Old Saint Nick is polishing his boots and checking his sleigh to make sure everything is set to go. Here, in Taos, locals are busily putting up colorful decorations, collecting cedar kindling for bonfires, and, of course, wrapping presents ...
Old Saint Nick is polishing his boots and checking his sleigh to make sure everything is set to go. Here, in Taos, locals are busily putting up colorful decorations, collecting cedar kindling for bonfires, and, of course, wrapping presents. Still others are enjoying the season in traditions that go back hundreds of years. Here's a quick rundown of some of the events happening this week. For more, be sure to check out Tempo magazine inside this week's issue of The Taos News.
Traditional Christmas plays set to begin
It’s good for the soul to step away from the darkness and pettiness of the world and instead focus on the truer meaning of this time of year: goodwill. The longtime local favorite Christmas play “Los Pastores,” which revolves around the shepherds’ journey to Bethlehem in search of the baby Jesus, delivers on goodwill as does Mary and Joseph’s arduous search for shelter and food as brought to life in Las Posadas.
“Los Pastores” is a time-honored Hispanic folk drama-musical about the shepherds’ pilgrimage to honor the Christ Child. It is a reminder that good always triumphs over evil. This traditional play depicts Lucifer as the persistent interrupter and unsuccessful wicked influence who tries to impede the shepherds’ quest. It is considered to be one of the most musical of all the morality plays from the 16th century. This tale of poetic lines is intertwined with abundant music performed in Spanish, actually 16th-century Spanish, with pantomime, so everyone can understand.
Arsenio Córdova and his family have been at the heart of its presentation for the last 38 years through their El Prado-based Sangre de Cristo Liturgies. Due to lingering health issues, his daughter Tessa Córdova is taking her father’s place as play director although he will be present at the performances.
A free performance is planned Saturday (Dec. 22), 7 p.m., at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 205 Don Fernando Street, Taos.
The community tradition called Las Posadas is a religious celebration and re-enactment of Mary and Joseph’s journey for lodging as the impending birth of Christ nears. From Sunday (Dec. 16) through Dec. 24, Las Posadas (meaning the “inns” or “shelters”) will be performed over the nine consecutive nights before Christmas. Las Posadas are held in different churches and parishes around Taos as well as select private homes.
The participants are divided into two groups, those looking for shelter with Mary and Joseph (los posadistas) and the innkeepers, or posaderos, who turn them away saying, “Aquí no es mesón, sigan adelante. Yo no debo abrir, no sea algún tunante,” (“This is not an inn, so you must keep going. I cannot open; you may be a rogue.”).
Finally, on the last night of knocking on doors, they are welcomed at la posada, the home that opens its doors and offers them food and shelter. The thoughtful posadero then sings to Mary and Joseph, “¿Eres tú, José? ¿Tu esposa es María? Entren, peregrinos, no los conocia,” (“Are you Joseph? Is your wife Mary? Come in, pilgrims; I didn’t recognize you.”).
This beautiful, moving pageant is open to the public. Typically it commences at dusk each night and follows a planned route. Look for small, flickering flames and flashlight beams, and listen for the music. The final posada on Dec. 24 concludes with the midnight Mass at San Francisco de Asís Church, 60 St. Francis Plaza in Ranchos de Taos.
For more information or to participate, call St. Francis Church at (575) 751-0518.
‘Roots of Enchantment’ reading planned
F.R. Bob Romero will read excerpts from his new book, “Roots of Enchantment,” Friday (Dec. 14), 7 p.m., at SOMOS, 108B Civic Plaza Drive. Admission is free. Books will be available for purchase.
