Category Archives: Albuquerque

The Hillerman Legacy Continues

911860.spiderwomansdaughterJournalist, turned novelist, Anne Hillerman has been writing from an early age, following in her father’s footsteps. From article writing to editing and now restaurant reviews, Hillerman ran the gambit in the newspaper world. Back in 2004, for she began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in honor of her father, and now has written her first novel picking up the series her dad left behind.

Anne began her career over twenty years ago, starting out as a copy editor, and then moving into reporting. She started at the Santa Fe New Mexican and then moved on to work for the Albuquerque Journal. Moving into reporting was a learning experience that Hillerman wouldn’t trade for the world. It helped her learnto write against deadlines, hone her skills to word counts, and gave her confidence in her writing abilities. Fact sorting was the most relevant skill she learned for her later career as a fiction writer. There are so many facts and details that a writer can add to a story or an article. It takes discernment to know which of these facts or details is going to impact the reader. It’s a skill that most writers spend lifetime learning. Hillerman states, “Being a reporter introduced me to some many different kinds of people and gave me a lot of confidence.” Taking on the role of editor allowed her to work with some talented writers. While helping other writers tighten their work and create stronger prose, Hillerman learned to refine her own writing.

Hillerman and her husband, Don, worked together to produce many books on New Mexico including: Santa Fe Flavors: Best Restaurants and Recipes (winner of the 2009 New Mexico Book Award), The Insider’s Guide to Santa Fe, and many other titles, none of which were novels. After her father, Tony HIllerman’s, death in 2008, she decided to write the next book in the series that her father had created. Hillerman wrote Spider Woman’s Daughter in 2013, partly cathartic, partly to honor her father’s memory, and, of course, to pay homage to the characters. The story, number 19 in the series, picks up with Leaphorn, Bernie, and Chee, with the addition of some new characters. Staying true to the main characters in the story, she gave her own twist to the new mystery and allowed all the characters to grow in the addition. Devote readers maybe be surprised who solves what in this installment of the series, but it will keep you guessing right up until the end. She is in the process of completing number twenty and signing a book deal for three more installments. These characters will be around to save New Mexico from the criminal elements for years to come. “I loved his stories,” Hillerman shares. “I love his characters… his setting.”

Wordharvest, founded in 2002 by Hillerman and Jean Schaumberg, supports the art of writing. They began the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference in 2004, now celebrating its tenth year, Tony participated in the inaugural conference that was focused for mystery writers. Originally intended to be a one time event, the conference went over so well that it became an annual event. It was opened up to create a space where writers of all genres could come to learn and share experiences in the 2010 Writers Conference. The event is three days long and held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Day one consist of hands on writing workshops, day two the craft of writing, and day three the business of writing. The conference days are packed with speakers, special guests, and panels to give new and seasoned writers information on writing from all angles. Along with the conference, they run a contest for new mystery writers every year. “We thought it would be fun to shine the light on the wonderful talent that New Mexico has in terms of writers,” says HIllerman. Writers who have not published a mystery before can submit their mystery novel for a chance to win a $10,000 advance. Submission deadline is June 1st, and it must take place in the Southwest. Please visit www.wordharvest.com for details.

Anne Hillerman – talented writer, inspiring editor, and community involvement keep her busy and traveling all over New Mexico. She still finds time to do restaurant reviews during her travels. If you’re a mystery reader, or a writer, Anne Hillerman should be on your list of people to follow. She is doing amazing in the writing world and you can be a part of her journey.

 

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Where’s Norma Now?

Where’s Norma Now? That is the question everyone in Albuquerque will soon be asking. Armed with nothing but two GoPro cameras, and some wicked imaginations, three local ladies, with a great crew, have created the latest hotness, “Where’s Norma Now?” Sheryl Brown, Terry Hicks, Nina Knapp are the screenwriting – directing – producing power team behind this show, starring Teresa Longo and Cheryl Hooks.

The idea? A life long desk jockey, Norma Esperanzo, is given a GoPro camera at her retirement party. With time on her hands, Norma, now retired and widowed, has to face the question so many do. What comes next?  Norma hopes to answer that question throughout the first season of the show, while learning just what it means to live a life of adventure.

The team of Sheryl, Terry, and Nina came about this idea when Nina got a GoPro camera for fun. The struggle to get it out of the box alone was enough to spark ideas and hours of banter between these funny ladies. With a mostly female film crew and a high action shooting style, “Where’s Norman Now?” is a comedy about coming of age the second time around. The ladies on Team Norma has started a grassroots movement using social media to bring this web show to life around the world. So, along with Norma learning her new life, the team behind this movie is learning, too.

