RenFaire entertainment video is Nov. 7

By Mike Cook Las Cruces Bulletin

The 49th Annual Renaissance (virtual) ArtsFaire continues with an entertainment video that includes some of Las Cruces’ most popular entertainers and some of RenFaire’s most beloved characters, like Queen Cherrie (Sherry White) and Ratcatcher Robert (Bob Diven).

David Salcido is the videographer, editor and producer of the video, and Randy Granger and Chris Mitchell serve as co-hosts. It also features the Pied Piper Minstrels from Phoenix and the order of Epona jousters from Fort Collins, Colorado, along with Frosty Locks (Michael Kohn).

The hour-long video will be aired beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, and continue with two additional loops until 4 p.m.

The RenFaire online auction continues through Nov. 7.

For more information, call the Doña Ana Arts Council at 575-523-6403. Visit

By Mike Cook Las Cruces Bulletin Hear Ye! Hear Ye! the 49th annual renaissance artsfaire, laid siege by the covid plague, will now be a virtual event on the 7th of november, 2020. The faire shall offer many festivities, yet at a safe social distance on thy computer contraption. We hath set eyes on a glorious 50th faire next year in November 2021. It would please us greatly if you would stay thee watchful for more edicts from the Queen. Huzzah! Announcement! The 49 Annual Renaissance ArtsFaire, due to the COVID pandemic, will be a virtual event on November 7, 2020. Many fun activities will be offered, but at a safe social distance from your computer. We are looking forward to a spectacular 50th Faire next year in November 2021. Please watch for more details on how to participate. Hooray! There won’t be a dragon in the lake this year, but Magellan will come roaring back bigger and better than ever in 2021. To protect public health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Doña Ana Arts Council (DAAC) has decided that the 49th annual Renaissance ArtsFaire will be a virtual event on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, DAAC Communication Director Kathleen Albers said. “Many fun activities will be offered, but at a safe social distance from your computer,” Albers said. “We are looking forward to a spectacular 50th Faire next year in November 2021.” “We hope that good health and safety will be reasonable expectations by this November, but we know that a ‘normal RenFaire’ will simply be impossible this year,” said DAAC Executive Director Greg Smith. Smith said DAAC staff are still refining details for the virtual event, but added, “We are expecting that those who join us for a virtual renaissance experience this year will thoroughly enjoy a range of activities: learning experiences with a focus on the arts and cultures of both Europe and the Americas 500 years ago in our Feed Your Mind series; some exciting offerings to be auctioned; costume contests focusing mainly on traditional Renaissance garb, but also introducing what was being worn on this side of the Atlantic; a wide range of video connections to how and why artists and performers do what they do; and a number of video ads for artists and vendors.” The virtual RenFaire is also expected to include videos of jousting and other medieval and renaissance activities. The crowning event will be the live, online auction of several great works of art, including drivable art on wheels, appropriately named “Baby, You Can Drive My Art!” Smith said more details are forthcoming. “I have been involved in the Renaissance Faire for over 30 years and have loved engaging with the faire goers as their queen,” said Sherry White. “The RenFaire has become an intricate part of Las Cruces History in its 49 years. It is one of those mainstays that people can plan a vacation around and look forward to every year. In our hectic world, the visitor to our faire can step back in time for a few hours and experience the music, fashion, manners and delights of a time gone by. We are all planning an immense celebration for the 50th RenFaire next year and will look forward to meeting and mingling with the visitors to the Queen's Court yet again.” “The way we experience entertainment has changed dramatically with the pandemic,” said Las Cruces musician Randy Granger, who has been performing at RenFaire since 1998. “We are forced to be even more creative in how artists and audiences experience each other. Most of the festivals I had been scheduled to perform at this year have gone virtual via livestreaming or recorded performances and workshops. Instead of cancelling the Renaissance Faire, the highlight of our fall fiesta season, we are also going virtual involving as much of the familiar acts and activities as possible along with new ones to keep folks interested. I know major touring acts who are postponing touring for a while. No one knows with certainty when we will all be able to have crowds again. In the meantime, we are working hard to provide some entertainment and community with Ye Ole Virtual Renaissance Faire and hope everyone joins us. Being online will increase our audience exposure worldwide. That is exciting.” RenFaire is an annual fundraising event produced by DAAC since 1971. It has been held for many years at Young Park. One of the event’s most popular attractions is always Magellan the Dragon. Diven built, launched and maintained the original dragon for more than 25 years, before creating a new robotic dragon, in partnership with the New Mexico State University College of Engineering and the New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, turning