The Lensic Performing Arts Center Offers a World of Entertainment
by G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
In Lemurian Medium, reporter Rachel Blackstone is assigned a story about the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet. She visits The Lensic PAC to interview the artistic director and discuss the ballet’s first performance of the New Year.
The Lensic Performing Arts Center began life in 1931 as a theatre. The city of Santa Fe owes it all to a young immigrant from Syria. In July 1866, Na’aman Soleiman arrived in New York. He was only twenty-one and hailed from Biskinta, Syria. He began his life in his adopted country as Nathan Salmon a cart peddler. While selling goods throughout the Southwest he found himself stranded in Santa Fe during a snow storm.
Salmon prospered despite the Great Depression and soon was buying land in Santa Fe. On March 27, 1930 he and his son-in-law, E. John Greer, announced plans to build a grand theatre for the city’s 11,000 residents. Yes, “talkies” were coming to Santa Fe.
But there was the problem of giving it a name. Salmon offered a contests prize of $25 for the best name. There were two stipulations: It would be a Spanish name or an acronym using the initials of his grandchildren’s names (Lisa, Elias John, Nathan, Sara, Mary Irene and Charles). Mrs. P. J. Smithwick came up with the winning name. The Lensic suggested both the projector lens and made reference to the theatre’s grand interior.
In June of 1931 the theatre opened. Cinema was the pick-me-up to a beleaguered population during the Depression and the world war that followed. Tickets cost 25 to 75 cents. Everything from vaudeville to first-run movies was showcased.
But during the management days of United Artists the majestic Lensic fell on hard times. It closed in 1999.
It was in danger of becoming permanently dark when far-thinking people (Bill and Nancy Zeckendorf ) raised the funds turning it into the swank PAC it is today. There was a multi-story addition to the rear of the building and the interior was carefully restored to its stunning ornate decor. The Lensic found its groove once again.
The 800-seat theatre hosts some 200 events each year. It is the performance venue for the Aspen/Santa Fe Ballet. The ballet company began in Aspen in 1996 and became a hybrid model in 2000 when Santa Fe was added to the shingle. The company cultivated the careers of new choreographers and mixed it up with greats such as Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and William Forsythe. Their reputation grew and invitations from Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, the Kennedy Center and Wolf Trap followed as did guest performances in Canada, France, Israel, Brazil among other countries.
Other groups that regularly perform at the Lensic include the Lannan Foundation, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Santa Fe Concert Association, Santa Fe Opera, Santa Fe Pro Musica and Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra & Chorus. The Lensic also hosts diverse performances from international artists and eclectic programs from around the planet.
Classic movies, the New Mexico Jazz Festival and a creative series called Under Construction that gives writers and actors a chance to perfect their evolving creativity.
Although The Lensic has been recognized by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, you can go to gape at the grandeur both inside and out while enjoying your favorite entertainment.
For more information: http://www.lensic.org
Palace of the Governors Built Like Fortress
by G G Collins (Copyright 2014)
In Lemurian Medium, reporter Rachel Blackstone visits the museum to meet former priest, Father O’Brien, who will help her learn astral travel. She must journey to Lemuria to rescue a friend.
When you first see the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, it likely won’t resemble any palace you’ve seen. It is nothing like the Palace at Versailles or Buckingham in London. Think more Wild West, less European. Built in 1610, the building blocks were made of mud and straw, dried to adobe bricks in the abundant sunshine. Like its European equivalents, it has seen war, revolt, prosperity, want and peace—sometimes a bitter peace.
The long portal is much nicer than the first efforts with its vigas protruding through the brown adobe finish. The structure is used daily by artisans selling their works, each a member of the state’s Native tribes.
The building encompasses the entire north side of the plaza. It is the oldest public building in continuous use. It was built as a seat of government in what was considered to be an untamed isolated frontier. For this reason, the walls were made four feet thick. The entry to the courtyard on the west side is a small door. It was purposely made too small for the average person so it is awkward to enter. That gave soldiers protecting the palace the upper hand as invaders had to step over and duck at the same time to get through the entrance.
Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, was also the territorial governor during the turbulent late 1870s. After a day of edgy negotiation with Billy the Kid in the spring of 1879, he wrote the last scenes from his study in the palace during a fierce storm. Wallace huddled near a shrouded lamp; windows heavily shuttered fearing imminent attack during the Lincoln County War. The conflict was an Old West range war over a dry goods trade which accelerated into massacres and revenge killings.
The holes in floor fascinated. No one seems to know why they are there. They’re not long enough for an escape tunnel, but perhaps they had been used to hide valuables or even a person. Because the original floors were packed earth, it was easy to see why digging holes might be a natural for hiding nearly anything
The artists and jewelry makers sit on the porch—rain, shine or snow—selling their beautiful work to visitors hoping to take home a little piece of New Mexico. There is a seemingly endless supply of pottery, jewelry and sand paintings.
During the Christmas season, city crews wrap garland all around the Palace portal (porch) making it festive for the season.
Be sure to visit the New Mexico History Museum while at the Palace of the Governors. The beautiful new museum is just across the Palace courtyard. The museum also offers historical tours of Santa Fe.
Call 505-476-5200 or check out: www.NMHistoryMuseum.org for more information.
Thank You All!
A big “Thank You!” to all of you who helped make “Lemurian Medium’s” debut a great success. I appreciate each and every one!
G G Collins
Opening Weekend for “Lemurian Medium.” Try it at Amazon.
FREE: December 28 & 29, 2013
“Lemurian Medium” a Rachel Blackstone Paranormal Mystery
When a friend vanishes into a painting at a posh Santa Fe gallery, Rachel Blackstone travels the astral plane in search of her. What she doesn’t expect, is to land in an ancient civilization, one intent on keeping her–and her unproven powers. Even more frightening; a Mesoamerican deity who enjoys human snacks. But first, she must survive the “Terror of the Threshold.”
Join Rachel and friend Chloe as they band together again to solve the mystery of their missing coworker. Little do they know it will involve the long ago sunken continent of Lemuria (the Atlantis of the Pacific), crystal power, time travel and dragons!
Can Rachel become a successful astral-naut? Or will she be lost forever in the cosmos?
A big thank you to all who support me. That includes Marilyn, Cherie, Joe and #1! And special thanks to readers who have embraced Rachel Blackstone and her adventures.
Review of “Reluctant Medium:” I really enjoyed this book! This book kept me up way too late. I can’t wait for the next one! – Angela Causey
Meet Rachel Blackstone, the “Reluctant Medium.”
This link becomes active at 10:00 a.m. October 23, 2013.
Until then, you can check out all the books and authors at:
Thank you for your interest.
– G G Collins