An Independent Monthly Newsmagazine Serving the Community since 1989


Samantha McCue Eckert
Photo by Bill Diven

The freedom to paint

When painter Samantha McCue Eckert made the last leap to connect with the art of Georgia O'Keeffe in Santa Fe, she found herself opening a restaurant.

It wasn't her art skills in demand but her experience in restaurant management when she called the fledgling Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, in 1998, and asked for a job. The café she helped establish, though, was within the museum walls, which were covered with the work of one of America's great twentieth-century artists.

“I always wanted to come to New Mexico,” the Vermont native said. “I always admired Georgia O'Keeffe, not so much the painter but the woman.

“She loved making art and just pushed her passions forward.”
Eckert grew up with the sketching and encouragement of her mother who had earned an art-education degree. When she set off in pursuit of her own degree in 1984, it would have been in commercial art had she not enrolled in a class studying the history of the great masters of art.

“That was it for me,” she said. “I just wanted to paint.”

The connection to New Mexico came easily, she said, since both states developed reputations as art centers, especially in the 1920s and '30s and even shared some of the same artists. O'Keeffe was among them, initially spending summers in New Mexico and escaping New York City for the upstate Lake George on the Vermont border.

Yet while O'Keeffe's passion may be inspirational, Eckert's work contains nary a desiccated cattle skull or ochre-cliffed mesa. Animals, chairs, flowers, people, and the seashore appear as themes in abstract settings infused with symbols and layers of vibrant color.

A painting may even include its title, intended to convey multiple meanings, like Fall, her image of four cranes in flight with a distant tower implying the World Trade Center.

“I like words with dual meanings,” Eckert said. “My work has a lot of symbolism.”

While she generally works in oil or acrylic on canvas, some recent pieces started as hot beeswax spread with a palette knife before pigment was added.

“There's a lot of texture, and it doesn't allow you to have clean lines,” Eckert said. “I love layers and layers and layers of paint.
“It gives me the freedom to play with the medium.”

Still, the freedom to paint comes not easily to one of the younger artists in Placitas who commutes to Santa Fe to manage the Jackalope store. The passing of her parents also kept her from her easel, although a work in progress is developing with a woman seated in a chair and a man with wings standing beside her.
“It's something about the loss of my parents, but I'm not sure what yet,” she said. “The past two years have been rough.”

While Eckert's work was accepted into a juried show in Colorado, the only exhibition of her painting here was among the last shows at the now closed Arte Loca Gallery in Bernalillo. She does paint market umbrellas on commission, with two examples on display at Jackalope in Bernalillo.

Eckert's studio is open by appointment by calling 771-1867. A sample of her work also can be seen by visiting the Signpost Web site, at, and clicking on the Featured Artist link.

Signpost Cartoon c. Rudi Klimpert

June Music Festival returns

Chamber Music Albuquerque presents its sixty-fifth consecutive June Music Festival, performing over three consecutive weekends in June at Simms Performing Arts Center and the Outpost Performance Space.

This year, the festival will feature the Cypress String Quartet, the St. Lawrence String Quartet, and the Kalichstein-Loredo-Robinson Trio.

For a schedule of performance times and dates, and ticket information, visit CMA’s enhanced Web site at or call 268-1990.

These concerts are funded in part by New Mexico Arts, the New Mexico Tourism Department, and The National Endowment for the Arts.

Calling all artists

The twenty-fifth annual Placitas Holiday Sale applications are now available on-line at

This is a juried art event to be held on November 18 and 19 in the village of Placitas at three locations: Placitas Elementary School, the big tent next to the Presbyterian Church, and Anasazi Fields Winery. You do not need to be an artist in Placitas to apply. A new requirement this year is that all images for jurying must be digital. All details are available at the Web site mentioned above. If you cannot get the application on-line, call Mary, at 867-5740, to have one mailed to you. The deadline for all applications is July 28.

All-Chopin program

by Wendy Day
Pianist Wendy Day will present an all-Chopin program on June 3 at 2:00 p.m. at the Outpost Performance Space, 210 Yale Boulevard S.E., in Albuquerque. Tickets for the performance are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and children. Refreshments will be available. For more information, call 268-0044.

