Posts Tagged ‘Music’

The Santa Fe V.I.P.: the Genie from the Jar of Memories

“I wanted to connect with people,” says Victor Romero, the force behind the Facebook Page You Know You’re “Old School Santa Fe” When… It was the furthest thing on my mind for it to be a success.”

After being laid off, Romero, who’d been working since he was 13, decided to create a job for himself. He liked the name “Santa Fe VIP” but wasn’t clear what sort of business it should represent. “I wanted to …focus on nightlife, to try and bring better music to Santa Fe.” While waiting for his idea to cohere, Romero decided to play around with a Facebook page where people could share their stories about growing up in Santa Fe.

“There’s a jar of memories that people always open up when they get together.  Remember this, remember that…. I tried to think of some things that, If you were going to prove that you were from Santa Fe New Mexico, you would know.  My first posts were about the expression “A la Ver…,” Frito Pies at Woolworth’s, Cinnamon Rolls at Dee’s, and buying Z. Cavaricci’s at Dunlap’s.

From its launch date in late January, 2010, the membership of “You Know You’re Old School Santa Fe When…” rose rapidly into the thousands. Today, it’s over 5,100. Clearly, Romero had tapped into a local hunger. But as a former concierge with years of experience in the hospitality business, Romero is good at giving people what they want. And it was that combination of deep local savvy and strong service ethic that gave final form to the business known as the Santa Fe V.I.P.

The Santa Fe V.I.P. is an atypical visitor’s guide serving “the world traveler, local explorer and young professional” alike. Capitalizing on his connections and insider info, Romero offers a range of ways to make the most of “The Santa Fe Experience.”  Daily blog “editorials” and the events calendar keep readers in the know. The V.I.P. site also archives dining tips, dating ideas and even hosts parties.

“It takes a special kind of person to be in the service industry,” says Romero, citing a combination of knowledge, passion and sensitivity as cornerstones of success.” Through The Santa Fe V.I.P., Romero lives to share the wealth of his beloved Santa Fe.


Wee OK: Documentary Photographs of New Orleans

Wee OK, by Grace Berge

Sprayed across the door and siding of a home abandoned after Katrina is the message, “Wee OK” plus three names and a phone number. The extra “e” is blurred, perhaps half erased, perhaps just a burp of the spraycan, an unconscious error and unwitting double entrendre. “Wee OK.” Not fully or grandly okay. Just a wee little bit okay, but enough. Don’t worry. Here’s our number. You can call.

Katrina remains New Orleans’ indelible shadow, the top note and backbeat to any discussion of the city. But New Orleans is a city of deep, rich, dimensional culture, and a wellspring of American music. Changing Gallery’s next exhibition offers two photographic perspectives on life in New Orleans: the dark destruction post Katrina and the enveloping joy of the music scene.

Grace Berge’s documentary photographs of post-Katrina devastation will be projected within an installation that mimics the environments in which they were shot.

Marc Malin, photographer, musician and long time contributor to the New Orleans Musicians Clinic (NOMC), will show photographs of musicians and musical events in New Orleans. Malin describes his work as “impressionist documents:” uncontrived, “captured moments” shot documentary style, but using equipment and processing techniques that “[convey] the feeling; and or energy present.” Head to Main’s website to see the astounding gallery of musical talents– Dr. John, Buddy Guy, The Neville Brothers, Toni Bennett, Brownie McGhee and so many more– Malin has captured on film. A portion of proceeds from the sale of prints and cards will be donated to NOMC.

Social Aid & Pleasure Club Parade, by Marc Malin

Musicians Marc Malin, Mike Handler, Larry Diaz, Janice Mohr-Nelson, Vin Kelly and Arne Bey –The Country Blues Revue– will play a set. Read more about the band, on the bill for this summer’s Thirsty Ear Festival, at their Facebook page, Marc and Mike’s Country Blues Revue


As Changing Gallery, real estate agents Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes use their listings, where appropriate, to showcase the art, photography and music of local, independent and emerging creative talents.  Artists receive 100% of the proceeds from any sale.



Polymorphic Polymediac: Artist RosS Hamlin

things i’d love to do: …play kick-the-can with the pharcyde and pooh sticks with tom waits…. –RosS Hamlin on MySpace

When I approached RosS Hamlin, musician, artist and director of Little Wing Performance Space, to ask if he was game for an interview, his response came through Facebook mobile as four vertical quadrangles. I thought it might be an artist thing. Turns out, it was and it wasn’t. RosS wrote “game” upside down which flummoxed my App. But RosS isn’t a vanity artist, posturing obscurity to emphasize originality. Thoughtful, articulate, polite and professional, RosS knows that to get all that wild-minded, perspective-changing creative brilliance before the world, you have to be functional, albeit with a flourish.

