February 3, 2017

Mary Maurice
Author/Fruit Loops The Serial Killer

Bart first met Mary Maurice when he was helping his escort to set up an art show at Harry’s Roadhouse. As he entered Harry’s with a mouthful of paintings which he was carrying for his escort, she introduced him to one of the restaurant’s most well-known and well-loved waitresses. Mary made quite an impression on Bart that day, so when he heard that Mary had her first novel published, he quickly set up an invitation for her to come by his home and spend some time on the sofa with him for an interview. The morning was great fun for Bart, who tried to learn as much as possible about his new friend over some tea and biscuits.


As it turns out, Mary will be reading from her new book, Fruit Loops The Serial Killer, on Wednesday, February 22nd from 5-6 PM at Harry’s delightful newly designed room in the front of the restaurant. Bart has been eager to see the new space completed so this will make the event even more fun as he listens to the author’s own voice reading excerpts from the novel. Quite an event to look forward to as Mary has many fans at Harry’s!

The reading at Harry’s Roadhouse won’t be her first appearance. Last fall she read at Canyon Road’s Reflection Gallery. Recently, she also read at the Los Alamos Book Fair. She proudly announced that a copy of her book is at the Los Alamos Public Library. “I want to do readings in locations other than book stores like the galleries. I like to incorporate another art culture. When I’m reading at Harry’s I will have a musician so other people can showcase their work. It’s not just about me it’s about the arts and keeping it all alive because it’s dying. Especially the written word. It’s sad. I have no problems with progress as long as you keep the old along with the new. Especially if we don’t know what’s going to last. I love the books. The smell of the ink and the feel of the pages. Everyone who makes technology is wearing hazmat suits. If they are wearing hazmat suits to make these things how do we know what they are doing to us?” Oddly enough, Mary’s reading at Harry’s will also coincide with a show of animal paintings of his escort, M. E. Bilisnansky McMorrow which will be up until March 8th.


Once Mary was settled beside Santa Fe’s own Dog About Town and their photo session was complete, Bart immediately began questioning this fascinating local writer. He loves to ask how his interviewees landed in Santa Fe as the stories of how people arrived to this magical place are always an amazing story in themselves. Mary Maurice is originally from Detroit. She had come out to visit Santa Fe for the first time in the fall of 1993 to visit a friend, and, as it does for so many visitors, the town made an instant impression on her heart.  She departed from The City Different in tears of sadness with hopes of an eventual return. As it turns out, that process didn’t take very long at all. One snowy day in January 1994 with 18 degrees below zero of bone-chilling weather, Mary packed up her truck and headed back to the city that had remained in her heart. She never left.

“Santa Fe either welcomes you with open arms or spits you out like bad tobacco,” Mary smiled. “It happens quickly too! It sorts out the odd ones and keeps them here.” Bart chuckled to himself as he thought back to his own immediate love affair with Santa Fe. Maybe he’s a little odd too, he thought. But oddness can be a good thing….


Writing has been a long-time passion for Mary Maurice, Bart learned. She remembers writing her first poem about friendship back in the 9th grade. She recited the poem from memory for Bart. A small tear which had welled in the corner of his tiny, beautiful brown eye gave away the fact that he had been moved by its beauty. Bart is a very sentimental dog after all. A very encouraging teacher who loved Mary’s poem helped with her decision to make writing a large part of her life. Until recently it was a private thing for her, but after Silver Leaf Books of Holliston, Massachusetts expressed interest in publishing Fruit Loops Mary’s private passion turned into a public one. Our gain! For Mary’s already existing fans, her contract with Silver Leaf includes three more books. The second one is being edited as we speak, so it won’t be long before fans have Mary’s second novel in their paws----errrrr---hands.


Although Bart thought when he read it that the novel may have actually been inspired by Mary’s job at Harry’s Roadhouse, he was surprised to learn that Mary had, in fact, begun the novel over 14 years ago. “It just shows you that every restaurant is alike, Bart,” Mary laughed. He then asked if she would share a bit about the book without giving too much of it away to future readers. “It takes place in Mongoose Falls, Minnesota, which is a place that is in my head. There’s a snowstorm one March and funny things start to happen.  People’s lives get turned upside-down a little bit, but turns out for the good….. and that’s all I’m gonna tell you!” Bart barked in delight at the comment. He, too, promises not to give away too much of the plot though he plans to go to Mary’s reading at Harry’s to hear more in her own voice about the fascinating characters in the novel.

A new friendship brewing
Naturally, Bart also wanted to know more about what Mary loves to do in Santa Fe. As it turns out, he and she have a lot in common as hiking is one of Mary’s favorite pastimes. She keeps her favorite hiking locations private as many serious hikers will do, so Bart promised not to share those facts with his readers. After all, he has quite a few of his own, and he certainly knows how to nurture a secret! Mary also bikes and didn’t mind if he shared one favorite spot, which is Siringo Trail. Amusingly enough, Bart had ridden in a bike basket on the handle bars of his escort’s bike on that trail many times, so it’s one of his favorites as well. It’s a long trail which follows an arroyo from the mall at Santa Fe Place down to the Railyard, one of Bart’s favorite neighborhoods for lunch, shopping and gallery hopping on a Saturday afternoon when he lets his hair down.

Like Bart, Mary also has a passion for long road trips. A road trip is already planned to visit Minnesota in the spring to promote her book. Rather recently, Bart went on a road trip of his own for the first time with his escort and a friend travelling all the way to Phoenix, Arizona. He could certainly understand Mary’s appeal for the road and new adventures after having so many of his own on that trip. Mary’s drives can stretch as far as across the country. He listened eagerly about her travels, a tad jealous that he hasn’t been quite that far yet. But he’s still a puppy. There is time to catch up!

When she isn’t hiking, biking or travelling, Mary enjoys the simple pleasure of a hammock in the yard and an afternoon of bird-watching at her feeders. They have that in common too, as Bart loves nothing more than lying in the window in the warm Santa Fe sun, glorious mountains in shades of blue and grey in the distance, watching birds and chipmunks and squirrels at his own feeder and birdbath on any given day.


Mary also shared her love of reading with Bart. Her enjoyment of books stretches through many categories from the classics to modern day mysteries and everything in between. Steven King is one of her favorite mystery writers. She loves his style and has watched it develop and improve as she has been reading him for years. “He’s a great writer,” she shared. She is also reading Dostoevsky’s The Idiot, though admits she has been reading through it for a while now. “It is deep and rich and it just stays with you. That’s good writing for me” she explained. That one is a little over Bart’s short head at the moment, but Mary just may have inspired him to give it a try.

Bart on his own road trip to Arizona
“But my favorite author is myself,” she laughs. “I just picked up a novel I wrote that I haven’t looked at for a year and a half and it’s really good!” What’s in the works for this talented author? “There will be a new one called Herman---and that’s all I’m saying. I think of a title first and the story comes. I just sit down and write and it turns out as a surprise for me.”
Has her job at Harry’s Roadhouse inspired her writing, Bart asked? “I should have a doctorate in sociology. I’ve been at Harry’s 10 ½ years. And I’m still not seeing a psychiatrist yet,” she laughed. Surely all those characters she meets every day must be inspirational, he thought. “Whatever is said to me is stored somewhere.” She had answered that question. Secretly, Bart hoped to make an appearance in one of her novels one day.

What is the writing routine for this talented author Bart wondered? “I try to write in the morning since I work,” Mary shared. “And I write 9-12 pages a day for 60 days for my first draft. It’s a free flow write. Whatever comes out is going on the page. I don’t look at it again for at least 6 weeks after the first draft is complete. I don’t even go over it. Some writers like to edit as they write but I don’t. I love the whole process….the first draft…and the next 20…” she laughed. There is always the urge to ask an artist, “how do you know when it’s done?” “It’s done when it’s published,” Mary explained. “But in a second edition you can always make some new adjustments. The whole process is great. It’s a natural high, Bart, as I’m sure you understand being as creative as you are.” And he did understand!


The subject came up of how a budding writer or artist of any kind deals with rejections along the way to success. The rejection road isn’t always a pleasant one, but one has to learn from it and grow. The difficulty, of course, is to never let it paralyze one’s creativity. “Sometimes rejection letters are kind,” Mary shared.  “My very first rejection letter told me my work wasn’t what they marketed but that my heart was in the right place. Most rejection letters are mechanical really…. except some are downright rude. It’s their loss. No reason for someone to be like that.  But you’ve got to get it out there. No one will know how talented you are until they read it. A lot of people are scared of failing. That’s all part of it. If you don’t get over that you’re never going to succeed.” Bart thought that was really good advice.

All too soon the tea and biscuits were done and it was time for Mary to move on. However, Bart is counting the days until Mary’s reading at Harry’s and is looking forward to the next three books. Who knows? There may be a dog named Bart in one of them. Of course he will have to be handsome and charming….

Bart gives Mary a high five for her great advice

Fruit Loops The Serial Killer may be ordered from any local bookstore. It is also available on Kindle or at Amazon. Click here to connect directly to it.

Mary is currently working on a Facebook page so that fans may stay informed of future reading events and new publications.

Visit her at Harry’s Roadhouse on Wednesday, February 22nd from 5-6 PM in Harry’s newly constructed room.

Bart shares his copy of Mary's book with a friend
 

 


BART'S GUEST INDEX
Please click on the name to jump to their story


 

November 22, 2016

Dean Cheek
DC Knits,
Custom Designed Knitwear 
102 E. Water Street
(Entrance on Shelby St.)
Santa Fe, NM 87501
505 471-3640
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

 

Well, Christmas is almost upon us and Bart, ever the shopping fool, has already begun his search for the perfect gifts this year. It might be noted that sometimes they are graciously gifts for others and not just for himself! But this trip, at least, had a bit of both to offer. One sunny day, Bart’s shopping adventures around Santa Fe led him and his escort to a shop he had always wanted to visit. In all honesty, it is not quite clear if he was attracted more by the merchandise or the cute little Chihuahua often seen in the doorway that he had been eyeing on his walks whenever he was in town. Whatever his motivation, the trip inside DC Knits on Shelby Street proved to be quite a rewarding trip!

Once inside DC Knits, Bart met the shop’s official greeter, the sweet and charming Trixie. They hit it off immediately! Trixie couldn’t wait to show Bart around her best friend’s shop. She immediately introduced Bart to her main man, Dean Cheek, the owner and creator of most almost everything in his vibrant, warm and friendly boutique and knitting studio.

Dean and Trixie have been at this location for about a year and a half, though DC Knitwear is not exactly a newcomer to Santa Fe. Dean has been selling his incredible clothing at fine clothing boutiques both in town as well as around New Mexico for almost 20 years now. DC Knits is open every day, and Dean is there almost all the time with Trixie ever-smiling at his side.

Of course Bart immediately wanted to know more about this hot babe he had been eyeing from across the street for the past few months. Trixie, as it turns out, had lived with a woman who went into a nursing home. But one Thanksgiving Day in 2011 she jumped into Dean’s arms and that was it! Love at first sight! “She’s the only dog I know who doesn’t want brothers and sisters,” Dean told Bart’s escort. “If they have adoption days at PetSmart she pulls me away as fast as she can.” It’s obvious that Dean and Trixie are a perfect match for each other. They make quite an impressive team! “Trixie lives with a cat who’s twice her size,” Dean shared. She and Bart chatted while his escort began to photograph the colorful merchandise around the store. The two had a lot in common, it seems. They both live with cats and have similar tastes in favorite treats, apples and carrots being at the top of their want list. Watch out, Dean, you might have some competition for Trixie’s attention if Bart has a say in it!

So how did Dean arrive in Santa Fe? Bart wondered. Originally from North Carolina, Dean found himself living in Georgia after serving in the army. But it was a job offer in Albuquerque which brought him out west, where he has remained since. His start at knitting happened quite by chance. His roommate’s sister was pregnant and Dean headed out to buy a baby gift. He was extremely disappointed at what he saw on the market and said to himself that he could do better. He headed straight to Michael’s and bought a machine and yarn and began creating his own baby clothes. Dean found the knitting process to be quite enjoyable with an extra benefit he hadn’t planned upon. Had been experiencing back problems and the knitting was just enough to stop muscle spasms. “Very calming,” he explained. “The next thing I knew I was spending all my spare time knitting. People started buying what I made,” he told Bart. “Before I knew it I had begun a knitting business.” A fortunate chain of events for his loyal customers who return year after year to add to their collection of Dean’s sumptuous creations!

Eventually Dean travelled to Taos where he lived for 6 years and continued his knitting. “That’s when I started selling to shops in Santa Fe.” He then made the decision to move to Madrid, NM where he had a house and shop, but when the economy took a turn for the worse Dean packed up and moved to Santa Fe. Both he and Trixie love the new location on Shelby Street. “It is perfect combination of being away from the crowds of The Plaza but close enough to have the traffic interested in buying my work.” Trixie told Bart that she too loved the location since she has a great view of passersby from her post at the front door, and always loves greeting guests when they enter the shop she runs with Dean.


DC Knits has a permanent window display at both The Inn at Loretto windows and the El Dorado Hotel, which are advertising that’s really paid off for Dean and his partner, Trixie. “People come back to Santa Fe year after year and they have bought things in the past from me and keep searching me out and coming back for more,” Dean told Bart. “When it stops being fun I’ll quit but it’s neat seeing people wear my clothes and enjoy them.”

Part of the collection of Dean Cheek's incredible designs
Each one unique!

As Bart trotted around the shop guided by Trixie, she brought him to see her favorite part of Dean’s clothing line, handmade knit wear for her and her canine buddies. Bart immediately fell in love with---well, Bart being Bart---EVERYTHING!

Dean knelt on the floor and presented a few outfits for him to have a closer look. You guessed it! He added one to his ever-growing Christmas present list which his escort has been busy keeping up for him.

Dean has made outfits for everyone from Chihuahuas to great Danes. “There was a Doberman beagle mix, Noodles" who simply did not want to take her coat off!” Dean told Bart. “A lady in Taos did a crafts show every Thanksgiving and the first year I did it a woman had just gotten a Chihuahua and over the years has bought almost 40 sweaters for her.”

Bart immediately understood the appeal of the brightly colored, warm, comfy and oh, so stylish coats! After all, he has become quite a fashion plate over his past year here. When he arrived in Santa Fe as a pup from Houston he didn’t have much hair on his now shaggy body. To make it through the High Desert winters, he quickly amassed more clothes than a Barbie doll!

Bart's ever-roving eye for fashion zeroes in!
Bart gives this one a Paw's Up!


DC Knits may be small, but it is a visual masterpiece. Bart couldn’t stop marveling at Dean’s talent for design and color combinations. Trixie and Dean took him around to introduce him to the other items that fill the shop.  Dean explained that he does a lot of special orders, which is one of the best things about buying directly from the artist. It’s one way to assure that you have an item that perfectly suits your tastes that you won’t be seeing on someone else. Each piece of clothing is a treasure. 

Dean’s boutique also offers native American jewelry made by finest artists in Santo Domingo. Turquoise being one of Bart’s personal favorites, he spent quite some time examining the collection in the jewelry cases before he moved to the next items. There were unique placemats made by an artist in Madrid that would dazzle any dinner party, he thought. 

“Everything here is made in the USA,” Dean proudly told Bart. There is also a line of postcards and prints of old photos made in Maine. “The company uses solar and wind power to make cards and then send them to HIV patients to assemble so the whole company helps HIV patients” Dean explained. The cards are so lovely they can be framed!


Part of the Santo Domingo turquoise collection
The postcard/print line which helps HIV patients
Bart strolled through displays of clothing on mannequins all made by Dean. It was a bit like being in a wearable art museum! One was more magnificent than the next! It boggled Bart’s tiny mind to see so much work done so well by one man. He just had to ask what Dean does in his “leisure time,” pretty much anticipating the reply. “There is none!” Dean laughed. “I always said if I opened a store I never wanted to be there. A friend I had who made hand-dyed yarn never went to her shop because she was always home dying the wool, but that didn’t quite happen for me. But as it turned out I started working in the shop and do the weaving here so it works out fine. I’m always busy.”

Well, another notch in Bart’s Christmas List belt made, and another wonderful opportunity to meet the people and dogs that make Santa Fe tick! Soon Bart and his escort were on their way to see what else they could discover.

Bart’s escort isn’t certain, but she could have sworn she saw Bart give Trixie a little kiss on the cheek as he left. Hmmmmmm…..looks like they might be returning to DC Knits sooner than she thought!

Is Trixie thinking of Bart????!!!
A "secret pooch smooch" farewell
Placemats designed by Madrid artist
One of Dean's designs close up
Dean Cheek, artist, at his loom

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October 7, 2016

Maurus Chino
Acoma, New Mexico
Artist/Painter/Jeweler/Potter
Please click here to connect to
the online store: Acoma Silverworks on Etsy

 

Bart met Maurus Chino of Acoma this year during Indian Market Week. It was Bart's first time at Market so there was much to experience, and as he quickly found out, also much to learn about the Native Americans of the Southwest. Bart’s escort has been an admirer and a collector of Maurus Chino’s magnificent jewelry for a few years now, however she shared with Bart that Maurus is an also accomplished artist on many levels, as a painter and a potter as well as a jeweler. And he does them all exquisitely.

To understand the art is to understand the man, and Bart was honored to have the opportunity to spend a morning over breakfast at his favorite spot, Sage Bakehouse, to learn more about Maurus Chino's life and the history of the people of Acoma. 

Maurus Chino began his interview from the beginning. “I belong to the Eagle Clan and I am a child of the Sun Clan. My Indian name is Ka aimais'iwa. It was the name given to me by my great grandpa who was a Medicine Man.” The name was, of course, very foreign to Bart’s large ears, but it had such a beautiful sound to it that he began to long to know more of the language of the people of Acoma.

For those who have never had the experience of visiting this magical place, Acoma, also known as Sky City, is 65 miles directly west of Albuquerque. Although archaeologists agree that Acoma has been continuously occupied since at least 1200 AD, recent excavations have led them to believe that it may have been in existence before the time of Christ. Maurus Chino prefers to refer to Acoma by that name alone, and prefers not to call it Acoma Pueblo, which for him gives it another identity entirely. “Acoma proper is a rock. It is called Ak'u. That is what my people named it. it refers to that one piece of rock standing by itself. It sits in the middle of a valley and is surrounded by sandstone cliffs on all sides. The word Acoma comes from  A’ku-me. It means 'I am a person of that rock.' That one stone.”

Though Bart’s short life has taken him from Houston to Santa Fe, his hometown doesn’t have much pull for him as he is happy where he has landed in this beautiful land of New Mexico. However, Maurus Chino has a different experience with his home of Acoma. He explained to Bart that although many of the inhabitants have gone to other places throughout the world or the nation, there is such a strong pull from that “stone” called Acoma that people usually come back for any one of the ceremonies that occur throughout the year. He understood how Bart could have long forgotten the place of his origin as he sees it often with people he meets from other parts of the country or the world, “But for us, we are always from there. I never say I am from Santa Fe or Albuquerque. I am always from Acoma and I happen to be living someplace else.” That feeling of identity and of place is one to be envied, Bart thought.

