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Best of Santa Fe 2010

July 28, 2010, 12:00 am

Best Local Rock Band

1 La Junta
La Junta has taken home honors from the New Mexico Music Awards, has rocked SFR’s Downtown Summer Block Party, has won over countless fans in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and the band just won’t stop. “We mix so many styles, from hip-hop to funk to rock and reggae, that chances are we’ve got a song that will sound great to anyone,” guitarist/songwriter Nick Peña tells SFR. Mixing smooth rock lyricism with interspersed hip-hop rhymes has made for the perfect combo. In addition to Peña, the band includes Danny Hart on percussion; Matt Ojinaga on bass and backup vocals; Aaron Lamb on drums and Sam Atkinson playing sax-o-mo-phone. With a live album in the final stages of mixing and mastering, and a recently booked performance for Zozobra, La Junta is exactly what a band should be: hard-working, realistic musicians that let their solid songs speak for themselves. Keep an eye on this band because we here at SFR have a feeling that La Junta is just getting started, and we can’t wait to see what they cook up next. “We want to thank the fans for listening and Santa Fe for voting,” Lamb says. “I just want to encourage anyone who hasn’t heard us to give the band a shot, and we really hope you like us.” (And if you haven’t caught La Junta yet, be sure to do so at SFR’s Best of Santa Fe party on July 28). (Alex De Vore)
2. Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess
3. Hundred Year Flood

Best New Band

1 The Strange
“I think, because we’re young, people don’t trust us to be any good,” Justin Lindsey, singer for The Strange, tells SFR. Well, winning Best New Band should be a pretty good indication that the music-going public does trust The Strange. The band has evolved steadily over the nearly two years it has been together, from bar blues band to more of an indie-rock project laced with classic rock sensibilities. Recently upgraded to a six-piece with the addition of Daniel Murphy, band members Lynsay Ayala, Andrew Davey, Braden Anderson, Mitchell Lacassagne and Justin Lindsey continue to play shows wherever they can while attempting to get two albums’ worth of original songs recorded at Frogville Records. “Winning this honor just makes us want to work even harder,” vocalist Ayala says. With tours coming up and whispers of marketing in Japan, The Strange has all the makings of another Santa Fe success story. (ADV)
2. Chango
3. The Bus Tapes

Best Experimental Band

1 D Numbers
Once again, everybody’s favorite electronic/rock/experimental trio has won the admiration of the people. Recently returned from 50 days of touring (which included not only band performances, but also DJ sets and teaching workshops), Paul Feathericci, Ben Wright and Brian Mayhall are already thinking about the next D Numbers masterpiece. “We’ve got about five songs written, but we just released Onda a couple months ago,” Feathericci tells SFR. “Part of us wants to strike while the iron is hot, but the other part says that this album is doing fairly well, and we want to work on some other things as well.” With more equipment than any band we can think of and a sound that can barely be classified for all of its experimentation, it’s no wonder everyone loves these guys. D Numbers heads to Eastern Europe this fall to play in countries including Serbia, Austria, Croatia and more. “We can’t thank Santa Fe enough for allowing us to do what we love,” Feathericci says. “Truly, thank you.” Be sure to catch Santa Fe’s Best Experimental Band this summer at the Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company (6:30 pm, Aug. 13). (ADV)
2. Pigwhistle
3. The Unborn Soul

Best Local Drummer

1 Mark Clark
There’s a reason local drummer Mark Clark has snagged this year’s honor. And there’s a reason he’s one of the most highly sought-after session drummers in town: Clark is a machine. Watching Clark keep time with any band around is, for lack of a better description, an almost religious experience. It’s normal for musicians to make mistakes now and then but, should you catch Clark around town, take note that he is always 100 percent on time, yet
manages to throw in tricky fills and creative nuances at almost every turn. By the time this issue hits the streets, Clark will be several weeks into a seven-month cruise-ship gig. “I think I’m just ready for a change,” Clark says. While we can understand that Clark wishes to mix it up, we’re also sad to see him go. Sure, he’ll return but, in his absence, Santa Fe will no doubt feel the void left by such a ferocious talent. All those who follow have some pretty big shoes to fill, and the true music lovers will find themselves counting the days until Clark’s triumphant return. (ADV)
2. Tommy Archuleta
3. Andrew Primm

