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Morning Word: Slow Your Roll

Morning WordThursday, July 27, 2017 by Matt Grubs

Santa Fe taps brakes on return of speed SUVs
Big brother isn't watching. Yet. The Santa Fe City Council voted to postpone for a month a proposal to bring back unmanned speeding ticket-issuing SUVs that had been snapping pics of drivers and automatically mailing out tickets from 2008-2013. The program had been paying for most, if not all, of its cost, but it scratched many people the wrong way—and not just those caught speeding.

Meow! Arts installation wolfs down $1.1 million public grant
Half a million people have wandered their way through Santa Fe-based Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return exhibit. Now, as the arts collective gets set to expand to Denver, Austin and potentially other cities that are nearly as cool as Santa Fe, it has more than $1 million from private investors and public economic development grants to help it along. The Santa Fe City Council unanimously approved its chunk of a $1.1 million state/city grant last night. Meow Wolf promises 250 jobs at a new fabrication facility.

Council shelves instant-runoff voting again
City councilors in Santa Fe voted to reconsider their latest action on what's called ranked-choice voting. The system eliminates the need for a runoff campaign, but it's a new way to vote and the majority of councilors—along with the Santa Fe city and county clerks—worried it would be too much to teach voters before the March municipal election. The system has recently become affordable, a key part of a 2008 citywide vote that binds Santa Fe to use ranked-choice voting ... eventually.

Santa Fe SWAT killing is a first
When Santa Fe's tactical police squad shot and killed Anthony Benavidez, who was living with schizophrenia, it was the SWAT team's first fatal shooting in its 40 years of existence. Body camera video from the standoff shows police were aware of Benavidez' mental illness and had dealt with him barricading himself in his apartment before.

SFPD officer's body cam may not have been on during shooting 
As review of the police shooting of Anthony Benavidez continues, it appears the officer who fired the vast majority of shots—16 of 17 by the Albuquerque Journal's count—at the 24-year-old didn't have his body camera recording the interaction, which came after a lengthy standoff. It wasn't among the video provided to the media by the department earlier this week.

'Are we crossing a border?'
Border Patrol agents detained a Southern California middle school teacher and her children on their way through New Mexico after the woman refused to answer citizenship questions at a checkpoint. The checkpoint was within the 100-mile zone along the border allowed for such posts, but the teacher says she protested because she's talked to Latino friends who have been peppered with more than just a single question about citizenship.

State gets good revenue report
New Mexico's revenue jumped 32 percent year-to-year in May, with travel and construction industries leading the way to a $141 million annual increase. That's welcome news at the Capitol, where lawmakers have met three times in the past year to shore up a wobbly state budget. That number is likely to fall, as it's based on projections, but the Legislature and governor will take every last dime they can get.

Supreme Court will decide on public defenders' plea for help
New Mexico's high court is considering the plight of the state's public defenders. Especially in southeastern New Mexico, defenders appointed for people accused of a crime who cannot afford an attorney say their caseloads are so high that they often can't mount an effective defense. That would violate their duty, but not providing a defense would also violate the Constitution. Prosecutors say acquittal numbers are high enough to refute that claim.

Thanks for reading! The Word reminds you that there's a free party Friday night at the Railyard in Santa Fe. It's our annual Best of Santa Fe bash and there's food and libations and happy people! Get some.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at sfreporter.com/signup.

Morning Word: Shots Fired

Morning WordWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Matt Grubs

SF deputies shoot at/shot at by armed robbery suspect
When Santa Fe County Sheriff's deputies tried to stop a stolen pickup truck yesterday morning, police say the driver fired shots at them and took off, leading to a chase that ended in Algodones—in a hail of gunfire but without anyone getting hit by a bullet. The driver, Lane Reed, is a suspect in armed robberies from Denver to Raton to the Pecos River Station in San Juan, where yesterday's action began. The chase and shooting shut down I-25 and backed up traffic for miles.

Police release body cam video of SF shooting
Santa Fe police have released body camera video of last week's shooting, in which officers fatally wounded 24-year-old Anthony Benavidez. The mentally ill man had stabbed a social worker earlier in the day and the video shows him lobbing what police determined were ineffective homemade bombs at them during a standoff. Police appear to have fired 17 shots during the encounter, 16 of them coming from one tactical officer. 

Secretary of state tweaks campaign regulations
Seeking to pull back the curtain on spending by groups that don't have to disclose their donors, New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver has suggested new rules requiring dark money groups to reveal their donors if they choose to advertise in a campaign. Several conservative and libertarian groups have opposed the change, arguing it runs counter to federal law and curtails free speech. Toulouse Oliver has since suggested allowing $2,500 in spending before requiring disclosure. 

Zinke expected in New Mexico for monument review
US Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is expected to visit New Mexico this week as he reviews the size and scope of two new national monuments. The review, part of a Trump administration look at monuments created by the Obama administration, will take Zinke to Las Cruces and the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument, as well as to the Rio Grande Del Norte monument near Questa.

Los Alamos teen dies in cliff fall
White Rock Canyon is known for a cave in the canyon wall called Hell's Hole. It's a treacherous climb for hikers, and over the weekend, 19-year-old Trevor Matuszak lost his footing and fell to his death. Rescue crews scrambled to the scene, but the teen succumbed to his injuries before they were able to rappel down to him.

Busy night for SF City Council
Councilors on Wednesday evening will consider a proposal to bring back unmanned speeding ticket-issuing SUVs to the streets of Santa Fe. Police love it because, hey, free tickets (also, it often causes drivers who notice it to slow down). Others hate it, because, hey, do your own work. Also, Meow Wolf is looking to get approval of a $1.1 million economic development grant from the city and state. Councilors could also reconsider using ranked-choice voting in the next city election. All that stuff is on the 7 pm agenda.

Big rains coming
Santa Fe and other parts of Northern New Mexico could see more than an inch of rain by the time the weekend arrives. It looks like we're headed for a stormy weekend, too. But it shouldn't dampen the fun at the Railyard on Friday for the annual Best of Santa Fe party! Come by after work for fun, dunk-tank hijinks and a beer. The Best of Santa Fe issue hits newsstands today.

Thanks for reading! The Word has offered to sit in a dunk tank on Friday and endure endless tauntings.

Subscribe to the Morning Word at sfreporter.com/signup.

A First

Shooting death of schizophrenic man is the first fatality by SFPD SWAT Team

Local NewsWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Aaron Cantú

Santa Fe police say 24-year-old Anthony Benavidez was the first person to be injured or killed by the the department’s SWAT team since it was formed in the 1970s.

Following an hour-long standoff last Wednesday morning, officers fired at least 15 shots into an apartment where Benavidez, who was living with schizophrenia, had allegedly stabbed a social worker earlier in the day.

SWAT callouts are relatively rare in Santa Fe, according to figures provided to SFR. During the past five years, SWAT has averaged five full deployments each year. And the team has been used, on average, 13 times a year to execute a search or arrest warrant.

Lt. Ben Valdez, who oversees the team and supervised the incident in which Benavidez was killed, writes in an email to SFR that the Santa Fe Police SWAT team is composed of two team leaders and 13 “operators.” The department’s tactical team also features medical services officers, crisis negotiators and explosives experts. All of them except the explosives team receive 40 hours of standard crisis intervention training from the Law Enforcement Academy, plus an additional 40 hours of training from the FBI in basic crisis negotiations.

On Tuesday, the Santa Fe police department released body camera video from more than a dozen officers who went to the apartment where Benavidez had holed up. It does not show what led police to fire at Benavidez in the moments leading up to the shooting, but it does confirm that officers were aware of his mental illness as the incident unfolded.

Uniformed Santa Fe police officers arrived at the Tuscany at St. Francis apartments near the intersection of St. Francis Drive and Siringo Road after a manager reported that Benavidez had broken into a unit from which he’d been evicted the day before. New Mexico state police have said Benavidez then stabbed a social worker at his front door. The worker had accompanied police to help coax him out. After the stabbing, the social worker was treated and released from a hospital.

State police also have said Benavidez threw two “improvised explosive devices” at officers, though neither appears to have detonated. That’s when Santa Fe police sent in the SWAT team. One of the video clips shows officers discussing propane and chemicals such as ammonia and bleach being inside the apartment and wiring along the floor.

Police then chose to break through a back window, but it’s not clear who ordered it. Lt. Valdez did not have his body camera switched on until after the shooting. A team of SWAT officers then moved to the back window. A sergeant shattered it before he and others commanded somebody inside to surrender, the videos show.

