Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde debut in San Diego!

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde have made their official debut in San Diego!

The famous character with two personas and two names, originally created by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, has been recreated in downtown San Diego. His two halves–the good and the evil–occupy a mysterious cabinet inside the studio of artist James Watts (@jewattso)!

Early this year I found James Watts working on his inspired Jekyll and Hyde cabinet in his utterly fantastic studio, and I posted photos and a little explanation here. This afternoon I beheld the finished creation!

Like any work of true art, the cabinet and its contents ignite mind, emotions and imagination. What does it all mean? A few suggestive words were provided by the artist.

On the rear of the cabinet is the image of a baby, symbolic of innocence, before choices are made in life…

Here’s the front of the mysterious cabinet with its sliding door. The cloud designs are influenced by Japanese art. Which side of the cabinet do you dare open first?

Here we have Dr. Jekyll, made of sailcloth sewn by hand. He’s wrapped up in tidy fashion, sitting politely and civilized.

On the opposite side lurks violent Mr. Hyde. He appears inhuman, hard and boney, and he has a hole in his head and heart!

James Watts then showed me how he’s working on a cool finger project now. He’s whittling lots of different fingers.

One can use one’s own fingers to pick among fingers…

James Watts works on new fingers on the sidewalk outside his downtown San Diego studio!

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Dance and food at the Cervantes Festival!

The Cervantes Festival was held today in San Diego!

The House of Spain hosted the fun cultural event in Balboa Park, with visitors enjoying entertainment, authentic Spanish food, a kids art table and more. I’m told the festival kicked off in the morning with young people reading from Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote.

When I arrived, people were watching flamenco dance on the International Cottages lawn and devouring tasty Spanish paella, jamón serrano, Manchego cheese (made in the La Mancha region of Spain) and other gastronomic goodies.

I walked about for a bit, looking for sights related to the great Spanish novelist Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. I found small sculptures of the timeless character Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho Panza in a display case inside the House of Spain cottage!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Sewing Dr Jekyll. Carving Mr Hyde.

There’s a mysterious cabinet in downtown San Diego.

This seemingly ordinary cabinet is designed to hold both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

I saw the cabinet today when I stepped into the studio of artist James Watts (@jewattso). And I was shown bits of both Jekyll and Hyde.

I was shown how the cabinet, painted pitch black inside, has a sliding door. Dr Jekyll will stand inside the cabinet on one side. Mr Hyde will stand on the other side. For a surprising revelation, slide the door open in either direction!

You can see the cabinet here…

(To the right of the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde cabinet stands Frankenstein’s monster. Perhaps you saw that monstrous creation displayed at the Oceanside Museum of Art last year!)

In the next photo, James Watts is carving Mr Hyde’s bones out of basswood.

He has already hand-sewn parts of Dr Jekyll together. Here’s his face…

James Watts explained that every stitch of the canvas Dr Jekyll is by hand. And that’s important.

I first met James Watts almost five years ago when I stumbled into his utterly fantastic downtown studio. You can see the blog I posted that day here.

As the Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde cabinet progresses, I’ll provide updates!

Thanks for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often. If you like discovering new things, bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and swing on by occasionally!

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!

Century old photos of Casa de Estudillo.

I came upon photographs of San Diego’s historic Casa de Estudillo that are nearly a century old. I thought you might enjoy them.

These images of the Jose Antonio Estudillo House were captured in 1936 and 1937 by architectural photographer Henry F. Withey for the Historic American Buildings Survey. A product of the Heritage Documentation Program of the U.S. National Park Service, the photos are in the public domain.

It’s interesting to see that long ago streets intersected near one corner of the house: Mason Street and San Diego Avenue. Today the Casa de Estudillo museum stands in the middle of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, and the streets you see in these photographs have become wide walkways filled with tourists.

The Casa de Estudillo was built in 1827. Back in the 1930s tourists were visiting the large old adobe casa, just as they do today. The painted Ramona’s Marriage Place sign you see in the above photo was meant to attract those motoring by. Ramona in the late 19th and early 20th centuries was an immensely popular novel.

