The Si Se Puede! Learning Centers are a project of the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation, a nonprofit organization working to meet the needs of underserved families. The 16 centers are located on low-income housing properties in California, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. They serve 25-plus K-5 students every weekday through educational after-school and summer enrichment programs. Their programs focus on homework assistance, literacy, math, science, technology and leadership. These ideas are investigated through fun, interactive and hands-on activities as well as experiential learning through field trips and summer camping trips. A great thing for kids, parents and volunteers to get involved in.
Best Local Author: Fantasy
Stephen R. Donaldson. His most recent book prior to The Man Who Fought Alone was a second collection of short fiction, Reave the Just and Other Tales. He is currently hard at work on The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. The novels for which he is best known have received a number of awards. Look for a coming book signing and gathering in Albuquerque.
Best Independent Video Store
Burning Paradise Video. From mainstream hits to independent and foreign film, Kurly Tlapoyawa operates and owns the only independent video store in Albuquerque and has a great new location on 115 Harvard SE. Kurly is a great guy, stuntman and moviemaker. Everybody should know him and find him on Facebook.
Photo courtesy of Jaque Fragua
Let's see, there's the conman Vaughan, Indian jewelers under the portal in Old Town, dancer CloudFace, DJ Mr. Marvel, live-creator Randy Boogie, poeta Jessica Helen Lopez and musical act Definition Rare. But if I had to pin down one artist, it would have to be [painter] Ryan Singer.
Best Street Art
Well, it depends on your definition of "street art." Outside of the concrete stumps of cement pottery on the way to the Sunport, I'd say that it would have to be the amazing shadows casted on concrete by the light of the heavenly desert sunsets. Oh, and I really dig all the cloud designs poppin' up.
Where do you like to hang out?
Usually when I come to town, fleeing from the hustle and bustle of the Jemez Pueblo metroplex, I'm usually seeking peace and tranquility. I kick it at Morningside park. And if you don't find me there, I'm usually seen at Farina, Salathai and/or Blackbird Buvette, simultaneously.
Best Art Gallery
The ones that carry my work, of course. Firegod Gallery at Laru Ni Hati, 516 ARTS and a few others. But the best gallery is on the railroad tracks. This gallery is unlimited, unhinged and unbiased. Plus, there's no commission percentage.
I study with two artists, and they are my favorites. Joy Shupe and Louis D’Amico; he has Mudfish Pottery in town.
Best Hair Salon
Swank, if you’re in the Nob Hill area. Bonnie is wonderful.
Best Meditation Center
When I do meditate, I do it at the Kadampa Meditation Center.
I love the [University of New Mexico’s] North Golf Course. I know it’s a golf course, but I like to walk there.
What do you look for in shows you bring to Albuquerque?
I attend two booking conferences each year; a regional one in September and a national one in January. [I look for] what I think I can bring to Albuquerque. I have to find something I believe will do well in a 2,000-seat venue. And we like variety. The Broadway shows are wonderful, but we also want to mix it up with modern dance; Martha Graham just came. ... When you find something new and exciting, that’s fun.
Which one is your all-time favorite?
Les Mis is probably my all-time favorite, but when we brought Phantom of the Opera, it was a big coup.
What upcoming production are you most excited about?
Les Mis is coming back to Popejoy next season. ... They’re all my favorites, otherwise they wouldn’t be in the season. Blue Man Group is coming as well.
As someone involved in music and the arts, New Mexico in general has a great arts vibe, so that is a plus. Albuquerque is also a smaller town, so it it easier in some ways to get things going. I don't think, for instance, ¡Globalquerque! could have been launched as easily in some other cities!
You live in Placitas ... what’s that like?
It is simply a beautiful, peaceful place here in the foothills. I look out my window, see blue skies and hawks circling the peaks. The Cibola National Forest is our backyard. We can virtually just start hiking out our door! The town is home to a lot of artists, particularly of the visual persuasion, which is nice. And it is easy striking distance to both Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Best Use of City Money
Education. It is everyone's future. We don't need more cops, we need more teachers. Second would be the arts. A vibrant economy and continued economic development must take into account arts and culture ... .
Best Radio Station
KUNM—sometimes frustrating, sometimes the best thing you have ever heard, and ALWAYS part of and representing the community!
Best Place of Worship
By—or in—a mountain stream or spring. There's any number to choose from!
Even if I were not the principal, I’d have to say that the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School is the best free, small, public high school in greater Burque. The exclusive “above the line” media electives make this school uniquely engaging for its’ students in addition to having a college prep focus.
Heroin Awareness Committee. This parent-founded organization works at the family- and school-level to raise awareness amongst teenagers about the destructiveness of heroin use and addiction. Heroin use is an epidemic affecting 114,000 users in Albuquerque, and sadly, many parents may be unaware of their child’s familiarity with this dangerous drug.
The gay pride parade is definitely the most festive, fun and outspoken. While uniting the Burque community in celebrations of diversity, equal rights, health and social justice issues, the organizers also feature pertinent entertainment and arts events.
Best Dog Trainer
Robin Hagebush is the Cesar Millan of Burque. She instinctively knows about dogs, their behaviors and tendencies, and can break your poochies’ bad habits without overt force.
Best “Breaking Bad” Location
The Country Club area, home to Pinkman, is distinctively Burque. It’s always great to see those familiar Burque spots in this gritty AMC show.
Mary Oishi and Danny Solis tie for my favorite writers of spoken word. Both poets have impacted myself and their community with eloquently real and vivid prose. Congratulations to Mary for her recent publishing of Spirit Birds They Told Me.
Best Art Gallery
Nob Hill Gallery at 7400 Montgomery NE. This cooperatively owned gallery regularly exhibits works of their gifted and talented members while selflessly supporting young, budding artists. Recently the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School students were graciously given the opportunity to feel the excitement of a true gallery showing at the Nob Hill Gallery.
Photo courtesy of Gwyneth Doland
Journalist, bon vivant
Best Bar for Dancing
My house. As my neighbors know, I like to invite a few friends over, put on some Sugar Hill Gang, crank it up to 11 and dance until we rattle the bottles off the buffet. It's good times! I will freak you like you've never been freaked before.
Best Thing About Albuquerque
My neighbors. It's been 10 years of these dance parties and my neighbors have never called the cops. I love you guys!
Best Gay Bar
Effex. I have to say, I love it that we have a great new dance club Downtown, but I do long for the days when you'd walk into a gay bar and not see anyone you knew. For me (straight but not narrow!) that was the whole point. How are you supposed to dance to Ginuwine's "Pony" in front of people you know through work? (See: Best Bar for Dancing.)
Best Boot and Shoe Repair
Coronado Boot and Shoe Repair. I've had new elastic thingies put on sling backs, a new zipper put in some kitten-heel boots and had the heels on my cowboy boots totally rehabbed. All that dancing can really take a toll on your shoes. Take care of them!
Best Locally Made Condiment
Heidi's Rasberry Jam. After a night of dancing, I like a simple breakfast: French bread, high butterfat butter and raspberry jam. I usually go pick my own berries (either at Heidi's in the North Valley or at Salmon Ranch up in Mora) but when I don't, I'll buy a jar of Heidi's. I tell myself it's different—somehow not as good. But I'm a liar.