SELECT title FROM cont_articles WHERE id='' LIMIT 1 Santa Fe Reporter



MetroGlyphsWednesday, February 10, 2016 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

Leather Bound

Jonny Leather thinks about you guys all the time

Music FeaturesWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Alex De Vore

You guys want to know what I like? I like when someone from another town moves here with an unbiased perspective on our music scene. Obviously—and it’s been said before—we live in a bubble, and we all know each other. A fresh perspective never hurts. I also like it when people agree with me about how a lot of people around here are doing it wrong. That’s why I went out for coffee with this guy Jonny Leather. He’s only been here about a year, by way of NYC, but some of you might know him already. He’s a photographer, a music blogger ( and a freelance production manager for a number of New York-based magazines, but more importantly, he’s a ravenous consumer of music both live and recorded and isn’t sick of your shit (yet), so I found myself curious about what his deal is and what he thinks about what we’re layin’ down here. These are some of his thoughts.

There’s this whole idea that things are going on in Santa Fe, but they’re almost a secret.
“The house show, for example. Everything seems off the radar, and I don’t know if that’s out of exclusivity or necessity. It’s hard for DIY venues to promote because they aren’t official. I have felt welcomed here, there’s just not a lot to grasp onto.”

It’s a culture shock, both good and bad.
“In New York, I had places to book shows and went to a ton and photographed them. Coming here, I felt like there’s hardly anyone covering things. In New York, I had to ask myself what was worth writing about, because there are obviously better writers than me and people with more time to write. … Obviously, you guys cover music, but it’s hard to have one person trying to cover an entire city’s music [Author’s note: Amen, brother.]. I’ve gone from over-stimulation, which at a certain point was kind of crushing, to under-stimulation. I’m still getting used to that if you get one good show in a week, that’s a good week, a really good week. There was a whole month not that long ago where there was nothing I was excited about.”

There’s a weird divide.
“I’ve talked to some people who are booking around town about the idea that when a touring act comes through, a local needs to be on that bill. When I first moved here, I think it was a member of Thieves & Gypsys who pointed out the divide between local and touring acts, which is weird because for a scene on this level, it makes perfect sense to have locals. The local people don’t want to go to touring band shows, so we don’t get bigger shows; the best way to promote is to get the people looking for events—the people who live here—involved.”

Who cares what journalists say?
“Having locals open for mid or big-level touring bands can sometimes mean a shout-out online for these bands. Journalists are creating content; these bands don’t have to say anything, but it can change a smaller band’s life.”

You need variation.
“When you book five metal bands that sound similar on the same bill, that’s disrespecting the fans in thinking they only like that particular kind of music and couldn’t possibly like something else. Swans had soft folk artists open for them, and juxtaposition like that can be excellent.”

There aren’t enough young people to begin with, and there are so many distractions.
“Young people … it’s such a small group, and there are so many ways to get distracted, but a lot of the time, it just takes one person. It goes in waves, but if one person gets something going, the wave starts.”

A lot of what’s becoming really hip and popular is made on computers.
“It’s disengages from the realm of people interacting by playing instruments together, and it doesn’t seem to fit with performing live well. It’s introverted. DJ music is not that engaging to me.”

Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand has been one of my favorites.
“I’ve been way into GRY GRDNS. And even though I’m thinking I’ve passed my indie/poppy music thing, Thieves & Gypsys are so good.”

Theater in Motley

Music, magic and mayhem, oh my

Art FeaturesWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Ben Kendall

Any artist will tell you, especially starting out, it’s easier to die from exposure than to sustain yourself with it. At the same time, while struggling artists fight to feed, clothe and house themselves, exposure is still the common nonlegal tender that’s offered.

The artists of the Julesworks variety show know that rule. They’re collected from the surrounding area and driven by a common purpose: to perform art. Though they’re not paid, the performers continue with their theatrics as a labor of love, toiling away at day jobs, exposure or no.

Without the time or resources to produce an entire play, the Julesworks Follies are a scripted and rehearsed series of vignettes running the gamut of comedy, drama and experimental performance art. This motley approach to theater appears onstage yet again Feb. 16 in Julesworks’ 42nd show, Not Quite Valentine’s Day.

