Blogs by Julia Mandeville
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Guess Where I Am Right Now!

(Ok. You got me. I'm at FabLabABQ.)

The first thing I thought of when I awoke too early this morning to one of my cats* sneezing on my face was: Today is the day! Fab Lab ABQ, the magnificent and mind-blowing new digital fabrication laboratory, is opening. Officially. Which means that between now and 7:00p, you can come observe all of its many wonders, and speak to the visionaries behind them, and connect with other Albuquerqueans who are as interested in the world of fabulous fabrication as you are.

I, myself, am doing these very things at this very moment. Not exactly at this moment, because I am typing this blog (that's right. Live coverage, because the Alibi is just that dedicated to providing you with hot-off-the-keyboard reporting. Plus my editor** is just that thoughtful about how we can best, most thrillingly use our blogging capabilities. Particularly, how we can use them to continue the train of thought from the articles we write in advance of these things to the things themselves to the broad reverberations the things have thereafter.) But I was doing those things just a moment ago. And will be just a moment from now. And the community, both existing and taking shape, I'm witnessing is beautiful. Really beautiful.

Just like the things that Fab Labbers have created recently. Which are, in addition to the magical 3D printers and other crazy fabrication tools we tried to explain to you in said article - which happens to be hanging on the North wall here (see photo if you don't believe me), are here and waiting for you to examine them. Chandeliers made via plasma cutter. And pillows made by Women EARN (formerly Women's Design Collective). And architectural models made by those 3D printers. And much, much more.***

And just like the little children who, in their endearingly curious tones, are asking how to make LED-lit flowers out of translucent purple and sheer gold pieces of cloth. And like Lisa Kondo, Fab Lab ABQ co-founder, who is showing them that the flowers are "soft sculptures," and making the petals hand in hand to illustrate the process.

And just like the long rectangular cards, hand-cut by another Fab Lab ABQ co-founder Karole Mazeika (again, if you don't believe me, see the photo), that announce on technicolor card stock the upcoming workshops that will take place here. And which you can attend, if you come by today to sign up or call in to make arrangements. Judging by the attendance at the open house, you'll probably want to do it soon... Because I suspect they're going to fill up quickly. Because they are really cool. Case in point:

Wordpress 101: Taught by co-founder Grady Jaynes, slated for Saturday May 1 at 10:00a. Promises that within the first hour, you'll have a website. Which you'll personalize in the second hour. And learn how to maintain in the third. You might be thinking, oh I bet that's a trillion dollars. Not so. Only $40!

Fashion Hacking: Taught by the previously mentioned Lisa Kondo and LED expert Tanda Headrick, president of Vanguard Technology Corp. Combines tailoring tools, sewing techniques, soldering, conductive thread and LED's in the first class (Saturday, May 1 at 2:00p). And transforms to v2.0 in the second class (Sunday, May 2 at 2:00p). Each session is $20 + a materials fee.

Laser Intro: Taught by co-founders Kenji Kondo and Karole Mazeika. As suggested by its title, introduces you to safety/strategies of using a laser. Yes, a laser. You'll also meet "inkscape fundamentals." And will have the chance to prototype. And will leave with a fabricated object. M. A. D. N. E. S. S. $40 + materials.

You can also become a member. The structure of that is not complicated, but entails more information than I want to convey right now. Because I want to go eat another cupcake (see ***) and talk to more people and look at more amazing things that I don't wholly understand. Hope to see you here. Soon.

* One of my two cats. Contrary to what some believe, I neither have a thousand cats, nor am I completely nuts.
** The inimitable Ms. Erin Adair-Hodges, who is going to be sad she wasn't here today. But is probably doing something cool like riding her tandem bike. Or something terrible like grading a bunch of student papers. I am hoping for the former. For her sake.
*** Including cupcakes that are made with organic ingredients - and use, almost universally, Agave instead of sugar. These delicious treats are the trademark of Tami Maimarinsek's Heart Healthy Cakes, a participating (culinary) artist in the aforementioned Women EARN program. Tami takes orders. And I assure you, you want to place one. Call her, (505) 934-1762, to do so.

