Posts Tagged ‘Culture’

Living Santa Fe: The WSJ’s Take on Santa Fe & Taos

by Alexandra Eldridge

I Long –Alexandra Eldridge

Reading an outsider’s take on a city I know well sets me a tad on the defensive, especially when that outsider hails from a large, sophisticated city. Will she  judge Santa Fe against the standards of a major urban center or burrow for context, measuring Santa Fe against itself and its aspirations? In her Wall Street Journal travel piece,  Take Monday Off: Santa Fe & Taos, author Kate Bolick shows a good understanding of Santa Fe’s perennial appeal: the pheromone cocktail of wide-open vistas, maverick charm, and the promise of personal reinvention.

Her eclectic roster of picks range from the pricey but sense-dazzling Inn of the Five Graces to the down-home NM diner, The Pantry. I favor Andiamo over La Boca and haul more out-of-towner’s to The Museum of International Folk Art than to The Georgia O’Keeffee Museum, but that’s just a matter of taste– or a mark of the Western transplant’s assertion of independence that got me here in the first place.

Given one, tight longish weekend in Santa Fe, where would you go?  What’s your must-do cultural experience?  Must eat food?  Canyon Road, The Plaza or The Railyard? Green, Red or Christmas. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

**Image courtesy of Alexandra Eldridge.  Please visit:

The Art of Upcycling


Upcycling is “the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value,” says Wikipedia.  Where recycling converts plastic bottles into microfiber jackets, upcycling turns newsprint into notebooks, or broken skateboards into hip, colorful benches. For the smartest elucidation of the difference I’ve run across, read this post on Intercon.

Trazzlers’ Turning Trash into Visionary Art is a fun tour of “the mind-boggling things people make with junk.”  From an oceanside pipe organ made of cemetery detrius to the tire, bottle, can and scrap metal-composed Earthships of Taos, the article celebrates extraordinary eventualities that come about when trash falls into the hands of manic humans with vision.

I found the post, Fabulous Furniture Made of Unusual Upcycled Objects on the sharp-minded culture-sifter BrainPickings, the blog committed to “curating eclectic interestingness from culture’s collective brain.” If the idea of a coffin couch gives you the creeps, how ’bout one made through a marriage of old-style leather car seats and vintage refrigerators?

Recently, we were introduced to the work of independent artist Esteban Bojorquez who “[collects] and [reconstructs] the discarded refuse of our throwaway society” into dynamic, tactile delights. Bojorquez’ studio is a brilliant fun house chock-a-block with cheerful, burnished castoffs carefully conjoined into visually pleasing, balanced compositions.  (Watch for a future studio visit.)

Alien Skull, by Esteban Bojorquez

The piece that hooked my interest was “Alien skull:” a metal doppleganger of that overworked Western icon, The Cow Skull. His guitars made of 5 gallon gas cans and other found materials dazzle with wit and whimsical appeal. Bojorquez’ work seemed a perfect match for Changing Gallery’s current venue, the old Palace Grocery Store, near the heart of downtown Santa Fe, so we were thrilled when he consented to a show. If you’re in town on April 16th, come see Bojorquez transform the Palace into, in his words, “an environmental installation, a mercantile of the bizarre and unusual, incorporating [his] assemblage art and creating new products in the spirit of dadaism and mad humor.”


The art of Esteban Bojorquez was featured on CNN’s My City, My Secret.  Professional Skateboarder Terry Kennedy shared his favorite haunts in the San Fernando Valley, including a trip to Cal State Northridge art museum. Watch the video here.

Santa Fe Daytripping: Taos

Taos is tiny.  The population of the entire county is well under half that of the city of Santa Fe. But like Santa Fe, Taos packs a powerful per capita punch of  character and appeal. People know Taos for the world class skiing, Taos Pueblo, and the famous Rio Grande Gorge. But you won’t taste the full flavor of Taos with your first sip. It’s a rural, rooted, art-centric intersection of Spanish, Native, counterculture hippies, recreationalists and ranchers: much too much to capture in a single draught.

For good, general information on what to see and do in Taos, consult the Taos Vacation Guide website. Following are a few tips from our recent visit.

