Books published in San Diego a century ago.

The 57th Annual Local Author Showcase can now be viewed at San Diego’s downtown Central Library.

One of the display cases features books that were published in San Diego a century ago–in the 1920s and 1930s.

When I think of publishing in San Diego, the name Harcourt Brace Jovanovich immediately comes to mind. One of the world’s most important publishers made downtown San Diego their home for many years.

But have you heard of Torrey Pines Press, Hillcrest Publishing Company and the San Diego Printing Company? They and others were producing books in our city a century ago. Even Arrowhead Spring Water Distributors was part of the action!

The San Diego Library maintains a collection of books published or printed in San Diego. It’s called the Wilmer B. Shields Collection. It’s located inside the Marilyn and Gene Marx Special Collections Center on the Central Library’s 9th floor.

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!

Seven master printmakers in Balboa Park.

If you’re interested in printmaking or the production of visual art, don’t miss 7 PRINTMAKERS in Balboa Park’s Spanish Village Art Center.

Tomorrow, January 2, 2023, is the special exhibition’s final day!

When you step into Spanish Village’s Gallery 21, you’ll enjoy the very fine work of seven master printmakers: Raymond Brownfield, Jacqueline Dotson, Igor Koutsenko, Kathleen McCord, Sfona Pelah, Julianne Ricksecker and Angelika Villagrana.

You’ll also learn a good deal about the art of printmaking. As I wandered about the gallery, artist Angelika Villagrana explained to other visitors several printmaking processes. In the past I’ve worked at a print shop, so I had to eavesdrop!

This is the 26th Annual Exhibition by these amazing printmakers. If you’re in San Diego and need something to do tomorrow, you might consider heading to Balboa Park!

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!

Tiny books exhibit at Central Library!

You can fit a whole lot of tiny books, each less than two inches tall, in a display case! That what you’ll notice when you visit the Hervey Family Rare Book Room at San Diego’s Central Library.

One handy thing about a tiny book is you can easily carry it in your pocket.

On the other hand, a tiny book’s content must be very slight, or with print so small you’ll need superhuman eyesight. In fact, some of these very tiny books have been sold with a magnifying glass!

Looking at these amazing little creations, I wonder if a microscope would actually be necessary. According to one sign, a record set for the smallest book is the 3/16 inch by 7/32 inch The Rose Garden of Omar Khayyam.

Many of these unique books are created by bibliophiles and printing enthusiasts. Tiny books are also in demand as collectibles.

I must admit, before the advent of smartphones, The Midget Webster Dictionary (with 18,000 words) in my upcoming photo might have been useful. And tiny Tom Thumb might enjoy that book concerning his history!

The Central Library in downtown San Diego is home to more than 500 miniature books, all part of the Wangenheim Rare Book Collection.

Many of these books must be witty. Because, you know, brevity is the soul of…

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Paper theaters open to audiences in La Jolla!

Dozens of theaters have recently opened in La Jolla. Audiences have been gathering to view some of the most unusual theatre productions ever conceived. And it’s free!

Yes, dozens of small paper theaters have been carefully folded open in the Wisteria Cottage Gallery of the La Jolla Historical Society. The exhibition is titled The Smallest Show on Earth: Paper Theaters Explored.

Those who are interested in art, theatre, Victorian Era London (where toy theaters originated) or collectibles will be intrigued by this important collection.

Popular in the 19th century, paper theater kits were sold at the concession stand of an opera house, playhouse, or vaudeville theater. The kits included tabletop theaters that one could easily assemble, plus paper doll players and scripts. Tiny dramas could be played out at home. Better yet, original productions could be imagined and performed!

These paper theaters might seem a quaint reminder of a simpler time, a time when there was no television, no radio and no internet. For home entertainment, people had to rely on their own intelligence, creativity and imagination.

This cool exhibition includes many paper theaters from that era long past and the posters that promoted them. You’ll also see new, contemporary creations that were inspired by this very unique do-it-yourself art form!

The Smallest Show on Earth: Paper Theaters Explored continues through January 22, 2023.

Thank you for visiting Cool San Diego Sights!

I post new blogs pretty often, so you might want to bookmark coolsandiegosights.com and check back from time to time.

You can explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on this website’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There’s a lot of stuff to share and enjoy!

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!

Copper printing blocks form storytelling art.

These copper Batik Printing Blocks, combined like words on a page, seem to tell a beautiful story. A complex story about life.

You can find this huge “panel” of Indonesian tjaps at the Mingei International Museum in Balboa Park. The artwork has been installed on the second floor, near one of the doors that leads to the outdoor terrace overlooking the Plaza de Panama.

The copper blocks were used for wax resist textile printing. Each block, whose intricate design would be repeated on fabric, is combined with about 200 other unique blocks.

The cumulative effect is like a pile of golden Autumn leaves. Or shining memories collected like precious coins, spread on a table before one’s hands. Or a page ready set for a printing press.

It’s the story of a culture, created by many hands.

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!

Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy in Balboa Park.

A new exhibition opened a week ago at the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park. It’s titled The Legacy of Traditional Calligraphy.

The works on display are curated by Befu Osawa, a Master Calligrapher based in San Diego. The history of Chinese and Japanese scripts is shown, along with Kanji letters that are very seldom seen.

The exquisite art of calligraphy has always fascinated me. Particularly when it’s applied to logograms that visually represent words. With careful applications of ink, the meanings of words and written stories are made visible, and imbued with additional dimension.

As a writer whose alphabetical pen strokes are careless scratches, that skillfully added depth makes me jealous!

If you love calligraphy, head over to the Exhibit Hall at the beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden. This exhibition continues through July 23, 2022.

