View From the Plaza

Proud New Owners of La Fonda

My family at the La Fonda sale announcement.

My family at the La Fonda sale announcement.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be part owner of a hotel. Never. I’m still pinching myself. Yet, as of October 31, 2014 the sale of La Fonda is official. My brother, Phillip Wise, his company, Cienda Partners, a few impressive investors, and I are the proud new owners of La Fonda on the Plaza!

My brother Phillip and I celebrating after the closing

My brother Phillip and I celebrating after the closing

We purchased the hotel from Corporación de La Fonda, majority owned by members of Sam Ballen’s family. I have had the pleasure of serving as Chairman of the Board since Sam passed away in 2007, and I am thrilled to be carrying on the family-owned traditions he set forth when he first purchased the hotel from the Fred Harvey company in 1968.

Respect for employees, the culture of giving back to Santa Fe and the preservation of a unique, beloved hotel – all instilled by Sam and Ethel Ballen are the touchstones that have guided me over the many years that I have been overseeing the hotel. I have put my heart, soul and energy into it so it is nice now to actually be an owner!

Little did I know what a big part La Fonda would play in my life when I moved to Santa Fe 25 years ago. It was a difficult decision for me to leave Dallas, and especially difficult to leave my close-knit family. Sam and Ethel Ballen opened their home to me and my 100 pound dog while I studied for, and took the New Mexico Bar Exam. They were integral to my decision to move to Santa Fe from Dallas and they helped me land my first job as a lawyer here. Their generosity gave me a new home and set me on the path that has ultimately led me here… as one of the new owners of La Fonda.

Sam once said, “everyone in Santa Fe back in the ‘60’s felt that by birthright they owned a piece of La Fonda.” I think that is still true today. Our doors are always open and the community still gathers here. I am incredibly grateful to have my own chapter in La Fonda’s history and look forward to the story ahead.

Walk with me down memory lane:

Me with Ethel Ballen

Me with Ethel Ballen

Me and Sam Ballen climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

Me and Sam Ballen climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

Me with Sid & Ruth Schultz, long-time guests of La Fonda during Indian Market, standing in front of a painting of the hotel by Tony Abeyta

Me with Sid & Ruth Schultz, long-time guests of La Fonda during Indian Market, standing in front of a painting of the hotel by Tony Abeyta

Yes, I even moved furniture during our warehouse sale.

Yes, I even moved furniture during our warehouse sale.

Here I am taking a swing at the wall at the groundbreaking for last year’s renovation.

Here I am taking a swing at the wall at the groundbreaking for last year’s renovation.

Raul, Barbara and me in our official renovation team photo. ☺

Raul, Barbara and me in our official renovation team photo. ☺

Me, with my favorite author, Cormac McCarthy during our open house.

Me, with my favorite author, Cormac McCarthy during our open house.

GM John Rickey awarding me the game ball for 2013 awarded to the outstanding hotel employee.

GM John Rickey awarding me the game ball for 2013 awarded to the outstanding hotel employee.

Celebrate the Holidays in Santa Fe

Those who groan about seeing holiday décor too early in the season won’t mind so much when it heralds a trio of Southwest holidays. Winter marks a second high season in the Santa Fe Plaza, with such beloved festivities as tree lighting (nightly starting Nov 29) and menorah lighting (at sunset during Chanukah); Christmas at the Palace with caroling, cider, piñatas, and Santa Claus (Dec 12); Las Posadas candlelit procession (Dec 14); and Christmas Eve farolitos along Canyon Road. Winter Indian Market (Nov 29-30) offers a more intimate version of the summer extravaganza.

Skiers anticipate the season opening of Ski Santa Fe on Thanksgiving Day, while birdwatchers wait all year for the spectacle of migrating waterfowl flocking by the tens of thousands at the Bosque del Apache wildlife refuge, especially during the Festival of Cranes (Nov 18-23)—well worth the 160-mile drive south.

Shopping is another great sport this time of year, at venues such as the New Mexico History Museum’s Book Arts Group flea market (Nov 8), Young Native Artists Holiday Show of works by children of the Palace Portal artisans (Dec 13), and high-quality volumes on Native culture and Southwest anthropology at the Laboratory of AnthropologyLibrary Book Sale (Nov 15-16). The annual Contemporary Clay Fair attracts local ceramic artists (Nov 22-23), while trash gets transformed into “upcycled” treasure at the Recycle Santa Fe Art Festival (Dec 5-7), the nation’s largest and oldest market of its kind. A piece from last year’s festival proudly hangs in the home of Jenny Kimball, La Fonda’s Chairman of the Board.


