August 30, 2015    Music Trekking in Trinidad

Texas piano player Terry Lakes at Mitchell Museum in Trinidad

Trinidad's monthly summer Art Trek, held along Main Street downtown from 5 to 8 p.m. on the last Friday each month, includes as much music as it does visual art. The A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art waives its $5 cover charge during Art Trek and last night presented Texas piano wizard Terry Lakes, above, drawing several dozen listeners to enjoy ragtime, barrelhouse and lots of singalongs. A young girl even enjoyed dancing throughout the two-hour performance.

Singers Jim Richmond and Kevin Cox at Purgatoire River Trading Company, Trinidad Art Trek

Down the street, Purgatoire River Trading Company hosted singers Jim Richmond and Kevin Cox on the sidewalk out front, with three other businesses also hosting sidewalk performers within a two-block area. The Chronicle-News sent me to get photos that they'll publish this week. Here's a peak at what I submitted, on a PDF proof sheet which is what I include when submitting work to magazine art directors. I also posted some notes and photos at today's photography blog focused on Rodney Wood and his upcoming ArtoCade Art Car Festival.

There's one more Art Trek this summer, Friday, September 25. Coinciding with the annual TrindieFest Independent Film Festival where our Skateboarding's First Wave will screen (see my site and the film's own site), it'll be another great weekend to head to Trinidad, Colorado.




August 28, 2015    Music from Angel Fire

Music from Angel Fire at Raton's Shuler Theater 2014

Even as I struggle through the bungling promotional efforts of one local organization, this week's contact with Music from Angel Fire (MFAF) reminds me that most organizations know the value of good promotion and are thrilled to have me preview, review, and photograph their events. With encouragement, appreciation, and grace, these organizations make access and information easy. (The MFAF website stands in glorious contrast to the bare-bones site of the organization that I find frustrating.) Afterward, many send thanks.

Music from Angel Fire at Raton's Shuler Theater 2013

MFAF has a sensible "No Photography" policy at its concerts, because cameras and their audible shutter clicks can distract from the oft-exquisite music performances. But promotion needs imagery. Good photos of the concerts bring new people to the shows. At last year's annual MFAF concert at the Shuler Theater, the festival's Jean Lehman approached me about my photography and we met halfway: I could shoot photos but I would be even more sensitive than I've learned to be while shooting so many Shuler shows over the years. I try to shoot during louder passages, or during applause as above. MFAF returns to the Shuler Tuesday night (see my Chronicle-News preview here) and I'll be there to photograph and review the performances for next week's paper. I was proactive and contacted Jean in advance this time. She and the festival's director were warm and welcoming, inspiring me to give them the best coverage possible.




August 14, 2015    Santa Fe (Holy Faith)

Michael Hearne at Santa Fe Bandstand 2015 with South by Southwest and Bill Hearne

Overdue for a supply run to Santa Fe, where we go for restaurants, shows, and shopping, I timed a solo trip this week so I could enjoy a great double bill at Santa Fe Bandstand on the plaza--Bill Hearne Trio opening for Michael Hearne and South by Southwest. As I pulled out of my Raton driveway, the new issue of New Mexico Magazine arrived, allowing me today to post my feature from last month on Michael Hearne and his annual September band dance music festival in Taos.

Tia Sophia's smothered burrito

I got to visit briefly with Tom Russell, whose music, words, and art I've enjoyed since his weekly gigs at Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas, in the mid 1970s (when he alternated nights with an unknown college-student country singer named George Strait), and I was thrilled when Tom introduced me to Kurt Markus, one of my all-time favorite photographers. Next morning I bee-lined to Tia Sophia's for the smothered breakfast burrito, which I photographed with my iPhone, the same as I did for the concert the night before (top). I pulled back into my Raton driveway 24 hours after I left. Need I say, I'm loving my "retired" life.




August 9, 2015    So Much with So Little

The Jungle Book, Raton's Shuler Theater, summer 2015

Last night's closing performance of "The Jungle Book" caught me by surprise. Kids. A program of only three weeks. I had low expectations. My bad.

