Seeing stars

Joan Severance book signing to help kick-off Taos Historic Museum's Fandango benefit


In Taos, we’re used to seeing stars. Our deep, dark skies are filled with them; we see ribbons of the Milky Way weaving among the constellations.

But we’re also used to seeing stars during the day. We know who they are; they’re really famous.

This weekend will be no exception. We’d like Mother Nature to cooperate by granting us cloudless nights, but if she fails to deliver, you still have the opportunity to meet Texas-born model and actor Joan Severance, the current celebrity to grace our town.

Severance has an impeccable résumé: covers and editorial stints with Vogue and Bazaar; campaigns in the past for Chanel, Versace and Armani – and now for Celine; contracts with cosmetic giants Clairol, L’Oreal, Revlon and Maybelline; and an extensive television and movie career.

Spanning more than 30 years, Severance has appeared in such fan favorites as “American Horror Story,” “CSI: Miami,” “LA Law,” “One Tree Hill” and Showtime’s “Masters of Sex.” Big-screen roles include those in “Bird on a Wire” and “See No Evil, Hear No Evil.”

The star will appear at Michael McCormick Gallery Friday (July 14). From 4 to 8 p.m., she will be signing copies of her new book, “How to Manifest Your Mate.” Live music and refreshments will be on hand, admission is free and all are welcome.

There’s more to this book signing, however. As a kickoff to Taos Historic Museums’ annual fundraiser, “Fandango,” Severance will be donating a portion of the evening’s book proceeds to the organization, which benefits La Hacienda de los Martinez and the E.L. Blumenschein Home & Museum.

“Taos is a place where artists have come for decades. The light and the energy lend to the creativity of any art form. Life in itself is an art from. How one chooses to live it has been put on display in many a museum across this country and the world,” noted Severance. “I think it is important for future generations to preserve these past ways of life, so they know how easy they have it compared to long ago. That’s why I decided to get involved with this year’s ‘Fandango.’”

Friday evening holds another special surprise.

“Painting with Ed Sandoval” will be happening a few doors away at the artist’s Taos Plaza gallery, where his ubiquitous easel will stand ready with a large canvas primed in Sandoval’s signature red undercoat.

Fundraising will be conducted at the “Fandango Gala” Saturday (July 15), 6-10 p.m. The winner will also receive a signed giclée from Sandoval’s own collection, a numbered limited-edition Bill Rane print donated by McCormick and a signed copy of Severance’s book.

“At a recent photo shoot at the Martinez Hacienda, I fell into a prairie dog hole as I was being photographed. This thing was so huge I almost disappeared. The hacienda has withstood storm after storm, season after season, but it needs help in securing its borders from these invwading little enemies. Help me in supporting the needed upkeep for this fabulous Taos treasure by coming to my book signing, taking part in other fundraising activities and painting with Ed – and then enjoying a great evening at the ‘Fandango,’” appealed Severance.

And – no small deal – a fundraising ticket will get you half-price admission ($50) to “Fandango.” Those who have not attended Friday’s pre-party will pay $100 per person for entry to the gala.

Margo Beutler Gins, president of the museums’ board of directors, recently told, “I am tired of [’Fandango’] always being the same old, staid affair. I want to bring awareness of Taos’ rich cultural and creative history to a new generation of patrons and supporters of the [arts].” The two-evening event promises to be “a new event for a new time” and a chance to celebrate the ongoing revitalization of the Martinez Hacienda.

“In addition to the [special fundraising activities] and silent auction, we have a delicious New Mexican buffet catered by the Taos Country Club, a cash bar and an exciting night of big band jazz music planned, with Adrian Crutchfield and Friends,” said Beutler Gins.

Crutchfield may be best known as a saxophone player in Prince’s backup band who was featured on the late singer’s last three albums. But in his young life, he has played with an amazing roster of other performers, including Lionel Richie and Bette Midler. He’s bringing with him a stellar ensemble that’s guaranteed to get you up and dancing.

Are your moves a little rusty? Have no fear: Beutler Gins, a former professional ballroom dancer, will be reuniting with a dance partner to offer lessons, so there’s no excuse.

“The legacy of my great-grandfather, Bert Phillips, and great-grandmother, Rose Martin, fueled my determination to restore these properties and preserve them for the future once I moved back to Taos,” said Beutler Gins. A sell-out crowd at “Fandango” will help ensure that goal can be met.

Michael McCormick Gallery is located at 106 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For more information about the book signing, call (575) 758-1372. Martinez Hacienda is located on Lower Ranchitos Road. For more information about the gala, call (575) 758-1000.