Sabaku Con returned to Albuquerque May 10-12 bringing with it another great opportunity for all of Duke City’s cosplayers to dress to impress. Enjoy multiple galleries of images from this year’s event.[Read more…]
By August Edwards
After 22 movies, the world’s most excruciating soap opera has come to an end with “Avengers: Endgame.” What has compelled us to watch and re-watch for over a decade, has left us with victories, individual and shared, to celebrate.
We all know the good guys are going to win at the end, which might be welcome encouragement with the knowledge that we’ll have to sit through three hours and one minute to receive a payoff. The mystery of Endgame — or, the potential for spoilers — for those who haven’t seen it yet, does not lie within the overall arc of action, but within the emotional resonance, each character brings to the screen.
Does it warrant the length? Of course, because of how it is. Everything about this film is significant. Substantial. Even the subtleties (whatever “subtlety” means within this franchise) are grandiose; characters that are bound to have minimal screen-time still beg us to savor every moment they deliver—and it is easy to do so. “Endgame” moves fast. The humor is nuanced, the jokes land. While transitional moments rely on laughs to keep the story moving, this does not obscure the dark moments that are paced long enough to solicit tears.
Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), namely, cannot find a way to live with the past; they are haunted to the point of torture. Unlike “Infinity War,” Thanos seems to be more of a plot device than a real obstacle. This could be for many reasons; we already know what his motives are, and, simply put, he’s already done what he’s done. In this fashion, Thanos becomes a metaphor for what the Avengers are fighting.
We are at an age where “spoiling” is a sin. I will not share anything about the film that might upset somebody, but I would like to share what “Avengers: Endgame” has taught me about spoilers in light of how our heroes battle demons from the past.
We’re afraid of losing the particular feeling of raw emotion that comes with experiencing something for the first time. We might even put pressure on ourselves to feel something to the degree at which we believe it should be explored. We recognize a smaller payoff in finding out the secrets before we’re meant to. Not only do we react with anger, but we are also filled with a sort of grim realization — that, in context, the feeling we’ve long awaited just won’t hit the same.
While we can’t go back in time and fix the past to how we would like it to be, we can choose what we do with our present. The Avengers in Endgame has provided a compelling argument for living each moment to the fullest, even if we think we know what the outcome will be.
“Avengers: Endgame” is enjoyable. Watching noble characters we love to fight for what they love is, without a doubt, inspiring. It is freeing to be able to cry and laugh next to someone who is also crying and laughing in the same darkness with the same glow emanating onto their faces. I think these feelings can be accomplished even if something has been spoiled. It might all depend on how present we are.
Poster courtesy of IMDb.
By Nichole Harwood
Albuquerque families and children were brought together in a united effort at ABQ Party Space on April 30 from 4 to 7 p.m. for Blessed and Beautiful’s 4th Annual “Hands are for Hugging NOT Hurting” event, honoring children who have been lost to abuse and violence.
Sponsored by local businesses, the event provided free food, games, and prizes for attendees. Additionally, many special guests within the Albuquerque community came out to the event to lend support for the cause including professional development team New Mexico Runners and local professional fighters such as Matthew “Papitas” Esquibel and Aaron “Angel Baby” Perez.
Event coordinator Chantelle Martinez said that there was a tremendous effort to ensure that attendees and their families would be able to attend free of charge. The goal of Blessed and Beautiful’s 4th Annual “Hands are for Hugging NOT Hurting” was to not only celebrate the lives of the children lost to abuse and violence, but also to honor the children of families and show them that they are unique and loved.
Science teacher with Marie Hughes Elementary, Natalie Trujillo, gave a speech to attendees before performing a duet with her eight-year-old daughter, Adelina Garcia, where the two sang “Dancing in the Sky” by Dani and Lizzy, paying tribute to the lives of the children lost.
Trujillo encouraged attendees to put their foot down and be a voice for child abuse victims and those who can’t speak for themselves.
