The Half-White Album is a book that was released to the public this past April that weaves together poetry, fiction and nonfiction before it is musically performed. Cynthia Sylvester (Diné) is the author of The Half-White Album and the performance’s speaker. Sylvester is a native Albuquerquian and her work has appeared in ABQ In Print, Leon Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, As Us Journal and other magazines. The Half-White album is a compilation of Sylvester’s characters that span over poetry, non-fiction essays and fictional stories all depicting an aspect of the author in one shape or form.
A bright, colorful booth layered with paintings of women and feminine expression, Makayla Baca and Emily Garcia sold both their individual and collaborative artwork pieces at the Art Walk on Friday night. The pair met during a fair at The Cat and the Cobra tattoo shop where they were both selling artwork and discovered the similar themes of femininity across both their work. The representations of deities that Baca creates with her artistic lens are in an effort to design an alternative to the common depiction of female deities portrayed under the male gaze.
Dorelen ‘‘Dorie’’ Bunting left a legacy of activism solidified in brick and mortar at the Peace and Justice Center on Yale. Co-founder of the center and a friend of the University, Dorie passed away last Sunday at the age of 101. Known for her laugh, Dorie continuously brought joy into her activism, Robin Feydel said. Feydel was a close friend of Dorie’s. They met working on anti-nuclear activism, specifically opposing the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan – a nuclear waste site in Carlsbad.
Access to organic food can be a rare commodity to come across. In 2020, 6% of food sales in the United States were organic, according to statistica. For those who live on campus at the University of New Mexico or in the surrounding area, La Montañita Co-op offers just that. The Co-op has two locations – one in the North Valley on the corner of Matthew and Rio Grande Blvd., and the second on the corner of Carlise and Central in the Nob Hill Shopping Center. Before it closed in March of 2021, there was a smaller version of the Co-op on campus.
Christoph Wagner always wanted to play the cello. The new assistant professor of cello at the University of New Mexico, Wagner started playing when he was six. Wagner says he watched his sister play the cello and never doubted that it was the instrument for him. What attracted him was the versatility of the instrument. “You can do so many things with this instrument. You can play very low, you can play very high pitches. So you can mimic a huge spectrum of expressions, sounds, timbres and colors,” Wagner said.
Queer people of color created house music, Justin Cristofer said – a Queer DJ, promoter and producer in Albuquerque. Cristofer aims to take the idea of a Queer DJ and expand it beyond pop music as well as highlight the history of house. House is a music genre characterized by having four-to-the-floor musical patterns and the tempo of 120 beats per minute, according to Harper’s Bazaar. Bringing house music to Queer Albuquerque spaces, Cristofer said, honors the history of the genre.
In pursuit of activism and pride, The Association for Jotería Arts, Activism and Scholarship at the University of New Mexico meets twice a month to organize events to create a space for Queer Latine, Chicanx and Indigenous students. AJAAS – a national collective of artists, activists and scholars – has existed since 2005. Their name and organization reclaims a Spanish slur against Queer folk, focusing on activism and community, AJAAS member Lama Quiroz said. “It's a way to reclaim that word in order to empower ourselves,” Quiroz said. The UNM chapter has been centered around education on the histroy and culture of the chicano power movement, Quiroz said. AJAAS attended the Latinx Visions conference along with hosting book club meetings this past year.
Pandora Torres, a Queer tattoo artist, works with her father at The Divine Eye Tattoo shop in Albuquerque. Torres’ presence as a Queer artist has helped her queer and feminine clients feel more open and comfortable while getting tattooed in her space. Tattooing for the last three years, Torres said that the majority of her clients are Queer. Her top priority, she said, is to ensure her clients feel safe and comfortable. “Spiritually speaking, I feel as though tattooing is a huge exchange of energy and it would be irresponsible of me to go into such an intimate procedure without making sure that everyone is happy, feels safe, comfortable and – above all – comfortable communicating with me,” said Torres.
Utilizing a variety of mediums and the color pink, Carmen Selam – a Queer Indigenous artist – uses pop-culture references and specific colors to amplify themes of Indigeneity and Queerness in her artwork. Currently, she is experimenting with risograph printmaking to create a zine titled “Resbians,” a combination of the words “lesbians” and “reservation.” Selam is Yakama and Comanche, and said she finds herself incorporating those two identities throughout her artwork. She calls herself “Yakamanche” – a combination of the two.