It’s an almost vaudevillian endeavor, with multiple acts convening on the stage at the Jean Cocteau. “Vaudeville is a term that’s come up. In fact, [theater owner George RR Martin] himself during that first year used to tell people, ‘This is Jules; he’s crazy and he’s trying to bring vaudeville back singlehandedly,’ or whatever,” says Stephen Jules Rubin, producer of Julesworks Follies. “And I would laugh and [think], I’m not even sure what vaudeville is. It’s evolved over the years; it wasn’t even called the Julesworks Follies at first. It started as … a showcase for different talent in town, essentially people who have other jobs and don’t have the time to [commit to a full production].”

During the day, Rubin works two jobs. One is a part-time gig at the Jean Cocteau, and he is also a waiter at the Jambo Café. He first arrived in Santa Fe in the late 1990s, jumping into the local open-mic and short film scene. “After four or five years … I stopped wanting to do so much low- to no-paying film stuff because, especially the editing, I started feeling badly about getting really talented people to donate their time,” says Rubin. “Obviously, anyone who is in the Julesworks show probably would love to make a living off of it, but nobody really does. And not just Julesworks, but whatever their art is.”

And it is a variety show, but not only in the types of acts performed. Julesworks attracts a wide social strata of people into its fold. Company member and local musician Johny Broomdust (birth name John Widell) describes himself as a “friendly neighborhood lawyer.” Disenchanted with being a trial lawyer in Seattle, he turned his back on the rat race and now practices estate planning, mediation or other forms of low-key legal assistance. “Being a trial lawyer, you’re really the ultimate whore. You’re selling all of your creativity and energy,” says Broomdust. “I had a crisis of spirit and became less of a lawyer and more of a musician and entertainer. I would prefer not to have a day job. And were it not for some big expenses as a result of poor romantic decisions, I’d figure out a way to pay the rent playing music. It seems frivolous, but ultimately it’s not. The skills I was selling to people for $350 an hour can be used to do something with comedy and charisma and whatever else it is … to bring a little light to the people you encounter.”

Greg Sonnenfeld is a scientific software programmer by day, who even worked for NASA early in his career, but by night he’s an actor, director and sketch writer. “Me and my friend Laura saw this really cool flyer that had cats and unicorns and rainbows and guns; it seemed like something really cool,” says Sonnenfeld. “They said if you want to come and perform that they have some audience slots during the end of the show. We said hey, that’d be awesome, and we did like, two sketches I think.”

Sonnenfeld ended up on the crew and now is fully immersed. “I think it’s a place where you can really try out some creative things. I really hadn’t done it much since high school. It really gave me an opportunity to be in the performing arts. In high school I wanted to be an actor, but I thought, Nobody makes any money in acting—like one in a 100. So I became an engineer and a software developer instead.”

For the members of Julesworks, it’s not just a hobby. It’s art inspiring life.

“Whatever it is in human nature that drives people to express and tell stories, if you’re not doing it, it’s not healthy,” says Rubin.

Julesworks Follies,
Not Quite Valentine’s Day

7 pm Tuesday, Feb. 16., $10
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
418 Montezuma Ave.

Gracefully Strong

It’s not just swans and stuff

Art FeaturesWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Anna Mae Kersey

Different. Out of all of the words that one could use to describe the all-male modern dance phenomenon that is BalletBoyz, “different” resonates the most with the experience of watching these remarkably diverse dancers in action.

In the stereotypically feminine world of traditional dance companies, where tutus reign supreme and the focus tends to be on making the female dancers look delicate and beautiful, the BalletBoyz set themselves apart in that they defy expectation in a way that is thrilling, not only for the audience, but for the dancers as well.

“It’s always this idea of the man lifting the woman and making the woman look pretty; never the other way around. When I first joined the company, I remember the first time I actually took one of the guys up, and it was such a shock to me. It’s kind of an equal balance, you also have to learn to be lifted yourself, which is unusual. The partnering load is really equally shared, there’s kind of an equal balance between us all. Everybody has to be able to do as much lifting as the next person,” says Bradley Waller, a third-season company member.

Founded in 2001 by Royal Ballet principal dancers Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt, the UK-based BalletBoyz have won numerous awards for their innovative approach to dance, toured all over the UK and internationally, and are bringing their different style to the City Different on Thursday, Feb. 11, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center at 7 pm.

