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Trumpeter and model Ryan Christopher Montano—a performer who has appeared with Hanson on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and in Disney’s “Lemonade Mouth,” and in various other movies and television shows—will be a featured headliner at the New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo on Labor Day weekend.

A world of great wine and music at wine fest

The twenty-fifth annual New Mexico Wine Festival at Bernalillo is scheduled to open its gates on Labor Day Weekend, September 1, 2, and 3 from 11:45 a.m. on Saturday and Monday, and noon to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday.

Highlights include live music from New Mexico bands, a juried fine art show, New Mexico agricultural products, summer foods, and “wine, wine, wine!”

Clowns, face painters, a petting zoo, children’s games, and a kid’s train promise to keep the younger set entertained, while adults listen and dance to the continuous stage performances of Cheap and Easy, Michael Herndon and Sez Who, Ivon Ulibarri, Rosie Encinias and Café Mocha, Ballet Enfuego, Guajira Reunion, Ryan Christopher Montano, Son Como Son, Racin Kreyol, The Brazil Project featuring Patty Stephens, Albuquerque Blues Connection, The James Douglas Show, Mala Maña, Chava Tuckman and the Paid My Dues Rhythms and Blues Band, Busy McCarroll and the Ambassadors of Pleasure, Cathryn McGill, Catalyst Ballet Enfuego featuring Frances Lujan, and Zenobia Soul Kitchen featuring Hillary Smith.

Tickets are $12 (adult), $5 (ages 13-20 with parent or guardian), and children under 12 get in free. Vistors are encouraged to bring along a designated driver.

To purchase tickets in advance, for performance times, and information, visit:

Roberta Arruda joins La Catrina Quartet

Willy Sucre & Friends’ La Catrina Quartet

On September 23, at 3:00 p.m., the Placitas Artists Series will present violist Willy Sucre, joined by La Catrina Quartet members Daniel Vega-Albela and Roberta Arruda on violin, Jorge Martinez on viola, and Cesar Bourguet on cello. The program should include Javier Alvarez’ Metro Chabanco; Eduardo Gamboa’s Cananbu, and Villa Lobos’ Quarteto No. 5: Poco Animato Vivo, Vivo e Energico; Andantino; Allegro.

Hailed by Yo Yo Ma as wonderful ambassadors for music, La Catrina String Quartet is one of the most sought after ensembles on tour today. Their unique blend of Latin-American and standard repertoire has proved enormously entertaining for its diverse audiences, catering to the more traditional concertgoers while still attracting the next generation of listeners. The Quartet has a triple mission: to perform the masterworks of the string quartet repertoire, to promote Mexican and Latin American art music worldwide and to work closely with composers in order to promote the performance of new music.

The program is held at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242). Tickets for the concert are available at the door one hour before the concert or may be purchased in advance at The Merc Grocery Store in Homestead Village Shopping Center in Placitas, Under Charlie’s Covers Bookstore in Bernalillo, Ah! Capelli Salon and Color Studio in Enchanted Hills Plaza in Rio Rancho, or on-line at Prices are $20 in advance. At the door prices are $20 for general admission and $15 for students.

This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Poets Renee Gregorio and John Brandi

Third Duende Poetry Series reading of 2012

John Brandi and Renee Gregorio of El Rito, a husband and wife team of poets, both known in their own right, will be the featured readers at the third reading this year in the Duende Poetry Series. The event will take place on September 16, starting at 3:00 p.m., at the Anasazi Fields Winery in Placitas. They are well-known, well-published, and well-traveled writers who have merged their lives with their arts.

John Brandi, a forty-year resident of this state, was a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. In the 1960s, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer with Andean farmers in their struggle for land rights and civil liberties. Upon returning to the U.S., he protested the Vietnam War. He lived in Alaska, Mexico, the San Francisco Bay area, and while living in the Sierra Nevadas of California, he met Gary Snyder, who introduced him to the Japanese poet-wanderer Nanao Sakaki. In 1971, Brandi moved to New Mexico, built a hand-hewn cabin in a remote canyon, and traveled the high desert with Sakaki, compiling a collection of poetry titled That Back Road in.