“Roots of Enchantment” is described as “a history of Northern New Mexico on a grand scale that is given much insight and vividness through the intimate personal lives of generations of Romero and Mondragon family members,” a statement from “The Milagro Beanfield War” author John Nichols reads: “Their stories are interwoven throughout a panoramic overview comprising centuries. It’s a fascinating journey that moves back and forth in time from Juan de Oñate to Barack Obama. The personal struggles and triumphs of each Romero family elucidate the exciting saga of New Mexico’s growth, uprising and economic successes and failures, and, ultimately its entrance into the 21st century. In all, this was an intricate and valuable history lesson and also a powerful memoir. I loved it.”
Tony Furtado and St. Croix’s Akae Beka at The Mothership
One is a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar and baritone ukulele. The other heads up a popular St. Coix reggae band formerly known as Midnite. Both are coming to the Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership this weekend.
Americana roots music artist Tony Furtado will hit the stage Saturday (Dec. 15) starting at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Cover is $10 for this all ages show. Bar of course is with proper ID.
“Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music,” press materials state. “Tony is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar and baritone ukulele who mixes and matches sounds and styles with the flair of a master chef. He’s also an accomplished sculptor, but that’s another story.
“A native of California who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, Furtado took up the banjo at age 12, inspired by ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’ TV show and a sixth-grade music report. He first attracted national attention in 1987, when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Not long after that, Tony opted for the life of a full-time professional musician … In 1990, Furtado signed a recording deal with Rounder Records. He recorded six critically acclaimed albums for the label, collaborating with such master musicians as Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Kelly Joe Phelps and Tony Trischka.”
Beginning in the late 1990s, Tony added slide guitar, singing and songwriting to his musical toolbox and began leading his own band. He especially values the opportunities he has had to tour with A-list artists Gregg Allman, David Lindley, Derek Trucks, Sonny Landreth and the like.
John Henderson of local promoters Roots and Wires Presents has one more show for 2018 up his sleeve. It’s the 100 percent roots reggae artist from St. Croix, Akae Beka.
“While the band name may not yet be familiar to most people, the band used to be known as Midnite and they are a Taos favorite,” Henerson said in an email. “They are the band we have brought to Taos most often, but they have not been here in about five years, so people are excited for their return. They love coming to Taos and have recorded albums here with local musicians.”
The show is planned Sunday (Dec. 16) at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 in advance online or at Heads Up Music; $22 at the door. This is an all ages show, bar with ID.
Following a quarter of a century as lead singer and co-founder for the legendary, St. Croix-based band, Midnite, Akae Beka, aka Vaughn Benjamin, “was inspired to intensify his light when life situations led him to revisit the Book of Enoch,” press materials state. “He then realized his preparedness to answer the calling of a sacred oath described therein, the Akae, the Beka, one and the same.
“Much like the archangel Michael, who was responsible for the truths pertaining to the secrets of creation, so does Benjamin today accept his role in a parallel time of rampant deception and broken taboos in the arenas of world leadership. Always rooted firmly in the teachings of His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie I, his personal evolution and reaffirmed purpose is manifested in his newly declared name.”
Vaughn and his brother Ron Benjamin, sons of Antiguan music legend Ronnie Benjamin Sr., together sowed the seeds of Midnite in 1989. During the mid-1990s, the band embarked on a five-year sojourn in Washington DC, where they became area legends for their nightly three-to-five-hour sets.
Akae Beka’s band is Peter Willock (drums and percussions), Lyndon “Ras L” Williams (bass), Edmund Fieulleteau (guitar), Legrand Lee (guitar) and Suren Fenton (keyboards). Consisting mostly of former Midnite band members, the Akae Beka sound builds on a strong foundation of trance-inducing performance experiences across five continents and countless festivals.
The Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership is located at 20 ABC Mesa Road, off U.S. 64 west out by the Taos airport. For more information, call (575) 758-1900.
Taos artist’s work raises funds for St. James’ good works
The work of well-known Taos artists are part of the fine art exhibit “A Vision of Hope” planned Friday-Sunday (Dec. 14-16), 2-4 p.m., at St. James Episcopal Church, 208 Camino de Santiago. Sales of the work will support St. James’ outreach programs, such as its food pantry, 12-step programs, Taos Youth Music School and the teen-led organization Common Grounds.