Social media, GoPro Camera, and web shorts are just part of the learning curve for experienced filmmakers to overcome. Luckily for us, the team is taking us along on the journey with them. Check out http://www.Wheresnormanow.com and see what the new face of retirement looks like.

For more on What’s going on in New Mexico check out New Mexico Entertainment Magazine

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Mikey Mayes

2014-08-11 20.07.25Mikey Mayes is 23 year-old on a mission to make people laugh. If any of you out there have ever hit the stage at an open MIC night and saw all those faces staring back you, you know it’s hard, but Mayes makes it look easy. With big dreams, and an even bigger funny bone, Mayes has plans to take Albuquerque by storm and then the world. A dictatorship of comedy might not be such a bad place to live, right?

At a place called Winnings, across from UNM, is where the magic first happened. They were hosting an open MIC poetry slam event. “It was a different open MIC,” says Mayes, “It had poetry guitars and dudes who smelled like feet. It was just sad everybody felt sad afterwards, told sad poetry.” Mayes decided he would go tell some jokes and see if he could get these people to laugh. Even though one of his friends tried to steal his thunder that night, he went on, made people laugh, and hasn’t looked back since. That was two years ago and he is still going strong.

Being an entertainer is a learning experience in more than one way. While Mayes is perfecting the art of comedy, he is working on self-promotion and getting gigs. There should be a list of Dos and Don’ts handed out to people when they decide to take the stage for an open MIC, but learning on the fly is working well for Mayes. “All that sounds cool,” shares Mayes. “But right now what I really want to do is be really good at stand-up.” Knowing Hollywood is in his backyard, Mayes still would rather prefect his stand-up comedy, then move on to a screen near you. “There was just something special about the old school dudes,” remarks Mayes. Connecting to a live audience is the driving force that keeps him going and strives for being extraordinary.

Mild manner and friendly off-stage, he has a big personality when he has a mic in his hand. If for some reason he feels he doesn’t make that connection with his audience, he will let them know and keep going. “I can tell if a joke just isn’t funny,” expressed Mayes. “Or if it’s not working with this audience.”  When preforming open MIC nights around town, his favorite spot is a tie between Back Alley Draft House and Broken Bottle – yes the one way out on the westside.

With his big ideas and big dreams, Mayes will go far in the stand-up world – here in New Mexico and aboard. Make sure you finish your drink before this young man takes the stage or you may be spitting it out all over your friends from the laughter, and no one wants to see that. Come on out or check out Mikey Mayes on Facebook to see where the laughs are going to be.

Check out more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine 

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RJ Mitte

By Winter Flack

Back in New Mexico, after traveling the country, RJ Mitte feels like he returned home. Here in Albuquerque for Albuquerque Comic Expo (ACE), Mitte has a smile on his face, but the expo isn’t the only thing that has bought him back to the Land of Enchantment. He has a new project in the pipeline that is close to his heart, out here in the beautiful southwest.

Mitte first time out as an executive producer is for the film, Vanished: The Tara Calico Story. Having known the family of this nineteen year old who went missing without a trace, Mitte wanted to help bring peace to this small town in New Mexico and bring closure to the families involved in the 25 year-old mystery. Tara Calico of Belen, New Mexico disappeared one day while riding her bike never to be seen or heard from again. “Having a little sister, and knowing this could happened to her, made me want to bring awareness to people of the danger”. This project differs in so many ways from what people know RJ Mitte for. He’s not acting or being a spokesperson. He is helping to give a voice to someone who hasn’t had one in a long time. In the film he made it clear that the people they interview will do the talking and provide evidence. There will be no fancy editing or trying to point blame on his of the project, his goal, to bring truth to light for this missing girl and her family and closure to a cold case. Not what most people would expect from Walter White’s on screen son, but he did start out on Hannah Montana so he has a soft spot for Disney endings when ever possible.
At the ripe old age of twelve RJ moved with his family from Texas to LA so his younger sister could pursue a career in Hollywood. Initially all RJ planned for his Los Angeles adventure was to go to school and make some friends, but one day while looking for a new agent for his sister he received a proposal he couldn’t refuse. The agent wanted him to work in Hollywood. To RJ amazement he began doing background on tween televisions show while take acting lesson four times a week. “It was a whirlwind”. With in six months he landed a role on A&E’s Breaking Bad. He played Walter White JR the son of soon to be drug king pin of Albuquerque Walter White SR. The character suffered from a minor case of cerebral palsy like RJ himself.

