The problem every Santa Fean should envy is clearly that of Forrest Fenn: millions’ worth of his wealth is stashed somewhere—somewhere?—in the mountains. For too many of us, having millions of dollars of gold sitting out there in the wilderness would present a pretty large dilemma. But, of course, this is a problem entirely self-created by the quirky, 82-year-old millionaire art dealer, and it’s become pretty clear by now that this guy is something of a publicity hound, smirking on the talk show circuit as poor wanderers travel from afar to search fruitlessly for Fenn’s alleged bounty. Hell, the treasure chest might not even be in New Mexico. And in the meantime, Fenn gets his international recognition—perhaps even getting his jollies off from the grave, as this hunt might take years—all while treasure seekers get lost in the wilderness and hammer shovels into our public lands. (JH)
In Santa Fe, when local politicians act like sticks in the mud, it really irritates their colleagues. But often, it’s for a good enough purpose. Earlier this year, Santa Fe Public Schools Board of Education member Glenn Wikle suffered derision from his fellow board members when he came out against a bond proposal and raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest on the Citizens Review Committee, which recommends bond projects. Wikle took issue with how the CRC’s chairman also works for a construction company that could qualify for the school district’s bond projects. While his fellow board members dismissed his concerns and even criticized Wikle for sharing them with the media, at least one good-government group heard him out. “The public loses faith in government when something like this happens,” Viki Harrison, Common Cause New Mexico’s executive director, said at the time. Wikle was also the only member of a lame-duck board to vote against extending new Superintendent Joel Boyd’s contract through 2016. The last time a lame-duck board voted to extend such a contract—for embattled former Superintendent Bobbie Gutierrez—taxpayers ended up bailing the district out when the board later fired her. Perhaps Wikle is the only board member to remember this. (JP)
Best excuses for sitting on the Plaza grass when you’re not supposed to
5. “Oh, sorry, I thought it was sagebrush.”
4. “My dog really had to poop. And he’s, um, a rescue? So it doesn’t smell.”
3. “This is performance art.”
2. “Would you put your mother in a bikini?”
1. “But I’ve never felt grass before!” (AS)
Best way to prove you’re a local
Step 1: Get a Subaru. Put a dog in the passenger seat and a “Coexist” sticker on your bumper. If you’re trying to go über-local, you may be slightly buzzed—but if so, in the timeless words of Family Guy’s Peter Griffin, you’re “that special kind of drunk, that you’re a better driver because you know you’re drunk.” Kidding, kidding: If you are drunk, please do not continue following these instructions. Step 2: Find a big street—Airport, St. Francis, Cerrillos, even the fast part of Paseo de Peralta. Step 3: Get in the middle or left-hand lane. Do not get in the right lane. Step 4: Remember that there is something you absolutely need right now on the right side of the road. (Note: This must happen where there’s no right-turn lane—of which there are approximately two in Santa Fe, so you’re good just playing the odds.) Step 5: Ensure that there is a car just ahead of you, in the right lane, blocking your UTTERLY ESSENTIAL right turn. Step 6: Rev that motor! Pass that car! It is in your way! Step 7: Oh, shit! Your turning window is closing! Screech in front of that friendly guy in the Prius (just kidding, they’re never friendly) and then slow down very quickly. Step 8: Make your turn, ignoring the fuming driver directly behind you. Made it!
