World-famous fine art inside the Coronado Library.

Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966, the last sculpture by Donal Hord, which now is displayed in the Coronado Public Library.
Rear view of Mourning Woman, 1966. This last sculpture by Donal Hord is now displayed inside the Coronado Public Library.

Displayed inside the Coronado Library are many beautiful works of art. Several of these works are important pieces by internationally famous artists.

The two world-renowned artists are Donal Hord and Alfredo Ramos Martinez.

Donal Hord’s iconic sculptures can be found in various places around San Diego. He was one of the artists who exhibited in the 3rd Sculpture International held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1949.

Alfredo Ramos Martínez is considered to be the Father of Mexican Modernism. He served as the Director of the National Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico City. He was founder of the Open Air (Aire Libre) School of Painting in Mexico. His students included Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueros, and Rufino Tamayo.

I took these photographs a couple weeks ago during a visit to Coronado.

You can learn more about the history of these amazing pieces and other artwork in the library here.

Donal Hord's granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library's Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Donal Hord’s granite sculpture Mourning Woman stands in the Coronado Library’s Spreckels Reading Room. It took ten months to complete.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Tapestry designed by Donal Hord titled Earth Mother or Fruits of the Earth. Woven by Marian Kendall, U. Kelley, and F. Manchester in 1939.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
Canasta de Flores, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. The mural, painted for the La Avenida Café, is now located inside the Coronado Public Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
El Dia del Mercado, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, 1938. Fresco originally located at the La Avenida Café, now behind the front desk of the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez inside the Coronado Library.
Section of fine art mural El Dia del Mercado by Alfredo Ramos Martínez.

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Comic-Con panel: The rise of Mexican filmmaking.

Today I attended a fascinating panel at 2019 Comic-Con titled Making a Bridge with Genre Movies. The panel wasn’t held in the San Diego Convention Center, but offsite in Barrio Logan, in the Artists’ Loft at BarrioHaus. Panels at this location tend to concentrate on Latinx culture and contributions to the popular arts.

Four panelists–Victor Osuna, Frank Rodriguez, Sebastian Finck and Mitch Hyman–discussed the rise of independent Mexican filmmaking and how Latin filmmakers have increasingly achieved success reaching an international audience. I was introduced to the hashtag #Jallywood, which is a combination of Jalisco and Hollywood. Filmmakers are striving to attract creative people for projects in Mexico.

I learned that using today’s technology, a quality film can be produced by anyone anywhere. With the internet, to achieve substantial success no longer requires a relocation to Hollywood or other media centers–it requires vision, passion, persistence, and a broadly appealing story. Good stories are universal in nature–all people react similarly to powerful human dramas and themes. Genres, styles and topics might be diverse, but basic human emotions are shared by all. Spicing a film with the culture of Mexico, or any other place, simply adds uniqueness and authenticity. The trick is connection: creating that irresistible appeal.

I learned that not only is the cost of producing a film in Mexico much less expensive than the United States, but there are fantastic settings (and stories) just waiting to be tapped. The opportunities in Mexico are wide open to any creator who is optimistic–who can see and grasp that unlimited future.

In this digital world, isn’t that true for much creative activity? While good equipment and skilled production is essential for filmmaking, isn’t it the extent to which the end product achieves likes and shares and downloads and streams that increasingly determines real success?

At the panel’s conclusion, the audience was asked to share their experience on social media.

Seems to me like good advice!

Why did this panel fascinate me? I do a little writing here.

A small memorial and The Aztec Warrior.

In Memory of Jesus A. Suarez del Solar Navarro. Was born in Tijuana, Mexico - died like a hero and he will live forever in our hearts.
In Memory of Jesus A. Suarez del Solar Navarro. Was born in Tijuana, Mexico – died like a hero and he will live forever in our hearts.

Today I walked through beautiful Kit Carson Park in Escondido. I was on my way to see Queen Califia’s Magical Circle, a world famous sculpture garden by Niki de Saint Phalle. It’s an extraordinary work of art that celebrates life. I’ll post many photos in the next day or two.

As I walked up a path near Eagle Scout Lake, I stumbled upon a small memorial under a tree. I looked down to read some words.

A family in Escondido's Kit Carson Park pauses to gaze at a small memorial.
A family in Escondido’s Kit Carson Park pauses to gaze at a small memorial.
American flags and The Aztec Warrior. Hero of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
American flags and The Aztec Warrior. Hero of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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 free walking tour of Old Town San Diego.

A small group on a free walking tour learns about the history of Old Town San Diego.
A small group on a free walking tour learns about the history of Old Town San Diego.

A free walking tour of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is available every day at 11 am and 2 pm. The tours meet in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center, at the northwest end of Old Town’s large grassy plaza.

