Survey of racial identity, feelings at MCASD.

People walk past the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego's gallery at America Plaza.
People walk past the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s gallery at America Plaza.

I recently noticed new thought-provoking graphics in the windows of the MCASD gallery at America Plaza.

Last year, a survey was taken of 100 people passing through America Plaza. Questions were asked about racial and ethnic identity. Today an exhibit at downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego expands on the results and explores the complicated subject.

The window graphics are designed to catch the eye and draw visitors into the gallery.

This project was produced by artists with students from local colleges in San Diego and Tijuana who participated in Transnational Seminar 1, lead by Collective Magpie.

On April 20th, 100 pedestrians took a survey here in America Plaza about race and ethnicity. Self-classification data was compiled.
On April 20th, 100 pedestrians took a survey here in America Plaza about race and ethnicity. Self-classification data was compiled.
Of the 100 surveyed, 83 answered mixed race; 14 white people; 3 people of color.
Of the 100 surveyed, 83 answered mixed race; 14 white people; 3 people of color.
Feelings about racial identity can differ from person to person.
Feelings about racial identity can differ from person to person.
One of two panels containing some of the racial or ethnic classifications that one might choose.
One of two panels containing some of the racial and ethnic categories that a person might choose.
A splash of words, asking passersby what the ultimate definition of race is.
A splash of words, asking people walking down Kettner Boulevard what the ultimate definition of race is…
People might feel differently about their racial identity depending on a range of factors and circumstances.
People might feel differently about their racial identity depending on a range of factors and circumstances, from their appearance…to their dreams…to their immediate environment…to the way they live.
Thought-provoking graphics in the windows of MCASD's downtown gallery at America Plaza.
Thought-provoking graphics concerning race in the windows of MCASD’s downtown gallery at America Plaza.

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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Rare exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America.

Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Third Victoria, oil on canvas, 1959. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.

The impressive, first-ever exhibition of Modern Masters from Latin America is now on display at the San Diego Museum of Art in Balboa Park. On Christmas Eve I was given a special tour of this exhibition, and I must admit it’s fantastic! For a limited time, visitors have the rare privilege to experience one of the finest collections of modern art in the world.

Modern Masters from Latin America: The Pérez Simón Collection contains almost a hundred memorable paintings, by the likes of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, Joaquín Torres-García, Fernando Botero, Alfredo Castañeda and Fernando de Szyszlo. Many nations, cultures, themes, moods and styles are represented. You’ll see impressionistic landscapes, lively scenes depicted through the lens of cubism, weirdly rendered surrealism, and mind-bending, eye-teasing abstraction. Many of the works reflect different Latin American national identities. Many contrast modernity with the culture and memory of indigenous people.

I was struck by the deep emotion that radiated from most of these works. I detected human pride and passion, childlike innocence and gnawing guilt, deep love and intense anger, inexpressible suffering and irrepressible joy. These emotions were often presented in confused contrast.

One masterful work by Frida Kahlo titled Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon shows an innocent girl sitting between ancient symbols of night and day–the Pyramid of the Moon and the Pyramid of the Sun at Teotihuacan. She is seemingly lost in a barren desert, a model of a World War II bomber in her hands. Her quiet expression contains resignation and sadness.

My few photos here are a modest representation of the actual exhibition. To see the true colors, the touches of light and seeping darkness, the diverse textures and stunning vibrancy of these many paintings, head down to the museum while you can. You might not have a chance to see this amazing collection again.

Modern Masters from Latin America is on display at the San Diego Museum of Art through March 11. Among the fantastic works are two by Frida Kahlo, but to see those you must visit by January 14.

