Best Local Fashion Trend
Thanks to a dedicated group of activists, a credulous daily newspaper and a pliable roster of elected officials, Santa Fe this year earned its official designation as a World-Class Producer of Woo-Woo, Hokum and/or Quackery. To what do we owe the honor? Wi-Fi Disease: a condition also known by the technical name electrical hypersensitivity (EHS), but better described for what it actually is: mass hysteria. The latest epidemic began when local anti-wireless activist Arthur Firstenberg sued his friend and neighbor, Raphaela Monribot, over her use of Wi-Fi and an iPhone, claiming it made him ill.
, which was soon picked up around the world—often without the appropriate note of scientific skepticism. Emboldened, Firstenberg’s anti-Wi-Fi brigade began lobbying the Santa Fe City Council to delay the expansion of telecommunications infrastructure. Meanwhile, hundreds of other cities searched for ways to expand wireless internet access, recognizing the economic benefits. To be clear: Nothing approaching scientific proof says Wi-Fi signals can rot your insides or fry your brain. Far greater environmental dangers face the world, beginning with fossil fuels. And while people may have many good reasons to go off-the-grid, the superstitious fear of electromagnetic poisoning is not one of them.
Best Thing to Happen to the Music Scene
Santa Fe has a great local music scene of talented alt.country musicians, blues bands, rockers and experimental music. We get some big name acts—especially during the summer—playing venues like the Santa Fe Opera and the Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company. But our options for seeing smaller touring indie bands were sporadic and limited until T-Cubed Productions came along. T-Cubed, headed by promoter Tim Franke, is responsible for some of the best shows we’ve seen this last year. Just this summer alone, T-Cubed brought us the manic antics of Monotonix at the all-ages Corazón show (good thing the City Council hadn’t amped up its indecent exposure law back then). There was the opportunity to see indie powerhouse matt pond PA on the last leg of its Dark Leaves’ tour in June, the recent Hold Steady show at the Santa Fe Brewing Company, not to mention Modest Mouse, which T-Cubed had an integral role in bringing to Santa Fe for one of the Paolo Soleri Amphitheater’s last hurrahs. And then there’s the future: Fruit Bats on Aug. 23 at Corazón. We’re grateful, T-Cubed, and we’re ready: Bring it!
Best PR Misstep
On July 6, the Public Service Company of New Mexico held a meeting at Santa Fe Community College, in which it invited the public to “help in creating an energy plan for the future.” The public, as it were, wasn’t much interested in that; most preferred to discuss PNM’s proposed 21-percent rate hike. Speculations abounded that the rate hike was due to renewable energy (nope), employee pensions (sort of), a liberal conspiracy, a conservative conspiracy, a nuclear conspiracy. (In fact, it’s mostly to cover past and future power line and plant maintenance.) PNM spokeswoman Susan Sponar says public meetings on the rate hike will happen, but “they haven’t actually been scheduled.” It’s not that we don’t want a say in PNM’s energy future—or hope the 62 percent coal/5 percent renewable ratio changes. It’s just that the children of the Great Recession aren’t given to abstract theorizing—especially when we’ve just realized we may not be able to afford electricity. So, PNM, a word to the wise: Schedule your meetings in the right order. Unless your ulterior motive is to make folks hate renewable energy (which, BTW, is unlikely), pay a little respect to the public’s pocketbook before tapping folks’ creativity.
Best Way To Get an Art Education
One can either be in the shadow of what some claim is one of the top art markets in the US, or the beneficiary. While New Mexico’s ever-beleaguered education system continues to flag, and public schools reeling from eviscerated budgets cut art classes, it’s ever-more necessary to take advantage of what education can be found. In this town, an art education is easily had—and for free. For starters, there are countless art galleries that boast every type of art imaginable with dozens of public openings every weekend (check our visual arts list each week); SITE Santa Fe’s state-of-the-art visual installations can be viewed for free on Fridays and during Santa Fe Farmers Market on Saturdays. The collection of the New Mexico Museum of Art is free to residents on Sundays. The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is without charge on first Fridays, and has numerous free lectures and classes on everything from abstract art theory to monster drawing. An art education is about more than just art. It’s an education in history, as well as race and gender politics; it’s a lesson on the local economy and the world market, on geopolitical divides and unlikely unions. Your education is what you make of it, and this one’s free. Access it. Take it and run. Don’t look back.
Best Place to Meet Friends (and Connections) You Didn’t Know You Had
Full disclosure: I help organize the third Thursday MIX events, but only by accident. I attended an early version of the “young professionals networking event” and found it so morbidly boring and useless that I
. Then came the accusatory “I suppose you can do better?” I can’t take all the credit for how good MIX has become since then but, if you’re looking or a monthly, post-work party that roves from one strange, cool and occasionally inspired location to another, it’s worth checking out. The City of Santa Fe, the Chamber of Commerce, SFR and a bunch of dedicated volunteers are working together to help various DJs, Santa Fe’s best restaurants and back-alley cooks, and the city’s most active clubs, hotels and promoters put together a free drink-and-nosh fest that keeps outdoing itself. You might even get a job or at least get laid: