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Posts Tagged ‘Santa Fe’

Dining Santa Fe: Andiamo

Authentic in taste, if a bit upscale for the term “Trattoria,” Andiamo reminds me of dining in Italy for its quality of ingredients, smooth composition, and generous hospitality.  An intersection of passion, pride, and joyous good humor prevails, whether the restaurant is packed or building steam. Credit the caring staff for upholding the feeling.  Credit the cook for putting together knockout culinary combinations.

The acme of appetizers is the Crispy Polenta: a Rumba of taste and texture– at once crispy, creamy, savory and sweet. My ten year old niece ate it with gusto as has every adult I know who’s put a fork into its luscious appeal.  The Parma Prosciutto + Belgian Endive is a tastebud-zinging balance of mildly bitter, fruity and salty flavors. For the main course, I love the Penne with House-Made Lamb Sausage, the Chicken Marsala with its earthy porcini side, and the Seafood Linguini.  I am less wowed by the Pizzas (for those, I head to Farina, in Albuquerque.  More on that in another post).

While I am not much of a dessert fan, I find the pots de crème irresistible, to a giddy, sybaritic, self-embarrassing degree. This Chocolatey Custard is rich enough to split, luxurious enough to make any meal a Valentine. My younger relatives favor the Profiteroles (puff pastries, ice cream AND chocolate sauce.) I hear the Pannacotta is excellent. Skip the unremarkable cookies.

A comparatively low-cost way to check out Andiamo is during its weekday Happy Hour.  Select glasses of wine and appetizers are offered at reduced prices. Sip, sample, and you won’t be able to resist returning.

Arguably “Santa Fe’s Best Italian,” Andiamo has snagged 1st place honors for four years running in The Santa Fe Reporter’s Best of Santa Fe annual poll (2008-2011.) Its fans are loyal and happy.

Andatene: Go. Eat. Enjoy.

Located at 322 Garfield Street, in the Railyard District, an easy walk from The Plaza, Andiamo is open for Lunch from 11-2 and from 5:00 PM for Dinner. Some items are available partially-cooked, to be completed and enjoyed at home.  Catering is also available. Tel: 505.995.9595

Design + Nature + Community: Santa Fe’s Chavez Center

Leave it to Santa Fe to build a recreational center that is an icon to Santa Fe values.  The Genoveva Chavez Community Center (GCCC) is at once a art piece of exquisite design, a testament to environmental sensitivity, and a supporter and champion of community. The Center includes an aquatic complex, gymnasium, fitness center, track, skating rink, community, class and conference rooms. The space is vast, clean and slightly awe-inspiring.

The GCCC was designed by Mazria, Inc., an internationally respected leader in the field of environmental design. In keeping with Santa Fe’s commitment to resource conservation, the Mazria team incorporated passive solar heating, passive cooling, water conservation and water harvesting strategies into the building design.  Energy use is further reduced through Daylighting: placing windows, clerestories and skylights to make the most effective use of natural light and minimize the amount of artificial lighting needed.

The first time I took my daughter there to swim, some five years ago, I found the pool area dark.  Much as I dislike florescent lighting, I’m accustomed to its hard, bright illumination. But over the hour, I came to love the soft ambiance.

The Chavez Center design is a sturdy marriage of form and function, execution and intent. A multi-level atrium visually connect the Center’s major spaces –Aquatic Center, Gym and Ice Arena. The treadmills overlook the 50 meter pool; the elliptical machines are hard by the track, itself situated to capitalize on stunning shots of the Sangres. While other gyms have TVs poised above their machinery, I’ll take the unpredictable and ever-changing vista of real people any day. As I cycle my way up “hills” of resistance, I get sucked into the world on the ice rink: the graceful spins and leaps of figure skaters and the heart-charming earnestness of the Pee Wee Hockey team.  Nothing soars my heart and humor like a line of equipment-swathed squirts simultaneously hurling themselves onto the ice for practice falls.

Membership is a steal: $369.00 annually for an individual, $551.00 for a couple –less if you sign up during this month’s 20% off drive.  Carpe sanitas!


Collaborative Art Santa Fe: Part II

Interference, Wasteland Scene

If you caught Currents 2011, you likely remember the video installation Interference: a  rubble-strewn urban wasteland that shifted to lush forest when intersected with human presence. Interactives were a big draw at the Currents exhibition (I had particular fun playing with John Carpenter’s Dandelion Clock.) With Interference, cooperation yielded a greater payback: the more people clustered together, the more forest could be reclaimed.