“Apart from us being an all-male dance company and having that different approach to what you would usually have from partnering with a woman, I think the thing that sets us apart from most other dance companies is the work that we do is quite versatile,” Waller says. “We’ll sometimes be doing quite classically based pieces. For example, in the show that we’re about to be performing in Santa Fe, the piece by Christopher Wheeldon is quite classical, and there’s a lot of ballet technique involved. On the other end of the spectrum, we’ve got loads of contemporary pieces that we do which are quite grounded and abstract in a way.”

Matthew Sandiford, who is also in his third season with the company, echoed this enthusiasm for diversity when discussing his decision to join the company after his completion of dance school. “I think for me it was the chance to work with dancers that are all so different,” Sandiford said. “We’ve all come from completely different backgrounds, and we’re all from different parts of the world. I think that’s what drew me in, the opportunity to work with somebody that’s maybe done a bit more classical training, and then somebody that’s done a lot more contemporary. That’s a really attractive thing about the company. In other companies you may have dancers that are all similar heights, all look very similar and have all done the same sort of three-years training at a classical dance school.”

Although the dancers in the companyhave varied appearance, having similar weights means that to prepare for partnering and lifting sequences, they have to be quite physically strong. It is not unusual for company members to work out before and after dance rehearsals to build and maintain the strength and stamina necessary to successfully execute these feats with grace and ease.

The Talent, their current touring production, features two commissioned works—The Murmuring by Alexander Whitley and Mesmerics by Christopher Wheeldon. The first piece is quite modern, physically demanding, while the second is more classical and technically challenging.

When asked what the audience could expect from the performance, Waller countered with the element of surprise, “A lot of people, when they come to see the show, it may not be what they’re expecting … Being all-male dance company, you’ve got a picture in your head about what an all-male dance company might be like. It might be something quite cliché, or something quite funny, or quite type-cast. It’s the complete opposite of that. It’s something that they don’t expect, and each piece that we’re going to be performing is so different so there’s something in the show for everybody.”

7 pm Thursday, Feb. 11. $20-$55.
The Lensic Performing Arts Center
211 W San Francisco St.,

‘Thank You,’ in Any Language

Low-key new Italian restaurant beats Olive Garden

Food WritingWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Julie Ann Grimm

When you live on the Southside, certain unalienable truths draw boundaries around your dining options. Yet if you’re looking for a meal away from home and don’t have a downtown pocketbook (who does?), this part of the city is a much better bet than the Adobe Disneyland.

When I recently enjoyed a leisurely dinner with four friends at Café Grazie (3530 Zafarano Drive, 471-0108), the bill for less than $100 was a sweet good night kiss. So that’s why I’m telling you about it, even if you live in the east or north reaches of the city. I know you have that friend whose neighborhood you never visit because you think there’s nothing good going on “down there.” Now’s the chance to cross over.

And what’s more, the restaurant is an additional homestyle Italian offering with Mediterranean flair, in a city dominantly inspired by Southwestern and Central American cuisine.

Our party missed out on the one menu item that appears to lean in that direction, an appetizer that our server described as “kind of like a chile relleno,” but with a roasted ancho chile that’s stuffed with veal and ricotta. She came back later to tell us they had run out of something it required, so we settled on the frito misto, a heaping plate of fried octopus, calamari and shrimp served with half a lime over marinara sauce ($10.95). Plus, while we’re waiting for that, out came the bread, warm and grilled with garlic butter, and a delightful simple salad. Like at Olive Garden, our young server beams, “only better.” We devoured every bit of all three dishes.

Heaping plates of pasta soon rolled out of the kitchen, among our favorites the spicy meatball linguine, with generous, juicy meatballs that come in a simple marinara sauce with enough kick from Pequin chile to interest my heat-favoring palate ($10.95), and the Grazie pasta pollo, a dish recommended by the server that features chunks of chicken topping the spinach linguini noodles alongside sun-dried tomatoes, piñón nuts and peas ($11.25). And in case you’re not up on your Italian, those are ll’s you pronounce.

Box up the leftovers? Yes, please.

El Salvador native Oscar Arias says the café is his first go at running the front of the house, though he grew up at family restaurants and hotels in Departamento La Libertad. The inexperience shows in a few details. For example, with no license to sell beer and wine, we all drank water, which was served in tiny cocktail glasses that, early on in the meal, were not replenished frequently enough.

