The storytelling blocks of artist James Watts!

One of the most wonderfully creative artists in San Diego has a little-known studio downtown. His name is James Watts.

I blogged about my first visit to his amazing studio several years ago here.

Today I was walking home after a long adventure (many blogs coming up) when I saw his studio door was open. And there he was working away! Hammering at flat pieces of printed aluminum, making colorful storytelling blocks!

What are storytelling blocks? They feature images from human experience on different sides–such as night on one side and day on the other. You can flip them any which way, then insert them into a wooden box with fixed compartments! These visual stories are like small treasures or keepsakes. Dreamlike, they are open to interpretation.

He also showed me his Box of Yes and No (that uses words from different languages and a couple of eyeballs) and a shelf full of storytelling cubes. Plus lots of other cool artwork!

His fantastic Frankenstein monster that debuted earlier this year is so cool it’s coming up separately on my next blog post!

I love the unlimited energy and joy of life that flows from James Watts’ hands. His art is primarily about storytelling. His studio is also filled with large sculptures based on Japanese kokeshi. The sculptures creatively depict Don Quixote, Prometheus, Jonah, Pandora, Joan of Arc, and a whole host of diverse characters from literature.

He told me some of his storytelling pieces will be in a future exhibition at the Oceanside Museum of Art. So you might be getting a little bit of a preview 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!

Day of the Dead walk around Old Town.

Today many are celebrating Día de los Muertos–Mexico’s traditional Day of the Dead. It is a time when departed loved ones are remembered and honored.

Early this evening I took a short walk around Old Town San Diego to see what I might see.

Many are still cautious because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there wasn’t the usual crowd and activities. But I did find music and colorful Catrinas at Fiesta de Reyes, and sugar skull face painting at a few spots in the State Park and along San Diego Avenue. I also came across a couple of Día de los Muertos altars.

These are my 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!

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!

You can help homeless people in San Diego.

Homeless man walks through life with his stuff.

Seven years ago I published 20 Ways To Help the Homeless in San Diego. This special page lists twenty organizations and initiatives that can use your help, to reach and assist homeless people all around San Diego.

This morning I revised the page. I’ve removed links to charitable operations and websites that no longer exist, added others.

If you find it in your heart, please visit this page again. There are many opportunities to volunteer, mentor, donate, provide hope.

Perhaps you’ll feel inspired to help out in your own way.

Have a great day!

Richard

Photos of Rock ‘n Roll Marathon in downtown!

The 2021 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon is taking place today!

This morning I walked through downtown San Diego to check out the action as a seemingly endless stream of marathon runners approached the finish line.

Many lined the sidewalks cheering on family, friends and complete strangers. Signs filled with encouraging words could be seen everywhere. Bands played music at stations along the race course.

I looked at the faces of the runners and saw dedication, grit, determination. I saw many arms fly upward in triumph when the finish line was only a few strides away.

Enjoy these photos, which show what it’s like to run in and watch the always extremely popular Rock ‘n Roll Marathon!

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!

Making Strides Hope Tree blooms.

The Making Strides Hope Tree was blooming in San Diego this morning.

I walked into Balboa Park after the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event had come to a close.

Workers had begun to disassemble canopies. A few remaining participants were trickling out of the park.

But the Hope Tree remained.

The Making Strides Hope Tree is an opportunity to dedicate a pink ribbon tribute in memory of a lost loved one or in honor of someone who has or is currently battling breast cancer.

If you’d like to make a donation to fight breast cancer, 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!

Inter-Tribal dancing at 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow.

When I arrived at the 2021 Balboa Park Pow Wow this afternoon, the Inter-Tribal Dancing was just beginning.

According to the event’s flyer, the Balboa Park Pow Wow, a project of the San Diego American Indian Health Center, is about dancing for healing and honoring heritage. It’s taking place this weekend (both Saturday and Sunday) at the corner of Park Boulevard and Presidents Way.

