SFR Picks

SFR Picks—Week of Aug. 30

Acquaint yourself with singer Loveless Johnson III, meet Santa Fe’s newest band, burn Old Man Gloom to freaking death and fall in love with dance with Compagnie Chouinard

Feel the Love

Loveless Johnson III hits his renaissance

Though local musician and actor Loveless Johnson III has called Santa Fe home for nearly 30 years, only recently, he says, has he zeroed in on a confident artistic voice. Some might have seen him perform at Palace Prime, Evangelo’s or elsewhere—Johnson has become such a ubiquitous musical presence at jazz shows, blues shows, R&B shows lately that it’s almost unavoidable at this point. And though there’s no telling how many projects Johnson might ultimately put together in the present and future, we’re here today to talk about the now weekly Downtown Blues Jam at Evangelo’s, and Brotha Love and the Bluesristocrats.

“I’ve always sang, I’ve been around jam sessions for years, and for a long, long time I was holding back and pretty much being a mediocre karaoke singer,” Johnson tells SFR. “But the quality of the players we have in this city and their patience with me continues to inspire, so I’ve finally started singing the way I can. Lo and behold, I discovered people like it.”

Johnson came up in the church singing choir and gospel in Atlanta, but a serendipitous vocal solo at age 11 at the behest of his mother served as a turning point for the fledgling singer.

“I was mortified,” he explains, “but I gave it all I had.”

These days, though, in Santa Fe, Johnson’s looking to unite a scene in the tradition of the sadly defunct Canyon Road Blues Jam events hosted by former Santa Fean Tone Forrest. There are, Johnson notes, a whole lot of musicians looking to jam, why not gather them? At the upcoming Downtown Blues Jam, for example, Johnson’s roster includes notable locals such as John LaCava, Liam Downey, Johnny Benoit, Jay Dronge and Michael Handler; his own Bluesristorcats will serve as the house band for the night. For now, Johnson says it’s about building community and sharpening his skills, but he won’t be truly satisfied, he explains, “until we’re playing on Saturday Night Live.

“This is about me stepping up to demonstrate my love for community,” he continues. “I believe in it; I believe in the people. I know the city can have a better path forward.”

He means that musically, of course, and it’s hard to not get amped up at the implication. (Alex De Vore)

Downtown Blues Jam with Brotha Love and the Bluesristocrats: 8:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 5. Free. Evangelo’s, 200 W San Francisco St.,

Jurassic Lark

Santa Fe could always do with some more musical acts who bother to churn out original material, which stands as the main reason to be excited about self-described garage band Mind Your Dinosaur and their upcoming performance at As Above So Below Distillery (formerly Altar Spirits). It would be easy to rattle off a list of similar bands you likely know, like The Band or David Bowie or Pink Floyd, though Mind Your Dinosaur does tend more toward bluesy riff territory than any of those examples. Think psych-rock with subtle punk elements bleeding in and a definite laid-back garage feel. Mind Your Dinosaur’s only been playing live since last year, but if early live and studio recordings are any indication, they might be onto something special here. At the very least, it’s something with which we’re not all painfully familiar at this point. In summation? New band plays new tunes. Wild. (ADV)

Mind Your Dinosaur: 8 pm Thursday, Aug. 31. Free. As Above So Below Distillery, 545 Camino de la Familia, (505) 916-8596


Many a local has been on pins and needles waiting for the annual burning of Zozobra, but this one’s for the visitors who might not be totally aware that we burn a huge-ass puppet this time of year to banish our feelings of doom and gloom. For the upcoming 99th Burning of Zozobra, said puppet (aka Old Man Gloom) takes on the style choices of the 2000s as part of the ongoing Decades Project that has found the villain decked out in garb from various eras. Organizers never reveal the face before the big show, so you’ll have to attend to find out what that means in entirety. Regardless, the point is this—if you’ve never screamed at the physical manifestation of evil while it burns beneath fireworks and sick jamz, you might not have ever really lived. We also could use a little relief when it comes to gloom. Oh, and depending on when you’re reading this, it might be worth picking up tickets at (ADV)

99th Burning of Zozobra: 4 pm Friday, Sept. 1. $20-$209. Fort Marcy Park, 490 Washington Ave., (505) 955-2501

In Good Compagnie

Everyone thinks they know precisely what dance is, right up until they see some performance that blows the roof off of the preconceived notions with Earth-shattering beauty. Compagnie Marie Chouinard does just that, we hear, and in palpably emotional style. Through a partnership with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, the project of beyond-noteworthy choreographer Marie Chouinard comes to the Lensic this week for its Santa Fe debut. Described as “provocative” and “animalistic,” the centerpiece performance of Chouinard’s The Rite of Spring will reportedly be the real showstopper, though dance legends circulate about her 24 Preludes set to Chopin’s famous work. Mark your calendar, movement fans—and you, too, skeptics. This is next level dance; this is the good stuff. (ADV)

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Presents Compagnie Marie Chouinard: 8 pm Saturday, Sept. 2. $36-$114. Lensic Performing Arts Center, 211 W San Francisco St., (505) 988-1234

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