Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Matters of the Art: From Dependence to ‘Rezilience’


When painkillers attack

New Mexico, we have a problem: More of us died of drug overdoses in 2014 than from firearms, falls or even motor vehicle accidents. At 547 such deaths, we suffered at almost double the national rate. In fact, our rate of death from drug overdose has more than doubled since 2000. We’re scrambling to figure out what to do about it. On March 4, Governor Susana Martinez signed a bill finally making it legal for individuals, first responders, community organizations and others to keep and use opiate overdose antidote Naloxone. Urgently needed, the bill passed unanimously in the legislature. Improved access to Naloxone and protection from civil liability for its use will save lives. New Mexico’s situation is a microcosm of a national quagmire that’s been brewing for decades. How did the U.S. get twisted up in this morass of opiate addiction and deaths? Journalist Sam Quinones set out to answer that very question in “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic” (Bloomsbury; paperback; $18). What Quinones uncovered was a disturbing history of capitalism run amok. In the 1990s, time-release painkiller OxyContin was marketed as having less potential for abuse; the resulting addiction epidemic was aggravated by an influx of cheap Mexican black tar heroin. In communities across the country, this double whammy of opiate availability has proven devastating. Quinones is keynote speaker at a free event on Monday, April 11, at the African American Performing Arts Center (310 San Pedro NE). With its interwoven tales of addicts, traffickers and cops, “Dreamland” serves as a jumping-off point for discussion of New Mexico’s own collective struggle with opiate addiction. Hosted by Bookworks, Quinones’ reading starts at 5:30 p.m. The main event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Scope the schedule at

Power’s ephemeral vessels

Through her art, Abbey Hepner delights viewers even as she disturbs them. Take, for example, her “Nuclear Mascot” project. In it, characters embody the identities of Japan’s nuclear power plants. Hepner’s tactics make alarming subjects more approachable. Her series “Transuranic” photographically documented U.S. sites that send nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, N.M. Produced in 19th-century format “uranotype,” which uses radioactive uranium in place of silver to produce reddish-brown prints, the work retains a detectable amount of radiation. When installed, two Geiger counters click away atop one the “Transuranic” prints that's encased in glass, “filling the space with a warning.” The opening reception for Hepner’s MFA thesis show “Evocative Objects” happens at CFA Downtown (113 Fourth Street NW) on Friday, April 15, from 5 to 9 p.m. The exhibit runs April 8 to 22. The show includes photographs, video and objects “based around systems of power and transitional vehicles through which we experience loss and attempt to hold on to authentic experiences.” CFA Downtown is open Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. or call 221-8037 for an appointment. For more info, visit

Indigeneity and exclusivity

Prefer to drink in art with mighty gulps rather than itsy sips? If so, “Rezilience: Indigenous Arts Experience” is just the thing to slake your thirst. On Saturday, April 30, over 60 painters, musicians, vendors, rappers, nonprofits, poets and filmmakers take over the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) all day long, celebrating enduring cultures, self-expression and collaboration with an exhibition and movement event that immerses visitors in modern indigenous talent. Intentionally inclusive and engineered for all ages and backgrounds, “Rezilience” is loosely organized into areas of interest. “Design” brings together visual artists, muralists and installation artists. “Expression,” hosted by Tanaya Winder, rejoices in Native poetry. “Inspiration” offers workshops and activities, while “Exchange” offers a chance to purchase food and art and engage with nonprofits. Film showcase “Vision” features work from Native entertainers Steven Paul Judd (“American Indian Graffiti: This Thing Life”) and Bobby Wilson of comedy troupe the 1491s.   “Voice” brings performers like hip-hop artist Supaman and Filipino rapper Ruby Ibarra to the stage. Emphasizing “Rezilience’s” commitment to positivity and well-being, the day begins with “Movement.” The event’s only off-site activities, 5K and 10K runs along Rio Grande running trails, start at 7 a.m.   The National Hispanic Cultural Center opens at 9 a.m., and “Rezilience” runs until midnight. The film showcase and concert have differing prices ($15 and $40, respectively), but basic access to the exhibit is just $5.   All-access passes are $55, and VIP status will run you $120. Kids under 7 get in free. Since some ticket prices may increase on day of show, buying them early at is advisable. Learn more at Lisa Barrow is a member of the Dirt City Writers collective. Visit her on the interwebs at She most recently served as arts & lit and web editor at Weekly Alibi.  

Matters of the Art: From Dependence to ‘Rezilience’ was first published to ABQ Free Press Marketing

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