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Q&A with Jack Glatzer

Master Violinist Jack Glatzer Featured Artist
in Kennedy Hall Recital April 5

Dallas-born master violinist Jack Glatzer will share his love of music in a recital on Wednesday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Kennedy Hall at New Mexico Highlands University. Tickets are $15 per person. The event is sponsored by the Las Vegas Arts Council and Noonday Kiwanis.

Jack Glatzer, ViolinistGlatzer’s extensive performance background began with his debut recital at age 13. He had been a student of the instrument since age five. He regularly makes concert tours around the world and has played on every continent and in more than 50 countries. He is comfortable performing before large audiences in elegant settings and equally at ease with students in a classroom or a handful of patrons in small venues. Glatzer has given numerous recitals in Las Vegas over the years, and comes back often to renew old friendships and forge new ones.

He is recognized as a pedagogue, both in master classes and in lecture recitals. His background and interest in the history of culture have led to his highly successful concerts – son et lumiere – in which musical performance is explained by a lecture and illuminated by visual images. His particular focus is the unaccompanied repertoire for the violin, including the works of Paganini and J.S. Bach. He is also open to performing new works by talented composers.

ORP: When did you know playing the violin would be your life’s work?
Glatzer:
I began the violin at the age of five. After very few years of study I became so attached to the instrument that I knew it would be my life.

ORP: Who were your mentors as you developed your musical gift and honed your technical skills?
Glatzer: I suffered a great disillusionment with one of my famous teachers – who I won’t name. For a few years, I wanted to be a professor of history and took two degrees in history. Musically I was fortunate indeed to have two of the finest teachers of the last century, Sandor Vegh and Maxim Jacobsen.

ORP: How much of your success is natural ability and how much is practice and dogged perseverance?
Glatzer: I hope that there is some natural talent but there is no doubt that dogged perseverance and pathological obsession is with me every day.

ORP: You have performed all over the world to audiences large and small and have performed in Las Vegas on several occasions. What brings you back to Las Vegas time and again?
Glatzer: I have been fortunate over many years to develop deep friendships with persons and audiences in several cities. Among them is Las Vegas. Truly I have performed countless times there. I have such fond memories of that old series of house concerts – salon concerts to be sure – that took place in the lovely Carriage House. It was called Movable Music. What a joy to enjoy the gracious hospitality of my dear friend, Ann Bradford. I trust there are still friends who remember well those annual concerts. In recent years, my deep friendship and esteem for Ron Maltais has enriched my visits. I now have two works in my repertoire by Ron.

ORP: What size audience is more challenging to you as a performer?
Glatzer: The size of the audience does not matter, although I particularly enjoy intimate and small venues where it is possible to play very softly and hear the breathing and many colors of the violin.

ORP: In some performances you talk about the music and get into a teaching mode. Talk about that experience and how it makes you a better musician.
Glatzer: I enjoy talking to an audience, trying to go on an emotional trip with the public, trying to open the imagination of the listener so that together we voyage beyond the notes. This is particularly interesting in performing for students who are often so unfamiliar with the music.

ORP: Your recitals showcase the unaccompanied repertoire for the violin. Talk about that and how it affects your relationship with your audience.
Glatzer: I particularly enjoy the solo violin repertoire. Only composers of the highest skill would dare to write in this medium, so we have many true masterpieces, especially Bach, Ysaye, Bartok, Paganini. The solo music enables me to explore the many colors, the shading, the breathing, the crying of the violin. Also, people are amazed at how the softest sounds played with care and in tune will have such resonance that the sounds carry through the hall.

ORP: What advice do you give young musicians?
Glatzer: Remember that you are fortunate to be able to seek for the sublime with the sounds of your instrument. Never settle for less than this search.

What: Jack Glatzer Recital
When: Wednesday, April 5, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kennedy Hall, NMHU
Tickets: $15 per person available at the Las Vegas Arts Council
Event sponsors: Las Vegas Arts Council and Noonday Kiwanis

Q&A: Ronald Maltais, artistic director of the Castañeda Concert Series

and Emmy Grimm, co-founder of EmiArteFlamenco

flamenco

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ronald Maltais, artistic director for the Castañeda Concert series, recently announced the next two performances, the first of which will take place on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 7:30 p.m., in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom. The performance showcases Flamenco musicians and dancers. The third concert in the series will be on Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m. at Ilfeld Auditorium with violinist Elizabeth Young, cellist Dana Winograd, percussionist Ralph Marquez, and Maltais at the piano.

The Feb. 18 EmiArteFlamenco event will feature singers Eva Encinias and Joaquin Encinias, guitarists icardo Anglada and Mario Febres, and dancers Elena Osuna, Nevarez Encinias and La Emi. The group will also offer two free Flamenco workshops in the Plaza Hotel Ballroom at noon for children ages six through thirteen and 1 p.m. for high school students and adults.

Ron MaltaisMaltais, previously director of music at the United World College USA, left that position to devote more time to composition, directing and performance. He has been a life-long student of the piano, beginning at the age of four. Formal lessons at age eight with noted teachers led to a love of music and a gift for envisioning the creativity and art of performance and composing. Originally from southern New Hampshire, his studies with Maurice Hoffman led to degrees taken at New England Conservatory (piano performance), and Boston University (music composition). Maltais pursued vocal training and has devoted significant time to choral directing and artistic direction. His Meditation for Viola and Strings was conducted by Lukas Foss at Boston University in 1998. Maltais’ travels have led to engagements as a musician and lecturer in several US states and in India, Turkey, South Africa and Peru. He is currently composing an opera based on the life of Camille Claudel. Maltais premiered his Star Axis Preludes for a select audience at the first Light SpectrumConcert (Dwan Light Sanctuary/ United World College USA) in April 2016.

For La Emi (Emmy Grimm), performance and teaching are the heartbeat of a life spent immersing herself in the art of Flamenco. She has had several apprenticeships under Carmela Greco and has performed in various venues throughout Spain. She has also studied with Ivan Vargas Heredia, José Galván, Gala Vivancos, Inmaculada Ortega, Yolanda Heredia, Juana Amaya, Juan Paredes, Torombo, Rocio Alcaide Ruiz, and many more influential Flamenco dancers. For three seasons she performed with the Juan Siddi Flamenco Santa Fe. In 2014, Vicente Griego and La Emi began her own company, EmiArteFlamenco with Skylight Santa Fe as its home theater. In 2016 she opened EmiArteFlamenco Academy offering classes for toddlers, children and adults. For more information about La Emi, go to www.emiarteflamenco.com.

The Flamenco in Las Vegas Castañeda Concert is sponsored in part by Allan Affeldt, Plaza Hotel, Las Vegas Arts Council, New Mexico Arts and generous donors. Tickets are $15 per person and available at the Las Vegas Arts Council. They can also be purchased at the Plaza Hotel and at the door on the night of the performance.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge in putting together a concert series?
Ron: There are many facets to designing and arranging a compelling concert series. Intuition usually guides me, and I am thinking about great variety in the various programs and juggling the availability of prospective performers. My mission in Las Vegas is to feature New Mexico performing artists. This season certainly achieves that goal as all of the performers reside within the state. When people attend a Flamenco performance, the venue, lighting, sound design, graphic design etc. are all critical components to achieving a spectacular result. In the May concert we will bring back a violinist and cellist; both performed at the Castañeda in Sept. 2016. This decision was partly due to the favorable comments of audience members who enjoyed their virtuosity and musicianship.

ORP: What is the most rewarding for you as an artistic director?
Ron: When I am in the audience or performing in an event I produced it is very exciting to feel the energy in the room; to see how the people attending are reacting to the program. An example is when there was a spontaneous ovation at the end of the first half of the Castañeda concert last fall. Usually ovations occur at the end of an excellent performance. I am very committed to enhancing the concert season in Las Vegas. I begin by looking at what is already happening around town and then proceed to add something different to the mix.

ORP: You’ve taught, conducted and composed music. Which do you most enjoy and why?
Ron: I made a decision to step away from a full-time position as a music director/ teacher at the United World College USA this season (after a 15 year run). This surprised many local residents who have been very loyal supporters of my concerts and overall work in the past. I see it as a way of challenging myself to return to a more intense focus on piano performance and music composition. In the May concert I will present an original work composed for a professional colleague. When you announce such a thing you must follow through. It’s a bit frightening, but in a sense you are lighting a fire under yourself! Also, the Brahms Trio which I have programmed for the May concert is quite difficult, and I am greatly enjoying the process of mastering the piano part in this work.

