Becoming Trekkerman
The first steps in walking the world's best trails

Second Chance Ranch
Ruth Plenty makes a home for horses not ready for the finish line

Square Pegs in the Roundhouse
The legislature's 60-day theater of the absurd

Have Hound, Will Hike
A dog can make a great hiking companion

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to do list

If you think the most exciting thing this month will be setting your clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time, you need to check our events calendar. Theater-goers should note the Black Box Theatre's world premiere of Twitch in Las Cruces on March 1, running through March 17. Inspired by recent events in LeRoy, NY, Amy Lanasa's play follows a group of already marginalized high school students who begin to develop tics and Tourette's-like symptoms, a condition they name "the twitch."

Then, March 20-22 at the Oñate Performing Arts Center in Las Cruces, 25 Las Cruces High School students from different departments will join forces to sing, act and dance their way through The Secret Garden, the Tony Award-winning musical by Marsha Norman, based on the book by Frances Burnett.



Music lovers have plenty of dates to circle in March, too. On March 2, the Public Library in Silver City hosts a free performance by classical guitarist Peter Fletcher. This concert is part of a nationwide tour, which will culminate at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Fletcher began guitar study at the age of 7 and made his debut at the age of 15. He has recorded three albums and played sold-out performances at Carnegie Hall.

The next event in the Mimbres Region Arts Council's performance series arrives on March 6 with Rhythm of the Dance at the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theatre in Silver City. The two-hour dance-and-music spectacular produced in Ireland features a live band, three tenors and 22 dancers in authentic costumes tracing the history of the Celts. The show has been performed in 51 countries across four continents.

On March 22, MRAC's Indie/Folk Series brings Mark Erelli to the Buckhorn Opera House in Pinos Altos. Starting with his self-titled debut album released in 1999, Erelli's albums have spent weeks in the top 10 of the Americana radio charts and garnered four Boston Music Award nominations.

The next night, March 23, the Grant County Community Concert Association presents La Catrina String Quartet at the WNMU Fine Arts Center Theater. The quartet has a double mission: to promote Mexican and Latin-American music worldwide and to perform the masterworks of the string-quartet repertoire. Currently in residence at NMSU, the group won a 2012 Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording.

Back at the Buckhorn, a new Thursday night music series kicks off March 28 with blues by the Andy T. Nick Nixon Band. It's free in the saloon.

And the musical month wraps up on March 29 with the "American Idol" season 11 winner, Phillip Phillips, at NMSU's Pan American Center. His now-ubiquitous debut single, "Home," marked the biggest opening sales week for an "Idol" winner's coronation song; it has since gone triple platinum and been featured as the soundtrack for the 2012 US Olympics Women's Gymnastics team. Joining Phillips will be the alternative band Churchill.



Maybe you'd also like to learn a little this month. Start on March 1 with a presentation on eclipses at the WNMU Global Resource Center co-sponsored by the Western Institute for Lifelong Learning and the Silver City Astronomical Society. Fred "Mr. Eclipse" Espenak, retired NASA astrophysicist, will share his experiences chasing and predicting eclipses around the world. Espenak has witnessed 24 total eclipses of the Sun in the past 43 years. He now lives in Portal, Ariz., where he operates the Bifrost Astronomical Observatory.

In Las Cruces, the Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum stages its 14th Annual Cowboy Days on March 2-3, honoring the state's ranching traditions. The family fun includes demonstrations, music, food, team roping, living history, arts and crafts vendors, horseback and stagecoach rides, Western authors, children's activities, a plant sale, gunfight re-enactments and more.

Then it's the 48th Annual Rockhound Roundup Gem & Mineral Show in Deming, March 7-10, at the Southwest New Mexico State Fairgrounds. The free show features more than 100 vendors, guided field trips, educational demonstrations, silent auctions on Friday and Saturday nights and much more for the rockhound in all of us.

That same weekend, March 9, the annual commemoration of Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus includes the 14th Cabalgata Binacional plus a full day at the Columbus Plaza, Depot Museum and Pancho Villa State Park. Featured speakers are Douglas Burnett and US Army historian Robert Bouilly.

On March 11, a special program on mental illness, Minds Interrupted, brings an evening of monologues to the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces. Heartfelt personal stories, introduced by J. Paul Taylor, will share the pain, anger, confusion, humor and resilience of living with mental illness.


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