Albuquerque Buzz: August 2011

by Christie Chisholm, LocalFlavor Magazine, August 2011

It’s really hot outside. Like, ridiculously hot. I’ve lived in New Mexico for 15 years, and sweltering summers are nothing new, but there’s something about the heat this year that makes me wilt after only a few minutes in the sun. Maybe that’s why a Twilight Tour at the zoo sounds so appealing. Not only will you get to hang out in the shade, but you’ll likely get to see more animals—or at least different kinds of animals—than you would if you went during normal zoo hours. That’s due to the nocturnal nature of certain beasts, but it’s also because we’re not the only ones who cower from the hot noonday sun. The tour is this Tuesday, Aug. 2, and it goes from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It’s $15 for adults and $10 for kids and seniors, and the price of admission includes a guided tour in a small group. Space is limited, so register ahead of time at 505.764.6214. 903 10th Street SW,

Will Power 2: The Vortex Theatre’s 2011 Summer Shakespeare Festival runs through Aug. 7. There’s still time to catch The Comedy of Errors, The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet. You’re all likely familiar with the tales, but the Vortex has done something different with the well-known romantic tragedy, setting the Montagues and Capulets in a post-apocalyptic, punked-out wasteland. Visit for show times. Get your Shakespeare fix for $15 a show ($10 for students 10 minutes before curtain) or for a $40 festival pass. 2004 1/2 Central SE, 505.247.8600. 

The tomatoes in your garden have grown plump and crimson. That patch of herbs is overgrown. You have so much zucchini, you’re considering getting a booth at the local farmer’s market just so you can unload some of it. Want to figure out some marvelous ways to use your late summer harvest? Los Poblanos Inn & Cultural Center has just the class for you. “Tomatoes, Herbs and Summer Squash” will teach you all you could ever want to know about cooking with your end-of-season bounty. The class is one day only, on Thursday, Aug. 11, from 2 to 5 p.m. It costs $85 per person. To sign up, visit 4803 Rio Grande NW, 505.344.9297.

They call it “burger enlightenment,” and they may be absolutely right. bRgR (pronounced bee-ar-gee-ar) is a new Downtown eatery that specializes in beef. Actually, it specializes in special beef; the local, grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free kind. It’s also got 20 different kinds of burgers on its menu, with meats that include that glorious grass-fed beef along with chicken, fish, lamb, bison, yak and—get this—kangaroo. There’s also good news for the vegetarians in the crowd. bRgR doesn’t just give lip service to veggie burgers. Its menu offers four different kinds of homemade (not frozen) vegetarian and/or vegan options. That’s freaking fantastic. Other nosh-worthy notables include three different kinds of mac and cheese, salads featuring local and sustainable ingredients, a meatball platter and well, more delicious sides than I have room to mention here. Oh, and every item on the menu is under $10. Add to that a full beer, wine and cocktail menu, and we’ve got ourselves one great new restaurant. So whether it’s the kobe burger with thyme/oregano aioli, black truffle foie gras and scallions or the black bean burger with jack cheese and mango salsa that’s stirring your stomach, come give this new Albuquerque offering a try. It sits right on the corner of Third Street and Central. 505.224.bRgR,

FUSION Theatre Company’s been doing a tremendous job with its 2011 season. With the theme “Right Off Broadway,” it’s put on Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps and The Seven: Tangled Webs, a collection of 10-minute plays, with talent and finesse. As Albuquerque’s only equity theater company, you’re guaranteed professional actors and stellar shows. So I’m excited about God of Carnage, FUSION’s newest offering, which runs Aug. 18-Sept. 4 at The Cell Theatre, with a couple special performances at Santa Fe’s Armory for the Arts (Friday, Sept. 2, and Saturday, Sept. 3). The Tony Award-winning play is a comedy about two sets of parents whose escalating war over a suburban tiff serves as a commentary about human nature. Tickets are $30 or $25 for students and seniors. For show times, visit 700 First Street NW, 505.766.9412.

I love the Aquarium Overnights. They’re such an awesome way to get kids excited about nature and biology. Another one is coming up on Friday, Aug. 19. The evening starts at 7 p.m. and lasts until 8 a.m. the next morning. The whole aquarium will be open for exploring, and games and crafts will be provided, along with a marine movie in the Aquarium theater. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, but grownups are welcome sans kids are welcome, too. Don’t forget your sleeping bag. Tickets are $30 a person, and pre-registration is required. 2601 Central NW, 505.848.7180.

So don’t sue me, this event isn’t until Saturday, Sept. 3. But it involves George R.R. Martin, and that’s not something that should be missed, so I feel I should give you adequate warning. If for some tragic reason you’re not sure who George R.R. Martin is, he’s the author of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, among many other books. If that still don’t register, that’s the series recently turned into “Games of Thrones” on HBO. He was also included in Time Magazine’s 2011 list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Anyway, he’s a genius, and on Sept. 3 he’ll be the guest star at a benefit for the Friends for the Public Library. A lecture and book signing starts at 7:30 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre, with a VIP reception at 6:30 p.m. Don’t miss it. Tickets range in price from $20 to $120. 423 Central NW, 505.768.3544,