Maurus explained that he is an activist, a word which was unfamiliar to Bart. He quickly explained. Many coming to this area from other parts of the country are totally unaware of the violent and bloody past of the Southwest. Once here, those who have arrived become aware that the history which they were taught growing up in other parts of the country has omitted so much more than has actually occurred. There is a passion here and a spirituality that draws many to move here without fully understanding why they felt the pull in the first place. Once here, one of the most interesting and indeed awesome experiences is that it is possible to learn kind of “living history” from the people who live here, were born here, and who carry their history directly through the experiences of those who have died here.
"Hands Around the World" Ring
Click image for details
Rain Dancer Pendant
Click image for details

 

Learning the parts of history which were omitted from the history books is an eye-opener to say the least. As an activist, Maurus feels it is his responsibility to bring the history of the Southwest and the history of Acoma to our attention. Though the history of the conquistadors is often romanticized, it was in reality, far from that for the Native people living here at the time of their arrival. Rather it was a violent and bloody past, especially at Acoma. Bart’s escort has taken a tour of Acoma more than once and learned its history from the Native guides. It is a story that leaves visitors to Acoma with a powerful image of what it was like living and experiencing that violence of those who would insist on converting the Natives to a religion foreign to them under penalty of death or conversion. “I don’t give it the word ‘colonization’ or say that the conquistadors ‘brought civilization.’ We were already civilized. We were already here. The people were forced to believe in Catholicism. To not convert meant death.”

Maurus is passionate in his explanation of “conversion.” “Like many of my people, even my own relatives, we were forced to go to church. When you are a kid you do what their parents tell you to do. So I was forced into the Catholic religion. I went to mass, did the sacraments, confirmation, until I realized that we are tied into the people who oppressed us. That is when I began to question it. When I questioned it I realized the Catholic religion was a form of oppression, and the Church never apologized for what it has done.

Regarding the Catholic Feast Days celebrated at Acoma, for Maurus and so many Natives here, there is another calendar that follows their own traditions. He follows that one more closely and “believes in it with all his heart and soul” attending ceremonies whenever possible. But those ceremonies are closed off to the public. “It falls back on how people were treated. To practice it meant death but it went underground. But it is a testament to what the people believed in because they were going to believe in it no matter what.” Powerful and eye-opening words.
______________________________
At left: Water Spirit Woman Pendant
Click image for details

“For that reason, I don’t go to (Catholic) feasts. Acoma is my home. If people are coming who want to go to one of those feasts, I will take them there.If I have to go to church, I will. I don't see them as evil places. I never see a prayerful place as evil. If I’m in that church for a good reason then I am going to pray. I see churches as an institution that is part of the oppression, and that’s why I usually don’t go to (those) feasts. But if I have friends who want to be there I will go.”

It should be noted that the Catholic Church is, in fact, accepting responsibility for those days of which Maurus speaks. During his visit to Bolivia 2015 Pope Francis finally did offer an apology to the indigenous peoples for how they had been treated by the missionaries.  Bart and his escort also believe that it was an apology long overdue. (To read about that speech, please click here)

History often defines the person one becomes. As an artist, the spirituality that Maurus Chino has carried in his soul manifests itself in every aspect of his incredible work. The theme of his is jewelry is mostly the female spirits familiar in his culture. Corn Maidens, Deer Women, dance across his work, clad in silver and gold, their high quality gemstone attires bringing them to life with color and exquisite design. The subjects are magical, the craftsmanship superb. Each piece is a treasure. But before the jewelry, there was pottery and painting. And each medium which Maurus Chino has touched is executed with the same elegance.

Orvile Jack Turquoise Shield Ring
Click image for details
Intrigued by his stories of Acoma, Bart wanted to hear more about the art of Maurus Chino. It began with pottery. Maurus explained that he felt a little self-conscious of his choice of that particular medium at first since traditionally pottery was normally done by women. Because of this, he purposely began tweaking traditional designs so that his work was non-traditional, separating it from the designs associated with the women potters. “Now things are different,” he explained, “so it doesn’t matter if it’s made by a man or a woman. It is accepted as a pure art form.” Maurus explained that his pots were done in miniature and embedded with semi-precious stones. Each pot had to be examined closely to reveal the intricacy of his designs. “I was so involved that I dreamed of entering the pots. Each was its own little world.”

His next job was not quite so spiritual. Maurus worked in the mines, eventually deciding that they were not a place for anyone to be. He turned back to his original interest, which was art, and decided to emerge himself in it once again and study art full time.  In 1976 he began formal training at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. He studied drawing the human body and printmaking. Maurus considers his training in figure drawing to be invaluable even outside the scope of art. “I learned about light and shadows,” he reminisced, “But I also learned a lot about human nature by studying the human form within its environment.”

Maurus fondly recalled a dear teacher whose memory has stayed in his heart throughout his life who once said, “Chino, draw that elbow like it isn’t going to break. I knew what he meant but in my limited skills I didn’t know how to do it, how to make a hat look like it is on the head.” However, it is now obvious that Maurus learned his skills well. “I have applied that knowledge to other media that I use now, painting, jewelry and pottery.

“It’s funny now that I make my living as a painter and I still do some pottery every now and then and jewelry--- I didn’t study any of those 3 mediums in school. I believe if you know the basic principles, use the basics to construct, have the foundation of observation of forms as of nature in human or non, and you can observe those things as they relate to each other in our world, you can do anything. Studying the human form taught me about human nature and how we relate to our environment.” Truly a worthwhile lesson as it applies to art or life in general.

Silver and Chrysophrase ring
Click image for details
Jewelry is Maurus Chino’s latest endeavor. While in school he took prerequisites in painting and jewelry so that when he began jewelry-making professionally, he already had a knowledge of how to use a saw and and how to solder. “But that’s as far as my knowledge went.” Hard to believe when one gazes at one of his exquisite pendants or rings in the shapes of Corn Maidens and Deer Women, embellished with sensuous stones of rich colors that enhance each piece, that he wasn’t born a jeweler who has been making these pieces all his life! “When I was doing pottery I added semi-precious stones. I began to recognize stones--- the good ones--- and their color and value. Even though a stone may not be semi-precious or have any color at all, it may still be beautiful and a good stone. I could recognize high grade from low of turquoise and stones that were graded. I collected the stones.
I told myself that someday I will do jewelry. When I turned 60 I realized that someday should be soon. I decided to work in silver and to use the stones. If I had known what was necessary as far as knowledge and tools and technique, I wouldn’t have done it. There is a real commitment you have to give to something like jewelry. When I started I accepted what came along and I believe everything is connected, so working in this very tight form where you’re working with a piece of silver and a beautiful stone you have to shape it just right. You have to be careful how you treat the materials so you can’t be so loose. There’s a certain amount of discipline you need and I believe that has carried over to the paintings.”  

Maurus Chino continues to paint as he does his jewelry. In June of 2014, Maurus Chino and Gary Keene joined forces for a show at Acoma’s Haaku Museum called “Enter the Rain --- The Power of Art” which ran until August 2015. His paintings and museum quality jewelry were enhanced by his writing. The show was a remarkable collection of this man’s artistic talents as well as of his poetic use of the English language. Bart’s escort believes it is a show that should be repeated in Santa Fe, if for no other reason than giving Bart and visitors to Santa Fe an opportunity to know the scope of Maurus Chino's talents.
Oil Painting, "Acoma Summer Afternoon" Click image for details
Recently, Maurus has again picked up his paintbrush after a break in which he concentrated mainly on his jewelry. Bart’s escort had told Bart about the show at the Haaku Museum and how impressive it had been. Enough so that she took quite a few of her house guests to Acoma to see the show while it ran. She, for one, was happy to hear the news that Maurus is back in his studio and creating more paintings of the magical Acoma, the place he will always call home.

Of his return to painting, Maurus said, “I finished one that is completely different than what I did 5 years ago. I think the jewelry slowed me down. It made me paint with more caution. That may or not be a good thing but it became every obvious to me that those things were closely intertwined. When I started doing the jewelry I didn’t want to work so closely. But when I put those visors on to look at a piece of stone, I realized there is a whole other world in there that opened up. I realized this was like landscapes and I could see the whole vistas that surrounded me.

“My work in pottery was very detailed. I would work in miniature on pieces that would take days to complete. They were very detailed but you had to look very closely at them. My eyesight was still good. I was so much in the work it was another world to me. I would dream if being in that small space. They were all connected. The pottery, jewelry and painting. I didn’t betray myself if I realize they are all connected.” Perhaps this realization is why his work is so powerful. It is obvious that in everything he touches, Maurus Chino has made a commitment and established an intimate connection to his art. The poet that lives within him becomes evident as one views his work, be it painting or pottery or jewelry. Rare is the artist who can also express himself so eloquently with words as well as art.

“I’ve seen what I do as part of the world and not just a thing of beauty someone can wear or a decoration. It is part of our existence in the world. If you saw one of the pieces I did in the 60’s and 70’s, it was like a jewel. If you look (at them) the world opens inside the piece. It is something that appeared in dreams. When that happens I believe it opens a door. You become so intuitive that the world comes into your dreams. I stopped doing pottery when, because of age I couldn't focus up close as sharply as before." 

For artists, in fact for most human beings, the aging process is often a hard pill to swallow. However, Maurus accepts age for what it is, a condition, not a privilege, and goes with life's flow. “Your eyesight is very different from 20’s and 30’s so I have had to adjust accordingly. That may be a factor in how I will paint. Maybe it’ll be canvasses in just one color,” he laughs. “Who knows? Now as I accept the situation, I can still see well, thank God. It’s just not the same as it used to be. I have to change so I get to use what I have now. It’s different now. I can say I didn’t use all I did when I had it all.”

Man's Royston Turquoise Ring
Click image for details
It was a treat for Bart to listen to the conversation of two artists and to learn some of what an artist experiences throughout a life of art-making. Bart’s escort brought up the topic of creative blocks, and attempting to reinvent oneself when that happens in order to move on from a stagnant position. “Sometimes I think I remain stuck,” Maurus shared, “but if you say you are going to reinvent yourself you set things in motion that you may not be aware of and pretty soon you find yourself reinvented. Some people say ‘incidents happen that made me suddenly realize, and I changed my life’ but stuff like that never happened to me. I was always stubborn and never saw anything that approximated a burning bush that would change some people 180 degrees. For me change comes in degrees. If I have to compare myself now to what I was, even last year I have to say that the change is evolving even though I feel stuck. ‘You can’t reinvent yourself,’ some people say, but I think you can.

“A painting reinvented itself two or three days ago…it might be crap” he laughed heartily at his own comment, “but I didn’t paint like that 5 years ago. It was completely reinvented and it remains to be seen how I will think of it a week from now. Maybe it won’t be worth pursuing, but as long as I see it works, I am going to pursue it."

Maurus returned to the story of the teacher from college who gave him so much to carry throughout his life. “That man I talked to you about always called me Chino. When I graduated I was having trouble with a painting, and he said ‘Hey, Maurus, if you’re having trouble, just paint through it.’ His advice I took to heart. I took it to mean, if you are having trouble just keep putting one foot in front of another and work through it. The fact that he finally called me by my first name for the first time was very important because he made me his equal. I have always cherished that time.”

As for that painting which Maurus is currently working on, he spoke of it as if it were the feeling one gets from an introduction to a person that they might one day become a dear friend. “It might not mean as much as I think it is but it may be a turning point. Could be something, but I’ll see where it goes.”

“One paw in front of the other, and work through it,” Bart pondered. He is looking forward to seeing where things go from here for this fascinating artist named Maurus Chino from "The Rock" we call Acoma. And may all that is good accompany him on his journey.

Corn Maiden Ring from the private collection of Bart's escort

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Felipe Rivera/Occupational Therapist/Artist/Santero
Felipe Rivera Creations

Felipe Rivera's online store:
feliperiveracreations.bigcartel.com

Bart met Felipe Rivera for the first time at Spanish Market this year and decided he definitely needed to know more about this talented artist, so naturally an interview was in order. Bart’s escort met Felipe at Winter Market a few years back when she bought a gorgeous pendant from him. It’s one of Bart’s favorite pieces of jewelry which his escort wears frequently, always receiving many compliments when she does. The pendant is a two-sided retablo which is surrounded in silver filigree, the style Felipe uses to make his impressive jewelry.

Bart immediately wanted to know more about this intricate and delicate form of silverwork, which Felipe has been doing for about 7 years. Felipe explained that he originally  learned the technique from master jewelry, Ralph Sena, also a Spanish Market artist who sells his work around town at festivals and shows. Felipe Rivera and Ralph Sena's work can also be found at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art gift shop on Museum Hill in Santa Fe.

“Does making filigree require 20/20 vision?” Bart asked innocently as he gazed at the delicate, fine silver wire-wrapped jewelry. Papillons have incredibly sharp eyesight and hearing, so his escort wondered if she were about to have a budding filigree artist in the family. Felipe laughed at the question. “I did have 20/20 vision when I started, but now not so much!” He explained that in the beginning learning the process was very difficult, "but as you practice the technique eventually muscle memory comes into play, and you begin to work the silver more by touch than by sight." Fortunate, Bart thought, since it looked like the tedious though exquisite work would be very hard on the eyes after a while.

Bart’s escort had once told Bart about her limited exposure to jewelry-making and explained the difficulty she had with soldering. It requires a large amount of coordination and knowing when to pull the torch back from the work to keep it from melting. Bart asked him how many silver puddles Felipe had made in the beginning. Felipe appreciated Bart’s sense of humor and explained that he did, in fact, have difficulty with that when he began as one would expect, but that eventually, he learned just the right touch with the torch to join the metal without melting it. But such delicate work! It was hard to imagine ever getting it right!

Felipe explained that filigree was an ancient technique used by the Phoenicians, and that later the Spanish settlers brought the process to Mexico where it flourished and eventually moved up to New Mexico through the Spanish and Mexican artisans. Since the thin silver wires are so light, it is possible to make huge pieces for earrings which weigh practically nothing so are comfortable to wear. Bart’s escort loves that part of filigree and has several huge pairs of earrings in her personal collection which she loves to wear for that reason. At Market, Bart was impressed with the gorgeous filigree work that filled Felipe’s cases at the beginning of Market. The cases were almost bare by the end of it, so apparently Bart is one of many fans! His jewelry is available on either his website, feliperiveracreations.com or on his Online Shop at feliperiveracreations.bigcartel.com.

In order to participate in Spanish Market, artists have to jury into each category such as jewelry, tin work, straw art, pottery, weaving, retablos or bultos. Although Felipe told Bart that he had been painting much longer than jewelry making, he juried for jewelry first and later for retablos and bultos. Before going to his first Spanish Market, Bart didn’t know much about Spanish Colonial art, but the artists were very kind and patient and explained the various kinds of art to Bart. He found out that retablos are the flat paintings done on wood of devotional figures such as saints. Bultos were the three dimensional carvings of those figures. Bart was in awe that Felipe was so skilled at carving, painting and jewelry! His booth was alive with color and design which made Bart happy just to view it all.

Felipe also told Bart that each year he also enters the Spanish Market art competition for a Collaboration piece. Artists team up to create a unique design for this category. Felipe Rivera and Onofre E. Lucero have been teaming up for the past few years for the Collaboration Category. Bart asked about the process of creating for a collaboration piece. Felipe explained that every year he and Onofre take turns coming up with a theme and they feed each other’s creativity as they go, Onofre doing the painting and Felipe providing the silverwork adornment. This year their collaboration on the monstrance, a receptacle used by the Roman Catholic Church in which the consecrated Host is exposed for adoration, earned them the E. Boyd Memorial award. Quite an honor! Bart was thrilled to have been personally escorted to view the award-winning piece by Onofre Lucero himself during the Preview Party.

Bart asked Felipe a little more about his life when he wasn’t making jewelry or creating his incredible artwork. The answer shocked him. It’s hard to imagine that Felipe Rivera ever sleeps! In his "spare time," he raises barbed sheep. He told Bart about a 250 pound ram he has with rather large horns who isn’t exactly friendly. His favorite pastime is knocking over the smaller rams. Felipe says he’s “a really bad dad.” Bart made Felipe promise NOT to introduce him to the ram.

Felipe’s full time job is that of an occupational therapist in Las Lunas and Belen. He runs his own business and is now expanding by hiring some of his former students who apprenticed under him. Bart wasn’t really familiar with that line of work so Felipe further explained. With occupational therapy, Felipe works with people who have had injuries and designs programs to retrain their injured muscles with exercises to strengthen them by using skills of daily life. For example, if a person with an injured arm wants to play the guitar, Felipe will design a program to strengthen those necessary muscles and modify the guitar so that it can be played to help with this rehabilitation process.

Felipe also works with a school that contracts him to help children with Down Syndrome and autism. He works with people of all ages, from birth to aging in preschools, high schools and nursing homes. Sometimes children have been exposed to drugs before birth, or left in high chairs or car seats longer than they should be and have not been given enough time to crawl. Felipe explains that lack of crawling inhibits the development of hand-eye coordination. If this window of development is left unattended it can often result in problems for development as the child ages. Other times, children are born with issues that make them medically fragile. Felipe works with the parents to teach exercises to foster their development. Bart was incredibly impressed by Felipe’s tireless energy, extraordinary compassion, and eagerness to make the world a better place. Not only a talented artist, but a kind and gentle man.   

Award-winning collaboration of Felipe Rivera and Onofre E. Lucero

After obtaining his OT degree, Felipe’s friend, mark Garcia invited him to join a carving group. This was the beginning for Felipe. As if his artistic skills were not enough, Felipe also shared with Bart that he plays the guitar and the cello. Suddenly inspired, Bart began to think that maybe he should be doing more with his own life than just partying!

Bart asked Felipe more about his journey with his spiritual artwork. “My family always did art and spiritual art," Felipe explained. “Grandpa made furniture during the WPA era. Uncle Pat makes Northern New Mexico style carvings. One Grandma is a painter. My uncle also made retablos, so I guess I was always surrounded by art. I remember making praying hands for both my Grandmas when I was my son’s age. They would never stay still. They were always doing something!” Bart laughed as he now realized Felipe obtained his incredible energy honestly! Felipe makes it all sound so simple with his humble demeanor, but his art is far from simple. It is extraordinary! “I am so happy to meet so many people from all walks of life. The cool part of being an artist is having people coming back each year to collect my work. I love meeting new customers!” That too is obvious as anyone observes the ever-jovial Felipe at his booth during Market.

Felipe is also an incredible father, and does everything he can to nurture and encourage his own children. His son, Josh, is now entered in the children’s art section of Spanish Market. Not surprising considering his family's background, his carvings and paintings are incredible for such a young age. Bart now has the pleasure of enjoying one of Josh’s first bultos every day since it hangs by the stairs in Bart’s home. He can easily view it from his bed. Felipe's daughter, Danielle is contemplating following in her father’s footsteps as far as OT training. She too is an accomplished musician. Felipe smiled with pride as he told Bart about Dani’s skill at playing guitar, ukulele and piano. “She also sings and gets on her phone and adds harmony with guitar and voice and piano and makes her own band. And she is great with make-up too. She does gory make-up at Halloween,” he laughs. “I keep telling her she should intern with someone in the movies.”

"What’s on the back burner for Felipe now?" Bart asked. Turns out it isn’t quite a burner, but rather a charcoal-filled pit! Felipe is preparing for a traditional Matanza at his home. A Matanza is a family or community event where neighbors and friends gather to help roast a large pig, goat or sheep. Fabulous food aside, Felipe also invites artist friends to join in and bring along their work to sell. It will be quite an event! Bart has been invited and accepted without hesitation. What could be more fun than seeing his artist friends AND eating his favorite foods?

Artwork at the Matanza feast will include micaceous clay pottery which is used for cooking, identified by its lovely, rich, pearlescent sheen which is made by Felipe’s Mom. There will also be  artwork by Felipe’s son, Josh, jewelry by Felipe’s mentor, Ralph Sena as well as other artists selling bultos, retablos, tin work and tin luminarias.

The food, in case you are wondering, will require a traditional two-day roasting process in which the meat is wrapped in a gunny sack and foil and placed on a disk inside a pit of glowing hot embers. It steams overnight creating a heavenly aroma and meat that falls off the bone in juicy tenderness. There will also be chicharones and carnitas served. Needless to say, Bart’s mouth is watering already! This will be his first Matanza experience. And from the sounds of it, probably not the last!

