Saving Your Skin


dreamstime_m_46901463I grew up in a time, not that long ago, when sunscreen was for babies. Literally. No one over nine worried about getting too much sun—certainly not if you were a teenager or in your early 20s. Instead, we lathered on oils that touted their bronzing efficacy. We wrapped cardboard in aluminum foil to hold beneath our chins to reflect the sun onto our necks, because to have a golden glow––male or female––was considered beautiful. We didn’t even wear sunglasses, because we might get that unsightly raccoon-eye ring. Being pale was for chumps.

Now that I’m of an age to see the sunspots darkening my hands and face (this is your skin’s response to overstimulation by the sun, and an attempt to protect itself from further abuse) and crow’s feet crinkling my eyes, I think differently. There’s a world of research about how skin cancer doesn’t just happen overnight, too. No, skin lesions of all sorts are often the result of cumulative hours of sun exposure. Sun-kissed is a lie–– sun-beaten and wind-blown is a more accurate description of what happens to our epidermis.

I’m certainly not seeking the “I just spent a week at the beach” appearance anymore. Living in New Mexico, we don’t need to hit the road to find the sun. We’ve got over 300 days of it. Plus, we live at altitude, which enhances the effects of Old Sol’s rays. And did you forget the wind? That and our dry desert air contribute to dehydration, which is murder on the epidermis. Continue reading

Bike and Brew Beer Dinners & Tap Takeovers 2016

Bike and Brew Festival is back and better than ever! This year Local Flavor is excited to participate by coordinating beer dinners throughout the week with several of our favorite local restaurants!

Reserve your beer dinner by calling our partner restaurants directly or just show up for any of these amazing after-hours craft beer parties and tap takeovers.

Wednesday, May 18

Brewery: Monk’s Ale
229 Galisteo Street
Santa Fe
505. 989.1919
View Menu or Make Reservations


New_Belgium_Brewing_Company_logoPranzo Italian Grill 
Brewery: New Belgium Brewery
540 Montezuma Avenue
Santa Fe
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3958-5d9fb26c-7724-4a8d-b640-9ab0be0b5dd2Andiamo! Trattoria 
Brewery: Marble Brewing
322 Garfield Street
Santa Fe
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Fishing Report May 2016: Fishing the Cimarron

guides_op_640x491The Cimarron is a small-tail water fishery that comes out of Eagle Nest Lake. Although it is small and close to the highway, it does have a lot of trout and excellent insect hatches. The water from the Cimarron is used to irrigate hay fields to the east. The stream’s all-important flow rates are based on agricultural needs downstream, and the flows are often counter to what one might expect. For example, expecting the river to be high from rains may not be the case because rain curtails demand for irrigation water––as does haying. In addition, many times, the water is coming out sparse from the dam, but fishing is OK downstream a ways, as small tributaries add to the flow exponentially. In fact, there is usually a sweet spot of several miles where the flow will be good, especially below Clear Creek. There are two gauges at either end of the stream, and you can pretty much figure all this out before you leave the house. (The ideal flow is about 30 to 40 cubic-feet-per-second (cfs) out of the dam.) The great thing about the Cimarron is that it often fishes best when other streams don’t—namely, during the spring runoff in May and June.

Since it’s the handiest trout stream close to Texas, there can be lots of fishing pressure. Luckily, it’s rarely so crowded that you can’t find a little personal stretch to fish, and much, if not most of it, is so thick with brush that it discourages a lot of people. So dive into the brush—then wade right up the middle. Do whatever it takes to get your fly in there––resort to dapping a single dry fly tied to a very short leader. A bow and arrow cast is often good to use. Another handy maneuver is to take a weighted fly and swing or “lob” it in the deeper pools. This is especially deadly in eddies. The water load is handy as well.

The “Cimarron sling” is the most important cast in this stream and is described in greater detail on page 39 of my book, Instinctive Fly Fishing II: A Guide to Better Fishing. Because false casts and tight loops catch lots more branches than trout, the best cast is an ugly short stroke—a half-cast/half-roll that starts with a half-assed water load. This cast is performed by letting the flies drift past you and then, just before they get tight in the current, slinging them forward with a rounded-out half stroke. This is a one-time deal––make no false casts!