A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
A visitor to the San Diego Museum of Art explores Modern Masters from Latin America, from the Perez Simon Collection.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Aqueduct, oil on canvas, 1918. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Ship Graveyard, oil on canvas, 1930. Benito Quinquela Martin, Argentinian, 1890-1977.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Crying Woman, pyroxylin on Masonite, 1944. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Death in Life or Black Christ, acrylic on plywood, 1963. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
Young Girls with Shells, Duco on canvas, 1945. Mario Carreno, Cuban, 1913-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
City of Quito, oil on canvas, ca. 1980. Oswaldo Guayasamin, Ecuadorian, 1919-1999.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
The Mexican or Young Woman with Rebozo, oil on canvas, 1935. Agustin Lazo, Mexican, 1896-1971.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
House Eight, oil on canvas, 1978. Fernando de Szyszlo, Peruvian, 1925-2017.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
The Native, oil on canvas, ca. 1936. Alfredo Ramos Martinez, Mexican, 1871-1946.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Girl from Tehuacán, Lucha María or Sun and Moon, oil on Masonite, 1942. Frida Kahlo, Mexican, 1907-1954.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Constructive Composition in Planes and Figures, oil on canvas, 1931. Joaquin Torres-Garcia, Uruguayan, 1874-1949.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Concert, oil on canvas, 1941. Emilio Pettoruti, Argentinian, 1892-1971.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
Peasant, Industrial, and Intellectual Work, oil on wood, 1956. Jorge Gonzalez Camarena, Mexican, 1908-1980.
World's Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
World’s Highest Structure, oil on canvas, 1930. Jose Clemente Orozco, Mexican, 1883-1949.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Green Structures, oil on canvas, 1964. Gunther Gerzso, Mexican, 1915-2000.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Study for The March of Humanity, oil on recovered plywood, ca. 1968-69. David Alfaro Siqueiros, Mexican, 1896-1974.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.
Portrait of Maria Felix, oil on canvas, 1948. Diego Rivera, Mexican, 1886-1957.

I recently published an odd, moving short story about a world made of bones. You can read it here.

Photos of Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town.

The Dickens Carolers sing during the annual Las Posadas event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
The Dickens Carolers sing during the annual Las Posadas event in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

This afternoon I headed to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to experience the annual Las Posadas Celebration. There were many families in the park enjoying all sorts of holiday activities, gazing at beautiful decorations, and preparing to witness the reenactment of Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter before the birth of Jesus.

Las Posadas is a Christmas tradition cherished by many Latinos and Spaniards. A candlelight procession after nightfall by members of the community symbolizes the Nativity. Angels and shepherds join along the way. Mary rides a live donkey. There is much joyful singing.

My camera is inadequate after dark. To see (and hear) tonight’s procession in Old Town, you’ll have to use your imagination.

The 67th Annual Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town celebrates rich holiday traditions. A candlelight procession after dark reenacted the journey of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus.
The 67th Annual Las Posadas Celebration in Old Town celebrated a rich holiday tradition. A candlelight procession after dark reenacted the journey of Mary and Joseph in search of shelter before the birth of Jesus.
As evening approaches, paper bag luminaries containing candles are placed around the central Plaza de Las Armas.
As evening approaches, paper bag luminaries containing candles are placed around the central Plaza de las Armas.
A big festive Christmas tree stands near the plaza's center, beside the tall flagpole.
A big festive Christmas tree stands near the plaza’s center, beside the tall flagpole.
Looking out the front door of the Casa de Estudillo at Old Town San Diego's big Christmas tree.
Looking out the front door of the Casa de Estudillo at Old Town San Diego’s big Christmas tree.
A shiny star-like pinata hangs in front of the Colorado House.
A shiny star-like pinata hangs in front of the Colorado House. This is where the holiday celebration would reach its joyful climax.
Santa wishes everyone a Merry little Christmas inside Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
Santa wishes everyone a Merry little Christmas inside Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
A colorful holiday wagon containing red poinsettias is parked outside Toby's Candle and Soap Shop.
A colorful holiday wagon containing red poinsettias is parked outside Toby’s Candle and Soap Shop.
Kids activities during Las Posadas included making Christmas tree ornaments.
Kids activities during Las Posadas included making Christmas tree ornaments.
This holiday wreath is decorated with spools of thread! It hangs on a door at Threads of the Past.
This holiday wreath is decorated with spools of thread! It hangs on a door at Threads of the Past.
A big wreath adds holiday cheer to the sunlit Seeley Stable Museum barn.
A big wreath adds holiday cheer to the sunlit Seeley Stable Museum barn.
As daylight wanes, families congregate around a campfire and roast marshmallows for s'mores.
As daylight wanes, families congregate around a campfire and roast marshmallows for s’mores.
A special holiday display inside the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center talks about Louis Rose, the first Jewish person to settle in San Diego.
A special display inside the Robinson-Rose Visitor Center describes the life of Louis Rose, the first Jewish person to settle in San Diego.
Reenacting a Hanukkah Candle Lighting Blessing inside the historic Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.
Reenacting a Hanukkah Candle Lighting Blessing inside the historic Robinson-Rose Visitor Center.

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!

Love and memory: Old Town’s Dia de los Muertos.