In 1979, Brandi traveled to India, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, China, Indonesia, and Cuba, which inspired various books, including A Question of Journey and Water Shining Beyond The Fields. He is also a visual artist. His mixed-media work often integrates words and paint in bright expressionist colors, while his more subtle haiga paintings draw on Asian influences. His recent publications include: Facing High Water; In What Disappears; Seeding the Cosmos (haiku), and the forthcoming Here and There. His stories about travels in the Southwest are collected in Reflections in the Lizard’s Eye.

Renee Gregorio has lived in New Mexico since 1985. She first moved to Taos where she was one of the founders of The Taos Review and also organized a reading series for the Taos Poetry Circus and the SOMOS arts organization. She is presently one of the principals and a co-founders of Tres Chicas Books, a publishing collective. She holds an MFA degree from Antioch University, London, has taught at Colorado College, and has brought students (with her husband) from San Juan College to Chiapas, Mexico for a course on journaling and crafting poems from travel. Sometimes Renee and John work together after their journeys and publish together, such as Road to the Cloud’s House, prose poems based on observations in Chiapas. Gregorio is also a practitioner of the Japanese martial art of aikido and holds the rank of sandan. Her published work includes: The Skins of Possible Lives; The Storm That Tames Us; Water Shed: Aikido Tanka; Drenched; and, Love and Death: Greatest Hits, which was published last year and won the New Mexico Book Award for Poetry.

The Duende Poetry Series, now in its eighth year, sponsors four readings a year in March, June, September, and one floating date. For all Duende readings wine, free snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks are available to the audience. The event is free, although we encourage donations for the poets (donation jar as you enter). For more information, contact Jim Fish at the winery at, or 867-3062. To reach the winery, turn onto Camino de los Pueblitos from Highway 165 in the old village of Placitas, across from the Presbyterian Church. Drive past two stop signs, turn left into the winery parking lot. From outside Placitas, take I-25 to Exit 242, drive six miles to Placitas and follow Camino de los Pueblitos through two stop signs to the winery. 

Artists honored

For the fifth year, the Albuquerque Art Business Association (AABA is honoring area artists who not only excel in the arts, but who have given back to their communities. By sharing their time, talent, and passion, they help developed a whole new generation of art lovers and artists and sustain the hope that New Mexico will continue to be home to thousands of working artists for many years to come. This year, the AABA honors eight artists as Local Treasures—Carol P. Chamberland, Karl and Mary Hofmann, Robert Medina Cook, Tony Jojola, Michael Norviel, Daniel North, David Zaintz—and will award one “Lifetime of Giving” award to the late Fred Robert Wilson (1932-2012) at an awards ceremony at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History on September 9, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. In addition, there will be receptions for the artists throughout the month. First Friday Artscrawl will take place on September 7, and Route 66 Artscrawl will be on September 21. The ceremony and receptions are open to the public.

To learn more event details and locations, visit:, or call the AABA at 244-0362.

Pamela Williams, manager of art at the Range Café Red Boot Gallery in Bernalillo
Photo credit: Oli Robbins

One of Roger Evan’s whimsical sculptures in the Range Café’s art collection

Signpost featured artist: The Range Café’s art collection
Art, art on the Range

—Oli Robbins

On September 4, the Range Café will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary, making it almost old enough to enjoy the fine cocktails it serves. Over the past two decades, the restaurant, co-owned by Matt DiGregory and Tom Fenton, has come to be regarded as a beloved and renowned community staple, yet there are parts of it that are brand spanking new. If you’re a frequent diner at the Range (and let’s be honest, who in this community isn’t?), you’ve probably ventured past the bar and into the Red Boot Gallery, where, last month, a group show of artwork by Range artists was on view. Named in honor of DiGregory’s mom, who loved wearing red boots, the gallery is one of the company’s newer additions.

The incorporation of local art has always been fundamental to The Range’s character, but for many years, the artwork that donned the restaurant’s walls seldom rotated. That changed about two years ago, when Pamela Williams joined the Range’s team as manager of both the gift shop and the art. She decided that the restaurant’s art collection needed to function as an organic entity, moving and changing often, so as to reflect the vibrant attitude of the restaurant itself.

