A National Garden Month reading list

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

In celebration of National Garden Month and all the rad ebooks you can read for free with your Albuquerque Public Library card—via Hoopla Digital—your friends at Southwestness compiled a reading list of recently published works about gardening, cannabis, wildflowers, preserving flowers, wearing flowers, living with nature and all subjects flora. Scroll on for a reading list that runs the botanical gamut and keep your plant-hungry eyes peeled for Vol. 2 of Southwestness‘ “A National Garden Month Reading List” later in the month.

Growing Weed In The Garden: A No-Fuss Guide to Outdoor Cannabis Cultivation by Johanna Silver

The Earth in Her Hands: 75 Extraordinary Women Working with Plants by Jennifer Jewell

Feminist Weed Farmer: Growing Mindful Medicine in Your Own Backyard by Madrone Stewart

Field Book Of Western Wild Flowers by Margaret Armstrong

Plant Tribe: Living Happily Ever After With Plants by Igor Josifovic & Judith de Graaff

The Kinfolk Garden: How to Live With Nature by John Burns

The Art of Wearable Flowers by Susan McLeary

Gardenlust by Christopher Woods

Mini Meadows: Grow a Little Patch of Colorful Flowers Anywhere Around Your Yard by Mike Lizotte

Dried Flowers: Techniques and Ideas for the Modern Home by Morgane Illes, Hervé Goluza

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An LGBTQ+ National Poetry Month reading list

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

In celebration of National Poetry Month and the rad ebook offerings proffered by Albuquerque Public Library—via Overdrive and Hoopla—your friends at Southwestness have compiled a reading list of standout poetic works by LGBTQ+ authors. Scroll on for a reading list that highlights a diverse spectra of identity and themes of desire, sexuality, grief, immigration, family, nature, colonization, racism, citizenship, self-care, mythology, geography, politics, capitalism, motherhood, technology, violence, erasure and more.

Field Theories by Samiya Bashir

Burning Sugar by Cicely Belle Blain

Thrown in the Throat by Benjamin Garcia

Aphrodite Made Me Do It by Trista Mateer

Night Sky With Exit Wounds by Ocean Vuong

Feed by Tommy Pico

Collective Amnesia by Koleka Putuma

Romans/Snowmare by Cam Scott

NDN Coping Mechanisms: Notes from the Field by Billy-Ray Belcourt

All Its Charms by Keetje Kuipers

Soft Science by Franny Choi

Rattlesnake Allegory by Joe Jiménez

An antiracist reading list

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

We here at Southwestness are reflecting on the omnipresent nature of white supremacy in American society, art, commerce, culture, media and beyond. We favor Ibram X. Kendi’s definition of being antiracist, which calls for actively supporting antiracist policy (and, yes, alternately disavowing racist policy) through our action or inaction and by expressing antiracist ideas. In order to support antiracist policies and express antiracist ideas, we must first educate ourselves. One way to do that is by reading more about more meaningful subjects. Learn more about antiracism by reading some of the nonfiction works available to check out for free (as an ebook with an Albuquerque library card), including Kendi’s How to Be an Antiracist (2019, Penguin), below.

How to Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Dying of Whiteness: How the Politics of Racial Resentment Is Killing America’s Heartland by Jonathan M. Metzl

White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue … and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation by Lauren Michele Jackson

An African American and Latinx History of the United States by Paul Ortiz

Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism by Safiya Umoja Noble

Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era by Ashley D. Farmer

White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Midst of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South by Issac J. Bailey

remote viewing nov. 6-10

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

for Southwestness

As we all await results from the most important presidential election of our lifetime, Southwestness reminds our readers to listen, learn, love and resist. Scroll on for COVID-safe Southwestern virtual events spanning next week. But, first, please take a few deep, expansive breaths and say something kind to yourself.


On Friday, Nov. 6 at 8:30pm, longtime local fav ¡Revíva! brings its upbeat, highly danceable reggae y ranchera sound to Red Gorilla Studios’ virtual concert series. Watch via Red Gorilla’s Facebook page.

Saturday + Sunday

This weekend, Nov. 7-8, from noon to 3pm, check out demos and live Q&A sessions on everything from cold wax and weaving, to microwave kiln and stone sculpting by attending the Virtual Dixon Studio Tour. Access this artsy digital road trip and tour via Facebook.

Manos y Ceresas, Sylvia Ernestina Vergara via iluminadoelmundoyyodespierta.blogspot.com


Update: This event is canceled but organizers say they will still share performance video on their social media accounts. On Sunday, Nov. 8 at 7pm, join local record label Oh Lawd for a livestreamed set by local hip-hop crew GoatHeads, a trio that describes itself as “homegrown sounds with a hint of petrichor, soulful voices and salted earth.” Check out the set via Oh Lawd’s Facebook page.


On Monday, Nov. 9 from noon to 1pm, home-schooling parents in search of fun ideas and early childhood teachers in need of CEUs convene to experiment with absorption, adhesion, and surface tension at a Water Wonders workshop hosted by Explora and the NM Association for the Education of Young Children. Register for this free event via GoToWebinar.