Start your day at one of two standout breakfast spots. At Doc Martin’s, the coffee is strong and the fare filling at a reasonable price.  Locals recommend the Kit Carson (poached eggs on a yam biscuit with red chile.) Gutiz, with its Latin-French fusion cuisine, is an absolute “must-try.” I ordered the Tortilla: a Spanish Frittata with potatoes, onions, cucumber salad and savory tapenade. Excellent, though the tidy, tapas-sized portion might not sate a heartier appetite. Joshua picked the Taoseña (eggs, red beans, green chile, potatoes), also quite good. The orange-cinnamon battered French toast with strawberries and bananas is a reputed treat. Plus, the staff was over-the-top pleasant and welcoming.

The Plaza is a point of orientation and good for a sit or stroll, but less imaginative for shopping (though admittedly, we are not power shoppers.) One exception was the upscale consignment boutique, Re-Neux, at 126 B West Plaza Drive. With modest prices relative to quality, Re-Neux is a destination of merit for current women’s fashions, designer labels and vintage.  If you’re a book lover, don’t miss independent icon Moby Dickens Bookshop, on Bent Street, offering rare and out-of-print Western and New Mexico titles on site, and the willing ability to hunt down your desired treasure.

15 minutes north of Taos, on SR 150, is the tiny town of Arroyo Seco. The Taos Cow Ice Cream Scoop Shop, Cafe and Deli has creekside outdoor seating in clement weather. Across the street is our pick of the town’s shops, Rottenstone Pottery: an eclectic gathering of wood-fired pottery in an inviting studio/gallery.  There’s no website at present, so check out Scott Rutherford’s Facebook Page for up-to-date info on events and hours.

We ended our day at the luxe Anaconda Bar at El Monte Sagrado–easy walking distance from our outstanding VRBO rental, Artists Atelier. Anaconda’s Perfect Margarita was a little sweet for me, but pleasantly strong. We ballasted with a plate of Kessler Calamari served on a bed of Moroccan aioli, green olives and cilantro, rich enough to ruin us for dinner.  Before heading back to our digs, we took a quick walk around the hotel’s fragrant, lusciously humid atrium. I found and bruised a Bay Rum leaf. Its warm, spicy redolence is at once nothing and everything like Taos: sensuous, different, restorative and well-worth seeking out.

Dining Santa Fe: Back Street Bistro

Tuesday’s cold front shook the first snowflakes from the sky and turned our dining thoughts to Back Street Bistro.  Soup’s not the only star on the menu at this popular lunch spot.  There’s a good roster of sandwiches (we like the Smoked Turkey with Havarti Dill Cheese) and salads (I’m a particular fan of both the Greek and the Roasted Peppers) but it’s the soups that sing us back time and again. The changing daily selection always includes enticing vegetarian (Sweet Pepper Bisque, Butternut Squash Apple Walnut, Green Chile Corn Chowder) and vegan (Curried Yam, Sweet Creole Lentil) options as well as meat and meat-broth based fare (Mulligatawny, Chicken Gumbo, White Bean and Ham.)  All are served with a small basket of chewy, sourdough bread. If you haven’t tried it, the Hungarian Mushroom is a sensual must, said by Yelp reviewer Jack T. of Denver, Colorado to be “an instant hangover cure, wonderful flu remedy, [that] can probably revive your dead grandma.”

If you can pace yourself for the tasty, freshly made pies and crumbles, do so. Or get one “to go.”

Be prepared for lines and waits at peak times. Service ranges from excellent to overwhelmed, but the host and owner do try to fill the gaps.  Note that the restaurant only takes cash or checks.  No credit cards.

Find the full menu at The Back Street Bistro on Menu Pix.

Back Street Bistro is located at 513 Camino de los Marquez, at the corner of Marquez Place near the junction of Cordova and St. Francis in downtown Santa Fe.  Tel: 505.982.3500. Hours: weekdays, from 10-2:30; Saturday from 11:00 to 2:00.  The restaurant runs changing exhibits of art and photography for a serving side of local culture.


