Io Echo Friday
L.A. brother-sister, dark wavy-ish duo Io Echo made a cool video for its song "When the Lilies Die." Watch it here.
The fluorescently-lit caverns of despair known as Walmart Stores aims to build another one at Coors and Montaño. This is a particularly troubling notion due to the site’s proximity to the bucolic Bosque at Rio Grande Valley State Park, the Bosque School and master designer Antoine Predock’s first major project, La Luz. A big box store is inappropriate for the location for many reasons—aside from land use, traffic and crime are also concerns—and if the development comes to pass it represents a gut-wrenching lack of foresight and self-respect on the part of the city. Residents in the area don’t want the Walmart and have been fighting the retail behemoth for months. The Taylor Ranch Neighborhood Association, which has the support of dozens of other neighborhood associations from around the city, created againstthewal-abq.com as a source of information about the proposed dishevelment. If Walmart wins it diminishes the quality of life for all Albuquerque residents—not just the neighbors. Find out ways to get in on the fight here.
Local blues rock guitar hero Ryan McGarvey—who's shared stages with legends of the genre and toured Europe multiple times in the past year—revels in the release of his second album, Redefined, at Santa Fe Sol (37 Fire Place, Santa Fe) tonight at 8 p.m. Go to the show—admission only $10—so you can say you saw the globe-trotting musician before he was super famous.
The third of three pieces about the life and death of the famed, doomed Aztec Motel, demolished in June 2011.
Albuquerque rose to prominence among New Mexico towns for myriad reasons: access to the Rio Grande, its location on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road to the Interior), the acquisition of the railroads in the 19th century and an Air Force base in 20th century.
Route 66 tourism also helped the city grow in the last century. One of the oldest landmarks of that era was the Aztec Motel, located on Central Avenue in Upper Nob Hill. A year ago it was demolished, the owner claiming its restoration would cost too much money. The neon sign still stands (among preservationists there are discussions about nominating Nob Hill’s neon for historic designation). Although shops and condos were proposed for development in its place, the dirt lot next to the 7-Eleven where the motel once stood remains empty.
There were, and still are, mixed feelings about the property, a repository of folk art that oozed character. Those that understood it to be a landmark—the nostalgic and history buff types—tend to lament its absence. The less sentimental (such as a friend who owns a home near the site and wrote, “if you miss it so much I can come over to your house and throw trash and bottles on your lawn”) seem to celebrate the removal of the old Route 66 motels. Some call for saving the neon, and removing the buildings.
As we mover further from that mid-century golden age where these places resided, and as the properties fall further into disrepair, there will be more reflection on their value. Younger generations will likely be more captivated by them than older generations. At the same time, the environmentally-minded and proponents of Smart Growth point to the energy-saving value in salvaging any building. So, if they survive the present, unlike the Aztec, the fates of the best the bunch in the next decade or so may be reuse. I hope so.
For the feature in the May 30 issue, I explored the adaptive reuse of a city-owned Route 66 motel in Upper Nob Hill. Read about why it’s a landmark, and how it’s being preserved here: The comeback of the De Anza Motor Lodge. Ty Bannerman supplemented the piece by writing about El Vado, another city-owned motel further down Route 66.
A rare crossing of Venus between the Earth and our sun begins in about an hour. The New Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra is having a watch party out at Balloon Fiesta Park beginning at 4 p.m.—there will be a performance of Holst’s “The Planets” suite and other spacy compositions. Read Clifford Grindstaff’s article about it here.