CC BY CSIRO, Wikipedia


On Tuesday, Nov. 10, at 5pm MST, Dancing Earth‘s Practicing Principals of Ancestral Knowledge series presents a Pueblo Bread Making workshop taught by Sage Romero (Big Pine Paiute/Taos Pueblo) via Zoom. No one will be turned away for lack of funds but the suggested donation of $1 to $100 benefits Romero’s AkaMya Culture Group, a Big Pine Paiute non-profit focused on wellness through traditional song, dance, sobriety and multimedia.

remote viewing: election day

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

Tuesday, Nov. 3, is Election Day. If you haven’t already availed yourself of early voting, Southwestness urges our readers to make time to rep their vision for a better America at the polls. Here in Bernalillo County, you can access all relevant vote-casting deets, such as voting locations, at bernco.gov/clerk.

CC BY cottonbro / Pexels
CC BY cottonbro / Pexels

From 7:30am all the way till 10pm MST, Tucson-based nondenominational fellowship The Center for Spiritual Living hosts an all-Election Day virtual prayer & meditation event via Zoom. Learn more about this free, nonpolitical Southwestern digital event at bit.ly/pcmdttns. (Pro-tip: If you could use some spiritual one-on-one, visit newvisioncsl.org/election to log on to a Zoom Prayer Zone that convenes at 6:30pm MST.

CC BY Alina Vilchenko / Pexels

On Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 6pm MST, Low Writing at El Chante: Casa de Cultura presents a free online writing workshop focused on honoring ancestors and processing grief. RSVP at bit.ly/prcssgrf.


On Nov. 3 at 6:30pm MST, Moab Museum livestreams a screening of My Canyonlands: The Adventurous Life of Kent Frost, Chris Simon’s documentary on a prime mover of American conservation policy who manifested as a folksy backcountry guide-slash-author next door. The Museum’s Zoom event will feature convo with Kent’s nephew and be simulcast on Facebook. Select your digital path at bit.ly/kntfrst.

self by southwest: diary of an invasive species

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

Publisher of Southwestness

The unceded Indigenous territory known as New Mexico is a place where both genealogical and ancestral roots run deep. It is not at all uncommon to meet folks here whose families are eighth- on up to 18th-generation nuevomexicano.

Preceding nuevomexicanos in chronology land rights are those peoples indigenous to this enchanted landscape—the Tiwa, Tewa, Pueblo, Diné, Ute and Apache. I only have a couple decades of residency and continue making an earnest effort to learn more about the history of this place and its inhabitants.

In this state, there are 12 native thistle species (genus Cirsium) alongside two introduced, invasive species. Aggressive elimination techniques of invasive species (especially pesticide use) are now endangering those 12 ecologically important native thistle species—two are threatened or endangered native wetland plants—seriously enough to compel our Native Plant Society’s publication of a guide to New Mexico thistles. In short, slash-and-burn tactics are less effective than focused, nuanced efforts.

Download the Native Plant Society of New Mexico’s guide to New Mexico thistles at bit.ly/nmthistles.

Regarding my place here in the Southwest, a metaphorical placeholder might be a minimally destructive but nonetheless non-native, invasive species of thistle. Because however “woke” or conscious of my own privilege I may be,  I am nonetheless afforded opportunities as a white woman that disenfranchise those possessing more melanin.

After years of examining my own colonized mind, I continue to discover blind spots and distortions. One of Southwestness’ goals is to up the volume and visibility for the relentlessly talented pool of artists and creatives who call the Southwest home. Southwestness encourages our readers to engage in the democratic process, supporting progressive politics during the upcoming election while agitating to prioritize the decolonizing of a country founded on stolen land and the adoption of meaningful, radical environmental policies to address humanity’s catastrophic earthly consequences.

In my undergrad American Studies at the University of New Mexico, my overarching focus was on art, culture, science and technology while my academic cultural inquiry leaned heavily toward Spanish, Hispanic aspects of Southwestern history and culture, from civic annals and religious rituals to regional literature and folklore.

“Regarding my place here in the Southwest, a metaphorical placeholder might be a minimally destructive but nonetheless non-native, invasive species of thistle.” – Samantha Anne Carrillo, Southwestness Publisher

Whether I failed to enroll in courses on Indigenous cultures or these courses were less accessible, the result is that my work in these areas of study is largely self-directed. However, the academic rigor of those topics courses I did take at UNM—The History of Santa Fe, Blacks in the Southwest, Religion in New Mexico, The Literature of New Mexico, Nature and Technopolitics and The Nuclear West, et al.—afforded me a stable jumping-off point.

I ran a website titled Things in Light (after a Marsden Hartley quote describing New Mexico) for several years before finally refining the site’s mission by creating Southwestness, where our arts & culture coverage focuses on people and orgs demonstrating compassion, creativity and resilience right here in the high desert. Southwestness supports land acknowledgement protocol and respects the Indigenous peoples who have long stewarded the land we presently inhabit—namely, the Tiwa, Tewa, Pueblo, Diné, Ute and Apache—while also recognizing their enduring relationship to this land.

As Northwestern University’s Native American and Indigenous Initiative Land Acknowledgement website notes:  “Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.”