ORP: The next two concerts have been set. Talk about the Feb. 18 performance and what led you to select Flamenco as the art form for this event?
Ron: There is a strong Flamenco tradition in New Mexico. In some ways it is different than what you might see in Spain. I feel it is up to artistic directors to invest serious time and thought in looking for ways to promote important cultural traditions. When I first came to New Mexico I was drawn to Native American music, and through numerous visits to several Indian pueblos within our state I was amazed by what I saw and heard in the music performances and sacred dances.

ORP: What appeals to you about Flamenco?
Ron: The drama of it is compelling; sometimes subtle, but then wild and seductive. The chemistry between the dancers and musicians springs from a kind of improvisational daring. Watching Flamenco (even once) could be a life-changing experience for spectators. I remember seeing a small, excellent Flamenco ensemble in Cordoba, Spain some years ago, and the images are still engraved in my mind, along with the unforgettable sound of their music. I walked back to my inn on that balmy summer night feeling somewhat dazed.

ORP: How do dance, vocal and instrumental performances differ in presentation and preparation, or do they?
Ron: I am not a dancer, but I have observed/collaborated with dancers many times, even composed music, which colleagues then choreographed. Watching the body language of confident musical performers who are not dancers (ex. A jazz quintet) is not so different.  There are many ways to communicate, and body movement is key to this.

ORP: The objective of a concert or performance is to provide beautiful artistic expression. What are the technical or logistical aspects of putting together an event, aside from practice, practice, practice?
Ron: The greatest performers sometimes talk of states of consciousness they experience in their quest to achieve the highest possible expressive outcome. Some get there rather easily through natural talent/ intuition. After getting through the preliminary technical work of learning musical notes or learning dance steps you must find a way to take it to a different level. Of course your own gifts allow it to become personalized. Your interpretation would likely be different than any other and this is the magic we strive for. As performance artists we are actually recreating art over and over again. This is a difficult question to answer and I hope my response makes sense!

la-emiORP: Emmy, talk about your company of Flamenco artists.
Emmy: My company was founded two years ago by my Godfather, Vicente Griego and myself. This is a family company. We feel very blessed because we get to do what we love with the people we love, in the place we were born and raised.

ORP: How long have you all been working together?
Emmy: We began working with each other prior to the opening of EmiArteFlamenco. We have been working together many years.

ORP: What excites you about the art of dance?
Emmy: Flamenco is an art form that originated through the people.  It was born in the streets amongst families. It is a way to tell one’s story. It expresses everything that I go through in life, love, heart break, anxiety, joy and many more emotions.

ORP: When and how did you become a Flamenco dancer.
Emmy: My father, David Grimm, worked at the box office for Maria Benitez during her Summer Season of shows at what is now The Lodge at Santa Fe. My mother used to go to the shows when she was pregnant with me. I grew up going to these shows and at the age of four I began my studies with the Maria Benitez Institute for Spanish Arts.

ORP: What is the greatest challenge when putting a performance together?
Emmy: For me the greatest challenge is making the time to do all of the needed things. It is important to promote the show, but you also must make time to rehearse every day.

ORP: What is the greatest joy?
Emmy: I believe that the Lord put us all on this earth to serve our purpose. God blessed me with a love to dance. It gives me true joy to be able to do what I love and share it with my community. This show is truly exciting. We will be celebrating our love for New Mexico, as well as for the art form of Flamenco and what a better way to do it than amongst familia!

For more information about EmiArteFlamenco go to www.emiarteflamenco.com

What: Castañeda Concerts: Flamenco in Las Vegas
When: 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 18
Where: Plaza Hotel Ballroom

Cost: $15 per person
Where to purchase tickets: Las Vegas Arts Council and online at lasvegasartscouncil.org. Tickets are also available at the Plaza Hotel. 

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La Emi Photo: Daniel Quat Photography

One Roof Publishing Digest

I’m changing my website look with the idea of making it more user friendly. Not sure I succeeded. I liked the old theme that popped up with a nice display of ten recent posts with a photo. The new theme may do that, but if so, I haven’t figured it out yet. Please let me know what you think by commenting at the end of this post or by e-mailing me at fsharon@msn.com. It is a work in progress, so more changes are coming.

Following is a digest of links to recent posts you may have missed. I hope you will take time to check these out, like, comment and share.

Q&A with Ron Querry

Ron QuerryRon Querry should be an actor in a Western movie. He has the craggy good looks, air of romanticism and steely-eyed stare of a cowboy hero. He would scoff at such a description, but his tongue-in-cheek memoir tells a different story. Creative license aside, I See By My Get-Up reveals a man much inclined to finish what he starts, and one who learns by observation, intuition and application. Despite growing up in an age of disillusionment and questioning everything, Querry kept on course when it came to education and earned his Ph.D. in American Studies in 1975. He spent a few years as a professor at the University of Oklahoma, and taught at Highlands, Lake Erie College for Women, and conducted seminars on Native American Literature in Italy. Read more…

Q&A with Andrea Gottschalk

WelcomeBeing in business is a challenge and an opportunity all wrapped up in one great adventure. When you’re good at it, you share your expertise with others who are dipping a toe into the entrepreneurial waters. With more than thirty years of experience under her belt, Andrea Gottschalk of Unikat Fine Jewelry has grown her business and reached out to help others. She believes in working in concert with other business people and making the most of networking opportunities. She has an abundance of talent as a jewelry designer and creates a customer-friendly shopping experience as a business owner. Her insightful responses to the Q&A reveals a woman who enjoys what she does, and who remains grounded in the essentials of business ownership: making wise market decisions and operating within your means. Read more…

Q&A with Nancy Colalillo

nancyNancy Colalillo is one of my favorite people, fearless in the face of just about everything. Her entrepreneurial spirit brought an exciting book store to Las Vegas several years ago. After she sold that successful enterprise, she went out on a limb and opened Paper Trail, a card and gift shop. This venture has been so well received, she has now moved to a bigger space – 166 Bridge Street – and expanded her card and gift product lines. There are darling baby items, a card for every occasion, gift books, gift wrap, lots of gift ideas and plenty of new merchandise. This locally owned and operated business is a jewel of a shop. Read more…

Q&A with Michael Ulibarri

Christmas GoodiesThe Ulibarri family’s route to its new shop at 161 Bridge Street has been circuitous and – as is often the case with small businesses – not without challenges. What it has continued to have is faithful customers who love the candy they make. The store came out of a family who personifies “family first” when it comes to making decisions. Read more…

 

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One Roof Publishing is a free site. I have elected to not monetize it with annoying pop up ads. I use this site as a link to my work as a writer. If you enjoy One Roof Publishing and would like to see it continue, I will appreciate you buying my books, available online. Click on a book image to the right or go to Books on this site to order one (or all  🙂 of my titles. Your purchase will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Q&A: Author Ron Querry

Discovering where things are going…

Ron Querry

Ron Querry

Ron Querry should be an actor in a Western movie. He has the craggy good looks, air of romanticism and steely-eyed stare of a cowboy hero. He would scoff at such a description, but his tongue-in-cheek memoir tells a different story. Creative license aside, I See By My Get-Up reveals a man much inclined to finish what he starts, and one who learns by observation, intuition and application.

Despite growing up in an age of disillusionment and questioning everything, Querry kept on course when it came to education and earned his Ph.D. in American Studies in 1975. He spent a few years as a professor at the University of Oklahoma, and taught at Highlands, Lake Erie College for Women, and conducted seminars on Native American Literature in Italy.

I See By My Get-UpLong before he entered into marital partnership with the “rancher lady” heroine of his book and his life, Querry was (and is) a cowboy. He writes that people get the impression from reading Get-Up that he lacked experience working on a ranch. “I poke fun at people in my writing—mostly I poke fun at myself. In Get-Up, I took the role of the effete university professor trying to be a cowboy in order to woo the beautiful rancher lady. This was tongue-in-cheek. I find that I often have to explain to people that my feet weren’t nearly so tender as I made them out to be. I look back now and see that for most jobs I ever took in academia, I left a ranch job.”

Querry spent summers when he was a teenager working on farms and ranches. In Mexico he rode for a year with a retired Mexican Cavalry officer who’d been on the Mexican Olympic Team in 1968. He was a horseshoer in the ‘70s, had a training stable in Santa Fe for some time, and was the director of a large Equestrian Center at a private women’s college in Ohio.

Writing has always been a part of his life. “I wanted to write from the time I learned to read. I published my first piece when I was 16—I was paid $75 for a story in the magazine section of a metropolitan Sunday newspaper.”

