Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Staycation

By Wolf Schneider

Chaise lounges by the jacuzzi at Four Seasons Rancho Encantado today.
Sometimes the perfect Santa Fe day is the hubbub of Indian Market or the new IFAM spin-off market. Sometimes, it’s the relaxation of a spa day-pass at the lavish Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado Santa Fe, sprawling over 57 pristine high-mountain acres.
First was a restorative slow-yoga class led by the enthusiastic Kat Sawyer, who specializes in Vinyasa flow-oriented yoga. We did eagle and warrior poses, and got into a calming, freeing groove. French doors opened onto the courtyard where a breeze rustled through aspens and birds conducted their subdued conversation in the morning sunlight. “It feels like we’re doing yoga on a lanai,” commented Sawyer.

Feeling grounded and at peace, I climbed onto a shiny Precor treadmill with its individual cardio theater for a 200-calorie burn off in the gym, and then wandered into the immaculate spa where I settled into a chaise lounge by the Jacuzzi to peruse this summer’s popular memoir, My Salinger Year. Lunch followed on the patio of the resort’s Terra Restaurant: splendid Santa Fe Style Chilaquiles with scrambled egg whites, smoked bacon, onions, cilantro, tomato, and green chiles, along with a spicy Virgin Mary with fresh horseradish. Gazing out onto the distant Jemez Mountains, I watched visitors pull up in a silver Airstream with Texas plates, a BMW from Colorado, and a Porsche that was New Mexico’s own. “We’re one of the smallest Four Seasons resorts with just 65 rooms. There’s a perception that we’re like Scottsdale, but our high season is summer,” friendly director of sales Frank Lococo told me. “People know about the art here, but they don’t always know about the fly fishing, rafting, mountain hiking, and mountain biking.”

My mission today was relaxation, remember, so I simply spent the rest of the afternoon stretched out on another chaise lounge, this one by the sparkling pool, watching puffy white clouds amass while reading about life as a literary agent. Calm and content.
Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and also blogs at www.wolfschneiderusa.com.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Traveling Time

by Wolf Schneider

Horse talk in Tesuque this winter.
Used to be, flying from Santa Fe to LA meant embarking on the long haul down I-25 to Albuquerque Airport three or four hours before the flight. This last trip, I made the easy 30-minute drive across Rodeo Road for the 50-seat American Airlines direct flight out of tiny Santa Fe Airport. An intimate affair, the American Eagle flight is operating four days a week right now. Coming back was even better, navigating through giant LAX to come upon folks I knew at the small satellite terminal for the Santa Fe flight, including everyone's favorite Santa Fean, the gracious Ali MacGraw.

I was in LA for the #ICGLocal600 Annual Publicists Awards, where a thousand or so publicists and Hollywood glitterati showed up during LA's biggest downpour of the winter, traversing their way to the Beverly Wilshire Hotel amid mudslides in the canyons and flooded streets. I feel like this is the best event of the awards season for seeing all my lifelong friends and colleagues in the entertainment media. The Golden Globes, Spirit Awards, and Oscars are the crème de la crème, but at the Publicists Awards Luncheon the glamour quotient is perfectly calibrated at an amiable pitch, this year’s event highlighted by the participation of Tony Goldwyn, JoBeth Williams, and Shailene Woodley. Most of my LA schmoozing this trip took place in Studio City and Sherman Oaks, where I was lucky enough to stay at a friend’s house in the Sherman Oaks hills. It rained the whole time, with the orange trees plumping up while roses, geraniums, and wildflowers bloomed profusely.

Arriving back in Santa Fe, it was so great to get my gate-checked wheeled carry-on in less than five minutes, pull it on over to my car that was parked for $3 a day a few feet away, then drive home and make a big pot of Trisha Yearwood’s excellent chicken tortilla soup recipe, and watch the Oscars. Mixing up a Santa Fe life with an LA life might be the best of both worlds.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Movie publicist Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and can be followed on Twitter @wolfschneider1.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

by Wolf Schneider

Shopper in puffy jacket enters La Montanita Co-op today.

