By Deborah Blank
Village in the Village Members Stay Busy Despite the Lockdown- Part II
Last month we highlighted how various Village in the Village members are staying busy during these stay-at-home months of COVID —and we promised more. Creating, learning and helping others are some of the buckets that are filled by these energetic seniors.
Nancy Handmaker. With the onset of the pandemic and social isolation, Nancy sought out ways to cope with the related stressors. Having rescued two llamas that served as guardians for sheep in the past, Nancy recently became a volunteer for Southwest Llama Rescue (SWLR). With the guidance of other llama aficionados, Nancy recently added six rescue llamas to her farm. Nancy reports that daily llama care presented many unexpected and heartwarming exchanges with nearby neighbors, who stop to view these exotic creatures, sometimes accompanied by their children and grandchildren.
Nancy is also a very engaged ViV board member. She helps the organization develop and receive grants through her incredible grant writing skills. This year alone, she was instrumental in receiving grant awards for approximately $17,000!
Carolyn O’Mara. If you live on Tierra Encantada, you have the ultimate pleasure provided by Carolyn’s gorgeous garage doors. She finds creative work so therapeutic! Here are Carolyn’s own words about this rather exceptional project.
“It seems I seldom have much down time —some project or activity is always beckoning. When the pandemic hit, I jumped at the downtime to tackle an undertaking that has been cooking in my head for several years. In an attempt to disguise it for what it is, I painted a mural on our garage. I settled on a Native American style because of the simple shapes and flat colors that matte exterior paints would allow and because I grew up in northern New Mexico surrounded by pueblos and their artful influence, especially Pablita Velarde and Maria Martinez. And I wanted to paint things that make me happy: mountains, sun, quail, cranes, lizards, butterflies, yuccas, rain, and so on. It turns out I made others happy, too. I never thought about people watching the progression, but so many out walking would stop to tell me how much pleasure it brought to them. The spiritual joy I felt during the two and a half months of work was truly uplifting. I get a wonderful word-of-the-day email from a gentleman in Albuquerque. Just as I finished the mural, by chance his daily offering gave it a title: “Anima Mundi.”
Carolyn’s career as a graphic designer in print production is also utilized in her volunteer work with the Corrales Historical Society (CHS), in providing graphics work of all kinds with the Marketing Team, producing newsletters, flyers, logos, brochures, ads, books —whatever is needed. She also designs graphics for Village in the Village and works diligently helping her church (with challenging, huge bulletin board displays).
Arnold Farley. Arnold is one very engaged VIV member. His volunteer work includes VIV and, more recently, the Common Cause Election Protection Program as a poll watcher and monitor. He also serves as the vice-chair on the Sandoval County Ethic Board that is charged with reviewing and acting upon any ethics complaints filed against elected or appointed officials, employees or volunteers of the county government. He is also currently working with the chair, reviewing and updating the current Ethics Ordinance developed by the County Commissioners. Arnold also works part-time developing and providing workshops and offering executive coaching (now exclusively via Zoom) to federal institutions and private organizations.
Serious hobbies include the development and maintenance of wildly creative garden hardscapes (including extra-terrestrials to rival Roswell); supporting his wife Sandy’s gardening activities and dabbling in stone sculpting from time to time. He still maintains his licenses in psychology and massage, continues to learn about alternative and complimentary healing arts (specifically in the areas of energy psychology and bodyworks) as well as herbal medicine. Zooming has become a norm with Chi Gung and Tai Chi classes, ViV Movie Club, and weekly or bi-monthly family and friend sessions. He and Sandy also walk or hike multiple times a week to combat the “COVID-15.”
As you can see, even pandemics can take a backseat to the creativity, resourcefulness, and energy that is given and received when you are actively involved in volunteering and helping others. We are grateful to our ViV members for their time and support. If you, a friend, family member, or neighbor would benefit from ViV, contact ViV at 274-2606 or visit our website at http://www.villageinthevillage.org. Inquiries from potential new member inquiries are welcome.
