Robert Arends

Coronado for Comic-Con Fans – Wizards, Dwarves and Dorothy

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Wizard of Oz art exhibit at Coronado Public Library

Long before Harry Potter or the Twilight series about vampires and werewolves, an author by the name of L. Frank Baum penned a few – well, 14 to be exact! – incredible fantastical novels about a Kansas girl (and original storm chaser) who hitched a ride on a tornado and found herself over the rainbow.

Yep, I’m talkin’ about The Wizard of Oz.

When Disney added its magic touch to the original movie classic earlier this year with Oz The Great & Powerful, I was in awe at how this timeless story continues to enchant and entertain a whole new generation of viewers.

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Hotel del Coronado, inspiration for the Emerald City!

Well, for you movie buffs and pop culture fans, there’s a fun surprising San Diego/Coronado connection to the Wizard of Oz. Between 1904 and 1910, Oz author L. Frank Baum frequently vacationed here with his family, staying at the Hotel del Coronado, which if you look very closely at the book cover below, was the inspiration for the Emerald City! Note the red turrets and white awnings in the background. Cool huh!

Hotel del Coronado- Emerald City of Oz

Did you know: In addition to “Crown City,” Coronado is also nicknamed the Emerald City.

If you get a chance to explore the Hotel Del, head to the Crown Room, look up and you’ll spot four regal crown chandeliers that were designed by Baum!

L. Frank Baum's historic Coronado home.

L. Frank Baum’s historic Coronado home.

Down the street from The Del, Baum also rented a humble yellow cottage on Star Park Circle where he wrote three of his famous Oz books: Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz, The Emerald City of Oz and The Road to Oz. You can check out rare first editions of the books at the Coronado Museum of History & Art!

Oz books

At the Coronado Public Library, you’ll not only find the complete Oz book series, but also a spectacular Wizard of Oz Glass Art Exhibit, where  Baum’s storybook jumps off the pages onto nine huge glass panels depicting Dorothy, the cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Glenda the Good Witch, Munchkins and more.

Welcome Comic-Con fans to our fine city and if you get a chance, definitely follow the Yellow Brick Road over the bridge to Coronado to discover the home-away-from-home of one of America’s most beloved authors. One look at our island paradise and you’ll see why Baum was so enamored!

Also, plan to return this fall for Coronado’s premier Wizard of Oz Weekend (September 20-22), celebrating the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. There will be exclusive screenings of the first-ever, re-mastered 3D version of the movie at Coronado’s Village Theatre, as well as a Wizard of Oz parade down Orange Ave. – Coronado’s main street – book signings, exhibits, character look-a-like contests and more!

Robert Arends

20 Perfect Days to Play in Coronado!

Have you entered Loews Coronado Bay Resort’s 20 Days, Your Way” giveaway yet? If not, time is ticking… Last day for submissions is next Tuesday, October 25. Grand prize: 20 free room nights! It’s all to celebrate the resort’s big 20th Anniversary. Good luck!

So I was thinking, if I was eligible to enter and I WON, what would I do, not only at Loews’ resort, but around the picturesque island of Coronado? Fortunately, there’s a plethora of delightful and exciting activities to enjoy: arts & culture, fine dining, spas, outdoor recreation and much more.

Read on to see Robert’s 20 picks for 20 days on Coronado…

Robert Arends

5 to Try: Star-spangled Fun in Coronado!

Coronado 4th of July parade (credit: Coronado Visitor Center)

Let your patriotic colors fly this 4th of July – and all weekend long – in Coronado, just across the bridge from downtown San Diego.

Coronado’s Independence Day bash is the most popular in San Diego County. The prominent Navy presence on the island is a big reason why. There’s NAS North Island, aircraft carriers like the famous USS Carl Vinson which just returned from the Middle East, and Naval Amphibious Base Coronado where the elite Navy SEALs train. (Did you know: Coronado traces its rich military roots back to 1911 when the first navy plane flew from its shores)

A jam-packed day of July 4th fun includes a 5K/15K run/walk, rough-water swim at North Beach and a two-hour parade down Orange Avenue, Coronado’s quintessential “main street USA,” complete with military bands, floats and Navy aircraft. It’s like a Norman Rockwell painting come to life with families of locals and visitors alike lining the route donned in red, white & blue and waving flags. There’s also “Art-in-the-Park” and a music concert in Spreckels Park, and at night, catch the spectacular fireworks display over Glorietta Bay.

