Thanksgiving Leftovers and Other Holiday Treats and Traditions | - November 28, 2011

"The feasting never ends..."

My wife Thea treats Thanksgiving leftovers with the sort of reverence usually reserved for the last of the provisions on an errant expedition through the Sahara Desert. I, on the other hand, am happy to recall the feast, remember the things I didn’t have time to get to and look forward to the treats ahead. Here are some of the things remembered and those yet to be savored.

Circus luminous
Our own little version of a circus without sawdust, Circus Luminous last weekend was everything I thought it would be and more. Having been able to see just the second act of the show at the Wise Fool studio in advance, I was not prepared for the sheer magic of the first act and how it would pull the entire sweet story together. And the score composed and conducted by Jeremy Bleich – how completely mesmerizing was that? The romantic waltz was to die for and the quirky piece in 10/8 was incredibly matched to the show’s inner rhythm.

Feature Film, Jackie, Shooting in New Mexico
Jackie, produced by Hans de Weers, Reinout Oerlemans and Erwin Godschalk of Dutch company Eyeworks Film and Television Drama B.V., is filming in and around western New Mexico through December. Directed by Antoinette Beumer (Loft and The Happy Housewife), an established director of mainstream features in Europe, the road-trip adventure stars Oscar-winner Holly Hunter (The Piano) and sisters Carice van Houten (Valkyrie) and Jelka van Houten (The Domino Effect). Jackie tells the story of Dutch twin sisters who travel to America looking for their long lost mother, played by Holly Hunter. 

New Mexico line producer Brent Morris’s Indieproduction, LLC is providing local production services and the feature will employ at least 70 New Mexico crew members and more than 150 principal and background talent. Happy Holidays to the dedicated members of the New Mexico film industry.

Circle of Stories
Circle of Stories by Hank Rogerson, professor of film/video at Santa Fe University of Art and Design, has been nominated for Best Documentary Short at the 2011 American Indian Film Festival, which took place in San Francisco Nov. 4-12. This is the second time that Rogerson’s work has been nominated for an award at this festival: His film Bless Me with a Good Life won the Best Documentary Short Prize in 1994.

“We’re thrilled that Hank was honored for his documentary work,” said Paula Amanda, associate chair of the University’s Moving Image Arts Department. “Our students in the film program are very fortunate to be able to work with and learn from such a gifted filmmaker.”

The American Indian Film Institute (AIFI), founded in 1975, has established itself as the premiere Native American film festival in North America. More than 75 films – including features, shorts, music videos and documentaries – premiered at the 36th annual event. The AIFI’s American Indian Motion Picture Awards Show honors filmmakers and showcases contemporary Native American talent. “It’s wonderful to be recognized AIFI and be a part of this festival,” said Rogerson. “Getting a second nomination is a great honor, and I’m pleased that Circle of Stories continues to capture the interest of such an important audience.”

Rogerson is a director, actor and filmmaker who works in both fiction and nonfiction film. His film Shakespeare Behind Bars had its world premiere in the documentary competition at the Sundance Film Festival. The film picked up 11 awards on the festival circuit, was broadcast worldwide and had a theatrical run of more than 25 U.S. cities. Rogerson also co-produced, directed and edited Homeland, an award-winning PBS documentary about four families on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. Rogerson has taught filmmaking at the University of Southern California, the Sundance Institute and workshops around the United States.

Holidays at the Palace: A Santa Fe Tradition

Steep your holidays in time-honored traditions at the New Mexico History Museum/Palace of the Governors this year. Here's what's on the schedule:

Christmas at the Palace: Enjoy an evening of hot cider, live music, piñatas for the children and the annual visit of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, all in the legendary magic of the Palace of the Governors, on Friday, Dec. 9 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  A free, family event for all. (The History Museum and Palace will close at 3 p.m. to prepare for this event. Enter through the Palace at 105 W. Palace Ave. The History Museum will remain closed during the event.)