Without warning, Officer Jeremy Bisagna, a 10-year veteran of SFPD, fired multiple shots through the window with a handgun. Video does not show where the bullets struck. SFR counted at least 15 total shots. According to state police, Officer Luke Wakefield, who joined SFPD in 2014, also fired his weapon.

Before the shooting, Bisagna’s camera captured another officer stating that a psychiatric nurse at the scene said Benavidez had schizophrenia. His camera goes dark just before officers began approaching the window. It did not capture the shots he fired, and the department did not provide any video from his camera that shows the shots he fired.

Warning: Disturbing content. 

Early in the encounter, uniformed officers tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with Benavidez, the videos show.

“Mr. Benavidez, do the right thing,” one officer says. “We can’t go anywhere. You know that. So you need to come out and talk to us, OK?”

But after the SWAT team arrived, the tone of police communications shifted.

Immediately before and during the shooting, a police voice that is either live or recorded can be heard demanding that Benavidez exit the apartment with his hands up. The message blared from a loudspeaker several times during the standoff.

After the gunfire subsides, SWAT officers ram through the front door and collect Benavidez’ lifeless body.

The shooting—and what led up to it—illustrates one of the most hotly debated topics in American policing: how officers deal with people living with mental illness.

Peter Kraska, a frequently cited scholar of police militarization at Eastern Kentucky University, says Santa Fe’s 40 hours of crisis intervention training—which focuses, among other things, on how to approach a potentially volatile situation involving someone in the middle of a mental health crisis— is typical nationwide, but is not enough.

“One of the reasons why this is becoming such a big issue is not only do you have a lack of training, you have a lot of things that compete against that training,” Kraska tells SFR. “You have to be calm, and of course careful, but you have to de-escalate.”

This past Saturday, the Santa Fe chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness held a public meeting at the Friendship Club for those who wished to discuss the incident.

“Some people asked, ‘Are we going to get to the bottom of what happened?’ [But] it’s not the purpose of the meeting,” says Betty Shover, president of the chapter. “It’s just to be supportive, to gather around each other, because we’re all traumatized and unnerved about these situations when they happen because it hits close to home.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Benavidez' mother, Elizabeth Palma, said her son received a mental health evaluation at Christus St. Vincent Hospital last Tuesday, the day before the shooting, but hospital staff declined to keep him there.

Citing federal privacy laws, St. Vincent would not confirm to SFR whether Benavidez had been a patient there.

A few people at Saturday’s meeting complained about the difficulty in accessing the behavioral health unit at Christus St. Vincent, Shover says. She cites the hospital’s non-participation in a new program in which hospital directors and others can petition a district judge to mandate a person with mental illness submit to outpatient treatment, including medication.

Debbi Honey, chief medical nurse at Christus St. Vincent, tells SFR that people with mental health crises who go to the emergency room meet with a physician and a crisis counselor, who evaluate whether patients are a threat to themselves or others. Sometimes, she says, the hospital helps patients put together an outpatient treatment plan before they’re discharged.

“Patients have rights, we cannot hold someone involuntarily,” says Arturo Delgado, communications director for the hospital. “I think that’s a critical patient right for anybody.”

Benavidez was the second person to be killed by Santa Fe police this year. The first was Andrew Lucero, who was shot and killed on April 29 in Eldorado by Officer Leonardo Guzman. As with the Benavidez shooting, state police headed up the investigation into Lucero’s death.

District Attorney Marco Serna says state police recently handed him investigative files pertaining to the Lucero shooting, which he passed off to the Administrative Office of the District Attorneys for an “independent review.” A panel of five district attorneys is reviewing the evidence gathered by state police. That’s a new practice for Santa Fe prosecutors; it comes after SFR exposed last year the inner workings of a highly unusual and secretive grand jury system that for decades rendered jurors powerless to charge officers criminally for on-duty shootings even if they wanted to.

“We’ll review all the evidence that was collected, look at facts, read witness statements, view any audio and video, and if it’s found in violation of the justified shooting for police statute, a further violation will be looked at,” says San Juan County DA Rick Tedrow, one of the prosecutors on the panel. “If it’s not against the statute, it will probably stop there.”

Asked whether the panelists have discussed convening again for the Benavidez shooting, Tedrow says, “it’s not even on the radar.”

MetroGlyphs

07.26.17

MetroGlyphsWednesday, July 26, 2017 by SFR

Russ Thornton is a Santa Fe local who has replaced his first passion, cooking, with a new love interest, the weekly SFR comic he's created called MetroGlyphs. Reach him at santafechef@hotmail.com

7 Days

07.26.17

7 DaysWednesday, July 26, 2017 by SFR
1

US BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS SAYS SANTA FEANS MAKE LOWER WAGES COMPARED TO THE REST OF THE COUNTRY

Yeah, but, like, the bike trails are so pretty…

2

CITY FACES SCRUTINY AFTER EXPENSIVE SHADE STRUCTURES FAIL TO ACTUALLY PROVIDE SHADE IN HELPFUL PLACES AT PUBLIC PARKS

This might be the most Santa Fe sentence we’ve ever written in our lives.

3

SEAN SPICER RESIGNS AS PRESS SECRETARY

A dark day for comedy indeed.

4

THE (R)EVOLUTION OF STEVE JOBS HAS WORLD PREMIERE AT SANTA FE OPERA

Good, because if there’s one thing the opera’s been missing, it’s stories about rich white assholes.

5

CHEEKS STRIP CLUB IN TROUBLE AFTER FAILURE TO PAY SHOOTING VICTIM

We’re gonna turn into a town free of pornography—IS THAT WHAT YOU PEOPLE WANT?!

6

ESPAÑOLA COLLEGE OFFERING IN-STATE TUITION RATES TO OUT-OF-STATERS TO ATTRACT NON-NEW MEXICANS

You’ll still have to live in Española, though.

7

INDIAN MARKET APPLICATION PROCESS CONFOUNDS LONGTIME ARTISTS

Clearly SWAIA isn’t aware of the “We Fear Change” clause in the town charter.


Back to the Barrio: The Dogpatch

Are you old-school Santa?

Art FeaturesWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Alicia Inez Guzmán

Back in 1970, a local group called La Juventud del Barrio del Cristo Rey banded together as young community activists. Their members included local chicanos and chicanas who donned shades and brown berets. For Christmas, they sold farolitos to benefit El Vicio, then a local drug rehabilitation center. The youth group also had plans to build a Chicano library, according to a 1970 clipping from the Santa Fe New Mexican. Members came from different parts of the city, but the parish of Cristo Rey where they were founded was located on Upper Canyon Road. It was the stomping grounds of the Dogpatch.

Eliseo (Cheo) Armijo, a former member La Juventud and retired Qwest technician, spoke of the group’s activities when he described growing up in the Dogpatch. Armijo said the label was around even before he was.

Santa Fe’s own Dogpatch drew from the title of Al Capp’s tongue-in-cheek comic strip, Li’l Abner, based on an invented town in the Appalachian backwoods. Those who lived there—Abner, Daisy Mae, Mammy and Pappy Yokum and the Shmoos—became household names over the course of the comic’s four-decade run. Li’l Abner was even fodder for Broadway and, later, the silver screen in the 1959 movie of the same name, both written by Melvin Frank. “Li’l Abner lived up in the the hills, perched on the edge. Our houses were perched up on the hills, too,” remarked Armijo. He still lives on Upper Canyon Road, overlooking the Santa Fe River in a home that he built with his wife, primos and other family members. They made all the adobes for the two-story structure by hand.

Alicia Inez Guzmán

The Dogpatch roughly covers a triangular stretch in the city’s historic east side, including Acequia Madre, Camino Don Miguel, Camino del Cañon (Canyon Road), Upper Camino del Cañon, Cerro Gordo, Upper (East) Palace Avenue, Apodaca Hill and Camino Cabra. Hillside Avenue (once known as Los Corchos) also falls into this barrio, though it’s difficult to set hard-and-fast boundaries. Former residents of Hillside recall that the arroyo where the road ends was a notorious party spot back in the late 1970s. It could be grittier there than other parts of the east side, according to one woman’s recollections. Even the Dogpatch had pockets.

Despite the differences across the barrio, the response remains the same among those looking back to the days of the Dogpatch: It was a wholly other place in their memories, one where the acequias still provided water to the local apple orchards, entire families lived on the same property for generations and tax bases were humbler. Even during those transitional years before and after the arrival of St. John’s College, there were a lot more young people cruising the streets of the east side—kids and teenagers who used to fight with the “westsiders,” party into the night, or, like the members of La Juventud, organize amongst themselves.

