Show Us Your Santa Fe Photo Contest

We love Santa Fe…that must be obvious since we’ve chosen to make it our home! But we know that you love Santa Fe too, or you wouldn’t be visiting us. So we invite you to turn your Santa Fe memory into a picture and enter our Facebook contest to win a two-night stay in one of our cozy fireplace suites.

Maybe it’s the Mountains that You Love…

Or Are You Drawn to the Art?

Maybe You Enjoy Plaza People-Watching….

Or Attending a Special Event!

Whatever it is that draws you into the spirit of Santa Fe, be it nature or weather, people or pottery, just show us by posting your favorite photo memory on our Facebook page, sometime between now and October 31, 2011, when our contest ends. And if you don’t have a photo, but still want to have some of the fun, simply vote for the photo you think best captures the essence of the Land of Enchantment, because we’re giving a two-night stay in a fireplace suite to one lucky voter too!

Upper Tesuque Creek

The view down the Tesuque Creek watershed, toward Santa Fe

It’s been wonderful being able to hike again in the mountains above Santa Fe, and maybe even more wonderful that the summer rains have finally come through for us. The Sangre de Cristo Mountains east and north of town have gotten soaking rains most afternoons, lately, some of them jazzed up with spectacular pyrotechnics. The grateful forests are swollen and vibrantly green with the showers, and grateful hikers are enjoying the newly opened trails.

The last couple of weekends I’ve made some hikes in the Rio Tesuque watershed. Many of the Forest Service Trails near town traverse this drainage, or depart from it: the Chamisa Trail, much of the lower Winsor Trail, Borrego, Bear Wallow, Big Tesuque, and all of Aspen Vista. I’ve been parking at the Big Tesuque Campground lately, and walking up that part of the trail that heads east to join Aspen Vista, and beyond, up to the “Butterfly Meadow” and, yesterday, all the way up to Tesuque Peak.

Even a short walk will bring you intimate rewards. Late summer flowers are in bloom along the creek:

Asters in a meadow along Tesuque Creek

Butterflies abound.

A Variegated Fritillary enjoying a thistle

There are places to sit and listen to the falling water that have all the serenity of a Japanese garden:

Sprays of grass along Tesuque Creek

More strenuous efforts to climb higher will bring the usual rewards:

A rustic bench thoughtfully constructed on Tesuque Ridge

Views from these elevations often show intriguing meadows that you rarely see from the lower trails, even if they happen to pass nearby. Here’s a little Shangri La of a meadow on the flank of Aspen Peak that is isolated from any path:

A meadow on the flank of Aspen Peak, above Ski Santa Fe

You might have noticed that the atmosphere in these photos is completely sodden with moisture, very typical of August in the Southern Rockies. Although I was spared any rain, much later in the afternoon this humidity discharged itself in a stupendous cloudburst over Santa Fe, flooding the streets and washing away the lingering remnants of this year’s Indian Market.

At the very crest of Tesuque Peak the land drops abruptly away into a cirque that cradles Santa Fe Lake and the headwaters of the Santa Fe River. Look at the spectacular view:

In the clouds on Tesuque Peak

Trust me. For a few amazing moments the clouds parted and this scene took on a Technicolor clarity that had to be seen to be believed. And then it was gone, back into the void.  The Donovan lyrics sprang to mind: “First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is”. I realize these lines refer to a deeper spiritual reality – consult the Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra for details – but it was nice to see things manifest in sunlight and stone.

So come see us. The mountains may not be eternal, but they’ll be here for you.

Santa Fe Opera Marathon

The Santa Fe OperaHighway US 84/285

For tickets: Box Office 505-986-5900 and 800-280-4654, or by email

Truth be told, my outing was actually a trifecta, rather than a marathon, but perhaps you’ll get the idea. Over the years, I have wondered what it would be like to attend multiple performances in a single week at our wonderful Santa Fe Opera, so I took finally took the opportunity to learn for myself.

John Crosby’s Brilliant Idea

Every year, the opera offers subscription rates that are a good 20% lower than standard prices, and these options include a trio, quartet or quintet of performances. Since the box office is both intelligent and understanding, these performance blocks always take place in August, when the curtain time drops down to 8:30pm for the first two weeks and then to 8:00pm for the last two weeks. If you know you’re up for a full dose of grand music, then this is definitely the way to go!

