Crew members scurry about between shots at the Placitas Mini Mart on July 30 during the filming of Dreamland, a coming-of-age love story.
Placitas residents Michael Angerman and Michele Godwin pose in front of the Placitas Mini Mart-gone-Hollywood with film producer Doug Mankoff.
On location ... at the Placitas Mini mart
Hollywood descended on the village of Placitas in the wee hours one Friday morning. “It looked like a carnival was coming to town for a weekend fiesta,” one resident commented. A large truck set up on the edge of the parking lot at Carl Tarradei and Wayne Sandoval’s Mini Mart before dawn and was soon followed by an armada of trucks and support vehicles. By first light, the troupe of electricians, grips, production assistants, actors, directors, and producers were hard at work with a full day of production ahead.
As part of Governor Bill Richardson’s incentive program to bring the film industry to New Mexico, Los Angeles producer Doug Mankoff of Echo Lake Productions, with thirteen movies to his credit, brought his production to New Mexico. “This is a low-budget (under $1 million) independent film, and we worked for well over a year to get the financing. New Mexico’s incentive program suited this project very well,” Mankoff said.
“Shooting in New Mexico fit the story,” he added.
“Our biggest challenge was the weather; we were delayed three hours one day due to the rain and matching scenes with sky—it’s been cloudy a lot. I guess we picked the wettest time to start shooting.”
The feature-length film will be presented at next year’s Sundance Film Festival.
The film is a coming-of-age love story titled Dreamland, written by Tom Willett, directed by Jason Matzar, and starring John Corbett (Sex in the City, Northern Exposure), Gina Greshon, Justin Long (Dodgeball), Agnes Buckner (Blue Car), and Kelly Garner (Aviator, a soon to be released Martin Scorsese film about Howard Hughes). Only Agnes Buckner, Justin Long, and a few extras were on hand for the Placitas shoot. Writer Tom Willett was also present to see his script transformed to film.
Most of the movie was filmed in Rio Rancho, at a trailer park on the western end of Southern Boulevard. A few scenes—a thrift store, a pizza parlor, an apartment, and a hotel—were shot in Albuquerque.
So how did this production get to the Placitas Mini Mart?
I’m glad you asked. It just so happened that producer Mankoff needed a break from the rigors and headaches involved in making movies, so he called his friends Michele Godwin and Michael Angerman, who live in Placitas. They invited him over, and on his way Mankoff stopped at the Mini Mart to buy ice cream. A week later, Mankoff was on the phone to his friends inquiring about the Mini Mart, its friendly proprietor, and the chances of bringing a production crew to town.
Wayne must have said yes, because from about 5:30 Friday morning until about 4:30 Saturday morning, his convenience store was transformed into a Hollywood movie set.
The goldfish of Wexler’s Pond
A few days after Ty Belknap’s article on Wexler’s Pond appeared in the July Signpost, James Gonzales, the mayordomo of Las Acequias de Placitas, stopped in the village to tell Donna and Moises Perea he had “gone fishing.” In his truck he had a big cajete or horse trough filled with at least thirty small goldfish that he had rescued from El Tanque de los Venados (Deer Pond—the village’s name for Wexler’s Pond) and was taking to El Tanque del Oso. Gonzales told the Pereas there were fish still stranded in the pond.
When Moises and Donna drove up to El Tanque de los Venados they found about five inches of murky water in a foot of mud. Moises put on rubber waders and walked into the zoquete (mud) to move a fallen tree in order to reach the water. He couldn’t see any fish but knew they were there from the movements in the muck. With a small pond net he began scooping up muck and searching through it with his fingers. When he found a fish, he’d pass it to Donna to put into the five-gallon bucket of clean water they’d brought along. Donna said she could see fish “coughing out mud” in the clean water.
That day the Pereas rescued about twenty goldfish. The next day they were able to collect another forty. Two days later they went back and captured about thirty more. After the parade on July 4th, they went to the pond one last time and rescued another dozen fish; the rest were too tiny to catch and were already dying.
Now the Pereas have about a hundred goldfish under the portal in their back yard. The fish range from one-half inch to six inches long. They live in a six-foot diameter tanque filled with acequia water filtered through a swimming pool pump. The Pereas are feeding them a commercial pond food, and the fish have already learned to swim to the surface when Donna or Moises approaches the tank.
Wexler’s Pond has gone dry, but the goldfish of El Tanque de los Venados have a new home in the village of Placitas among the many other creatures that Moises and Donna Perea have rescued and cared for over the years.
El Rinconcito español
El sol sale para todos y cuando llueva todos nos mojamos.
(The sun rises for everyone, and when it rains we all get wet.)
No es más rico quien más tiene, sino quien menos necesita.
(The richer person isn’t the one who has more, but the one who needs less.)
Nadie experimenta en cabeza ajena.
(Nobody experiences what’s in the head of another.)
Submitted by SOS-panyol—Spanish instruction that focuses on oral communication skills. www.sospanyol.com.
Roping aids diabetes clinic
La Familia Team Roping Productions is sponsoring a benefit roping for the Divine Mercy Clinic Diabetes Project on Saturday, August 14, at 7:00 p.m. at the Sandoval County Sheriff Posse Grounds in Bernalillo. The event is open to cowboys statewide.
La Familia Team Roping Productions, a nonprofit headed by George Navarro, is partnering with Divine Mercy Clinic to combat diabetes, which is the sixth leading cause of death in New Mexico.
La Familia Team Roping Productions will open their books at 6:00 p.m. to register cowboys for the #5 and #6 roping events. The entry fee is $15, with no cap on the number of entries. Everyone—ropers, supporters, first-time spectators—is invited to come out and share in the fun.