If you aren’t familiar with the Dogpatch, that’s because the name doesn’t see as much use today. It’s becoming something of a throwback. Some former residents chalk this up to generational differences, but changing demographics have had a hand, too. In the late ’90s, many locals had to put historic east-side properties up for sale that had been kept in families for generations due to exorbitant tax hikes. A resident’s tax bill could go up 50 or 100 percent back then and sometimes more, according to Santa Fe County Tax Assessor Gus Martinez. For that reason, the legislature instituted the 3 percent cap rule in 2001 so that locals wouldn’t be faced with the prospect of “selling out.”

Martinez, who calls that area the “heart of Santa Fe,” notes that although the 3 percent cap has been beneficial, there are more people from out of state, or who make Santa Fe their second or part-time home, living on the east side than in the past. And of course, he adds, “those buying and selling set the market.” Even during the 2008 crash, that area of Santa Fe still retained its value. With such expensive land up for sale, “your typical person,” Martinez said, couldn’t afford property in a barrio now considered Santa Fe’s upper end. Many Hispanic families were displaced as a result. And once you sell, Armijo said, “you can never go back.” Now, a house could go for $300,000 in the rest of the city; one in the barrio of yore costs upwards of one million dollars. Driving through the area, it’s hard not to see the number of real estate signs perched along the winding roads.

Given the parallels to Appalachia, Dogpatch is one of those designations that seems self-deprecating at first, a jab at the working class or poor Hispanic residents who once lived there, concocted before the days of political correctness. But when it’s evoked, there’s a sense of community connection, a raza. If you remember the Dogpatch, then you’re old Santa Fe.


Filmmaking Goes Grassroots

Local filmmakers join forces to learn, create and connect through free workshops

Art FeaturesWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Lauren Thompson

After hours at the Santa Fe Business Incubator on July 19, over a dozen local filmmakers sit attentively as guest speaker Steve Allrich flips through a script. Aldrich addresses one of the writers in the room, whose draft he holds in his hand. “Usually, if there’s a sound playing over a visual that’s coming from the next scene, it’s called a ‘pre-lap,’” Allrich says. “That allows filmmakers to know exactly how that sound fits into the story.”

The group, known as Santa Fe Filmmakers, meets once a month for these workshops. As Eric Streeper, its founder, explains, “I started putting talks and workshops on about seven months ago, because there weren’t any active filmmaker groups I could find in town.” Since then, the group, which primarily communicates through the online platform Meetup, has grown to over 200 local filmmakers and creatives, according to its webpage.

At this particular workshop, called First 5, writers received feedback on the first five pages of their script from Allrich, a writer and producer who worked on the 2015 Western drama The Timber. The subject matter varies greatly, from an Afro-badass female spy to a troublemaking elderly duo. Allrich, who one attendee jokes “looks a lot scarier than he actually is,” delivers feedback in a critical but constructive manner. The result is a relaxed environment where writers feel comfortable engaging in conversation with Allrich and with their peers.

This level of camaraderie is the norm for the group. “What I really like is how supportive everybody is,” says script editor and proofreader Diana Thatcher. “For example, this workshop was not what I was expecting—Allrich was really gentle and supported everyone and helped them. I thought he would just rip into them.” Writer Dean Balsamo agrees, saying, “I’ve gone to a number of groups like this, but this is the one that seems to gel.”

It’s encouraging to see such a cohesive, diverse and welcoming group of filmmakers, but it’s not surprising given Streeper’s upbeat personality. He explains with excitement that workshop turnouts have been getting better over the last few months. “Tonight’s turnout was pretty good, but sometimes we’ll have events where almost 30 people show up,” Streeper says with a laugh.

Most events are a good mix of old and new faces, Streeper notes, and Steve Allrich is no exception to this trend. The pair’s relationship began about a month ago over coffee. “I became involved with Santa Fe Filmmakers by just looking up Meetups in Santa Fe, since I was involved in a similar group up in Portland,” Allrich tells SFR. “I found Eric’s name and reached out to him for coffee.”

After a few more caffeine-fueled discussions about film and one lecture, Allrich pitched his idea for a script workshop, which Streeper received enthusiastically. “After I did one of their talks last month about screenwriting, I realized that education is something that I want to get more involved in,” Allrich says. “In a previous life, I was an artist, and I taught art for about 25 years, so I do have an enjoyment of teaching.”

Aside from plans for another script workshop, the group has even more events coming up over the next few weeks. This Thursday, members are scheduled to appear at the Santa Fe Community College for a hands-on workshop. “They’re going to have all kinds of equipment there,” Streeper says, “but it’s all going to be pretty common stuff, so you’ll learn how to really shoot on a budget.”

In August, Santa Fe Filmmakers aims to join forces with other organizations like the New Mexico Film Foundation and New Mexico Women in film for a mixer at The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company, which Streeper hopes will be an opportunity for local filmmakers to meet and make plans to collaborate on future projects.

For now, though, members are grateful for the community they’ve built within their ranks. For a group only seven months in the making, they’re proud the member commitment. The potential for growth is promising, Allrich tells SFR. “I’m open for whatever the future holds, however it evolves,” he says. “I’m just enjoying being a part of the community. There’s a lot of interest in film here and screenwriting which is exciting. Santa Fe kind of has the feel of a small town, comparatively speaking, but there’s a lot of interest relative to the city.”



Cinematography for the Cost-Effective Filmmaker
6 pm Thursday July 27. Free.
Santa Fe Community College,
6401 Richards Ave,
428-1000


New Mexico Filmmixer
Time TBD Tuesday Aug. 8. Free.
The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Company,
37 Fire Place,
557-6182


For updates, visit: meetup.com/Santa-Fe-Filmmakers.


Low ’n’ Slow

What’s to be said about wines with lower ABV?

Pour VidaWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Mary Francis Cheeseman

One of the most interesting trends in modern wine-drinking culture is the growing interest in lower-alcohol wines. Alcohol is the one element of a wine’s structure, compared to acidity, residual sugar and tannin, that has a special impact on consumer health (not to mention the tax rate on the wine) and must be monitored as closely as possible. It’s the one piece of technical data that is required by law to be on the bottle. And outside matters of law and health, there is the question of taste; some people find high-alcohol wines bold and beautiful, and others find them lacking in subtlety and overpowering as a food pairing.

What causes a wine to have high alcohol? To make wine, yeasts convert sugars into ethanol. Riper grapes with more sugar can make higher-alcohol wines, though this is not a neat equation (a zinfandel at 15 percent ABV could still have plenty of residual sugar left over not fermented into alcohol).

Fine wines fall routinely above 14 percent, especially in California, although higher alcohol is by no means limited to one region. The powerful reds of Spain or the regal Châteauneuf-du-Pape come to mind. In Italy, the historic sites for Brunello di Montalcino were the warmer microclimates, but today, longer, hotter growing seasons (and also, standard viti-cultural practices regarding said growing season) are pushing the ripeness levels up, and alcohol levels are getting higher as a result. It’s more common to find a Brunello at 15 percent these days, whereas it was once a struggle to reach 12 percent. Not to imply that higher alcohol wines are somehow “better,” just that the priorities of the wine world are changing as the optimal ripening of the grapes is no longer a major hurdle.

Yet, a brutal debate rages on: The corporate wine director for Michael Mina, sommelier Rajat Parr, has always campaigned for balance, specifically in favor of low-alcohol wines. Influential wine critic Robert Parker, however, famously dismissed this perspective as “wine fascism.” So, if you’re looking to enjoy a couple bottles in a night, the difference between 12 percent and 14 percent can make a huge difference. It’s important to consider that, in response to consumer demand for lower-alcohol wines, acidification and watering-down of wines will be the easiest and cheapest response. Here are a few of my favorite low-alcohol wines that do it right.

Reuscher-Haart, Piesporter Goldtröpfchen, Riesling Spätlese, 2013, $22

Not everyone likes late-harvest riesling; a few of my customers ask for low-alcohol wines but quickly follow it up with “no sweet wines, though.” But for those that partake, this wine is a dream; with notes of lush tropical fruit and acidity that dances over your tongue like a mountain stream. It clocks in at just 9.5 percent ABV, and is packed with flavor. A village that lies alongside the Moselle River, Piesport’s greatest vineyard is Goldtröpfchen (the name means “droplets of gold”) and wines bearing the title Piesporter Goldtröpfchen are a class in and of themselves.

Romain Chamiot, Apremont, Savoie, France, 2015, $21

A little-known alpine appellation in Northeastern France, Savoie is too moderate and northerly to produce big, powerhouse styles of wine, although the region’s climate is technically continental, with both alpine and Mediterranean influences. Romaine Chamiot’s family has owned his estate for generations—some of their vines are up to 80 years old. The white grape jacquère is on display here, yielding a dry, medium-bodied wine with creamy acidity and notes of lime, zesty minerality and wildflowers.

