Whatever the groundhog says about winter, things are definitely heating up in our corner of New Mexico. You'll hardly have time to finish cleaning up after your Super Bowl party (how do you get hot-wings stains out of the carpet?) before the fun kicks off again.
Saturday, Feb. 9, brings the annual Chocolate Fantasia back to Silver City. You can read all about it (and get some champion chocolate-making tips) in this issue's Red or Green? section. That's also the date to celebrate Mardi Gras at the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos. It's a masquerade ball with funk, groove and soul music by the Gras Daddies.
Author Doug Fine, a frequent name in these pages, talks about his life as an author on Feb. 15 at the WNMU Global Resource Center. It's part of a busy month for the Western Institute of Lifelong Learning that wraps up (well, technically in March) with a program on "Predicting and Chasing Solar Eclipses." That March 1 program, co-sponsored by the Silver City Astronomical Society, features Fred Espenak, retired astrophysicist from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center who has been dubbed "Mr. Eclipse."
Speaking of talks, catch Martin A. Lee at the Gila/Mimbres Community Radio studio in downtown Silver City on Feb. 21 at noon and 7 p.m. Lee, an award-winning author and investigative journalist, will talk about his new book, Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, Medical, Recreational and Scientific. Lee is the author of three books, including Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond and The Beast Reawakens. He is the cofounder and director of Project CBD, an educational service that monitors and reports on developments in cannabidiol science and therapeutics, and associate editor of O'Shaughnessy's, the journal of cannabis in clinical practice. Lee is also co-founder of the New York-based media research group FAIR (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) and former editor of FAIR's magazine Extra!
Mardi Gras is hardly your only chance to enjoy music this month, either. On Feb. 12 at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces, the Doña Ana Arts Council continues its 2012/2013 Performance Series with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra. Long recognized as one of the best big band orchestras in the world, the band has a record of 286 Billboard chart hits. Terry Myers now holds the baton for this history-making orchestra.
On Feb. 17, the New Horizons Symphony, conducted by Dr. Marianna Gabbi, will offer a free concert at NMSU's Atkinson Recital Hall. The program will include Hanson's Symphony No. 2, "Romantic," and two vocal soloists, Slovankonthea Cordova-Mills and Jorge Martinez-Rios, who will sing selections from Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story. New Horizons is a national organization that was created to give seniors a venue for fulfilling their dreams of becoming musicians.
Then on Feb. 23, the Grant County Community Concert Association will bring countertenor Terry Barber to the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater. Barber has been featured on some of the world's most prominent stages and has worked with many of the music industry's most prestigious songwriters, composers and producers. As a member of the multiple-Grammy-winning ensemble Chanticleer, he was called "the jewel in Chanticleer's crown."