Indigenous histories are too often suppressed, and our coverage of these (and all) history aims to be accurate and thoughtful. We invite commentary (including letters to the editor and op-eds) from people in these ancestral Indigenous communities. We also understand that the onus for our cultural and historical education rests with us, as does the responsibility of initiating and maintaining respectful interpersonal communication.

To submit an event to our Remote Viewing calendar or hip us to your installation, mural, album, clothing line, etc., message @southwestness on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email southwestness[at]gmail[dot]com.

Being drawn westward may well be the ultimate bohemian cliché. But I confess I felt drawn here since my initial research on New Mexico. And I continue to remain in thrall to the thinkers, artists and makers who also call this place home. Southwestness’ goal is to create meaningful, ephemeral content that reflects a greater mission of listening, learning ( unlearning), loving and resisting here in New Mexico and the greater Southwest.

Southwestness reports on art, cannabis, compassion, culture, nature, resilience, style and wellness in the high desert. To submit an event to our Remote Viewing calendar or hip us to your installation, mural, album, clothing line, etc., message @southwestness on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email southwestness[at]gmail[dot]com.

remote viewing, 9/4-9/7

Southwestness​ (fka Things in Light​) reports on art, cannabis, compassion, culture, nature, resilience, style + wellness in the high desert known as New Mexico. Our Remote Viewing calendar promotes virtual + socially distanced events that align with our listen / learn / love / resist mission. Our next issue, v1i3, publishes Monday, Sept. 7.




remote viewing, 8/29-31


Virtual Con

Take one viral pandemic, mix in longtime local sci-fi & fantasy fest organizers and the result is 9.5 hours of free virtual programming, including readings, panel discussions, workshops, art demos and The Green Slime Awards. Buboni-Virtual Con convenes at 10am on Saturday, Aug. 29—in the comfort in your own living room—via Bubonicon’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. Learn more at bubonicon.com.


Behave Yourself!

On Saturday, Aug. 29 at 7pm, join Currents New Media Festival for a livestreamed performance of Andrea Pensado’s ¡Portate Bien!, which explores emotional terrain through ventriloquy. Outfitted with “talk” sensors and an accelerometer “brain,” kinetic “dummy” Andreita is the work’s main controller. currentsvirtual.com/LIVESTREAM


Choice Words

On Sunday, Aug. 30 at 3pm, join Bookworks Albuquerque for a virtual event featuring readings by contributors to Choice Words: Writers on Abortion—including Shirley Geoek-lin Lim, Lisa Alvarado, Mary Morris, and SM Ramos—by RSVPing (to rsvp@bkwrks.com) for access to the Zoom link.


Native Cinema

From Aug. 31 through Oct. 5, virtually attend Vision Maker Media’s 2020 First Indigenous Online Film Festival, a five week-long celebration of American Indian, Alaska Native and global Indigenous film and engaging digital conversations with Indigenous creators working with film. The fest is free after you register at bit.ly/vmmfooff.

On copping an attitude

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

The hashtag #ACAB—and the phrase it acronymizes, All Cops Are Bastards—is admittedly controversial.

Are all cops bastards? In a word, no. But officers’ individual morality is not the cause of police brutality.

All police departments are tasked with enforcing laws that are rooted in white supremacy and American colonialism. Whether or not we personally recognize laws thus rooted as legitimate, they remain the law of the (stolen) land.

American policing has its origins in white men patrolling for runaway slaves, enforcing Prohibition rules and protecting Americans from their own xenophobia in the late-19th and early 20th centuries.

As a unit of cultural transmission, the #ACAB meme stands in striking contrast to the overt adulation of police in American society and media. #ACAB seems to have manifested as a discrete, hyperlinked expression of our shared lament that Olivia Benson is an entirely fictional character. (Sorry, Liv, but you know it’s true.)

The #ACAB background: Two months into pandemic lock-down, our uncommonly isolated selves became capable of the collective empathy to authentically—and, in many cases, unselfconsciously—mourn the death of Minnesotan George Floyd, a Black man who died after a white cop knelt on his neck for more than eight minutes.

You can tell a lot about a society by how the powerful treat the vulnerable. Here in Burque, that aphorism never rings truer than when police clear a homeless camp or deal with mentally ill people, especially those who are actively in crisis. See the cases of James Boyd (2014), Valente Acosta-Bustillos (2020) and far too many before, between and after.

Awareness raised by Black Lives Matter, police abolitionists, Indigenous organizations and immigrant rights groups coalesced, catalyzing BLM’s resurgence and expansion. Activists successfully negotiated cancel culture to foment social media protest, raise awareness of systemic racism and police brutality and change the cop’s position in the American pop cultural pantheon.

By early June, schadenfreude-powered reality TV shows “Cops” and “Live P.D.” were canceled. Former Albuquerque mayor Marty Chávez first banned “Cops” from filming in the city limits in 2004. Ten years later, Chávez’ successor, Richard Berry, held that thin blue line—even as APD’s pattern of excessive force and officer-involved shootings found the city signing a reform settlement agreement with the US Department of Justice.