The Jungle Book at Raton's Shuler Theater, summer 2015

Sixteen local kids--wrangled, taught, and directed by Ian McCabe and Nora Leahy with assistance from Kate Little and Cassie Thompson--mounted a remarkably elaborate and vibrant show built upon the impressive narrative of Nora's script, created for the young actors from Rudyard Kipling's words. With next to no budget, the show was dramatically lit and costumed against a set that effectively recycled the grass carpet from last month's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Zoe Gomez & Christian Padilla in "The Jungle Book" 2015

Zoe Gomez is capable of stealing a show but here she melded nicely into the ensemble, playing Mowgli (in green, above and left.) Christian Padilla, in the coonskin cap in both photos, was delightfully unselfconscious and uninhibited, provoking many laughs, as did Nikki Osborn in a part specifically designed to steal scenes. (My own daughter had this lack of self-consciousness and delighted in being on stage until she reached her teens and lost both; hopefully these kids can hold onto their childhood freedom.)

Cleo Sanchez as Kaa the Snake in "The Jungle Book," 2015

Jaiden Osborn made a menacing tiger, above right, and Cleo Sanchez was a remarkably effective Kaa the Snake, right, using her hands to evoke a slithering motion through the jungle, where she scared the monkeys. (And here's a pair of bonus photos, one of Armando Valdez as Kipling, and one of Zoe with Aby Greenly and Becca Ramirez as monkeys.) My Chronicle-News review appears Tuesday morning with some of these photos.

What an attractive and engaging show to close the summer season, a production that put the word School back in the name of The Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts. Kudos and thanks to all involved.




August 1, 2015    Run through the Jungle

"The Jungle Book" at Shuler Theater 2015

Yesterday I photographed this great bunch of kids rehearsing "The Jungle Book" at Isabel Castillo Performing Arts Center, next door to the Shuler Theater where they'll perform their play Friday and Saturday nights (August 7-8). I just wrote and submitted my Chronicle-News preview: it sounds like a fun show. Rehearsals are work, but these looked more like play. The cast includes Ella Sanchez, Benjamin Sanchez, Benna Rael, Kahler Osborn, Madison Lester, Christian Padilla, Jaiden Osborn, Zoe Gomez, Brandon Robertson, Laura Robertson, Cleo Sanchez, Zander Osborn, Fernando Gallegos, Nikolai Osborn, Armando Valdez, Dominic Baez, Aby Greenly, and Becca Ramirez, with Kate Little and Lijah Medina assisting theater professionals Ian McCabe and Nora Leahy as instructors and stage assistants.

Christina Boyce at 52

Meantime, today, on a gorgeous New Mexico Saturday morning, is my wife Christina Boyce's birthday. She likes singing and hearing the birthday song so I already sang it to her twice in bed and right now she's singing it to herself across the hall in her newly painted office studio. She accompanied me to the Santa Fe Plaza to be my photo assistant (right) on a big band shoot earlier this week, and today she's off to her work as director of the A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art in Trinidad. When she gets home this evening, her requested dinner will be ready, margaritas followed by green chile chicken enchiladas in white sauce. Yum. Happy Birthday to You, Christina!




July 26, 2015    Boeing Boeing, Going Going

"Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, 2015, curtain call, photo by Tim Keller

Every photographer inevitably spots great shots that end the moment they're seen, before the camera captures them. Sometimes these images torment me afterward. Readiness and vigilant alertness can increase the number of these shots that one is "lucky" enough to get, but no matter what, every photographer is going to see and miss plenty. In fact, the more you look, the more you see that you miss.

Cassie Thompson and Darren Hill in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller

This post would normally go on my photography blog, but two days ago I discussed this problem of missed shots here on my arts blog (see immediately below), and this time there was a difference: the two shots I missed were in a play, "Boeing Boeing." Last night I returned to review the show and succeeded at getting the two images that had tormented me to miss the first time around. Here they are, the closing "curtain call" above and the flashing scene, left, with robe now fully open. I just sent The Chronicle-News my 1100-word review with well-earned praise for director Blake White and his six talented comedic actors pictured above, from left, Ian McCabe, Bussy Gower, Darren Hill, Nora Leahy, Cassie Thompson, and Tamara Todres.

Shuler Theater

I closed my review with a brief note about this summer's shamefully small Shuler audiences. The actors have done their jobs magnificently all summer. Getting people to the theater to enjoy the shows is the job of the board members of the Santa Fe Trail School for the Performing Arts and all the rest of us who should be spreading the word, sponsoring theater nights for our organizations and enjoying these shows ourselves. Raton's leaders and community builders all acknowledge how important the Shuler Theater is to Raton; how many of them have come to this summer's productions? Why are we not filling this extraordinary theater for these extraordinary shows? The hilarious "Boeing Boeing" continues with this afternoon's matinee and four more performances through next weekend at Raton's Shuler Theater. It's great fun. See it. And don't see it alone.




