Monday, July 27, 2009

58th Annual Spanish Market

Last weekend was the 58th annual Spanish Market in Santa Fe on the Plaza. It is always an event that I enjoy. It seems like Spanish Market is geared a little more for locals although there are many people who visit Santa Fe for the event.

Spanish Market features traditional hand-made art by approximately 200 local Hispanic artists. There is also live music, dance, demonstrations and of course food.

Some of my favorite art forms are the Santos. Santos can be retablos which are paintings on wood panels (as in the photo on the left), or bultos which are carvings in the round.

Although I am not Catholic, I attended Catholic school as a child and received a healthy dose of the saints, martyrs, stigmata, fire and brimstone. Therefore, I obviously like my religious effigies bloody and in pain and the Spanish Market rarely fails to offer a few truly grotesque images to burn the horrific side of Christianity deeper into my already troubled brain.

Thorn-pierced bloody hearts, Saint Michael writhing in agony from the multitude of lacerations covering his arrow-riddled slightly effeminate body, and my favorite Lucy presenting her gouged-out eyes on a plate like little cookies in need of a glass of milk. Ah, such vivid and fun childhood memories—brought back to life simply by strolling along the Plaza during Spanish Market.

I also like the straw appliqué, (pictured on the right). Although it isn't as emotionally damaging, as the Santos, I have to admire the intricate designs and the skill it must take to place all of the little pieces of straw.

After walking the market for a couple of hours we decided to get breakfast—yes I said breakfast. I forgot to mention that I got to the Plaza at about 9:00 am for the event (my friends arrived at 7:30—something is very wrong with them). If you know me then you understand that I am not a morning person, I typically don't even get to work until about 10:30 am, so it was an interesting experience going to a restaurant for breakfast.

We chose Tia Sophia's which is a kind of locals favorite downtown on San Francisco Street. My friend Seezy and I shared a breakfast burrito with red and green chile and I have to say that it was, as usual, very good. I will have to remember how much I like Tia Sophia's when the next early morning adventure arises which will probably be Indian Market in August.

This was actually a very busy weekend for me so I will leave the remainder of the activities for future posts. I finish with a photo of a very friendly looking bultos from the kinder, gentler side of Catholicism.

For more information about Spanish Market visit their website:

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Santa Fe Steeze using the links below:

Friday, July 17, 2009

Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's 37th Season

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival begins the 27th season on July 19th. I recently completed the design work for the festival and it looks like it is going to be another amazing series.

The 2009 season Italicincludes 36 concerts, five youth concerts and three master classes. All-in-all they will perform more than 100 compositions—many rarely heard live.

Some highlights include three world premiers: Gunther Schuller's Quintet for Horn and Strings, George Tsontakis' Stimulus Package and Mark-Anthony Turnage's Grazioso!.

As a pianist, I am looking forward to to the performance of Charles-Valentin Alkan's Symphony for Piano.

I will do future posts if and when I am able to attend some of the concerts.

This year the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival has included a networking group for young audience members. If you are young and into chamber music you should consider joining. The group is called YAG (young audience group) and offers it's members discount tickets, meet the artist cocktail parties and specific YAG concert nights. It is free to join.

If you would like more information about the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival contact:

To join the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival's Young Audience Group contact:

You can even listen to the music on your computer—just click on the "radio SFCMF" button on the website above.

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Santa Fe Steeze using the links below:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Hills are Alive—Music at St. John's College

One of the great free events during the summer in Santa Fe is Music on the Hill. This concert series is put on by St. John's college and this year marks the fourth anniversary. Music on the Hill is a six-concert series that takes place every Wednesday evening from 6-8pm on the soccer field at St. John's College. This year it began on June 10th and, unfortunately, will end next week on July 22nd.

The line-up this year was Bert Dalton (Brazilian Jazz), Arlen Asher Quartet (Jazz), Michael Herndon (Jazz Vocals), Nacha Mendez (Latin Jazz), and Wagogo (World Beat).

Last night was Nacha Mendez and the show was great. I plan on posting a video soon. We were also treated to another amazing Santa Fe sunset as seen in the photo above.

For those of you who know me, I am sure you are used to seeing me wandering around Santa Fe by myself, sitting at local bars by myself, lunching on the plaza by myself, etc., so this may come as a shock to you, but I actually do have friends. My friends and I have made Music on the Hill a standing date to meet, eat and catch up with each other.

So why do we like Music on the Hill so much? First of all I will say that it is the music. But one of the greatest things about having it at St. John's is that the college is on private property which means that St. John's can set the rules and they have been very generous in what they will allow.

As you can see from the photo my friends and I (mostly my friends) put out quite a spread. This week's menu included sushi, chicken salad, fresh fruit, assorted cheeses, seafood salad, and of course red and white wine, white sangria and my friend Susan always includes a few Italian beers just for me.

And, not to go without recognition is the always appreciated presence of grass!! When you live in the desert a lawn is a luxury, and every time I am at St. John's I remember how much I do miss grass. It is also amazing to see all the kids running and playing and having a great time. Besides beer for me, Seezy brings a bocce ball set, although I have not played yet this year.

I was told that last night's concert brought in about 1300 people, but there is plenty of parking and a drop-off zone.

If you are in town next Wednesday check out Music on the Hill—the band will be Wagogo (World Beat). Hope to see you there!