Courtesy of National Hispanic Cultural Center


Yay for Albuquerque!

NHCC Included in Frommer's Global Must-See List

We all know how amazing NHCC is—beautiful exhibits, fabulous programming, breathtaking premises. And now, if it didn't before, the whole world knows, too. Or at least, the Frommer's-reading world.

In a little feature called "9 Must-See Museum Exhibits Around The World," NHCC is listed among the internationally-renowned likes of the Tate (London) and the Pompidou (Paris). Not bad, Burque. Not bad at all.

Now. Let's get NMSO on some lists* with the New York Philharmonic and New Mexico Ballet Co noted alongside the Russian National Ballet, and we'll be all set.

* I could make these lists. And I've thought about it. But maybe it would be more thrilling for ABQ if someone outside of the city were to recognize our treasure chest o' glorious cultural riches. Who do you know at the Washington Post? Get on it!


Something Very Confusing Part 2

Re: Something Very Confusing (Part 1)

I didn't realize that our decision (to get rid of the broken car we had/not to buy another one to replace it) would be so centrally relevant to you blog readers. And I can't help but wonder how today's enormous comment-based conversation might have differed had I included certain details.

So let's just see (you tell me):

1) We moved to ABQ for Alex's education (he's getting his Master's at UNM). We had enough in savings to relocate and to support ourselves for a few months while we looked for work here. Our car died in this initial period of relocation, and we thought that fixing it was an unwise way to use what was, at the time, a very finite amount of money.

2) Since then, Alex has gotten both a part-time job and a grading assistantship. And I'm very fortunate to be able to say that I have a fabulous full-time job. Two, if I count the time I spend writing my Alibi articles/blogs : )

3) For quite some time now, we've been in a financial position that would allow us to purchase a car. We have talked about it -- and taken the environmental impact of a vehicle very much into account -- and determined not to purchase one.

4) We are aware that the location of our house puts us in a unique position to comfortably rely on public transit and/or our bicycles. And we know that our determination not to purchase a car is certainly related to the place we're presently able to live.

5) We are already conflicted knowing that at some point down the road (no pun intended), we may not be as lucky as we are now. And that we may, for one probably-subsistence-related-reason-or-another, have to get a car.

Some Very Sincere Questions:

a) We admittedly wouldn't have gone without a car had ours survived. Does this nullify the environmental considerations we've taken into account since?

b) It was great to be able to rent a car for a weekend jaunt to the countryside. But we wonder if we should even be going into the wilderness if our trip to it requires a fossil-fuel-burning-low-passenger-capacity ride?

c) But if we don't go... Then we're here all the time. And everyone needs a change of scenery sometimes. How can we reconcile that need with the invariable pollution that meeting it causes?

What say you?


Something Very Confusing

Mass Development, Jerk Face Littering and Life as Pollution

We* had a car when we moved to Albuquerque this summer, but its undercarriage fell out -- which is a ridiculously expensive problem to fix -- and so we decided** we could handle being without one. We're fortunate to live in a great spot for riding mass transit, in a little house that's plopped perfectly, equidistantly between Central and Lomas. Turns out, we sleep pretty well at night knowing that we're sharing our commutes' carbon footprints with other transit riders instead of making our own.

It's not often that either of us feels particularly deprived by not having our own vehicle. Except -- ironically, I suppose -- when we want to go into nature, which is pretty hard to do on the bus/rail lines. This weekend, after a particularly tricky and trying last week, we felt like getting out of town and walking off some steam. So we rented a car.

On Saturday, not wanting to risk getting trapped in our non-weatherized rental car on snow-covered mountain roads, we walked 7-ish-miles-round-trip along the Bosque. On Sunday, we hiked a surprisingly strenuous 5-ish-miles-round-trip-up-and-back to the McCauley Hot Springs outside of Jemez. It was all so beautiful. New Mexico's landscapes are stunningly diverse. Awe inspiringly so, in fact.

