SFR Picks

SFR Picks—Week of Jan. 4

Writing and a juried exhibit, improv lessons and new jokes

It’s OK to Be OK

Writer Jill Prendergast uses her words at upcoming after-hours coffeeshop reading, gathering

Throughout the pandemic, it seemed like the hits just kept coming at local writer/poet Jill Prendergast. First, there was COVID and the lockdowns; then her father died; her brother accidentally overdosed and died not long after. At that point, Prendergast found herself wrapping up her sibling’s affairs in southern Florida—perhaps the weirdest place in the country. After that, she ended a longtime relationship and found herself on her own for the first time in ages. The words started to pour.

“But I became so tired of talking about grief and isolation,” Prendergast tells SFR of the period that followed. “I think I grossed myself out, and I didn’t mean for it to become a creative purge, but I guess it was more like an emotional purge what with the timing of everything happening in the world.”

The results of that purge can be found in Prendergast’s new poetry collection, Soap Opera, a play on words based in early morning sojourns to Earl’s Laundromat on Agua Fría Street in Santa Fe. Loose in structure and deeply, personally vulnerable, Soap Opera represents massive change and upheaval, but also the long, slow trudge to being OK again and the resultant guilt that springs from happiness following an extended bout with the sadsies.

“Noticing when you’re happy and exclaiming it...was hugely expansive,” Prendergast explains. “I’d never done it, so a lot of these poems...I was uncomfortable writing about joy; like you’re waiting for it to fall away. It’s scary noticing when you’re happy, almost like you’re allowing room for somebody to come in and fuck it up.”

Prendergast will read from her new collection—as well as selections from older books Mercurial and Maybe Even Wonderful—alongside her editors, Josh Stuyvesant and Jeremy Kinter, both writers themselves, at the upcoming Afterhours at CMB event at downtown coffeeshop Crash Murder Business. It’s a one-off thing for her, she says, as she doesn’t often feel comfortable sharing so publicly. Still, with her style landing within a milieu she calls “prose-etry,” it sounds like a fine way to get a little poetic culture.

“I’m not very abstract,” Prendergast concludes. “We’ve all lost people, we all understand grief collectively. It makes the world more relatable.” (Alex De Vore)

Afterhours at CMB: 7 pm Thursday, Jan. 5. Free (donations accepted). Crash Murder Business, 312 Montezuma Ave.,

The Jury’s In

Kudos to new-ish art space Strata Gallery, not only for shirking the pricy Canyon Road glitz and glamour for more local-friendly digs on Cerrillos Road, but for continuing its mission to show work that is both accessible and excitingly novel. In this instance, we refer to Strata’s second annual Fragments juried exhibition wherein 41 artists from more than a dozen states show their best pieces through the auspices of gallery prez David Olivant. You’ll find paintings, digital works, sculpture and so much more pulled from nearly 750 submissions. How each artist explores the idea of fragmentation is anyone’s guess, but it’ll sure be cool to find out. (ADV)

Fragments Juried Exhibition Reception: 5-8 pm Friday, Jan. 6. Free. Strata Gallery, 418 Cerrillos Road, (505) 780-5403

Room For Improv-Ment (Sorry)

Though one could argue bad improv is the stuff of nightmares, everybody’s gotta start somewhere when it comes to the sometimes-sublime art form, and the folks at Stage Santa Fe are making it easier than ever with a pair of free workshops aimed at the curious. In a nutshell, this one’s for the people who’ve watched the sketch shows, know what we mean when we say things like “UCB” and “Harold” and/or just want to learn the ins and outs with other comedy students looking to take things to the next level. In short, if you always thought you were funny and quick but never knew quite how to flex those skills, instructor Eric Weiss will show you how it’s done. Just make sure you only sign up for one of the two classes. (ADV)

Free Intro to Longform Improv Workshop: 2-4 pm Satruday, Jan. 7 and Sunday, Jan. 8. Free. Stage Santa Fe, 1202 Parkway Drive, (505) 302-1250

Even Funnier

As you might have read in our recent “25 Things We Love About Santa Fe Right Now” cover from late December, the comedy scene in Santa Fe has been hitting its stride of late—almost to the point that our admittedly paltry number of venues can’t contain the yuks. Enter Last Stop Comedy Night, a new series going down at Second Street Brewery’s Railyard location. It’s not only nice to see live entertainment in this spot again after Second Street’s Rufina outpost claimed the bulk of the company’s music offerings, but comedy seems a natural fit for the size of the room. Besides, when you get down to it, a nice burger or fish and chips and a few laughs with local and touring comics sounds great. Oh, and there’s an open mic component, too, for the up-and-comers. (ADV)

Last Stop Comedy Night: Sign-up 7:30 pm; show at 8 pm. Tuesday, Jan. 10. Free. Second Street Brewery (Railyard), 1607 Paseo de Peralta, (505) 989-3278

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