Public art painted from dark, painful experience.

Smears of red, a flag, two faces.
Smears of red, a flag, two faces.

There are three new works of art on display in the breezeway between the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot. These pieces concern disturbing emotions felt by combat veterans, and the ongoing battle of many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I believe–but I’m not certain–that the art you see in these photos was produced by military personnel who participate in the museum’s ArtOASIS program. ArtOASIS was created for PTSD patients in conjunction with Combat Arts, a local organization that provides opportunities for combat troops to express themselves.

These images are raw and painful. They are brutally honest. To paint these dark, secret things requires great personal courage.

Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the Light.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the light.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
REAL TALK. Life.
REAL TALK. Life.

I live in downtown San Diego, and walk through the city with my camera. You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter.

A walk around the the Sikes Adobe Farmhouse.

Photo of the rustic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse on a sunny November day.
Photo of the rustic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse on a sunny November day.

This morning I drove up to Escondido. One highlight of my day was walking around the historic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse, which is located near a popular trailhead of the San Dieguito River Park’s long, not-yet-complete Coast to Crest Trail.

The Sikes Adobe, built around 1870, is a City of San Diego historic site. It contains a museum which is open every Sunday. Also on Sundays, the farmstead is where the North San Diego Certified Farmers Market is held.

As I walked around Sikes Adobe, I happened upon some interpretive signs which explain the history of the farmstead. I took photos if you’re interested. Click those sign images and they will expand for easy reading.

People had very different lives long ago in California. Fresh air, hard work, quiet hours, simple pleasures. And wild, untrod paths. I believe I would have loved that life.

The historic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse is located near a trailhead of the Coast to Crest Trail, just east of Lake Hodges.
The historic Sikes Adobe Farmhouse is located near a trailhead of the Coast to Crest Trail, just east of Lake Hodges.
The trail past the old farmstead is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
The trail past the farmstead is popular with hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.
A sign shows proposed improvements to the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead Park, including event space and a reconstructed barn.
A sign shows proposed improvements to the Sikes Adobe Historic Farmstead Park, including event space and a reconstructed barn.
Scarecrows stand guard inside a community garden near the simple farmhouse.
Scarecrows stand guard inside a community garden near the rustic farmhouse.
Approaching the Sikes Adobe. One can tour the inside on Sundays, from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.
Approaching the Sikes Adobe. One can tour the inside on Sundays, from 10:30 am to 3:30 pm.
In this photo you can see the small creamery building and the base of the restored windmill.
In this photo you can see the small creamery building and the base of the restored windmill.
A simple adobe house, typical of the early American era, shortly after California had achieved statehood.
A simple adobe house, typical of the early American era, shortly after California had achieved statehood.
View of the farmstead from the nearby trail.
View of the farmstead structures from the nearby trail.
Zenas and Eliza Sikes, with six children, arrived in 1870 and began their wheat farm here between the communities of Escondido and Rancho Bernardo.
Zenas and Eliza Sikes, with six children, arrived in 1870 and began their wheat farm here between the communities of Escondido and Rancho Bernardo.
A small vegetable garden near the restored windmill and creamery.
A small vegetable garden near the restored windmill and creamery.
Old rusty farm equipment in a corner of the farmstead.
Old rusty farm equipment in a corner of the farmstead.
Between 1860 and 1893, wheat was California's first bonanza crop. The creamery at Sikes Farm was built in the 1880s as their farm diversified and became more generalized.
Between 1860 and 1893, wheat was California’s first bonanza crop. The creamery at Sikes Farm was built in the 1880s as their farm diversified and became more generalized.
A town called Bernardo used to be located a couple miles southeast of the Sikes Adobe. The construction of the Lake Hodges Dam spelled the end for that town.
A small town called Bernardo used to be located a couple miles southeast of the Sikes Adobe. The construction of the Lake Hodges Dam spelled the end for that town.
Looking from the nearby trail past prickly pears at the farmhouse.
Looking from the nearby trail past prickly pears at the farmhouse.
Some horses have arrived at the trailhead's dirt parking lot.
Some horses have arrived at the trailhead’s dirt parking lot.
Sikes Adobe depends on your support. Become a docent or volunteer!
Sikes Adobe depends on your support. Become a docent or volunteer!
The Sikes Adobe Farmhouse rises behind a row of green grape vines.
The Sikes Adobe Farmhouse rises behind a row of green grape vines.

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See the history of rum at the Maritime Museum!

Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego view a display concerning the history of rum.
Visitors to the Maritime Museum of San Diego view a display concerning the history of rum.

