Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Starting a Band and Working the Holidays in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico

 A visit to a dollar store, and voila!  Brownie is decked for the holidays.

I've been pretty busy doing retail these last few weeks.  During the holidays, I open Sun Gallery four days a week, Thursday through Sunday.  

 Camping with friends Donna and Cassie

Last week, I broke away for three nights of camping at Elephant Butte State Park with some local TorC friends.  We stayed at South Monticello Campground, the furthest north of the campgrounds in this park and also my favorite for when I want to be hooked up to electricity and water.  I like how this campground is spread out on big loops with large sites, so RVs aren't lined up like they're in a parking lot.  We had a fun couple of days playing lots of Scrabble.
 Quail on the bank of the Rio Grande at the local Bureau of Reclamation land

I came back into town last Wednesday so I could get ready for my Very Busy Weekend (which included Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Scarf-o-Rama Sunday).  

I became a blue-haired old lady on Wednesday and then headed out to the Bureau of Reclamation land south of Williamsburg for one night of free camping. 

 I remember laughing at Grandma's blue hair, but now this.

Back in town again on Thanksgiving, I enjoyed a wonderful dinner with friends and a potluck dinner of great leftovers the following night.  I spent four nights behind Sun Gallery to deal with the busy retail weekend.   

Now I'm still back behind the gallery because I'm working on some two cool new projects!

 Sonja helping me print out of the band music.  My Print-cess.

(1)  The Band!  

My friend Joshua Frankel, a local realtor and city councilman, and I have wanted to start a community band here in Truth or Consequences for a couple of years, and I finally really got the mojo to get it going.  We have started a Sierra County Community Band FaceBook page and we've found about 10 musicians who will play instrumental carols during our upcoming Old-Fashioned Christmas celebration in downtown TorC on December 8th.  

Now I'm at the stage of finding out how challenging it is to find affordable music.  Many band scores with parts for the individual instruments run over $50--for just one song.  Fortunately, some music stores and band directors have shared their simple Christmas carol arrangements online for free, and I've been busy printing stuff out so I can get the band folders together for our first rehearsal in a few nights.  We'll be okay for this first gig!  

And we'll figure out what to do for the next one.  Our hope is to seat a larger band for a spring concert, maybe looking to our local high school for ringers to fill out the sections.  And maybe they'll let us borrow some music, too. 

(2)  RTArt Camp!

Some of my blog readers know about the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous, a yearly gathering in Quartzsite, Arizona, where vandwellers, RVers, and other nomads meet to see friends and share skills, just like the mountain men of yore, but with propane, cellphones, and other modern conveniences.  

I've known about the RTR for years and have met many of the regulars in my travels, but this past January was my first time attending.  I enjoyed meeting a lot of people, and I participated by giving a talk on selling on eBay while traveling, playing my flute at the talent show, etc.  Bob even made a video about me!  However, it was also cold and dreary much of the time, and I ended up spending many days just sitting and doing artwork.

Paintings I made at RTR 2017, displayed in the Windshield Gallery 
of my old Toyota Dolphin

The RTR is very big now.  There were hundreds of people in attendance this year; I heard an estimate of 750.  

A music camp broke off from the main camp and went down the road a ways, so their nightly drumming wouldn't keep the main camp awake.  After my introduction to the RTR this year, I decided to propose another interest-based encampment:  RTArt Camp.

I'm excited about the possibilities, which will firm up when we are in camp January 11-21, 2018. 

There's an online discussion about RTArtCamp, and about a dozen people have volunteered to be involved by teaching, donating supplies, bringing tables and canopies for our outdoor studio, or simply being around.  So far, it looks like we could have some drawing, painting, beading, wire wrapping, knitting, and creative writing sessions, plus just some general drop-in studio time.  I am also planning to have some simple craft projects on hand for anyone to come and play with, even those who don't call themselves artists yet.

In addition to these new projects, I'm still working on the old...some eBay during the holiday season, since I'm here working retail for a few more weeks, anyway.  Also, in the process of downsizing from the Beluga (my Class A) to Brownie (my 20-foot mini-motorhome), I dumped a lot of stuff in the studio and storage space behind my gallery sales floor.  Stuff that needs to be gone through and dealt with...you know, throw out, give away, put away, etc.  

I am REALLY going to be ready for that sojourn to Arizona in January, and the other adventures of 2018.           

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