The To-Do List
Events you'll love.
Be my Valentine event: Two of February's biggest events are already covered elsewhere in this issue; the Arts Exposure section has the scoop on both Silver City's Chocolate Fantasia, Feb. 12, and the Mesilla Valley's month-long For the Love of Art Month events extravaganza. But even though those are plenty to keep you busy, don't think that's all this all-too-brief month has to offer. For one thing, there's Valentine's Day, which brings such annual traditions as the Black Box Theatre's production of Love Letters, on Feb. 14. The play by A.R. Gurney, featuring Steve and Meredith Loring, follows a man and woman through a lifetime of evocative, touching, frequently funny but always telling letters.
Not exactly a tradition yet, but if the title's any indication it ought to be, Love Secrets from Outer Space is a new short comedic play by Tim McAndrews (see "Observer of Life," August 2008) featured for Valentine's Day weekend, Feb. 12-14. It's served up with a full dinner at the Tumbleweed Theater in Columbus.
If your Valentine is more of the purely literary variety, Feb. 12 brings a special "love your library" event to the Silver City Public Library. Sponsored by Literacy Link-Leamos, Open the Door, Explore! includes storytelling, crafts, fun and games and performances by a flute quartet and Brandon Perrault and his students.
That evening, literary lovers can enjoy the New Texican Poetry Slam at the Wellness Coalition in Silver City, as four poetry slam teams from New Mexico and Texas square off.
Listen to this: February also offers plenty of music to love, starting with the gala finale of Las Cruces' Jam Session celebration of jazz, featuring the Junior Mance Quintet. It's at the Rio Grande Theatre on Feb. 3.
A week later, on Feb. 10, the Grant County Community Concert Association brings the Andy Stein Duo to the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater in Silver City. The "duo" means pairing with pianist Conal Fowkes. But it's Stein you're most likely familiar with, from his 20 years of performances on "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor, where Stein adds his violin, fiddle, saxophone, mandolin and occasional vocals to the show.
Then, on Feb. 12, the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos hosts a concert by Mike Dowling and Randy Sabien. Vassar Clements called Dowling "one of the finest guitarists there is, anywhere," and Jethro Burns said, "I don't play guitar when Dowling's in the band. You don't take the game warden fishing." From bottleneck blues to vintage jazz and much more in between, Dowling's mastery of the instrument translates fluently to flattop, archtop and resonator guitars alike. As for Sabien, in 1978, at the age of 21, he founded and chaired a new jazz string department at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. Since that time he has performed in jazz, folk, rock, country swing, classical and blues settings and recorded 10 CDs.
The Opera House is also the venue for this month's Mimbres Region Arts Council Folk Series performance, Feb. 25 by Caroline Herring. From her 2001 debut album, "Twilight," and its immediate successor, "Wellspring," to the widely acclaimed "Lantana" in 2008, Herring's music has been hailed for combining traditional sounds with original observations into modern life and love. On her latest, "Golden Apples of the Sun," Herring exchanges her previous country-influenced sound for a darker, personal sound inspired by the iconic female folk singers of the 1960s and 1970s.