“Green Earth Matters” was the original name of a newsletter Tara Ravishankar hoped to write – before there was an internet – about recycling resources in her local community. Now it is the name of her thrift shop, G.E.M. Ravishankar had always dreamt of opening a thrift store. She opened G.E.M. on Halloween of 2019 after a friend bought a house just north of 12th Street and Candelaria. She said she is primarily interested in keeping stuff out of landfills and creating a space for the community to donate the things they don’t want anymore.
The New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science holds Relaxed Nights – sensory-friendly experiences for the public. Anthony Fiorillo, the executive director for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, said the museum strives to make programming accessible to everyone and that Relaxed Nights are important to have. The Relaxed Nights stopped while the museum was closed due to the pandemic, but as the museum opens back up, they have decided to reintroduce them during their busiest months in March, June and July. The museum will also hold a Relaxed Night for veterans in November.
New Mexico United won their 15th game of the season 2-1 against the Colorado Springs Switchbacks on June 24. The boys in black and gold secured their revenge, having previously lost to them on April 22 with a 2-1 loss. This was not only a big win for players, but the club itself. Saturday’s game was the third for the newly appointed head coach, Eric Quill, who came in less than two weeks ago. With Quill, there seemed to be a new fire in the United players' bellies who had a never ending desire to keep possession of the ball.
Early Thursday morning, members of the Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees joined together outside the University of New Mexico Hospital to protest what they said are unsafe working conditions. Protesters were there in demand of safe staffing, safe working conditions and fair wages. Many nurses joined the group in their scrubs while getting off their shift or on break, at 6:30 A.M. A coalition of campus unions were there in support of nurses, including resident physician William Wylie. He works with nurses everyday and said that they are crucial to the hospital. “They're our eyes, ears and hands. They’re with the patients most of the time,” Wylie said.
The Duke City Comic Con brought together fans to celebrate comics, video games, anime, movies and TV shows, June 16 - 18 at the Albuquerque Convention Center. In attendance were actors from popular media, including Jackson Rathbone from the “The Twilight Saga” and voice actor Alejandro Saab from “Genshin Impact” – a popular video game franchise. Jared Rotegas, a Con attendee, said that he is interested in both the social and material aspects of the Con. “(I want) to show my cosplay off and meet other people,” Rotegas said. “I’m also here to browse. I spent a little over a hundred bucks yesterday.”
A Queer prom was hosted by Meow Wolf and the Human Rights Alliance of Santa Fe on June 14. The HRA works to educate and engage the Santa Fe community in Queer and LGBTQ issues. The prom was held in honor of Shontez ‘Taz’ Denise Morris – a former Meow Wolf employee and member of the HRA. HRA is an organization first created to advocate for the civil rights legislation in the 1990’s and currently provides a scholarship and hosts pride festivities, according to the Santa Fe HRA website. Mark Westberg, a committee member for the HRA, worked with Meow Wolf to organize the prom. The event was focused on creating an environment that Taz would enjoy. The committee’s members' roles include community outreach with an emphasis on Queer youth, Westberg said.
The Albuquerque Roller Derby club at Wells Park provides an inclusive atmosphere to all gender, body types and skill levels, Wrecka Roller Derby – a member of the club – said. The Albuquerque Roller Derby's competitions are run and supported by skaters. The league sets up their own matches and provides referees for them. The team’s goal is to get out in the community and invite more people to watch and participate in the sport, Wrecka said. Wrecka has been with the league since 2019 and said they encourage anyone to join; the team lends gear to new skaters and teaches introductory safety skills. “I was like, ‘Roller derby –, I wanna beat people up,’ but I had no idea that I would find such a community and just an awesome, loving group of people. So that's what's kept me going,” Wrecka said.
The official music video for “Karma (feat. Ice Spice)” was released on May 26, 2023. Taylor Swift is a singer-songwriter that many have heard of. Ice Spice is a new, up-and-coming artist with recent success. A lot of eyes are on Ice Spice – waiting to see if she will make it or break it as a rapper. The song was released while Swift was facing backlash due to her recent relationship scandal with rumored boyfriend, Matty Healy of The 1975, according to Hot New Hip Hop. Healy has recently participated in racist and misogynistic jokes made about her, according to PAPER. Swift has an incentive to alleviate the drama while Ice Spice could gain publicity from Swift’s larger stardom. Even if the two truly just wanted to make music together, the media coverage that the song created could boost the growth of their following.
First-year students at the University of New Mexico embark on New Student Orientation. In a two-day event that occurs every week this summer, students will register for classes, explore and spend the night on campus. NSO is organized by Director of Student Services, José Villar, who has run the program since 2019. Of the new students coming to UNM, Villar said about 18% - 20% are from out-of-state. “We have 11 orientations throughout the summer (with) about 350 (students) per orientation,” Villar said. NSO is available both in-person and virtually. The virtual option, “NSO-To Go,” is for students who are unable to attend the in-person event. There is a $200 orientation fee for those who attend in-person and a $110 fee for virtual participants, according to the NSO webpage.
The University of New Mexico’s Track & Field team has run far and fast. During the 2023 National Collegiate Athletic Association track and field championships, 12 UNM athletes earned All-American marks under coach Joe Franklin. The event took place over June 7-10; more than 50 teams competed head to head. Five of the athletes make up the two All-American teams that will compete in the United States of America Track and Field Outdoor Championships on July 6-9. One athlete, Amelia Mazza-Downie, earned two nominations in both the 10k and 5k. “It depends on the 8k or the 10k, but usually I try to just look at the girls in front of me – not thinking about anything in particular. I want to just stay in the moment,” Mazza-Downie said.