The event will take place on October 22-23rd.  The Art Show and Matanza will be held at Felipe’s home at 13 Peralta Road in Peralta, NM, 87042 which is right near Albuquerque. The admission will be $5 per person or $8 for the family rate. Not to be missed

Bart can’t wait to see it all with his paws holding onto a nice piece of roasted meat as he strolls. What could be more perfect?



With that, the interview was sadly at end. But Bart now has something to look forward to in October! He can’t wait to be back in touch with his new friend, Felipe Rivera and to meet new artist friends at the Matanza and Art Show. He will, however, be looking over his little shoulder, keeping an eye out for that ram…

 

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BART'S FIRST SPANISH MARKET
July 29, 2016

 

 

Although this was the Traditional Spanish Market’s 65th year in Santa Fe, it was Bart’s first time attending. After all, last summer he was barely a twinkle in his mother’s eye! Bart was first introduced to Spanish Market through his very good buddy, Franque Zamora. Earlier this year he helped him to paint a mural at the Spanish Colonial Museum (Bart was in charge of keeping Franque’s brushes clean). The Spanish Colonial Arts Society sponsors this Spanish Market event in which about 250 Spanish Colonial Artists carry on the traditional spiritual art which began over 400 years ago. They are keeping alive the arts of woodcarving, bultos, tin work, colcha, hide paintings, retablos, straw applique, furniture, weaving, jewelry, pottery and ironwork done in a style which is unique to this part of the world. The Spanish Colonial "saint-makers," called santeros and santeras (religious artists) are from New Mexico and Southern Colorado, where Bart’s buddy, Franque resides.

Bart is reunited with his very first interviewee, Franque Zamora. Read Franque's story by clicking here.
One of Bart's favorite award winners by Carlos Santistevan

Before the weekend’s festivities officially began, Bart visited the jewelry studio of his visiting friend, Gail Harlow’s favorite artist, Gregory Segura. His is the first booth she heads to when Spanish Market opens Saturday morning. Bart had never seen a jewelry studio before and was fascinated by Gregory’s gorgeous work. Two of Bart’s favorite colors are red and cobalt blue, so the rosarito and lapis hearts which are used throughout Gregory’s work immediately caught his eye. But there were so many beautiful things in that studio it was hard to pick a favorite! Thanks to her dear friend, Gail, Bart’s escort went home with a pretty spectacular pair of silver thunderbird earrings that day! Gregory shared a new necklace with Bart’s group which would be entered into the show for judging Friday night. Bart smiled and wished him all the best because he thought the work was just spectacular enough to be one of the winners, and they later found that it was.

Spanish Market's celebration began with a Preview Party on Friday night at the Eldorado Hotel and Spa, where Bart had a chance to see the work the artists had entered into the competition for awards honoring the best of the best. He instantly fell in love with the art and the artists who were selling at this year’s Market. Onofre E. Lucero posed with Bart in front of his award-winning retablo. He also showed Bart his award winning, Spanish Colonial Art Museum purchased collaboration piece done with Felipe Rivera. Onofre painted while Felipe supplied the repousse and filagree silver work.

The artists were as enchanted with Bart’s exuberance as he was with their art. Many of them invited him to view their work up close, which was pretty exciting to Bart! They explained their traditional art and the process of creating it with him, which was of course thrilling. Bart always likes to learn new things, and the artists couldn’t have been kinder in sharing their knowledge and creative process with such an eager audience.

Award-winning collaboration of Felipe Rivera and Onofre E. Lucero
Onofre E. Lucero

The Preview Party was a dazzling display of so many kinds of work, the likes of which Bart had never seen. He was in awe of the straw applique, tiny pieces of straw which are cut and assembled into intricate designs and scenes mimicking the marquetry of inlaid wood he had seen before on antique furniture. He was also unfamiliar with colcha, which is the colorful embroidery work depicting birds and flowers and images such as Our Lady of Guadalupe. Then there were the weavings, which were equally exquisite! Bart carefully examined beautiful hand-carved furniture, the statues known as bultos and paintings of saints and angels and other figures of devotion called retablos. He fell in love with every one of them and longed for a winning lottery ticket to buy them all! And this was just the preview!

Bart spent many hours talking and posing with his new friends and congratulating them on their awards. Later, after a light dinner at the Agave Lounge where he met up with Franque for some cocktails and munchies, Bart headed home to rest up for the following day’s events. His head was spinning with the beauty he had experinced that evening. He could hardly wait until morning to attend the show itself, situated on The Plaza, the heart of Santa Fe, which he loves so much.

Bart with Carlos Santistevan and his cousin
Bart with Franque Zamora at Agave

 

The following day, Bart’s escort packed up his beautiful purple transport bag which he personally picked out at this year’s Folk Art Market. It reflects his unique sense of style as well as his need for comfort when he travels on his shopping expeditions in town. It was the perfect way to see the Market as the pavement was burning hot. As he was carried comfortably around The Plaza in his bag, Bart felt sorry for all the other dogs who were being led around without any thought given to their poor paws on that sizzling sidewalk!

Whenever he saw one of his new friends from the Preview Party, Bart would stick his head out of his bag and tug his escort’s sleeve to indicate that he wanted a better look at their work. The Market Artists were happy to see him again, and really took the time to show him around their booths which proudly displayed their incredible work.

Debra and Gregory Segura wave to Bart
Franque Zamora's booth alive with color

His first stop, of course, was meeting up with his buddy Franque Zamora at his booth to see the rest of his work. Bart was so impressed with the bright colors and the sense of happiness Franque’s work emanated. The colors filled Bart with joy as he listened intently to learn more about the angels and saints and symbolism in Franque’s retablos. Franque told him about the techniques of retablo-making, how the wood is coated with gesso and painted in natural pigments and finished with a varnish made from the pinon sap of the trees like those surrounding his own home in the mountains. The subject matter is devotional. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe were among Bart’s personal favorites.

Right next door to Franque he saw his new friend, Carlos Santisteven whom he had met the previous night. Carlos’ award-winning carousel of cats and dancing mice was one of Bart’s favorite pieces in the show since he lives with cats at home, and even the occasional visiting mousie. The work of Carlos Santistevan is incredibly moving. It is carved from wood and sometimes even buffalo bone. Both are left in their natural, unpainted state, allowing the viewer to concentrate on the form and grace of each carving without the distraction of color. Carlos loves making the toys which are animated with strings allowing for movement of the animals as the strings are tugged. The little waltzing animals inspired Bart to join in their joyous dance. One of Carlos' animated toys was purchased by the Museum of International Folk Art! Congratulations, Carlos!

Carlos Santistevan

Next Bart headed to the booth of Felipe Rivera, a longtime friend of his escort. Felipe’s incredible jewelry is made using the techniques of filigree and repousse. Felipe was happy to share information about these techniques with Bart. When he was finished explaining, Bart was bowled over by the painstaking amount of work in each piece of jewelry which Felipe creates. You can read more about filagree and repousse on Felipe’s website by clicking here. Multi-talented Felipe also had a collection of retablos and bultos (paintings on a wooden panel and carved statues) which he had made displayed along with his jewelry. Bart helped his escort pick out a ring for herself with the promise of a filigree butterfly for his collar. For Christmas, of course!

Next stop was to the children’s section of the Market. As you can imagine, such talented artists want to pass their talents onto their children who are an important part in keeping these traditions alive at this wonderful event on The Plaza. Since Felipe also makes retablos and bultos, he is passing this skill onto his young son, Joshua, an enthusiastic young artist. Bart and his escort instantly fell in love with Joshua’s Cristo and decided it needed a place of honor at home. Happily, Joshua carried it to the Spanish Market Mass said by Archbishop Wester on Sunday and had it specially blessed. More on that later. Bart thought that was really cool!

Felipe Rivera
Crucifix by Joshua Rivera

Throughout the day, Bart met the artists and talked about their art traditions. So much to learn! Bart met one of his own fans from Facebook, Jerry Montoya. Jerry had frequently "liked" photos of Bart that were posted, and he immediately recognized him from his photos. Naturally, Bart's little ego was stroked by the recognition, so he and Jerry became instant friends. Bart was most impressed by Jerry's various styles of art and by how much he has done in his artistic career. He hopes you'll read more about Jerry by clicking his link above, as well as the links to the other artists' websites who are mentioned here.

While strolling The Plaza, Bart also met Randy Trujillo, a very talented furniture maker, who showed him some beautifully executed carved pieces that he had made. Later, in reading Randy's website, Bart learned how much more this man has done. He hopes you'll check out his doors, gates, cabinets and much more on his website too!

Jerry Montoya
Randy Trujillo

One of Bart’s favorite personal friends from Santa Fe is a great lady named Yara Pitchford, who was away this year and couldn’t make the Market much to her dismay. Yara deserves mention because she is such a great supporter of the arts in Santa Fe and is really a part of Spanish and Indian Markets here. She asked Bart to say hi to one of her favorite artists, Lawrence Baca on her behalf. Bart, a dog of his word, headed over to meet him at his booth. He also met the beautiful Maria Baca, who was happy to pose with Lawrence and Bart for a photo which he later shared with Yara. As she had described it, Baca’s work was magnificent, combining both his Hispanic and Native American cultural influences. Bart was in awe at the silver and gold and the wide variety of stones and gems. What else could he do but add a few more items to his ever-growing Christmas list!

Bart spent the rest of the day shopping and eating his way around The Plaza. He returned home with a bag of goodies and can’t wait to display them all. Such an adventure! Spanish Market has instantly become one of Bart’s favorite yearly events. After a refreshing gelato break, Bart headed home to rest for Sunday’s events, which his escort promised would be memorable.

Indeed, they were! Sunday morning Bart headed to The Cathedral of St. Francis for the Spanish Market Mass at 8 AM. It was more than a bit challenging getting up at that hour after all the previous day’s events. As promised, it was spectacular! The Archbishop Wester said the Mass. Bart had never seen an Archbishop before, so the experience of seeing this man in his wonderful hat was quite impressive to such a wee dog! The music at Mass was uplifting and wonderful. And afterwards the whole town resonated in the melody of bells, more and louder than Bart had ever heard before as the artists carrying their artwork exited the church where their art had been blessed. This moving procession then headed to The Plaza where the Archbishop blessed their booths. Then the music and party began again on The Bandstand with traditional music and flamenco and songs which set Bart’s little paws to dancing. What an event!

Maria and Lawrence Baca

Throughout the day, Bart explored the Contemporary Hispanic Market which is set up along the side streets of The Plaza. So many innovative objects of art! Bart was on visual overload! A stop for espresso and a gelato refreshed him, and off he headed to spend a little more time with his good buddy, Franque Zamora at his booth. Bart was happy to see that Franque had next to nothing left in his booth after a day of sales. Apparently he has as many fans as Bart, which made him very happy. After a long chat and some biscochitos (New Mexico’s state cookie) (Yes, really!), the Market day was almost over. Bart gave his buddy a big hug and kiss and headed home for a nap before dinner. His escort promised him that there would be still more fun as they would later take him to La Taberna, one of Bart’s favorite restaurants in town, to hear his favorite chanteuse, Nacha Mendez sing and play her guitar. The perfect ending for a perfect weekend!

On the way home, Bart asked his escort where he could see more of Spanish Colonial Art now that the Market was sadly over. She told him about Móntez Gallery in Truchas, which represents many of the Market artists throughout the year. She explained that Rey Móntez, the owner who is also a second generation santero himself, has been devoted to Spanish Colonial Art for over 25 years. It was he who introduced Bart's escort to the art and artists which she can now share with her best buddy Bart. Visit Móntez Gallery online or in Truchas to learn more about the art and artists that keep the faith and the tradition alive in the Southwest. Bart's escort promised to take him there soon to see more of the work done by his new friends at Spanish Market.

The fun continues for this Dog About Town! And it hopefully never end!

Bart heads home as his first Spanish Market sadly comes to a close
Bart's party continued at La Taberna to hear Nacha Mendez. Pictured from left, Robert McMorrow, Robert Harlow, Gail Harlow and Bart with his escort

CONTACTS

Lawrence Baca, Jeweler: lawrencebaca.com

Onofre E. Lucero, Spanish Colonial Artist/Phone: 505 836-9651

Jerry Montoya, Spanish Colonial artist/Retablos/Tinwork: jerrymontoya.com/

Felipe Rivera, Spanish Colonial Artist/Jeweler/Retablos/Bultos: feliperiveracreations.com

Carlos Santostevan, Wood Carver: 720 480-7780

Gregory Segura, Jeweler: gregorysegura.com

Randy Trujillo, Furniture Maker: http://furniturebyrandytrujillo.com/

Franque Zamora, Spanish Colonial Artist/Retablos/Contemproary Art: 303 881-8629

Móntez Gallery, Spanish Colonial and Contemporary Art Gallery: montezsantafe.com

Later that night, Bart finally got his beauty sleep
 

July 22, 2016

ROY FLYNN
SANTA FE BOOTS AND BOOGIE
102 E. Water Street, Santa Fe, NM 87501
505 983-0777

“People come and go but dogs are forever.” That’s how Roy Flynn began his interview after meeting Bart for the first time and needless to say, he had his attention from the get-go. How could there possibly be anything but good things in the soul of a man who says that about dogs, Bart asked. Not only is he a dog-lover, but Roy is a man who has travelled a long way from childhood to present as owner/operator of Boots and Boogie, the most fabulous custom made boot store in town.


While he was chatting with Bart, Roy mentioned that no matter how benign anyone looks in Santa Fe, they all have a story to tell. Roy was no exception to that! He said he doesn’t usually share his “checkered past” with people, but “since he was sharing it with Bart he’d be happy to…” Roy’s story is not so checkered but certainly interesting! He began at the beginning… Roy had a fraternal twin brother from whom he was separated at birth. They were reunited briefly at the age of 13, and again at age 63 when they both moved to Las Cruces, NM, lived in the same apartment complex, golfed together and finally got to know one another for the first time in their lives. Family history aside, Roy Flynn’s job history is also fascinating. He attended a small private college in Tennessee and an ensuing fellowship to Tulane University resulted in pursuing a PHD in English and a job teaching English literature at a Sophie Newcomb College. That job didn’t quite suit Roy as a permanent career move. “After the third time of reading The Faerie Queene I decided I’d better get a real job.”

It’s hard to sum up one’s entire career in a few lines, but Roy’s journey led to marriage to the daughter of a high profile and accomplished insurance businessman and a move to Chicago where he pursued a career in insurance for a brief time.  When the relationship ended, he moved to Dallas, Texas where Roy spent 35 years in the brokerage business in stocks and bonds and became president of a couple of firms in Houston. “Basically I was known as a broker and an analyst but was best-known for designing offices, training salesmen and hiring people which I loved.” Roy also worked for several Wall Street firms including Paine Webber and Bear Stearns. He ran a successful hedge fund with a partner until 1987.


“What happened next?” Bart asked enthusiastically, wanting to know more about his arrival in Santa Fe 34 years ago and the part of his journey which connected Roy Flynn to the gorgeous boots surrounding him at the shop. As Bart suspected, “Cherchez la femme!” A lady Roy met in Santa Fe sold used boots, and eventually he became her partner adding new boots to the shop beginning his now 15-year career. “In a short time we were blessed with a lot of success. Thanks to her I was exposed to both designing and selling boots.” When that leg of the journey ended Roy was faced with needing a job of his own. In 2002, enter a customer who wanted to open a boot shop and who urged Roy to join him in another partnership involving boots. The shop was called Santa Fe Boot Company. But the story didn’t end there. The next stop was a business of his own.

Bart asked how Roy came about naming his shop. Roy said he had heard of a shop once in California which is now out of business called Boots and Boogie and loved the name. The song by Brooks and Dunn called “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” he explained, is a statement about life.  The best part of this tale, according to Bart, was that at the time Roy had a Malamute/wolf dog named Boogie. Much like Bart to his escort, Boogie was Roy’s muse and companion. So how could he resist naming his business after his best friend?  

Though his initial thought for a business was to sell other items besides boots, “anything with boogie and panache," Roy made the decision to concentrate on one item and do it right. And man, did he ever do it right! Additionally, Roy wanted a shop where he didn’t need employees and could manage it all himself. Boots and Boogie was born!

Bart loves the smell of leather, so merely entering the shop already had him high as a kite from the many scents associated with boot-making. Shortly after he calmed down and adjusted to the fabulous smells of the various kinds of leather which Roy uses to create his inventory, Bart became enraptured with the visual experience of so many glorious colors and designs all lined up neatly on the shelves high over his head (actually, nearly everything is high over his head). The rich, sensual colors (apparent even to the color blind) were enough to make Bart overwhelmed with excitement. He decided that he simply must have a pair of his own! As you know by now, Bart is quite a shopper. He was immediately attracted by a gorgeous pair of Our Lady of Guadalupe boots which he knew instinctively as dogs do, would also be his escort’s top pick.

One of Bart's personal favorites!
Boogie
The fact that Bart has very tiny feet was not an obstacle for Roy. He is an expert at getting just the right fit for his customers. The boots are fitted with actual sizes and with his hands. “Two places are important in obtaining a good fit, the instep and the arches. 9 times out of 10 if you get that right you will have a great-fitting boot.” Sounds good to Bart! (Note to Bart’s escort: Christmas list---add boots.)

Most of Roy’s boots are one-of-a-kind. He employees 4 boot makers in Texas and one in Mexico, and all his boots are hand-crafted, hand-tooled, and fabulous! Roy considers them to be wearable art, and Bart and his escort heartily agree. The shop itself could be a museum! The best part is that boots can be custom made and fitted perfectly for each individual, and can be made and usually delivered within 6 weeks of placing an order.

Since arriving in Santa Fe a few months ago in his early puppyhood, Bart has been intrigued by Santa Fe Style which he readily adopted as his own. Since both he and Roy are undoubtedly the epitome of Santa Fe style, they eagerly explored the topic of fashion. “Boots are a part of Americana and will never grow old,” Roy explained. “Most kids had a pair of cowboy boots growing up, usually red, and for some reason it makes an impression on them. Cowboy boots are always in style. For a man, there’s really nothing better than jeans, a white shirt and a pair of cowboy boots. And nothing is quite as lovely as an attractive woman in cowboy boots and jeans.”

One of the American designers Bart has always admired is Ralph Lauren. Coincidentally, Roy shared that admiration. Roy said that even in his Wall Street days, a Lauren Polo jacket, white shirt, jeans and cowboy boots made an elegant fashion statement which he loved even in the Big Apple. Bart agrees about that winning combo. In fact, he hardly made it back home before he was on the internet searching "Ralph Lauren for dogs!" As for those boots, he reminded his escort more than once to add them to his ever-growing Christmas list. By then he should be finished growing and ready for a custom pair of his own. Turquoise and black, perhaps? Or the Guadalupe ones? Perfectly paired with his silver and black Concha collar!

As for the business of Boots and Boogie itself, Roy considers himself blessed to be there. He said he’s “come a long way in his life from orphanage to Santa Fe, and considers working every day in his shop to be a privilege and an honor.” Roy looks forward to going to work each day and “meeting everyone from movie stars to billionaires to ordinary people on the street who are just plain cool. Characters come here to Santa Fe and no matter how benign they look, they all have a story.”

In the short time Bart sat in the shop, it became apparent that his customers find meeting Roy to be just as appealing. His warm smile, interest in his clientele and his knowledge of his incredible boots make merely entering Boots and Boogie a memorable Santa Fe experience.  Admittedly, the decision of which boots to choose will be a hard one as there are so many beautiful and unique styles and colors and skins displayed in the shop. But whatever decision is made, Roy Flynn’s customers will go home happy with a pair of boots they can cherish for decades to come. They are so well-made and timeless, that’s a given!