Domaine Vacheron, Sancerre Rouge, 2013, $50

I personally love a pinot noir that is shimmeringly transparent, and this Sancerre Rouge is a perfect example. From a region more famous for its whites than its reds, this wine is a little bit of a sleeper hit, and unabashedly resembles a pinot noir from the famous appellation of Bourgogne. The Vacherons are the leading winemaking family in Sancerre, known for their integrity both in the vineyard and the cellar; employing biodynamic methods in the vineyard, and even making their own organic compost. This wine tastes like cedar and pine and forest floor, with racy cranberry and rhubarb notes. It’s a bit of a splurge at $50, but kind of a bargain when you consider what the prices look like in Bourgogne lately.

Matthiasson, “Helen’s Gate Vineyard,” Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre, Napa Valley 2012, $43

“Ok,” you might be saying, “late-harvest riesling and mid-altitude pinot noir is a little ... expected, non? What if I like red wine from California?” Two-time James Beard Award winner Steve Matthiasson has long been a champion of lower-alcohol wines, which he achieves in his wines by harvesting early. This particular Rhone-style blend is a little rare and hard to find, but the entire line of Matthiason wines are all lower-alcohol; the Helen’s Gate is 11.8, but the winery produces a great cabernet and chardonnay, in addition to many other bottlings. This wine is also elegant, food-friendly and unmistakably American (in a good, honest way) in terms of fruit and flavor.


In Here, Life is Beautiful

Acting OutWednesday, July 26, 2017 by Charlotte Jusinski

Think of Cabaret. What do you see? A spider-lashed, dark-bobbed Sally Bowles; an androgynous flat-chested Emcee in suspenders; Kit Kat Girls with spilling cleavage and pointed toes. Yes, this is Cabaret, and the Santa Fe Playhouse effortlessly checks each of these things off. But there is more to be mined here; get ready to go deeper.

At the sold-out preview night, the audience was buzzing. Arriving 30 minutes before the start of the show, three-quarters of the guests were already seated. They even cheered the pre-recorded curtain speech. This is a show that people get excited about, and Santa Fe can barely contain itself.

Lee Manship Vignes is our Emcee for the evening, and he introduces us to the Kit Kat Club in Berlin, Germany, as 1929 ticks over to 1930. A shaggy mop of blond hair, a huge, mischievous smile, seduction and irreverence—it’s all there. Soon we meet Cliff Bradshaw, here portrayed by 20-year-old Dylan Norman, whose baby face imbues the character with fresh energy. (And that voice! What would velvet sound like if it could sing?) Cliff accompanies new friend Ernst Ludwig (a dynamic John H Reiser) to the club, where Cliff is set upon by dancer Sally Bowles.

Actress Katie Hagan, who plays Bowles, is what you see in the dictionary when you look up “flapper.” It’s sublime. With a sleek bob, a dark pout and eyes to rival a Margaret Keane painting, she is the consummate good-time girl. (Perhaps a little too good-time: as the plot gets darker, her portrayal lacks some of the nuanced conflict or trepidation we’d like to see in Sally, but it wasn’t enough of a concern to detract from the show.)

You know what they say: Shoot for Sally Bowles so you’ll land among the Kit Kat Girls. Not so at the Santa Fe Playhouse. Sally’s great and all, but this squad has tons of fun.
Lynn Roylance
This is the 1987 revival of the 1966 production; director Vaughn Irving credits the choice to the ’87 version taking a closer look at subtle LGBTQ+ themes. He rejected the 1998 revival, which he thinks favored shock value over depth, he tells SFR in an email. As a result, we are happily given more of Cliff’s singing with a heartfelt “Don’t Go,” and more of his ambiguous sexuality. Norman plays the role with tension coupled with a wide-eyed innocence that feels natural in his hands.

Handmade costumes from veteran designer Cheryl Odom would have stolen the show when the Kit Kat Girls arrive, but the ensemble is so strong that the costumes are there to do them justice. For some, a role as a Kit Kat Girl may be a consolation prize when they shoot for Sally Bowles, but it’s hard to imagine not wanting to be in this squad. They have a camaraderie that evokes modern burlesque—they know we’re ogling them, but they’re in control and ogling us right back. Christine Smith, Alexis Taylor, Terri Scullin, Marisa Xochtl Jimenez and Myriah Duda (the last of whom is a rising high school senior at New Mexico School for the Arts—and she’s a hell of a gorilla!) are all remarkable.

Choreography from Patrick MacDonald doesn’t simply accompany the music; it furthers the plot. Instrumental numbers with the Kit Kat Girls and the Klub Waiters (nimble Tristan Van Cleave and jaw-dropping CJ Rodrigues) are not obligatory afterthoughts to make time for costume changes. The moves are unique, nodding to important choreographers but not imitating. And the singing doesn’t suffer for the weavings and leanings of the tight dances—there is no mud to be heard here. That we particularly noticed one spot where harmonies went a little off (the first rendition of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”) means that the rest just flowed like honey—even while hanging upside-down, as exhibited by the Emcee.

So, the club is all well and good. As ever, though, the meat of this production is in the boarding house.

Ann Roylance, Santa Fe’s favorite spritely grandmother figure, is Fräulein Schneider, who rents rooms to various Berliners. One of these renters is Herr Schultz (Ken Bordner), an older Jewish man who owns a grocery store. Schneider and Schultz fall in charming love over gifts of produce and sing lovely little songs together, feet dancing along, as they celebrate their late-in-life love and subsequent engagement.

Roylance’s Schneider starts the show as a truly adorable and self-sufficient spinster, but a cloud passes over her face when she learns the gravity of her situation: a gentile woman engaged to marry a Jewish man, with the Nazis poised to take power. Bordner’s buoyant optimism becomes foreboding dismissal of current events.

Things go bad. Things always go bad. The love between Schneider and Schultz is the first casualty. In the end, when leaving this production, while the Kit Kat Klub is memorable, we were overwhelmingly haunted by Roylance’s small frame singing the brave yet ultimately helpless number, “What Would You Do?” Hearts break when she exits exhausted, peeping: “I regret everything.”

With a truly strong cast, an onstage six-piece band (nod to Michael Blake Oldham, who built the set, made the props, commands the orchestra along with musical director Judson Seely, and then puts down his trombone to play a wordless but vital Max) and relevance that waffles between tiresome and tireless, this Cabaret is essential viewing. Bleibe, reste, stay.



Cabaret
7:30 pm Thursdays-Saturdays June 27-Aug. 5;
2 pm Sundays July 30 and Aug. 6. $15-$25.
Santa Fe Playhouse,
142 E De Vargas St.,
988-4262


The Very Best-ish of Santa Fe

Editorial Picks

Best of Santa FeWednesday, July 26, 2017 by SFR

We take the Best of Santa Fe poll very seriously. So, when the dust clears from the vote tabulation, we take the time to point out some details about life in Santa Fe that don’t make the contest. And that we maybe are not that serious about.

SFR’s editorial staff combs the county to deliver these highlights (and lowlights) of what and who is happening since the last time the earth circled the sun. It’s been quite a year. You won’t find any references to the Drumpf or the governor. We’re all so tired of making fun of them—but in case you missed Santa Fe’s mayor portrayed by our art director as an angel this year, you can see a recap below. We’re also proud to point out some hardworking Santa Feans who don’t quite get the credit they deserve, where you can read about the tireless manager of the Violet Crown, who we have actually seen wiping down tables and serving popcorn like a boss!

Our food and drinks coverage are our most-read features, and we’re already working on the October release of our annual Restaurant Guide, but we’ve thrown a few things in a reusable shopping bag here to tide you over until dinner. Eat breakfast with a peacock and slather your burger with too many sauces per our suggestions about what to eat n’ sip.

We raise our Walter White Margarita to you and to these, the very best ... ish.


Contributing writers: Maria Egolf-Romero, Aaron Cantú,
Charlotte Jusinski Alex De Vore, Matt Grubs, Julie Ann Grimm
Illustrations by Anson Stevens-Bollen


People

BEST stylish Santa Fean who will make you drool over her turquoise and wardrobe in general

Zoila Cleaver

Santa Fe style gets a bad, clichéd rap—think glittery cowboy boots and clashing Pendleton patterns. But really, our city is a hotbed of beautiful textiles and authentic jewelry and has some flabbergastingly fashionable octogenarians, as well as some younger high-desert citizens who most certainly know what is up. A prime example of Santa Fe fashion gone oh-so-right: Zoila Cleaver.

