Albuquerque Buzz: October 2010

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, October 2010

You didn’t forget. The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is here, from Oct. 2-10. You’ve got nine days in which to get to Balloon Fiesta Park to watch ascensions and glows, see special shapes and eat massive amounts of funnel cake. Go to for a full schedule of events. Tickets are $6 for people 12-and-over and free for everyone else (i.e., children under the age of 12). General parking is $10 per car. You can also get a five-event ticket for $25 and an all-event parking pass for $50. 4401 Alameda NE, 888.422.7277. Happy flying (or watching)!

It’s an Albuquerque tradition. Rio Grande Community Farm’s Maize Maze will be open every weekend through the end of the month. Wear some sunscreen as you navigate a seven-acre labyrinth made out of six-foot corn stalks, carved out using GPS technology. Unless, of course, you’d rather go to the Moonlight Maze on Oct. 22 and 23, when the maze is open until 10 p.m. Go on Fridays from 6 to 9 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thrill seekers should check out the Haunted Maze on Oct. 29 and 30, when the maze is open until 10 p.m. and “friendly haunters” will surprise you. Tickets are $7.50 for adults (12-and-older), $4 for children and free for kids under the age of 4. 1701 Montaño NW, 505.345.4580,

If you haven’t picked up a pint of Van Rixel Bros. Gelato & Sorbet yet, you should get on that. The Albuquerque-based business has been around since 2006, but I only tasted its frozen confections for the first time last month. And now a container of one of its creative and unbelievably fantastic flavors always seems to find a way onto my grocery list. Made in small batches with all-natural, rBGH-free ingredients, the gelato and sorbets are like no others I’ve tried—rich without overwhelming your palate, with delightfully simple combinations that yield complex flavors. Try Smoked Sea Salt & Honey Caramel, Rad Dad (blueberries and cream), Cinnamon Candied Pecan, Lemon Chiffon, Ultra Dark Chocolate, Limoncello, Thai Coconut or more than a dozen other flavors, which sometimes change with the season. You can find Van Rixel Bros. at natural food stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. And while you’re at it, look for Van Rixel’s other label, Chocolate Cartel, which offers such irresistible treats as smoked chile and blood orange truffles, candied rose and violet petal chocolate bars and Mayan hot chocolate. You can visit its factory outlet at 315 Juan Tabo NE, Suite A (which carries both the frozen desserts and chocolates), call orders in at 505.797.1193 or order online at

516 ARTS is one of my favorite galleries in Albuquerque because the exhibits it shows are always daring and imaginative. I’m especially excited about its current project, Street Arts: A Celebration of Hip Hop Culture and Free Expression. The collaboration, in partnership with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico and involving 25 local organizations, runs through the end of November. Catch spoken word, music and dance performances, exhibitions, talks, street art tours, a hip-hop film festival (at Guild Cinema Oct. 1 through 3 and 15 and 16) and a spoken word festival (at multiple venues Nov. 4 through 7). And keep your eyes Downtown over the next couple months, because a collection of artists will paint new murals over several prominent Downtown walls. Don’t miss the installation going up at 516 itself (516 Central SW), Street Text: Art From the Coasts & The Populist Phenomenon, which runs Oct. 2 through Dec. 11 and has an opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 2, from 6 to 8 p.m. To see the well-endowed lineup of events, visit

Speaking of fantastic businesses, Bookworks, one of the best local, independent bookstores in Albuquerque, has some news. Don’t be scared, it’s not “we’re closing” news. Owner Nancy Rutland, who started the beautifully packed and wonderfully staffed shop in 1984, is selling the business to two employees, Wyatt Wegrzyn and Danielle Foster. Bookworks’ tradition of bringing more than 125 author readings and other events to the city a year will continue. In fact, find 19 events taking place this month at 4022 Rio Grande NW, 505.344.8139.

Sample dishes from 24 local restaurants, partake in libations from 10 local wineries and four breweries, listen to live music, and even bring kids for face painting, balloon art and more. It’s at this year’s Taste of New Mexico, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 and 9, on Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza. There are two ticket packages available: 12 for $10 and 25 for $20. For more information, call 311 or visit

Ninety films for free. That’s the product of Duke City Docfest, New Mexico’s only international documentary film festival. From Sunday, Oct. 10, to Friday, Oct. 15, catch films at venues all over Downtown, including the KiMo Theatre. For full schedules and descriptions of films—such as Dive, which follows a group of friend who dumpster dive in L.A.; One Summer at Camp Winston, a look at a camp that accepts children with autism, Tourette’s syndrome and Asperger’s syndrome; and Disappointment Valley, which examines the Bureau of Land Management’s elimination of wild horses from public lands—visit

If you’re a regular Albuquerque theater patron, you’ve probably heard of The Reptilian Lounge. If you haven’t, here’s what you need to know: Tricklock Company’s long-running late-night cabaret (going on 15 years!), comedians, musicians, dancers, jugglers, singers, puppeteers, impersonators, any other flavor of performer you can think of. And here’s what everyone needs to know: Oct. 16, 23 and 30. 10:30 p.m. The Box Performance Space (114 Gold SW, 505.404.1578). $7.77. Any questions?

You like Michael Jackson. You like zombies. You like dancing. Then you will be absolutely thrilled (sorry) about the fourth annual Thrill the World, an event that aims to get 10,000 to 50,000 people to simultaneously dance the King of Pop’s “Thriller.” It’s set for Saturday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. (That’s not the New Mexico interpretation of 5 p.m., people—that’s 5 p.m. sharp.) You can show up and watch, or you can participate for free. There are even a massive number of practice dance sessions you can pop in on. After the dance-cast, check out a Zombie Dance Party from 5:15 p.m. to 12 a.m., with a dance contest, costume contest and more. You need a ticket to get into the dance party. If you buy one in advance, it’s only $10, but it goes up to $15 the day-of. The whole thing takes place at the Albuquerque Convention Center in the Fran Hill NE Exhibit Hall (401 Second Street NW). For more information on all of the above, and to buy tickets, visit

Maybe you’re a naughty librarian. Or perhaps you saved that zombie costume. Or maybe you’re ditching the tangible and going as something more abstract, like quantum mechanics. Whatever your costume, Halloween is upon us. Already. How did this happen? Whether trick-or-treaters make you squirm or candy corn is your favorite food group, there’s a good chance you’re going to want to get to the KiMo Theatre Oct. 26-30 for the Halloween Hitchcock Festival. Eight Hitchcock classics will hit the big screen in hi-def: Torn Curtain, Vertigo, Topaz, The Trouble with Harry, Frenzy, Rear Window, The Birds and Psycho, the last of which has a special midnight screening the night of the 30th (or the morning of the 31st, however you care to think about it). Tickets to individual films are $8, or you can buy a weekend pass (which covers Friday and Saturday night) for $35 or a festival pass for $50. For a full schedule and to buy advance tickets, visit 423 Central NW, 505.768.3544.