Watching a comedian move seamlessly between pre-written material and off the cuff banter with the audience while maintaining control of the show, making everyone laugh and improvising most of their set—well, it’s sort of like seeing a unicorn. There’s a very distinct possibility that Paula Poundstone is a unicorn. The comedian is known for her impeccable crowd work, which I witnessed when I first saw her perform in the 1987 TV special “Women of the Night” with Ellen DeGeneres and Rita Rudner. The way she incorporated the audience into her act changed the way I saw stand-up comedy. She provokes the audience with adamant personal questions, mocking their responses, but in a playful and free manner that never quite seems confrontational. With a new CD out called I Heart Jokes: Paula Tells Them In Boston, Poundstone can be heard on NPR’s “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!” See her live at the Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 W. San Francisco) in Santa Fe tomorrow evening at 7:30, and witness as she guides the audience through a series of quick comebacks and witty one-liners. Tickets run between $27.50 and $35. Lensic Performing Arts Center, Santa Fe • Fri Dec 13 • 7:30pm • $27.50-$35 • 21+ • View on Alibi calendar
The desert inspires and frustrates utopian dreams in equal measure. California City, California is a case in point. Decades ago, developers optimistically earmarked 80,000 acres of raw Mojave desert as the future site of a great metropolis. But it wasn’t to be. With fewer than 15,000 inhabitants, California City is now a parody of its founders’ intentions. A vast grid of decaying roads stretches over the desert like a graft that never took. Artist Jesse Sugarmann pays tribute to this surreal landscape in his videoed performance piece “California Bloodlines,” which invites us to view these roadways as a sacred architecture. At one point in the video, a lone woman sweeps sand off a street with the same loving devotion a curator at the Louvre might dust the Mona Lisa. As the late author J.G. Ballard wondered, could our sprawling highways one day be seen as “enigmatic and mysterious monuments” that inspire the same awe as the Egyptian pyramids do today? Ponder that question yourself while viewing the video “California Bloodlines” at Albuquerque’s project space Spirit Abuse tonight at 6pm, or by appointment throughout December. Spirit Abuse • Fri Dec 6 • 6-11:30pm • View on Alibi calendar
When I moved to Burque a year ago, I set out to find not only tourist attractions, but staples of this grand city that “trap” people into calling this fair metropolis their home. And Old Town was one that most people recommended for Native jewelry, books, restaurants and scenic beauty. My first few weeks of living here were spent people watching in the Old Town square, scrounging through multiple stores for a slick bracelet and photographing in the Don Luiz Plaza. Now folks can further understand and appreciate the appeal of this city section by attending the Annual Old Town Holiday Stroll. The event, which kicks off today at 4pm, features a Color Guard performance and singing of the National Anthem at the gazebo, the Blessing of the Tree, a Santa Parade and much more. Not to mention luminarias and twinkle lights. This illustrious event is known for being Albuquerque's official kickstart of the holiday season, so it's not to be missed. And it's also a great way to pick up some Christmas presents for friends, loved ones or obligatory acquaintances. So head to Historic Old Town (303 Romero NW) to bask in the holidays in style. Historic Old Town • Fri Dec 6 • 4-10pm • View on Alibi calendar
Outpost Performance Space hosts Yerba Buena member and all-around excellent percussionist Pedrito Martinez for an evening of Afro-Cuban music. Martinez performs with a multinational ensemble called the Pedrito Martinez Group. The group includes Peruvian drummer Jhair Salas, Venezuelan bassist Alvaro Benavides and Cuban keyboardist Ariacne Trujillo. Pedrito’s current Nueva York residency has resulted in heaps of hybridization and garnered rave reviews from such divergent artists as Steve Gadd and Taj Mahal. Although the current combo still bases much of their work on rumba and bata rhythms—entwined with vocalizations derived from the practice of Yoruba Santeria—they've also been influenced by funk; Old Gregg would heartily recommend this shouldn't-miss concert. Plus, you can dance to this stuff, which beats drinking Bailey’s and doing watercolors any day of the week. So, tonight at 7:30pm, strut over to Outpost (210 Yale SE). Tickets to the all-ages concert range from 15 to 20 clams. Groovy, man. Outpost Performance Space • Thu Dec 5 • 7:30pm • $20 • View on Alibi calendar
Everyone has that friend or family member. The one who unabashedly maneuvers around trick-or-treaters to string up their Christmas lights on Halloween. The one who has been humming Christmas carols for weeks—humming only, because singing aloud can have harsh repercussions. The one who already assembled most of their Christmas presents and will soon wrap them, probably while watching their well-worn Elf DVD.
In my circles, that friend or family member is me. Loved ones recently informed me that Dec. 1 is a more reasonable time to begin decking one's halls with boughs of holly. In my defense, it seems there are more early-bird holiday hounds than ever. To wit, Starbucks released their red cup on Nov. 1, Christmas displays in big-box retailers went up the same day, and I've begun spotting Christmas trees on my Facebook news feed.
Why not engage in early Christmas merriment? Here are a triptych of ho-ho-holiday events that even the Ebenezer Scrooges of your life can dig.
Have you ridden at Uncle Cliff’s for decades, hoping there was a way to make the amusement park even more exhilarating? There is; just add Christmas. Cliff’s Amusement Park hosts Joy to the Whirled, a holiday celebration wherein they decorate the park, sell holiday snacks and invite Old St. Nick to ride the Rattler with other guests. The event begins on Nov. 29 and runs through Dec. 23, from 6pm to 9pm daily. Tickets are $10.
