Santa Fe in summer is great. It’s a constant party. Everyone’s day-drinking on rooftop bars and dozing under cottonwoods. The livin’ is easy.
But guess what? It’s not summer any more. And, despite how winter comes around every year, we are still baffled every time, wondering what we can possibly do to entertain ourselves until the warm weather rolls back around.
Here are a couple ideas, both in your house and outside it.

Keep It Bite-Sized

Galleries across town tend to whip out their tiniest artworks for the holiday season. We think it’s because these small works fit conveniently into a carry-on suitcase or a flat-rate Priority Mail box.
The galleries of the 400 block of Canyon Road (that includes Wiford Gallery, Canyon Road Contemporary, Pippin Contemporary, Ventana Fine Art and Mark White Fine Art) are making a point this winter to have a wide selection of fine art that’s friendly on the wallet—from $50 to $1,000. The season kicks off on the evening of Friday Dec. 15 with bonfires, music, cider and (of course) art, and throughout the winter the neighbors keep things festive and friendly.

Santa Fe Clay (545 Camino de la Familia, 984-1122) also has a decidedly giftable show this season with Bottoms Up! More than 150 ceramics artists from around the country were asked to create some kind of a drinking vessel, and boy did they deliver. Many are under $50, and they’re on view through Jan. 13.

The Art.i.factory (930 Baca St., 982-5000) is one of our favorite places to find independent original work. This winter features an exhibit of wooden jewelry from Twig (Bed Head: “This Wood’s Really Doing It For Us,” June 18) and photography by Chelsea Call. The juxtaposition of dynamic women artists is totally doing it for us, and it’s up through Jan. 27.
Of course, even if you’re not into gifting, strolling a show of bite-size works makes having an actual art collection feel a little more attainable.
You supply the love for small makers, Art.i.factory supplies the wood, everyone is happy.
You supply the love for small makers, Art.i.factory supplies the wood, everyone is happy. | Courtesy Art.i.factory

Get Schooled

This one is a little out-of-the-box. But stay with us now. You’re gonna school yourself backwards and start loving opera.

Go pick up the original 1994 cast recording of Rent. You know, the super-famous Broadway musical about starving-artist riff-raff in New York City in the ’80s and ’90s—it deals with drug addiction, HIV/AIDS, amorphous genders and sex … and yeah, it’s got a song romanticizing Santa Fe, but that’s beside the point.

Give it a listen. Learn it.

Now it’s time to do some reading about director Baz Luhrmann’s staging of the Puccini opera La Bohème on Broadway in 2002 (he’s the Danes/DiCaprio Romeo+Juliet guy). Called “brilliant” by the BBC, “rapturous” by the New York Times and “OMG WTF BBQ” by this writer, the reinvention of the show was a revelation that made one of the best and most beautifully poignant operas in existence somehow even better, skyrocketing audiences into the stratosphere of operatic ecstasy. If you think opera is boring or stodgy, just look into La Bohème. The Met describes the production as centering “on self-conscious youth at odds with mainstream society,” and, like—c’mon—an ethereal 19th-century artistic rendering of our current predicament is kind of what we need right now.

Now that you’ve done all that—and maybe popped that other Luhrmann masterpiece, Moulin Rouge, back into the DVD player again because it, too, has ties to Puccini—it probably took you a month or so, if you did it right.

Oh, you did all that in a week? Start over. Twice.

Now you are ready for the Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD presentation of La Bohème at the Lensic on Saturday Feb. 24 (10:30 am and 6 pm. $20-$28. 211 W San Francisco St., 988-1234;

Presented in conjunction with the Santa Fe Opera, it may just emotionally disembowel you, insert a pacemaker that beats opera obsession, and then sew you back together to forever tick inside with love for characters equally gorgeous and equally doomed.
Don’t say we didn’t warn you, and don’t forget to thank us.