“Let’s help make a profound impact on a child’s life by doing something as simple as defending them,” she said. “Think about it. If you are uncomfortable or too afraid about getting involved in something so serious, imagine for one moment how a child must feel. They’re probably scared, ashamed and alone. That can change if we can learn to work together to report child abuse.”
In addition to building community awareness around the effects of child abuse and how to prevent and report it, the event held a talent show to continue their significant focus on celebrating children. For the talent show, every participant received a prize. Children performed several different acts including duet dancing and singing for onlookers. The show was all inclusive, and attendees embraced each child’s talent.
With an enthusiastic and engaged crowd in attendance, Martinez hoped that those who left the event went home knowing that they were loved while appreciating the difference a community can make when they come together.
“I want guests to understand the effects of child abuse and to know that every second with their kid is special. I want them to embrace the moment, love their kids and have fun with them,” Martinez said. “The days go by fast, and you never know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”
Photos by ABQ-Live intern Naomi Romero
Photos edited by ABQ-Live photographer Gabriel Aro
Aveda Institute New Mexico held its annual Catwalk for Water Saturday, April 27 introducing Albuquerque to a fashionable under the sea experience while raising money for a great cause.
By Nichole Harwood
With doors opening at 6 p.m. patrons of the fashion community flooded into the National Hispanic Cultural Center ready to watch models decorated in makeup and clothing designs created by Aveda Institute New Mexico’s students’ catwalk down the runway to promote clean water awareness.
The performance was made possible through a partnership between Aveda Institute New Mexico and Charity: Water, a non-profit organization that provides clean drinking water to people in developing nations. Additionally, business partners in the community donated gift certificates and prizes to a raffle held throughout the show with proceeds from the raffle being donated. These business partners included Amore Pizzeria, Garcia’s Kitchen, Two Cranes Bistro and Brew, Remedy Coffee, and Showtime Barbershop.
Aveda Institute New Mexico Cosmetology Instructor Dillon Spranley said the charity message resonated strongly with her, as she believes it’s an eye-opening experience for many individuals to realize just how fortunate they are to have access to clean water.
“For me, I think it’s a great cause to raise money for this and not just for something locally within our country,” Spranley said. “I think it’s part of Aveda’s mission to help the world and so I think this is incorporating that.”
The show began around 7 p.m., and the crowd made their way excitedly to their seats before being introduced to the Youtube video “Water Changes Everything” which was quickly followed by a speech going over the importance of clean water.
After introducing the premise of the show, the lights were darkened in the auditorium as the first group of models took to the stage. From there audience members were immersed in a creative performance filled with diversity ranging from drag performances from Nadia Deleon, Kuwani and Liviana to the live artist Ilashone who created a masterpiece before attendees eyes.
Throughout the show, the audience was educated on not just the importance of clean water but the work of Charity: Water who provide solutions to countries that don’t have access to clean water by creating drilled wells, spring protections and BioSand filters that help generate clean water to communities around the world.
Catwalk for Water ended with a finale catwalk featuring models adorned in mermaid attire with false gills and underwater themed makeup.
Before the finale Mark “Pardo” Gonzales thanked the staff and students of Aveda Institute New Mexico, as well as the attendees for their dedication to the charity cause.
“Seeing this kind of work from these students, these young fashion artists inspires me,” said Gonzales.
Video by ABQ-Live intern Raevin Richardson
Photos by ABQ-Live photographer Gabriel Aro
Like many other Americans, New Mexico ZOZOBRA LEGO creator Robert Piñeda found himself invested in the 2019 Netflix documentary “Fyre: The Greatest Party That Never Happened” that covered the history of the failed Fyre Music Festival. Unlike other viewers, however, Piñeda decided to breathe new life into the long dead project by using his talent to create an alternate ending to the “greatest party that never happened”.
