rhapsody in burque

V.25 No.25 | 06/23/2016

Rhapsody in Burque

Infi-knit Autumn

If it were up to me, everyone living in Albuquerque would receive an enormous reward—maybe a freezer full of gelato or a trip to Alaska or a million dollars—for enduring the summer heat. Since I’m not in charge of positively reinforcing residents for tolerating hell, I just have to make do with what I have. Which, in this case, is the Yarn Store.

The quaint shop is located in Nob Hill just North of Central, and the murals make it an unmistakable destination. Hands woven out of colorful yarn that are holding knitting needles cover the entire back wall while an equally colorful collection of shapes spreads across the smaller side wall. I didn’t particularly need any craft supplies when I walked by the other day, but the paint jobs and prospect of air conditioning are enough to lure anyone inside.

A gust of air swept over me as I walked through the small front door. To my right were a couple of women working on projects and laughing together at a wooden table. I smiled and ventured further inside, admiring color-coordinated arrangements of all kinds of yarn. Cotton blends, plant blends and local fibers, to name a few. Skeins of yarn sat happily in cubbies, sorted with similar colors. One wall had crochet hooks and knitting needles; another room was dedicated solely to needlepoint work where an adorable collection of buttons sat beneath rows of string in every imaginable hue. My old lady tendencies took over, and I couldn’t help but get really excited about sitting down with a ball of yarn and starting to plan which colors would make good hats, and who in my friend circle might like another knitted Christmas gift this year ...

Walking through the store is like being transported to a different time, or at least a different season. It’s a dip into autumn whenever your heart desires, and for me, that’s pretty much always. I was drawn to the rusty orange and olive green tones and suddenly felt like it was a crisp fall day instead of what it actually was: the middle of June.

Throughout the store are pockets of project areas, where cushions and chairs welcome anyone to grab a seat and get to work. And it’s no problem if you’re not sure where to start; a bookshelf overflowing with how-to guides and Knitting for Dummies is strategically placed next to a few work spaces, inviting you to flip through and find whatever inspiration you’re looking for.

As I moseyed through the back of the store, touching soft wool overflowing from wicker baskets and admiring difficult-looking patterns, something moved on top of the shelf in the corner of my eye. Startled, I turned around to find a cat lounging behind a knitting magazine. The sleepy Yarn Store resident blinked a couple times, yawned and let me scratch his belly before resuming his catnap. Another reason to visit this place, clearly. If you haven’t been and even vaguely like crafting, go. Go for inspiration, go for a smile, go to expand your knowledge of alpaca wool, and definitely go to escape into a room full of cozy reminders that sweater weather will come again.

V.25 No.24 | 06/16/2016

Meaning in the Mundane

A stroll through the lively Nob Hill district is a reminder that the stunning artistry and energetic walls create a little haven of color and originality somewhere you might not expect.
V.25 No.19 | 05/12/2016

Rhapsody in Burque

Chapter Four: The Man Who is Still King

I'll get right to the point: That Dick Dale show was amazing. He blazed into Sister Bar last Monday night and completely melted my brain.

Perhaps I was still feeling a little raw from the heartbreakingly geriatric Meatloaf concert at Route 66 Casino this past winter, having watched a once-monumental performer heave, pant and stumble his way through a set list. Perhaps I read last week's August March interview and learned that Mr. Dale, now 79, suffers from advanced diabetes and chronic pain. Turns out he only tours to raise money for medical bills. Perhaps I just hadn't seen a very good show in awhile.

Suffice it to say, I was managing my expectations, keeping the bar comfortably low. I would go to the show not to be impressed, but to support this extraordinary man and pay homage to his legacy, to what he once meant to the world of rocanrol ...

The night began with a droning and danceable set by gnarly, surf-infused Phantom Lake from Rio Rancho. After a long lull for load-out/in, a lovely platinum blonde (who turned out to be Dick's wife, Lana) took the stage and gave an ignorable intro (sorry, Lana). I was ready to be underwhelmed.

Suddenly, the room magnetized and everyone's hair stood on end. You could feel him before you saw him, and then there he was: our hero Dick Dale towering above his people, welcoming a boisterous round of applause. Like a hot knife through a stick of butter, the thick, piercing rip of pick on metal strings started slicing into the crowd. With fingers smoother than silk and faster than bullets, with swaggering, sinister melodies soaring with the guttural snarl of an angry bass and the thunderous bang, boom, splash of the drums, Dick Dale overtook the packed house with the gale force and magnitude of a hurricane. His stance was stoic and mighty, his energy commanding, his tone sharp and furious, and his powerful, masterful musicianship utterly jaw-dropping.

For two hours, he dazzled the masses with a medley of originals and covers, taking us on a roller coaster ride of rowdy party tunes, gritty ballads, fiery anthems and sultry swings, all with a dynamic range as wide as the sky is tall.

And oh, the tricks up his sleeve. He started off by slamming his guitar neck down his mic stand and using it as a slide. Ultimately, he joined the drummer on the kit for an old-style drum battle à la Gene Krupa, then crossed the stage and started playing the bass like a dulcimer/drum, hammering the strings and body with the drumsticks and erupting into a monstrous solo that would make John Entwistle weep.

In short, Dick Dale was a revelation. I left in a daze that has not worn off even a week later. To witness true greatness in such an intimate setting was an honor and a privilege I'll never forget. And the next time he comes anywhere within a 100-mile radius, I'll be first in line for the show. I suggest you do the same.

V.25 No.16 | 04/21/2016

Chapter Three: Princess Esmeralda

Our very own Rita Riggs takes us on a weekly walking tour of the more obscure Downtown Albuquerque spots.
V.25 No.14 | 04/07/2016
Rita Riggs

Chapter One: My Paved Paradise

Our very own Rita Riggs takes us on a weekly walking tour of the more obscure Downtown Albuquerque spots.