HONORAR A NUESTROS HÃ‰ROES
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
When Audrey Davis landed in Taos and met Jenny Vincent, she fell in love with traditional Northern New Mexico folk music.
OCT. 3, 2019
feel. ARTES Taos and the arts are like sugar and cinnamon: separately they are copacetic, but together they are divine. Art is a major ingredient in the making and sustaining of Taos. You see it every day in gallery windows, in painters setting up their easels alongside a road, in murals and museums, onstage, on screen and in books. Our unique mecca consistently inspires. Taos is home to artists of every character and style. From traditional artistic disciplines handed down for generations to edgy works, there is something that will command your attention — make you stop, look and feel. Inside this edition of Artes (Arts), you’ll meet one of our many brilliant creative visionaries such as artist and galley owner Georgia Gersh and Taos Pueblo’s Eva Mirabal, the first Native female cartoonist. You’ll be taken back in time to the birth of The Harwood Museum when it was just a library and you’ll see the history in pictures of the role Northern New Mexico has made in the film industry. In the music realm, get to know violinist and instructor Audrey Davis, and we take a look back at the ties Doug Sahm — considered one of the most important figures in what is identified as Tex-Mex music — had to Taos. The challenge for any artist is to take a leap into the dark, break some rules and, sometimes, reinvent. It is in the artists’ glory of expression, of the trials and beautiful mistakes, and in the sharing of their gifts and knowledge that we continue to honor and encourage them.
SCOTT GERDES, SPECIAL SECTIONS EDITOR
OCT. 3, 2019
selection of assorted shrine kits!
All the supplies you need to make personalized shrines.. from substrate to charms, paint and accessories.
A sweet refuge The Harwood’s evolution toward serving all the people BY JIM LEVY
Sir Doug’s Taos groove Renowned musician looked to the high desert for spiritual healing
taosmoxie.com 204C Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos 575-751-7456
taosmoxie.com 204C Paseo del Pueblo Norte • Taos • 575-751-7456
Arts Ground Zero
BY DAVID LERNER
For the love of music
E. I. Couse’s painting studio, open to visitors during docent tours at CouseSharp Historic Site, is virtually unchanged since 1936, including an unfinished painting on his easel. Along the walls are his significant collection of Pueblo pottery as well as Couse originals.
Audrey Davis: violinist and instructor extraordinaire BY VIRGINIA L. CLARK
The LUNDER RESEARCH CENTER, under construction at the Couse-Sharp Historic Site, will be dedicated to the study of the Taos Society of Artists. Beginning in 2021, the center will welcome scholars, students, and artists who wish to conduct research on the storied TSA and the local cultures that influenced their work. Visit our website to learn more about how you can support this new treasure for Taos!
Becoming rich and famous the Taos way Artist, gallery owner Georgia Gersh does what she loves and it shows BY VIRGINIA L. CLARK
Quiet on set
I love this town.
Pictorial look at Hollywood in Northern New Mexico
G.I. Gertie Eva Mirabal: the first published Native female cartoonist BY SCOTT GERDES
I love being here to help life go right™ in a community where people are making a difference every day. Thank you for all you do.
S TA F F ROBIN MARTIN, OWNER CHRIS BAKER, PUBLISHER S TA C I M AT LO C K , M A N A G I N G E D I TO R SCOTT GERDES, SPECIAL SECTIONS EDITOR K A R I N E B E R H A R D T, C R E A T I V E D I R E C T O R C H R I S WO O D, A DV E RT I S I N G D I R E C TO R S E A N R A T L I F F, P R O D U C T I O N M A N A G E R AMY BOAZ, COPY EDITOR MORGAN TIMMS, PHOTOGRAPHER
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS VIRGINIA L. CLARK, DAVID LERNER, JIM LEVY
Wanda Lucero 575.737.5433 wandalucero.com
a sweet refuge Tradiciones ARTES
OCT. 3, 2019
to write this piece about the early days of the Harwood Library then Museum, I found an old journal entry from 1972:
The Harwood keeps me sane. I go there when I’m down, because its polished floors, handmade furniture and peaceful gloom have a quieting effect on my soul. I go there when I’m up, because it is there that I can find some esoteric book about the cosmos or Greek poetry, and where I can see the paintings and sculptures that capture the unique and mysterious identity of Northern New Mexico. For 75 years the Harwood Foundation, serving as public library, museum, auditorium, classrooms and meeting rooms, was at the heart of the social and artistic life of Taos’ Anglo community. When I was hired as executive director in 1978, I set out to transform the Harwood from a predominately Anglo center to one which the entire community could use and enjoy. | continues on p. 6
THE HARWOOD’S EVOLUTION TOWARD SERVING ALL THE PEOPLE BY JIM LEVY
Two women in the Harwood Library, circa 1970s-1980s. O P P O S I T E : The Harwood’s backyard, circa 1980s. In the late 1970s, the garden in the back was brought back to life with new grass, trees and furniture. An additional exhibit space was built for the art collection, and the small children’s section of the library was relocated to two spacious rooms in its own wing.
PHOTOS COURTESY HARWOOD MUSEUM OF ART ARCHIVES
OCT. 3, 2019
WE GIVE Taos Community Foundation gives through grantmaking
WE PLAN Legacy Donors plan for their lasting gift
WE LEAD Board and Staff lead to build a more creative, caring and thriving community
PHYSICAL: 115 LA POSTA RD, STE A, TAOS • MAILING: P.O. BOX 1925, TAOS • 575-737-9300
OCT. 3, 2019
A SWEET REFUGE continues from p. 4
y mother had been a volunteer at the library in the 1940s and had taken us kids there to borrow books. After she died in 1975, I began volunteering as a way of following in her footsteps. When the job of executive director came open, I applied. I was at the time the lead projectionist at the Taos Plaza Theater and had no administrative experience whatsoever. So how, you might ask, did I get the job? For one, few professional librarians wanted it at the salary of $9,000 a year, and for two, local politicians had grown old saying that the Harwood didn’t serve “their people.” I went to Taos Mayor Larry Santistevan and said that if I was hired to be director, I would do everything in my power to open the Harwood to everyone. “Larry,” I said, “if you write a letter recommending me, I think I have a shot at it.” He said, “You write the letter Levy, and I’ll sign it.” When I started, the main buildings of the complex were being renovated under a federal grant. The renovation modernized the electrical, heating and plumbing and it included the first public elevator and accessible drinking fountain in Taos. We resurrected the garden in the back with new grass, trees and furniture, built additional exhibit space for the art collection, and moved the tiny children’s section of the library to two spacious rooms in its own wing. The auditorium was opened again for theater, dance and poetry readings including the world premiere of Steve Parks’ play, “Manby.”