By Nichole Harwood
Piñeda’s journey began after watching the documentary, covering the rise and fall of the failed festival. After watching the footage it didn’t take long for Piñeda to transform his inspiration into reality through his work. He began to create a mirror “Winter Fest” set with igloos and Lego mini-figures with miserable faces, reflecting the reality of the failed project. However, as Piñeda worked on his creation, he began to notice that the igloos he was setting up looked similar to the white tents that may have adjourned Fyre Fest if the event had a chance to happen. The thought shifted the gears in the Lego artist’s mind and set him on an entirely different path.
Piñeda decided to create a scenario that had never had a chance to exist, a place where Fyre Fest came to life.
“I knew I could not only make a Fyre Fest with tents and figures looking miserable, but I could also make a set using the same figures partying like Fyre Fest actually happened,” Piñeda said. “I added as much of the of Fyre Fest highlights as I could fit: from the gourmet cheese sandwiches, Andy the man that would do anything for the release of the bottled water, Billy McFarland on his jet ski with this black shirt and hat, beds just lying around for the taking, Ja Rule, people taking selfies, and then it just continued to evolve.”
As Piñeda’s imagination continued to develop, he found himself adding humor into his creation eventually including a shark attack and a monster chasing a man out of a porta-potty onto the set.
To make his set come to life, Piñeda gave each character a name and backstory. Additionally, to ensure his creation reflected the inspiration in his mind, Piñeda worked with two separate systems: one that allowed him to build the set online and the other that allowed him to build the set in real life.
With his imagination taking the lead much like his with the first ZOZOBRA LEGO project, everything came together, Piñeda said. After finishing his creation, the artist contacted Oren Aks, a poster creator for the failed project who also currently controls the Fyre Fest Instagram account. After Piñeda reached out, Aks eagerly agreed to add the photos of the set to the official account.
“He loved it and thought it was hilarious,” Piñeda said with a laugh. “He wanted to know which character in the set represented him.”
As an artist, Piñeda said that he always strives to ensure every project stands apart from his past creations. When Piñeda decided to bring Fyre Fest to life, he knew he was preparing to tackle a project unlike any before. The failed event was primarily driven by social media. Piñeda said he was thrilled to test the boundaries of his imagination by creating a platform that would flourish through social media, as the event that had inspired it did.
Upon completion, Piñeda said he was pleased with his finished creation.
“This set was smaller, but it brought satisfaction knowing I could create a smaller set,” he said. “While it wasn’t as detailed as the ZOZOBRA set, it brought a different level of satisfaction to try something smaller.”
Piñeda is currently in the beginning stage of creating his third ZOZOBRA LEGO set and is excited to release it soon to the public. As a native New Mexican artist, Piñeda encourages other artists to chase their dreams and overcome obstacles as he has.
“Just do it,” Piñeda said. “Who cares if people don’t like your work. If it makes you happy, then it makes you happy. If you don’t think you’re good enough, then try to be different,” he said. Piñeda encourages aspiring artists to not only “just do it,” but to create their own style, adding variety to the artistic community. “If you’re not as good as someone else, at least your different. Eventually, you will create your own niché, your own followers, and your own market which will bring a sense of satisfaction.”
Video by ABQ-Live intern Raevin Richardson
The 9th annual Southwest Chocolate and Coffee Fest swept through Albuquerque March 16 and 17 delivering an array of flavorful coffees, fruity wines, and delectable desserts to the Duke City.
By Nichole Harwood
With doors opening at 10 a.m. an eager crowd of chocolate and coffee enthusiasts flooded Expo New Mexico Saturday and Sunday.
With over 120 vendors vying for the attention of event participants, there were plenty of treats to go around in the form of tasty samples and fun activities.
One such vendor, Teri’s Sweet Garden, handed out samples of specially made candy to patient attendees.
Owner of the small business, Teri Leahigh said her candy shop has participated in the event for seven years and she noticed a large increase in foot traffic this year as compared to previous ones.
“We love it,” she said. “It keeps getting bigger and better and just more fun.”