At the museums

In December, La Fonda is proud to be the sole sponsor of an exhibit of the Fred Harvey Company legacy at the New Mexico History Museum, with a talk by the curator of the new permanent exhibit and hourly screenings of the documentary The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound. Also on sitean exhibit of Gustave Baumann’s greeting cardsexchanged with friends opens on a free First Friday gallery night (Nov 7), hosted by the publishers of an upcoming companion volumeAll you wanted to know about Native hairstyles is explained at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture (Nov 8).

Enjoy cozy winter celebrations at the Museum of Indian Art & Culture and Museum of International Folk Art on Dec 7, and on Dec 21 at the New Mexico Museum of Art. The half-dozen exhibits showing at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts include a traveling show by Spokane artist Ric Gendron and Andrea Geyer’s installation in collaboration with SITE Santa Fe (through Dec 31). Also in the cutting-edge category is the Center for Contemporary Arts new exhibitions on the life of art objects, in which dozens of local artists take part in a process-driven collaboration (Nov 15).



Get in the holiday spirit with a full symphony performance at Lensic Performing Arts of Handel’s Messiah (Nov 23) or the annual Christmas Treasures concert of holiday chestnuts (Dec 14). The Santa Fe Desert Chorale performs its annual “Carols + Lullabies” shows (Dec 16-23), many in the spectacular Cathedral Basilica. Performance Santa Fe will have special concerts on Christmas Eve (featuring 13-year-old pianist and composer Emily Bear…yes, you read that right—13!) and New Year’s Eve (with violinist Vadim Gluzman and soprano Ava Pine). At the Loretto Chapel, Santa Fe Pro Musica presents A Baroque Christmas (Dec 19-24) and the Santa Fe Women’s Ensemble presents its Songs of Peace concert of multicultural works around the concept of shalom (Dec 12, 14, 18).

Outside the holiday theme, the female a cappella quartet Anonymous 4 performs  at the Cathedral Basilica on Dec 9, while Joseph Illick’s popular “Notes on Music” educational series explores the Waltz King Johann Strauss Jr. (Nov 16), with champagne and waltz lessons included. The Santa Fe Community Orchestra’s season of free concerts continues with a rehearsal of new work by finalists in the Composition Competition at New Mexico School for the Arts (Nov 14), as well as its annual Winter Concert at New Mexico Museum of the Arts (Dec 14). Santa Fe Pro Musica presents Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night with Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 (Nov 8-9), and Handel’s Music for the Royal Fireworks(Dec 28-29) with two concertos from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, both at St. Francis Auditorium.

In contemporary music, the Lensic presents jazz legends Dave Grusin and Lee Ritenour performing from their Grammy-nominated album Two Worlds (Nov. 9), while the stage-filling Senegal Gospel Choir interprets a local polyphony in four Senegalese languages (Nov 11). Baby boomers might remember the folk singer Judy Collins, who will revisit moments from her five-decade career on Nov. 16. Another legend, Leo Kottke, brings his addictive blend of guitar mastery and comedic storytelling to town on Dec. 6. National acts brought by Heath Concerts include Americana songstress Patty Griffin at James A. Little theatre (Nov. 7) and Jamestown Revival with Nikki Lane at Skylight (Dec 3).


Screen and stage                                                                             

Films are plentiful this month as the weather invites snuggling with a crowd. The Met Live in HD presents Rossini’s Barber of Seville (two shows Nov 22) and a marathon performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nurmberg (Dec 13)—for which Wagner enthusiasts will certainly want to train with the Wagner Society’s Meistersinger sing-along and themed dinner (Dec 6). The Lensic will host London’s National Theatre Live in HD, which will air the West End production of David Hare’s Skylight (Nov. 18), the hit Broadway production Of Mice and Men (Nov 19), and DV8 Physical Theatre’s powerful production John (Dec 9).

