Recently, Albuquerque celebrated Japanese tradition and the welcoming of autumn with its annual Aki Matsuri festival on Sunday, September 23rd at Veteran’s Memorial Park. The event was hosted by New Mexico Japanese American Citizens League (NMJACL) and provided plenty of vendors showcasing custom crafts, delicious food trucks, and plenty of entertainment, from traditional folk dances to a ramen eating contest.
The annual Halloween in Summer party went down on Saturday, August 18th at The Sandbar in Albuquerque. The ABQ-Live special event featured multiple costume contests, cash prizes, live music, drink specials, games and more. Enjoy two galleries of images from the nights festivities.
Crunch Fitness in Albuquerque just had their grand opening and we wanted to see what everyone in town was talking about. Stop by and get a tour of this place for yourself, it’s pretty amazing. Their grand opening was on August 11th where they featured a raffles for memberships, a TV, a beach resort vacation & much more! Ready to learn more? Check Crunch Fitness out on Facebook HERE
The Creative Bravos Award has returned to Albuquerque after being away for three years. Having a lengthy history with the City of Albuquerque, the Creative Bravos Award is given to members of the community whose work makes a significant impact on Albuquerque.
In the past the award was given annually to recognize the work of outstanding citizens and there creative contribution to the community.
“We the city in partnership with some amazing community partners felt that it (the award) was an important part of what’s going on in our arts and cultural community,” said Director of Cultural Services Dr. Shelle Sanchez.
Beginning her new role as Director of Cultural Services back in February of this year Sanchez said bringing back the award was one of the first things she wanted to see happen.
“It’s very important to validate and celebrate the contributions of people in our arts and cultural creative economy community,” Sanchez said. “Other fields do this. There is business awards all the time and leadership awards, it is something all other fields do. Without the Creative Bravos it’s not really happening in the Albuquerque community.”
When artist are recognized by their community it opens other doors for them, Sanchez said.
Winners of the Creative Bravos Awards come in all shapes, sizes and ages as 6-10 award will be given at a celebration in November. By allowing nominations of all ages to be accepted Sanchez hopes to recognize not just long time contributors to the artists community but rising stars as well.
“You can nominate an artist in any field,” Sanchez said. “Art administrators, art educators, creative entrepreneurs, art philanthropist, we’re really looking at celebrating the whole ecosystem of arts and cultural economy and community.”
While nominations are closed currently a community based election committee shared by first lady Elizabeth J. Kistin Keller, Sanchez said.
With winners notified in late September the award ceremony will take place on November 16th. While reintroducing the Bravos Awards was not a difficult or expensive program to organize, it took committed people to bring the award to reality, Sanchez said.
Sanchez immediately reached out to individuals in the city including those from several art organizations and cultural organizations across the city as well as an individual who worked on the committee for years during the Creative Bravos Awards last iteration, she said.
Some of the individuals Sanchez reached out to include Julia Mandeville with the Harwood Art Center and Valerie Martinez, Director of History & Literary Arts at National Hispanic Cultural Center.
Together these individuals are the ones that really did all the organizing and thoughtful work that pushed bringing the Creative Bravos Award back to Albuquerque, Sanchez said.
“That’s the thing that I’m most proud of,” she said. “Not only that we made it important to bring it back but that we also made partnering with our community an important part of bringing this back.”
With art organizers, the arts and the positive feedback from the community, Sanchez is confident that the award will be here to stay.
“It’s a really beautiful illustration of our arts and cultural diversity and richness here in Albuquerque and I think that people are just really happy to see this celebration come back,” Sanchez said. “There’s not another annual recognition of arts and culture specifically for our Albuquerque community. It’s a celebration but it’s also an honoring of peoples ongoing work and long term dedication to the field.”
Sweeping into the Albuquerque Isleta Amphitheater on July 18, American pop rock band from Las Vegas, Nevada, Imagine Dragons played to a cheering crowd for their Evolve Tour.
With the show beginning at 7 p.m. the 14-year-old musician who won America’s Got Talent in 2016, Grace VanderWaal opened for Imagine Dragons creating a soothing atmosphere while fans shuffled in. Lines were still packed to get into the venue long after VanderWaal’s opening act took to the stage as attendees adjusted to new rules set at the Isleta Amphitheater barring bags longer than six inches as well as items such as lawn chairs and large umbrellas. Attendees of the concert were offered the option of purchasing rental lawn chairs or see through bags in the cases of purses. Alternatively a ziplock bag was provided for people to carry there positions in if they declined to purchase the see through totes.