Deborah Blank is a member of Village in the Village. ViV’s mission is to help Corrales seniors stay in their cherished homes, connected to the community, for as long as possible. For more information: http://www.villageinthevillage.org or call 505-274-6206.
Lima, Peru, November 2020
Clouds of teargas wafted in the toney pedestrian shopping corridors between the presidential palace and the historic Plaza San Martin in the heart of Lima in mid-November. That has been commonplace during most of the past six decades since my first visit to Peru.
Not common was the rapidity with which Peru’s presidents have fallen. The first coup d’etat I experienced there, in 1962, ushered in a military dictatorship guided by a commitment to push through desperately-needed reforms to the feudal system in place since Conquistador Francisco Pizarro destroyed the Incan empire.
Since then, of course, many Peruvian presidents have come and gone. But the intervals shortened dramatically in 2020.
President Manuel Merino assumed the presidency November 10. and was out by November 15. The following day, the national legislature elevated one of its newest members to the presidency. The engineer and professor Francisco Sagasti was the third person to hold the presidency within a week’s time.
Peru has had four presidents in the last four years. The most recent turmoil followed ouster of a fairly popular president, Martín Vizcarra, using a parliamentary measure to find him morally incapable of fulfilling his duties. He had made a name for himself fighting corruption.
More than half of the members of the national legislature were under investigation for corruption. In recent years, Peru’s presidents have been caught up in wide-ranging, multi-national scandals involving “pay-to-play” contracts for big dollar construction projects, including a transcontinental highway. Much of the alleged corruption revolves around dealings with the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht.
In 2016, company officials gave sworn statements as part of a plea bargain that they had paid about $800 million in bribes in various Latin American countries. Approximately $29 million went to Peruvian officials.
During the past 20 years, nearly every Peruvian president has been jailed or prosecuted for corruption. The only one who wasn’t charged with corruption, Alan Garcia, shot and killed himself in 2019 when police showed up at his door to arrest him.
Those jailed or investigated include ex-President Alberto Fujimori, the Japanese immigrant agronomist largely credited with destroying domestic terrorism and discredited for political repression and corruption. He remains in prison; he was granted a presidential pardon in 2018, but that was rescinded.
Ex-president Alejandro Toledo (2001-2006), who got his start as a shoeshine boy befriended by an American Peace Corps couple, continues to fight extradition from the United States to stand trial for corruption. Charged with taking $35 million in bribes, he has been jailed in California but was released to home confinement in March 2020.
Peru’s first Native American president, former military officer Ollanta Humala, was arrested in July 2017 for corruption. Pedro Pablo Kuczinski, who held dual U.S.-Peruvian citizenship until he ran for the presidency in November 2015, resigned in March 2018. He had been held in pre-trial detention since April 2019 while under investigation for corruption, bribery and money-laundering. Kuczinski is a former general manager of Peru’s central bank and a former official with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Martín Vizcarra, recently ousted by the legislature, was sworn in March 23, 2018, after Kuczinski resigned in disgrace. Disintegration of Peru’s political system has apparently brought a revival of one of the most brutal revolutionary movements in modern history, that of the Sendero Luminoso, or Shining Path.
In March of this year, I was within days of buying airline tickets for yet another trip to Peru in June. The pandemic put a quick halt to those plans, but now, eight months later, I am again eagerly contemplating a resumption, assuming a vaccine is ready in 2021. Topping the itinerary is Cuzco and Machu Picchu for those in the entourage who have not seen it.
But a travel advisory issued by the U.S. State Department in November urges extreme caution. “Remnants of the Shining Path terrorist group are active” in areas including Cuzco and vicinity.
By Steve Komadina
The Right to Independent Thought
One of the gifts of my life with horses, is that it has forced me out of the contentious arena where many Americans live. A number of the horsemen and women in my life, don’t just disagree with me about politics and religion, they hold completely opposite views. I also grew up in a family where my father was a Catholic Democrat and my mother a Mormon Republican. I was a pretty ecumenical kid! I learned early that you don’t have to bring areas of diverse belief into every activity you do.