History, relationship and community are the inspiration for this pop-up exhibition. Both living and deceased artists, primarily from Taos, convey their impression of our sacred landscape, our deep-rooted cultures and societal connections. Important contemporary and historical works will be shown by Alvaro Castagnet, Ted Egri, Gene Kloss, Rich Nichols, Marcia Oliver, Bill Rane, Michael Stack, Barbara Zaring among others.
Select works represent imagery that encourages the viewer to reflect and interact with each piece. The lives and careers of each artist are equally creative and engaging. For example, the colorful, well-designed serigraphs by Marcia Oliver, represent her work from the 1970s. One piece from the series, “Celebrate America,” is currently on display at the Harwood Museum.
“Women with Color Pots,” from the estate of Bill Rane (1927-2005), exemplifies his strong use of line and cobalt blue to define these iconic women. Like Matisse and Chagall, there are many layers to enjoy and many stories to uncover.
Glistening, tapestries of color, the chine colle paintings by Barbara Zaring, captivate the viewer. The eye lingers in their pure light, similar to viewing a stain glass window. “Break on Through” and “Through the Looking Glass” exemplify her accomplished vision.
Some of the works have seldom been seen and are generously presented as a part of this special exhibition. Three prints, intaglio / drypoint by Gene Kloss (1903-1996), depict timeless scenes from Taos Pueblo.
A few paintings and sculpture by Ted Egri (1913-2010) reflect his respect for community through his well-trained sense of design and medium. Some of his select works include a drawing of Patrocinio Barela and a woodblock print of local workers on an electric pole.
Michael Stack created a luminous new landscape of walking rain on Taos Mountain. A slate grey sky highlights the yellow aspens in the distance, indicative of one who has experienced nature and has the vision to communicate through his brush.
The offering of the creative talent and vision by these select artists, offers hope for those in need of shelter, food, community and inspiration. Come celebrate the gathering and display of these unique works of art to benefit the important outreach programs at St. James. Call (575) 751.0647.
’Taos is Art’ banner competition is open
Artists who would like to submit work to be considered as one of the dozens of banners that will line Paseo del Pueblo in the spring and summer of 2019 can submit their work from now until Jan. 19.
The town of Taos sponsors this public art display, and according to gallerists and town officials, the 2018 banners drew notice from locals and visitors alike. It met its goal: to celebrate Taos history in the arts and to promote the Taos art community today.
For instructions on how to submit work, go to taosartscouncil.org/town-of-taos-banner-competition. To see examples of 2018 work go to twograces.blogspot.com/2018/04/taos-is-art-banners-2018.html. The blog was put together by Robert Cafazzo of Two Graces Gallery although he is not involved in this year’s competition. He suggests questions should be directed to the Taos Arts Council at (575) 224-2720.
Stables Gallery to undergo renovation thanks to local angels
Taos Center for the Arts announces a series of gifts that will enable renovations at the historic Stables Gallery at 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. The Center anticipates these improvements will increase awareness about the historic and artistic value of the space and add use within the community, according to its Executive Director Colette Labouff.
Artist and Taos resident, Mimi Chen Ting has given a generous gift specifically to enable improvements to the Stables Gallery and property. Ting says of the Stables, “There is much to do to restore the building and landscaping to bring the Stables and the courtyard area back to the vibrant gathering place that it once was when I first came to Taos 30 years ago, long before I was fully aware of its historical significance. I am grateful to be able to help.”
Ting stated she was particularly glad to contribute to a place that means so much to so many. In addition to Ting’s gift, the Center received another generous gift from longtime supporters Coleen and Gary Ferguson. The Fergusons said they were glad to have their gift contribute toward what would eventually enable more art programming and exhibitions atthe TCA.
