“This is the role they play”
New local exhibition highlights the work of photojournalists on September 11
Michelle and Sidney Monroe of Santa Fe’s Monroe Gallery of Photography were a mere nine blocks north of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
Back then, well before the Monroes moved to Santa Fe, their New York space was already highlighting the work of photojournalists around the world. Captivating images of joy, terror or all points in between is just part of the job, and you never know when they might flare into existence. Still, the aftermath of 9/11 stuck with the Monroes, and the gallery opens a new show this week about the history of the buildings themselves, as well as that most harrowing day in American history.
“I’m a New Yorker, and I remember [the towers] being built,” Sid tells SFR. “The exhibit traces that planning, construction, landscape and the aftermath of that day. It’s like a memory, a history of those buildings.”
The gallery is an extension of the Monroes’ long career in documenting photojournalism and the photographers who often risk their own lives to record history. 9/11: In Remembrance takes a look at that role but, beyond the national trauma, also attempts to capture how the World Trade Center represented American ingenuity in the 20th century.
“It’s definitive photojournalism,” Michelle explains. “We’ve been inspired to illustrate the calling of this career to understand history—and that’s our gallery mission.”
Photographers in the show include Tony Vaccaro, who catalogues a friendship with World Trade Center architect Minoru Yamasaki, and Eric O’Connell, who grabbed his cameras as the towers burned and caught crisp black and white images of the destruction.
“There are times when people become witnesses to history, and that changes you,” Sid explains. “We knew so many people that were lost, and people who lost others.”
As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the images of that fateful day may be seared into our collective consciousness forever. But what about the photographers themselves?
“This is the role they play,” Michelle says. “This is history.” (Riley Gardner)
9/11 In Remembrance: All day Friday, Sept. 3. Free. Monroe Gallery of Photography, 112 Don Gaspar, (505) 992-0800
Can’t be Stopped
New Mexico Actors Lab founder and Managing Director Robert Benedetti brings his fifth rendition of the 1937 Marc Blitzstein musical The Cradle Will Rock to the local stage this week. The show opens with what inspired Benedetti to first direct it 42 years ago—the story of how it almost never premiered. In 1936, the show’s originating theater was locked and the union banned the actors from performing. But with Orson Welles as the director, “no” became “yes,” and the night was triumphant. Benedetti says yes, too, to the not-quite-play, not-quite-opera, not-quite-musical. Be ready to start in the parking lot. (Liane Pippin)
The Cradle Will Rock: 7:30 pm Thursday, Sept. 2-Saturday, Sept. 4; 2 pm Sunday, Sept. 5. Sunday, Sept. 19. $25. New Mexico Actor’s Lab, 1213 Parkway Drive B, (505) 395-6576
Under the Stars
The stars shine bright over Santa Fe, but at Fort Union National Monument in the tiny town of Watrous, New Mexico, views expand into virtually unobstructed wonders. See it for yourself this week (with almost zero light pollution)—just make sure to bring a jacket, water and walking shoes before learning about what the National Park Service website describes as “a significant natural resource” (aka starlight). Telescopes will be provided, so there’s no need to bring your own. Be prepared to listen and learn about the site itself, not to mention the ever-expanding sky above. It’s free, it’s outside and we’re lucky here in New Mexico—no sky is like ours. (LP)
2021 Night Sky Programs: 7:30 pm Saturday, Sept. 4. Free. Fort Union National Monument 3115 NM Highway 161, Watrous. (505)-425-8025, ext. 0
The Next Rock Legend
Bonafide shredder guitarist Gary Clark Jr. could have performed at Woodstock if he’d only been alive, but that doesn’t make his jamz sound dated—more like universal. In fact, you don’t even have to know his music to enjoy it, and it’s easy to sing along with and even better for dancing. Don’t let those sexy guitar solos fool you, either. Clark Jr.’s screaming for his basic human rights. Not one to shy from truth, his pain is palpable, and you can’t help but dance and wonder if simply doing so is the response he deserves. When someone shreds like Hendrix and grooves like Gaye while remaining distinct, you know he’s creating something almost brand-new. Look out Santa Fe—Clark Jr. will not be ignored. (LP)
Gary Clark Jr.: 7 pm Sunday, Sept. 5. $54-$69. The Bridge Patio, 37 Fire Place, ampconcerts.org