DAVID WITT/COURTESY THE HARWOOD MUSEUM OF ART
In 1993, the town of Taos, the Friends of the Harwood Public Library and other community organizations began raising money to build a new library building. The town of Taos contributed property it owned behind Town Hall and refinanced existing bonds to create major funds for the library. The Friends group raised an additional $300,000. Construction of the new building, designed by Robert Sturtcman, began in 1995 and the present library opened in July 1996.
Despite augmenting the grant with a $72,000 loan (which was never paid back), the University of New Mexico, which owned the Harwood, felt that it was a financial burden and wanted to dump it, along with the D.H. Lawrence Ranch. They couldn’t escape, however, because Elizabeth “Lucy” Harwood had cannily included in the deed of conveyance that UNM had to keep the Harwood in perpetuity. Also, fortunately, the Harwood had some powerful friends. Meg Salman was, as president of the Harwood Advisory Board, a dynamic supporter, and her brother-in-law David Salman was the New Mexico House majority leader. Furthermore, Taos’ own C.B. Trujillo was the Senate majority leader. These two men, however, did not care for each other and in fact refused to speak to one another. So during the long legislative session of 1978, when I was down there groveling for funds, they made me run back and forth between them carrying demands and compromises. They rewarded me by getting the Harwood included in the general funding bill, which released UNM from most of its financial obligations. We suddenly had more money than we knew what to do with. What we did with it was fairly spectacular. Using the new and abundant funds, we set out to revolutionize the Harwood. We fired the “tenured” UNM maintenance man and hired Carlos Rendon as head of maintenance and Gil (Gilligan) Luhan as his assistant. We increased the staff with people who were knowledgeable and enthusiastic about literature and art: Betsy Wolf as administrative assistant, Carmen Medina as a librarian, Cathy Logue as bookkeeper, David Witt as museum curator, Kathy Rael as children’s librarian and Victoria Plata as outreach librarian. The outreach program was ambitious. It included taking books to the senior center, jail, hospital, schools and homebound people. We published a regular column in the Taos News about new books and upcoming events, and broadcasted a regular radio program on KKIT in English and Spanish. Using the thousands of books that had been in storage, we held quarterly book sales that brought in funds to buy more library books. The Southwest Library Association funded a $7,000 oral history project, and Juanita Jaramillo-Lavadie, the project leader, and eight other interviewers used cassette tapes to record 30 old-time citizens to relate what effect the coming of electricity had on Taos Valley. These tapes have been digitized on CDs and are available at Taos Public Library. The Children’s Library was at the heart of the Harwood’s revival. It was moved from a corner of the main library into its own quarters where children could be as loud and active as they wished. Under the second children’s librarian, Sally Blair, we started the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program in which each child received two free books of their choice, either in English or Spanish. There was storytelling by Bob Hawley, Susan Berman, Kathleen Summit and others, and in the summers, there were finger painting, puppet shows and other art projects in the garden at the back of the library.
Motivated, if not inspired, by the excitement around the new programs and the increased number of Hispanic and Native American patrons, the town of Taos and Taos County, which had been funding minimal amounts, stepped up to the plate and began hitting singles: $10,000 from the town, $1,500 from the county, plus Jeannette Martinez, a full-time library intern. We also snatched up Comprehensive Employment and Training (CETA) and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) workers whenever possible. Not everyone, of course, was thrilled with the changes we were making. Henry Saurerwein Jr., director or tyrant of the Wurlitzer Foundation, wrote an outraged letter to the Taos News complaining that I had removed the portraits of Lucy and Burt Harwood from the library’s entry. You can be sure I did; the last thing I wanted locals to see upon entering the library were two Midwesterners who had lived in Paris for many years peering down on them. From the very beginning, the Harwood depended on the energy and enthusiasm of volunteers. Serving on boards and committees or in an informal capacity, they helped with the public library, the museum and the auditorium. In the library, the Friends of the Library, headed by Louise Dice, were of significant support. In the museum, Bob Ray, Ivan Rosequist, Cliff Harmon and others provided astute knowledge of art. For theater programs, Otto Mears Pitcher, Wallace Bacon, Charlotte Lee, Ben Hazard and others lent their immense talents. There were many other generous volunteers throughout the history of the Harwood, and I wish I could name them all. The library attracted a variety of colorful patrons over the years, the old crowd of course. It was said that Lucy Harwood herself would sit in front of her home offering tea to anyone who came to borrow a book. The artists of the Taos Society of Artists donated paintings to the museum, and Mabel Dodge Luhan donated many hundreds of books. There was the older gentleman in ragged clothes who carried his library card and a few bills in a Sucrets can. When he died in one of Taos’ dreariest motels, he left nearly a million dollars to his even older mother. And let’s not forget the artist who checked out the best and most valuable art books and wouldn’t return them. We sent threatening letters, which he didn’t answer and made phone calls he didn’t return. Finally, after a year, a friend of the library who had worked for the FBI went to his house in Ranchos and recovered the books, but we never did collect the overdue fines. The librarians were no less colorful. The first to take the helm, when the library was in its new wing built under the 1937 WPA renovation, was Albert Gee, who had been hired by Lucy Harwood just prior to her death in 1938. Spud Johnson, editor of The Horse Fly, was the director from 1944 to 1947. Toni Tarleton, once a Harvey Girl, single-handedly ran it from 1954 to 1972. Librarians in my day included Dorothy Kethler, John Flexner, Tracy McCallum, Carmen Medina and Dixie Gillette. Being true Taoseños, they brought distinctive personalities to the party, various blends of skills, wit, idiosyncrasies and independence. In 1981, we received another federal grant to renovate the Alcalde Building on the west side of the property, and that completed the construction project. Although the complex was stabilized and the programs expanded, the Harwood’s success also exposed its weaknesses. There was too little parking for the dramatic increase in patrons, and there was insufficient space for an expansion of the art and book collections. In 1983, the town took over the management of the library and eventually, in 1996, built the Taos Public Library in its present location. With the indefatigable efforts of Bob Ellis, the Harwood was transformed into a renowned art museum, which includes world-class artists. Taos author John Nichols used to come to the Harwood to make copies of his novels for a dime a page. As always, he expresses a connection to the Harwood better than anyone. I have always thought of the Harwood as a sort of nest, a safe place and sweet refuge, promising wisdom, comfort, a familiar respite from the storm. Cornball sentiments, I know, but the Harwood never did me wrong, and so I can’t help it, I just feel that way.