Bart considers it to be an honor and a privilege to spend some time getting to know the story behind this charming gentleman who is so much a part of Santa Fe and Western style. “It’s all about the journey,” Roy smiled at Bart. Bart wagged his fluffy tail in hearty agreement. “I have been so fortunate and have had so much fun, I have nothing to regret. Nothing.”
Bart dreaming of his Christmas list

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July 8, 2016

Cheryl Ingram
Owner of
Silver Sun
656 Canyon Road Santa Fe, NM
505 983-8743

 

Santa Fe’s Numero Uno shopping guide was leading his recent house guest down Canyon Road last week on a shopping tour. All one has to do is mention an item to Bart, and he’s off and running. With his keen sense of sight and scent, he instantly leads the pack to just the right location to find whatever their hearts desire. This house guest was in search of a liquid silver necklace, and Bart the Shopping King knew just the place as he had shopped there himself more than once. He happily pranced his way up Canyon Road on the scent of liquid silver. Along the trail they made frequent stops to explore the many art galleries and boutiques along the route. Almost at the top of the road, he turned right into one of his personal favorite shops called Silver Sun.

On this trip, he was greeted at the door with a smile by owner Cheryl Ingram who instantly became one of Bart’s newest fans. After all, she knew immediately that he was a Papillon (many visitors have mistakenly called him a Pomeranian or a Long-Haired Chihuahua) and a handsome one at that, and even made a point of getting him a little treat to tide him over until dinner. She knew instinctively that a shopping expedition of this scale could be exhausting for such a little guy. His house guest was in awe of the selection of gorgeous jewelry in Silver Sun, and immediately began exploring to find the perfect silver necklace. While she tried on a few items, Bart got to know Cheryl a little better.

So how did two “run-away teachers from Iowa and North Dakota” as Cheryl described herself and her partner, Deanna Olson who runs their second shop land in New Mexico, he wondered?  “This is our 36th year in this very store on Canyon Road and we’ve been in business for over 40 years so far,” Cheryl shared. “My business partner, Dianna has a Silver Sun in Old Town in Albuquerque and I sit on the nest here on Canyon Road in Santa Fe.”

But Cheryl is a long way from the farm in Iowa where she grew up, Bart pondered. How did it happen? In asking the question, Bart quickly found from Cheryl’s response that she has a wonderful sense of humor and a hearty laugh which he found to be infectious. Bart is a dog who likes to smile, after all. “Ignorance is helpful,” she laughed, causing Bart to laugh along instantly. “What does a teacher know about going into business 40 years ago? Nothing. All we knew was how to teach, but if you’re a good teacher you can probably sell. All the rest of it was from the ground up. We took all our teacher’s retirements which didn’t amount to much, but it was enough to buy some jewelry wholesale and we hit the road.  It’s was a long hard pull but I have to say that not a day went by that we didn't learn something…a LOT as a matter of fact! Sometimes it’s been really hard.” Cheryl explained that the 1980’s and 1990’s were a classical age of being in business as it turns out in terms of Indian jewelry with very good turquoise. This has, in fact, become their Hallmark---high grade natural turquoise for which they can supply authenticity certificates. Most of jewelry in the shop is hand made by Navajo artists, as many as 44 or 45 artists. When asked about the collection, Cheryl told Bart there were a few older pieces of jewelry but the vast majority of the natural turquoise has been collected over 40 years in business, mainly from private collections, estates, and stashes.  Most of the jewelry is recently made. The trend in style is moving towards contemporary design which is what the customers seem to want these days.

What kind of changes has she seen on Canyon Road over the course of 36 years? “Most of us are gone,” she reminisces. “I am now the grand matriarch since lady across the street passed away in her 70’s so now I’m queen of the hill as far as still being here.” There have been many changes in her clientele as well since many of original collectors who shopped there have also died. Cheryl said that they started out with clients in their 40’s 50’s and 60’s who had actually studied South Western history and were aware of the Indian Arts industry and the culture in Santa Fe and were collectors of Native jewelry and art because of their knowledge and appreciation of it. They have since passed away and the younger clientele, Cheryl explained, are quite different as they seem to be searching for more “big box store” kind of designs. “It’s a good thing we were teachers because I teach every day about culture and artists and turquoise.  It’s all about learning. The more you learn, the better your weapons when you shop for jewelry. It’s all about learning when there is so much misrepresentation in turquoise. So I educate, educate, educate.”

“Do you get out on the town?” Bart asked innocently, as this party animal had never recalled bumping into her at the many events he attends in The City Different. “I pretty much live here, which is unfortunate because I would love to learn more about culture and events and music and opera.” He persisted, “If you do get out of the shop, where do you go?” Cheryl laughed, “If I do get out I go home and rest.” Is there really any rest for the weary, he wondered?  In her very limited spare time, Cheryl does make some of her own art. “I have enough jewelry training to do customer service which has been very helpful. I can reset stones and resize rings, restring things for people. That’s been very helpful. Since we guarantee all our jewelry so if something comes loose it’s our problem.  I do any repairs necessary after the purchase.” Bart was pretty impressed by that, as he knows how complicated and difficult jewelry-making can be. “I was fine arts major when I was in college but it was basically sculpture. But jewelry and sculpture are a lot alike. Jewelry design and sculpture aren’t that far apart. I see jewelry as wearable sculpture. Sometime in the late 1970’s I took some courses in silver.  I figured out the rest the hard way.”
Cheryl lifts Bart up to have a better look at the merchandise

Bart wanted to learn more about the collection, so Cheryl kindly lifted him onto one of the cases so he could have a better look at the work inside. As he surveyed the magnificent collection of jewelry beneath him, he was in awe at its beauty. Each case was so different! He asked about the different colors in the turquoise from case to case. There were so many rich shades of blues and blue greens with veins of black and brown, and some a solid Santa Fe sky color. It was apparent even to the color blind!

Cheryl was happy to point out the differences in the turquoise from each mine. Bart was very pleased to learn that Cheryl gives seminars too--- 20-30 minute talks, where she answers questions to groups about jewelry and turquoise. She is happy to share her extensive knowledge with people because she thinks in the long run it honors Native American culture as well as informing a buying public of what they should be looking for when they shop. “I usually teach the seminars around the time of Indian Market when we have that clientele in town.”  Travel groups and guides often call to arrange a personal seminar for their clients, so be aware that you too can ask Cheryl to arrange a seminar of your own. “Sometimes, for example, guides will have a group in town in the oil business and ask if they can arrange a seminar for the wives while the husbands are at meetings,” Cheryl shared. “Mostly ladies but occasionally I have an embarrassed man whose wife is in the oil business not him, and he  will come along and sit in and I teach him too!” Bart laughed at the thought. “I enjoy talking with them. It’s been a lot of fun. We show here by mine rather than all rings, all bracelets, etc. and as far as I know we are the only company around that does that. When you show by mine you can see color changes from each mine and when you see that--- then you train your eye to know what mine each color comes from and can ask questions about which turquoise belongs to which mine which is very helpful. I also have cards in each case to explain about that mine.

Cards in cases describe the mines and the turquoise
“There’s a lot of jewelry around that isn’t authentic. It’s a scourge.” Bart was unaware of that fact himself. “There was a little town in the Philippines who renamed their town Zuni so they could say it truly was made in Zuni as in the pueblo. But to the unsuspecting customer, it is such a narrow niche market kind of jewelry. The customers trust the people behind the counters and that’s where they get into trouble. So I teach!” She shares her knowledge generously and isn’t even concerned with whether or not they buy from her shop. Cheryl truly wants to give information to the public that benefits the Native American artists and the culture. She makes her intentions quite clear as to why she is doing it. “If they take the info I give them there is a better chance that a Native American smith will get the money and not someone overseas. I wouldn’t be here were it not for the cross cultural tapestries of the Native American people and the others. I wouldn’t be in business without the Native Arts Industry and I want to show respect for them. You’ve got to have some respect for the people to thank them! And that’s one of the reasons why we went this route.”

Bart was curious about Cheryl’s past, as everyone in The City Different has an interesting story to tell. He found that she was a 6th grade teacher in Sioux City, Iowa at one point in her career. “I taught everything, I could outrun them in my early 20’s,” she laughed. “I was taller and my legs were longer and I had a track background they couldn’t get me!” Her business partner, Deanna Olson who runs the Silver Sun in Old Town taught in Germany, in college, high school and elementary school for quite a long time before she took her savings and joined Cheryl the business. Dianna and Cheryl connected through Cheryl’s twin sister who is living in Albuquerque.
One of the contemporary pieces in Silver Sun's collection
When asked about life as a child growing up in Iowa, Cheryl laughs, “I still honk through my nose like the other Midwestern people did.” She then mimicked her own Iowa accent in her childhood dialect for Bart to hear, “Jawohl! Ja, you betcha!” which caused him to roar with laughter. He had never met anyone from the Midwest in his short 11 months of life, so it was fascinating to learn about other parts of the country which he has yet to visit. He told her that he imagined that the kids she taught must have really appreciated her sense of humor as much as he does. “So many children when they came to school in the early 1970’s were coming out of divorced families and they were latch key kids whose parents worked, and as a result didn’t get as much attention as they needed because mom or dad would come home and were too tired. A lot of kids would come to school emotionally hungry. If I could entertain them a little here and there it helped. They’d want to crawl into your lap and you would just hug them. In these days you can’t do that but in those days you surely could.” Since Bart is the kind of dog that loves a good hug, it made him a little sad to think of how times have changed for humans.

Cheryl spends so much time selling other artists’ work and is so knowledgable on the topic that he asked her more about her personal art background. “I was trained to do bronze and lost wax casting but have also taken a couple of courses in community college in other materials such as wood and did steel welding which I had never done before. It’s hard to work it into a work schedule but I got a lot out of it to say the least. You tell yourself when I retire, lalala… but listen it looks like I am probably going to be here the rest of my natural life and you will come in one day to see me and you will find me slumped over the desk with my glasses on the floor off and say, ‘Oooohhhhh…poor Cheryl didn’t make it!’ ” She laughed again. “But this I what you do when you were raised on a family farm. You work hard. I am used to working. This is what you do, you work a lot. There are few family farms left there now…..all big corporate stuff.”
Bart left nose prints on the cases as he examined every gorgeous piece!

Bart left the interview with his new friend wagging his tail in joy. It is always such a wonderful feeling when you meet a new friend who is so warm and personable. He hopes that you’ll take advantage of a retired school teacher who still wants to share knowledge with anyone who enters her gorgeous store on Canyon Road. He also hopes you’ll come out of Silver Sun with some turquoise from your favorite mine. At the moment, Bart’s favorite is still Sleeping Beauty. And at that, he heads off for his afternoon nap.

 

Cheryl Ingram will offer a seminar for your group of 10-12 people for about 30 minutes on Native American turquoise and jewelry. Call for details.

Also visit Silver Sun in Albuquerque
116 San Felipe NW (Old Town)
Albuquerque 87104
505 246-9692


Bart and his new friend say their good-byes as he thinks about about the turquoise of his dreams

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June 23, 2016
Megan Cathleen
PediGoddess of The Plaza

Santa Fe Pedicabs
505 577-5056

When Megan Cathleen "The PediGoddess of The Plaza" met Bart, it was love at first sight. Megan works for Santa Fe Pedicabs a unique and fun way to see Santa Fe and learn more about our town from energetic, bright and interesting people like Megan. Santa Fe Pedicabs can take you to almost anywhere your heart desires in Downtown Santa Fe, the Railyard and Canyon Road. If you’ve worn yourself out from walking or partying or simply because the elevation is tiring you out, give them a call or flag one down on The Plaza and take an enjoyable ride to your favorite restaurant, museum or shopping spot. Tours are a mere dollar a minute, Rides are the same at about $3-15 downtown. What a great way to see the town! Their knowledgeable drivers will be happy to take you on a tour of the city, custom-built to your tastes.

Bart found the whole concept of Pedicabs to be fascinating. Often he shops his little feet off, and on some days it’s just too darned hot to put his dainty little tootsies on the sizzling pavements, so this is a perfect way to get him to one of his favorite shops or dining spots when he’s just too tuckered out to walk. When Megan saw Bart walking by her cab one sunny Santa Fe afternoon, she instantly found his animal magnetism irresistible and invited him on board to try out the seat in her cab. A perfect fit!  Megan catered to his tiny little ego from the get-go. “You are gifted! You are part of psychic Santa Fe. The incarnation of love in The City Different,” Megan smiled. She said that despite his size, Bart was “Mr. American or Mr. Universe--- in a dog.” Ego stroked along with his furry head, he immediately wanted to know more about Megan too.

“Santa Fe is an amazing place to work and an amazing place to be,” Megan explained about how she came to be a pedicab driver in The City Different. Everyone here has a story, after all, and Bart wants to hear it! “Truly ‘local’ families have been here 400 to a thousand or more years; they are part of the blood and history of New Mexico. Some of us ‘newcomers’ have wandered or stumbled into this place, or have been called by something greater than ourselves. Something which has pulled us to this magical place and we can’t seem to find enough reason to leave. Even though finding a way to make rent can be its own magical mystery.’ she laughs. “But for everyone, Santa Fe has captured their hearts and their minds and their spirt and they simply took the leap.”

Megan feels at home in both creative Santa Fe and corporate New York City from where she arrived in 2002.  But Santa Fe has opened a whole new way of seeing her world. “Possibility is possible in Santa Fe.” She laughed as she added, “It’s a place where the glass gets a little half-fuller.” Megan spent many years consulting for several companies with ties to Santa Fe and NYC. She then worked for the Santa Fe Climbing Center's summer camps & mentoring program, got a Masters degree at University of New Mexico and was a familiar face at The Santa Fe Playhouse for many years. As the economy waned, she returned to corporate work. She found corporate America had changed radically since the economic glory days in the 90’s and early ‘00s. “I was given a mandate for 70 minimum billable hours per week. I recall being required to spend my ‘extra’ time at work sitting in seminars about achieving work/life balance. It was like having an AA meeting in a bar at happy hour. Total nonsense.”

As for the road to Pedicab Goddess, Megan explained that a freelancer she knew did Pedicab tours and she kept threatening to come work with him because it looked like fun. "One day he called my bluff and introduced me to the infamous and gregarious Robert Chavez, owner of Santa Fe Pedicabs." She has never looked back. Megan is now one of the most photographed characters on the Plaza (along with Bart). You will see her in her signature cowboy hat several days a week.  “I love this work. I get to fall in love with my city again everyday. I love its history, the sights, the sounds, and the smell of Roque’s carnitas. And there are 4 ice cream shops nearby. How awesome is that!”

This isn’t her first time in hospitality and tourism, however, as she has explored and guided tours in the Rockies and the Andes, worked in top hostels and in 4-star hotels both here and abroad including La Fonda Hotel. She is also working on an flashpacker-oriented tourism project for New Mexico. “When I dropped out of corporate America I set down the Smartphone, grabbed my passport and left. I needed to explore the life options that were not in that corporate seminar.” she explained. “I needed a different perspective, and eventually ended up back in The City Different, my favorite destination.”

Megan peddles her customers to a restaurant

Obviously possessing a passion to learn, Megan shared with Bart that on slow days she pops into the Public Library and reads all she can about Santa Fe so she can “brag about her city” to visitors. Her favorite part of working as a guide is that she loves meeting new people and “giving children whirly rides in a safe area to show them The Plaza is a neat and safe place to be. I also get to stalk all the beautiful, well-mannered dogs that pass by my cab!” Bart laughed at the thought of it. She loves the people on the Plaza too. “All roads end here. After 400 years, the Plaza is still the center of this community. Santa Fe is a place filled with people who are sharing and exploring their own human culture. The diversity here is more internal: we have the most diverse cultures, minds, hearts, and spirits of any place in the world. There is no better place than Santa Fe to be your own archeologist of modern life.”

While Bart and Megan chatted, another fellow Pedicab driver passed by. Megan offered him a warm smile and a wave and introduced him to Bart. She told Bart that this gentleman had quite a history before moving to Santa Fe and peddling around town. He was a former artist and art director in New York, who also worked at NBC designing sets for their shows. “He’s an interesting character of interesting repute and a never-ending source of facts,” she smiled. Seems you just never know who your driver will be and what he or she might share with you en route to your destiny in this town.

Bart was curious to know more about Megan’s favorite spots in Santa Fe. Megan is quite an outdoor enthusiast who enjoys rock climbing and hiking and taking part in all nature has to offer in New Mexico with passion. “The Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Translation: “Blood of Christ.” These mountains were named by the Spanish due to their incredible colors at sunset) are one of my favorite places and our most 'historic' site at 27 million years old. They are one of the longest mountain chains on Earth. We have internationally ranked mountain biking, rafting snow sports, and rock climbing in one of the most geologically diverse areas of the world.I love to share ‘The Secrets of the Sangres’ with locals and tourists alike.”
Sangre de Cristo Mountains behind Cathedral of St. Francis
Megan suggests that visitors head up to La Fonda's Bell Tower Bar to enjoy the view of Santa Fe’s most ancient attraction. Bart heartily agrees with that choice as he and his escort have enjoyed many evenings of Margaritas and munchies with sunset views from The Bell Tower Bar. On a summer evening it really is a “must stop” spot for Santa Fe at its best to relax, meet new people and enjoy the spectacular sunsets.

The second place Megan mentioned was the Palace of the Governors. “There are just too many reasons to love this place where people have lived and died and come together for over 400 years.” The New Mexico History Museum, located behind the Palace of the Governors, is also a museum not to miss to learn about our history in New Mexico. It is especially fascinating to folks from the East Coast such as Bart’s escort, who never really learned about the history of the West when they were growing up. This area is rich in culture and tradition, and visitors will be amazed at how little they know and how much there is to learn about this part of the United States.
The Palace of the Governors on The Plaza
San Miguel Mission Church on Old Santa Fe Trail

Megan also loves the Barrio De Analco Historic District and the San Miguel Mission, located a few blocks from The Plaza surrounding Old Santa Fe Trail. It includes one of the oldest houses in the continental United States located beside the gorgeous mission church of San Miguel, the oldest church in the continental United States. “It also has seven historic structures including the oldest theater west of the Mississippi, our very own Santa Fe Playhouse. And the Inn of Five Graces is gorgeous! Finally she said not to miss the well-curated New Mexico Capitol Art Collection at the Roundhouse. It is ‘New Mexico True,’ " Megan added with excitement. It’s obvious that she knows and loves her town!

The Oldest House in the US
The Oldest House in the US interior

Is there leisure time for this woman, Bart wondered? Not one to sit at home with the TV, Megan began listing her many outdoor activities. Bart was exhausted just hearing about them! Backpacking and climbing are two of her favorites. “I don’t need TV. Yesterday I went climbing with a bunch of scientists and engineers with the Los Alamos Mountaineers, one of the oldest mountaineering clubs in the southwest. Nobody talked about elections or the news, we simply had a good time and at the end of the day we enjoyed a beautiful view.

Bart’s logical next question was about the fear factor of hiking, biking and climbing in New Mexico. He is a very tiny dog, after all, and wondered if he could handle the activity. “You are right Bart, one must have fitness, knowledge and experience to enjoy the wild safely and we all must use extreme care to protect our wilderness areas. However, the vistas in New Mexico are some of the best in the world…or so the tourists tell me. There are so many different kinds of rock formations, plants and flowers to view at as well.” That sounded cool enough. But still, that’s a lot of distance for such tiny legs.