The Lensic continues a busy month with a variety of very Santa Fe happenings starting on Nov. 14, when the New Mexico Dance Coalition presents Sacred Body, an evening of multicultural art, performance, and music with optional VIP dinner beforehand. The local Wise Fool Circus performs its annual Circus Luminous, a Thanksgiving weekend tradition (Nov. 28-30). You can expand your consciousness nostalgically by revisiting the legacy of Ram Dass & Timothy Leary (Nov 20), then laugh it off ridiculously with a 40th anniversary screening of Blazing Saddles (Nov 21). Lunafest is a traveling festival of short films by and about women (Nov 8); the Wild & Scenic Film Festival showcases award-winning films about nature and the outdoors (Nov 8); and the Jean Cocteau Cinema celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first TV series shot in New Mexico, Earth 2 (Nov 8). Teatro Paraguas presents Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden (thru Nov 9)



Also at the Lensic this month, Lannan Foundation’s popular speaker series presents author Ann Jones in conversation with political essayist Andrew Bacevich (Nov. 12), and memoirists Gary Shteyngart with Mary Karr (Dec 10). Learn all about tea at Georgia O’Keefe Museum from American tea master Bruce Richardson, editor of the expanded Book of Tea (Nov 6). For socially conscious business owners, the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce brings Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry’s to speak on enlightened business practices and activism—with ice cream for all at the Santa Fe Convention Center (Nov 15). Albuquerque photographer Patrick Nagatani speaks with art critic Lucy Lippard at SITE Santa Fe (Nov 18), and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Rhodes and psychologist Ginger Rhodes explore the reasons behind acts of violence in a free public lecture from the Santa Fe Institute (Nov 12).



Learn the principles of drawing caricatures at the O’Keeffe Museum (Nov 4); pine needle basketry (Nov 8-9) at the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center; or register for one-day classes at Santa Fe Community College on such seasonal topics as easy entertaining (Nov 8), chocolate truffles (Nov 15), making a tin tree-topper (Dec 2), tin ornaments (Dec 9), or last-minute gifts (Dec 11).


Food and drink

Pierogi-lovers, grab your napkins. Kielbasa and cabbage rolls highlight a benefit at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church (Nov 8), along with tours of interior church iconography. If holidays mean pie-making at your house, come watch the experts at the Holiday Pie Mania (Nov 15), and place bids on your favorite examples to take home. The Santa Fe Culinary Academy offers quick holiday classes on white sauces (Nov. 20), tamales and posole (Nov 24), holiday cookies for kids (Dec 6), cooking with wild game (Dec 11), and paella (Dec 17), along with pop-up dinners on the instructive themes of mole (Nov 6) and wild game (Dec 4).



Balloons and Art Tours Galore

Rise early to reach a Park & Ride lot in time to catch the Mass Ascension. If you follow the balloons in your car, you might well be on hand to help one land in a field or parking lot, as local residents enjoy doing. Afterward, make like the pilots and head towards a hearty breakfast. Balloons frequently land west of the river, so your dining options might include El Bruno’s or Sadie’s in the North Valley (or the tiny, beloved Sophia’s Place), Hannah & Nate’s or Indigo Crow in Corrales, or The Range Café in Bernalillo. This historic town is actually worth a stop on your way back north, including the neighboring Coronado Historic Site, which later this month holds its Fiesta of Cultures (Oct 18).

Many people like to spend the day in Albuquerque for the evening Balloon Glow, with fireworks and entertainment. Consider a fall hike in the Sandia mountains—Pino and La Luz are popular, easily accessed trails that climb high but start out easy. You can cheat and ride the world’s longest tram up, but be prepared for equally long lines during Balloon Fiesta.

Back in town, explore the shops and restaurants of funky Nob Hill, visit the Albuquerque Museum within walking distance of Old Town, or stroll the themed gardens at the Abq Biopark. If you’d rather get to know the local flora and fauna, try the serene Rio Grande Nature Center. Get a jump on holiday gifts at the huge annual Balloon Fiesta crafts show (Oct 3-5, 10-12), which has moved to the state fairgrounds. The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center is holding its own Arts Festival the first weekend (Oct 4-5), with 100+ artists, food, and entertainment. The museum’s Pueblo Harvest Cafe gets high marks for its Native-themed menu.


Art and about

The seventh annual Canyon Road Paint Out (Oct. 17-19) attracts more than 150 artists in all media celebrating New Mexico’s plein-air tradition along historic Canyon Road. Visitors can enjoy receptions, demos, flash-mob collaborations, performances, and a parade, with plentiful food and refreshments.

Art studio tours in lovely places this month include old Galisteo (Oct 18-19), 25 miles south of Santa Fe, and historic Las Vegas (Oct 25-26). Up in Taos, the Fall Arts Festival (through Oct 5) features 250+ artists at venues around town, running simultaneously with the Paseo festival of installation art, performance, and video. Just north of Santa Fe, the Artists Materials Expo 2014 (Oct 16-19) will offer discounted art supplies from 68 vendors, plus workshops in a range of media.

