Fall arts season

Family favorites

Ohs, ahs and giggles galore


Taos’ cool fall weather brings with it some of the coolest events for kids of all ages. (Yes, we’re looking at you, too, big-kid adults.)

The PASEO, Sept. 14-15, 7-11 p.m.

With a theme of “Space,” the fifth annual PASEO 2018 festival lands in Taos. Prepare yourself for a spectacle series of immersive and participatory art installations that harness art, science and technology as tools for the contemplation of the outer cosmos, offering a view of society in sync with nature and the universe. This popular festival will be centered in Kit Carson Park and on Civic Plaza Drive. No admittance fee. Expect the unexpected — be on the lookout for random acts of art.

The nexus for The PASEO will be the “Space Cloud,” installed at Kit Carson Park. The Space Cloud, by design/architectural team Espacio La Nube of Madrid, Spain is an inflatable pavilion made of air and light, housing multiple events and installations. 

Artists inside the Space Cloud include:

• “Noise Aquarium” by Victoria Vesna in collaboration with Dr. Alfred Vendl, Martina Fröschl and Glenn Bristol, of California, projects animated 3D models of plankton obtained with scientific imaging techniques and interactive sounds. victoriavesna.com

• “Cosmic Systems” by VISIOPHONE of Portugal invites visitors to interact with sound and visuals in a dance with swarming particles. Each hour, Ballet Taos will perform an Inertia and Motion dance intervention responding to this interactive projection. visiophone-lab.com/wp, ballettaos.com

• “Interium” by Noisefold with Cory Metcalf from Taos/Colorado brings otherworldly landscapes and the visceral presence of alien life to the participating audience through virtual reality. noisefold.com

• “Conformation” by Reilly Donovan from Seattle, Washington creates virtual realities of constantly changing geometries. Strap on your headset and get ready to paint in 3D space with virtual reality. reillydonovan.com

• “COSMOS: Total Universe” by New York artists DJ Rekha and VJ Chika combine south Asian electronic sounds with a geometric light performance for an unforgettable dance experience. 10-11:30 p.m. nightly. onesheet.com/djrekha/splash, imagima.com

• “Push Pull Turn” by Parker Laughlin Jennings of Santa Fe is a social experiment combining investigation, communication and participation with GPS satellite technology. You’ll start in outer space and end up right here in Taos.

More installations at Kit Carson Park:

• “Circular Dimensions” by Cristopher Cichocki of Coachella Valley, California features a live laboratory of microscopic video paintings performed with digital microscopes, 3D glasses and live projections. cristophersea.com

“Indigenous Cosmology Meets Particle Physics” by Projecting Particles Collective performs a live Tagtool painting on to the outside of a teepee to express indigenous and western explorations of the universe, while the audience participates in the weaving of a dreamcatcher inside. stemartslab.com/projecting-particles/

Civic Plaza Drive installations:

• “Gleamscape” by AudioPixel lets everyone play with musical instruments to send ripples of color and 3D patterns across an immersive landscape of LEDs, held in Parr Field. audiopixel.com 

 • “GLOWpod” (Growing Life on Other Worlds) by The Social Media Workgroup of Albuquerque invites participants into a space between a greenhouse and an extraterrestrial nursery. Use goggles to gather information and stories about the life inside. In collaboration with Taos Pueblo’s Red Willow Farm. socialmedia.unm.edu

 • “2U” by Billie Mitchell of Santa Fe gives the illusion of looking into a virtual mirror. Walk into “2U,” see yourself in an altered reality, and if you like, receive a picture of yourself, too. vjbh.net

• “Cross-Pollination Portraits” by Heather Bergerson, Sarah Stolar, Enrico Trujillo of the UNM-Taos Digital Media Arts and Fine Art Departments. Through coding and the use of electronic gaming equipment, the audience engages in the digital weaving of unique human features into oneness. taos.unm.edu/home/register-2018

