Induction Dance at the San Diego Fringe Festival!

Would it be silly? Serious? Amateurish? Professional?

I really didn’t know what to expect when I purchased a ticket today for the Induction Dance performance during the 2022 San Diego Fringe Festival.

I took my seat inside the Centro Cultural de la Raza in Balboa Park and waited for the dance to begin. And what we got was a guy in a gorilla suit playing guitar! Then a clown on a tricycle!

Okay, I thought to myself. It’s the Fringe Festival. Only 10 bucks.

But then the performance changed dramatically.

And some good ballet dancing began. Really good!

I was blown away by the fluidity, sensuousness, and gorgeous moves by two dancers who obviously knew what they were doing!

Philip Amer, the Artistic Director of Induction Dance, danced with Saori Maeda. When each of several dances were completed, the audience applauded loudly. It was deserved.

Philip Amer hails from Escondido. Over the years he has performed with numerous ballet companies across the country. He also teaches dance.

Saori Maeda is 23 years old. She’s from Japan, now studying ballet and training in Southern California. Her moves were graceful and flawless. She is destined to be a star!

The performance today included several humorous skits that worked quite well, including a dance with a cloth dummy, and a mime-like ballerina trying to communicate words with particular movements.

Philip Amer stated his object is to make ballet entertaining and accessible for ordinary folk. I don’t know about the guitar playing gorilla and clown on a tricycle, but the rest of the act was original, witty, magical!

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!

Drama at San Diego Student Shakespeare Festival!

Sword fights! Intrigue! Love! Betrayal!

Sounds Shakespearean?

It doth!

All of this high drama played out today in Heritage County Park, during the 2022 San Diego Student Shakespeare Festival!

Students from a variety of local schools performed scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. The event, produced by Write Out Loud and the San Diego Shakespeare Society, also included great applause!

I arrived in time to watch most of the performances and was impressed. I have no doubt many of the participants will go on to enjoy distinguished acting careers. Perhaps one day you’ll recognize some of these faces at the Old Globe or La Jolla Playhouse!

The performers represented Carlsbad High School, Mission Bay High School, Theater For Young Professionals, Bernardo Heights Middle School and Sparrow Academy. Selections from Shakespeare included As You Like It, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Taming of the Shrew, and Julius Caesar.

At the conclusion of the event, William Shakespeare himself showed up to offer his congratulations!

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!

Myth, wonder and WOW in San Diego!

Wonder, surprise, and plenty of WOW was experienced by those visiting Liberty Station today. That’s because La Jolla Playhouse was in their final day of the 2022 Without Walls Festival!

Among many outdoor performances free to the public was the colorful, kinetic procession TransMythical.

Strange, never-before-seen spirits, nature gods, high priests and mythological creatures appeared from the arches at the edge of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

As they emerged, they seemed to step tentatively into an unfamiliar world–our world.

The mysterious creatures looked about with wonder. They wandered, gathered, formed a procession.

Appearing beautifully strange–and strangely familiar–the giant puppets and masked characters interacted with the crowd in a very human way. But then–all elemental myths are composed by us human types–right?

During the performance a baby deer was born.

The mythical creatures and we humans all looked on with wonder. The fawn was greeted with happiness.

The tiny deer looked about our shared world with newly opened eyes.

These strangely wonderful myths were brought to life by the San Diego-based Animal Cracker Conspiracy!

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!

Giant ants interact with curious kids!

Three enormous ants interacted with excited children today in San Diego.

The strange human-size ants were first spotted carrying large bread crumbs about the green lawn of Liberty Station’s North Promenade.

The onlooking kids quickly understood the silent, methodical ants had a plan. They were carrying the crumbs and dropping them on the grass to form lines!

Lots of kids promptly assisted them!

Ants was the name of this very unique, super fun interactive outdoor performance, a part of La Jolla Playhouse’s 2022 Without Walls Festival at Liberty Station.

The three giant ants came from Polyglot Theatre in Australia!

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!

Souvenir programs from San Diego’s old Star-Light Opera.

Surprising discoveries are often made by those who visit the San Diego History Center in Balboa Park.

A display case in the museum now includes colorful old souvenir programs. They are for plays performed in the Balboa Bowl (later renamed Starlight Bowl) by the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association’s once popular Star-Light Opera. The half dozen productions represented were from 1949 to 1964.

