Live organ concerts return to Balboa Park!

Hooray! Live organ concerts are returning to the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park! The free Sunday concerts at two o’clock resume this weekend!

The COVID-19 pandemic made public gatherings of this sort out of the question for a very, very long time. Weekly concerts, performed on the Spreckels Organ by world-renowned San Diego Civic Organist Raul Prieto Ramírez, could only be heard online.

But that horrible episode is over, and one of my very favorite activities is back!

Be sure to mark Sunday at 2:00 pm on your calendar. I just did!

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!

Music, dance and circus festival coming to City Heights!

Oh, wow! Check out the big, free cultural event that’s coming to City Heights on Saturday, June 26!

From noon to 6 pm, Music en la Calle is going to feature a ton of music and dance, not to mention a fun circus performance!

I see there will be mariachis, Azteca dancers, flamenco dancers, taiko drummers (I’ve been to several Naruwan Taiko performances and they are absolutely incredible!), jazz musicians, and performers from everybody’s favorite Fern Street Circus!

Music en la Calle will take place at the intersection of University Avenue and 41st Street, in City Height’s new community performance venue by the outdoor “Characters” sculpture garden!

I’ll be there!

Gwynn, Kobe and Nipsey Hussle mural in IB.

A mural in Imperial Beach honors three heroes who made positive contributions to their Southern California communities: Tony Gwynn, Kobe Bryant and Nipsey Hussle.

The mural was spray painted on the side of the Ace of Fades Barbershop by Los Angeles-based tattoo artist Tha Sloe (@sloe_motions) in late 2020.

Tony Gwynn, otherwise known as Mr. Padre, was a beloved baseball superstar and hero to all of San Diego. Lakers basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was a beloved hero throughout Southern California and beyond. Nipsey Hussle (Ermias Joseph Asghedom) was a rising hip-hop artist who promoted African American self-sufficiency, education, pride and unity, and an end to gun violence in Los Angeles.

I meant to capture all three heroes in one photograph, but a couple of vehicles parked close to the mural when I happened to walk past made that difficult.

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!

A special song celebrates beautiful Coronado.

There’s a special, very beautifully written song that celebrates Coronado. The song, which has become beloved by many over the years, was written by composer and Coronado resident Joan Brown Goldberg, who passed away in early 2020.

I learned about The Coronado Song yesterday in Encinitas of all places. I was outside the old 19th century schoolhouse, lingering after a historical walking tour of Encinitas, when I approached a pianist who was playing among nearby vendors at a small crafts event.

The musician, whom you can see in my photos, is Famous Frank. He told me about Joan Brown Goldberg and how he’d played The Coronado Song during a music festival at the Emerald C Gallery a couple years ago. He described The Coronado Song as the unofficial theme song of Coronado.

I did a little searching, and discovered here that “…For a time the song with piano accompaniment was sold around town and at the Hotel del Coronado.”

I also found here that Joan Brown Goldberg “…was a talented composer, writing over 40 songs. Her most recognized work was ‘The Coronado Song,’ which won several international contests. The song was played before the annual Coronado July 4th Parade at the grandstand for 20 years.”

You can see some of the sheet music here.

I love the poetry and feeling in her lyrics. I’ve transcribed the words for the enjoyment of all.

THE CORONADO SONG

Music and Lyrics by Joan Brown Goldberg

Coronado, where the sun shines
Where the grand Hotel meets the sea
And the crashing waves
Will set you ablaze
And launch you into a dream.

Coronado, little island,
With skies as blue as can be
I long to walk on your tanned
California sand
And sit by your sparkling sea.

I miss your cold windy days
That grey winter haze
And fog horns blowin’ all night

Your summer perfume
Of jasmine in bloom
Your seaside seagulls in flight.

Coronado, on a sea breeze,
You know you’re haunting me so.
You are the Queen of the Coast
You’re the mariner’s host
And the most lovely Lady I know!

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!

Cool art in one Encinitas alley!

Yesterday, before meeting at the Encinitas Historical Society’s 1883 Schoolhouse for a guided walking tour, I was heading along the sidewalk up West F Street when I saw all sorts of cool art in one alley, and near it on a building across the street.

This alley runs between JARPR Studios (which appears to be home of the Johnny Rock Band and the MUSIC MUSIC Special Needs Music School) and American Legion Post 416.

Check out the fun, very colorful artwork! I see a whole lot of love, peace, kindness and creativity.

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!

Musicians rock at Starlight Bowl pop-up!

Great musicians gathered this afternoon and rocked Balboa Park’s Pan American Plaza during a pop-up performance in front of the Starlight Bowl!

I happened to walk past as the musicians were getting ready, and I stuck around to hear several songs. And I’m glad I did! Their absolutely rocking rendition of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic Proud Mary is still echoing in my head!

