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!

Famous painting by Bruegel turns to chalk!

This afternoon a famous painting displayed in the Timken Museum of Art was turned to chalk! I witnessed part of the transformation myself, right in front of the museum in Balboa Park!

The Timken Museum’s summer weekend Creation Station event continued today. Part of the fun was a chalk art recreation of the 1557 painting Parable of the Sower, by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Anybody walking through the Plaza de Panama could watch the chalk artist at work. If you want to compare the chalk art I photographed with the actual oil painting, click here!

The outdoor Creation Station’s amazing chalk art flows from the talented hands of @sidewalk_chalk_dad.

Unfortunately, I didn’t walk by after the artwork was completed. Use your imagination!

You can see another chalk art recreation of a painting in the Timken’s fine art collection by clicking here!

That smiling guy covered with chalk? The artist, of course!

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!

Music, dance and circus festival coming to City Heights!

Oh, wow! Check out the big, free cultural event that’s coming to City Heights on Saturday, June 26!

From noon to 6 pm, Music en la Calle is going to feature a ton of music and dance, not to mention a fun circus performance!

I see there will be mariachis, Azteca dancers, flamenco dancers, taiko drummers (I’ve been to several Naruwan Taiko performances and they are absolutely incredible!), jazz musicians, and performers from everybody’s favorite Fern Street Circus!

Music en la Calle will take place at the intersection of University Avenue and 41st Street, in City Height’s new community performance venue by the outdoor “Characters” sculpture garden!

I’ll be there!

Photos of San Diego Archers King Arthur Tournament!

I was lucky to get some photographs of the San Diego Archers annual King Arthur Tournament in Balboa Park today!

I was walking near the Rube Powell Archery Range behind Balboa Park’s Alcazar Garden when I noticed some archers dressed in medieval costumes. So I had to check it out!

One friendly archer posed for the above cool photo. I then watched a bit of the tournament from the top of the canyon and took a few distant shots.

I was told the San Diego Archers is one of the oldest organized archery clubs in California, having been established in 1938. Since 1962 their King Arthur Tournament is a popular annual event full of Arthurian costumes, pageantry and family fun!

(I didn’t notice any knights wearing shining armor. Perhaps I missed them.)

Interested in participating or learning more? Check out the San Diego Archers website here!


I received a great Facebook comment concerning the San Diego Archers:

For your readers information. Archery has been practiced in Balboa Park since 1917. The archery range is open to the public and membership with the San Diego Archers is not required to participate in tournaments. The San Diego Archers host four novelty tournaments each year. In addition, there are more than twenty regular competition tournaments throughout the year. Participants are only required to show up with their own gear, sign a waiver, and pay a small fee.
For more info:

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!

Trolley Dances at San Diego State University!

Late this morning I was at the SDSU Transit Center during a Trolley Dances performance!

I captured these images of a dance that took place by the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union, at the end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses over College Avenue.

As the mobile audience group arrived up the stairs from the underground SDSU trolley station, the dancers slowly took their positions, each providing the gathering onlookers with a small wave. It soon became clear to me the modest waves were the beginning of their dance.

The dancers began as individuals, performing small gestures in their own circle, seeming to prepare for a big moment together, but somehow shy. Sometimes they would gesture toward the audience, as if yearning for a joining.

Then came sudden magic. The dancers became one. They leaped, reached, swayed, strutted, energized by their joyful togetherness. And then came the victorious ending, when together they moved away into the distance, arms raised.

At least that’s kind of how I interpreted the dance.

What do you see?

Trolley Dances continues tomorrow only–Sunday–so if you want to experience this for yourself (plus three other fantastic dances, all near Green Line trolley stations), go to the San Diego Dance Theater website right now to find out more!

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!

Trolley Dances returns to San Diego this weekend!

Trolley Dances, an annual San Diego cultural event, is returning this weekend!

For the past 23 years, the San Diego Dance Theater has worked with the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to put on outdoor performances at or near different trolley stations around the city. Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding, a scaled-back version of the event is returning for this weekend only!

The audience will board at the 70th Street trolley station and follow guides on a unique adventure full of unexpected dances!

To learn more about this very cool event, check out the San Diego Dance Theater website here.

I’ve viewed some of the dances in past years, and the following photos provide a taste of the very creative contemporary dancing you might see…

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 Cinco de Mayo fiesta in Old Town!

Cinco de Mayo is being celebrated this weekend in Old Town!

A good crowd was enjoying the colorful fiesta along San Diego Avenue when I arrived today in the early afternoon.

In addition to vendors selling food, crafts, assorted gifts and goodies, Mexican baile folklórico dancers and mariachis could be found along the street providing lively entertainment! And I spotted friendly local chalk artist Cecelia Linayao creating some art by one sidewalk!

Lots of diners were at the various Mexican eateries that line San Diego Avenue, and I was sorely tempted to buy a fresh handmade tortilla!

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t completely over, so everyone at the popular Old Town festival is asked to wear a face mask and engage in social distancing.

I took these photos to capture some of the fun!

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A spring walk through Hillcrest and Mission Hills.

Spring has arrived in the window of Mission Hills Automotive.

Yesterday I went for a long, very pleasant springtime walk. These photographs represent my journey through the west part of Hillcrest, then through an interesting slice of Mission Hills.

I started inside Hillcrest, headed west down Washington Street, took a momentary detour to Fort Stockton Drive, then headed back down Washington Place to historic (and some say haunted) Pioneer Park, which I will blog about in a day or two. I then hiked down sloping Mission Hills Canyon along the green, seemingly little known Robyn’s Egg Trail, which I also plan to blog about. Eventually I came out near San Diego Avenue, southeast of Old Town.

Come along and read the captions to get a taste…

A flying unicorn on a fence by Copper Top Coffee and Donuts in Hillcrest.
Lovers in a window at Urban Fusion Decor.
Springtime in a window at VCA Hillcrest Animal Hospital.
A cool mural on the side of Dame and Dapper Barber Shop.
One of the bird sculptures along Washington Avenue’s median. I believe the sculptures were a project of the Mission Hills Garden Club.
Mysterious tile artwork on the corner of a building.
Banner thanks cool teachers at St. Vincent de Paul School.
Interesting old building is home of the Ibis Market.
Mission Hills homeowners are hoping to have acorn-style street lamps installed, to create a more charming and historic look.
One of many beautiful old houses I passed in Mission Hills. I believe this one is a Craftsman.
Gravestones line a corner of Pioneer Park, which was built over a cemetery where many early residents of San Diego remain buried.
Heading down green Mission Hills Canyon on a sunny spring day. The Robyn’s Egg Trail is rough and requires careful navigation in spots. Along its approximately half mile length I encountered one walker with a dog and one homeless person.
Bright flowers along the path.
A happy kitty face greets me as I arrive at San Diego Avenue!

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 new memories in Balboa Park.

Another easy Sunday in Balboa Park. Creating new memories. Remembering good times.

Another sunny day with more ice cream, more music, more people laughing and smiling.

I recognized some people in the park I hadn’t seen in years. I saw Fast Heart Mart playing his banjo. I saw Brandon riding his big-wheeled penny-farthing.

I observed how memories are now being made in the new Pan American Plaza in Balboa Park’s Palisades area, where tables welcome families and roller skating has become popular.

Every visit to Balboa Park is unique.

And to think another Spring will soon be 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!