Aside from delicious samples, the crowd was treated with live music from bands such as Alpha Blue and Dos Gatos. Additionally, attendees had the opportunity to watch demonstrations in chocolate and coffee making as well as watch an exciting chocolate baking challenge. Lastly, a Cow Milking Demonstration was available courtsey of the Southwest Dairy Farmers throughout the event both days.
Many vendors took the extra step to ensure their business stood out not only providing samples of their products, but combining the treats with activities such as campfires set outside to roast marshmallows for smores or free neck rubs to enjoy aromatherapy products.
There was a feeling of joy and excitement in the air as families stood hopeful in long lines prepared to enjoy the newest pastry, coffee, beer, or wine available. Many vendors eager to give the patient crowd a taste of their products ventured out beyond their booths with trays of chocolate and other delicious samples.
A first time attendant of the festival and a new resident of Albuquerque Dani White said she was pleased with the knowledgeable vendors and their staff at the event.
“This is new for me and I’m having a great time,” White said with a smile.
By Nichole Harwood
Musician Richard Mittelstet released the song “Albuquerque!” on Feb. 23 along with an accompanying music video highlighting what he loved about the Duke City.
His description praised Albuquerque describing it as not only the birthplace of his daughter and home for four years but as a quiet diverse city with much unity and love.
With as much passion and love that has been injected into the lyrics, a casual listener of the song may, however, may find it surprising that Mittelstet had not always felt so strong about Albuquerque.
Mittelstet’s journey to discovering Albuquerque and his love for the city began when his wife was accepted into the University of New Mexico. After receiving the acceptance letter the two quickly packed their bags for the Duke City.
Mittelstet didn’t know what to expect of his new home for the next four years. Everything he ever remembered hearing about Albuquerque was blanketed in negativity and he was uncertain what the future held in store for him.
It didn’t take long, however, for that uncertainty to transform into wonder. Rather than battling with a bleak and dangerous environment Mittelstet instead found himself immersed in a city filled with culture, diversity and a thriving music scene.
“There was so much art and artistic people out there going to different open mics and just getting out and sharing their gifts while being able to just express themselves,” Mittelstet said.
As a musician, Mittelstet found himself inspired by the culture of Albuquerque quickly finding venues to play in and even establishing a regularly scheduled performance at Java Joe’s.
Outside of his growth as an artist, Mittelstet found renewed interest in hobbies he had long left behind including biking and hiking. With his home located near Old Town, Mittelstet and his wife would often walk among the local shops together taking in the art and the culture of the city.
“There is so much talent in Albuquerque and New Mexico in general,” he said. “So many gifted artists and it was great to be immersed in that.”
As his time in Albuquerque neared its end Mittelstet was struck with inspiration on October of 2016 and staring at the city that was his home for many years Mittelstet wrote a song to encapsulate what he loved about it.
“Sometimes the songs just fall out of the sky and that one definitely did,” he said. “Albuquerque is the only city I have written a song for.”
With footage being shot in May of 2017 for an accompanying video the song titled “Albuquerque!” was released. A musician’s goodbye to a city that had helped him grow in his musical career and as an individual.
Now residing in his new home in Richfield, Minnesota Mittelstet said he still treasures many of his memories from his time in Albuquerque. One that stood out among the rest involved events put together by friend and fellow musician Seth Hoffman who has also released his own song serenading the Duke City titled “Albuquerque Nights.”
Hoffman, Mittelstet said would host an open mic for musicians regularly attracting a mix of professional and amateur musicians. The venue would encourage new musicians to play and the crowd would be receptive to a variety of musical styles performed, he said.
“I would just love that because he would just invite everybody and anybody,” Mittelstet said. “He would make an environment of just peace and love.”
While Mittelstet no longer reside in Albuquerque his time in the Duke City is one that he will never forget as he continues to move forward as a musician.
“When I go out and play in front of people I feel fulfilled. It’s what I am supposed to be doing. So that’s what I’m hoping for in the future,” Mittelstet said. “The opportunity to play music for as many people as I possibly can.”
