Sunday, September 29, 2013

Juan Carlos Duque, actualizado

A few years ago, I wrote about Juan Carlos Duque's song "Promesas" and the memories it held for me of Chile and my church mission there in 1979-80.  A lady named Patty Páez, whom I'd known in La Cisterna (a comuna of Santiago) when she was a young girl, came across my original blog post and recently, out of the blue, sent me a copy of Duque's 2006 CD Queda tanto por andar (see attached image).  I'm really impressed with the CD -- the music is great and Duque, after all, was ~58 years old when the CD was released (and is now ~65 years old); I mean, most singers at that age, if they're still recording, tend to do middle-of-the-road standards, not vibrant, modern, meaningful pop tunes.  Patty implied that Duque's importance to the music scene in Chile is indicative of an overall lack of talent there; I can't speak to that question, but Duque's abilities as a songwriter, arranger, musician, and singer are undeniable as far as I'm concerned.  (By the way, the new album even has an updated, guitar-heavy version of "Promesas.")

Monday, September 16, 2013

Garry Winogrand's "Albuquerque 1957"

Albuquerque 1957
I don't buy many postcards on-line, although a couple of years ago I bought an early postcard of the Western Skies Hotel on an eBay-like site called Bidstart.  Bidstart has since sent me periodic e-mails with "suggestions" for other postcards I might like, and one of these e-mails contained a captivating image that conjured up all sorts of childhood memories for me.  I had never seen the photograph before, so I had no idea that either the image or Garry Winogrand, the photographer, was famous; rather, I mistakenly assumed that it was someone's family photo that somehow had ended up on a postcard.  Winogrand, I've since found out, was famed for his street photography, and Albuquerque 1957 is one of the photographs for which he is most remembered.  (His most-famous photo is probably one of several iconic images of Marilyn Monroe with her dress being swept up, while standing on a grate over an air duct, as part of the publicity surrounding the release of the film The Seven Year Itch.)

Anyway, Albuquerque 1957 (see attached) shows a toddler, in cloth diapers, at the top of the driveway to a home that obviously was a Dale Bellamah home of a style that is common in Princess Jeanne Park, the subdivision in which I grew up in northeast Albuquerque.  It also shows the "U" -- the small peak in the Sandia foothills (now commonly called "U Mound") that I've already written about extensively.  My searching on Google revealed that a fellow named Joe Van Cleave investigated the location of the house and ultimately identified it, convincingly, as 1208 Muriel Street, NE, which indeed is in Princess Jeanne Park and is located between Lomas Blvd. and Constitution Ave. (more specifically, one block west of Juan Tabo Blvd. and just north of Mountain Rd.).  When Winogrand took the photo, I was still a gleam in my daddy's eye, but my family had already lived in its home on Gretta Street (some distance southwest of 1208 Muriel) for two years.  The area has been completely developed now -- there are houses all the way to within 50 yards or so of the "U," which thankfully is located in a city "open space" area -- but the image captures perfectly a place, and a moment in time, when Albuquerque was rapidly expanding to the east.

The kids of the families who lived on Muriel Street between Lomas and Constitution attended the same elementary school I did, although I lived a lot closer to it.  I remember that a kid my age named Kenny D_____ lived with his family on Muriel near its intersection with Mountain Rd.  He and I weren't friends, as he had a fearsome reputation in school as a fighter/bully, but he may have been in one or two of my classes.  For all I know, his family could have lived in the house at 1208 Muriel in that timeframe, as the neighborhood tended to be fairly transient even in the early days.

[Update 10/2/13: Here are a couple of Google Earth shots which give some perspective on the Winogrand image.  The left one is a broader view of the area and contains a number of area landmarks, including my parents' home.  The one on the right is a closer view of the 1208 Muriel home and the "U," showing just how much development has occurred since 1957.)

[Update 10/30/13:Here is the current Google "Street View" of 1208 Muriel NE -- 56 years after Winogrand's photo of the toddler.]

Friday, September 6, 2013

Camping Trip to Villanueva, August 23-24, 2013

Kiley with Joey
Devery and Easton
Easton with Noelle

Walking down to the playground
On the way to the playground

Heidi and Devery and kids
Sam, Kiley, and Joey

Panoramic view of our campsite
Me with the boys
The shelter structure at our site
Sam with his foil dinner

Lighting the lantern
Devery and Easton

Panoramic view of the bridge crossing the Pecos River
We took our annual overnight camping trip to Villanueva State Park on Friday, August 23, and Saturday, August 24.  Devery, Heidi, and I drove up several hours early to try to secure a decent campsite; we were about five minutes late to get a site on the river, but we were able to get the large shelter site at the top of the hill, which I'd almost prefer in any case.  (Dorine, Easton, and Kiley and Sam came up later on Friday.)  Family camping is always a chore to get ready for, so I continually wonder if one night is worth all the trouble; however, the kids always eat it up, and it's fun to be outdoors with family.  The Pecos was really low on this trip, even after it rained on Friday afternoon, so we didn't do any tubing.  We cooked foil dinners on charcoal on Friday night, then had a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage, and hash browns on Saturday morning.  We didn't even bother doing any real hiking on this trip, either -- I felt tired and run-down.