Morning Word

Netflix Announces NM Expansion

Santa Fe Police investigate Thursday night shooting

Netflix expands, as Santa Fe makes bid for Sundance

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos yesterday announced Netflix’s Albuquerque Studios will expand to include four new sound stages, three mills, one production office and two stage support buildings. “Our experience in New Mexico has been exceptional,” Sarandos says in a statement. “We appreciate the strong partnership with the state and local governments, the rich tapestry of landscapes, and the talented pool of creative talent and crew who bring a unique energy to our productions.” The governor characterized the expansion as a “$2 billion commitment and said it’s “expected to create thousands of jobs and generate substantial economic benefits. The expanded studio, situated on 108 acres, will feature sustainability initiatives like solar power, geothermal heating, and electric vehicle chargers to reduce its carbon footprint.” According to the company, it has directly invested nearly $575 million in New Mexico productions since 2019 and, it says, that figure comes close to $900 million when factoring in other productions that have used the studio. Netflix says it hired more than 4,000 cast and crew members in New Mexico between 2021 and 2023. Meanwhile, the City of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County have reportedly put in a bid to host the Sundance Film Festival, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports. The issue arose at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting during Santa Fe Film and Digital Media Council Chair Gay Dillingham’s presentation regarding the council’s work (the presentation begins about nine minutes in). The Sundance Film Festival announced in April it is looking for potential new hosts starting in 2027; the Salt Lake Tribune reports this week Utah hopes to retain the festival, while both Atlanta and Boulder have also bid for the festival (the story does not mention Santa Fe). Reps from coalitions in those cities tell the paper they have pledged $2 million and $1.5 million, respectively, toward the festival. Santa Fe Film Office Director Jennifer LaBar-Tapia tells the New Mexican she can’t reveal information about Santa’s bid because “We are under a really strict [nondisclosure agreement].”

Residents balk at Railyard hotel proposal

Amid Santa Fe’s housing crisis, residents say a proposed hotel for the Railyard district falls short of meeting the community’s needs. The ENN application from Dallas, Texas-based Alvord Investors proposes a two-story, 49-room inn totaling roughly 51,000 square feet. Lloyd & Associates Architects Project Manager and Studio Coordinator Sheb Mirando, a member of the City of Santa Fe’s Planning Commission, told residents at an Early Neighborhood Notification meeting last night, the project is intended to be “geared for people to stay a longer amount of time” than the typical hotel. Some residents said the plans had changed too much from the original design for the space that former property owner David Barker of Barker Realty—who purchased the lot from the school district—considered before selling the property, which the neighborhood backed when the master plan was approved in 2018. Bottom line: “We don’t need another hotel. It’s not for Santa Feans, and it’s not for the good of the city,” resident Ellen Ackerman said. “This is a neighborhood that used to be affordable—parts of it are still affordable. We need workforce housing so our workers do not have to commute from Rio Rancho or Española.” Mirando tells SFR the applicants recognize the need for affordable housing, but the price point of the land and master plan make that unfeasible. As a planning commissioner, he says he will recuse himself from voting on the plan when it comes before the planning commission. “We hope to move forward in the fall with the development plan and go to the commission as soon as the city finds it possible,” he says.

SFPD investigate Thursday night shooting

As of press time early this morning, a suspect remained at large following a shooting last night. Santa Fe Police report responding to the shooting at 5:15 pm yesterday near the 2700 block of Cerrillos Road. Upon arrival, they found one male victim in a parking lot near the intersection of Cerrillos Road and Harrison Road, subsequently identified as a 37-year old Santa Fe resident. The victim had at least one gunshot wound; the Santa Fe Fire Department immediately transported him to a local hospital, where he was last known to be in critical but stable condition. Thursday’s shooting location is in the vicinity of the Interfaith Community Shelter at Pete’s Place, where police shot a knife-wielding man in April. According to police, the suspect has been initially described as a Hispanic male wearing a black and white NFL Raiders sweatshirt; black or dark-colored shorts, white shoes; and a black or dark-colored mask covering his face. He is believed to have fled the shooting in a dark blue Honda Accord bearing an unknown New Mexico chile license plate. The vehicle was described as having dark-tinted windows, a sunroof, and silver rims. SFPD urges anyone with more information on the incident to call Detective Francisco Alvarado at (505) 955-5251. The case (#2024-007272) remains under active investigation.