Las Posadas: Join the community for this annual favorite, held on Sunday, Dec. 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The candle-lit procession of Las Posadas travels around the Santa Fe Plaza and concludes in the Palace Courtyard. This version of an old Hispanic tradition recreates Mary and Joseph's search for a place to give birth to the Baby Jesus, and throws in a few devils for good measure. Stay for carols in the Palace Courtyard, along with cookies and refreshments. Free and open to the public. (The History Museum and Palace will close at 3 p.m. to prepare for this event.)

Young Native Artists Show and Sale: Children and grandchildren of the Palace Portal artisans will display their own creations in the museum’s John Gaw Meem Room on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17-18.  (Enter from Washington Avenue.) Pick up some nifty Christmas presents and support the next generation of Native American artisans.

While you’re at the museum, take in Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible and Contemplative Landscape. Featuring both a world-class example of the calligraphed book arts and an ecumenical exploration of how New Mexicans connect to their spirituality, the exhibitions offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.

Other Holiday Events Around the Plaza

First National Bank's Toy Train
The annual lineup – Christmas at the Palace, Las Posadas, and the Young Native Artists Show – is graced this year with several new additions, including the First National Bank’s beloved toy train. Because of the bank’s Main Office renovation on the Santa Fe Plaza, the train will be set up in the History Museum’s lobby from Tuesday, December 13 through Saturday, December 31.

“Trains are such part of the celebration of Christmas and the winter holidays,” said Dr. Frances Levine, director of the History Museum. “We are so pleased to collaborate with First National Bank and the Santa Fe Train Club to host their annual train display.  We know this will also give many people in our community and their visitors an opportunity to see the New Mexico History Museum.”

Since 1991, members of the Santa Fe Model Railroad Club have maintained and operated a model train set each Christmas for the First National Bank. Along with some volunteer help, members will be running the familiar 0-scale 3 rail Lionel trains at the History Museum, along with models of the Hogwarts Express, the Polar Express and a special holiday freight train.

Schola Cantorum
A performance by Schola Cantorum and the monks of Christ in the Desert Monastery takes plac at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 in the Museum Auditorium. The Santa Fe-based sacred-music ensemble joins the monks for this event, tied to the exhibitions Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible and Contemplative Landscape. Expect to hear the sounds of Advent, the ancient pre-Christmas period with its roots in the seventh century. Free with admission; Sundays free to New  Mexico residents.

Celebrate a Traditional New Mexico Christmas as New Mexico State Monuments Light the Way                                                                                                  The state’s monuments tell a unique story about New Mexico’s history and culture. In December, three of them illuminate the season in their distinctive way, celebrating the state’s rich traditions. Two of these monuments are a short drive from Santa Fe and Albuquerque.

Christmas at Kuaua
Coronado State Monument, Bernalillo
Sunday, December 4; 5 to 8:30 p.m.
So close to Albuquerque yet a place rooted in pre-history, Coronado State Monument helps visitors celebrate the holiday spirit with an evening designed for family fun. Hundreds of flickering luminarias (farolitos to those of us above La Bajada) and thousands of Christmas lights cast their welcoming glow around the Coronado State Monument. Activities start at 5:30 p.m. with Santa’s Workshop, where children, assisted by a few kindly elves, will have an opportunity to make their own Christmas tree ornament.  At 6:30 p.m. the Friends of Coronado State Monument will sponsor a program of music, traditional Pueblo dancing and Native American storytelling, with free refreshments. There is no better way to celebrate the season than a large bonfire to warm chilly hands (weather permitting), eat biscochitos and drink hot apple cider. For more information, call 505-867-5351. Free admission.

Light Among the Ruins Christmas celebration
Jemez State Monument,  Jemez Springs
Saturday, December 10; 5 to 9 p.m.
With one of the most beautiful prehistoric and historic sites in the Southwest as a backdrop, the ruins of Giusewa Pueblo and San José de los Jémez Mission Church will be decorated with hundreds of traditional farolitos. The evening’s program will include traditional Native American flute music and a performance by Jémez Pueblo dancers between two illuminating bonfires (luminarias) and free refreshments. The village of Jémez Springs Park holiday festivities take place on the same evening, with free horse-drawn wagon rides available to the monument. For more information, call 575-829-3530. Free admission.

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