• “We Are All Space in Time,” curated by Erin Elder, (erinelder.com) is a collection of four site-responsive interactions, installations and experiments that acknowledge the complexities of coexistence. Merging poetry, film, performance and surveillance, this group of artworks explores the human experience of living together in space and time. The four artworks include “No Grounds” by Sarah Ashkin (Santa Fe, New Mexico), which is a lightly scripted, participatory performance about people’s relationship to private property (sarahashkin.com); “Private Party” by Anaïs Duplan (Jacmel, Haiti) is a live film shoot that explores the friction between technology and intimacy with performers from Taos’ Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte (worksofanais.com); “Live Stream” by Christine Howard Sandoval (Brooklyn, New York) is a live-streamed performance using surveillance technology to channel disappearing waterways in and around Taos (chsandoval.com); and “CauseLines: Coherence/Interference” by Winter Count (Ginger Dunnill, Cannupa Hanska Luger, and Dylan McLaughlin, all from Turtle Island), is an audience-generated sound and video performance created in response to the nearby Chevron Questa Mine Superfund site (wintercountcollective.com/CauseLines).

Taos Plaza events:

“Colorful Cosmos” by Taos’ Twirl Play and Discovery Place explores the universe through a multi-faceted approach to the art of the Mandala, a symbolic representation of the cosmos. twirltaos.org 

“All Roads Lead to the Same Place” by local Ollie Bell combines multiple projections to bring Teresina Lane (northwest corner of the Plaza) into a multidimensional space. olliebell.com 

 A dance party under the stars curated by Taos’ DJ Oliver transforms the Plaza nightly with light and sound. Food trucks and installations from local galleries activate the heart of the Historic District. djoliverknight.com

Kit Carson Road events:

A celebration of art with gallery openings and evening displays. 

John Dunn Shops Walkway and Bent Street happenings:

A Grand Block Party, with Glam Trash fashions on display, light show, food carts and installations by a few local artists: “Taos Water Protectors” by ManifeSTATION Station is an interactive installation involving video projections, typewriters and poetry, all feeding into a living, growing sound bath about our water crisis.

The fun doesn’t stop there. An After Party with Beats Antique and Govinda Music will be held Sept. 15 beginning at 11 p.m. and running through 8 a.m. on three stages at Taos Mesa Brewing, 20 ABC Mesa Road, Taos. 

Beats Antique is an Oakland-based group featuring Zoe Jakes, David Satori and Sidecar Tommy. The group forges a curious alliance between Middle Eastern traditions and potent West Coast circus, underground hip hop, breakbeat brass band, downtempo, glitch and dubstep.

The Govinda Music show is truly a multi-sensory experience that immerses the audience with a textured exotic atmosphere featuring mesmerizing vocals, visual performance artist Jordan Remar, live projections and live gypsy violin for a truly energetic and magical live presence.

Tickets are $18 in advance, $25 at the door, $10 camping passes. taosmesabrewing.com, paseoproject.org

Taos Wool Festival,  Oct. 6-7, Sat. 9 a.m.-5 p.m./Sun. 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Have we any wool? Why, yes, sir. The Northern New Mexico region holds a long-standing history and tradition with raising and utilizing wool and other animal fibers. The popular part festival, part arts and crafts fair known as the Taos Wool Festival returns for its 35th year at Kit Carson Park.

Fans of the Wool Festival come for supplies, tools, conversation and finished goods. Children come for the funny sheep faces, fuzzy angora rabbits and curious alpaca looks, the spinning wheels, the shearing demonstrations and the hands-on activities. Other demonstrations include spinning, dyeing and many other fiber-related skills. 

The festival is an outstanding regional wool market featuring juried vendors and master weavers displaying their wool fiber, yarns and artistic creations. There are contests for hand-spun yarn, fleeces (wool and alpaca), finished garments and home accessories.

Other fun events include the Dog Sweater Show & Contest, silent auction featuring many unique donated items and workshops before and during the festival weekend. There is no shortage of treats, either, as food vendors serve up regional lamb and other delicious choices. With the added ambiance of live music provided by regional musicians in a range of genres, the festival is unique and fun for the whole family.  