Pamela explains that it takes a certain kind of art to be truly at home in the Range. Says Pamela, “We talk about something being “Rangy” or “Range humor.” So, what exactly makes a work “Rangy?”

“Sometimes,” says Pamela, “it will be a quirky juxtaposition of the elements in the work.” She goes on to say that “Rangy” artwork often engenders discussion, and may sometimes provoke a debate. “Rangy” work may also be unpredictable, regionally obvious, eccentric, or tongue-in-cheek. Certain subjects, like trucks, wildlife and distinctive local scenery seem to appeal especially to the Range’s patrons. Pamela notes that Frank Fell, one of the Range’s longest-standing artists, whose playful paintings often include truck imagery, is an example of an artist that “just works.” The paintings by Zannah Noe, one of the Range’s newer artists, whose works treat aspects of Americana, have also proved successful. 

The Range carries art from various price points, and lately has been taking on more and more untraditional wall art and combination, mixed media pieces. Says Pamela about finding art that somehow fits, “It’s a dance about what’s appropriate.” And just because someone has been showing at the Range since its inception, doesn’t mean their work will always decorate the same space. Pamela insists on new art—if something has been hanging in the same spot for too long, “it needs to go away or get moved to a new location.” Pamela explains that while the Range feels very strongly about supporting the community, and its plethora of talented artists, it’s sometimes necessary to clear a wall of old favorites and adorn it with something new. Funny enough, it’s the Range’s loyal patrons, more than its artists, that find themselves startled by change. “There are so many people who are guests at the Range who are very proprietary about it, very aware of change.” Such guests will dine at the same table and sit in the same chair each time. Pamela feels that these faithful regulars deserve something new to look at from time to time.

It’s no wonder that diners feel so at home at the Range. As Pamela puts it, “the company works really hard to convey that sense of family and community and make everybody part of it when they walk in.” The restaurant’s homey atmosphere encourages its customers to develop an intimate relationship with the art, and this relationship sometimes leads to confident purchases. Pamela notes that the comfort level is different in the Red Boot Gallery and in the restaurant than in most other art venues: “Everyone is welcomed, and stories are traded endlessly. If you were in a more formal gallery, you wouldn’t necessarily have the conversation that helps determine whether a piece works for you or not.”  

In addition to running the Red Boot Gallery and the art in the restaurant, Pamela also manages the gift shop and is responsible for ordering all merchandise. She tries to maintain a generous selection of hand-crafted, local goods. For example, ninety percent of the wine is from New Mexico vineyards, and all of the liquor, with the exception of the tequila, is from New Mexico distillers. The selection of fine liquor and wine has become so extensive, that people are beginning to treat the shop as a one-stop liquor and gift store.

Pamela has a degree in metal-smithing and jewelry design, and owned a furniture collectable business for almost thirty years. She hopes that by drawing on her backgrounds in fine art and staging, she can help make the Range a solid part of the larger cultural scene. When Pamela began managing the Range’s art, she sensed that the artists had always been responsible for choosing which pieces they would show. She decided it was time to lend a curatorial eye to the restaurant, and now sifts through artists’ works in order to find good fits, of which, she assures me, there is no shortage. “The community is so rich in talent. I feel so lucky to have such good things to choose from.” Even though the Range currently hosts a bevy of great artists, Pamela is always open to finding new artists whose work qualifies as “Rangy.”

For the most recent show at The Red Boot Gallery—which the Range puts on in conjunction with Bernalillo’s La Junta Galleria—artists were asked to bring a piece that had never before been shown at the Range. The show successfully demonstrated the wide range of styles, themes, and subjects the Range exhibits. Says Pamela, “The artists rose to the occasion. There were a number of people who gave me things that were wildly different.”