Names and a few loving words. Spiritual magic, linking the living with the dead during Dia del Los Muertos.
The names of loved ones. Spiritual bonds link the living with the dead during Dia de los Muertos.

Many generations came together in Old Town this evening during Dia de los Muertos.

Love and memory were written on so many smiling faces as people celebrated their departed loved ones. Chalk memorials and scattered marigolds lined San Diego Avenue. And the evening ended with a candlelight procession from Old Town San Diego State Historic Park to the small El Campo Santo cemetery. A walk of several blocks in the growing darkness . . . a short walk down a road brightly lit by love.

My poor camera failed to capture the candlelight procession as night descended. But your heart and mind might imagine it.

An abundance of music, humor and life on stage during the Dia de Los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego!
An abundance of music, humor and life on stage during the Dia de los Muertos celebration in Old Town San Diego!
People could pose for photos with two giant skeleton puppets!
People could pose for photos with two giant skeleton puppets!
An artist paints two large skulls--calaveras--in Old Town's Plaza de las Armas during Dia de los Muertos.
An artist paints two large skulls–calaveras–in Old Town’s Plaza de las Armas during Dia de los Muertos.
Children decorate traditional sugar skulls.
Children decorate traditional sugar skulls.
Some around the park wore fancy dresses and hats for the day, recreating the iconic Mexican image of La Calavera Catrina. There were many faces painted like fantastic skulls.
Some around the park wore fancy dresses and hats for the day, recreating the iconic Mexican image of La Calavera Catrina. I saw many faces painted like fantastic skulls.
Some of the shops in Old Town had a mix of decorations for both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.
Some of the shops in Old Town had a mix of decorations for both Halloween and Dia de los Muertos.
A large, colorful calavera above a restaurant inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
A large, colorful calavera above a restaurant inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Face painting and a smile.
Face painting and a youthful smile.
Hundreds of tributes and sentiments for departed loved ones were written with chalk on a long stretch of San Diego Avenue inside the State Historic Park.
Hundreds of tributes and sentiments for departed loved ones were written in chalk on a long stretch of San Diego Avenue, inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Lanterns among the heartfelt Dia de los Muertos chalk memorials.
Lanterns among the many Dia de los Muertos chalk memorials.
Te amo--I love you--and a marigold.
Te amo–I love you–and a marigold.
Love and memory connect generations as the years roll on.
Love and memory connect many generations as the years roll on.

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!

Day of the Dead celebration at the Old Globe.

Day of the Dead altar created by the Old Globe Theatre contains photos of departed loved ones, roses, candles, and an image of Shakespeare.
Day of the Dead altar created by the Old Globe Theatre contains photos of departed loved ones, roses, candles, and an image of Shakespeare.

For several hours today, visitors to Balboa Park could enjoy traditional Dia de los Muertos activities in Copley Plaza, at the entrance to the Old Globe’s theater complex. The event’s main attraction was two performances of a powerful new play called La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace). The first performance was in Spanish, the second mostly in English.

The brief but emotionally stirring play, directed and co-created by Daniel Jáquez, was presented for the very first time on Saturday during the SAY San Diego’s City Heights Day of the Dead Celebration. The production is the result of a collaboration between the Old Globe’s coLAB and AXIS programs and the San Diego community of City Heights.

Here are some photos of today’s event!

Day of the Dead--Dia de los Muertos--was celebrated today in Copley Plaza, outside the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in Balboa Park.
Day of the Dead–Dia de los Muertos–was celebrated today in Copley Plaza, outside the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center in Balboa Park.
A Dia de los Muertos altar remembers and celebrates those who've passed out of life. Their spirits are enticed to return among the living.
A Dia de los Muertos altar remembers and celebrates those who’ve passed into the next world. Their spirits are enticed to return among the living.
A loving tribute to loved ones, dearly missed.
A loving tribute to relatives and loved ones, dearly missed.
Kids have their faces painted like sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos.
Kids have their faces painted like sugar skulls for Dia de los Muertos.
The tools of a face painter.
The tools of a face painter.
At one table creative kids could color Dia de los Muertos skulls.
At one table creative kids could color Dia de los Muertos skulls.
Shakespeare among Dia de los Muertos skulls. Perhaps one belonged to Yorick.
Shakespeare among Dia de los Muertos skulls. Perhaps that one in the center belonged to Yorick.
A performance of La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace) begins. The dead enter in front of a living audience.
A performance of La Muerte Descansa en Paz (Death Rests in Peace) begins. The dead enter in front of a living audience.
The character Death takes the stage. Death sees both sides of the river. Death sees life's joy, pain, dreams--and the souls of the departed.
The character Death takes the stage. Death sees both sides of the river. Death sees life’s joy, pain, dreams–and the souls of the departed.
The dead dance. On Dia de los Muertos, when the church bells ring, Death permits the dead to return briefly as spirits among the living.
The dead dance. On Dia de los Muertos, when the church bells ring, Death permits the dead to return briefly as spirits among the living.
A dead poet remembers the richness and brevity of life--the joy, the sorrow.
A dead poet vaguely remembers the richness and brevity of life–the sharp joys and sorrows. Her voice was cut short, but her living words linger.
The dead briefly take the stage. We, the living, experience a glimpse, a whisper, a moment of lost love.
The dead briefly take the stage. We, the living, experience a glimpse, a whisper, a moment of lost love.

