Snapshots of Indigenous Mexican rites
William Frej has spent a significant portion of his decades-spanning career photographing the lives and rituals of Indigenous peoples around the globe, capturing traditions and cultures at risk of going by the wayside as the modern world outpaces them.
"It's documenting a way of life that's not going to be with us much longer," Frej tells SFR.
Frej is set to debut his fourth show at Peyton Wright Gallery at the end of this week. Titled Rituals of the Cora: Holy Week in the Sierra del Nayarit, Mexico, Frej's newest collection chronicles an ancient custom carried out in one of Mexico's most remote villages, Santa Teresa, in the mountains of Nayarit.
The Cora—or Náayerite, as they call themselves—of Santa Teresa are an
almost entirely isolated people. Filled with stunning black-and-white photos, Rituals gives the viewer a rare glimpse at their annual Easter-adjacent Holy Week activities, an event that incorporates Catholicism with their own traditional beliefs. Frej, who has attended numerous Indigenous Holy Week ceremonies worldwide, describes the Cora's version as "pretty exceptional."
"These are rituals you rarely see anywhere in the world," Frej explains, telling SFR that he, his wife and their anthropologist guide were the only non-Mexicans in the village during the week's events. "It's important to have photographic documentation before they disappear."
You can also hear him recount his time with the Cora in an artist talk on Saturday afternoon. After hearing bits of the story for ourselves, SFR can attest it's a fascinating tale to hear, but we won't spoil it for you.
Frej promises the show is "going to be relatively historical." He explains: "As far as I know there's never been any [other] kind of photographic exhibition of the Cora." (Nicole Madrid)
Rituals of the Cora: Holy Week in the Sierra del Nayarit Opening Reception
5 pm Friday Aug. 2. Free.
1 pm Saturday Aug. 3. Free.
Peyton Wright Gallery,
237 E Palace Ave., 989-9888
The Strait Dope
Sadly but truly, summer will be over before you know it, and with it goes another season of the annual Santa Fe Bandstand series. And whether you've been engaging with the free shows thus far or not, one upcoming appearance is extra worthy of attention: Los Straitjackets. The bemasked instrumental players from Nashville, Tennessee (or Surf City, we can't be sure), bring a strange but pleasing blend of rock at the intersection of surf, rock, doo-wop and country. Wrap it up in a mix of campy style and upbeat presentation, and you've got something for pretty much anyone. Tongue-in-cheek? You bet—but with solid musicianship and no shortage of nostalgia. DK and the Affordables opens. (Alex De Vore)
6 pm Thursday Aug. 1. Free.
Santa Fe Plaza
100 Old Santa Fe Trail.
No one knows how many celebrities live in Santa Fe, but if you grew up around here, there's really only one name that simultaneously leaves us starstruck and intrigued at our very cores: Joe Hayes. The longtime beloved local institution is the consummate storyteller, the keeper of lore from tales of the trickster Coyote to that most horrifying arroyo spirit La Llorona. Hayes has been doling out the wisdom and morality plays since before any of us can remember, but it's hard to imagine the world of local folklórico without him. Hayes comes to the Wheelwright this weekend with his trademark style to teach us a little about
life—and to scare the hell out of us with his ghost moans. (ADV)
Storytelling with Joe Hayes
7 pm Saturday and Sunday Aug. 3 and 4, Free.
Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian
704 Camino Lejo, 982-4636.
It Really Is
Who'd have thought that a group of nerds from the University of Ohio could turn a love of found footage, lowbrow art and bizarre aesthetics into an internationally recognized media powerhouse? Probably no one, and yet, Everything is Terrible exists. You might know the project best as the one behind the search for any Jerry Maguire VHS copies it can find, which will one day be transformed into a pyramid monument in the desert someplace. Maybe you know EIT from its collaboration with Santa Fe artist Nico Salazar and his Future Fantasy Delight brand? Whatever. Because however you know 'em—and especially if you don't—Everything is Terrible heads our way soon, and you've gotta check it out. (ADV)
Everything is Terrible
8 pm Monday August 5. $21-$25.
1352 Rufina Circle, 395-6369.