Detail of Raven Boy, photograph, by Barry McCormick

Larger Box, ceramic, by Michael Prokos

4Play—an exhibition of Placitas artists work

Four Placitas artists—Barry McCormick, Michael Prokos, Riha Rothberg, and Wayne Mikosz— will show their work at the 5G North gallery from September 1 through September 30. The gallery is located at the Factory on 5th Street (1719 5th Street, in Albuquerque). An opening reception will be held on September 7 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. Barry McCormick will present a gallery talk on September 16 at noon. The exhibit will be open on Friday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Saturday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., and Sunday 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 977-9643

Kimonos and vestments are the inspiration for a new body of work of collaborative artists Riha Rothberg and Wayne Mikosz. This body of work is a departure into the area of mixed media construction, including recycled textiles and painted elements.

Michael Prokos works in both abstract sculptural forms and functional vessels that promote the feeling of the raw texture of clay and are powerful in a way that doesn’t jump at you, but draws you to them more and more.

Barry McCormick’s figurative images are the result of collaboration with his models, which he transforms into dramatic and often emotion-stirring studies in light and shadow.

For more information, visit,, or

“One last day of summer”—mixes music, art, food, wine and community in September

—Tony Hull

What could be a nicer end to the summer than to be in Placitas with an afternoon and evening of music, dancing, art, crafts, and of course food and wine?

“One Last Day of Summer” is the product of collaboration between locals interested in music, art, and celebration, and musicians and artists. Add in local wines from Anasazi Fields, gourmet food from The Seasonal Palate, and we have “The Event.” This is an occasion to enjoy a night with friends, neighbors, and strangers.

Award-winning gypsy jazz band Le Chat Lunatique (“Best in Burque”) will bring their signature rhythms and lyrics, and, voted “Austin’s best singer/songwriter,” Wendy Colonna will perform also. Her music is a blend of a variety of genres while staying true to Colanna’s Cajun roots, with uplifting lyrics throughout. Colonna has recently completed touring of the U.S. and Europe, including a show at Austin City Limit’s Moody Theater.

The exhibit of photographs and paintings on the metaphorical theme of “Hands and Trees” may be viewed at Anasazi Fields from September 5 through the end of the month. Local and regional artists Tom Baker, Joan Fenicle, Lynne Pomeranz, Ron Paterson, Marie Maher, Joe Cabaza, Reid Bandeen, Bianca Harle, and Joseph Stephenson will show recent work on this theme. A free artist’s reception will take place on September 9, from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and is open to all.

This concert will take place on September 23, from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. Advance tickets are available at Anasazi Fields in Placitas, or online via Anasazi Field’s website ( for $12. Tickets at the door are $15 each. Kids under 12 are free. For further information, email: The event is produced by Dancing Bear Promotions, and sponsored by Anasazi Fields, The Seasonal Palate and Albuquerque Business Law, P.C.

PAS features artists Bassler, Gonzales, Gould and Gentz

On September 23, the Placitas Artists Series will present the art of Margie Bassler, Damien M.Gonzales, Patricia Gould, and Renee Brainard Gentz. The reception will start at 2:00 p.m. at Las Placitas Presbyterian Church prior to the Willy Sucre and Friends concert. Their work will be on display at the church from September 1 through September 28.

Marjie Bassler’s love for creating brightly colored, whimsical paintings of animals began in her youth in New Hampshire. She has served as co-director and curator of the New Mexico Fine Art Gallery Board of Directors, has been a member of the New Mexico Arts and Crafts Fair, and has worked as juror and judge for art shows.

Damien Gonzales is a local landscapist. Recently he has focused on plein air painting and participated in national invitation shows like Telluride Plein Air and Zion Plein Air.

Patricia Gould’s art quilts and wearable art creations have won both national and international awards and are in private collections worldwide. The state of New Mexico has purchased and installed eight of Patricia’s landscapes as part of the Art in Public Places Program.

Renee Brainard Gentz dyes and paints all her fabric and then transforms it into vibrant fiber constructions and collages that have been described as ‘pure visual joy.’ Her work is included in the New Mexico Capitol Art Collection and the Harwood Museum in Taos.

For more information about all four artists, visit This project is made possible in part by New Mexico Arts, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts. Las Placitas Presbyterian Church is located six miles east of I-25 on NM 165 (exit 242).

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