Dance on Sunday afternoons in Balboa Park!

On Sunday afternoons I seem to be spending more and more time in the grand Ballroom of the Balboa Park Club. Cushioned chairs line the walls, and I can sit peacefully as I read or write, listening to gentle, sprightly folk music, occasionally looking up at happy people dancing.

I don’t do much in the way of dancing–not with my feet. But I’m sure some of you do! And I bet some of you’d like to learn all sorts of different folk dances!

I spoke to a nice lady who is a member of one of Balboa Park’s dance clubs, and she told me they are looking to grow their membership. There’s an opportunity for ordinary people with varying levels of experience to learn folk dances from many different cultures. And each lesson costs only a couple bucks!

As you can see from one of my photos, kids and parents can also learn how to dance the third Sunday of every month, from 3:30 – 4:30 pm. Sounds like fun!

Interested? Visit the International Dance Association of San Diego County website by clicking here!

If you can walk, you can dance!

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!

Culture, sunshine and life in Balboa Park.

Riding bicycles one sunny Sunday over the Cabrillo Bridge into the heart of Balboa Park.
Riding bicycles over the Cabrillo Bridge into the heart of Balboa Park.

Here are some photographs from my Sunday walk through Balboa Park. I enjoyed plenty of culture, sunshine and life. That’s why I go there so often.

Visitors enjoy the quiet, sunlit beauty of the Alcazar Garden.
Visitors enjoy the quiet, sunlit beauty of the Alcazar Garden.
Rise Up For the Arts and Culture. Preserve Penny For the Arts. A sign in Spanish Village, where the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition recently held an event.
Rise Up For the Arts and Culture. Preserve Penny For the Arts. A sign in Spanish Village, where the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and San Diego Regional Arts and Culture Coalition recently held an event.
Lots of fun balloons on El Prado on another perfect Sunday afternoon.
Lots of fun balloons on El Prado on another perfect Sunday afternoon.
A green banner near the entrance to the Balboa Park Visitors Center anticipates St. Patrick's Day. A banner with bright flowers and a hummingbird anticipates the arrival of spring.
A green banner near the entrance to the Balboa Park Visitors Center anticipates St. Patrick’s Day. A banner with bright flowers and a hummingbird anticipates the arrival of spring.
People relax at a table under a red umbrella in the Plaza de Panama. The House of Charm rises in the background.
People relax at a table under a red umbrella in the Plaza de Panama. The House of Charm, home of the Mingei Museum, rises in the background.
Trombonist Eric Starr joins Robert Plimpton on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They are practicing before the Sunday afternoon concert.
Trombonist Eric Starr joins Robert Plimpton on the stage of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. They are practicing before the Sunday afternoon concert.
The free concert begins. Sweet music fills the park.
The free concert begins. Sweet music fills the park.
The House of Chamorros hosted this Sunday's International Cottages lawn program.
The House of Chamorros hosted this Sunday’s International Cottages lawn program.
Many wonderful Chamorro arts and crafts displayed at the event.
Many wonderful Chamorro arts and crafts were displayed at the event.
People converge in Balboa Park to celebrate culture, sunshine and life.
People converge in Balboa Park to celebrate culture, sunshine and life.

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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New public artwork at Bayside Fire Station!

Public artwork is being installed outside the new City of San Diego Bayside Fire Station No. 2, at the corner of Cedar Avenue and Pacific Highway
Public artwork is being installed outside the new City of San Diego Bayside Fire Station No. 2, at the corner of Cedar Street and Pacific Highway

Some cool public artwork is rising at the corner of Cedar Street and Pacific Highway, right next to the new Bayside Fire Station No. 2 in Little Italy!

For the past couple weeks I’ve been watching the unusual sculpture slowly grow, like flowers and vines sprouting from a base of urban concrete. And, according to what I’ve read, that’s exactly the effect that’s intended. The artists Ingram Ober, Marisól Rendón-Ober and Chuck Moffit are known for their unusual, thought-provoking creations, which are often sublime or humorous. The old Victrola horn-like brass elements of the sculpture will broadcast gentle music, which will contrast with the noise of the nearby streets and sudden fire engine sirens.

I can’t wait to see (and listen to) this artwork when it is completed!

Construction of the Bayside Fire Station No. 2 appears to be almost complete.
Construction of the new Bayside Fire Station No. 2 appears to be almost complete.
Twisting metal structures rise up like fire hoses.
Twisting metal structures rise up like whipping fire hoses.
Gentle music will play out of the brass trumpet-like forms.
Gentle music will play out of the brass trumpet-like forms.
A red vine seems to be growing around those two horns! This might make a nice place to sit when finished.
A red vine seems to be growing around those two horns! This might make a nice place to sit when finished.
When completed, this new public art should to be pretty interesting!
When completed, this new public art should to be pretty interesting!
Cool art seems to be growing out the sidewalk in front of the new Bayside Fire Station in San Diego!
Cool art seems to be growing out the sidewalk in front of the new Bayside Fire Station in San Diego!

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!

Computer Science and a boom box at UCSD!

Father of the Computer, Charles Babbage, 1791-1871.
Father of the Computer, Charles Babbage, 1791-1871.

