Riding Low

Fourth annual Lowrider Day goes statewide

In May of 2016, former Mayor Javier Gonzalez proclaimed the first-ever
Lowrider Day in Santa Fe to honor the subculture's inestimable impact on the region. At the time, both the New Mexico History Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art featured a slew of lowrider-centric events and exhibits; the world's first lowrider photo archive was also created.

And though Santa Fe has celebrated Lowrider Day each year with a car procession and show, this year the day's designation officially goes statewide after a proclamation from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in April. For event organizer Grace Martinez of Southwest Promotionz, who grew up in the lowrider world, it's a very big deal.

"My husband had his lowrider that he passed on to my sons, now they have lowriders; my brothers-in-law have lowriders, me and my husband share one," Martinez says. "It's the family and the artistic aspects, being with other lowriders, with friends and families, with people who share the love—it's seeing everybody having a good time and showing off great works of art."

Martinez says this year's show and parade have changed slightly to close out the event with the procession rather than begin it, and that over 100 cars from New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Arizona and Nevada are slated to appear. Martinez is also quick to call attention to the proposed Española Lowrider Museum (espanolalowridermuseum.com), an institution for which she hopes events like Lowrider Day can muster attention, and one that would be the first of its kind.

As for the big day this weekend, Martinez says she feels nothing but excitement.

"I love Lowrider Day because of the comments we get from the participants," she explains. "Being in a car show is totally different, and … being on the Plaza brings a whole different kind of [visitor]; it's not the regular car-show goers. It's people who've never seen a lowrider, and tourists intrigued by the artwork."
(Alex De Vore)

New Mexico Lowrider Day 2019
9 am-3 pm Saturday May 11. Free.
Santa Fe Plaza,
100 Old Santa Fe Trail.

Riding Low Redux

Don Usner

With the fourth annual Lowrider Day coming up, longtime photographer Don Usner discusses and shows his work from lowrider communities at a talk and opening. Having photographed the cars and the people who build and drive them for decades now, Usner has become immersed in the culture; the photographs on display show this engagement in a way few others have achieved. Usner also brings a special guest from Española to talk about his own experience building and painting the remarkable cars, and we hear this guest might just bring his ride, weather permitting. It's an excellent chance to learn about lowriders the day before the New Mexico holiday—one which originated here in Santa Fe, we might add. (Per Olson)

Don Usner: Lowriders:
Friday May 10. Talk: 3 pm, $10; opening: 5 pm, free.
Exhibit through May 31.
El Zaguán,
545 Canyon Road, 983-2567

Santa Fe Bike Week is Back

JP Stupfel

Whether you are a regular bike commuter or a wheelie-poppin' newbie, Santa Fe Bike Week from May 11-19 is the perfect time to hit the trails, celebrate and learn some new skills. Activities include a bike swap, a scavenger hunt bike ride, a bike
mechanics class, a commuting basics class, group trail rides, a screening of Bike Love at the Violet Crown Cinema and much, much more. Cyclists ride free on the Rail Runner May 11, 12, 18 and 19 and, if you want to bike to work but are nervous to start, bike buddies will be available to guide you along the best routes. It's about health, action, the environment and—let's face it—fun. (Leah Cantor)

Santa Fe Bike Week:
May 11-19. Various locations.

Go West

Courtesy Blue Rain Gallery

Painter Billy Schenck's origin story may begin in the Midwest, but a lifelong love affair with the Southwest—not to mention a perhaps obsessive love for the art and iconography of the region—has played a much more pivotal role in his practice. Schenck's work merges pop sensibilities with a romanticized ideation of the Old West, a sort of gathering place for the lonesome, crooning cowboy and the big, puffy clouds lit like fire on the horizon at sunset. Think Lichtenstein meets Western movie poster from Hollywood's golden era and you get the basic idea, though there's much more to it. Schenck could obviously tell you better—and he'll do just that at an upcoming appearance for Blue Rain Gallery's ongoing monthly lecture series. Yee-haw. (ADV)

Billy Schenck: How I Became a Western Pop Artist and the Emergence of Contemporary Western Art as a Genre: 
5 pm Tuesday May 14. Free.
Blue Rain Gallery,
544 S Guadalupe St.,