Backstreet Bistro was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in their All Kinds of Gobble, Gobble episode (Season 18, Episode 8) airing now –November, 2013. Catch it on The Food Network.

LocalMotion: Northern New Mexico’s November Art & Studio Tours

Painted fish swim across a ceramic celandon sea.  The spout has a jaunty arc and the clever lid has recessed wells for easy grasping.  It’s a marvelous teapot, bought over 25 years ago: a happy reminder of the rich vein of artistic talent that lies along and near the High Road from Santa Fe to Taos.  The teapot’s creator is ceramicist Nausika Richardson, founder of the annual Dixon Studio Tour.

Nausika Richardson, Square Ceramic Bowl

For 29 years, on the first full weekend of November, the artists, artisans and farmers of Dixon have been hosting one of the oldest and best known of New Mexico’s studio tours.  Locals and tourists alike flock annually to this tiny pastoral town, seated at the confluence of the Embudo River and the Rio Grande.  Dixon is rich in historic tradition, creative culture and easy charm, worth a visit for its physical beauty alone. The studio tour is an amiable opportunity to savor the town’s appeal, support local talents and get a jump on holiday shopping where the purchase process is itself a gift.

For one resident’s view of community life, check out the memoirs of Stanley G. Crawford— A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a Small Farm in New Mexico, and Mayordomo: Chronicle of an Acequia in Northern New Mexico. (Crawford’s books and garlic arrangements will be on sale during the tour.) Grab lunch or an early dinner at acclaimed restaurant Embudo Station off Highway 68 between Dixon and Velarde. (T: 505.852.4707.) Dixon is located about 50 miles northeast of Santa Fe, 25 miles southwest of Taos. For map, schedule and artist info, visit the tour’s website or follow Dixon Studio Tour on Facebook.


In downtown Santa Fe, independent artist Mark Frossard moves his Cafe Tour to The Station Cafe in the Railyard District.  The exhibition, entitled “Pit Stops,” features 5 brand new paintings and several never-before-displayed older works, centered on the theme of transportation, relocation and expansion. Frossard shares his keen observation of human quirks and vulnerabilities with a cartoonist’s economy of line. In his subtle humor and depth of insight, he reminds me  a trace of author and illustrator James Thurber.  Opening reception takes place Friday, November 5th, from 5:00 – 7:00pm. The Station Cafe is located near the Santa Fe Train Depot at 530 S. Guadalupe. If you can’t make the opening, go back for breakfast.  The espresso drinks, made with illy coffee, are top-notch.


Next weekend, November 13-14th, head out to Eldorado for annual Fall Show put on by The Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association. And be sure not to miss the 12th annual Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival (see Art + Green on the Santa Fe Creative Scene.)

For more information on November Art Openings and Events in and around Santa Fe, consult the Calendar at Santa Fe Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s excellent website or check out the offerings at the Santa Fe Gallery Association.

Real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography, sculpture and other creations of emerging and independent talents. Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale. For up-to-date market info and full access to the MLS, visit: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.

Dia de Los Muertos & HalloWeekend in Santa Fe

From "Papel Picado": Axle Contemporary's Show of work by Catalina Delgado Trunk

Día de Los Muertos has nothing to do with Halloween, despite their proximate dates and common focus on death. The Meso-American festival was over 3,000 years old when the Spanish Conquistadors encountered it in what is now Mexico.  The celebration honored family members who had passed onto the other side of existence and reflected the belief that life was a dream, death, the time of awakening, a passage to be celebrated. The piled offerings on the colorful altars you’ll see represent the four elements. Food is earth, to attract and feed departed souls; water is provided to quench their thirst.  The tissue paper cutouts symbolize the wind (air); and candles, fire.

Halloween, on the other hand, is thought to have evolved from an old Gaelic festival known as “Samhain,” or Summer’s End, held between the 31st of October and November 1st. Samhain was a harvest festival rooted in Celtic polytheism. In this season of diminishing light and dying crops, the Gaels believed that the portal between the natural and the supernatural worlds was temporarily removed and the dead could walk freely among the living.  Masks and costumes were worn to impersonate or appease roaming spirits. The Romans eventually grafted their festivals of Feralia, commemorating the passage of the dead, and Pomona, honoring the goddess of fruit and trees, onto the Celtic celebrations. Halloween today is a pastiche of these past influences: acknowledging the terror of walking amongst the dead and exalting the harvest.

