Naruwan Taiko’s thundering, unabashed joy!

This afternoon I headed to the Pacific Rim Festival in Chula Vista’s Bayside Park. I’ll blog more about this fun event shortly!

The highlight of my day was an incredible performance by Naruwan Taiko!

Imagine resonant, heart-pounding, pulsing beats, and drummers swinging unstoppable arms in a synchronized dance. Imagine smiles and shouts, muscles and sweat, powered by a pure love of life. For a few moments Bayside Park was stirred by magic. Hearts were lifted by thundering, unabashed joy!

I was ready to leap over the sun!

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!

New wonders and discoveries in Balboa Park.

A small dog dressed like Santa attracts as much attention as the musician performing by the Balboa Park reflecting pool.
A tiny dog dressed like Santa Claus attracts a lot of attention. The friendly musician performing by the Balboa Park reflecting pool didn’t seem to mind.

Christmas is coming on Monday. So I was given this afternoon off from work.

Even on the second day of winter, San Diego is pure sunshine.

As I got my legs pumping, Balboa Park seemed like the perfect destination. It’s a magical place that’s always full of new wonders and unexpected discoveries.

Something very cool is coming this weekend. I’ve been invited on a special tour of the Modern Masters from Latin America exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Art. I’ll probably blog about the experience on Tuesday, the day after Christmas. Meanwhile, I’m going to take a short break here and perhaps do a bit of writing.

I hope you all have a wonderful and very merry next few days!

Young and old peer into a magical fountain near the Botanical Building.
Young and old peer into a magical fountain near the Botanical Building.
Moving through the wonder-filled Casa del Prado, turning a corner.
People move past light-filled archways, turn a corner…
I was told these guys were filming the comic show Cult of Kevin in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
I was told these guys were filming the pilot of a funny show called “Cult of Kyle” in the outdoor courtyard of the Casa del Prado.
Many faces among leaves. Art discovered on Spanish Village's outdoor Studio 10 work table.
Many faces among fallen leaves. Sketches discovered unexpectedly in Spanish Village, on a worktable outside Studio 10.
Sunlight on trunks and leaves at the edge of Palm Canyon.
Bright sunlight on trunks and leaves at the edge of Balboa Park’s Palm Canyon.
The effort to save the Starlight Bowl has made great progress! They finally have a Special Use Permit from the City of San Diego!
The effort to save the Starlight Bowl has made great progress! They finally have a Special Use Permit from the City of San Diego!
I was told that two new marble benches outside the entrance of the San Diego Air and Space Museum are about one month old. They were donated by North American Aviation, Inc.
I was told that two shiny new marble benches outside the entrance of the San Diego Air and Space Museum are about one month old. They were donated by retirees of North American Aviation.
People are entertained on El Prado one beautiful winter's day in Balboa Park. The facade of the Casa del Prado makes a fantastic backdrop.
People are entertained on El Prado one beautiful winter’s day in Balboa Park. The facade of the Casa del Prado makes a fantastic backdrop.
This cool guy had a long rope that generated zillions of bubbles at once!
This cool guy near the Zoro Garden had a long rope that generated zillions of bubbles at once!
I often see this silent, very funny busker in Seaport Village. He was performing his magic today in Balboa Park.
I often see this silent busker in Seaport Village. He was juggling and performing magic today in Balboa Park.
Filling the air with living music in front of the San Diego Natural History Museum.
A musician breathes life into the park. A small scene in front of the San Diego Natural History Museum.

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!

Happy Holidays!

Richard

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!

Sailboats, sunshine, and the Commodores!

The Commodores do a sound check before their evening performance at Bayside Summer Nights.
The Commodores do a sound check before their evening performance at Bayside Summer Nights.

Adventures all over today, including walks in La Mesa and Logan Heights.

The best came near the end. I just happened to arrive at Embarcadero Marina Park South as the legendary Motown group Commodores began their sound check for this evening’s Bayside Summer Nights concert. It was like a free “concert” for myself and a few lucky others.

The Commodores have provided so many good moments and memories in my life. Their stirring music has such strong rhythm and heart. Soul, defined. When you listen, you smile, then you start singing too.

Night Shift. Lady (You Bring Me Up). Easy.

I heard bits and pieces of them all.

And in the near distance, sailboats and sunshine on San Diego Bay.

Yes, life is good.

Getting the chairs ready for an outdoor concert on San Diego Bay.
Getting the chairs ready for an outdoor concert on San Diego Bay.
A sailboat tacks. I could hear the sails flapping.
A sailboat tacks. I could hear the sails flapping.
The Commodores on stage produce their legendary magic.
The Commodores on stage produce their legendary magic.
Beauty nearby.
Sunshine and sails. Easy like Saturday afternoon.
Life is good.
Life is good.

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!

Photos of Steven Universe music video with Estelle!

Wow! I just watched an amazing performance!

A fun, upbeat music video featuring Estelle was videotaped this afternoon in San Diego during 2017 Comic-Con! And hundreds of super enthusiastic people–young and old–came out to sing along!

Many in the crowd dressed like their favorite Steven Universe characters or held up signs containing messages of optimism and love!

The crowd sang along and enjoyed every second of it. I’m still feeling elated as I write this blog! Even though I’ve never watched a single episode of Steven Universe or heard the song before.

Estelle is a Grammy-award winning musician. She also voices the character Garnet in Cartoon Network’s super popular animated TV show. It looks to me like Steven Universe rocks!

The guy in charge of the production announced to the crowd that the video, titled Stronger Than You, should appear on Cartoon Network in a couple days.

Let me share a few photos…

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!

Bayou Brothers rock the House of France!

Folks dance on the stage at the center of Balboa Park's International Cottages. The lawn program today was hosted by the House of France.
Folks dance on the stage at the center of Balboa Park’s International Cottages. The lawn program today was hosted by the House of France.

For a moment I thought I’d taken a wrong turn. Was this Louisiana? Upon entering the lawn area of Balboa Park’s International Cottages, the energetic, rollicking Zydeco music coming from the stage made me suddenly feel like dancing about! And I don’t dance!

San Diego’s own Bayou Brothers band was the main entertainment this afternoon for the House of France’s lawn program! And they appeared to be an enormous hit!

An accordion starts hands clapping and feet stomping.
An accordion starts hands clapping and feet stomping.
A nice crowd enjoyed some great entertainment on a perfect Sunday afternoon.
A nice crowd enjoyed some great entertainment on a perfect Sunday in the park.
People gathered outside the House of France to listen to the music, talk, and look at some cultural displays.
People gathered outside the House of France to listen to the music, talk, and look at some cultural displays.
A poster says Welcome to the House of France. It depicts Mont St. Michel, Château de Versailles, la Tour Eiffel, and other popular national attractions.
A poster says Welcome to the House of France. It depicts Mont St. Michel, Château de Versailles, la Tour Eiffel, and other popular national attractions.
Some visitors inside the House of France sample treats and enjoy more good conversation.
Some visitors inside the House of France sample treats and enjoy more good conversation.
While outside, the music played. Another wonderful event in Balboa Park.
While outside, the music played. Just another wonderful day in Balboa Park.

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!