over its continued maintenance to Doña Ana Community College’s Engineering Manufacturing Program led by DACC Engineering and Manufacturing Department Chair Luis Meza. With a budget of less than $1,000, Diven built the dragon out of chicken wire, upholstery fabric and plywood, using a Peterbilt truck horn to give him a mighty roar. Early on, Diven enlisted the assistance of Boy Scouts in canoes helping to hook up the dragon once it was placed in the lake at Young Park. Canoe rides became an annual part of RenFaire as a result. Diven said the name for the dragon came from a children’s contest the year the dragon was made. The two finalists were “Magellan” and “Pants on Fire,” Diven said. “I chose Magellan because it was an elegant name,” he said, and because it honored Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who organized the first expedition to circumnavigate the globe in 1522. “As The Ratcatcher Robert, my whole patter was about a deadly plague sweeping the world and how it changed everything: economies, systems of rule, language,” said Bob Diven, who portrayed Ratcatcher Robert beginning in 1996 until retiring him in 2019. “Our current pandemic has put huge parts of our regular lives on a deep hold, and in a way that gnaws at our essential humanness: it isolates us from our community. The Renaissance ArtsFaire is one of the communities within our community, and is as much an annual reunion of volunteers and friends as an art event. I don't really know how much of that communal experience can be captured in a virtual way, but I know we have to try. Until, as Queen Elizabeth (the current, living one) said "We'll meet again.” For more information, call 575-523-6403. Visit” - Mike Cook
photo by Greg Bodin Better living through travel By David Salcido, Las Cruces Bulletin Musician, teacher plans a ‘spiritual journey’ excursion Sometimes the best way to replenish one’s mental health reserves is to get away from it all for a while to discover new sites and reconnect with the inner you. To put this notion into motion the Center for Spiritual Living, 575 N. Main St., is sponsoring a one-of-a-kind “Spiritual Journey” to the sky city of Acoma and Canyon de Chelly, with Native American musician Randy Granger through four days and three nights, Tuesday, July 22 through Friday, July 25. Included in the trip will be luxury coach travel, accommodations at the Sky City Casino Hotel Resort and the Sacred Canyon Lodge, as well as tours, concerts, drumming circles and plenty of opportunity to slough off the cares and worries of the work-a-dayworld. For Granger, it’s an opportunity not just to make new friends and introduce them to his music, but also to stretch his teaching and meditation muscles. As facilitator of the journey, he will lead meditation exercises in the mornings, to prepare his group for the day ahead, and in the evening, to ease them with relaxation afterwards. All against some of the most spectacular backdrops New Mexico has to offer. “I think one of the major benefits of learning to meditate is to reduce stress,” he said. “If you look at the top 10 causes of illness and death in the United States – heart disease, smoking, obesity, diabetes – you find that they are all linked back to stress. There have been a lot of studies about how meditation can help people with coping skills, pain management and improving sleep without a prescription and without side effects. My hope is that, not only will the people who come with us on this journey learn something about the land we live in and their part in it, but also come away with better coping skills that they can use in their everyday lives.” Conceived by tour guides Pat and Cindy Breedlove, who have more than 25 years experience conducting tours all over the world, this particular trip holds a little more meaning for them. “We’ve always done pleasure travel,” Cindy Breedlove said. “We have an awesome group of  travelers who have been all over the world with us, but this is the first time we’ve had a facilitator like Randy.   “It’s a unique opportunity that is not real costly, but our objective is to have an experi­ence that is very worthwhile for all who are going with us.”   In fact, this particular journey is some­thing they put together in order to better serve the community they live in. Current members of the Center for Spiritual Living, the Breedloves would like to raise enough money to provide the building with some much needed renovation.   “They could use a larger kitchen,” Breedlove said. “And a little TLC in other areas.”   Even so, Granger points out that though 100 percent of the funds raised will go to­ward this cause, it shouldn’t be thought of as a church function.   “We’ve been reaching out to anybody with an open mind, because we feel they would benefit most from a trip like this,” he said.   “This journey is really for anybody with a willingness to experience something dif­ferent, to unwind and to reconnect.”   With only 47 seats to fill, at a cost of only $450 per person, chances are good this trip will sell out fast. For more information or to book passage for the Spiritual Journey, call Cindy Breedlove at 202-0885 before July 15.   David Salcido can be reached at 575-680-1845 or Native American musician Randy Granger plays his trademark flute. Granger will be the facilitator of a trip to the sky city of Acoma and Canyon de Chelly. Las Cruces Bulletin photo by David Salcido I think one of the major benefits of learning to meditate is to reduce stress. RANDY GRANGER, trip facilitator” - David Salcido

