A Flair for the Dramatic

And we don't mean that in the pejorative

For those tapped into social justice, Native America and basically anything else that matters to decent people, the protests outside Bismarck, North Dakota, in 2016 and 2017 were one of the most heart-wrenching events we're likely to encounter in our lifetimes. The thousands of Indigenous and non-Native people who flocked to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation were trying to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and for a while it looked like they might even succeed in preserving the Natives' water supply—only to be ultimately trounced.

At Standing Rock, people were attacked with hoses, tear gas, flash-bang grenades and wars of attrition. But still, babies were born, music was made, art flourished, and America was shown in no uncertain terms the terrifying and exhilarating resilience of a people so long disenfranchised.

In the ambitious 1,680-square-foot exhibition Beyond Standing Rock, curators CL Kieffer Nail and Devorah Romanek present a museum show borne partly by Facebook messages and social media posts, reflecting the urgency and real-time nature of the Standing Rock protests. In addition to a Pulitzer-nominated image by Zoe Urness, sculpture from Kathy Whitman Elk Woman and paintings from the likes of Tony Abeyta and Frank Buffalo Hyde, the show also features hastily created protest art and photos whose artists the curators tracked down via Facebook.

Beyond just the artworks, Kieffer Nail says, she is most excited about the overall presentation of the exhibit itself. "The lighting of everything really makes stuff pop. We have a teepee that we installed right in the middle of the gallery, and the way in which our exhibit designer lit it—she showed me a couple photos … and she nailed it. It feels as though there's a small fire on the inside. … The lighting on some of the sculptures, it really makes them look more dramatic. And that's a really important quality that we need to bring out in a topic like this."
(Charlotte Jusinski)

Beyond Standing Rock: The Past, Present, and Future of the Water Protectors:
1-4 pm Saturday Feb. 23; panel discussion: 2 pm. Through Oct. 27. Reception free; museum admission thereafter $6-$12.
Museum of Indian Arts and Culture,
710 Camino Lejo,
476-1250

La Luz

Courtesty Ghost

Amazingly, Portland, Oregon's Y La Bamba is not only returning to Santa Fe with that stellar mix of traditional Latin sounds and psych-ish indie rock, but they're doing so at Ghost, easily one of our most vital DIY venues. To us, this says a lot about the ethos of the band and their commitment to performing in smaller markets. Principal songwriter and frontwoman Luz Elena Mendoza has garnered Y La Bamba plenty of national attention from the likes of NPR and KEXP with her knack for melody and introspective lyrical style (often en español), and we're pretty lucky to get 'em back, frankly. Local folksters Atalya kick off the night with equally excellent chops. (Alex De Vore)

Y La Bamba with Atalaya:
8 pm Saturday Feb. 23. $10.
Ghost,
2899 Trades West Road.

This Changes Everything

Courtesy Menemsha Films

In late 1963, black and Jewish anti-apartheid activists and supporters of Nelson Mandela were arrested near Johannesburg, South Africa, on suspicion of sabotage. The subsequent trial, known as the Rivonia Trial, would lead to Mandela's decades-long incarceration, the rise of activism in South Africa and would indeed forever change the face of the African nation. These events are the kinds of things we know about fleetingly, but an upcoming screening of the 2017 film An Act of Defiance at the Center for Contemporary Arts courtesy of the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival ought to fill in the blanks for history buffs and the curious alike. (ADV)

An Act of Defiance:
11 am Sunday Feb. 24. $8-$15.
Center for Contemporary Arts,
1050 Old Pecos Trail,
982-1338.

The Man Comes Around

Brett Jordan

A Facebook friend recently pondered, "Do guys like Johnny Cash because they think they're supposed to?" It's a fair question, and one certainly fueled by Cash's late-in-life, Rick Rubin-propelled second wind. And though Cash certainly had his fair share of bad songs—and nobody ever needs to hear "Walk the Line" ever again—he did lend a punk rock je ne sais quoi to a rather staid country-Western universe in his day. Plus, songs like "Redemption," "The Man Comes Around" and his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt" have forever cemented him in the pantheon of legends. In other words, if you need to ask yourself whether you like Johnny Cash because your'e supposed to, there's no better place than at The Matador's tribute with DJs Prairiedog and Mama Goose. There are no wrong answers. (ADV)

Johnny Cash Tribute Night:
9 pm Tuesday Feb. 26. Free.
The Matador,
116 W San Francisco St.,
984-5050.