Since Bart likes to keep his fans well-informed, he asked how those wishing to follow in Megan’s footsteps could become better acquainted with what New Mexico has to offer for the outdoor lovers who visit. Megan said most avid outdoors people know which websites have primary information for summer outdoor sports. Or simply head to Taos or Ski Santa Fe in the winter. Those needing to rent equipment or find guides can find a reputable local business by asking around. For rafting, Megan says Los Rios River Runners in Taos are the oldest and most respected. For biking, contact the crew at Mellow Velo (505) 995-8356 or the Santa Fe Fat Tire Society. For climbing rentals and information the Santa Fe Climbing Center, (505) 986-8944 or Climbing Adventure Guides in Taos at (575) 776-2222. If you don’t want the dirt between your toes 4x4xFun Tours meets at the La Fonda and 4-wheels up one of Megan’s favorite canyons to a beautiful viewpoint. “Or come find me, I am always happy to brag about the awesome people working in this community.” 

What’s coming up for Megan’s mountain adventures? With great excitement, Megan told Bart about an up-coming, 4 day trip she has planned for this summer. They will begin at Santa Barbara Campground near Taos and end at the Shell Gas station in Pecos for “the best burritos in the world!” Oddly, this isn’t the first time Bart has heard about those burritos. He’s thinking it’s time for a trip to the Pecos to taste for himself as soon as possible! After the drooling stopped, Megan continued to describe the trip. “At Pecos we will be doing several of our highest peaks.  We take a practice trip up NM’s #1 peak, Wheeler, a few weeks before. On the trip we do several more including Truchas Peaks, which are the most beautiful in New Mexico. We will camp up several days at lakes and also hike across the Famous Trail Riders Wall, only accessible by backpackers and horses. Then we will head to Pecos…and eat burritos!” She warned that everyone on these trips has to be in condition and experienced.



Bart couldn’t help but ask his fascinating new friend about her dreams for the future. Megan smiled and answered immediately. “I am already working on a flashpacker hostel nonprofit project; the proceeds go to training for local guides and educating people on hostel culture and sustainable tourism; this includes caring for New Mexico’s natural treasures. Again, she is no stranger to the concept.  Megan helped to manage the top hostel project in Bolivia and worked through South America as a guide and hostel volunteer. “As outdoor tourism increases (it already is), we need trained responsible people and sustainable practices in place, as well as the established tourism models for outdoors and backpacking established around the globe. I love local hostels because tourist have more money in there pocket to spend on things like local Pedicab Tours. They work directly with local tour operators, plan outings and events with local guides, and are fun, safe places to meet hiking partners and swap stories from the road. Many offer or required volunteer activities as well. I want to host diverse people from all over the world, all while cultivating a local industry which both educates and protects New Mexico’s wild places. It’s a super win-win.”

As their conversation neared an end, Bart asked for a suggestion for a short and sweet hike for a summer day that he could take with his escort. Megan recommended one that caused his big brown eyes to get even bigger with anticipation. But he decided not to share her secret spot. Mystery, Bart thinks, is one of the things that keeps life interesting. Instead he wants Santa Fe visitors to look for his new best friend, Megan as she peddles around town and ask her to share more secrets of Santa Fe with them in person. So start looking. And if there’s a tiny dog in the back seat of a Pedicab with Megan in the driver’s seat smiling like the happiest dog in the world, say hi to Bart too!

#santafepedicabs #quevivanewmexico #newmexicotrue #cityofsantafe #santafeplaza

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May 31, 2016
PETER & STACY MITCHELL
Visitors to Santa Fe

Army Captain in Air Defense Artillary
&
Substitute Teacher/Sunday School Co-ordinator

Bart just loves meeting new people, which is quite obvious. It was no surprise that when he met up with Peter and Stacy Mitchell while hiking he immediately struck up conversation. Peter and Stacy are pretty much newlyweds, so Bart likes to think that Santa Fe was almost a second honeymoon for the two. Bart is a romantic kind of dog, after all. Since their marriage two years ago, Peter has been deployed twice, to Guam and Qatar. Since he didn't know much about either place, Peter told him all about them. "HOT" was his main description for Qatar, it seems. Much hotter than it ever gets in Santa Fe, or even in Arizona. Just hearing about temperatures in the 130 range with 100% humidity made Bart realize how lucky he is to be living in the mountains of Santa Fe, enjoying his idea of perfect climate.

Since they are both nature lovers, Bart suggested, as he always does, that they visit Kasha-Katuwe- Tent Rocks National Monument, one of his favorite places to hear about. He has only seen Tent Rocks in photos that are shared with him from guests since dogs aren't permitted to hike there, but he loves the photos he's seen. Trusting his suggestion, they headed right to Tent Rocks after a delightful breakfast of an El Dorado Omelet and Cloud Cakes (they soon found out why they are called that!) at Cafe Fina, another dining spot recommended by Bart to his new friends.

They met up with Bart later in the day on the rooftop of La Fonda Hotel at the Bell Tower Bar for Margaritas and munchies to talk about the experience. Needless to say, they loved it! Being in top shape, they easily made it to the top, and couldn't stop talking about the "view to forever."

Both Stacy and Peter are originally from the East Coast, and are now living in Texas. They talked about growing up where one never really sees the sky and moving to a part of the country where the sky is endless. They love the Southwest and life in clean air with mountains and little to no traffic like they had back East.

Bart's new friends also talked about Santa Fe and how they loved the unimposing architecture that is so much a part of earth. "There are no eyesores here!" Peter remarked. They also loved the fact that the town is so "walkable." And they sure did a lot of that! Since Bart is so much in the know, they asked for a suggestion for their Saturday night date. Bart sent them immediately to hear one of his best friends, Ronald Roybal at Hotel Santa Fe. He told them they would be in for a treat hearing both Spanish guitar and Native American Flute from this talented musician. Very romantic!

Ronald aside, Bart loves the green chili bison cheeseburgers at Amaya Restaurant, so how could they go wrong? And since Bart has such irresistible charm, Peter and Stacy asked him if he would like to join them for the food and entertainment. Bart never refuses an invitation so on they went! And how could an evening be more romantic than one with Bart along to enjoy it?

Peter & Stacy at Tent Rocks
Posing for a selfie at the top!

The evening was delightful. Ronald Roybal came over to greet Bart at the end of his set, and he introduced him to Peter and Stacy who were most impressed by his music. So much so that Peter, a talented musician as well, wanted to know more about the Native flute. Peter and his 6 brothers all play instruments and when they get together the house rocks with music, he told Bart. Wanting him to have the "full Santa Fe experience," Bart offered to escort Peter and Stacy to the music store of his good friend, Sky Redhawk the next day so he could learn more about the flute and try some out for himself.

After the Spanish mass at The Cathedral of St. Francis where the couple immensely enjoyed the choir and still more fabulous music, everyone headed to The Plaza Cafe for another delightful and delicious New Mexican meal. Seems they just couldn't get enough of it! Bart ordered his favorite Huevos Divorciados while the couple tried out the Huevos Rancheros and Breakfast Tacos. Everyone was more than pleased with the meal.

Peter is a history buff, the likes of which Bart had never seen. He could talk about anything and everything historic, and actually remember all the people and dates involved. To a puppy, that is pretty impressive! However, Peter didn't know much about the history of New Mexico, so Bart suggested that they go to the New Mexico History Museum on The Plaza so that he could learn more about it. A show had just opened called Fractured Faiths: Spanish Judaism, The Inquisition, and New World Identities which Bart thought would be interesting for both of them.

Dining at Cafe Fina
Breakfast at The Plaza Diner. Another Santa Fe YUM experience
Bart's escort's husband, Bob, also decided to join the group for the exhibit. While the boys explored history, Bart's escort decided to take Stacy to the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival which was being held at the Convention Center Memorial Day weekend so that she could learn more about Native American arts and crafts. Something for everyone in Santa Fe! Besides, Stacy was on the hunt for a silver and turquoise bracelet, and Bart trusted that his escort would connect her with just the right one! Off they all went.

Stacy was thrilled in seeing the gorgeous jewelry and pottery and weaving and paintings and art work of the Native Americans. She really didn't know much about their art, but Native Treasures is a great place to learn, as all of the artists are friendly and warm, and eager to share their work. After the show, Bart's escort led her to the portal of The Palace of the Governors where she did, in fact, connect with just the right bracelet, as Native American artists gather under the portal daily to sell their work. When they reconnected with Bart and Peter and Bob, Peter was quite happy with Stacy's choice for her new bracelet. Now it was his turn to shop!

Bart happily pranced around the town with his new friends, pointing out all of his favorite places as they went and explaining more of the history of Santa Fe. As is the case nearly all of the time, the weather was perfect, which was a delight for his guests. Those beautiful turquoise skies for which Santa Fe is famous surrounded them as they walked. It was apparent in the smiles that everyone was enjoying the day. Bart led them to
Native Sounds Musical Instrument Store
on Alemeda Street to meet his friend Sky Redhawk.

Peter and Stacy were immediately charmed by Sky's warmth. Bart asked Sky to tell Peter about the flute, which he did with his usual laid back manner and knowledge of the instruments which he loves so much. Sky gave Peter some basic technique lessons, and then it was Peter's turn to find a flute in the key that touched his soul. He tried out a few flutes and narrowed it down to the key of A or G. Happily, he settled on the G, which is Bart's favorite pitch. That sound warms his little soul too! Peter was remarkable in playing the instrument for the first time. No squeaks or shrill sounds even from the first note! Stacy was very happy that Peter decided on this beautiful instrument since she also loves the soothing sounds. As an extra special treat, Sky played some songs for them. The day couldn't have been more perfect! Peter left with an instrument which Bart is sure will bring him much happiness and peace as he comes to know it.

At the end of the day, Peter and Stacy were sadly heading back to Texas, but Bart is sure they will return. He chatted with them about their favorite parts of the trip. Both of them had trouble picking a favorite, as they seemed to have enjoyed everything they did. Most memorable, they said, were the architecture and the Native American culture here. They had never really been exposed to Native culture before this trip, and learning a bit about it first-hand from Sky through the flute was a treat for them. They realize now how rich the history and the culture is in this region, and are looking forward to learning more about them in the future. Santa Fe has a magical way of opening one's eyes to new experiences.

Deciding on a Native flute with Sky Redhawk

So what did they like best about their first trip to Santa Fe, Bart asked. On the subject of food, Peter and Stacy were in agreement that it's probably impossible to have a bad meal in Santa Fe. They loved the chili here, red, green AND "Christmas" when they got to try both at the same time. Among their favorite dining spots was Casa Chimayó, a great place for real new Mexican cuisine, wonderful service, and just a fun dining experience. The courtyard made them feel like they were in another country at another point in time.

Nature couldn't have been more impressive for them. Not only was Tent Rocks fabulous, but they also got to hike a bit with Bart himself through the mountains where he lives. What could be better than nature and Bart?

Since he's a musician, Peter was equally impressed by the music scene here, not just the flute playing of Ronald Roybal and Sky Redhawk but also the experience of hearing the street musicians around town. "They were amazing!" Peter thought. "And the variety of music was just incredible!"

Bart told the couple about the many festivals and art shows that go on in Santa Fe throughout the year. He also told them about Spanish Market in July and Indian Market in August, which held their attention as he described them both. Stacy and Peter are already talking about a return to Santa Fe, so it seems they may be hooked by its charm. Or maybe just Bart's charm... Regardless, Bart looks forward to their return!

Great food at Casa Chimayó!
Toasting their trip with Bob

 

May 20
La Fonda Hotel on The Plaza
100 E. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM 87501
Toll Free 800-523-5002 • Phone 505-982-5511
Fax: 505-988-2952

As was mentioned earlier, La Fonda Hotel is one of Bart’s all-time favorite locations for shopping, dining and entertainment all at the same time. The history of the hotel has always been fascinating to him. La Fonda is located on the site of America’s oldest inn which was established in 1607 when the Spanish arrived and founded Santa Fe. Though the hotel had many owners over the course of time, this building which Bart enjoys so much today was built in the spot where the original inn stood. With the help of architects Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter and John Gaw Meem it metamorphosed into the magnificent hotel that it is today, rich in history, hospitality and charm. And who can top the location! La Fonda is right on the edge of The Plaza, the very heart of Santa Fe. Guests can enjoy the many local festivals such as Spanish and Indian Markets by merely walking out the door, while shops and restaurants of all kinds are only a few steps away from their rooms.

When the building was three years old it was sold to the Topeka & Santa Fe Railway who eventually leased it to Fred Harvey who kept it until 1968. Throughout his stewardship, it remained a “Harvey House,” a hotel chain known for its fine dining and its well-trained waitresses who were known as the “Harvey Girls.”  Currently, there is an exhibit going on at Santa Fe’s New Mexico History Museum called "Setting the Standard: The Fred Harvey Company and Its Legacy" which is well worth the trip to find out more about these incredible, independent women and the man who helped them achieve that status far ahead of their time. Eventually it was acquired by the Ballen Family who kept it until the sale to its current owners and family friends, Jennifer Kimball and her brother Philip Wise and his firm, Cienda Partners in 2014. There’s so much more history which you can read in their wonderful book, From Every Window: A Glimpse of the Past which can be purchased at “Detours at La Fonda.”

Bart plays out his fantasy to be a hotel manager with co-owner Jenny Kimball
Fast forward to 2016, when the third phase of their strategic plan for renovations transpired at La Fonda. After many months of detours around the lobby on his way to Sunday breakfast, Bart finally got to see the fruits of much labor as the renovations were revealed piece by piece. Last week, Bart had the privilege of meeting the charming Chairwoman of the Board/co-owner of La Fonda, Jenny Kimball and her Marketing Director, Jayne M Weiske to speak about the exciting face-lift that La Fonda has unveiled. Jenny was excited to explain the process behind the design to a very eager puppy who always loves to learn new things about Santa Fe and its businesses.


Though the renovations seemed very new and different compared to the old design to Bart (but at 10 months, almost everything is “new and different”) Jenny explained that the last renovation at the hotel which locals and repeat visitors remember was actually done in the 80’s. Not quite as “historic” as people might think! The architect and design team conferred with the hotel’s owners and gave much thought to the planning of the renovation with replication of La Fonda’s rich historic elements from the original design being a priority while maintaining an awareness of changes necessary to meet present day needs. No easy task! Unlike the last, this renovation also meant dealing with many new city requirements for utilities such as electricity and plumbing, addressing fire and safety issues, and upgrading modern conveniences like Wi-Fi and adding more comforts for the hotel guests. Change doesn’t often come as easy to people as it does to dogs. Bart was the first to point out that he has noticed that people change styles of their décor and dress constantly, so why shouldn’t La Fonda do the same thing?
Early days at La Fonda. Still the same gracious style!
Jenny Kimball offered Bart a personal tour of the newest additions to La Fonda, which he readily accepted. The tour began in the area around the parking garage where most guests enter from the parking lot or from shuttles and taxis. Bart has often had guests to the city who have taken the Sandia Shuttle to transport them downtown upon arrival or to return to the airport at the end of their visit. One of the pickup spots for the shuttle is La Fonda Hotel, and one of the renovations was designed specifically for those either arriving or awaiting transportation. Prior to the new look, guests entered from the parking garage into a rather cold and empty hallway. Guests waiting for the shuttle either sat outside despite the weather or stood by the door to the garage during the wait. Seating has been added to a comfortable new lounge area to accommodate those guests and provide a warmer, more gracious welcome to those entering from the garage. Just for fun, Bart tried a few bounces on the new sofas to test for comfort. As expected, a 4-Paw rating!

On his way to the next stop of the tour, Bart couldn’t help but comment on the fabulous new display cases which line the halls of the hotel introducing visitors to the many shops and businesses in The City Different. Jenny explained that unlike the previous cases, the new ones are hand-crafted and hand-made in New Mexico. The stylish and sleek new cases were eagerly welcomed by the merchants who display in them. The floor to ceiling spaces elegantly enhance the treasures within.


The next stop was Bart’s favorite. He was immediately impressed by the classy, polished look of the bar in La Fiesta Lounge off the lobby, which he often frequents for dancing and listening to live music on weekends when he wants to let his hair down after his hectic weekly schedule. Though there are some who weren’t happy about the changes to the dance space, Jenny explained to Bart that there were reasons to justify each change. Leaving no stone unturned during the planning phase, the design team conferred with employees and guests at the hotel for suggestions regarding conveniences and needs that they might add to the list. They consulted the bands of musicians who play almost nightly during summer months at The Fiesta Lounge. One of the requests was for a bigger area to perform, as the old space was quite cramped. La Fonda’s design team listened to guests’ requests as well. Many patrons to the bar had asked for local hand crafted beers, so a new cooler was added to appease the thirsty. The dance space was reconfigured to allow for the larger stage and the beer cooler.

La Fonda's new New Mexican hand crafted display cases line the halls
filled with treasures from local shops and galleries awaiting shoppers

As for the new horse shoe-shaped bar which goes back to La Fonda’s roots, Bart couldn’t be happier! After all, he is quite very gregarious and this new design gives him much more opportunity to mingle with old fans and to meet new ones. Instead of sitting at a long, narrow bar as it once was and only being able to talk to the guests on either side of them, he can now make eye contact and smile at everyone at once. And of course when Bart makes eye contact with anyone and smiles that charming little smile, hearts melt and friendships are formed instantly over fabulous live entertainment, great food and drinks, and simply dancing the night away. And speaking of one of Bart’s favorite creatures, rabbits, the attentive bartender introduced to him to Harvey, the huge rabbit who now graces the bar, inspired by ashtrays which original architect Mary Colter had created. Harvey and Bart hit it off immediately. Harvey, who was named after Fred Harvey, told Bart that he isn’t a bit insulted if people think he’s the invisible rabbit James Steward made famous in 1950.

What does Bart think of changes made to the lobby? He thinks the spacious and gracious new area is just fabulous! The comfortable new face-to-face seating arrangement of the sofas and chairs with carefully chosen fabrics mirroring the original Colter colors and design gives much more opportunity for a social butterfly---errr—Papillon like Bart to meet and greet guests from all over the world than the old design which merely had seating along the perimeter. There is now a warmer, more communal feel to the rooms. The entrance itself is much more gracious than ever before given the additional space and comfortable seating areas. Back to its original bones, those arriving from the San Francisco entrance can now enjoy an impressive view which stretches from the lobby through the halls of this gracious old hotel. Nothing left to chance, each design element was carefully thought out, such as returning the lobby lighting to its original placement. As it was in its original form, the desk which once jutted into the lobby is now recessed to help create the more spacious lobby. Jenny pointed out that architect Barbara Felix (who also created the stunning lobby floorcloth in front of the check-in area) constantly asked the question, “What would Mary Colter do?”

Harvey the Rabbit, based on a Mary Colter
ashtray serves Fiesta Lounge's finest

Bart, who has quite an eye for detail himself, immediately noticed the absence of the old newsstand. But it, too, had cut into the old lobby area taking up seating space, so has since been relocated more appropriately to the site of the original La Fonda curio shop on the corner of San Francisco and Old Santa Fe Trail, still within the walls of La Fonda. Now called “Detours at La Fonda.” the much larger shop carries arts and crafts made by local New Mexican artists as well as items catering to the needs of La Fonda’s travelers. Needless to say, Bart always welcomes a new place to shop and the selection at Detours is superb!
Being a bit of a history buff himself, it made Bart happy to know that such care had been taken in the renovation to take La Fonda Hotel back to its roots while freshening the overall appearance and making things more comfortable for guests to the hotel and its bar and restaurant. Not ever wishing to start a day without his latte, it’s a comfort for Bart to know that a coffee window has been added to the lobby for those passing through to grab their favorite beverage and a pastry as they head out to enjoy the many sights around Santa Fe. With La Fonda’s central location, everything is literally minutes away. Lobby desks have been updated to provide better service for La Fonda’s many guests. Previously, there was no seating area at the concierge desk. Now Bart can sit comfortably with a latte and biscuit while he discusses his plans for the day with their very knowledgeable staff.

