Special to the Monitor

    The Santa Fe Opera’s opening night of “Ariadne auf Naxos” offered an evening of glorious music by Richard Strauss and dazzling singing by a magnificent cast under the elegant baton of Maestro James Gaffigan. Director Tim Albery’s inspired production captivated with his eye-for-detail direction. Staging, in particular, was excellent. Albery (2016 “Cappriccio”) also provided the English translation.

    A play within a play, “Ariadne auf Naxos” is a one-act opera with Prologue. The Prologue is sung in English, the opera in English and German. Hugo von Hofmannsthal, formed the libretto from Molière’s comedy, “Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.”

    It consisted of two acts with incidental music by Strauss followed by a third act, the opera, “Ariadne auf Naxos.” Its premiere in 1912 was a disastrous failure. Part of the audience expected a new Strauss opera and was not interested in the Molière play and those who came to see a play were not ready for an opera. Four years later, after frequent contentious communication between Hofmannsthal and Strauss, the work was revised with most of the Molière play becoming a Prologue followed by the opera “Ariadne auf Naxos.”


    Cowboy Breakfast from 7-11 a.m. at the Los Alamos Sheriff’s Posse Lodge, 650 N. Mesa Road, near the stables. Cost is $7 for adults and $4 for children ages 10 and under. Menu includes plain, blueberry, banana, chocolate chip and seasonal surprise pancakes, plus sausage, bacon, eggs, juice and coffee. The breakfast benefits the Alzheimer’s Association. 


    Nature Yoga and Trail Run at 11:45 a.m. at the Nature Center. Practice yoga with Christa Tyson at the nature center, where you have a great view of nature. Optional: Arrive at 10:30 a.m. to join Christa for a pre-yoga run. Admission: yoga or run for $7/$5 for members; yoga and run for $12/$8 for members.


    Art on Tap! will feature photographing New Zealand with Leslie Bucklin at 5:30 p.m. at the UnQuarked Wine Room. Free. New Zealand, photography, travel, . . . Join the conversation at Art on Tap with Leslie Bucklin, photographer and Los Alamos County Visual Information Specialist, who will share about her grand 21-day photography adventure touring New Zealand on a tiny ($3,000 per person) budget! This talk will give you practical information and artistic images that will leave you dreaming of travel.

  • Bennet, a five-pound Chihuahua, who arrived at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter July 28, comes with a unique feature not normally found in Chihuahuas. 

    Bennet is a quiet dog. According to the staff at the Los Alamos County Animal Shelter, he’s not only quiet, but very sweet. He was given up for adoption at the Albuquerque Animal Welfare center because his owner had too many other animals. 

    On the plus side it also means Bennet has a nice temperament around other dogs, cats and humans, according to shelter volunteers.

    Bennet’s $75 adoption fee includes neutering and a heart worm test (Bennet tested negative and is now on prevention medication). 

    Bennet has been microchipped and dewormed. He has also been vaccinated for parvo, bordetella and rabies.

     For more information call the Los Alamos Animal County Animal Shelter at 505-662-8179 or email police-psa@lacnm.us.

  • Don’t be fooled by the name, because The Burger Shack at Taos Ale House in Taos makes more than just burgers.
    That’s what I found out Saturday after sampling maybe the best hot dog I’ve eaten since moving to New Mexico.
    It was a green chile cheese hot dog, to be exact, and it was the perfect late lunch to soften some of the white-knuckle moments from earlier in the day.
    A butterscotch frozen custard, called a “concrete,” from Freddy’s in Española would later provide the ideal culinary capper to the excursion.
    It all started with a drive to Santa Fe to pick up a friend for the day’s adventure. Along the way, I went through my usual exercise of counting casinos between Los Alamos and Santa Fe. (It seems to make the trip go by faster, not that it’s that long a trip anyway.) Then it was off to Taos to check another location off my list of places I’d never been before.

