Astronauts say the best thing about traveling in space is that it allows them to look back at our big, blue, beautiful Earth. An exhibit currently on display at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science features a spectacular series of high resolution Landsat satellite images of our planet. From the swamps of the Florida Everglades to the peaks of Mount Kilimanjaro to the dunes of Australia's Great Sandy Desert, these images will remind you how lucky we are to live on Earth. (Try ordering a gin and tonic on Mars.) The exhibit runs through Oct. 31. 841-5955.
Madame Mao at the Santa Fe Opera
If creating a sympathetic portrait of a tyrant is difficult, creating one of a tyrant who's personally caused you and your country enormous misery would seem almost impossible. Yet that's exactly what composer Bright Sheng has accomplished with his new opera Madame Mao, which recently had its world premiere at the Santa Fe Opera (SFO).
Dagoberto Gilb's Gritos
David E. Stuart apparently wrote most of The Guaymas Chronicles—his funny, graceful memoir about some time he spent in Mexico—while loitering at the Flying Star Café on Central. Although I haven't seen a copy yet, a reliable source at Bookworks tells me this book, published by UNM Press, will ice almost anyone's cake. At the signing, Orange Crush will be served (because Stuart drinks it throughout the book) along with tasty treats concocted by Flying Star. I've also been told that Stuart is an excellent reader so this should be an enjoyable signing. He'll be at Bookworks on Monday, Aug. 11, at 7 p.m. 344-8139.
I will not lie to you. Don Quixote is my hero. I can't tell you how bummed I am that Terry Gilliam's film version of Cervantes' masterpiece tanked under a tsunami of bad luck. It doesn't matter too much, though. The movie will never be able to compete with the book. Lovers of the old man of La Mancha should swing by the Special Collections Library sometime between now and Sept. 20 for an exhibit featuring editions of Don Quixote printed from 1680 through the present, including visuals of the errant knight created by a host of talented illustrators. 848-1376.
Mark Kurlansky's recent book, Salt: A World History, made a lot of people realize that this innocuous, edible rock that we humans love to sprinkle on just about everything we stick in our mouths is intimately tied to almost every aspect of human history. In Pure: Grains of Salt artist Haninga Thiel takes a more creative stance. Yet like Kurlansky's book, Thiel's conceptual installation, which has been showing for a couple weeks at [AC]2, explores and illuminates the many surprising facets of this ordinary, extraordinary household product. The exhibit will be up through Aug. 17. 842-8016.
Michael Peters and his wife Karen look like they've got a pretty groovy show going on at Art is OK. Michael offers some odd twists on commercial imagery. Karen presents some really bizarre sculptural constructions as well. Their exhibit, Push ... Pull!, opens this Friday, Aug. 8, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Stop by and give it a gander. 883-7368.
There are few skills more useful than the ability to tell a whoppin' good yarn. If you really want to make friends and influence your enemies, one of the best ways to do it is to tell a good story.
Every year, Magnífico sponsors a sweeping juried exhibit of some of the best work produced by Albuquerque area artists. The 14th installment opens this weekend at the Albuquerque Museum and features 42 artists working in every imaginable medium. Albuquerque Contemporary 2003 was juried by printmaker Ron Adams, Museum of Spanish Colonial Art director Stuart Ashman, and SITE Santa Fe curator Nora Kabat, a trio of heavy-hitters who you can bet your easel have put together an exciting show. Admission to the opening reception on Saturday, July 26, from 7 to 9 p.m. is free. On all other dates, admission is $2 general, $1 seniors/kids. The show will run thorugh Aug. 31. 242-8244.
A Streetcar Named Desire at the Cell Theatre
Most program notes are about as scintillating as the white pages. I've never been tempted to reprint them in a theater review. In this case, though, I'm restraining myself only because of limited space. That's because the lengthy quote from a 1961 Tennessee Williams interview contained in the Cell's program for A Streetcar Named Desire is more timely, eloquent and incisive than anything I could say about this American masterpiece.
Gruber, a recent transplant from New York City, will open up his studio to the public for a show that will include both current work and art created at the very beginning of his career. If you have a chance to motor up to Taos this weekend, stop by his studio for a peek at Gruber's output. From kinetic sculptures to planetary furniture to mangled bicycles, Gruber's work covers a broad creative range. All work will be for sale. Gruber will open his studio from Friday, July 25, through Monday, July 28, from noon to 8 p.m. For directions, call (505) 751-9338.