Since Bart always had a fantasy of being a hotel manager, he was really thrilled when Jenny Kimball lifted him up to the renovated front desk and gave him a feel for being in charge of one of Santa Fe’s finest hotels. Not only did he have a smile from ear to ear as Jenny held him in her arms, but he also got a bonus of some treats she and the desk clerk had waiting for him. La Fonda is, after all, a dog-friendly hotel which makes it extra special in Bart’s book!

 

Stylish new, more communal seating allows guests
to meet one another and share their adventures

As for La Fonda Hotel itself, Bart looks back to his recent interview with Rocki Gorman, whose wonderful jewelry shop is also located within the hotel walls. Rocki shared with Bart that, "they are extraordinary---not landlords but family." Quite a recommendation from a tenant!

The hotel employs over 280 New Mexicans and generates significant tax revenue for Santa Fe. But they also do quite a bit to support local non profits business and the local community. They have always supported artists through purchase of the art which decorates the entire hotel. Be sure to check it out as you stroll around the hotel or maybe stop by the concierge desk and book an art and history tour through their docent program. The renovation has been approached with great sensitivity to La Fonda’s historic roots and the owners and staff are pleased with the support of locals and guests who love the “new old” look of their latest project. Bart thought La Fonda couldn’t have been more gracious to him, and he couldn’t be happier with the improvements to his favorite one stop shopping/dining/staying place in town!

Three cheers to La Fonda! May it prosper for another 400 years! (And remember, that’s 2800 years in dog years!)

Local art owned by the hotel is displayed throughout
A grand, spacious welcome for the hotel's guests

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May 6, 2016
Ronald Roybal
Musician/Native American flute & Spanish Guitar
House Musician at Hotel Santa Fe

 

 

One of Bart's favorite things to do on a Friday or Saturday night is to head on over to the Hotel Santa Fe and listen to his good friend, Ronald Roybal play Spanish guitar and Native American flute from 7 PM - 9 PM. It's one of Bart's very special ways to end his hectic week and relax with good food and fabulous music. Curled up on those cozy leather chairs, bison burger with sweet potato fries between his paws, Bart is in heaven!

Ronald Roybal is a native of the American Southwest. A descendent of Pueblo (Tewa) and Spanish Colonial peoples, he considers his ability to express both sides of his heritage to be a great gift and responsibility. A completely self-taught musician, Ronald has studied music since his youth and is widely respected as a master performer of the Native American flute as well as the Spanish style classical guitar. Due to their busy schedules, Bart caught up with Ronald by phone one afternoon. Here is a transcript of the interview Bart had with Ronald from his music studio located on the high desert south of Santa Fe.

RONALD: Hi Bart! Do we have a good connection?

BART: Yes, Ronald, you are coming in loud and clear!

RONALD: Wonderful! It's always a pleasure to see you out and about and I appreciate your being one of my biggest doggie fans!  You are certainly a doggie about town with discriminating tastes!  As you know, I love doggies! That's probably the most important thing to know about me and I'm not just saying that because you are a doggie. I would say the same thing if you were a human!

BART:We're off to a good start! So, Ronald, tell us a little bit about yourself? When did you come to Santa Fe?

RONALD: So, where do I begin...except from the beginning! I was born in the San Luis Valley of south central Colorado and spent my formative years in the small village of San Luis which is the oldest town in Colorado.  My beautiful wife, Betty, and I moved to Santa Fe in 1997 to see if I could make a living as a musician here. I was previously employed at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado as an academic counselor. Within a few weeks of moving here, Hotel Santa Fe, the only Indigenous owned hotel in Santa Fe, hired me to be their house musician and I have been there ever since. That's been over eighteen years of performing nearly every weekend for guests of the hotel. It has to be some kind of record, don't you think? My friends at Picuris Pueblo, owners of the hotel, have been very kind to me over the years and I want to take this opportunity to thank them for giving me the chance to perform at this beautiful venue all these years! As you know, Hotel Santa Fe is very doggie friendly and I have been fortunate to make friends with canines from all over the world who have come to stay with us!

BART: Yes, I know from my doggie circles that you have a global popularity among us. What is your pedigree? Apologies! I know you humans prefer 'heritage'. My bad!

RONALD: No worries! You are a pure bred doggie, but I am a mixed blood person. I am of Spanish Colonial descent on my Mother's side and am predominately Indigenous on my Father's side. My patrilineal line originates in the village of San Ildefonso Pueblo, a Tewa Pueblo located north of Santa Fe along the Rio Grande. The true name of the village, translated from Tewa language, is 'Where The Water Cuts Through'. I think of it as one of the most beautiful places on Earth! My Mother's people came here over 400 years ago...to bother my Father's people in their search for a better life. No grudges! I celebrate both ways of being because they are both beautiful in their own ways and they give me personal power. Because of my mixed heritage, I was attracted to Spanish and Indigenous music from the very beginning. I perform Native Flute and Spanish Classical Guitar for that very reason. I also play Piano because all musicians really should know how to play Piano! I like composing songs that mix the instruments and that has been my niche in the music industry all these years.

BART: What inspires your songs?

RONALD: I believe that songs are created beings who live independently from us, but depend on us to help them fulfill their destiny. Like Spirit Horses, they reside in the Spirit World, waiting for a human being to bring them through to this Natural World. Here, they can run through the hearts and minds of other human beings, bringing people spiritual sustenance for their life's journey. This is what inspires me to be a musician. Pretty heavy, huh? Well, what can I say? People are complicated!

BART: They sure are! Doggies have a simpler perspective. I'll have to share it with you later. So where were we? Oh, yes...where did you study music and how did you get your start?

Bart outside the beautiful Hotel Santa Fe on the way to Ronald Roybal's weekend performance

RONALD: I would love to have a philosophical discussion with you, Bart! Getting back to your questions, I am a self taught musician. I received my vocation of musicianship while an observer at a Trappist monastery in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado during the Summer of 1988.  For the next two years, I taught myself enough material on classical guitar for a dinner show and started performing those kinds of gigs as well as coffee houses along Colorado's Front Range and southern Wyoming. Along the way, I discovered the Native flute. I added it to my show and things kind of took off from there. In the late nineties, I was the top selling independent musical artist at Barnes and Noble stores from Pueblo, Colorado north to Cheyenne, Wyoming! I was offered a label deal, but declined at the last minute. No regrets. To this day, I have never signed to a label. I honestly do not think I could have had such a successful career if I had signed with a label. I ended up receiving six Native American Music Award nominations and two New Mexico Music Industry Awards over the years so it's all good!

BART: My sources tell me you are kind of an internet pioneer in the music industry?

RONALD: I am proud to say that I was a founding member of the Internet Underground, a small consortium of independent recording artists dedicated to artist freedom from ownership of any kind through the democratic use of the internet. I have had a world wide website with streaming downloads since 1995. If you count the Commodore 64 network, I've been using the internet since 1985. I'm an internet old-timer when it comes to music promotion on the internet. Check me out at ronaldroybal.com and see how 'old school internet meets new school internet' I am!

BART: I have and your website is wonderfully entertaining! What are your plans this year?

Bart relaxes in the bar waiting for Ronald Roybal to begin playing

 

RONALD: I am looking at a fairly easy performance schedule this season which is a switch. I once had a 12 year stretch when I averaged over 300 performances a year! I wouldn't want to perform that kind of schedule now that I am a little bit older. I am taking advantage of my lighter schedule by working on a new album. It's a blend of my guitar, native flute, and piano styles. Some solo, some with duet and trio with me on all the instruments. A couple of tracks get some help from the late, great guitarist Ruben Romero. I've been arranging and rehearsing material for the past three months. I hope to release it in the fall and tour with it after that. These things take time, especially when I am doing nearly everything myself. It's how I roll!

BART: Thank you for spending time with us and for letting us get to know you better and do say hello to your lovely wife, Betty!

RONALD: Thanks to you, Bart, and your wonderful escort, for inviting me to be a part of your new internet venture and a big shout out to all my friends and fans who have supported my artistic efforts all these years! I invite everyone to visit me at ronaldroybal.com for 'Enchanted Music From The American Southwest'! Happy Trails!


Here are some videos of Ronald Roybal:

Please click here for Ronald Roybal's interview and performance for the New Mexico Music Commission

Please click here for YouTube playlist called "Ronald Roybal Healing Relaxation Music...Native Flute, Guitar and Piano"

Please click here for Ronald Roybal's Japanese Travel TV Video

To purchase Ronald Roybal's music, please visit his website at ronaldroybal.com by clicking here

Hear Ronald Roybal live on Friday and Saturday evenings from 7 PM to 9 PM at the Hotel Santa Fe

 

Ronald Roybal playing at Hotel Santa Fe

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May 1, 2016
Rocki Gorman
La Fonda Hotel
119 Old Santa Fe Trail

505 983-7833

At first glance at Rocki Gorman, Bart was instantly in love with this red headed beauty who exemplifies the spirt and style of the Southwest. Imagine his surprise when he found out she was not a native, but a humble girl from Bayonne New Jersey. Her upbringing, however, was far from ordinary. Rocki's parents were first in the state of New Jersey to have a store that sold Native American Jewelry. Their business was started in 1960, so this marks their 56th year in business. Rocki still owns their original cash register and keeps it to remember those days gone by that shaped her future. 


Rocki Gorman has been here in New Mexico for 22 years now, and in business for 14 years, 6 of those at her current location in La Fonda Hotel off The Plaza. To back up, Rocky's mother had a brother who was an entertainer from New York who was with the Harry James Band. Eventually, he followed the band to Las Vegas, Nevada. He fell in love with the area and talked his sister into coming West out to see the Nevada for herself. Her mother and father packed up the first VW Beetle in 1960, and with Rocki as a child of 4 across the back seat of the car with them, they headed for Nevada. “It was just magic…. the whole thing was magic,” Rocki smiled. Her parents fell in love with the southwest immediately. Her Dad ended up getting a job mining turquoise in Nevada at the Carlin and Royston Mines 3 months in summers and two months in winter whenever they could get Rocki out of school.

Rocki Gorman and Bart, posing in Kingman tourquoise butterfly necklace
As her Dad headed back from West to East, he began trading turquoise with the Native Americans, and selling to turquoise dealers and jewelry designers. The remaining turquoise was taken into The Village in NY and sold to Fred Leighton and Tiffany's. What a heritage!

Bart sat on the huge leather sofa beside Rocki and listened to her attentively she told him that as a child, she watched had women in the back room of the jewelry store buffing, stringing and cutting stones with great interest. At the tender age of seven she made her first piece of jewelry which her parents sold in their store for ten dollars. As they glanced around her incredible shop surrounded by hundreds of fabulous Rocki Gorman jewelry designs, turquoise glowing like the Santa Fe Sky, silver and copper in warm hand-buffed patinas that complemented the stones perfectly, Rocki and Bart both laughed at the thoughts of how far she has gone since that first design. "I loved the organic feel to the stones and I loved being a part of the designing and the stringing and the colors.” Over the years, Rocki has perfected beading, stringing and cutting. She has since given up cutting since stones are hard to come by these days. 

Since he first laid eyes on her copper beaded necklaces, Bart has loved them. They are fairly a new design which unfortunately will be retired this year. When asked how the copper jewelry came about Rocki explained that when La Fonda hotel was being renovated a few years back they came across a catalogue of Fred Harvey designs from 1927. They loaned her the catalogue, an experience which made her weep at merely holding something so historic in her hands. Inspired by his designs and wishing to pay homage to them, she began a new line of repoussé designs of the images of thunderbirds and arrow heads and such that she saw in the catalogue. Though the originals were in silver, Rocki decided to put them on copper to add some whimsy and fun to the designs. But hers are not your ordinary copper beads! Like her silver ones, Rocki makes her copper beads with a patina that makes them look and feel like as though they are worth more than gold. Soft, warm, rich tones make you want to own every piece she has designed!

Bart was a bit disappointed when he heard that copper line will be retired, so Rocki had to console him with an explanation. "I have about 4,000 pieces on my line of jewelry right now, and I want to move on." So many designs with so many more new ones in her head that she wants to create! What a gift to hear about a person on creative overload! Rocki went on to explain that the copper finish is a five-day process, as is the finish on sterling silver beads and are as costly in time to make. After a certain point they become cost-prohibitive. The beads are dipped, dried, washed, dried, washed then dried again. Then the hand-buffing begins. In the buffing process “None of my beads are put on Dremmel or a wheel. Everything is done by hand the old-fashioned way,” Rocki explained. She held out some of the gorgeous creations to show Bart the look of hand work. “The ones which are manufactured and buffed on a wheel have a zebra-like stripe on them. Mine have this beautiful finish. The hand work makes all the difference in the world.” Bart can tell you first hand---errrr---paw, that the patina on Rocki's necklaces just begs to be touched! 

The good news for the economy here in New Mexico is that Rocki’s jewelry is all made here! Visitors and local buyers alike should be aware that Rocki employs 20-30 Native Americans to do the silversmithing and stone cutting for her jewelry and they have been with her since the 70's and 80's. Her stringers are Navajo. "I try to honor the Native American culture as much as I can since that's what I grew up with."

Though there is still clothing in the shop, there is less of it now than there was when Bart's escort started shopping there when she moved to Santa Fe a few years ago. Sadly, because her clothing line was fabulous, but again she is justified in her decision to devote most of the store to jewelry. When you do something this exquisitely, why not?  “What's new to come in Rocki's line?” Bart asked, wanting to be the first to know (as he always is). Last year she designed a beautiful line of clothing in black with stones and beads. She is now moving away from clothing to make room for her first love, jewelry.

And what’s new in the jewelry line? Coming up, Rocki will be working in larimar, pink Peruvian opals, and a "killer line of Sleeping Beauty turquoise." Since that's Bart's favorite stone, he is already getting his Christmas list ready. “A Sleeping Beauty collar perhaps????" he asks. His escort has taken note. It didn't help that Rocki let him pose in his escort's personal favorite necklace, the gorgeous Kingman turquoise dragonfly he is seen with in the photo at the top.

Rocki Gorman showed Bart a multi-strand necklace she was wearing of silver beads, beautifully hand-buffed to an exquisite finish, in various sizes and strand lengths. She took it off and reconfigured it giving it a totally different look. The individual strands can be shifted from front to back to change the length and design and there are at least 5 different ways to wear it. Hard to explain, so Bart's advice is to get into the shop ASAP and have one of the many wonderful salespeople show them to you first paw--- errrrrr--- hand. This particular design will soon be available in various stone combinations, and perhaps even pearls. Rocki is dreaming them up as you read this so get there soon to see the latest designs. 

After shopping at Rocki's, Bart always visits the other marvelous shops at La Fonda Hotel which is one of his favorite places to dine and snack as well. Rocki couldn't say enough about how she feels “blessed and honored to be a part of La Fonda Hotel.” She says "they are extraordinary---not landlords but family." Now great is that to hear?

With her designs being worn by dignitaries, royalty and celebrities, having been the subject of countless magazine articles--- you'd think she'd be above it all, but Bart came away with even more of a crush on Rocki than he had when he strolled in. She is warm, witty and loving every moment of life and of what she has done since the age of seven. And she has done it to perfection! "I’ve been blessed. It's been a great life." Rocki smiled that warm smile at Bart, and his little heart melted. There is joy evident in all she creates.

Stop in and see the ever-changing designs of Rocki Gorman at La Fonda Hotel. And give her a big smooch from Bart who is still dropping frequent hints about that turquoise Christmas collar! 

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April 28, 2016
John Wayne
Gentleman/Cowboy/Horseman Extraordinaire

Now that Bart is establishing a reputation as #1 Dog Blogger in Santa Fe, friends and followers are flooding him with ideas for his next interview. A few days ago a friend texted a photo of a man on a beautiful Appaloosa horse that she had seen walking around town. As it turns out, Bart's escort recognized him immediately as she had met him on The Plaza many years ago when she was merely a tourist herself. 

She told Bart the story of how she had met this man who said he had just arrived in Santa Fe after months of travelling on the road from Michigan of all places! At the time, he had one of his dogs by his side and a second one, a puppy (he told her he had adopted her Arkansas), who was sleeping peacefully in the saddle bag while his horse kept watch. She had never had the courage to ask his name. At the time, talking to people she didn't know was difficult, a result of a lifetime of living on the east coast near Philadelphia. People weren’t always so friendly there. But the southwest is a whole different lifestyle. 

While reading The Santa Fe New Mexican via the Internet on her return to Philadelphia, she read a story of the man she had met and how he had ridden into town and ended up staying in New Mexico to work on a dude ranch. She didn't recall his name, just the story, but never forgot the chance meeting since it was just many of the wonderful memories she stored up on each trip to Santa Fe before the move here.

If this were Harrisburg or Columbus or Austin or almost any other capital city in the USA, there would have probably been no chance of ever meeting up with the "mystery rider" again. But it's Santa Fe! All Bart had to do was dream a dream, and it would come true. After all, they don't call New Mexico the "Land of Enchantment" for nothing!

That very next day as Bart's escort was leaving morning mass at St. Francis Cathedral (made famous by Willa Cather's novel, Death Comes for the Archbishop about its builder, Archbishop Lamy), who should she and her friends see on the street near the Plaza but the man on the spectacular Appaloosa with his two matching cattle dogs. 

It truly did look like a scene from a movie. This incredible presence of a man, long white beard, red scarf poking from beneath, cowboy hat and chaps astride a magnificent horse seemed right out of an old Western with downtown Santa Fe as its backdrop. The sun was behind him as they approached to say hello, producing a glowing aura that made them squint to focus on his fascinating face, shaded beneath his wide brimmed hat. Introductions were made as Bart's escort recounted the story of meeting him many years ago in almost the same spot. I'm here celebrating 7 years to the day that I rode into town and stayed here," he smiled. I'm John Wayne." As he viewed their questioning expressions he explained that it really was true. “My mother was a big John Wayne fan.” The thoughts of "if she could see him now" in all his splendor immediately came to mind. Did she know how her son would turn out? Or had the name itself shaped his destiny?  

It only took a glance at Bart's business card and a quick but shy request for an interview with John Wayne for him to respond that he would be happy to oblige. But there were more surprises in store. After all, this is Santa Fe, "The City Different" in the heart of The Land of Enchantment! What could one expect?

Bart's escort and friends headed to one of their favorite after mass places for breakfast, The Plaza Diner. The Plaza is a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Always warm service and great food, both New Mexican and Greek. After ordering Huevos Divorciados and Brioche French Toast (Bart gives them both a 4 Paw rating), the three of them noticed that John Wayne was tying up his horse outside the restaurant, obviously heading to the same delicious destination. His dutiful and ever-working cattle dogs dropped to the ground as he dismounted and didn't move a muscle from their spots until his return. Obviously a well-oiled working team who relied upon each other equally to get the job done, no matter what that might be. 

As always, The Plaza Diner was hopping, and as John Wayne entered the host informed him it would be at least a half hour's wait until there was a free table. Even the counter space was gone. We had an empty chair, so what could we do but invite him to join us for breakfast? He graciously accepted the opportunity, and apologized to all for "disturbing our meal," which we assured him was not the case at all. 

Chance meetings in Santa Fe are always a treat. Visitors should never hesitate to talk to the folks around them as this is about the friendliest town you'll ever encounter. It seems people with much in common connect quickly, friendships are formed and memories made in this magical place we call home. We love our town here and are happy to share it with visitors so get over your shyness and prepare for an adventure! Santa Fe is just the town for that!

 

Bart's escorts and her friends had much to talk about with John Wayne. He had countless stories of the trail from Michigan to New Mexico and they were delighted to hear each one. Santa Fe is also a place where people respect privacy, so none of the usual "where did you come from and who were you in a former life" questions came up. They were all happy to hear whatever he was willing to share. And after all, isn’t where we are more important than where we were anyway?

