1 Celebrate Valentine’s Day
Dance in Las Vegas
Take your honey and head to the historic Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas, New Mexico, for a holiday-themed dance with music performed by Gonzalo and El Gringo. The hotel, which opened in 1882, has always been considered a jewel of the Southwest. The dance kicks off at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20. Get them here.
Have a Fred Harvey–themed picnic
The Wheels Museum, in Albuquerque, hosts “A Trip Back in Time” on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. See a screening of My Darling Clementine, a classic film featuring Henry Fonda, while eating a special Harvey House boxed Valentine lunch made by 50/50 Coffeehouse and Pub. The menu offers Castañeda fried chicken, gourmet mac and cheese, and Harvey House cole slaw and chocolate puffs, plus coffee and tea. Call for tickets, as space is limited.
Luna and Luz hosts a Self-Love Pop-Up event Saturday with plenty of great gift-giving items on its shelves as well. Photograph courtesy of Philip Spuhler Photography.
Shop in Old Town
Pick out the perfect gift (or treat yourself) at Luna and Luz in Albuquerque’s Old Town during the Self-Love Pop-Up event Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Featuring locally made goods, like jewelry from Cindre, lingerie from Maman Atelier, and permanent jewelry (welded onto you) by Love Weld, the event offers a fun opportunity to celebrate love. Luna Luz will be stocked with chocolates, fun greeting cards, candles, and home goods, so you can nab something for a loved one, too.
Listen to Jazz
Tommy Gearhart sings and swings Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at the Lobo Theater in Nob Hill. Accompanied by John Funkhouser on piano, Colin Deuble on bass, and Chase Ellison on drums, plus a string quartet and special guest trumpeter Bobby Shrew, the “Notes of Love” repertoire will include classic hits like “Time After Time,” and “My Foolish Heart.” “This show has so much depth,” says Gearhart, who graduated from the University of New Mexico and served two years on the New Mexico Music Commission. “I want it to be beautiful because New Mexico means so much to me.”
2 Make some noise for dance.
Ria Thundercloud (Ho-Chunk Nation, Sandia Pueblo) takes the Santa Fe Playhouse stage Friday at 6 p.m. as part of a monthly performance series produced in collaboration with the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts.
Trained in ballet, jazz, modern dance, and tap, Thundercloud pulls from both her classical training and her Native traditions to tell stories about the Indigenous experience, womanhood, and survival. A graduate of the Institute of American Indian Arts, she has performed on stages around the world, including New Zealand, Canada, Russia, and New York. Attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative C0vid test, taken within 24 hours of the event, to be admitted.
3 Look to the skies.
Happening around Valentine’s Day since 1975, the Lovers & Friends Balloon Rally was originally called the Cloudbouncer Balloon Rally. This year, more than 60 pilots will fly special-shape balloons and compete in races at Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta Park on Saturday and Sunday.
“Albuquerque is known for its beautiful hot-air ballooning community. As pilots, the event is a symbol of how much we love the city and hot-air ballooning,” says Elisa Bustamante Paulk, special events chair for the Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association. “But to us, it’s a celebration of how much we love our crew chiefs and crews. We love to celebrate the people in the hot-air ballooning community that we call our family." The event is free.
4 See poetry in new forms.
Words and art collide in a new exhibit at Art123 Gallery, in Gallup. In Writing on the Wall, 13 artists each created a dozen 4-by-6-inch pieces inspired by works of Diné poetry. “The artists took all sorts of approaches to visually interpreting poetry,” says Rose Eason, executive director at gallupARTS. “Visual art and poetry both use form, composition, and imagery to try to help us realize what it means to be human.”
Via printmaking, mixed media, paper collage, and drawing, the visual artists often drew upon personal connections to the poetry, while others incorporated the words directly into their piece. Most of the poems are recent works by 11 Diné writers, including some directly addressing things like the Covid-19 pandemic. “Each visual artwork/poetry vignette contains layers of perspective—the artist’s and the viewer’s. The result is an experience that is both transportive and awareness-raising. Stepping into another’s perspective makes you more aware of your own.”
5 Craft a vintage message.
The Los Alamos Historical Society puts a stamp on the weekend with everything you need to make your own vintage-inspired postcards at Fuller Lodge. A display of postcards from the historical archive, including examples by local artists featuring architecture from some of the historic sites throughout Los Alamos, are on display for inspiration—or just to admire.