Credits: Photo: Anne Staveley

Best Male Vocalist/Best Local Songwriter

1 Joe West
Oh, Joe West, you really are the best. Whether it’s your country-style badassery with the Joe West Situation or the glam-rock antics of Xoe Fitzgerald: Time Traveling Transvestite, you prove to us, time after time, that you are the musician all locals should aspire to be like. We’re even impressed by If the World Was Upside Down, your album of children’s music, and we melted at the cuteness of the video for “Homemade Rocket to the Moon.” “I’m honored to be part of such a bitchin’ music community,” you tell us, but we are the ones who are honored to have such a wonderful artist living among us. We know you’re hard at work on a Xoe Fitzgerald album, and we know you’re planning to release a Best Of album by the end of the summer, and we’re overly excited for both of those. You’re doing great, Mr. West, and we’re sure it’s only going to get better. (ADV)

Best Male Vocalist
2. Tony C’de Baca
3. Matthew Andre

Best Local Songwriter
2. Stephanie Hatfield
3. Tony C’de Baca

Best Female Vocalist

1 Stephanie Hatfield
Coming up on a year and a half since its inception, Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess is going strong. While each member of the band adds to the overall appeal of the music, Hatfield’s voice continues to be one of the biggest reasons to catch a performance. Hatfield’s beautiful, rockin’ vocals are clearly appreciated by her fans, though some may not realize the singer also is classically trained in many styles, including opera. “It’s such an honor to win at something that I’ve worked hard on for nearly 30 years,” Hatfield says, “especially when you think about other great local vocalists…Felecia Ford, for example.” The band has scaled back live appearances to make time for recording its second album at Frogville Records, and is actively seeking representation to take its music to a higher level. Given the newer, more professional digs at Frogville, we’re expecting a solid sophomore album and even more attention for this already ber-popular musician. (ADV)
2. Sharon Gilchrist
3. Nacha Mendez

Best Country or Alt.Country Band

1 Santa Fe All-Stars
It’s nearly impossible to come up with a better name for our beloved Santa Fe
All-Stars. With musicians Joe West, Ben Wright, Sharon Gilchrist and Susan Holmes, the band is so aptly named and so very good, it’s hard not to freak out. “Our attitude with the band is to just have fun,” guitarist Ben Wright tells SFR. “It’s a side-project, so the pressure is off, and the fun we have really translates to the crowd and they love it.” Santa Fe All-Stars has one album out thus far and, while nothing is set in stone, Holmes has hinted at a possible release in the future. “I’d love to get back in the studio with these guys,” she says. “We’ll just have to wait and see.” Catch the Santa Fe All-Stars on Thursdays throughout July at Tiny’s or at the Cowgirl’s Sunday Gospel Brunch. Keep in mind that the core members are often busy with their main projects, so you’ll be treated to plenty of fine stand-ins, including phenomenal multi-instrumentalist Josh Martin, all summer long. (ADV)
2. Bill Hearne
3. Joe West

Best Club/Live DJ

1 DJ Automatic
Merritt Rieland, aka DJ Automatic, is a rare talent. Whether it’s on the air with KISS FM or at his weekly Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino gig, Automatic wins countless fans by spinning a mix of hit songs and personal favorites that span genres such as hip-hop, rap, reggae, club jams and more. And while almost anyone can get crowds dancing, it is through his intimate and vast musical knowledge that Automatic sets himself apart from so many over-glorified selectors callin’ themselves DJs. It is because of this talent that Automatic enjoys resident DJ nights in Santa Fe, Albuquerque and even Dallas, Texas. Though his popularity seems to grow exponentially, Automatic stays true to his roots as a born-and-raised Santa Fean. “Everywhere I go, people assume I’m from New York or LA but, when I say I’m from Santa Fe, they always trip a little,” Automatic says. “I want to let the world know that Santa Fe is an incredible art scene, both visually and musically…I’m all about spreading love for Santa Fe.” Recently, Automatic released a hip-hop mixtape with super-famous rapper Common, and plans to work with more big-name artists soon. We’re all for hometown heroes making it big, and even more so when they go out into the world and make Santa Fe proud. (ADV)
2. DJ Feathericci
3. Dirt Girl

