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“Scaling the Walls of the Garden” by Drew Mc

Arts

Outsider Angst

The STRANGERS Run Riot in Santa Fe

By Alison Oatman [ Mon Jul 20 2015 3:56 PM ]
Who better to challenge the paint-by-number status quo of the art scene here than a vanguard of budding artists, silenced up until now by a lack of representation?
Diane Di Prima
Getty Images

arts

You should flow!

Regional Slam Poetry Championship happens this weekend

By August March [ Fri Jun 26 2015 2:41 PM ]

Why stay at home reading the likes of Byron, Dickinson, Whitman, Plath, Levertov or Lowell? Put those dreary texts aside. Take a stride outside the normative literary scene found in dusty old books or a tattered magazine. Take wing, visit the local performance poetry scene!

It's a social possibility you won't soon regret. This weekend's slam competition is a sure-to-win bet.

Presented by ABQ Slams, The 2015 Southwest Shootout Regional Poetry Slam Championship beats the heck out of perusing grammatical diagrams.

But seriously folks, it's a chance to listen and respond to folks whose poetic proclivities also include performance, competition, and worthy word-smithery.

Preliminary bouts will be held at Winnings Coffee (111 Harvard SE) and the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) on Friday night, June 26, beginning at 7:00 pm. These events are free; the public is invited to attend.

The Championship slam happens Saturday night at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) and costs a mere ten bucks for admittance. Doors to this fantastical foray into syllabic profundity open at 7 that night.

Spoken word artists, performance poets and slammers from all over the Southwest region will be in attendance and ready to fight it out for the chance to advance to the national competition to be held in August.

You ought to check it out, yo.

Mandee Johnson

arts

Comedy Matters

Chris Thayer on dry humor and being in the moment

By Genevieve Mueller [ Tue May 26 2015 1:32 PM ]

I think every comedian has that moment when they watch a stand-up set from a particular comic and think, “This is my life now.” “I always had an interest in comedy when I was growing up, but I never thought of it as something I could or would do,” says comedian Chris Thayer. “When I was 18, I heard David Cross' album Shut Up You Fucking Baby!, which was conversational in a way that made me think that maybe I could do stand-up too.” Thayer, who will be at The Guild (3405 Central Avenue NE) on June 1, moved to San Francisco, a city that has spawned such comedy legends as Robin Williams at Margaret Cho, at the age of nineteen but waited three whole years before trying comedy. He finally sat down one night and began to write; a week later he did an open mic, and “within a year I had done over 200 sets,” says Thayer. “Now I’ve been doing comedy for seven years.”

It’s this dedication that got him a writing gig on the Pete Holmes show. Thayer has a dry sense of humor and often talks about his life on stage. His uncompromising style is reflected in his ideas on comedy. “The thing that terrified me most when I started performing was the fear that an audience would hate me,” says Thayer. With time this slowly abated and Thayer began to focus more on what he thought was funny rather than appealing to any given crowd. “I'd like as many people as possible to like me without having to compromise myself or what I think is funny. I would drive myself crazy if I were trying to change my stuff to get 100% of people to love me, so if only maybe 67% of people are into me, I'm totally okay with that,” says Thayer. “Not sure if that number sounds too high or too low. I'm trying to be modest without sounding unambitious.”

It’s not an unwavering ambition though. Thayer sees comedy as something that needs to avoid stagnation. “My favorite parts of performing are the times when I'm present enough and comfortable enough to try or add new stuff,” says Thayer. “I enjoy doing my material that I've been working on, but there's always a danger of feeling like you're on autopilot when you're doing stuff that you've memorized and said hundreds of times before. Thinking of new stuff for old jokes or trying to talk out new bits lets me know that I'm engaged in the moment and makes it fun for me.” Thayer has a way of balancing his strong and steadfast ideas on comedy with being open and present in the moment so he can engage with the live audience. “I want the audience to think, ‘Wow that guy is really funny despite being boringly sincere in interviews.’”

