Goin' Up on a Mountain
Field Guide to the Sandia Mountains and Mike Coltrin's Sandia Mountain Hiking Guide
When I first moved to Albuquerque several years ago, I bought a hiking map of the Sandias at the base of the tram. It's that simple one with red lines marking the trails, the map most people have used if they've spent much time traipsing around our mountains. It's old and battered, but I still have it. My copy is a bit worse for wear, though—it's dirty, it's torn, and it's got a big old nasty cigarette burn located about an inch from South Peak. It's a nice artifact, but it's ready for retirement.
For years, Mark Garcia collected random found objects but had no idea why. These things just piled up in his home until, just a few years ago, he decided to manipulate them into a series of shadowboxes.
Smears and Splatters
Descontrolado at the Visiones Gallery
In a way, abstract expressionism is the perfect vehicle for venting adolescent aggression. Back in its heyday in the '50s, it was a highly masculine, testosterone-poisoned movement fueled by a handful of more or less disturbed visionaries. Jackson Pollack's giant drip paintings convey almost pure turbulent emotion. Many of Willem de Kooning's best-known paintings feel and look openly savage. In other words, abstract expressionism, at its root, is almost a visual equivalent to speed metal.
Death of an Ordinary Man
Given that no one lives forever, it is remarkable how infrequently novelists imagine what greets us on the other side. Those who have tried to fathom death's mysterious contours break down into two camps. There are writers like Dante or J.M. Coetzee, who believe we have plenty of company in the afterlife. Then there are folks like Alice Sebold, Ali Smith, and now Glen Duncan, who in his creepy fourth novel, Death of an Ordinary Man, imagines for us a world that has one salient quality—loneliness.