Best Place for Karaoke

1 Cowgirl
      319 S. Guadalupe St.
Forgive us for the informal statement, but, duh! While others try to compete, Cowgirl Karaoke with Michéle Leidig continues to be the gold standard for amateur vocalists in Santa Fe. “I’m in love with the madness,” Leidig says, “and with the diverse people that show up—from locals and tourists to actors and musicians—there’s no telling what will happen…I love my job.” The song list at Cowgirl Karaoke spans volumes of hits, including thousands of songs not even listed. Those of you who have been to rigidly run karaoke events can attest to how unique it is to be able to sign up for almost anything. In fact, patrons don’t even need a song number. “Just a title and artist,” Leidig says, “I don’t think anyone else does that.” Subscribing to the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality, Cowgirl Karaoke won’t be changing the formula anytime soon, and shows no signs of slowing down. Just don’t expect to sing “Love Shack”—that song is played. (ADV)
2. Tiny’s, 1005 St. Francis Drive., Ste. 117, 983-7222
3. Corazón, 401 S. Guadalupe St., 983-4559

Best Live Music Series

1 Santa Fe Bandstand
Noon-1:30 pm Mondays and Wednesdays
6:30-8:30 pm Mondays-Thursdays
Through Aug. 19
The Plaza
By now, many of you have made your way to the Plaza for one of the 70-plus performances on the bandstand, and chances are you’ll show up again—and again. For its eighth season, Outside In Productions has assembled an unprecedented variety of acts—from roots to reggae to Americana to opera to blues and on and on, with local and national touring acts sharing the city’s downtown stage (check out the full schedule at “The city cut back on our funding a little this year,” Executive Director David Lescht tells SFR. “But now every day of music has a different sponsor, and we’re so grateful to the local businesses that stepped up to help out.” All summer, there will be local and national acts, each tied together by Santa Fe’s urge to check out great music and have the most fun possible. Summer nights in our fair city are gorgeous, and adding music is probably the only way they’ll become any nicer. “We thank Santa Fe for voting for us,” Lescht says, “and urge everyone who can to make it down for as many shows as they can. It’s going to be a really cool summer.” (ADV)
2. Thirsty Ear Festival,
3. Fan Man Series,

Best Local CD of the Last Year

1 The Heart of Santa Fe
Local musicians David Manzanares and Chris CB McCarty were hard at work on a song titled “Anything to See Her Again” when the tragic June 2009 deaths of Rose Simmons, Alyssa Trouw, Julian Martinez and Kate Klein tore a rift through Santa Fe. “As soon as I heard the news, it struck me that the song we were working on was eerily appropriate,” Manzanares says. “Chris called me within minutes of that thought, and felt exactly the same way.” Manzanares and McCarty tweaked the song lightly, and were left with the newly titled “Anything to See Them Again,” a gripping song that conveys the loss of a loved one through the eyes of those left to cope. “It wasn’t long before we decided to throw together as many local musicians as we could find,” McCarty says, “We’re talking the créme de la créme of Santa Fe musicians.” Through the efforts of Manzanares and McCarty, The Heart of Santa Fe was born. Partly to raise awareness and partly to benefit local teen arts center Warehouse 21, the album has raised approximately $4,000 and continues to sell at a steady pace. The Heart of Santa Fe is a perfect example of the local outpouring and kind spirit of the Santa Fe music scene. (ADV)
2. Bill Hearne: A Good Ride
3. Stephanie Hatfield and Hot Mess: Self-Titled

Best Bar for Live Music/Best Place to Dance

1 Corazón
401 S. Guadalupe St.
In its first year in business, Corazón—which continually pushes expectation with bigger and better touring rock acts, and packs in dancers with countless DJs—has won the love of the people. “We’re trying to build more curiosity within the scene,” owner Mikey Baker tells SFR, “and we’ve got our feelers out there constantly trying to find out what Santa Fe wants, while bringing in new things they wouldn’t have expected.” Given that Baker came up in the local music scene (he plays and has played guitar for many bands), he has a unique inside view of both musicianship and club ownership. This combination has helped him to perfectly tailor Corazón into the bastion for local music we’ve grown to love. Night after night, the music is hot, and Baker’s willingness to take chances with metal bands and unknown touring acts sets Corazón far ahead of the pack for variety and quality. Expect bigger-name bands and a never-ending supply of DJs to keep that floor bumpin’, as Baker and crew provide Santa Fe with an unparalleled experience sorely missed since the closing of the Paramount. “It’s definitely gratifying to win this honor,” Baker says, “and we’re only going to try and get better.” (ADV)

