Culture Shock: Contra-Ception, Open Up And Say Art House, And Read All The Things!


4 min read
Dancers were contra-ctually obligated to have a blast at this UNM contra dance in October 2014. Pictured in foreground: FolkMADS VP Emily Ruch and UNM student Joe Hay. (Ben Werner)
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For those unacquainted with contra dance, consider it the 17th-century British precursor to the “Cupid Shuffle.” Generally, it involves group step-dancing to old-time fiddle-and-banjo tunes as a “caller” directs participants in synchronized movement. It’s “the sort of dancing you’d see in a Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice-type movie,” says Erik Erhardt, president of the New Mexico Folk Music and Dance Society (FolkMADS).

With a lineage winding from France to England, Nova Scotia down through the Appalachians and into the South, contra-culture picked up a bevy of influences before FolkMADS’ 1983 formation in Albuquerque. On Friday a three-hour lesson, hoedown and performance commemorating the pagan festival of
May Day will take place at the UNM SUB (1 University of New Mexico, second-floor cafeteria, 7:30pm, $5/members $4/FREE for UNM students, staff and faculty with ID).

Those of the two-left-foot disposition need not be dissuaded. “If you can walk and hold hands, you can contra dance,” Erhardt says. The Virginia Creepers will provide old-time tunes, and Erhardt urges participants to show up on time to learn the calls and steps. If nothing else, make it over around 9pm for FolkMADS’ more-advanced
Beltane Morris performance—a costumed whirlwind that unfolds like a gang of drunken Irish chimney sweeps frolicking at Burning Man.

Culture Shock: Open Up And Say Art House Open Up And Say Art House

The Tile House—just imagine what it’s like inside. OFFcenter Community Arts Project
We’ve all done it. You’re driving along on a gorgeous, sunny day and come upon some magical, strangely modern house set like a jewel into a block of Pueblo Revival adobe facades, and you say to yourself, “Ohhh, I wonder what that’s like inside.” Well here’s your chance. Saturday, May 2, from 11am to 4pm, OFFCenter Community Arts Project hosts their 10th annual Albuquirky House Tour fundraiser. Each year three unique homes open their doors to donors for self-guided tours. This year you have the opportunity to explore “The Tile House” of mosaic artist Beverly Magennis, “Wisterious Manor” designed by architect Berry Langford and a metal/sound sculptural space called “High Frequency” constructed by local musician and sculptor Sean O’Connor. Tour some of the more daring spaces in Albuquerque and support community arts programs at the same time. You may just be inspired to make your home a little more Burque quirky. Check out for more information. Tour tickets cost $25 and can be purchased through the website.

Culture Shock: Read All The Things! Read All The Things!

Curious George stops by Page One at 2pm to help them celebrate their 34th birthday.
Fellow bibliophiles, rejoice! For there’s a new made-up holiday in town, and its name is Independent Bookstore Day. To celebrate, just add some books to your collection from your favorite independent librería this Saturday, May 2, whether it be Bird Song (526 Washington NE), Title Wave (2318 Wisconsin NE), Downtown Books (109 Eighth Street SW), Treasure House (2012 South Plaza NW) or Don’s Paperback Books (1013 San Mateo SE). Page One Books (5850 Eubank NE) also celebrates its 34th birthday Saturday with their Self-Published and Local Author Fair, happening 11am to 1pm on the upstairs balcony, plus other events, refreshments, prizes and discounts throughout the day. Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) is hyping its own three decades of existence with a new loyalty program, a day of author events and a Blind Date with a Book game.

And keep those party hats on. If you can believe it, Saturday’s also
Free Comic Book Day. So hit up Shared Universe (428 Louisiana SE), Lobo Anime & Comics (1016 Juan Tabo NE), Astro-Zombies (3100 Central SE), Twin Suns (6301 Riverside Plaza NW) or Comic Warehouse (9617 Menaul NE) for your freebies. Ain’t literacy great?

The Tile House—just imagine what it’s like inside.

OFFcenter Community Arts Project

Curious George stops by Page One at 2pm to help them celebrate their 34th birthday.

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