Archive for the ‘Dancers’ category

The Dance in Santa Fe♡

June 16, 2018

“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.”

-John Keats, Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne

Wickedly, Tragically Beautiful

October 4, 2014

Wicked was unbelievable. It was amazing. I loved the symbolism of dark and light/good and bad/love and hate behind this version of the story. I would like to complete an analysis of the symbolism of this Broadway hit. There were such depth to the storyline, but for tonight…I’m tired. Another day!
“To attempt the destruction of our passions is the height of folly. What a noble aim is that of the zealot who tortures himself like a madman in order to desire nothing, love nothing, feel nothing, and who, if he succeeded, would end up a complete monster!”
~~•Denis Diderot


Deadpool Shredder

July 21, 2014

Ohhhh!!! Ohhhh!!! Here is my new Deadpool tee shirt before and after the gym shred. He is a Marvel Comics mercenary who loves weapons. Deadpool is an anti-hero inked by Rob Liefeld and given life by the writer Fabian Nicieza. He is a flexible, magical, being with superhuman stamina!! A perfect gym icon!


Gypsy Festival in Madrid

June 8, 2014

Some of the gals and I spent the afternoon gypsy watching in Madrid. There was an interesting little festival in the bustling village you get to via the Turquoise Trail. The historic village of Madrid sits in the Ortiz Mountains and has deep roots in coal mining.

I got a henna tattoo on my front delt that didn’t take because I’m to dark. I bought a California white sage smudge stick, had a very interesting tarot card reading, and then made a wish at the wishing well. I met a beautiful belly dancer and photographed others. One demonstrated how she used her “wings.”

We had a really good time before Brit and I got busted and landed up in the Madrid jail!! Buahahaaaa





Anthony Sansone: A Godlike Businessman

February 17, 2014

American Adonis: Tony Sansone, The First Male Physique Icon~ an interesting find on the counter in the bathroom of my gym.
It seems like I am always finding interesting things~ especially in the bathroom at the gym. I decided I needed to create a new category on my site titled “interesting finds” because of this mysterious phenomenon. I only wish I had taken pictures of all the random things I have seen over the years…some funny, some scary, some cool, some strange, some which sparked my curiosity, and all…well very interesting!

Last week I walked into the bathroom to find a hardback book with the photo of a ripped man on the cover. Yeah…not really that strange right? I mean it is a gym for God’s sake, but when I opened the book I did blush. Someone had randomly dropped a huge book on the counter with nude photos of Anthony Sansone. Ok…well that’s a little strange isn’t it? I mean he is a famous male physique icon and it was in a gym bathroom…but still.

I was interested in learning more about Mr. Sansone, whom I had heard of but knew little about. The book is available through Amazon and is titled American Adonis: Tony Sansone, The First Male Physique Icon (New York: Universe, 2004). The book is by John Massey, an art historian and details on Amazon say “nowadays nearly everyone is a member of a gym, and perfecting the body beautiful is taken to the point of obsession. This phenomenon can be traced back to one man: Anthony Sansone (1905-1987), the first male physique icon and the most admired bodybuilder of his time.”
Physical Culture Magazine
January 1924
It is said that “images of Sansone’s body spurred the physical culture movement that would sweep the country. Through innumerable reproductions of his photographs, his fitness program publications, and the three gyms he founded, Sansone set and shaped the physical ideal that a whole generation of men would follow.” He was known as “a charismatic figure” who touched both physical and mental realms.

Sansone was born in the United States of America to his parents, who were “immigrants from Sicily.” Years later, the man with a “sculpted, godlike body” owned three gyms in New York. He associated with artists, fellow bodybuilders, dancers, actors, and photographers. He was also the “protégé” of Angelo Siciliano, better known as Charles Atlas, a bodybuilder, business man, and circus strongman.

So I did take time to learn more about a man who inspired and still inspires people to train hard. It was a bit of a strange find, but I’m glad it sparked my curiosity. Mr. Sansone deserves to be remembered…not only for his flawless physique, but for his ability to morph himself to shape physical and mental worlds. He was a bodybuilder, a dancer, a model and an intelligent business man.

An anonymous donor felt that documentary fragments of Sansone’s life justified the use of acid free folders and boxes. That says something. In 2009, a collection with Sansone as the subject was dropped off at the San Francisco Public Library. This turned out to be a very interesting find.