The River of Lights tops my list of fave winter treats, along with spending time with family ... and biscochitos. The gardens abound with Christmas lights as you sip hot chocolate. This light show never fails to delight. If you’ve never been, this is a must-do; if you have, you know that walking into the Botanical Gardens this time of year is about as close as you'll ever get to the land of Oz. The River of Lights opens Nov. 30 and runs through Dec. 19, from 6pm to 9pm daily. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. The show continues Dec. 20 through Jan. 5, but tickets will cost you $12 for adults and $6 for children. The River of Lights is closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1.
The New Mexico Ballet Company and the New Mexico Philharmonic inhabit Popejoy for two consecutive weekends to proffer a balletic holiday indulgence, The Nutcracker. While I've never actually seen it, the fact that it's a commonplace holiday topic and is often associated with words like “elegance” and “excellence” leads me to believe even those friends who've been grumbling about your holiday cheer may enjoy this show. The performance series begins Nov. 30 at 7pm and runs through Dec. 8 at 2pm. Tickets start at $11 for adults.
For more info on these events, visit the above-linked websites. If you know of other awesome community events—holiday-themed or otherwise—tell us about 'em via our event submission page at alibi.com/submit.
A most excellent thing to do this weekend would be visiting with and having a listen to the Adobe Brothers, one of Burque’s most listenable combos. This goal can be readily accomplished by trucking on over to Shade Tree Custom Cycles and Café (3411 Central NE) tonight. The freewheeling Nob Hill grub-and-tire joint hosts a performance by Jacoby, Moby, Pierogi and Toby Adobe, starting 'round 7pm. The Brothers describe their music as “international bluegrass” in Americana form. While that's certainly a decent description of their output, the chops on these four gentlemen relatives—plus the awesome musical cred they carry around in their gig bags—are well worth the attention of local music aficionados. With over 200 numbers in their repertoire, you're bound to find some twangy tunes to get you onto the dance floor. Shade Tree is just up the road a ways from the Guild and across the street from some joint called Flying Star. Jump on in, 'cause the bluegrass is just fine. Shade Tree Custom Cycles and Cafe • Sat Nov 30 • 7pm • FREE • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
California transplant David Randolph describes himself as “a sculptor painter.” Not a sculptor-slash-painter, mind you, or a painter-slash-sculptor, but as both simultaneously. A few minutes in the cubed and multifaceted world of his new show, Visual Reports From the Digital Universe, and you'll grok the distinction: Randolph fuses dimensional form with planes of light and shadow no matter what medium he's working in. Tonight, at his artist's reception at Abbate Fine Art (713 Canyon Road, Santa Fe) at 5pm, plunge into a fragmented (yet aesthetically satisfying) reality with pieces like the acrylic painting “Santa Fe Descending a Staircase” and the limited-edition print “Canyon Road Goes Digital,” which connect cubo-futurism to landscape painting by way of Wreck-It Ralph. His series of “Catwize” cast-stone sculptures shiver with gem-sharp, light-refracting planes softened by affection. Like a Rubik's Cube, Randolph's art bends the mind just enough to make a game of seeing. Abbate Fine Art, Santa Fe • Fri Nov 29 • 5pm • View on Alibi calendar
Since it has become completely bloody impossible to talk about the Friday after Thanksgiving using any other adjective than "Black" and for any sale occuring on that day to be anything other than "the one you've waited all year for" it's nice to see a few shop-local community-oriented events piggybacking onto all that Viernes Negro hype.
I’ll admit I’m going out on a limb with this one mostly because I’m kinda naïve about electronica. So, okay, if you just spent the past six months re-listening to Kid A just to get a feel for the depths of reductionism that postmodernism is capable of achieving, then you might want to check out the work of Alex Langston, appearing as The Last Known Good Configuration in an event called Tetris Twerk. The gig is happening on tonight at 9pm and features Langston producing sounds that have elements of glitch, trance and 8-bit and will also feature DJ Nicolatron. I listened to her mixes on Soundcloud, and some of it sort of reminded me of Whitehouse. Also on the bill are DJ Anthony Wae Fonkey Fragua and DJ Inkbox. These sonic revelations manifest at The Chill Factory (312 Rosemont NE). Admission is 5 clams, and you can get a map to the event on Facebook at on.fb.me/17EJ9Vc. Yeah, it is near where bluebirds fly and Citizen Insane resides, or something like that. The Chill Factory • Fri Nov 22 • 9pm • $5 • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar
Take two steps into the Festival of the Cranes Arts and Crafts Fair and you’re bound to eye something exquisite. So keep your moola handy—whether you’re in the market for stained glass or scented soap, the fair beckons with a medley of artsy/giftsy offerings from regional makers. You’re likely to appreciate the organic feel of Olaf Heintz’ deceptively simple woodwork furniture, or fall in love with the elegant, symbol-rich Acoma pottery of Caroline Lucario. Expect, also, expertly crafted jewelry from Leandro Garcia of Santo Domingo Pueblo, earthy clay vessels and décor from Cazuelas Pottery, eclectic natural imagery on A. Leon Miler’s paintings, t-shirts and cards, and plenty more. Open at the Historic Garcia Opera House (110 Abeyta Ave. West, Socorro) from 9am to 5pm tomorrow and Saturday, Nov. 22 and 23, and 10am to 2pm on Sunday, Nov. 24, the arts fair is completely free and jam-packed with a full schedule of musical entertainment. And while you’re down Socorro-way for the weekend, you might want to glance up at the sky—I hear it’s a good season for bird watching. Historic Garcia Opera House, Socorro • Fri Nov 22 • 9am-5pm • FREE • ALL-AGES! • View on Alibi calendar