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Music
Gary Libman
Courtesy of Albuquerque Folk Festival

Music

Voices of Memory

Gary Libman: A Tribute

By Doug Cohen [ Wed Dec 7 2016 3:49 PM ]


Albuquerque Folk Festival and NM Folk & Dance Community Leader

1943-2016

The measure of a man can be understood through the variety of realms in which he has had a notable impact. Gary Libman made his mark as a family man, husband, father and grandfather. He also had a notable professional life in industry as a microbiologist, as a musician and as an extraordinarily outsized volunteer in our city as one of the long-time leaders of the Albuquerque Folk Festival community. A portrait of Gary would be woefully incomplete without noting that throughout his life was fondly known for his puns, his joke telling and especially for his spontaneous humor.


One hundred people gathered at a Four Hills home in Albuquerque to honor the memory of Gary Libman, a key leader of the ABQ Folk Music and New Mexico dance communities. Gary died on Oct. 18, 2016 after an extended illness.

During the memorial service singing was heard. It went something like this, "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, Let it shine, let it Shine, let it Shine."

Hosts Peter and Trylla Esherick effortlessly welcomed the large group of mourners and celebrants of Gary’s life. Within an hour, a forty-plus person song circle broke out in the spacious backyard under three tent awnings on a beautiful fall afternoon. Instruments aplenty were pulled out from their cases and the music floated across the property to celebrate the life of an extraordinary man, leader and inspiration to thousands.

It iwas a fitting tribute to Gary, who for many years had been a force of nature in the folk music scene in New Mexico and beyond.

“Gary was the lifeblood of the Albuquerque Folk Festival. It will be a tremendous loss not having him around,” said AFF founding board member Linda Starr.

Earlier in the day, at a graveside service, people remembered both the personal and public sides of this influential man who presided over the resurrection and growth of the AFF from a local into a regional phenomenon— especially after AFF moved its location to the Albuquerque Balloon Museum in 2012. Gary focused on developing the relationship between AFF and the Museum, including becoming a board member of the relatively new Museum. Gary’s goal was to promote the growth of both the Festival and the Museum.

Leaders are people who are busy minding the future while many around them often dwell in the present or cling to the past. Leaders create futures that are distinctly different from the past. That is just a small part of the story of Gary Libman’s legacy in Albuquerque. Evidence of his leadership was visible throughout Burque and beyond. For example, under his guidance, attendance at the Albuquerque Folk Festival doubled from 2,000 to approximately 4,000 for each of the past three years.

Many people who knew and loved Gary were eager to share their insights about what made Gary so special. Here is some of what they told Weekly Alibi.

C. Daniel Boling—internationally known singer-songwriter, Grammy award nominee, and resident of ABQ—who knew Gary Libman since 2008 recalled Gary as “An amazing, smart, funny and unfailingly kind man ... Humor and kindness were Gary’s defining traits which he gently applied to make big things happen. When it came time to lead, Gary stepped up with grace ... His band and I shared a show last year to raise funds for the festival. At the time, Gary’s illness was in remission, and I’ll always remember the contagious joy with which he threw himself into the music and the jokes, and all the fun everyone had in the hall that evening. What a gift.”

Bill Balassi—Albuquerque Folk Festival Board Member and fellow band membe— remembered Gary, saying, “Like many of us, I remember the first time I met Gary ... at someone’s house, this person comes in carrying an armload of instruments and exuding energy that immediately filled the room and transformed the evening. I said to myself, 'Who is this guy?' I’m deeply grateful that for the next twelve years I’ve had the privilege of finding out.”

Bill’s memories continued at Gary’s funeral, where he said, “For many here, you know Gary best as the director and spokesperson for the AFF. It is hard to imagine someone better suited for this position. Gary had the managerial skills, the encompassing vision to separate the essential from the trivial. He had unflagging energy and the patience to always respond with grace and kindness. And the enthusiasm to make you believe that the Folk Festival was about the coolest thing anyone could be associated with.”

Balassi added to those who had also commented on Gary’s “wide ranging and deep love for music" by recalling that Libman was the founder and leader of the Placitas Mountain Band. He played clarinet for Klezmer gigs with the Adobe Brothers, billing the group as Shlomo & The Adobes. He regularly played with the Albuquerque Megaband. He made music each week with the Wednesday Guitar Group. He was a member of the annual acoustic orchestra known as Carp Camp in Winfield, Kansas. And he played banjo, clarinet, and autoharp with the contra dance band Cheap Shots, with whom he played his last gig at this years Albuquerque Folk Festival.”