I’m a sucker for Halloween. As a kid, it was all about candy, filling a pillowcase, sorting and trading the spoils, then eating the bounty for days until the very thought of one more Sugar Baby made me slightly ill.  From my college years forward, it’s been about the costumes and the creativity: crafting my own and looking out for the clever interpretations of current events and wild bursts of extroverted identity play.  But whether by costumes and candy or altars and offerings, both holidays offer outlets for creative expression and celebration that make this weekend a great time to be in circulation.

Tonight, Friday, October 19th, head over to El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, 555 Camino de la Familia, downtown in the Railyard district. From  6-10 pm, enjoy an all-ages celebration of Dia de Los Muertos with food, sugar skull face painting, fire dancing, music and sundry delights. While you’re there, don’t miss Papel Picado the work of Catalina Delgado Trunk and Christopher Gibson in Axle Contemporary’s gallery on wheels. Watch Delgado Trunk share the story behind one piece in this brief, charming YouTube by Axle Contemporary.


“..grotesque and messily visceral, purposefully perverse and imbued with a gruesome wit,” Katherine Lee’s exhibit, Animal Violence and Topless Women Eating Jam opens Friday at Eight Modern, 231 Delgado Street. Reception from 5-7 pm.  Don’t miss Inner Demons II “a group art show celebrating the macabre, the disconcordant and the uncanny” at Alahenia Studios, 1422 Second Street.


On Saturday, whether your taste runs to dressing-up or just watching the show, there are plenty of venues for savoring the creative spirit of the holiday.  The Santa Fe Reporter hosts its 2010 Halloween Party at Milagro, with a raffle, music, and costume contest.  Donation proceeds benefit Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families.  Baca Street Studios hosts the Second Annual Halloween Hooha, from 6-12 pm at 926 Baca Street. Shops and Studios will be open late. You’ll have another chance to check out Axle Contemporary’s Papel Picado exhibit.  Plus “Music with RosS Hamlin and DJDirtgirl!, Fires and Fire dancer!s, Possible sighting of the White Dragon Noodle Bar! Bring a wish (or trouble) to burn in the Giant Cauldron!” Rumor has it that the Big Gay Halloween Party at RainbowVision’s Silver Starlight Lounge, 500 Rodeo Road, is the best costume party in town. A benefit for Santa Fe Pride.

This Week on Santa Fe’s Creative Scene, October 1, 2010

The aspens are changing, the days’ temps swinging in wide arcs from cool to hot.  And the light, the fabulous Santa Fe light, is in its soft, pellucid glory. I love Fall.  It may be the twilight of the year’s cycle, but it feels like a Spring of possibilities.

Is it my perennial optimism or is there a new vigor on the emerging/indie arts scene? Answer the question by checking out some of the offerings around town this weekend.


Tonight, Friday October 1st, between 6-8 PM, head over to Backroad Pizza South for Mark Frossard‘s “casual, unofficial pizza party [art] opening.” Have a little pizza and beer with the easy-going, yet sharply attuned artist who shares his insightful observations of human nature in brightly colored southwestern tableau. Backroad Pizza South is located on Highway 14, just past Santa Fe Brewing Co. on Bisbee Court.

Also on Friday, from 5-7:30 at At MOV-IN Gallery on the campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD), see the video/sound installation Jacqui Kuraj – “IN THE YEAR OF BLAME” – THE BODY AS SACRIFICIAL LANDSCAPE. Read an interview with Kuraj on the End of Being website

Classical/Spanish musician Mike Tait Tafoya writes, “my good friend Tommy Vigil is having an art show tonight at Counter Culture (on Baca St.) from 6-9pm. Acrylic Paintings and photos Dia de los Muertos style! If you like skulls and stuff like that, you’ll really dig his art!”


