Every year, for the last 10 years, El Rancho De Las Golondrinas undergoes a physical transformation from a working hacienda into a medieval village for the Santa Fe Renaissance Fair. Over the past weekend, the 200-acre farm was overtaken by hundreds of knights and ladies dressed in their best 16th century attire.

The fairgoers were greeted by various forms of period-appropriate entertainment including their most dangerous sports such as jousting, rapier fighting and armored combat. However, for most of these sportsmen, their game lasts longer than just the weekend.

This week, for the first time in seven years, African American Student Services will be sponsoring the Black Cultural Conference at UNM. Thematically, the conference is geared toward “Mobilizing the Black Millennial Legacy.”

The 2017 Black Cultural Conference will be taking place from Thursday, Sept. 21 until Saturday, Sept. 23.

The conference will kick off with a networking event on Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Ethnic Center foyer. Then, Friday will be filled with workshops and roundtables exploring topics such as leadership, health, positive self-image, social justice and the importance of developing an intergenerational strategy for mobilization. These sessions will take place in the SUB starting at 9 a.m.

Albuquerque’s artistic side is up for show with the first 508 Mural Fest is now underway, featuring the work of over 25 muralists at 12 different locations in the city.

The event began Sept. 12 and is scheduled to continue through Sept. 23. Mural Fest is produced by Warehouse 508, and its title sponsor is Maddox and Co. Realtors.

The festival’s turnout has been a “beautiful” reaction to local art, said JP Eaglin, director of Warehouse 508. “People are walking by everyday, loving it,” Eaglin said. “Driving by honking their horns. There's a new energy Downtown.”

508 Mural Fest is packed with activities for audiences of all ages, including a concert on Sept. 21 featuring talents such as Wild Humans and Timewreckers.

Rodey Theatre’s doors will open Friday for Students Creating Really Awesome Productions (SCRAP) with “A Bench at the Edge,” written by Luigi Jannuzzi. Play Director Samuel Shoemaker-Trejo said the show revolves around two main characters.

“‘A Bench at the Edge’ is about two individuals who meet at the literal representation of the metaphoric edge between life and death,” Shoemaker-Trejo said. “The physical space at the edge is actually an edge suspended over infinite abyss. In the back is life; in front is the abyss or death or eternity. It's kind of up for interpretation what the other side is.”

Shoemaker-Trejo said that the first character, Man 1, is struggling between life and death, because he is strapped to a hospital bed and is unable to let himself die and yet, he cannot live. The second character, Man 2, who is a woman in this interpretation of the play, is struggling between life and death, as she is debating on ending her own life.

Student group helps minorities with college

For the Men of Color Initiative, there’s more to being successful in college than reading a textbook. It takes more than a one-time orientation featuring an overload of information and a goody bag to express the importance of networking and real-world community engagement.

That’s what the initiative is aiming to showcase with its first-ever “Males of Color Success Networking Summit.”

“When you know who you are, and you know that historical piece of your place in society, and then you have a peer coach who’s been at UNM for years who knows how to navigate the system, it makes a huge difference,” said Rodney Bowe, director of MOCI.

Review: Goo Goo Dolls give strong performance

The Goo Goo Dolls performed a concert at the Sandia Resort and Casino on Sunday, Sept. 10, and it was a wonderful time.

The show’s opener, Phillip Phillips, also had quite enjoyable music and high energy, and his band was certainly talented. His performance was not particularly notable other than that. Perhaps this is a good attribute for an opener, as it calls attention to Philips’s music but does not steal the show from the main band.

Still, the Goo Goo Dolls’ performance lived up to and went beyond all expectations for what a large, well-known rock band concert should be. It attended to almost all of the senses, with blinking, colorful lights, odd-smelling smoke and of course, music.

Bricklight Nights highlights local artists, businesses

Bricklight Nights is an ongoing event, running each Wednesday through Sept. 27, that showcases local artists with local food, fun and entertainment in the Bricklight District, just south of Main Campus off Central Ave.

“This is a local community support event,” said Kelsey Wilson of Mothership Alumni, an Albuquerque-based artist collective. “We’re all working down here to bring attention to local artists and local businesses, especially (those) being affected by the ART construction.”

Local musicians the Gershom Brothers performed alongside a musician and painters during one of the nights.

SWFC aims to bring relevant films to students

Some may recall a time when the lower level of the SUB was occupied by a bowling alley. Fifty years ago, this bowling alley was removed and a theater installed, transforming the area into ASUNM’s Southwest Film Center.

Holding true to its initial purpose, Executive Director Tori Martinez said the SWFC brings independent, foreign and documentary films to UNM, as these films are not widely shown throughout Albuquerque.

TEDxABQ explores diverse experiences

The TEDxABQ event at the Albuquerque Convention Center this weekend discussed the connections humans can draw from their different lives and experiences through mutual understanding, patience and the willingness to listen.

More audience members than seats filled the auditorium to listen to 17 speakers and six performers from various backgrounds, cultures, educations, speak about important discoveries in their lives.

The event began with a violinist, Phoenix Avalon, performing segments of his favorite classical pieces. He spoke of his journey to understand how he, as a classical violinist, can fit into today’s fast-paced, technology-driven society.

"IT" remake offers worthy retelling of classic horror

You’ve undoubtedly seen or heard of the 1990 ABC adaptation of Steven King’s novel, “IT.” Despite the miniseries’ undeniable cheesiness, Tim Curry singlehandedly drilled the terrifying Pennywise the Dancing Clown, or IT, into the horror hall of fame. Andy Muschietti’s 2017 “IT” delivers on that promise of horror, with a little extra thrown in too.

The faithful adaptation follows a group of preteens investigating the disappearance of their town’s children while being terrorized by a diabolical clown. Where the 1990 adaptation stumbled when Curry was off screen, the horror element of Muschietti’s “IT” felt like an additional boon. To be honest, the trailers have spoiled about two-thirds of the film’s scary moments.

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