Dancers portray the homeless in San Diego.

Audience looks down with expectation as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.
Audience looks down as a dancer portrays a homeless person during the first stage of 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center.

This morning I watched the first dance of the 2018 Trolley Dances at Hazard Center shopping mall. This unique annual event is a production of the San Diego Dance Theater.

Arriving early, I stood a couple of floors above the outdoor performance, and let my eyes wander about as I took in the entire scene.

The first dance portrayed the homeless. As the invisible curtain rose, dancers, who sat alone among their scant possessions, rose and converged in a dizzy, tragic performance.

Two male dancers tussled over a shopping cart, but that seemed to be the extent of their malice. The twisting dance showed troubled souls coming together, having a moment of hope and happiness, raising each other up before departing to go their separate ways.

After the first dance ended, I followed the mobile audience as they were led west down the nearby San Diego River Trail to the next outdoor stage. Chairs were set up short of the place where Highway 163 crosses Mission Valley.

I continued walking. What I saw thereafter wasn’t part of the program.

As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
As the audience gathers on the south side of the Hazard Center shopping mall, one performer appears be homeless, sitting alone.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The gathered audience awaits the first outdoor dance of 2018 Trolley Dances.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes on to the stage.
The performance begins, and another dancer rushes onto the stage.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The dance portrays different people who are homeless.
Dancers converge in front of the audience. The raw, disturbing dance portrays the lives of different people who are homeless.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
Dancers move about fluidly, showing a variety of emotions, including pain, loss, uncertainty, anger, hopelessness.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is actually empty.
A shopping cart is a focal prop. Seen from above, it is empty.
Performers tussle over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
Performers tussle briefly over the shopping cart, while a nearby couple dances.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers spread out and face the audience.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
The dancers move together, as if suddenly animated by a unifying energy.
One dancer is raised up by the others.
One dancer is raised up by the others.

The dancers exit the stage by struggling up two sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
The dancers finally exit the stage, struggling up sets of stairs at Hazard Center.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
They return to take their bow. There is great applause.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
The dancers collapse and lie on the concrete.
This performance is over.
This performance is over.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
The audience will be led across the street and on to the next nearby dance location, on the path by the San Diego River.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie as the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
What the audience did not see. An empty drug baggie at the bottom of some stairs behind Hazard Center. Very few people use these particular stairs.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The audience heads west along the San Diego Trolley tracks.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
The mobile Trolley Dances audience is guided through a short stretch of Mission Valley along the San Diego River toward the next unique stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dance stage.
Empty chairs and graffiti on a construction wall await at the next Trolley Dances stage.
This is as far down the path the audience would venture.
That is as far down the path the audience would venture.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather--in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.
Had they proceeded farther, they would have reached a place where many homeless gather and take shelter–in shadowy places beneath Highway 163.

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!

Tasty VISUAL art in Horton Plaza!

Fun art on the food court level of Horton Plaza shopping mall.
Art on the food court level of Horton Plaza shopping mall.

Tasty artwork can be found on the food court level of downtown’s Horton Plaza mall!

This fun art was created by VISUAL, whose distinctive work you might recognize. Some of my street art blog posts include photos of utility boxes decorated by VISUAL. You can spot them throughout the city.

Walking through colorful Horton Plaza.
Walking through colorful Horton Plaza in downtown San Diego.
Sign describes VISUAL, an art supply shop and gallery in North Park. Street art created by VISUAL artists can be spotted all around San Diego.
Sign describes VISUAL, an art supply shop and gallery in North Park. Street art created by VISUAL artists can be spotted all around San Diego.
Eating spaghetti.
Eating spaghetti.
A cupcake and ice cream!
A cupcake and ice cream!

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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Thought-provoking contrasts in Mission Valley.

Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.
Beautiful roses planted between the Town and Country Hotel and busy Fashion Valley Road in Mission Valley.

This morning, after I took photos of the funny sign at the Town and Country Hotel (see my previous post), I walked north up Fashion Valley Road and turned east on Riverwalk Drive, following the San Diego River. I then passed under Highway 163 via the San Diego River Trail, and arrived at the Hazard Center shopping mall. From there I followed several streets to work.

During my walk between the Town and Country and Hazard Center I took a series of interesting photographs. When I reviewed my photos this evening, I realized they presented complex and thought-provoking contrasts.

Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
Morning sprinklers have irrigated another perfect rose.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
A duck in the San Diego River, as seen from the pedestrian bridge between the Town and Country and the Fashion Valley Transit Center.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Dozens of tame river ducks like to gather by the bus station to eat crumbs offered by humans.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at greenery by the San Diego River.
Continuing east along Riverwalk Drive, looking at native greenery by the San Diego River.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Wild, ragged sunflower blossoms ablaze in morning light.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
Fresh green sycamore leaves by the walking path.
I'm approaching some major construction around where Highway 163 passes under Friars road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
I’m approaching some major construction near the place where Highway 163 passes under Friars Road north of the river. The project is calculated to ease traffic flow.
Urban development requires work, resources and extensive planning.
Wild grass and urban development.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Heavy machinery sculpting the Earth.
Construction worker by stacked fencing.
Construction worker by stacked security fencing.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
Ants work busily on a nearby native flower.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A perfect bloom planted near the Hazard Center shopping center, contrasted with bare concrete.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
A mural on the south side of Hazard Center shows people flocking to the mall.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard - Everyone's Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has built many of San Diego's freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Bronze sculpture at Hazard Center of Bruce R. Hazard – Everyone’s Friend. For almost a century R.E. Hazard Contracting Company has helped build many of San Diego’s freeway, road, commercial and subdivision projects.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce's father features this plaque. "Pappy" R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man's man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Another nearby sculpture of Bruce’s father features this plaque. “Pappy” R.E. Hazard, Sr. 1880-1975. A man’s man, paper boy, businessman, horseman, hunter, fisherman.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection in Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Be Just and Fear Not. Pappy Hazard, founder of a major construction firm in San Diego, collected old wagons and stagecoaches. Today you can find much of his collection at Seeley Stable, a museum in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

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!