That bonus-through-alliance was fitting for a piece that was itself a matrix of logistical, technical and professional harmony. The creation of three artists, Brian Bixby, Charles Buckingham and Mike Root, working cooperatively from three far-flung cities –Berlin, Portland, and Santa Fe—Interference is a monument to concord and methodical cooperation.  How the piece came together was nearly as fascinating to me as the result, so I pummeled Mike Root for answers he happily supplied.

What was your intention?

We wanted to make sure the interaction didn’t feel like a game. A lot of the best interactive work I’ve seen is basically a video game mechanic. I love video games but we didn’t want to create one. So we developed this concept of 3 layers in 3D space and began playing with the idea of allowing the audience to move around inside this augmented space of 3 dimensions. Our intention was to create an experience where the viewer’s presence immediately effected the scene, first mysteriously and abstractly, then as the viewer got closer the interaction became more concrete and a message emerged: “You effect your environment.”

How did you pick the team and choose your roles in the project?

The three of us share interests in similar digital art forms, musicians, film directors. We’ve known each other for about 10 years, in which time we’ve worked on video and music projects together, including collaborative work an online ambient video series (Snowflakes) as well as developing web applications, like the website for SITE Santa Fe’s 2010 Biennial, The Dissolve. To realize our idea for this piece was really a matter of matching what we know of each other’s strengths, both technically and creatively, to the tasks at hand.

Tell me about the mechanics of working together over a distance.  How did you communicate ideas and build the installation?

We held bi-monthly Skype meetings…during [which]…we critiqued each other’s work in the context of the direction of the overall piece. Much of the honing of the idea and execution happened during these exchanges… A great asset was the ability to share huge digital files via a shared server.  “Working” files in After Effects, Photoshop and Jitter were easy to view and “demo” once we each had the source footage and photography on our individual computers.

Who did What?

Charles and videographer Eric Macey shot several days of HD footage in scenic spots around Oregon. Charles also did the sound design, which fades between idyllic natural river sounds and haunting urban soundscapes.

The piece exploits infrared data captured by an Xbox Kinect unit.  Charles spent many hours exploring how to best interpret and utilize this three dimensional data to make the installation react in “human” ways to the viewers. He configured a Mac computer to access and control the Xbox Kinect, then created a Jitter patch which took infrared data from the Kinect and used it to manipulate the audio and video components of the installation.

Brian shot high resolution photography of urban rubble and construction sites in Berlin, which he assembled into large scale seamless panoramas in Photoshop.… Through careful and tedious use of effects he transformed the images into a post-apocalyptic scene, eventually adding animation of smoke and rain along with 3D lighting.

I sorted through the extensive Oregon footage, eventually settling on a panorama of a forest, with river foreground. [I then] stitched together a giant-scale video composite from six high definition camera angles, [and] added 3D lighting to bring out certain areas of the scene. Brian and I collaborated on fine-tuning the rain and lighting of the Berlin rubble heap.

I also coordinated and interfaced with Currents curators Frank Ragano and Mariannah Amster who really “got” the piece and afforded a perfect space within the exhibition for the piece.

How did it feel when you saw the installation on site?

What was most gratifying was seeing the people who attended the Currents exhibition react in unexpectedly profound ways with our piece. We witnessed people go through an experiential envelope from curiosity to puzzlement to elation after spending a few minutes interacting with our piece. The “take away” from this experience was a spark of inspiration to re-envision the polluted decay of urban landscape as something you can affect and reclaim.

People commented on it and interpreted it in very positive and inspiring ways. One of the highlights was watching viewers grab other people nearby and create a human wall, which reclaimed the entire scene from ruins to pure nature.

New direction or never again?  

This piece was the first time for us to work on something interactive as a team, so the resulting work is something new and unexpected for all three of us. We’re applying to other exhibitions with this piece and hope to install it on a larger scale.  We’re curious to see how people in other places respond.


Interference, River Scene

If you missed Currents 2011, or are nostalgic for a revisit, check out this video documentation. It’s no substitute for the full experience, but it’s a great commercial.

Collaborative Art Santa Fe, Pt. I

Michael Rohner/Gwen A.P.: Collaboration in Process

Collaborative Art: What springs to mind?  The Dadaists of Cabaret Voltaire? Andy Warhol’s Factory? Jeff Koon’s Studio? (or any number of less famous examples.) I’m used to the idea of collaboration in the workplace, or in improvisational theater, where good work can become great work when spontaneous sharing reigns and egos take a back seat. But co-production of an art piece opens the door to a crowd of questions: Who owns the work? Who’s the author (of particular concern where one talent has the idea which another talent executes)? Where is the work made?  Your place or mine?  Same time or consecutively?