JIM LEVY HAS PUBLISHED 10 BOOKS OF POETRY, MEMOIRS, ESSAYS AND OTHER NONFICTION. HIS MOST RECENT BOOK IS “THOSE WERE THE DAYS, LIFE AND LOVE IN 1970S NORTHERN NEW MEXICO,” CO-AUTHORED WITH PHAEDRA GREENWOOD. HE WISHES TO GIVE BIG THANK YOUS TO JOHN NICHOLS FOR THE USE OF HIS QUOTE AND TO CARMEN MEDINA, BETSY WOLF, SALLY BLAIR AND JOHN FLEXNER FOR SHARING THEIR MEMORIES OF THE HARWOOD AND PROVIDING INVALUABLE ADVICE ABOUT THIS ARTICLE.
OCT. 3, 2019
COURTESY HARWOOD MUSEUM OF ART ARCHIVES
Interior of Harwood library, circa 1970s-1980s.
OCT. 3, 2019
Producer Jerry Wexler, who worked with Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin, came to Austin to sign Sahm as a solo artist. The resulting LP, “Sir Doug and Band” (1972), features a rare guest appearance by Bob Dylan. Dylan and Sahm remained lifelong friends. Through the album did not make Sahm a household name, he was a well-loved and prolific fixture on the scene throughout the 1970s. Sahm’s later work is characterized by the tenacity of an industry survivor. His discography is scattered among a host of record labels including Mercury, Atlantic and, surprisingly, Takoma. In 1985, the Swedish label Sonet released “Love Ya Europe” to capitalize on Sahm’s popularity in Scandinavia. Gems like “Meet Me in Stockholm” and “Train to Trondheim,” which in lesser hands could have sounded pandering, were bona fide European hits. In 1990, Sahm formed the Texas Tornados, a Tex-Mex supergroup comprising his longtime musical brother, organist Augie Meyers, Freddy Fender and accordionist Leonardo “Flaco” Jiménez.
T W E N T Y Y E A R S
By the late 1990s, Sahm was performing with his sons, Shawn and Shandon, in a version of the quintet, and still working steadily with the Tornados. But the troubadour life was catching up with him. He confided to friends that he was “feeling old.” His gait and notorious motor mouth had slowed, and he complained of numbness in his hands. He harbored regrets about how he treated exes and bandmates, and how much time he wasted watching the “boob tube.”
A G O,
legendary Texas musician Doug Sahm suffered a fatal heart attack at the Kachina Lodge in Taos. Though he died young at 58, Sahm’s career had already spanned five decades. A peerless bandleader, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sahm’s music fused the juke joint R&B, Western swing and conjunto (a conjunto band is composed of four main instruments: the button accordion, the bajo sexto, an electric bass and a drum kit) of his native San Antonio with a stew of influences ranging from British beat, West Coast psychedelic rock and Cajun swamp pop — all unified by his soulful rasp and trademark cosmic groover style.
ALBUM COVER ARTWORK COUR TESY WIKIPEDIA
Sahm scored regional hits while in high school and, as leader of the Sir Douglas Quintet, saw national success in 1965 with the single “She’s About a Mover” (the original title, “She’s a Body Mover” seemed too risqué for airplay, hence the odd syntax). The quintet wore pointy boots and grew their hair long like the Byrds and Beau Brummels. As Sahm told Rolling Stone magazine, “We wanted to be like the Rolling Stones and carry tons of [dope] in our suitcases and be heavy … and turn everybody on.” The group was promptly busted at the Corpus Christi, Texas, airport. Though all involved were acquitted, the legal hassle cost the quintet important gigs and momentum. Undeterred, Sahm split for Prunedale, California, reassembled a band and cut a series of classic LPs including “Honky Blues,” “Mendocino” and “Together After Five.” Sahm and band performed on the TV show “Playboy After Dark,” appeared in the film “Cisco Pike” (1972) and shared bills with the Grateful Dead and other Bay Area heavies. After five years of California, Sahm “OD’d on Hollywood bullshit” and went back to Texas a prodigal son. In tow were his then-wife Violet, six children and a worthy new record called “The Return of Doug Saldaña,” which took its title from an affectionate nickname given to Sahm by West Side San Antonio Chicano musicians. Always the working professional, Sahm gravitated to Austin, Texas, where he took a residency at a remote dive called the Soap Creek Saloon. He became the unofficial godfather of the outlaw movement.
Sahm looked to the high desert for spiritual healing. He loved Northern New Mexico, especially Taos. He visited whenever the whim or brutal Texas summer heat struck him. Lately, that urge was coming more often.
The funky Austin immortalized in songs like “Beautiful Texas Sunshine,” from his sleeper 1974 catalogue highlight “Groover’s Paradise,” was yielding to something high-tech, hypercapitalist, unrecognizable. Sahm’s girlfriend at the time lived in Wimberley, Texas, but he would not quit his love-hate relationship with Austin for hill country. “I need my Thai,” he told writer Joe Nick Petoski, to which Petoski teased Sahm that he was just like the yuppies he claimed to hate. Sahm’s New Mexico itinerary began in Santa Fe. He looked up his friend Sharon Jewel, whom he met at Antone’s Records in Austin in 1989. Jewel was buying Sahm’s latest LP, the nostalgic “Jukebox Music” and Sahm, who just was hanging around, ran after her offering to sign her new album. A friendship was born. The two remained in touch for the better part of a decade. Jewel was happy to reconnect with her old friend in Santa Fe.