I missed the earlier Aztec Dancers and Bird Singing, but I did experience what you’ll see in the following photographs.

The rhythmic beat of the drums was like a steady heartbeat. As I watched the different dancers, young and old, I saw eyes filled with dedication and pride. And I saw smiles like sunshine, too.

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!

A fistful of fun photos for Friday!

Unusual lifeguards occupy Tower 2 in Imperial Beach!

I know it’s not quite Friday yet–there’s still a few hours to go as I post this. But no matter.

The weekend is almost here!

For your enjoyment, I now present these random fun photographs that I took in the past few weeks!

A nostalgic Pinball Machines sign in a Gaslamp Quarter window.
A colorful koi pond mural in Ocean Beach.
Flowers are like friends…they bring color to your world.
Ladies who were dancing on the Embarcadero this evening pose and smile for my camera!
Colorful graffiti art on the side of a produce delivery truck in Mission Valley.
An awesome calavera San Diego shirt in a shop window!
A happy wood stove. I spotted this neon art on Main Street in Ramona.
A beautiful flower at the County Center/Little Italy trolley station.
Gazing out at San Diego Bay from the Broadway Pier, shortly before sunset.

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!

Historic opening of new cottages in Balboa Park!

History was made today in San Diego’s always amazing Balboa Park. Nine beautiful new International Cottages finally opened to the public!

A ribbon cutting ceremony late in the morning was followed by a procession of flags and youthful House of Pacific Relations Queens. Inspirational and congratulatory speeches were then made, including words from San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.

After various dignitaries and consulate representatives spoke, a happy crowd watched cultural performances by each of the nations with new cottages!

Those nations or cultural units are: Mexico, Panama, the Philippines, Korea, India, Peru, Palestine, Chamorro and Turkey.

Everyone received great applause. Smiles like sunshine radiated from every face. The audience and participants formed one big very colorful family. History was made.

If only this troubled world could take notice.

I took photographs before, during, and after the ceremony…

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!

UEFA Euro 2020 champions celebrated in Little Italy.

The Italy national football team, winner of this summer’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament, is being celebrated on the streets of Little Italy. Banners have been hung from lamp posts in the downtown San Diego neighborhood, depicting players on the victorious soccer team.

I walked through Little Italy this morning and took photographs of several banners along India Street.

In this world whose history includes much grief and violence, perhaps a friendly sporting competition that brings people from many different nations together is a good thing.

Bravi Azzurri. Well done, Italy!

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!

Friday evening drama in Balboa Park!

I encountered several dramatic scenes during my walk through Balboa Park this Friday evening!

First, as I passed the Old Globe Theatre complex, I noticed some sort of live event had begun in the plaza. I had stumbled upon the AXIS Free Performing Arts Series titled WORD UP!

As I understand it, the Old Globe’s summer AXIS program intends to engage the community, to make theatre matter to more people. The theme this evening was storytelling and community.

After a very brief, vague talk about the importance of oral tradition, the audience and online participants were asked an odd string of personal questions. Many shared how they feel about aspects of their lives and the people in their lives. I realize people communicating thoughts and feelings eye to eye in this age of isolated people staring at phones is a good thing. But the small audience appeared to be a clique of regulars.

I saw very few visitors in the park taking seats during my time in the audience. I’ll bet if there had been an exciting performance of live theatre in the plaza, many more casual passersby would have been drawn in and become engaged.

Next, as I wandered into the Spreckels Organ Pavilion, I was thrilled to see an enthusiastic group of young dancers rehearsing for the big Reopening Celebration Concert tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm!

I asked a member of the Spreckels Organ Society who was helping with the rehearsal who this group was on stage, and he didn’t know.

Finally, look what I spied in one arm of the Spreckels Organ Pavilion’s beautiful colonnade!

An absolutely fantastic photo shoot by Living World Entertainment!

Check out their website 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!

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!