Seeing Cleaver is kind of like seeing a unicorn. She wears Navajo pearls and broom skirts in a way that’s not even a little bit reminiscent of overplayed Western ads. You kind of wonder where her magic comes from. And, to top off her awesomeness, she works at Shiprock Santa Fe (53 Old Santa Fe Trail, 982-8478), a church for lovers of a minimal Southwestern aesthetic. And somehow, even amongst troves of vintage turquoise, Cleaver’s fabulousness stands out. The one thing in her closet she couldn’t live without? “My collection of Native American and Mexican jewelry,” she tells SFR.

This fashionable gal gets it (partially) from her mama, whom Cleaver says is her style icon. “She has always been incredibly creative and adventurous and not willing to follow any sort of trends,” she says. Barbara Cleaver is an Indigenous textile expert who recently lectured about Frida Kahlo’s wardrobe in conjunction with the Mirror, Mirror exhibit at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Arts. This (along with spending part of her upbringing in Oaxaca “looking at antiques and tracking down rare textiles”) may explain Zoila’s effortless eclectic elegance. Thanks for being so inspiring with your clothing choices, Zoila—we want to be just like you when we grow up. (Maria Egolf-Romero)

BEST tireless woman who started a local record label

Eliza Lutz of Matron Records
matronrecords.com

Running a music label isn’t what it used to be. While owners in ye olden days may have concentrated on selling the music, independent labels today function more as hype machines for artists, doing graphic design, online promotion and partnering with local businesses for branded content. Eliza Lutz’s Matron Records, which she started about a year and a half ago after quitting her job at a coffee shop, has signed on local bands that were already fairly self-sufficient but could have used a, well, matron to help them tie it all together. She says the smallness of Santa Fe creates some unique challenges but also allows for a tighter-knit scene that avoids the genre subdivisions you see in larger cities. Three Matron bands—Chicharra, Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand and PSIRENS—have albums coming out in the next few months, so be on the lookout. (Aaron Cantú)

BEST superhero who appears whenever you need him, like when you get caught onstage without pants

Michael Blake Oldham, technical director, Santa Fe Playhouse
142 E De Vargas St., 988-4262

Dig, if you will, the picture: You are an actor in a community theater production. As is scripted, you come onstage for a performance in your underwear. Your pants are supposed to be pre-set on a bed onstage. Halfway through the first scene, you realize there are no pants. They were forgotten. You remain pantsless as the play progresses. There’s no easy way to get offstage any time soon. What do you do?

If you are at the Santa Fe Playhouse, all you need to do is peek into the wings. Technical Director Michael Blake Oldham, while running the lights, will have seen the error, descended the ladder from the tech booth, sprinted through the lobby, run around the outside of the theater, come in the backstage door, found the pants, crept behind the set, and will be waiting slightly offstage for you, khakis in hand. Make it look natural when you dip into the wings, take the pants, continue your show—and Oldham will return to the booth in time for the next light cue.

This is an actual thing that happened, and only one thing in an endless string of actual things that happen when Oldham is in the Playhouse. An actor, a musician and a backstage jack-of-all-trades, Oldham memorizes every last detail of a production, and has an impeccable ability to make things right on the fly. From building sets to conducting firearms safety training to just being a damn nice guy, Oldham is just the kind of behind-the-scenes superhero that every theater needs. (Charlotte Jusinski)

BEST local guy who cuts sick hairs and also you can talk to him about punk rock and girls and stuff

Collin Lee Scott at Wild Hare Salon
418 Montezuma Ave., 988-1925

The situation was bleak and time was running out: My hair looked dumb. Dumber than usual, anyway. But what to do last-minute? How would I proceed? Luck, my friends, was on my side that day, and Wild Hare Salon’s Collin Lee Scott came to my rescue. “I can squeeze you in,” he said via Facebook messenger in reply to my “Please, God, someone cut my hairs!” post. And later that day, I was in his chair. Scott embodies this ethereal combination of ultra-pleasant presence and skilled hair-handler; the shampoo experience was fantastic, the coif was perfect, he can trim a beard with precision (much harder to do than you’d think) and, almost best of all, he has killer music taste and is wise in the ways of the world. In fact, you’ve probably seen Scott at countless local shows, from the bigger venues to the DIY storage-unit spaces, supporting the scene and absorbing all he can. That’s serious effort and commendable all on its own, but the bonus here is that he’s also kicking out sick ‘dos ($40-60 for men and $50-75 for women) and bringing those killer conversation skills. Make an appointment immediately, those in need. You won’t regret it. (Alex De Vore)

BEST movie theater manager

Peter Grendle at Violet Crown Cinema
1606 Alcaldesa St., 216-5678

Drinking beer is good. So is watching movies on a large screen. So is eating. All of them combined make for a pleasantly hedonistic experience you can enjoy just by wandering on over to Violet Crown Cinema in the Railyard. The theater services a wide range of clientele, and manager Peter Grendle says his staff goes out of its way to make it so. For example, he offers the theater for free to schools that want to bring students on early-morning field trips, and also shows a variety of films throughout the day and night to appeal to all kinds of crowds. That flexibility makes Violet Crown a mix of a multiplex and an art house, Grendle says. Recently it started a series where local organizations friendly with the theater pick a “guilty pleasure” film for the public to view on the big screen (SFR took part in June, and culture editor Alex De Vore’s no-brainer choice was 2012’s Les Miserables). It continues tonight (July 26) with screenwriter Kirk Ellis’ pick,The Witch. Grendle and the VC also begin the Summer in Parisseries on Tuesday Aug. 1, a month-long celebration featuring eight French films. (AC)

BEST Internet Troll because Capital Letters and anger are still Cool to spew on Corporate Media websites!

Tie: Harvey Mushman (SFReporter.com) and Maria Piernavieja (Facebook)

SFR has some lively online commenters, and two in particular have become our favorites.

Harvey* (not his real name), whose account at SFReporter.com had posted 1,250 comments as of July 25, intensely despises our “leftist” staff and thinks Santa Feans are “pathetic and childish.” He also wants a Heterosexual Pride Parade. He makes fun of writers’ names he deems abnormal. Pretty sure he called us “libtards” once. Absolutely nothing is beyond his ire. (Except maybe the Rose Park. He didn’t comment on that story.)

Why does someone whose IP address pings him in another state so loyally read SFR, so strongly disagree with every word we say and so vehemently hate every subject we write about? The world may never know; in January 2017, former SFR staff writer Steven Hsieh invited Harvey to be interviewed for our “3 Questions” feature. Harvey declined, wishing to maintain safe anonymity.

On the Facebook front, we have Maria* (also not her real name). Maria’s comments are always long, full of randomly capitalized words from which we can’t really determine a pattern and brimming with vitriol about what she often calls the “Corporate Media.” (We think that’s us.)

A common complaint of hers is that we don’t cover what we cover. For example, in the comments section about a story about marshmallows, Maria would likely say: “Typical Santa Fe. The Corporate Media never writes about Marshmallows Because of its Corporate Interests in Tourism and advertising Revenues.” Mmkay.

Maria once spat that we only publish letters to the editor that go along with our views, and that any letter expressing dissent is “thrown out.” Since I am the individual who puts together the Letters page each week, I was suddenly a little nervous that Maria was a mole, hovering around SFR’s office, looking over my shoulder. But then, a calming thought: I don’t fucking throw away letters to the editor. It’s not even a thing. My god, Maria, if you’re gonna bitch at us, at least bitch about something that we actually do. Sheesh.

SFR has many readers and many commenters and we appreciate every last one of you. Even trolls need to be fed at times, so have these scraps. (CJ)

BEST group of underdogs who probably need haircuts but definitely have small-town pride

Madrid Miners softball team

It’s a source of local pride that Madrid, New Mexico, was home to the first lighted ballpark west of the Mississippi. When the town was owned by General Electric in its coal mining days (think 1920s), the minor-league Madrid Miners baseball team was a feeder team for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and the ballpark was the place to be on summer evenings.

After recent reconstruction and revitalization, with help from the Madrid Cultural Projects and a 2016 Power Up grant from PNM, the historic Oscar Huber Memorial Ballpark is the perfect home for the current Madrid Miners softball teams.

The mens adult, co-ed adult, and co-ed kids teams are totally made up of folks from the Madrid metropolitan area (the 2010 census clocked the population at 204). The team’s annual Memorial Day game against the East Mountain Riff Raff, in its 35th iteration, was again a bust—but it’s all good.

“We’ve never won. We’ve come close a couple times,” says Dale McDonnell, coach of the co-ed team, of the Memorial Day match. “If we lose, we party after the game. If we win—well, I don’t know what we’ll do.”