The Sir Douglas Quintet in 1965 (Doug Sahm on far right).
Sahm, who was now very health conscious, suggested they eat dinner at home and forsake the typically greasy fare the two used to enjoy at Austin spots like Trudy’s. While getting groceries at Wild Outs, they ran into musician Jimmy Stadler, who is a friend of Jewel’s. She introduced them and Stadler, who recalled meeting Sahm once or twice over the years, told him to get in touch when he got to Taos. Jewel recalls thinking the two would make a simpatico musical pair.
Taos groove A F T E R
OCT. 3, 2019
In the early 1960s, Bob Dylan was asked at a press conference if he could recommend any up-andcoming folk singers or rock groups. ‘I’m glad you asked that,’ Dylan replied. ‘The Sir Douglas Quintet I think are probably the best that are going to have a chance of reaching commercial airwaves. They already have with a couple of songs.’
N I G H T
at the El Rey Court and another at Ojo Caliente, Sahm drove his Cadillac to the Kachina Lodge. Feeling far worse, but chalking it up to altitude sickness, Sahm called Stadler to ask for the number of a doctor willing to make a house call — Sahm hated hospitals, but apparently did not realize the acute danger he was in. No one was available.
Stadler called back the next day, but got no answer. Concerned, he rang the front desk and requested someone check on his friend. Sahm, 58, was found unresponsive in room 131 by a hotel employee and pronounced dead of cardiac arrest on Nov. 18, 1999. Though the two musicians never got to jam, Stadler was one of the last people Sahm spoke to. Heartbreakingly, Sahm had also phoned his girlfriend, Debora, to invite her and her son to join him in Taos for Thanksgiving one week later. Sahm had an incomparable ability to distill the terroir of a place into song. California odes such as “Mendocino” and “Sunny Sunday Mill Valley Groove Day” and the aforementioned European singles are but a few examples. Sadly, Sir Doug’s New Mexico years never fully materialized. We can only imagine the musical trip he might have embarked on aqui en Taos.
FAC E B O O K D O U G S A H M
Music legends Bob Dylan and Doug Sahm.
THE ART OF SERVICE
Northern New Mexico Center for Cosmetic Dentistry
Committed to Taos & Northern New Mexico
Kellie A. Harris, DDS • Kayci M. Harris, DMD
NEW MEXICO CENTER FOR COSMETIC DENTISTRY
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OCT. 3, 2019
F O R T H E L O V E O F M U S I C AUDREY DAVIS: VIOLINIST AND INSTRUCTOR EXTRAORDINAIRE BY VIRGINIA L. CLARK
OCT. 3, 2019
‘I’m never gonna make a ton of money — I’m just doing what makes me happy.’
Violinist and instructor Audrey Davis is a beloved music fixture in Taos and Questa. ‘I love Audrey. We’re like family. She has a big heart. She loves her students. She loves what she does. And we love her,’ said mariachi maestro Nick Branchál.
That’s Audrey Davis talking about playing and teaching violin. So highly regarded by families and violin students of Taos and Northern New Mexico, two of her students, Cidney Fee and Cathy Boyle, submitted Davis’ name for an Artes story this year, feeling that the entire community should celebrate Davis’ contributions. Fee and Boyle wrote that Davis started teaching violin in Taos through the Suzuki method to kids, teens and adults 35 years ago, noting, too, “She often reduces or waives costs of lessons to those in need,” as well as loaning students violins as needed. “I’m now teaching the kids of the kids I taught,” Davis said happily. She first started teaching violin students after Nick Branchál, mariachi maestro de Taos, approached her to teach violin to his nascent mariachi students in Taos schools. In 1981, at Taos High School, Branchál started the first academically credited high school mariachi program in New Mexico. Since then, mariachi programs throughout the nation have used his model to start similar programs in their schools. Branchál, and consequently Davis, have taught high school mariachi in Taos and Questa, and to university groups at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas and Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado. “In 1993 Audrey brought a string quartet to the school and I asked if she would do mariachi,” Branchál said in a recent phone interview. “She had volunteered for almost a year when I approached the school to pay her for it and we have been doing it ever since. We started Mariachi Río Grandé soon after that and we played at Garduños in Santa Fe for three years or so.” “Audrey and I go way back,” he concluded. “I love Audrey. We’re like family. She has a big heart. She loves her students. She loves what she does. And we love her.” Rachel León, director of Questa school’s Mariachi Questa, is Davis’ former Mariachi León partner. “I think it’s so awesome that Audrey is being written about,” León said by phone. “Audrey and I worked for many years with various directors in the area. We’ve been together off and on for 10 years, playing together. We played together a few weeks ago at a birthday party up near Taos Ski Valley. Audrey’s violin is just such a rich sound. And she has all that experience from Jenny Vincent; all those years with her Suzuki School. All the kids know who she is and they always ask, ‘When can we have a workshop again with Audrey?’ She’s able to emphasize good, correct violin technique,” because of her Suzuki training. Dating from the mid-20th century, the Suzuki method is an internationally known music curriculum and teaching philosophy created by Japanese violinist and pedagogue Shinichi Suzuki. The method aims to create an environment for learning music that parallels the linguistic environment of acquiring a native language.
THE VIOLINIST Davis bopped around Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado from the mid-’70s until 1978, when she bought Taos Designs jewelry store on Taos Plaza. Before coming out West, she played with the Concord Symphony of Massachusetts, the Boston Ballet and the Nashua Symphony of New Hampshire. Subsequently, while her son was a student at Boulder University in Colorado, she played with the Boulder Symphony and the Santa Fe Community Orchestra recalling how she, Total Arts Taos gallery co-owner Harold Geller and former Taos Judge Peggy Nelson would drive to Santa Fe every week for rehearsals. “I fell in love with it, then when I moved here and met Jenny Vincent,” she said about Northern New Mexico folk music that Vincent literally recorded for the first time, saving it for posterity. It has now become a thriving genre in its own right. Traditionally, Norteños of New Mexico and Southern Colorado would get together and play these songs at weddings and other social occasions, songs including dance tunes like polkas, varsovianas (a French derivation referring to “Warsaw” dances), waltzes and more. Davis joined guitarist Rick Klein and Vincent in the Jenny Vincent Trio in 1996 and played violin with the trio until Vincent’s death in 2016. | continues on p. 12
MORGAN TIMMS/ TA O S N E W S M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
The violin has a been an important part of Audrey Davis’ life since she was a little girl. Her dedication to teaching, love of the instrument and playing traditional Northern New Mexico and folk music have rubbed off on many students.