Querry is an internationally acclaimed author of mixed Native American and European American descent. Many of his writings depict the intersection of white and native worlds. For his official bio go to www.ronquerry.com.

ORP: You are a member of the Choctaw Nation, a teacher, a horseman, and a cowboy. Talk about how these different aspects of your life experiences influenced your writing choices.
Ron:
Everything is fair game when it comes to writing. That old saw that says “write about what you know” is only useful if you know something. Always it’s necessary to learn about something in order to write about it honestly and well.

ORP: How did teaching inform your writing discipline?
Ron:
I cannot think of any way that the act of teaching has informed my writing. I can, on the other hand, say that my writing is informed by everything I’ve ever done, or seen, or heard . . . so maybe my teaching shows up, somehow, in my writing. But I cannot describe it.

Querry's BooksORP: You spent time writing articles for newspapers, some of which ended up in, “I See by my Get-Up.” How did you decide to write this book?
Ron:
It was in the early 1980s and I had been teaching for a number of years at the University of Oklahoma. The publication of the anthology I’d put together—Growing Old at Willie Nelson’s Picnic—and the circle of writers to whom it had introduced me persuaded me that if I really wanted to make my way by writing—and to run with those writers I so much admired and envied—it was time to do so in whatever full-time manner I could stand. I’ve long held to the notion that it’s a far better thing to weigh in with the other players—win, lose, or draw—than it is to continue talking to oneself or others about wanting to do something—in this case, wanting to write.

I left Norman and came to live in New Mexico again. I lived in a small, adobe house on the Pecos River near Santa Rosa owned by a friend in the horse-breeding business. I helped with the horse chores during the day and typed on a manual typewriter in the evening. I read. In order to have an income, I wrote pieces for livestock publications and newspapers. I met and courted a strong ranch woman and I wrote about that fine adventure in I See by My Get-Up, which was published by the University of New Mexico Press and later by the University of Oklahoma Press.

Get-Up describes the transition from my life as a University professor to that of a full-time rancher in short vignettes, most of which had been written and published in the livestock journals and newspapers I was selling work to. The Director of the University of New Mexico Press saw one of my pieces in the Albuquerque Journal and got in touch with me to see if I’d thought about doing a book. Of course, a book was what I was aiming for, and so it was a done deal.

ORP: The book’s content is personal and mostly humorous. Toward the end, it is painful. You write about the heartless and business like way co-inheritors of Lake Ranch insisted on disposing of the property, and in effect, booting Elaine and you off the premises with little notice. Talk about the choice to write about that, and whether you were satisfied you did.
Ron:
Yes, it is painful. It was many years before I could drive I-40 where it bisected the ranch if Elaine was with me.

I am by nature honest—sometimes to a fault, I suppose. I wrote that final part of Get-Up as it was happening—that part wasn’t humorous, of course, but it was part of the story. As for being satisfied with it . . . absolutely we are satisfied with it. It’s been with three publishers, so far, and has sold very well with all three.

ORP: I listened to an interview you did with an Arizona PBS station in which you talked about your first novel, The Death of Bernadette Lefthand. Describe for readers how you came up with the premise for the book.
Ron:
It was 1986 and we were living in Taos. Elaine was the chief photographer at The Taos News—I was struggling to focus on a writing project and feeling relatively useless.

Listening to the radio one morning, I learned that Larry McMurtry and Leslie Silko were to give talks at Fort Lewis College in Durango, in a couple of days. I knew and admired both Larry and Leslie, hadn’t seen either since my days teaching at Oklahoma, and thought that being in touch with them and hearing their talks might give me a boost. Durango was just a couple hundred miles from Taos, and it was the fall of the year and the drive alone promised to be beautiful.

We drove up to Durango arriving about noon and got a motel room. The talks were scheduled for that evening and so we went out to explore the town. I am, by nature, unable to pass a bookshop without going in. At least I am unable to pass a small, independent bookshop—the kind of place that, sadly, has grown rare. I don’t recall much about the little, used bookshop itself, but I came upon a title by a writer/photographer friend of ours in Taos—Nancy Wood—that I didn’t know about and had never before seen. Out-of-print, the book, When Buffalo Free the Mountains, is a non-fiction account of the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe of Indians in southern Colorado, and is illustrated throughout with Nancy’s photographs. The book was a fine first edition hardcover with a dust jacket and cost, as I recall, something less than twenty dollars.  Later, we returned to the motel to prepare for the talks on campus and I laid the book on the bedside table.

The talks that evening were well attended and well received. We visited with Larry and Leslie both before and after their presentations and agreed to meet the next morning for breakfast at their hotel. I remember we had a fine visit in the course of which I mentioned that Scott Momaday was just then doing a residency in Taos at the Wurlitzer Foundation and that he had told me he was working at finishing up a Billy the Kid novel. (The Ancient Child, 1989)  McMurtry was very interested in this, saying he was doing a Billy the Kid novel, as well. Anything for Billy appeared in 1988.

Anyway, after the talks that evening, Elaine and I returned to our room. I was thumbing through Nancy’s book, looking at the images, two of which struck me in particular and became the inspiration for this, my first novel—my first attempt at fiction of any kind.

The first photograph showed a young Indian woman sitting in a lawn chair holding an infant on her lap. The woman is dressed in a beaded dress and her hair is done in braids. She is, it appears, at some sort of  powwow or other doin’s. The caption on the photo states that the woman is Regina Box holding her infant son and that the picture was taken five months before her death.

On another page there is a photo of a young Indian man singing at a drum. He wears jeans and a down vest and his hair is in braids. The caption says he is Jim Box and that he is shown at a Bear Dance shortly before he killed his wife.

I can tell you that to this day I have never read When Buffalo Freed the Mountains. But The Death of Bernadette Lefthand began with those two photographs.

ORP: You have said you come from a family of storytellers. What is at the heart of a good story?
Ron:
I wonder what I was thinking when I said that? I  can’t think of anyone in my family who might ever have been considered a storyteller.

I’m not sure I know what’s at the heart of a good story.  I believe I’ve managed to tell some good stories with my novels and my memoirs. And I recognize a good story when I hear/read one. But I do not believe there is a formula or any rule for making a good story.  Probably that is why I have no truck with so-called “creative writing” courses or with writing groups.

ORP: Talk about your writing process. Do you know from the beginning where you intend to take a story?
Ron:
I think. I stew. I pace. I make cryptic notes that you would find meaningless. I stare out the window. I talk to myself. I eavesdrop. I study. I immerse myself in the place I’m writing about.

Understand, I do not begin with an outline of any sort.  I might have a very vague idea as to where I’m going with the story early on, but I listen to what the characters say and feel and do, and go where they take me.  When readers tell me that they were “surprised” by something—some turn of events—in my fiction, more often than not I can tell them truthfully that I was surprised, as well.

ORP: You said in the PBS interview that you like to “discover where things are going.” Talk about what that means in the development of character and plot.
Ron:
I’ve done a number of PBS interviews over the years. I suspect what you refer to was in the writing of Bernadette. I had never before written fiction. I didn’t know how to proceed, so I simply began to write with the individuals in mind who were in the photographs I described earlier—the woman with the child at the powwow and the man that I assumed had later killed the woman. My aim was to “imagine” the death of the young woman—I suppose that was the plot. My aim was always to make the characters as real as I could—that must be character development.

I will tell you that Bernadette is told through different voices. This was because I found that in the telling I would come to a point where I wanted the reader to know something that the narrator at that moment wouldn’t know. So I had to develop another voice—another character who would be able to articulate what the first character could not or would not know. And I was concerned that those different voices not be confused with one another—I sought to accomplish this though not only speech patterns, but also visually with typeface in the published book.

ORP: In the Bernadette book and in Bad Medicine, the stories are shaped by Native American culture and spirituality. What were the challenges in getting characters right so they pop off the pages and engage readers?
Ron:
I’ve long been a student of American Indian culture and lifeways. In Oklahoma, when I was very young, there were Indian folks everywhere. But it wasn’t until I began to visit/live in New Mexico, that I can recall seeing “Feather Indians,” the kinds of Indians that were in movies and, later, on TV.

I probably know more about the cultures and lifeways of Navajo and Hopi peoples, Taos Pueblo and Jicarilla Apaches than I do about the Choctaw Tribe of which I am an enrolled member.  The protagonist in Bad Medicine is Choctaw, but he is working on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations.