In June, Madrid also hosted a two-day mens tournament with nine teams from Santa Fe and Albuquerque. “Hopefully we’ll someday have a co-ed tournament,” McDonnell adds. “We thought we’d have a hard time getting enough women to play, but once we put the word out, the women came out of the woodwork.”

This year’s season ended July 10, but the co-ed team is rarin’ to go for a possible fall league in August and September,too. It can only get better from here, baby.

Follow their Facebook page to keep up: facebook.com/madridminers. (CJ)

BEST curator who doesn’t quite get the credit she deserves

Angie Rizzo at the Center for Contemporary Arts
1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-1338

Rent is expensive in SF, but not nearly as much as the other SF … as in, San Francisco. Angie Rizzo, the visual arts curator at the Center for Contemporary Arts, moved to Santa Fe after she and her friends could no longer afford to maintain the small gallery space she helped run in the Bay Area. Now, she’s been here three years, shepherding artists who take big risks and try new things. She’s one of the people responsible for filling the Muñoz Waxman Gallery and the smaller gallery between the two movie theaters. Multiple sources report that Rizzo indeed works her ass off to help her artists put on the best show possible, and while the CCA has a loyal trickle of visitors, we can only hope that more folks turn out to check out the work. So make Angie happy and drop by pronto. (AC)

BEST place to spot Mayor Javier Gonzales

A conference of visionaries in New York City

Oh, Javier. Ye of eternal vision. Just what are you gazing at in all those photos? It’s the future, of course. And it starts with a flight to the coast.

The mayor has traveled to and fro since taking office in 2014, including trips to Paris and England, New York and Miami Beach. He’s not shy about posting photos of his official travels to his social media accounts, where you can see him mugging with AOL co-founder Steve Case at SXSW in Austin or delivering remarks at the International LGBT Leaders Conference in Washington, DC.

If it’s official travel, taxpayers are often picking up at least part of the cost. Whether that investment translates into Santa Fe being seen as a city on the rise is yet to be determined. This kind of spending often doesn’t yield immediate results.

In Hizzoner’s defense, some of his travel stems from Santa Fe’s higher-than-normal profile among cities its size. People love to visit, everyone knows we’re cool and they want to know why. A more likely contributing travel factor is that the City Council cannot stop itself—no matter who is sitting on it—from passing leading-edge legislation like the city’s living wage ordinance or from sounding off on notable issues like the Dakota Access Pipeline, national parks and mineral leases. When you get noticed, you get invited places. Javier’s the one to go. (Matt Grubs)

Happenings

BEST waste of $4 million we could’ve used for something other than dividing the community

Sugary-drink tax election

If somebody came up to you on the street and offered you $4 million for pre-kindergarten programs, but added the caveat that you can’t spend it on pre-K itself, only advertising, you’d think they were nuts. You’d think, dare we say it: “There has to be a better way.”

Well, that’s basically what happened in May as almost 40 percent of registered voters (that’s a lot for a city election) showed up to put the kibosh on a proposed 2-cents-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages. It would have provided enough money, Mayor Javier Gonzales said, for 966 seats in high-quality pre-K programs every year.

Enter Michael Bloomberg and the American Beverage Association. The pair of out-of-state moneybags deluged Santa Fe with campaign dollars. In the end, Big Soda outspent Bloomberg and company in its victorious effort. Then it and its consultants found a better way out of town. Santa Fe will have to figure out some other plan to expand its early childhood education programs.

The estimated cost to grow pre-K by nearly 1,000 seats was north of $7 million, so it’s not as though all that campaign cash would have done a ton of good, but it might have been better spent on something other than a really loud argument. (MG)

BEST place to laugh at that poor schmuck who just got dinged for speeding ... right before you get dinged for speeding

Highway 599

 

It’s also known as the Veterans Memorial Highway and could well be known as the Low Insurance Rates Memorial Highway. This is the place for cops looking to scratch their ticket itch, and things can get pretty itchy.

“It’s turned into regular duty for us,” says Santa Fe Police Department spokesman Greg Gurule. He tells SFR some bad crashes at the road’s notorious at-grade crossings have made it a department priority since the beginning of the year. “We even assign overtime [patrols] to it to maintain a presence on a continuing basis.”

All three local agencies—city police, the county sheriff and staters—aggressively patrol the wide-open, 55-mph road you think should be an interstate. In the three-month span that ended in June, New Mexico State Police alone wrote 523 speeding tickets on this stretch. (MG)

BEST current trend Santa Feans have always rocked

Kimonos and robes

From Star Wars-esque wraps to embroidered kimonos, light outer layers are prevalent on runways in 2017 fashion publications. But they’ve always made appearances on the streets of Santa Fe. In fact, one of the most famous locals of all time, Georgia O’Keeffe, is a prime example of an outer-layer queen. She donned wrap-like dresses and monotone minimal outfits paired with open robe-like jackets on the regular. You’ll find them in shop windows around town, including Origins (209 Galisteo St., 988-2323) and even gracing walls as decorations at Ten Thousand Waves (21 Ten Thousand Waves Way, 982-9304), plus there’s a rack of vintage takes in a back room at Stephen’s Consignment Gallery (2701 Cerrillos Road, 471-0802). Whether it’s embroidered, silk, linen, Chinese-inspired or Mexican, Santa Feans will always love and rock a good kimono. Bravo, folks, we were ahead of a trend for maybe the first time in history. (MER)

BEST thing we’ve ever seen in a shop window

This massive sterling silver and gold kachina bolo tie
Simply Southwest Trading Post,
84 E San Francisco St., 983-6165

Navajo silversmith Tommy Singer died in 2014, but pieces he created during his many decades as an artist can still be found all over Santa Fe. One such glinty bauble caught our eye while walking on the Plaza one recent afternoon, and though we know we could never personally pull it off, we still hope we’ll one day see someone sporting it. This is no ordinary bolo, friends; it’s a nearly foot-tall silver and 14K gold kachina oozing with style and detail and perfect for anything from a night at the Native Treasures benefit to afternoons perusing Indian Market. The salesman at Simply Southwest Trading Post tells us that silver and gold were specialties of Singer’s, and estimates a $10,000-plus price tag for this specific piece.

We’re writers, which means we’ve basically taken a vow of poverty. For those with means, however, you simply cannot go wrong dropping a few bucks on such a gorgeous and intricate work of art. (ADV)

BEST way to get a tourist lost

Give them directions to Museum Hill

This isn’t so much the fault of the tourist as it is a reflection of Santa Fe’s propensity to have six different ways of getting where you need to go. Do you send them out Old Santa Fe Trail? How do you explain that weird left turn at the top of the hill? You could point them up Canyon Road to Camino del Monte Sol, but that has a lot of distractions, and what if they miss the turn? Is it easiest to just tell them to take Alameda all the way around past St. John’s and then left at the first stop sign, right at the next, and then a quick left? And God forbid you’re trying to get them there from the south, because that’s a 50/50 proposition that might end with a call to Atalaya Search & Rescue.

You’re better off telling them to find a place to park and jump on the free Museum Shuttle line of the Santa Fe Pickup or shelling out a mere dollar to ride the M line of the city’s Santa Fe Trails bus system. You’ll be doing a public service by keeping a tourist off the roads (an idea ripe for an Ali Macgraw public service announcement) and you’ll feel better about your insider knowledge.

Then again, if the tourist in question happens to be a real pain, you might just forget to tell them about that weird left turn up by the gallery and Cliff’s Liquors. Or was it a right where Camino Cruz Blanca dead ends into Camino del Monte Sol instead of a left? It’s so hard to remember … (MG)

BEST place to stand during free Railyard shows when you don’t feel like staring into the gaping maw of insanity that is a bunch of baby boomers “dancing” or dealing with those beach chair weirdos

That one tree in the Railyard
Cerrillos Road and Guadalupe Street

This year’s Railyard concert series might be the best yet thanks to nonprofit AMP Concerts and their recent acquisition of a $25,000 AMP grant (no relation) from Los Angeles’ Levitt Foundation. Thus far, we’ve seen Meat Puppets, DakhaBrakha with Cloacas, Dumpstaphunk with The Sticky and many more, and there are even more great shows on the horizon.

But for some of us, there’s quite the quagmire to circumvent as we take in the jams, and it’s not just in the form of those people who show up early and plunk down beach chairs in the effing middle of everything—it’s the dancers. And before you give us some diatribe about how we should all dance like nobody’s watching and oh, isn’t it beautiful that they still feel the music and some people just wanna sit—save it.

