5 BDR/3 BATHS. FORMAL DINING ROOM. PRIVATE GATED. GARDEN MOVIE THEATER
ACROSS THE STREET FROM LA POSADA RESORT & SPA.
HISTORIC EAST-SIDE OF SANTA FE, NM
2 BLOCKS TO DOWNTOWN PLAZA
5 BDR/3 BATHS. FORMAL DINING ROOM. PRIVATE GATED. GARDEN MOVIE THEATER
ACROSS THE STREET FROM LA POSADA RESORT & SPA.
HISTORIC EAST-SIDE OF SANTA FE, NM
2 BLOCKS TO DOWNTOWN PLAZA
CATCH THE ART WAVE OF SANTA FE
Living in Santa Fe is a fertile landscape of more than sage, lavender, mud and ancient dwellings. It is where art branches out in new directions of livingness.
Along the path of adventures in the arts, I attended “AT HOME WITH FASHION, presented by ShowHouse Santa Fe in collaboration with Artgraze; a league of interior designers, artists, and galleries to embellish our homes with, “the art of living with art.” They patterned classic and chic Fashion Design on Interiors selected by ShowHouse Santa Fe founders, David Naylor and Jennifer Ashton. The Santa Fe Interior Designers set up shop in a quintessential Santa Fe home and opened the doors to the public to eat, drink, dance, get lost, or be discovered. Along the interior paths of the home, artists, designers, home buyers, and sponsors conversed while behind the scenes; funds were dispersed from a generous monarchy to support the Community Foundation of Dollars4Schools. The designers worked for eight weeks, to transform a modest décor, into a stage setting of flamboyance, élan, and their secret design techniques. The designers; Jennifer Ashton, Jackie Butler, Gloria Devan, Pam Duncan, Emily Henry, Edy Keeler, David Naylor Annie O’Carroll, Lisa Samuels, Paul Rochford and Michael Violante. They schlepped all the furnishings, and accessories, including wardrobe accents, and art work to the home and coutured the house as if it was a model. The epervescese of this lively group spread outdoors, onto a glittering garden patio designed by Catherine Clemens where the best Barbeque chicken I ever tasted permeated the painted postcard silhouette of sunset on the mesa. Who was there? A man in yellow rubber suit, fashion models, filmmakers, photographers, art collectors, and Antique Activists. In the crowd I noticed a distinctive gathering of men and women stylists bearing: squash necklaces, Concha belts, O’Keefing hair styles, and jewelry to stop traffic at Paseo Peralta and Cerrillos Road. The 4747 square foot Las Campanas Estate is listed with Ashley Margetson of Sotheby International Real Estate.
SOMETIMES AN INTERVIEW WITH A MUSICIAN GOES DEEPER than a narrative history of recordings, concert calendar and early training. That happened when I met Jorge Gomez; founder, keyboardist and musical director of Tiempo Libre, an all Cuban born Timba band.
We met in a modest hotel room in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he and his six band members were invited to play for the second time at the Lensic Theater. It was steam-bath hot and muggy that Friday afternoon. As I stood in the doorway, Jorge wrapped up a recording session. After introductions’ everyone cleared out except Jorge and Raul Rodriguez, the trumpet player. Raul, propped up against the headboard of an unmade bed, one leg bent at the knee, the other straight out. He reminded me of Miles; cool in his skin and unflappable.
Jorge and I sat at the kitchenette bar, between us his keyboard on the countertop. Eagerness to begin was dilating from his eyes, so I began with my favorite question to all immigrants; how did it feel when you landed in the United States?
“Oh my God! It was my dream; all through childhood in Havana.”
“Do you love America now?”
His arms shot straight up, as he rose from his chair.
“Are you kidding? We love America! How can you not? This is the best country in the world. I’ve been all over: Europe, Asia, Mexico, and Caribbean. You have all the opportunities; you make your own life here, whatever you want.” He shifts his attention to Raul, agreeably excluded.
“You can’t do this in Cuba—right Raul?” Jorge leans forward and I’m struck by the indisputable untainted smile. Jorge continues to dramatize his arrival in Manhattan, with arms and eyes, “I got out because I had friends in New York. They helped me get gigs in the bars, weddings, and then we got into the clubs.” The room is silent except for Jorge’s satin smooth transitions from one question to the next. That alone is reason enough to meet Jorge for conversation.
“We were not allowed to listen to Cuban salsa music, or American music; only classical. I trained at the Conservatory all my childhood. I play all of them; Beethoven, Brahms, all of them.”
“Where did you learn Salsa?”