The special regulation section at the upper end of the river has a gravel bottom, moderate flow and beaver ponds. Key in on mayfly hatches here. Downriver, the water becomes faster and rockier, and stoneflies and caddis flies are more prevalent. The stone-fly hatch is very important on the lower sections of the stream and commences in late May to early June. If you see a hatch flutter past you, tie an imitation one on your line. The best time to be on the lookout is around noon. At that time of day a black stonefly nymph will do very well also, but most stonefly nymphs are far too heavy for the shallow Cimarron. Be sure and get the lighter—and smallest choices.

The stream is 45 minutes east of Taos on Highway 64. One passes by Eagle Nest Lake on the drive. Although it has fished poorly the last few years, historically, the lake produces lunkers. If you pass by it when the water is calm, be sure and drive down and see if there are fish rising close to shore. Beware that there are a lot of carp and they are easy to confuse with trout to the average fisherman. But even the carp are a challenging and fun fish, too! More on them in a later report.

Fishing report by Taylor Streit

Shakespeare in Santa Fe

Some books stand on the immense plain of human history like milestones of meaning. The Bible. The Talmud. The Koran. The Epic of Gilgamesh. The Mabinogion. Myths and legends of many cultures. And, of course, the impressive First Folio of the works of William Shakespeare. Titled Mr. William Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies, it was published in 1623 in England.

Since very few of Shakespeare’s plays had been published during his lifetime of 1564-1616—and those in small quarto volumes akin in usage to today’s paperbacks—the large Folio publication probably saved the Bard’s work from obscurity, and helped secure its prominent place in general culture. Folios were expensive to assemble and print, and those who could afford them were apt to see that their books were well cared for, often passed down through generations of a family. And 3-SHAKE-TitlePageFirstFolio_FirstFolioFolgeronce scholars got their hands on Folio copies, they would be even more treasured and cosseted.

New Mexicans have a rare opportunity to see a copy of the First Folio for themselves. It is coming to the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe from February 5 through 28, in an exhibit titled First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare.

The show is part of a nationwide project from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., the Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association in Chicago—a tour that’s sending a copy of the Folio to all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Fortunately, the Folger owns 82 copies of the large-scale Folio, so there are plenty to go around.

The exhibit idea is interesting, but also poses a question for the average person: Despite its historic and Shakespearean associations, why come look at a 393-year-old book? It’s going to be in a locked case, and can’t be touched. And even though the Santa Fe Folio will be open to one of the master’s most famous play speeches—Hamlet’s “To be or not to be” statement—what’s the hook, the interest, the rationale for a visit?

Carmen Vendelin, Curator of Art at NMMA, has a succinct and timely answer. Because the Folio has such historic interest, both as an object and as a repository of creative brilliance, it is worthy of inspection. In addition, the Folger exhibit provides interesting ancillary information about the circumstances behind the putting together of the volume, its printing and its dissemination. Thus the exhibit provides a chance to go back in time and experience what cultural life was like some 400 years ago. And also, Shakespeare, a man for the ages, is one of those authors whose works have been translated into scores of languages, and whose sayings permeate our collective consciousness like artistic yeast. From scholars to students to followers of popular culture, Shakespeare’s memorable lines are known by millions. It is a rare and special opportunity to see the first instance of his works secured in one place. Continue reading

Showtime! Albuquerque Theater

With about 40 separate acting troupes in town, theater in Albuquerque is always a mixed bag. But that mixture of old and new, never-before-seen and well-loved completely serves its devotees. A diverse public needs a varied theater scene, and The Q’s got it. Take the Spring 2016 season, for example. Hard-core Broadway babies and serious students of drama alike have brand-new plays, old favorites and revered musicals to keep them warm until summer’s festivals lure us all outside.

Roses are red, but tuck in some tickets

Mother Road Theatre Company is treating audiences to Chapatti, opening February 5. This date-night special shares an unseasonably warm interlude with two pet-loving Dubliners who thought they had put relationships with humans behind them. Chapatti is the dog. Veteran actors Joanne Camp and Peter Shea Kierst play Betty and Dan.

