Word Up!
Silver City's Southwest Festival of the Written Word

Seeing the Elephant
Circus rope-trick performer Darrell Hawkins has lassoed life for 85 years

¡Ah, Chihuahua!
The changing character of the vast Mexican state that's our neighbor

The Queen of Brewer Hill
Remembering Madame Rebecca Brewer, healer, philanthropist, spiritualist

Under the Dome
Twenty years ago, the first crew emerged after two years in Biosphere 2

Columns and Departments

Editor's Note
Desert Diary
Southwest Gardener
100 Hikes
Henry Lightcap's Journal
The Starry Dome
Talking Horses
Ramblin' Outdoors
Guides to Go
Continental Divide

Special Sections

40 Days & 40 Nights
The To-Do List

Red or Green
Dining Guide
Table Talk

Arts Exposure
Red Dot Studio Tour
Arts Scene
Gallery Guide

Body, Mind
& Spirit

Diary of a Caregiver, pt 2
Staffing Up
The Wisdom of Gardens

About the cover

Silver City's Month of Festivals

A calendar-full of events make this a September to remember.


The Southwest Festival of the Written Word, Sept. 27-29, joins an already jam-packed September lineup of festivals in Silver City. In addition to the events listed here, see the Arts Exposure section to read about the Red Dot Studio Tour, Sept. 20-22.


On Sept. 13-15, in Gough Park, Pickamania! is a joyous celebration of American music: bluegrass, folk, Americana, roots and more. Produced by the Mimbres Region Arts Council, it's the perfect summer bookend to the Blues Fest in May.

The Dusty Buskers perform at the kick-off dance Friday night in downtown Silver City, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Then Saturday at Gough Park, from 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m., the lineup features Gene Booth, Last Minute Bluegrass Band, Joe West & the Santa Fe Revue, Bootleg Prophets, The Trishas and Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem. That night, there's music in the beer garden, 8-10 p.m. Sunday, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., the music is by Sacaton, The Hard Road Trio, Carolyn Martin and Solas.

Among the festival's star attractions, the Trishas first shared a stage in January 2009. Since then, they've been in high demand — showcasing at the Americana Music Association Conference & Festival in Nashville, singing with Raul Malo on his "Sinners & Saints" album, recruited by Ray Wylie Hubbard to sing on his latest release, and touring with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Todd Snider. Celtic musicians Solas are known for fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, topical originals and covers, redefining Irish music beyond pubs, green beer and March 17. And then there's Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, which the Boston Herald called "one of America's most inventive string bands."

For more information and a detailed schedule, see www.mimbresarts.org


The 9th annual Gila River Festival, in and around Silver City Sept. 19-22, will have the theme, "The Gila River is in Our Hands!" It will examine the impacts of climate change on the Gila River and the Gila region and how we can meet our future water needs and ensure the future of a free-flowing Gila River.

Festival attendees will enjoy a variety of expert-guided field trips in the Gila National Forest and along the Gila River, a keynote talk by author and environmentalist Kenneth Brower, a presentation by Dr. Tom Swetnam of the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research at the University of Arizona, panel discussions, workshops, kayaking, films about New Mexico rivers, the Gala for the Gila, a downtown art walk and more.

Keynote speaker Brower learned about environmental issues — such as dam projects like Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River — from his father, the great conservationist David Brower. His most recent book, The Wildness Within: Remembering David Brower, honors his father on the centennial of his birth. In his presentation, "Helping Water Win," Brower will talk about the challenges that lie ahead for all of us in addressing global climate change — the topic of his next book, to be published in 2014.

Swetnam will discuss past, present and future wildfire and climate changes in the Southwest through historical documents and tree-ring data. He will also describe opportunities to learn and apply lessons from both the distant past and from recent outcomes of successful and unsuccessful forest and watershed restoration strategies as we adapt to climate change. His talk will be augmented by a series of panel discussions with scientists and practitioners on the various tools available to build resiliency into our natural and human communities.

A new event at this year's festival is "New Mexico, Ancient Waters," featuring films about the Gila and Santa Fe Rivers and the Rio Grande. Two new short films about the Gila River will be premiered. In "Free Flow: Saving the Gila River in New Mexico," Dutch Salmon descends the Gila again to reminisce about earlier journeys and to explore the greater values of a natural stream. "The Gila River is in Our Hands" tells the story of New Mexico's last free-flowing river and how it's up to us to save it for future generations.

The Gala for the Gila fundraiser to benefit the Gila Conservation Coalition will be held at the recently restored Murray Hotel ballroom. Enjoy light hors d'oeuvres, with beer and spirits provided by Little Toad Creek and dancing to the music of The Roadrunners. Winners of a silent auction will be announced at the gala.

Guided hikes will explore birding, geology, native plants, archaeology, native fish and more. The popular Gila River kayak trip will be back, along with the bus tour. The Monsoon Puppet Theater will lead another colorful Gila River Festival parade through downtown Silver City. Author Sharman Apt Russell will be the guest speaker at the closing brunch.

The full festival schedule and registration is available at www.gilaconservation.org. For more information, contact the Gila Conservation Coalition at (575) 538-8078 or info@gilaconservation.org.


The annual Fort Bayard Days, sponsored by the Fort Bayard Historic Preservation Society, will be Sept. 20-21. On Friday, more than 20 living history centers will be set up around the parade grounds. A flag ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and learning centers will end at 3 p.m. The day will feature old-fashioned games and crafts, military re-enactments and Buffalo Soldiers, presentations on nurses and railroads in history, and portrayals of "Josephine Clifford, mother of Fort Bayard" and "Dr. Bushnell, physician at Fort Bayard."

On Saturday, step back in history with a look at Fort Bayard's military and medical years, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can take walking tours of the grounds and the commanding officer's quarters/museum, meet local authors and learn about the future of the fort. Then it's the military ball in the theater, 7-10 p.m., $2.50 a person, children free.

For more information, call Cecilia Bell (575) 388-4477 or Bill Kupke (575) 388-9123, or see www.fortbayard.org/days.html.


This year's Annual Red Hot Children's Fiesta, sponsored by the Grant County Community Health Council, is "Out of This World." Look for solar telescopes and other space-y fun. Who knows? Maybe those guys from Roswell will show up! The Red Hot Children's Fiesta is the largest child development and resource fair in southwest New Mexico. It's at WNMU Old James Stadium from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Sept. 21. For more information, call (575) 388-1198.

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