Being the tireless man-about-town I am, I took some time to hit the streets, make phone calls and engage in all that good professional journalistic shit that my loyal readers have come to expect. That’s right, angry letter writers: professional. As if to usher in the summer’s glory on a high note, Santa Fe is going nuts with a new club, as well as upcoming performances by award-winning musical artists.

Rouge Cat

Before I headed out to Santa Fe’s newest nightclub, I made sure to check its

for info because, being an idiot, I had already tried to go twice before only to discover Rouge Cat is closed Sunday through Tuesday. My ill-prepared plans behind me, I finally roped a couple of my dumb friends along to check out the brand-new nightspot.

I don’t want to oversell it, but Rouge Cat is fucking awesome. From the cushy leopard-print rug in the upstairs bar area to the modern minimalism of the downstairs dance floor, this club has what it takes to be huge. Legendary DJ Oona is making a permanent home there for her Trash Disco event, and says a whole slew of local and national DJs also is expected to play at Rouge Cat this year.

When my dumb friends and I entered the club, the staff was incredibly friendly and interested in learning our names. It seemed like a ruse at first. I mean, the club is new and staff members have probably been instructed to go out of their way to be accommodating. However, after a brief chat with Sandra, the nice lady behind the bar, I discovered the staff’s kindness is no act. Hiring people who are genuinely interested in the patronage is genius.

From downstairs, we could hear Oona bumping Tom Tom Club, Tears for Fears and Deee-Lite. Admittedly, the dance floor was sparse but, given that it was Rouge Cat’s first week of operations (and a Wednesday night), I didn’t expect the place to be as crowded as established bars. Opening weekend was apparently slammed, though.

Light fare is on the way at Rouge Cat so, for those of you who like a snack while you’re dancing, keep this place in mind.

New Mexico Music Awards

Congratulations are in order for the Santa Feans who took home awards at the 2010

, an annual event that lauds outstanding accomplishments from

New Mexico

’s musical community. Santa Feans Jacy Oliver, Todd E Lovato, Jon Gagan, Bert Dalton and more received honors for their hard work, and they’ve done their city proud.

Among the victorious is local Latin-rock act La Junta, which won in the Best Hispanic-Contemporary category for its song “Hay Viene” from the new album Slangin Dirt. I spoke with La Junta front man Nick Peña about the accomplishment.

“This is the second year in a row we were nominated and won,” Peña says, “and just to be nominated along with so many other amazing musicians and producers is kind of overwhelming.”

La Junta plays a Latin-infused style of rock, with elements of reggae and hip-hop thrown in for good measure.

La Junta recorded and produced Slangin Dirt at its own studio, Feel Good Music. “It feels great to be recognized for all our hard work,” Peña says.

Although he’s excited about the award, Peña says La Junta is moving forward.

“We’re already at work on some new tracks, and we’re putting the finishing touches on a live album we recorded last winter,” Peña says.

Way to go, La Junta!

Should you be interested in hearing this award-winning band, there will be plenty of opportunities this summer, including at


’s annual Summer Block Party on June 16…unless you hate fun.

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