Dream a Little Dream
Rez Dogs artist Chaz John is back, and he's knee deep in dreams and the American mythos
You know how your dreaming life is a stitched-together assortment of vaguely familiar ideas, shapes and pseudo-realities? Or when you describe to someone how you dreamed about them by saying, "You were you, but you weren't you?" You know how the memory of the dream fades quickly the longer removed from it you find yourself, or how there's often a pang of nostalgia associated with your subconscious mind's ability to play movies for you while you sleep? Artist Chaz John (Winnebago, Mississippi Band Choctaw and European) is fascinated with this stuff, and it's some of what makes it into his upcoming show at Ellsworth Gallery, Manifest Destiny's Child.
In the show, John tackles the idea of the American frontier, the bizarre American insistence about what we might call the good ol' days and a dash of self-directed Jungian psychology for a sort-of installation featuring paintings culled from his dreams and life, sculptural pieces (no spoilers, but we're particularly looking forward to the piece "Andrew Jackson's Dumb-Ass Leg") and a video component.
"We are, in the present moment, the product of this sort of ideology and greater myth of American life," John tells SFR. "It's an approach to examining the outlook of the greater human or collective experience—I think I was kind of examining what it's like to be both Indigenous and part of a colonial heritage. It seems, especially with the conflicts and everything happening right now, like everything is unrecognizable and recognizable at the same time. That's very similar, I think, to what I think dreaming is."
As always, John inserts humor into his show as well. A living M&M surfs through a dungeon and pigs tear through slop. But there are also elements of death and decay—yet also burning or renewal. It's a departure from John's previous works but another seeming home run from the Santa Fe-cum-Kansas artist. Ellsworth offers a virtual opening this Friday, but John says appointments will be available once the current COVID-19 lockdown lifts. (Alex De Vore)
Chaz John: Manifest Destiny's Child:
5 pm Friday, Nov. 20. Free.
Think of the Children
Now that we're heading into the winter doldrums, which are already hard enough during the best of times, we're keenly aware of how folks with kids are desperately looking for things to do with those kids. Don't worry, parents, though, because, as always, the library has your back. The Santa Fe Public Library presents Wake Up Story Time with Walter, a weekly affair on Fridays wherein stalwart storyteller Walter offers a tale for kids ages 0-6. All are welcome, of course, but if you're thinking you'd like to just drink a cup of coffee and have a few freaking minutes to think, your ship has come in. Thanks, Santa Fe Public Library!
Wake Up Story Time with Walter:
9:30 am, Friday, Nov. 20. Free.
Time Has Come
If only there were a way to gather notable Native film workers together to talk about the challenges facing them and film in general, and steps that might be taken to better the situation. Oh, wait—there is a way, and it comes in the form of the It's About Time panel from Silver Bullet Productions. The Santa Fe company is all about creating opportunities for Indigenous filmmakers, both budding and not, and at its upcoming virtual discussion, actor Wes Studi (first-ever Oscar for an Indigenous person, y'all), Tantoo Cardinal and Delanna Studi join moderator (and director) Chris Eyre to go over their experiences, challenges and more. Proceeds go to Silver Bullet and we promise you'll learn something amazing. (ADV)
It's About Time:
7 pm Saturday, Nov. 21. $20.
Feels like we're always talking about what species are in what kind of peril on Earth, and it often seems as if there might not be practical steps toward doing right by our animal brethren. Enter Critter O'Clock, a virtual discussion/gathering from the folks at WildEarth Guardians. The nonprofit works tirelessly to address issues facing conservation, the environment, public lands and beyond, and in the discussion aims to address animal fans in an informal way. You'll learn about things the organization is already doing in addition to steps that might be taken. The results, hopefully, will be a deeper appreciation for the American West and the animals who live here—as well as the ways in which you might help. (ADV)
4:30 pm Tuesday, Nov. 24. Free.