For more information about Music on the Hill or St. John's College visit the St. John's website:

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Santa Fe Steeze using the links below:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Summer Has Arrived

Those of you who know me are aware of my adventures doing marketing for a corporation with domestic offices in Manhattan and Phoenix. I had been bumming around for about two years in Santa Fe doing basically nothing after my last job in Chicago ended. I was laid-off from my job as director of product design and development for a great international company headquartered in Chicago shortly after September 11th. Their business, as many others, began to tank as our economy took the post-terrorist hit. I really enjoyed the work, the people and the lifestyle—living in Santa Fe and traveling wherever they needed me to be. Chicago is an interesting place (more on Chicago in future posts) and it certainly gave me my "city" fix. Naturally, I saw the lay-off coming, but it is still a little shocking when you finally receive the call.

Anyway, my point in all of this is that I was very young and trying to develop a career, so I knew that I needed to land another job that was at least lateral with my previous position or, if possible, a promotion. It is funny how important the look of my resume was to me at the time (so young and naive). Santa Fe is a small community so I knew that there really wasn't anything for me here, so I concentrated my search on larger corporations, primarily through networking. Well, any of you who were laid-off post September 11th know that it seemed like everyone was out looking for a job, and to complicate matters, most companies had implemented a hiring freeze and were content with a "wait and see" attitude.

I had negotiated with the Chicago company to live in Santa Fe. I had watched my father work for the same company for 30 years, living wherever they told him to live, just counting the days to retirement. I realized that I did not want the same lifestyle and, while still in college, decided that northeastern New Mexico was the place I wanted to be. I thought that if I lived somewhere that I truly loved to be that every day could be a mini vacation (and in hindsight I was right).

But...I had just built a new home. The construction, closing, etc. had significantly depleted my savings. I had a hefty mortgage payment and all the various other debts that we all have. I had no job. After countless networking telephone calls I had no leads. Even though my degree was still shiny-new and my resume was basically a glorified one-pager, I was told by every employment agency and recruiter in town that I was "overqualified" (I will do future posts on employment in Santa Fe). I was terrified—but still living in my idea of paradise. My saving grace was the fact that I was so young and naive. I realized that my biggest fear was not losing my car or having to take a crap job somewhere to pay the bills. My biggest fear was the possibility of having to leave Santa Fe for employment in the event that a good job became available. I had worked so hard to get here. Could it be that the life I had imagined and systematically planned for myself could be so short-lived?

Fortunately, I had some savings to rely on and was quickly able to trim my expenses—no more season tickets to anything, no more dinner out three nights a week, cheap beer from the grocery store, etc. At first, giving up those luxuries that we all enjoy was like torture to me. I thought about why it was so important for me to live in Santa Fe if I wasn't able to partake in all the wonderful things that this city has to offer. But in that forced penny-pinching state, I came to realize that this city rocks. There are so many events, happenings, openings and activities available here that are either completely free or nearly so. A good portion of this blog will be dedicated to achieving a "Santa Fe Lifestyle" without being one of the uber-rich that Santa Fe has become so infamous for.

So, if you have read this far you are probably wondering WTF? this post is titled "Summer has Arrived" and this guy is rambling on and on about his career failures. Well, we are about to come full circle.

As I said earlier, I spent about two years looking for an appropriate job (meaning one that looked good on my resume). Suddenly, two positions became available. One was a Regional Director position for a company based in L.A. (Los Angeles—we quaintly call Los Alamos L.A. here), but the job was in the Denver area with the understanding that there would be multiple transfers across the US during what they referred to as "long-term" employment. There goes my idealized life in Santa Fe.

The other offer was a VP of Marketing position with an international corporation with base offices in Manhattan and Phoenix. They were even OK with me keeping my home in Santa Fe and agreed to a four-day on, three-day off (the weekend plus a day) work schedule. How great is that?? I can spend the work week in Manhattan (one of my favorite cities in the world) and weekend in Santa Fe—how cosmopolitan. I felt just like...well, I don't know who, some cosmopolitan guy.

Unfortunately, the Manhattan company was dragging it's feet with the initial negotiations so, out of necessity, I verbally accepted the position with the L.A. company although I had not yet submitted the signed contract. What to do, what to do? I got out the matches and gasoline and burnt the L.A. bridge down. I didn't feel so bad for the company—I like to think that I am good at what I do, but there were so many people looking for employment at the time that they could have easily gone with their second candidate. I did feel bad for the business associate who had recommended me for the position (he still barely speaks to me). Oh well, I am back on top and packing my bags for NYC!!! with a weekly sanity break called Santa Fe!!

Yeah, right. After arriving in Manhattan to meet the NYC staff, I was told that the company needed me in Phoenix so I would have my office there. Phoenix—like "out of the ashes arises"—like living on the face of the sun—like "I smell smoke, I think my hair is on fire". This sucks.

I lasted at the Phoenix job for about three years until I just couldn't take it any more. ( I will write about my life there later).

Most people I have met who are not familiar with northeastern New Mexico tend to lump all of the desert southwest in to the "Phoenix" category—warm winters, blazing hot summers. Santa Fe is not that at all. A heat wave in Santa Fe is mid 90's F, which is also deceptive. The temperature will gradually reach the mid 90's by about 4:00pm, by 8:00pm it is usually back in the mid 70's—a beautiful evening for all. Now, as I catch myself complaining about the weather, or listen to others lament the "relentless heat" that we in Santa Fe associate with our summer season, I simply remind myself that summer is here. With summer we start all the great activities associated with the season. And, unlike Phoenix, I don't have to worry about burning my ass on the car seat when I've parked at the grocery store too long, nor have I ever felt as if my hair was about the catch on fire.

Summer in Santa Fe is great, and this seasons posts will be about all that is good, bad and Santa Fugly in the sizzling "City Different".

If you enjoyed this post, please follow Santa Fe Steeze using the links below:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...