I worked very hard getting these characters right—and I believe they are right. The reader will have to determine whether or not they “pop off the pages.”

Both my novels have been translated into French and German and have never been out-of-print in Europe.  In fact, both are appearing early in 2017 as “Classics” from my German publisher in both print and e-book forms. Bad Medicine has also been published in Sophia, Bulgaria, but I have never seen a copy.

ORP: How is writing memoir and nonfiction different from writing fiction?
Ron:
For me they differ very little. In terms of difficulty, fiction is the most difficult for me. Probably because of my near-obsession with getting it right. People are often surprised when I say that I have done far more research for the fiction I’ve written than for any other form.  If one gets something wrong in fiction—or if a reader perceives something to be wrong—one is likely to hear about it. The truest lines I have written, for the most part, are in my novels.

In the case of memoir, those individuals who are written about—family, friends—will very likely disagree and dispute what’s written (everyone wants you to write about them until you do), but the typical reader is more apt to accept it as the writer’s experience. If you want to be loved by your family and friends, it is important not to write about them.

 ORP: You’ve travelled extensively and been recognized nationally and internationally for your work. How did you and Elaine end up in Las Vegas?
Ron:
I’ve lived in Las Vegas off and on much of my life.  My great-grandparents came here at the turn of the 19th Century and owned property in Montezuma—someone in my family has owned property here ever since. My mother gave birth to me in Washington, D.C. where she’d gone to work during World War II. She brought me here when I was three-years-old. I lived between here and Oklahoma growing up. I attended and taught at NMHU, I have a daughter who went to primary and middle school here, and attended Robertson. I worked on various ranches in San Miguel County. Work kept taking me away from this area.

Elaine has roots here—her mother was born in Las Vegas, her grandmother attended Highlands when it was a Normal College. Her grandfather George Bibb and his brother Dee Bibb came here in the 19-teens. George ranched outside Santa Rosa, and Dee stayed on here.  Many Las Vegans remember Dee and his wife Mabel.

We did travel extensively throughout the American Southwest and Mexico and Western Europe. Besides New Mexico we’ve lived in Oklahoma, Arizona, and central Mexico.

When we decided some ten years ago to stop our wanderin’ ways, we wanted to come back to northern New Mexico. We’ve not regretted it for a moment.

ORP: You put together an amazing non-motorized parade that was a centerpiece for the Las Vegas Cowboys’ Reunion Centennial Celebration in 2015. Talk about why you took on that challenge and what it meant to you for it to be such a success. Was it telling a story but in a different way?
Ron:
Elaine’s grandfather and uncle, George and Dee Bibb, were very much a part of the Cowboys’ Reunions in the 1920s. In 2012, Elaine and her cousin—upon learning that the first Reunion was in 1915—struck upon the idea that there should be some kind of celebration for the 100th anniversary in 2015.

We initially tried to get others involved, but, you know, it seemed so far away and involved so much . . . we ended up taking on the challenge ourselves. The focus of the Centennial evolved into five specific events: A sit-down dinner sponsored by the Highlands Foundation; a non-motorized, all-horse parade kicking off the week-long celebration; a Ranch Rodeo sponsored by the Charles R Ranch; a month-long exhibition of Reunion Memorabilia collected and curated by Elaine; and a BBQ and visit with many of the old-time cowboys who had participated in earlier Reunions.

The parade was, as you say, an amazing success. We had hoped to attract maybe 30 or 40 mounted cowboys and cowgirls to ride—we worked very hard to attract more than 115 horses and mules and horse-drawn wagons for what was one of the quietest and most dignified parades this city has seen in decades—not a single siren. The Governor and the First Gentleman rode horses, as did cowboys and cowgirls from across New Mexico and neighboring states. People came from as far away as Mississippi and as close as Las Vegas to walk the 2-mile-long parade route that traversed both Old and New Town to help make it a safe and orderly happening. We were, as you can imagine, sore from grinning at this spectacular event. Almost a year and a half later we continue to have people come up to us to talk about and reminisce about that day.

I suppose you could say that, taken as a whole, the Centennial Celebration was itself a story.  I know many, many people from across the state and the Southwest spent long hours in Elaine’s exhibition studying the photographs and other memorabilia and recalling stories and people they hadn’t thought about, as they said, “in ages.”

ORP: What is the one thing you want readers to know about you as a person and as a writer.
Ron:
I’ve had to deal all of my adult life with the fact that people very often think I am angry or sullen,  surly or grumpy, or just unfriendly. That’s just the face I was dealt. In fact I’m just thinking and listening—making mental notes.  I’m a writer, after all.  And as such, you should know that I’m likely storing away pieces of what you say, of how you look and act . . .

ORP: What are you up to now?
Ron:
I’m honored to have been chosen as a judge for the Texas Institute of Letters’ important Best Novel and Best First Fiction Awards for 2016. This requires me to read closely upwards of thirty novels and collections—a task that while sometimes delightful, can be tedious since entries range from important literary works to the kinds of formulaic genre fiction that I’ve never been much taken by.

At the same time, it is a task that is all-consuming, so I have had to put on hold until early in 2017 the final stages of preparing my new work for publication. The work is another memoir, this one titled “Permanent Record.” I think it’s a fun book and I’m eager to get it out there.

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Photos provided by Ron Querry

Jewelry Artisan and Entrepreneur

Making art into a business

WelcomeBeing in business is a challenge and an opportunity all wrapped up in one great adventure. When you’re good at it, you share your expertise with others who are dipping a toe into the entrepreneurial waters. With more than thirty years of experience under her belt, Andrea Gottschalk of Unikat Fine Jewelry has grown her business and reached out to help others. She believes in working in concert with other business people and making the most of networking opportunities. She has an abundance of talent as a jewelry designer and creates a customer-friendly shopping experience as a business owner. Her insightful responses to the Q&A reveals a woman who enjoys what she does, and who remains grounded in the essentials of business ownership: making wise market decisions and operating within your means.

Andrea was born and raised in Germany. She graduated from high school in 1985 and went on a  two-year world travel adventure, including an extended visit to New Mexico. She returned to Germany and attended the Goldschmiede Schule in Pforzheim. She returned to New Mexico in 1988 “for the love of it,” and started a home based jewelry business working as a sub contractor for many different retail jewelry stores in Santa Fe such as Spirit of the Earth, James Reid, Mitzi Lynn, Mahdani and many others. She made special orders and custom pieces. Andrea moved to Las Vegas, NM in 1995. “I opened Unikat Fine Jewelry in 1998 where Genesis Computers is located now. I moved across the street in 2004 to 158 Bridge St., where I had my business until September of this year.” When the opportunity came to move into a much bigger location she took it and is now operating at 160 Bridge St.

Unikat Fine Jewelry will have a Grand Opening celebration at its new location, 160 Bridge St., in conjunction with Paper Trail, 166 Bridge St. The event will be Friday and Saturday, November 11 -12.

ORP: You’ve made the move to your new location. What do you hope this will do for your customers?
Andrea:
A lot more browsing room without feeling cramped in. Lots more inventory to select from. Big store windows to do window shopping, and it’s easy to find me.

ORP: What inspired you to go into business and how long have you had the store?
Andrea:
I opened my first store in 1998 when Price’s Ilfeld closed their jewelry department. I was their repair jeweler for about one year and I took the business opportunity to fill that niche. I had been making jewelry since I was sixteen. I went to gold smithing school in Germany. I had always worked for other retail stores making their custom pieces. There was an important link missing for me in that I never got to have the contact with the client and never could see their joy in purchasing that piece of jewelry I had made. That was the biggest inspiration to have my own store, to have that direct connection to the client and feeling proud of what I accomplished when I would see their reactions to the finished product.

ORP: What is the single biggest challenge to being a sole-owner business and how do you address it?
Andrea:
All the investments are on your own risk. All the debt you may accumulate is yours. There is no corporation that backs you up if you fail or no government that wipes your debt clean. You are solely responsible for every single decision you make and sometimes that can be very nerve racking.

ORP: What are your biggest opportunities as a business person on Bridge Street?
Andrea:
The Bridge Street/Plaza area is the most well known historic area and most walked on foot by locals and tourists alike. The chance that someone will stroll by and and take a peek into your store and buy something is huge.