By Elaina Jameson
Following the new year, many fitness-related resolutions spark people’s motivation. SPENGA, a boutique fitness studio that calls themselves an “unrivaled fitness experience,” opened to the public on Feb. 18 — just in time to keep people focused and their resolutions on track.
Consisting of 20 minutes of spin or indoor cycling, 20 minutes of strength training and 20 minutes of yoga, SPENGA creates what they call the “best workout ever.” The gym, providing a diverse experience, invites people with tight schedules looking to improve or maintain their physical health in just 60 minutes.
Albuquerque’s SPENGA Marketing Consultant, Don Lopez, told ABQ Live SPENGA goes beyond the expectations of a traditional spin gym.
“We don’t just focus on two of the various principles that are involved with working out,” he said. “We make sure that we get all three facets which are cardio, strength training and flexibility. The way that we have accomplished that is with the three items that we do here which are spin, strength and yoga.”
Lopez said SPENGA is ideal for anyone, but especially those who want a good workout without the side effect of joint pain.
“We believe in community, not competition. We just happen to fulfill a niche that will help people who are looking to avoid high impact on joints,” Lopez said.
Additionally, locals can expects SPENGA to be invested in community involvement and building relationships.
“Not only are you part of the community and what everybody’s doing inside of the walls of the gym, but we’re going to make sure we get you guys outside so that you can experience those relationships above and beyond what you’re doing here,” Lopez said.
Mario Diaz, a SPENGA instructor, said he stays motivated to teach classes because of SPENGA’s atmosphere along with its one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
“My favorite feature of SPENGA is the multisensory experience — from the cleanliness of the studio, to the mint gum offered for every session,” Diaz said. He told ABQ Live dimming the green and white LED lights in the studio to resemble a nightclub during sessions adds for a unique experience.
“It [SPENGA] is an excellent addition to any sort of training routine you currently have, and it can certainly complete your routine,” Diaz added.
The customer service offered at SPENGA is the forefront of their business. Rafal Hussein, customer experience manager at SPENGA, said her job has allowed her to widen her network on a level she never thought existed — at least in the workplace.
“Learning their [members] names and really getting to know them — it’s become personal. It’s not just a job. I get to interact with a lot of people I never thought I would,” Hussein said.
She said price has been a significant factor when potential customers consider a membership. But with SPENGA operating as a one-stop shop for cardio, strength training and flexibility and mobility exercises, the membership prices are a bargain.
“It [SPENGA] is the cheapest form to workout with an instructor. It’s a you versus you concept. It’s not a competition. It’s about you and how you’re willing to utilize the workout and push yourself,” Hussein added.
People who are interested in joining SPENGA are eligible for a free three day pass. After the pass expires, the member has the opportunity to register for a membership of four or eight classes a month or an unlimited membership.
SPENGA will hold sessions on March 26 available to the public by donation to raise money for Athletes Against Epilepsy.
Who said singles can’t enjoy Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re up for treating yourself with something sweet or spicy we have a handful of places to brighten your day.
By Ana Gutierrez
Kelly Jo Designs By Wine
Image by Kelly Jo Designs By Wine via Facebook
Stressing over Valentine’s Day? Nothing screams relaxation like a paint night with the bros while sipping on a glass of New Mexico’s premium wine. While you don’t have to be a Picasso to enjoy a class, you sure will leave feeling like an artist! Head on to their website and schedule a singles’ date for you and your buddies and choose from the many painting options offered.
Kelly Jo Designs By Wine: 6829 4th St NW, Los Ranchos De Albuquerque, NM 87107
Poki Poblano Fusion Lounge
Image by Poki Poblano via www.pokipoblano.com
Whether you’re living the hashtag “forever alone” life, have a male partner, or even if you just want to appreciate the females in your life, take a stroll to Poki Poblano and celebrate Galentine’s Day! Not only are they offering cocktail specials all week long, but they are discounting 10% off for any gals who come in with their friends or family! Talk about “ladies celebrating ladies!”
