Alibi V.27 No.17 • April 26-May 2, 2018 

Best of Burque 2018

Arts

Best Performing Arts Group

Desert Darlings Belly Dance

arts

Desert Darlings bring a lot to the table with each of their performances. The troupe of eight dancers respectfully fuse a huge amount of disparate styles—from Indian to flamenco to swing to hip-hop in their choreographies, which have been performed all over the region. The darlings' primary aim is to tell stories through dance to a transportive effect. It seems these stories are clearly connecting with the people who have voted them in not just as the “best performing arts group” in these pages, but have showered many more accolades upon the group—including People's Choice Award at Yellow Rose of Texas at Yaahalla Y'all, one among many more top-notch credentials.

2) Musical Theatre Southwest

3) Tricklock Company

Best Performing Arts Venue

Popejoy Hall

Thomas L. Popejoy served as the president of UNM from 1948 to 1968. During that time, he got construction started on an arts complex—what now houses the UNM Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Library, and of course, Popejoy Hall. Popejoy Hall is one of the finest large-scale venues in the city, and regularly offers up world-class entertainment—from theater to music to lectures. The storied building only continues to add to a legacy of greatness, and being situated right on the university's campus makes it accessible for students and community members alike. There's nowhere quite like Popejoy Hall, and its way of improving upon life in the city makes this particular nod at the well loved venue quite apt.

2) The Box Performance Space

3) Albuquerque Little Theatre

Best Art Gallery

OT Circus

A relative newcomer to the Downtown gallery scene, OT Circus is already making waves. The mission of this unique space is to bring together the community to celebrate wellness, with a strong emphasis on how that can be achieved through creativity. The space combines occupational therapy with a dedicated gallery in-house, creating a unique spot on Seventh Street that manages to impress in both arenas. Whether it is the outdoor mural recently completed by Joseph Arnoux and Lynnette Haozous or the rotating pieces featured in the gallery proper, OT Circus is one to watch this year and hopefully in many years to come.

2) 516 ARTS

3) Ghostwolf Gallery

Best Local Poet

Manuel Gonzalez

Those of us who have had the opportunity to see Manuel Gonzalez perform his work know that “best local poet” is a title he well deserves. Gonzalez' stage presence is magnetic, and his words bear weight. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Gonzalez is inspired by our surroundings and that deeply felt love of place reverberates in his works. Gonzalez is the city's third poet laureate, and brings his slam poetry roots to readings all across the city and state. “it begins with a heartbeat/ deafening/ deep breath/ inhale/ exhale,” Gonzalez writes in his poem “Recipe for Poetry,” continuing, “heart exploding blood onto page.” Those vital rhythms wind their way through every performance and page Gonzalez produces.

2) Anna Martinez

3) Hakim Bellamy

Best Local Author

Irene Blea

Irene Blea—Dr. Irene Blea, that is—is an accomplished writer in an impressive number of genres. This New Mexico native is part academic—her textbooks (she's written seven) include two classics in Mexican-American studies. Titles like Toward a Chicano Social Science are familiar to anyone who ever studied in that field. She's also a poet, and has published numerous collections in that genre. Just as much, she is a storyteller. Her most recent publication is titled Daughters of the West Mesa, which is a fictionalized account of a true story that is put into motion after the remains of seven unborn fetuses are discovered on the city's West Mesa. Whatever genre she is writing in, Blea inspires readers to continue turning pages.

2) Sheri Velarde

3) Jason Witter

Best Comedy Venue

The Box Performance Space

Improv is the name of the game at The Box, and that takes multiple names, filling the week with opportunities for Burqueños to take in live comedy in the heart of Downtown. The Box is home to The Show, our city's longest running comedy improv show, but they also host The Hive, if long-format improv is what gets the laugh from you. And there's also Steam—a student driven improv clique. That's not even mentioning that The Box is the unofficial home of The One Night Stanleys—a long-running and well-loved comedy troupe. Whatever the flavor of comedy they're serving up, The Box rarely disappoints and “Best Of” credentials only underline that point.

2) Rio Bravo Brewing Company

3) Back Alley Draft House

Best Local Comedian

Greg Ziomek

Maybe you've seen him headlining comedy shows at Rio Bravo Brewing or comedy nights at Hotel Andaluz. Or perhaps you've heard him throwing anecdotes and jokes to the crowd at Tractor Brewing or with Headliners 505 as they rotate through venues around town. No matter where he visits—according to Burqueños, Greg Ziomek has the best material in town, which makes him well worth catching at the next possible opportunity.

2) Holly Byrd

3) Nasser Khan