Necklace by Judith Duran
Necklace, by Judith Duran

Carnival of the Arts coming to Corrales

Carnival of the Arts, a New Mexico multimedia show and sale, takes place in Corrales at the Historic Old San Ysidro Church, on Saturday, June 3, and Sunday, June 4. The church is one mile north of the Corrales Post Office on Corrales Road, then three-tenths of a mile west on Old Church Road.

The show, featuring the work of fifty artists and craftspersons, will be open to the public from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on both days and there is no charge for admission or parking. A portion of each sale at the show goes to the Corrales Historical Society for restoration and preservation of the Historic Old San Ysidro Church.

Carnival of the Arts will feature artists from the surrounding area. Items exhibited for sale will include jewelry, oil paintings, watercolors, pottery, woodwork, acrylics, fiber art, stained glass, and other arts and crafts.

For further information, visit and click on Visual Arts.

Native American art and cultural festival at the Hyatt in June

On Saturday June 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa, on Santa Ana Pueblo, will give the community a chance to come together and celebrate history and modern-day accomplishments through art and performance. The seventh annual Tamaya Artisan Market will feature traditional and contemporary jewelry, traditional pottery, traditional inlaid straw crosses, and much more. Attendees will have the opportunity to view and purchase crafts by more than fifty Native American artisans.

Native American performers, including traditional Pueblo singers, dancers, and a flutist, will fill the artisan market with their own brand of art. Freshly baked Pueblo oven bread will be available for tasting.

For further information about this event and others, see the brochure at or visit

Romantic Time Enough to premiere at the Adobe Theater

Have you ever wondered what happened to that person you dated long ago? And what would happen if you looked them up?
Robert F. Benjamin’s warm romantic drama of this theme, Time Enough, will premiere at the Adobe Theater this June. At a rural bed-and-breakfast near a Shakespeare festival, a man and a woman discover that they share a past. The lively but conventional widow is charmed by the adventurous bachelor, but their growing relationship is disturbed by many revelations. They must deal with loss, reveal secrets, and find forgiveness before they can move on.

In this production, directed and designed by Barbara Bock, the two roles are played by Adobe veterans Joni L. Lloyd (last appearing in the title role of Molly Sweeney, the woman who regains her sight) and Alan Hudson (just seen in the hit comedy Enchanted April). They are excited to be acting in this full production of a play by Los Alamos playwright Benjamin, whose one-act version, Warm Ashes, has been presented in many New Mexico venues.

This production, sponsored by Lockheed-Martin Corporation, will open on Friday, June 2, with a champagne reception after the opening.

Time Enough runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. from June 2 through 25 at the Adobe Theater, 9813 Fourth Street NW. The matinees on June 4 and 11 will be followed by discussions with the cast, director, and playwright. Tickets are $12, seniors and students $10, with group rates available. For further information and reservations, call 898-9222.

Placitas bands to perform at Albuquerque Folk Festival on June 17

Two local bands—The LadyFingers and the Placitas Mountain Band—and more than 120 separate events, help the Albuquerque Folk Festival celebrate its eighth year at New Mexico Expo (the state fairgrounds). The event on Saturday, June 17, has been designated an official Albuquerque Tricentennial celebration. Festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. (gates open at 9:30) with welcoming performances by Chinese, Hawaiian, and Tahitian dancers, Scottish pipers, and Buddha Betties, and end at 11:00 p.m.

The festival has expanded this year to include demonstrations and hands-on experiences with quilt and lace making, sewing, crocheting, beading, woodcarving, and other folk crafts for children and adults.

Returning by popular demand for Main Stage performances are the Ronstadt Ramirez Santa Cruz River Band, from Tucson, and Edgewood's Syd Masters and the Swing Riders, with Irish fiddler David Coe, from Nashville.