Poki Poblano: 6910 Montgomery Blvd NE Suite A, Albuquerque, NM 87109
Effex Night Club
Image by Effex Night Club via www.effexabq.com
If things don’t go as planned on February 14th, shake things off and dance the night away at Albuquerque’s sensational Effex Night Club. Join in as Effex takes the party to a whole new level — all three levels to be exact! Get down in the main room with Dom Drapper, swing it over to the lounge with The Housekeepers, and then bounce your way up to the rooftop with Burn The Disco and many more musical appearances. All part of the 2nd annual XOXO. Doors open at 9 p.m. — ages 21+ only.
Effex Night Club: 420 Central Ave SW, Albuquerque, NM 87102
Image by @abq66diner via Instagram
Perk of being single on Valentine’s Day? You don’t have to share your milkshake! Hop into your time traveling DeLorean with your Pink Ladies or T-Birds, go back to the past and shower in the 50’s and 60’s nostalgia. Finely dine a cheeseburger, down one of their many spectacular milkshakes, all while being surrounded by a huge collection of Pez, Elvis Presley, and even blast your favorite tune on the jukebox.
66 Diner: 1405 Central Ave NE Albuquerque, NM 87106
Image by Roller King via Facebook
After you finish that keen burger and shake, roll on down to Roller King with your friends and party like it’s 1984! Admission is free on Wednesdays 6-8pm, so you can spend that spare $6 on a Pizza 9 slice, or even play some old school video games at the arcade. On the brightside, you won’t embarrass yourself in front of a Valentine when you inevitably fall on the rink.
Wednesday: Adult Night (18+) 8pm-10pm
Roller King: 400 Paisano St. NE, Albuquerque, NM 87123
What does Darth Vader, Deadpool and Batman have in common? They were all at this years Albuquerque Comic-Con 2019.
By ABQ Live reporter Nichole Harwood
Attendees ranging from young to old flooded the floor of the Albuquerque Convention Center as cosplayers, art lovers and fans of comics and movies alike herald in Albuquerque Comic-Con 2019. The event ran from Jan. 17 through Jan. 20 and included a variety of actors and voice talents including voice actress for the video game “Overwatch” Carolina Ravassa and actor from the hit television series “Sons of Anarchy” Emilio Rivera.
In addition to its roster of celebrities Albuquerque Comic-Con 2019 also provided a variety of talented professional cosplayers such as Leena Royer and Karissa Wisneski local Albuquerque cosplayers from Fairytales Untold Entertainment who dressed as Belle and Elsa on Saturday for the comicon from the respective Disney movies Frozen and Beauty and the Beast. Both cosplayers said they received positive feedback from the busy crowds with many families showing interest in booking them for future events. The two girls passion for playing Disney princesses dates back to the start of the company in 2013.
“I love to be Rapunzel but I also love to be the other princesses I play just as much,” Royer said.
The event had no shortage of artist both national and local and fans were able to purchase a variety of merchandise from handmade jewelry to detailed prints of characters from popular animated and live action series.
Find the full 2019 Albuquerque Comic Con Gallery HERE
One artist Josh Lyman attended the Albuquerque Comic-Con as a vendor for the fourth time this year exhibiting his artistic take on multiple popular genres including Pokemon and Nightmare Before Christmas.
“I draw and I have fun,” Lyman said.”I try to draw things from a fanart point of view from the fans perspective. I will play the games and watch the videos while I play the games thinking about how I want to create the piece.”
In a homage to their favorite characters many cosplayers spared no expense to ensure their costumes reflected there characters the best with one cosplayer even being accompanied by music as they walked past the various artist booths.
This event was filled with a energetic atmosphere and attendees were treated an array of activities such as panels where fans were able to ask favorite celebrities questions and costume contests where attendees were able to judge who resembled there favorite character the most.
With doors closing at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 many attendees left satisfied yet eager and impatient for the next years convention to return.
Find the full 2019 Albuquerque Comic Con Gallery HERE