2) Biographical and Historical Note~ Leonard Laton Collection of Anthony (Tony) J. Sansone Photographs (Collection No. GLC 62), James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center, San Francisco Public Library

An Addiction Beyond Addictions

January 19, 2014

Last Thursday, I went with one of my friends to Zumba class. It was my 2nd workout of the day. I had blasted a 700 rep workout of shoulders, traps, abs and lower back for lunch. I also ran a mile on the treadmill. That night I found myself realizing I am indeed an exercise addict. The night before Zumba, I watched a late night special on Nightline titled Exercise Addicts: Pushing Ourselves Too Far?.

It is so sad to think that this special said we really can’t win when it comes to fitness. Being out of shape will kill us and being in shape will kill us. I had a blast sweating away to the beat with the other Zumba nuts, though it would never replace the weights in the gym for me, it was indeed a super fun workout. I did get sore in some places I have never been this time. My hips??

At this point in my life, there is really no going back. Today I ran indoors at the GCCC. There were two new moms running on the track with me. They were running with baby strollers and doing lunges too! I was so impressed! That’s what I should have done!!! I took a picture of them. Tomorrow is a holiday and I am off from work. You know what that means right? It means an *extra* long workout in the gym!!

I love fitness. There is no way I can picture my life without it. I am ohhhh so focused!! I will probably die from this necessary addiction. I guess I have consciously made the decision to die a healthy death with weights in my hands. Lay me to rest with my Nike football gloves and the iron grips!!!

A Zumba class in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Heart & Soul Dance & Fitness Studio.

Inner Strength: Fit for Life

January 26, 2013

Inner Strength

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

It isn’t everyday that I get a chance to interview someone while I am in the gym. With a short amount of time and so much to do it is difficult if not impossible to even speak! I almost always opt to deliver a quick wave “hi” to those I know while my headphones blast into my ears. One day last week I took the time to have an interview with Barbara Massey. She mentioned that she had recently won an award, so I thought she should be acknowledged for that. While we huffed and puffed on the treadmill, I tapped into the hidden history of this inspiring woman.

For over a decade I have know Barbara. Honestly, since I do very little talking at the gym I have never had a good chance to get to know her on a more personal level. I have been using my web site to feature people who I feel have an interesting story to tell. This is a great way to bring personal stories to a collective audience in a unique way. While I was a journalist, this was always the kind of writing I enjoyed most. This gives me a chance to learn, while honoring the accomplishments of those who deserve to be recognized. And so begins the story of Barbara Massey who recently received a part-time staff Excellence Award from the Santa Fe Community College.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Bodybuilding Competition in her mid 40s.

Barbara is a personal trainer here in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I see her almost everyday as she attempts to whip men and woman into shape. I think that her awesome personality has made her a good fit for many of her clients. She is easy going, but teaches her clients about strict form and proper nutrition. It is no surprise that this former California surfer girl also ran track, pushed through marathons, studied dance, and fought real fires. The epitome of inner strength and fitness, Barb competed in her first body building competition when she was in her mid 40s. She was almost a decade older than I am at that time and so it is short of amazing that she was in such beautiful shape.

The first personal memories I have of Barbara are tied to Body Pump. Several years ago a group of Santa Feans decided to take classes to become certified Body Pump trainers. I guess we had a wild hair! The weight-based program has a focus on group fitness. The program is sponsored by Les Mills International, but was created by Phillip Mills in 1991. The classes are 60 minutes long and work eight muscle groups while listening to predetermined music tracks. The classes were instructed using free weights and barbells, so Barbara was a natural fit. I don’t believe that Body Pump had anything on her American Council on Exercise (ACE) Certificate, and her American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certificate.

~~Barbara Massey~~

~~Barbara Massey~~
Mandrills Gym, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Excellence Awards are given to people who are excellent for a reason. Barbara Massey is genuine a model of inner strength and fitness. For a woman in her 60s she is a cut above the rest. Not only does she strive to enhance the lives of her clients, but she also makes every effort to improve herself. All of these things make Barbara a special woman who is worthy of our recognition.

Burning Old Man Gloom

September 11, 2012

Last week my brother and his son went to go see Zozobra burn to the ground. For over 85 years, this creepy and super-sized marionette has been put to death as part of the Fiestas de Santa Fe. His burning is symbolic, still the burning of Old Man Gloom may be the strangest thing you have ever heard of if you are not from Santa Fe, New Mexico. I would even venture to say that maybe some New Mexicans may be a little frightened by the thought of the huge paper man Santa Fe torches each year. What are we thinking? To understand this tradition one has to look deeper. Zozobra or Old Man Gloom has come to be a symbol of our collective worries, heartaches, troubles, and hardships. The community burns him away along with any negativity they wish to shed for that particular year. I have seen him burn several times throughout my life and I must admit, it can be a bit scary. The goal of the event is to walk away better then you were before, spiritually and emotionally. So even if you do not attend the physical burning of the puppet, you are still able to symbolically clear your problems once the gloom is gone.