    The Jemez House Thrift Shop, 13 Sherwood Blvd., will have a bag sale from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

     Live performance of “10 Minute Grief Counseling,” by John McDonnell, directed by Kate Ramsey, performed by Sally Cassill and Di Duerre. Play starts at 12:30 p.m. at the Betty Ehart Senior Center, 1101 Bathtub Row in Los Alamos. A grieving adult daughter encounters an unconventional therapist who stirs a pungent soup of grief, guilt and transformation. Free 10-minute play and post-show discussion.
    Live performance of “10 Minute Grief Counseling,” by John McDonnell, directed by Kate Ramsey, performed by Sally Cassill and Di Duerre. Play starts at 12:30 p.m. at White Rock Senior Center, 137 Longview Drive in White Rock. A grieving adult daughter encounters an unconventional therapist who stirs a pungent soup of grief, guilt and transformation. Free 10-minute play and post-show discussion.

    Los Alamos Farmer’s Market from 7 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the parking los of Mesa Public Library. For information, call 929-6579 or email talacook@windstream.net.

  • Cold War Patriots, a community resource organization that is the nation’s strongest and most sustained voice advocating for worker benefits, will host free town hall meetings for nuclear weapons and uranium workers in New Mexico at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Aug. 14, 15 and 16.

    With a new format this year, the group is making it easier for workers to get the specific information they need about the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Act or the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act.

    The morning sessions, starting at 10 a.m., will be customized for people who have already applied for EEOICPA benefits and have either been awarded a U.S. Department of Labor white medical benefits card or have a pending claim. At the morning session, participants will learn:

    • How to file for medical expense reimbursement

    • How impairment evaluations can get them more monetary compensation

    • Why they should add conditions to a claim

    • Why in-home care might be right for them

    • Learn what to do if they are approved/pending for some claims but denied for others.

  • You should read this portion in your best wrestler announcer’s voice. “Let’s get ready to grumbleeeeee.”

    Yes, it is time to help kids realize that back to school time is around the corner. I was happy yesterday to inform a young man that he had two-and-a-half weeks to go, when he thought it was the end of this week.

    Well, what does happen at the end of this week is the big, back to school, tax-free weekend. A grueling weekend when parents should make a list and leave the kids at home to enter the recesses of shopping. If you do, you will save even more without the addition of extras and snacks acquired along the way.

    My next piece of advice is to pull out all of the pants from last year and make them try on every pair. You see, what no one tells you is the children have grown so much over the summer, that they may no longer fit. Then, on a day when they are rushing to catch the bus, you will find it too late to save them.

    A teacher friend once told me that if students in her district could raise their arms or bend over and show inappropriate skin, they had to change their clothes. Some may get angered about students needing to wear old PE uniforms, but if it saves a parent from needing to leave work or they live too far away, then it might be a saving grace.

    Special to the Monitor

    “Moonrise Kingdom” – the phrase conjures innocence and magic, as though it is a place that only exists for a few minutes in the evening, when the moon gives its commands and its subjects obey.

    Wes Anderson’s 2012 film “Moonrise Kingdom” (PG-13) screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the upstairs meeting-room “theater” at Mesa Public Library.

    The screening is free.

    The movie technically revolves around a missing Khaki Scout named Sam Shakusky (Jared Gilman) and the love of his young, unpopular life: the binocular-beguiled and beguiling Suzy (Kara Hayward).

    The depressed 12-year-old daughter of two depressed lawyers (Frances McDormand and Bill Murray), Suzy escapes into the wilderness of New Penzance with a suitcase full of library books and a record player. Between Suzy and the thoroughly trained Sam, they cannot only survive but enjoy the backcountry of the New England island.

    This is the summer of 1965, and one of the worst storms the island has ever endured is about to put down. As it approaches, a storm of Khaki Scouts, lawyers, police officers, and a dog frisk every idyllic inch of the island, looking for the adolescent deserters.

  • Like people, dogs and cats can experience poor or failing eyesight as they age. 

    The onset of vision loss in our pets can occur for a number of reasons, including cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal diseases such as sudden acquired retinal degeneration syndrome (SARDS), and progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).  

    SARDS, a disease that affects the function of the light sensing cells of the retina, primarily affects middle-aged dogs and results in blindness over a very short period of time. Symptoms include difficulty navigating, bumping into objects and dilation of the pupils. Some dogs may also have systemic changes such as an increased appetite, increased thirst and weight gain.  