Arias has done a bangup job of a low-budget transformation of a shopping mall space at the formed location of Wow Dawgs near Target. While the saltillo tile is the same floor from the hot-dog joint, with dog pawprints accenting the occasional tile, the place has a whole different feeling. Updated lighting fixtures, window trim and linen napkins and tablecloths are a smooth touch, but they don’t make up for the generic artwork that likely arrived in a shopping cart from the Big Box across the parking lot.

Also needing some attention, if Café Grazie wants to rise above, is the dessert menu. Notwithstanding that the super-friendly service deteriorated for our party after four other parties trickled into the restaurant, we finally asked our server if we could order dessert, and after we did, we waited 15 minutes for the arrival of two ice-cold desserts that might have been still frozen in the Sam’s Club box, artfully plated with what tasted like Hershey’s syrup. The créme brûlée cheesecake was better than the cannoli, but only marginally so. Next time, I’ll hit up the Baskin Robbins around the corner for the final course instead.

And there will be a next time, because the restaurant is still obviously working out some kinks since its Jan. 11 opening. It’s close to home, and I want to try that stuffed chile.

Monday through Sunday, 11 am to 9 pm
Best Bet:
Spicy meatball linguine
Don’t Miss:
Grazie pasta pollo

Yet Another Comic Movie

There’s even a guy who gets killed by a Zamboni

OkWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Ben Kendall

When two major studios announced they were working on a Deadpool feature film, it was hard to imagine how 20th Century Fox and Marvel Studios were going to accomplish bringing a lesser-known cult-status character into motion picture territory. How could they possibly create a film with a lead who frequently breaks the fourth wall, who may be aware that he’s a fictional person (possibly pan-sexual), and whose wisecracking has the same lowbrow comedic resonance as it does in the comic series? Against all odds, it seems that this herculean task of mainstream cinema was completed marginally well, especially considering the current precedent regarding the glut of the nostalgia-driven licensing nightmares the US studio system is fond of churning out these days.

It’s important to touch upon the meta aspects of this character, since in a way, that’s the whole basis of his motivations. Self-referential and turgid with pop-culture call-backs, with even subtle jibes from almost all the film’s characters at the thin plot, the movie is a snide and sophomoric attempt at the superhero genre. But for some reason, that’s its charm. It’s as if a couple of young guys who loved comics wrote a movie starring one of their favorite characters, and the studio, somehow being cognizant of the source material and target audience, just let it all happen. The opening credits even lampoon the Hollywood system, declaring that it was directed by “an overpaid tool” and produced by “asshats.” Bundle up, because it might just be a cold day in hell.

Well shot, with an excellent soundtrack that turns up the absurdity of the situations the protagonist finds himself in to 11, the film is technically well contructed. An excellent decision was made on the part of filmmakers to mildly animate Deadpool’s eyes in the mask to better convey emotion. There’s precedent for this regarding the art style in comics for characters with full-face coverings.

A former Special Forces soldier, Wade Wilson/Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), is a leg-breaker for hire who contracts cancer after falling in love with the classic “hooker with a heart of gold.” He is offered a way out: undergo extreme stress combined with chemical cajoling to activate dormant mutant genes in his DNA and, hopefully, evade cancer and death. All is not as it seems, and when the transformation occurs, everything goes south. Ed Skrein turns in a functional performance as Ajax, a British villain. And hey, there’s MMA fighter Gina Carano as the evil super-muscle, Angel Dust. End of plot explanation. It’s not really all that important, and it seems like everyone knows it. There’s even a line in the film that goes something like, “You should talk to that guy. It may deepen the plot.”

The ultra-violence wasn’t distasteful, since it was so over the top and typically used as a comedic device. It hits home, somehow. This movie is sort of a miracle-mile in filmmaking. It shouldn’t work—it shouldn’t be entertaining, but it is. It’s dumb fun, with an ironic patina of intelligence that quickly wears away after mere moments. Deadpool, much like your socially inappropriate and yet (against your better judgment) still hilarious uncle, isn’t for everybody. If you’re a guy 18-35, you may like it. If you like meta satire on the Hollywood system, comic book movies, pop culture and ham-handed witticisms, it might just be for you. It’s chock full of full-frontal nudity for both genders, F-bombs and dismemberment, with a surface level of snappy dialogue that’s reminiscent of Kevin Smith’s Jersey Trilogy (Clerks, Mallrats, Chasing Amy). If that’s your cup of tea, then go for it.

