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  D e s e r t   E x p o s u r e   November 2009


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A harvest of happenings.



Thanks for the (musical) memories: Among the things to be thankful for this month is a cornucopia of musical offerings. You can read about Festival of the Soul, the world-music festival in Silver City's Penny Park Nov. 14-15, elsewhere in this section. But that's just one of November's high notes.

You may have caught Tom Russell on the David Letterman show early last month. Now you can catch him live, in Silver City at the Silco Theater on Nov. 6 or at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces on Nov. 7. Russell has recorded 18 albums of original material and written such classics as "Navajo Rug," "Gallo del Cielo," "Blue Wing," "Walking on the Moon," "St. Olav's Gate" and "Outbound Plane." His songs have been recorded by Johnny Cash, Nanci Griffith, Guy Clark, Doug Sahm, Dave Alvin, Joe Ely, Ian Tyson, Suzy Bogguss, Iris DeMent, K.D. Lang and many others. Rolling Stone calls Russell "one of America's greatest songwriters... as close to a Homeric treatment of American history as we're ever likely to see."

The Black Box Theatre in Las Cruces switches from plays to playing music on Nov. 10, hosting Texas folk musician J. Wagner. Wagner's songs have been recorded by Victoria Williams, Calexico, Isobel Cambell of Bell and Sebastian, 3 Penny Acre, Gregory Isakov and Brandi Carlile, and he was labeled a Numbered One Best Bet by both the Austin American-Statesman and the Dallas Morning News. The latter called Wagner "a Texas folk music staple." He'll be joined by Trevor Reichman, a well-known songwriter and musician out of Terlingua, Texas.

And if you're a fan of Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" public-radio show, the Butch Thompson Trio will immediately ring a bell. The classical jazz and ragtime trio plays the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater in Silver City on Nov. 12 and the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces on Nov. 13. A typical Butch Thompson Trio concert ranges from Scott Joplin to Duke Ellington to Southside Chicago blues. It's been said that Steinway artist Thompson is perhaps the world's finest interpreter of early jazz piano.



It's beginning to look a lot like: Can the holidays be upon us already? Annual holiday fairs and bazaars are sure signs of the season, and sure enough, the calendar is peppered with colorful opportunities to get your shopping done without having to set foot in a mall. Seniority among these sales goes to the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd Annual Bazaar, which opens its doors for the 105th straight time on Nov. 7 in Silver City. Actually, although the Bazaar — previously dubbed a "Fair" — has run consecutively since 1904, the church held sporadic seasonal sales even before then, at least as early as 1886.

That historic 1904 start to the long-running event was held at the Palace Hotel, following a "holiday tea" by the ladies of the Episcopal Guild, and featured mostly homemade food items. While proceeds primarily benefited the church, a special 1906 bazaar was held to raise funds for victims of the San Francisco earthquake. Subsequent bazaars were held at the Masonic Lodge and the Murray Hotel; this month's event, as in recent years, will be at the church, with a special garage sale in the Good Shepherd House garage. Besides food, the bazaar will offer crafts, Nancy Wyatt's popular pottery, books, collectibles and antiques.

Next month, not surprisingly, the seasonal sales get going in earnest, with the Olde Fashioned Gila Valley Christmas Arts & Crafts Faire at the Grant County Fairgrounds in Cliff, Dec. 4-5. Besides the local arts and crafts and baked goods, special events include Dutch oven desserts and a dinner dance with the Dave & Daniel Morgan Band, both on Friday, a Christmas tree raffle to benefit the Gila River Bandits 4H Club, and a visit from Santa on Saturday.

In Las Cruces, the La Casa Holiday Bazaar to benefit La Casa women's shelter will be held Dec. 4-6 at Dickerson's Event Center. Friday night is a special preview party. Shop for handmade holiday and gift items, home-baked goodies, hand-decorated note cards and various La Casa merchandise.



We're making a list : Still not in the holiday spirit? Maybe the 19th Annual Lighted Christmas Parade through historic downtown Silver City will do the trick. As always, it's the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Nov. 28.

The following week, as the calendar turns to December and you really have no excuse, Theatre Group New Mexico brings its third annual Joy! holiday celebration to the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theatre on Dec. 2. Expect music, dancing, a children's chorus, sing-a-long carols and a certain jolly old elf in a red suit. The whole family gets in free, but it'd be nice to bring a non-perishable food donation for the Grant County Community Food Pantry.

The next evening, Dec. 3, Gila Regional Medical Center hosts its annual Light Up a Life ceremony, where you can help light the holiday tree in memory of a loved one.

 

 



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