Another Valentine’s Day option is Shirley Valentine herself, a woman finding her own way after raising a family. Jessica Osbourne plays Shirley, the British bird who flies away to a Greek island to go exploring. This is the inaugural play for local West End Productions, a new media company. Ask any local theatergoer: Osbourne always enchants. There’s an adorable trailer at to get you in the mood.

FUSION Theatre Company is cuckoo for Chekhov as evidenced by their 2014 season opener, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike by Christopher Durang (it’s set in a cherry orchard). Now they’re nailing Aaron Posner’s witty, funny Stupid F**king Bird (could it be a seagull?), another gleeful deconstruction of the hallowed playwright’s work. Seeing what this professional troupe does when they love the play they’re doing is worth the modest price of admission. Directed by FUSION co-founder and Albuquerque Academy theater instructor Laurie Thomas, the production stars Actors’ Equity members John Dennis Johnston, Jacqueline Reid, Megan Tusing and Gregory Wagrowski, along with newcomers Caitlin Aase, Jamie H. Jung and Harrison Sims. On now through V-Day, it’s a don’t-miss event.

If you like it when your Valentine screams and jumps into your lap, take him to see Dracula at Albuquerque Little Theatre. During read-throughs for this particular show, an actual bat flew into the rehearsal hall. Trust us, we’ve seen the video; take it as an omen or a warning. If vampires are not to your taste, see The Birds at Desert Rose Playhouse. It is based on the same Daphne DuMaurier short story as the Hitchcock film, but setting and characters vary from that classic movie. It’s just as scary. Local favorite actors grace both productions and they love to make you shiver. Continue reading

Ride The Mountain

RidetheMountainWhen you snowboard, you ride the mountain.

My first exposure to snowboarding happened a few winters back and quite by chance. I was traversing a steep slope in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on snowshoes. The forest was quiet, sparkling, sublime. My shoes weren’t providing much flotation in the deep powder, but the snow was so light, so airy, it didn’t matter. Slowly moving along, I saw a track. Deep, wide, singular and gracefully serpentine, it dropped through the mixed conifers. In awe, I stopped and studied it; it was the track of a snowboarder.

I would have loved to have seen it put down, to see the solitary rider navigating their way, pushing, floating, turning in the deep powder. Focused on a line through the trees, they would come swiftly and with little warning, for an instant break the stillness, and then in near silence, be gone.

Yes, in these moments, perhaps always, the mountain is alive. It takes you somewhere.

I recently connected with two snowboarders at Taos Ski Valley, Christina Bruno and Justin Bobb. It’s a tight-knit community at TSV. Ask around about snowboarders and their names come up. Both have been riding since they were kids, are at the tops of their respective games, and are highly respected on the mountain.

Meeting Christina, the first thing I notice is her handshake. Not overbearing in a ham-fisted way, but strong, a handshake indicative of great core strength. Christina runs the Adaptive Snow Sports Program at the Taos Ski School, which accommodates people with physical and cognitive disabilities to get out on the snow—a rewarding job if ever there was one.

Snowboarders, however, have had a reputation as troublemakers. I ask her about this. She acknowledges with, “Some of the founders of snowboarding—there was kind of a bad-boys club and they weren’t really accepted.” Snowboarding shares its roots with surfing and skateboarding. The similarities are obvious. Perhaps more importantly though is the culture they share. It’s a punky, hooligan, rebel thing, and an interesting tribe. For example, at various ski areas, before snowboarding was allowed, not-to-be-daunted riders would “poach” the mountain, meaning ride it illegally, often in the cover of darkness. Christina continues, “These days, snowboarders aren’t necessarily troublemakers. It’s still getting accepted. I think hopefully that stereotype will fade away.” She laughs and adds, “But the culture of snowboarding, that skateboard culture, I think will always be there. Getting to be yourself, being creative.”

