View From the Plaza

Visiting Santa Fe in April?

A Native American extravaganza comes to Albuquerque each year as nearly 3,000 dancers and singers from more than 700 North American tribes come together for the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow (April 24-26) at the University of New Mexico. Native art collectors have their own annual pilgrimage at Native Treasures, Santa Fe’s sale of museum-quality Indian art (May 24-25) from more than 200 Native artists invited by the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

Drive 20 minutes north to catch the Eldorado Studio Tour (May 17-18), featuring more than 90 artists showing stained glass, digital art, fiber arts, photography, and other media in their studios. Plein art painters have their moment in the sun at the annual juried exhibition at the Gary Jim Gallery (May 2-3).

Spring is an ideal time to visit the historic village of Tesuque, just north of Santa Fe, where the Shidoni Foundry offers Saturday tours of bronze pouring, along with pretty galleries and sculpture gardens open to the public. Bring a lunch and learn about metal casting. The Santa Fe Artists Market opens the first of its summer shows at Cathedral Park, just steps from La Fonda (May 17-18), with art and gifts in multiple media. Catch them also every Saturday morning at the Railyard from 8 to 1.

Another good weekend to soak up art will be Mother’s Day on Canyon Road, when the annual Passport to the Arts (May 9-11) features exhibits, demonstrations, live music, trunk shows, and children’s activities at galleries up and down the historic road.

Spend a day learning all about the coffee bean with the Santa Fe Culinary Academy, with ideas for food pairing and barista training (May 9). Or hone your knife skills in an evening class with chef Rocky Durham.

Book now for the popular Santa Fe Century Ride (May 18), a hundred miles of history under your wheels (or 20- and 50-mile alternatives) along the Turquoise Trail mining towns of Madrid and Golden.

Relive the Civil War New Mexico style (May 3-4), at El Rancho de las Golondrinas living history museum. The ranch also hosts the Santa Fe Fiber Arts Festival (May 24-25), where you can follow native wool from sheep to loom.


At the museums 

Spring is a time for new exhibits, such as Turquoise, Water, Sky: The Stone and Its Meaning (April 13) at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, highlighting Southwestern turquoise jewelry and all its aspects from geology, mining, and history to questions of authenticity and value.

The New Mexico History Museum is exploring photography in the Land of Enchantment with an exhibit of work by Donald Woodman and a look at the magic of pinhole photography. Guest curators Nancy Spencer and Eric Renner from the Mimbres Valley will speak on contemporary pinhole photography at a Brown Bag Lecture (April 23) before the exhibit opening and book signing (April 27).

In May the museum opens an exhibit of toys and games, the theme of its fifth birthday party (May 25). Spring also opens the museum’s daily downtown walking tours highlighting Santa Fe history, every morning except Sunday and festival Saturdays, departing from the Palace Courtyard’s blue gate just south of the entrance at 10:15.

SITE Santa Fe is celebrating the depiction of food and drink under the theme “Radical Hospitality” with events including Lee Mingwei discussing his upcoming three-night performance The Dining Project (April 22), Tom Marioni’s “The Act of Drinking Beer with Friends is the Highest Form of Art” (April 25), and David Robbins’ Ice Cream Social (May 10).

The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum offers education programs for all ages, including tips for undertaking an art commission (April 21), hands-on iPad photo manipulation (May 8), and a demonstration class with the Santa Fe School of Cooking drawing from A Painter’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Kitchen of Georgia O’Keeffe. Also, authors Ken Robinson of The Element (April 15) and Robert K. Wittman of Priceless (May 20) discuss their books in free programs at the museum.

Programs in history and art history at the museum include an exploration of the Mohawk videographer Alan Michelson (April 23), the visual history of the Ho-Chunk tribe of Wisconsin (May 14), Los Angeles’ Ferus Gallery and the art world of the 1960s (May 28), and a tour of Northern New Mexico acequias (May 16).



The classical season winds down with the Santa Fe Symphony’s Steven Smith conducting Mahler’s Symphony No 7 (April 13), and Tom Hall conducting Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Santa Fe Symphony Chorus and renowned soloists Robert Breault and Lester Lynch (May 17-18).