John Wayne smiled broadly as Bart's escort told him she had photos of him and his puppy in the saddle bag from the day of his arrival, seven years to the day, and that they were part of  a slide show she used as a screen saver on her computer. She promised to send him the photos. At the time John Wayne, Misty and the two dogs arrived at The Plaza they were intending to move onward to California. But like many stories we often hear in Santa Fe, they never left.

For those of us who remained here, there is always that magical moment we recall when some magical force told us we had finally arrived home. John explained that when he rides into town as he did that day he doesn't see cars and cell phones and cameras on the necks of tourists. He sees people on horseback riding around the dirt covered streets into The Plaza. He sees people meandering around in hats and boots and riding gear greeting one another. That image Santa Fe remains in his mind and heart today and he feels that he, too, is home. An offer of a job on a dude ranch sealed the deal. He never made it to California.

John Wayne with Yara and Gerald Pitchford and Bart's escort

John talked a lot about his companions who were as intriguing as he is. We watched as an incredibly patient and gorgeous Appaloosa, Misty, outside the window endured hundreds of selfies with everyone with a cell phone or a camera who passed her. And the cattle dogs remained firmly in the spots where they were left, oblivious to everyone but their closest friend, John Wayne, whom they knew would return after breakfast. "Misty is my 'Million Dollar Baby,' " he explained. "I wouldn't part with her for a million dollars!" And after the stories we heard of how she behaves on the trail, it isn't any wonder why.

John Wayne told one tale of crossing a suspension bridge over the Mississippi River in Greenville, Mississippi. When they came up to the base, the bridge was so steep that to the horse's eye it seemed she was being asked to walk up an asphalt wall. She was only two at the time, and she balked at first but proceeded as directed. To make matters worse, cars were speeding down at 40 mph, but Misty plodded steadily onward despite five of the suspension joints which she had to cross over on the way. When they neared the top, the traffic suddenly stopped. At the peak of the bridge he looked down to see several police cars gathered, lights flashing. They had stopped traffic. 

John Wayne said that 20-minute trip was the longest 20 minutes of his life. " My heart was pounding so hard it was making my shirt move up and down. All I could think of was that they were going to arrest me and what would happen to my animals?" He approached the officers at the bottom, awaiting his fate. To his astonishment, the officer in front smiled and gave him a big thumbs up and motioned him on his way.

This is how he describes the ride across this great country of ours with "many good people looking out for me, wishing me well and helping all they could in my journey." John Wayne and his new friends spoke of all the craziness going on in the world right now, all the unexplainable evil. But he said he “always knows that there are more good people than bad, and those are the ones he chooses to be with.” He simply doesn't waste time on bad energy.

 

When Bart met him later in the day he immediately felt John Wayne's positive, calm energy which is evident in his animals’ behaviors. They are quite obviously tuned into his every movement. All he needs do is make a gesture with his hand and the dogs follow the gesture to complete their task. Bart has always believed that you can always tell how a person is on the inside by the behavior of the animals that surround them. 

Another surprise over breakfast that day was finding out that John Wayne is also a musician and a singer. He is with a group called Cactus Slim and The Goatheads playing base and singing songs. Coincidentally, they will be appearing on May 6th at The Boxcar, Santa Fe in the Railyard District of Santa Fe. Well, who could pass up the opportunity to see them perform! Bart and his friends are planning to be there that night to see yet another side of John Wayne, a character rich in surprises. Bart can hardly wait as he heard they serve up a pretty good burger at that place!

Not quite so surprising was the fact that John Wayne told his new friends that he has made several appearances in movies shot locally, including "Cowboys and Aliens," "Did You Hear About the Morgans?," and a pilot called "Emancipation" which hopefully we will see more of at some point. He certainly has the  face and personality for movies!

All too quickly, breakfast was over. Bart’s friends were thrilled to have had the time and opportunity to know more about this incredible gentleman who was merely a mystery a few hours earlier in the day. John Wayne is now working as a ranch manager in New Mexico, caring for over 80 head of cattle and 40 head of horses, mostly quarter horses. Seems the perfect job for a man named John Wayne!

April 24, 2009
 
April 24, 2016

Bart's escort and he were planning to return to town later in the afternoon to interview jewelry designer, Rocki Gorman (more on her in the days to come). In the meantime, since Bart's photographer would be going along, arrangements were made to search out John Wayne later in the day for some photos with Bart since he had planned to be in town all day celebrating his anniversary. 

When they returned later they searched the Plaza for quite a while, but there we no signs of a man, his horse and his two cattle dogs. However, it doesn’t end here. Santa Fe being what it is, while searching for John Wayne, Bart met two new people to interview in the upcoming weeks. It's so easy to find people with a story in this town! Eventually, they gave up their search and decided to stop in and say hi to Sky Redhawk at Native Sounds Musical Instrument Store on the way home. As they walked in, Sky greeted Bart and told him he had picked a good day to bring a photographer along because there was a man on a beautiful Appaloosa horse with two dogs across the street along the Santa Fe River giving them water and shade. Bart had to laugh at that. Another “Santa Fe coincidence.” He sincerely believes that we are all connected in some way in this town! So they ambled on across the street to say hello to John Wayne and his animals. Bart and his escort have great respect for working dogs, and could tell immediately that the cattle dogs were now on duty protecting him and Misty. Bart kept his distance during the photo shoot and opted for a safe spot at a distance from the watchful pair. We love the way the photo turned out! 

Another magical day had come to a close. New friends, great stories, good food and shopping. What could be more perfect? Bart's bed felt pretty darned comfortable later that afternoon. And boy did he have some wonderful dreams of his day in town!

Hear John Wayne perform with Cactus Slim and The Goatheads on May 6th at The Boxcar, Santa Fe.

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April 20, 2016
Judy and Mark Mitchell
Tourists to Santa Fe

 

Bart spent some time with two tourists to Santa Fe this week. Judy Byers Mitchell, a graphic designer and her husband, Mark Mitchell, working in human resources and staff development, met Bart for the first time on Judy's third and Mark's second trip to visit friends in Santa Fe. Both of them came here for a little R&R and to spend some time with Judy's college friend who lives on one of the mountains in Santa Fe. Judy and Mark enjoy nature, so this was the main focus of their trip.

As Bart knows every well, Santa Fe is a wonderful spot of those who enjoy the outdoors. There is really no end to the hiking trails and natural wonders of New Mexico, and happily, there are many sites of interest within an hour's drive of the town. This time, their host and hostess had chosen some spots that the couple had not visited in the past and promised that they would be well-worth the trip.

First stop was Kasha-Katuwe- Tent Rocks National Monument. Judy thought that her friend was joking when she pointed to the top of the monument and told her not to share the news with Mark that this was where they were heading. She didn't want to scare him off when he saw the distance...not to mention the height! But indeed, they all made it to the top despite frequent stops for gasping at the beauty inside the canyon before they began gasping for breath in the last climb to the top. Well worth the trip up, they agreed!

Tent Rocks is one of those places where you just can't seem to stop taking photos or smiling. In a world where the word "awesome" is used far too frequently to describe common events of the day, the real meaning of the word truly becomes evident when you are at Tent Rocks.

These exquisite formations of these tent shaped rocks also known as hoodoos were formed by volcanic eruption which happened between 6 and 7 million years ago leaving their ash behind which is over 1,000 feet thick.

Judy and Mark told Bart (poor Bart had to hear about it second hand----errr-paw, since dogs are not permitted at Tent Rocks) that the thing they found the most impressive was how natural and wild the trail inside the canyon is. They explained that many monuments and parks they've visited in the past had rather manicured and unnatural trails.

"Tent Rocks" Mark described, made you "feel like you were the water flowing down the canyon and through the rocks." As you look around you once inside the canyon, the swirls of water and wind currents have scored the walls with sculptural striations and have shaped the hoodoos recording an impression of the forces of nature that have converged in this unique location centuries ago.

Tent Rocks is probably not for everyone, as there are some difficult climbs at the end, and some tricky footing when entering Slot Canyon (not for the claustrophobic) at the beginning of the trail. Once inside, however, the walk is fairly easy, and the views in every direction simply spectacular! Don't visit on a storm-threatening day, as there is a danger of flash floods once inside the canyon if there are heavy rains. Be sure to take plenty of water, because there is only one way in and the same way out and on a sunny day in summer it is quite hot inside. There are no shops on the grounds to purchase snacks or water. For those who are well-prepared it is beauty not to be missed!

For hikers who are not quite in shape for the climb, there is a shorter loop trail before reaching Slot Canyon which gives opportunity to enjoy a preview of the longer trail. From the loop trail it is possible to observe the hoodoos, though not as close-up as you would view them on the trail inside the canyon.

Judy and Mark's adventures didn't stop at Tent Rocks. Since both Judy and the friend she visited are artists, her hostess also planned a ride to see Ghost Ranch, made famous by none other than Georgia O'Keeffe. It is located in Abiquiu, which is 65 miles northwest of Santa Fe. Their website is loaded with history about the ranch and is packed with information about workshops and retreats available throughout the year at this fabulous location in the heart of Georgia O'Keeffe country. Be sure to stop at the Abiquiu Inn for lunch. Food is fabulous and the service is great. The Inn is quite charming, and the patio in summer is surrounded by hundreds of hummingbirds feeding while you dine on dozens of feeders around the edge.


Mark had commented on the ride out to Abiquiu that he couldn't understand why anyone would go beyond Santa Fe, but when he arrived he quickly understood the attraction of the area for a painter such as O'Keeffe. Judy hadn't been prepared for the beauty of the landscape, and realized quickly that next time she would bring her watercolors along and plan to spend the day painting. I can't imagine any artist visiting this spot and seeing O'Keeffe's paintings come alive thinking any differently!


Happily for Judy and Mark, staying with friends in Santa Fe allowed them a few more opportunities than your average tourist gets to enjoy. Relaxing in Santa Fe is absolutely superb! And relaxing in the same location as Bart---well---what could be better? .... except for maybe hiking with Bart and his friends on his own favorite trails through the mountains where he lives!

And as a special, unplanned treat, Judy found out that a former instructor of hers from Moore College of Art back in Philadelphia, PA was having a show at a hotel in Santa Fe during her stay! You may recall meeting another friend of Bart's on the "Who's That with Bart Now?" page, artist Alma Neas. Alma met up with him recently while preparing her show for the Dining with the Artist event at Amaya Restaurant at the Hotel Santa Fe....

On the left, Judy and Mark hiking with Bart and a friend of his, Shelby; At right, Judy's college friend, M.E., and Alma Neas with Judy at the Hotel Santa Fe event

When Bart questioned Judy and Mark Mitchell about the highlights off their trip to Santa Fe, one of the many things they mentioned was how incredible the food is here. Bart heartily agrees, as dining out is one of his favorite things to do in this town. Soon countless patios will be open for diners to enjoy the turquoise skies and splendid sunny days for which Santa Fe is famous. And the restaurants here can drive a dog like Bart mad trying to pick his favorite!

Judy and Mark raved about the meal at Amaya Restaurant the evening of the Dining with the Artist night. Amaya never disappoints! Not only is the atmosphere welcoming (in part due to the charming hostess, Sophie Palm, who makes everyone feel special!), romantic and just plain beautiful, but on a Friday or Saturday night you can enjoy the haunting music of talented Native American musician Ronald Roybal who plays Spanish guitar and Native flute in the lounge from 7-9 PM.

Another of their favorite spots which they visit for breakfast lunch and dinner on all their trips is Harry's Roadhouse (pictured on the left) which is a favorite of locals in Santa Fe. The food there is always superb, service warm, friendly and professional, and owners Harry and wife, Peyton are always on hand to greet their guests and be sure that everyone is happy. And did Bart mention the pies at Harry's???????? He salivates at the mere mention of Peyton's famous coconut cream pie. If he had 6 paws to rate the desserts at Harry's, believe me, he would so do save room for dessert when you dine there.

All too quickly, it was time for our tourists, Judy and Mark Mitchell to return home, but not without the promise of a return visit to Santa Fe. Before going out the door, Judy had already booked her room for Indian Market Indian Market held on August 20-21st this year. Stay tuned, as Bart will be partying until the cows come home at his first Indian Market Week this summer!

Bart invites tourists to Santa Fe to drop him a note and share your experiences. His secretary
promises to get back to you quickly and meet you in The Plaza if you wish to be seen with Santa Fe's hottest little doggie, Bart!

Contact Bart at bart@whosthatwithbart.com

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April 12, 2014
Sky Redhawk
Native Sounds Musical Instrument Store * Art Gallery
228 Old Santa Fe Trail,
Santa Fe, NM
505 983-2897

Concert with His Group, Native Spirits on
Monday, May 16th from 7 PM - 9 PM at
Jean Cocteau Cinema
Santa Fe

When he was merely a puppy of 5 months of age, Bart had the pleasure of meeting Sky Redhawk, owner of Native Sounds store on Old Santa Fe Trail and Alemeda. Granted, he's only 8 months old now, but in dog years, that is practically a lifetime! And it does seem to him that he has known Sky forever.

For locals who have not had the pleasure of entering Sky's magical shop, filled with the aroma of burning copal, lavender and juniper when he happens to be playing one of his many flutes, you don't know what a treat you are missing right in your own backyard! The shop sells not only Native flutes, drums and CD's, but also hosts a gallery of Native American made crafts and art. It is truly a gem of a store that shouldn't be missed by visitors to Santa Fe, nor should it be ignored by those of us fortunate enough to live here.

On many occasions as Bart is hurrying around town meeting new people, he suddenly feels the need to unwind. That being said, Bart hurries on over to Native Sounds for a much-needed break in his hectic schedule. Stress vanishes when one enter Sky's shop as his music is being played. The soul is instantly soothed, blood pressure drops...Bart and his escort can tell you that first hand---errr-paw. Sky sells his array of CD's, both personal and from fellow Native American musicians.

Bart's favorite part of the visit is when Sky plays a song, just for him! Talk about "soothing the savage beast!" Within minutes, Bart's eyelids get heavy and he drops off to Dreamland. What a great break for a Superstar on a super busy day!

Today Bart spent some time chatting with Sky Redhawk about his store. Sky considers the shop which he has had since 2008 to be a gift in his life. Before Native Sounds opened, he had been working at a job which was spiritually draining. He stayed there too long, as we all do at one time or another, hoping that things would improve but finding that they never did. The work he did traded living space for labor, and with no place else to go far too much time passed in one unpleasant place. Finally realizing he needed to move on, he quit the job with no prospects in sight. It would have been frightening, but The Great Spirit was indeed with him on his new journey.

Shortly after quitting, he received a call from a friend who told him he had the perfect job for him, managing a store which would sell Native American flutes and drums. But when he asked about his future boss his friend told him the news that he had taken out a loan to start a new business and that he wanted Sky for the job. He would be his own boss. After two years, he received yet another surprise. His friend informed him that the business loan had been paid in full and on his birthday he handed Sky the deed to the store. It was now his. Sky Redhawk is a man with a sense of humor unlike any other. He can always make you laugh, no matter how bad your day has been going. He told Bart that he calls his friend "Tonka EHB." "Tonka" meaning big or great, and "EHB" standing for Exceptional Human Being.

Although Sky thought that it would be difficult to sell only flutes, he was surprised to learn how popular they would be. He also filled the shop with incredible Native made items of art, a treasure of color and energy. Although those items sell, flutes are still his best seller. Bart believes that that is because Sky is an exceptional human being himself! He takes the time with anyone who is interested in these beautiful instruments to introduce them to the flute and to sell them only the one which will be best-paired with them. Sky has infinite patience in playing as many of the instruments as the customer wants to hear, but there will always be one that will resonate in the soul of the potential buyer in a very special way. Bart's escort can tell you that first-hand. Her first flute was in the key of G. It spoke to her. Later she would add four more flutes. Each one is very special and has its own song. But Sky will tell you, that song is in each of us. What a beautiful gift it is to be connected to that song!

Sky Redhawk will also spend the time with each new flute owner to explain the techniques of playing the Native American flute. There are no formal music books for this traditional 5 note scale, known as a pentatonic scale. He explains that we must come to know the flute, and then the music will come from within each of us. He is right. And when that song finally does come through, it is a feeling of peace like no other.

Bart will be the first to tell you that in the beginning listening to Sky's flute playing was a lot more pleasant than listening to his escort's, but he actually relaxes when she plays now too. And so does she. The music takes your stress level from high to "Gone!" if you continue to come to know your flute. It is indeed a magical instrument that actually does somehow touch a part of your soul. It forces you to be calm because if you don't relax Bart will tell you the squeaks and squeals coming from it will sound much like a cat being strangled---uhhh---not that he's ever actually heard a cat in that position, but you understand what I mean. We all get those sounds in the beginning, I think. But when you finally give into relaxing your breath, taking your time and slowing down, something amazing happens-- the sound is beautiful. And when you realize it is coming from you, it is indeed a gift!

If you are not quite ready for your first flute, you can take home a CD or two or three or more! What a wonderful gift for friends and family. But don't forget yourself. In the years before Bart's escort made the permanent move to Santa Fe, Sky's music which she collected at every visit to The City Different gave her an escape from her own reality when she returned back East. Each CD was a treasure which transported her immediately back to the enchantment of New Mexico.

One of Bart's favorite CD's is one called "Gratitude," which his escort often plays for him at bedtime. In it, Sky Redhawk's mesmerizing voice tells ancient Native American stories, with brief flute songs in between. But the stories are for adults as well as children, and together teach a wonderful lesson of unity with Mother Earth and the gratitude which each of us should have for our blessings. Sky explained that traditionally the story-tellers taught children important life lessons through these tales passed down from one generation to the next about love, about giving rather than taking, about respect for the land and for oneself and for others, and about appreciating each new day. It is a beautiful CD and Bart heartily recommends it.

When he's not playing solo, Sky Redhawk teams up with his good friends, Ken Estrada and Tommy Vigil who together form "Native Spirits." They have performed all around town at countless hotels and museums and galleries, and The Bandstand on The Plaza as well. Next month they will be making their third performance at Jean Cocteau Cinema on May 16th. In addition to the three regulars to the group, they will be introducing their special guest, French keyboard player Sebastien Marconato for that evening's performance.

 

Though the very humble musician, Sky Redhawk, tries to convince Bart that he is "not a professional musician," Bart doesn't believe a word of it! When you hear them perform, which I hope you all will, their charm and ease in performing will make you realize they are "natural professionals!" Bart's friends have gone to his concerts at every opportunity, and each performance has been a gift! It promises to be an evening of beautiful music which will sooth your soul unlike any other!

At the moment, Native Spirits is rehearsing as often as they can for the May 16th performance at Jean Cocteau Cinema from 7 PM - 9 PM. All of the music is original, and be assured, it comes from the very depths of these talented musicians souls. Bart is really excited as this will be his first time hearing the group (For the record, Bart wasn't even a twinkle in his Mama's eyes for the last concert!).

For those who won't be in town that night, you can view a number of Sky's songs on YouTube, as well as his flute lessons on technique for coming to know your flute. But nothing beats a live performance! Don't miss the concert if you are in town! When you see Sky, tell him his number one fan, Bart, sent you!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

SKY REDHAWK IS ALSO AVAILABLE FOR HIRE TO PLAY AT YOUR EVENT EITHER SOLO OR WITH THE GROUP, "NATIVE SPIRITS."