    PRA causes the light sensing cells of the retina to gradually deteriorate over the course of several weeks to months. This condition primarily affects middle-aged to older dogs. Early signs may include decreased night vision and a pet becoming more reluctant to go outside when it is dark or hesitant to walk around in low-light settings. 

  • By Isaac Fason

    Yertle the Turtle

    Yertle is a sweet Red-ear Slider turtle that loves exploring. Yertle is like Houdini, always getting out of places. But sometimes, Yertle’s love of exploring gets him into trouble though. 

    Yertle is likely one of the many animals that were once pets, but were released into Ashley Pond by their owners. This can cause major problems for the animals, because they simply do not belong there. 

    Yertle crawled into the street at least three times but managed to survive.

    Yertle would do best in an enclosed pond or a tank that is at least 40 gallons and has a screen lid. Yertle will need a UV lamp and a heating lamp to stay warm and happy. A healthy diet for a turtle like Yertle includes leafy greens, vegetables, comet goldfish, earthworms and other insects.

    Yertle loves being held and interacting with people. The 6-year-old turtle could live to be between 20 and 40 years old, making him a potential lifelong friend.

    For more information, Los Alamos County Animal Shelter can be reached at 662-8179.

    Colonel Sanders

  • Los Alamos Little Theatre is celebrating its 75th anniversary season this year and will present a sparkling lineup of shows in honor of this Diamond Anniversary.

    LALT has provided an opportunity for members of the Los Alamos community to participate in the performing arts since 1943.

    “We are pleased to continue a tradition that began during the Manhattan Project, and our upcoming season should have great appeal for our patrons from Los Alamos and surrounding communities,” said John Cullinan, LALT Board President.

    The 2018-19 season lineup is:

    • “Silent Sky,” written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by John Cullinan, Sept. 14-29. This historical drama centers on the life of Henrietta Leavitt, who in the early 1900s made a profoundly important astronomical discovery even though, as a woman, she was not allowed to touch a telescope nor expected to offer a creative idea.

    • “Rumors,” written by Neil Simon and directed by Patrick Webb
    Nov. 2-17. This over-the-top farce is a non-stop romp of confusion, miscommunication and hilarity as an anniversary party goes awry after the host shoots himself and his wife is nowhere to be found.

  • “Silent Sky,” directed by John Cullinan, follows the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, who began work at the Harvard College Observatory in the early 1900s when women were not allowed to touch a telescope or expected to express an original idea.

    Leavitt joined a group of women “computers” measuring the dots of stars on photographic plates for a renowned astronomer who calculated projects in “girl hours.”

    The play follows Leavitt as she undertakes her own study, in her free time, of stars whose brightness varies. But she also must take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.

    “Silent Sky” explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

    Casting followed an arduous audition process with many talented actresses in the running. The final cast and characters are:

  • Art exhibits
    National Museum of Nuclear Science & History has opened a permanent exhibit by American sculptor Jim Sanborn called “Critical Assembly, the Secrets of Los Alamos 1944: An Installation by American Sculptor Jim Sanborn,” which recreates the Manhattan Project experiments that determined when plutonium goes “critical in an atomic bomb.” The museum is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and is located at 601 Eubank Blvd. SE, in Albuquerque. Call 505-245-2137 for information, or visit nuclearmuseum.org.

    The Fuller Lodge Art Center’s exhibit “Vessel” features freestanding and wall work of over 50 artists from around the state through Saturday. Visitors to the gallery will be able to see a variety of media depicting each artist’s interpretation of the theme. To find out about more about the exhibits, visit fullerlodgeartcenter.com.

    New Mexico History Museum and Santa Fe Opera to recognize “Atomic Histories” in 2018 and 2019. The History Museum’s exhibition will run through May 2019. The History Museum is located at 113 Lincoln Ave. in Santa Fe. Call 476-5200 for more information. Hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, May through October and closed Mondays November through April.

    Special to the Monitor

    The Santa Fe Opera’s “Madame Butterfly,” by Giacomo Puccini, is one of the most dramatically stirring productions of this opera that I have seen in years. Sung in Italian, this was the opera’s third performance.

