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Features

  • Last summer, I bought a copy of Rilke’s Duino Elegies translated into English from the original German. I read it, enjoyed it, and stored it away in my brain until sometime last week, when I happened to see it sitting on my bookshelf. I began rereading it and was enjoying it a second time when I temporarily misplaced my book. I wasn’t terribly worried about it, because I knew that this particular series of poems was pretty famous and could be found online without much hassle.

  • This weekend, the Kluge Auditorium at the United World College will swell with frustration, laughter, and time-driven panic as 60 students and members of the Las Vegas community stare at blank sheets of paper, willing words to coalesce from the high altitude, from a few props and sheer hope. Theatre Arts Instructor Tim Crofton maniacally grins as he explains the 24-Hour Playwriting Project.

  • A bird gripped the delicate stem of a chokecherry bush, his back the color of unbroken sky, his chest the rust echo of New Mexican twilight. He flitted to a small wooden box fixed upon an old propane pipe. Claudia Daigle, a Western Bluebird expert based in Eldorado, smiled as she described her love for her small backyard creatures.

  • A bearded man lightly plucks a deceptively simple arpeggio on his guitar. His voice carries a coat of cannon oil, carries the echo of guns set aside for one December night. The melody is vintage John McCutcheon — tight, rhythmic, with gentle curves around minor corners. The lyrics are poignant, peaceful, the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 on the Western and Eastern fronts of World War I.

  • Don’t people get tired of saying “hi” to each other every day? It’s like a replay, over and over again, except you’ve changed clothes, your hair might or might not be different, and you’ve aged. The aging isn’t necessarily noticeable, maybe at most, you’ve lost a few more hairs that will never grow back, or a couple of extra wrinkles have inserted themselves on your face. Subtle changes which are only noticeable over time.

  • The National Park Service and Fort Union National Monument announces its monthly “Glimpses of the Past” presentation entitled We Find Ourselves in the Middle: Navajo Relocation and Relocatee-Host Conflicts The talk discusses the relations between Navajo relocatees from the Former Joint Use Area, their initial relations with their Navajo reservation hosts, the various disputes that ensued, and the long term impacts of the relocation.

  • New Year’s Eve is one of my favorite holidays, but it always seems to let me down. Some time around November, I begin to anticipate the coming of the new year, imagining that it will contain only good news and happy surprises. In order to ring in such a magnificent year, I imagine, I will have to attend a rather lavish party at which very hip, young people will drink sparkling cider and wear shiny New Year’s Eve party hats to match their sequined dresses (men in this daydream simply wear tuxes and top hats).

  • The Waggin’ Tail Mercantile, long the thrift store that raised money for The Animal Support Center, or TASC, is no more.

    Linzy Behrs, former acting chairwoman of CATS (which has now merged with animal support group ASAP), recently accepted the assignment of renovating the establishment, which now has new looks, new merchandise, and a new name - Abundancia.

  • Consuela Silva, 94, likes to be called by her late husband’s name, Mrs. Eduardo Silva. He passed away 16 years ago, after a vacation to his native Brazil, where they dined on fried bananas, ambrosia and spicy feijoada, a meat stew made with sausage, black beans and handfuls of pressed garlic.

  • A wood stove belches ash into a shotgun space that once housed the carriage belonging to Nuestra Senora de los Dolores’ Padre Tehane.

    Artist Alex Ellis stokes the fire, a shelf of stacked paintings to his left, exposed layered stone behind him. The paintings almost whisper, almost shimmer, their layers of rich color deposited on old wood, on marcasite panel. The scent of melting beeswax mingles with the rising heat. Ellis stands. His close-cropped beard and simple knit cap echo his spartan surroundings — a man in holy communion with his art.

  • I was looking through a magazine the other day and it caused me to wonder, what would we look like if these advertisers wouldn’t tell us how to look? I didn’t even have to open the magazine and on the cover, the alleged woman of today was smiling at me.

    She wore a low-cut, pink miniskirt. She wore no glasses or braces, she was slim, and had overly white perfect teeth. Come to think of it, when was the last time you saw a cover girl who wore glasses, had braces, or was flat chested?

  • Last Jan. 1, several dozen Las Vegans braved the brisk morning air. Their cars ground frozen snow beneath unsure wheels, slid along Seventh Street, past Wal-Mart, past the after-holiday sales. Storrie Lake loomed before them. A yellow backhoe rested near the shore, it’s operator satisfied with the job he did hacking up ice three-inches thick. An ambulance driver stood ready, his hands warm inside heavy wool mittens. They both glanced at the crowd of Polar Bear Club members giddy for a chance to welcome the New Year with a burst of hypothermic pain.

  • Billie Mathews remembers pressing the keys of an upright piano every Sunday morning. Her grandmother sat beside her on a polished bench. Mathews strung together the kind of eclectic melodies an untrained six-year old dreams, expressions of satisfied joy.

  • “Half of One, Six Dozen of the Other,” a show of 13 paintings by Meredith Britt at Travelers Caf, will have an art reception with refreshments from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2. All are invited.

    The exhibit comprises 11 oil paintings and 2 pastels. The show is a retrospective, Britt said, since one work, “The Lake Was Low,” dates to the early 80s and two others, “Overlook Caf” and “Las Tres Benditas,” date to the early 90s. The others were painted in this century — most of them this year. All are for sale.

  • A boy of 14 spent his allowance on a round of pressed vinyl with an unusual name, Switched on Bach. He set a record player’s needle into the album’s grooves. Synthesized sounds catapulted from the player, 18th- century meter and rhyme wrapped in an electronic ribbon. The boy knew his life would change.

  • Sixth grade student Mary Miller dipped brush into ink. Her short brown hair fell into her eyes but she didn’t move. She held her breath, attention on a small sheet of tin, on a moment in her life painfully opaque, mysterious. A moment so precious she would shroud her self-portrait in a soft halo.

    “Art is supposed to tell a story,” Miller mused after class. “It’s one way we can share who we are with each other.”

    Rio Gallinas School art instructor Maureen O’Brien would agree.

  • This year, Holiday Open House will celebrate its sixth consecutive year of operation. It is sponsored by a group of community members who feel people should not have to be alone during the holidays.

  • When I was younger, I was a big fan of winter. Like most children, I looked forward to the first snow of the year with great anticipation and could not wait until it was time to put up Christmas decorations. I’m still not exactly sure why, but some time between my sixth grade year and my junior year of high school, my opinions about winter changed.

  • ‘Swonderful to hear a medley of Gershwin show tunes. ‘Smarvelous to hear Nita Lujan sing “My Man’s Gone Now” from Gershwin’s opera, “Porgy and Bess.”

    Other favorites, including Christmas songs, will set toes tapping when the Highlands Department of Music’s Jazz Choir presents “Gershwin and More” on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Ilfeld Auditorium. Andr Garca-Nuthmann will direct with Elizabeth Bunch at the piano and Mike Campbell on drums.

  • Not all of us love celebrities, but many of us do. For reasons we can’t explain, it means a lot to us when we see one in person, whether on accident or not. A recent brush with fame has me thinking about this quite a bit. Here’s what happened: