It’s Saturday night and Judy Collins is singing to me…In My Life…Amazing Grace…Send in the Clowns…Both Sides Now, every tune both pleasantly nostalgic and still pertinent. We had a most enjoyable art opening and poetry event at North Fourth last night and some of my best old friends were there. Today I’ve been writing all day, with the occasional dip into a book and food and plant watering. My photos of the people and places ‘in my life’ surround me…I’m very happy.
One of the things that makes me happiest is color and my workplace, the North Fourth Art Center, joyfully reflects that love. While everyone isn’t as enamored of bright, some might say gaudy, hues, fellow staffer Tim is my partner in crime. Together we have re-imagined the Center as a lively background for our artists’ paintings and performances. And simply to pleasure our eyes.
From spring 2013 to spring 2017, this blog served as my almost daily journal. I wasn’t sure I would ever return to it so this spring I turned its four years into a blog book, quickly realizing in the process that Today was an important (to me) record of four years of life as lived by me in Albuquerque, New Mexico with family, friends, work, weather, plants, food and all the rest of that ordinary stuff. Why not continue then? Getting back in the habit of a daily photo and comments/observations/joys/complaints is the hard part. Here goes.
At the North Fourth Art Center where I work, we are all learning to live more responsibly and one way to do that is—composting. Out with my camera (an actual stand-alone camera which doesn’t ring or speak or wake me up) on a walkabout of the parking lot plant life I realized our compost bed was actually quite photogenic.
You may have noticed that I’ve paid slight attention to dance since 2013 when Global DanceFest was put to bed. After focusing on contemporary dance much of the time for 25 years or so I was so through—not however because I no longer loved my dancer friends or the art itself. I just couldn’t prostrate myself to one more grantor or worry about one more half full house or have one more person tell me how much they appreciated the brilliant dance I was bringing to Albuquerque when they’d only been to one performance in the past year! There. Promise. That was my One Long Whining sentence. (Trump is going to make more people ashamed of whining—as the disreputable master of the act—than all of our mothers ever managed to do with their stern admonishments against the nasty practice.)
Enough about me—except for the part about how I’m regaining some interest in and pleasure from Dance. This is about dance—or about how the next few posts will be about dance. The Shift Dance Festival is about to happen—the curtain is going up tonight at the North Fourth Art Center. I’ll write more about the artists and the work later but for now it feels good just to say I’m excited about the next three nights of dance.
Shift Dance is a company of young dancers who have banded together to bring some excitement back to the Albuquerque dance scene—which right now does not exist at the local level and certainly we are invisible at the national and international level. So Shift wants to fix this sad situation. Great Good Luck to Them.
Here are a few photos from a couple of nights ago when Allie Hankins from Portland was rehearsing; I watched for awhile and am happy to report that she is a most fascinating performer…I say fascinating especially because she made me curious, wanting to know what was coming just around the next moves, the next words, the next shift… And that’s all I ask of artists really…just please make me curious. Allie is performing Friday night, so be sure and come to that if you’re here in New Mexico, and definitely come tonight and Saturday night as well…IT’S ALL GOOD.
Since yesterday’s post was a bit of a cheat with that Big Trip photo, I will make up for it today by posting a few photos taken near North Fourth Art Center in our North Valley ‘hood.
Buen Viaje danced and Equilibrium acted and it was a glamorous night at North Fourth Art Center. There were dancers: Ruth, Grace, Sarah, Cassie. And dance choreographer/BVD artistic director, Bryn, and ex-Buen Viaje dancer and visitor, Val. Saturday night on North 4th is a wild and lovely experience.
It is cold. Not back-east or up-north cold but cold. It’s dry brown boring cold. That time in the middle; ‘the time of no paid holidays’ it’s called, between New Year’s Day and Memorial Day.
Let’s review the big events that get us through this long five months. Possible snowstorms, Downton Abbey season, Oscars, new House of Cards, my birthday, warm walking mornings arrive, San Diego visit, and finally to Memorial Day and Minnesota. Since I don’t have a Valentine and I’m not a Christian I have left Valentine’s Day and Easter off My Calendar.
My Big 2015 Trip is still expanding and contracting, with the Russian/Mongolian middle practically cast in concrete and the beginning (Norway) and ending (South Korea) still malleable.
So far I have my calendared plans, a new medium-size REI backpack and a vest I intend to wear every single day with pockets for passport, cards, and Smartphone. I have a new Costco raincoat and a gift card for travel shoes from Benders in Grand Rapids, Minnesota.
My whole family is getting through February with flying colors: Robert and Marsha are not depressed because they’re in Florida and their dog is healthy. Scott and Sandra are biking and hiking and zumba-ing, young Steven is job hunting and Teresa is selecting her grad school—eliminating Virginia Tech due to its location in a rural land of ice and snow, moving on to Chicago this weekend. Steven and Michele are working working exercising exercising, Patricia is hostessing and studying in West Texas and Sara is now driving her own car to non-stop cheering activities.
Didn’t really start this post to do a family report but it’s happened. So I should have some family pics to put with it—but I don’t.
How about February in Albuquerque at North Fourth Art Center?
Fortunately, for me I don’t suffer from Big-Shiny-New envy so in the course of my dance presenting life it was never a problem for me that most of my colleagues were inviting artists to prettier or bigger or grander performance venues then we could offer at North Fourth. Nevertheless most visiting artists seemed fairly content here—in fact some professed to be charmed by the color and warmth and intimacy and, for the most part, were probably sincere about that.
Now, as we focus exclusively on our Day and Exploratory Arts programs and community arts users, the center and the neighborhood seem even more appropriately steeped in that North Valley ambience of traditional New Mexicans in their traditional adobes; artists in more eclectic models or re-models of the traditional; too many used car lots, ‘easy’ financing places and nail salons to count; an elegant vineyard; and, just over there, the slow-moving shallow Rio Grande with its banks of cottonwoods and brush and the odd wildflower and a coyote or two.
It is Real Albuquerque around here. Not very pretty but with a funky, art-friendly, old New Mexico, working class sensibility.
The Morning View. Interestingly enough, as I did a quick edit of these photos, I realized how much our Center needs a facelift. Signs shabby, parking lot pockmarked, facade fading. And then I remembered the legislative session is about to begin. Wonder if there is the tiniest hope for some funding. To explore.
There is a difference after all between quirky downscale charm and pending dilapidation.
With each job comes a work space, frequently called The Office. Big offices with windows or the passenger seat of your car. Sometimes there’s only a counter, a kitchen table or a platform.
Since offices are the places where many of us live out much of our lives they are worth contemplating for a moment. The history of my spaces for doing my work goes something like this.
First job, board marker at Cargill Inc. in Wayzata, Minnesota. Yes, a very old-fashioned position. Although Cargill has taken over much of the food world for better or worse, generally worse I think, back then it probably wasn’t quite so greedy—but I don’t know that because I was one of those pretty little high school graduates from a small Minnesota town come to work in the big city and I wasn’t paying attention.
There was Oscar, the grain buyer god, and we girls posting the price quotes on a giant blackboard as they came in over something like a ticker tape machine I think. It’s been awhile….
No desk at that job. Moved to Florida which was the next thing those pretty young girls from the rural north did, although California was also a destination. In Florida I served morning coffee at the NCO club; no desk but I met my first and only ex-husband there.
Got married, had kids, worked at dead end jobs with not even a sign of my own space in sight. The counter in Sears credit department was as good as it got. But then college promised something a little grander eventually, right? Not so fast. A degree in Secondary Ed. teaching history with no accompanying sports licensure got me into a lot of teachers’ lounges as the sub of the day. Working on a Masters had me leaning against yet one more counter at the Minneapolis Salvation Army, downtown center.
Then my luck changed. My own desk. True, it was at McGovern for President headquarters and I was making $25 a week or so…but as volunteer coordinator— I. Had. A. Desk.
So the story goes. There were some other jobs, usually in conjunction with a main one—that old single mom routine. Several of them involved the front seat of my car. No, it’s not what you’re thinking…more like being a surveyor for the Gallup Poll or doing a field study for NM State University in Gallup.
Then I went to work for NM State Government and finally had my own desk. Better yet, my next gig was the City of Albuquerque where eventually I had a spacious private office at the KiMo with big windows overlooking Central Avenue. Wow. Definitely the high point of my office life.
Which brings me to today. Cleaning and organizing my office so it can be painted over the weekend. It’s a nice office I have here as executive director of North Fourth Art Center. True, there are no windows, and with a lot of students and staff using the same facilities it’s all quite far removed from having a key to the executive bathroom. Still it is my own private office and it’s almost as big as the Tech Director’s space, but then he has to keep all that equipment with him. Whereas all I must keep with me are a desk, a computer, a few maps and a flip chart or two. The computer enables me to check in ever so infrequently with my ‘friends.’ You know who you are. I make cute newsletters instead of perusing the typical office porn we always hear about—but then we’re mostly girls here so interest in porn is probably pretty limited. Another one of those things I don’t know for sure? The maps serve as my office windows, I glance up or gaze longingly, and there’s the whole world. Which I can access as soon as I work enough days to earn enough vacation….
Sometimes a change is in order. With new paint colors I might be more efficient. With a new work table I might be more enthusiastic. With new pictures on my wall I might be more art appreciative. With newly-painted little green tables I might feel … fresher? Greener? Springier? But the maps will return. There’s the world…there it is. The Entire Compete Whole World.