At age nine my mom took me down to the sandy bank of the Rio Grande, just off the bridge on Central Avenue, where there was Clark’s Riding Stables in the bosque. I did not have the money to own a horse or even to rent a horse or pay for riding lessons. We would just sit in the car and watch the kids and families ride. After a few weeks, Mr. Clark came over and asked what we were doing. We explained that we just loved horses and enjoyed watching people take lessons and go out on rides in the bosque.
Mr. Clark asked why we did not rent a horse and I explained I was saving my money and hoped one day to be able to afford lessons. I explained to him that I had never even touched a horse. He was a portly man with a white stained cowboy hat, dirty jeans and a big trophy belt buckle. He opened the door and asked my mom if he could show me a horse. I still remember the feel of that muscular leg as he placed my hand on the front leg. The breath on my palm was like a magical breeze. I was hooked.
“Mr. Clark?” I asked. “Is there anything around here I can do to help? I don’t want any pay; I just want to learn as much as I can about horses.”
That was how I grew up at that stable as a volunteer worker. I was big for my age and I was able to help hold a horse for the farrier, unload the trailer, lift feed bags, empty the pickup, saddle, and unsaddle horses brought back from trail rides, walking to cool them off. As a kid I could care less about politics, I just loved horses. I would listen to the adults talk at family gatherings and at down times at the stable about both religion and politics and quickly noticed that not all adults agreed.
I became a member of my extended Yugoslav family as well as the Stable family despite my differing views. Because the horse people in my life fed me, forgave me when I made mistakes, and thought I was a pretty neat kid, they became part of my extended family and the language of horses breached our differences philosophically.
I had a deep pride in these connections for a long time. Often, I still do, remembering a simpler time and kinder world to my limited experience. I loved this idea of being a bridge person, a fence walker, a person who could switch in and out of different lives and values to see the beauty in complicated things. Like learning to ride, I knew that growth came from discomfort, and I wanted my mind to burn with understanding the same way my legs did when trying to learn something new in the saddle.
As I grew in my horse experience, I gravitated to politics in school and found myself a leader and peacemaker and a consensus builder. Rising to the rank of Eagle Scout, I learned to love my country and standing at attention for my flag. I could feel the rise of patriotism in my chest as the National Anthem was played. The contention between neighbors saddens me and even in our horse community with breed fighting, judgement of other’s horses and clothing and riding discipline. Why must human beings contend? It is perhaps why I travel many trails alone. Just me and my horse, my wife, dog or child. Can’t we all just get along? To quote Rodney King.
There is room for all kinds of opinions. The problem comes when we try to thrust them on others. Let us as a horse community in Corrales leave breed politics, political politics and religious politics out of the barn experience. Just be happy that we have the best village in the world to enjoy our equine friends. See you on the trail!
By Jim Tritten
The thing about flying at night, at sea, with no moon or stars, is there is no horizon. No way to distinguish where the air ends and the water begins. You have to trust your instruments. The artificial horizon, or attitude gyro, and the vertical speed indicators are your guideposts.
That night, a cold day in December, was very dark. Flashes from the towering thunderstorm ahead provided the only lights. And of course, the white and cobalt blue flames coming out of the exhaust stacks on either side of the A-1E’s massive engine, and the red and green wingtip lights. This old bird had been designed before I was born and had the looks of a classic World War II fighter.
The rule about thunderstorms is to fly as low as possible underneath the bad weather. I decided five hundred feet was about right. Enough altitude to live through a sudden downdraft. High enough to be well over the small Caribbean atolls and keys that dot the Bahama Islands. The steady drone of the engine lulled me into a fixation on the artificial horizon and neglecting to watch whether I was holding my altitude or on a slow descent.
The warning button on the radar altimeter turned red, and an audible alarm sounded in my helmet’s earphones. I shook my head, blinked, and pulled back on the stick while I added enough power to permit me to gain altitude and level off again at five hundred feet. I throttled back to cruise settings and double-checked my heading against the magnetic wet compass. I was 350 miles off the coast. No chance I would miss hitting the United States but not at all certain I would be anywhere near the exit of the St. John’s River. This area of the Caribbean had been labeled the Bermuda Triangle for numerous strange occurrences, including difficulties in navigation. Then too there was that story about the missing Flight Nineteen: five Fort Lauderdale-based Navy TBM Avenger torpedo planes disappearing over these same waters in December 1945.
