SFR Picks

SFR Picks—Week of May 3

Everybody’s favorite dive bar turns 16, Trinidad punk comes to the DIY circuit, how to love the river and heroes in a half-shell

By the Horns

Break out the candles and bull merch for The Matador’s sweet 16

It seems as if downtown dive bar The Matador can’t possibly be turning 16. Descending into the darkness of its denlike and mural-covered main room has become such an iconic part of Santa Fe nightlife that the watering hole gained a few additional decades in our collective estimation.

“I get folks that come in and are like, ‘I was here 22 years ago!’” Owner Cesar Fort tells SFR. “And I’m like, ‘We weren’t!’”

It’s not hard to imagine why The Matador keeps going strong in the face of ever-rising downtown real estate costs and infamously high bar industry turnovers. For a start, there’s the bizarre dearth of spots playing straight-up punk in a city filled with fans of the countercultural. We also relish the sense of old school specialness conjured by an ATM trip on the way to one of the few cash-only establishments left in town. Ultimately, though, Fort credits his success to prioritizing customer safety.

“Yes, we fund the place by furnishing alcohol, but what we’re selling is atmosphere,” he notes. “That’s why you have to protect the people who’ve chosen to imbibe in your place—creating an environment where they are safe and comfortable and can let loose and feel acceptance. So we take care of babysitting and keep out the bad apples.”

That feeling of security is so palpable that creatively inclined regulars can often be found sketching in corners: They know if they come early, bartender Katia Prokopiak will likely keep the lights up for them. But things are going to be dark, loud and boisterous at Friday night’s birthday party—just how we love The Matador most.

DJ Le Kuro Neko is spinning harder-edged rock and metal than you’re likely to find elsewhere, and starting at midnight the bar will be raffling off merch (expect plenty of the classic horned logo) made by Prokopiak. But even if you’re not the type to lust after a bullhorn-bedecked hat, the excitement and intensity of a proper Matador party is temptation enough.

“We’re not trying to be the quiet bar,” Fort explains. “We’re not trying to be a rowdy bar—but there’s always a little spice and controversy.” (Siena Sofia Bergt)

Anniversary Party: 10 pm-2 am, Friday May 5, The Matador, 116 W San Francisco St., (505) 984-5050

Town and Out

How the heck is one supposed to know whether Trinidad, Colorado’s The Townies is a serious band or not? On the one hand, flavors of Jello Biafra and DK ring hard and true on a song like “Hooray!” On the other hand, the band’s online presence is...tongue-in-cheek, let’s say. In either event, The Townies might just be Trinidad’s only punk outfit, and they’re coming to Santa Fe with a new album in tow and all the fast ’n’ sloppy guitars and pissed-off vocals you can handle. Locals like synth genius Velvet Vision and garage rockers Babelshack open, plus lots more. Oh, Ghost—you’re the best DIY venue a town could hope for! (Alex De Vore)

The Townies: 7 pm Friday, May 5. $10-$15. Ghost, 2899 Trades West Road

Watershed Moment

For the last 17 years, the Santa Fe Watershed Association has commemorated an annual Love Your River Day, but this year the nonprofit has renamed its homage with a wider perspective. Love Your Watershed Day presents a full schedule of free events including live music at Alto Park. (Pro tip: Bring a chair, a hat and water bottle). Take a water-themed yoga class with Jaclyn Behringer at 10 am and/or make fish hats with local artists from 10 to 11:30. Tour the rain garden and river restoration sites at either 11 or noon. You had us at fish hats. (Julie Ann Grimm)

Love Your Watershed Day: 9 am to 1 pm, Saturday May 6, Alto Park, 1121 Alto St., (505) 820-1696

Cereal? Killer!

Did you know there are no longer Saturday morning cartoons? That’s right, olds of a certain age (of which we count ourselves, so no letters!)—the tradition of selling toys via animated broadcast television programs hastily popped out in Korea ended some years ago. Maybe it’s because kids are more mature now, maybe it’s because there are laws about the kinds of cereals companies can sell; maybe it’s just how things ebb and flow. In any event, Beastly Books (being the bookstore owned by George “Really Rad” Martin) knows you miss the innocence of youth and Street Sharks or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and as such will offer you shows like that, plus cereal, at its weekly Saturday Morning Cartoons events. Pajamas are encouraged, btw. (ADV)

Saturday Morning Cartoons: 11 am-7 pm Saturday, May 6. Free. Beastly Books, 418 Montezuma Ave., (505) 395-2628

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