Making their debuts on the Festival Main Stage will be:

• The Jenny Vincent Trio, Taos
• Black Eagle, Jemez Pueblo
• Steve Smith and Hard Road, Las Cruces
• Round Mountain, Santa Fe
• Sandia Hots, Albuquerque
Attendees can also look forward to:
• Performances on two additional stages featuring Asian, Scandinavian, Irish, Afro-Brazilian, and bluegrass groups.
• Songwriters Jimmy Abraham, Michael Coy, Susan Clark, Dan Boling, and Elliott Rogers.
• Five workshop tents on song writing, throat singing, Klezmer music, live-performance techniques, and “jazz for folkies.”
• Two dance areas, with volunteers teaching both international (Hawaiian, Balkan, klezmer, Irish, Argentine, Scandinavian, Scottish, Japanese, Middle Eastern) and traditional American (contra, square, swing, country).
• Special areas for storytelling and other children’s activities
• Four jam areas: one hosted by bands such as Syd Masters, Placitas Mountain Band, the LadyFingers, and Adobe Brothers; two featuring solo and dual hosts; and a jam with all Main Stage performers at 6:00 p.m.
• Two dance parties: a contra dance from 7:30 to 11:00 p.m. and a barn dance from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Admission is $10 in advance for adults only; $15 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $3 for children under eighteen at the gate. Advance tickets can be purchased in Albuquerque at Encore Music, 888-0722; Apple Mountain Music and Harp Shop, 237-2048; Marc's Guitar Center, 265-3315; Bally Dun Celtic Treasures, 881-0980; Grandma's Music and Sound, 292-0341; Music Go Round, 875-0100; Music Mart, 889-9777; and Baum's, 292-0707 (plus Baum's in Rio Rancho, 994-1108).

Detailed information is available at,, 505-255-6307, or 505-261-7648. You can also get local information from Gary Libman, at 505-867-8154.

The Hill, by Bruce Lowney
The Hill, lithograph, by Bruce Lowney.
Drawn in 1972 of a familiar vista, north of the Placitas village.
(It looked a lot different during pipeline excavation last month.)

The Hill

for Bruce Lowney

the hill that comes up thru the Calendar is the tip of me rooting down
planting in the planning the divisions of labor
how do I find the key to fit his pleasure wanting more as
more sinks out under me & the Hill in arch time piñon & juniper
rises thru the slow breakage of the crafty art scene tearing those curtains down
exposing bare windows & the apocryphal dawn the hill behind the house
the house behind the man the man behind the garden the garden in the village
the hill behind the village the morning that we share carrying off with the hill
the petroglyphs that climb the ridges of those hills & meet where
the dawn vision meets with the clan the eye where men meet in ships from the mother ship
in stormings of the border in blue space union & fight die spill down washes all apart
& meets to come up with the hill in rising morning the man behind her wandering where
she gave us all the pleasure to know in her stroke cupped hand is it arm of God
covered with the fine hair where I see him stirring larger than the life I live entering it
to come where I carrying her float in the middle the calendar surrounds &
turns from the hill down doorways out the garden door adobe
in & out her lock pleasure & key the hill goes knowing out the village & me
the man in wide band follows out the messages out of the book &
into her hand.

—LARRY GOODELL, Spring 1973, Placitas

The Uninvited

It comes, first in dreams, the drone of
bulldozers, water-drilling rigs, vibrations
that turn a dream to nightmare as
you wake up paranoid, looking out the window,
they're not tearing up the neighborhood yet,
not raping ridges of the vista
moving closer their wealth of misunderstanding,
the same old self-righteous affront
that puts everybody on edge,
only a dream.
And then it comes, unavoidable,
not even bothering to knock:
right through your door.


Share some company, poetry, wine

Duende Poetry Series presents "An Evening of Poetry With Larry Goodell and Friends" on Sunday, June 11, at 7:00 p.m. Poets Larry Goodell, Betty Skinner, Gary Glazner, and others will be reading poems and offering books for sale at Anasazi Fields Winery in the village of Placitas.

Admission is free and Anasazi Fields wines will be available for tasting and purchasing.

To get to the winery, take I-25 to the Placitas exit 242, drive six miles east to the village, turn left at the sign just before the Presbyterian Church, follow Camino de los Pueblitos through two stop signs to the winery entrance.

For more information, contact Jim Fish, of Anasazi Fields Winery, at 867-3062 or Cirrelda Snider-Bryan, of the Duende Poetry Series, at or 897-0285.

A real rain is what happens in New Mexico

It is a short flight from one extreme to another. My plane takes off in lush, green Portland, Ore., and lands two hours later in Albuquerque,N.M. As the plane comes over the Sandia mountains, another passenger, making a first trip to New Mexico, is startled to see a panorama of browns shining in the sunlight, broken only by very occasional splotches of color. To me, both landscapes are beautiful—Portland, where I live now, and New Mexico, where I was born and grew up.