The Las Cruces Bulletin

Hear an interview with Algernon D'Ammassa and Randy Granger on KTEP-FM El Paso NPR station. It's about out upcoming production of An Iliad at the Glasbox Theater next weekend in El Paso.  Enjoy and as always, feel free to share any of my links. Thx.  ” - Monica Gomez


A Place Called Peace Native American flute player and percussionist Randy Granger displays his versatility on A Place Called Peace, an album kicked off by the title vocal track (Za Zee Za Zu Zing) exploding with cheerfulness and energy, buoyed by thoughtful lyrics. Besides playing flute and singing, Granger also displays a strong hand on the hang drum (an instrument which continues to gain in popularity). Talk about firing up a CD n the first song! It's not often (as primarily a reviewer of instrumental music) that I hear a vocal which makes me think "Boy, I hope the artist sings another one" but that was my reaction here. After this opening cut, the remaining seven tracks are all instrumental, encompassing a variety of tempos and moods. The Dog Star is a plaintive and haunting solo flute number, and, I would suspect, perfect for star-gazing in the clear desert sky. Granger has excellent technique on the lower register flute which he plays on this piece. Chaco Moon Meditation veers from its title's evocation by virtue of its fast tempo hang drum rhythm and the relatively uptempo nature of the flute. However, Granger's flute work here is still haunting enough to perfectly capture the image of a moon being "chased" by wispy clouds. Ghost Dancers evokes a strong Native American influence with tribal drums and traditionally-pitched wooden flute. There is an inherent sadness at work here, as well, and over-dubbing Granger's flute with accompaniment on other flutes only lends more power to the song. The higher pitched flute solo in the track's midsection might send chills down your spine! The soothing yet plaintive Grande Lullaby made me long for more like it. The cut reminds me of Coyote Oldman's recordings, which is meant as a huge compliment. Apache Tears once again combines tribal drums (as well as shakers) with Granger's flute once again illustrating a notable Native influence. The music flows along on currents of sadness and regret as well as bearing the majestic beauty which this wooden instrument alone seems to be able to covey. Double-Barrel Train Wreck has to be heard to be believed...Granger plays as if he has a third lung! I got tired just listening to this astounding display of breath control and musicianship! Closing out the CD is Ancestor's Ocean Voyage, the most energetic and highly charged song on the album, featuring not just flute and drums but also didgeridoo. Propelled by energy and passion, the cut sandwiches its vitality between opening and closing passages featuring what the liner notes refer to as "ocean drum. Randy Granger's name deserves to be listed with other renowned Native American flute players, both Native and Anglo, because he obviously has both the chops and the artistry to warrant it. A Place Called Peace illustrates that he is not just a gifted multi-instrumentalist but that he "feels" the music with a sincerity and emotional honesty which can't be faked. I solidly recommend the CD and I'd encourage the artist to continue exploring the incorporation of vocals among his strong instrumental work. That first song out of the chute really caught my attention! Rating: Good + Good + - reviewed by Bill Binkelman on 7/21/2009” - Bill Binkleman

