by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, May 2010
I’ll admit, shamefully, that I had never been to 516 Arts before last Saturday, April 24, when I stopped by the opening reception for its new exhibit, Artificial Selection. I will never miss another show at what has suddenly become my favorite gallery space in Albuquerque. Artificial Selection dives into themes of adaptation, science fiction and mythology. It is at once whimsical, eerie and, in moments, somehow erotic. While all the works, which come from around the U.S. and Canada, showcase an exceptional level of skill and introspection, my favorite pieces were by Quebecker Heidi Taillefer. “The Eunoch,” one of Taillefer’s oils on canvas, is a portrait of a chimera-like ram. But rather than a supernatural creature, Taillefer’s beast seems like he’s been patched together with horns and pipes, string and handles. He’s a breathing music box, or a one-ram band. Such imagery could come across as gruesome, but the effect is instead one of calm curiosity. This amalgamated ungulate comes from part fairy tale, part factory. I wanted to follow him and see where he would take me. Artificial Selection, one of the most impressive exhibits I’ve seen in Albuquerque, runs through June 26. 516 Central SW, 505.242.1445, www.516arts.org.
Speaking of art, the popular Corrales Art Studio Tour takes place Saturday, May 1, and Sunday, May 2, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 50 artists will open their homes and studios to demonstrate their artistic process. To get a preview of the kind of work you’ll see on the tour, stop by Oasis Coffee & Tea (4940 Corrales Road) the same weekend for a sampling of the participating artists’ work. 505.890.5927, www.corralesartstudiotour.com.
Nob Hill Main Street is hosting Mother’s Day and Fresh Fashion on Thursday, May 6, from 5 to 9 p.m. Many Nob Hill boutiques (on Central between Washington and Girard) will keep their doors open late and offer special discounts. Get 20 percent off all items at Ooh Aah Jewelry from 5 to 8:30 p.m. and free tarot readings, 10 percent off all purchases and a raffle at Celebro Natural Living. Plus, listen to live music as you wander in the warm spring evening. Pick up something nice for Mom or bring her along. www.rt66central.com.
First Friday Patio and Block Parties return! In conjunction with First Friday Artscrawls, Old Town is bringing back its free concert series. On Friday, May 7, the season will launch on Plaza Don Luis with a slice of Americana, featuring the Adobe Brothers from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Bill Hearne from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Old Town is also reintroducing its Cultural Sunsets performances, which feature an array of music and dance pieces representing cultures from around the globe. Catch them nearly every Thursday from May 6 through June 24. For information on specific performances, visit www.cabq.gov/crs/newfun.html.
I’ve long loved Fremont’s Fine Foods. It has a dazzling assortment of European candies and snacks (even Twiglets!). It carries gourmet delights like orange flower water and pumpkin seed oil. And its box lunches (which come with cookies, chocolate mousse or a fruit tart) are generous, well-crafted and all-around divine. Plus, you can fax in your lunch order. And it delivers. Don’t you love it, too? Now there’s reason to love it even more. Head cook Jacob Rasmussen has just whipped up a couple new dishes to add to the menu: his own interpretation of a Philly cheesesteak—with rib-eye and Monterey Jack, sautéed onions and Danish cucumber salad on the side—and the Pod Pie, a pot-pie-meets-Cornish-pasty concoction that can be filled with a variety of meats or, for the vegetarians in the crowd, chickpeas in an Indian curry. Get them hot for lunch or pick up the Pod Pies from Fremont’s freezer. 1100 San Mateo NE, 505.792.3463, www.nm1918.com.
While on the topic of treats, I want to take a moment to share some discoveries I’ve made in regard to cappuccinos in this town. I was in London earlier this spring for a few weeks, and while I was away, I found myself slowly slipping into a love affair with those frothy little cups. Finding “regular” coffee in the U.K., meaning filtered coffee, can be challenging. Find good filtered coffee can be ... well, in five weeks’ time, I never managed it. But lattes, cappuccinos, espresso in the U.K.—as in most of Europe—they’re something worth fighting for. By the time I came home, I’d developed a penchant for cappuccinos in particular, and I’ve been going all around town looking for the perfect cup. So far, I’ve found my personal favorites at two places: Café Giuseppe (3222 Silver SE, 505.268.1858, www.cafegiuseppe.com), which models itself after Italian-style coffee confections, and Winning Coffee Co. (111 Harvard SE, 505.266.0000, www.winningcoffeeco.com), the well-known university-area haunt. Both serve it the way I like it: small and tightly packed, with firm foam, a velvety mouthfeel and the occasional tiny bit of ground bean. I can’t stand the giant, soupy drinks some places serve, as though size will make up for the fact that they’re watery and flaccid. This is a quality over quantity game. And Giuseppe and Winning take top honors in my playbook.
Albuquerqueans love all things vintage. That’s why you’ll probably be excited to hear about the Spring Antique Show and Charity Appraise-A-Thon, coming to the Manual Lujan Event Complex at the Expo New Mexico State Fairgrounds. Ethnographic and tribal arts, textiles, jewelry, devotional art, rare books, antiques—all that and more will be found from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 8, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 9. VIP shoppers and dealers will also get an invitation to a gallery reception Saturday evening. In true roadshow fashion, you can also have your antiquities appraised. Get two items appraised for $25 or three items for $30. Tickets are $8 for one day or $12 for a two-day pass. All proceeds go to charity, contributing to the Great Southwestern Chase Alward Memorial Nurse Oncology Endowment at UNM Hospital’s Cancer Treatment Center. 505.255.4054, www.greatsouthwesternantiqueshow.com.