Before, during and after the festivities, following are Five Fun Places to Try along Orange Avenue:

The Music Man at Lamb's Players Theatre.

  1. Guaranteed to have audiences humming “76 Trombones” all weekend long, the musical classic “The Music Man” takes center stage at the Lamb’s Players Theatre on July 2-3. Great way to launch into the 4th and set the celebratory mood.
  2. Catch a movie at the all-new Village Theatre, a polished cinematic gem at 820 Orange Ave. The dazzling Art Deco design and 3-D color murals are eye-candy for the kids – adults too! Bargain matinee shows before 6pm are only $8.50. Current flick: Pixar’s “Cars 2.”
  3. Sample handmade candies like “Coronado Crunch” (white or milk chocolate with peanut butter, marshmallows and rice krispies, drizzled in more chocolate!). at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory at 1126 Orange Ave. Other tempting sweets: caramel, fudge, turtles and several varieties of caramel apples.

    Elvis (and a cow!) greet ice cream fans at Moo Time.

  4. Another sweet place to “chill” is MooTime Creamery at 1025 Orange Ave., famous for their fresh made-to-order ice cream creations and hand rolled waffle cones with totally cool flavors like girl scout mint, apple pie and “silly vanilly.” There’s a Moo Time at the Hotel del Coronado too!

    One of Artist Navarro Montllor's amazing seascapes!

  5. Take home a slice of paradise at the Art & Frames by Wood Gallery at 936 Orange Ave. Their just launched exhibit of fantastic seascape paintings by world-renowned artist Navarro Montllor are so realistic you can almost hear the waves crashing through the frames!

Have a fantastic 4th of July weekend!

Robert Arends

* Hooray for Hollywood – in Coronado! *

The curtain rose last night on a cinematic masterpiece in our midst: the historic Village Theatre in Coronado. The marquee was emblazoned with a kaleidoscope of color promoting the grand opening and premiere of its first film showing, Pixar’s “Cars 2.”

All revved up to watch "Cars 2" in Coronado!

The Village sign twinkled like a beacon in the night, beckoning me closer as I breathed in the tantalizing aroma of fresh-popped popcorn. Ticketholders queued down the block and my heart skipped a beat in anticipation of the movie magic which awaited me inside.

There are 195 plush seats in the main theater.

The grand opening was a star-studded affair…well, San Diego-style with local “stars” like Dave Scott, KUSI TV’s popular morning weatherman, Chris Morrow, a CNN reporter who, coincidentally, lives in Coronado (click here to see her story), Coronado’s Mayor Casey Tanaka and other local VIPs. We enjoyed a preview of summer blockbusters in spectacular 3-D, plus an Oscar-winning short film on the first 100 years of motion pictures.

Village Theatre mural depicting Balboa Park.

Other notable guests joined in the festivities and were congratulated for their incredible transformation of this landmark movie house. One was Bill Anderson, a Disney artist and muralist extraordinaire who created the theatre’s stunning 3-D like murals of Coronado and San Diego scenes, including the Hotel del Coronado, Coronado Ferry Landing, Balboa Park, San Diego Bay and the downtown skyline. 

Hotel del Coronado stars prominently in the murals.

There was also Lance Alspaugh with Vintage Cinemas. He orchestrated the renovation of this movie gem for locals and visitors to enjoy for generations to come. Mayar Tanaka presented him with the gold key of the city.

The San Diego Union-Tribune did a fantastic story on the opening, plus a colorful photo gallery. Shout out to NBC Los Angeles for their “Worth the Drive” spotlight on our theatre star rising again!

I’ll see you at the movies, on Coronado island!

Information:
Village Theatre, 820 Orange Ave. in Coronado
619-437-6161, www.vintagecinemas.com/village

Cars 2 in Disney Digital 3D
Showtimes: 12:45, 3:30, 6:15, 8:45pm
Tickets: $10.50, children under 12 and seniors 62+ are $7.50
(Note: 3D showings are an additional $2 per ticket)
Bargain Shows before 6 p.m. are $8.50.