Designing EntrepreneurORP: In addition to being a business owner, you also make jewelry and do jewelry repair. Talk about what inspires you as a business owner?
Andrea:
I would have to answer that in reverse, making jewelry inspired me to become a business owner and having my own retail store. The creation of jewelry and the sales aspect of it and going more and more into designs and repairs for customers directly,  taught me to have a good professional attitude with clients and subsequently has made me a good  business owner. I cannot say enough how important it is to have a professional, service-oriented attitude to gain a good loyal customer base. Yes you are in business for yourself but you really work for the client and their satisfaction. If that is not understood then you better not be a business owner. Of course quality is on top of everything.

ORP: What inspires you as a jewelry maker?
Andrea:
The color and shape of gemstones. They inspire the whole design and the outcome of a piece. I also love gems in their natural uncut beauty and often set them just as they are found in nature. I love combining different metals into one piece and personally I am very drawn to geometric simple shapes so a lot of my own creations have that as a component of the design.

ORP: Where do you get ideas for your jewelry designs?
Andrea:
Usually when I see a gem stone that grabs me at a supplier or at gem shows, I see a whole piece of jewelry around it in my imagination. That is what I create for the most part. I really don’t sit down at the drawing table much and think a piece through from start to finish. While I create a piece the design may change in the process when I see that something works better than originally thought of. Those are usually the best pieces.

ORP: If you had a motto as a business person, what would it be?
Andrea:
Know your market and don’t get in debt over your head. Don’t overspend on a huge inventory. Start slowly and built up your inventory when you can afford to invest more in it. If you create something make it top quality!

ORP: What do you like about being an entrepreneur?
Andrea:
You are responsible for your own self. When something goes wrong you only have yourself to blame. If it goes right – and hopefully  that’s most of the time – well, then all the credit goes to you and you feel you deserve it! It makes you an integral and meaningful part of society when you have the ability to produce something that people appreciate and cherish.

ORP: You are also active in the Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. Why is it important to you as a small business person to be part of an organization of this type?
Andrea:
There is strength in numbers. Belonging to a business organization where everybody has the same mission, same goals, struggles and joys, you truly have a sense of belonging and you can commiserate or share the joys and successes together. You can find solutions together to common problems. Of course our top mission is our motto: Keep your money where your house is. That means to buy as much locally as you can and keep your tax dollars in town. It makes a tremendous impact on our town when the City has more tax revenue to spend. Quality of life improves for everybody by having better streets, parks, clean-up efforts, sidewalks, lighting, things for our youth and elderly to do, school improvements and the list goes on and on. People forget that all this depends largely on the revenue that comes in from tax dollars, and a huge amount is generated through our gross receipts, which is generated by shopping here locally.

ORP: Talk a little about Entrepreneurial Network and why you think it’s important.
Andrea:
The Entrepreneurial Network is so important for similar reasons to why it is important to have a business organization, but with more specific multi-functions. The EN facilitator, which has been me for the past three years, functions as a one-on-one business coach where I help a start up business or expanding business in every way possible to be successful. I do that by listening to their individual needs and try to find answers to any questions they may have. This help may be through my own business experience. If I do not have the answer, I refer people to business experts in their field or to valuable programs that are being offered through the Regional Development Corporation. There is technical assistance, market research, alternative micro loans, investments through the venture acceleration fund and much more. Every business has a uniqueness to them. It is my goal to help each and every client that comes to me for help in the best way possible, and to help them succeed in their own way, to the best of their abilities. It is their own talent that they need to rely on. I help them focus on what they are good at, encourage them to build on that in their business, and remind them to not overextend themselves. If you can talk somebody out of a very bad idea and save them from a lot of trouble, then that is a success too. Every other month I have what is called the Entrepreneurial Network Forum where I invite one to three business owners to do a public presentation on their services and goods to an audience of other business owners and interested people. This is free and open to the public and is usually held at the El Fidel Hotel Wolff’s Den room. It’s a great way to promote your business and network with other like-minded people. You get updates on what is new in town and who does what, when and where. If you need any assistance with your business please call me at my store, Unikat, 425-6113. It is a completely free service and exists in four Northern New Mexico communitites: Taos, Rio Arriba, Mora and of course here in San Miguel County. It is sponsored by the RDC, Los Alamos National Laboratories and Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance.

Andrea’s new location and contact info:
Unikat Fine Jewelry
Location: 160 Bridge St., Las Vegas NM 87701

Phone: 505-425-6113 or cell 505-617-6113
E-mail: unikat@spinn.net
Unikat on Facebook

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Photos: Sharon Vander Meer (Note: If you are interested in doing a Q&A on One Roof Publishing, please contact fsvandermeer@gmail.com.)

Paper Trail Moving on Up–

And across the street…

nancy.jpgNancy Colalillo is one of my favorite people, fearless in the face of just about everything. Her entrepreneurial spirit brought an exciting book store to Las Vegas several years ago. After she sold that successful enterprise, she went out on a limb and opened Paper Trail, a card and gift shop. This venture has been so well received, she has now moved to a bigger space – 166 Bridge Street – and expanded her card and gift product lines. There are darling baby items, a card for every occasion, gift books, gift wrap, lots of gift ideas and plenty of new merchandise. This locally owned and operated business is a jewel of a shop.

For those of you who don’t know Nancy’s background, here is a brief bio in her own words:

Born and raised in the Garden State, just one atlas-page away from New Mexico. Graduated Georgetown University School of Foreign Service with a BSFS in International Economics, and NYU with an MBA in marketing. Early career in Washington, DC included working at the Imperial Embassy of Iran (Press Office), the National Schools’ Public Relations Assn.(editorial assistant), and the US Department of Labor (Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance). Left DC to join the family business due to my father’s health issues. Learned supermarketing from the ground up, from Produce to HR, Floral to Meat Room. Sat on various coop buying committees, including Produce (vice-chair), Seafood, and Floral (chair), and the Consumer Affairs (chair) and Labor Relations committeesk. During a 2-year hiatus from the supermarket industry, worked at a New Jersey advertising agency creating and implementing large scale special events for food industry-related clients. Followed a dream and landed in Las Vegas in 1994.

ORP: As an entrepreneur, what do you think are the three critical skills to achieve success?
Nancy:

  • Creativity. (Finding a niche that needs to be filled, and meshing your dream with the needs and desires of those you serve.)
  • Perseverance . (Always looking for ways to improve your business.)
  • Optimism. (Believing that next week, or next month, or next year will be better.)

Kid StuffORP: What ignited the spark in you to start Paper Trail?
Nancy:
The sidelines that I offered at Tome on the Range for 18 years were no longer available and folks were asking for them. When I learned that 161 Bridge Street was for rent, I figured I couldn’t get into much trouble in such a small building. That’s the short answer!

ORP: The move to 166 Bridge Street is complete. What does this mean for Paper Trail customers?
Nancy: A broader selection of gift items and greeting cards, and the space to browse  and enjoy.

ORP: What will the move to your new location enable you to offer that you didn’t have before?
Nancy:
I’m working on an expanded kids’ selection, particularly infant to preschool, which will include (surprise) books! I’m also scouting items suitable for shower and wedding gifts, and fun, funky, just-because gifts. Like the sign on the window says, there will be more of “what tickles nancy!”

ORP: You’ve more than doubled the size of your boutique shop. How creative did you get to fill the space with merchandise?
Nancy:
Trust me, buying and filling up space is not an issue! Finding the right mix is the challenge.

ORP: What is it about being in business that appeals to you?
Nancy:
Damned if I know! But seriously, in this town, one of the most appealing things is the support and collegiality of the independent business community. Plus, I am unemployable. I have a brain and a big mouth and don’t hesitate to use both. Many bosses don’t want that from a female employee, or at least not when I was entering the workforce. There’s a lot to be said for answering only to yourself and your customers.

ORP: It’s one thing to start a business. Keeping it going is the test of success. How do you keep fresh ideas flowing to energize yourself and your employees?
Nancy: By being curious and critical. Busman’s holidays are crucial. See what others in your business are doing, both right and wrong. See what other unrelated businesses are doing that could apply to your business. And always think like your customers; see your business through their eyes. My father always used to say that it was important to walk into your shop through the front door.

Christmas Cards & Gift IdeasORP: Who is the biggest inspiration in your life and career?
Nancy: Every nun who ever taught me, particularly at my all-girls high school where it was crystal clear that women could achieve at every level, and my father. My dad tossed a coin and ended up joining a group of independent grocers that would become the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the country, Wakefern Food Corporation. He was a butcher with an eighth grade education who took chances, always believed in himself, and set goals by saying, “How high is the sky?”

ORP: Aside from money, what motivates you to succeed?
Nancy:
It has nothing to do with money. My retail ventures in Las Vegas have been about creating retail spaces that add to the quality of life in Las Vegas. What I love is the validation I get from customers who enjoy what I have to offer and let me and my staff  know.

