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Zozobra/ Old Man Gloom
In 1924, before Burning Man but after the Wicker Man, a man named Will Shuster started a festival in Santa Fe to kick off the festival season.


Tomorrow night (Thursday, September 4) is the 84th annual burning of Zozobra, a grotesque 50 foot tall marionette also known as "Old Man Gloom". If you and I were in Santa Fe, we could follow the luminarias out of town, a frito pie in our hand and mezcal already in our stomach, and we could stand around the huge bonfire and be amazed at the spectacle: music, dancing, and art everywhere we could look. We would write our personal tales of woe on a piece of paper and drop it into the Gloom Box. At dusk, we would be edified that our problems would disappear into the orange ashes trailing up into the night sky.


Check out:

I spent a wonderful afternoon Monday in Santa Fe with my mom and my ex. Yeah, my ex and I broke up three months ago, but we're still really close (perhaps *too* close). Isn't my mom adorable? And she's from the midwest, so she is amazingly kind and nice. She will cook you a "hot dish" even if you tell her not to. And my ex? He's still the hottest sexiest bear I've ever met. If we go into any bar, he's still the man I would want to bring home. Shame about the divorce, but it's for the best.



Driving back from my boardgame weekend in Albuquerque, we decided to stop for something to eat. Little did we know that there was a wonderful artist market in the Plaza, and Santa Fe's amazing shopping and restaurants sucked us in for five unplanned hours. My mom bought a braclet for herself and a necklace for her daughter-in-law. I bought a cookbook from Mark Miller's "Coyote Cafe". Then we all had lunch at the amazing "Pink Adobe" restuarant: tasty Gypsy Stew, but their chicken salad isn't as spectacular as it once was (http://www.thepinkadobe.com).



One thing I love about Santa Fe is that it is a genre all its own. I don't know how to describe it, but some cities have an amazing unique sense of place and style. For example, no town could out-New-Orleans New Orleans. The Big Easy is a perfect combination of fun, food, and history. Similarly, Santa Fe, while at times being a tacky tourist trap, still has a one of a kind vision of the Old West. All the adobe buildings, the scent of pinon and chile in the air.



It would be wonderful to be an artist in Santa Fe. ("Oh the light... the LIGHT!") You could be surrounded by such wonderful art at all times. There is tacky stuff next to the hottest contemporary art. Lowbrow Juxtapoz paintings next to stunning hispanic culture. Crafts and imports and site installations and photography and live performance, all in a funky sexy little town.



I had to check out the contemporary glass at the museum. I didn't have time to check out the seventh international biennial at my other favorite museum: SITE Sante Fe (http://www.sitesantafe.org). Maybe next time. But I did get to buy a piece of Nambe silver... a beautifully squashed bowl.



If someone from another country wanted to visit the US (and had an unlimited travel budget), I would try to pick the most interesting cities I could. New York city, definitely. New Orleans, as I mentioned, and maybe Las Vegas, just to blow their mind. I don't think I would recommended Minneapolis or Denver; as much as I love living in those cities, I don't think they have a flavor or feel that is completely unknown outside the USA. Maybe take my foreign friend into the mountains, or in LA or San Francisco or Seattle near the coast. But I would definitely tell them to stop by Santa Fe. It's cowboys and hucksters and space and dreams and love and art. And Zozobra.

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I spent a couple of summers near Santa Fe (Los Alamos actually) and liked the vibe the city had. But once you spend more time there, the touristy feel of the city really starts to stick out. Well, all the obnoxious tourists really start to grate on your nerves and the 10-20% mark-up on everything really gets old quick.

My problem with NM in general is that its too isolated. Denver or Phoenix are the closest "big" cities and they're 7-8 hours away.

I'm fascinated by tourist towns: Hannibal, MO/ Venice, Italy/ St. Augustine, FL. I love how the locals love the money that comes in but hate the people bringing it. Each of the cities also has a weird underground culture that I love. For example, I went to Hawaii in search of "crack seed", just to see the island Asian culture most tourists skip. Or, I love hanging out backstage at Disney where only the employees get to visit. Renassaince fairs when it's dark and all the partons leave. There's the facade that the paying public gets to see, and then there's the carnival after hours when the freaks start drinking!

LA is a little like that. There's this dirty underlayer you have to find where all the fun stuff happens.

I let my problems fly up with the ashes of the Temple this year at Burning Man. It's not a fix all but it sure was cathartic. ;-)

What is that sculpture you are standing next to in the 2nd pic? Are you going to Zozobra?

Hi! No... I drove home yesterday. I'm going to missed the actual burning, but it was great to see all the preparations.

I don't know what the art next to me was. It was in the sculpture garden of the Santa Fe museum, and I thought it looked nifty!

It is cool. I am so with you on the weirdly close relationships to the ex. It's good yet complicates things (for me at least).

I'm glad that you sound like you're in a better head space.

Sugar Nymphs Bistro

I recommend Sugar Nymphs Bistro in Penasco, NM. If you make the drive from Santa Fe to Taos on the Art tour route of "The High Road," you can't miss it. The Chef, Kai Harper, formerly of Greens in S.F. has a small 8 table little restaurant sharing a building with a theater where a woman from Wise Fools teaches trapeze lessons.

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