Directed by Tim Miller
With Reynolds, Skrein and Carano
Regal R,
108 min.

3 Questions

with Jennifer Joseph

3 QuestionsWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Brianna Stallings

Russian thinker PD Ouspensky once described love as grandiose and expansive, a “cosmic phenomenon.” The Santa Fe Collective’s “Love Notes to the Future” is a project that invites you to think bigger than roses. Attendees are invited to write love notes “on pink Post-Its with black Sharpies for visual cohesiveness,” according to event coordinator and Collective co-founder, artist Jennifer Joseph. Images of the notes will then be uploaded on social media. “Love Notes to the Future” takes place from 6 to 8 pm Saturday, Feb. 13, at the Santa Fe Collective (1114 Hickox St., 670-4088). 

Who came up with this idea?
I thought up the idea. I wanted to do something where a lot of people could participate, and rather than write love notes to a lover or a crush or some other type of love, I decided it would be more interesting to view the love note as a vehicle for creativity and intention for seeding a better future. If one can express loving feelings towards the future, then perhaps there is more chance for positive outcomes.

What are your thoughts on the remarketing of Valentine’s Day as a holiday of universal love?
Re-branding Valentine’s Day as a holiday of universal love is a great idea. In these weird and precarious times, the traditional mainstream approach to Valentine’s Day is fun but kind of superficial. If the focus can be shifted to celebrate love that is tolerant, accepting, kind and peaceful, maybe life would be less weird and precarious.

What’s your love note to the future?
My dearest, most brilliant future,

I can’t wait to experience your shining beauty, your calm countenance, and your peaceful abundance. I’m rushing to you with my arms and heart open.

Love, Jennifer

Savage Love

Savage LoveWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Dan Savage

Gay male in my late 20s. I recently ended things with a guy. Our relationship started as a strictly sexual one. We’re both involved in the kink scene in our city and have interests that align in a particularly great way. Quickly it became clear there was a real connection. The next two months were great! I had a toothbrush at his place within three weeks. But early on, I noticed that he was a much more extroverted person than I was. He would laugh loudly at movies, work the room at parties, say things about kink in the middle of crowded restaurants. I prefer to blend in. Initially I thought of this as “the price of admission,” one I was willing to pay, but it soon became tiresome. I ended things, telling him that there were conflicts with our personalities that made a relationship difficult, not specifying what. He fell for me—he’s stated it over and over—but I don’t want him to think he has to change who he is to be with me. I’m confused, Dan. I loved being in a relationship again (I’ve been single for a VERY long time), the sex is great, and finding someone who shares your kinks and you’re attracted to emotionally is rare. We have a ton in common when he’s being down-to-earth. He’s asking me to reconsider. Was I right to end this?

-Tired Of Being Single

He shouldn’t have to change who he is to be with you, TOBS, but what if he wants to?

It’s unlikely he’ll morph into an always-quietly-tittering, always-discreetly-kinking introvert, just as you’re unlikely to morph into a braying, oversharing extrovert. But if making an effort to dial it back is the price he has to pay to be with you—along with reserving convos about his kinks (and, by inference, your kinks) for fetish clubs and play parties—why not let him decide if he’s willing to pay?

Gays represent a tiny percentage of the general population, TOBS, and kinky gays represent a not-so-tiny-but-still-smallish percentage of the gay population. I don’t think you have to marry this man, regardless of his flaws, just because you’re gay and your kinks align. But you should think twice about discarding a guy who’s gay and kinky and whose company you enjoy most of the time just because he gets on your nerves now and then.

At the very least, you owe it to yourself, just as you owe it to him, to be specific about the reasons you pulled the plug—because he might want to make an effort to win you back.

There’s a lot that’s good here—your kinks align (rare!) and you enjoy spending some-but-not-all of your time together (common!)—and there are always work-arounds for the bad. An example from my own life: My husband is way more extroverted than I am. So sometimes he goes to movies, restaurants, clubs, and concerts without me. I stay home and read or sleep or clean. And then, when he gets home, we have something to talk about—how the movie was, whether the restaurant was any good, who was out at the clubs, and if there were any cute boys in the band. He doesn’t make me go out; I don’t make him stay home. It’s a work-around that works for us.