ORP: Add anything that will be helpful to customers and any other web presence you would like to promote related to your business.
Nancy:
Our official grand opening will be Friday-Saturday, Nov. 11-12 and is a joint celebration with Unikat Fine Jewelry, which has also moved to the north side of Bridge Street – again, like me! Paper Trail is currently open M-Sat, 11-5. I’ll be working on a website, but in the meantime folks can find and like us on Facebook. I’m usually on KFUN’s Over the Back Fence on Wednesday mornings with others from Las Vegas First Independent Business Alliance. It’s a great way for folks to hear about what Las Vegas businesses have to offer and what is going on in the larger community. And I’m working on a telephone number!

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Q&A: Music at the Castaneda

A unique concert experience will take place on Sept. 10, in the historic Castaneda Hotel, featuring the works of famous composers and under the guidance of artistic director Ronald Maltais. The program is underwritten by Allan Affeldt, the Las Vegas Arts Council, Southwest Capital Bank, and other donors. Tickets for this first of a planned three-concert series, are $15 per person.

Ron Maltais

Ron Maltais

Maltais, director of music at the United World College USA for 15 years, became involved with the piano at the age of four, and later began formal lessons at age eight. Originally from southern New Hampshire, his studies with Maurice Hoffman led to degrees taken at New England Conservatory (piano performance), and Boston University (music composition). Maltais pursued vocal training and he has devoted significant time to choral directing and artistic direction. His teachers included Jung Ja Kim, Katja Andy, Anthony di Bonavenura, Charles Fussel and Lukas Foss. His Meditation for Viola and Strings was conducted by Foss at Boston University in 1998. Maltais’ travels have led to engagements as a musician and lecturer in several US states and in India, Turkey, South Africa and Peru. Maltais previously composed a work for Jack Glatzer titled Dark Woods. He is currently composing an opera based on the life of Camille Claudel. He premiered his Star Axis Prelude for a select audience at the Light Spectrum Concert in March at the Dwan Light Sanctuary. Maltais recently resigned from his position at the UWC-USA to devote more time to music composition and piano performance.

The performing artists for the Sept. 10 concert include Pleiades String Quartet: Elena Sopoci, violin and viola; Elizabeth Young, violin and viola; Carla Kountoupes, violin and viola; Dana Winograd, cello; Roberto Capocchi, guitar; and Ronald Maltais, piano.

ORP: How did the Concert Series idea come about?
Ron:
Several weeks ago I was given a personal tour of the Castaneda Hotel by Allan Alfeldt who is the present owner. Allan plans to restore the hotel and he will hopefully begin this project very soon. I was struck by the acoustics in the large dining room, and immediately imagined the possibilities for concerts in that space. A few days later I called Allan and asked if we could perform a concert in the dining room before the renovation begins. We discussed the logistics and decided that it would be interesting to schedule a concert there in its present condition. This first event will be one of three being planned for this concert season. Hopefully on Sept. 10, we will announce the other program dates. There is tremendous interest and support from the community already, given that the series was only announced in mid August.

ORP: As a musician, why do you want to perform in the Castaneda?
Ron: I often walk into rooms and have visions of what could happen there musically. There is something special about the Castaneda; the sound, feelings about the history of the place and the events which happened there in the past. Surely there must be a few ghosts around? I have also seen historic photographs of musicians holding mainly brass instruments outside of the building.

Pleiades String Quartet

Pleiades String Quartet

ORP: You’ve selected works of Vivaldi, Mendelssohn, Dvorak and Boccherini. Why this selection for the first concert of the series?
Ron: I checked with a violinist (Elena Sopoci) who is a long time colleague of mine. She has pulled together a standard string quartet and they will give their premiere performance as the newly formed Pleiades String Quartet on Sept. 10. Most of the music reflects romantic (mid to late 19th century) esthetics. The exception is the Vivaldi which is Baroque, but we will perform a newly arranged version of the autumn concerto. In this piece I will join in as a pianist. The Boccherini will feature another wonderful colleague (Roberto Capocchi) who will play classical guitar in an ensemble with the string quartet. Boccherini loved the guitar, and included it in many ensemble pieces. We attempted to include some late 19th century music because of the age of the hotel.

Roberto Capocchi

Roberto Capocchi

The arrangement of the Autumn Concerto for Vivaldi’s The Seasons is by Max Richter. The String Quartet No. 2 in A minor is a very early work, which already foreshadows Mendelssohn’s genius. The Dvorak Cypresses impressed me greatly when I saw the American Ballet Theater dance to them years ago. The Boccherini Guitar Quintet in D Major Fandango is well known, and demonstrates the wonderful blend of Guitar with strings.

I have asked many ticket holders to wear 19th century dress to the concert if possible. That will be interesting!

ORP: As a concert pianist what do you like most about performance?
Ron: Well, all I can say is that it was my dream (even as a young child) to perform in front of audiences. I was a shy and introspective child and teenager. Music was my way of communicating, and it allowed me to transport myself; I felt at home with composers I admired when I delved into their music.

ORP: What is the most difficult aspect of putting a concert together as artistic director?
Ron: It always seems to evolve quickly from a vision which can be quite powerful. Invariably it begins with an interesting performance space; a musician or group of musicians, which I am impressed with. The program evolves rather quickly once negotiations begin. Artists do want direction, and this is the kind of work which excites me. Sometimes I participate in portions of a program (as a pianist or singer). A critical factor in the success of a concert is to plan a program which is the right length for the audience; a program which offers variety, excitement and a bit of challenge for the listeners.

ORP: Who influenced you as a performing artist?
Ron: There are many musicians I have seen in my lifetime who have influenced me greatly. I saw Arthur Rubinstein in recital when I was a conservatory student in Boston. He played a magnificent all-Chopin recital; that was a life changing experience not only for me but for the entire audience. He played eight encores, and the management began to protest. I went backstage to meet him.

ORP: Talk about your work as a composer and if you plan to perform original works in future concerts.
Ron: I will devote much more time to composition this year. There are literally dozens of works in my mind, and I am presently working on a string quartet and a piano concerto with string orchestra. The piano concerto is really a challenge for myself to keep a touch of tendonitis (right arm) at bay. Playing is the best therapy for sure, but within a proper balance. I composed works for colleagues in the past, and premiered two piano preludes in the Light Spectrum Concert (Dwan Light Sanctuary) in April 2016. The preludes were an experiment in that they were half composed and half improvisations. They continue to evolve, and there will be several preludes in all.

What: Castaneda Concerts
When: 3 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016
Where: Historic Castaneda Hotel
Cost: $15 per person
Where to purchase tickets: Las Vegas Arts Council and online at lasvegasartscouncil.org

 

Q&A With Sharon Stewart

Making a life with photography

According to Sharon Stewart’s website bio, photography is in her genes. Her Great Great Aunt Sadie, Quaker, was a commercial photographer in 1880s Iowa, having a studio with another Quaker woman. Stewart says the impetus of her photographic work is service and beauty. Her Agua y Fe: Water and Faith series is on exhibit through Labor Day at the Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom Corridor Gallery in sponsorship with the Las Vegas Arts Council.

Sharon Stewart

Sharon Stewart

ORP: What brought you from urban living to a more rural lifestyle?
Sharon: My birthplace on the frontera of southernmost Texas with Mexico was imbued with agrarian expanses and fecundity, a languid pace of living, and small town familiarities. I studied finance and economics at the University of Texas, Austin and moved to Houston to begin my photographic career. This served well, though I longed to dwell back with the cycles of nature whose elemental forces resonated with me rather than the densities of the city. Looking for a home in the Mora Valley was a five year endeavor, and yes, finally finding a place in Chacón, the shift from living with three million to three hundred (people) was swift and welcome.