But I'd be lying if I said I didn't feel some anger as we explored these environments. The side of the Bosque we wandered was open and wild (save the occasional monitoring station surrounded by chain-link). Yet across the water, houses sprawl endlessly; big ugly developments and monstrous McMansions subsume the riverbanks. At the hot springs, some jerk face(s) had left beer bottles and soda cans and odd articles of clothing littered across the mountainside.

I know that the litter may seem less offensive than the mass development, but when it's all boiled down, it's all part of the same problem. Leaving trash behind is an indication, a symptom maybe, of the attitude that allows houses to smash entire ecosystems out of existence, that allows ease and earnings to trump conscientiousness.

This has all been on my mind pretty constantly lately, as over the last however many weeks, I've watched/encountered an unusually high number of environmentally-centered films, plays, exhibits and installations. And the more I think about it all, the more I engage with the problem, the more perplexed I am. I just don't know how we can do what we need to do to protect/save the planet when we can't even get people to pick up their own fucking garbage. Let alone change their entire day-to-day routines.

Especially because people (people like me and maybe you) who do pick up after themselves, who do think about how their actions affect the environment, who do make efforts to reduce their impact, do damage daily anyway. It's like it's inbred in us... Work. Pollute. Relax. Pollute. Eat. Pollute. Drive. Pollute. Live. Pollute... Pollute. Kill.

The growing local movement seems like the best possible solution to the problem. So that's how we've been trying to operate. It's admittedly difficult at times. And we end up doing things like renting cars. But we're trying. And hopefully we'll continue to improve.

And I'm no less confused now than I was at the beginning of this blog. But at least I've gotten all of this out of my head. However incoherently.

Thanks, guys. You're saving me a fortune in therapy bills.

*We = me + Alex, my fiance
** By "decided," I mean that we made a choice to eat instead of buy a new car.


Guess What's Happening Today?

VSA Day Arts' Going Public!

VSA Day Arts’ Going Public is holding an Artists’ Reception this very afternoon from 1:00 – 3:00. The show is the artists’ first exhibit at the Albuquerque Main Library, and it’s truly fabulous. It runs through March 31, but today is your chance to be star struck because the artists will all be there. Who, you ask? Why Maya Anaya, Marc Frye, Carlan Gettman, Max Haugen, John Lowe, Sammy Maldonado, Cosima Martinson, Harriet Morse, Ken Sharpton and Rudy Via. That’s who! You don’t want to miss it.*

*And if you’re working Downtown, you have no excuse. Take a late lunch and a little stroll over to the library, meet the artists, view the work, tell me how much you love it.

The Loveliest Thing I've Ever Known Any Couple To Do

Every evening, my friends Nick and Nora* spend time drawing portraits of each other. It’s something they started 56-days-as-of-this-Friday-when-I-went-over ago. And it’s amazing.

Nora is getting her Master’s in Philosophy at UNM, and she has been in Albuquerque since August. But Nick just arrived recently. He came from Chicago, which is where they met and first loved one another. He’s here on an extended vacation of sorts – even though he’s working** – so that they can be together for a longer clip than any of Nora’s school vacations would otherwise allow.

They’re really making the most of it. Their office space is adorned with (actually, completely blanketed by) the products of their new nightly tradition. In one composition, Nick is Nora’s own personal Obama. In another, Nora is queen of the pancakes. The portraits aren’t polished, but they aren’t meant to be. They are quirky and creative. They are humorous and adoring. They are, when we get right down to it, love incarnate.

More than anything, they are reminders of the gloriousness of being. Particularly, of being in a relationship with someone complimentary, contemplative, constant. If we’re fortunate enough to find such a thing, we should surely revel in it. By drawing pictures of our others riding chariots with captions like strong as a mythical beast.

In fact, I’ve just imagined my own love, Alex, flying on a winged crocodile, and he has some Micron pens on his desk that will allow me to capture it perfectly. Off I go. Goodnight!

*Yes! Those are their real names! And if you think that’s neat because of something having to do with an Infinite Playlist, then… Sorry, you’re probably not a very neat person. But if you think that’s neat because of marvelous movies starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, then you’re probably the neatest person ever. In the whole world. Or at least one of them.