No admission fee. Leashed, well-behaved pets welcome. taoswoolfestival.org 

And if that’s not enough wooly faces, head to the Victory Ranch and Store located on 1,000 acres in the lush in Mora Valley about 50 miles southeast of Taos. Enjoy an inexpensive, one-of-a-kind feeding tour with the friendly alpacas. For more information, visit victoryranch.com.

SOMOS Storytelling Festival , Oct. 12-13

No matter one's age, hearing the words, "Once upon a time" invites wonder and anticipation of what story is about to be told. Older than written words, spoken word can be traced back for centuries and is grounded in the oral customs of many cultures around the world. Spoken word keeps memories alive, passes down stories for generations, educates, enlightens and entertains.

Welcome to storytelling, an art form that fills your mind, body and heart. Society of the Muse of the Southwest (SOMOS) created this annual event to provide just this kind of outlet and entertainment. 

The 19th annual two-day spoken word event features engaging stories woven and delivered by nationally acclaimed tellers, a StorySLAM, StorySWAP, workshops and children's stories staged at the SOMOS Salon and Taos Community Auditorium (TCA). 

Featured storytellers include Minton Sparks, Taos' treasured word and whitewater rafting master Cisco Guevara and from Jamaica, Debra Ehrhardt. The event is hosted by James Navé, one of the pioneers of the spoken word movement. Some of Taos' finest tellers will compete in a StorySLAM with the event's theme. Other special events include a youth- and an adult-centered storytelling workshop,  a story swap and a storytelling concert.

Tickets are available at the door. Many of the events are free. Partial proceeds help fund the SOMOS Young Writer's Program.

The storytellers

Minton Sparks

Fusing music, wildly original poetry and her intoxicating gift for storytelling, Sparks paints word pictures of the rural South that put you square in the middle of the people and the places she knows like the back of her hand.

Of Sparks’ talent, Marshall Chapman (writer for Garden & Sun) mused, “Imagine, if you will, Flannery O’Connor and the ghost of Hank Williams having an affair that results in the birth of an illegitimate child.”

Debra Ehrhardt

A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Debra Ehrhardt immigrated to New York City at age 18 to study acting. Aching for warmer climes, she eventually moved to Los Angeles in search of acting roles. Her strong Jamaican accent was a thick wall to break through in terms of finding roles. She started writing plays based on her life in Jamaica and has been working ever since.

Critic reviews are glowing of her current play “Jamaica Farewell”: “A magical storyteller!” “Jamaica Farewell is funny, engaging and irresistible!” “Exhilarating … breathtaking.”

Francisco “Cisco” Guevara

Local favorite and natural storyteller Francisco “Cisco” Guevara has performed in past several festivals, will also grace the TCA stage. He is an experienced Río Grande whitewater rafting guide and regales his adventurous passengers with stories of the wild. He also gets his tales from his Hispanic and Indian heritage and has a profound historical understanding of New Mexico.

James Navé

James Navé is not only a prolific storyteller but, is also the director of The Taos Storytelling Festival and a co-founder of Poetry Alive!, a theater company which has performed poetry in front of more than 10 million K–12 students around the world.

Tickets can be purchased at the door to all events. Or bought in advance for the Saturday night show at the TCA, 133 Paseo Del Pueblo Norte. Call the TCA to reserve your tickets at (575) 758-2052. Email Festival Director James Navé for more information or call/text him at (919) 949-2113. Free events are noted on the schedule below. All public events will take place at the SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive in Taos except for the Saturday, Oct. 14, evening show at the TCA.

2018 Taos Storytelling Festival Schedule:

Friday, Oct. 12

SOMOS StorySWAP , 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Do you have a story to tell? The SOMOS StorySWAP is the perfect place to test drive your story. Sign up is at 3:30 p.m. The Story-Swap begins at 3:45 p.m. Time limit is 6 minutes. All styles are welcome. SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive, Taos. Free admission.

SOMOS StorySLAM: The story theme is “Migration”, 7-9:30 p.m.   