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!

Minding your p’s and q’s in the Old Town print shop!

Upper case and lower case.

Mind your p’s and q’s.

The wrong sort.

Out of sorts.

I learned yesterday during a visit to the San Diego Union Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park that these expressions are believed to come from days long past.

There was a period in history when printing was a tedious operation requiring a hand operated press. To print pages, small cast metal blocks that imprint individual characters were manually assembled into words and sentences. These physical types were set into printable forms by the skilled, quick fingers of print shop compositors.

See all those drawers in the above photo? Each drawer is a type case containing sorts, the particular letters and other characters that are “sorted” into the forms.

Somewhere along the line, capital letters were arranged in an upper drawer: the upper case. Compositors rushing to print a newspaper would sometimes confuse the similar appearing p’s and q’s. Or accidentally choose the wrong sort. Or become disconcerted when they ran out of sorts.

And that how these peculiar expressions are said to have originated!

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!

To read a few stories I’ve written, click Short Stories by Richard.

Exhibition of legendary Posada art in Escondido.

When one thinks of popular Mexican art, traditional images from Día de los Muertos quickly come to mind. The artist most responsible for this cultural identification, José Guadalupe Posada, was a printmaker in Mexico whose often used skeletons and skulls in his illustrations, to make satirical comments on society and the politics of his era.

Undoubtedly you recognize the image in the above photograph. It is Posada’s iconic La Calavera Catrina, a 1910–1913 zinc etching that was later popularized by Mexican painter Diego Rivera. Today La Calavera Catrina is a common sight during Day of the Dead.

According to this Wikipedia article, it’s estimated that during his long career, Posada produced 20,000 plus images for broadsheets, pamphlets and chapbooks… Examples of this material and a wide range of other artwork inspired by José Guadalupe Posada can be viewed at an exhibition now on display in Escondido.

The gallery walls in the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido are covered with Posada’s bones. There are political figures, and military scenes, and scenes from ordinary life printed in Mexico City by his partner, publisher Antonio Vanegas Arroyo.

I visited the museum this weekend and could plainly see how influential Posada has been in the art world, Mexican culture and world history. I also learned how Posada died a pauper and was buried in an unmarked grave.

The exhibition, José Guadalupe Posada: Legendary Printmaker of Mexico, continues at the Museum at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido through November 21, 2021.

Photograph of Posada’s Workshop, with Posada on the right.
Museum visitor views works of political art inspired by Posada.

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!

Quarantine dreams and COVID-19 war posters.

Quarantine Dreams mural in La Jolla. When quarantined due to coronavirus, you can't travel, dine, date, surf, play sports, or even play outside with the dog. Hang in there!
Quarantine Dreams mural in La Jolla. When quarantined due to the novel coronavirus, you can’t travel, dine, date, surf, play sports, or even play catch outside with the dog. Hang in there!

The coronavirus pandemic is no laughing matter. But I cracked a smile when I discovered a gently humorous mural and amusing “war posters” pertaining to COVID-19 in La Jolla.

I spied the mural, titled Quarantine Dreams, at the entrance to an alley off Pearl Street. The artwork speaks for itself!

The posters, some of which were done in the distinctive World War II style, are on display in the windows of Copy Cove on Pearl Street. The posters offer helpful advice for fighting the invisible enemy, COVID-19. (I believe you can purchase the posters at this shop.)

Enjoy!

Don't hoard rolls! Eat less chili. Flatten the curve! Support our healthcare heroes. Don't be a burden. Don't do stupid sh*t.
Don’t hoard rolls! Eat less chili. Flatten the curve! Support our healthcare heroes. Don’t be a burden. Don’t do stupid sh*t.

Buy takeout. Touch your face, lose the race. The enemy win when you touch your face.
Buy takeout. Touch your face, lose the race. The enemy win when you touch your face.

A dirty phone is a danger zone! Damnit! Wash your hands. Victory at home starts with a good scrub!
A dirty phone is a danger zone! Damnit! Wash your hands. Victory at home starts with a good scrub!

Good fellows use elbows. Keep the nation fighting fit! Stay back, Jack! Use air fist bumps.
Good fellows use elbows. Keep the nation fighting fit! Stay back, Jack! Use air fist bumps.

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 art of Chicano/a/x printmaking, activism.

A collection of bold contemporary art can now be viewed at the SDSU Downtown Gallery. The exhibition is titled: Chicano/a/x Printmaking: Making Prints and Making History – 50 Years of Art Activism.

The many colorful pieces on display include woodblock prints, serigraphs and lithographs. Most of the artwork was created to provide a voice for Mexican-American communities and promote social change. The images urge Chicano/a/x activism, and include themes such as political struggle, racism, poverty and immigration.

According to the SDSU Downtown Gallery website: “Featuring important historical and contemporary examples of printed works on paper, the exhibition highlights printmaking as one of the oldest, most enduring, and widely used processes for Chicano/a/x artists working from the 1940s to today . . . Artists and groups in the exhibition include Yreina Cervantes, Rupert Garcia, Diane Gamboa, Ester Hernandez, Malaquías Montoya, Victor Ochoa, Self Help Graphics & Art, and Salvador Roberto Torres, among others.”

As I journeyed along each gallery wall, I was struck by the emotional potency of the artwork. There are images that depict cultural pride and strength, and images that powerfully convey human suffering.

In addition to thought-provoking political messages, visitors to the gallery can observe the evolution of printmaking and see how ideas are effectively conveyed and magnified using simple posters. The eye-catching designs and the creativity of these prints should intrigue everyone who loves art.

The exhibition will continue at the SDSU Downtown Gallery through April 5, 2020.

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!