** You want proof of Nick’s productivity? Look no further than The Guild on Friday, April 2, at 10:30p. You want a preview? Look no further than his website.

Lessons From Last Night's Lecture(s)

FabLabABQ's Sparkplug Talks at Launchpad

A couple of weeks ago, I gave you the particularly fascinating summary points from a May Ray lecture at UNM. And some of you – three of you, by my estimations – appeared to be compelled by the thought of thinking. So for those three of you, a reprise:

Last night, I attended the first ever Sparkplug Talks, organized by the imminently-opening FabLabABQ (an amazing Downtown venture that is yours for exploring, experimenting, exploiting*) and hosted by the always wonderful Launchpad.**

The ST, as I will now refer to Sparkplug Talks, follow the Pecha-Kucha format, which basically means that each speaker has 20 seconds for each of his/her 20 slides, which equals six minutes per person, which translates to awesome.

In my own little take on Pecha-Kucha, here’s what I learned from each presenter in 20 words or less not including name and affiliation (in order of appearance):

Grady Jaynes, MC: It’s tricky to be the MC. People usually stink. But not Grady Jaynes. He is an ST MC Superman.

Katie Rast, FabLabABQ: At FabLabABQ, we can “dream, think, design and realize.” In other words, make badass shit right in our own backyard.

James Smart, Cuatro Villas: We must implement collaborative approach incentives to achieve water sustainability in our region!

Jared Winchester, Entropic Industries: Natural disasters illustrate how “static infrastructure has failed.” Jared’s soil-nail-tethered houses illustrate how creative thinking will succeed. And save us.

Matthew Bandy, Environmental Archaeology: Accounting for relative time (dt) demonstrates how the old world conquered the new. (Guns, germs and steel, if you’re wondering).

Antonio Garcia, Zuk Design: Light! Design! Engineering! With our powers combined, we are Captain Planet! Wait, no. We are LED-lit furniture, like Zinc’s tables.

Tanda Headrik, Vanguard Designs: The average U.S. house holds 190 computers. Didn’t hear the rest of Tanda’s talk. Distracted trying to count mine. Oops.

Kenji Kondo, Open Source 3D Printing: Kenji = wizard. Printer = fabricator that makes flashlights out of nothing but a tool that looks suspiciously like a magic wand.

Michelle Melendez, Women’s Design Collective: St. Joe’s Hospital believes “health is not all about medicine;” it’s about women’s economic success. Plus some. (Read more about Women’s Design Collective here.***)

Ellen Berkovich and Conrad Skinner, Adobe Airstream Webzine: We live in a “mega region” of art and culture; webzines let us strut our stuff for a global audience.

Chris Goblet, Downtown Action Team: Cross your fingers! Show your support! Downtown Growers’ Market may be the first solar powered farmers’ market in the country!

*Exploiting as in using. Not as in abusing. I thought about saying ‘utilizing,’ but then that great alliteration of exp, exp, exp wouldn’t have existed. And that would have been a shame. A real shame.

**Ummm…. Did you know that Launchpad has $2 beers? I didn’t. But I do now. And I will be back to experience that loveliness again. Soon.

*** This parenthetical does NOT count as my 20 words or less.

Once Upon A Time

Is Now. Write Something!

This weekend, I went to New Grounds Print Workshop and Gallery to interview artist Ray Maseman, learn about non-toxic etching and see Fairy Tales (his collection of prints that will be on exhibit at New Grounds beginning March 5, with early bird previews starting March 2).

At one point during our visit, RM told me that he once invited a group of young students to write stories about the characters in his work. Which got me thinking… Maybe Alibi readers would like the same opportunity?

After seeing the Valentine's Day Card Contest entries, I have every confidence that you will come up with fascinating, sometimes charming and potentially really fucked up fairy tales. And I'd like to read them.

So here's your chance to write them. Attend Ray Maseman's show at New Grounds, compose a story about your favorite work, and submit it in the comments section here. Or... If you can't wait till the early bird preview opens on Tuesday... you can peek at his work online and write about one that strikes your fancy on the website (as long as you promise to go see the show in person).