Bill Balassi closed his remarks by saying, “Gary left a legacy most of us can only aspire to. He made the world a better place. He was irrepressible and irreplaceable.”

Deb Brunt—Albuquerque Folk Festival Board Member also remembered Libman. “Whenever Gary was promoting the Festival, including when he was on KUNM, he always made sure to mention that AFF was an all volunteer organization and Festival. He was passionate about it being a participatory event. Gary was also a proponent of including dance at the Festival. He was a big part of FolkMADS , the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society. Gary was a leader of the late-night jams at the FolkMADness events in Socorro each Memorial Day weekend.


The Albuquerque Folk Festival partnered with the City of Albuquerque in a number of ways. In earlier years the city’s Special Events office was able to contribute funds to support the Festival. Later, the Festival moved to the Balloon Museum location for the last several years.”

Linda Hubley—Operations & Events Manager, Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, City of Albuquerque recalled Libman's talents. “It was easy to admire Gary for his amazing talents as a musician and also for his many contributions in his professional career. The one thing I valued most about Gary, however, was how he used humor in his everyday life to entertain and uplift friends and strangers alike. Gary loved to be funny and he was one of the best at using humor to unite people to work towards a common goal, even when there was disagreement. When working with Gary, you always knew there would be plenty of grinning and lots of head-shaking moments—a constant reminder that we need to laugh more and not take life so seriously. You just never knew what was coming next, but you knew it was going to be entertaining and you wanted to be a part of it. He was a genuine and caring man who embraced everyone and everything with a carefree spirit. It is a great loss to everyone who was part of his world.”

Paul Garver, Manager,Albuquerque International Balloon Museum also had something to say about Libman. “Gary Libman was not only a Balloon Museum trustee. He was our friend. In fact, anyone who met Gary could not help but like him. He was a delightful person and a gentleman. His memory will be cherished by many, including not just the Balloon Museum family, but also all of those with whom he worked as part of the Albuquerque Folk Festival.”

Peter Esherick, Past-President of the AFF Board and musical partner with Gary told Weekly Alibi, “Early on, the big idea behind the Festival, it’s purpose, was to build community through participation—through music, dance, storytelling and folk arts. Behind this thinking was the idea that our community has withdrawn into homes, behinds computers. Whereas people used to sit on front porches, and say hello, now we had the isolation of families. You may have mistrust of, say, Middle Eastern people. But if you learn how to belly dance or jam with them, you will not fear them.

Gary is the absolute embodiment of that.

And through his involvement with AFF, he suddenly gets to belong to a community and have a good time with others, and give back to the community through his volunteerism, learning about other people and other cultures: that was his great gift to our region.”

Debra Fortess, Apple Mountain Music Store Owner, and AFF Board Member was also able to comment about Libman's life and work. “Gary was happy we carried autoharps. He gave autoharp workshops here, which became among the most popular workshops we had.

He was a joy to have around; he had a million jokes. He was a great supporter of the store; he sent a lot of people to us. He was a great friend to me over many years. Also, he brought his autoharp hero, Brian Bowers, to do a workshop at Apple Mountain Music, and that was a real treat.”

Norma Libman,Gary’s former wife recalled, “Gary was an amazing person with music, could pick up about any instrument, and play it by feel. I was always in awe of that. When I was in college and required to play recorder, I never had lessons. Lack of exposure, so proud I could play a few notes . ‘Look, I can play,’ I said to Gary. Then, he picks up the recorder, and immediately, within seconds was playing recognizable songs. He was so talented, he could play anything. He was musically proficient in almost an instant.

“He was a very hard worker, whatever he took up, being a father to the kids, a volunteer, professionally, he got things done.”

Amy Cohen, Gary’s Daughter remembered the man, saying, “Driving with dad, he used to keep a baton in the car, and he played classical music during car rides. Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, and he conducted at the red lights; it made music more exciting.

I have one child, only three years old; he loves to sing and hear music. I’m really hopeful he gets that music bug. He loves music, and loved when my father Gary would play, he was mesmerized.

He was so kind and generous, with family, loved his children and grandchildren. For my three-year-old son, Gary bought an Explora Children’s Museum annual membership. Once a month he took him regularly.