“From America! Yes. As teenagers we climb to the roof and we to wait till state programmed Cuban music goes off the air at 1:00am. Then we wrap aluminum around the antenna and turn our radio on. We pick up American music; like Gloria Esteban, Michael Jackson, everyone. We listened all night so we’d take the rhythms’ in our heads you know.”
“What’s the difference between Cuban Salsa and Latin Salsa?”
“Everyone claims this is their Salsa; it’s Latin, Marenge, Colombian… it is a blend of many cultures and musical influence. We take from each other. All the instruments I learn come from listening. They teach me everything; and I teach them.”
“Do Americans play Conga different than Cubans?”
“It depends on the person. See if the person is open to learn everything then he push through. For example we have been playing all these places like Michigan, Minnesota, Minneapolis…all those places that are so.” He pauses to express it precisely. Cold he says, laughing out loud.
“And I’ve seen American band playing Cuban salsa so so good, my God, so well. Blue eyes and blond hair.” Jorge breaks to howl out his enthusiasm and surprise, and demonstrate the memory.
“Who do you like to listen to do today?”
“I don’t know the names, but I have a lot of friends, and they call me and say, ‘I have a band, you come and hear me.’ So I go to the club and Wow! This is good music! Everyone is dancing. I love to see them dancing! I want to see them happy. If they want to sit and listen, good, if they want to sing along, good, they want to dance good. Everybody have a different reaction. My job is to transfer the energy to the person; that’s the idea. Not to play the music for me; I want them to be happy.”
“ How do you do that?”
“ Sometimes you are sick, and no matter how many pills you take you are still sick. Right?”
I nod and watch his facial expressions twitch in thought.
“Then let’s say I come and say, Wow! You look so good man, you are looking good, and he claps’ his hands and pantomimes the joy he’s transferring. ‘You wanna a coffee cake and coffee, yea, come with me, (clapping again) you want to sit here? Yea sit here and see the sun.’ Suddenly, you feel good.” He nods his head. “Trust me.”
Jorge is toe tapping in place, his arms positioned in a warm world embrace.
“You forget all about the pills. Trust me, that is the kind of energy I give.”
“I suppose you don’t get sick?”
“Never. For sure. Never. I don’t know what this head pain is… how you say, headache? Like friends say I have so many problems, so many headaches, I can’t go out. I say, ‘What! Come on we go the beach, to the sand. Bring your conga. What are you crazy! Come on!’ So he comes and we play on the beach in Miami.”
Jorge drums on the counter top. “Have a beer, have another.’ And everyone on the beach comes to us. The whole idea is to forget your problems. So my friend says to me, ‘I had the best day of my life.’ Yea! Be happy! This is youth; this is how you stay young. Life is so big.”
I shake my head, “Not in America; we concentrate on sickness and misery.”
“Yea! You don’t have sickness yet, but you are going to get it.” He ruptures into laughter, and takes a sip of beer. My father tell me one time you have to hear your body; your body going to take you in the right direction. Just listen and you are going to feel so good. Sometimes I can’t go to sleep at night. All the songs and ideas in my head and I can’t sleep. I must write it down, and the next morning I feel so good, because I didn’t go to sleep. I drink beer because I am too happy-over happy.”
“Where did you learn this happiness?”
“From all the difficult paths I have in my life. Childhood was very difficult;no food, no water, no electricity, no plumbing. What you going to do? Party, go outside, dance, play basketball, baseball. I get my friends and they say, my problems’ are bigger than yours. Bla bla bla.”
I’m laughing now as Jorge continues to articulate his life philosophy.
“ At the end of the day you are so happy because you see people less fortunate and some more, and you are in the middle, and you want to help those people, you can’t go it alone.”
He chuckles again. His smile is broad as his cheek line. A streak of sunlight crossed the keyboard, and Jorge’s eye and brows are in motion, as much as his legs arms and hands.
“ What you’re going to hear tonight is a lot of crazy crazy energy, good music, a lot of stories. You’re going to see a lot of soul. When Raul plays his trumpet you’re going to turn inside out.”
“What is Timba music?”
“A mixture of jazz, classical, rock, and Cuban music.”
“Sounds like a musical.”
“Yes, Yes! We are in preparing for that.”
Four hours later I was in the Lensic Theater, twelve rows from the stage. Lead singer Xavier Mill, Jorge, Raul, Louis Betran Castillo on flute and sax, Wilvi Rodriguez Guerra on bass, Israel Morales Figueroa on drums and Leandro Gonzales on Congas opened the set, and five minutes into it I was below the stage. Two and half hours later I was still dancing, along with half the audience. That’s entertainment! http://www.tiempolibremusic.com
The three-time Grammy nominated band will perform Thu, Sep 26, 2013 at a Special Event at the Arts Garage in support of AVDA, Inc. Arts Garage in Delray Beach, Florida.
Eat less, drink more, and write. I know that’s bad advise. It’s mine. We have to own how we absorb the tumbles and falls. We all have them. I mean, there is no answer, no universal answer, or political party, that will bring you to that point.
You just have to find the path that you belong on.Mine is all about gambling.
I love to be tested. Isn’t that crazy?
I’m watching the double yellow line between coming and going on interstate 25 from Santa Fe past Albuquerque. In the rear view mirror I see scaffolding, an airless sprayer, paint tubs, tools, a wardrobe box, and suitcases. It is the same VW Van I used to refuse to ride in because it smelled of wet drywall. Now cushioned in the front seat, the wide windshield to the world saturates the bullet holes of a wrong-way love. It mattered before, the van thing, now it doesn’t. I’m grasping for the road, to burn out the memories, on the other side of the double yellow line.
“ Are you glad you came with me?”
“ So far, but we’re still in New Mexico. Try not to drive me over the edge, okay? I mean with the speaker phone talking Taiwanese to B of A, or.. would you hold the steering wheel with two hands please…see, there’s an accident.”
“ Wow, the car flipped over.”
“ Yea, that kind of thing.”
“ I’m a safe driver.”
“ I know, but only about half of you is here.”
“ Whatta you mean?”
“The other half is glaring into the distance, the mountains, the clouds, the crows, imagining yourself a dinosaur.”
“Not no more.”
“Why? Did she make an adult out of you? I hate her for that. John did the same to me.”
Scenery whizzes by; snow capped mountains, speeding patrol cars, highway signs; it’s barely absorbed before it is gone. Make it like this, easy to forget, like the scenery. I fell asleep, a dreamless nap, the kind that wakes you displaced but without alarm. Rudy was leaning away from the sun-splashed window, one loose hand on the steering wheel.
“Where are we now?”
“Someone told me it is the drug capital of the United States. Where is everyone? Maybe they hide indoors so as not get shot.”
“Gallup is also the largest Indian center in the Southwest and the ceremonial capital of Native America. There are many American peoples in the Gallup/Four Corners region. By far the most numerous are the Navajo, who are today widely regarded for their achievements in wool, with original Navajo rugs and blankets (both new and antique) sought by private collectors and museums throughout the world. “Wikipedia
Five hours later we are sitting by the window of Pesto, in Flagstaff and talking alternately, not in conversation, but in spite of, John, Match.com and the billboard irony of our circumstances. Even though we hadn’t checked into the motel yet, or even knew where it was, the adventure of livingness struck, and I climbed out of myself.
“It’s like it never happened, you know?” I said.
“Oh yea, I know.”
In the middle of the night I woke up screaming at John. Rudy was in the next bed, and didn’t hear me, so I opened the drapes and stared out the window at the brightest star and listened to the voice of reason that visits me sometimes. What love scars bring to the world is poetry, literature, art, music, theater, gospel, and dance! So where will this take me? I thought about the documentary on Nicholas Ray, and his remark, “ Without content all you have is composition.”
I wish morning would come.
Starting in 1999, every road trip between NM and CA includes a morning at Macy’s Coffee House. I entered this time without the explosion of zest in previous trips, when my heart was in one piece, and found enough distractions to pull me further out of wrong-way love.
A group of middle-aged men, retired cops or civil servants were my first source of entertainment. At a wooden table, conversing microphone loud about city ordinances was the leader. One Fry boot perched on a chair, and the other on the floor, his belly protruded way beyond a few beers here and there. His pals, all looking up to him, waiting for an injection of his wry humor, and dirty jokes. Rudy is talking about how much he loves Flagstaff, but what I hear is a tide of elation rising up, just resurfacing now, after a good nights rest in the Hampton Inn.
Somewhere between Flagstaff and San Diego, we stopped for Snickers and gas, and I walked around a neglected weed field, kicked rocks, and asked myself when was the last time, I just fell into the moment without that incessant poke of reality; unpublished stories, bills, missing folders, clutter, grocery lists, mail, websites, photo sharing, John’s lunch, John’s phone calls, the news of the world.
“I feel better Rudy, I haven’t cried all day.”
“It’s still early, he chuckled. I have an idea, let’s take the off roads.”
“How off we talking?”
“Check your map, see if Interstate 8 runs into 10?”
I reached for the Droid, and fussed with the tricky touch pad.