A WORLD-CLASS REJUVENATION CENTER AT THE HEART OF EL MONTE SAGRADO
317 Kit Carson Rd., Taos| 575.737.9880 ElMonteSagrado.com/Spa
OCT. 3, 2019
FOR THE LOVE OF MUSIC
continues from p. 11
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
Of her students, Audrey Davis said, ‘They do really good in school after violin lessons. These kids go on to get music degrees, and some play mariachi. I’m really proud of all these hundreds and hundreds of kids I’ve worked with. And they love it.’
avis also taught violin for third- through eighth-graders at the Country Day School of Taos for 12 years before it closed its doors. “The whole class had violins,” Davis recalled. “We had an all-string orchestra. We made a CD called ‘Class of Strings’ – it was a wonderful gig. They do really good in school after violin lessons. These kids go on to get music degrees, and some play mariachi. I’m really proud of all these hundreds and hundreds of kids I’ve worked with. And they love it.” From 2015-17, The Healy Foundation of Taos — through the former Peoples Bank (now Hillcrest Bank) — gave two years of grants to Branchál, Davis and Norbert Martinez to teach New Mexican folk music to Taos school students, as well as to pay well-known Taos folk dance teacher Dorothy Gusdorf to teach the dances that went along with the music. Gusdorf taught middle and high school kids the dances their grandparents knew when they were growing up. She also taught adults once a week. “Once the grants were finished, the adults started dance groups in their own villages so they could keep the traditions alive,” Davis recalled, smiling at the impact that reviving the folk music has had on the communities overall. Besides teaching violin, Davis and John Archuleta are the well-known Audrey Davis Duo who play Northern New Mexican folk music weekly at the Adobe Bar in The Historic Taos Inn, among other venues. Their 2015 CD, “Cuatro Milpas/Four Cornfields,” is a collection of music “passed down from Jenny Vincent, Tío Damián, Julia Jaramillo and many others,” according to the CD jacket. “Audrey is a very accomplished violin player,” Archuleta said in an email, “and it is an honor and privilege to have been her performance partner
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
‘All the kids know who she is and they always ask, “When can we have a workshop again with Audrey?” ’ said Rachel León, director of Questa school’s Mariachi Questa.
for the last 10 years. She has adapted well to the regional music (Northern New Mexico-Southern Colorado) that we specialize in, and also the mariachi music that she is involved in. She is quite a good artist [painter] also, and shows her work in local galleries. So it’s a real pleasure to be playing with her.”
THE ARTIST Davis paints in pastels and is currently represented at The Ranch on Kit Carson Road in Taos. Gallery director Lanna Smith is excited about Davis’ prospects. “Audrey’s vitality is infectious,” Smith said in an email. “She is a sheer joy to have in the gallery. Her pastels are some of the most etherial and beautiful I have seen, which is the reason her
collectors regularly call on us to see what is new. We love Audrey.” “I’ve been blessed in Taos,” Davis said. The underlying purpose of reviving mariachi is fostering greater understanding of Hispanic culture and the origin and impact of this engaging music. And Davis appreciates every note, every student. “I just can’t believe I fell into my life’s work in 1984,” Davis said, her face wreathing with amazement and joy each time she thinks about it. “Truly it was a blessing. A miracle.” For more information about Davis’ music, call Taos Suzuki Violin School, (575) 758-4291. To see her artwork, contact Lanna Smith, The Ranch at Taos, 119-A Kit Carson Road, or call (325) 647-5736.
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
Due to her Suzuki method of teaching, Audrey Davis emphasizes good, correct violin technique. She is much loved by generations of students.
HONORAR A NUESTROS HÉROES
IMDB.COM/TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX
The Upper Río Grande Gorge and Chama, New Mexico, were chosen as set locations along with Utah, Mexico and Colorado for the 1969 blockbuster ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’ starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.