A cool new exhibit opened this weekend at the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition follows the colorful history of rum, from its origin to the present day, with a focus on its surprising history in San Diego.

There are all sorts of interesting artifacts, old photographs and displays, as you can see from the few photos I took this afternoon. Among other things, visitors to the exhibition can learn how rum is made, about the use of rum by sailors, including those of the British Royal Navy, and how rum runners used sea caves in San Diego during Prohibition.

Anyone with a love for history should check it out!

Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition is a cool new exhibit inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!
Rum: Sailors, Pirates and Prohibition is a cool new exhibit inside the Steam Ferry Berkeley, at the Maritime Museum of San Diego!
A display in the Gould Eddy Gallery shows some of the coopering tools used in making oak rum barrels.
A display in the Gould Eddy Gallery shows some of the coopering tools used in making oak rum barrels.
Slave collars from the 18th century. Some believe African slaves in the Caribbean discovered the process of distilling the residue of sugar refining--molasses and sugarcane juice--into alcohol.
Slave collars from the 18th century. Some believe African slaves in the Caribbean discovered the process of distilling the residue of sugar refining–molasses and sugarcane juice–into alcohol.
A display features an explanation of grog and rum on British Royal Navy ships. Grog was rum diluted with water to prevent drunkenness. The grog ration was abolished in 1970.
A display features an explanation of grog and rum on British Royal Navy ships. Grog was rum diluted with water to prevent drunkenness. The grog ration was abolished in 1970.
Old photo of the Malahat, the Queen of Rum Row. The five-masted schooner successfully delivered rum and other spirits along the West Coast during Prohibition.
Old photo of the Malahat, the Queen of Rum Row. The five-masted schooner successfully delivered rum and other spirits along the West Coast during Prohibition.
Local sea caves and coves in La Jolla and Sunset Cliffs were used at hideouts for rum runners arriving from Mexico during Prohibition.
Local sea caves and coves in La Jolla and Sunset Cliffs were used at hideouts for rum runners arriving from Mexico during Prohibition.
Photos of the Monte Carlo, San Diego's Prohibition era floating casino. In 1937 it became beached on Coronado during a winter storm. Her wreckage can still be seen underwater at low tide.
Photos of the Monte Carlo, San Diego’s Prohibition era floating casino. In 1937 it became beached on Coronado during a winter storm. Her wreckage can still be seen underwater at low tide.
Photos of Blind Pigs and Speakeasies. A Speakeasy sold alcohol during Prohibition, and provided entertainment. Their drinks were tastier than the poisonous rums and moonshines concocted in bathtubs.
Blind Pigs and Speakeasies. A secretive Speakeasy sold alcohol during Prohibition, plus provided its guests with entertainment. Drinks were tastier than the poisonous rums and moonshines concocted in bathtubs.
A photograph of anti-alcohol activists taken during Prohibition. Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours!
A photograph of anti-alcohol activists taken during Prohibition. Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours!
Display celebrates the rise of local San Diego distilleries. Our city is now considered the craft beer capital of the United States.
Display celebrates the rise of local San Diego distilleries. Our dynamic city is now considered the craft beer capital of the United States.

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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Write down your secret, share it anonymously!

PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.
PostSecret is coming to the Museum of Man in Balboa Park on April 14, 2018.

How cool is this?

I was walking through the Fall Back Festival in the Gaslamp before it opened this morning and stumbled upon an amazing community art project!

The project is called PostSecret, and it was begun in 2004 by an inspired gentleman named Frank Warren. People write down one of their emotional secrets anonymously on a postcard and mail it in. The postcards are then displayed as public art! The project has already received over a million submissions!

The folks I met at the Fall Back Festival were representing the Museum of Man in Balboa Park. I learned the traveling PostSecret exhibition is coming to San Diego and will open at the museum on April 14, 2018! Residents of San Diego are encouraged to share their secrets!

How? Simply mail a creative postcard containing one of your written secrets–it can be anything, as long as it is true–to the Museum of Man address you see in one of my photos! You can make your postcard into a work of art, or just write down a few brief words.

I’m mailing my postcard tomorrow.

You also have secrets to share, don’t you?

These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
These friendly folks would like you to mail in one of your secrets anonymously!
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
PostSecret is a project that was begun in 2004 by Frank Warren. Over a million secrets have been shared.
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you'd like!
That address on the right is where you need to mail your postcard! Mail as many secrets as you’d like!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you'll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or merely have a good laugh!
Perhaps by mailing your secret, you’ll help us humans better understand our inner selves. Or gain a personal sense of relief. Or simply enjoy a healthy laugh!