Despite the long lines seats were quickly filled and the lawn was flooded with excited onlookers. After finishing up with her new song “Clearly” a reimagining of Johnny Nash’s “I Can See Clearly Now” Grace VanderWaal thanked the cheering crowd as she introduced Imagine Dragons.
Smoke flooded the stage at 8:20 p.m. and the band erupted with popular 2012 hit “Radioactive”. After the song lead singer Dan Reynolds addressed the cheering crowd asking if they were ready to let go along with the band.
“Work, school, politics, leave it, leave it, leave it. This is a place of safety,” Reynolds said. “This is a place of equality. This is a place of no judgement of anyone, where you can be yourself unabashedly and I will be mine.”
The crowd cheered as Reynolds and the band began 2012 hit “It’s Time,” stopping at parts to allow audience members to sing the words. The band’s segment included drumming solos, guitar solos and confetti shooting into the air. At one point Reynolds himself disappeared from stage only to be seen running through the crowd with security guards close to him. Fans cheered and many ran towards him as he made his way back towards the stage.
During the concert Reynolds shifted the tone as he took a moment to address depression along with the stigma connected to it. He urged concert goers to realize that acknowledging depression was not a weakness but a strength.
“There is a stigmatization in our society today that is hurting our children, it’s hurting our youth, it’s killing our youth,” Reynolds said. “We must speak openly and honestly about depression.”
The crowd cheered at his words and continued to as he told his story about his own diagnosis and urged those struggling with depression to speak to friends, family and therapist.
“Your life is always worth living,” he told the crowd shortly before launching into the 2012 hit song “Demons.” The song marked a more soothing and calm part of the concert as members of the crowd sang along. Throughout the show the band played songs from both their 2012 album Night Visions as well as their 2017 album Evolve. Long after dark, lights filled the stage as they performed encores of many of there popular songs.
“Thank you for being here tonight,” Reynolds said. “What an incredible thing it is to come out to a new city every night, to feel at home, to feel amongst family. Thank you for providing us with that. It’s not every night that happens.”
Since the first Summerfest came to Civic Plaza in 1980, the city wide event has returned each year featuring free community events, children’s activities, an artisan market full of handcrafted goods, and discounts from local businesses.
From their Summerfest has only grown in size with now four local Summerfest events widespread across Albuquerque. The first of the events kicked off on June 9 with Heights Summerfest located in North Domingo Baca Park. Still three more events have yet to come with Route 66’s Summerfest located in Nob Hill on July 21, Downtown Summerfest located on Civic Plaza August 4 and Westside Summerfest at the Cottonwood Mall on August 18.
“The goal of the event series is to offer free, family-friendly safe events for the community,” said Bree Ortiz, Events and Operations Manager with the city of Albuquerque, Cultural Services Department.
A large part of summerfest includes music from performers who are both national and local. One performer is Grammy Award-winning singer, Irma Thomas who will be the headliner for Route 66’s Summerfest.
“For the national acts, we work with talent agencies to get an artist within our budget that is available at the time of the event,” Ortiz said. “For the local artists, we have most bands reaching out to us for an opportunity to perform.”
With hundreds of local businesses involved in each of the Summerfest events attendees can expect artisans, food trucks, and breweries at the event. Additionally, each Summerfest will have its own unique atmosphere such as Route 66’s Summerfest which will be showcased on the streets of Nob Hill.
This allows for attendees of the event to support local businesses while enjoying the outdoors and other events offered. With this, all of the Summerfest events are different and continue to be a quality event series that the community can look forward to, Ortiz said.
“This series had grown and evolved over the years by taking best practices and current desires into consideration,” she said.
Owner of Nob Hill Bar and Grill, Nicole Kapnison describes Summerfest as an event that truly supports local. This done through local food, local drinks, local art,and local talent., she said
Her business has been part of Summerfest for as long as she can remember, Kapnison said.
“It (Route 66’s Summerfest) really is the best summerfest in the city because it incorporates so many local businesses,” Kapnison said. “It’s rare that we get to shut down central and set up a party in the middle of the streets. It’s a great event for family and friends and great for the local economy.”