Fiction writers might plan to attend the 2014 Tony Hillerman Writers Conference (Nov. 6-8), three days of workshops for all genres at Hilton Santa Fe. Check the website for this year’s faculty. In celebration of its 10th anniversary, the conference will screen movie clips adapted from the mystery writer’s work (Nov. 6).



The Lensic Performing Arts Center features a variety of exciting performances this month. The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra plays a program of favorites featuring classical guitarist Jason Vieaux (Oct 19).Santa Fe Pro Musica’s orchestra led by conductor Thomas O’Connor will accompany mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski singing Schoenberg’s Transfigured Night (Nov 8- 9). And Performance Santa Fe presents the Atrium String Quartet from Russia in a return engagement at St. Johns College (Oct 24).Serenata of Santa Fe offers a program of dramatic, rarely heard chamber music pieces in “Temporal Light” (Oct 17) at their new venue, First Presbyterian Church.

Contemporary acts coming to town include JD McPherson (Oct 25) and the pop/hip-hop duo Kalin & Myles (Nov 7) at the new Skylight Santa Fe Bar and Grill and Ziggy Marley will be at the Santa Fe Community Convention center (Oct 29). A can’t-miss for world music fans, the African blues band Tinariwen is on tour away from its homeland, Mali and performing at Skylight (Nov 3), and the Senegal Gospel Choir brings 15 singers and four drummers from Dakar interpret a local polyphony in four Senegalese languages at the Lensic (Nov 11).


Screen & stage

The Santa Fe Independent Film Festival (Oct. 15-19) screens indie films at four venues around town to help connect the arts community with the growing New Mexico filmmaking industry. Met Live in HD presents Verdi’s Macbeth (Oct 11) and a new production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (Oct 18, 21), followed by Bizet’s Carmen (Nov 1), while King Lear (Oct 30) will be staged live by the Globe Theatre itself.

Dance concerts at the Lensic this month include the Royal Ballet of Cambodia (Oct 28) presenting a classical dance tradition more than 1,000 years old, and the thoroughly contemporary Body Traffic, an internationally acclaimed company out of Los Angeles (Nov 7-8).


At the museums

Come learn about Robert Oppenheimer and the early Atomic Age in a talk at the New Mexico History Museum (Oct 3), with free admission 5 to 8 pm. Or learn about our muse Fred Harvey at a lunchtime talk by his biographer Stephen Fried (Oct 29). The Museum of International Folk Art opens a show oftraditional stoneware from North Carolina and northern Georgia (Oct 24). Explore Georgia O’Keeffe’s ideas about food and cooking as the chefs at the Santa Fe School of Cooking guide you through recipes featured in A Painter’s Kitchen (Oct 14); her biographer and former companion Margaret Wood will share stories. Check the website for a writing workshop (Oct 21), panel discussion of Miguel Covarrubias (Oct 14) and of The Book of Tea (Nov 6), an exploration of the still-life (Oct 22), and a workshop on drawing caricatures (Nov 4).

September in Santa Fe Means Food, Fiesta and Exotic Cars

Eat and exercise in equal measure, and you have the formula for a relaxing, healthful, and indulgent getaway. Wine & Chile Fiesta will keep you busy on the dining end, and we offer a menu of outings to wear out your walking shoes.      

Gourmet restaurants showcase New Mexico’s top crops, chile and wine, at the luncheons, tastings, wine seminars, and cooking demos of Wine & Chile Fiesta(Sept 24-28), culminating in the Grand Tasting (Sept 27) at the Santa Fe Opera.

This coming weekend, the uniquely Santa Fe event known as Fiesta (Sept 5-7) commemorates the reoccupation of the city by the Spanish in 1692, with a focus on the region’s Catholic faith. Events include a procession of the sacred image of La Conquistadora, Pontifical Mass, and candlelight procession after evening Mass (Sept 7). All weekend the Plaza will have craft and food booths and free entertainment. Other highlights include the Pet Parade, featuring thousands of children in costume (Sept 6), and the Gran Baile (Sept 6). For those with special interest in New Mexico’s religious art, the New Mexico History Museum is hosting a free two-day seminar (Sept 27-28) exploring images of the Virgin Mary in the Americas, with art historians and scholars, as part of the ongoing exhibit Painting the Divine: Mary in the New World.