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!

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.

I support restoring the Palisades in Balboa Park.

Some supporters of Balboa Park, including The Committee of One Hundred, would like to restore the Palisades area of the park to its former glory. I learned about this visionary effort on Labor Day while grabbing some napkins at the cafe inside the Casa de Balboa. A stack of postcards had been placed nearby. I picked one up. Here’s a photo:

Photos on a postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park's Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.
A postcard created by The Committee of One Hundred shows Balboa Park’s Palisades area in 1935 and 2017.

As you can see, in 1935, during the California Pacific International Exposition, the Palisades contained spacious lawns, flowers and benches where today you’ll find a large ugly parking lot.

Sounds familiar? For decades the Plaza de Panama on El Prado contained a similarly ugly parking lot. But after that parking lot’s removal and replacement with tables, umbrellas, potted greenery and public art, the Plaza de Panama has become a bustling hub of activity full of people enjoying the sunny San Diego outdoors, as was originally intended.

Now back to the Palisades area. After a little more research, I’ve learned The Committee of One Hundred is already working to replace the four long-lost murals that used to be above the entrance of the 1935 California State Building, which is home to the San Diego Automotive Museum. To see more about that project, check out The Committee of One Hundred’s 2017 newsletter.

Given what I’ve read and know, I must say I’m in full agreement with the idea of restoring the Palisades. The parking lot is an absolute eyesore and many of the surrounding buildings appear bare and decayed. Most people who park here don’t linger. They immediately head in the direction of El Prado.

The Palisades parking lot seems completely unnecessary. Today, without spending a penny in construction, it appears to me there’s already plenty of parking across Park Boulevard south of the Veterans Museum–that huge lower lot is usually mostly empty. Simply add signage and one or two more stops for the parking shuttle.

When San Diego Comic-Con opens their new museum in the Federal Building next year, I imagine many more visitors will be drawn into the Palisades area. It seems to me the energetic people at Comic-Con International and other museums who would greatly benefit from a revitalization of the Palisades–the San Diego Air and Space Museum in particular–could use their considerable combined influence to help speed a beautiful restoration.

And why must it be an exact restoration? Why not add more flowers, some new outdoor art, and even a lively, splashing fountain? Why not both restore history and make history? Balboa Park should be forward-looking, optimistic, alive! San Diego’s world-renowned gem could shine even more brightly! Just imagine!

A perfect summer Sunday in Balboa Park.

Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary's festive lawn program.
Musicians entertain Balboa Park visitors at the House of Hungary’s festive lawn program.

Another perfect summer Sunday. I found myself once again in Balboa Park. This afternoon, there was no better place in the world.

Please enjoy some photos…

A warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
It’s a warm summer afternoon. A man and his dog rest beneath a dinosaur near the San Diego Natural History Museum.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
Sunshine on the south side of the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado's outer courtyard.
San Diego Civic Youth Ballet had a Fairy Tale Village set up today in the Casa del Prado’s outer courtyard.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
The laps of two Western characters await people with tired feet in Spanish Village Art Center.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
Beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture at the west end of the Casa de Balboa, photographed from El Prado.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
People walk past ornate arches connecting the Casa de Balboa and the House of Hospitality.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Looking through one of those arches at cool greenery between the two historic buildings.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
Folks walk down toward the Casa del Rey Moro Garden.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
A beautiful view few visitors see. Part of the rear of the House of Hospitality and nearby Casa de Balboa.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
Flowers beside outdoor dining at The Prado at Balboa Park.
A tranquil and shady place to sit on a summer day in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
A tranquil and shady place to sit in the Japanese Friendship Garden. I worked for a while on a short story here.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
The Sunday afternoon lawn program today at the International Cottages was put on by the House of Hungary.
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
Hungarian sausage and crepes were being prepared at one end of the lawn!
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good.
I confess I had a tasty sausage with lots of mustard on a delectable roll of bread. But those crepes do look good. I’ll try one next year.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Ladies play cards on the grass at the House of Pacific Relations International Cottages.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to a free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego's new Civic Organist.
Folks sit under the Spreckels Organ Pavilion colonnade and listen to the free Sunday performance. Four finalists are auditioning to become San Diego’s new Civic Organist.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Looking beyond the fountain in front of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday.
Riding a bike through Balboa Park on a perfect summer Sunday afternoon.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.
A banner by door to the Balboa Park Visitors Center. Enjoy every little bit of summer.

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

Do you love Balboa Park? Follow my special blog which I call Beautiful Balboa Park!