With my faithful opera companion in tow, I started this opera trifecta with The Last Savage, Gian Carlo Menotti’s forgotten opera buffa, premiered in 1963 at the Opera Comique in Paris. Aided by the able stagecraft of all departments, Director Ned Canty has boldly brought this neglected gem back to life. Simply put, entertainment in spades! Fluffy, yes, but stuffed with characters and ideas that make one think and so beautifully sung. In fact, we loved it so much, we went back again, bringing an 11-year-old for her first SFO experience, as this production is a perfect introduction to the joys of opera.

Let’s Look at the Story

I make a point of not reading the program before I see the performance, but even without seeing the credits, as the lights went down and the sprigtly sounds floated up, years of attendance at SFO told me immediately that the talented George Manahan was in the pit for The Last Savage.  Baritone Daniel Okulitch was alternately touching and tough (and buff!) in the role of Abdul, the aforementioned Savage, who learns the difference between the savagery of the jungle and that of the city, discovering that he wants “no more of your false light that so deceived me.” Listening to Anna Christy, the soprano who “tames” this savage, one is simply awed by the big voice coming out of this single-minded little package.  Kevin Burdette gave an amusing performance as Kitty’s father, Mr. Scattergood, evincing both perception and distraction as an American millionaire and over-indulgent father. Jamie Barton and Thomas Hammons made a convincing royal couple as the Maharanee and her Maharajah, while tenor Sean Pannikkar sang ardently as their son, Kodanda, secretly in love with the sweet-voiced Jennifer Zetlan as Sardula. And oh, those hilarious dancing servants; choreographer Sean Curran, we thank you!

Savage Loose in the City!

The Savage and His Mate

Our next outing brought us to Antonio Vivaldi’s Griselda, representing SFO’s commitment over the years to mixing the baroque with the lyric, the early centuries of opera with the more recent past.  With director Peter Sellars, one always knows that there will be a surprise, and indeed, this staging was no exception. Framed with a massive backdrop painted by L.A. artist Gronk, and with the firm hand of Grant Gershon guiding the orchestra (including a theorbo!), a stellar cast brought this challenging and somewhat cruel story to life in a distinctly modern setting.  As the lowly-born but truly loving Queen Griselda, contralto Meredith Arwady kept her innate majesty intact throughout the series of trials and tribulations imposed by her husband King Gualtiero, sung by tenor Paul Groves. Soprano Isabel Leonard was sweetly innocent as their long-lost daughter Costanza, and in her Santa Fe Opera debut and first ever pants-role as Griselda’s would-be lover, Ottone, Amanda Majeski was silken and persuasive. The embarrassment of vocal riches in this baroque piece includes the rarity of two, yes two, counter-tenors, David Daniels and Yuri Minenko, both ably demonstrating their unusual gifts. The story line and libretto offer concepts of love, loyalty and leadership to ruminate upon, with Griselda’s comment that “the wise helmsman knows the proud fury of the waves” seeming quite apt in these highly-charged political times.

The Royal Family

And a Regal Cast

Our opera week came to a denouement with Alban Berg’s powerful and sorrowful Wozzeck. A revival of the 2001 production mounted by SFO, this season’s production felt fresh and fit the story perfectly, with scenic design that was claustrophobic and crazy by turns. With the terrific Richard Paul Fink embodying the title role, it was impossible not to grieve for this tormented character and his seemingly inevitable fate. Nicola Beller Carbone gave an intense performance as his unfaithful lover, who reaps the nasty consequences of her actions, leaving an orphaned son behind. (As an aside, I take this moment to note how terrific all the child actotrs have been this season; as the opera folk say “Toi, Toi, Toi! to all the kiddies.) Supporting characters were well-cast, with the ever-so-slightly menacing Eric Owens as The Doctor, Stuart Skelton as the self-satisfied Drum Major, and Robert Brubaker as the unnervingly hysteric Captain, who expresses the timely sentiment that he’s “scared for the world when I think of eternity.” Indeed!

Good Soldier Wozzeck and His Captain

Say a Prayer for Doomed Marie

Yes, a marathon of performances is doable, I did it and so can you, since there is still time in which to do it. Although the summer is waning, the Santa Fe Opera season runs through August 27, and rumor has it that tickets are still available. Curtain time for these last two weeks is a very reasonable 8:00pm, and that means you can go to sleep to hear beautiful music in your dreams and still wake up early enough to enjoy the great Santa Fe weather. The soaring chorus may tell us in song that “In this world, all things must change…,” but the glorious musical theater that the Santa Fe Opera brings us every year changes only for the better.