As I passed under the thunderstorms, the windscreen lit up with electrical sparks that crawled from the center outward. I glanced out to the wings and saw the St. Elmo’s Fire advance from the fuselage outboard to each wingtip. I watched the meteorological phenomenon. Didn’t seem to affect the navigation lights or my instruments.
Not much to do as I motored along and passed through the bad weather. Just keep flying west, report back to the ship “feet dry” when I was over land. The audible alarm from the radar altimeter woke me up and I instinctively pulled back on the stick and added throttle. The aircraft responded, and the altitude warning alert ceased. I again shook my head and thought how lucky I was to have technology work in my favor. I reduced power and stretched my torso and legs —time to dig out the maps.
The windscreen filled with an opaque gray, and I realized I had entered a fog bank. Focus on the attitude gyro, keep the wings level, and maintain altitude. I reached down to the documents pouch on the right side of the cockpit and extracted the aviation charts for the southeast United States. As I turned my head back up to the left, I had difficulty getting my eyeballs to steady on the artificial horizon. My stomach churned with foul-smelling burps escaping my gut. My head hurt: classic symptoms of vertigo or spatial disorientation.
Focus on the attitude gyro. Ignore what my body is telling me. I am not in a turn to the left and a climb. The artificial horizon shows wings level. Do not touch the stick. Disregard the pain in my head. Keep my head steady and don’t move it to upset the semi-circular canals in my ears further. The sloshing of fluids will settle down if I can sit still.
I knew I was in a turn, and the instruments were wrong. I turned to the right and took off power to compensate. There, that feels better. I’ll have this bird thoroughly checked before I take it back to the aircraft carrier. The feel of the plane seemed normal. I smiled without a care in the world as the A-1E struck the water, cartwheeled, and came to a stop amid the screeches and sounds of tearing metal.
When my eyes opened, it was daylight, and I stood outside the cockpit on a sandy treeless island. My A-1E sat upright on a windswept beach. Somehow it was resting on its landing gear, and there was no damage to the airframe. I patted my body to see if I could feel my touch. Everything felt the way it should. I removed my helmet and my orange Mae West and dropped them on the sand. “Hi there.” A voice came from behind me.
I turned to face the source. I saw five young naval aviators in World War II-era tan flight suits and cloth headgear. Five TBM Avengers sat on their landing gear undamaged. On the side of each aircraft was stenciled, NAS Ft. Lauderdale. Looked just like the flyers that appeared at the ending of the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
The Bermuda Triangle is real?
One of the other flyers shouted and asked, “What year are you from?” This article is one in a series submitted by the Corrales Writing Group.
Every spring I take stock.
I look around my village to see what we might have lost since this time last year. The feed store still sells baby chicks. Someone plowed the fields at the north end, and buds are swelling on the apple trees.
At the Frontier Mart we still sell asparagus gathered from along the irrigation ditch, and children still buy jacks, marbles, jump ropes and kites, but near the door between the Popsicle freezer and the 50-pound dog food, the garden seeds are gone.
Last year I received a letter from Mr. Burpee saying we hadn’t sold enough seeds to warrant sending more. I miss getting the big parcel where tab A slid into slot B and all that cardboard folded magically into a panoply of snapdragons and four-o-clocks, zucchini, carrots and lima beans.
No sooner would I assemble the display and arrange the seeds than men in coveralls would come to read the seed packets, to contemplate the sunlight, soil and water requirements, and to count the days until maturity. They fingered the envelopes like kids in the candy aisle, then carried their selections away like little packets of promise.
Three of my seed customers were Ramón and Julio Tenorio and Walter Atkerson. Maybe a storekeeper shouldn’t play favorites, but in 18 years of business, Ramón, Julio and Walter are at the top of my list.