Both places are, in different ways, defined by water, especially this year. Parts of Oregon have already received record amounts of precipitation, while New Mexico is experiencing one of its driest years on record. This is evident at restaurants, where water isn't served unless you ask for it, in hotels, where rooms have cards with information on how to conserve water, and in the dusty, pollen-filled drive I make north from the airport. When Portlanders find out I'm from New Mexico, they often ask what I think of the Northwest's rain. What's hard to explain to someone who's never been to New Mexico is that one of the things I miss most about New Mexico is, in fact, the rain.

In Portland, rain is a companion, a part of everyday life, particularly in the spring and fall. I can be working at my desk, look out the window, and discover that it has, without any fanfare, begun to rain. The possibility of rain is woven into the choices people make on a daily basis — what they will wear, when they will exercise, where they will shop—in such a way that it goes unnoticed.

In New Mexico, rain is an event. Ironically, in July and August, when Portland is counting how many days it has gone without rain, northern New Mexico experiences some of its wettest days of the year. Everyone calls it the monsoon season.

A storm begins early in the day. You wake up to bright, hot sunshine, but as you look toward the mountains, a few gray clouds hover in an otherwise clear sky. As the day goes on, the clouds increase, becoming a mass of darkness that begins to creep over the mountains. You watch the approaching virga, those wispy streams of rain that evaporate before hitting the ground. An hour or so before the rain begins to fall, you will smell it, your nose catching the scent of water.

Even though you have seen all the signs, the afternoon storm still takes you by surprise. It begins with the bang of thunder and the unleashing of rain. There is no gradual buildup from sprinkle to downpour. When the rain hits the hard ground, it releases the earth, setting free the pent-up scent of dirt and plants. Wherever you are, you take cover.

As a child, my friends and I were sometimes caught at the school playground, and we'd huddle in an alcove. At the pool, everyone was ordered out to wait under awnings or in dressing rooms. If you were in a store or your car, you stayed put. If you were in an arroyo, you got out as fast as you could.

There was the flash flood one of my sisters and I were caught in with our grandparents. My grandfather, thinking he could still drive down a dirt road to the house even though the rain was hitting the windshield so hard you couldn't see, drove us to what he thought was home. But when the rain cleared enough, it turned out to be the elementary school parking lot. I still remember a YMCA campout ruined by rain, forcing a group of unhappy campers to return to town to sleep on the floor of the Y.
If we were at home, we'd watch the storm from our porch. Gasping at the five-fingered lightning, we would count one-Mississippi, two Mississippi… The lights would go out and the phone would unexpectedly ring once or twice, and then, the sound of thunder assured us our house had not been hit.

When the storm was over, the sun would emerge. Soon, almost all traces of the rain would be gone, the landscape warm and bright, giving no hint of the storm just past or the one to come the next day.

Now, that's what I call rain.

Margaret Foley is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News in Paonia, Colorado ( She lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

Local hosts needed for exchange students

ASSE International Student Exchange Programs is seeking local host families for boys and girls from a variety of countries around the world. The students are fifteen to eighteen years of age and are coming to this area for the upcoming high-school year or semester. These personable and academically select exchange students speak English well, are bright, curious, and anxious to learn about the United States by living as part of your family, attending high school, and sharing their own culture and language with you.

The exchange students arrive from their home country shortly before school begins and return home at the end of the school year or semester. ASSE students are fully insured, bring their own personal spending money, and expect to bear their share of household responsibilities, as well as being included in normal family activities and lifestyles.The students are well screened and qualified by ASSE. Families may select the youngster of their choice from extensive student applications, family photos, and biographical essays. There are hundreds of students to choose from. To become a host family or find out more about ASSE and its program, call 1-800-733-2773.






Front Page   Up Front  Animal News   Around Town  Classifieds   Calendar  Community Bits  Community Center  Eco-Beat   Featured Artist  Fire and Rescue The Gauntlet   Community Links  Night Skies  My Wife and Times  Sandoval Arts   Schoolbag  Sheriff's Corner  Time Off  Ask Uncle Duffy   Back Issues   Ad Rates   Contact Us