You can read why Casa de Estudillo was called Ramona’s Marriage Place by clicking here. You can also see the present-day interior of Casa de Estudillo here and here!

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Mark Twain and friends visit San Diego!

Famous author Mark Twain and several literary friends visited San Diego today. They arrived at Heritage County Park for a very special event.

TwainFest 2022 welcomed some of the world’s most celebrated writers, delighting everyone who attended the outdoor festival. The free, family-friendly event is put on every year by Write Out Loud.

Mark Twain himself greeted visitors who wandered about…

I don’t know whether Twain realized he was standing only a block away from the house where humorist Squibob lived while in San Diego.

When I asked him, Mark Twain wouldn’t clearly acknowledge that he was inspired by Squibob. Historians say he probably was.

But we can all agree Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a classic of American Literature. The esteemed author must’ve been pleased when TwainFest visitors cheerfully whitewashed a fence, much to the consternation of Aunt Polly.

Soon Twain was joined by three other notable writers. Edgar Allan Poe, Paul Laurence Dunbar, and Emily Dickinson.

Yes, a fine summer day filled with imagination–another chapter in our own never-ending stories…

Out of the blue, a friendly Charles Dickens came strolling along through Heritage Park. The author confessed that one of his favorite works was A Christmas Carol.

In another area of the park, the Red Queen of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland was playing croquet. I didn’t see Lewis Carroll, but he must’ve been nearby.

In the sunny Author’s Salon, Edgar Allan Poe was talking about his life–what he remembered of it.

Then Poe began his emotional recital of The Raven.

A few steps away, what were these smiling TwainFest visitors observing?

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan!

And that scoundrel, Captain Hook!

And what was going on over here?

Alice, the White Rabbit, the (Mad) Hatter and smiling guests had assembled for a quite unique tea party!

The Dormouse made a surprise appearance at the Mad Tea-Party as well!

And who is this fine fellow over here reading a story about gallant knights and noble acts of chivalry?

Don Quixote! (And his squire Sancho Panza.)

For his first big adventure, Don Quixote encountered a terrifying number of large fearsome giants who looked strangely like windmills…

Thank you, Mr. Twain, for the twinkle in your eye and your timeless humor.

And for bringing so many literary friends to 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!

Comic-Con exhibit at San Diego Library.

An exhibit at San Diego’s Central Library, on display during 2022 Comic-Con, traces the history of dime novels, pulp fiction, comics and graphic novels.

The fascinating display can be enjoyed on the Central Library’s 9th floor, in the Rare Books room containing their Special Collections.

Some important and rare works are on view, and descriptions provide insight into the history of each popular medium.

If you happen to be passing by the Central Library with its lattice metal dome during Comic-Con, head up the elevator to the rooftop! And go through the door you see in the next photograph!

If you’d like to view my coverage of Comic-Con so far, which includes hundreds of cool photographs, click 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!

Repairing the historic Old Adobe Chapel.

I recently learned that the historic Old Adobe Chapel in Old Town is being repaired and restored by the City of San Diego. I was told the roof leaks and a long, very serious crack was discovered along one wall. (I believe you can see it in one upcoming photo.)

I happened to be walking through Old Town yesterday when I remembered being told this. So I walked to 3963 Conde Street to see for myself.

The Adobe Chapel (also known as the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception) is designated California Historical Landmark No. 49. It was originally built in 1850. Initially the structure served as a home, then in 1858 it was turned into a church that would become a center for activity in early San Diego.

The old chapel has a rich history. It was said to be the wedding place of the character Ramona in Helen Hunt Jackson’s wildly popular 1884 novel of the same name. The Adobe Chapel would later be bulldozed and rebuilt in the 1930’s. To learn more about its history, visit the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) website here and here. To enjoy a fascinating gallery of images, click here.

