This entry is primarily a list of plugs for upcoming events and cool things to look out for, but it is followed by a long-winded story about my stupid adventures in Los Angeles this past weekend. If you don't care what a naïve tourist I am, feel free to skip the story after the bullet points. I do, however, think my story is entertaining.

In memory of my innocence which was duly raped near the myriad sunglass stands in Venice (see, now, aren't you curious enough to read my little story at the end of this entry?), here are some plugs for cool things coming up in Santa Fe in the next week or two. There is so much cool stuff going on in this town, hosted by such nice people, what excuse do you have to stay on your house?

  • Check out the latest issue of
  • Not Drowning – Waving,
  • a self-published literary magazine by Madrid's own Gail Snyder. Each issue is published with a theme; this issue's theme is “LEAP.” You can contact them through the website to get a copy, or wander around Madrid ‘til you stumble across one.

  • So this isn't a specific event, but I really need to plug The Hollar, an awesome new restaurant in Madrid (2849 Hwy. 14, 471-4821). I have eaten there a few times and, if I lived in Madrid, I'd probably eat their amazing Southern dishes every day. Fried okra, seared tuna specials, pork chop sandwiches, chocolate cake slices bigger than your head – this is the deep South reinvented in a fresh way by younger-than-most-chefs chef Josh Novak. They somehow manage to make fried chicken and cheese grits elegant, no lie. Not only is it a comfortable spot (in the space where Tocororo used to be), but the food and sweet tea are good enough to make you want to stay for hours. Stop by when you're searching for your copy of
  • Not Drowning – Waving
  • .

  • We like to garden in Santa Fe. Some people who don't know any better may think this is counterintiuitive, but those people are obviously not enlightened to the wonders of xeriscaping (gardening with little to no water). To keep the gardening love going all year ‘round, the
  • Santa Fe Botanical Garden
  • is putting on a winter lecture series titled “Breaking New Ground.” The first lecture in the series is
  • Challenges and Opportunities of Hillside Gardening
  • with Kendall McCumber. Check it out on Thursday, Feb. 5 from 5:30-7 pm at the Selby Fleetwood Gallery (600 Canyon Road) for $3. Seating is limited, so call 471-9103 or email for more info or to reserve a spot.

  • Photographer
  • Jane Rosemont
  • , currently based in Lansing, Michigan, is planning her permanent move to Santa Fe within the next couple years – but for now we're just going to have to look forward to her occasional visits. She hosts an open house this Sunday, Feb. 8, from 1-5 pm (333 Otero St. #3, 517-402-5984). Her haunting photographs of broken dolls and religious icons have been featured in the Reporter in months past, and she will be presenting new work from her world travels. Definitely not to miss – I'll be there, for sure.

  • Jewish music from Russia and Jewish music from Poland sound really different. So what makes one of them - or either of them - Jewish? If a Jewish person played "Amazing Grace" on their clarinet, would it be Jewish music? Steven Ovitsky, renowned Jewish musician, lectures on Jewish music in
  • It Doesn't Sound Jewish
  • , an exploration of what makes Jewish music Jewish. Check it out at 6:30 pm on Monday, Feb. 9 at the New Mexico Film Museum (418 Montezuma) for $10. call the
  • Jewish Women's Circle
  • at 983-2000 for more info.

  • This is looking into the future a bit, but it's always good to get cool things on your calendar early. Dottie Indyke, executive director of
  • Creativity for Peace,
  • will lecture on her recent trip to Israel and the West Bank and the peaceful efforts of young girls there. Creativity for Peace is a world-renowned summer camp for Israeli and Palestinian girls, aiming to foster peaceful relations in the Middle East. The lecture is from 7-9 pm on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the Santa Fe Complex (624 Agua Fria) for $15. For more info call Dottie at 982-3765 or email

So, this is The Venice Incident that made me reflect on how great Santa Fe's social/entertainment scene is, and how I don't want to leave the fluffy, protective down comforter that is New Mexico...

I spent last weekend in LA. The drive there was easy, the weather was gorgeous, we had free room  and board in my uncle's big old house in Orange County, and the Patton Oswalt show (for which we made this pilgrimage) was hilarious – it was pretty much 100% awesome, except for one little incident in Venice Beach.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me say that living in Santa Fe these past five years has given me a skewed view of reality. In Santa Fe, we talk to strangers. We stop on the street and chat with the people performing in doorways and hang out for hours at art openings with no intention to spend a cent. Well, maybe some people have that intention, but I'd venture to guess that most of us don't.

So imagine my shock when, as I innocently strolled the oceanfront walk in Venice Beach, I was accosted by five men shoving CDs into my hands, asking repeatedly, “Hey girl, you like hip-hop?” and then asking for “a small donation.” I was like, whatever, sure, and pulled two bucks out of my pocket. But that wasn't enough; the dude turned to my boyfriend and said, “She only got two dollars. You got any more?”

I was so taken by surprise – these dudes were seriously pushy! – that I didn't have time to react (specifically, to tell them to fuck off). I was soon $20 lighter and five random CDs heavier, before I even knew that these douchebags were working as a team, just waiting for wide-eyed tourists like me to wander along. Wait, what?

My boyfriend and I, after a minute or so of intense verbal mugging, managed to throw up our hands and get the hell out of there. We walked in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes until heading back to our car after less than an hour – all because I was used to talking to people in the street, especially local artists and musicians.

Don't these Los Angeles meanies know that it isn't very nice to take advantage of the kindness of strangers?

“The Venice Incident,” as I have taken to calling it, got me thinking about Santa Fe's local scene; specifically, how much I like it, and how nice everyone is. Even if someone's a little nutty, chances are they're not gonna threaten you and shake you down for your getting-back-home-1000-miles-away gas money. And even if the scene here isn't as active or as varied as it is in LA, it's definitely good enough for me, for now.