¡Feliz Cumpleaños!

Happy Birfday to Tingley Coliseum. The venerable old gal is 50 years old and like an aging film star, in close up, she’s pretty much showing her age.

Doors opened for the first time in 1957 to kick of the New Mexico State Fair. Friday kicked off the 2007 Fair, and with that, Tingley ushered in her 50th festival of rodeo, cotton candy and all things New Mexico.

There is a pretty thorough article in the Albuquerque Tribune, an interview with Mahlon Love, former act who performed in the venue and also former State Fair commissioner.

In the story, Mahlon shares some memories from the long history of Albuquerque’s most well known multi-use venue.

Being a child of Albuquerque, I’ve many of my own memories from Tingley. I remember my first rodeo, with entertainment from the aforementioned Freddy Fender. We sat way up in the nosebleed seats, on the bleachers, not seats with backs (my mom always was a cheapo).

We watched the rodeo first (always the best part), then afterward watched them tow out a stage and set it up. Then the lights went down. A shiny convertible came rolling out of chutes where the livestock had just been, a shadowy performer stepped on stage. The lights came up to cheers. And as Freddy began singing, the stage started slowly revolving.

“…in 1966, a revolving stage…was introduced in Tingley.” Ah, the ubiquitous revolving stage.

Even as a kid I thought that was pretty damn rasquache.

Now, I get why they do it. Tingley wasn’t meant to be a concert venue, and no one should pay good money to look at the hindside of a famous act for two hours. However, it really is kind of ridiculous, in a way only New Mexico can be.

I remember seeing Alison Krauss there in the mid-90’s. She played one hell of a show, but made several comments throughout the night about how disorienting it was being on the spinning stage.

There has been many a great show at Tingley. The Garth Brooks show in 1996 seems to be one for the memory books. (It’s mentioned in the article.) I was there, the guest of a supplier who had an extra ticket. I do remember Garth putting on one hell of a spectacle that night, like nothing I’d ever seen. I also remember that it was raining outside…and inside. As I sat there watching Garth work up a lather on stage, I was busy trying to avoid water running out of a leaky roof. Looking around I noticed several of us scootching and moving out of the way of the variety of leaky spots.

However, one of my most vivid memories was seeing Randy Travis (who I understand is playing the Fair again this year). I had *really* cheap seats, and ended up sitting at the very tippy top row. In fact, it was kind of nice because that bleacher rail in the very last row backed up to the wall of Tingley, so I actually had a makeshift seatback. I leaned back and enjoyed the show, singing along to the faves. Not that I could actually see the performer, but…you know.

The show was rolling along fabulously when Randy started up with “It’s Just a Matter of Time”, a song that was popular then and a fave of mine. I smiled as he sang and I sang along. Now, if you are familiar with this song, Randy has to hit some pretty low, low notes and Mr. Travis has a pretty deep voice. When he hit those deep bassy notes, the wall behind me, the one I was leaning against, noticeably vibrated. I’m not making this up, I could physically feel the walls shuddering as Randy sang “Iiiiiii knooooooow” (<--deep vibrating bass) "ooooh-whoa Iiiiii knooooow, that someday you'll wake up and fiiiind…" That deep bass voice vibrated the walls, my backbone and my sternum….it was the most visceral music experience I’d ever known. I swear to God I thought Tingley was going to collapse from the strain, like a crystal wine glass in a storm of operatic vibrato. But she held, and has continued to hold up through the years for more raucous concerts than Randy damn Travis. I mean, Pearl Jam played there in 1998. If Seattle grunge angst rock can’t bring down the walls, then a country crooner certainly can’t. I wonder if Randy can still hit those low notes? I wonder if the walls will rattle like that again this weekend? Would be cool to be there again to see. Meanwhile, the venerable old Tingley still stands and welcomes a new crop of Fair goers into her rickety arms. The bulls and broncs will buck, the pretty girls will race barrels, and the crowd will look at a new cast of popular acts (spinning on a new spinning stage that comes down from the ceiling. Rasquache goes high tech). She’s a grand old girl with a lot of stories to tell and a lot more history yet to be made. Gary Roller, former backup man to Michael Martin Murphey sums it up best (from the end of the Tribune article). “You can’t go anywhere else in the state and find that legacy,” he said. “Roy Rogers opened the place, for goodness’ sake.” (post updated to remove images)


Why do shorter weeks always feel longer? This week is interminable and I’m only a day and a half into it. That can’t be a good sign.

It doesn’t help that The Cute Boy™ is bad sick. Like fevery, grumpy, not sleepy, it’s-all-just-not-good kind of sick.

Nothing worse than being sick in the summer. Yes, I know that milestone of “Fall” has passed, but it’s not “officially” Fall until later this month. And the fact that it’s in the nineties here makes me definitely think summer, despite all the “back to school” hoo-hah that’s wandering about. Welcome to Indian Summer. My fave time of year, actually.

The New Mexico State Fair starts this weekend. I distinctly remember getting a day off from school to go to the Fair. Hot, dusty, questionable, but my mom and I always went. You ain’t lived until you’ve fought the bees to eat your honeyed fry bread while watching the Indian dances. Or until you’ve sat in rickety Tingley Coliseum singing along with Freddy Fender. Or Jerry Reed (“east bound and down…loaded up and truckin’…(see, I’m already tapping my toes)). Or yes, Roy Clark, a staple of the rodeo for years.

Ah….I can smell the cotton candy now.

Wish I could get a day off work so’s my mom and I could eat our way through the Fair. Sometimes being a grownup is NO fun.

Then again, I’m meeting a friend for dinner tonight at a Cuban place. Here’s the good part of being a grownup. Sometimes a Mojito cures a lot of whining.

So I guess this is really a blog post full of miscellany. No point. Just a bucketload of thoughts for a Hump Day afternoon.

Enjoy some early Jerry Reed:

Continuation of a theme

Get ready, the lament that started here continues.

Friday night, was sitting on the red couch, as usual. I was huddled up reading the last and latest installment of Harry Potter (yes, I am perhaps the LAST person on earth to finally get around to reading this exhausting bit of work) when I realized….my bare feet were cold. Being a girl from the desert, shoes fly off my feet at the earliest convenience so barefooted is the norm. And barefooted in the summer is a truly grand treasure for me. My feet, browned by the sun, flip flop tan lines can attest.

But as I sat there, the sun warming the horizon to the west, but my feet were cold. And my bare legs. And suddenly I was seeking out a blanket.

A blanket! In August!

This is not fair. This is still summer! Summer I tell you! It cannot be over! Fall cannot be pushing at the edges! I command the leaves not to change! I demand the sun stay high in the sky until almost 9:00 at night! I require shorts and no shoes!

My beautiful partner keeps reminding me, that old Bay Area lament, “you know the weather here is always the best in October”. Yes, tis true….but I can only enjoy the nice days until, oh, about 6:00 or so because the SUN SETS TOO DANG EARLY in October. It’s not the same. I am a child of summer. I crave the sun. Fall brings darkness, dankness and wet. Soon the rains will come, bringing bone chilling damp cold.

We already started discussing which family we’ll spend the holidays with. The **holidays**!! IN AUGUST!!

It is to weep.

And then, just as I’m lamenting along, trying to cheer myself up I read Petroglyph Paradox today and my friend Natalie tells me that football is on the telly…already. Football!

I can’t take it.

I’m going to may hay while the sun (literally) shines. I’m taking my new bike for a spin….and I’ll hold my legs straight out like a kid and I’ll sweat profusely because today, August 19, 2007 is STILL SUMMER!