Rare and exotic cars gather in town for the annual Santa Fe Concorso (Sept 26-28), featuring the cars of Maserati and OSCA and legends of the Brickyard. Highlights include the VIP Friday Night gathering with luminaries from the automotive world amid vintage aircraft, a signature mountain car tour, and the chance to ogle more than 100 unique high-end rides.

Runners have been training for the Santa Fe Thunder Half Marathon (Sept 14), a fast race that drops 1,000 feet into the Rio Grande Valley. For messier fun, join the first annual Super Spoke Cyclocross Race (Sept 20), with a kids’ event, costumed races, food trucks, bike vendors, and beer gardens. 

Costumed villagers joust, swashbuckle, juggle with fire, and drink out of large goblets at the Santa Fe Renaissance Faire (Sept 20-21) at El Rancho de las Golondrinas. It’s a renaissance fair “with a Spanish flair” at the outdoor living history museum. Come see villagers crush wine by foot, string chile ristras, and bake tortillas at the annual Harvest Festival (Oct 4-5).

It’s no exaggeration to say that you’ll eventually run into almost everyone in town at the Santa Fe Farmers Market (Sat and Tues), especially when it’s at its ripest, with New Mexico chiles, squash, and heritage beans among the mountains of fresh produce, not to mention artisan-made jams, salsas, condiments, and crafts. Help crown the champion chomp at the market (Sept 12) after weighing in online at the Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown website. 


Fall art studio tours offer a good incentive to visit picturesque nearby communities, including the High Road Art Tour (Sept 20-21, 27-28) in the old villages south of Taos; the Pecos Studio Tour (Sept 27-28) just north of Santa Fe; El Rito Studio Tour (Oct 4-5) between Abiquiu and Ojo Caliente; and the Abiquiu Studio Tour (Oct 11-13) in red-rock country.

Here in town, the fourth annual AHA Festival of Progressive Arts (Sept 14) will showcase cutting-edge art, performance, and music on two stages, with food trucks, beer, and other eclectic offerings at the Railyard. Don’t forget to visit the Railyard for Last Friday Artwalk (Sept 26, Oct 31), when admission is free at SITE Santa Fe.

Painters of all levels are invited to join the 3rd annual Las Vegas Plein-air Paint Out (Oct 9-12) hosted by the Las Vegas Arts Council in this historic town an hour north of Santa Fe. This year a multi-day plein-air workshop will be offered for students with some painting experience. 


The Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra opens its season with a guest conductor and two distinguished soloists in a Showcase of the Stars (Sept 14). Santa Fe Pro Musica opens its 33rd season with pianist Melissa Marse playing Beethoven (Sept 20 & 21), followed on Sunday by a dinner with the artist; the St. Lawrence String Quartet (Oct 5) will dine with fans following an afternoon concert. And Performance Santa Fe presents the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet (Oct 12). 

Serenata of Santa Fe plays rare chamber music pieces in an informal atmosphere, this month featuring music from places of conflict (Sept 20). Call the box office at 505-988-1234 for more information. A free concert of 17th and 18th-century chamber music by the Albuquerque Baroque Players (Oct 5) is part of the exhibit Painting the Divine at the New Mexico History Museum, which is free to state residents on Sundays.

Contemporary national acts coming to town include Violent Femmes (Sept 11) at the convention center; Lyle Lovett at The Downs, featuring a friendly Texas vs New Mexico chile cookoff (Sept 13); the Cajun band Steve Riley & Mamou Playboys (Sept 13); the young songwriting duo Foxygen (Sept 25), and the L.A. sextet Fitz and the Tantrums (Sept 29). Santa Fe’s own Grammy nominee Jerry Lopez plays a benefit concert (Sept 12) to raise funds for Latinos pursuing a degree in behavioral health. 

Screen & stage

Revisit one of America’s first families in a free preview screening of the 14-hour documentary The Roosevelts at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, followed by a panel discussion with the film producer (Sept 10). The National Theatre Live in HD presents Medea in a new version of Euripedes’ tragedy (Sept 11), also at the Lensic, followed by the American classic A Streetcar Named Desire, with Gillian Anderson as Blanche DuBois (Sept 16). For theater close to home, the one-man show Cabaret & The Spirit of Montmartre by Charles Tichenor (Sept 12-14) runs at the historic Santa Fe Playhouse, preceded by Santa Fe Fiesta Melodrama 2014 (through Sept 7), a send-up of the city’s villains and ingénues. 

The impossible contortions of the National Acrobats of China have been known stateside since the company’s 1972 visit as part of Nixon’s détente with the PRC. Their 2014 tour includes brand new material (Oct 1). 

