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Matters of the Art: Meow Wolf, ‘Chupacabra Cantina’

Matters of the Art: Meow Wolf, ‘Chupacabra Cantina’

The Meow Wolf artspace’s eagerly anticipated emergence; Outpost Performance Space hosts a series of short performative talks with renowned immigrant and refugee artists now living in Albuquerque; Las Meganenas bring new life to 'The Chupacabra Cantina'.

Matters of the Art: Meow Wolf, ‘Chupacabra Cantina’


Hey there, Matters of the Art readers. I’m still filling in for the eminent Lisa Barrow, who will soon return to these pages.

Meow Wolf

Its life force stems from fierce creative passion; its physical space Santa Fe’s old Silva Lanes Bowling Alley is partly owned by literary sensation George R. R. Martin. Its opening has attracted talents like musician/author Amanda Palmer, accordionist/artist Jason Webley and beloved country doomers The Handsome Family, during an already sold-out weekend of music. The Meow Wolf artspace’s eagerly anticipated emergence has even been heralded in the LA Times.

On Thursday, March 17, at 5 p.m., The City Different welcomes The Venue Different, at the grand opening of the Meow Wolf Art Complex (1352 Rufina Circle). Guests are invited to experience Meow Wolf’s first permanent exhibition, “The House of Eternal Return.”

(Meow Wolf House of Eternal Return from 12FPS on Vimeo.)

From the outside, it looks like the ceiling split open and an old Victorian house dropped fully-formed from the sky. Inside the whopping 20,000 square foot space, visitors of all ages can play live-action choose-your-own-adventure in an assortment of passageways within “an imaginative multiverse of unexpected environments.”  

Thursday’s $250 VIP gala includes dinner, drinks, and entertainment. The public opening starts at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 18. Although “The House” will be open and available until 2 a.m., the music portion of the evening (Palmer and Webley) quickly sold out, as did the next night’s The Handsome Family concert.

Exhibition hours on Sunday, March 20, run from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., with sweet dance beats provided by Chicago’s Sassmouth, Denver’s David Last and homegrown Numbtron. The music starts at 9 p.m., and tickets are still available. Opening weekend prices for viewing the exquisite “House” are $25 for adults and $15 for kids. Thereafter, general admission will range from $10 to $18.

Regular Meow Wolf hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday, with staying open late possible on Fridays and Saturdays; the complex is closed Monday and Tuesday. For arts patrons with pockets too light to invest in the $2,000 Lifetime Pass, a $150 annual family pass that’s good for up to five family members is also available. For more info, call (505) 395-6369 or visit meowwolf.com/tickets.

‘Story Space’

Zimbabwean choreographer and dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena (Courtesy of artist)

Zimbabwean choreographer and dancer Rujeko Dumbutshena (Courtesy of artist)

People leave their homelands for a variety of reasons, including extreme poverty, religious and ethnic persecution and perpetual war. In their flight, they must abandon many things that made up their lives. You can’t outrun a soldier’s gun while carrying a grand piano on your back.

Fortunately for all of us, we can carry our cultural heritage with us as we seek refuge in a new place: our foods, jokes, music, art, stories and legends. But how do our traditions evolve, and how are they maintained in the strange new place we call home?

That’s one of many questions raised by “Story Space: Stories & Songs—Immigrant & Refugee Artists,” happening from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at Outpost Performance Space (210 Yale SE). All ages are welcome for a series of short performative talks with renowned immigrant and refugee artists who now live in Albuquerque; “Story Space” explores art as it relates to notions of cultural identity, migration and belonging.

Featured artists include two-time Grammy Award nominee Rahim AlHaj, a virtuoso oud musician and composer from Iraq who The San Francisco Chronicle described as “one of the greatest oud players in the world”; Nada Kherbik, a journalist, teacher and Arabic interpreter from Syria; Rujeko Dumbutshena, a dancer from Zimbabwe who appeared in “Fela!”, a Broadway musical about Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti (watch her performance on KASA2 Fox below); and Mexico native Chuy Martinez, a musician and former host of TV show “Lo Maduro De La Cultura.”

“Story Space” is moderated by folklorist and urban/regional planner Wade Patterson and presented in conjunction with 516 ARTS exhibition “At Home in the World” which runs through April 16. Five-dollar tickets for “Story Space” are available at holdmyticket.com. To learn more, call 268-0044 or visit outpostspace.org.

‘The Chupacabra Cantina’

MotA3Las Meganenas (“the big girls”) is a Latina repertory troupe operating on the core belief that its members hold a unique position in society, that of storytellers. The troupe, which has already received two McCune grants, presents “The Chupacabra Cantina” at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 10 and 17; Friday, March 11 and 18; Saturday March 12 and 19; and at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 13 and 20, at VSA North Fourth Art Center (4904 Fourth Ave NW).

The production includes stories from around the globe, from Palestine to Tierra Amarilla, a ghost town in Northern New Mexico. Live music and song embellishes the tales. Written by Soledad Hindi, this is the second year of “The Chupacabra Cantina.” It was first performed in 2015 at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

Watch Soledad Hindi and Alicia Lueras Maldonado talk about reworking the play on The Morning Brew:

Presented by Atlixco Productions as part of N.M. Women & Creativity Month, the play boasts performances from Hindi, Valerie Borrego, Vivian Fernandez Gellín, Nicole Gramlich, Juanita Roberts, Jaime Pardo, JoAnn Ulibarrí, Olivia Baldwin-Geilín, Miranda Sol Urrea and Lita Sandoval. Company founder, Atrisco neighborhood native, actress, filmmaker, photographer and “Chupacabra” director Alicia Lueras Maldonado is something of a Renaissance woman. Thursday tickets are $10. For Friday through Sunday shows, general admission is $18. Students and seniors save three bucks. For more info, visit holdmyticket.com/event/233562.

M. Brianna Stallings writes so you don’t have to.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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