“No, it doesn’t.”
“So why bother with maps.”
“I know–we’ll take 78, through the countryside. It will be pretty. Look, see the sheep?”
The pasture was yellow as corn, hay stacked with sheep, hundreds of them.
“Let’s stop.” I said.
“Even sheep make money. LouLou, there has to be a way for you to capitalize on your writing, and not wait for some jackass to hire you. There has to be. Even I know people pay to click on website ads.”
“You said you had 165 clicks the other day.”
“That was once! Mostly between 10-50 a day.”
“So! It adds up.”
“Look, the sheep are watching us.”
The sheep rose as soon as the car door opened, but they just strolled along, the babies following the mother’s, and one with a limp, dragging himself behind. Every one slightly different, but all part of a community, a gang, with primitive ancestral traditions and routines.
The highway now was split with white lines, and we were sandwiched between limitless textured scenery; Manzanita trees, orchards, big boulders, a dry creek, and then we were driving along one stretch, my legs curled up under me, and I am grazing on unhurried thoughts, just ripples of ideas and dreams.
“Did you see that?” Rudy blurted out.
“That guy! I just saw a guy walking alongside a weary looking burro dragging a miniature red covered wagon. I gotta turn around.”
“ Hi folks, how you doing?” He extended a hoof like hand, weathered as paws, “I’m Howard West.” Howard was outdoor fit; sunglasses, hat, boots, and evenly tanned skin.
“Hi, I’m Rudy, and that’s LouLou.”
“Hi LouLou,” he shook like a city man with hardened hard-labor hands.
“ Hi. This is some way of traveling. What are you doing?”
“ I’m on a book tour, The Quicksilver Key Book Tour.
I caught my laughter when I noticed his educated aura; that veil of disguise we think fools everyone.
“It’s about the history, the lost history–the West in particular and how the government accrues the investment of the rancher, and the universe. If you read my books you’ll see….”
I was petting the dog, a friendly furry mixed breed, and Howard was now blending Rudy in his claw, with this rockabilly wisdom that I didn’t understand.
“How far are you going today Howard?” Rudy asked.
“I do about 10 or 12 miles a day. Whenever I feel like stopping, I just pull over. You been down to the Dunes yet?”
“ Where’s that?” Rudy was keenly addressing the wagon, it’s wheels, and accessories, but only I knew that.
“ Down the road. Now, those kids have money. They ride doon-buggies-sell for anywhere from five thousand to seventy five thousand dollars! They took me on a ride.”
“ Wow! Hey do you have any power source?”
“ Sure do. See this–jets up the whole works, laptop,
lights, even my stove. Let me show you.”
I tinkered with the bell around the donkey, I came to find out was named Blue Pegasus, and watched Howard lead Rudy to the watering hold.
“I have books and disks; the books are $12 and a disk is $5, which one will it be?”
“We’ll take a disk Howard.”
“All righty… and the distinct differentiation of
I was about to interrupt when another car passed by, and Howard was distracted by the prospect of a purchase.
“Howard, you’re the coolest! I love what your doing man–I wish I could do it.” Rudy shook his hand.
“Everyone has a book.”
We drove past the sand dunes, and all that bleached rolling sand smooth as pressed sheets, jolted my mind like a wrench.
“ Howard West probably went to Harvard and has a degree in History.”
“You may be right. Why can’t you do that?”
“I would if I was a man.”
“No, not the road part, just get your writing on a disk and sell it. If you sell them for 10 bucks, and you sell…..
“You mean my columns?”
“Whatever! You’ve been writing since I met you for Christ’s sake.”
“Yea I could do a collection of columns, or even a book. Why didn’t I think of that?”
“You’ve been too preoccupied with other stuff.”’
“Look, they’re having Superbowl Sunday party’s right here in Brawley.” On either side of highway 78 a campfire gathering of trailers were wedged in a circle, boom boxes blaring, American flags blowing, and a dog tied to a post.
“I took out my phone and scrolled through the numbers until I got to John, and then I deleted it. Maybe it was the dead cats in the road, or the poor teenager back in Anza without any future ahead of her but the donuts, or Howard, or the clarity of a cobalt blue evening sky staring down at me, that got me to move over to the other side of the double yellow line, and let John go.
“ I’m starving, why didn’t I bring any snacks? “
“ We’ll stop up here in Anza.”
“ How do you know Anza.”
“ I just do. You don’t want to know.
“Oh I do… please.. Rudy, I really don’t care.”
“ Can I tell you anyway? She knew antiques, once we saw …
“ Oh Gawd.” I threw my head back and laughed without actually any noise.