Yet Berry and Chávez both considered the issue primarily one of optics. In 2004, Chávez told the local daily that: “The city’s police officers are portrayed in a good light [on ‘Cops’], but the rest of the city looks horrible.” Uh-huh. One decade later, Berry opined to the Journal that “the show unfairly highlights the worst of communities.”

US Census data reveals the statistical outliers in the Land of Enchantment’s 2010 incarceration rates. Prison Policy Initiative analyzed that data and discovered that whites are underrepresented in New Mexico’s jails and prisons and on its probation and parole rosters, while Black people were vastly overrepresented in those same spaces.

The below bar graph shows New Mexico incarceration rates per 100,000 state residents of a racial/ethnic group. Census data shows that New Mexico’s 2010 population boasted only 1.8 percent Black residents while 40.4 percent of the state population self-identified as non-Hispanic white.

Black people, who comprise less than 2 percent of the total state population, are being incarcerated at a rate more than double any other ethnicity. (Verify this data at prisonpolicy.org/profiles/NM and census.gov.)

In mid-June this year, Mayor Tim Keller announced plans for a first-of-its-kind civilian response department. According to his administration, the Albuquerque Community Safety Department will “restructure thousands of calls on homelessness, addiction and mental health into the hands of trained professionals; [and] keep officers focused on core police work and reform efforts.”

Harm reduction efforts in local policing, like the Albuquerque Community Safety Department, ongoing DOJ reform efforts and the Civilian Police Oversight Agency, deserve community support. But Southwestness urges our readers to continue taking on the difficult, worthwhile work of dismantling manifestations of white supremacy in our society.

Criminal “justice” issues are merely one subset of America’s foundational manifestations of colonialism and white supremacy. Militarized police empowered to use excessive force are mirrored in all spheres of American life.

Oppression of non-white Americans is a reality: in health care access, in economic redlining, in political redistricting and other voter suppression efforts, in the War on Drugs, in our schools and well beyond. The most pressing question that remains is what all of us are going to do about it.

Submit community editorials (under 700 words) via email to southwestness [at] gmail [dot] com or message Southwestness on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Featured photo CC via Indrid__Cold via Wikimedia

a southwestness field guide to masks

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

Until a novel coronavirus vaccine is developed or effective COVID-19 treatment protocols are identified, humanity possesses scarce ability to outwit—and, more importantly, to outlast—a global pandemic most of us never saw coming. In especially stressful moments, it sometimes feels like we awoke one morning, and there was suddenly an unfamiliar, perpetually evolving set of rules for everyday life. Alongside continued vigilance in physical distancing, handwashing, virus and antibody testing and contact tracing, wearing a mask in public is the Number One thing we, as New Mexicans, can do to mitigate COVID-19 risk in our shared local communities.

Last week, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham addressed the people of New Mexico in a  presser that was live-streamed by many constituents via social media. The conference itself lasted a couple hours, and Grisham moved briskly through a thorough, bullet-point breakdown of New Mexico’s latest public health order, which went into effect on Saturday, May 16. While phased, capacity-based (25 percent) business reopenings were also announced, the most politically charged aspect of the new order is a requirement that all New Mexico residents (yes, even children) mask up in public spaces.

Our governor has done a commendable job of enacting a data-directed, safety-first response to COVID-19 here in The Land of Enchantment. Lujan Grisham and her administration also model appropriate pandemic behavior. During last week’s press conference, the governor even had a Martha Stewart moment when she demonstrated how to fold a bandana into a makeshift face covering. Lujan Grisham stressed that DIY face covers do meet the standard set by the new public health order. That said, this is the new normal for now, and you can support local makers by sourcing washable fabric masks from them.

Local makers and sewing pros are selling masks via traditional modern means, such as their own website or digital marketplaces like etsy.com, and through a DIY Instagram/Paypal combo for marketing and payment. ICU nurse and textile artist Laura Lawless Burgess, who’s also a self-taught seamstress, knitter and admitted “fiberphile,” is putting her fabric stash to work to mitigate our collective risk. “I am an experienced ICU nurse,” Burgess said, “and I am having survivor’s guilt so I have taken my hoard of fabric and decided to use skills that I have to find some kind of meaning and purpose right now in the midst of the insanity we are all experiencing.”

White & Black Modern Coffee Quote Photo Collage
Header image sources (clockwise from top left): SouthWest Organizing Project, Laura Lawless Burgess, Mimi Green, Material Cut

Burgess’ work in critical care nursing led to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which now prevents her from returning to bedside work. Burgess explains: “Survivor’s guilt. I know exactly what it’s like to hold the hand of a person dying alone without family. Exactly what it’s like to lose a patient on a gurney. Exactly what it’s like to lovingly pick a dead human’s nose and bathe them so their family can have a less morbid memory.” For Burgess, an intimate familiarity with mortality motivates the healer and maker to give back using her sewing skill set.

“I just love humans,” said Burgess. “I feed the homeless with my kids. I write poetry and share that and tell stories onstage, and I like to make costumes. A lot of events have been canceled this summer, and I really have a need to push some fabric through and create. And have a purpose.” That purpose began to spark when Burgess received a request for a clear mask, puzzling over the fact that such fabrics aren’t breathable.