On Saturday, October 2, Axle Contemporary will park its Van Gallery at Española’s 9th Annual Spañapalooza, a concert and skating competition held in Valdez Park.

Saturday night, let a lineup of musical masters stretch your auditory dimensions at the Second Installment in the Fall Series at High Mayhem Emerging Arts Studio


On Sunday, October 3rd, at 8 PM,  head downtown to Corazon, 401 S. Guadalupe St, and shake the kinks out of your week to the tunes of Ty Segall and Ghost Circles, presented by The Process. Spin Magazine says, “Warped sonics do nothing to diminish the impact of his vigorously nostalgic riff and stomp. Segall thunders along with the timeless, impudently rowdy energy of a cement basement dance-off.”

This Week on Santa Fe’s Creative Scene–8/13/10

I’m the luckiest kid, I get to do what I love to do everyday. – Phillip

Phillip’s been counting: Ten days, four days and now one. On Saturday, August 14th, Phillip Vigil will have the Opening at Shiprock Santa Fe that he, and we, have been looking forward to since he was invited to join the gallery last October. We met once emerging artist Phillip in the Spring of ’09, when he reached out to us (and a thousand others) via Facebook.  We gave him space in several of the Changing Gallery group shows, (described in the posts Sights and Sounds and See and Be Scene) because we were impressed by his knowledge of art history, his huge curiosity and his hunger to grow. We also got to know his generosity of heart–a generosity in evidence when he suggested I use a piece by Matthew Chase-Daniel as the visual for the blogpost. “Matthew Chase-Daniel is Amazing!” he wrote. And a few minutes later, “Use the profile photo!”

Matthew Chase-Daniel’s photo-assemblage portraits “[draw] on the traditions of photography, painting and cinematography to capture the dynamic activity [of seeing.]”

“I do not photograph only one moment in time, but rather a group of moments, selecting the most essential details of a place.”

In the photo to the left, he effectively captures a fleeting bit of Phillip: the focus, the intensity, the polygamy of culture, color, medium and technique. We know who and what we know in the aggregate of our acquaintance, as a moving point of moments, experiences, pictures. As artists do, Chase-Daniel helps us to see what we fail to notice.

Shiprock Gallery is located on the Plaza, at 53 Old Santa Fe Trail, 2nd floor,  in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tel: 982.8478 The opening for Phillip’s Exhibition will run from 6:00-8:30, Saturday, August 14th.

Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their real estate listings, where appropriate, to showcase the work of emerging and independent artists. Check out our website at

Santa Fe International Folk Market

Despite my passion for travel, curiosity about world cultures and love of art, I had never managed to make it to the world-renowned Santa Fe International Folk Market.  I’d always been working.  This year, I hit the ground running as a volunteer. Joshua Maes and I spent a few hours working the cashier’s station.  It was a high speed intro to market attendees and a fun opportunity to raise money for the Artists Travel Fund, which subsidizes travel expenses for first time artists.  Volunteering enabled us to get in free and even more, to be a part of the Great Dance.  I highly recommend the experience.

Check out the Market’s Facebook fan page to get a feel for the enthusiasm that fuels the event.   Read the Market Wrap Up, which reports on this year’s financial successes and encouraging firsts. “The Santa Fe International Folk Art Market is 501(c)3 organization that provides opportunities for folk artists to succeed in the global marketplace and can make a substantive difference in the life of a participating artist.”

Thriving Arts = Thriving Cities: Towards a Santa Fe + Albuquerque Arts Link

Egg Painting 4 by Halle Treanor

Great cities are defined by great art.  We acknowledge the fact, profit from the spirit, but don’t necessarily involve ourselves with feeding our city’s vital arts character. Blessedly, in New Mexico, many do.

