Madame Butterfly at the National Hispanic Cultural Center: Opera Southwest has been quietly putting on wonderful operas all-year-round in Albuquerque. I don't have to drive to Santa Fe anymore to get my fix of beautiful arias. I cried and cried during Madame Butterfly last year and then noted that the man behind me was fast asleep. Opera produces an altered state in all of us.
The Albuquerque Press Club: There are so many strange passageways inside that strange log cabin on the hill that after a few drinks, it seems you are wandering an Escher-like mansion. The tops of all staircases are usually inhabited by a lone woman in a black cape who disperses into thin air as soon as you reach her. Delightful!
Prairie dog love and understanding: Every time a bunch of prairie dogs finds a nice bit of grass or even a bit of forgotten dirt to build themselves a town within our city's confines, there are people immediately pushing them out with poisoned hay and other nastiness. Can't we somehow find a way to make space for these adorable, intelligent animals? Will it really ruin your shopping experience to have them peeking out of holes along the grass between Babies“R”Us and Target? There has to be a way that we desert-dwellers—who already embrace a different kind of beauty by living here—can embrace the look of medians and roadsides with holes dug in them. Think of it as underground art.