And something else about him as a family man, not mentioned in funeral: Gary’s mom passed away two weeks before turning 100. She was living here, and he took such incredible care of her. He went to her every day, when he was not in the hospital himself…She noticed his absence when he was in the hospital very much. Gary was his mother’s only remaining son, and he was the center of her life. He was a daily visitor and that was all that mattered to her.

“Although we all gagged at some of Gary’s puns and jokes, he was dependable for making people laugh and feel good in his presence.”

Erika Gerety-Libman, Gary’s Wife, said, “Gary was incredibly enthusiastic. Everywhere we went he tended to wear the Folk Festival t-shirt. He consistently promoted the Festival, and everywhere he went he encouraged people to find or revive their musical selves. He brought enthusiasm to a lot of people. For example, he’d play back up for and taught young kids how to play their instruments.

“The thing about wearing the shirt or hat of the Festival, that was who he was too, a passionate person ... If people gave him a present of a shirt, he’d wear it if was going see them again. It was his way of showing his love and caring.

“Gary was really excited, when the ABQ Folk Festival won the Bravo People’s choice award from the City of Albuquerque.

Interacting with the volunteers was the main job of Volunteer manager; and Gary collected and disseminated information to the volunteers, which became an army on the day Festival itself. Gary would put together letters, and named the people he was so proud of in announcements throughout his leadership of the festival. Whether it was by email or phone calls or in person, Gary would thank and acknowledge the importance of everyone—individually, letting them know what a wondrous thing they had just put together. He was particularly good at rallying people through his enthusiasm. I saw him do the same with Placitas Artist Series, of which he was the President. He made that fun.

What was also charming about him was his embrace of his Chicago family’s Jewish culture. He embraced that and taught people about his tradition. Gary had such a fun vision. He brought people into holidays through his love of telling jokes, old Jews telling jokes, with the accent, and through telling stories about how his family got here.

He was in touch with his family immigration story. And he was a leader in his family. One of the things he did was write a play about the immigration of the family from the old countries. He had his cousins play their parents. All the family watched, and as they played it, his aunt would yell out how true it was. ‘It’s true, it’s true.’ To create the play, Gary sat with tape recorder and had the elders tell their story, and he prompted them with memories. An hour would go by of people correcting each other about last boat out.”

This is just a sample of the many stories his friends shared. Some retold their favorite joke or story Gary told. So many people were at the ready to share their memories of this remarkable man, Gary Libman.

Gary’s passing will leave a huge hole in the spirit of New Mexico.
Our world will be dimmer. May his memory be for a Blessing for our community for years to come.

Douglas Cohen – Culture Writer & Essayist based in Corrales.
Concert & Music Festival Reviewer for [link]


News

News

The Daily Word in Lo Ultimo de Nuevo Mexico

By August March [ Wed Dec 7 2016 3:14 PM ]
The Daily Word

Senator Tom Udall isn't running for governor of the land of enchantment.

State economists here have revised revenue expectations after data showed the state falling behind in employment, wages and economic growth.

According to 24/7 Wall St, we're one of the worst-run states in the nation called America.

Elected officials residing in a town in Northwest New Mexico want to keep their 10 Commandments monument.

The British tabloid press got a hold of a report from KRQE about a Las Cruces cop, aprés-shower nakedness and Domino's Pizza. Starkers?! Really.

In Alamogordo (which means fat cottonwood, btw) there's an exhibit of New Deal Art, courtesy of the National New Deal Preservation Association.

UNM President Bob Frank may be in trouble.

Safety concerns continue to trouble the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

UNM's Lobo football team is headed for post-season play for the second year in a row.

A human from Farmington caught a 25 inch brown trout using a size 24 black foam wing midge.

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The Daily Word in the Electoral College, Ultraviolet Light and Standing Rock

By Megan Reneau [ Wed Dec 7 2016 12:20 PM ]
The Daily Word

Meet the women of Standing Rock.

Travelling is fine, I just hate flying so much.

“There's no good music anymore!” Said chumps who listen to the same shit every day.

I keep seeing people post about how there's still time to convince electors to not vote for Donald Trump. It's a nice thought, but it isn't going to work. Maybe.

Here's everything you need to know about diy-ing ultraviolet light.

Why have so many children died in Albuquerque this year?