OCT. 3, 2019
becoming rich and famous the Taos way From being raised in a Taos commune, having a famous artist for a father and being an accomplished artist and galley owner in her own right, Georgia Gersh has had a â€˜magicalâ€™ life. M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
OCT. 3, 2019
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
artist, gallery owner Georgia Gersh does what she loves and it shows BY VIRGINIA L. CLARK
rich and famous in Taos means way more than wealth and power. In Taos, richness is determined by the wealth of relationships — to neighbors, a deeply caring community, creativity of all stripes, a reciprocal relationship with the land itself — all equally vital to the richness of the Land of Enchantment. Georgia Gersh is one such rich and famous native Taoseña. Born and raised by legendary “outlaw” artist Bill Gersh and painter Annie Degan in the Magic Tortoise Foundation commune, Gersh said she had an equally magical childhood. “Growing up in Lama, it was creative every day,” she said in an interview at her Magpie gallery last July. “Going out into the woods, making little houses for fairies, making pictures.” In a follow-up email she added, “My father would give me a canvas and paint. It was like he trusted me with precious, grown-up art materials even when I was 7. He gave the best hugs.” | continues on p. 16
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OCT. 3, 2019
B E C O M I N G R I C H A N D F A M O U S T H E T A O S W AY
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by her father in 1973 on Lama Mountain, located between San Cristóbal and Questa, the commune was the perfect backdrop for this child of hugely creative parents. Tragically, Bill Gersh died young, at age 51 from cancer, when Georgia was 19. “As far as his public persona, I was young when he died so my memories are of gallery openings, holiday parties and the Taos Inn,” Gersh recalled. “He lit up a room. Women swooned. Everyone knew him. My sister, Rachel, and I had to share his attention everywhere we went. I imagine that is how my kids feel sometimes. I know so many people.” Since opening Magpie gallery in April 2014, she now represents 80 artists, including her own papier-mâché sculpting and jewelry. “I try to only sell work that I really love,” she said about her stable of artists. “My focus is small, affordable art and a huge selection of handmade gifts.” Her inventory also includes soap, lip balm, lotion, pottery, jewelry and baby gifts — something for everyone. Prices range from $1 postcards up into the thousands for pieces from her late father’s works. “I have a definite paper fetish,” she admitted with a smile, referring to her gorgeous sculptures, bowls and a series of collage postcards. “I am always drawn to texture and pattern. By layering I can allow myself to get more sculptural. I’ve gotten to the point with papiermâché where it’s almost like hand-building with clay, like making coiled pots. I work without molds and let the paper build upon itself, about 2 inches a sitting for the vessels. It is a slow, meditative process and one of the few things I practice to calm my mind.” One evocative piece shows a woman upside-down, as if emerging from or blending with a tree, created after the 2016 presidential elections. She started this “New Growth” series of tree sculptures about 10 years ago. “I relate to trees and all of nature on a very personal level, as do many artists and naturalists,” she explained about her process and inspiration. “I live in nature. It is where I am most happy and most inspired. This wet spring and summer have offered an abundance of inspiration with flowers blooming I have never seen before, and so many of them. The series started as a means to work through some very difficult times in my life. It was a reminder to get grounded and spread out roots as well as to continue to expand and reach for the sky, to grow.” Once a month Gersh switches out the entire gallery, repaints and rehangs everything. “I think it’s fun to hang it. It’s my creative outlet. It’s a blank canvas, like a 3D painting. You have other artists’ work to dictate the palette and the mood. It’s fun, and things change.” M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
She also curates for private clients. She recently completed curating work in the Edelweiss Lodge & Spa at Taos Ski Valley; another client had just moved into the Taos Retirement Village and needed help hanging art in her living room, bedroom and kitchen. She has some Blueberry Hill clients who needed help putting a number of things artfully up on one wall.
“I love getting images out of paper, cutting and gluing paper,” she admitted candidly, noting too, however, that her personal creativity is channeled more into running and curating the gallery right now. Sometimes she does beadwork or papier-mâché while sitting the gallery. “I always tell people that curating the space is my main art form now.”
“I take for granted everyone knows how to do that, but I guess they don’t,” she said. “I guess it takes self-confidence. Even in Boston, I was doing a lot of wardrobe managing.”
Jimmy Murray, owner of Envision Gallery a couple doors down, admires her curatorial creativity.
She lived in Boston for over a decade before moving back to Taos permanently. In junior high she got into theater arts and decided she was going to be “a rich and famous actress in Beverly Hills.” While she did become a bona fide thespian, her father’s death, two babies and a divorce changed her trajectory. A family trip to Puerto Rico taught her a lot about that territory’s traditions, their local religion and, to her, the addicting decoupage of decorative paper masks. She said her papier-mâché process is very basic. TA O S N E W S F I L E P H OTO
Georgia Gersh’s father, Bill Gersh, in 1980.
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
‘I have a definite paper fetish. I am always drawn to texture and pattern. By layering I can allow myself to get more sculptural,’ aid Georgia Gersh, artist and owner of Magpie gallery.
“Water and flour with strips of newspaper. Very slow building layer on top of layer. If I’m making a sculpture, I build the base with crumpled paper and paste. Sometimes I will hand-sand the piece before adding decorative paper, usually with Mod Podge [an all-in-one glue, sealer and finish]. The series of large vessels that I am working on now will mostly be sanded to abstract and reveal the layers of newspaper, and then polyurethaned.”
curating the space
“I love walking in and seeing her different art projects. We enjoy having openings on the same evening. Georgia really helps me with her gallery curating expertise,” Murray said. Lately, Gersh realized she’s been overwhelmed. She just did a wedding, then the William C. Davis 50th anniversary show and said, “I was stressing myself out — having the gallery going on six years in April, raising a kid and caretaking my mom in a falling-down adobe.” Her jewelry is “a great instant-gratification project” that helps her relax and still be productive, while noting that relaxation is not her forte. “For me beading is like practicing. I practice design, composition and color with each piece and inevitably these concepts leak into whatever I do.” Significant other, artist/furniture-maker Ben Shriver, whose work she also represents in Magpie, is a literal boon both to her gallery and her life in general. “Ben is a true Renaissance man,” she said about Shriver’s impact on the gallery and their life together. “He is a great gardener, builder, fixer, maker. There is virtually nothing he can’t do. We have been together almost six years, but don’t live together and have pretty separate lives. It is a luxury to sit together and do papier-mâché, fold origami or paint.” She is also a creative writer, doing all her own and often other galleries’ press releases. She may even revisit being onstage some time in the future she said, but for now she loves what she does, and it shows. Georgia Gersh has indeed become rich and famous — the Taos way. MAGPIE GALLERY IS LOCATED AT 1405 PASEO DEL PUEBLO NORTE, IN THE BEAUTIFUL OVERLAND RANCH IN EL PRADO. FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT MAGPIETAOS.COM, EMAIL GEORGIAGERSH@ HOTMAIL.COM, OR CALL (781) 248-0166.
OCT. 3, 2019
M O R G A N T I M M S / TA O S N E W S
Of working with her preferred medium of papier-mâché, Georgia Gersh said, ‘It is a slow, meditative process and one of the few things I practice to calm my mind.’
OCT. 3, 2019
QUIET ON SET
New Mexico is becoming a go-to state for Hollywood film crews and TV shows. While Albuquerque and Santa Fe are popular locations, Taos and its environs have not been left out of the cinema fun. Here’s a look at some of the movies that were at least partially shot in our backyard.
I M D B . C O M / A R C H A N G E L E N T E R TA I N M E N T
TORTILLA HEAVEN (2007) brought Hollywood down the road from Taos to Dixon and Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico. ‘Isidor’s Tortilla Heaven is the best restaurant in New Mexico maybe even the world,’ as the story line is described on IMDb.com. ‘But though his tortillas are scrumptious, his enchiladas divine, Isidor has never made a dime. Why? He lives in Falfurrias, population 73. One Sunday, while all the town — including his wife and son — are piously praying Mass, a miracle occurs. Upon one of his famous, handmade tortillas appears the face of Jesus Christ.’
