Albuquerque Arts Scene

Yeah? There is one?

There is if you read Eric Griego’s opinion piece A Cultural Mecca in the Albuquerque Tribune.

I think he oversells it juuust a skosh, but I’ll be fair. I think the arts and entertainment scene in Albuquerque has ramped up muchly in the ten years since I left. (Ten years? TEN YEARS!??!?! That cannot be…and yet…it was Memorial Day 1997 that a scared sh-tless ABQ girl loaded up her Jeep and took off for parts west…)

Since I left, the Journal Pavilion was built. Wow. THAT was a much necessary addition to ABQ to allow big name acts a decent place to play and incentive to stop in ABQ. I’ve not been there myself but have heard great reviews of the place despite the long single road access to the venue.

Sure beats the hell out of, oh, I don’t know…Tingley. I mean….going to a Megadeath concert in the same place they hold rodeos always held a certain bit of irony for me…..but it’s so rasquache it almost hurts. I remember going to a show, sitting in the nosebleed seats, I mean TOP row, leaned back against the wall and feeling the whole building vibrate. I wondered how much longer it would stand. I remember seeing Garth Brooks there as water leaked from the roof onto concert goers….

And for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the place where I saw my first concert…it’s killing me (after much Googling…I believe it was the Civic Auditorium). It was a small music venue, back at that time we all went there and the only good bands that would come to ABQ would play there. And as the band Missing Persons rocked out, bits of ceiling tile fell on my brother and me. I am not making this up. I believe it finally closed due to asbestos issues. That was early 80’s. Oy.

I was heartened to see that many of the casinos have built nice venues for acts. True, it’s just a ploy to get people to come out and pay to play, but still…it’s at least a decent venue and I’m guessing the casinos pay the acts fairly well. I’m planning a trip to ABQ this summer to catch a show at the amphitheater at the Sandia Casino. I’ve not attended a concert there yet but I’ve seen the venue and I think it’s beautiful.

It’s a start.

Griego mentions the National Institute of Flamenco (discussed here a couple posts back) and the Tricklock Theater Company. Yes. These are all good starts….but if your local arts scene is reduced to Taos artist colonies, Flamenco and a stage theater company…then no, you aren’t yet ready for prime time.

I’ve always said I saw more concerts and cultural events in the first two years living in the Bay Area than I did in the nearly three decades I lived in NM. That’s just sad. And one of the main reasons I’ve always thought I probably can’t go back. My own art has grown leaps and bounds because I’m surrounded by creatives. Creativity is sewn into the DNA of the Bay Area. North Beach in San Francisco fairly hums with the vibe. You sit in a historic coffee shop and channel the writers and musicans, poets and photographers that have come through over the years. And your art is appreciated, accepted, encouraged. And given room to breathe, to be shown, to be admired.

So my fair Albuquerque. Yes, you have MUCH culture to be shared. And I love you dearly, but sorry Mr. Griego, “Burque” (god i *HATE* that euphemism) has a long, long way to go before it can play in the bigs.

Not saying it doesn’t have potential…just saying there is a lot of growing up yet to do……

It’s just….so wrong…..

Got to reading an article in the Albquerque Tribune today titled, “Even presidential candidates have their dream jobs”.

It’s an insightful bit about the current roster of candidates and their answers to some AP questions. Sort of a “get to know you better”.

But that’s not the problem.

The problem is that…as is well documented, our Governor, one Mr. Bill Richardson wanted to be a baseball player as a youth. This we know. And to illustrate that, the paper includes a file photo from 2003 of the Guv tossing out a first pitch at an Isotopes game. And when you click the photo it gets large. Real large. Large enough to see more detail than you need….

Click at your own risk: Be Disturbed

I have seen the furry belly of our Governor. I might never be the same……

It also bugs me that Hillary couldn’t give a succinct answer and that Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo smarmed it up and said President. But that’s another post for another day…..

Oh Bill….

Been watching with keen interest the run New Mexico’s governor is making at the White House.

He’s an interesting guy. Honestly, not one of my favorite people (for a variety of reasons dating back to his years as Congressman) but in a weird way, I’m pulling for him.

Though if he actually wins, I might have to reassess my citizenship….but not to worry, it’s a long shot at best.

So the article in Saturday’s Albuquerque Tribune titled, “Richardson comfortable in Mideast, needs work in Iowa” had me laughing by title alone. Cheers to M.E. Sprengelmeyer of the Rocky Mountain News for the sense of humor.

Quoting from the article, this is the part that had me sucking in air through my teeth and exclaiming….”Oh, Bill…”

“DENISON, Iowa — In case Gov. Bill Richardson wasn’t sure where he was on Friday, a gray-haired woman spoke up from the crowd at Central College in Pella.
“This is Iowa,” she said pointedly. “What’s your agriculture policy?”
The first words out of Richardson’s mouth: “I’m not an expert on agriculture.”



Then later in the article.


“I was embarrassed for him,” Shivvers reported. “I’m impressed with the man, but he’s going around Iowa blathering this? He’s in Iowa. He needs to say something other than these support-the-farms blahs.”


Doh! Well, Bill is a nothing if not a smooth talker and I’m sure he’ll find a way to smooth over the ruffles there in Iowa given how important Iowa is to the race.

But…just…ouch. While I appreciate our rasquache governor, I’m not sure rasquache makes it to the White House.

Now that’s Rasquache

I had a pretty good laugh upon reading the ABQjournal this morning. I love our fair New Mexico. As hard as we try to play with the bigs, trumpeting articles like “Santa Fe Named No. 2 for Artists” (never mind my childish potty humor over using “No. 2” in a headline…..) showing we’ve got class, there is always another article to show just how small town we still are.

I’m referring to this article, “Albuquerque May Get Tricky With Red Light Cameras”. I’ve read over the past few weeks the articles discussing the future of the cameras. Lots of folks are understandably unhappy with them. I’ve only given half an eye to those articles because where I live now, the San Francisco Bay Area, red light cameras are prevalent and have been for the better part of the ten years I’ve lived here. I don’t like them anymore than anyone else, but they are just part of life. I’ve been cheering the good fight put on by the folks of New Mexico, but I know it is, in the end, a losing battle.

The article states, “City officials are talking about shutting down the camera operations at some of the most successful intersections but leaving the apparatus in place, making it appear as if the device still works.”

What’s happening there? Not enough funding to run the systems? Or not enough funding to have enough people to review the photos? I understand that is the most time consuming part, having people analyze the photos. The article states that some $6 million has been taken in since the program’s inception in late 2004 (which seems low to me for a two year span given tickets here will run you $280, but what do I know?).

“‘We are coming to a point in the program where you evaluate,’ police spokesman John Walsh said.”

Evaluate what? Money? Effectiveness? They report that accidents are down at the main intersections where this is being used. What’s to evaluate about that?

The best part is that they are TELLING us they are doing it. Those wacky APD folks sure are wily!


They don’t outright say it, but the plan to move the cameras to other intersections and leave inoperable shells behind has got to be a cost saving maneuver. For a program that’s taken in over $6M.

That’s like when your kid has a toothache….instead of taking your kid to the dentist, tying a string to a doorknob and yanking that sucker.

That’s like using tin foil for curtains in your house.

That’s like using a wooden cable spool for your dining table.

Fake intersection cameras. Now THAT’S rasquache.

God I love New Mexico. The more we try to big league it, the more our true nature shows. I’m proud to be a New Mexican…….I really am.

I raise bailing wire and duct tape in a salute to Mayor Martin Chavez and the APD for this fabulous traffic accident saving idea.