Santa Fe, say it and you hear music (or mariachis….) I was last there ten years ago and couldn’t wait to return. And the Virgen Guadalupe clearly was smiling down on us because as sure as the yak grunts, the Nuns and I were on our way the first weekend in December for the Santa Fe Film Festival. My good car karma carried over from the great red convertible mustang surprise in Mill Valley, because I became the proud driver of not a Hyundai as anticipated, but a spiffy brand new Jeep Liberty. Welcome to Tamale-wood!
But that was only the beginning of my good fortune. Upon receiving my check-in bag from the lovely Festival folks, I discovered that there was to be a party that night at which Santa Fe’s own JONO MANSON would be performing. Ladies and gentleman, back in the glorious early 80s, your humble narrator squandered way too many hours of her youth to recount (remember?) being as close to a groupie as she’d ever be, listening to the croons and jams of said Jono Manson (nee Frankie Sominex) knocking ‘em out with Joey Miserable and the Worms at Nightengale’s (RIP) in the East Village (RIP again). Ladies and Gentlemen, if you’ve never been fed gummi-worms by a transvestite singing “Nobody likes me, everybody hates me…” then you did indeed miss the glory that was the 80s. And who can forget such timeless ditties as “Pooper Scooper” (‘you gotta jump down, turn around, gotta pick that poop up off the ground’)? Not this Worm-head!
But I digress…for a change. Jono and I did indeed reconnect at the party, and he even sang some of the old tunes I remember well from the vinyl I still own. And that contributed to that building feeling that I was right where I was supposed to be, which had started once I got in that Jeep o’mine. Not to mention that at the first festival happy hour after my arrival, I had the incredible serendipity (that would become the word of the weekend) to run into a fellow filmmaker at the festival, ANNE NORDA, who I had first met in New York through my friend Ezra. I knew she was going to be out in Santa Fe with her film RED IS THE COLOR OF, but didn’t expect to run smack dab into her (and her mom Tuula) at the first festival event. But keeping in the emerging theme of the weekend, there she was, and we were film fest buddies for the rest of the weekend. At the party where I reconnected with Jono, Anne and also met JAYNE McKAY, a fellow documentarian at the fest for the World Premiere of her film MAYNARD DIXON: ART AND SPIRIT. (Click here to see all of our webcast interviews from the festival, hosted by the fabulous PASHA HOGAN).
I had padded my trip to Santa Fe with an extra day just to visit Chimayo, a Mexican town about an hour outside of Santa Fe – it had been ten years since I’d been there, but the taste of a shot of Chimayo red chili powder chased with pistachio nuts was still fresh on my tastebuds. Have Jeep Will Travel, and so the next morning, Jayne and I headed up to Chimayo listening to the set of CDs Jono had gifted me with (he’s been very prolific since migrating West). We wandered around tasting chilis, snapping photos, and lighting candles and eating holy dirt (if you have to ask…don’t) in the magnificent old adobe Sanctuario. (Stay tuned for the video of the artist/chili harvester we met there, but here’s a production still courtesy Ms. Jayne - I'm the one on the left.)
It was a beautiful day in the mountains, and we returned to Santa Fe to catch up with Anne and her mom, refreshed and ready for the rest of the festival festivities which included astounding New Mexico cuisine at Café Paquale (yum), chocolate confections at Todos Santos (double yum) and all sorts of other madcap adventures and culinary treats.
And of course, the screening. Full house…again…for the show on Sunday afternoon. The festival did a great job reaching out to the community about the film, and once again, we had a very responsive audience and a lively Q&A. Unfortunately I had to high-tail it to the airport right afterwards so couldn’t stick around to hang out with the fabulous Dharma community of Santa Fe including fellow filmmaker DEBRA DENKER, whose short WE ARE THE MOTHERS, opened the screening. Good news, the festival organizers also program the year round screenings at the Santa Fe Film Center, and brought us back a month later for another round of screenings. Bad news, I couldn’t make it back there (sniff sniff).
One other blessed event at the festival was the start of a beautiful friendship with the fabulous Nan Rogers. Actually, if I had to venture a guess, Nan and I have been pal-ing around on this earth together since our knuckles hit the ground (or maybe even since we had gills). I will say no more about her than to offer this photo – again courtesy Jayne McKay - and a promise that my mini-biopic will be forthcoming on these hallowed pages as soon as I stop traveling so much and start editing!
Speaking of which, on that note I say goodnight from Portland, where DAUGHTERS will screen tomorrow at the Hollywood Theatre. News from that incredible historic movie house to follow….