Now is the cold and quiet time in Santa Fe, when we stoke our fireplaces with piñon and cedar wood, and reflect on our lives with grounded energy as bare branches shudder outside. Santa Fe often goes its own way. So far we’ve escaped the polar vortex. It’s mostly in the teens and 20s when our days start and we’ve had some snow. We relish our 325 days a year of sunshine now, parking where sunlight streams into our vehicles. In January, town tends to be lightly occupied, mostly with locals in puffy jackets, some skiers, and business-suited legislators here for the session. The opulent Texans and Oklahomans in their sheepskin coats who contribute greatly to our economy were living it up during the holidays, but now they're gone. It's just us, reading new books like Cindy Chupack’s witty The Longest Date, glued to the new season of “Downton Abbey,” and taking comfort amongst ourselves.

We've got two new restaurants to do that at. At the high end is Joseph’s Culinary Pub (www.josephsofsantafe.com), with rustic fare like the Pumpkin, Kale, Corn, and Local Porcini Enchiladas ($22) and Crispy Duck ($28). Affordable to all is chef/owner Brian Knox’s new Shake Foundation, with a soft opening underway for its green chile cheeseburgers, starting at $3.95. Knox usually veers towards more highbrow establishments, like his legendary Café Escalera, Aqua Santa, and Standard Market, and everything he does is quality (his friend Bruce Nauman designed the logo for Standard Market; yes, that Bruce Nauman). Myself, I’ve developed a jones for the Field of Greens drink custom-blended at La Montanita Co-op (http://lamontanita.coop/). Only movie craft service key Ernie Montoya makes a better green drink. On the horizon is Santa Fe Souper Bowl XX on February 1, with more than 25 restaurants competing with a hot cuppa something imaginative.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Movie publicist Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and can be followed on Twitter @wolfschneider1.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lucky Streaks

by Wolf Schneider

A patch of wildflowers in Santa Fe today

Here in Santa Fe, birds are chirping, cottonwoods and elms are leafing out, wildflowers are blooming, and it’s light until almost 9 PM. Everybody seems to have a Santa Fe connection, come summer. Did you see jockey Mike Smith win the Belmont Stakes on Palace Malice this weekend? Smith is related to gallery owner Nedra Matteucci, whose lush, green sculpture garden is looking like an elegant little Central Park right around now.

Patio dining is in full swing at Charles Dale’s Bouche French bistro, where gourmands are flocking. At just 6pm all tables were taken during my most recent visit. This week, Panera debuts its new Santa Fe location, while last week Bobcat Bite shut down on Old Las Vegas Highway but is soon to re-open downtown at Garrett’s Desert Inn. Santa Fe’s hottest months are June and July, and heck, this week is looking like a scorcher with temperatures soaring into the 90s for the next few days. We’re hoping we’ll get lucky with some rain to help contain the fires in the Pecos Wilderness and Jemez Mountains.

Travelers are flocking into town now, either on daily flights into Santa Fe from Los Angeles, Dallas, and Denver, or the new JetBlue service from New York to Albuquerque. Among the swanky hotel deals is one at the Fairmont Heritage Place El Corazon de Santa Fe, with its viga fireplaces, clay plaster walls, and luxurious monthly stays at fairly reasonable rates, according to a friend who’s booked herself in for the summer. She was lucky to find it, and I’ve been lucky to be working hard on a movie these last few months. “Successful people recognize their luck,” Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes just commented in AwardsLine. “Anyone who is perceived as very successful who says luck played no part in it is lying.” I think he’s right.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Winter Respite

The spa at Rancho Encantado yesterday

Winter in Santa Fe is all about staying warm despite the snow and ice glistening on adobe walls, the temperatures dipping down to six and seven degrees. Souper Bowl XIX, where chefs compete for best soup awards, is gearing up for January 26. The usual suspects should get ready this year for some steep competition from two awesome new chefs in town: executive chef Andrew Cooper and sous chef Keith Smutny at Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (try their chile rellenos).

I’ve loved Rancho Encantado since I first came to Santa Fe to work on the Filmmaking in New Mexico special issue for The Hollywood Reporter as a cub reporter years ago. The dude ranch’s founder and then owner Betty Egan reminded us of Barbara Stanwyck in "The Big Valley"– – a commanding cowgirl in jeans and Western boots who was just as at ease on horseback as at an entertainment business reception. She encouraged me to move here. I bought my horse Ryo from a wrangler at Rancho Encantado, and boarded him at Rancho Encantado for years, embarking on exhilarating rides into the Sangre de Cristos. He was a tough little Mustang, and made me braver. And then there were the tranquil hours in the barn spent grooming him as the ravens cawed outside.