So what do we do when we want to observe the art and enjoy the evening from a safe distance? We head to that one tree. Which tree? Well, say you’re looking at the stage from the center of the Railyard Plaza. Simply turn around and veer toward your left. There’s a bench there. It’s often adjacent to a food truck; you’ll be free to not be bumped or careened into and nobody is gonna be like, “Hey! Even though sitting in a chair in the middle of a crowd is objectively absurd, I blame you for obstructing my view!”

Life will be good. Have a kebab from Kebab Caravan. Splendor at the magical quality of nature. Maybe learn a thing or two about botany. Chloroplasts, grrrl … chloroplasts. (ADV)

BEST place to get stoned around dead people

Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery
on Early Street, one block off Cerrillos

“Dead bodies everywhere!” isn’t the kind of thing you’d want to hear when you’ve just partaken of cannabis. Or, maybe the weed would encourage a calm understanding of the material oneness of life in which you consider that the dirt to which we all return is transformed into life-giving soil when our decaying corpses are enveloped within it. Either way, you can see where your mind wanders by picking up some medicinal cannabis at Fruit of the Earth Organics (901 Early St., 310-7917) and then checking out Our Lady of Guadalupe Cemetery across the street. The earliest graves date back to the 19th century, and the latest appears to be from 1955. Many people buried there have classic New Mexico surnames—Gurule, Trujillo, Montoya, Armijo—although the person born the earliest of them all (1820) probably has the most old timey-sounding first name: Enepomosino. The placement of a new-agey dispensary founded by a free-spirited Anglo transplant next to a staid Hispano cemetery is probably one of best displays of Santa Fe’s cultural history and the way it either clashes or coalesces. (AC)

BEST local dog

That one fat corgi I see near Whole Foods sometimes

My brother acquired a mixed-breed corgi-type dog recently, and my reverence for the stubby beasts went from somewhere in the “All right, that’s fine” camp to “OHMYGAWDLOOKATTHELITTLELEGS!” world. I started seeing those fuzzy little bastards everywhere, and it was good. And though the Queen of England’s fave four-legged friends are all basically the cutest damn things anywhere (especially in puppy form), there is one who all at once mystifies, amazes and calls to me, and I don’t even know its name. Never met the pup, in fact, but I just know we’d be best friends.

If you wish to see this gorgeous gift to humanity, merely hang around the Guadalupe Street area and/or the Whole Foods parking lot. It’ll take some doing, but I’ve run into this mutt pretty regularly, and lord is he fat. But in this good way. See, some corgis don’t love running (who does?), and their little legs mean they can get kinda wiped out easily. Thank goodness, too, because something tells me I wouldn’t care even close to as much if it weren’t adorably pudgy. So here’s to you, fat corgi, for you have stolen my heart. (ADV)

BEST ridiculous attempt at making a kid excited

That time our editor tried to convince a staffer’s daughter that a regular work day was actually “reading camp”

Every parent has been there. Even every pet owner. You know how you’re trying to get your dog psyched to eat a pill so you wrap it in ham and dance around and talk all high-pitched and then throw it to them like it’s a biscuit?

Well, when a staffer’s daughter had to hang out at SFR HQ for a few work days after school let out, she was understandably a little bored. On Tuesdays we have Doritos and Orange Crush, but that’s about where it ends for things that would appeal to an 8-year-old. All we do is type on our computers and drink obscene amounts of coffee and yell from cube to cube about government officials and whether it’s time to switch to wine yet.

But wait! SFR Editor Julie Ann Grimm to the rescue. She swooped in and told the kid that watching your mom code a website and her coworkers scribble with red pens is actually reading camp! Look how close the library is to our office! Maybe we don’t go on hikes or have a sandbox or any other kids whatsoever or whatever else real camps have, but this is fun! We promise!

Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the kid asked her mom to send her to Santa Fe Performing Arts. (CJ)

BEST local trend that needs to just stop already and we can’t believe we still have to say this

Musicians taking themselves super seriously

Here’s a little something to chew on for all you local songsmiths out there: No one cares. First of all, it isn’t as if the music industry even really works the way it once did anymore—the internet has basically killed that. There isn’t some magical deal out there waiting. And even if it did still work that way, it isn’t like there are A&R guys from labels thinking, “I’ll check out Santa Fe, and then, if I have time, I’ll hit up New York and Los Angeles and New Orleans or wherever.”

We get that you work hard and we think it’s just adorable that you put your albums up on iTunes and Spotify and YouTube, but the best pieces of advice we can give are: 1)tour constantly and build an actual following not made up of your neighbors and buddies, 2) move somewhere and actually try to do it—or 3) Just, like, take it easy. You’ll continue to be that band who plays while the TVs are on or the drinkers are busy flirting or the sound guys ignore you or—and this is really best-case-scenario here—you’ll open for some middling band who isn’t from here and make a couple bucks. See, whoever told y’all that a career in music was a stable and genuinely wise way to make your living has done you a disservice.

So play your shows as you can and keep releasing your albums (some of them are truly phenomenal), but otherwise let’s all just relax a little. (ADV)

BEST (worst) total drag for SFR this year

Places that stop carrying SFR for no good reason, such as Trader Joe’s!

We love that super-rich vanilla ice cream. They have the best gluten-free pasta we’ve ever tried. And the juice selection? So very vast! There isn’t much to dislike about Trader Joe’s, down to the awesome Hawaiian-shirted cashiers.

We said there isn’t much to dislike. There is something. And it’s a pretty big something.

Thanks to Phillips Edison & Company—the mysterious, perhaps cranky corporate overlords that own the Cordova Road shopping center that contains Santa Fe’s TJ’s (as well as hundreds of other shopping malls across the country)—all periodicals were ordered removed from outside the grocery store. In one fell swoop, one of the most popular pickup spots that SFR had was gone overnight.

We’ve had folks ask why we’re no longer outside TJ’s, and believe us, we are trying to find out too!

Andy Bramble, SFR’s circulation manager, has been unable to get an answer out of the mega-landlords. Bramble says he has tried to call them many times, and has never received a return call. “They apparently had no interest in having any sort of dialogue or communication about this,” he says. Bummer.

SFR has explored other options to make available the copies that no longer fly off the rack at TJ’s. If you want SFR at a location, be sure to ask for it, because shit just got real, you guys. (CJ)

Eat & Sip

BEST place to scarf down a decadent cinnamon roll and chase it with a breakfast burrito while a peacock eyeballs you

San Marcos Café
2877 Hwy. 14, 471-9298

Admittedly, this was a fairly narrow category. Part of what makes the café south of town on the Turquoise Trail so fun, though, is that it’s so unique. A feed store is around the side, the homey café is in front. Especially as fall makes its way into Northern New Mexico, a seat in the sunroom close to the fireplace is a great spot to spend a little more time than you planned to, sipping coffee.

Owners Cindy and Mark Holloway bought the place in 2014 and all their changes seem subtle. They still have turkeys and chickens and 20-ish peacocks roaming the property. (The geese are plastic.) The peacocks, especially, are not shy about showing off—or seeing how much food you’re stuffing down your gullet. It should be a lot. The cinnamon rolls ($4.25) are fantastic and the half-dozen variations on a breakfast burrito come with chile that lets you know it’s there. Waitstaff rave about the San Marcos Burrito ($10.50), which comes packed with roast beef and the usual accoutrements. They’re also happy to sub out meat for an avocado if veggies are more your thing. (MG)

BEST weird array of sauces you didn’t think would taste good—but then they totally did

The Burger Stand
207 W San Francisco St., 989-3360

You’re at the Burger Stand and you’ve ordered your green chile cheeseburger or your Kobe beef burger or your fried chicken sandwich or your fish and chips, falafel, flat iron steak or hot dog—whatever. And now it’s time to dress that bad boy, but you’ve grown tired of the same old ketchup-mayo-mustard combo and long for a sauce you’ve had ne’er before.

Relax. Breathe easy. For these burg-nerds have created the sauce bar to end most others, and your glorious ship has finally come in. Their six fantastic mixes come in the form of Bloody Maria barbecue sauce, guajillo chile dip, roast garlic & parmesan ailoi and—bear with us—toasted marshmallow, among others. We dipped fries in the marshmallow one and slathered our burgers and hot dogs with avocado ranch; we mixed several together. We ate our words and basically were like, “Man, this stuff would probably be good on, like, a cake, too.” (ADV)

BEST unnecessarily complicated process that creates an aesthetically pleasing and delicious frozen treat

Freezie Fresh
facebook.com/freeziefresh

This mobile ice cream cart serves made-to-order frozen creations prepared by owner Xzavian Cookbey, who says he got the idea for the unique sweets when his college roommate at Santa Fe University of Art and Design showed him a video of a similar ice cream setup he’d seen while traveling in Thailand. After three months practicing the intricate chopping, mixing, spreading and scraping technique, Cookbey perfected the thin rolls of ice cream, and opened Freezie Fresh at the end of June 2016.

