Albuquerque Buzz: October 2011

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, October 2011

It doesn’t matter if you’re a comic book lover, a post-graduate pontificator on the hero’s journey, an art adorer or just someone who’s plain curious. 516 ARTS’ newest exhibit, Superheroes: Icons of Good, Evil & Everything in Between, will tickle your brain in the best of ways. The multimedia group exhibition uses iconography to explore heroes, villains and identity through painting, sculpture, video, textiles, photography, poetry and on-site murals. In other words, it looks at the idea of superheroes in a beautiful and unusual way. Check out the new exhibit at the opening reception on Saturday, Oct. 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. or come to the Superheroes Poetry Reading on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 p.m. For the reading, awards will be given out for a variety of superhero-themed categories, and coming as your favorite superhero for Halloween is encouraged. Also keep an eye on film screenings for early November. To find out more about them and to get a sneak peek of the exhibit, visit www.516arts.org. 516 Central SW, 505.242.1445.

It’s the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta! Of course, you probably know that already if you ever look at the sky. Thousands of balloons are sweeping over our city every day through Friday, Oct. 9. From now until then, Balloon Fiesta Park is packed with activities, including the daily 7 a.m. mass ascension and near-daily 5:45 p.m. balloon glows. There’s food, there’s music, there’s more giant hot-air balloons than you could ever hope to see. For a complete lineup of events, visit www.balloonfiesta.com. 5000 Balloon Fiesta Pkwy NE, 505.821.1000. 

The old Harlow’s on the Hill / Club Rhythm & Blues space has been vacant for awhile, but there have been rumblings in the building and signs of impending development for months. The curtain’s finally be drawn, and the restaurant now occupying the corner of Central and Carlisle is Fan Tang—or, as it calls itself, your Asian Kitchen. It comes compliments of the Zeng family, who are the same people who opened Chow’s Chinese Bistro in Santa Fe and Chow’s Asian Bistro on Albuquerque’s Westside. The goal of Fan Tang is ultimately comfort—a roomy dining area with Wi-Fi, pet-friendly patios and fast, high-quality meals at reasonable prices. An order of chicken lettuce wraps will set you back $6.95, while Sichuan Street Noodles are only $7.29. Other menu items, like the coffee chicken for $9.95 or the walnut shrimp for $10.95, are slightly pricier but well worth the extra pennies. Stop by and welcome this bright and shiny new restaurant to the neighborhood. 3523 Central NE, 505.266.3566, www.fan-tang.com.

Everyone loves an open house. You can lust, you can dream, you can take inspiration and, if you’re lucky, you may even be able to make one your own. That’s why The Homes of Enchantment Parade is so popular—there’s something for everyone. This year, 36 homes from all over the Greater Albuquerque Area are part of the tour and they range in price from $189,000 to $1.1 million. The parade runs from Friday, Oct. 7, to Sunday, Oct. 9, and from Friday, Oct. 14, to Sunday, Oct. 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. Get all the tidbits at www.homesofenchantmentparade.com.

I don’t have to sell this to you at all. New Mexico Brew Fest is back for its second year after a successful first run. Not only do you get to sample beer from 18 different breweries, you also get to snack on offerings from half a dozen food trucks as well as munch on food and beer pairings provided by Whole Foods. As if that weren’t enough, there will also be live music and a VIP Bier Garden in which beer-infused food will be available, along with hourly beer pairing sessions with local celebrity chefs. Just go, drink, eat, and be incredibly merry. General admission is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event; the VIP Bier Garden is $50 in advance and $55 the day of the event. It all happens Saturday, Oct. 8, at the Villa Hispana at Expo New Mexico from noon to 6 p.m. 300 San Pedro NE, www.nmbrewfest.com.

The Barber of Seville hits the National Hispanic Cultural Center stage for four days only this month. Internationally renowned scenic designer Carey Wong conceived the set for this Opera Southwest season opener. With Stephen Hartley singing the role of Figaro and Heather Johnson taking on Rosina, this should be a can’t-miss performance for opera aficionados. Catch the show on Oct. 9, 11 14 and 16. Tickets run $10 to $75. 1701 Fourth Street SW, 505.724.4771, www.operasouthwest.org

Nosferatu in a dim Cathedral. Live, improvised organ music playing in the wings by renowned silent movie improviser Dorothy Papadakos on the largest pipe organ in New Mexico. Is there any better way to get yourself jazzed for Halloween? Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors and a mere $5 for those with their student ID handy. It’s Friday, Oct. 28, and The Cathedral of St. John. 318 Silver SW, 505.247.1581, www.stjohnsabq.org.

You’ve heard of the Blue Man Group, but have you ever seen them perform? Now’s your chance to catch the ultramarine-hued fellows on the Popejoy stage as they twist comedy, music and technology into one giant, chest-thumping spectacle. They’re only here for three days and five performances, from Friday, Oct. 28, through Sunday, Oct. 30, so reserve your ticket before they sell out. 203 Cornell Drive NE, 505.344.1779, www.popejoypresents.com

Wrangle the kids and get them to the Rio Grande Zoo today for the 23rd annual Zoo Boo. With games, “Haunted Habitats,” performances, costume judging, sweets from local businesses and a costumer parade, the day can serve as a great alternative or addition to trick-or-treating. Here’s a nice incentive to carpool: Up to four kids get in free with each paying adult, who pay $7 a pop. It’s on Saturday, Oct. 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 903 10th Street SW, 505.768.2000, www.cabq.gov/biopark.

The South Valley’s Marigold Parade to celebrate Día de los Muertos is still around the corner on Sunday, Nov. 6. In the meantime, the South Broadway Cultural Center is honoring  the tradition on Sunday, Oct. 30. From 2 to 5 p.m., bring offerings to the ofrendas (offerings) erected at the center or simply go to pay your respects. If you’d like to submit a song to play during the event, e-mail sbcc@cabq.gov. 1025 Broadway SE, 505.848.1320, www.cabq.gov/south-broadway-cultural-center.

One thing we can always use more of is artisanal chocolate. Luckily, Albuquerque’s acquired another fine chocolate maker to add to its ranks. Choco Canyon Artisan Chocolates got its start at the Chocolate and Coffee Festival in April and has been steadily growing. Steve Whitman’s tasty delights can be found at both the Downtown Growers Market and the Nob Hill Growers Market, and now you can also scoop them up in the aisles of La Montanita Co-op, Bookworks and Café Guiseppe. So what kinds of chocolates are we talking about? The kind that include Grand Marnier truffles, salted caramels coated in dark chocolate, gingersnap truffles and red chile bon bons. Whitman locally sources his ingredients when possible, using New Mexico staples like Rasband Dairy and Heidi’s Raspberry Red Chile Jam. Keep an eye out for the Choco Canyon label the next time your sweet tooth is acting up.