Abran & Vidal

Abran and Vidal

ORP: Your website bio refers to your photographic purpose. Talk about that and how it has shaped your work.
Sharon:
Having completed a photo narrative on grassroots environmental activism in Texas, which gave voice to the concerns of salt of the earth folks protecting their land, air, water, culture from the ill effects of industry and the government’s hazardous waste practices, I was a bit discouraged by the realities of what we do to one another in the name of profit. When I moved here, I took a long look at why I was photographing, and ultimately, the answer was to serve history, this coming from strong service ethos that runs in the Stewart family line. Certainly the Toxic Tour of Texas was an activist/advocacy piece with the photographs being used in legislative testimony, published in the daily and environmental press, exhibited in libraries, shopping centers, and museums throughout Texas. Turning to a quieter life, photographing the rituals and traditions of Hispano New Mexico and the acequia culture in El Cerrito continued in the vein offering a view into lives aligned with the land and community. I had begun the El Agua es la Vida project three years before moving to Northern New Mexico, and it expanded with the exploration of the village life over the course of two decades, something I term Slow Photography, a commitment to the narrative through time. These photographs are part of the Water in the West Project and Archive residing at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona. The Mora Valley narrative, Exit West: A Cultural Confluence, began upon my arrival and will continue through my life here. A major focus has been to place these images in archives and special collections at universities in the American West for scholarly research and teaching purposes.

ORP: How has your purpose evolved from when you started?
Sharon: Initially I was recording the world as I encountered it. I have come to understand that what we see, observe, perceive is an aperture into the self, as tightly or as widely as we are willing to explore and share. Image creation can be a journey into self hand-in-hand with the human instinct to remember, gather, share, enjoin, act. So as I have come to see it, my “purpose has been finessed or perhaps honed over these many years of engaged seeing.

Compuerta

Compuerta

ORP: How did you get from being an aspiring photographer to actually doing it for a living?
Sharon:
As for many in rural Northern New Mexico, making a living is a mosaic endeavor. I often say I make a life photographing.

ORP: When do you know you’ve captured the subjects of your photographs in just the way you want?
Sharon: Photographing is intuitive for me. Certainly intentionality and placing oneself in the image field is vital. Much of the joy in photographing is opening oneself to the unknown, being free in the not knowing and releasing the imposition of will or expectation on a situation. However, the narrative structure necessitates an understanding of relationships, economic and societal influences, cultural, religious and familial overlays, so I have drawn on my university training to scope an encompassing view of a chosen subject. There is also a calming resonance I feel when all the elements align for a signal image.

ORP: The Stewart photographs I’ve seen are primarily in black and white. Is that your preferred mode of expression and if so, why?
Sharon: My initial work was in color transparency, though with too much noxious chemical exposure in the Cibachrome color printing process, I moved to black and white. However, each subject has an appropriate expression through process, which determines my choice of using color or black and white, film or pixel.

ORP: Talk about the photographers who influenced you and how their work contributed to your photographic and career choices.
Sharon:
Early on I studied the Dadaists and Surrealists and their alignment with chance, unexpected juxtaposition, and dream exploration—Man Ray, Merét Oppenheim, Hannah Höch, Marcel Duchamp, and by extension, Alexander Calder and his playful lyricism. In the black and white canon, Minor White for metaphor, spirituality and beauty, Edward Steichen for experimentation, Paul Strand for clear-eyed, compassionate observance and commitment to a finely crafted negative and print, Laura Gilpin for evocative landscapes, Dorothea Lange for social and economic justice. Their creative expression is synchronistic with ways I perceive the world, so I look to them as both partners and guides.

ORP: Realizing that each image has its own unique message, what do you want your photographs to convey?
Sharon: My intention is to open in viewers understanding and discovery by stimulating their imaginations and memories.

ORP: If you could use only one word to describe your photography, what would it be?
Sharon:
Whenever I have been asked about a favorite anything, I respond that I have many favorites for as many different reasons. Same applies to my photographic expression. If you look at the bodies of work in the arc of my creative life, you will see work originating in the personal, the universal, the communal.

ORP: What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
Sharon: I cannot not take photographs, though I become more selective about when and where and what I photograph. Photography has taught me to see, not just look, see, and those observations aren’t always tangibly recorded.

ORP: Where have you exhibited and do you have current shows up locally?
Sharon:
The cultural landscape images of Northern New Mexico, many of which are currently on view in the Agua y Fe: Water and Faith exhibition at the Plaza Hotel’s Ballroom Corridor Gallery in sponsorship with the Las Vegas Arts Council, have been exhibited at the New Mexico Museum of Art, NM History Museum, Office of the State Historian, Center for Creative Photography, Museum of Fine Arts-Houston, NM Capitol Arts Collection, Visual Studies Workshop, Houston Center for Photography, FotoFest International Biennial. Other work has been exhibited in Amsterdam, Belgium, Germany, South Africa, Cuba, Canada, New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, D.C.

Learn more about Sharon Stewart and view her online galleries at www.sharonstewartphotography.net

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Photographs: Sharon Stewart, used by permission

Q&A: Photographer Elaine Querry

…seeing the world through her eyes

Elaine Querry

Photographer Elaine Querry

Photography is one thing; taking images to another level requires ingenuity and originality. Technique plays a part, but only when applied by an expert hand and a discerning eye. Elaine Querry is that kind of photographer. She has been working in this art form for more than 35 years and has won numerous awards. Elaine’s work has been shown in locations around the world and is in many public and private collections. As a fine art photographer she captures images that speak to her as an artist and challenge her creatively. Her work is on exhibit through September at 2 Ten A Galaria of Art and Treasures, 210 Plaza, Las Vegas, N.M., along with the work of sculptor Duke Sundt and artist David Carter. The Galaria is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday – Saturday. Elaine and her husband Ron Querry live in historic Las Vegas, N.M. in a century old Victorian home.

ORP: There was a great turn out for the opening of Out West at 2 Ten A Galleria of Art and Treasures. Talk briefly about the show and the participants.
Elaine: Linda and Bill Anderle have brought together a group of people working in a variety of media to illustrate the theme Out West. Duke Sundt is showing a selection of his incredible bronzes;  I have a collection of color photographs from in and around Las Vegas;  Texas photographer David Carter has images of rodeos that he’s worked on in and out of Photoshop. Also showing are artists – Stuart Gelzer (photographs) and Alice Winston Carney (watercolors).

ORP: Everyone with a cell phone believes they’re the next Ansel Adams. What makes a fine art photographer different from the casual picture taker.
Elaine:
A cell phone, a digital or film camera are all just tools. What makes a fine art photographer is someone who attempts to take the viewer there. To present the image in such a way as to provoke a visual dialogue with the audience. When I photograph I’m looking to tell a story. To stop a moment in time and place and to record it as I found it. Photography is a wonderful way of remembering and expressing the world around us. Fine art photography goes deeper. It’s as much about the photographer as it is about what she is recording. Photography becomes not only a tool but an extension of who we are, framed by our experiences and our visions, our hearts and our souls. As a fine art photographer, I think in terms of series whether all at one shooting or later bringing together images that build on each other and work together. The series I am showing now at 2 Ten are images I shot for my enjoyment and interest over a period of five years with no expectation of a resulting show. I’m driven to photograph. When I can put together a series, it’s very satisfying.

Elaine Querry & Alice Winston Carney

Elaine talks about her work with Alice Winston Carney, whose watercolor paintings are also in the 2 Ten show.

ORP: What drew you to photography as an art form?
Elaine:
Early on with photography I found a way of expression that didn’t need words. One where I could communicate and express myself visually. I am an artist and photography is my art form.

ORP: I’m a fan of photojournalism because I do believe a picture speaks a thousand words. What “story” do you look for when you take photographs?
Elaine:
 I began my career as a photojournalist and I was also chief photographer for three newspapers. I shot, printed and developed my editorial and advertising work as well as that of others at the papers. I learned from some very good editors that you must tell a story with your photographs. You need to shoot from different angles and levels to find that right image and to bracket your exposures… you need to stretch yourself, to take chances. It’s important for me not put myself in the image – I want to show you what’s there so you can see it and form your own ideas, your own insights. And I compose the image in the viewfinder – shooting full frame. Rarely do I crop an image.  Dorthea Lange said, “The camera is an instrument that teaches people to see without a camera…”

ORP: Your www.elainequerry.com website is called Shadowcatcher. What does that mean to you and how does the term reflect your work?
Elaine:
Shadowcatcher is another term for a photographer. Someone who catches shadows. I first heard that term as it was used to describe Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868–1952), the early and great photographer and ethnologist whose work focused on the American West and its Native peoples. His subjects called him Shadowcatcher because he photographed them and made a print which “caught shadows”. I use that name instead of, and along with, photographer. It’s a beautiful and accurate way to describe what I do.

ORP: What is the most difficult aspect of what you do and why is it difficult?
Elaine:
 It’s all difficult. As it should be. There’s that old thing about people thinking – and actually saying – that if they’d been there with a good camera they could have taken that picture. That’s like saying if they’d had a good pan, they could have made that gourmet meal. I love what I do, but the most difficult aspect for me is to focus on one thing. And I want to do that one thing to the best of my ability. Every project seems to take so much time!