Best Bar for Live Music
2. The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company, 37 Fire Place, 424-9637
3. El Farol, 808 Canyon Road, 983-9912

Best Place to Dance
2. El Farol, 808 Canyon Road, 983-9912
3. The Pub & Grill at Santa Fe Brewing Company, 37 Fire Place, 424-9637

Best Alternative Music Venue

1 Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W. San Francisco St.
If you’ve ever stepped into the historic Lensic Performing Arts Center, chances are you’ve found yourself taken aback by its beauty. The building re-creates the days when a trip to the theater was a big deal and a classy affair. Taking into account the sheer variety of fare presented by the performing arts space (rock, jazz, blues, film, opera and more), it becomes an even more-impressive beacon of art that even the largest cities should envy. “Even with the economy how it is, people are still coming to the Lensic,” Emily Crawford, director of PR and marketing tells SFR. “This has allowed us to keep our programming fresh and still hold the same amount of events that we’re known for.” Whether you’re rocking out to David Byrne, enjoying an HD performance on the theater’s film screen or watching a classic film like Harold and Maude, the Lensic continually proves itself an asset to the art-loving public of Santa Fe. Coming up in April of 2011, the theater not only celebrates 10 years of culturally diverse programming, it also celebrates 80 years of existence. “We’re all just so honored and thrilled to have won this honor,” Crawford says. “We can’t thank Santa Fe enough for all the support.” (ADV)
2. Paolo Soleri Amphitheater, 1501 Cerrillos Road, 989-6300
3. Santa Fe Opera, 17053 Hwy. 84/285, 986-5900

Best Art Events/Best Art Space

1 SITE Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta
Work harder for less. This is the mantra of our time, and SITE Santa Fe is not immune. For its eighth international biennial, The Dissolve, SITE is operating on half of its 2008 budget (the cost for the exhibit alone was slashed from $800,000 to $400,000). But less funding hasn’t limited the scope of SITE’s many events throughout the year. And everything is an event. “We have two separate and equal parts of our mission: One is the exhibitions, but we also do an art and culture series, our ongoing public program series that might include lectures, panel discussions, art talks and other multi-disciplinary events,” Director of External Affairs Anne Wrinkle says. This holds for SITE’s largest exhibition, the biennial, and the numerous happenings that accompany it. The exhibition alone for The Dissolve involves 26 contemporary video works by 30 artists, and took 15 staffers, 15 art installers and 40 volunteers to get off the ground. Its events include a concert at Second Street Brewing Company, panel discussions, lectures, music, dance performances and even para-exhibitions that extend to January. When that hoopla dies down, three one-person shows (by Runa Islam, Ruth Claxton and Amy Cutler) are set to take flight. After those comes a showing of the Jumex Collection, one of the largest and most prominent private contemporary art collections. As for the space itself, yes, it’s large and awesome. But what really makes it stand out is what the folks at SITE are willing to do with it. Over the years, that has meant everything from installing numerous hi-fi sound and video systems to changing the floor plan to even once, last year, digging up the floor itself. According to Wrinkle, the credit for SITE’s ever-malleable space lies with Operations Manager Dave Benner and Operations Assistant David Merrill. Their work, among other sundry tasks, requires “video projection, lighting, welding, electrical work, meticulous attention to detail,” as well as any curveballs artists throw their way. (Rani Molla)

Best Art Events
2. Museum of International Folk Art, 706 Camino Lejo, 476-1200
3. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson St., 946-1000

Best Art Space
2. Shidoni, 1508 Bishops Lodge Road, Tesuque, 988-8001
3. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson St., 946-1000

Best Local Museum

1 Museum of International Folk Art
706 Camino Lejo
“A great museum is made up of multiple components,” Museum of International Folk Art Director Marsha C Bol tells SFR. “One is that they have very important collections; two, that they tell the stories of those collections in appealing ways and in accessible ways for visitors; and three, that a great museum is very much visitor-focused and concerned to do the very best work in presenting the stories to please visitors.” The Museum of International Folk Art is just that: a great museum. In addition to being the largest international folk art museum in the world, the museum is constantly growing, both in size and philosophy. The new mission for its Hispanic Heritage Wing, for example, “is to promote not only Hispanic heritage of New Mexico but, also, put it in the context of the entire Hispanic world,” Bol says. “Of course,” she adds, “our Gerard exhibit is a perennial favorite, which I’m happy to say we’ve just reopened.” (Ramón A Lovato)
2. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, 217 Johnson St., 946-1000
3. New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors, 113 Lincoln Ave., 476-5200/105 W. Palace Ave., 476-5100