While the sport has been around since the 1970s, the acceptance it enjoys at ski areas today has been a long time coming. Taos Ski Valley only started allowing snowboarding in 2009, and even then it was a not exactly welcomed. As reported in The New York Times in January of that year, snowboarders at TSV were targets for snowballs lobbed by skiers. But Justin, who works for the Ski Patrol at TSV (now part-time as he looks for ways to put his recently acquired degree in geology to work), says, “It wasn’t that big of a deal. It was one of those things like, rumors about it all kind of surpassed what actually happened, because it was such a big change for Taos.” Justin, who also happens to be a two-time winner of the men’s snowboard Freeride Championship at Taos continues, “The way it’s regarded now, it’s a family sport. A lot of the top snowboarders are environmental activists. So it has more of a serious, more of a well-regarded tone.” Snowboarding is now an Olympic sport, not to mention featured at other top levels of international competition.

But what about riding the mountain? Christina’s face lights up. “I love the mountain, that’s why I stay here,” she says. “I think it’s some of the best inbound terrain there is that’s pretty steep and committing and gnarly. Taos isn’t that crowded, and you can have a great steep run to yourself on a powder day. There’s a lot of great talent here that I ride with.”

Christina continues enthusiastically with the story of a day on the mountain last year. “During the Extreme competitions, we got that huge storm which I forget how many inches, it was like a ridiculous amount, like five feet in four days. I was in the competition and it kept getting postponed in this crazy weather, but in our wait-day before finals, me and a bunch of other girl competitors just went and huffed ourselves off everything. Just rode together and that was one of the best days I’ve had up here. Every landing was just bottomless and it was really fun. We had a good group together just cheering each other on.” Christina laughs and adds, “Probably doing better in our time together than in our comp. We were all over West Basin and the woods. Juarez area. We rode all day. We were like, ‘We’re going to be too tired for our finals run the next day.’ But that wasn’t as important as being in the moment. That was a great day.”

I ask Justin about riding Taos, and he laughs in his affable way. “The whole reason I wanted to go to Taos as a snowboarder was to access the type of terrain that wasn’t accessible anywhere else in New Mexico. So they have steeper terrain, rockier terrain, and that’s the kind of snowboarding I like to do. I like to get into the quote-unquote scary spots, and Taos is just packed full of it.” I’ve hiked some of the terrain Justin is talking about. No kidding, there are some quote-unquote scary spots.

“Whenever you’re on the mountain,” Justin continues, “you’re constantly looking around at the slopes and looking for new ways to approach certain areas. Look at a cliff and maybe look at it for three years and maybe one day the light changes on it and you see a different route through that you’ve never seen before. So it takes a lot of time to fully explore these places.”

Like Christina, Justin loves talking about being on the mountain. “And the Freeride competition, I want to say this was 2012. Might have been 2013, but it was the second year I won it. Pre-chairlift on Kachina. The minute you get going, the crowd disappears and it’s literally you and the mountain, and of course you’re all pumped up on anxiety and stuff, but I had a great run. I back flipped off a cornice…”

OK, let’s stop right here. I’m sitting across the table from Justin. We’re having coffee. I look at him; he’s a perfectly sane and reasonable guy, nonchalant, even. My eyes go wide. Back flip off a cornice? A cornice, for readers not familiar with mountain parlance, is a mass of snow overhanging a precipice. Now there are big ones and little ones, but Taos is not known for small-scale terrain. So Justin is jumping off a cliff, catching some big air, back flipping. OK, I got that. He continues…

“… and traversed over and got into this pretty steep, like, rocky zone and had a little moment of hesitation in the middle of it and then just went for it.”

A little moment of hesitation? And then he went for it? “So that was a pretty memorable one,” he says, “and it was the last competition on Kachina before the chair lift. So it was kind of an end of an era.”

Since then, Justin has gotten away from competition, and eschews chairlifts for hiking. “Now I’m more focused on going the distance and putting in a lot of effort to get on top of, you know, spending the whole day getting on top of the mountain for just one run down. That’s kind of what’s interesting to me now. The snowboarding is the end goal but it’s just a tiny piece of the whole adventure.”

Indeed, riding the mountain is, and always will be, an adventure.

Special thanks to Jesse Keaveny and Jonathan Ellsworth for their help with this story.

Story by Gordon Bunker