Zone Music Reporter CD Review

Randy Granger had a wonderful day shooting a music video at City of Rocks State Park. “It was super windy, though,” he says. “It was southern New Mexico in the spring.” Granger is a New Mexico musician who specializes in the Native American flute. He will be performing at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, on Stage 49 at the Gathering of Nations. Granger will be playing material from his latest album, “Ancient Grace.” In fact, for the past few months, Granger has been heavily promoting the album. “Getting the songs out to radio stations, it takes a lot of time,” he says. “Marketing it out to the world takes a lot of my time.” New Mexico musician Randy Granger will perform at the Gathering of Nations. Granger worked on the album for about four months. He shifted the way he works to accommodate working on the album while on the road. “The album was influenced by the flute,” he says. “It’s a complete album of solo Native American flute.” Granger began to play the flute in 2004 while he was traveling to all the northern pueblos. “I was doing health education up there and I would often hear this sound in music,” he says. “I found out what type of flute it was and immediately felt drawn to it.” It’s been about six years since Granger performed at the Gathering of Nations. He’s looking forward to performing for a big audience. “The atmosphere is amazing,” he says. “This is one place where Native American culture can be celebrated with a huge crowd.”” - Adrian Gomez

The Albuquerque Journal

‘An Iliad’ returns, ‘Killing Buddha’ debuts at Black Box Theatre By Zak Hansen Las Cruces Bulletin In 2014, actor/director Algernon D’Ammassa set out to bring to the stage of the Black Box Theatre the Obie Award-winning “An Iliad,” an adaptation of Homer’s famed epic “The Iliad.” Written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare and based on Robert Fagles’ translation of the ancient poem, “An Iliad” is a modern retelling of the Trojan War, “of the gods, warriors, families and endless battles of human history updated with an enthralling contemporary voice,” presented to the audience by two vagabond troubadours. Debuting in Las Cruces at the Black Box Theatre 2014, “An Iliad” was a hit, garnering critical acclaim and sold-out performances, before touring throughout New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and North Carolina – then returning in 2015 for another string of stellar shows. In her review of last year’s production, Bulletin reviewer Marissa Bond said, “I like this play so much that it sounds like I’m lying.” Bond’s piece closed, “‘An Iliad’ will leave you raw, present and gone, all of these things – perhaps, even as I was, mouth slack, stunned and unmoving in the theater dark, keening some internal, thunderous, minor-chord yawp for what creatures we are – the beauty and brutality of our past and present and the fine, deliberate art that can make us know and feel so much more about ourselves as a people than only living will sometimes illuminate.” D’Ammassa and Granger will return to the Black Box stage Friday, Feb. 12, for one performance of “An Iliad,” in advance of the premiere of the duo’s first original collaboration and “unofficial sequel,” “Killing Buddha,” opening the next day, Saturday, Feb. 13. Of his decision to follow up Peterson’s and O’Hare’s challenging, rewarding production, D’Ammassa said, “Randy and I have so much fun doing ‘An Iliad,’ but we are also bound to a script and wanted to explore the characters we were playing and interact more,” giving the duo to further test the bounds of the characters they’ve evolved with over productions of the piece. “In our interpretation of the script (for ‘An Iliad’), Randy and I are homeless wanderers who are, you get the impression, thousands of years old. They were alive when Troy fell. So we wondered what was possible if we saw the same guys on a different night and they told a different story. “Killing Buddha” is the result. “It’s based on a very old Buddhist fable about the Buddha’s encounter with a murderer (Angulimala) who wants to atone,” D’Ammassa said. “Like the Iliad, it speaks to many questions that still torment us about violence, criminality, the limits of forgiveness, the purposes of punishment (including capital punishment). So we went with it.” The duo’s creative process in creating “Killing Buddha” was fittingly unconventional. “I wrote a script. Randy read the pages and listened to recordings of me reading from the script and improvising, wrote some new music and incorporated one of his extant songs. The first time we went through the whole thing together, it was in front of an audience!” That audience was a 20some member crowd at the August 2015 Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival, held annually in Utah. “It’s a week packed solid with