Christopher Walken and Rubén Blades in the 1988 comedy-drama MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR. Maybe no film more encompasses Taos, having been a book and adapted screenplay written by local author John Nichols and filmed in nearby Truchas. On the film’s 30th anniversary in March 2018, Tempo Editor Rick Romancito wrote, ‘It started out as a much smaller movie. It was designed to help dramatize the hard-edged reality of life among Taoseños faced with the clash between water, land, culture and encroachment by wealthy interlopers promising progress. But when producer-director Robert Redford got hold of ‘The Milagro Beanfield War,’ a screenplay adapted from the novel by Taos author John Nichols, it became a whole different animal.’
OCT. 3, 2019
Psychopathic serial murderers Mallory and Mickey (Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson), perform their own marriage ceremony on the Río Grande Gorge Bridge in the 1994 film NATURAL BORN KILLERS directed by Oliver Stone.
R I C K R O M A N C I TO / TA O S N E W S
Taoseño Jonathan Slator on the set of TORTILLA HEAVEN, a comedy feature shot in Dixon and Picuris Pueblo, New Mexico, in 1998. A highly acclaimed movie location manager, Slator has brought many film crews to New Mexico, including the Taos area. Because of Slator’s skill in finding the perfect spots, a number of scenes for the awardwinning ‘No Country for Old Men’ (2007) were shot in our backyard.
TERMINATOR SALVATION starring Christian Bale as John Connor filmed a chase scene on the Río Grande Gorge Bridge in 2008. Seven ‘Terminator’ films have been produced to date. In this movie, a mysterious new weapon introduced in the war against the machines, half-human and half-machine, comes to John Connor on the eve of a resistance attack on Skynet. But whose side is he on, and can he be trusted?
Once again, the Río Grande Gorge Bridge is used for a fiery crash in a movie scene. This time, an alien named PAUL, for which the 2011 film is named, is driving an RV being chased by FBI Special Agent Lorenzo Zoil (Jason Bateman). In this sci-fi comedy, two English comic book geeks (Simon Peg and Nick Frost) traveling across the United States encounter Paul (voiced by Seth Rogan) outside Area 51. IMDB.COM/COLUMBIA PICTURES
THE MAN FROM LARAMIE (1955) was the last and most stirring of the long series of Westerns in which Anthony Mann directed James Stewart. Filming was done around Taos, Taos Pueblo, Santa Fe and Window Rock in Arizona.
EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE is the story about the San Fernando Valley adventures of trucker turned prizefighter Philo Beddoe and his pet orangutan Clyde. Certainly not Clint Eastwood’s most critically acclaimed film, but a bar scene in the 1978 movie immortalized Taos’ Alley Cantina, called El Patio at the time.
H O L E D I G G E R F I L M S / TA O S N E W S F I L E P H OTO
Oscar-nominated actress Joan Allen on the San Cristóbal set of OFF THE MAP (2003). Directed by Campbell Scott, the film tells the story of a young girl named Bo. She and her ‘Earth’ mother (Joan Allen) and depressed father (Sam Elliot) survive in rural Northern New Mexico by growing their own food and scavenging the dump. That sets the stage for a visit from an IRS agent sent to see why the family hasn’t filed any income taxes.
OCT. 3, 2019
Director Robert Redford on the Truchas, New Mexico, set of THE MILAGRO BEANFIELD WAR, a 1988 film based on the novel by Taos author John Nichols.
Crews wrapped up shooting a dramatic scene on Kachina Peak in Taos Ski Valley during the filming of BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE in December 2014. The 2016 film stars Ben Affleck (Bruce Wayne) and Henry Cavill (Clark Kent). In the mountaintop scene, Clark hikes up a peak and speaks with his father’s spirit (Kevin Costner).
In the 2007 film WILD HOGS, a group of suburban biker wannabes looking for adventure hit the open road, but get more than they bargained for when they encounter a New Mexico gang called the Del Fuegos. The film was shot in various locations in northern and central New Mexico. The camping scenes — shown here with the actors, from left, John Travolta, William H. Macy, Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence — were shot in Angel Fire. The film also incorporated the Río Grande Gorge Bridge into the characters’ travels.
The opening scene of Joel and Ethan Coen’s film NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN (2008) was shot around Arroyo Hondo. The Coens’ adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel is set on the Texas-Mexico borderlands. Although there was filming in Texas, much of the production was shot in New Mexico including nearby Las Vegas and near Pilar. The cast includes Javier Bardem (shown being apprehended by an officer), Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson. Bardem won six awards for his portrayal as Anton Chigurh — the main antagonist — including an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role.
R I C K R O M A N C I TO / TA O S N E W S
Ethan and Joel Coen, left, watch over the shoulder of cinematographer Roger Deakins as he sets up a complex crane shot during the filming of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN along the Río Grande, upriver from Pilar, in 2006. Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than $2 million dollars in cash near the Río Grande. This film won 33 awards, including an Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director.
OCT. 3, 2019
Unlikely twins separated at birth, Vincent (Danny DeVito) and Julius (Arnold Schwarzenegger), reunite and seek out their long-lost mother at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House during the filming of the 1988 comedy TWINS.
Actor Robert Montgomery directed and starred in the 1947 noir crime film RIDE THE PINK HORSE. It was partially filmed in Taos, called San Pablo in the movie. Tío Vivo was used by two characters as a place to sleep for a night. After filming in Taos, the set moved to Santa Fe.
THE MISSING (2003) starring Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett had significant segments filmed here. Set in 1885 New Mexico, ‘The Missing’ tells the tale of a frontier medicine woman who forms an uneasy alliance with her estranged father when her daughter is kidnapped by an Apache brujo. The film was directed by Ron Howard.
In the 2000 film ALL THE PRETTY HORSES, instead of the bridge it’s the Río Grande Gorge that gets top billing. The dramatic, romantic Western directed by Billy Bob Thornton stars Matt Damon, Penelope Cruz and Henry Thomas.