Yesterday I was back at Rancho Encantado, which is now the posh Four Seasons Resort Rancho Encantado (http://www.fourseasons.com/santafe/). It's as gorgeous as ever – – 57 acres of pristine mountain foothills dotted with piñon pine and juniper trees, casitas sprinkled between the trees. Even though the architecture is now more hard-edged contemporary than Western dude ranch, the ravens still fly through and the resort still exudes serenity, especially in the fabulous spa, where I had a Sacred Stone massage that sent me over the moon – – grounding, soothing, and healing. In the locker room afterwards, I chatted with a local who has a spa membership. "I come here almost every day. I work out in the fitness room, take a sauna or steam, have some apricots and pecans in the warming room, and meet the nicest people. It's a special place," she said. So true.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva
Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and also blogs at www.wolfschneiderusa.com.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Of Apples and Aspens

by Wolf Schneider

An apple tree in Tesuque

Tesuque’s apple trees are full of fruit, the aspens are turning yellow up at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, and by month’s end there will probably be snow flurries. October brings autumn to Santa Fe. It’s time to stock up on firewood, hike at Aspen Vista (I was there on Sunday, along with everyone else and their dogs), and enjoy dinners out on still-warm evenings when a sweater or hoodie suffices. So far, October is living up to its reputation as Santa Fe’s best month. The harvest is in full bounty, with nights dipping down into the forties and days in the seventies.

Last night I went out to Taberna, the new in restaurant just opened by James Caruso, chef-owner of the popular La Boca. Both Taberna and La Boca are Spanish-style tapas taverns, with similar menus (http://labocasf.com/taberna-la-boca/). Despite being located in a tucked-away downtown courtyard invisible from the street (you can enter from Lincoln or Marcy), Taberna was packed last night. Santa Feans can be counted on to turn out for gourmet repasts like this at reasonable prices. Our favorite dishes? The grilled artichokes, salmon wrapped around goat cheese, roasted eggplant, and Spanish sausage.

Meanwhile, I’m gearing up for the Tony Hillerman Writers Conference, taking place November 8-10 at the Hotel Santa Fe (http://www.wordharvest.com/). I helped the develop the “Writing with the Stars” workshop where best-selling thriller novelist David Morrell (best known for the Rambo books) and agent Liz Trupin Pulli will take to the stage in front of the crowd to deliver flash critiques of selected works submitted by conference attendees. If Morrell is in as high form as he was last year, it’ll be a savvy and witty affair!
Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, and consulting editor of Southwest Art. She also blogs at www.wolfschneiderusa.com.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Flying By

by Wolf Schneider

Kenneth Johnson leads bidding on the friendship necklace

Wild sunflowers are blooming everywhere in Santa Fe and this past weekend was our biggest happening of the year – – Indian Market, with artists’ booths sprawling all over the Plaza and thousands of visitors. At the fancy auction gala on Saturday night, the silver and turquoise friendship necklace collaboratively created by Indian art stars Tony Abeyta, Kenneth Johnson, Cody Sanderson, and others sold for a whopping $60,000!

I enjoyed meeting top-achieving realtor Ann Brunson, who just helped somebody buy a house for $80,000 but usually is wheeling and dealing on multimillion-dollar properties. It was fun to hang out with my Phoenix friends from Native Peoples Magazine, publisher of the in-depth Indian Market Magazine. And I bought a pair of silver earrings with channel-inlaid coral from Hopi-Assiniboine jeweler Steve Wikviya LaRance, who uses all natural stones and materials (nothing stabilized or enhanced with radiation to make the turquoise bluer). LaRance recently moved from Arizona to the Santa Fe area, and has been seen as a background player on the hit TV series “Longmire.”

It's been a busy summer. I spent time in L.A. just off Laurel Canyon at a rustic property a friend is considering turning into a small B&B for entertainment industry crew (canyonstays@gmail.com). The house is nestled deep in the canyon among California oaks and elms, walnut trees, avocado trees, and eucalyptus trees, the trees keeping it wonderfully cool, and the sounds of frogs and an owl helped me fall asleep. Then back in Santa Fe, I happily got busy working on a great indie film! One last thing – – what a perceptive 20-page article on Bruce Springsteen by David Remnick in the July 30th issue of The New Yorker.
Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and also blogs at www.wolfschneiderusa.com