theatre, music, dance, visual art, scattered across several venues in the ‘sugarhouse’ neighborhood of Salt Lake City,” D’Ammassa said. “It’s a blast. Las Cruces should start one.” D’Ammassa said he “applied on a lark.” “Randy was touring the western states anyway, and it gave me a useful deadline for getting a new play written. It was terrifying because we did not get a chance to rehearse together until our two-hour light check the day before the festival. Like I said, the first time we ran throughthe piece together was in front of our first audience, about 20 people.” First-run jitters notwithstanding, “Killing Buddha” generated quick buzz and, by the close of the festival, had taken home honors. “Word spread and by the next day, we were filling the space and on the last night of the festival they announced we had won the ‘Fringe Pick’ award, which is chosen by the festival’s board and staff. That means an automatic invitation to come back this year, which we plan to accept. We had a blast up there – and in the end, we made enough money that the trip paid for itself and perhaps an ale or two.” While “Killing Buddha” has a finished script, it, like “An Iliad” by design is very much a work-in-progress play. “There is a written script, but I’m still altering it on my feet,” D’Ammassa said. “I would take a little recorder and go outside, just start riffing on the story in Spring Canyon and Rockhound Park in Deming. I began typing some of it out and had a script about a week before the festival, right before I started driving to Salt Lake City.” Taking D’Ammassa’s written script and recordings, Granger listened through, coming up with “ideas about instruments, moods, colors … But mainly what he does is set up various instruments around the space – flutes, percussion, strings – and plays whatever he feels in the moment,” D’Ammassa said. This improvisational take is key to the work’s success. “Like I said: I never expect the music to illustrate what the words say, I just wanted his breath and his music to flow as they will,” D’Ammassa said. “I think it keeps the event fresh. I’m beginning to feel hemmed in having a script at all. Someday we’ll do a show with no script. Just set up instruments and a few props, say hello to the audience, and let something unfold.” Though thematically linked, “Killing Buddha” jumps from ancient Greek history to Asian folklore – quite a leap, but not, perhaps, as much as one would expect. “The great thing ‘An Iliad’ pulls off is to scaffold a story across time and culture,” D’Ammassa said. “That’s what the storyteller does. “Achilles and Hector are like people we know. So is Andromache. Agamemnon. Helen. Even the gods function in ways that seem familiar, like world leaders whose vagaries affect our lives from afar. The Greeks in their ships heading to Troy under the command of Odysseus or Nestor are very much like the boys from Clovis or El Paso who get sent to Afghanistan or Iraq, my grandfather on a battleship, my father in Viet Nam.” Though D’Ammassa recognizes Eastern modes of thinking may seem distinctly foreign to some, he feels otherwise. “If anything, I guess Buddhism and its stories are even more alien to some Americans, but for me Buddhism has always been very American,” he said. “My teachers and brothers and sisters on the path have mostly been American or European. So I’m used to hearing and telling Buddhist stories in ways that bridge the cultural gap. In some sense, the story of Achilles and Hector, or the story of Buddha and this murderer and a very puzzled king, have to become your story. That’s what this project is about.” In that sense, “Killing Buddha” is less a sequel and more a companion piece to “An Iliad,” complementing and critiquing one another in surprising ways. In D’Ammassa’s words, “‘An Iliad’ focuses on rage and organized violence, war. “Killing Buddha’ talks about personal violence, terrorism, and asks how much we really believe in rehabilitation or atonement. ‘An Iliad’ ends with an elegy, and I think ‘Killing Buddha’ ends on a note of redemption.” “An Iliad” has one performance at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12. Performances of “Killing Buddha” are 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 13 and 20, and Friday, Feb. 19, as well as a 2:30 p.m. matinee Sunday, Feb. 21. Tickets for all shows are $12 adults and $10 seniors and students. For tickets, to make reservations or for more information, call 523-1223 or visit For more information on Theatre Dojo including upcoming productions, Zak Hansen can be reached at zak@lascrucesbulletin. com. Musician Randy Granger and actor/director Algernon D’Ammassa bring their acclaimed “An Iliad” to the stage of the Black Box Theatre for one show Friday, Feb. 12, in advance of the debut of the duo’s new original work, “Killing Buddha,” which premieres Saturday, Feb. 13. ” - Zak Hansen