Here are some of Sky Redhawk's YouTube song videos:
"A Gift to the World from Galisteo Basin"
"In Times Past"

Please click here for Sky's videos -- Native American Flute Lessons on YouTube

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April 9, 2016
Elizabeth Cook Romero

Books of Interest
311 Aztec Street
Santa Fe





It seems Bart’s website is turning into a fascinating treasure hunt of places yet to be discovered here in Santa Fe. Bart no sooner meets a new person who wants to be seen with him than he is led off in a different direction discovering new places sparked by his interviews. If you’ve been reading about some of Bart’s past guests, you will see that he was recently enchanted by writer Anne Hillerman, whom he met at one of American Artist Sara Eyestone’s writing workshops. One of the books that Anne told him about was a book she had written about the places her father, best-seller Tony Hillerman wrote about in his novels about Navajo Police detectives Chee and Leaphorn. The book is called Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn. It sounded fascinating to see photos that would make some of the detectives’ locations come alive. Immediately, Bart headed to a local used bookstore he had heard about called Books of Interest and began browsing the section of local interest books. To his surprise, there it was waiting for him! But rather than just make a quick purchase and exit, Bart browsed the entire store, amazed at all the great books he found. So many art books! He was fascinated for quite a while looking through an incredible selection of unusual art books.

Eventually it was time to check out, which provided yet another remarkable surprise. One of the owners, Elizabeth Cook Romero, thought being seen with Bart sounded like a fun idea. So his escort pulled out the camera, and yet another new friendship was formed. Bart is finding that this is pretty easy to do in Santa Fe!


Elizabeth Cook Romero told Bart that she and her husband, Leo Romero co-owned Books of Interest. Both of them avid readers, they have had four bookstores in Santa Fe since 1988. Seems they just can’t get enough of books. They sold their first stores and retired twice but their passion for books kept bringing them back into the business. This new store, located in a lovely light-filled Arts and Crafts bungalow on Aztec Street, was opened in 2009.


Elizabeth has some of her gorgeous jewelry on sale at the bookstore too. Though silversmithing is fairly new to her, art is not. Elizabeth designed textiles and taught design and drawing at the Pratt Phoenix School of Design in New York City. She has a degree in journalism and worked for the “Santa Fe New Mexican” once she relocated to Santa Fe. Bart thought that that might have inspired the fabulous collection of art books within those walls!


Husband Leo Romero is a good match for Elizabeth. His Master’s degree is in English Literature. As most of our readers already know, Santa Fe received a lot of its fame not only for its art but also for the scientific community due to nearby Los Alamos National Laboratory. Before opening his first bookstore, Leo worked at the laboratory, first as a tech writer in the computing division and later for community outreach. Leo Romero is a poet as well, and has published three books of poetry, two chapbooks, and a short story collection. Surprisingly, none were on the subject of dogs. Nevertheless, Bart was pretty impressed at what a great pair these bookstore owners are!

Any bookstore that happens to have just the book Bart is looking for and so many art books as well is certainly worthy of a 4 Paw rating! He gives it just that! It’s a nice feeling to head into a local business for a book for a change. Sure Amazon has its good points, but in Bart’s opinion, buying local makes a lot more sense. Santa Fe is filled with amazing people, and Elizabeth and Leo are two of them. You can’t chat with Amazon and get a warm and fuzzy feeling now, can you? Nothing beats holding a real live book in your paws instead of a mini computer or a keyboard, and browsing til your heart’s content by turning pages instead of pushing impersonal buttons and keys! Something to think about, no?

Bart came home with three new books that day, and has been enjoying evenings on the sofa, carrots in paw, turning the pages of dreamy photos until he---well, drops off to Dreamland! What could be more perfect? Bart promises to avoid the keyboard and visit Leo and Elizabeth often and do his part to support two hard-working people with a great knowledge of books. Who knows….maybe one day Leo will surprise him with a dog biscuit! Bart winks at Elizabeth as he mentions that…they have shared an inside joke together. Amazon sure can’t do that!

Books of Interest
311 Aztec Street
Santa Fe

Open Monday - Saturday 10 am 5 PM,
Sunday haphazardly
505 984-9828

 

April 2, 2016

Anne Hillerman
Journalist/writer/novelist


As was mentioned at an earlier interview by Bart, Thursdays are his days for attending his Memoir Writing Workshop lead by Sara Eyestone at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa from 9am - 11am. Last week Bart and his escort had the pleasure of meeting the popular and talented writer, Anne Hillerman who spoke at our workshop. We were all in awe of the fact that such a busy writer would take the time to come and talk to our group and answer questions from all of us about writing techniques.

As many of you know, Anne HIllerman is continuing a series of mystery novels which were begun by her late and equally famous bestselling father, Tony Hillerman. The series begun by her father followed the careers of Navajo detectives Leaphorn and Chee, but is now living on from a woman’s perspective thanks to Anne. One of her father’s minor characters, Navajo Nation Police Officer Bernadette Manualito is now on the rise as the new star of the novels.

Bart was mesmerized by her lecture, and took notes on Anne Hillerman’s answers to many questions about her new mystery novels and writing in general. Anne explained that following her father’s death in October of 2008, she was often asked at her lectures if she had any intentions of continuing her father’s bestselling series. When she said no she was always met with disappointment from the questioner. Her father’s fans were most unwilling to see the series finally end.

She had never even discussed the thoughts of continuing the novels one day with her father when he was living, because she honestly felt as we all do about a loved one, that he would be there forever. But now she was faced with these questions from his fans. Anne said that at one point when she got over the hardest part of her grief at losing him, she realized that she too missed the characters and began to think, “Why not?” She spoke to her mother, whose opinion she regarded highly, about the subject to see how she felt about the possibility of picking up where her father left off with his novels. Anne quickly received her mother's blessings to continue the series.

Bart was amused at the story of how Anne HIllerman had once discussed the character, Officer Bernadette Manualito with her father. Officer Bernie became a major character in Spider Woman’s Daughter, Anne Hillerman's first novel. Though only a minor character for her father at the time, Anne told him she thought Bernie was “moving up” after reading his final novel, The Shape Shifter. In that novel, Officer Bernie had progressed from Chee’s girlfriend to his wife. Anne said that she thought it would be great if Bernie were more than just a sidekick for the male characters, and that perhaps she could actually solve the crime in the future. She said she remembers her father’s smile and his comment that it was an “interesting idea.” Bernie would have to wait just a while longer until Anne picked up her pen before she would really begin to shine.

Anne HIllerman was most generous, indeed encouraging, in sharing so much personal information about her writing process with Bart and his writing group. She gave so many great tips to him for his memoirs! She explained that her father once said he had “a drawer full of first chapters.” That was quite a comfort to Bart. Being such a young pup of a writer himself, he is having quite a bit of difficulty trying to decide exactly how to begin his memoirs. It made him feel great to know that even the best of writers has to put in much time and effort and be willing to rewrite and rethink many times over before his work is complete.

Bart also learned a lot from Anne Hillerman about the responsibility of a writer to be accurate and to respect deadlines. He is fascinated by all the facts and vivid descriptions of places he knows in New Mexico and areas around New Mexico that he has visited which appear in Anne HIllerman and her father, Tony’s books. Even fiction is based on fact, she explained, and Anne has consultants who go over those facts and discuss ideas with her to insure accuracy. A retired Navajo policeman and a retired FBI agent help her with the details of her plots responsible for bringing her novels to life. Bart thought that was pretty cool and is currently interviewing some consultants of his own. (Dog experts, take note. There could be a job for you!)

Prior to her career as mystery writer, Anne Hillerman was a journalist, and wrote many popular non-fiction books. These include Tony Hillerman's Landscape: On the Road with Chee and Leaphorn, Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes, Insiders' Guide to Santa Fe, Children's guide to Santa Fe, Gardens of Santa Fe, and Done in the Sun: Solar Projects for Children in addition to the novels, Spider Woman's Daughter and Rock with Wings which continue her father’s well-loved mystery series. Her books have won top honors at the New Mexico Book Awards. A journalist for many years, Anne Hillerman received awards from both the National Federation of Press Woman and the New Mexico Press Association. She is also founder of the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference held annually in Santa Fe, N.M.

Bart and his escort kindly thank you, Anne Hillerman, for gracing the pages of “Who’s That with Bart?” and agreeing to be his guest. It has indeed been an honor to feature you!

Here are a few of Anne Hillerman's fiction and non-fiction books. Hop in your car or on your bike or walk right on over
to a local bookstore treasure like Books of Interest or Collected Works and grab a few copies.
Support your local bookstores and get a little exercise as a bonus. You can't do that while cyber shopping!

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March 30. 2016

Sara Eyestone
American Artist , Writer, Teacher,
Curator of the Art Gallery La Posada de Santa Fe

Several months back, Bart began attending the Memoir Writing Workshops held each Thursday from 9 am-11 am at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa which are led by American artist Sara Eyestone, also the Gallery Director for the hotel. At first Bart was a bit shy about writing. After all, he is still a mere 8-month-old puppy and to this point his writing style might have been described as being a bit doggerel at best.  But to his surprise, Sara Eyestone was an incredible leader in the process of memoir writing. She began asking the group questions like, “What are the first memories of your life immediately after being whelped, what kind of obedience schools did you attend after being weaned? Were you popular with the rest of the litter? How was your relationship with your mother as a young pup in your first 10 weeks?” They seemed like simple enough questions, however once he started writing he found he just couldn't stop. Floods of memories suddenly came to mind about being born the runt of the litter, being aided and hand-fed by a great breeder at Clearlake Kennels in Houston and of being transported to Santa Fe and sitting under the seat with a personal handler so that he would never be traumatized by riding alone in a baggage compartment on the way to his new home. That’s how it works with a good writing workshop leader. The newly sparked memories and creativity never seem to stop.

Sara Eyestone is indeed gifted at giving workshops. Bart had attended one of her art marketing workshops a few months back at Artisan, (our local art supply store where even Georgia O'Keeffe shopped!) which was equally fantastic and informative. The memoir writing groupies who attend the workshops weekly are all pretty cool people too with many very talented writers among them. But a good leader brings out the best in everyone, and Sara sure has a knack for that! On top of it, everyone in the group is very kind to Bart when he attends the classes and most even come by to say hi at break which just makes Bart’s day.

 

Sara Eyestone is very well-connected with popular local writers which she somehow generously manages to share by bringing them into our workshops to talk about their work and give personal writing tips to the group. One of those guest writers was the very talented and popular writer Anne Hillerman, daughter of the late great mystery writer Tony Hillerman, who continues her father’s mystery series of the legendary Navajo sleuths Leaphorn and Chee. We were all in awe that a mystery-writing superstar took the time to talk to us about writing! More on her is coming up. While lecturing to our group, Anne Hillerman was naturally captivated by the charming Bart and you just might guess what happened next. After autographing a copy of her first mystery novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter for him, Ms. Hillerman admitted shyly that she too wanted to be seen with Bart. He immediately jumped at the chance to sit in her lap for a photo. Stay tuned for that story!

The Memoir Writing Workshops are held by Sara Eyestone on Thursday mornings from 9 am-11 am, hosted by the beautiful and richly historic La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa, one of Bart’s favorite hotels in town. And here’s the best part—they are free! How amazing is that? And speaking of history, Bart has also had the pleasure of attending the hotel’s Friday night weekly event open to the public when the knowledgeable and greatly entertaining Sara Eyestone lectures on the history of La Posada Hotel and Santa Fe and its many characters. She also talks about the art and artists she represents in the gallery at the hotel and gives a tour of the art hung throughout the hotel which is all for sale. Great fun for tourists and locals alike!

Bart hopes you will join him at the Memoir Writing Workshop some Thursday at 9 or at the Gallery Tour on a Friday night at 4 at La Posada de Santa Fe Resort and Spa when you're in town. And when you do, please be sure to drop by and give him a pat on the head!

Sara Eyestone’s career as an American Artist took off in the early 1970’s when Bruce McGaw Graphics published a series of her paintings as art posters and distributed them internationally.  Caspari followed with Eyestone’s note cards, sold in 500 museum shops worldwide. Other companies, products and opportunities followed.  Eyestone pulled out of her galleries and began painting on commission for private collectors, which she continues to do to this day.

Sara Eyestone is a great advocate for artists to license their work as signature lines, and she presents  marketing workshops around the country on this topic.  Her next marketing workshop in New Mexico is October 1 and 2 at the annual Artisan's Art Expo.  Contact Artisan's for more information and to register.  505-954-4179.

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MARCH 27, 2016

ALMA NEAS
American Artist
Santa Fe, NM

Event: Dining with the Artist
At the Amaya Restaurant
Hotel Santa Fe

 

One thing for sure about Bart, he gets to know some really cool people in Santa Fe. Bart just caught up with his favorite member of his extended family, American artist Alma Neas, AKA Auntie Alma. While dining at one of Bart’s favorite places in Santa Fe, the Museum Hill Café, he and Auntie Alma Neas caught up with the busy details of their lives. Alma’s studio is located in Santa Fe not far from where Bart lives, so he gets to visit it often and sees first hand---errrr-paw---the constantly new and exciting projects going on between those walls.

Alma Neas moved to Santa Fe in August 2010 from Hershey’s Mill (a Chester County suburb of Philadelphia) in Pennsylvania, after falling in love with the high desert during her very first visit here. To Alma, as to most artists, this land of enchantment and endless sky stay in the heart and the memory forever leading to a constant aching and longing for it that can’t be satisfied with mere visits. So Westward bound was she!

Shortly after arriving in Santa Fe, Alma Neas quickly became a part of the art scene soaking in as many art events as possible. After taking an encaustic workshop, a medium which had somehow miraculously escaped her until this point, she was immediately hooked on learning this new technique. She set up her studio to begin work with this amazing medium. Prior to encaustics, Alma worked larger than life. Her abstract paintings and drawings were often 5 or 6 feet or more. Encaustics, realistically, work better in a smaller size, so for the first time she began a smaller series of work.

Alma had always enjoyed collages and had much experience with making them in the past. She joined a group here for collage making, and she now has work at Nisa Touchon Fine Art Gallery’s International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Santa Fe.

Alma Neas studied art at Moore College of Art and Design, graduating as a painting major with a BFA and later continued studies in education at Temple University and Tyler School of Art, graduating with a MFA in Painting. She began teaching in the Philadelphia Public Schools in 1961 until her retirement in 1996. She taught not only grades 5 through 12 at various times, but also taught in the Art Education Department at Moore College, as well as holding private classes for adults in her “spare” time. As a result of her teaching assignments, Alma Neas has always had an unquenchable desire to learn new techniques and skills.

A recent “Six Decades” retrospective exhibition at Villanova University last autumn gave the public a chance to enjoy a show rich in content and technique. Unfortunately for Bart, he didn’t attend since it was a very long flight to Pennsylvania for a very little dog, but even without his presence, it was a huge success. The show included huge acrylic and oil paintings, ink drawings, ceramics, exquisite jewelry, icons, encaustics and sculpture which had been created by Alma over the past 6 decades. Happily, as Bart will be happy to tell you from his recent studio visit, she is far from through creating incredible art. Alma is constantly learning, experimenting, and very generously sharing her knowledge with other artists.

On April 13, 2016 at 6 PM Alma Neas will be the featured artist at Hotel Santa Fe’s monthly “Dining with the Artist” night. It is a not-to-be-missed event. Alma will display her art as she presents the important influences that teaching had on her career as an artist. Read more about this exciting evening by clicking here to be joined with Hotel Santa Fe’s website. And when you go, do be sure to drop by and say hello to Bart. He just may be hiding under one of the chairs in the lobby!

Presently Alma Neas is being represented by Rey Móntez at his La Capilla Gallery in Truchas and her work may be seen in the collections of Encaustic Arts Institute and the Nisa Touchon Fine Art Gallery’s International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction in Santa Fe. Back East Alma Neas is also represented by Brent Byrne’s Gallery in Bryn Mawr, PA. Read more about Alma and view her work on her website, almaneas.com.

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MARCH 9, 2016

FRANQUE ZAMORA
Artist/Santero
Commerce City, Colorado

 

Please click on the links in red to read more about a topic.

To launch Bart's website we were honored to have Bart meet and pose with the talented Spanish Market artist/santero, Franque Zamora from Commerce City, Colorado. Bart's escort met Franque at Spanish Market many years ago when he was exhibiting there for his first time. Spanish Market is the oldest and largest juried show of its kind. Since that time Franque has won many awards from The Spanish Colonial Arts Society which runs the Market, including their poster artist. Spanish Market is held each year on the last weekend of July in Santa Fe on The Plaza in Santa Fe. For those of you who have never heard of Spanish Market, you have no idea what you've been missing! I will be writing more about that soon, so please check back with us for more information about this incredible event on The Plaza where Northern New Mexican and Colorado artists known as santeros and santeras gather to display and sell their faith based art done in a 200 year old traditional style unique to this part of the world.

Franque Zamora is an accomplished artist known not only for his retablos (paintings done on wood with natural materials of devotional subject matter which you can see all over New Mexican churches), but also for his contemporary art which he shows in his home town of Denver, Colorado. Franque received his education in Mexico City at Escuela Nacional de Pintura y Grabado "La Esmeralda." He has been exhibiting on both sides of the border since 1994. In 2007, he began making traditional New Mexican devotional folk art, using the materials, methods, and iconography which are over 200 years old in addition to his contemporary art.


Franque has exhibited in many solo and joint shows in Mexico City and Denver, in addition to being represented here in the Santa Fe area by Móntez Gallery. Happily for Bart, Franque Zamora was recently chosen to paint the incredible mural pictured above behind Bart at The Museum of Spanish Colonial Art. While here, Franque met Bart for the first time and as it is with everyone, he was instantly charmed. Of course, Franque begged to be the first celebrity to be photographed with Bart!The Museum's new show, "Chimayó: A Pilgrimage through Two Centuries" exhibit will run for a year, so you have plenty of time to visit the museum and see Franque's mural in person. It is breath-taking! The mural is a rendition of the altarpiece at the Santuario of Chimayó, another not-to-be-missed spot near Santa Fe when you visit. If you can't make it to Spanish Market to meet Franque in person this summer on July 30th & 31st, 8am - 5pm on The Plaza, you can see and purchase his retablos at Móntez Gallery in Truchas, New Mexico, about 6 miles from the Santuario of Chimayó.

As for the mural he created for The Spanish Colonial Museum of Art, it was hard to believe that anyone could produce that kind of beauty in such a short amount of time. The Museum had planned to have Franque work during the openings which occurred on the weekend of March 12th. Guests at the opening were delighted to watch him paint. Franque worked with his usual love and passion for his art, but it was not completely finished until early the following week. And what a masterpiece it was! Here is the work as it progressed through the week.

This is the extraordinary finished mural!

Happily, an exhausted Franque Zamora got one day to recuperate before heading back to his home in Colorado. He had always wanted to see our magnificent Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument located next to the Cochiti Indian Reservation and near to Santa Fe, so we headed up for a hike and happily made it to the top to enjoy the breath-taking view! I promise to write more about Tent Rocks later. It's a not to be missed hike for visitors!



New Mural by Franque Zamora

On March 12 & 13th, Spanish Market artist Franque Zamora created a large-scale painted interpretation of the retablo mayor at the Santuario de Chimayó. The painting, 6’ X 15’, is the centerpiece of the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art’s upcoming exhibition Chimayó: A Pilgrimage through Two Centuries, which opens to the public on March 19th.

Chimayó: A Pilgrimage through Two Centuries

Exhibition Opening and Lecture
Enrique Lamadrid, Pilgrimage to Chimayó: Contemporary Portrait of a Living Tradition.
Lecture at the Museum of Spanish Colonial Art, Saturday, March 19, 2pm. Reservations recommended. Free to members or by museum admission

Legends of healing earth have long surrounded Chimayó and help explain how the Santuario chapel – El Santuario de Nuestro Señor de Esquipulas – has become a spiritual center and the destination of the large annual Holy Week pilgrimage. This lecture will delve into the tradition of pilgrimage – what it is, what it does for people, and how it has changed across time.

Enrique R. Lamadrid, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Spanish and Portuguese, at UNM and has taught folklore, literature, and cultural history. He is the author of numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics including Pilgrimage to Chimayó: Contemporary Portrait of a Living Tradition with Sam Horwarth.

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