A Message For Music Lovers

The days are getting longer, the weather is warming up and summer events all over New Mexico are accommodating our inner party animals.

Want to experience live music under the sun without traveling to California for Coachella? Look no further than Taos, NM. Cali may have Lady Gaga and DJ Khaled, but Taos has guitars, cadillacs and hillbilly music! That’s right, Dwight Yoakam will be performing live along with The Mavericks and The Last Bandoleros at Kit Carson Park on July 29. You don’t have to journey too far from home to watch a Grammy Award winning performance. Click here for more details and ticket information.

Taos has become a hotspot for outdoor concerts over the years. There will be many other musical festivities held in the park throughout the summer season. A star-studded lineup consists of bands like Ozomatli, Michael Franti and Spearhead, as well as classically trained artists from the Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Distance doesn’t define an adventure. These activities are well within reach for fellow New Mexicans. There is no shortage of instate entertainment!

Over the Rainbow

It’s that time of year again!

Albuquerque is hosting the 41st annual PrideFest this weekend. Everyone is encouraged to join the celebration of the LGBTQ community. Click here for event dates and times!

Photo by ABQ Live – Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016

As we enter the summer season, we have the opportunity to reflect on the history of Albuquerque Pride. PrideFest symbolizes liberation for the gay community.

A lot of recognizable change has taken place over the last 48 years. In June of 1969, the Stonewall Uprising marked our country’s launch into the gay rights movement. Men and women protested for equality at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. The building has since been named a national monument in honor of the pivotal change that took place there.

Before the series of New York riots, individuals who didn’t see themselves as straight were encouraged to keep their sexual orientation to themselves. Judy Garland – best known for her role playing Dorothy Gale in the Wizard of Oz – was an early activist for equality.

Garland’s support and acceptance of the gay community fostered hope for millions of people who were tired of hiding who they truly were. Rather than openly identifying as gay, they would introduce themselves as “a friend of Dorothy.” Her death in 1969 is rumored to have sparked the Stonewall protests.

News of the rebellion spread internationally, and now the historical event is observed worldwide around the same time every year. Albuquerque’s first march for gay rights occurred in 1976. Less than 30 people walked in this parade. Although they were small in numbers, the tradition they began was carried on and has grown into the large celebration we know today.

Every year, we continue to see progress in the equal rights movement. Events such as PrideFest help to raise awareness of the contemporary issues the LGBTQ community faces. These festivities also allow us to celebrate how far we’ve journeyed on the path to equality.

Photo by ABQ Live – Albuquerque Pride Parade 2016

We have witnessed a substantial amount of positive change in recent years, but there will always remain room for improvement.

As we continue to take pride in who we are and what we stand for, we draw closer as a community.

In the words of Dorothy, “Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.”

 Written by Brianna Mortensen



Props to the Master

Imagine Thor without a hammer, Cast Away without Wilson the volleyball, or Back to the Future without a Delorean. These are only a few examples of movie props that have played essential roles in their films.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Aragon – Actor Michale Shannon is propped by Aragon in preparation for a scene.

Acquiring props for a production is possibly one of the most important jobs in the film industry. The coordinators behind each material detail on set are known as property masters, or prop masters for short.

Joshua Aragon is a local prop master who was has been in the entertainment business since he was 5 years old. “I am in charge of everything an actor touches, picks up or eats,” he said. “I maintain all props on set with the actors.”

A scene cannot be shot without props. It is important to recognize that every aspect of a movie is carefully choreographed and planned. The presentation that audience members interpret is crafted down to the tiniest detail. This could be a bag of chips sitting on a counter in the background or a phone hanging on the wall.

Audiences don’t typically pay attention to every single object in each scene, but it’s important to note that no object is naturally occurring. Everything we see has been placed by prop masters like Aragon.

He has a script he follows, just like actors do. He thoroughly studies each of his scenes and manages all of the props for those scenes for the duration of the film.

Aragon has worked on several sets for major motion pictures like Sicario and Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials. His involvement in such well-known productions has allowed him to interact with countless successful showbiz members.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Aragon – Chris Hemsworth discusses a scene with Aragon on the set of Horse Soldiers.