Some world-renowned works of art that have never before been seen in the United States will make their way to Albuquerque this month. The Turner to Cézanne exhibit will open at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History on Sunday, May 16. This national tour has only traveled to five U.S. locations, and our city is its final stop. Get a personal look at masterpieces by some of history’s most celebrated artists, including Renior, Monet, Matisse, van Gogh, Manet and many more. And on Saturday, May 15, the museum will host a public event and viewing with refreshments and live entertainment for $25. Regular tickets to the exhibit are $5 in addition to the museum’s general admission fees ($4 adults, $3 New Mexico residents, $2 seniors and $1 children 4-and-older). Admission to the museum is free every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and all day the first Wednesday of every month, but the exhibit fee will still be in effect. The show runs through Aug. 8, when it will return to Wales. 2000 Mountain NW, 505.243.7255, www.cabq.gov/museum.
Run for art! Albuquerque Little Theatre is celebrating its 80th season with a fundraising “fun run” on Sunday, May 16, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Enter the 10K run, 5K run/walk or Kids’ K and get a chance to win prizes. People are also encouraged to dress as their favorite character in a play. Registration for the 10K and 5K is $25 if you sign up early. After May 10, it’s $30, and it’s $35 if you register the day of the race. The Kids’ K is a flat $10 no matter when you sign up. All proceeds will go to the theater. 505.242.4750, www.albuquerquelittletheatre.org.
Also on May 16, stop by the Jewish Community Center to meet the artists for an exhibit that will be on display through May 26. 15 Years of Art showcases a diverse lineup of work by accomplished area artists. The reception, which includes refreshments, runs from 2 to 5 p.m. 5520 Wyoming NE, 505.332.0565, www.abqartaroundtown.com, www.jccabq.org.
I’m optimistic about our new mayor, Richard Berry. He and I align ourselves with different political philosophies, but there’s something about the guy I like. I think it’s because of things like this. Recognizing that not all city-sponsored events should happen in the same part of town (that being Downtown), Berry’s started an initiative to bring cultural events to different neighborhoods in Albuquerque. The first fruits of that effort will be borne this summer, starting with Arts in the Park events at Hyder Park on Sunday, May 16, and Carlos Rey Park on Sunday, May 30, from noon to 4 p.m. both days. Live music and dance, theatrical performances and arts and crafts will fill these and other city parks throughout the summer. Also, on Thursday, May 27, catch the season’s first Locally Grown Music event from 3 to 6 p.m. at Morningside Park. The series is a collaborative effort between the growers’ markets and the city to pair locally grown food with live music. For this year’s summer schedule and lineup, visit www.cabq.gov/crs.
I’m off to see the wizard this month. Popejoy brings The Wizard of Oz to its stage from Friday, May 21, to Sunday, May 23. NETworks Presentations is touring the show, based on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s interpretation of the film, around the country. But 12 Albuquerque kids from the PLAY Conservatory will act as munchkins in the performance. I’ve always found the shows at Popejoy worth the cost of admission several times over, and I’m looking forward to this one. Showtimes are 8 p.m. on May 21, 2 and 8 p.m. on May 22, and 2 and 7:30 p.m. on May 23. Tickets start at $35 and can be bought at the UNM Ticket Offices, some Albertsons, www.popejoypresents.com, www.unmtickets.com or by calling 505.925.5858. For more information, visit www.wizardofozontour.com.
It’s officially spring: Wine festival season has begun. The Albuquerque Wine Festival returns Memorial Day weekend, Saturday, May 29, through Monday, May 31. Go to Balloon Fiesta Park for live music, food, arts and crafts, and, of course, copious amounts of local and artfully crafted wine. Entrance is $15 and includes a souvenir wine glass. People under 21 can get in for free but have to be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. This should go without saying, but don’t try to get in without an ID. Plus, members of the military get a $3 discount on Monday, and there will be a “mid-morning” run/walk event on Saturday. www.abqwinefestival.com.
Locavorism is no longer a novelty. Even though most people don’t get the majority of their sustenance from food that was grown within a 100-mile radius, the philosophy of the movement is becoming more mainstream. People care about where their food comes from and the ways it affects both their bodies and the environment. To celebrate and promote the tenets of locavorism, the Center for Ageless Living will host its third annual Field to Food event on Saturday, June 19, at 7 p.m. So mark your calendars. The menu is, of course, created from foods grown within a 100-mile radius of the the organization’s campus in Los Lunas. And get this: You know the guy who introduced Americans to the Belgian waffle at the 1964 New York World’s Fair? Well, maybe you don’t. But his daughter, Mariepaule Vermersch, is going to make waffles using family recipes and one of her father’s vintage waffle makers. The menu will also offer such tantalizing treats as lettuce wraps with local beef from Anna Miller’s farm, lamb with mint jelly, freshly made pasta from Pasta Divina tossed with peas, a variety of local wines and much more. Tickets are $50. 3216 Hwy. 47 S, Los Lunas, 505.865.8813, www.nmagelessliving.com.