Las Cruces Bulletin

” - Christine Cole

Orlando Sentinel

White Sands to Celebrate the National Park Service Centennial with Full Moon Night Concert By WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT • 17 HOURS AGO SHARE     CREDIT WHITE SANDS NATIONAL MONUMENT   Alamogordo, NM – White Sands National Monument will continue the year-long celebration of the National Park Service Centennial with a full moon night concert featuring Native American flutist Randy Granger on September 15 at 7 pm. In addition to the concert, the new White Sands Girl Scout patch will be unveiled in partnership with the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Council.   The National Park Service Centennial kicks off a second century of stewardship of America's national parks. One goal of the centennial is to engage youth in national parks. “We are excited to work together with the Girl Scouts of the Desert Southwest Council to create an opportunity for girls to enjoy, explore, and learn about White Sands National Monument and their national parks. We hope as girls work to earn the White Sands patch, they along with their friends and families will create positive memories that last a lifetime,” stated Superintendent Marie Frías Sauter.  White Sands is hosting a variety of special events this year in celebration of the centennial including full moon nights and Step into the Past programs. The final full moon night for 2016 will feature the Chance Ensemble presenting John Muir University of the Wilderness on October 16 at 6:30 pm.  Relief, Recovery, and Reform: The New Deal and White Sands National Monument on Saturday, November 5th at 1 pm will wrap up the special events for 2016. For more information about these programs, 

KRWG.ORG   Celebrating culture with food, music and more LAS CRUCES INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL Xchelzin Peña Special for Las Cruces Sun-News What better way to experience a different culture than through its people and its food? The New Mexico State University Office of International and Border Programs, along with the NMSU international community, will host the annual Las Cruces International Festival at the downtown Plaza de Las Cruces from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, during the Farmers & Crafts Market of Las Cruces. This year, cultural displays, information and food will be offered by 12 participating countries: China, Libya, Jordan, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Kuwait, Iran and, for the first time, Malawi. Displays and entertainment at the free event will include native art, textiles, artifacts, photographs, music, dancing, games and international students dressed in their native clothing. Rod McSherry, interim associate provost of International and Border Programs, said he expects this year’s festival to draw larger crowds than it has in the past due to its new location on the plaza, according to a news release. The festival has taken place at Pioneer Women’s Park and the Las Cruces Convention Center in previous years. “The festival is a chance to showcase our international diversity on campus and share that with the greater Las Cruces community,” McSherry said in a news release. “We New Mexicans are fortunate to already enjoy a rich, multicultural environment. So, in many ways, this added dimension of bringing even more cultures from around the globe to downtown Las Cruces is an extension of us being naturally international.” Several organizations will participate in the festival, including the American Civil Liberties Union. ACLU field organizer Jorge Rodriguez said he is excited to take part in an event that recognizes the strength of diversity. “When we celebrate our different backgrounds, instead of giving into fear, we send a powerful message that xenophobia and racism will not be tolerated,” Rodriguez said. ACLU will have a table at the festival and will be speaking with members of the community to educate them on their civil rights and liberties. Other participating organizations include: Aggie Cupboard, The Branigan Cultural Center, Catholic Charities Legal Aid, Charlotte’s Place, New World Drummers and Dancers, Vam@s Juntos and Weaving for Justice (Mayan Women from Chiapas). Award-winning Native American musician Randy Granger will also participate in the fetsival. He has attended NMSU’s many diversity events throughout the years, including Native American week, but this may be his first International Festival, he said. Granger said he supports events that bring the community together. “I think anything that shows how diverse we are in the Las Cruces area is always a good thing,” he said. Granger will perform at the International Festival at 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Granger said he is looking forward to the event. “Some of my friends are in the New World Drummers and Dancers,” he said. “It’ll be nice to see them.” NMSU groups that will attend the festival include the Office of Education Abroad, Returning Peace Corps Volunteers, NMSU’s Gospel Choir and the Rotaract Club. Currently, NMSU has more than 1,300 international students from 80 countries on campus, according to a news release. Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, who will welcome attendees as part of the city’s new partnership in hosting the festival, said “it’s wonderful to have students from throughout the world enhancing their education at New Mexico State University,” according to a release. “We welcome them to our city, and we are very happy they have chosen the Plaza de Las Cruces to have their festival,” Miyagishima said in a release. For information about the Las Cruces International Festival, visit ” - Xchelzin Peña

Las Cruces Sun-News