The entrance to the Sandoval County Sheriff’s Posse Grounds is on the south side of Highway 550 just west of the Rio Grande River in Bernalillo.
For more information about the roping benefit event, please call Damian Navarro at 867-6478 or George Navarro at 867-5324. For information about Divine Mercy Clinic, please call Dr. Tomasita Navarro at 867-8239.
Los Matachines lecture at historical society
The Sandoval County Historical Society presents Eddie Torres speaking on “The History of Los Matachines—The Feast of San Lorenzo from Colonial Times to the Present in Bernalillo” on Sunday evening, August 8, at 7:00.
Eddie Torres comes from a family that has been deeply involved with the Matachines for generations: his father, grandfather, brothers, and son have participated in the celebration as an important part of their lives.
This dance drama has its roots in the Europe of the Middle Ages. Brought to the New World by the Spanish, it took on influences along the way from the Moors, Aztecs, and Pueblo Indians. It is a fascinating collaboration of music, dance, and drama at several allegorical levels, one of which is the fight between good and evil demonstrated by the figures of La Malinche and El Toro.
The free lecture will be at the Sandoval County Historical Society’s DeLavy House, west of the river at Bernalillo off Highway 550, west of Coronado Monument and the gas station on Edmond Lane. For further information, call 867-2755
Bird handler from Wildlife West Nature Park shows a hawk rescued from the wild.
Festival at Anasazi Fields Winery to benefit Nature Park
For the third year in a row, an impressive lineup of local musicians will take the stage at Anasazi Fields Winery for Gathering of Spirits, on August 7 and 8. “Our goal,” says winery partner Sue Petersen (a.k.a. BIG Momma Ethel), “is to make Gathering of Spirits one of the top blues events in the area.”
The festival runs from noon to 6:00 p.m. each day. Admission is $10 for adults and includes a wine glass. Youth from fourteen to twenty years old pay only $4. Children under fourteen are admitted free.
All proceeds will benefit Wildlife West Nature Park, an educational facility in Edgewood featuring native plants and animals of New Mexico. The park is home to a pair of Mexican gray wolves, elk, deer, pronghorn, javelinas, raptors, cougars, raccoons, a coyote, a fox, and a bobcat.
On Saturday there will be an eclectic assortment of talent from Albuquerque’s blues scene. BIG Momma Ethel and Stagefright Slim open with their jovial antics. Joan Griffin and Larry Freedman perform a duo version of their band Combo Special. Joan’s voice is a force of nature matched by Larry’s chops on the piano. The Frank McCulloch Trio consists of guitar, mandolin, and upright bass with a Cajun flair.
Trisha Ray opens on Sunday, followed by Stan Hirsch, returning from his summer European tour just in time for his second year performing at Gathering of Spirits. “I love playing at the winery,” says Stan. “The setting is intimate—and the wines are pretty good, too.”
Mary Flower, an internationally acclaimed blues artist, headlines on Sunday. Mary was thrice voted Colorado’s Best Folkie and was a prizewinner in the National Fingerpicking Guitarist Championship in 2000. She has four CD recordings to her credit and two popular guitar-instruction videos. Her distinctive vocals are soothing and poignant in combination with her virtuoso guitar. Mary has taught master-guitar classes at many national-roots music camps and will be teaching a workshop on Monday evening following Gathering of Spirits. Call 828-9502 for more information on the workshop.
Wildlife West Nature Park will present a live bird show each day of the festival from noon to 1:00 p.m. Local artists with booths at the festival include Fred and Kristin Wilson, Nancy and Jon Couch, Jeff Sipe, Frank McCulloch III, Steve White, Karen Hall, and Jim Fish.
Blue Plate Special will offer gourmet sandwiches and standard items from the grill.
Carpooling to the event is recommended. Lawn chairs and blankets are suggested. No picnic baskets or drinks are allowed for this event. Water will be provided at no charge. Non-alcoholic drinks will be available at a nominal cost.
Anasazi Fields Winery is in the village of Placitas at 26 Camino de los Pueblitos and can be reached at 867-3062.
Hike will explore Indian plant world
The Friends of Coronado State Monument are planning an informative hike, Connecting to the Plant World of the Prehistoric and Modern Indians: Ceremonially and Medicinally. Herbalist Beverly McFarland will lead the hike through Coronado State Monument on Saturday, August 14, starting at 10:00 a.m.
McFarland will identify and discuss plants used by prehistoric and modern Indians for healing and ceremonial purposes. McFarland, who has been teaching for the last ten years, is a graduate of Dr. Tieraona Low-Dog's (a Lakota Indian who has been active in Washington, D.C., promoting alternative medicine) New Mexico Herb Institute and the Michael Moore Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.
Water, hats, sunscreen, and comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Admission is $4. Members of the Friends of Coronado State Monument are admitted free. Call Katherine, at 867-6115, to register. Coronado State Monument is located off I-25, Exit 242, west of Bernalillo.
Lectures, field trips for seniors only
The Institute for Lifelong Learning for New Mexicans offers a variety of academic courses, lectures, and field trips for adults fifty years old and over. Registration for the fall semester ends August 20. Classes begin September 13 and end before Thanksgiving. Courses meet once a week for four or five sessions at Heights Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Asbury United Methodist Church, Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church, and Covenant Presbyterian Church.
Courses will cover such topics as history, literature, economics, science, and religion. The teachers are volunteer professionals and experts in their fields; many are retired teachers.
Field trips will include the sculpture garden and visitors center of a famous New Mexican artist, an archaeological lecture and on-site visit, as well as the art and sculpture of UNM inside and out. There will also be a trip to the Hispanic Cultural Center and a visit and lecture with a knowledgeable collector of Native American artifacts.
For more information and registration, please call 888-7370.