SFR tracked the treat cart to the parking lot on West Alameda near La Montañita Co-op and Betterday Coffee on a hot and sunny weekday afternoon. As we approached, Cookbey was making his raspberry blend in a hurry for two kids waiting for the bus. He said he’d tried to make them a free treat the day before, but the bus had come too quickly. Meeting the people he’s making ice cream for is clearly something Cookbey is into. In fact, he says it’s his favorite part of owning Freezie Fresh.

“Just being on the front line, meeting customers, I build somewhat of a relationship with them.” He says he sees a lot of repeat ice cream lovers, “which is good. People are coming back and bringing new people with them.”

You’ll find different flavors each time you visit including ones like mango chile lime, strawberry, Thai iced tea and lemon cream (which is the owner’s favorite). He makes every recipe himself, mixing the flavor compote with a vanilla custard (sans eggs) on a freezing cold plate powered by a generator. You see the liquid solidify into frozen goodness right before your eyes as Cookbey combines the ingredients and smooths the mixture into a thin square before scraping up four slices into little rose-shaped rolls. Trust us, this stuff is as good as it is pretty. We know you’ll Instagram it (tag ‘em up—@freeziefresh) and we know you’ll eat it more than once. Good thing he has a loyalty program. (MER)

BEST appropriation of Albuquerque’s Breaking Bad fame

Walter White Margarita at San Francisco Street Bar and Grill
50 E San Francisco St., 982-2044

It went on for five seasons and it put Albuquerque back on the pop culture map, so it’s only natural that the Breaking Bad television show and all its fandom and accoutrements are alive and well in Santa Fe for both locals and tourists.

One can acquire a T-shirt emblazoned with a crafty Dia de los Muertos version of Heisenberg on the Santa Fe Plaza and pick up blue meth rock candy in Albuquerque’s Old Town before taking a multi-stop tour of the homes and businesses featured in the series. But wait, there’s more.

Sip on the Walter White Margarita at the San Francisco Street Bar and Grill, where a turquoise-drenched woman wearing a fringy black skirt tells us the food is great too.

Bartenders could also market this cocktail as The Manhattan Different, in that its blue hue resembles glowing nuclear waste. But their theme slants more toward modern chemistry. Behold an azure concoction in a martini glass with a sugar or salt rim and a bold serving of silver tequila with Blue Curaçao citrus-flavored liquor replacing its standard Triple Sec cousin—all for $9.

And watch soon for the Better Call Saul tour and a vodka tonic in a plastic glass or, better yet, a fictional top-shelf tequila. Hint: On the show, they say he’s working at a swanky firm in Santa Fe, but hardly any of the filming actually takes place here. (Julie Ann Grimm)

BEST local place to get coffee that was here well before all this talk of waves

Ohori’s Coffee Roasters
1098 ½ S St. Francis Drive, 982-9692
505 Cerrillos Road (inside Luna Center)

Oh, how the third-wave coffee world loves to bestow accolades and praise upon the most hipster-y of shops and most somehow-innovative ways to pour hot water through ground beans, but this is Santa Fe, and we know how to remember our history. Right? Right. And nobody at SFR would dare talk down to any of our town’s fine coffee locales (we’re journalists and live off the stuff), but we know where we’ll go when the day is ideal and the roast must be just so.

Enter Ohori’s, the long-standing local haunt(s) with the strong-ass roasts and the you-totally-get-a-free-cup-if-you-buy-a-pound deal you know and love. Their food menu may be practically non-existent and their hangout options may be limited, but when you press that beautiful morning shot-in-the-dark up to your lips and quaff that heady elixir, you know you’ve done it right and you should totally go there more often. They’ve even got a drive-thru. Score. (ADV)

BEST slices, no matter what your idiot friend who went to New York, like, two times and now thinks he’s an expert says

Pizza Centro
Design Center, 418 Cerrillos Road, 988-8825
San Isidro Plaza, 3470 Zafarano Drive, 471-6200
Agora Center, 7 Avenida Vista Grande, Eldorado, 466-3161

OK, so obviously Santa Fe isn’t New York City, and somehow they’re the only city on earth that’s figured out how to make pizza properly (bagels, too)—we get it! But there’s no getting around the greasy, floppy, better-when-you-dip-it-in-the-balsamic-glaze goodness of Pizza Centro. These thin yet massive slices run the gamut from classic to crazy, and the price-to-full-belly ratio is off the charts. Rock your own custom creation with any of their fine toppings or venture deeper into the belly of the beast with concoctions such as the Alphabet City (with flash-fried eggplant, artichoke hearts and lots more), the Chelsea (which comes with both meatballs and sausage) or, for you vegetarians out there, the Central Park (with spinach, sun-dried tomato, ricotta and other such awesomeness).

Look, no one is besmirching the good names of fine dough-flingers from the Eastern Seaboard, but we’re gently suggesting that Pizza Centro has what it takes to close that gap, even just a little bit—and we’ll all probably be OK, Jasper. (ADV)

BEST place to read crappy, vague life advice from billionaires on the walls

Jimmy Johns

While eating a lame-to-low-mediocre sandwich at Jimmy John’s (now with two locations in our City Different), it’s always good to stare at the wall and ponder your serious life decisions. The franchise is owned by Jimmy John Liautaud, who has a net worth of $400 million, and the advice on said wall is from Richard Branson, a British businessman worth $5 billion. So clearly, he is a better person than me. I’m going to listen to him!

- Think Yes, Not No. Okay, I did. I thought yes to owning a chimpanzee. Now I own a chimpanzee. What now, Jimmy John? Richard, any input?

- Keep Your Good Name. Charlotte Jusinski is a pretty good name, but I kind of think Thurstonia Chalice would be better. Instead of “keep” it, can I “get” it instead?

- Aim High. Shit, now the baby doll is on the roof.

- Put The Family and The Team First. I put the Kardashians and the Edmonton Oilers first. My parents are kinda pissed. Jim and/or Rich, can you talk to them for me?

- When It’s Not Fun, Move On. Good, I didn’t want to sit on the toilet any more anyway.

- Calculate The Risks, Then Take Them. OK! I calculated that I risked losing at least four fingers and both eyes while playing with firecrackers in the garage. I can’t see now, so I am typing this by feel with three fingers (my calculations were off), so hk m mI beggnb u jbgeg? (CJ)

BEST action-themed dessert

Exploding passion balls at State Capital Kitchen
500 Sandoval St., 467-8237

The best part of eating this dessert might be the sense of anticipation when you get the instructions from your waitress: Lift the delicate globe from its bed of white sugar in that cute little ceramic bowl. Close your mouth completely after you place the entire object on your tongue. We’ve heard commercials for chewing gum and kids’ drinks with far less pizzaz.

What happens next is remarkable. A soft, waxy exterior dissolves into a—yes— explosion of passion fruit.

Chef Mark Connell’s vision at State Capital Kitchen has shifted from its original “American dim sum” concept to a pure culinary joy at a spot that’s been one of the Santa Fe revolving doors of dining. You know him from his former time at Max’s and Arroyo Vino, and from last year’s Best of Santa Fe issue when we raved about his other genius-level dessert.

Whether it’s a small-plate supper with foraged mushrooms or a special entree like suckling pig three ways, and regardless of whether you can resist the melting globe of chocolate filled with ice cream that Connell is also serving up with great memories, we recommend you don’t miss this signature dessert to finish with a bang. (JAG)

BEST use of a welding supply for restaurant decor

Bodega Prime
1291 San Felipe Ave., 303-3535

Sandwich lovers in Midtown sagged when Bodega Prime closed for renovations earlier this year, but the expanded dining room that reopened was worth the hiatus. Bodega is back and better than ever. We just love the glass decanter of tap water on the table along with enamel cups, cloth napkins and paper straws. And the simple decor is comfortable and aesthetically pleasing.

Our favorite new addition is light fixtures that hang above the bar seating. Repurposed industrial items that make their way to a restaurant are always fun, and these happen to be tank valve covers—the kind that screw to the top of oxygen and acetylene tanks in welding shops, or the cap of the helium tank we’ll use to fill balloons at the SFR booth at the upcoming Best of Santa Fe Party in the Railyard (5 pm Friday July 28—it’s free! Be there!). They’re colorful and creative and will probably give you a killer goose egg if you try to dance on the bar and bang your head into one. (The lights, that is. Not the balloons. Those are gonna be nothing but fun.) (JAG)


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