After discovering a prototype for a clear, reusable mask for the deaf and hearing-impaired, Burgess, who lipreads and has friends and family of varying hearing ability and sign language skills, got inspired: “I expressed being really sad about not being able to smile at people, about the trepidation of being in public spaces only as needed but missing that connection. I was just smiling at a stranger, and somebody suggested making a clear mask. And then someone requested one and I tried it.”

Arts entities like Opera Southwest and nonprofit SouthWest Organizing Project are also folding pandemic priorities, such as masks, into their 2020 undertakings and output. Opera Southwest is offering donation-based washable, reusable cloth face masks with a filter pocket and padded wire nose bridge. “We started making masks to do two things: one, to help our community slow the spread of COVID-19, and two, to keep our costume staff working through this crisis,” said Tony Zancanella, executive director of Opera Southwest. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the demand and are making them as fast as we are able. We’re glad to be able to give back to the community and keep at least some of our technical staff employed on this project.”

White & Black Modern Coffee Quote Photo Collage (1)
Image sources (clockwise from top left): Nikki Zabicki, Zoe Can Patch It, Julianna Kirwin, Velocitoddler

Meanwhile, SouthWest Organizing Project, aka SWOP, is pushing forward with its focus on census initiatives. In a nutshell, it’s important to work toward an accurate state census count because the annual outlay of federal funds to New Mexico is contingent on these official numbers. While it’s always a challenge to encourage members of especially vulnerable communities to stand up and be counted, the COVID-19 pandemic adds additional barriers to a process that is already imbued with difficulty.

“SWOP realizes that women of color and young people are being shut out of the COVID-19 stimulus and what’s left of the safety net,” said Mikyle A. Gray of SouthWest Organizing Project. “We’ve been working with members and allies who want to jumpstart a feminist economy by supporting networks of women and young people working to keep our communities safe. SWOP has helped accomplish this by networking with many amazing nonprofit organizations in New Mexico to create masks with messages and distribute them to at-risk communities—including Native, undocumented, refugee, transgender, and incarcerated loved ones.”

Gray continued: “We are creating these special census design masks, which both serve as protection and also remind folks to be counted and complete the census. This process has been a beautifully collaborative experience and would not be possible without the help of amazing seamstresses like New Mexico Women’s Global Pathways, Matron Records, Casa Fortaleza and the many groups who helped with distribution and media: Pueblo Action Alliance, Transwoman Empowerment Initiative, Crossroads For Women, Street Safe, Resource Reentry Center, Shiprock, Santa Clara Pueblo.”

To learn more about or donate to SWOP’s Special Census Design Mask for Communities project, visit bit.ly/swopcensusmask. To engage with Opera Southwest’s mask project, visit operasouthwest.org/face-masks. To learn more about the clear mask project or to purchase one, visit healthfirstmasks.com.

Scroll on for a list of New Mexico makers that Southwestness encourages you to support. This list is not comprehensive by any means, and we welcome corrections, edits and suggestions. To get in touch, message Southwestness on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or email southwestness@gmail.com.  All together now, physically distanced but united in purpose, we can evidence and promote the compassion, creativity and resilience that @southwestness constantly observes in action right here in New Mexico.

Header image sources (clockwise from top left): SouthWest Organizing Project, Laura Lawless Burgess, Mimi Green, Material Cut

a southwestness field guide: feeding the homeless

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

In the midst of first great plague of postmodernity (save HIV/AIDS), ensuring the survival of your own household must be a top priority. A breakneck pace of daily, even hourly COVID-19 updates is dizzying, even for the most levelheaded folks. Consider, for instance, the overriding public safety messages being communicated across the globe: a) Stay home and b) wash your hands.

But what if you don’t have a home? And I don’t mean that in an esoteric, political or emotional sense. People who don’t have a house to live in probably don’t have a dedicated spot to wash up, including the new frequent handwashing norm, either.

For those who lack the Maslow needs hierarchy’s physiological aspects, the complexity of physical distancing is exponentially magnified. Without sufficient access to food, water, warmth and rest, fulfillment of remaining psychological and self-fulfillment needs—as well as conjuring the creativity necessary to adapt pandemic safety guidelines for life on the streets—takes on immense difficulty.

If you have the financial means, consider making a monetary donation to any of the following nonprofits serving New Mexico’s homeless population: One Albuquerque Housing Fund; Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless; Barrett Foundation, Inc.; Heading Home; Steelbridge; S.A.F.E. House; Supportive Housing Coalition of New Mexico; Therapeutic Living Services; HopeWorks; and Casa Q.

If you lack funds but have the spare time and motivation, you can help homeless neighbors while maintaining the government-mandated phsyical distance. In collaboration with Portland State University’s Homelessness Research and Action Collaborative, houseless advocacy group Right 2 Survive has created a thoughtful guide on how to feed homeless people in our neighborhoods while staying safe from novel coronavirus infection. See the infographic below or download a PDF of the Feeding Our Neighbors how-to guide.



a southwestness field guide: the sounds of new mexico

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

In my mid-twenties, I relocated here to Albuquerque from Austin. That was nearly 20 years ago now. I know “emigrating” isn’t the right term for the move—as that intransitive verb means: to leave one’s place of residence or country to live elsewhere—but that’s what it felt like.