Alternative method: Simply slow down whenever the traffic light turns green. Oh, also, yellow arrows are expressly for causing wrecks. (AS)
Best fixture of local life
He wears stacked furs worthy of a Brother of the Night’s Watch and any given day from 8 am-5 pm—when he hightails it to his tepee in the mountains—the man known simply as “Doc” stands guard from his bench on the Plaza’s south end. “I call this my office—the rent’s real cheap,” he tells SFR. He’s been at the same location for the last 51 years. “I came here on a one-week vacation…they haven’t kicked me out yet,” he continues with a laugh. A Santa Fe mainstay, Doc’s only missed his watch twice—once in 1996, when he was struck by lightning, and earlier this year, when he suffered a stroke. Now, the part-time historian and tour guide is known, as he puts it, as “the unofficial street mayor of the City of Santa Fe.” He says of his unique brand of excursions: “Tram tours give you a general overview of the city; I give you the historical and the hysterical.” He’s lost count of how many times he’s been asked to pose for a picture; has been the inspiration for many a local artist; and says he’s been featured in over 84 movies, commercials, TV series and documentaries. “I’d like to see Santa Fe revert to what it used to be and have local businesses owned by locals,” he says. “I’ve never stepped foot inside a Starbucks or a Walmart or any of them places…Santa Fe has become such a block of bullshit.” Still, Doc, who says he has 40 different quintessentially Doc outfits, remains the city’s best cheerleader and hopes for a brighter, friendlier future. “There are two Santa Fes; this is old Santa Fe right here. People still talk to each other,” he says. “On the other side of St. Francis Drive, they’re cold and hard. It’s like LA in the 1970s.” Asked to name the best part of his Santa Fe, he picks his brain and fires back: “ It’s ever-changing, the politics are weird—like that whole thing with the plastic bags—and the people are friendly.” (EL)
Best way to traverse the cobblestones
I could take the easy way out and tell you to get a solid pair of used cowboy boots—ideally with a little mileage on them so they’re nice and soft on the inside. But for a better adventure, slip into Goler Fine Imported Shoes (125 E Palace Ave., 982-0924) and pick up a set of pricey (unless Goler is having one of their famous sales) pumps from one of your favorite designers—and I don’t mean Toms, which are not actually fashionable; I mean heels. Next, hail a pedicab (Santa Fe Pedicabs, 577-5056, santafepedicabs.com) and enjoy the short jaunt over to El Farol (808 Canyon Road, 983-9912), where you’ll be able to have enough wine and tapas to convince you to, um, take off those fancy shoes and make your way home barefoot. (AS)
Best spokesperson for the junk-science contingent
The distressing thing about Arthur Firstenberg is that Santa Feans listen to his anti-science, anti-logic conspiracy theories about how wireless cell-phone towers are polluting our health. Perhaps reporters—including yours truly—are at fault for giving this guy ink. Just a few weeks back, the Santa Fe New Mexican gave Firstenberg front-page treatment—this time because, allegedly, “a new stealth array atop the Hotel Santa Fe has been giving [Firstenberg] fits and causing high readings on a microwave detector since the first of the month.” Indeed, it’s as if we press jackals enjoy following Firstenberg down his Alice in Wonderland rabbit hole where just about any medical affliction—heart attacks, stomach aches, vertigo, memory loss, testicular pain and even bruising—can be attributed to electromagnetic fields associated with cell phones. Admittedly, SFR takes a certain small delight in pointing out the logical fallacies of a man who harassed his neighbor with a $1.43 million lawsuit for—gasp!—using her cell phone. But we also strive to pull readers out of that rabbit hole by pointing to the science—or rather the lack thereof—behind Firstenberg’s wacky premonition that invisible electromagnetic waves are the cause of bruises, heart attacks and throbbing testicles everywhere. (JH)
Best unkept promise
It seems like we’ve been talking about this since time immemorial. Really, it’s only been about 15 years—but so frequently is the issue debated, touted as success, decried as failure and generally scoffed at that most Santa Feans know its every angle backward and forward. Have you guessed yet? It’s the Railyard cinema—well, actually, we’re thinking of unofficially rechristening it as the Railyard chimera. They’re equally mythical, after all—just as mythical as that purported bowling alley above Flying Star and, you know, the whole idea of Railyard nightlife generally. (It doesn’t help that local NIMBYists recently shut down an outdoor film screening after lodging several noise complaints about The Sound of Music, of all things.) But all this may change soon. Not only is local hero George RR Martin planning to reopen the beloved Jean Cocteau theater in a matter of weeks, but it appears Austin-based Violet Crown Cinemas may finally be transforming that Big Ugly Hole near the water tower into a theater. If, of course, you believe the myths. (AS)
Best way to spark controversy
You know what’s innocuous? Top 10 lists. Also, quizzes. Hence, this 10-point quiz. If you’re the first reader to answer every one of these questions correctly (email your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org), I’ll buy you a 6-pack of the beverage of your choice. OK, go:
1. Describe the cover of SFR’s 2013 Love & Sex issue.
2. Describe the theme of SFR’s 2013 Love & Sex issue.
3. Name three animal sounds that may be used in “passionate lovemaking,” according to the Kama Sutra.
4. Describe the cover of SFR’s 2013 Summer Guide.
5. How many days are there in summer?
6. Who wrote The Master and Margarita? (Non sequitur!)
7. What was the name of the exhibit featuring artist Alma López’ digital print of a Virgin of Guadalupe clad in a swimsuit made of roses?
8. Which Santa Fe bar is known for its Saturday-night karaoke sessions?
9. What will people chant on the night of Thursday, Sept. 5? (Hint: It’s not “Qué viva!”)
10. Around 500 copies of which 2013 issue of SFR were stolen from newsstands? (AS)