The pilot for Breaking Bad will always be RJ’s favorite episode even through there were so many great times on the set. The first episode everyone knew they had something special going. “It was such a wealth of knowledge to work such amazing people.” Breaking Bad will always hold a special place in the hearts of the fans and the people who worked on the show. It was the first show of it’s kind, even promoting a funeral for the main character of the show, a fundraiser for healthcare for the homeless.

RJ also used the recognition he garnered from the show to speak out about cerebral palsy and how disabilities can affect people. “I don’t really think about it (cerebral palsy), in all honest”. He just wants to be seen as RJ doing whatever RJ is doing at the moment, he never took into account his disability. In his latest role on ABC Family’s Switch at Birth RJ plays a character confined to a wheel chair. “My new role I’m playing a paraplegic, I’m progressively getting worse”. Playing a paraplegic on set opened RJ eyes to how differently people with physical disabilities are treated by some. He’s not worried about being type cast in the role, because he makes the decisions on what roles he takes and when.

In the spirit of ACE RJ thinks he would make a great super villain. He wants to keep growing creating and trying new things whenever he can. When asked what he wants to leave behind for a legacy “I will always be a Breaking Bad kid. I already have a legacy even though it might fade”. Beyond Breaking Bad RJ wants to make a positive difference in the world and make sure his family is always provided for.
Growing changing and moving forward I the focus of RJ Mitte’s life, but he will always have a soft spot for his second home here in Albuquerque, and it will always have a soft spot for him. New Mexico hopes to see RJ back here again and again over his career in all the different roles he will be playing.

Check out more at NMEntertains.com

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Memphis P. Tails

Looking out over the dusty desert that is Albuquerque it’s hard to believe that deep inside this city beats the heart of the blues. But, sometimes looks can be deceiving. Albuquerque is not really known has a music town sometimes it can be difficult to find live music any where in town, but there is one band that has been playing here for over 20 years, Memphis P-Tails. Founded in 1993 they are easily one of the longest running local bands still on the scene here. Darin Goldston the founder of the Memphis P-Tails has the blues flowing through his veins and back in the 90’s he decided to do something about it. The band has gone through a few line-up changes over the years, with the latest and greatest being the best. The Memphis P-Tails can be spotted playing all over Albuquerque, with a standing Wednesday night at The Monte Vista Fire Station. This isn’t even a regular show for the band this is a jam session where anyone who knows the words or the chords can get up on stage and jam with the band. Some nights they set up in the back of the bar and other summer nights they will be out playing on the patio. “It’s a great time that our extend blue family can join in on” Darin. The P-tails use to be a traveling band but now they keep it to a minimum playing blues festivals in Silver City and Arizona. They love the scene they have created here locally. With families and kids at home Albuquerque is more then just a home base, it’s the place they want to stay. “I’m really proud of the band for playing as much and for as long as we have” Darin. When pressed on how to turn someone onto the Blues, Darin says start with the King, BB King that is. At some point in everyone’s life they can relate to the Blues. When looking for inspiration to write the next great Blue’s song Darin says it’s like anything else the mood has to hit. In case it’s not hitting put on some music the sound will never fail to inspire. A good drink and a good friend is all you need to enjoy singing the Blues .Checkout the Memphis P-tails on Facebook and find out where they are playing next, there is nothing like hearing the blues live. check out more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine 

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Kansas Bleeds

KansasBleedsFrntNew Mexico native Melody Groves has a deep love for anything cowboy and Old West. Winner of six first-place writing awards, Melody is a member of Western Writers of America, SouthWest Writers and New Mexico Press Women. She writes for Wild West, American Cowboy, True West, New Mexico Magazine and other regional publications. When not writing, she’s busy playing rhythm guitar with the Jammy Time Band. Kansas Bleeds is a coming of age story everyone can relate to. Hotheaded teenager, overbearing father, big brothers putting in their two cents and negative outside influences, except this story is set in the old west where shootouts replace arguments and teenagers are considered grown-ups. Luke, our hotheaded teenage antagonist, is married and himself a parent who is trying to break free of his father’s views. But, it’s not easy when your family is living in your parents’ house. The language and feel of the book transports the reader to 1862 Kansas, a place and time of hard living, and the polarizing effect of the war even in the territories trying to stay out of it. Through out the story you will spend as much time cheering for Luke as you do wanted to shake some sense into him. A reader, like myself, with limited interest in the Wild West the story kept me turning the page well after bedtime. The hard choices a family has to make and the tragedies that spur them on, will make you grateful and sad when you reach the end. The Wild West holds a special place in Melody’s heart and she invites you to show you what a wonderful and mysterious world it could be. Leave yourself plenty of time for reading because sleep won’t be coming any time soon. Checkout more at New Mexico Entertainment Magazine

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Royal Wood III

Royal Wood IIIIntroducing Royal Wood III, ex-Air Force, ex-class clown, ex-resident of Michigan (and no, it wasn’t Detroit), current comedian breaking out on the Albuquerque scene. Royal started off with normal careers goals, like most people, but his life took a funny turn instead. It all started when he switch assignments with an airforce buddy and came out to NM. The rest, as they say, is history in the making.

