Albuquerque Buzz: March 2011

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, March 2011

Last month I told you about the new Readings on the Rio Grande literary series Bookworks and ABC Libraries have put together, featuring world-renowned authors and their newest works. Now I can’t help but tell you about this month’s readings, and you’ll see why. It starts with Alan Arkin on Tuesday, March 1, who’s launching his memoir, An Improvised Life. As if you didn’t already know, Arkin has appeared in more than 80 films, including Edward Scissorhands, The Last Unicorn and, of course, Little Miss Sunshine. His reading starts at 7 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW), and it’s free! A mere two days later, Yann Martel, Man Booker prize winner and author of Life of Pi, will give a reading from his fable-like Holocaust allegory Beatrice and Virgil. It’s also at the KiMo at 7 p.m. on Thursday, March 3, and admission is free when you buy Martel’s $14 new release. Lastly, social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk brings his business-minded expertise to UNM’s Woodward Hall on Tuesday, March 15, at 7 p.m. With The Thank You Economy, Vaynerchuk writes about how to innovatively connect with customers. This one’s totally free. For tickets and more information, visit www.bkwrks.com.

This is really cool. The Institute for Cocktail Excellence (ICE) holds an Innovative Drink of the Year Contest, and it takes entries from all over the world. The finalists in this contest are from some of the most well-known and prestigious bars across the globe, this year including the American Bar at the Savoy in New York and Elixir in San Francisco. Also on that list is Casa Vieja Restaurant in Corrales. Four of its cocktails made it to the semi-finals (more than any other bar), and now its Flip the Date—made with Medjool date-infused Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry, maple syrup, Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters and one small egg—is up against 11 other drinks. Cross your fingers and wish them luck as we wait for the results.

There are three awesome events coming to Popejoy Hall this month, and I couldn’t decide which one to promote—so I’m going to tell you about all three. First, Dance Theatre of Harlem gives a one-night performance on Thursday, March 3, at 7:30 p.m. This fantastic ballet company’s neoclassical style often gives way to other forms of dance, making sure audiences are always surprised. In more ballet news, Martha Graham Dance Company is also coming through for one night only on Friday, March 25, at 8 p.m. Three years ago, the company commissioned three choreographers to develop variations of its classic “Lamentation” for a Sept. 11 performance. The results were so successful that the company has now asked more choreographers to create similar pieces. These, along with a Martha Graham piece from 1935 called “Panorama,” will be on the program for the night. Finally, and on an entirely different note, The Aluminum Show will be here on Friday, March 18, at 8 p.m. and on Saturday, March 19, at 3 and 8 p.m. Have no idea what The Aluminum Show is? Just know that’s it’s amazing, and that dancers, gymnasts and strange animated forms will all be swathed in one of America’s favorite household accoutrements. It’s flashy, funny and good for kids and adults alike. For tickets and answers to all of your questions, call 505.925.5858 or 877.644.8661 or visit www.popejoypresents.com.

Here’s a tasty tidbit. According to P’Tit Louis co-owner John Phinizy, the bistro is already in the process of opening a second location in Nob Hill. Situated on Silver between Wellesley and Bryn Mawr, in that adorable stretch next to Cafe Giuseppe, the new place will mimic the same turn-of-the-century Parisian feel as the original Downtown spot, with the same delightful menu. Phinizy says the new digs will be open sometime this summer. So keep a lookout, Nob Hillers.

Alice in Wonderland. Ballet. The KiMo. That’s all I needed to get entirely stoked about Ballet Repertory Theatre’s performances Saturday, March 5, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 6, at 2 p.m. Choreographer Alex Ossadnik premieres his newest work for the company, which uses classical ballet to bring life to the weird whatsits of Wonderland. Tickets range from $10 to $25 and can be found at the KiMo Box Office (505.768.3544) or at www.ticketmaster.com.

Raise your glasses to St. Clair Winery, which just won Best White Wine for its Gewürztraminer (try saying that five times fast) at the San Francisco Wine Chronicle Competition. The New Mexico wine was chosen out of 5,000 entries for the title. St. Clair harvests the grapes for this wine in the middle of the afternoon to encourage heat in the flavor, then presses them immediately afterward. Avoiding oak while making this wine to bring out hints of apricot and flowers, the result also features notes of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Congratulations, St. Clair!

While we’re on the topic of fantastic local wines, DH Lescombes’ 2009 Pinot Noir took home the silver medal at the Pinot Noir Shootout and Summit in San Francisco last month. Beating more than 350 other wines for the ranking, it features a nose of oriental spice and jasmine and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and red berry. Although its made in Deming, you can get a bottle at Albuquerque’s St. Clair Winery and Bistro.

Suddenly, it feels like spring. If all this warm weather and wind has made you think about getting your trowel dirty, don’t miss CelebrateSeedNM! in Old Town on Saturday, March 19. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., there’ll be a number of planting-centric activities on and around the Plaza, including seed distribution to the public; a seed exchange center; Native American ritual dancing; Native seed planting and talks; demonstrations on subjects like seed winnowing; workshops and presentations; movies such as Dirt, the Movie and King Corn; panel discussions with expert growers; and a kids’ area with planting, reading and art activities. That should motivate you to get your gardening gloves out of hibernation. For more information, visit www.cabq.gov/crs/newfun.html.

I should beg your forgiveness for not telling you about this sooner, but I only recently discovered it myself. Did you know that Los Poblanos, of the spectacular organic farm, historic inn and cultural center, also has a little store on its North Valley property? Called simply The Farm Shop, it’s a purveyor of all things wonderful. Want one of the Swiss-made Glaser hoes used by serious organic farmers the world over and nearly impossible to find in the U.S.? Get one here. Need one of the fantastic organic lavender-infused soaps, lotions and oils made by Los Poblanos? You’ll find the entire assortment on its shelves. Crave some of Chef Jonathan’s homemade caramels, spiced pecans and chocolate? Buy fresh, crisp brown paper bags full of them. It would take too long to list the entire scope of products you’ll find in this modest-sized shop, so you should just visit it and see for yourself. From little sculptures made by local artists to some of the most high-performing cutlery on earth, The Farm Shop seeks out the best and tucks it in a sweet, pitched-roof package. I just love this place. 4803 Rio Grande NW, 505.344.9297, www.lospoblanos.com.