Article about Zozobra_Santa Fe New Mexican_9.4.1926

Over the years people have asked to stuff Old Man Gloom with all kinds of physical things. These are always things that they feel connected to, but need to disconnect from physically and emotionally. I have heard of court records, old letters, photographs, trinkets, and even a wedding dress being used as filling. These all being symbols of worries and/or containing negative energies. I have seen Zozobra being made and it is something. I think the year I went to watch him being constructed, his eyes were made using record albums which were painted with bright green glow in the dark paint. Before he goes up in flames, a fire dancer dressed in a red suit and ghosts or spirits appear at his feet. They dance around and terrorize the puppet with torches. I was a ghost when I was young, and I believe that was with my old friend Becky? The marionette never goes quietly. He moans, groans, and howls until the very end. Finally he is consumed by flames and the calls of a chanting crowd. The crowd yells “burn ‘im, burn ‘im,” and then they cheer wildly once he is set aflame and fireworks grace the night sky.

My nephew Isaiah (in the black shirt)
and his buddies at Zozobra 2012 in
Santa Fe, New Mexico. Old Man Gloom
is making his guest appearance in the back.
~~Photo by Thomas Lujan (my brother)

This tradition is credited to an artist by the name of Will Shuster (1893-1969). New Mexico has forever been home to the artistically mad. The artist invented the puppet in the 1920s, and according the the State Historian “his inspiration for Zozobra came from the Holy Week celebrations of the Yaqui Indians of Mexico; an effigy of Judas, filled with firecrackers, was led around the village on a donkey and later burned.” The word Zozobra derives from the Spanish word for gloominess. In 2007, the local newspaper published an online documentary about Zozobra. Ray Valdez was interviewed by the Santa Fe New Mexican and according to Valdez, the huge puppet is created by at least “700 volunteers,” uses “over $50,000 in resources,” and the event takes “an entire year to plan.” Zozobra is constructed using a wood and chicken wire frame and then he is covered in paper and paint. Since he is strapped with fireworks and is made of flammable material, he is quickly exhausted by flames and smoke (well almost always).

Article about Zozobra_Farmington Daily Times_8.30.1950

You can see some of the action here for yourself. I have included three YouTube videos of Zozobra. The first is footage from 1991. That is the earliest footage I came across on the tube tonight. I do know we have some older footage in the archives. There is one video of the burning of Old Man Gloom last year (2011), and also part one of a documentary. Next year, if you have troubles to squander, be sure to come to Santa Fe and “burn ‘im.” Honestly, I really can’t picture Santa Fe without the old man. We all have a little gloom to burn.

Hitz and Skipz: MTV Video Music Awards 2012

September 6, 2012

The awards were hosted by funny man Kevin Hart the “future President of the United States.” He was escorted in by his gang of secret service agent little people wearing black sunglasses. He is 2 much! “HART 2012” Haha! I am only going to mention those artists and performances I felt were more than worthy. Anything else I’ll skip over right quick.

The show opened with an awesome performance from Rihanna. Mz. Sexiness was splashed with red sheer clothes and rocked out with green laser lights and a grip of dancers. That woman can move and has swag! I just love all the techno infused RnB that’s been coming out these days- the upbeat tunes are perfect for the gym.

A pretty and sleek Katy Perry presented Best Pop Video to the boy group One Direction– What the?? Major disappointment because Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa (Pay Phone) should have smashed that one up to bits! How could Adam not take it Britney?? One Direction? Really?

Dwight Howard (the man with the gunz and shoulderz like boulderz) gave a really huge token jersey to lil Kevin Hart, but it wasn’t a Magic jersey. As a new resident of Los Angeles, Howard is now part of the Lakers. Howard’s move was just part of a wicked plan to beat King James this year. The Lakers may need those gunz to beat MIA!

A Dwight Howard Workout

Lil Wayne (Weezy F Baby) was sportin’ a sick red headset. What brand of headphones would Weezy rock other than Beats by Dr. Dre? Nice… He had them on through the whole show. They were either on his ears or around his neck. I assume he used them to “skip” a few of these bunk performances.

Red Pro Beats by Dr. Dre

Chris Brown was the winner of Best Male Video of the Year with Turn Up the Music. This was apparently the first video he directed. This video rocks! In the video he spanks the dance floor and lets out a few crazy warrior cries. Last week I literally shut the treadmill down at the gym burning up the belt to the song.

Pink?? Ummm… Maybe we should skip her performance?