Happy Pride!

June comes to a close and, with it, the official Pride month. Santa Fe’s Human Rights Alliance commemorates the occasion with Pride on the Plaza, 10 am to 5 pm, tomorrow, June 29, with performances, music and a whole lot more. You’ll find more Pride events in this week’s SFR Picks, including a Friday night dance party at The Mystic with DJ Oona and a Sunday drag show at the Jean Cocteau, hosted by Brandi, along with even more ways to celebrate in our online culture calendars. SFR’s annual Pride issue also includes stories on why testosterone is a godsend for some and not quite right for others; a queer meditation on marriage and grief; the influence of heteronormativity on queer relationships; and a profile of queer filmmaker Alexandria “Jo” Bombach. SFR’s news section this week includes interviews with Transgender Resource Center of New Mexico co-founder and education director Adrien Lawyer and Marshall Martinez, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy and civil rights organization Equality New Mexico; as well as a story about Santa Fe Public Schools’ gender support process.

Listen Up

The Santa Fe Opera opens its 67th festival season tonight with Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata, in a new production from directed by Louisa Muller, which sets Violetta’s story in 1939 Paris. Listen to Muller talk about her Santa Fe Opera main stage debut, and be sure to save the opera’s playlist for the entire season, which runs through Aug. 24.

Be here soon

If you plan to be in Santa Fe in July, you’re in luck as, according to Cowboys & Indians magazine, “you need to be here.” That specific exhortation comes in response to the upcoming 20th anniversary of the International Folk Art Market, running July 11-14. The market returns to Railyard Park, and will welcome 167 artists from 51 countries. C&I profiles three “to know” at this year’s market. They are first-time market attendee Ignacio Netzahualcoyotl Nava, from Mexico, a textile artist, who weaves “one of a kind” apparel. “He is dedicated to preserving traditional dyeing and weaving techniques unique to the Indigenous people of Tlaxcala,” C&I notes. Niger jeweler Moussa Albaka joined the market in the first four years of its existence and comes from generations of silversmithing and camel caravan trading. “He uses the lost-wax process, along with decoration techniques including engraving, repoussé, and inlay with semiprecious stones, metals, and ebony,” the magazine writes. Lastly, Marie Alexandrine Rasoanantenaina of Tahiana Creation hails from Madagascar, and weaves baskets and other items from indigenous materials. C&I recommends shopping for “sustainable fiber baskets made of vetiver, an aromatic medicinal plant with many uses.” Tickets are on sale now for the market, which includes a speaker series that will be held at SITE Santa Fe.

Ooh, that smell

Thrillist recommends a trip to New Mexico for folks who like the smell of lavender (the story is filed under Phoenix for reasons not immediately apparent). July is apparently prime lavender harvesting season, and the story recommends a trip to Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos, of course, as well as a visit to visit Jo’s Farms to pick your own. Owner Lisa Fontanarosa planted the crop in memory of her mother, she tells Thrillist: “Flowers are deeply rooted in my soul. I’ve visited Provence many times to learn as much as I could about growing lavender and all of its varietals.” She uses the harvest for homemade items sold in the farm shop, and hosts days for folks to pick their own as well. Moreover, Los Ranchos de Albuquerque will host its 30th Lavender in the Village Festival—apparently the “largest lavender festival in the Southwest”—on July 20. Fontanarosa will be there. “The festival is a celebration of lavender farmers and artists, everyone who creates homemade, artisan products with the flower,” she tells Thrillist. “But most of all, it’s a celebration of the love of lavender.” These activities, apparently, are only 6.5 hours from Phoenix, according to Thrillist (aha!). To supplement their recommendations: Don’t forget the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiú (this will add several hours if you’re coming from Phoenix).

Here comes July

The National Weather Service forecasts a mostly sunny day with a high temperature of 87 degrees. High temps over the weekend will remain in the mid to high 80s, with a 50% for rain on both Saturday and Sunday. As of now, scattered showers and thunderstorms continue into next week, but Thursday, July 4 looks sunny.

Thanks for reading! The Word is chuckling over the concept of paywalls as an existential crisis (you will never encounter a paywall here btw). This newsletter will be on summer hiatus next week, returning Tuesday, July 9. Happy Fourth!

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