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news

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Arts

Old Man Gloom’s New Clothes: Santa Fe artist debuts Zozobra-themed group exhibition

via Robb Rael’s Facebook page
via Robb Rael’s Facebook page

Every child who attended a Santa Fe elementary school made some picture or papier-mâché version of the infamous Zozobra during their academic career. And then, if they were anything like me and my friends, they proceeded to burn at least one of these homemade depictions.

Zozobra, an often-misunderstood tradition, is as much a part of our culture as are green chile roasting and farolitos during Christmastime. For unfamiliar Burqueños or visitors to the state, Zozobra is a 50-foot-tall puppet, deemed “Old Man Gloom,” into which we cast all our troubles every autumn and watch them burn away.

However, as much as Santa Feans appreciate the tradition, very few dream of the day when Zozobra would become a thread in their lives' work. Santa Fe artist Robb Rael is an exception.

Rael organized a group show featuring satirical depictions of Zozobra. The exhibit’s opening reception happens on Sept. 6 from 5 to 8pm, and the show will run through Sept. 15. According to the Albuquerque Journal, Rael's paintings will be shown alongside the work of at least 10 other artists at his business, Get Framed Inc.

Rael’s work has long included this cultural icon. In fact, one of his designs was chosen as the official Zozobra poster in 2009. In general, his paintings tend to contain various New Mexican cultural elements and icons coupled with use of psychedelic colors and patterns. Staring at his bright, fun displays, viewers are challenged to reflect on the meanings behind them.

Though Rael has worked cooperatively with the Kiwanas Club, which hosts the burning of Zozobra, this show is independent of the annual event. While Kiwanas does display depictions of Old Man Gloom, the organization takes care to ensure that he’s not presented in religious or political contexts that may be deemed offensive. On the other hand, Rael sometimes creates to shock people, as he told the Journal.

The show, titled GLÜM – Madder Than the Old Man, will be full of color, culture and wit. Check it out at Get Framed, in the Design Center (418 Cerrillos, Suite 3, Santa Fe).

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Alibi Picks

El Kookooee

If you happened to miss Santa Fe's Zozobra, you still have time to get your fear-burning effigy fix this year. El Kookooee, the South Valley's own 30-foot depiction of all things mal, sets ablaze this Sunday at Rio Bravo State Park (west of Isleta off Camino del Valle SW). Beginning at 6 p.m., catch performances by Sultry Kittens Belly Dancers, Bhangra Dance Group, Circulo Solar Ollin Xochipilli Aztec dancers and DJ Genius of Love. At 8 p.m., scribble down your fears, place them inside El Kookooee and watch them go up in smoke. For more info, e-mail info@elkookooee.org or visit elkookooee.org.

News

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Culture

Track Marks: The Burning Man Editon

Blackrock City can kiss my ass. Santa Fe's been burning a giant dude to for way longer and with a lot less hippie.

Yuppers, it's Zozobra time (I want to put that in all caps because I'm so excited). Zozobra is the best day ever in Santa Fe. We all gather on a baseball field and send our gloom away by burning Zozo, or Old Man Gloom.

Side note: Someone tweets under the Old Man Gloom moniker and it's hilarious.

Anyway, Burque, I know you all want to come but driving back after the excitement of seeing a giant puppet go up in flames is a lot. So don't. I mean, come to Zozobra, but don't drive home. You can't crash at my house but you can ride the Rail Runner from the Santa Fe Depot at 11 p.m.

¡QUE VIVA!

Thursday, Sept. 9

3 p.m.

Fort Marcy Park, Santa Fe

zozobra.com

$10

blog

Step Up To Life

Zozobra 2009

Raar! Fear me, for I am Zozobra. Raaar!
Raar! Fear me, for I am Zozobra. Raaar!

Yesterday Nozlkoff and I took the #516 train to Santa Fe, and after two hours arrived in the rainy capital for the burning of Zozobra. For recent relocaters, troglodytes and people reading this from the Lesser Antilles, Zozobra is an 85 year-old Santa Fe tradition where the effigy of gloom is tortured and burned.

I’d never been, but always thought I would enjoy the strange spectacle.

It was OK.

Santa Fe natives naturally seemed more into it than the others. I fancied the part where they actually tortured and burned the puppet, but standing in a baseball field, packed in like salty little fish, sustaining a substantial contact high while listening to Beatles covers and ... waiting ... is not my idea of fun.

The important thing I did take away from this experience, however, is Step Up to Life by Elmer Murdoch, an glossy, informative booklet about the “pure spiritual milk” of Jesus. Delicious.

V.15 No.25 | 6/22/2006
Let’s be Franck.

Music Magnified

Absolut House Six-Year Anniversary featuring Franck Roger

with DJ Eldon

Thursday, June 22, Martini Grille (21-and-over); $5: His United States tour stops include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Dallas—and Albuquerque.

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