ORP: Is being a fine art photographer more manageable with all the technology available?
Elaine:
 It has made things much different. The works of so many of the masters of photography were here long before our current technology was created and those works are still exquisite. Digital technology has given us additional tools and that has opened up other worlds, other ways of expressing our vision. For example I work a great deal with old photographs that I’ve tried to restore using traditional photography with varying levels of success. But once introduced to digital technology, I’ve had much more success in getting those images close to the originals.

ORP: Do you still use film or do you rely on digital?
Elaine:
 I rely on digital but have not given up my film cameras or wet darkroom. I rely a great deal on the images I have taken on film over the years before I went digital and I rely a great deal on my digital images. I’d like to incorporate the two more. And I like to do alternative process photography as well, and photograms, which one makes without using a camera at all. I have licensed a number of my alternative process images for use as book jacket covers in this country and in Europe.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about you as an artist and photographer?
Elaine:
 I want to show you what I see – to show you what is there. To show you something you may not see or be aware of on your own. To open your eyes to something new. To make you look.

ORP: Please add anything that is important to you that I left out.
Elaine:
 For the past three years I’ve been scanning old Cowboy Reunion and other panoramas as well as various other vintage photographs and restoring the scans and then printing the resulting image. It takes a lot of time in front of a computer using Photoshop, but I find it’s been very rewarding. It’s a quiet sort of communion with the people and the time (1915-1940s) in the photographs. For me it’s almost like a meditation of an era gone by. In the panoramas the face might be just a quarter of an inch high but on the computer I can blow it up three or four hundred times to repair the file. Lots of information and lots of things to see and think about! I have a dozen of the early Las Vegas Cowboy’s Reunion Panoramas on display and for sale at the Plaza Hotel.

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Photos: Linda Anderle

 

Q&A With Cinematic Entrepreneur

And promoter of Las Vegas: Jim Terr

Jim TerrPromoting the community can sometimes feel like a thankless job. It requires hard work, a sweeping understanding of the area, discerning what makes the area appealing locally and to visitors, and an ability to connect with readers and viewers in interesting ways. Jim Terr continues to be a light in the tunnel that leads folks to visit – and helps those who live here appreciate – the sweetest little town around. He does it in creative and often quirky ways, always positive and lighthearted. What you may not know about Jim is how very talented and creative he is. He has produced countless YouTube videos that highlight Las Vegas positives, and many that celebrate life. He is a satirist with a liberal bent, a song writer, and a tongue-in-cheek commentator on the fractured political landscape. This Q&A is about his consistent dedication to promoting Las Vegas, the original.

Watch Jim show off his talent in Over the Edge Part 8 at Sala de Madrid, Thursday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m., and in a matinee performance on Sunday at 3 p.m. He will be performing as an opening act featuring a couple of his songs, including his most recent video Road Show Rejects. (A disclaimer here, Bob and I have our 10 plus/minus seconds of fame in the video.)

ORP: Talk about yourself and Blue Canyon Productions.
Jim: Blue Canyon Productions
, a name I don’t use much anymore, was originally coined after a canyon near here, to go with my first production, an album I did with Sweetgrass (1972), a bluegrass band I was in. I’ve used the name to cover a lot of my music and other productions, which transitioned into a lot of video work starting in 1993 with Las Vegas, New Mexico – America’s Oldest Film Location, which has gotten almost 3,800 views on YouTube since I first posted it, and hopefully some good publicity for Las Vegas.

I’m participating in the upcoming CCHP Places With a Past Film Tour of Las Vegas on Saturday, Aug. 6, as a docent at the Plaza Hotel, speaking as an expert on Las Vegas film history – which I’m actually not but I’ll brush up on the subject. I also have a long-running website on film at www.lasvegasnmfilm.com. And I’m trying to promote some future film and TV productions, hopefully in Las Vegas, with a “Romaine Fielding” series of vignettes at www.TentaclesFilm.com

ORP: You’ve had success writing jingles. Talk about that and how it inspired your creativity.
Jim:
I think my first jingle was a song I did on an album around 1983, called Is Your Mama Behind You?, about littering (wondering if your mama is following behind you to clean up your litter). The jingle was distributed nationally by the Sierra Club. When I returned to Las Vegas in about 1985, I did quite a string of radio jingles for local businesses, banks and Murphy’s Drug Store to name a couple. I have done many since then, including a national jingle for Snapple, which I was told was the most popular of that series. It was called Sing a Song of Snapple. My little niece and nephew accompanied me on vocals and saxophone respectively. I found out later that the kids made much more in royalties from it than I did! Anyhow, I have a foundation-funded documentary in progress looking at jingles in a larger perspective historically www.jinglingfilm.com, a realization that came to me while listening to an old-time brass band in Plaza Park one day.

ORP: At what point did you burst into the digital arena with your very active Facebook page, and what have you gained or realized from this effort.
Jim:
I was resistant to Facebook (like everything else), until a friend signed me up, and the rest is history. I spend half my day on Facebook. I always say I learn a lot about other people, and have made a lot of real friends and business connections. It’s a great playground for me, and educational in a million ways. Facebook has gotten my videos and other content out there. Although I’ve gotten more than 1.5 million views of my videos on YouTube, I get many more views per video on Facebook, so maybe I’ll surpass that total on Facebook videos someday. Here’s one about Jimmy Carter that amazingly got over 140,000 views on Facebook, and almost 6,000 shares (reposts). So Facebook has been a great gift for me.

ORP: Talk about your website.
Jim:
I have so many websites I wouldn’t know where to start. Way too many, mostly momentary inspirations that have not been productive; I’m “website poor.” You may be referring to the New Mexico Vegas  website, www.NewMexicoVegas.com. That was an idea to incorporate the many Vegas-related websites and projects and videos under one umbrella. Several folks and businesses in Las Vegas pitched in for me to put that together and make some new videos specifically for that site, some of which have gotten quite a few views already. So, it’s an effort to sort of consolidate a lot of my local promotional efforts in one place. I’m expecting that the Road Show Rejects video will get quite a few views over time. Like some of the other videos I’ve done at Charlie’s (Spic & Span, Bakery and Cafe), and around Las Vegas, I think it features some of the “good spirit” that makes Las Vegas unique. An occasional resident once told me it was the friendliest town he had ever been in. I had never thought about it, until then. I try to promote that generosity, which I think is extraordinary, as well as the physical and historical beauty.

ORP: I’ve thought about uploading videos, but it seems a bit daunting. Talk about how you became such an active producer on YouTube.
Jim: Before YouTube came along (or before I got onto it), it was quite a deal to upload a video to a website. YouTube made it much easier. Once you get familiar with the procedure it’s pretty simple. It’s even easier to “embed” a YouTube video into your website. I’ve become rather compulsive about producing videos – it is great fun and has produced some income and some visibility for issues I care about. I now have more than one thousand videos on YouTube. Facebook is where my new videos get the most views, and that’s equally easy to upload once you understand the procedure.

ORP: Why do you work at promoting the community when your only compensation is an occasional, “Thank you?”
Jim: I enjoy it for some reason, and enjoy sharing and seeing beautiful pictures of nature and architecture and people in general. I hope some of it generates tourist business for Las Vegas as well as additional pride and appreciation among residents. And I do get compensated – sponsorships – for some of my videos, occasionally.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about the area?
Jim: I’ve covered a lot of that in the videos and comments above, but here’s one that’s been very popular on YouTube (almost 20,000 views!), Las Vegas New Mexico – the Real Las Vegas, featuring our superstar, Brenda Ortega. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever put that video on Facebook…

ORP: Talk about some of the songs about Las Vegas – serious and parody – you’ve.
Jim: Here’s a funny one about Las Vegas – or Northern NM in general – with more than 5,000 views on YouTube), though probably not everyone will think it’s funny. I would hope we all agree that Las Vegas is absolutely unique in about a million ways – including its history and culture and architecture.

On a more serious note, I did a series of videos about some of the “elders” in our area, if you search for “NEW MEXICO SURVIVORS” on YouTube you can find them.

ORP: What is your goal in producing/creating your many Las Vegas-related YouTube videos?
Jim: It’s just been some sort of itch to appreciate Las Vegas and to share that appreciation and hopefully promote tourism, and of course to keep myself afloat with sponsorships for videos and websites when I can.

Jim Terr is available to film videos on commission. You may contact him at www.JimTerr.com, e-mail: bluecanyon2@juno.com