Sunday, February 25, 2018

Taos Is Art

I’m pleased to be among the 66 artists whose artwork was juried into “Taos Is Art” joining 18 invited masters for a total of 84 banners throughout historic downtown Taos from April through October. The program will include 59 large banners flown on the Plaza and on our main street, Paseo del Pueblo, along with 25 on streets surrounding famed Taos Plaza. My photograph “Moon Over Ranchos” will be among the 25 15”x30” banners. I join photographers Zoe Zimmerman, Sasha Vam Dorp, Nina Anthony, Meredith Garcia, Debbie Lujan and Steve Bundy. Congratulations to all.

Taos has been a mythic art colony for 120 years and continues to be a singular place revered for creating art. No place I know compares to Taos in embracing art as a way of life. And that's not just the visual arts. There's a vibrant writing community and a music scene that compares with cities twenty times its 5,500 population. The night before last I saw British bluesman William Topley at the Solar Center north of town. It was the first stop on his North American tour before starting a residency in Austin. It's telling that an internationally known musician even knows there is a Taos. 

Taos is art.

I’ll get back to the weekly portraits next time.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

A face at the time

Climbing guide, Alain Comeau, 2002

I'm launching a weekly series of portraits. Some are damn old. There are at least two reasons that I'm digging so deep. One, some like this one, were shot with my first big boy digital camera and, two, I wanted a subject that needs only one image. I'm entering my film making period and need as much time as possible to learn that complex and foreign language. Third, as if I need it, is that I'm not photographing much and need to fill blog space the lazy man's way. Resort to the old stuff.

My first filmic endeavor will be a short video that shines a light on the fraught issue of meeting women in the metoo moment. I threw the idea out there and my fellow students chose the darn thing. It's supposed to be sketch in the vein of Saturday Night Live, one that threads the needle of laughs with appreciation for the gravity of the conversation.

So a man goes into a bar......

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Good Bones

Pueblo has suffered a series of setbacks since its apex at the turn of the 20th century. The great flood of 1921 nearly destroyed downtown Pueblo and 1,500 people lost their lives. And when the city’s steel mill closed in 1982 the knockout blow was delivered. As Pueblo’s biggest employer the closure left “Steel City” without its economic engine and with its future uncertain.

In its heyday the city boasted a vibrant downtown and seemed destined to become the capitol of Colorado. The bones of the once thriving city center remain but its stores and businesses are largely shuttered. The River Walk neighborhood along the banks of the Arkansas River is Pueblo’s attempt to create an arts and entertainment district, one that has potential to attract tourists and new residents to the city. That hasn't materialized but there's tremendous potential for it. We even mused about building a vital art community where low rents and empty space abound. But the leap of faith would be huge. Right now Pueblo is a languishing mill town where Olive Garden and Texas Roadhouse are considered upscale dining. I am such a snob.

Drawn as I am to urban downtowns, I've noticed Pueblo’s skyline each time I've driven I-25 to and from Denver. The Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in downtown Pueblo lured me off the freeway a couple of years when I stopped to see a stellar Ansel Adams exhibit and again two weeks ago for an opening. Combine a visit to the arts center with lunch at the redoubtable Shamrock Brewing Company for house made beers and hearty pub fare. Those are the makings of worthwhile afternoon. 

And while you're at it, take a stroll through the trove of late 19th century structures that fill the city. I love them and the signs that speak to halcyon days.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Good Morning at the Goodnight Barn

The Goodnight Barn was built in 1870 and is the only standing edifice from the Charles Goodnight’s sprawling Rock Canyon Ranch west of Pueblo, Colorado. The stone barn is considered architecturally significant and is the subject of a fundraising effort intended to restore it to its historic glory. Part of that effort is an art show that opened Friday night at the splendid Sangre de Cristo Arts Center in Pueblo's downtown. 

Over the years the barn fell into disrepair, sheltered transients and earned the moniker “the party house” for reasons that are self-explanatory. Today it's propped up by beams, details of which are abstracted below.

While the barn is historically important, its provenance gained luster when I learned that Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, his cattle driving partner back in Texas, were the real-life models for the characters Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae in Larry McMurtry’s epic “Lonesome Dove.” 

And now you know the rest of the story.