Welcome to the Explore! New Mexico blog

Explore! New Mexico searches the state for interesting stories to tell our listeners and readers - and now our blog followers! We are currently producing a series of multi-media podcasts for the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau about interesting events and places to visit. You can view them at our YouTube channel. Be sure to visit our website where you can get even more ideas about where to travel in the Land of Enchantment.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Museum of Art Features "Organized Spontaneous" Sing

On Saturady (Feb 26) a 100-voice choir presented an “organized spontaneous” sing at the Las Cruces Museum of Art. The choir consisted of members from NMSU Choirs’ University Singers, Masterworks Chorus, Mesilla Valley Chorale, New Desert Harmony Singers, and OƱate High School Choir. Interspersed around the exhibit of Michael Naranjo sculptures, they slowly gathered together to perform. Here’s one of the selections ... City Called Heaven ... with Guo Ying as soloist.

Las Cruces is certainly blessed with talent and wonderful music.

Posted by Bud Russo

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Book Review: A Good Goodbye

While Explore! New Mexico focuses on the Land of Enchantment and while we travel the state, exploring the people, places, history, and culture of New Mexico, there is one journey we all make ... the journey at the end of life.

New Mexican author Gail Rubin has written a book certain to inform, enlighten, and guide every one of us on this final journal. She has taken on society’s last taboo, producing a readable and practical guidebook with a light touch.

Entitled A Good Goodbye, the book details funeral planning for those who don’t plan to die. Its dozen chapters outline aspects of funerals that create a meaningful memorial, avoid stress at a time of grief, incorporate funeral traditions for major faiths, utilize new trends, and more. The family has that much more comfort in saying goodbye and celebrating the decedent’s life, when many of the decisions are made well in advance of death.

Gail Rubin is an event planner specializing in funerals and memorial services. A breast cancer survivor, she is a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the cemetery committee for Congregation Albert in Albuquerque, and a member of the Chevra Kaddisha, a volunteer organization that ritually prepares the bodies of Jews for burial. More information is available at www.agoodgoodbye.com.

Book Review: Seven Cities of Mud

As we have traveled New Mexico we have made friends with writers who live in and write about New Mexico. From time to time, we’ll offer you a review and our impressions of their stories. And we’ll encourage you to explore New Mexico through its many authors who bring their own images of our Land of Enchantment to life.

Seven Cities of Mud

By Florence B. Weinberg

Published 2008 by Twilight Times Books

ISBN: 1-933353-46-5

Strong-willed Franciscan Fray Augustin organizes an entrada from Mexico into New Mexico a half century after Coronado, intent of converting Native Americans to Christianity. He recruits two other friars and eight soldiers. The entourage, with servants and livestock, embarks on a journey that carries them as far north as Taos and into the complexities of reconciling European culture with that of the Puebloans. Meanwhile, Poli, a pueblo woman whose husband suspiciously falls to his death soon after their marriage, is confronted by the arrogant, powerful, and cruel Makta, whose only desire is to possess her. Needless to say, the soldiers are there for treasure and complicate the situation. Priests, warriors, and Puebloans are in conflict the moment they are joined. Weinburg weaves a fascinating tale, integrating the history of Spanish conquest in a satisfying, nonintrusive way. Not only did I read a marvelous tale, I learned a bit more about my adopted home state.

Seven Cities of Mud is one of a series of historical novels set in the American Southwest and was a 2008 finalist for the New Mexico Book Awards.

- Book review by Bud Russo

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Happy Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail To You!

Hey! It’s time to hit the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail. If you’re a carnivorous gourmand, you just have to dive into this adventure and explore the trail with us.

When the Green Chile Cheeseburger Trail was opened in 2009, it had nearly 50 restaurants ... many with more than one location. What that meant was you could try a different burger at nearly 100 different dining venues. We’re told, about 8,000 residents, visitors, and restauranteurs checking out the competition weighed in. I suspect they weighed more on the way out, too!

New Mexicans ... like me ... sorry, but Cheryl’s a vegetarian ... just can’t get enough of a juicy, thick New Mexico beef patty grilled to perfection, then swathed in Cheddar or another favorite cheese, and topped with enough New Mexican green chile to set off the restaurant’s smoke alarm. Just the thought has me salivating so much, my keyboard thinks it’s been hit by a tsunami!

[Credit time: We took the map from the New Mexico Tourism Department's web site. Thanks for the loan.]

Ok. So here’s how the trail works. Restaurant owners can register their burger at the New Mexico Tourism Department web site. Then ... starting at 6 a.m. on March 1 ... think of it, green chile cheeseburgers for breakfast!!! ... you can sign in at the web site ... www.newmexico.org/greenchilecheeseburger ... and vote. Voting is open until 6 p.m. on March 31. But ... here’s the catch ... you can vote only once ... unless you have multiple email addresses. The rule says only one vote will be accepted from a specific email address.

So ... Chomp around until you find the green chile cheeseburger that reminds your taste buds of Anna Pavlova whose rendition of the dying swan in Swan Lake was so tender, it’d make you cry ... or Glen Campbell plunking your heart strings with one of his touching love songs ... or the Green Bay Packers winning the Super Bowl. Then vote.

There are no prizes. The chef of the best green chile cheeseburger gets nothing but the satisfaction of being King ... or Queen ... on the hill until the next time we wander down the trail.

I have my favorite and I’m voting for what I consider the best green chile cheeseburger in the country. Yeah, I know it’s only New Mexico, but they sure don’t know how to make’em anywhere else but here.

Good huntin’! Good eatin’! Compadres.

Posted by Bud Russo