“Santa Fe’s newest and most open-minded music and art space,” Little Wing is a bonanza for emerging and independent artists and musicians.  We hear nothing but love for this place and much of that because of the man behind the shows. When I asked RosS how he attracts those who want to use the space, he said, “I don’t have a set criteria. Bands of every genre are welcome here, as are any workshops, clinics or classes that want to rent the space out. If they have the money, they can do whatever they want here,” citing just one incident where he’s turned away a potential renter and speaking with charity about a single workshop that bombed. “We’re all learning.”

We met RosS at a meeting of the After Hours Alliance, “founded in 2010 by a group of music and arts promoters under the mission of connecting the younger people of Santa Fe to meaningful and relevant after-hours events.” (I spoke about AHA in an earlier post, The Care and Feeding of Santa Fe’s Creative Class.) Hamlin’s participation in the all-volunteer organization is emblematic of his generosity. That generosity extends to his financial arrangement with acts who book Little Wing (60/40 split in favor of performers; 70/30 split in favor of gallery artists) and his efforts to make the venue accessible. Indeed, this is a guy spinning with talent –musical, visual and verbal.  He could probably keep the place booked showcasing his own work and personal picks.  But that’s not his way.

Drop in on Hamlin’s website to check out his round robin of abilities, affiliations and inspiration. In addition to arting, composing and music-making, he is also a guitar, electric bass, voice, composition, and music theory teacher through his school, Full Circle Guitar. When he claims that his approach “emphasizes full-brain creativity [and his] style is patient, detailed, innovative and most importantly, fun,” I believe him.  Hamlin’s sincerity and humility are solid and palpable.

Be sure to savor a few tracks on Hamlin’s site on Reverbnation.  I admit to a pedestrian resistant to present day Jazz, which “The Mustache who loved Me” –an engaging fusion of jazz and funk– quickly set straight. Or better yet, treat yourself to an evening’s entertainment at Little Wing Performance Space. Hamlin’s ever-evolving artistic intelligence and expansive inclusivity –a recent event united the potent forces of Meow Wolf and Red Cell’s The Process with out-of-town talent –ensure a bounty of cultural experience that is truly the wellspring of Santa Fe’s “robust art scene,” to quote the New York Times. All Hamlin asks is that you pay your pittance and pull up a chair.

Watch Joshua Maes video of our visit to Little Wing

The Care & Feeding of Santa Fe’s Creative Class

the Reciprocal Value of Supporting the Local Alt/Indie Creative Scene

Places that succeed in attracting and retaining creative class people prosper; those that fail don’t. –Richard Florida, The Rise of the Creative Class

A thriving music and nightlife scene is critical to attracting and retaining the young, brilliant, awesome people that Santa Fe needs. –After Hours Alliance

Musical Expression, Josh Gallegos

Last Wednesday, Joshua and I sat in on a meeting of the After Hours Alliance (AHA), a volunteer consortium of local music and art promoters dedicated to supporting and sustaining a vibrant, dimensional night scene for the younger set in Santa Fe. Even if you’re neither young, nor interested in the city’s nightlife, here are a few things you should know about the group. AHA supports all-ages access to night time events.  It is dedicated to promoting responsible alcohol consumption at the events it sponsors and has concrete ideas as to how to make this happen (read more on this topic at Activate or Deteriorate).

Its backbone support players are hardworking, resourceful actioneers: people like Shannon Murphy, Dan Werwath, and the folks behind High Mayhem, Meow Wolf, Little Wing, Team Everything and The Process, among others.  All are people who consistently make art and music events happen with or without time, money or a dedicated home.

This weekend, help make Santa Fe a friendly incubator of creative young talent by going where you’ve never gone before: get off the Canyon Road/Santa Fe Plaza art circuit and check out a new venue.  See the list below for alt/indie art and music options worth investigating. Good for you; good for them; good for the city.


This Friday evening, from 4-7 PM, head over to the Railyard Arts District for a double axle delight from Axle Contemporary. If you haven’t seen this marvelously creative mobile gallery, make the detour. Axle Contemporary (the shiny, tricked-out van) will showcase ongoing exhibit, Transmissions.  Axle Annex will be featuring  Sun, Flower, Seed a vehicular installation by Matthew Chase-Daniel.  Transmissions will continue to roll its way around Santa Fe through October 14th, but you have just three days to see Sun, Flower Seed.