I recall seeing Kiss Me, Kate and The Pirates of Penzance with my family at the Starlight Bowl. When noisy airplanes landing at Lindbergh Field (now San Diego International Airport) approached overhead, a light came on by the stage and the actors would all freeze. Once the plane had passed, the play would resume.

Alas, the planes became more and more frequent, and the Star-Light Opera’s last performance was in 2011.

Efforts are now underway to revive the Starlight Bowl. Read about the ambitious plan here!

The Wizard of Oz.
Guys and Dolls.
Show Boat.
The Three Musketeers.
The Chocolate Soldier.

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!

Shakespeare: Call and Response coming to San Diego!

For a few minutes this afternoon in Balboa Park, I enjoyed watching the outdoor rehearsal of a community program coming to San Diego courtesy of the Old Globe.

Shakespeare: Call and Response, which will run from October 26 to November 14, 2021, is a three week tour of free performances with audience participation in diverse settings around the city.

What I observed was a crazy fun mixture of Shakespeare’s plays, modern romance, hip hop culture, dancing in the audience, laughter, bubbles, a Día de los Muertos altar, comedy about Halloween candy, and loads more impromptu cleverness and playful creativity!

This year’s program is part of the annual Globe For All Tour, which “brings free, live, professional productions of Shakespeare and select productions from our mainstage to diverse multigenerational audiences in the neighborhoods throughout San Diego County.”

Intrigued? Learn more 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!

A sky dance near Seaport Village.

Yesterday evening, as I walked along the waterfront to the Return of the Jedi concert at The Shell, I paused to watch Katch Zed (@KatchZed) performing her sky dance at Embarcadero Marina Park North near Seaport Village.

I took these photographs into the sun as she twirled on the moon.

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!

The extraordinary TwainFest at Heritage Park!

TwainFest returned to San Diego today. And it was just as wonderful as ever!

This year the festival of mostly Victorian-era literature was held in Heritage Park, a short distance from Old Town. Families turned out to enjoy games, readings, reenactments of scenes from beloved books, puppet shows, costumed literary characters…you get the picture!

TwainFest is presented by Write Out Loud, whose mission is to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading literature aloud to audiences of all ages.

Write Out Loud offers educational programs, including performances for high school students, and they present the annual San Diego ​Student ​Shakespeare Festival in Balboa Park! Visit this website to learn more!

As I walked around Heritage Park enjoying the festival, I watched Tom Sawyer induce visitors to whitewash a fence, laughed at the craziness of a delightfully manic Mad Hatter Tea Party, lifted my eyes to giant roving Twain, Poe and Shakespeare puppets, and saw characters from Treasure Island and even some steampunk cosplay! There was action in every direction!

I finally joined other visitors to listen to The Extraordinary Mark Twain. Two actors–an older gentleman and youthful girl–painted a picture of the great American humorist and author. They employed the biography written by Twain’s daughter Susy. Her observations were published in 1988 and titled Papa: An Intimate Biography of Mark Twain.

We learned that Mark Twain had a Roman nose and kind blue eyes. And that he used strong words and had a temper. And that he was frequently absent-minded.

He was funny and philosophical and always very earnest.

And, of course, he loved a good joke.

My photos provide a small taste of today’s fun!

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!

Scenes from La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW!

This evening I watched a stirring performance. I and many others enjoyed the La Jolla Playhouse’s POP-UP WOW event at Liberty Station.

What did I see?

I saw soulful singing and dancing that stems from a shared history of suffering and endurance.

I saw joy that rises from the heart–a triumph of the spirit.

I saw how bubbles are like aspects of life–and like life itself. Mysterious, beautiful, soaring . . . short-lived. A beginning and an ending. Like memories.

I, too, wondered why we have an impulse to chase bubbles.

I saw a fable about a giant who wanted power over everything.

Until he saw the beauty of bubbles and learned wisdom.

I saw individuals repeatedly asking “Can I?”

They make one clumsy attempt after another, slowly gaining ability, gaining confidence, until they venture out into this sometimes scary world.

Meeting others, overcoming their fear, the question becomes “Can WE?”

What I observed was life.

You can watch it tomorrow if you’d like, too. Click here to learn about the Sunday performances. It’s free!

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!

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