Horton Plaza showcases work by local artists!

Fun artwork on display in downtown San Diego's popular Horton Plaza shopping mall.
Public art on display in downtown San Diego’s dynamic Horton Plaza shopping mall.

I made a cool discovery today! I was walking through Horton Plaza, downtown’s extremely unique shopping mall and popular tourist destination, when I noticed that some art was being displayed on a lower level. A sign indicated that Horton Plaza is showcasing the work of local San Diego artists. Great idea! Here are some pics!

The San Diego artist Beau Carney was born and raised in Southern California. He works with a variety of mediums.
The San Diego artist Beau Carney was born and raised in Southern California. He works with a variety of mediums.
More bold, colorful work by Beau Carney.
Some very colorful painted work by Beau Carney.
Public art adds more character to an already very unique shopping mall.
Public art and other unexpected discoveries add character to a very unique shopping mall.
Westfield Horton Plaza supports local artists. For information on how to showcase your art, contact hortonplaza@westfield.com
Westfield Horton Plaza supports local artists. For information on how to showcase your art, contact hortonplaza@westfield.com
A few early evening visitors to Horton Plaza mall in downtown San Diego walk past cool artwork created by a local artist!
A few early evening visitors to Horton Plaza mall in downtown San Diego walk past cool artwork created by a local artist!
One last photo of eye-catching panels by local San Diego artist Beau Carney!
One last photo of eye-catching panels by local San Diego artist Beau Carney!

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Don’t Believe the Hype painted on Horton Plaza!

A shopper standing on the asphalt braces against a Horton Plaza parking lot wall. Others have climbed up onto her shoulders.
A shopper standing on the asphalt braces against a Horton Plaza parking lot wall. Others have climbed up onto her shoulders.
People mount higher and higher like circus performers, trying to get a glimpse over the wall. Something wonderful must await on the other side!
People mount higher and higher like circus performers, trying to get a glimpse over the wall. Something wonderful must await on the other side!
This stack of humanity is beginning to resemble the Tower of Babel. I hope they don't fall!
This stack of humanity is beginning to resemble the Tower of Babel. I hope they don’t fall!
Don't believe the hype! That's some mighty tall street art!
Don’t believe the hype! That’s some mighty tall street art!

This impressive street art is visible on the south side of the Horton Plaza shopping mall, on G Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenue. It was painted in 2010 by Brazilian graffiti artists Os Gemeos, which is Portuguese for The Twins. The artists, who were breakdancers before they started painting graffiti almost 30 years ago, have become quite a sensation! The project was sponsored and promoted by the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. But should we believe the hype?

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Giant-sized Pinocchio sits on tile roof.

giant pinocchio sits on tile roof

This giant, mischievous Pinocchio dangles a yo-yo and winks while sitting atop a red tile roof. This fun sight can be found at the Geppetto’s toy store in the Fashion Valley shopping mall, in Mission Valley.

Colorful samples of fun Horton Plaza.

Horton Plaza is a feast for the eyes everywhere you turn.
Horton Plaza is a feast for the eyes everywhere you turn.

Horton Plaza, located in downtown San Diego, is a fun and interesting place for shoppers to visit. The unique mall’s crazy, whimsical design makes an interesting contrast to the restored old buildings in the adjacent Gaslamp Quarter. Many bright colors and types of architecture have been cleverly integrated into a visual feast. Horton Plaza was designed so that people intentionally get a bit lost, to provide a feeling of adventure and the unexpected.

Here are some random pics for you to enjoy…

Elegant Jessop's clock in the midst of colorful whimsy.
Elegant Jessop’s clock in the midst of colorful whimsy.
Many bridges and walkways connect different areas.
Many bridges and walkways connect different areas.
Looking north along several shopping mall levels.
Looking north along several shopping mall levels.
Looks like someone yarn bombed this stair railing.
Looks like someone yarn bombed this stair railing.
Downtown buildings can be seen projecting into the sky.
Downtown buildings can be seen projecting into the sky.
Cool places to eat overlook the layered central area.
Cool places to eat overlook the layered central area.
Just another place to explore on an upper level.
Just another place to explore on an upper level.
Lots of great vistas near Horton Plaza's food court.
Lots of great vistas near Horton Plaza’s food court.
A small decorative touch adds fun flavor to the scene.
A small decorative touch adds fun flavor to the scene.
Many arches that shoppers can pass over or through.
Many arches that shoppers can pass over or through.
Go up or down in unexpected places.
Go up or down in unexpected places.
Banner welcomes visitors in many languages.
Banner welcomes San Diego visitors in many languages.
Just walking along and enjoying the many sights.
Just walking along and enjoying the many sights.