Axle Art's Gallery on Wheels

Also on Friday the 24th, from 6-9 PM, for ONE night only, view Conglomerate Perception, at popup gallery, Symphonic Soul, located at 1012 Marquez Place, Unit #108B in Santa Fe (next to Valdez Glass.)  Show features the work of emerging and independent artists Josh Gallegos, Cotton Miller, Mike Rohner, David Hyams, Anne Kelly, Carolyn Wright and Michael Webb. Swing by for food, music and a chance to meet and mingle with artists.

Wish Santa Fe had a better music scene? Then show your support for still young performance and educational space, Little Wing, with a weekend lineup that spans a variety of tastes.

Tomorrow night, check out THE NEXT REVOLUTION Hip Hop Art/Music show presented by TNR Crew with Casuno, DJ Meshak, Galley Cat, DJ Shakedown, Perish and more TBA :::6:30-9pm :::cost TBA

And on Sunday the 26th, don’t miss Pillars & Tongues, Aaron Martin, Secret Spells presented by Red Cell’s, The Process :::8pm $5

Little Wing is located next to the CandyMan, at 851 St. Michael’s Drive. 505.983.5906.


If your musical taste runs avant garde, don’t miss Saturday’s full banquet concert at High Mayhem, 2811 Siler Lane, 505.501.3333  Get an advance-rundown on the show at The Santa Fe Reporter

** Congratulations to Axle Contemporary for today’s write up in the culture section of the New York Times.  “We’re blending the high and the low, the exclusive and the democratic, and taking those boundaries and crossing them,” says Axle’s co-founder Matthew Chase-Daniel of the old Hostess delivery truck — refashioned with track lighting, plastered walls and skylights — that serves as his gallery. Read the full article at Let It Roll: Santa Fe’s Art A Go-Go

I loved hearing the NYT refer to Santa Fe’s art scene as “robust,” referencing last year’s piece, The Art of Being Santa Fe.  There are certainly many working to make the Santa Fe art world ever more broad and vigorous.

Party on the Plaza: Southwest Roots Music at the Santa Fe Bandstand

Here’s something I love about my business.

In the course of checking out a house for a client, our paths intersected with Mike Koster, a Director of Southwest Roots Music (SWRM) and the founder and sustaining force behind the Thirsty Ear Festival. Most of us know them as the folks who’ve brought New Mexico the likes of Dr. John, Bo Diddley, Taj Mahal, The Wailers, and Odetta. But Southwest Roots Music is more than just a concert promoter. It’s a nonprofit 501c3 organization “dedicated to increasing awareness of New Mexico as a center for music, to promoting traditional music through educational programs and live performances by local and internationally renowned artists, and to helping strengthen New Mexico’s arts economy.” Click the links to read more on these worthy folks who add dimension to our musical scene.

Tomorrow night, August 3rd, I’m heading downtown for Southwest Roots Music night, featuring Boris and The Saltlicks followed by Po’ Girl.  Mike thought I might like Po’ Girl since I am a fan of Canadian Folk Duo The Be Good Tanyas. We’ll grab a loaf of Clafouti bread, some cheese and salad and make it an evening picnic.

Two years ago, I viewed the Santa Fe Bandstand as a hokey reminder that Santa Fe is, indeed, a small town.  But the city responded to complaints about quality and upped the caliber of featured acts. Right about then was the first year Southwest Roots Music got involved, along with the admirable not-for-profit Outside In Productions (Take a moment; click the link, and READ about their powerful mission.) The changes were so successful, 2010 readers of the Santa Fe Reporter awarded the Plaza Best Outdoor Public Space and the Bandstand concerts Best Community Event or Festival. No polls are perfect, but  Best of Santa Fe 2010 offers a pretty good insight into the tastes of Santa Fe denizens. Scan the calendar for upcoming events and take advantage of just one more offering that makes the City Different a remarkable place to call home.

As for Southwest Roots Music, they’re taking a couple of months off–for the first time in eleven years, but count on Mike to be back in the saddle by winter, bringing us fresh encounters with traditional music.


For honest, fly-on-the-wall insight on the Santa Fe Art Scene, read Patricia Sauthoff’s piece, Seen in Santa Fe’s Scene: A Critical Look posted on the End of Being’s website.


Mike Rohner wrote in to let us know he’d have a booth (#121) at the Girls Inc. Arts and Crafts Show on the plaza this weekend with new work.  Mike will be sharing space “with the talented brothers Gino and Viento Natchez” whose work can be seen at Four Winds Gallery. Swing by and support independent and emerging talents.