Frank Ocean performed Thinking About You while fire and ice illuminated the background with red lights, stars and the moon. I love this man. His set design smashed all of the others with creativity and was aesthetically delicious. Ocean is one of my favorite artists. I kind of wished he would have performed Love Crimes or Novacane (my favorite Ocean songs). “Murda, murda, murda she wrote— Love Crimes- Love Crimes.”

Frank Ocean Performs Thinking About You
at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards

Best Hip Hop Video went to Drake featuring Lil Wayne which I wasn’t crazy about. Kanye West featuring 2 Chainz should have snagged that award with Mercy. 2 Chainz and Lil Wayne performed together and that was a cool performance. Kanye and Kim K. were supposed to make an appearance, but I never saw them? Maybe the Kz were upset about the loss of this award?

One Direction? Ummmm…. Let’s skip that performance and get some coffee fast! Fo’ real!

Nicki Minaj had on an black lace cat suit which highlighted some seriously out of control ash! Is that for real?? She took home the award for Best Female Video with Starships.

Green Day?? Ummmm…. Why don’t we skip that performance?!

Breaking Dawn “the epic finale” was previewed by all the cast members except Kristen (of course). It looks like the finale (if that is really the case) will be a good one. The last vampire romance flick opens on November 16 Marlene— mark your calendar gurl and get your red eyes ready!

Breaking Dawn the Epic Continues

It was seriously crushing to see One Direction take Best New Artist. Frank Ocean looked crushed as well! Really? Who invited these guys? My boy Frank was cheated and I demand a re-vote!

Alicia Keys? Ummm… Yeahhhh… I’ll skip that performance as well. I am getting tired.

Rihanna on the Red Carpet at the 2012 VMAz

Video of the Year went to a much deserving Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris. We Found Love is an awesome song! I loved that Rihanna thanked her “Glam Squad!” She looked beautiful with her super short hair and in a long white backless dress.

The finale was an uncoordinated train wreck by the **once again** heartbroken Taylor Swift. Unfortunately, the nicest hair and sweetest lips in the world couldn’t help Mz. Swift. Boring… I’ll skip that one and sign off for the night!

Becoming a Thriller

July 29, 2012

Last week I attended the funeral of one of my Valdez cousins in Mora, New Mexico. The day was bitter sweet and the emotional extremes seemed endless. I went to Mora to say my final goodbyes and pay condolences to my Tia Nelly. Funerals there are always beautiful. When I die, maybe I will request that Mora is my final resting place- there on the mountain- close to nature- so that my spirit can be released into endless clouds. That day I took my notebook, pencils, some old notes, my iPod, and a list of things I wanted to do while I was out there with history in mind. I shed many tears that day. I thought about many things. I contemplated what had transpired in the place where many of my maternal ancestors laid their heads. With my list in hand, the Virgo in me neatly checked off each task. The task I will talk about tonight involves one of my many memories of Mora.

Cresencia Valdez’s Old Home in Mora, New Mexico

This memory is tied to my Grandma’s sister, Cresencia. Cresencia went by a few nicknames- Cres, Chencha, Chench, and I liked to call her Chenchi. She passed away several years ago. Chenchi grew up in Mora and passed away in Santa Fe. She had a home in Mora until right before she died. When she moved to Santa Fe as a young woman, she kept the home. She and other family members stayed in the home when they visited Mora. This was usually during the Fiestas. As the years marched on, the home was slowly used less and less, except by us kids. This is one reason that the home was on my list of places to document. When I asked about the home, my mom told me that a cousin from Albuquerque had purchased the home and that all the windows and doors were boarded up. It seemed like it may not be worth a try to take a look at the old home, but I still wanted to go and check it out. The day had grown dark and it was raining.

Cresencia Valdez’s Old Home
Mora, New Mexico
Rain was moving through when I took this picture.

After the funeral I visited the home. I went in alone… I was lucky that I found a way in! I have to say that it was really scary in there. The house was completely dark except for the light coming in from the opening I found, and the attic window. Ahhhh- the attic– this was where I needed to be. I fought back all my fear of the dark and grasped my love of it. I held my breath and went up the stairs. I couldn’t believe it. It still looked the same. Me and all of my cousins would sneak into the house to play when we were not supposed to. As we got older, we would sneak off from our property after midnight to tell scary stories in that attic. The best memory I have of the attic was becoming a Thriller. That was back when ghetto blasters, and pants with zippers were hot. Looking back, I guess I have always been intrigued with the darker side of things and music. I had a Michael Jackson cassette tape and some nice speakers to ooze the sounds which declared “cause this is Thrilla…” I have to laugh thinking about it now. I was one of the oldest cousins and I remember making all the younger ones play the zombies from the Thriller music video. My cousins would all hide behind things in the attic and would slowly creep out when you heard the “da, dun, dun, dun, dun, dun…” Anyone who has heard that song will know that beat- haha… Who hasn’t heard that song??

