Cello? Is it Me You’re Looking For?

Cellist Joseph Johnson returns to Santa Fe for time at the opera and beyond

"So, Santa Fe is really a great place to spend the summer," cellist Joseph
Johnson tells SFR. "Not only because it's beautiful here, but because I get to play."

This year marks Johnson's 10th migration to town for the summer. He's the principal cellist for the Santa Fe Opera—plus the Toronto Symphony Orchestra back home in Canada, where he is also assistant professor of cello at the University of Toronto—and also performs with the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival each year. And while he's been a cello devotee for more than 20 years and plays in incredible venues across the world, Santa Fe summers hold a special place in his heart.

"There are a few major opera halls in the states. … And the great thing about Santa Fe is that most are off right now," he says. "So we get access to all of these amazing singers and conductors who work at these opera houses during the year."

But if a night at the opera isn't doable for whatever reason, Johnson performs a special pair of solo suites by Bach and Britten at SITE Santa Fe this week during the mid-morning hours, and the show is quite affordable to boot. According to Johnson, compositions for an unaccompanied cello are fairly rare, but those written by JS Bach and lesser-known 20th-century composer Benjamin Britten are not only beautiful, but a test of prowess for any cellist. Further, he says, such intimate performances are as thrilling for him as for an audience.

"It's a different experience," he says. "A lot of people aren't super familiar with cello music, so I know I'm always introducing something new—people leave different than when they came in."

Poet Donald Levering also reads as part of the event. (Alex De Vore)

Chatter: Joseph Johnson and Donald Levering
10:30 am Saturday July 13. $5-$15.
SITE Santa Fe
1606 Paseo de Peralta, 989-1199

From South Africa to Santa Fe

US Dream Academy

With the International Folk Art Market underway this weekend, Santa Fe plays host to a number of diverse peoples, but probably none quite as world-renowned as Ndaba Mandela. Mandela, an author, speaker and entrepreneur—as well as the grandson of activist icon and former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela—serves as keeper of his grandfather's legacy, while working to create his own by shifting the world's misconceptions about Africa through his Africa Rising foundation. Catch Mandela speaking and signing copies of his book Going to the Mountain: Lessons from My Grandfather, Nelson Mandela. (Nicole Madrid)

Mandela Welcome Reception and Book Signing
5-7 pm Wednesday July 10. Free.
Center for Contemporary Arts
1050 Old Pecos Trail, 982-1338

Mandela with Regis Pecos and Teddy Warria
10 am-noon Thursday July 11. Free.
Mandela International Magnet School
1604 Agua Fría St., 467-1901.

I Don’t Know What We’re Yelling About

courtesy The Wizard

Loud noises and maybe a little bit of nonsense are what you can expect from The Wizard, a psych-fuzz act straight outta San Antonio with garage-gritty bass and fierce drumming. The newest tunes (which you can listen ahead of time at thewizard.bandcamp.com) are more on the side of a surf-punk-rock hybrid than anything else, but it still gets wild and fuzzy-dirty more often than it sounds beachy. This music isn't clean, it isn't clear precisely what genre it might be, it ain't necessarily danceable and it's too wake-the-fuck-up'ey to be tranceable; but you get sucked in, splatted against a wall of sound and gloriously scraped back up and re-formed into something a little happier. (Charlotte Jusinski)

The Wizard with Mabob
8 pm Sunday July. 14. $5-$10.
Zephyr Community Art Studio
1520 Center Drive, Ste. 2.

Be the Bee

It's no big secret that the bee situation on spaceship Earth has become untenable, but what can you, some everyday schmoe, do about it? As with most things, it turns out education and action are the answers—thus, a new team-up between the New Mexico Beekeepers Association and Santa Fe Honey Salon oughta help bridge some knowledge gaps while helping to foster creative and curious ways to assist those adorable little buzzers. Hit the Railyard Park Community Room this Tuesday morning to not only observe the hive, but to learn tips for building and expanding a hive of your own at home. At some point, we assume, there will be honey. (ADV)

Honey Bee Workshop
10 am-noon Tuesday July 16. Free.
Railyard Park Community Room
701 Callejón St., 316-3596