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Heat is On

by Wolf Schneider

Bloody Mary at Biltmore bar
This blog is about Phoenix-Santa Fe Corridor

We’re looking at the high 90s for the next week in Santa Fe. At least we've got wonderfully cool Rocky Mountain lows in the 60s. I was just in Phoenix, talking about hot. There are very few advantages to 110 in the shade, but I enjoyed one: a great rate of well under $200 at the Arizona Biltmore, that sprawling Frank Lloyd Wright-designed resort. I saw grackles and mockingbirds darting among the colorful lantana, white oleanders, and bright hibiscus. Misters blew out the finest sprinkle of cold water at the porte cochere. The Biltmore Cafe had lattes and almond-flour carrot muffins at breakfast. At the Biltmore bar, the best Bloody Mary I've ever had-- a spicy concoction with garnishes of olive, salami, pepperoncini, and mozzarella ball on a toothpick.

There’s a definite Santa Fe--Phoenix corridor. Spanish colonial revival architecture in both cities, and Pueblo revival adobes. Even more Mexican restaurants in Phoenix than Santa Fe! Accountants who double as farriers. Lloyd Kiva New got his start in Scottsdale, then moved to Santa Fe. Fritz Scholder went back and forth between the two. Sizable Indian populations in both cities, but probably more in Phoenix. I was there helping out on the editing and proofing of Native Peoples’ (
www.nativepeoples.com) July/August issue, its biggest ever and also the official Santa Fe Indian Market Magazine, with in-depth articles on contemporary Native arts! Plenty of art galleries with presences in Santa Fe and Phoenix, including Blue Rain, Riva Yares, King, Chiaroscuro, River Trading Post, and Altermann (plus Mark Sublette Medicine Man in Tucson).

Arriving back in Albuquerque at night, I had a tricky drive up I-25, what with all the construction and exit closures. Santa Fe keeps growing! Newest art gallery in town is Wade Wilson Art opening June 29, including works by contemporary artists like ranching photographer Barbara Van Cleve.

Photographer: David Alfaya, Taken in Artist Studio: Gregory Lomayesva

Wolf Schneider has been editor in chief of the Santa Fean, editor of Living West, consulting editor of Southwest Art, and also blogs at www.wolfschneiderusa.com.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Santa Fe: A must visit on your “Bucket List”

For those that enjoy a variety of art, world-class cuisine, outrageous sunsets and mild summer weather then Santa Fe definitely needs to be on your bucket list.  I’ve been going there my whole life and I still get a thrill peaking over La Bajada hill (Spanish for “The Descent”) on I-25 coming from Albuquerque and seeing the City Different tucked into the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Spanish for the “Blood of Christ”). That initial view, followed by my first bite of green chile, the smell of pinion trees and visuals of ridiculously slow low rider cars all say home. 

The art scene in the summer is non-stop, with a multitude of major shows, openings and of course Friday art walks up and down Canyon Road. As gallery owners we can’t wait for the summer to start and sometimes to end. It can be challenging dealing with the number of tourists that decide to fulfill their life long dream of seeing Santa Fe, but of late the crowds have been thinner and the getting a table at my favorite restaurant La Boca even do-able, as long as its before 6.

The first thing you want to find is a Canyon Road Arts catalog.  The book is chalk full of great places to eat, many of which you would never know about as a tourist.  It also has a handy map of all the galleries on Canyon Road and what they handle, no galleries are left out, and it’s by far the best gallery guide for the road.  Most of the hotels will have a copy and you can always find free ones at my gallery at 602A Canyon Road.

After you have hit enough galleries to make your feet sore, and neck red (be sure to wear sunscreen, we’re at 7000 feet, then head to the museums again all listed in the aforementioned catalog.  This year there is a great exhibit, which just opened at the Wheelwright Museum about their founder Mary Cabot Wheelwright.  There are some remarkable artifacts from her life and a short video on the great weaver Hastiin Klah.

Lastly, if you can swing it, come to Indian Market weekend, to see it is to believe it.  The hundreds of vendors that set up around the plaza is like nothing you can imagine.  This year the show is August 18th and 19th but the activities really start on the 16th.  I will be having a book signing on August 16th for my new murder mystery “Paint by Numbers” and on the 17th a Friday afternoon opening 2 - 4 for Shonto Begay both at my gallery.  These are just 2 events we will have, but almost all the galleries will be celebrating a favorite artist, many of them related to a celebration of Native American art.

So if you haven’t planned a trip to the Hampton’s or Paris, then come to the second oldest city in America and plan to be charmed, there is no place like Santa Fe, especially in the summer.

-Mark Sublette, Medicine Man Gallery