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Matters of the Art: Halloween

Matters of the Art: Halloween

An array of Halloween events around ABQ

Tequila and truth: A weepy ranchera classic by Mexican singer-songwriter José Alfredo Jiménez begins, “Estoy en el rincón de una cantina / Oyendo una canción que yo pedí / Me están sirviendo ahorita mi tequila / Ya va mi pensamiento rumbo a ti” (I’m in the corner of a cantina / Listening to a song I requested / They’re serving me my tequila now / Already my thoughts head toward you).

They’re words and music that are emblematic of how Latino popular culture often toys with sentimentality through the ritual of heavy drinking. Shots of tequila are keys that unlock emotions and grant permission for their expression in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But when the act of drinking becomes uncontained, unregulated, spilling over into the day-to-day lives of families, the popular trope reveals brokenness at its heart.

Writer/director Salomé Martínez-Lutz’s “Estoy en el Rincón,” which saw its debut in Albuquerque in 1994, explores a multigenerational legacy of substance abuse and father-son clashes through the lives of the Manzanares family. Strumming a guitar, La muerte – Death – narrates the play and sings rancheras that elevate domestic drama to a universal scale.

A story of love and suffering enriched by music, “Estoy en el Rincón” is presented by Teatro Nuevo México in conjunction with the National Hispanic Cultural Center for just two weekends at the NHCC’s Wells Fargo Auditorium (1701 Fourth Street SW), Oct. 22 through Nov. 1. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets run $10 to $18. Visit nhccnm.org for more info, or call 724-4771.

No trick, all treat

With Halloween falling on a weekend this year, the pressure’s off. Enjoy fall crispness, sip on a pumpkin spice latte, and take advantage of a slew of family-friendly events happening on Saturday, Oct. 31.

If you like the idea of your children begging strangers for candy but hate interacting with your neighbors, Zoo Boo stands out as one of Burque’s most popular trick-or-treating alternatives. From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the ABQ BioPark Zoo (903 10th Street SW), kids can stockpile sugar, play games, take in “Haunted Habitats” and look adorable in their costumes.

Across the way at the ABQ BioPark Aquarium (2601 Central NW), check out what cabq.gov describes as a “Halloween celebration for the fish.” But non-fish will probably also like it. During Underwater Pumpkin Carving from 2 to 3 p.m., divers invade the shark tank with seasonal squash and cutting implements in tow. Watch as sea turtles chow on pumpkin bits and fishies explore jack-o-lantern openings.

Both Zoo Boo and Underwater Pumpkin Carving are included with the price of regular admission; New Mexico residents can hit one or the other for $4 to $9 or both for $6 to $15 (and kidlets under 3 are free). For more info and suggestions for avoiding parking nightmares, visit cabq.gov and search “BioPark.”

Remember that scene in “The Nightmare Before Christmas” when Jack Skellington does experiments to find the meaning of Christmas? He zaps a candy cane in an uncanny solution and otherwise creeps out with the scientific method. I can only imagine that the upcoming “candy experiments” during Spooky Science! at Explora (1701 Mountain NW) will be similar.

The smartypants Halloween fun unfolds from 3 to 5 p.m. and includes mask-making and a (literally) hair-raising activity. Costumes are encouraged, plus Explora’s fountain will be transformed into a supernatural brew at 3:30, 4 and 4:30 p.m. Regular admission ($4 to $8, free for Explora members) grants access to this hauntingly good time. Explora.us has more info, or call 224-8300.

Pace of place

“The most extraordinary images might be the most prosaic.” That gem of a paradox comes down to us courtesy of Joe Deal, one of many photographers featured in “Vernacular in Place: Old and New Topographic Photography,” open now through Dec. 12 in the Van Deren Coke Gallery at the UNM Art Museum (1 University of New Mexico). “New Topographics” photographers like Deal, who chronicled mundane vistas from tract housing to highway developments, came on the scene in the 1970s with photography centered on landscapes that included – rather than elided – industrial intrusions and humdrum sights.

The UNM show also includes work by Lewis Baltz, Nicholas Nixon and Frank Gohlke, all of whom, like Deal, first came to prominence in a 1975 art show that coined the name “New Topographics” and was seen as a response to the idealized, pristine landscape photography of powerhouses like Ansel Adams.

But this groundbreaking group didn’t breeze in from nowhere. The “Vernacular in Place” exhibit begins by revealing an earlier incarnation of artists with an appreciation for the ordinary developed world. Nineteenth-century innovators and those who followed, like Edouard Baldus and Francis Frith, cast their photographic eye on cityscapes just as they were beginning to bristle with industrial change. Others, like Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson, went in for often-overlooked details of the metropolis at a closer range.

Two collections, united in theme, but also profoundly varying in subject and aesthetic – it’s well worth a look. Or learn even more: Stop by Meeting of the Minds – the series of informal, lunchtime talks at UNM Art Museum – on Thursday, Nov. 12, at noon, which will be led by curators Miguel Gandert and Chris Wilson. See unmartmuseum.org for more info.

Lisa Barrow is a member of the Dirt City writers collective, tweets with exceeding irregularity @OhLisaBarrow and most recently served as arts & lit and web editor at Weekly Alibi.

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Albuquerque’s definitive alternative newspaper publishing an inquisitive, modern approach to the news and entertainment stories that matter most to New Mexicans. ABQ Free Press’ fresh voice speaks to insightful and involved professionals who care deeply about our community.
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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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