Santa Fe Art Scene: Substance over Style

"Suppertime"-Mark Frossard

“Suppertime”-Mark Frossard

Sure, Santa Fe was crowned a UNESCO Creative City in 2005 (for folk art and design) and has apparent squatter’s right in the Small Cities category of American Style’s annual poll on the top 25 arts destinations.  We’re known for the Canyon Road art galleries, the opera, Indian Market, Spanish Market and most recently, the International Folk Art Market. We’ve got SOFA, SITE Santa Fe, The Santa Fe Film Festival, The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, not to mention the smorgasbord of dance, music, performance and film laid out at The Lensic.  Photographers flock here for the light, the galleries and the excellent workshops.  “In no other state of this union is the trend of life so clearly shaped by art as in New Mexico.” Edgar Lee Hewett, first director of the Museum of New Mexico, said this 100 years ago, and it may still be true.  But to my mind, the real measure of our civic creativity lies not in our institutions, but in our individual creative drive, the ingenuity and I’m-an-artist-if-I-say-so moxie of the denizens of the City Different.

You’ll find plenty to do just by checking out the Santa Fe Arts and Culture Calendar, the website for the Santa Fe Gallery Association, the Pasatiempo calendar , or the SFR Picks page in the Arts and Culture section of the Santa Fe Reporter. But to tap the depths of Santa Fe’s creative soul,  take a chance on something new. There’s a goldsteam of cultural riches that ride under the radar of many visitors and residents.

Tonight, October 30th, from 5-9 PM,  Meow Wolf, a collective of multimedia artists who pool their talents to create dynamic, “must see”, installation events, has an opening for “GEODEcedant” at their home on Second Street.  Also on Second Street, from 6-9 PM, is the opening for “Inner Demons” at Ahalenia Studios.  On Saturday night, starting at 5 PM, Baca Street Studios is having a Halloween Party, featuring the music of Sean Helean, the grand opening of Erika Wanenmacher‘s Ditch Witch Store, “fire dancers, and other spectacular wonders.”

"Chicano on Alto St"-Carlo Armendariz

“Chicano on Alto St”-Carlo Armendariz

People sometimes lament Santa Fe’s limits.  The music scene has seen its ebbs and swells and more than one fine musical venue has washed out on a mysterious tide.  But while one kid complains of a lack of toys, another kid builds castles in the sand. Like Meow Wolf, local alt curator Red Cell, is working “to bring audience and artists together in a unique way” through his non-profit group, The Process, which pulls together a distinct mix of music, art, film, spoken word and performance art.

I’ll close with a shameless plug for a few of our favorite indie and up-and-coming arts: Mark Frossard (artist and blogger) showing in downtown Santa Fe at 111 East Santa Fe Ave., sculptor Laird Hovland, photographer and musician Carlo Armendariz, photographer Jonathan Tercero, whose work currently hangs at Java Joe’s DeVargas location, and Michael Tait Tafoya (playing tonight, and most Fridays, at Vino del Corazon at the corner of Alameda and Don Gaspar).  This weekend, step out of the mainstream and treat yourself to something different in the City Different.


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.

See and Be Scene

Untitled Mural--Todd Scalise

A little over a year ago, my business partner and I held our first art opening at our listing at 123 West Santa Fe Avenue.  We knew a few artists without gallery representation in Santa Fe; I’d been the co-director of a contemporary art gallery in Santa Fe; we had open walls and a killer location–made sense.  We decided to give 100% of the proceeds of any sale to the artists themselves: a gift through which we have gained immeasurably.

Since our first show, we have held three more events, showcased the work of 17 artists in total, and are proud to report a total of seven sales.  Over 100 people have seen the listings who might not otherwise have known they existed.  And we’ve met scores of terrific, creative talents.

Take Mark Frossard, a painter who stopped by to see  Phillip Vigil’s drawings and will be featured in our upcoming show.  Mark’s soothing southwestern palette and cartoon-like representations  belie their emotional power.

Or Keiko Ohnuma, also in the upcoming show, who described her style as “elevated kitch” and said that  she was finding that she was even less well-understood here than in Honolulu.  I confess I was a bit taken aback when I opened the first jpeg.  But it didn’t take long to decide that was exactly why we should give her a venue.  Not every piece needs to challenge the viewer, but challenge is definitely an important aspect of art.

Then there’s Todd Scalise: painter, designer, textile artist, muralist, and more whom we met, again, through artist and social media’s man-about-town, Phillip Vigil.  Todd has terrific ideas for public art in Santa Fe and is looking for a wall to paint.  Driven by the look of his latest piece, and excited by the possibilities, we are working to find him a wall.

