically twisted tree. A few of its gnarled. outstretched limbs had slammed against the nearby grass, sadly crushing goodness knows what.

I avoided the walking path that passes directly next to it, just to be safe.

That is a Whomping Willow, isn’t it?

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!

Winter beauty by the San Diego River.

Please enjoy these photographs of winter beauty by the San Diego River in Mission Valley.

I framed this natural beauty during several January morning walks. Some photos were taken from the pedestrian bridge that spans the river by the Fashion Valley Transit Center; others near Mission Center Road.

Reflections created magic. White clouds in the sky floated on water. Trees were turned upside down.

Branches, leaves, river and sky danced together mysteriously.

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 beauty in one magical place.

One of our city’s most magical indoor spaces can be found floating above San Diego Bay. Those who’ve stepped onto the passenger deck of the historic ferryboat Berkeley know what I’m talking about.

People once crossed San Francisco Bay in style. That’s where this old steam ferry originated. Now the Berkeley makes its home at the Maritime Museum of San Diego, and those who visit its elegant interior are in for a treat. Especially during the holiday season.

I hadn’t planned on blogging today, but during a short walk between winter showers my feet carried me to the museum. The Christmas decorations inside the Berkeley simply had to be photographed.

Starting tomorrow, we’ll have to wait another year for Christmas, so what better time to post these photos?

Happy Holidays!

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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Santa Claus sightings around San Diego!

Santa Claus parachutes from a helicopter onto the deck of the USS Midway!

Two days until Christmas!

Over the years, Santa Claus has been sighted countless times around San Diego. And I’ve captured (or received) some fun photographs of jolly old Saint Nick!

I’ve seen Santa jumping from a helicopter, flying above San Diego Bay using a water jetpack, in holiday parades, and, of course, magically granting Christmas wishes to good boys and girls.

Please enjoy this happy collection of Santa photos!

Santa and Mrs. Claus read a joyful story during Christmas on the Prado in Balboa Park.
Santa and Mrs. Claus ride a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer, during the Mother Goose Parade in El Cajon.
Jolly old Santa makes somebody laugh in front of Balboa Park’s Federal Building. Are those two guys naughty or nice?
Surfing Santa arrives at Seaport Village by flying a water jetpack.
Multiple bearded Santas at the Over-the-Line tournament on Fiesta Island. They encourage everyone to eat healthy! (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa and Mrs. Claus smile for a photo during a Toys for Tots charity event on Navy Pier.
There’s Santa once again at Seaport Village! Looks like I took this photo during the summer of the MLB All-Star Game in San Diego.
Mrs. Claus poses with Santa during Christmas on the Prado. But he doesn’t appear like the real Santa to me.
Santa Claus waves from a fire truck during the North Park Toyland Parade.
Social Distance Santa waves at passing cars during Taste of December Nights in 2020. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa in Balboa Park once again. Like everyone else in San Diego, he must love the place.
And there’s Santa again! He’s now at the International Cottages in Balboa Park.
A smiling Santa Claus helps warm an elf nose during Christmas on the Prado. (Photo courtesy Bill Swank.)
Santa Claus brings joy to the brightly lit Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Christmas magic during December Nights in Balboa Park!

I wish everyone Happy Holidays!

I plan to take a little time off from blogging this week and next, just to relax and enjoy the season. But I’ll continue to walk, weather permitting, and take photos!

When I return in the New Year, be ready for many more Cool San Diego Sights!

Take care!


Lightning and thunder at magical Spreckels concert!

Tonight an unusual, truly magical concert was held in Balboa Park at the outdoor Spreckels Organ Pavilion.

As lightning flashed and thunder rumbled, internationally renowned organist Ahreum Han answered with her own own thunder for a small audience sheltered against the storm up on the pavilion stage.

Those of us who experienced this extraordinary concert, part of the 33rd San Diego International Organ Festival, sat almost directly under the majestic Spreckels Organ pipes and mere feet away from Ahreum Han as she played elegantly, easily, masterfully.

As you can imagine, the unusual circumstances provided a once-in-lifetime opportunity for music lovers. My goosebumps were on overdrive.

The music flowed like bright lightning from the fingers of Ahreum, and at times it seemed she was playing a duet with mighty nature. When she concluded each piece, thunder joined the applause.

You had to be there.

It was an experience an adventurous few, who refused to be deterred by a threat of lightning and rain, will never ever forget.

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 International Organ Festival returns!

Every time a world-class organist performs in Balboa Park, the Spreckels Organ shines.

Tonight the Spreckels Organ, largest outdoor instrument in the world, one of San Diego’s most unique and precious treasures, absolutely sparkled.

Concert organist Hector Olivera filled Balboa Park with magic during the first performance of the two-month-long San Diego International Organ Festival.

Hector Olivera, considered one of the greatest organists alive, took the stage with his humor and deft touch and created something extraordinary. I sat mesmerized throughout the concert. The music he summoned from the Spreckels Organ was subtle, luminous, alive.

Hector Olivera was a child prodigy. As a five-year-old he played for Eva Perón. Before he’d left his teens he’d performed for heads of state. He has since played in many of the world’s most prestigious venues.

Tonight he started the 2021 San Diego International Organ Festival with an act that will be hard to top. But more top organists are coming, including San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

If you love listening to world-class musicians you must go to this free weekly event. The Spreckels Organ shines in Balboa Park every Monday at 7:30 pm through October 25, 2021!

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!