SFR Picks

SFR Picks—Week of Dec. 14

Gary Farmer plays the blues, prizes, birds and circuses

Gare Bear

Gary Farmer returns to Santa Fe with his band and a new record

At 70, actor/musician Gary Farmer (Cayuga of the Wolf Clan) tells SFR, he’s just about busier than he’s ever been. With roles on breakout shows like Reservation Dogs and Resident Alien—not to mention a longstanding career in film and television that spans decades—people are recognizing him in airports and coffee shops, asking for selfies and telling him they just love his work. He remains, however, as approachable and good-natured as ever, and he’s kept up with his music, too. Blues, to be more precise.

“I started off doing music because I wanted to rekindle the relationship between Native America and Black America,” he says one snowy afternoon, “and I figured that’s where the blues came from.”

Farmer founded Santa Fe née California blues act The Troublemakers in the early aughts with buds from in and around San Diego and LA. Between shooting projects, he’d write with the fellas, and a 2004 sojourn to Santa Fe to play Indian Market left with Farmer, “never really leaving.” It’s been one of his home bases since then, with Ontario, Canada serving as his other HQ. He’s in Santa Fe for now before heading back to screen work, and he’s got a new Troublemakers record titled Fool For Love set to release this weekend with a show at Tumbleroot.

Fool finds Farmer and his motley crew of musicians like Derek Miller, Jamie Russell, BRant Leeper and Jaime “Bird” Yellowhorse stretching out. You’ll find familiar blues riffage and harmonicas, a 12-bar structure and backup vocals from singers Elyse Blanco and Suzanne Birrell, but you’ll also hear doo-wop themes and poppy jazz sensibilities among the album’s more traditional sounds. Farmer gets lovey-dovey on some tracks, singing to lost loves—or maybe even future ones—but he gets political, too, on songs like “Need a Gun,” the lyrics of which question the very nature of what a man needs while framing it in the context of today’s strife.

“I’m kind of surprised myself,” Farmer tells SFR of the six new tracks, “but I’m fascinated with music generally. I’m finding I’m somewhat jazz, pop; rock is what I grew up with. After all these years, music has become...I don’t need it to survive, but that’s freedom. I’m full of ideas.” (Alex De Vore)

Gary Farmer and the Troublemakers Album Release Show: 7:30 pm Saturday, Dec. 17. Pay what you can ($10 for CD), Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery, 2791 Agua Fría St., (505) 303-3808

The Opposite of a Drag

Real talk? It’s a great time to be a Santa Fe drag fan, what with all the ongoing brunches and parties and performances and whatnot. Our little city has always had a solid scene, but the queens and kings are really going for it lately. Up next for the drag faithful, find HRA Santa Fe’s annual holiday party, this year in the form of Pride After 5—a queen-a-thon with BINGO for all and a special evening of food and drinks from the folks at Opuntia. Attendance is free, but $20 buys you six cards for BINGO-ing, plus there’s a raffle and all proceeds go to the HRA, which puts on some of the finest queer-centric events in this or any town. (Alex De Vore)

Pride After 5 Drag Bingo: 5:30-9 pm Thursday, December 15. Free-$20. Opuntia, 1607 Alcaldesa St., (505) 780-5796

For the Birds

While we’re all overwhelmed by advertisements about gift-giving, there’s something oddly satisfying about seeing the birds in Jhenna Quinn Lewis’ paintings cheekily taking treasures for themselves. Lewis’ influences—from the Renaissance masters of lighting to Hiroshige’s delicate prints—come through clearly in her images of birds against trompe-l’oeil wallpaper backdrops. What sets her pieces apart, however, are the luminous earrings her birds clutch in their beaks: as if just snatched off the ear of an unsuspecting owner. You’ll also find still lifes of plums, pears and feathers on display at her new solo exhibition—but those birds are especially unmissable. (Siena Sofia Bergt)

Jhenna Quinn Lewis: Avifauna: A World Within: 5-7 pm Friday, December 16. Free. Meyer Gallery, 225 Canyon Road, (505) 983-1434.

Wilkommen, Bienvenu, Welcome

You’ll have to move quick if you want to get tickets to Wise Fool New Mexico’s upcoming Winter Cabaret performance—it’s reportedly the most-attended event each year for the local circus/performance school and community space. It’s also a chance for the instructors and students to showcase what they’ve been working on all year in a family friendly setting while raising a couple bucks for Wise Fool’s ongoing programs, both in-house and in Santa Fe public schools. We’ve all been talking more about gifting memorable experiences rather than forgettable materialistic tripe, right? Let’s do that. (Alex De Vore)

Wise Fool New Mexico Winter Cabaret: 5 pm Saturday, Dec. 17. $5-$20. Wise Fool New Mexico, 1131 Siler Road B, (505) 992-2588

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