Hot contemporary bands coming to Sol Santa Fe this spring include globetrotting DJ Sandra Collins of the LA rave scene, performing with go-go and break dancers of the Santa Fe House Collective & Sexy Elements of Bass (April 12). Then comes Tania Asili y la Banda Rebelde, an energetic fusion of Afro-Latin, reggae and rock (April13), followed by the psychedelic pop of the Dandy Warhols (April 29). Indie roots folk takes the stage with The Cave Singers (May 13) and alt-country favorites the Old 97s (May 17)


Film and stage

The Santa Fe Film Festival (May 1-4), now in its fourth year, will screen entries at the newly restored Jean Cocteau Cinema at the Railyard, at the Center for Creative Arts, and at The Screen. Check the website for updates on films, workshops, and other events.

Broadcasting from the Met Opera Live in HD is Così Fan Tutte (April 26), Mozart’s beloved opera about testing the ties of love.

Albuquerque’s highly praised Fusion Theatre Company brings to Santa Fe its production of Tribes (May 2-3), a Drama Desk Award winner by Nina Raine about the budding romance of a deaf man within the politically incorrect cocoon of his parents’ house.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet closes its winter season with an encore of the world premiere commission by choreographer Nicolo Fonte (April 19) along with works by Cayetano Soto and Norbert de la Cruz. Ballet Next, an elite troupe made up of stars from the American Ballet Theatre and other companies, performs both classical and contemporary choreography (April 26).


Stories from the border are the likely topic when New Mexico-born writer Benjamin Alire Sáenz speaks with his biographer and fellow borderlands writer Cecilia Ballí (April16) as part of the Lannan Foundation literary speaker series.

Environmentalist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, heralded as “the new Rachel Carson,” talks about the link between environment and cancer and her own activism (May 7), together with journalist Laura Flanders of the group FAIR and its radio program CounterSpin.

Visiting Santa Fe in March?

Ever-innovative SITE Santa Fe is focusing on the theme of dining as art in Feast: Radical Hospitality through May 18. A series of talks, documentaries, and public projects includes Lee Mingwei’s three-night performance of The Dining Project, a meal as performance shared with a visitor chosen by lottery (April 22), a crash course on Japanese food and drink (March 25) and an exploration of  cooking with kids and the New Mexico chile (March 18).

The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art explores depictions of the death figure Doña Sebastiana, through May 27. As described in Jenny’s letter,  works created in Hawaii by O’Keeffe and Ansel Adams are on display at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum through Sept. 14. Hurry if you want to catch a show of contemporary masters at Zane Bennett Contemporary Art, including Robert Motherwell, Sam Francis, Frank Stella, Ellsworth Kelly, Jasper Johns and others through March 22.

An exploration of pinhole photography is opening at the New Mexico History Museum (April 27), featuring 225 photos and 40 cameras.

Classical concert season continues with Van Cliburn competition winner Vadym Kholodenko playing a program focused on Rachmaninov (April 1). Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato returns to Santa Fe for a special performance (March 31), while Santa Fe Symphony Maestro Steven Smith returns to conduct Mahler’s Symphony No. 7 (April 13). Or revisit the Middle Ages at Easter as Santa Fe Pro Musica’s Baroque Ensemble plays a Holy Week concert (April 17-19) using period instruments at Loretto Chapel.

Among the hot contemporary acts with Santa Fe on their tour calendars this spring are Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings (March 18), The Mavericks (April 7), Neko Case (April 14), Neutral Milk Hotel (April 18), and the Dandy Warhols (April 29). An annual celebration of New Mexico music, Nuestra Musica  (April 13) showcases traditional Spanish-language folk music, from ballads to polkas.

Heading back to the future, the technologically enhanced performance LUMA: The Human Light Show has plunged audiences around the world into a darkened space where a tapestry of illuminations take the stage, combining gymnastics, dance, magic, puppetry, physics, and experimentation (April 6). Also taking the dance stage is an elite troupe founded two years ago by international ballet stars, Ballet Next, which produces cutting-edge choreography and classical ballet (April 25-26). Aspen Santa Fe Ballet premieres a commission from the daring  Nicolo Fonte (March 21-22, April 19) in a program of original works.