This cool pop-up event was not only terrific, but it also helped to raise awareness about Save Starlight‘s efforts to completely renovate and revitalize Balboa Park’s historic Starlight Bowl amphitheater.

In the past I’ve blogged about my own experiences at the Starlight Bowl as a youth, and more recently about the plans to bring the amphitheater, built for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, back to life. You can revisit that old blog post here.

Today I learned that a “Beyond Starlight” concession will be opening at one end of the old box office this summer, offering Community, Coffee, Treats and Beats. Perfect for the nearby tables that now fill the Pan American Plaza, which was completed a few months ago!

I also learned that the spacious outdoor amphitheater that seats over 4,000 will be available to the public for a whole variety of potential events. According to this page: “Once we are open for operation it will be available, and affordable for everyone. Starlight will be open to the entire San Diego performance and event community to host their productions.”

So in a small way, today’s pop-up at the Starlight Bowl’s entrance is a tiny taste of the good times to come!

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!

Monument to historic radio station KCBQ in Santee.

I remember listening to KCBQ 1170 as a youth. For decades it was one of San Diego’s leading radio stations, featuring radio personalities that are legendary, including “Shotgun Tom” Kelly and Charlie Tuna.

This groundbreaking AM radio station has had a complicated history, its many different owners moving the studio about from time to time and playing everything from contemporary music to country music. A detailed Wikipedia article can be found here.

A monument to the original KCBQ, which was influential in popularizing the Top 40 music format for the rest of the nation, now stands at the radio station’s old Santee transmitter site. It was dedicated on August 28, 2010. You can find the monument on Mission Gorge Road just east of Carlton Hills Boulevard, in front of an In-N-Out Burger fast food restaurant.

Scan the list of past on-air personalities and you’ll see names that have been well known in San Diego radio for decades. Personally, I easily recall the unique voices of Frank Anthony, Gene Knight and Gary Kelley, not to mention “Shotgun Tom” Kelly.

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!

Amazing, monumental The Shell nears completion!

Oh my goodness! Look at these photos! I took them today during a walk along San Diego’s waterfront, at Embarcadero Marina Park South.

San Diego Symphony’s monumental The Shell is nearing completion and it’s more amazing than I anticipated!

As I understand it, the San Diego’s Symphony’s popular summer concerts will resume this year, after being cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And for the very first time, Bayside Summer Nights will be held at this permanent outdoor venue.

I spoke to a construction worker and he said the project is indeed nearing completion. I could see that landscaping is now underway, and that most of the structures seem about ready to go.

If you’d like to compare how the project appeared in late 2019, as it was just getting started, you can check out photos I took here. At the time the venue was referred to as Bayside Performance Park.

Today this outdoor stage, the only venue of its kind on the West Coast, whose acoustic quality is said to be as good as any indoor concert hall, and whose white “shell” is made of the same material as the San Diego Convention Center’s iconic sails, is simply called The Shell.

As I walked outside the construction fence peering at The Shell, I could immediately see that this extraordinary landmark will help further distinguish San Diego from every other city in the world, and is destined to become a beloved part of the already beautiful skyline.

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!

Dancing children on a marble bench in La Jolla.

Perhaps you remember a blog post from years ago, when I shared photographs of the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial in La Jolla, with its beautiful sculpture of a young girl dipping her finger into a pool of water. For photos of the sculpture, and to learn more, click here.

On Saturday I headed to La Jolla again to photograph playful images carved on the back of the nearby marble bench. I added contrast to my photos, so you can see the fine, fluid carvings of children making music and dancing, and the lines from Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved A Child’s Garden of Verses.

Like the original sculpture, which was commissioned by the City of San Diego (and which went missing in 1996, to be replaced by a different sculpture) this curved marble bench was created by James Tank Porter in 1926. Inscribed in the front of the bench are the words: “Presented to the people of La Jolla by the people of San Diego, in honor and appreciation of Ellen Browning Scripps.”

The happy, carefree carvings make me wish I were a child again.

The world is so full of a number of things…
…I’m sure we should all be as happy as kings.

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!

Mural honors WorldBeat Cultural Center founder.

Last year a striking mural was painted in East Village near the corner of Imperial Avenue and 17th Street. If honors Makeda “Dread” Cheatom, founder of the WorldBeat Cultural Center. The mural portrays her playing what is most likely reggae music, which is one of her passions.

White doves perched at the edge of a turntable represent Peace. The theme of the mural is Unity. For decades Makeda Cheatom has worked to bring culture, peace and unity to the San Diego community.

I suspect the vegetation in the design’s background is inspired by the unique EthnoBotany Children’s Peace Garden outside the WorldBeat Cultural Center in Balboa Park.

This beautiful, colorul mural was created by artist Taylor Gallegos of Carlsbad.

As you can see in the final photo, this is an area of San Diego where those who are homeless tend to gather. In a place where dreams might lie broken, the mural imparts its hopeful message.

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!