“I have been blessed to work with some of the biggest names in the industry,” he said. Denzel Washington, Jennifer Aniston, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Wahlberg and Jerry Bruckheimer are among hundreds of notable entertainers that Aragon has met while on the job.

Photo courtesy of Joshua Aragon – Aragon poses alongside producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Although Albuquerque is his home, Aragon’s favorite perk to managing props is traveling. Movies are rarely filmed in one place, so he gets to see the country while also befriending his childhood idols.

Aragon gives back to his Albuquerque community through his contribution to the film industry. “New Mexico benefits from film tremendously. We are constantly buying, renting and building props locally,” he said. His last film had a $600,000 budget for props, and 90% of those funds went to local businesses here in New Mexico.

We don’t often think about the importance of props because they are abundantly present in every film. However, movies cannot be made without them.

Aragon is currently working on his 30th major motion picture. He explained that his job is not easy, but the people he works with make it enjoyable. “My experiences have been amazing,” he said. “I love how we’re all family.”


Who’s going to plan the wedding?

Planning a wedding is simple, said no one, ever.

The typical bride-to-be believes the day she ties the knot is the most important day of her life. It’s not easy making sure that special day is perfect, and it’s definitely not a task to take on alone. That’s where professionals like Raelene Dorame come in.

Dorame is a local event planner for the Journal Center Courtyard Marriot. Although she was born in Tularosa, NM, Albuquerque became her home over 30 years ago. Her passion has always been hospitality, and planning events in the community is a skill she continues to develop.

For every special occasion, there is a checklist. From guest lists, to catering, to décor and much more, coordinators like Dorame have it covered.

Photo by Shardayyy Photography – Unsplash

She has dedicated 21 years to preparing brides and grooms for their big moment and says that she has done over 500 weddings!

A wedding planner should keep in mind that a bride can go anywhere for help. She chooses one person to trust throughout this process and that responsibility must not be taken lightly. “It’s important to make sure I have that one on one connection with her,” Dorame said.

In an age of Pinterest and online tutorials, you need someone you can trust to help plan your big day. Dorame would recommend avoiding social media as a planning tool saying that it has a tendency to drive brides and grooms crazy. Apps like Pinterest have taken event planning to a whole new level.

“I wish that website would crash,” Dorame said regarding the popular platform.

An endless stream of ideas, most of which are unattainable, overwhelm people as they try to “DIY” their ideal function.

Planning a birthday party is one thing, but placing a pivotal experience, such as a marriage ceremony, into the virtual hands of an online catalog is not recommended. A successful wedding planner is patient and trustworthy, doubling as a reliable reference for fresh ideas.

And here’s a tip for brides: if the day of your wedding is going to be perfect, the road leading up to it will be rough.

“You’re put in very awkward situations sometimes,” Dorame said. “I’ve had brides completely fall apart.” Family members will start to argue and build tension. This puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on the bride and groom. She considers herself a mediator or counselor at times.

Photo by Andre Hunter – Unsplash

Dorame has a lot of tasks to juggle, but the most important is to keep the bride calm. “The more they’re relaxed, the more you’re relaxed,” she said. A coordinator must be a good listener. Constant communication will promote mutual understanding between the bride and planner.

Planning a wedding is hard and even unenjoyable at times, but the outcome is always unforgettable. Two people in love start their lives together, and Dorame gets to be a part of that time and time again. Her favorite part of the job is watching her brides walk down the aisle. They’re beautiful and so happy, she explained. All of the little decisions they’ve made leading up to that moment lose their significance. They chose the right person to marry, and that’s all that matters in the end. “I truly enjoy what I do,” Dorame said. “It’s a blessing to have been a part of so many people’s happiness.”


This scoop is a spoon full of sugar

Local Disney fans may be interested in the latest Albuquerque Little Theatre production. Beloved nanny, ‘Mary Poppins’ will be making an appearance in New Mexico. A cast full of professional performers has been working to reproduce this magical tale, with elaborate musical numbers from the original movie. The first show is at 7:30 pm on May 26, and will run until June 8. Tickets are on sale now. It’s going to be “supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!”

Image by: albuquerquelittletheatre.org