With some effort, TOBS, you could find the work-arounds that work for you two: He makes an effort, when you nudge him, to dial it back; he goes to comedies with his friends, dramas with you; if he’s working a room, he won’t take offense if you slip into another room.

Give it—give him—a chance.

I’m a gay male college student in a healthy D/s relationship with a bisexual guy. My boyfriend posts pictures of our kink sessions to his Tumblr. (No faces.) A trans woman active in campus queer politics confronted me today. Ze had seen my boyfriend’s Tumblr (!) and recognized me (!!!). Ze demanded I stop engaging in BDSM because ze has to see me on campus and knowing my boyfriend “controls and abuses” me is triggering for zir. Ze said images of me in medical restraints were particularly traumatizing. Ze was shaking and crying, and I wound up comforting zir. I stupidly let zir think I would stop. Now what?

-Scenario Utterly Bananas

P.S. Ze also threatened to out my boyfriend if ze saw new pictures go up on his Tumblr. My boyfriend is already out—about being bi and being kinky—so he laughed it off. But how fucked up is that?

You tell this woman you take orders from your boyfriend, SUB, not from random campus nutcases. You advise zir to stay away from Tumblr porn ze finds traumatizing. And if ze pushes back, you explain to zir that if anyone’s being controlling and abusive here, it’s zir. And if ze starts shaking and crying, SUB, direct zir to the student health center.

And for your own protection, SUB, tell zir all of this with at least one witness present. Document everything, and if ze keeps getting in your face about your consensual, nonabusive D/s relationship, take the ironic step of filing a restraining order against zir.

I’m a 24-year-old gay male. My boyfriend and I have been together for just over a year. I have a hang-up when it comes to anal sex. I like bottoming, and I’ve had my fair share of great experiences, but I’ve bottomed only once with my boyfriend. I think I’ve identified why: The ceremonies around anal sex (the lube and condoms part) turn me off due to the smell of the lube and the sound of the condom wrapper. It brings up memories of times when I didn’t have a great time bottoming. Additionally, he is a little bigger than most, so there’s that. What do you suggest? Would it be as simple as finding a lube that doesn’t smell so much? When I top him, which is something we both enjoy, there isn’t a problem.

-Wants Anal Now, Goddamnit!

Usually when someone complains about an unpleasant smell associated with anal sex… lube isn’t the issue. But that’s an easily solved problem, WANG, so easily solved that you bundled the answer up with your question: There are 10 million brands of lube on the market, kiddo. Shop around until you find one that doesn’t offend your nostrils.

As for the condom-wrapper issue, try opening condoms 10 or 20 minutes in advance. Condoms are likelier to be an interruption—one that derails hot butt sex—if you wait until the split second before penetration to bust one out. Open condom packets early, WANG, and put the condom on the BF during foreplay. That way, if the fumbling deflates your bottom-boner (which is a state of mind), you’ll have time to make out, roll around, rim each other, stroke yourself—whatever it takes to get your bottom-boner back.

To get a handle on your performance anxiety and those negative associations—bad memories of lousy experiences, fear of your boyfriend’s big ol’ dick, concerns about whether you’ll have to bail—get some butt toys of varying sizes, and use ’em when you’re alone. With no boyfriend around to disappoint, the penetration will be about your pleasure. In a month or two, with a little effort and non-stinky lube, you’ll have built up a store of positive associations and gained some confidence.

And finally, WANG, if nothing works… maybe you’re a top?

On the Lovecast, Dan chats with the amazing Midori about how to get your dom on:
@fakedansavage on Twitter

La Comedia de la Gente

Keeping it local with Carlos Medina

PicksWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Cole Rehbein

When asked about his comedy career, Carlos Medina makes one thing clear: He’s not really a comedian. A humble man from the small town of Ribera, he created his first comedic sketch four years ago featuring the high-voiced, Spanglish-speaking character Graviel de la Plaga. The sketch wasn’t meant to go viral—in truth, Medina is a lifelong musician who inadvertently created the beloved alter-ego between band recordings—but the cultural accuracy of his comedy was immediately recognizable, loveable and successful.