Theater buffs have a range of options, from the feel-good romantic thriller from India The Guru of Chai (April 1) to The Queen of Madison Avenue (March 13), one of the Lensic Performing Arts’ series of works in progress. Another program nurturing local talent is the Sounds of Santa Fe, an evening of eclectic music (March 28). Check the calendar at the After Hours Alliance for details. At the opposite end of the spectrum is Met Opera Live in HD, which presents Werther (twice on March 14), Puccini’s La Boheme (April 5), and Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte (April 26).

Rosalind Wiseman, who wrote Queen Bees & Wannabees, inspiration for the movie Mean Girls, talks about her latest work on issues faced by boys (March 12) at the Lensic Performing Arts in a benefit for the Santa Fe Mountain Center. Also at the Lensic, Mountain buffs will want to catch the returning Banff Mountain Film Festival (March 10-11). And for film connoisseurs, St. John College offers a three-day community seminar on the works of Akira Kurosawa. Tutor David Carl will discuss Seven Samurai, Throne of Blood, and Ran, as well as the filmmaker’s biography (April 11-13).

At the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, workshops explore making art in an unfamiliar place (March 18), a demonstration cooking class (March 25), an artist’s guide to commissions (April 3 & 21), and making floral wreaths (April 8). Talks at the museum include the Maya, Aztecs and views of Latin America (March 26), a brief history of Abiquiu and O’Keeffe’s personal garden (April 7), Ken Robinson’s book about finding your passion ( April 15), and videographer Alan Michelson (April 23).

La Plazuela Designated a Culinary Treasure

The City of Santa Fe proclaimed Wednesday, February 26, 2014 Santa Fe Culinary Treasures Day to honor several Santa Fe restaurants, including our own La Plazuela, that have been designated as Culinary Treasures by the New Mexico Tourism Department.

Proclamation - New Mexico True Culinary Treasures - Feb 27 2014

We attended the city council meeting to celebrate our recognition complete with ‘La Plazuela is New Mexico TRUE’ shirts courtesy of the New Mexico Tourism Department. It was so much fun and we are so proud!

La Plazuela is #NewMexicoTRUE

La Plazuela is #NewMexicoTRUE

Our heartfelt thanks go out to Mayor David Coss, the Santa Fe City Council, Secretary of Tourism Monique Jacobson and the New Mexico Tourism Department and the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss reads the city proclamation for Santa Fe Culinary Treasures Day.

Santa Fe Mayor David Coss reads the city proclamation for Santa Fe Culinary Treasures Day.

You might be wondering, what constitutes a culinary treasure in New Mexico? Under advisement from the New Mexico Restaurant Association, the Tourism Department set the requirement of 40 years in business, family owned and have no more than two locations. They then put out a call for nominations across the state.  A team of culinary experts judged each restaurant’s qualifications.

We salute La Plazuela’s fellow Santa Fe designees:  The Shed, Burt’s Burger Bowl, The Pantry, Tomasita’s, Shohko Café, Rancho de Chimayo, The Plaza Café, The Santa Fe Bite, El Farol and The Compound.

I encourage you to eat your way through the entire list and when you’re done with Santa Fe, you can hit the road across New Mexico to visit each region and try their culinary treasures. The full list is here by region and city. La Plazuela is New Mexico True!

Secretary of Tourism, Monique Jacobson, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and La Fonda's Chairman of the Board, Jenny Kimball.

Secretary of Tourism, Monique Jacobson, Santa Fe Mayor David Coss and La Fonda’s Chairman of the Board, Jenny Kimball.

Heart Collection is a Labor of Love

Some of you may know Sophie Dant, La Fonda’s Gift Shop manager. Many people think we look alike which flatters me since Sophie is so pretty. But what you may not know about her is that she is an avid collector of hearts.  Not the real kind, mind you, but the decorative and artistic kind.  It’s a collection that will blow your mind.  It covers every wall in her Santa Fe home, and it is the subject of a book by author Mary Emmerling called Art of the Heart, with photography by Jim Arndt.Mary is the author of twenty books and splits her time between Santa Fe and Scottsdale. She is the Creative Director at Country Home magazine and host of the Country at Home series on HGTV, as well as a designer and collector. Jim is a nationally recognized editorial photographer with studios in Santa Fe and Minneapolis. Combine these two talented powerhouses with Sophie’s heart collection (90% of the hearts featured in the book are part of Sophie’s collection) and you have a beautiful book perfect for Valentine’s Day.