When I visit Old Town San Diego, I’ll sometimes join the walking tour while it’s in progress. Last weekend I happened to be in front of the Robinson-Rose House right at eleven o’clock, so I decided to enjoy the full one hour tour!

During this easy walk a guide in period costume provides fascinating information about San Diego’s early history. Several different periods are covered, from the Spanish mission period, to the Mexican rancho period, to the early American period. The main interpretive period is 1821 to 1872.

Among the following photos are a few interesting bits of history…

Free walking tours begin daily at 11 and 2 in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Free walking tours begin daily at 11 and 2 in front of the Robinson-Rose House Visitor Center at Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.
Inside the Robinson-Rose House visitors can view a large model behind glass. It shows what Old Town San Diego looked like in 1872.
Inside the Robinson-Rose House visitors can view a large model behind glass. It shows what Old Town San Diego looked like in 1872.
The tour guide leads our group out into Old Town's historic Plaza de las Armas.
The tour guide leads our group out into Old Town’s historic Plaza de las Armas.
We learn that the Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located right here, long before Old Town was established.
We learn that the Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located right here, long before Old Town was established.

The Native American Kumeyaay village of Cosoy was located where Old Town San Diego’s plaza was established. Before the San Diego River was diverted in 1877, its water ran very close to Old Town and was an integral part of the life of early people in our desert-like Southern California coastal region.

Our tour now heads toward restored buildings that stand on the southwest side of the plaza.
Our tour now heads toward restored buildings that stand on the southwest side of the plaza.
We enter Casa de Machado y Silvas, where today visitors can view the small Commercial Restaurant museum.
We enter Casa de Machado y Silvas, where today visitors can view the small Commercial Restaurant museum.
Our tour guide talks about tiny San Diego during the Mexican rancho period. Trade goods were acquired from merchant ships in exchange for cattle hides, which were called California Banknotes.
Our tour guide talks about tiny San Diego during the Mexican rancho period. Trade goods were acquired from merchant ships in exchange for cattle hides, which were called California Banknotes.

When Mexico won its independence from Spain in 1821, the Spanish soldiers of the nearby San Diego Presidio switched their allegiance to Mexico, which couldn’t afford to pay them. For their service, they were given land at the foot of Presidio Hill, where many soldiers and their families built houses. That is how Old Town started.

You can learn more about La Casa de Machado y Silvas and the fascinating Commercial Restaurant museum here.

We head back outside into the plaza.
We head back outside into the plaza.
We learn more about Old Town by the unusual, tall flagpole.
We learn more about the history of Old Town by the unusual, tall flagpole.
Old Town's flagpole resembles a ship's mast!
Old Town’s flagpole resembles a ship’s mast!

You might notice the flagpole at the center of Old Town’s Plaza looks a lot like a ship’s mast. Because originally it was!

When an American force under Captain Samuel F. DuPont sailed into San Diego Bay in 1846 to take control of Old Town unopposed, the plaza had no flagpole, because most of the independent-minded Californios who lived here didn’t feel a strong attachment to Mexico. So a ship’s mast was used to raise the flag of the United States.

You can see a bronze plaque commemorating the event here.

You can learn more about the old Spanish cannon that sits in the middle of Old Town’s plaza near the flagpole here.

We head toward a tree that stands near the Colorado House.
We head toward a tree that stands near the Colorado House.
This is where the Franklin House hotel once stood.
This is where the Franklin House hotel once stood.

A vacant area of ground beside the Colorado House (now home of the Wells Fargo Museum) is where the Franklin House hotel used to stand. It was Old Town’s only three story building, notable for its relative elegance and its baths.

The Franklin House was destroyed during the great fire of 1872 along with several adjacent buildings including Old Town’s courthouse, ensuring that San Diego’s future would be located in Alonzo Horton’s New Town, which was then called Horton’s Addition.

To learn more about San Diego’s first courthouse, click here.

To learn more about Colorado House and the Wells Fargo Museum, click here.

We head toward a beautifully restored adobe house that stands alone behind the plaza buildings.
We head toward a beautifully restored adobe house that stands alone behind the plaza buildings.
Entering the grounds of La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum.
Entering the grounds of La Casa de Machado y Stewart Museum.
Many artifacts are displayed in the main living room of La Casa de Machado y Stewart. An adjacent bedroom is where parents and daughters slept. The sons slept outside in San Diego's temperate climate.
Many artifacts are displayed in the main living room of La Casa de Machado y Stewart. An adjacent bedroom is where parents and daughters slept. The sons slept outside in San Diego’s temperate climate.

Our tour group then walked over to Casa de Machado y Stewart. We learned many things, including the fact that the fancier china seen on the dining table came by merchant ships that crossed the Pacific from Asia.

The more simple items like candlesticks were made by local blacksmiths. Because iron was rare in San Diego, harpoons from a brief period of whaling in San Diego Bay were used to make a variety of furnishings and household utensils.

