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Features

  • 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:

  • All good things must come to an end, so they say, and so the 17-year association between accompanist Elizabeth Bunch and the New Mexico Highlands University Choirs directed by Andre Garcia-Nuthmann end on Sunday. Elizabeth and her husband, pediatrician Dr. George Bunch, are moving to California to be near children and grandchildren.

  • What do you get when you have 20 fingers, two hands, 88 keys, and the brains and talent of two concert pianists? You get wonderful music and that’s what you’ll get on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 3 pm at First United Presbyterian Church, in “A Little Light Music.” “A Little Light Music” is presented by the Nat Gold Players and is a benefit for the NGP lighting system.

  • Red clay barracks crumble in the ceaseless winds enveloping Fort Union National Monument. The wind is older than the clay.

    It pushed itself against the first sentry tower, against the legions of horse and men protecting the prairie. Wagon ruts meander over the gently rolling landscape, face the wind with earth scarred, defiant. The clay holds mystery, holds the almost forgotten memory of man against man.

  • Snow swirled around around the darkened street lamps during last year’s electric light parade. Las Vegas families bundled in heavy coats and scarves waited along Carnegie Library park, faces red from the biting cold.

    Floats made from ranch flatbeds, from carefully waxed pickup trucks loaded with twinkle light-encrusted twisted wire crawled the parade route, accompanied by holiday music. Sara Martinez, 9, grabbed the mittened hand of a friend and leaned into the street, as if her anticipation could pull Santa’s sleigh closer.

  • A performance by the Highlands University Jazz Choir directed by Andr Garca-Nuthmann will highlight an open house at the City of Las Vegas Museum and the launching of the Friends of the Museum’s new endowment campaign. The public is invited and can view special collections of the museum that are not currently on display.

  • Ilfeld Auditorium will resonate with the spirited music of the NMHU Marching Band and Jazz Ensemble in a concert on Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Featured pieces include “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and “Conquistador,” and big band arrangements “Quintado” and “The Heat’s On.”

  • Andre Garcia-Nuthmann’s voice swells with pride when he speaks of his choirs.

    “Last Spring we did a huge Vivaldi concert with the Santa Fe Symphony. We performed this summer at the National Hispanic Center in Albuquerque, again with the Santa Fe Symphony, and we travelled to Europe to perform at the Classical Music Festival celebrating Haydn’s 275th Birthday. Every year we just get better and better. And all of this is due to our incredibly loyal community members.”