Sophie Dant, La Fonda's Gift Shop Manager shows off the book, Art of the Heart

Sophie Dant, La Fonda’s Gift Shop Manager shows off the book, Art of the Heart

Sophie started her collection about 30 years ago with a wooden heart she bought as a decoration for the guest bathroom in her new house.  She then began collecting a heart from everywhere she traveled. Her friends and family gave them to her as gifts.  She has very specific ideas about whether a heart is right for her collection… they must be able to hang on the walls or be worn as jewelry. They must be unique or hand made – she will never purchase a heart that she already has and looks for the truly one-of-a-kind.  Her oldest heart is from 1610 and was given to her by her mother. It is an extremely special and rare message box from France. A man would carry one of these in his pocket so if during a dinner party he was attracted by a lady across the very long table, he would write a note to her, place it in the silver heart, and have one of the butlers deliver it to her. If she chose to respond, she would write him a note to give back to him. If she chose not to respond, she was allowed to keep this special heart in case she might eventually want to be courted by the gentleman.

Sophie’s collection contains 1,815 hearts and covers 3 rooms of her home from floor to ceiling. Sometimes when she adds new ones, she has to adjust the spacing, but she knows exactly where each one came from, who made it, etc.

I know what you are wondering? Why hearts? Why collect them? Sophie has several reasons. Every material known to man has had a heart made out of it. They bring back memories of the places she’s visited. But most of all Sophie says, “Everyone has a heart, romantic or not.  Everyone can relate to a heart. It’s completely universal all over the world… children, men, women, old people, young people. Everyone has heartbreak, heart joy. We all have a heart and it beats.”

It’s truly a labor of love for Sophie. In fact, she’s already arranged for her collection to go to a museum in Paris, because now that the hearts are together… she never wants to see them split up.

A perfect sentiment for Valentine’s Day.

Art of the Heart is available for purchase in La Fonda’s Gift Shop.

Top : Sophie's bathroom where her collection began. Bottom Left: A heart Sophie loves - a very old one she found in Nashville while they were remodeling the Heartbreak Hotel.

Top : Sophie’s bathroom where her collection began. Bottom Left: A heart Sophie loves – a very old one she found in Nashville while they were remodeling the Heartbreak Hotel.

Food, Art, Fashion and DIY in Santa Fe

In addition to the Edible Art Tour, ArtFeast weekend (Feb. 21-23) includes a Gourmet Dinner and Auction, Fashion Feast, Art of the Home Tour, and Artists’ Champagne Brunch & Auction, all to benefit art-making opportunities for New Mexico youth. Indulge your craving for chocolate at Divine Decadence, an orgy of cacao-inspired creations from top chefs (March 1) to benefit La Familiar Medical Center. Be sure to check out the Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Food & Wine Guide, which includes quite a few tidbits beyond the culinary.

March is designated DIY Santa Fe, a time to showcase the many workshops available from professional artists encouraging do-it-yourself expression. Most are offered year-round, so you can try your hand at painting, photo collage, silk painting, egg decorating, glass bead making and glass blowing, or children’s book illustration anytime you come to town.

The symphony season is in full-swing, with violinist Clara-Jumi Kang in an outstanding program of Bruch and Rachmaninov (March 23). The Santa Fe Concert Association presents mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato (who recently performed here as La Donna del Lago) for a concert and after-party (March 31). In his continuing series of popular piano talks, conductor Joseph Illick  takes on Mendelssohn (March 11). Santa Fe Pro Musica presents an evening of Debussy, Mahler, and Shostakovich with mezzo-soprano Deborah Domanski (March 1 & 2), as well as a performance by The Variation Trio (March 16) with a post-concert dinner option featuring Benjamin Hochma on piano. For family-friendly classical music, the Curtis Institute of Music brings student and faculty to perform Mozart and Poulenc (March 18 & 19) in a short immersion program.

In contemporary music, the irrepressible Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings celebrate recovery from adversity in a performance March 18. Guitarist David Russell performs at St. Johns College (March 7), while the school’s jazz-club series features Larry Ham with Woody Witt (March 15) and Alan Pasqua (March 29).