Event Horizon
John Leech

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Thursday, Dec 8: Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol

By Maggie Grimason [ Wed Dec 7 2016 10:00 AM ]
A retelling of the classic tale from the messenger's perspective.
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Three New Art Exhibits Opening at SBCC

Press Release [ Wed Dec 7 2016 10:00 AM ]

The gallery space at South Broadway Cultural Center will soon display three new exhibits of exciting and engaging artworks.

The center's annual La Guadalupana exhibit will feature the altars and art produced by local artists depicting images thematic of Our Lady of Guadalupe. This popular December exhibit is joined by paintings from American artist Carole L. Olson's Images from the Gathering of Nations and the vivid concepts of Farmas Y Colores by Catalina Salinas.

The exhibits will be displayed from December 10 through January 5th. A reception for the artists is scheduled on Dec. 10 from 6-8pm.

Carole L. Olson studied Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico where she nurtured her passion for painting. She moved to California where and kept her artistic ambitions close to her heart pursuing art studies at UCLA, and the Los Angeles Academy of Art.

Olson received extensive animation course work and training at the Los Angeles Animation Union School, and also studied figure and gesture drawing in California and in Italy with noted artist, Glenn Vilppu.

Her return to New Mexico sparked interest in the Native American culture that had always intrigued Olson. "I have worked hard toward developing into a true American artist, with a focus on the Native American dancers from the annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in Albuquerque," she states in her professional biography. "The movement of the dancers to the steady beat of Indian drums and the whirl of costumes and colors created a vibrant imagery. These images can be static as in a dance line that reflects the colors of the rainbow of costumed women waiting for their turn on the floor. It can be the fusing of colors and shapes created by spinning and twirling dancers."

Luz Maria Catalina Salinas Gamarra has been creating art in various forms throughout her life. She took art classes only as a child, so is considered a self-taught artist, learning primarily from experimentation. Catalina's work includes realistic figures, abstract and geometric art. She grew up in La Paz, Bolivia, a colorful city inspired by the surrounding Andes and their local art, full of bright colors and geometrical patterns. Much of her work has been inspired by traditional textiles called "Ahuayos".

In 2008, Catalina moved to Albuquerque and continued painting. She is a licensed architect in Bolivia and holds a Master degree in architecture from the University of New Mexico. Since 2009, has been working with a program called "Architecture and Children", which promotes art education through architecture and design concepts. She also works for the Cervantes Institute teaching Spanish and creativity.

About her art, Salinas says, "I started to create my own technique: a continuous color gradation with the use of bright colors to create optical illusions. I was then painting optical art with colorful patterns. I transferred this technique into spheres and these are part of my continued experimentation. With the influence of this visual style I started to compose with shells and spirals some abstract landscapes."

Event Horizon

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Second Star to the Right

Wednesday, Dec 7: Stargazing Night

By Megan Reneau [ Tue Dec 6 2016 10:00 AM ]
Peer through telescopes at the dark winter sky. Learn about stars, constellations and other night sky objects with astronomers from the Albuquerque Astronomical Society.
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Library Offers Free Digital Media Titles to Users

Press Release [ Tue Dec 6 2016 9:06 AM ]

Digital streaming services are often expensive, hard to use, and only have one digital format per service. The Public Library in Albuquerque and Bernalillo County has solved this problem by offering public availability of thousands of movies, television shows, music albums and audiobooks, all available for mobile and online access through a new partnership with hoopla Digital.

The Public Library offers hoopla free of charge to users through its website and eResources page. Anyone can access the service with their Public Library card at any branch or from home through the Public Library's website. This service is easy to use and provides customers instant access to any available title they have an interest in. As a library cardholder, up to five hoopla titles per month may be borrowed.

Hoopla has more than 500,000 titles, available in six different formats. Titles are available to borrow for instant streaming or temporary downloading to smartphones, tablets and computers. Hoopla is offered to customers via browser, Android and IOS platforms; all formats are available in one location.

With hoopla, there are no hold lists, no extra accounts needed, or special steps to use it. On a mobile device, borrowed content may be temporarily downloaded and accessed offline or, in either the app or on a computer, all borrowed content may be enjoyed while connected to the internet by streaming.