Chris Thayer: No One Asked for this Tour
The Guild (3405 Central Avenue NE)
Monday June 1 10:30 pm $5
guildcinema.com

arts

David Koechner on satire, human flaws and story telling

By Genevieve Mueller [ Tue May 19 2015 11:16 AM ]

The Greeks had it right. Socrates searched for real knowledge untainted by pride, and Plato was so done with irrational humanity he just wanted to crawl out of a cave and find a friend. It’s been 2,400 years since the fall of Ancient Greece and we’re all still tragically surprised we’re flawed and yet there’s something hilarious about that. “I start with a flaw like narcissism,” says comedian David Koechner about his creative process. “We all have narcissistic tendencies, but there are some who are fully narcissistic. We all are afraid of things at times, but there are some who live their life in fear. I look at that and think, That’s annoying, so I’ll make fun of it.” Koechner, who performs at Santa Ana Star Casino (54 Jemez Dam Rd., Bernalillo) on Thursday, May 21, satirizes these defective human tendencies through rich and outlandish characters.

Initially a political science major, in his third year at university he visited a friend in Chicago, watched a show at Second City, decided then he wanted to be a comedian and never looked back. “Once I decided this was what I wanted to do, I never had any doubts,” says Koechner. “I know that’s not the sexy answer. I love show business and doing comedy. I have a proclivity for it. If I could build things I would do that. If I was smart I would do that.” Koechner looks at comedy as his vocation, and it’s the small things about it that draws him to perform. “The best part is knowing that I was successful at something. My experiment worked. Something I created worked.”

Part observational humor and part hyperbolic storytelling, his shows are an experiment in human behavior. “I start from a small piece of behavior I notice. Something universal. Something we all share but an individual might live by,” says Koechner, “and then I blow up that aspect of my personality and create a character.” Admittedly, this process seems to be second nature to Koechner. “For whatever reason I’m able to access those parts of me. It's like algebra for me. I got the formula, and I can just keep plugging in numbers and getting results."

Known best for playing Champ Kind in the Anchorman movies, Koechner puts a lot of himself into his roles. “Describing your act is kind of like describing your personality. I’m loud and my comedy is loud,” says Koechner. “My comedy is wet, as opposed to dry.” It’s Sophocles’ Greek tragedy intersected with jokes, but with fewer people dying. Koechner has the rare ability to be silly and bombastic but maintain an underlying satirical tone that is smart and cutting. “It all has a satirical center,” says Koechner. “We all have flaws. We all have to deal with institutions. Whether it’s a child or a parent or a school, or work, government, church—everything is an institution that we have to interact with. I think ‘What are the rules of that behavior?’ And then I break them.”

David Koechner
The Stage at Santa Ana Star Casino
54 Jemez Dam Rd., Bernalillo
Thursday, May 21, 7 and 9:30pm
$15-$35 Ages: 21+
thestageatthestar.com

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Zach Reinert
Ryan Brackin

arts

Punk Rock, Storytelling and Dumb Jokes

LULZ, with Ian Douglas Terry and Zach Reinert

By Genevieve Mueller [ Fri Apr 17 2015 2:52 PM ]
Featuring comedians Ian Douglas Terry and Zach Reinert.
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“Untitled 96 (Version 1),” 2005, mixed media
Floyd D. Tunson

Arts

Pop Life

Inevitable reflections of the artist as a black man

By Marya Errin Jones [ Wed Oct 1 2014 5:02 PM ]
Explosive color and pop-art sensibilities inform the work of Floyd D. Tunson.
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“Mein Kölner Dom, Wrapped” by Christo and Jeanne-Claude
courtesy of the Tom Golden Collection, Sonoma County Museum

Arts

A Peek Into Process

Christo gives a talk about innovation and invention

By Mark Lopez [ Tue Aug 26 2014 3:04 PM ]
An artist in every sense of the word, Christo started with ideas, put them on sketches, collages and diagrams, then made them into three dimensional installations that took over large plots of land.
“Morning Cup”
all paintings by Eric G. Thompson

Arts

“The Painter’s Vision Is Not a Lens”

New work by Eric G. Thompson comes alive

By Alison Oatman [ Wed Aug 20 2014 4:32 PM ]
Photorealistic paintings are not a crime. These new works by Eric G. Thompson shimmer with captured energy.
Ronald Chavez aka Dreamer

Arts

Their Hearts Into Art

Incarcerated students’ work exhibits ingenuity and passion

By Alison Oatman [ Tue May 20 2014 3:38 PM ]
Where Juli Cobb teaches, the school uniform is orange, the attendance rate is almost perfect, and the atmosphere can be stressful, to say the least.
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“A Second Life” by Karl Hofmann

Arts

Blossoming Impossibly

Three Harwood artists celebrate springtime

By Alison Oatman [ Thu May 8 2014 2:31 PM ]
Spring swept in late this year, bringing with it an energetic chaos of uplifting art.
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