After these almost accidental beginnings, Medina is the headliner for next week’s Valentime’s in the Norte comedy show, presented by Meow Wolf at the Skylight. He’s joined on stage by local comedians Joser Maestas from Las Vegas and AJ Martinez from Albuquerque, with music from local Norte band Los Malcriados.

Medina’s alter-ego is a little outrageous, and that’s what makes him so popular. Most of his fans know him from his Norte Saying of the Day videos, but the videos are only a small part of his relationship with them. “Pretty much anywhere I go, people recognize me. ‘Hey, you’re that guy—you’re Graviel,’” Medina says. He often wishes fans happy birthday in his videos, but he also connects with them in a very unique and genuine way: “Every show that I sponsor, I try to be the only ticket outlet—I try to hand deliver tickets,” he says, and that’s his favorite part of the whole job. He personally delivers tickets to folks’ houses or jobs, or sometimes he simply runs into them in the parking lot of Allsup’s. No matter where he meets them, it’s an opportunity for a conversation and a connection. “I’ve already met most everyone by the night of the show, so it feels like a big family reunion.”

Obviously, this isn’t some canned comedy routine; Medina sees it as an opportunity for Northern New Mexicans to laugh together and see the comedic gold in our shared culture.

This unique Valentine’s show promises to delight those who are already fans of Medina. For those who haven’t met him yet, Graviel wants to know: “What you douuuching?!”

Valentime’s in the Norte:
8 pm Friday, Feb. 12. $15.
139 W San Francisco St.

Stone Cold Bummer

Born HereWednesday, February 10, 2016 by Miljen Aljinovic

For most, Groundhog Day is the first sign that winter will soon be ending; that from Feb. 2 forward, the sun will become brighter and warmer, and things might start looking up. For me, that’s the day after Valentine’s Day. Now, I know disliking this Hallmark holiday is nothing original. Even folks in relationships don’t particularly look forward to the day but merely view it as an opportunity (or obligation, depending on the longevity of the relationship) to demonstrate their affection for the one they’ve chosen to call their own. And yes, we’ve all heard time and again from the legions of heartbroken and disenchanted who feel marginalized and excluded by all the superficial declarations of love. I’m with you guys on that. But for me, it’s personal in a different way.

Feb. 14, 2011, was the worst day of my life. It actually didn’t start out too bad. I had the day off work, because my friends and I were going to see Del The Funky Homosapien that night. Before heading to the show, we all went over to Maggie’s place to pregame, because Maggie was the coolest, and that’s what we always did.

Everyone loved Maggie, she was that mellow, carefree girl with a great sense of humor who you could do no wrong around. I really loved Maggie. I’d told her so months earlier, but she “wasn’t looking for a boyfriend.” It was that evening, as we all sat around drinking wine and getting excited, that I realized how close she and Dan were. When he leaned over and coyly pecked her on the cheek, I began to realize what everyone else in our group of friends had managed to figure out long before: Maggie wasn’t looking for a boyfriend because she already had one. I wish the story ended here.

I was in the passenger seat of Tyler’s car, pulling out of Maggie’s driveway half an hour later, when my phone started ringing. The last coherent memory I have is wondering why my sister would be calling me at close to 1 am, her time. I’m not sure how many times I asked, “Hello?” to the sobbing on the other end of the line before she started croaking, “It’s Dad … He’s gone.”

I don’t know if I hung up on her before punching the glove compartment and repeatedly screaming, “FUCK,” until Tyler pulled over. The only thing I remember clearly about the rest of the night is walking home, in the rain, sobbing, wanting to scream, “MY DAD IS DEAD!” at every passerby, so they wouldn’t assume I was some pathetic loser who had just had his heart broken on Valentine’s Day. But I was. I was that, too.

I heard the concert was awful, too.

It’s been close to five years now since that awful, shitty night. I still miss my father on a daily basis. But weirdly, I feel like in the last five years, we’ve been closer than we ever were in the five years before his death. Every time I’ve wanted to share something with him, or talk to him, I can hear his answer as clearly as my own voice in my head. I can’t exactly remember what Maggie’s face looks like.

I probably still haven’t totally gotten over that night, but over the years, I learned something about loss: If you knew what you had to begin with, nothing can ever take away the way that person made you feel. Because if what we share in life is real, we start to become part of one another.

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