While most live concerts have been on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, AMP Concerts has been reaching out to local artists and bands to provide work and entertainment for the community.

AMP — a New Mexico-based nonprofit organization — has presented over 200 concert events every year since 2004, but operations have come to a halt due to safety concerns. Because the CDC has labeled large gatherings as “high risk,” AMP is using its money to go toward new ways of entertainment such as drive-in concerts and live streams.

Before the pandemic hit, AMP was hosting concerts at Albuquerque branch libraries funded by Friends of the Public Library, the Santa Fe Opera, parks and many more. Now AMP has officially moved toward free livestreams on Facebook and YouTube.

It’s always exciting to come across a miniature library box at a park or on a trail with the words “take a book, leave a book.”

While public libraries and bookstores had to temporarily shut down to prevent spread of the coronavirus, a nonprofit organization known as Little Free Library (LFL) is thriving as an easy way to get literary resources in the Albuquerque community.

With over 60 registered boxes in town, people of all ages can find something enjoyable to read, especially during the extended pandemic. LFL recently partnered with the City of Albuquerque and hopes to expand in the near future.

College can be one of the most financially stressful points in your life. You have to balance classes, pay thousands of dollars for tuition and even more for a place to live. Suddenly, a job is necessary to help with the financial burden that is almost instantly placed on your shoulders in the transition to adulthood.

If you’re not on a college meal plan, you’re left trying to keep your belly full with limited funds. My solution for this is an efficient couponing process.

There are a few apps from different grocers that try to help with saving, but which of these different apps are actually helpful, and which should you steer clear of?

As fireworks lit up the sky on the Fourth of July, so too rang out shouts of injustice in the night amidst a resurgence of controversy surrounding the holiday.

A social media call for opinions about the Fourth brought down a wave of vastly different answers, all strongly opinionated for one side or the other.

“I don’t celebrate the founding of an ongoing genocidal, violently oppressive, white supremacist empire,” Nicholas Jacobsen said on Instagram.

The necessity for equality was a large factor for many in their decisions not to celebrate this year.

Electric Playhouse’s summer coding camp stimulates young minds

A new generation of creators, artists, coders and engineers in the making have a unique opportunity to learn the basics of coding during lockdown.

Albuquerque’s young superstars aged 6-12 are welcome for the ongoing summer and educational camp at Electric Playhouse, which styles itself as a “all-ages dining, gaming and recreation wonderland.”

“Electric Playhouse produces creative worlds for immersive and interactive experiences including games, dining and special events for all ages,” according to the company’s website. The playhouse has a motion-sensitive interactive course that doesn’t require visitors to touch anything, which is perfect for staying six feet apart due to coronavirus safety guidelines.

African American Student Services discusses future steps for BLM activism

What will happen to keep the positive momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement going and ensure social justice efforts continue when the media shifts its focus away from it?

“When the Hashtag Stops Trending,” an online Zoom event hosted by African American Student Services (AASS) on June 25, asked precisely that — and the query resulted in a litany of answers on concrete actions Black activists and allies can take going forward.

The event was a part of an online video series that discussed contemporary issues faced by the Black community.

“The Hate U Give” still relevant in a racist justice system

“I can’t breathe. I can’t. Breathe.”

Those were the words George Floyd gasped before he was murdered at the hands of a police officer on May 25. Those are also the words from Angie Thomas’ “The Hate U Give” — a book that was released three years before Floyd’s death.

Thomas takes the reader to the world of sixteen-year-old Starr Carter, a Black girl living in a poor Black neighborhood while attending a wealthy white school. Only two chapters in, Carter bears witness to her friend Khalil Harris’ murder.

The two are in the car together when Harris is pulled over by a white police officer for no obvious reason. After Harris questions why he was pulled over, the cop yanks him out of the car and pats him down three times in an attempt to find something to pin on the teenager, to no avail.

Brillo the 10-foot-tall snail visits Albuquerque

Brillo, a ten-foot-tall puppet snail, has been making its way around Albuquerque to visit families and children in quarantine due to the coronavirus pandemic. Creator Ashleigh Abbott is an Albuquerque local that attends the University of New Mexico.

People can leave virtual “rainbows” to request a visit from Brillo. Currently, the snail is mainly visiting around the UNM area.

Diliana Ovtcharova, Abbott’s sister-in-law, is the author of “Brillo the Snail on the Rainbow Trail,” a short children’s story that explains the concept of the coronavirus in a way that children will understand and what Brillo does in response. Daniela Ovtcharov, Abbott’s mother-in-law, will illustrate the story in the future.

Readers dive into emotions in Gigi Bella’s ‘Big Feelings’

Fast-paced slam-style poetry along with intimate sonnets immerse Gigi Bella’s audience as she moves through key emotions in her own experiences with loss, pain, healing and love in her newly-released poetry book “Big Feelings.”

A born and raised New Mexican, the 26-year-old Bella is an internationally recognized poet with a multitude of writing and slam poetry competition awards. In 2017, she was ranked 10th in the world at the Women of the World Poetry Slam.

After a lengthy hiatus from higher education, she’ll also finish her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts with a focus on American studies at the University of New Mexico in the fall.

UNM professors analyze Black community in media

With the current Black Lives Matter movement garnering increasing international attention, the portrayal of Black people in the media has become more relevant than ever. 

Dr. Myra Washington, UNM Communications and Journalism professor, said anti-Blackness in the media is one of the many products of systemic racism, which she described as institutions — such as families or educational establishments — that hold all racial power. Washington said one-dimensional depictions of people of color often originate from lack of resources, which is a byproduct of how anti-Black institutions operate.

“If an Indigenous student wants to go into screenwriting, and he doesn’t have any Indigenous classmates or Indigenous professors, then he won’t write about his family because others in his space wouldn’t understand,” Washington said. “So he’ll end up writing about the same things as everyone else and well-rounded representation won’t happen.”

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