Last week, I took part in #abqtalk: a Twitter Talk show moderated by William C. Reichard, multi-talented communications pro and author of the blog Technoagita.  Although the concept of any number of people simultaneously tweeting on a target topic sounds like a recipe for mayhem, it works.  Reichard invites newcomers, thanks departers, adds missed links and repeats tweets to cohere and clarify the flow.  Last week’s subject was the arts in Albuquerque; the “panel” three of the Duke City’s arts organizations: Popejoy, a performing arts venue seating 1985 patrons bringing in touring acts to New Mexico, Chroma Studios, “an art center with studios, gallery, performance space where creatives can work, play, show and perform their ideas” and The Harwood, “a community art center that focuses on promoting education and visibility for artists, would be and could be artists.”

Participants acknowledged the impact of the recession and their role in keeping interest alive. “When money is tight, said @ACiepielaBFT, sometimes people forget what a difference the arts can make in their life. In the words of @TheHarwood “to build the arts audience in abq, we also need to inspire it – show people how creativity & art are relevant.”

Some tweets spoke of perennial roadblocks–ego, snobbery and inadequate funding among them.  What surprised me was to hear of the difficulty that these established, and fairly high-profile venues face in getting the word out.

Several organizations decried the lack of “a centralized email calendar”and lamented that with “so much going on we don’t always make the cut on [published] calendars.”  One participant noted that Albuquerque arts venues also must acknowledge how they are perceived outside the state: locals know we are an arts locale, nationally, people think Santa Fe.”

I sense an opportunity.

My focus, here and with Changing Gallery, is to promote the arts, businesses, events and people of downtown Santa Fe.  I am particularly committed to promoting independent and emerging artists who operate outside of the gallery system.  The blog is one place where you can find out about the activities, news, culture and players of the Alt/Indie/Emerging Arts Scene.  I intend my work to be complementary to, not opposed to, the efforts of local galleries who cannot fund, represent or support every creative that crosses their paths.

According to a survey by the nonprofit group Americans for the Arts, over the last ten years the number of arts organizations increased rapidly at the same time that the percentage of people attending arts events declined.  Too many hands are reaching out for pieces of a dwindling pie.  The good news is that there are many people motivated to preserve a vigorous arts presence.  The challenge: how do we work together to create strength for all?

I do not have immediate, definitive answers but I offer what I have: my brain, my heart, my snippet of time, and my blog.

North/Central New Mexico, let’s start with the longed for centralized calendar. We can use this informational meeting place to build a sturdy bridge between Santa Fe and Albuquerque: two vibrant arts communities whose proximity and complementarity are an open conduit for cooperative effort. Santa Fe: if you’ve never been to an ArtsCrawl, make an effort.  Check out the offerings at Chroma Studios and The Harwood Art Center.  Take a look at the full spectrum of activities provided by Popejoy Hall.  And Albuquerque, don’t dismiss Santa Fe as snobby.  Every been to a performance by WiseFoolNewMexico?

“Every thriving city I can think of has a visible, supported, and bustling art scene,” said @TheHarwood last week on Twitter.  Let’s be that thriving Twin City.

I look forward to your commentary and shared energy.



Chace Haynes’ show People, People! is still up at High Mayhem at 2811 Siler Lane in Santa Fe.  Chace plans to be at the studio this Saturday and Sunday, from 1-4.  Call him at: 505.670.6115 to confirm or arrange an appointment.

Check out the appealing abstract paintings on Halle Treanor’s Art Page We met Halle at an open house at our listings at 111 East Santa Fe Ave.  Her blog includes a link to Halle’s site on Fine Art America which features more photography than painting.

Albuquerque based FractionMag is a photography site of distinction.  Great people driving great work by emerging and independent photo talents.

Mark Frossard has the first of a new series on his website plus a new edition of his blog Duck Hunt Reviews Check them out.

Red Cell and Patricia Sautoff continue their admirable work at The End of Being : a guide to difficult and unusual art, music, film, people and ideas.

Jenna Gerbach’s still pumping out her humble brilliance at MyHungryEye

Finally, take a look at a sensitive, piercing collection of photos by KayLynn Deveney chronicling the daily life of a Welsh man by the name of Albert Hastings.  Photographer Kaylynn Deveney happens to be William C. Reichard’s wife, but my endorsement is spontaneous and unsolicited. This is simple, powerful stuff.

Bottom logo

© 2010 Santa Fe Real Estate Consultants. All rights reserved.