    With a cast of magnificent singers, Puccini’s exquisite score, Matthew Ozawa’s perceptive direction and the expressive baton of Maestro John Fiore, we were swept into the poignant world of Madame Butterfly.

    Born in Lucca, Italy in 1858, Puccini wrote “Madame Butterfly” in 1904 after seeing David Belasco’s play in London. The opera premiered at La Scala in Milan the same year to a disappointing reception but grew in popularity after several revisions. It remains one of his most beloved works. Wanting to authenticate the opera’s music, Puccini attended Kabuki shows. He also incorporated Chinese folk tunes into the score and inserted Star Spangled Banner motifs as well. All makes for music filled with emotional lyricism.

  • The Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce on Saturday celebrated the second anniversary of a hair salon whose focus is on more than just cutting hair.

    Krystal Davidson is the owner of Cortex & Co., which opened two years ago. She is operating the business under an umbrella of sustainability, employee education and non-gender-based operations.

    “I’m from big cities, from Austin and Fort Worth,” she said, “and so I’ve always worked in different salons – high-end salons, DIY salons, grunge salons – so I was able to collect all of those experiences and create a brand that I believed in, which is sustainability and further education in an industry that can sometimes get complacent.”

    Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce Director Ryn Herrman said the salon is “an amazing addition to Los Alamos,” and that the community looks forward to “many, many more years” of its association with the salon.

    Also in attendance at the ceremony was Los Alamos County Council Chair David Izraelevitz, who said, “I think it’s wonderful to have people here who have a passion and are able to start a small business and contribute to the community.”

  • The League of Women Voters  will meet Tuesday for their monthly community Lunch with Leader at Mesa Library at 11:45 a.m.

    The speaker will be Jorge Rodriguez, who will discuss, “We Live as Second-Class Citizens.” This conversation will focus on current events happening in the southern border region and how they stem and sustain the institutions that criminalize border communities.

    Rodriguez works as a field organizer in the ACLU of New Mexico, Las Cruces office. He is originally from Salem, a colonia in southern New Mexico. He has an undergraduate and master’s degree from New Mexico State University.  

    Rodriguez wrote his master’s thesis on “Interior Border Crossing Experiences of Young Mexican-Americans in the Southwest Border Region and the Influence on Border Identity.” Professionally, he worked for over a year; however, as the grandson of a guestworker, agricultural laborer.

    Anyone interested in ordering  a meal from the CO+OP for just $10, call Karyl Ann Armbruster at 231-8286 or email her at kaskacayman@gmail.com to get the menu  prior to Saturday.

  • Come see a dazzling display of quilts including the Patriotic Fallen Warrior Quilts given to New Mexico families that have lost a soldier in the Middle East.

    A selection of quilts and hand-made items will also be available for sale (cash only).

    These hand-made items make wonderful gifts for the special person in your life.

    This year the Jemez Mountain Bear Paw guild will be selling raffle tickets for a king size quilt donated by the guild for Wyatt Taylor. Taylor was in a horrific ATV accident in December of 2017. Taylor has ongoing therapy and reconstructive surgery.

    All proceeds will go to Taylor and his family to help with medical bills. The drawing will be Dec. 16.

    Dates of the show and sale are July 20, 21, and 22. Times are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.

    Admission is free. The event will be at the Walatowa Visitor Center, Jemez Pueblo, 7413 Hwy. 4.

  • Business owners relying on visitors to the Santa Fe National Forest are breathing sighs of relief after forest officials announced the forest is now open again. 

    On Saturday, Santa Fe National Forest officials announced that they were opening the forest to visitors. The forest was closed June 1 due to heightened fire hazard conditions. 

    Chris Blecha, manager of Amanda’s Jemez Mountain Country Store in Jemez Springs, said things were looking a little bleak for a while. During the closure, he and store owner Ray Anderson estimated store business decreased by 80 percent.

    “Closing it of course was dramatic,” Blecha said. 

    However, Blecha said Anderson was prepared.

    “This wasn’t his first rodeo, he anticipated some challenges, but now that the forest is opening, we’re pretty excited to be back into business,” Blecha said.