You know Santa Fe is New Mexico’s City Different when tickets regularly sell out to scholarly talks such as the series put on by the Lannan Foundation. Coming to the Lensic Performing Arts Center are journalist Alfredo Corchado (Midnight in Mexico) with Melissa del Bosque (Sept 17), and (from another local institution), Leading by Being, a conversation with Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker, Dr. Chung Hyun Kyung, and Aaron Stern (Oct 11).

Santa Fe Indian Market Gala at La Fonda is THE black-tie event of summer!

The 93rd annual Santa Fe Indian Market opens with a preview show Aug. 22 and a live-auction dinner and gala on Saturday at La Fonda that is the black-tie event of summer. The gala will feature Virgil Ortiz, an internationally acclaimed Pueblo artist, potter, fashion designer, and photographer, who will be recreating his stunning motifs onto live models during an exciting “Live Paint” during dinner. Limited editions of the motifs will auctioned off—though not the ones on the models! Indian Market offers something for everyone, from films to concerts to fashion shows; check the website for a full schedule.

Practically every gallery in town breaks out its finest Native art this time of year, and there are a plethora of opportunities for collectors. Art objects from around the world star at the Objects of Art Santa Fe (Aug. 15-17), produced by the same folks behind the Antique American Indian Art Show (Aug. 20-21). The opening night gala of the Antique American Indian Art Show will be held at La Fonda as a benefit for IAIA (Aug.19). Also in antiques, there’s the venerable Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic At Show (Aug. 16-18). The Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian has its annual benefit silent auction (Aug. 21) and live auction (Aug. 22) of antique and contemporary Native art.

Contemporary art-lovers can get their Native fix at the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, right across the street from La Fonda, which opens its fall exhibitions Aug. 21.


The revamped Santa Fe Concert Association, now known as Performance Santa Fe, continues its operatic offerings this summer with soprano Corinne Winters (Aug. 3), tenor Paul Groves (Aug. 8), and soprano Brenda Rae (Aug. 10). At Lensic Performing Arts, they present the Stars of American Ballet, made up of principals and soloists of the New York City Ballet  and American Ballet Theatre (Aug. 13-14). The 2014 season opens with an orchestral concert (Aug. 31) that includes a world premiere of operatic highlights. See the full 78th season in their online brochure.

The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival continues its six-week program of concerts through Aug. 25, from piano to strings, Mozart to Martinu. Check the website for the program.

The Santa Fe Desert Chorale’s summer festival runs through Aug. 17 with a wide variety of choral music, from the Mozart Requiem to Spanish mystics to a pop series with VOASIS, known for its vocal pyrotechnics and snazzy arrangements (Aug. 15-17); the band will also entertain at the Chorale’s “You only Sing Twice” black-tie gala benefit (Aug. 14).

The Santa Fe Opera continues its summer lineup of five shows in rotation through the end of August: Carmen, Don Pasquale, Beethoven’s Fidelio, a double billing of Mozart’s The Impresario and Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol, and Dr. Sun Yat-Sen. For something a little different, enjoy the spectacular setting sans sopranos when Tony Bennett (Aug. 24), the Avett Brothers (Aug. 27) and Dwight Yoakam (Aug. 28) take the world-renowned Opera stage.

Contemporary national acts coming to town this summer include Ray La Montagne (Aug. 5), The Hold Steady (Aug. 6), Lake Street Dive (Aug. 10), Eric Johnson (Aug. 17), and Lila Downs (Aug. 27), all presented by Heath Concerts.

Southwest Pickers will hold their 40th annual Santa Fe and Old Time Music Festival (Aug. 22-24), featuring local and national acts on three stages, plus a barn dance and other alcohol-free, family fun at the County Fairground annex.

The Santa Fe Bandstand continues its program of free shows at the Plaza, including national acts The Greencards (Aug. 12) and Severo y Grupo Fuego (Aug. 23). And the Railyard continues its free movies and concerts, along with the Saturday and Tuesday markets and Last Friday Artwalk (Aug. 29). Check the website for upcoming shows.



The New Mexico History Museum’s exhibit Painting the Divine: Images of Mary in the New World is the inspiration for performances of “Echoes of Mary” by Schola Cantorum Santa Fe (Aug. 3, 10, 17) at locations around town. Also at the museum, the artistic couple Judy Chicago and Donald Woodman discuss partnership and collaboration (Aug. 6) in conjunction with their twin shows at the museums of art and of history. La Fonda is offering a special “Judy Chicago”package that includes tickets, accommodations and dinner. Also at the museum, a California pinhole artist explains the process (Aug. 8) in conjunction with the exhibit Poetics of Light: Pinhole Photography.