Images by Ken Howard, courtesy of the Santa Fe Opera, all rights reserved.

The Santa Fe Show Pulls into the Railyard Santa Fe

The Santa Fe Show takes place August 12-15 and August 18-21 at El Museo Cultural, 555 Camino de la Familia, Santa Fe, NM, 505-660-4701

Such a simple title for what is surely a much more complex endeavor! Adding another major art show to the summer, in a town already full of art, is a brave and worthy endeavor. We salute producers Kim Martindale and John Morris, the organizers of the The Santa Fe Show, Objects of Art, for mixing up another color on the palette of art oppportunities for Santa Fe art lovers to enjoy! A group of prestigious partners also deserves commendation for their vision and support, especially in times when wallets are so tight. And best of all, for those suffering a bit from a surfeit of visual stimulation over the last few artistic weeks, this show sticks around for two weekends rather than just one, so there’s no need to fret about the possibility of missing the experience!

Abundance, Image courtesy El Museo Cultural

Taking place at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, the rambling space that over the years has welcomed a panoply of local and regional arts organizations to the City Different, The Santa Fe Show brings a thoughtfully curated group of more than 60 vendors presenting unique arts and antiques, and in the process, serves as a handsome and informative complement to the City Different’s traditional Ethnographic Art and Indian Market weekends. This is truly an embarrassment of riches for us to enjoy!  By casting a wide net to capture outstanding examples of work in a variety of media and eras, the show highlights the union of aesthetic importance and design significance of the participating galleries, artists and designers. And as befits a two-weekend show, there will be two opening events as well. The first is a preview party, taking place on Friday, August 12 from 6-9pm, and it benefits the Santa Fe Animal Shelter and Humane Society, a cause dear to pet-lovers, be they local or out-of state. A special event for the second weekend will take place on Thursday, August 18, also from 6-9pm, benefitting El Museo Cultural itself, an institution venerated by local patrons for its support of art, theater and community events, all accomplished on a veritable shoestring budget.

Cowboys & Indians Booth

Theodore Casey Gallery Booth

Sissoko Tribal Arts Booth

Exhibitors at The Santa Fe Show have been vetted as specialists in their fields and encompass a broad swath of the USA, ranging from the urban coasts of  New York and Florida to our Texas neighbors and out to the sunny western shores of California. Huber Primitive Art, specialists in pre-Columbian works will be on hand for those who like to look way back to a more primitive era, as will local favorite, Economos Works of Art, one of America’s most noted Native American galleries.  The eyes can feast on museum-quality works from ancient civilizations presented by Cassera Premieres, and respected expert, Robert L. Parsons Fine Art will be showing antiques, textiles and jewelry, and furnishings and decorative arts from around the globe. And those are just a taste of the treats to be savored by or sold to discerning collectors!

Acoma Jar, Westside Trading Post

Bracelet: Antonio Pineda, Maestros de Taxco

Admission to The Santa Fe Show is $12 per person or $16 for the run of the show (a bargain for those who like to ruminate and return), with children under 16 admitted free. Visitors to downtown Santa Fe can ride the free “Santa Fe Pick-Up” shuttle service to The Santa Fe Show, and the New Mexico Rail Runner Express train’s Santa Fe Depot stop is just a block from the venue. Ample parking is available at the Railyard’s nearby underground garage, and refreshments will be available at The Santa Fe Show’s Café. The location of El Museo also offers a choice of many Santa Fe restaurant options scattered throughout the Railyard area for those who want to turn the images they’ve just seen into a lively discussion over a leisurely dinner. Need a hint? Just contact the Inn’s concierge and let us help you decide where to dine!

Riding the Railyard

You Know It by the Water-Tower!

Railyard Walkers

The appreciation of art is not a luxury, not in any economy…it feeds our souls and our imaginations and makes this world a better place. So make your Santa Fe vacation a better memory – and maybe even go home with an actual memento – by taking time to enrich your sensibilities at The Santa Fe Show.
Images courtesy of The Santa Fe Show and the Railyard Corporation, and all usage rights are reserved.