Austin is like a liberal encampment bounded on all sides by—wait for it—Texas. Prior to moving here from ATX, I had previously joined my friends in hoisting metaphorical “Austin or bust!” signs. It’s a great city and a literal oasis amid the American South’s relentlessly extant “shoot it, stuff it or marry it” ethos.

And Austin is known for its music scene—from  “Austin City Limits” and SXSW to the vibrant Sixth Street scene, which offers something for almost everyone—so as a music lover, I was barraged with shocked comparisons and expressions of disbelief when people discovered from whence I hailed. “Why would you move here?” and other variations on that theme puncuated my early days in The Duke City.

Honestly, I didn’t know what I would find here in New Mexico. In the intervening years, I  have found my home, an education, my husband/best friend, a career in journalism and an expansive sense of history and culture here in The Land of Enchantment. I also found a creative community the likes of which I’ve never known. And many of those artists create music.

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert but Albuquerque’s creative momentum is such that it has still delivered unto me some amazing sonic experiences. From the countless local bands who’ve rocked my world to the concert tours that brought artists like Geto Boys, Steely Dan and Acid Mothers Temple into my orbit, Burque just sounds good.

With the pandemic effectively canceling all non-virtual gigs until the fall of 2021, this is a perfect time to get acquainted with the spectrum of sonic art created here in New Mexico. Bandcamp is reprising its 24-hour fee-free COVID-19 fundraiser this Friday, May 1, and on the first Fridays of both June and July. First run on March 20, Bandcamp’s musicians’ fundraiser waives all fees for artists for 24 hours; during its inaugural COVID-19 fundraising campaign, fans responded by injecting $4 million into artists’ bank accounts.

Scroll on for Southwestness’ essential picks for New Mexico bands and artists to listen to and support via Bandcamp or however you can. The silver lining of this persistent COVID-19 cloud might be that you discover your new favorite band. Maybe you’ll even find a whole new genre that appeals to you. Whether you’re self-isolating, working remotely, suddenly unemployed, under quarantine or working on the front lines, everyone needs a terrific soundtrack. So find your jam and crank it up to 11.

Listen Up

a southwestness field guide: COVID-19

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

COVID-19 now vexes New Mexico, the state that Southwestness calls home. The vernal equinox came and went, yet the inevitability of spring and its disinfecting sunlight somehow feels more speculative than assured.

Were we not facing a pandemic, these paragraphs would certainly feel less dystopian. Perhaps this would be a meandering meditation examining the American Southwest via a postcolonial lens … The thing is—right here, right now, in the Chihuahuan Desert, Jornada del Muerto and betwixt and between—we are living history.

You are being inundated with advice on how to excel at social distancing. Events, festivals, conferences and concerts have been either canceled or postponed. All of a sudden, we are expected to keep our distance from our fellow human … for the greater good.

Depending on your job, you are either: a) adapting to remote work, b) having your hours cut or your position eliminated or c) some combination of a & b. Even if your job is “safe,” you’re probably feeling something about enforced social distancing and the cessation of “normal life.”


Leaving necessary critique of our federal pandemic readiness (or lack thereof) to the experts (here, here, here), I am compelled to address the viral elephant in the room: COVID-19 will affect the way people gather, in the Southwest and across the globe, for at least 18 months. And that year-and-a-half timeline to bring an experimental vaccine to market is relentlessly optimistic.

Here’s where we are: Until further notice, New Mexico exists in a state of public health emergency. By order of the state health department, gatherings are limited to five or fewer attendees. Across the state, public schools (K-12) are closed.

On Wednesday, March 18, the health department amended earlier restrictions, mandating that all restaurants, bars and breweries suspend dine-in service and offer takeout and delivery exclusively. Compared with the original 100-person limit, the number of attendees comprising a “mass gathering” sank 95 percent, to five. That order is set to remain in effect until May 15 but the guv has noted that it will be extended as necessary and compliance is being enforced.

Compliance enforcement involves ramped-up surveillance of New Mexico businesses. Those violating the order face fines, suspension or revocation of licenses to operate and even incarceration. All New Mexico movie theaters, indoor malls, flea markets, gyms, rec facilities, health clubs, resort spas, race tracks and the like are ordered shut till we flatten the curve. Hotels, motels and “other places of lodging” are operating at no higher than 50 percent of maximum occupancy.

As of this post’s latest update, New Mexico’s number of positive COVID-19 cases stands at 9,723. To learn more or bookmark a dedicated website for ritual comfort and accessing updates, visit cv.nmhealth.org.

Scroll on for our aggregation of New Mexico COVID-19 advice, info and resources. We here at Southwestness believe that we can honor our traditions and rituals while adapting them to suit the new normal. We can continue to care for and look after one another, even if that empathy has to be mediated by technology.