Mark Dunhill and Tamiko O’Brien reflect thoughtfully on issues central to the process of artistic collaboration in their blog Collaborative Arts: Conversations on Collaborative Arts Practise  And truly, there are no static, definitive answers. There is, however, rich potential.  Two outstanding local examples are Meow Wolf’s Due Return, showing through August 21st at the CCA and Interference: an interactive video environment created by Brian Bixby, Charles Buckingham and Mike Root, featured at Currents 2011 in June. Watch for reviews of both productions in upcoming posts.

Bonnaroo Tree, Michael Rohner/Gwen A.P., On Site Collaboration

This weekend, delight yourself with a first hand look at spontaneous co-creation at the 39th Annual Girl’s Inc. Arts and Crafts Show on The Plaza. Look for Booth G-18, near the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and San Francisco. Santa Fe Emerging Artist, Mike Rohner will be painting with Gwen AP, of Pittsburg PA. The pair met in Tennessee, at the Bonnaroo music festival. “Our artistic vibes clicked,” says Michael,”and we began immediately collaborating on paintings, taking turns working at the canvas in front of the main stage and thousands of music fans.” After each went home, they started a long-distance venture, where one of them would begin painting a canvas and the other would finish it up. To the right is a sample of what happened in Tennessee, since sold. Below are the fruits of the pair’s long-distance efforts. You’ll have your chance to pick up a Santa Fe spawned collaboration tomorrow and meet the gracious and ever-amiable Rohner in the bargain.

Calvin Tree, Michael Rohner/Gwen A.P., via long distance collaboration

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:

Dining Santa Fe: Raaga

“Fresh” and “light” are two words I never thought I would associate with the gram flour coated, fried vegetable appetizer known as a “pakora.” But Raaga, the newest addition to Santa Fe’s generously endowed culinary scene, is a standout for its clean, bright flavors and delicate touch with fried food.  The daily buffet includes a soup, rice, vegan, vegetarian and meat entrees, Naan, a salad bar and dessert. On the day we went, the soup was tomato-fennel (vigorously enjoyed by a seven year old at the adjacent table) and the dessert a lusciously creamy Mango Kulfi. Its flavor was so vibrant and sense-satisfying that my partner and I comfortably split a small cup between us. The crisp pakora tasted like a flash-fried vegetable, not breading and oil.

Praise for Raaga has been rolling through the social media and consumer driven review sites, such as Yelp, and I haven’t read a negative word yet. Cynics could peg this enthusiasm to Santa Fe’s hunger for dining novelty, but in truth, more newcomer eateries limp out the gate than gallop. Raaga rockets.

If there’s a complaint in the wings, it could arise from the extremely limited seating that may lead to long waits and turnaways once the word of Raaga’s excellence gets around. The restaurant also lacks a liquor license (although has started the process toward obtaining one) which may be a deterrent for evening diners.  That said, the building is beautiful, the service warm and attentive and the food a savory standout. “Raaga” means “sweet melody.” Downtown Santa Fe is lucky to be hearing its song.

HOURS: Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:00-9:30 PM.  Friday and Saturday, 11:30 AM-2:30 PM and 5:00-10:00 PM

Tel: 505.820.6440 email:

LOCATED at 544 Agua Fria Street, in Downtown Santa Fe, a block west of the Santuario de Guadalupe.

Changing Gallery Presents “Practical Nonsense”

a Mercantile of the Bizarre and Unusual in the Spirit of Dadaism and Mad Humor

Victorian Skateboard

On April 16th, from 4-8 PM, Changing Gallery hosts the Opening for “Practical Nonsense: a mercantile of the bizarre and unusual.” This solo exhibition by artist Esteban Bojorquez features “assemblage and readymades in the spirit of dadaism and mad humor.” Many pieces were crafted specifically to play off the special character of Changing Gallery’s current venue, The Palace Grocery Store.

Practical Nonsense is a Mom & Pop convenience store in the Twilight Zone, an emporium of delightful oddities and witty wonders. Look for the * Alien Space Helmet and Assorted Ray Guns * The Dutch Disco Shoe * Expired Goods –100% off! * Money Hungry Bank (with teeth!) * Golf Ball on the Moon (a victim of extraterrestrial forces) * The Do-it-Yourself Series, including * “You Can Be a Space Cowboy * the Vampire Kit (complete with mirror, mallet and silver tipped bullets.) * and an unforgettable freezer display, “Joe the Butcher and His Calvacade of Meat.” All this plus, The Frolic Room….


Saturday, April 16th, 4:00-8:00 PM

Sunday, April 17th, 1:00-4:00 PM

Saturdays, April 23rd and April 30th, 1:00-4:00 PM, and By Appointment.

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.

Vampire Kit by Esteban Bojorquez

Check out this short Video of the Show


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.


The Art of Upcycling

Sunrise, by Esteban Bojorquez

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.

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.



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