Phamily Tea House opened across central from campus last December, out of California. The restaurant has begun selling entrees at their Albuquerque location, Jerry Pham, restaurant manager, said. The entrees range in price from $8.99 - $15.99. The recipes were crafted by Chef Vu Pham. With over 30 years in the restaurant industry, Pham developed the recipes and spice mixes with his family and said that they continue to change and develop as they cook them in order to combine Vietnamese and Taiwanese cooking.
Moving from their first location on Broadway Blvd., Off-Broadway is located on Central Ave. near campus and sells vintage clothing. While they do sell costumes, the shop is primarily a vintage store with clothing from before the 1980s. However, the two work hand in hand, storeowner Susan Ricker said. Her goal is to find ways to mix vintage with contemporary fashion. “It's transformative to wear a costume,” Ricker said. “If you were all vintage from one period, like all 50s, (you are) in a costume because that's not what I call contemporary dressing. I sell vintage clothing primarily as contemporary fashion. So, you mix eras.”
Marina Perez, a contemporary Indigenous arts PhD student at the University of New Mexico, struggles with the concept of the art world. The art world often creates barriers for communities of color, which makes it harder for them to enter it, Perez said. It produces a binary between fine arts and community arts, contemporary arts and ancient arts. The separation, they said, often makes it hard for people of color to participate in the art world. “The art world is a colonial construct. To even think that we need to construct a completely different world away from our everyday lives … Communities of color don’t have access to be able to enter the art world,” Perez said. “Our knowledge is not embraced or acknowledged.”
Moving from their first location on Broadway Blvd, Off-Broadway is located on Central Avenue near campus and sells vintage clothing. While they do sell costumes, the shop is primarily a vintage store with clothing from before the 1980s. However, the two work hand in hand, storeowner Susan Ricker said. Her goal is to find ways to mix vintage with contemporary fashion. “It's transformative to wear a costume,” Ricker said. “If you were all vintage from one period, like all 50s, (you are) in a costume because that's not what I call contemporary dressing. I sell vintage clothing primarily as contemporary fashion. So, you mix eras.”
María Dolores Gonzales said that her book, written in Spanish, English and Spanglish, was put on the shelves independent of publishing firms. The literary community in Albuquerque is very rich, Gonzales said, but the community often lacks diverse representation. Gonzales – a retired UNM professor – attended Books on the Bosque’s local author palooza on July 15. She taught within the Spanish and Portuguese department before authoring “Atop the Windmill I Could See Forever” – a bilingual memoir that details her childhood in the southwest. “I’m trying to see – where is the Hispanic community? Where are the Hispanic writers? Where are the Latino writers? I think that is a big void in the literary world,” Gonzales said.
It’s safe to say that over the past three years, Taylor Swift has spoiled her fans. Starting with her 2020 release of “Folklore,” she has released six albums – three entirely new ones and two rerecordings. On July 7, Swift gifted her fans another nostalgic experience and released “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version).” “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” comes 13 years after the original masterpiece. Swift has been rerecording her previous albums from when she worked under producer Scooter Braun. Braun had refused to sell Swift the rights to her music, so she is rerecording it. I am all for her owning her music and doing so in any way she can. And who doesn’t love being supplied with nostalgia?
With the goal of becoming an annual event, Jeff Sedden – owner and promoter of the Morgue and Krypt Horror Fest – planned the first one t in Albuquerque two years ago. A trustworthy team, Sedden said, has been the most important part of the Horror Fest’s success. Albuquerque has other conventions, but the overall goal of the horror convention, Sedan said, is to ensure that it becomes a staple in the community.
The landscape of television seems bleak at the moment. Prestige shows are ending at a rapid rate; HBO’s ”Succession” and “Barry,” Hulu’s “Handmaid's Tale” and Netflix’s “The Crown” all end this year. There seems to be little left for television at the moment. The ongoing writers strike by the Writers Guild of America seems to not spell well for the future either. Contant cancellations by Netflix and Warner Brothers does not support the audience’s fatality. What's left for TV? Are we standing in the cemetery of the once great age of TV? FX’s “The Bear” is here to disprove that. “The Bear” is electric, addictive TV that seems to disprove any fears about the end of peak TV.
Sara Abbaspour – the new assistant professor of photography – completed her bachelor's in urban planning and design at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad in Iran; she picked it because it was the closest STEM major related to art. The research that the major required introduced her to photography – a passion that she ultimately followed. “We had to study different neighborhoods to be able to design for the people, and photography was a major part of it — to study the environment, to know the environment better or to study the behavioral patterns of people who are using that urban space … my love for photography started there,” Abbaspour said.