COVID-19 Pro-tips

  • Regularly wash your hands with soap.  The sudsy friction of washing hands with soap and warm water is superior to hand sanitizer. That’s because the virus responsible for COVID-19 is encased in a lipid bilayer envelope. Soap molecules dissolve this fatty two-ply envelope, destroying the virus.
  • Prioritize self care. We are not talking bubble baths here. Care for yourself by eating healthily, staying hydrated, taking any prescribed medication on schedule, adhering to some sort of daily routine and getting enough physical exercise and mental stimulation. Read a book, watch a movie—heck, write a book. Listen to music created by some of the wildly talented musicians who call New Mexico home.
  • Be kind. Take the time to check on friends, family, colleagues and neighbors, especially the elderly, the immune-compromised and those living with chronic illness (whether corporeal or psychic). Many people are in crisis mode right now and the resulting fear and anxiety is likely to manifest as anger and frustration. Don’t take those inevitable all-caps comments too personally.
  • If telecommuting is driving you stir-crazy,  check your privilege, take a walk, call a friend or find a creative way to honor the heroes among us: health care workers, school food service workers, grocery and retail workers, long-haul truck drivers and janitorial/ cleaning pros. And please keep supporting your favorite local businesses, artists, bands and more by purchasing gift cards or merch via their website, leaving a virtual tip/donation or ordering curbside takeout or delivery from local restaurants.

COVID-19 Resources


a southwestness field guide: november

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

If autumn had an official soundtrack, I would expect it to be populated by genres like post-punk, dark wave, goth rock, synth-pop, stoner rock and doom metal. And the local concert scene is delivering on that imaginary OST in spades. In addition to featured local acts—Crushed?!, Ermine, Hosie, Joe Buffalo & the Satans, Lady Uranium, L I Ł I T H, No.Star, Shower Surgery, Simian Breed, Somniloquist and Somno Profundante—the next couple weeks find the high desert awash in dark star power: All Your Sisters, Black Mountain, Chelsea Wolfe, The Coathangers, Curse, Lana Del Rey, Missing, Monolord, Nature Boys, and TR/ST. Happy haunting, y’all!  

Friday, Nov. 1:

Anri Tsutsumi’s Tokyo-Fe Wasabi Groove at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe

Basement Films’ 15th Annual A/V Show at ASUNM Southwest Film Center

Alicia Smith’s Secondhand Ceremonies at Trapdoor Projects

Saturday, Nov. 2

Dia de los Muertos at South Broadway Cultural Center

Albuquerque Witches’ Ball at Tortuga

Muertos y Marigold Pachanga & Fundraiser at Bandido Hideout

Sunday, Nov. 3

Bosque Wild: Guided Nature Walk at Open Space Visitor Center

Fall Type Out Event at Pennysmiths Paper

Lana Del Rey at Kiva Auditorium

Monday, Nov. 4

Trans Folx Rock! At Corpus Arts

Black Mountain + Helms Alee at Sister

TR/ST at Meow Wolf

Tuesday, Nov. 5

Dinosaur Jr. + Easy Action at El Rey Theater

Patti + Ermine + Shower Surgery at Corpus Arts

Dirty Honey + Sweet Nothin at Sister

Wednesday, Nov. 6

Wooden Luminarias workshop at Dovetail Community

Indigenous Language is Life at UNM’s Hibben Center

Nature Boys + Les Profs De Skids + Joe Buffalo & the Satans + No.Star at Ghost.

Thursday, Nov. 7

2019 Shared Knowledge Conference at UNM’s Hodgin Hall

Sound Bath at Santa Fe Salt Cave

Monolord + Blackwater Holylight at Sister

Friday, Nov. 8

Ava + Ziloeta + Karamia at Ghost.

Techno Contra at Aux DOG X-Space

Shifting Perspectives at Currents 826 Gallery

Saturday, Nov. 9

TAAS Cosmic Carnival + Star Party at Open Space Visitor Center

Ava + Laz Nance Letcher + Platonic at The Tannex

Prickly Pear Harvest at New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

Sunday, Nov. 10

Winter Remedies at Cottonwood Medicine Collective

Second Sunday in Nob Hill

Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Musical Theatre Southwest

Monday, Nov. 11

The Transit of Mercury at New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science

The Zeta + Crushed!? + Ceremonies + Yucca at the Fly Honey Warehouse

Death Valley Girls + Crocodiles at Sister

Missing + Crush Diamond + Simian Breed at LongHair Records

Tuesday, Nov. 12

Chelsea Wolfe at Meow Wolf

The Coathangers + Control Top at Launchpad

Hexing the Patriarchy with Ariel Gore at Collected Works Bookstore



Wednesday, Nov. 13

Ozomatli at Meow Wolf

Alan Zimmerman + Jesse Tatum + Tara Khozein + Ryan Dennison + Larry Schulte at The Tannex

All Your Sisters + Cryogeyser + Somniloquist + Midwife at Sister

Thursday, Nov. 14

Ozomatli at Kiva Auditorium

Friday, Nov. 15

Arise Music & Coffee Annual Holiday Food Drive at Moonlight Lounge

Saturday, Nov. 16

There Must Be Other Names for the River at National Hispanic Cultural Center

Friday, Nov. 22

this is not a concert at AUX DOG X-Space

Jordan Reyes/Chisme/Steve Jansen at LongHair Records

Thursday, Nov. 28

Bisóodi Records’ Neznaá Béeso at Moonlight Lounge

princess takes barelas


by Samantha Anne Carrillo

On the last leg of their 40-city US tour, performance art duo Princess visits The Tannex (1417 Fourth Street SW) in Barelas this Saturday, Oct. 19. The AV-centric twosome—Michael O’Neill of JD Samson and MEN and visual artist, composer and performer Alexis Gideon—announced the American tour and the Nov. 1 online debut of their sci-fi feminist rock opera Out There in a teaser that states the following:

“2028: Proclaiming Earth to be a misogynistic dystopia, the art-pop super duo Princess prepares a rocket ship to find a better world.

As only two white men could.”

Expect a similarly thoughtful, humorous and self-aware discussion of gender and identity—especially queerness and concepts of masculinity and “the divine feminine”—this weekend at Princess’ live performance and screening at The Tannex. (After all, Out There premiered this past March to a sold-out Andy Warhol Museum crowd.) Doors open at 7pm and the performance begins promptly at 8pm. General admission ranges from $12 to $15, while The Tannex’s Patreon Patrons get in for $10. Get more deets here.

Editor’s note: If you’ve heard rumblings of The Tannex closing up shop, know that venue proprietor Marya Errin Jones has awesome shows scheduled through November. The best way to support independent art and culture—including The Tannex—in this town is by showing your support and, even more importantly, by showing up.

submit a product for review

Submit a product to Southwestness for review consideration


Southwestness welcomes submission of products in our editorial focus areas—art, cannabis, culture, design, style and wellness—for review consideration. Products created by women in New Mexico and the greater American Southwest will be prioritized.

We have no interest in publishing negative reviews, so if we don’t love (or at least really like) your product, we reserve the right not to write about or review it. But the result of that policy is: When we do really like (or love) a product, Southwestness will post a thoughtful, creative review that includes original visual elements and appropriate disclaimers. And we’ll share that review with our readers and social media followers.


The best way to determine if your product is relevant to Southwestness’ audience is to consider our editorial focus: Southwestness reports on art (all mediums, genres), cannabis (tech only for now), culture (regional, popular), design (accessories, housewares), style (personal, interior) and wellness (skincare, yoga, and so on).

Sound like a match? Then pitch us (and receive shipping info) by e-mailing southwestness@gmail.com or filling out the below Google Form.

Southwestness PR pro-tip: When submitting a product for editorial coverage or review, always include the product’s availability, price, ordering info, retailers, company PR contact info, product details/specs and a press kit or a brief pitch.



toward succulence

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

Among local flora, succulents—a category that includes all cacti but isn’t limited to the Cactaceae family—serve as potent metaphor for “grace, beauty and perseverance amid the … harshness of the high desert.” Thickened, fleshy parts that collect and preserve water in arid climates and soil are succulent plants’ primary distinguishing characteristic.

These plants possess an impervious outer cuticle or “thick skin.” Succulents eschew typical leaf structure in favor of spines, storing vital moisture in fleshy leaves and pads and conducting photosynthesis via stems. Many succulents even possess ribs—yes, you read that rightthat enable rapid plant volume expansion and concurrent shrinkage of exposed surface area.

Here in New Mexico, common succulents include cacti—such as prickly pear, cholla, hedgehog, beehive and barrel cactus—as well as ocotillo, yucca and agave. Succulent attributes readily lend themselves to metaphor. Imbued with resilience and humility, these plants are self-possessed but never submissive. They thrive in solitude, cultivating patience and respecting resources, but sometimes cluster. They persist and even bloom amid scarcity.

Test my theory (that you are a succulent lover, too) by learning more about native New Mexican succulents at npsnm.org and new-mexico.cactus-society.org.




everything you always wanted to know about high desert culture* (*but were afraid to ask)

by Samantha Anne Carrillo

Welcome to Southwestness, a space inspired by and dedicated to high desert culture. As a resident of Albuquerque and a student of New Mexico for nearly two decades, I have worked to become more informed about the history of my chosen home and both its historic and present-day inhabitants—seeking out sanctioned, often sanitized, academic and institutional knowledge and the unfiltered, sometimes subterranean, visceral variety.

My love affair with The Land of Enchantment roughly coincides with my career in journalism. College editorships led to section (music and arts) and editor (managing, and associate) tenures at two weekly newspapers in Albuquerque. With Southwestness, I aim to put that experience to work, reporting on people, places and projects that exemplify resourcefulness, thoughtfulness and resilience amid the literal and metaphorical harshness of the high desert.

Southwestness is a digital-first zine supplemented by an annual print guidebook. Our editorial focus is art, cannabis, culture, design, style, wellness and related products and services. Southwestness will consider ethically aligned sponsorship opportunities and enthusiastically accepts (for transparent review) products that fall within our editorial focus areas—art, cannabis, culture, New Mexico, style and wellness—made (especially by women) in New Mexico.

Welcome to Southwestness; follow us on Instagram [@southwestness] or Facebook [@southwestness] to join us on this journey.

high desert style + culture

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