Royal’s first on-stage experience was at the Effing Bar on Albuquerque’s Westside. He would go up on stage and make up stuff to make people laugh. Kevin Kennedy saw his performance one night and invited him to an open MIC night. If you don’t know who Kevin is he promotes comedy shows around Albuquerque and particularly at Low Spirits. Royal had been thinking about doing comedy prior to meeting Kevin so he decided to go. Luckily there weren’t very many people there the first time Royal went out. “It’s good to know you can get up on the stage and try and get the words out.”-Royal.

Royal started making friends in the comedy scene and hitting different open MIC nights. He’s now proud to say he has been doing comedy for over a year now and has preformed all over town. He only makes the shows in the first half of the week because his day job is technically a graveyards shift working with children in the mental health field. “Comedians are the best people for that job working with kids we can make them laugh no matter what is going on.”

The schedule is great because Royal is back in school to finish his liberal arts degree. It gives him time to practice his art at the open MIC nights and now he lives and breathes comedy with his new room in the Comedy Mansion. Royal admits “I was homeless for a hot second, but the stars aligned and a room open up here.”
The best part about he scene he in town is that everyone tends to click with each other. They all work with each other and they try to make themselves and the others better every time they go out. It’s a great place to find out what you are made out of and if being a stand up is for you. “This is a hard business you need to respect the work you do but you have to fun while you do it.”

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Satine Ramblers

Many years ago in a sleepy little suburb of Albuquerque called Bosque Farms, four children grew up with seemingly normal lives, until ten years ago. During college at UNM Valencia campus, these four youths got together and formed The Saltine Ramblers. They are not your standard college band. These guys didn’t get into music for the babes or the status, they just wanted to have fun and play some music. They never set out to be an actual band, but their fans saw it differently.

Cory, Dave, Kevin, and Dave all came from different musical backgrounds and styles, but can all agree that their major influences are Ween and The Grateful Dead. Some of you may be thinking, ‘I would never go see them’, but they are much more then their influences. In ten years, they have become adapt when it coming to playing for their crowds. At the drop of the hat they will go from six-minute covers of The Cure to a bluegrass tune to keep the audience on their feet. “I just wanted our fans to come out to have fun,” says Cory.

All the members take turns singing and writing music for the band. “We come up with ideas, bring into practice, and we all sit down and work on them,” shares Kevin, the band’s comic relief and rhythm guitar player. I personally am not sure how they can tell who the comic relief is in this band. If these guys have half as much fun on-stage, (which they do) as they have off-stage, you will always leave their show with a smile on your face.

The band has recently released their second CD, produced in Santa Fe, at Frogville Studios. The first album they were able to record in a matter of hours, and the new one in two days. “We started out limited on time because we were limited on funds,” Cory says, “But since we are such a well-practiced band, it took less time then we thought” Frogville does the entire recording live with the whole band playing at the same time, which suits The Ramblers just fine.

You can find The Saltine Ramblers playing all over the state of New Mexico, including local brewpubs. They have no solid plans to tour outside of New Mexico at this time, as they are still in it for fun, not fame. Check out http://www.thesaltineramblers.bandcamp.com to hear their latest tracks and see where they are playing next or their Facebook page for the latest dates.

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Lou Ferrigno

Lou Ferrigno was a young boy with an introverted personality and a speech impediment. He would read comic books from cover to cover, hoping some day to find a way to feel as good about himself as he did about the superheroes he adored. He life began to change in his early teen years and he went on to be the one of the people he admired the most.

At the early age of thirteen, Lou was looking for a someway to more confident in his own skin. One day at a friend’s house he saw some weights in the corner and tried to lift them. They were so large he couldn’t do it, yet. But, he knew then that someday he was going. “ One of them (his friends) flex their arm and he had a bicep, a small bicep like a baseball, I was like ‘Dang! I want be like that,’ and that is how it begun.”