Stairs to the Attic- Valdez Home
Mora, New Mexico

The Attic- Valdez Home
Mora, New Mexico

Window in the Attic- Valdez Home
Mora, New Mexico

Those were the times. I love to remember those times. We had a blast back then. I snapped a few pics of the attic after sifting through illusions of laughter and music. I made my way back down the stairs to look around. It was so dark in the rooms that I couldn’t see anything at all. Maybe a chair or two and an old TV. I kept thinking how scary it would be if there was someone in there. The fear got the best of me at one point and I almost turned around and walked out. When I was about to bail, I looked up and saw a wooden cross hanging above the door still. All of the sudden, the fear disintegrated. I took my iPod and tried to use it for light to no avail. Then the most freaky thing happened. Out of the shadows came a real pitbull. No really- a big, huge, bigger than hell pit. Well that did it. My feet had left the building faster than my mind could react! I may have sprinted faster then ever after that happened. What the? Anyhow— I did “run” away with some memories in hand! Now that’s a Thrilla!!!

The Night Daryn Fell in Love with Ballerinas…

February 26, 2012

Yesterday I wanted to go to Albuquerque to attend a lecture at the Main Library. Friday morning, I had seen a couple of things on the morning news that interested me. There were two other events going on up there that I wanted to catch. Originally, I wanted to make time to go see the woman whom was recently named the Oldest Female Bodybuilder for 2012 in the Guinness World Record Book. She was here for the WorkItOut Day event, which was part of Black History Month. Unfortunately, I had to miss Ernestine Shepherd, 74, of Baltimore. I am not joking when I say that at 74 years old, Mz. Shep is sporting some sweet abs, nice shoulders and bicepts, and a tight back. It’s was an unfortunate miss. Her demonstration and talk was first thing in the morning, and I had a prior commitment.

Ernestine Shepherd_Oldest Female Bodybuilder- Mz. Shep made a guest appearance in Albuquerque_2.25.2012

The other event which was scheduled to pop off, was the Spring Sports Ballet by the New Mexico Ballet Company. The event was held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Now that was a win – win event. The arts mixed with sports? How could I go wrong? I knew that would keep Daryn’s attention. We lucked out and Mike was able to score a few comps, so that was where we went after the lecture. It started at 7:00pm.

New Mexico Ballet Company Sign

There were dancers from various age groups. I didn’t realize that there would be little kids dancing as well. As we approached the glass wall separating us from a concession area filled with pint sized dancers, I could feel Daryn’s hand get hot. There were lots of pretty little girls in silky dresses runnin’ a muck. Much more than he could handle!! I even had to manipulate a situation or two by conspiring with the girls to snap a cute photo. In the first photo I took, the girls waited for D to get in and he refused. On the second photo, you will see that he looks super stiff. It is because I had the girls sneak up on him. One of them asked me “so basically you want us to rush him?” I said “yes!!” I am such an evil mom! MuahhhaAhaaah…

The photo Daryn should have been in with the little ballerinas in flowers and silk dresses from the New Mexico Ballet Company_2.25.2012

A stiff Daryn in a photo he was forced to be in with sneaky ballerinas from the New Mexico Ballet Company_2.25.2012

The performance was really good. The first half was devoted to traditional ballet, and the second half was titled Pucci Sport. One of my favorite dances was a modern piece titled Broken Water. I realized that night that I prefer modern dance. For that piece, the dancers were wearing torn clothes, and the dance was a battle of sorts (kinda like in Michael Jackson’s Bad video ‘member?). At times, the little dude seemed mesmerized by the performances. It was kinda funny! It was a unique idea to incorporate sports into a ballet, and I must say the troop pulled it off successfully. The sports they danced to included: baseball; tennis; football; and basketball. The whole performance was dedicated to New Mexico sports, so the logos were of course Lobos, and Isotopes all the way! There was even a guest appearance by Orbit, the Isotopes mascot. For being dancers, they learned how to handle the equipment, and incorporated several props into the dances.

Dance performances by the New Mexico Ballet Company_2.25.2012

The final dance was an ode to the New Mexico Lobos and basketball. They could all bounce the ball well. Now the ballerinas really got Daryn’s attention when they came out at the end dressed as cheerleaders. They were flipping around, dancing, smiling, and what else? Cheering! From silk and flowers, to satin and sequin?! Now you all know that Daryn was in love! Maybe this will spark a greater sense of art appreciation in the lil dude ha? 😉