SOFA Santa Fe

SOFA West Santa Fe 2010 takes place at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center located on the northeast corner of West Marcy and Grant Avenue from August 4-7.

No, no, not a seating arrangement…it’s an acronym for Sculptural Objects and Functional Art! And this exciting art fair returns this year to Santa Fe in August to add to the rich panoply of art that summer brings to us every year.

SOFA West returns to Santa Fe!

Taking place at our spacious Community Convention Center from August 4 through 7, SOFA West: Santa Fe is an opportunity for westerners and their art-loving visitors to see what other large art markets (read Chicago in November 2011 and New York in April 2012) deem as praise-worthy representations of the new and unusual in three-dimensional art objects. Last year’s outing was obviously a hit, since the show is up in dealer participation from last year’s 28 to this year’s 35 exhibitors.

The exhibit actually opens on the evening of Wednesday, August 3, 2011, with a frisson of exclusivity, an invitation-only “First Look” private preview for supporters of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation from 5-6:30 pm and SOFA VIPs beginning at 6:30 pm. The invite-only reception will be followed by a new Opening Night Public Preview which begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $50 and will be available on or at the door, and the Opening Night festivities continue until 9 pm. General admission to the fair begins on Thursday, August 4 and runs through Sunday, August 7, 2011, from 12 noon to 6pm daily. Tickets are $15 for a single day pass and, for those who just can’t get enough of a good thing, die-hard art aficionados can pay only $25 for the four-day run of the show.

Carol Naylor: Te Mata Peak, ZeST Contemporary Gallery

Jimin Kim: Tracks, Charon Kransen Arts

This year, the Art Fair Company also hosts an exciting addition to SOFA West, by welcoming the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art, which partnered with SOFA Chicago last fall. Outsider art continues to grow audiences with each exposure, and in a town like Santa Fe, with a historic folk art tradition, this show is sure to be of interest to viewers and collectors alike. The Museum of International Folk Art had a stunning outside art show several years ago, which included the work of Martin Ramirez and was a big local hit. The presence of  Intuit brings the leading dealers and galleries of self-taught art and outsider art, non-traditional folk art and visionary art to the exciting artistic mix that SOFA visitors already appreciate.

Martin Ramirez: Caballero on Horseback, Carl Hammer Gallery

Deborah Barrett: Stitched Portrait, The Ames Gallery

In conjunction with the exhibit, SOFA continues its tradition of informative lectures and artists’ demonstrations. There are also a number of special public events that sound quite inviting! On Tuesday, August 2, 2011, at an all-day affair from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm, Dr. Bruce Bernstein, the Executive Director of SWAIA (the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts, host organization of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market) will be leading a tour of the gorgeous Acoma Pueblo, 1 and 1/2 hours southwest of Santa Fe. While the $300 per person cost of the day trip may seem a bit pricey, combining the beauty and rich cultural history of Acoma with a erudite guide like Dr. Bernstein makes this a truly one-of-a-kind experience. For more information or to register, contact Recursos/Royal Road Tours at 505.577.9659.

Acoma, the Sky City

On Friday morning, August 5, 2011, a there will be a private  backstage tour of one of Santa Fe’s cultural mainstays, the Santa Fe Opera. You’ll visit the busy costume shop and props shop, and peer into the inner workings of the talented Opera staff first-hand. The tour begins with a 9:15 am coffee klatsch at SOFA West: Santa Fe, in the lobby of the Convention Center, and transportation to the Opera grounds is provided. This private event is limited to just 40 people, and tickets are $25 per person, obtained by contacting Julie Oimoen at

The Crosby Theatre, Santa Fe Opera: Photo Robert Reck

Also on Friday, August 5 at 2pm, gallery clients who have been fortunate enough to receive VIP cards can drop in to the VIP Lounge, where SOFA West welcomes Victoria Price, designer and art historian, for a lively talk about the adventures of collecting art. The daughter of actor Vincent Price and long-term resident of Santa Fe, Ms. Price’s past includes a stint appraising and selling art from various estates and collections, so she has a wealth of entertaining information to share.

SO, now that you know…get off your sofa or out of your hotel room and head to the SOFA West Santa Fe Expo, where your mind and your eyes will be treated to some cutting-edge art that can easily hang above your sofa, adorning your home and showing your art cred, when you get back home.

Gallery photos of artists’ works courtesy of the Press Room page of SOFA West: Santa Fe