The New Mexico Museum of Art is holding a series of gallery conversations every Monday at 12:15 this month with local luminaries, free with admission. Docents offer tours spotlighting specific topics on Wednesdays at the same time, including Agnes Martin (Aug. 6), Georgia O’Keeffe (Aug. 13), Gustave Naumann (Aug. 20) and Judy Chicago (Aug. 27).

Admission to the Museum of International Folk Art will be free all weekend Aug. 9-10 to support the 11th Annual Rag Rug Festival and Gift Show, featuring handmade items from around the state that help women develop economic independence. All proceeds go directly to the artisans. And the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture offers the helpful free seminar buying turquoise (Aug. 9)



Our good friend, the irrepressible Chef Johnny Vee, offers half-day cooking classes at Las Cosas Kitchen Shoppe, including grilling fish (Aug. 5), summer Thai (Aug. 8), green chile fest (Aug. 9), chilies old and new (Aug. 22), food-truck cookery (Aug. 23), and fresh pasta (Aug. 26). Moroccan cuisine may be the last thing you expected to explore in Santa Fe, but this international city offers up a talk and family-style dinner with Sephardic influences (Aug. 3), a workshop on Indian biryanis and kebabs (Aug. 13), and Japanese cuisine (Aug. 15) at Santa Fe Culinary Academy.



The St. John’s College Film Institute wraps up its series of great art films with Andrei Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev (Aug. 2-4). The documentary Kill Team, about an infantryman in Afghanistan who blew the whistle on war crimes, will be screened with a Skype introduction from the director, followed by a panel discussion (Aug. 23), with additional screenings earlier in the month (Aug. 3-7). These are all part of the eclectic offerings at the Center for Contemporary Arts, which always has intriguing works in its gallery, free on Fridays.

Experience a piece of Santa Fe history at the Santa Fe Playhouse, incorporated by Mary Austin in 1922. The theater is showing Sylvia, by A.R. Gurney, a debut by the newly formed New Mexico Actors Lab (through Aug. 17).



Come hear from three santeras—Marie Romero Cash, Arlene Cisneros-Sena, and Lorrie Garcia—at a breakfast and panel discussion, “The Art of Inspiration: Three New Mexican Santeras” (Aug. 12) at the Spanish Colonial Art Museum. If pottery is your passion, a visit to Santa Fe Clay is a must. Their summer workshop series with visiting artists includes free Wednesday night slide lectures to learn about their work.

Fiber fanatics will want to visit the Espanola Valley Fiber Arts Center, north of Santa Fe. One-day classes in traditional New Mexico arts include weaving, colcha embroidery, and the upcoming “Everything Tapestry” for anyone who knows the basics of weaving (Aug.11). Check the Facebook page for other classes.

If you’re headed to Taos, our progenitor Fred Harvey is the subject of an exhibit at the Millicent Rogers Museum (through Jan. 31), which includes Fred Harvey jewelry from private collections and for sale in the gift shop.

Fiestas de Santa Fe, the largest Hispanic celebration of the year, takes place Aug. 29-Sept. 7 around town and includes religious processions, a mariachi extravaganza, and classic Spanish arts to mark the reoccupation of the city in 1692. Check the website for events, which include the ever-popular annual Burning of Zozobra in Fort Marcy Park (Aug. 29).



Art Festivals Take Center Stage in Santa Fe

Of course, art festivals are the mainstage event in July and August, including the year’s splashiest. The tony Art Santa Fe is celebrating its 14th year of showcasing fine contemporary art from around the world (July 10-13). While there, check out the quirky new Art-o-Mart vending machine, one in a series of old cigarette machines converted to dispense miniature works of art. Objects of Art Santa Fe celebrates its fifth anniversary (Aug. 15-17) exhibiting an array of art objects from around the world , with an opening night gala Aug. 14.

Santa Fe’s International Folk Art Market (July 11-13) is the world’s largest, with 150 artists from 60 countries turning Museum Hill into a colorful international bazaar, complete with food, music, performances, demonstrations, and general festivity for all ages. The opening-night party is sold out, but you can still beat the crowds by showing up for the Early Bird Market on Saturday.

The unique Hispanic folk art tradition of New Mexico has its biggest show of the year at the 63rd annual Spanish Market (July 25-27), alongside the newer contemporary market  taking over the downtown Plaza area.

