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Today's Features

  • A tall man in a pink Nehru shirt and wrinkled linen slacks stood at the edge of Ilfeld Auditorium’s stage, his head and shoulders cocked at an awkward angle, no other musicians at his side. He held a violin, a instrument that seemed tiny, insignificant, compared to his large frame. The audience shuffled program and purse as he lifted the wooden body to his chin in a gentle arc.

  • ‘The reason I agreed to do this interview is because I exist. I am not a myth,” says 78-year-old Emilio Coca, a once crypto- and now practicing Jew who traces his fractured family history back to the Diaspora ignited by the Spanish Inquisition.

    Coca’s life story is one of many woven into A Light In My Soul/Una Luz En Mi Alma, a new drama created collaboratively in an unlikely partnership between a the New York-based Tectonic Theater Project, choreographer and director Krista DeNio and the Working Classroom ensemble, a theater company based in Albuquerque.

  • Until the mid-1800s, gristmills in New Mexico were small, primitive, difficult to use, containing two rotating grinding stones powered by water.

    Called “molinos” in Spanish, early gristmills were most often used to grind the hearty corn grown to make tortillas and tamales. By 1850, wheat flour crept into the local consciousness, and as the population of Mora County grew, farmers added wheat to their crops. The founding of Fort Union increased demand for wheat even more. New Mexico was hooked. Flour became local king.

  • A tiny gray rock outlined in craggy black paint rolls against a stack of comic-book Stonehenge slabs.

    The stones expand in an exponential arc, a burst dam of yellow-red emotion mixed with icy blue spikes. The large abstract expression calls to mind subdivision sprawl, the furious cell-division chaos of mother earth egg and tractor sperm. Las Vegas artist Dakota Mills’ oil painting, “Reproduction,” asks the viewer to step inside the collective hive mind — an unsettling place of highway noise and microwave energy.

  • This summer, celebrate the power of music through the 25th Anniversary Season of Music from Angel Fire, the Festival that brings chamber music to the mountains of Northern New Mexico.

  • The National Park Service and Fort Union National Monument announces its monthly “Glimpses of the Past” presentation. The program will be held at the CCHP/Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center, 116 Bridge St., in Las Vegas, Thursday Aug. 21 at 7 p.m.

  • I will be teaching a continuing education course at Luna Community College soon. The topic is “water harvesting and watershed restoration.” It occurred to me, though, that since this is an esoteric subject maybe I should share with Optic readers some basic knowledge on the topic.

  • ‘Success is peace of mind that is the direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” This is John Wooden’s definition of “success.”

    On a vacation trip I had the opportunity to read Wooden’s entire book, Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and off the Court in one day.

  • Take away the sun, and Douglas Avenue becomes small-town Broadway, becomes a mosaic of textured cement and palm-smudged glass, the Salvation Army thrift store an all-night diner offering plastic fruit on chipped wood table. Streetlights become perfect eight-pointed stars in photographer Sean Weaver’s time-lapsed meditation on Las Vegas at night. Reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s famous painting, “Nighthawks,” Weaver’s Vegas is jaded, mysterious, a city of daisy-chained facade.

  • The Song of Jonah

    by Gene Guerin

    University of New Mexico Press, 2008

    ISBN 978-0-8263-4336-9

    $18.95 paperback

    232 pp.

    ‘A mixed and unsettling atmosphere colored the rest of the day. The procession after Mass, with the santo carried on its pallet along a path lit by kindling fires that snapped and spit resin, was for some a triumphal parade. For others it was a slow, solemn march with funereal undertones.” (p. 163)