This is also your chance to win the Second Ever Super Cool Extra. This prestigious prize was first introduced during Revolutions Int'l Theatre festival and awarded to a fellow named Scalbot just a few days later.

I dare you to participate. In fact, I triple-dog dare you.

Oh. I also dare you to read the article on Maseman's etchings, which will arrive later this week to Alibi stands near you.

Do You Love Words?

Then You'll Love This!

First: I apologize, as I really should have posted this sooner.

Second: You should forgive me since I'm posting it now.

Third: Subscribe to A.Word.A.Day. It's the most amazing thing since sliced bread. Except it's even better because it's free. And because it teaches you one new thing for your vocabulary list every morning. And because it shares each word's origins. And because it has a weekly guiding theme. And because it appears in your email box daily, like magic... And did I mention it's free? Go! Learn!

©2010 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Lessons From Last Night's Lecture

Man Ray at the UNM Art Museum

Last night, UNM Art Museum hosted the second in a series of six lectures that correspond to their present (and fantastic!) exhibition, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens. Katherine Ware, from Santa Fe’s Museum of Fine Arts, addressed a packed room on the luminary artist’s early years – in a talk aptly titled, “In the beginning: Man Ray in New York.”

Many things were free* for the learning, but some stood out as particularly fascinating. And I’m going to relay them to you. With the understanding that you’ll go to the next lecture (on Thursday, February 25, at 11:30a.m.) yourself.**

Please Note: The quotes are all Katherine Ware’s, and the points come directly from her lecture, but I’ve inserted some background/biographical info here and there. Which I’ve noted with dashes like this –. I also included some helpful links that you might want to peek at.

1) It took Man Ray, by his own admission, “six months to recover from the Armory Show” – the International Exhibition of Modern Art, held in New York, 1913. When he got his artistic cookies together, he painted his Portrait of Alfred Stieglitz. Which you can see here (third down from the top).

2) Alfred Stieglitz – brilliant photographer, renowned gallery owner, profound influence on Man Ray and (fun NM fact alert) Georgia O’Keefe’s husband – was a “vanguard in showing African Sculpture as ART.”

3) In the early 20th century – at the birth of modernism – the “African Tradition” gave Man Ray and his contemporaries “another way” to represent reality, to show “interior life through the physical form of the body.”

4) Man Ray’s very first photographs were of his own – other and precursory – artwork, so that he could do the press/PR for his very first solo show at Daniel Gallery in New York.*** He learned the techniques from Stieglitz.

5) Man Ray and Marcel Duchamp – who had a fabled friendship – met through the Arensbergs, a New York couple famous for their art collection. When Ray and Duchamp first encountered one another, they did not share a common language (Ray spoke English; Duchamp, French). So they did what anyone else in such a situation would do: They played tennis.

6) By 1920, Man Ray had effectively “absorbed so much of what he’s seen, found his own voice, and caught up to other” artists of his time; he was finally a “real peer” – of Stieglitz, Duchamp and the members of their modernist cohort.

7) Though Man Ray aspired to be “taken seriously as a painter,” his greatest successes were as a “portrait artist of other artists and their work.” He made his living in New York this way, and he continued when he moved to Paris – in 1921 – though there he gained fame for his innovative photography and light relief/exposure techniques.

For more on UNM’s Man Ray show, visit the Art Museum's website or see the Alibi article.

For a complete list of the remaining lectures, check this out.

* The museum is open to the public, generally without admission. But there’s a donation box near the front doors, and I strongly encourage putting money into it on your way into the exhibit (or any of its corresponding events) so that UNM – for the good of greater Albuquerque – can continue to support shows of this remarkable caliber.

** Let’s call this: The Great Gentleman’s Agreement of February 2010. You’re on your honor to adhere to my attendance request. I’m fulfilling my end of the bargain just by writing this blog.

*** Ms. Ware mentioned 1914 as the year of this show… But I found 1915 listed most elsewhere. Any input, peeps?