Day of the Book—Homosexuals have Gay Pride Day. Groundhogs have Groundhog's Day. Daylight has Daylight Savings Day. And books? Books have UNESCO's World Book Day, an international celebration of all bookish things. Here in Albuquerque, we're celebrating Sunday, April 23, with a reading by three local poets—Patricia Clark Smith, E.A. (Tony) Mares and Diane Thiel—at Alfredo's Coffee House (2104 Charlevoix SE) in Old Town. The event takes place from 3 to 5 p.m. According to the organizers, on this day, by custom, adults are asked to donate a book to a young person. Bring a book to the event, and it will be donated to Dolores Gonzales Elementary School and Washington Middle School for use in classes. For more information, call 266-0262 or go to www.abqreadfest.com.
It might not be an art gallery by name, but it has the same spirit. Nearly every wall of the UNM Mental Health Center is adorned with colorful paintings and portraits—all finely framed and signed by the artists. Each piece has its own unique story of how it came to be on these walls. Some were donated by past and present patients. Some were commissioned. One has been hanging on the back wall for as long as anyone can remember. A particularly striking impressionistic rendering of Vincent van Gogh standing under an umbrella brightens a dark hall on the second floor—a portrait of a man with whom many artists in the mental health community identify.
Orion Weiss is only 24-years-old, but he's already making a deep mark in the classical music world, showing a maturity in his performances way beyond his years. Chamber Music Albuquerque is bringing Weiss to town for its second annual Ralph Berkowitz Concert. The performance will take place on Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m. in Albuquerque Academy's Simms Performing Arts Center (6400 Wyoming NE). A free concert lecture will occur at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $17 to $35. Student tickets are half price. They're available online at www.cma-abq.org or by calling 268-1990.
According to legend, back in the mid '80s, poet Marc Kelly Smith was working as a construction worker in Chicago when he put together the world's first poetry slam at the Gin Mill Lounge. The idea was to pump some juice into staid traditional readings, give some emphasis to performance and stage presence, and throw a little good-natured competition into the mix.
Rusta Rhymes is back! Rusty Rutherford—he of How to Pick Up Chicks fame—will be busting out a new hip-hop comedy performance at Gorilla Tango (519 Central NW) this weekend, directed by Kevin R. Elder. Runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. through April 29. There'll be a special late night performance on the final night at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $10. If you haven't seen this pint-sized, smooth-talkin' ladies' man in action before, you really need to get on it. Might want to leave your girlfriend at home, though, because the masculine lure of Rusta might just be too much for her to handle. 245-8600.