The three of them grew corn and cabbage and they raised pigs. Ramón and Julio were brothers from one of Corrales’s old families. On spring mornings Julio and his horse, Smokey, plowed the field at the corner of Tenorio and Corrales Roads.
Walter was a true cowboy who had come down from Colorado (pronounced Colo-ray-do) in the 1940s. He’s the only 82 year-old I’ve known who rode his horse every day.
Ramón and Walter were best friends who traveled together. When Walter’s car wouldn’t start, they rode to my store on a tractor with Ramón in the driver’s seat and Walter standing alongside. They bought Jimmy Dean sausage, single-edge razor blades, and shaving cream in a cup with a bristle brush. Heading home, the old tractor crept along the two-lane road at fifteen miles per hour, and cars moved into the left lane to pass. Traffic was light then, tractors commonplace.
On Friday nights when I saw Ramón and Walter’s tractor parked at the Territorial House, I’d stop and find them in the bar. Ramón talked about family and farming. Walter told about his days as a cowboy on the Black Ranch. After a while I’d say, “I have to go. You guys behave.”
Ramón would look offended. “I always behave,” he’d say. “I work hard and go to church every day.”
Walter rolled his eyes and mumbled something about blowing smoke.
Julio, Ramón, and Walter haven’t been in the store for a long time now. We didn’t mark their last visit or say goodbye. One day we just realized they hadn’t come in.
I’m told Julio and Ramón died more than a year ago, and Walter’s gone now, too. I think of them whenever I think of spring and farming and Burpee seeds. It makes me look around to see what’s missing. Then I memorize what we have left in case it comes up missing next year. What I’m trying to say is, if I’d known it was my last Burpee seed display, I would have paid more attention.
Editor’s note: This column was first published in Corrales Comment 26 years ago, but readers said it was one of their favorites. Jean Waszak agreed to have it published again in this special Garden and Landscape issue. Other columns of hers may re-appear from time to time.
Even though movie theaters are closed during this pandemic there are other ways to see films, such as via Netflix and many streaming options. For those who would like to see first-run films which would be in theaters now, Albuquerque’s own independent Guild Cinema is offering a home viewing option. You can find a wide list of films at http://www.GuildCinema.com, and a portion of the screening fee goes to support the Guild. Unless otherwise noted, all films reviewed here are available at that link. This is a time to support each other and local businesses (including newspapers), if you can!
Feels Good Man HHHH Directed by Arthur Jones. Starring Matt Furie. Plugs: None. Available via GuildCinema.com for a limited time
The new documentary Feels Good Man tells the strange story of how an otherwise obscure and innocuous frog cartoon character became a symbol of hate. The frog in question is named Pepe, created by an unassuming, otherwise unknown and low-key San Francisco artist named Matt Furie.
What happened to Pepe is a deceptively complex question, and really understanding it requires some knowledge of folklore, social media, memes, popular culture, and politics. Feels Good Man is about many things, and director Arthur Jones sets the stage early in the film by introducing the audience to the concept of memes.
The term, first coined by eminent evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, refers basically to an idea or behavior that spreads between people within a culture. Some memes are images, and they’re very common on social media: the internet is full of them, ranging from adorable to wildly offensive. Captioned photos of Grumpy Cat. The Distracted Boyfriend photo. What The Most Interesting Man thinks. The anguished blonde yelling at a pissy white cat seated at a table in front of a plate of salad. Kermit the Frog sipping tea while dispensing some pithy wisdom. And on and on.
Pepe was one such meme. As is always the potential fate of anything online, the image was soon adopted (or co-opted, depending on your point of view) by others. The film meticulously charts Pepe’s transition from slacker cartoon frog to hated white supremacist and right-wing icon.
It didn’t happen overnight, and Feels Good Man documents the main turning points. In 2005 Furie drew a crude-but-cute frog for a comic series he created called “Boy’s Club.” It was about the wacky antics of four anthropomorphic animal roommates, several of whom are stoner-slackers, and one of which was Pepe, a bug-eyed, heavy-lipped green frog.
