Above: Joe West performs alongside his uncle Archie West for a live stream concert from the family's living room. Photograph courtesy of Joe West.
PATIO DINING, FOLK MUSIC, and dipping your toes in the waters of the Río Grande. Summer, is that you? We know there is a long way left to go, but maybe, just maybe these are signs of better days ahead. So we’ve got a mix of stay-at-home entertainment and outdoor options for whatever you’re craving.
Catch a virtual folk concert.
Joe West and his uncle Archie West have been singing together since Joe was knee high to prickly pear. But rarely do the Wests perform as a duo onstage. On Friday, Joe and Archie team up for the ninth installment of the “Our Fair New Mexico” virtual concert series presented by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs and Museum of International Folk Art.
Beginning at 7 p.m. from Archie’s living room in a house that has been in the family since the 1940s, the 45-minute set should land close to home. “My uncle Archie has been singing some of these songs his whole life,” says Joe, who often croons about whiskey, horses, and the greatness of our beloved Southwest.
With a sound somewhere between rock and country, Joe has toured the U.S. and Europe, sharing the stage with the likes of Peter Rowan, Arlo and Sara Lee Guthrie, Mojo Nixon, and the Violent Femmes. A rancher and two-step legend, Archie performs cowboy and folk songs.
“I think music can heal,” says Joe. “Times like this, more than ever, we need music in our lives. Being creative, seeing people be creative, it is an expression of being alive. It is very important for us all.”
Try a pizza-and-beer pairing.
Wine shouldn’t be the only beverage that receives the food-pairing treatment. New Mexico craft beers possess a variety of aromas and flavors—from a citrus-y IPA to a chocolatey stout—that enhance the taste of most any food.
In a move that’s going to make your neighborhood Domino’s delivery guy (and local sommelier, for that matter) just a tad jealous, Tractor Brewing chef Kayla Vallejos has created the Gourmet Pizza Party Pairing as part of virtual Albuquerque Beer Week, which runs through June 3. The kit ($25) comes with a mixed four-pack that includes Farmer’s Tan Red Ale, Milk Mustachio Stout, NM Lager, and Acreage IPA, plus a pizza with four topping combos (pepperoni and green chile, creamy sausage, truffle and mushroom, and four cheese) that complement each of the brews. You can even add a charcuterie board ($40) to make it extra special.
“People are just hungry for something,” says Jeremy Kinter, Tractor’s events and marketing director. “They want something different to do, something they can take home and create an experience.”
Place an order by noon Friday and pick it up 2–6 p.m. Saturday at the Los Lunas location. But hurry, there are limited quantities and previous pairings have all sold out.
Enjoy a bite out.
We would venture to bet you’re already yearning for #PatioSeason.
So it was welcome news on Thursday, when Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham moved forward with a new phase in reopening that permitted outdoor dining at 50 percent capacity (with the exception of Doña Ana County, where COVID-19 cases are on the rise).
While news reports of crowded patios on the first weekend of reopening in places like Ohio can be cause for concern, Carol Wight, CEO of the New Mexico Restaurant Association, wants to reassure diners that New Mexico is well positioned in that regard. New Mexico is unique in that every restaurant must have a food safety manager, she says, and all back-of-house employees receive training in proper food handling. And while New Mexico restaurants are experienced in sanitizing and hand washing, the association has put together a host of resources to further assist the industry in reopening safely for guests and employees.
“I think people should feel comfortable going to restaurants for this very reason,” says Wight. “With a little heightened sanitation and disinfecting, restaurants are ready to go.”
If you’re up for a meal out, Wight recommends L’Olivier, near the Santa Fe Plaza, which has a shady, vine-covered patio, or Church Street Café, in Albuquerque’s Old Town, for some classic New Mexican food. “It’s really a communal business,” Wight says of restaurants. “Ninety-five cents of every dollar leaves the restaurant and goes to employees, food, and overhead like rent and utilities.”
See New Mexico through Georgia O’Keeffe’s eyes.
At the opening of Georgia O’Keeffe In New Mexico, Ariel Plotek tries not to get emotional while looking at an image of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, which has been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the museum’s curator of fine art for almost two years, Plotek has an even greater connection to the place than even the most passionate of the artist’s fans.
A part of the museum’s Collection Stories, the one-hour virtual lecture weaves through O’Keeffe’s Abiquiú home, her Ghost Ranch home, and some her favorite plein air spots, as well as her journey to New Mexico and what her life here was like. With details about every corner, tree, and aspect of the artist’s treasured spaces, Plotek paints a picture of O’Keeffe’s everyday life, referencing works from various periods in her artistic evolution.
Plotek speaks about the time O’Keeffe spent tending her acequia-fed garden, which she started with the goal of growing every flower she painted, and her artist’s eye in small decorative details, like a rattlesnake skeleton set into an adobe bench in her living room. He talks about her coming to the Southwest and writing to her family back East that she could stay forever.
This beautiful introduction to O’Keeffe is also for longtime fans who will delight in the little details and lesser-known works shared in the lecture. Here’s one: O’Keeffe shipped a bucket of bones she collected on a 1929 trip to New Mexico back to Lake George, New York, to be included in some of her most well-known paintings, two of which hang in the O’Keeffe Museum today.
Hike Diablo Canyon and get your feet in some water.
Water is revered in the desert, and with pools closed and temperatures rising, your best bet for cooling off is a river or lake. Diablo Canyon Recreation Area, a short drive from Santa Fe, can be accessed from NM 599, and the Río Grande runs nearby.
The sandy six-mile trail goes through a stunning canyon framed by towering cliffs that make for great rock climbing. The desert vista has been the backdrop for big-screen scenes in movies like 3:10 to Yuma and Cowboys and Indians.
The Río Grande’s waters can run pretty high here and may be too cold for swimming. But it’s a wonderful cool-off after a sweaty hike. Sandy beaches along the river offer plenty of space to set up your picnic blanket, put on sunscreen, and settle in with a book.