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Wish You Were Beer

House Edition: Boxing Bear's Chocolate Cream Stout

By Geoffrey Plant [ Mon Dec 5 2016 4:50 PM ]

Weekly Alibi is an intrinsically local affair. Recently the Alibi staff were blessed with a device that delivers—on demand—one of the locally made products our city is most famous for, besides blue colored crystal methamphetamine and Pimental & Sons guitars. It's our internationally recognized, high-quality local beer. This writer is still trying to think of another name for the thingamajig we use to access this magical liquid, because the word “kegerator”, like “labradoodle”, is just plain hard to say without inviting a sinking feeling that the english language is seriously at risk. Also, Alibi's beer machine is as finicky as an old Evinrude outboard motor and deserves more than two words mashed together. Perhaps something vintage sounding, like “Fine Time Foam Queen”; "The Spigot” would work as well. Patience is required to get a glass of brew out of our little fridge with a tap on the top of it but the quality of our city's locally produced beer makes the effort worthwhile. As one beer replaces another in the grog box in the back room, Weekly Alibi will share our thoughts and tasting notes. Stay tuned for some ideas on what to order next time you're at one of our local brew-pubs or tap-rooms, there are not-to-be missed pints to be had in nearly every part of town these days. Like the delicious stout our brew hydrant currently dispenses in expanding gushers of foam, creating a fun atmosphere not unlike the one in The Rolling Stones' video for “It's Only Rock 'N' Roll".

Boxing Bear's Chocolate Milk Stout (5.2 % ABV, 20 IBU)
Boxing Bear took home a pile of awards in 2016, including “mid-size brew-pub of the year” at the Great American Beer Festival, where their Chocolate Milk Stout bested 72 others to win first place in the cream stout category. This stout has won awards at various other festivals and competitions over the past couple years and the Alibi staff is honored to work alongside this standout beer; we couldn't ask for a finer wintertime co-worker.

Boxing Bear's milk stout is a shining example of an American cream stout, so-called because of the addition of non-fermentable lactose—milk sugar— which retains its mild sweetness through fermentation and lends a creamy character to the resulting beer. American stouts are traditionally lighter bodied than their British ancestors and are thus well suited for the addition of an adjunct like lactose, adding texture without creating a monster thick dark beer.

The milk sugar combines with a generous helping of chocolate and caramel malt to bring the beer close to confectionary status without becoming overwhelming. Some chocolate stouts must be rationed like a triple-layer chocolate cake; one glass of Young's Double Chocolate Stout, for example, is sufficient. With any sense, that beer should be delivered to your palate as a finisher, after your main course. Part of what makes Boxing Bear's Chocolate Cream Stout an award-winning beer is its drinkability. It has a medium bodied mouth feel that is textbook American cream stout. Where some chocolate stouts blow the doors off with sweetness and chocolate adjuncts, the Burque-based brewers show restraint. Their measured addition of unprocessed cocoa nibs at the finish adds flavor without dominating the stout's well-balanced character. The result is a brew that some will drink like Guinness (you know, like water) while others will treat their pour as a sophisticated dessert beer. Well done.

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The Daily Word in Victory at Standing Rock, Fire in Oakland, and the Cost of Protecting Donald Trump

By Robin Babb [ Mon Dec 5 2016 11:25 AM ]
The Daily Word

In a historic decision, the Army Corps of Engineers prevented further construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline on Sunday afternoon. The Corps denied the pipeline a legal easement required to drill under the Missouri River, saying that an environment impact assessment was needed before the Energy Transfer Partners could put an oil pipeline beneath the Standing Rock Sioux tribe's only source of drinking water. Finally, something to celebrate. (Not that Trump couldn't legally reverse this decision once he's in office.)

President-Elect Trump has tapped Dr. Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. This despite the fact that Carson said he would not seek a cabinet position, since he has literally no government experience. So, you know. I'm sure that'll pan out well.

Tragedy in Oakland–my old home–on Friday night, when the Ghost Ship warehouse-turned-art-space burned down during a dance party. At least 36 people are confirmed dead.

The murder trial for the police shooting of Walter Scott, an unarmed Black man, is still deadlocked. Michael Slager, the police officer on trial, was recorded laughing immediately after he shot the man, who was running away from him.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has asked the federal government for $35 million to cover the cost of protecting Donald Trump and his family until inauguration day.

Event Horizon
Nelson Mandela and George W. Bush, 2005
Public Domain

Event Horizon

Armed with Knowledge

Sunday, Dec 4: Third Annual Nelson Mandela Commemoration

By August March [ Sat Dec 3 2016 10:00 AM ]
Learn more about the life and ideals of the South African patriot and president who changed the world.
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