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Cosmos' Doggie Blog

While I sure enjoyed seeing all the fine pictures of pups submitted for Balboa Park’s first annual Top Dog Photo Contest, it’s also great to see images of animals created by those who make a living, or at least active hobby, at it. And you can do just that through October 31 at the San Diego Natural History Museum, which is featuring 150 of the latest and greatest paintings and sculptures from the Society of Animal Artists.


cosmos-blog_art-and-the-animal_besseArt and the Animal is the 50th-anniversary exhibition of the Society of Animal Artists, which is regarded worldwide as the most prestigious artist organization dedicated to representing animals in art. And only the best of the best works produced by the society’s top dog members are selected for inclusion in this touring showcase.


Filling the Natural History Museum’s third and fourth floor atrium levels, Art and the Animal provides a fitting complement to the museum’s other exhibitions by combining richly detailed depictions of our fury, feathered, and scaly friends with the element of fine art—akin to the mammoth William Stout murals in the Fossil Mysteries exhibition.


From impressionistic to photorealistic, the exhibition presents a zoo’s zoo of hundreds of different wild and domestic animals—and a few insects—up close and in their natural habitats. And while the titles of the works often inject a pun or bit of humor, the large-scale bronze sculpture of “Sumo Wrestling Toads” shown in all their warty detail is sure to win top prize in the comic relief category.

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cosmos-blog_balboa-park-iphone-appWhile my keen senses are usually more than enough to find my way around Balboa Park’s vast grounds and cultural attractions, sometimes there’s just no substitute for a well-designed smart phone app to dig deeper into everything there is to do on any given day.


Thankfully the folks at Balboa Park Online Collaborative have teamed up with Spotlight Mobile to create Balboa Park’s first official iPhone app, which is also compatible with the iPad and iPod Touch. And what’s more, for a limited time (through January 2011), the app that normally costs 99 cents, is currently FREE! thanks to an anonymous donation.


Looking for an outdoor eatery to chow with your family and best four-legged friend? Check out the app’s restaurant guide. Want to know which Balboa Park museums are free this Tuesday? Pull up the events calendar. Need to find the closest dog park ASAP? The handy map will give you directions.


Spotlight Mobile has been in the business of creating award-winning mobile and web development software since 2002. Other user-friendly apps in their portfolio include mobile tools for Barnes & Noble Bookstore, the Portland Museum of Art, and the American Museum of Natural History in New York.


Let’s just hope that among the new features they eventually add is one for us canines that maps the most frequented trees.

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[caption id="attachment_1326" align="aligncenter" width="568" caption="Top Dog Grand Prize Winner: Crenshaw"] Crenshaw[/caption]

I am extremely pleased to announce that well over 1,000 votes for Balboa Park’s Top Dog were cast this past week. Leading the pack by a sizable margin is our Grand Prize winner (drum roll, please) — Crenshaw!


His reward for being so doggone cute is an exclusive overnight Sur’uff Camp package at Loews Coronado Bay Resort, complete with surfing lessons for Crenshaw, doggie board shorts, a Surf ‘n’ Turf pet room service meal, and other Loews Loves Pets amenities and treats. Crenshaw’s family will also enjoy a family four-pack of Balboa Park Passports.


[caption id="attachment_1330" align="alignleft" width="225" caption="Second Place Winner: Abby"] Abby[/caption]

Second-place goes to the equally adorable Abby. That lucky dog will reap the benefits of a $50 gift certificate from Fetch Pet Care, which now offers group doggie adventures to Fiesta Island, Coronado Dog Beach, and Balboa Park every day.

Coming in third by a snout is the ever-so fetching Kasey. Her photogenic mug netted her family a $25 gift certificate to Terra Restaurant, whose dog-friendly patio seating is perfect for people and pooch watching in the heart of Hillcrest. 

So there you have it, Balboa Park’s Top Dogs for 2010. But of course all of our finalists and entrants are top dogs in my book! Just be sure to stay tuned to this blog for future announcements on next year’s contest. Who knows, Balboa Park’s next Top Dog may very well be you! 


[caption id="attachment_1339" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Third Place Winner: Kasey"] Kasey[/caption]

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Now that you've heard many of my recommendations on places to go in Balboa Park, I'd like to hear from you.

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Posted in Balboa Park, Dog parks, Picnic, Stuff to Do | add a comment

Though this year’s International Summer Organ Festival may be winding down, things are really heating up—as in making-me-pant heat up. Dennis James is coming to town next Monday, August 23, to present his multimedia Silent Movie Night extravaganza in Spreckels Organ Pavilion!


cosmos-blog_summer-organ-festival_movie-nightDennis James has been an instrumental figure (pun intended) in the revival of screening old silent films to live musical accompaniment. And over the past 30 years he has perfected the art, performing on piano, theater organs, as well as with chamber ensembles and full symphony orchestras.


As fun and entertaining as that is, now imagine him providing the music to a classic silent film like The Yankee Clipper, with all its high seas adventure and intrigue, on one of the world’s largest outdoor pipe organs in an historic setting. Hence, my effusive panting!


Now if that isn’t enough, Civic Organist Carol Williams closes this summer’s festival on August 30, with what promises to be an equally hot night of jazz. She’s invited local celebrity Dave Scott to join her on trombone, Bill Shreeve on sax, Mark Hunter on electric bass, and Kevin Koch on drums.


They will present several jazz standards like “Moonlight Serenade,” “Take the ‘A’ Train,” and “Misty,” along with original compositions by Carol Williams and Dave Scott, who in addition to being that dapper meteorologist on KUSI-TV is a well-respected songwriter and performer.



Photo Contest Deadline Reminder

Not to take your eye off the ball (and the prize) by highlighting some exciting events coming up, I would also like to remind all my shutter bug friends that this Friday, August 20, is the last day you can send in your entry to the Top Dog Photo Contest.


Please be sure to first bone up on the contest rules as I’m seeing way too many entries with multiple dogs in the picture frame, more than one photo attached to the email, or pictures of pooches taken in someone’s living room or back yard! This is Balboa Park’s Top Dog, not HGTV’s, after all!

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