The grandmama of them all is the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, which opens its 93rd year with a preview show Aug. 22 and a live-auction dinner and gala on Saturday, right here at La Fonda! If you’re a collector, the auction will offer an opportunity to grab one-of-a-kind pieces from market artists. And if you’re a newbie, be prepared to witness more than 175,000 people celebrating the City Different as a crossroads of Native culture. Collectors who get to town early come for the Whitehawk Antique Indian & Ethnographic At Show (Aug 16-18), with more than 150 dealers and a gala preview on Aug. 15. Right on its heels comes the new Antique American Indian Art Show (Aug. 20-21), with an opening Aug. 19.

Maybe it’s not festivals you’re after, but a quiet encounter with the visually sublime. Art-lovers often make the pilgrimage to Santa Fe, only to be overwhelmed by the sheer number of art galleries within its square-mile downtown. The weekly Pasatiempo supplement to the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper and free weekly Santa Fe Reporter list exhibition openings and closings, which provides an entry point into the vast world of Santa Fe’s private galleries. In general, if it’s traditional representational art you’re after, the best introduction is to wander the galleries on Canyon Road. For contemporary art, The Railyard District may be a better bet, though contemporary galleries are sprinkled around town. Start by visiting David Richard Gallery, Charlotte Jackson, Evoke Contemporary,  LewAllen Galleries, Turner-Carroll, and Zane Bennett Contemporary Art for a sample—as well as SITE Santa Fe, of course. Lovers of fine craft might want to check out Blue Rain, Patina Gallery, and Tansey Contemporary. Friday nights are a good time to wander both Canyon Road and The Railyard in search of opening receptions, especially the last Friday of the month, when many galleries stay open into the evening.

Speaking of SITE Santa Fe, the cutting-edge museum is opening its new biennial exhibition series SITElines, with opening festivities July 17-19 for this year’s show, Unsettled Landscapes.



The best thing about summer music in Santa Fe is how much of it is free! The Santa Fe Bandstand has a program of concerts in the Plaza most nights through the end of August, for a total of 100 shows including New Mexico Music Award winners Faith Amour (Aug 11), Zenobia (Aug 16), Andrew MacLauchlan (Aug 27), and Tiho Dimitrov (July 17)—a talented architect as well who worked on the Jenny and Robert Kimball residence. Free jazz concerts take place under the stars at St. John College as part of the Music on the Hill series (July 9, 16, 23), with picnicking encouraged and food vendors on site. At the Railyard, free movies screen every other Friday night, just after sunset, along with free concerts. Follow them on Facebook for updates on what’s showing.

The NM Jazz Festival splits shows between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, the former including Bumble Bee’s Jazz All Stars (July 20), Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project (July 25), and NEA Jazz Master Jack De Johnette with Ravi Coltrane and Matt Garison (July 26).

In classical music, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival (Aug. 16-25) has a program of Schubert and Brahms; the Santa Fe Desert Chorale opens its summer 2014 season with The New World: Music of the Americas (July 10, 19, 25) followed by Spanish Mystics (July 17, 20, 24,29) and a Romantic Evening with Brahms (July 22, 26, 31). And the Santa Fe Opera has five programs in rotation through the end of August: the classic Carmen,  Italian romantic comedy Don Pasquale,  Beethoven’s sole opera Fidelio, a double billing of Mozart’s The Impresario and Stravinsky’s one-act Le Rossignol, and the historical Dr. Sun Yat-Sen.

Contemporary national acts coming to town include Ray La Montagne (Aug 5), The Hold Steady (Aug 6), and Lake Street Dive (Aug 10), presented by Heath Concerts.

In dance, the revamped Performance Santa Fe (formerly Santa Fe Concert Association) presents the Stars of American Ballet, featuring principals from the NYC Ballet and American Ballet Theatre (Aug. 13-14). And Aspen Santa Fe Ballet presents the authentic world of Flamenco with Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe at Lensic Performing Arts (July 18, 27, Aug. 3, 9).

Out & about

Relive Territorial Days in the Wild West (Aug. 2-3) at El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum, which celebrates summer with demonstrations of the unique Peruvian Paso horses. Then practice your frontier survival skills as you learn to start fires, build shelters, and hunt with bow and arrow (Aug 16-17).

Lovers of all things Greek may be surprised to shout “Opa!” in Santa Fe at the annual Greek Festival (July 12-13), with food, music, and dancing.