July 24, 2015    Boeing Boeing

Ian McCabe and Nora Leahy in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller Bussy Gower and Ian McCabe in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller
Darren Hill and Cassie Thompson in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller Nora Leahy and Darren Hill in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller

In preparation for reviewing the Shuler Theater's new production of the comedy "Boeing Boeing" this weekend, I photographed the final dress rehearsal Wednesday night. It's a great-looking show; having an audience to laugh along with me is going to increase the fun factor several fold when Christina and I see Saturday night's performance.

Darren Hill and Cassie Thompson in "Boeing Boeing" at Shuler Theater, Raton 2015, photo by Tim Keller

Instead of photographing a public performance, shooting a rehearsal allows me the full range of the theater to get different angles, and no audience is distracted by my audible shutter clicks. Even with the advantages, I still miss some great shots because I don't know the production ahead of time. In this case, I missed two. At left, actress Cassie Thompson's character opens her bathrobe to flash Darren Hill's character. It lasts only a moment and I missed it, getting this image just after she'd closed her robe again. Then, at the end, the curtain call turns out to be a fabulous 1960s' go-go dance by the cast of six, but I had a long lens on -nd wasn't prepared to get a wide-enough shot of the dancers; hurried, the best I could do was this. I don't plan to photograph the show when I review Saturday night's performance, but I do hope to get a second shot at these two missed--and potentially iconic--images.

"Boeing Boeing" is a (PG-13) sex comedy from the early '60s; set well before the Summer of Love and Woodstock, the comic romp instead channels "I Love Lucy," "Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In," and "Shindig". It runs through Sunday, August 2 at the Shuler Theater. Recommended.




July 16, 2015    Bringin' It All Back Home

Michael Hearne - Bringin' It All Back Home by Tim Keller

I was excited to find the August issue of New Mexico Magazine in my mailbox yesterday. I had a truckful of barking dogs on our way to a mountain hike but I paused long enough to take a quick look at my six-page feature, "Bringin' It All Back Home," profiling Southwestern music legend Michael Hearne along with a look at some northern New Mexico music history and Michael's annual Big Barndance Music Festival, which I photographed on assignment for the magazine last year but will shoot freelance September 10-12 when the festival returns to Taos. It's always a thrill to see my work published, and that's especially true in high-quality magazines. At the moment I have two magazine articles out, including my Landon Berry feature in the July issue of Western Horseman that's still on sale. Good times, and a good way to start my teacher retirement.




July 14, 2015    A Prolific Writer

Sharon Niederman portrait by Tim Keller, 2015

With my friend and neighbor Sharon Niederman teaching a pair of workshops at The Mandala Center this summer, we thought it was a good time for me to write another profile of her and her work, following a pair of features (1, 2) that I wrote in 2010. Today's Chronicle-News has my 1100-word profile and this new photo that I took for it when I interviewed Sharon last week. Sharon's teaching an inexpensive one-day creativity workshop July 25, then an intensive four-day writers' workshop late next month. Details are available from The Mandala Center, beautifully surrounded by volcanos 35 miles east of Raton.




July 5, 2015    A Good Day for a Parade

Fabie & Andy Solano in Raton's Fourth of July parade, 2015

This morning I submitted a Chronicle-News feature on Raton's Fourth of July festivities, mostly so I could publish some exciting photos from yesterday's mass ascension at the International Santa Fe Trail Balloon Rally, but I also included the first two of these shots of the annual parade on Historic First Street, where Fabie & Andy Solano shared grand marshal honors with Kathy & Bob Harris; they're all together here in the car, with Fabie and Andy on the back. (Click any image to enlarge it.)

Raton Humane Society in parade, 2015

Kathy and Bob own Title Services, which just celebrated 50 years downtown, and Fabie and Andy are in their 60th year at Solano's Boot & Western Wear. Joining them in the parade fun was this contingent from Raton Humane Society (right), with dogs out for a walk in costumes. Later the dogs spent some time at the fair in Ripley Park, which also featured food booths, rides, and live music.

Shuler Theater & Two Pigs Productions in Raton 4th of July Parade, 2015

I enjoyed seeing the summer acting troupe from the Shuler Theater and Two Pigs Productions. Having reviewed the current
"Into the Woods," I shouted that I wanted to hear the piano. That brought some laughter from pianist/music director Nathan Beary, walking, and the others, which I managed to catch in the photo, making it all the more fun.






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