When was the last time you saw Casablanca on the big screen? Relive the magic on Valentine’s Day at the Lensic Performing Arts Center, along with other shows. For the child within, The Wizard of Oz will screen in full living color (Feb. 15). A grander, longer cinematic experience can be had with the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD, featuring Prince Igor (March 1 & 2) and Goethe’s revolutionary romance Werther (two shows March 15), while the National Theatre Live in HD broadcasts from London the original production of War Horse (Feb. 27).

For avant-garde film buffs, the Center for Contemporary Arts’ Cinematheque is showing the documentaries The Tightrope: A Theatrical Adventure with Peter Brook (from Feb. 14), Inside the Mind of Leonardo (dates TBA), The Singularity (Feb 22 & 23), and Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago (March 14), as well as the acclaimed dramas Bethlehem (March 7) and Two Lives (March 14). While you’re at CCA, check out the art exhibits Icepop, a commissioned installation and performance series about global warming, and All the News That’s Fit to Print, an exhibit of art incorporating the New York Times.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet continues its season with a world premiere commissioned from the daring choreographer Nicolo Fonte (March 21 & 22). Vibrant contemporary choreography is set to Taiko drumming from Japan in Tao Phoenix Rising (Feb. 22). And Albuquerque’s Fusion Theatre Company performs The Other Place (March 7 & 8) from Broadway.

The Lannan Foundation’s mind-expanding speaker series presents short story writer George Saunders with The Times deputy editor Joel Lovell (Feb. 12), Latin America historian Greg Grandin in conversation with Canadian journalist Avi Lewis (Feb. 26), and photographer Trevor Paglen speaking about his work on government secrecy with writer Rebecca Solnit (March 19).

Finally, fans of the renowned art-collecting mavericks Herb & Dorothy Vogel will want to check out the New Mexico Museum of Art’s share of their 50 Works for 50 States collection, through April 13.

La Fonda’s Employees are Number One!

There were cheerleaders, lots of food, 80′s rock, a big screen TV giveaway and a whole lot of fans. Was it the Super Bowl? No. It was La Fonda’s Annual Employee Awards event, but after an almost year-long renovation project in 2013… it felt like OUR Super Bowl. Although we take great pride in the beauty of our hotel, it’s always been the people who make La Fonda a special place to visit and stay. That was no more apparent to me than over the last year. Our staff worked tirelessly throughout 2013 and caught every curve ball the renovation project threw at them. It’s not easy keeping a hotel running smoothly while half of it is under construction – but our staff did their very best each and every day and I could not be more proud!

Our Employees of the Month for 2013!

Our Employees of the Month for 2013!

Our GM, John Rickey spends about 40 hours of his time after hours each year putting together a slide show of our staff in action over the last year. Oh the memories and the fun! and as he said at the event, “There were ups and downs and all arounds. Lots of things torn up. Lot’s of things fixed. And we have a brand new hotel thanks to all of you guys!”

We recognized our milestone employees – counting five who have been with us five years, four who have been with us ten years, two that have been with us twenty years and one, Lisa Bertelli who has been with us thirty years!

Lisa Bertelli has been with us for 30 years!

Lisa Bertelli has been with us for 30 years!

All of our employees of the month were recognized and one was named our Employee of the Year. Congratulations to Marie Munoz in House Keeping. Many of you, I’m sure recognize Marie. She is always there to help.

Marie Munoz, La Fonda's Employee of the Year 2013

Marie Munoz, La Fonda’s Employee of the Year 2013. Marie will have been with La Fonda 40 years in August!

Our Manager of the Year is Katie Balleau who went above and beyond this year always striving to surpass her goals.

Katie Balleau, our Manager of the Year 2013

Katie Balleau, our Manager of the Year 2013

Each year, John gives a game ball signed by the entire staff to someone with whom he as worked closely over the last year, and in his words, “has to put up with him”. I had no idea that this year it would be me!

Awards 2014 140 copy

It’s a memento I will cherish, and I could not have made it through the year without John and the entire staff. We all have a huge sense of accomplishment and enter into 2014 with great anticipation for the wonderful things that lie ahead at La Fonda.