Actress and animal rights activist Ali MacGraw is planning an appearance in Taos to help promote community awareness of, and fundraising for a PBS documentary titled "Awakening in Taos."
The film is reported to be about "the important development of the Taos' Art Colony and the passionate lives of Mabel Dodge and Tony Lujan," according to a press release from Griffin and Associates, the Albuquerque public relations firm contracted by the town of Taos to conduct tourism promotion.
To support this production and local co-creation of this film for release next summer, MacGraw is scheduled to headline two events in Taos.
On Sept. 28, from 5:30-6:30 p.m., "people can participate in a film fund-raiser; where they can personally meet Ali and producers of the film. This event will be held at the historic Taos Inn, where Mabel met Doc Martin on her first day in Taos," the release states. Dr. T. Paul Martin is "an iconic local character and physician, the namesake of The Taos Inn's popular Doc Martin's Restaurant." The Taos Inn is located at 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.
Admission to this meet-and-greet event is by a "suggested contribution" of $50 to $500. All funds will go to complete this documentary through the New West Media Foundation, a not for profit 501(c) 3 that raises money for the arts, humanities and films, according to the release.
Then, at 7 p.m. on the same day, in the Arthur Bell Auditorium at the University of New Mexico's Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux Street, MacGraw is planning to perform a dramatic reading from Mabel Dodge Luhan's "Edge of Taos Desert: An Escape to Reality."
"At that event, Tony Lujan's great grandson Blue Spruce Standing Deer will sing traditional songs taught to him by Tony," the release continues. "A pre-release trailer and previews from ‘Awakening in Taos' will be screened."
The film's producers will also be available for a Q&A at the event. Admission is free, according to Joan Griffin of Griffin and Associates.
"The one-hour documentary will be aired and distributed through national PBS Stations," the release states.
"Awakening in Taos" is described as "the untold story of Mabel Dodge, an independent, visionary American Woman in a time prior to women's emancipation and personal freedom. It is the 40-year love story of Dodge and Antonio (Tony) Lujan, a full-blooded Tiwa Indian from Taos Pueblo. Mabel Dodge Luhan is credited for attracting many modernists to the Taos Colony of Artists, where she nurtured a new breed of American artists, writers and photographers. The most recognized figures include Georgia O'Keeffe, Ansel Adams and D.H. Lawrence."
The film's producer, Mark Gordon, comments in the release, "This will be a very important documentary that illustrates one person's impact on the future of art and social issues in 20th Century America ... We are in the final phases of production, and look forward to releasing the documentary next summer."
Luhan (1879-1962), who came to Taos as Mabel Dodge Sterne, was a writer, artist, visionary thinker, philosopher, salon hostess, and creative catalyst for social change.
Mabel was known as "a tireless champion for modern artists, social and labor movements, a spokesperson for the emancipation of women, and an evangelist for the preservation of the Native Americans' way of life," according to information from the film's website. "Luhan was passionate and vocal about supporting social and environmental issues during the 1910s, 20s and 30s. As a writer and columnist for the Hearst newspapers, she had a national audience for her ideas. The issues that commanded her attention back then, are the same issues that we must confront and understand in our world today: vanishing wilderness, living sustainably, creating an inclusive community, building bridges between races and cultures, finding the balance between modern living, creative expression and spirituality."
In a time of "great racial prejudice, what was the powerful attraction that possessed Mabel Dodge to fall deeply in love and marry Tony Lujan, a full-blooded Taos Pueblo Indian?" the website states. "An active player and advocate for change on the world stage of her day; Luhan's inspired vision and freethinking ideals paved the way for many positive forces. Over the years artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe, writers like D.H. Lawrence, photographers like Ansel Adams, activists for social change, like John Reed, the independent journalist who reported from and died in the Bolshevik Revolution, and John Collier, founder of the Indian New Deal, were all fostered by Mable's spirit as they passed through her famous salon doors."
There are still a limited number of sponsorship opportunities in the film, according to the release. For more information on tax-deductible donations, or to participate in the Sept. 28 events, go to www.AwakeningInTaos.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awakening in Taos is a project of New West Media Foundation, a non-profit 501(c) 3 foundation for film, video and media arts. The film is part of the town of Taos celebration of "The Remarkable Women of Taos and Northern New Mexico," a year-long celebration in 2012, the year New Mexico celebrates its centennial of statehood.
For more information, go to www.Taos.org/women.