The Adobe Chapel is presently operated by SOHO. It is both a museum and special event venue. According to their website, it should be reopening, after repairs, sometime in 2022.

I see a long crack!
Photo of historical plaques and sign taken from a nearby parking lot.

ADOBE CHAPEL OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

ORIGINALLY BUILT AS THE HOME OF SAN DIEGO’S JOHN BROWN IN 1850, THE HOUSE WAS CONVERTED TO A CHURCH BY DON JOSE AGUIRRE IN 1858. FATHER ANTONIO D. UBACH, FORMERLY A MISSIONARY AMONG THE INDIANS, WAS PARISH PRIEST HERE FROM 1866 TO 1907. IT IS SAID THAT HE WAS THE MODEL FOR “FATHER GASPARA” IN HELEN HUNT JACKSON’S RAMONA. IN 1937 THE WPA REBUILT THE ADOBE CHAPEL CLOSE TO ITS ORIGINAL SITE.

Old Adobe Chapel

BUILT IN 1850 AS A PRIVATE RESIDENCE. DEDICATED A PARISH CHURCH NOVEMBER 21, 1858 by FATHER JOHN MOLINER.

IN 1866, FATHER ANTONIO UBACH, THE PARISH PRIEST, WAS “FATHER GASPARA” OF HELEN HUNT JACKSON’S FAMOUS NOVEL “Ramona”

REBUILT BY UNITED STATES WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION 1937

A view of the Old Adobe Chapel from Conde Street in Old Town 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!

Another Whomping Willow at City College?

It appears Hogwarts isn’t the only school with a dangerous Whomping Willow. Because our own San Diego City College seems to have one of its own!

I was walking up Park Boulevard this morning, on my way from downtown San Diego to the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park, when I spied the fantastically twisted tree. A few of its gnarled. outstretched limbs had slammed against the nearby grass, sadly crushing goodness knows what.

I avoided the walking path that passes directly next to it, just to be safe.

That is a Whomping Willow, isn’t it?

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!

Actors read literary works online for TwainFest!

The spirit of Twain lives in this wonderful annual festival.

Do you love reading literature from the 19th century?

I do!

I love Mark Twain, Lewis Carroll, Emily Dickinson, Jules Verne, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Henry David Thoreau, Herman Melville . . . there are too many great Victorian authors from this period to mention!

If you love to read these authors, too, there’s an online event in progress that you’ll probably like!

During this special event you can listen to selections from 19th century literature read aloud by San Diego actors!

It’s part of Write Out Loud’s virtual TwainFest, and you can subscribe by clicking here to get daily links to new YouTube readings in your email!

What was the event like before the coronavirus pandemic? To see photos from TwainFest last year in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park, click here!

Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Many 19th century authors and fictional characters were seen walking about during TwainFest.
Mark Twain uses his cane to point out his classic novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.

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.

Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado!

The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.
The Good Witch of the North and The Wicked Witch of the West meet on the yellow brick road, as a balloon flies away in Oz.

One of the utility boxes painted a few years back for the Art Outside the Box project in Coronado depicts scenes and characters from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and other novels in the popular Oz series by L. Frank Baum.

The happy artwork, which greets those walking down the Orange Avenue sidewalk near the Coronado Library, was painted by local students Eva B., Audrey S., and Sienna F.

L. Frank Baum and Coronado are closely related. The author spent many winters in a house near the famous Hotel del Coronado, whose fantastic architecture is said to be the inspiration for his Emerald City.

You can learn more and see photos of his winter house by clicking here!

Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.
Walking past Wizard of Oz street art in Coronado. The title of this public art is Fairy Tale.

Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum's wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a house in Coronado.
Another side of the utility box depicting L. Frank Baum’s wonderful land of Oz. The popular author often spent his winters writing in a rented house in Coronado.

One of the magical creatures in Oz.
One of the magical creatures in Oz.

Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road as Art Outside the Box.
Dorothy walks along the yellow brick road. A fun work of Art Outside the Box.

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