In one panel of one of the cartoons Pepe looked sad, and, for whatever reason that became a popular “sad frog” image on the notoriously toxic anonymous message site 4chan, typically populated by racists, sexists, misfits, gamers and plenty of trolls. Trolls are people who, typically anonymously, delight in provoking arguments on the internet for their own amusement. “Nothing should be taken seriously” is the unofficial troll mantra. Trolls see themselves as taboo-smashers whose real message is that the online world is populated with politically correct, easily offended ninnies who should lighten up.
In her book This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture, Whitney Phillips notes that “Trolls are keenly aware of how their behaviors impact others, and know exactly which issues will get the greatest rise from their chosen targets. From race to class to everything in between, trolls have their fingers on all kinds of powder kegs —all the better to troll you with.” Indeed, “trolling has a way of snapping its audience to attention, either by activating emotional investment or by forwarding a claim so outrageous that one cannot help but engage in a dialogue.”
Trolling is inherently antagonistic, arguing for the sake of arguing, pissing people off simply for the fun of it. The more vile, nasty, offensive and outrageous the comment or image, the more successful the troll is by their standards. The troll is successful in part because his or her status is, at least initially, ambiguous. Do they genuinely endorse the venom they share, or is it all a joke? Just as Pepe is ambiguous —just a sad frog, after all— so is the message it carries.
Pepe’s forlorn expression resonated with legions of lonely, cynical, nihilistic, and disenfranchised slacker youth who felt alienated for whatever reason. This is nothing new, of course; a generation earlier, Beavis and Butthead had become a huge hit touching on similar themes, as did punk music a generation before that. There’s nothing new under the sun; most young people will at some point or other identify with the sneering rebel, the misunderstood outsider of whom adulthood and responsibility —not to mention civility— are unreasonably onerous demands.
There’s a reason why the heroes of countless films are the nerds, punks, and outcasts while the jocks, beautiful people and rich snobs are the Establishment enemy. In this context it’s not surprising that Pepe became an underground icon among those who hated “the normies.” Most people who initially used and shared Pepe memes were drawn to its Rorschach-like appeal of expressing sadness or sorrow, but the many trolls among them saw the potential to push it a step further and placed Pepe in increasingly inflammatory contexts.
Soon part of the trolls’ mischievous mission was to make the Pepe image go mainstream, such as by tricking huge celebrities into sharing or referencing their images, symbols, or messaging. Several stars including Katy Perry shared Pepe images, surely unaware of his increasingly toxic and hostile connotations in the darker parts of the internet. In October 2015, then-candidate Donald Trump retweeted an image of him as Pepe —much to the delight of his young supporters, many of whom were very much aware that the image was associated with everything from Nazis to pedophiles. This part of the film offers an interesting, if not wholly convincing, argument that 4chan trolls played a significant role in electing Trump.
Feels Good Man then chronicles Furie’s largely fruitless attempts to rebottle the genie. He did, after all, create the character, and could easily prove that he owns the copyright to the image. But copyright only takes you so far; people can legally use and share works, especially if they change it in some way and thus make it eligible for protection under the Fair Use doctrine, which generally allows for the unlicensed use of works in cases such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship and research.
Satire, for example, is generally considered to be Fair Use, which is why Weird Al Yankovic isn’t required to (though he does) seek permission from original artists when making his parody songs. When someone uses a copyrighted image to sell an item, however, that’s a different kettle of stoner frogs —as conspiracy peddler Alex Jones found out when he used Pepe in a poster he sold (the film includes excerpts of Alex Jones under oath in Furie’s successful lawsuit).
The story of Pepe the Frog is in some ways a microcosm of social media, including its reliance on outrage, clicks, and attention as the main metric of what’s valued. Not truth, nor accuracy nor fairness, but what will get people to Like and Share —what will make algorithms push one meme to the top of the search engines and “Now Trending” lists, providing social currency (“internet fame”), for the creators and real currency for advertisers. It’s a race to the bottom, an appeal to what will get people riled up —but, as before, it’s nothing new; Jerry Springer and many others exploited this formula three decades ago on their talk shows.