Todd graces every visitor to his studio with the opportunity to select a drawing to take home.  Four of us stood over a pile of drawings like a pack of kids eyeing the Halloween basket. With art, you don’t just acquire a pretty or interesting thing; you connect with the creator.  As artist and gallery owner, Anthony Corso recently shared on his FB Wall,

Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.” ~ Henry Ward Beecher

Buy a piece of art, and get a side of soul.


As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m not entirely sure what I am doing, but I am absolutely positive it’s the right thing to do.  Santa Fe ranks among the top three art markets in the country with over 300 galleries that enjoy enviable walk-in traffic.  Yet there are holes in the Santa Fe art scene.  With rents so high, gallery owners are often forced to choose art that will sell and sell for the highest price over showcasing a emerging talent or mid-career artist in flux.  Many a fine painter, sculptor or photographer lacks a regular venue. I’ve also heard artists and art brokers alike complaining about the lack of dynamism, risk and interplay on the local scene.  Yet the talent is there as Meow Wolf, the former Bang Gallery, and scads of individual creatives attest.

As a REALTOR involved in the sale and purchase of homes, I feel a duty to support and enrich my community, indeed, to do my part to build the healthiest, happiest most economically and socially vibrant community I can. Showcasing art is one way I choose to do it.  Some may see these realms as unmixable.  But I look for common ground. Artists want an audience for their art. People selling property similarly want people to come see it. Putting art into homes puts a simultaneous spotlight on both.

On June 26th, take the opportunity to see and be seen at one of the hottest, new, whatever-it-is-art events in the city: Changing Gallery’s latest show at the Bella Donna– our listings and ad hoc galleries at 111 East Santa Fe Avenue, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Alt gallery  PennBrick will be beaming its brilliance from a garage a block away. Bundobeats will be spinning the tunes.

Are you an artist looking for a place to show?  Introduce yourself.  No promises, but let’s connect.  Are you a homeowner wanting to list and find a novel way to get buyers to see your home in a market chock-a-block with listings?  Let us put our experience to work for you.  Or are you new to town, interested in unearthing the richness Santa Fe has to offer? Stop by the Bella Donna, give us a little time and attention. The return on your investment might surprise you.

Malissa Kullberg and Joshua Maes, AKA Changing Gallery, use their real estate listings, where appropriate, to showcase the work of emerging and independent artists.  Their current location is the Bella Donna, nine beautifully restored condominiums located on East Santa Fe Avenue, just one block from the State Capitol. Check out our website at

Santa Fe Downtown Digs and Doings

My first encounter with Santa Fe was in the Spring of 1980, when I flew out to visit a friend. On the shuttle from Albuquerque to Santa Fe, I couldn’t take my eyes off the vast, color-saturated sky and the roughly textured land, an interplay of greens and browns. Back then, there was hardly a car on the road between the airport and the Capitol City. I could as much as set my cruise-control, crawl into the back seat for a nap, and wake up an hour later, safely at my destination.

Santa Fe has changed over the past 28 years, but the land is still vast and magnificent and the city still charming in physical appearance and breadth of cultural offerings. For the third year in a row, the readers of American Style voted Santa Fe the #1 arts destination in the top 25 small cities and towns category. In 2007, Sperling’s Best Places and Business Week awarded Santa Fe second place in The Top 10 places for artists.

Yet the factors that make Santa Fe attractive to artists–a diverse and fairly youthful population, the number and variety of museums, the amount of dance, theater, film, symphony, chamber and choral music, the quality of photographic and Fine Arts education, and other cultural offerings–make it a terrific place for all of us.

Three weeks ago, held its first Economic Forum whose purpose was, in the words of moderator, Michael French, to examine and address “…how all this turmoil will specifically affect our economy, and what we can do together to survive and even prosper.” Each member of the Panel was chosen to offer a different take on the proverbial elephant. Though hardly definitive, there was a good effort to provide balance and an opening dialogue.

If I see a silver bullet solution to the question of what we can do to survive and prosper in these economically crazy times, it is this: to see, celebrate and support the tremendous creative resources we have in our little town. As someone who grew up immersed in the arts of two, culturally rich Midwestern cities, Minneapolis and Chicago, I believe in power of the creative sector to give a community dignity, cohesion, vitality and internal wealth.

Santa Fe isn’t perfect. Like any place-or any person-there are things to love and things that frustrate. But what impresses me so deeply, what has brought me back time and again and caused me to adopt this place as my hometown, is its spirit: creative, hungry, at times conflictual, but richly resourceful.

So that’s what this blog is going to be about: things, people, places and events that give Santa Fe its special character. We’ll also talk about real estate because that’s our bread and butter and something we know a lot about. Check out our website at: Thanks for reading.

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