“ Stop, there’s the store.”
“ You know what else?”
“ She couldn’t understand why I cared about you so much.”
“That’s a good ending.”
My phone rang, an unknown number, never pick those ones up, could be the guy who said his father killed Ben Siegel.
“I can’t stop now. We’re on the freeway nutcase. Who called?”
To be continued.
I was a child of the fifties; when raising kids was easily defined. Mommy stayed home and made sure the kids didn’t burn the house down. Daddy went to an office to make money to pay for the house, and children waited until they were grown up to find out anything really useful. It was before the generation-gap was coined, or children knew how to be witty and sharp. In our air-tight neighborhood of Bel Air, Los Angeles, we were naïve, privileged, kids; bogged down with falling off bicycles, not being chosen for the school play, and bringing home the most candy at Halloween.
I believed in Santa Clause, the Easter bunny, and if I was good, Mommy would let me stay up and watch the Sunday night Variety Show.
America was threatened by the Russian Communists and Organized crime. Public enemy Number One was New York Mafia Boss, Frank Costello. Frank became super famous when he refused to testify on national television for Senator Estes Kefauver. The Kefauver Committee delivered explosive headlines between 1950 and 1951, as the government unveiled the hidden hand of the Mafia in the United States.
Adventures in Livingness
A sunrise of prosperity and a sunset on hardship.
In my home there is one large staircase window that faces east. Each morning before I descend the stairs I stop at the landing, to watch the day begin. The sun must rise past an assortment of tree limbs and trunks, and up over the hillside of the mountains. By the time I’ve had my coffee, the sun has risen above the obstructions. I am now jerked awake, like a slight nudge a parent might give you, ‘Come on–wake up! You have school.” The sunlight guides me through the morning, and argues with my disagreement of the days activity.
The moment the café took effect, I want to begin writing, but shameless sunlight in my eyes and the dance of the birds are tempting me to step outdoors. When you live in seasonal climate, days and nights lure you outside, like old lovers that you must see again. The gradual awakening unfolds layers of thoughts, beginning with the anxiety of the times. The impending hardship oozes out like a bad smell. Some mornings I cannot look at the newspaper, the headlines read like promotional movie advertisements, banks bankrupt, homes foreclosing, woman commits suicide, the shocking prick of national disasters is a surgical awakening.
There is no time to waste, no money to squander, it is a time of reduction and refusal. How can I not spend money today.
This is what brings me to the sunrise of prosperity, I have to keep studying the illumination of light, and I’ll move forward, and diffuse the chaos.
As the interruption of minor mishaps knock on my door, my head turns away from it. I’ve learned to erase the panic, and do what I have to do, and that is write.
Last week, while I was upstairs, prone on the sofa, figuring out a transition between two men, whom I love, someone came to the door, knocking, ringing the bell fiercely, oh what is that. I open the door,
“ Are you all right? I’m from the security company, your alarm isn’t connected. We came to check on you.”
I stood there with a dumber than dumb expression, and assured him I wasn’t held captive or about to throw myself out the window. When I returned to the desk, I kept seeing his expression, he really didn’t believe me. I turned the alarm off when Rudy left for San Diego. Real estate agents our showing our house because it’s up for lease. My mind is a closet of mafia memoir notes, and I can’t remember to close the refrigerator door.
Later in the day, if I haven’t ventured outdoors, I take a walk around the plaza, and muse over the herds of tourists, and search their expressions for interior moods. I don’t see panic and anxiety, I see relief; couples are rigid from ice and chill, and they shuffle in boots, directionless, gaping at the churches and adobe arches, they shoot photographs, standing in the middle of the street. Vacation is bliss in the middle of discontent.
When I return to my desk, it is time to print the days work. This is always a ritual of great expectation, filled with disappointments, surprise, and sometimes a whiff of elation. The sun has made it’s journey to the other side of the house, the back porch is like starched light, it burns the eyes and flesh, like hardship, the immediate effect is callous. There I sit and review the pages. The transition worked; the crawl from uncertainty to confidence broke through. Now is the time to slouch in the chair, close my eyes, and rewind a few scenes back.
Hardship is like the sun, unmerciful when it is met face to face, and transforming when we are protected. That translates to less spending and more creating.
While I am lounging in this beautifully historic old home, one track of time keeps appearing in my images. It is a time when space was limited, finances on a string as long as my finger, and uncertainty a nightmare that became a lullaby. It is that time again, nothing at all unfamiliar With the same resources I had then, all is well, the sunset can go down, and I can laugh because the adventure has risen above the circumstances.