The paradox Furie faces is clear: the more he tries to fight the misuse of his beloved Pepe, the more attention he draws to it, and the more incentive and fodder he provides trolls to perpetuate it. On the other hand, ignoring the problem isn’t ideal either, and the film gives the sense that Furie was a bit too late in recognizing what was going on. The last scenes in the film reveal an interesting and surprising twist in the effort to reclaim Pepe the Frog.
Pepe’s arc is unusual in some ways but typical in others. There’s no clear formula for a quirky viral hit; for every clever meme that survives and thrives in the social media ecosystem, tens of thousands dies in obscurity. There was no malicious mastermind who intentionally plucked Pepe off the couch playing video games with his buddies in “Boys Club” and put him in a Nazi uniform to horrify and amuse. It was instead an incremental (and partly random) series of steps and decisions by different people at different times and with different agendas.
Feels Good Man is a fascinating story with a few surprising twists along the way. It’s a cautionary tale about what happens when an artist loses control over his or her work, and an enlightening case study in how social media trolls operate.
By Meredith Hughes
Abe’s Birthday, Valentine’s Day, Chinese New Year, Mardi Gras, George’s Birthday, National Pistachio Day, but most importantly, Black History Month…..not too bad, February, eh? Much packed into what this year is a short month. Email suggestions to email@example.com. Published the first issue of the month, What’s On? invites suggestions one week before the publication date.
• In Dialogue: Social Smithsonian Objects and Social Justice: Race and Medicine, February 11, 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern. Each month, educators from the National Portrait Gallery will partner with colleagues from across the Smithsonian to discuss how historical objects from their respective collections speak to today’s social justice issues. During Black History Month, the focus is on race and medicine as represented by a collection of related objects—a portrait of Charles R. Drew (1904–1950), a renowned African American surgeon and researcher in the field of blood transfusions who developed large-scale blood banks for use during World War II; and measuring equipment owned by William Montague Cobb (1909–1990), a board-certified physician, professor at Howard University and the first African American doctorate in anthropology who helped develop the sub-specialty of biocultural anthropology. The conversation features Leslie P. Walker, head of NMAAHC’s academic and social justice department in the Office of Public Programs, and Beth Evans, National Portrait Gallery educator. Admission is free; however, registration is required at https://nmaahc.si.edu/events/upcoming.
• Albuquerque Museum, February 6 to May 2. Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism. “The works in the Jacques and Natasha Gelman collection epitomize the vitality and expressiveness of modern Mexican art. They were produced in a pivotal period in Mexican history, when the nation sought to redefine itself through political, social, and cultural reforms. Some of the figures in this exhibition are household names in Mexico and a handful of these have, over time, received international recognition. Perhaps none are more well-known than Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. Rivera’s intense personality, revolutionary politics, and inspiring murals made him a celebrity during his lifetime. Although once overshadowing his equally talented wife, Kahlo’s fame has far outstripped that of her husband in the years since her death. The raw emotion of her paintings still resonates today, and her intense self-portraits have made her face familiar.” $10 tickets: https://abqmuseum.holdmyticket.com
• National Museum of African American History and Culture, February 9, 12 to 1 p.m., Eastern. Poetry Workshop: Persona Poetry + Phillis Wheatley. Join NMAAHC Museum Specialist, Tulani Salahu-Din and international slam poetry champion, Anthony McPherson to explore the art of poetry and history. In this workshop, participants will look at examples of persona poems, and spend time composing an individual work inspired by the life of Phillis Wheatley. Wheatley was enslaved as a seven year old, brought to Boston from West Africa. The family that bought her in 1761 taught her to read and write. Soon she was immersed in the Bible, astronomy, geography, history, British literature (particularly John Milton and Alexander Pope), and the Greek and Latin classics of Virgil, Ovid, Terence, and Homer. She became a well-known poet. To register for this free event, see tinyurl.com/yxdyw796.
• Chinese New Year begins February 12. All things New Year here: https://chinesenewyear.net/ The Albuquerque Chinese Cultural Center has not yet posted info re any events, but, hey, the pandemic…….