Reading The Hulk® comics books for most of his life, he was ready when the audition opportunity came up. “I had been the Hulk my whole life,” said Ferrigno. He went in without preparing – knowing they would give him the role. After a short time of doing some pantomiming for the camera, he was given the role and began to film the next day. The Hulk was a great role that helped Lou break into the Hollywood scene.

Ferrigno stayed in the limelight of film for almost ten years before going back to weight-lifting. At forty-two, he went back to the competition circuit to finish the sport. At his age, with a wife and three kids, weight-lifting bought new challenges. “It’s a very narcissistic sport,” says Ferrigno. “You have no social life, your dieting and training, and you have to conserve all your energy for competing.” With his family’s support, he competed again, placing respectively at Mr. Olympia and Masters Oympia, and closed the book on his competitive weight-lifting career.

The movie role that stands out most to Lou was a documentary of a documentary he worked on called David and Goliath. The actor who was playing David kept trying to antagonizing Lou on set, which made him uncomfortable. It took him everything he had not to squeeze the life out of the actor. On the Celebrity Apprentice, the other members of the cast truly underestimated Lou. “They expected the Hulk to show up,” shared Ferrigno. When he got to the boardroom he was very outspoken and surprised everyone. “Luckily I learned a lot about branding and raised a hundred thousand dollars for my charity ALS”. No matter what role Lou has played in his life, he has taken a lesson from it.

One of Ferrigno’s newest ventures, Ferrigno Fit, by no surprise, is a fitness company that the whole family is involved with. “I don’t believe in dieting,” says Ferrigno. He wants to teach people how to adjust their eating habits for a lifestyle change. Lifestyle changes are the only way to really improve your life and health. Ferrigno’s latest project is presenting a body building show, FerringoFit.com, that he hopes one day will turn into a health expo, including fitness chiropractors and others. His kids all started out over-weight and they each made their own decision to get into shape and become personal trainers. With his whole family backing him, he has already proved he can do anything he puts his mind to. With his sons in mind, when it came to asking what his advice would be for the youth of today, those who look up to him, Ferrigno says, “Be passionate about what you do, and don’t compete or compare yourself to other people. Everyone has a different genetic make-up. Stay away from drugs, alcohol and negative people.”

Ferrigno is a lover of comic convention. They are a great way for people to come and meet their favorite characters, and be themselves for a day, without fear. It’s great to be able to emerge yourself in pop-culture. He hopes to leave a legacy behind of him of being in good shape and being healthy.
From introverted child to the Incredible Hulk, Ferrigno has proved to himself and the world that he has a lot to offer society as a whole. Expanding every year with new ideas and new endeavors, he will be in our hearts and mind for years to come as a hero in so many different ways.

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New Mexico Film Conference

New Mexico Film Conference, held over two days at the Albuquerque Hotel, was not at all what I was expecting. Walking in, the Breaking Bad Tour RV is sitting out front, enticing people to go for a ride. You have a sales pitch to the visitors on why to film in New Mexico. Once inside, vendors line the wall for any production assistance you may need, and the ones you haven’t thought of. Panel discussion are separated from the masses in smaller comfortable rooms. Being a novice to films, I might just learn something here, and learn I did.

I sat in on the taxation panel to start with. I learned the ins and outs from how to set up your production company to what qualifies and what doesn’t. The most important thing I took away from this panel was if you even have an idea that you might want to make a film here in New Mexico, contact the New Mexico Film Office and they will be a great resource for you.

Back out on the floor, I talk to people set up at different tables from schools to equipment rentals. With a warm smile, I am told about the Media Arts Collaborative Charter School in Albuquerque dedicate to digital development. From films to video games, they teach children the regular academics and more, with small class sizes. Another table gives me price list for renting a soundstage at Nob Hill Studios. Yet another table gives me a price list and details on how to rent camera equipment in New Mexico. You can plan your budget right here in the hotel, and if you’re still not sure, there will be a panel on budget planning happening as well.
The final key to why this conference should be a must for anyone interested in film is the social groups that attend. I met some lovely ladies from Women in Film New Mexico. The name may be misleading since you can be a member as a male also. This group helps writers, actors, and many others, find a community network of people to help you hone your craft and maneuver the sea that is film. They have monthly meetings in Santa Fe and Albuquerque. There were also groups from Roswell Film Festival and a Dark Matters horror film festival coming up here in Albuquerque.

The conference answered questions I didn’t previously even know to ask. The panels were made up of well-educated people, dedicated to helping us all understand the laws and the hurdles of filming in New Mexico. We will be following up in later articles with some of the key speakers from this year’s conference, so for those who thought making a movie or being a part of one was out of reach, will find out that you can make it happen right here at home.

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