In addition to these gifts, 203 Fine Art Gallery co-owners Eric Andrews and Shaun Richel hosted a pop-up exhibit, “The Taos Moderns Return to the Stables.” The three-day show, which was also a fundraiser, was a homecoming of works by The Taos Moderns. Although the Stables was built around 1898, years later a group who would become the Taos Artists Association purchased the property in 1952, making an art center for many artists, including the Taos Moderns, to showcase their work.
The “Return to the Stables” event raised $3,000 for the gallery through donations and a percentage of sales. Andrews said, “Presenting our gallery’s collection of Taos Moderns works at the Stables Gallery for the community to experience, was a highlight event for 203 Fine Art’s entire year! Everyone enjoyed seeing these historic works of art in the artists’ original exhibition space, acknowledging the quality selection, and the effort it took to mount this exhibition. Sales were robust, and we raised a respectable amount of funds to donate towards the Stables Gallery renovation efforts, which was our joint goal.”
New lights have already gone up in the gallery, and plans include work on the exterior and façade of the building as well as flooring. Depending on costs, other improvements may be possible. “The TCA is extremely grateful to Mimi Chen Ting, Coleen and Gary Ferguson, and to 203 Fine Art for these gifts,” Labouff said in a prepared statement. “In addition, the TCA is excited about the energy and passion for the Stables as a space for the community, and the TCA feels these gifts will create a renaissance for the Stables Gallery and the Manby House.”
The TCA welcomes additional donations to make further enhancements to this historic property. For questions, contact LaBouff at firstname.lastname@example.org or Susan Nuss at email@example.com or (575) 758-2052.
Holiday pop-up art event at The Mothership
Art on the Mesa is a holiday pop-up event featuring 20 local artists and businesses with live music, a kids’ craft table, a winter wonderland labryinth, free hot chocolate and ‘smores. The fun starts at noon and runs until 4 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 15) at Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 20 ABC Road, off US 64 west, Taos. It’s a free event and doors open at 11 a.m. Call (575) 779-7977.
Calls for entry
• The Taos Community Centers Artist Co-op is taking applications for a new artist who can work in the shop two-and-a-half days a month, pay a small membership fee, and percentage of commission on sales. For an appointment call Effie (575) 751-1014 or (575) 741-6430.
Ongoing art exhibits
“The Necklace of Winter” by Lavanya Dawn continues at MoMo Taos, 133 Bent St. Dawn’s fantastical contemporary paintings are the product of her lifetime evolution as an artist. For more information, call (505) 690-7871 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
TAOSFOLK continues through the holiday shopping season. Buy affordable gifts by Taos hands. Taosfolk is celebrating its 10th year. Come celebrate with the artisans. Many items under $100. Open daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Dec. 24. at Stables Gallery, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For more information call (773) 595-8065 or visit taosfolk.com.
Katherine Morris Soskin’s work is on exhibit at both Hillcrest Bank locations in Taos: the northside Hillcrest Bank is exhibiting Soskin’s photographs, prints and giclees from Asia, Australia, Machu Picchu and Hawaii, plus points west, through Jan. 4; “Beauty and Spirit of the World” opened at the Hillcrest Bank south side location, 1356 Paseo del Pueblo Sur and includes paintings, giclee prints and greeting cards of New Mexico until Jan. 2. For more, see katherinesoskin.com.
The Taos Center for the Arts exhibit of Gary David Suazo’s paintings that depict his home of Taos Pueblo will be displayed throughout the public spaces of The Historic Taos Inn through Jan. 28. The Historic Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos. Free. Call (575) 758-2052.
J. Matthew Thomas’ exhibition “Muted” continues at the Encore Gallery at Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos. Thomas, a Taos-based artist and community organizer, converts discarded consumer waste into constructed landscapes. Read as maps, drawings, or blueprints for the contemporary landscape, this phenomenological approach exposes consumerism and our objectified perspective of land. For more information visit matthewthomas.com or call (575) 758-2052.
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