• Lincoln’s Birthday, February 12 Learn something of his history via the Lincoln Memorial in DC. http://www.nps. gov/linc/learn/historyculture/abraham-lincoln-the-man.htm You can take a virtual tour of Lincoln’s Springfield,Illinois home here: http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/sites/home.htm
• Washington’s Birthday, February 22 Little-known fact? “No Senate tradition has been more steadfastly maintained than the annual reading of President George Washington’s 1796 Farewell Address. Every year since 1896, the Senate has observed Washington's Birthday by selecting one of its members, alternating parties, to read the 7,641-word statement in legislative session. Delivery generally takes about 45 minutes. In 1985 Florida senator Paula Hawkins tore through the text in a record-setting 39 minutes, while in 1962 West Virginia senator Jennings Randolph, savoring each word, consumed 68 minutes.” The list of Senators can be found here. You may read Washington’s farewell for yourself here.
• Jazz at Lincoln Center presents Swing University, wherein any of us can study jazz virtually. For a reasonable fee. The music of Wynton Marsalis, Bessie Smith, Django Reinhardt, Miles Davis and more. https://tinyurl.com/y5lprlkd
Did You Know?
Casa San Ysidro Museum , which recently reopened after its usual winter break, is accepting applications from adults who would like to participate in its spring docent training. April 17, 24; May 1; 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Casa San Ysidro: The Gutiérrez-Minge House “embodies the collective creativity of generations of artists and craftspeople in its furnishings and architectural features.” It’s part of the Albuquerque Museum. For more information about this volunteer opportunity, call 897- 8828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The museum is open under pandemic restrictions, with timed ticket entry only. https://tickets.holdmyticket.com/location/casa-san-ysidro-the-gutierrez-minge-house-in-corrales
• Village Council meetings, February 9 and 23, 6:30 p.m., via Zoom.
• Casa San Ysidro, February 13, Second Saturday program, from 1-3 p.m. via Zoom. “The Unique Legacy of Abraham Lincoln in New Mexico.” Abraham Lincoln spoke very little about the far western territory of New Mexico. Yet, during his presidency, two different wars were fought here and the territory’s landmass was divided in half. Lincoln signed into law legislation that would eventually aid in the settlement and development of New Mexico. New Mexico has a county, town, range of mountains and national forest named in his honor. New Mexico State University Professors Christopher Schurtz and Dr. Dwight Pitcaithley describe Lincoln’s connection to the New Mexico Territory. You may register for this program by email here: email@example.com. Or here: https://tinyurl.com/y3wan3q3
• Planning and Zoning meeting, February 17, 6:30 p.m.,via Zoom.
• Music in Corrales is offering on-line concerts. Up February 20-March 1 is Boyd Meets Girl, Australian classical guitarist Rupert Boyd paired with American cellist Laura Metcalf. Boyd and Metcalf perform "an eclectic and engaging range of repertoire,” from the baroque through modern day, including many of their own arrangements. Visit http://www.musicincorrales.org/concerts/ to book tickets at $15 each.
• Corrales Library—Book Club, February 22, 2:30 p.m.,The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro, which features the musings of a longtime English butler, Stevens. Ishiguro won the Mann Booker prize for this book. Author series, February 23, Jane Butel and her cookbooks, 7 p.m. Please contact Sandra Baldonado for Zoom event details. sandra@corraleslibrary. org.
• Corrales Growers’ Market, next Winter Market, February 7, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Village in the Village. Coffee hour, Fridays, 10 to 11a.m. via Zoom. February 8, 1 p.m., COVID-19 vaccine Q&A via Zoom with Fire Commander Tanya Lattin; Book Club, February 22 on Zoom: The Bean Trees, by Barbara Kingsolver, 3:00-4:00 p.m. Kingsolver’s first novel, it’s "the tale of rural Kentucky native Taylor Greer, who only wants to get away from her roots and avoid getting pregnant. She succeeds, but inherits a 3-year-old native American little girl named Turtle along the way, and together, from Oklahoma to Tucson, Arizona, half-Cherokee Taylor and her charge search for a new life in the West."