This invitational StorySLAM features 10 outstanding storytellers vying for a chance to appear on the TCA main stage on Saturday night. Who will win? Join us and find out. SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive, Taos. Admission is $10/$8 for SOMOS members. Students 18 and under are free. 

Saturday, Oct. 13

Youth Storytelling Workshop facilitated by James Navé, 10 a.m.-noon

For kids of all ages, this storytelling workshop will introduce young people to the basics of storytelling. In this workshop, young folks will be working with the playful idea that everyone, no matter what age, has an endless galley of compelling stories to tell. Each participant will have a safe opportunity to develop a story that will hopefully be the beginning of many stories they will tell to their family, friends and community. SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive, Taos. Free admission.                                                                

Storytelling Workshop, 12:30-3:15 p.m. 

“Where I’m From,” facilitated by Minton Sparks 

Every one of us has a story about who we are. Some are wildly inspiring; other times, they are the very things that hold us back. Sparks believes that tremendous value lies in locating yourself within a particular time and place in history. This workshop offers an opportunity to discover better who you are through exploring and listening deeply to your own story. During the workshop, you will focus on the questions “Where are you from?” and “How does where you are from inform the definition of who you are?” while writing your own stories, exploring your family tree, studying storytelling techniques and learning from Spark’s work and experience. She will then guide you through using your stories to create various poems, pictures and performances. No writing or performance experience necessary. SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive, Taos. Admission is $25 for SOMOS members; $35 non-members. Reserve now. Call SOMOS at (575) 758-0081.  

SOMOS StorySWAP , 3:30-5:30 p.m. 

Sign up is at 3:30 p.m., begins at 3:45 p.m. The time limit is 6 min. per storyteller. All styles are welcome. SOMOS Salon, 108-B Civic Plaza Drive, Taos. Admission is free. 

Grand Finale Show , 7-10 p.m.

The Taos Storytelling Festival’s big stage show at the Taos Community Auditorium caps off this special and unique event. The featured theme is “Migration” and includes Sparks, Guevara and Ehrhardt, along with the winner of the StorySLAM. Join host and festival Director James Navé for an evening of storytelling you'll not soon forget. The TCA is located at 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos. Admission $20. Reserve now. Call SOMOS at (575) 758-0081.

36th Annual Taos Mountain Balloon Rally, Oct. 26-28

Fall in Taos isn't just about art and music festivals and nature's preparation for hibernation — it's also a time when the round, wicker-basket holding colorful hot air balloons rise en mass to meet the clouds. Every year on the last full weekend in October, a spectacle of balloons lift off the ground and effortlessly float over the orange, amber and yellow leaves just as the sun rises casting a new-day glow onto Pueblo Peak (aka Taos Mountain).

This year marks the 36th annual rally. Smaller than many such events in larger cities, the Taos Mountain Balloon Rally typically hosts 35-50 balloons and crew each year. The rally, primarily because it is smaller and more intimate, has become a popular stop for balloonists, families and crews. The event is very popular with Taoseños, as well. Parents and kids alike get "up close and personal" with the balloonists.

The launch site is Weimer Field on Albright Street across from The Taos News office and behind the Taos County Administrative/Judicial Complex. All events are weather permitting.

For more information, go online to taosballoonrally.com or call (575) 758-9210.

Taos Mountain Balloon Rally Schedule:

Friday, Oct. 26

6:45-7:30 a.m.
Dawn Patrol

8 a.m.

8:15 a.m.
Tether Rides for School Children

5-8:30 p.m.
Pilot/Sponsor/Lodging Gathering at Taos Mesa Brewing

Saturday, Oct. 27
6:45-7:30 a.m.
Dawn Patrol

7:30-9 a.m.
Mass Ascension

1 p.m.
Balloon Rally Parade
Starts at TMBRA Field and ends at Kit Carson Park. Picnic to follow.


Sunday, Oct. 28
6:45-7:30 a.m.
Dawn Patrol

7:30-9 a.m.
Mass Ascension
11:30 a.m.
Closing Ceremonies


— Compiled by Scott Gerdes


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