There are two electrical boxes near the UCSD Gilman Transit Center that caught my eye last weekend. One features tributes to three early pioneers of computer science. The other is painted to appear like a gigantic boom box. Technology and music are central to the life of many students at UC San Diego.

I always love revisiting the campus of UC San Diego. It’s a very beautiful place, bustling with energy. The university is rated one of the finest in the world. When I see the inventors of tomorrow, walking with smiles in the La Jolla sunshine, I feel hopeful.

Enchantress of Numbers, Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852.
Enchantress of Numbers, Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852.
Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing, 1912-1954.
Father of Computer Science, Alan Turing, 1912-1954.
An electrical box painted like a huge boom box near UCSD's Gilman Transit Center.
An electrical box painted like a huge boom box near UCSD’s Gilman Transit Center.
Musical notes stream from an enormous boom box at UC San Diego!
Musical notes stream from an enormous boom box at UC San Diego!

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!

Exciting debut of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego’s new Civic Organist, raises his arms in greeting.

I’m still in a state of elation after experiencing the exciting debut this afternoon of San Diego’s new Civic Organist!

The first appearance of Raúl Prieto Ramírez as official organist for the city of San Diego was nothing less than phenomenal. He performed in Balboa Park’s Spreckels Organ Pavilion, where the public will now enjoy his free performances every Sunday at two o’clock.

His great love of music, his energy, his vivaciousness and his extraordinary skill were apparent from the start. An enormous audience filled the Spreckels Organ Pavilion and welcomed him warmly. At the conclusion of the exciting concert, he received a well-deserved standing ovation.

San Diego is so fortunate. The shoes of previous Civic Organist, Dr. Carol Williams, would be difficult for anyone to fill, but Raúl Prieto Ramírez seems definitely up to the task. His playing is crisp, nimble, precise, and full of expression. His smile is enormous. His mission in life, he told the audience, was to bring to the world great music. That makes him happy.

Raúl Prieto Ramírez comes to San Diego from Barcelona, Spain. He is internationally acclaimed, the founder of the Barcelona-Mataró International Organ Festival. Now he will perform his magic in Balboa Park as Civic Organist and Artistic Director of the Spreckels Organ Society. I can tell you right now the future of the 103-year-old Spreckels Organ is incredibly bright.

My photos of today’s concert captures a true artist’s unbounded passion. That passion translates into musical gold.

Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world's largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
Jack Lasher, President of the Spreckels Organ Society, welcomes new San Diego Civic Organist Raúl Prieto Ramírez to the world’s largest outdoor organ in Balboa Park.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A sparkling debut concert is about to begin.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
A tradition for the Sunday organ concerts in Balboa Park, Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays America to get things started.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
The San Diego audience loved our new Civic Organist from the word go.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach's famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about coming to San Diego, before his brilliant performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
Playing the Spreckels Organ with style and passion.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
There were many smiles throughout the large audience at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion. Every bench was full.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
Finishing a difficult Classical piece with a triumphant flourish.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
With theatrical flair, Raúl Prieto Ramírez talks about the next piece, Danse Macabre.
Concentration.
Concentration.
Feeling.
Feeling.
Intensity.
Intensity.
More smiles.
More smiles.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society's Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
After a great organ rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody, Spreckels Organ Society’s Executive Director Ross Porter announces kids are needed for the next number.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Kids from the audience take the stage right next to the Spreckels Organ console.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Here comes a fifth kid.
Instructions are secretly given.
Instructions are secretly given.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short sentence that introduces each part of the music.
While Raúl Prieto Ramírez plays Batalla Famosa, the kids read a short dramatic sentence that introduces each part of the music.
Too much fun!
Too much fun!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!
Meet the new San Diego Civic Organist, Raúl Prieto Ramírez!

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!

Mormon Battalion Commemoration coming in January!

The annual Mormon Battalion Commemoration Day is coming to Old Town San Diego State Historic Park on January 27, 2018.

Anyone interested in the long march of the Mormon Battalion from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego and their important contributions to our city’s early history should put the event on their calendar!

I’ve been informed by the commemoration day organizer that entertainment will include a Native American dance group featuring drums and singers, some colorful ballet folklorico dancers, and an old time fiddler’s group!

To get a taste of the many interesting things you might see, view photos of past Mormon Battalion Commemoration Days here and here!

I recently finished writing a short story about generosity and the true spirit of Christmas. To read it, click here!

Street musician plays flamethrower bagpipes!

A street musician on San Diego's always dynamic Embarcadero plays bagpipes that shoot flames!
A street musician on San Diego’s always dynamic Embarcadero plays bagpipes that shoot flames!

How crazy is this?

During my afternoon walk near the USS Midway Museum I spotted a street musician playing some bagpipes. But these weren’t ordinary bagpipes. These shot flames!

I meant to ask the performer how his unique flamethrower bagpipes work, but he kept playing and playing, and receiving a steady stream of donations, and I didn’t want to interrupt his performance. I’ll have to ask him a few questions should I see him again!

Very cool!

These flamethrowing bagpipes drew a lot of attention at the base of Navy Pier!
These flamethrower bagpipes drew a lot of attention at the foot of Navy Pier!
An unexpected cool sight during another walk in San Diego!
An unexpected cool sight during another walk in San Diego!

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!