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Bitten by Silver City

Artist and "Little Vampire" author Angela Sommer-Bodenburg gives a German film crew a whirlwind tour and a taste of her high-desert home.

A film crew from Wiese Foto+Film in Porta Westfalica, Germany, recently blew into town, paying a visit to Angela Sommer-Bodenburg, Silver City resident, artist and internationally famous author of "The Little Vampire" series of children's books. The filmmakers' lights, camera and action added an extra dose of excitement to the Eklektikas Gallery's opening for Sommer-Bodenburg's newest paintings.

Harald Wiese (left) and his son, Tim, flank
artist-author Angela Sommer-Bodenburg.

Harald Wiese and his son, Tim, explained that they are making a feature for German television about New Mexico. They had shot footage of JX Ranch, a working cattle and guest ranch in Tucumcari, in the previous days, and had arranged the Silver City leg of their journey "just for Angela." The film company, with 10 employees, produces commercial spots and documentary film for German television and magazines.

The interviews and filming for the Silver City segment began at Sommer-Bodenburg's home, then moved to City of Rocks State Park. There the crew filmed a southwestern sunset, with Sommer-Bodenburg reading from her newest manuscript, The Little Vampire and the Last Transformation, the 20th and most likely final volume in that series.

"That was perfect," Tim Wiese said. "The sunset was beautiful, and just right for Angela's reading."

Written from January through April of this year, Last Transformation is the second book Sommer-Bodenburg has written in her new home in Silver City. Night of the Shivers (see the February 2006 Desert Exposure) was completed early last year. The Little Vampire has been made into a movie, two television series, two stage plays and a musical. Sommer-Bodenburg said she put the adventures of her favorite character to rest in this latest manuscript, and marked the completion of her book with "my usual celebration at Diane's Restaurant" in downtown Silver City.

Tim Wiese said he's been a fan of The Little Vampire since he was a child. Asked if he's sad to see the end of the series, the 20-year-old said, "Well, I've outgrown it now, but it is sad, I guess, when something comes to an end like this." Then he brightened and added, "But she says it might be the end... so there could be more adventures."

Sommer-Bodenburg, who moved to Silver City from San Diego just over three years ago, gave the German film crew a whirlwind tour, sharing both the beauty and the quirks of her new high-desert home.

Harald Wiese, who apologized that his English is not as good as his son's, asked Tim to convey some of his impressions.

"Ah, the beauty of your roads through that great forest. He really loved that," Tim translated for his father, then added for himself, "and that little river you have right here, that washed out the street? That's really something" — referencing how Silver City's original Main Street was washed away in the flood of 1904. They enjoyed Big Ditch Park, which now stands in the place of Main Street.

Having caught the flavor of the area and Silver City's downtown arts scene — not to mention Eklektikas Gallery's lavish finger foods — the crew bundled up their gear and rushed off to prepare for their departure.

"They have to leave for a filming at White Sands," Sommer-Bodenburg explained. But for her, the celebration continued just up the street, as the artist-author and her entourage went on to attend a party of Silver City's own "Cut the Cheese" Club at the Seedboat Gallery. "Maybe I'll see you at the music later?" she asked. "Rhythm Mystic is playing. I think we're all going," she added with a coy smile, eyes sparkling.

As one in this unique small town might say, "only in Silver."

— Donna Clayton Lawder


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