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 fun photos for you to share and enjoy!

Tijuana Zine Fest at Museum of Contemporary Art.

My art is the way I reestablish the bonds that tie me to the universe.
My art is the way I reestablish the bonds that tie me to the universe.

This morning I saw a bunch of cool zines dangling in the windows of downtown’s Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. I was peering at the many imaginative covers and unexpected titles when I noticed this window display concerns the annual Tijuana Zine Fest, a regional festival that celebrates independent publishing and art.

I always love to bathe in individual, uninhibited creativity. Many of the zines appear to be subversive; others are humorous, or philosophical, or inspiring.

Best of luck to all the authors!

Keep on pushing to new horizons!

Keep on writing!

Tijuana Zine Fest is an annual festival that celebrates self-publishing and independent art in the culturally fertile Tijuana-San Diego border region.
Tijuana Zine Fest is an annual festival that celebrates self-publishing and independent art in the culturally fertile Tijuana-San Diego border region.
A bunch of creative zines hang inside the windows of the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in their gallery at America Plaza.
A bunch of creative zines hang inside the windows of the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, in their gallery at America Plaza.
Why are you dumping me? Snap out of it.
Why are you dumping me? Snap out of it.
Tarantella Zine.
Tarantella Zine.
Pabdia - Cine Enmascarado.
Pabdia – Cine Enmascarado.
Tijuana. Deep Affection. Xicanita. Self Care - Self Love.
Tijuana. Deep Affection. Xicanita. Self Care – Self Love.
Fetish Witch. Beast County.
Fetish Witch. Beast County.
One Punk's Guide to African Politics. Accomplices Not Allies.
One Punk’s Guide to African Politics. Accomplices Not Allies.
Transitory Existence.
Transitory Existence.
Abandon everything again. Pobre Bebé. La Playa. A Manifesto for Discomfortable Writing.
Abandon everything again. Pobre Bebé. La Playa. A Manifesto for Discomfortable Writing.

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 variety of philosophical stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

A plant in Balboa Park now extinct in the wild.

Balboa Park's knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.
Balboa Park’s knowledgeable Ranger Kim Duclo points out an extremely rare specimen of Deppea splendens in the Botanical Building.

I learned something really amazing last Sunday in Balboa Park. I had joined one of Ranger Kim Duclo’s park tours as it was in progress, and I followed the group into the Botanical Building.

Near the center of the Botanical Building, Ranger Kim stopped beside a beautiful green tree and told us it was one of the rarest plants in the entire world!

Deppea splendens was originally discovered in 1973 by botanist Dennis Breedlove. He found it growing in a single spot in Mexico’s southern mountains. Fortunately Dennis gathered some seeds. Because when he returned in 1986, the plants had all been destroyed. The area had been developed into farmland.

Ranger Kim told us that specimens of Deppea splendens now grow in relatively few places–mostly in special havens like Balboa Park. He also said that one day the plant might be reintroduced into the wild, much as the California condor was saved locally from extinction and successfully returned to its natural habitat.

May that day come!

A look at the thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park's lush Botanical Building.
Photo of a thriving Deppea splendens inside Balboa Park’s lush Botanical Building.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. This public domain photograph is from Wikimedia Commons.
The distinctive flowers of Deppea splendens, a plant that is now extinct in the wild. I found this public domain photograph at Wikimedia Commons.
These beautiful green leaves might be reintroduced into the wild one day!
These rare, beautiful leaves might be seen once again in the wild!

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 fascinating photos for you to share and enjoy!