Best Of Burque 2019: Arts

Best Performing Arts Group

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The key to audience-pleasing improv is relatability. Fill Jeantete and Wesley Swedenburg start in a spot where the audience has been in their own experience, then pick them up and carry them carefully down an imaginative path where the landmarks are recognizable, until they careen off in unexpected, often absurd directions. Off the top of their heads, this two-man group that started in 2017 crafts an oddly compelling short story relayed through densely packed wit and unstructured physicality that is hard to turn away from, all while dressed like the drummer from Cheap Trick.

2) Musical Theatre Southwest

3) The Desert Darlings

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Performing Arts Venue

New Mexico’s largest venue of its kind, Popejoy Hall on the University of New Mexico’s Main Campus, is a world-class performance space in the heart of the city. Visiting artists from around the world can find a home at Popejoy Hall, where dancers, theater companies, orchestras and speakers are welcomed with a setting and staff committed to providing New Mexicans young and old the finest in performances. It seems the founding fathers themselves (the singing and dancing variety) concur by selecting Popejoy Hall as the site for Hamilton: The Musical in the 2020-2021 season.

2) National Hispanic Cultural Center

3) Outpost Performance Space

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Art Gallery

516 Arts
516 ARTS is a non-collecting museum dedicated to showing contemporary art in Albuquerque. What is most striking about 516 ARTS is not the consistent quality of their gallery shows that often find a way to contextualize local and international environmental and socio-political subjects with open-ended questions for New Mexican audiences, but their commitment to New Mexican artists’ creation of new work through a transparent, supportive annual grant process. Let it also be said that 516 ARTS has an enormous, two-story sun-lit wall as you enter the gallery that provides a rare opportunity for enterprising artists.

2) Weems Galleries & Framing

3) Ghostwolf Gallery

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Local Poet

When the city of Albuquerque puts your words on a bus, instead of you putting your words on a bus, you have arrived. A perennial favorite Best Local Poet among our readers, Hakim Bellamy was Albuquerque’s first Poet Laureate, a national poetry slam champion and a thrice-titled collegiate poet at the University of New Mexico. Bellamy continues to bring the words out into the world for all that are ready to receive them.

2) Sarita Sol Gonzalez

3) Ebony Isis Booth

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Local Author

The award-winning UNM professor emeritus Rudolfo Amaya is most commonly known for his classic of Chicano literature Bless Me, Ultima, but his extensive work fills volumes of poetry, plays and children’s literature. Anaya infuses his work with the stories and scenery of New Mexico, providing outsiders with a sense of this place we call home. His visionary style continues to sway young writers, reminding them that they too can tell their own stories about where they are from.

2) Steve Brewer

3) Jason Witter

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Comedy Venue

If you like the fact that you’re alive, you probably love to laugh. You can both laugh and live at this year’s Best Comedy Venue, The Box Performance Space. They specialize in improv comedy, which is staffed/performed by our own wonderful local comedians and singing locals. Did you know that they offer improv and acting classes?! If you have any interest in seeing funny people, or being a funny person, this is where to go!

2) Tricklock Performance Laboratory

3) The Stage at The Star

Best Of Burque 2019: Best Local Comedian

You’ve heard him. You’ve seen him. You know and love him. Ladies and gentlemen, it gives us great pleasure to announce this year’s Best Local Comedian, Danger K. Varoz! He’s known for slinging jokes around town, and creating, producing, and hosting our one and only local satirical news show, “The New Mexican Inquisition” and generally being an amazingly funny contribution to the comedy scene. For his upcoming shows and other projects he’s involved with, visit the website that he curates at

2) Kendra Brand

3) Fill & Wes Improv
516 Arts

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