Tarrah Krajnak, self-proclaimed 'trans-American,' uses her photography to delve into the fissures, casting a poetic eye along the contours of the places we inhabit (or don’t). After a post-holiday, midwinter (relative) lull, Albuquerque’s Downtown is roaring back to life. Heady rhythms and lovelorn lyrics are set to drift deliciously from the Journal Theatre just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Matters of the Art: ‘Dark Messengers,’ Burque Bowl and ‘Radio Flor’
BY LISA BARROW
Tarrah Krajnak, born in Peru and based in Los Angeles, describes herself in her artist’s statement as “what you might call ‘trans-American’ — on the border between histories, between races, between families, between identities.” Her photography delves into the fissures, casting a poetic eye along the contours of the places we inhabit (or don’t).
On Friday, Feb. 5, at 5 p.m., Krajnak visits Central Features Contemporary Art — offering a sneak preview of the new location at 514 Central SW, #2 — to discuss her black-and-white series “Dark Messengers.” Rich in contrasts, the photos were shot on 35mm film in both South America and the American West. Whether depicting landscape or gesturing toward humanity, they sculpt lucid images — natural patterns, still lifes, apertures, portraits — from atramentous blacks and penetrating swaths of light. For details, visit centralfeatures.com or call (505) 252-9983.
More work by Krajnak appears at Central Features’ new neighbor 516 ARTS (516 Central SW), as part of “At Home in the World.” Marking a decade of action-oriented arts involvement for the Downtown gallery, this first exhibition of 2016 opens on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. — although members can get in on a preview starting at 5 p.m. The show includes work from local, American and international artists exploring questions of identity, migration, place, community and more. Juna Rosales Muller’s “Mending Patriotism,” for example, uses a patchwork conglomeration of reddish and blue clothes left behind by migrants to suggest a cobbled-together American flag. Other artists employ everything from mixed media to prints to charcoal to engage in global conversation through their work.
To learn more about the cluster of events orbiting “At Home in the World,” consult 516arts.org or call (505) 242-1445.
Second Street stimulation
After a post-holiday, midwinter (relative) lull, Albuquerque’s Downtown is roaring back to life. On Friday, Feb. 5, the same night Tarrah Krajnak discusses her photography at Central Features (see above), a virtual resurgence is being celebrated right around the corner on Second Street near Lead. Stroll, bike or otherwise micro-commute over to appreciate just how effectively a stretch of destinations along Downtown’s southwestern wing is transforming the area.
Burque Bowl opens the doors of four neighborhood businesses for an evening of interaction, arts appreciation and beer drinking. Get there as early as 4 p.m. for the latter — Sidetrack Brewing (413 Second Street SW), home of the “buy a friend a beer” chalkboard, is ready to be your craft-brew best buddy. They’ll be open until 10 p.m. Nestled right next door, caffeine-slinger Zendo (also at 413 Second Street SW) doesn’t open until 6 p.m., but do stop by for a mouthwatering pick-me-up and a view of artwork by Matthew M. Cohen until 8 p.m. Fancy-living dream factory Gertrude Zachary Antiques (416 Second Street SW) shows off its 12,000 square feet of American and European treasures from 5 to 9 p.m.
The evening’s star, though, is SCA Contemporary Art (401 – 3 Second Street SW). Freshly transplanted from their former Wells Park location into the renovated Sanitary Tortilla Factory/Los Chileros building, SCA now boasts over 7,000 square feet of space in which to host exhibitions, fabrication facilities and 15 artists’ studios. The studios’ grand opening bash happens from 5 to 10 p.m., and both Tractor Brewing and “old-skool country & western” quartet Lovers & Leavers guarantee a fine time amongst the artists in their natural habitat. See scacontemporary.com or call Burque Bowl mastermind Sherri Crider at (505) 228-3749 with questions.
Viva el romance
Heady rhythms and lovelorn lyrics are set to drift deliciously from the Journal Theatre at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) just in time for Valentine’s Day. “Radio Flor,” presented by touring quintet Cascada de Flores, is a loving sonic dispatch from the golden airwaves of yore.
Combining elements of Mexican and Spanish-speaking Caribbean radio from the 1930s and including everything from station identifications to torch songs to snappy commercial jingles, “Radio Flor” is one part tantalizing acoustic concert, one part sophisticated theatrical production and two parts pure nostalgia. Jokes fly at full tilt, but Cascada de Flores isn’t afraid to serve up a range of emotions meant to be felt in the body as much as heard through the ears. The Bay Area-based group plumbs the worldwide spectrum of Latin music for its high-energy Cuban guarachas, folkloric Mexican sones, boleros of arresting emotionality and Columbian bambucos with their trilling runs, among other forms.
Like old-timey radio, the “Radio Flor” experience is ephemeral: It transpires for one performance only, on Saturday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m. Visit nhccnm.org or call (505) 724-4771 for tickets, priced from $12 to $22 (minus $2 for students, seniors and NHCC members). For $10 more at the door (instead of $20 at the regular rate), “Radio Flor” ticketholders can stay for an evening of salsa dancing, hors d’ouevres and dessert at the 5th annual Latin Love Fest. The party includes a cash bar, huge dance floor and both live and DJ’d music. See facebook.com/ABQLDF for all the swinging details.
Lisa Barrow is a member of the Dirt City Writers collective. Visit her on the interwebs at facebook.com/LisaBarrowLikesWords. She most recently served as arts & lit and web editor at Weekly Alibi.