Viva La Plant Shop officially opened their doors Thursday, May 11. Their new brick-and-mortar store is located inside of New Nuevo – a shared space centered in the Plaza of Old Town. Matt Vinson and Iris Valenzuela-Vinson, partners and owners of Viva La Plant Shop, began displaying their passion for plants with pop-up bus shops amid the pandemic in Memphis, Tennessee. Last summer they brought their business to Albuquerque. “We were able to adapt quickly when we moved, and we essentially almost had a community here already when we started, so it was a very easy transition for us and we felt like we were able to start quickly and make connections quickly,” Vinson said.
With a 50% chance of living past 106, according to a 2018 study from the journal Science it is an opportunity to meet an individual who has lived over a century. Catherine Kunz – born in 1917 – was able to celebrate her 106th birthday on June 15, 2023. The community at her assisted living facility gathered on her special day to give her birthday wishes and share cake. On it, her age was written in white frosting calligraphy. Sara Mendoza – the daughter of a resident at the living facility – brought the cake for Kunz. “I ordered the cake through Albertson’s and they had to call me to make sure they were really writing 106, and that it wasn’t some sort of typo,” Mendoza said.
Kesha released the music video for “Only Love Can Save Us Now” – a song off her most recent album “Gag Order” on Thursday, June 15. The video is laced with religious imagery in a nightmare dystopia, continuing to develop the themes Kesha introduced within the album itself: learning how to live with trauma. Kesha sued Dr. Luke, her current producer, for sexual and emotional abuse. He has since sued Kesha for defamation. As the legal battle continues to ensue, the impact it has taken on her is evident from the album, according to Vulture. In her new music video, Kesha reflects on her career and life as honestly as she can — bearing her heart to the world.
The founder, co-owner and director of local dance studio, VIIIZON Academy, Trey Pickett, said he would have benefited from funding in the creative industries. The Creative Industries Bill provides funding to people with creative occupations and will go into effect July 1. When Pickett was young, he was inspired by the artistic abilities of artists like Michael Jackson and Prince. He said he loved to see how people moved creatively and it became his vision to dance, have a studio and work in the creative industry. So he said he began to work at studios throughout Albuquerque. By collaborating with others, he said he wasn’t able to live his vision. “It was tied up in other people's opinions and narratives,” Pickett said, so he decided to create his own studio, but found that funding was hard to come by.
The City of Albuquerque kicked off its annual concert series, the Albuquerque Summerfest, Saturday, June 10 at North Domingo Baca Park where a crowd of community members gathered for a free event featuring local musicians, businesses and food. The event was the first of three that will take place this summer throughout the Albuquerque Metro area. Ryan Romero and Miguel Otero are members of “St. Levi and the Family Tree” – a local alternative soul duo that recently released an EP entitled “Sacramental.” The event also featured 3 other musical groups.
The 32 acres of the Albuquerque BioPark Botanical Gardens displays plants from the American Southwest and around the world. Beyond plants, they also host events. This event was the starting point of a series of Garden Music events that will continue on throughout the summer, located at the BioPark, Zoo and Botanical Gardens on various dates. Later this summer, the BioPark will also have the Garden Sound of Music hosted by the Albuquerque Department of Arts and Culture.
The Animal Welfare Department is looking for people in Albuquerque who are willing to foster shelter animals. The Animal Welfare Department is reaching out to the public because their typical foster resources have already been used due to the number of animals being surrendered, according to Valerie Greif, a foster team member. A foster parent takes in different animals and provides them with care and a place to stay to make more vacancies in the shelter. The fostering process can look different based on animal needs, according to Tara Mansker, foster team member.
The Isotopes continue to push through the middle of the season with a home series against the Sugar Land Space Cowboys. The team played competitively, but ultimately lost the final three games of the series. The game on June 9 started off in favor of the Space Cowboys – hitting a home run with the second batter up. The isotopes came back in the second inning. Cole Tucker hit a ball into the far right that sent Aaron Schunk home. Schunk is one of the Isotopes most prominent hitters as of late – hitting .323 on 186 at bats. On June 11, Schunk said he will continue on to work on all parts of his game.
It’s that time of the year again: you walk into just about any convenience store and are flooded by a plethora of temporary rainbow branding. Except, has it? As you walk around Target and Walmart, or scroll on Twitter, there certainly seems to be less rainbows. During the month of June, companies often participate in rainbow capitalism.They change their branding to rainbow gradient or sell pride-themed products to attract more business, but in most cases, they end their allyship there. The companies sometimes even simultaneously donate to anti-Queer organizations. Throughout the years, I have argued against the practice because it is a half-hearted attempt at allyship rooted in profit. This year – amidst the growing anti-Trans and Queer legislation introduced and 72 anti-LGBTQ laws passed in 2023, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Rainbow capitalism — or lack thereof — feels a little different.
Aaron Katsuma will be joining the men’s basketball team as an assistant coach. He previously worked for head coach, Richard Pitino, in Minnesota and spent the last five seasons at Colorado State. Katsuma comes to the University of New Mexico with over a decade of experience. Katsuma began his career in 2010 at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota, as a student manager, according to a UNM press release. It was during this time that Katsuma met Pintino. Four of his seasons at Minnesota were spent working for the Lobos' current head coach.