Ride the Rio

New mexico outdoors: kayak the rio grandeRide the Rio
Sometimes a surprise can be right around the bend, particularly for a sporting group dedicated to kayaking through whitewater rapids. It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and a revival of sorts is taking place on the Rio Grande River, just below Pilar, New Mexico, 15 miles south of Taos. The New Mexico River Outfitters Association, a league of local adventure companies who instruct and guide water trips along the Chama and Rio Grande rivers of Northern New Mexico, has resurrected one of the oldest river races west of the Mississippi, second only to the granddaddy of all river races, in Salida, Colorado, on the Arkansas River.

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Rose Simpson

NM artist Rose B SimpsonRose Simpson

Discussing ideas for her M.F.A. thesis recently, one of Rose Bean Simpson’s mentors at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) listened to her brainstorm possible projects. Then, looking Rose straight in the eye, she told her, “I know you can play artist. But I dare you instead to do the thing that scares you the most.”

“Play” artist? Just Rose’s lineage alone is daunting. Great-granddaughter of famed Santa Clara Pueblo potter Rose Naranjo, with beloved sculptor Roxanne Swentzell as her mom and a handful of othe aunts and cousins also descended from the matriarchal family of artists, this brilliantly gifted 28-year-old shines with originality in any of the vastly diverse mediums she explores—ceramic sculpture, printmaking, drawing, writing, music, dance. There are few (if any) missteps in the short but comet-like career of Rose Simpson. Continue reading

Conductor Frédéric Chaslin

santa fe opera conductor

Conductor Frédéric Chaslin
by Dolores Mcelroy

Although he has been known to show up at parties in a rhinestone-studded cowboy shirt, cowboy hat and a pair of faux-leather shoes he got at Ross, you probably wouldn’t take The Santa Fe Opera’s Chief Conductor Frédéric Chaslin for a native Santa Fean. And you’d be right. Chaslin is a Parisian, born and bred. But he is also a deep appreciator of all things New Mexican—including the local cuisine.

“I love the local products here, the Farmers’ Market. With French cuisine, it’s all about the recipes, but with New Mexican—like Italian cuisine—it’s all about the raw products. I love the local heirloom tomatoes, the local mushrooms … and those little green chiles at Tesuque Village Market that they put in the scrambled eggs!” This is high praise from the maestro, who is a notorious foodie.

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New Stone Age

outdoor NM: rock climbingNew Stone Age

What possesses people to challenge every muscle in their bodies, stretching and straining to achieve a toehold or fingerhold in a crack on the face of a cliff? Is it the quest for superhuman fitness, or perhaps the fashion statement made by climbing harnesses, helmets and other gear? For 30-year-old Lee Brinckerhoff, rock-climbing enthusiast and a manager at Albuquerque’s Stone Age Climbing Gym, the appeal lies in breaking through mental and physical barriers – and seeing other people do the same.

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Monster Paws

Monster Paws NM musicMonster Paws

Dancing in the audience at a Monster Paws show is kind of like being trapped inside a disco ball—in a good way.

Ask the band members how they describe their music, and the answers you’ll get will be borderline transcendental. “Songs that are fun to play,” says guitarist and singer Nate Santa Maria. On the band’s Facebook page, its genre is listed as “sounds like yer winning something.” Push a little harder and Santa Maria and singer/keyboardist Isaac Kappy will divulge adjectives like “electro” and “dance-pop.” But really, their first, more nebulous descriptions do a better job at pinning down their sound. It’s just plain fun. And yes, it sounds like you’re winning.

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Divine Burgers in Edo

Holy Cow in AlbuquerqueDivine Burgers in Edo

Holy Cow isn’t your typical burger joint. If it were, it wouldn’t have wood plank floors, sleek zebrawood chairs, and aluminum-topped tables that give it a hip, contemporary flair. It wouldn’t have vegan entrees like the “no-cow burger,” moist and flavorful and made of roasted eggplant and chickpeas. It wouldn’t serve gourmet salads like seared ahi tuna infused with subtle Asian flavors, or offer sides like sweet potato fries and parmesan-zucchini fries. It wouldn’t have a curved bar flowing into  an open kitchen. And it wouldn’t be the newest addition to Edo, Albuquerque’s up-and-coming Eastern Downtown area centered around Central Avenue, home to a number of trendy restaurants that were featured in the June 2011 issue of localflavor.

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