You can learn more about the Casa de Machado y Stewart here.

You can learn about Old Town’s blacksmith shop here.

We also learned that the art of brick-making was introduced to Old Town by members of the Mormon Battalion, whose arrival in San Diego you can learn about here.

The outdoor oven was made of clay and adobe bricks. Cow manure provided fuel!
The outdoor oven was made of clay and adobe bricks. Cow manure provided fuel!
The garden outside La Casa de Machado y Stewart not only provided vegetables for eating, but native herbs used for medicine.
The garden outside La Casa de Machado y Stewart not only provided vegetables for eating, but native herbs used for medicine.
Our tour guide explains the uses of prickly pear. The cochineal beetle found on prickly pears is used to make red dye. That plant you see is about 150 years old!
Our tour guide explains the uses of prickly pear. The cochineal beetle found on prickly pears is used to make red dye. That plant you see is about 150 years old!
Finally, we head over to the beautiful, iconic Casa de Estudillo.
Finally, we head over to the beautiful, iconic Casa de Estudillo.
The courtyard of the U-shaped Casa de Estudillo includes a simple fountain at the center.
The courtyard of the U-shaped Casa de Estudillo includes a simple fountain at the center.
Sitting on wooden benches, learning more about San Diego's unique early history.
Sitting on wooden benches, learning more about San Diego’s unique early history.

The walking tour concluded inside the courtyard of La Casa de Estudillo. In many respects, this beautiful house is the centerpiece of Old Town San Diego. Two past blog posts provide a great deal of information about La Casa de Estudillo.

You can peer into the house’s restored rooms and learn about their history here.

You can learn how a wildly popular novel saved this historic building from destruction here!

The walking tour is over. Now visitors to Old Town can roam wherever they fancy, and visit the numerous free museums around the plaza.
The walking tour is over. Now visitors to Old Town San Diego can roam wherever they fancy, and visit numerous free museums scattered around the plaza.

Finally, to enjoy a good overview of San Diego’s early history, I recommend a visit to Old Town’s excellent McCoy House Museum. You can check out my blog post featuring its many exhibits by clicking here!

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!

Photos of the historic El Cuervo adobe ruins.

I first saw the El Cuervo adobe ruins years ago. That was during a guided nature hike at the west end of Los Peñasquitos Canyon Preserve. But I haven’t been back down that trail in a very long time.

Yesterday the cool spring weather was perfect for a hike in the canyon, so I decided to once again visit the historic ruins.

In 1823 a large portion of Peñasquitos Canyon was granted to Francisco María Ruiz, the Commandante of San Diego’s presidio. It was the first Mexican land grant in this area. You can learn more of the history, and see photos of his original 1824 adobe ranch house and its later modifications by clicking here.

In 1834, Ruiz was granted additional land to the west for cattle grazing. This area of Peñasquitos Canyon was named El Cuervo. He built another adobe house near the place where Lopez Creek runs into Peñasquitos Creek.

That second house today is in ruins. The crumbled adobe walls are protected by a steel fence and sheltering roof. A broken down corral can still be observed in the field to the east, as you can see in a couple of my photographs.

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!

Fun photos of Cinco de Mayo in Old Town!

This afternoon I strolled through Old Town and captured photos of the big 10th Annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. I began in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, headed south along San Diego Avenue, then turned to make my way back to the State Park.

According to a Park Ranger, Cinco de Mayo is by far the most popular event in Old Town San Diego. I saw many families strolling about enjoying the colorful sights, Mexican food and cultural entertainment.

There was a folklorico competition and lucha libre demonstrations (which I missed), giant puppets, Aztec dancers, kids’ crafts, mariachi music, and authentic Mexican food at every turn. There were many people in traditional Mexican dress and others in period costume from the early days of San Diego. I enjoyed checking out a bunch of sweet lowrider cars and a row of shiny, customized kids’ bikes that were definitely super cool. I paused to visit the donkeys near Seeley Stable, guys hammering red hot iron in the blacksmith shop, a silly street performer with a plunger on his head, and a gentleman in La Casa de Estudillo who was playing frontier games of chance against all comers. As I walked about I even spotted some chalk art.

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to turn next!

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!

Photos of the colorful 2019 Mariachi Festival!

Ready for some super colorful photos?

In past years, the National City Chamber of Commerce’s amazing Annual International Mariachi Festival and Competition has been held in Pepper Park. You might remember my photographs in 2016 and 2017. For this year, 2019, the event was held in Chula Vista’s spacious Bayside Park!

I love the whirling colors of Mexican ballet folklórico dancing, and the soaring, unabashed joy of mariachi music, so today I had to go again!

I took photos of anything and everything!

Enjoy!

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!