C O U R T E S Y U VA L D O M E D I N A / P H OTO B Y D A R L E N E J A M E S C L AY TO R S A M O A N
COURTESY MARTHA JARAMILLO
Lucille Ball was in Taos during the filming of the Western comedy flick VALLEY OF THE SUN (1942). She is pictured here taking a ride on the Tío Vivo. Riding with her is costar James Craig. A long held story is that during the filming Ball’s husband, Desi Arnaz, was purported to have passed the time by teaching children at Taos Pueblo how to play the conga drums.
The iconic 1969 film EASY RIDER starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson was shot around Taos, including the old jail on Taos Plaza and, as shown here, the former La Contenta Bar in El Prado owned by Edwardo Visarriagas. On social media, Jerry Morine said he remembered seeing a trailer full of six or eight motorcycles. ‘Half were Hopper’s and half were Fonda’s,’ he wrote. And Valrey Van Gundy recalled working for a day when crews were filming on the plaza. ‘I had to ask people to step off the walkway and into the street so there wouldn’t be so much noise on the set.’
Senator Carlos R. Cisneros is Fighting for Northern New Mexico
“Senator Cisneros is committed to protecting our rivers and acequias and perserving it for future generations.” - The Utton Center, Water Matters
Let’s keep our Senator Cisneros Political advertisement paid for by committee to reelect Carlos R. Cisneros Political advertisement paid for by committee to reelect Carlos R. Cisneros
OCT. 3, 2019
G.I. Gertie EVA MIRABAL:
THE FIRST PUBLISHED NATIVE FEMALE CARTOONIST BY SCOTT GERDES
C O U R T E S Y J O N AT H A N W A R M DAY C O M I N G
OCT. 3, 2019
va Mirabal (her preferred name is Eah Ha Wa, which means “fast growing corn” in Tewa tongue) was born in Taos Pueblo in 1920, and at a very young age was introduced to some of the area’s most prolific artists. Her father, Pedro Beaded Shirt Mirabal, was a favorite portrait subject for Russian painter Nicolai Fechin and printmaker Joseph Imhof. Their creations inspired and excited the youngster who showed artistic talent early on. When she was just 19 years old, her work was included in a Chicago gallery’s exhibition. The Santa Fe Indian School provided painting studies for Eah Ha Wa in the mid-1930s. It was apparent she had a flair for incorporating the native forests, mountains and informal, ancestral ceremonies onto her paper canvases in a most delicate way. Eah Ha Wa mostly gravitated toward painting the daily life of Taos Pueblo’s inhabitants — taking particular care to decorative detail in depiction of traditional dress, routine chores and everyday utensils, and in the area’s wildlife and vegetation. Her works in water-based paints employed warm, subtle colors even as she gravitated from a more traditional Native style to modernism. She also found herself being drawn to cartooning, which began as doodles.
outside Dayton, Ohio, swiftly making her way to sergeant. The soles of her shoes never left stateside. Her artistic talents were best kept on United States soil. Eah Ha Wa’s “G.I. Gertie” comic strip series — her first assignment — appeared in the WAC publication The Air WAC, making her the first published Native female cartoonist — not to mention one of the earliest American women to produce a comic strip. The strip put Gertie in all types of militaryrelated situations, often comedic. Lesser known is that Eah Ha Wa also created War Bonds posters. One of her posters used by the military featured a Native man making smoke signals that spelled out “Buy War Bonds.” She also assisted in creating murals such as the 40-foot “A Bridge of Wings” at the world headquarters of Air Service Command where she was
stationed. It is a depiction of the improving relations between North and South America at the time. It still stands. She also assisted on murals at Pittsburgh’s Buhl Planetarium, the Santa Fe Indian School, the Veteran’s Hospital in Albuquerque and Southern Illinois’ Shyrock Auditorium, where her deer adorn archways. With help from the G.I. Bill, Eah Ha Wa later studied at the Taos Valley Art School. In 1946, she was the only woman to enter the First National Exhibition of Indian Painting at the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her entry was a painting of a Pueblo drummer. Her most praised piece is the 1940 tempera on paper work titled “Picking Wild Berries.” The painting was shown in a 1953 exhibit at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C.
SERVING HER COUNTRY Even though Eah Ha Wa believed being an artist was a realistic, attainable career, she wasn’t content to sit along the sidelines painting and drawing when World War II broke out. As her oldest son, Taos Pueblo artist and storyteller Jonathan Warm Day Coming, tells it, the military recruited Native students at Santa Fe Indian School and he feels that is what possibly got her interested in the war effort. Fairly certain her parents wouldn’t approve, on May 6, 1943, she secretly enlisted in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC). A yellowed clipping from an unknown newspaper supplied by Warm Day Coming told a short story on Eah Ha Wa’s enlistment. The eldest of two daughters is quoted as saying because the family had no sons, she felt compelled to join the fight. “My people,” she said, “are a proud people who use their hands to make strong their hold on the land. This is our soil, and we have sent more than 95 percent of our young men to fight.” On Aug. 5, 1943, Eah Ha Wa was designated Occupational Specialty 296 (or artist) for the Army Air Force and assigned as a cartoonist while stationed at Wright-Patterson Field
‘Picking Wild Berries’ (1940, tempera on paper) is one of Eah Ha Wa’s most admired paintings. She submitted this painting to a Museum of New Mexico competition and was awarded the Margretta S. Dietrich Award. This piece was also selected by Dorothy Dunn to be in the ‘Contemporary American Indian Painting’ exhibition at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. C O U R T E S Y J O N A T H A N W A R M D A Y C O M I N G
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OCT. 3, 2019
2019 Taos Pueblo Governorâ€™s staff, from left, Fiscale Andrew Marcus, Fiscale Cruzito A Concha Jr., Lieutenant Fiscale Matthew J. Lujan, Head Fiscale Michael Martinez, Second Sheriff David J. Lujan, First Sheriff James N. Duran, Tribal Secretary Harold T. Lefthand, Lieutenant Governor Joseph P. Romero and Governor Richard Aspenwind.
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