Best Locally Authored Book of the Year

1 Tony Hillerman’s Landscape by Anne Hillerman
It seems fitting that Anne Hillerman’s tribute to the landscape depicted by her father, renowned author Tony Hillerman, won readers’ hearts this year. Tony Hillerman was often voted best Santa Fe author in this same contest. “He always got a kick out of it, too,” Anne Hillerman tells SFR. “With all the awards that he got, he was always surprised. He never got used to being in the limelight.” Anne Hillerman teamed up with her husband, photographer Don Strel, for Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn. The book combines Anne Hillerman’s memories of her father, along with landscape photography that captures the Southwest inhabited by his characters, Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn, in the 18 mystery novels that made Tony Hillerman a legend. The book’s publication was sped up after Tony Hillerman passed away in October of 2008, and Gardens of Santa Fe, which won second place, was pushed back, which made 2009 a heavy publishing year for Anne Hillerman. But the author tends to stay busy with multiple projects, including numerous benefit events for libraries, as well as the nonprofit group Word Harvest, which puts on writing conferences and other events. As for the future, Hillerman says she’s “playing with some fiction, holding my heart in my hand and hoping it all works out. Don and I also want to do some other photo and textbooks together. We’re playing with some ideas for books about Santa Fe that haven’t been done before. Stay tuned.” We will! (Julia Goldberg)
2. Gardens of Santa Fe by Anne Hillerman
3. Land of Disenchantment by Michael Trujillo

Best Local Theater Group

1 Wise Fool New Mexico
2778-D Agua Fria St.
If you don’t know what Wise Fool New Mexico is, head out to almost any big community gathering and look for the stilt walkers and puppets. This theater collective is so ingrained in the minds and hearts of Santa Feans that the sight of its colorful antics has become an integral part of many community events. Originally a San Francisco-based nonprofit, Wise Fool specializes in a wide range of traditional and not-so-traditional theater arts, which include puppetry, stilt walking, circus performing and drama. “It’s incredible to have come to Santa Fe. We didn’t even come with a plan to start a company. We just started doing things. That this is our 10-year anniversary has been really profound,” Amy Christian, one of the founders and artistic directors of Wise Fool, tells SFR. “We’re really open and collective-based,” she adds. “We allow students and artists in our community to really influence us.” Christian notes that many of Wise Fool’s performers come from untraditional theater backgrounds, and they use their art to communicate something meaningful. “I feel like, for our company,” Christian says, “we really see circus and puppetry and theater and all the things we do as a means of promoting social justice in the world. The challenge is watching that edge between making theater that is high quality, professional, excellent theater to experience and also creating something that is engaging and provoking people to ask questions.” (RAL)
2. Santa Fe Playhouse, 142 E. De Vargas St., 988-4262
3. Santa Fe Performing Arts, 1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-7992

Best Place to See a Movie

1 Regal Cinemas Stadium 14
3474 Zafarano Drive
As of last year’s Best of Santa Fe, the Regal Cinemas Stadium 14 had plans to increase its 3-D capacity. Well, it’s done that. The premiere (read: only) theater in Santa Fe city proper with 3-D capability, Regal has played host to blockbusters such as Avatar and Toy Story 3, as well as the usual 2-D fair, such as Michael Jackson’s This Is It and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. The climate-controlled auditoriums and reclining seat backs will lull you into a dreamy partial coma, and the stadium seating guarantees that you can always make out every unshaven hair on Robert Downey Jr.’s neck. The friendly staff members are paid to smile. Even if you didn’t want a combo, they’ll find a way to sell you one anyway, for the same price as if you bought the popcorn and sodas separately, and you’ll feel pretty good about it. Speaking of popcorn, the stadium-scale concession stand now has even more varieties of ice cream, candy and arguably nutritive snacks with brightly colored packaging for you to leave lying around the auditoriums. Because, let’s face it, isn’t that what moviegoing is all about? (RAL)
2. Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W. San Francisco St., 988-1234
3. The Screen, 1600 St. Michael’s Drive, 473-6494


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