Anything that drives business away from large chains, even only for a night to Nob Hill and historic Route 66 is something Nob Hill Bar and Grill loves to be a part of, Kapnison said.
As a local business owner herself Kapnison emphasizes the importance of local business as they are what keep Albuquerque alive and flourishing, she said.
“Events like this, where almost all the businesses are local, give us all a chance to showcase our hard work, talent, and dedication to the city,” Kapnison said.
Kapnison hopes this year’s Summerfest will be bigger and better than ever as past Albuquerque Rapid Transit (ART) construction has caused many to avoid downtown Albuquerque, she said.
However with the upcoming Summerfest stretching down Nob Hill, Kapnison urges attendees to come and enjoy the event while drinking responsibly, taking Uber or Lyft, and spending their your local dollars on Route 66. “Construction is over, the streets are beautiful, and we want people to remember that supporting local is what drives our economy,” Kapnison said.
ABQ-Live covered the Elevate Hair event on Sunday, March 25th inside Hotel Andaluz in downtown Albuquerque! Enjoy a sneak peek at some of the video and images the ABQ-Live team captured as the best stylists came out to participate and showcase their skills in this free event.
What could possibly improve the New Mexico summer season? How about celebrating Halloween!!
The best costumes will receive prizes, and there will be plenty of giveaways throughout the night! Enjoy all the amenities the Albuquerque brew scene has to offer as well as live music from some of the best local DJs.
ABQ-Live and the Sandbar are adding tricks and treats to this summer heat!
Tickets are $15 online or $20 at the door. Click HERE for further ticket info.
SummerWeen gets better and better every year! Check out these clips and pics from previous years:
Reggae artist Chronixx talked to ABQ-Live exclusively about his music, his recent collaboration with Adidas and his plans for the future, as he gets ready to take the stage at Sunshine Theater Wednesday April, 5th at 8pm.
Interview and story by Brenda Paiz
The 24-year-old Jamaican reggae singer, who comes from a musical family, got his start when he was about six years old. Having a father who was also in the reggae music scene, Chronixx says he feels very fortunate to have been exposed to more than just the music as a child.
“[Having a family with a musical background] exposed me to the process of making music…one of the first thing I experienced was the process of recording and writing music,” he recalls. “I remember just going to the studio with my father and watching him make music: that was one of the greatest influences in terms of how I’ve chose to operate as a musician.”
With a number of records already under his belt, Chronixx talks about his latest single “Majesty” and the message that he wants women to take from it.
“The song was meant to outline divinity of women in general. It’s a love song that isn’t just a ‘romantic/intimate’ love song, it’s just a love song in general for the divinity of women,” he says, “from the grandmother, to the mother, to the sister, to the daughter…every woman is majestic.”
After briefly discussing the new music and upcoming album (no release date yet) Chronixx explains how an idea with a friend, blossomed into a collaboration with Adidas, as Chronixx was named the face of the 2017 Spezial collection. The collection which draws inspiration from Jamaican life, Adidas originals, and soccer (or futbol, as Chronixx and the rest of the world calls it,) is available in stores and online.
While discussing his accomplishments, Chronixx began to talk about his holistic views and lifestyle that stem from his Rastafarian beliefs.
“As a part of Rastafarian movement and community , you’re automatically evolved into the philosophy and the beliefs of the teachings. And once you see yourself as a part of the earth and that the earth provides everything that you need for your nutrition, you make that change,” he says. “Ever since I started to practice the teachings , that’s where my diet and everything changed which was a few years ago.”
Chronixx continues to talk about how Rastafarian practices have changed his life and freed his soul by correcting natural imbalances in his life. And as he aims to become more unified with the earth itself, his success has become more mainstream in the United States as well. Chronixx performed on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon back in February, which he says is such a great platform and had an amazing experience.
In addition to national television, Chronixx has recently been featured in Vogue, Self Magazine, GQ and CNBC. The future looks bright for this rising star, but for now he says he just wants to continue making music and living a wonderful life.
If you haven’t checked out Chronixx yet, find him on Spotify/ Apple music or follow him on Instagram @chronixxmusic. See him live tomorrow night at Sunshine Theatre.