Mixed Me­dia

GLOW at the Santa Fe Botan­i­cal Gar­den

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO - — James M. Keller

At last week­end’s pre­view party for the Santa Fe Botan­i­cal Gar­den’s GLOW fes­ti­val, ev­ery­one seemed to com­ment on the mag­i­cal ef­fect of laser lights that were pro­jected at strate­gic points in the land­scape. The men­tion of laser lights con­jured up not very hope­ful images of bat­tling ex­trater­res­trial nin­jas, but all such trep­i­da­tion was swept aside at the first glimpse of these sub­tle in­stal­la­tions. In­stead, these were tiny points of green light pro­jected from ground-level units so un­ob­tru­sive as to be prac­ti­cally undis­cov­er­able. The il­lu­mi­na­tion set­tled on the bar­ren branches of trees and shrubs like shim­mer­ing scrims. When a breeze wafted through, the ef­fect — es­pe­cially if glimpsed from a dis­tance — made one won­der if the Aurora Bo­re­alis had been trans­posed to our south­ern lat­i­tude.

That’s not all that set the in­stal­la­tion apart from what vis­i­tors had ex­pe­ri­enced in pre­vi­ous years. In Oc­to­ber, the gar­den opened a new twoacre sec­tion called Ojos y Manos (Eyes and Hands), de­signed to show­case na­tive plants that were tra­di­tion­ally put to use by the in­hab­i­tants of this re­gion for food, medicine, and weav­ing. The tim­ing, just as the gar­den is go­ing to sleep, is a bit awk­ward, but we look for­ward to spring and sum­mer to see the new plant­ings flour­ish. But even dur­ing this sea­son, vis­i­tors to GLOW can get the gen­eral lay of the land, in­clud­ing walk­ing around a cir­cu­lar am­phithe­ater that will be used for per­for­mances in warmer weather. For cur­rent pur­poses, the “stage” area is oc­cu­pied by a large ra­di­ant tent, in­side which vis­i­tors can gather around a Christ­mas tree. One sus­pects this is where Santa will be greet­ing the younger vis­i­tors, al­though ap­par­ently he was too busy build­ing last-minute toys in his northerly work­shop to be able to drop in at the pre­view gala.

It’s likely to be cold, so dress suit­ably. The gar­den helps out by of­fer­ing warm bev­er­ages, and sev­eral bon­fires and fire­places serve as way sta­tions for thaw­ing out. Once the nightly event opens to the pub­lic on Fri­day, Dec. 16, the place will be filled with mu­sic as well as light. A dif­fer­ent act per­forms ev­ery evening; you can co­or­di­nate your visit with your mu­si­cal taste by con­sult­ing the com­plete ros­ter at www.santafeb­otan­i­cal­gar­den. org/events/glow. While you have your browser open, you can also re­serve ad­vance tick­ets at a slight dis­count from the gen­eral ad­mis­sion price of $9 (less for Santa Fe Botan­i­cal Gar­den mem­bers and se­niors; bud­ding gar­den­ers age twelve and un­der are free). You can use your pre-pur­chased tick­ets on any evening. GLOW is open nightly from 5 through 8 p.m., with the last en­try at 7:30, Dec. 16 through Jan. 1 (closed on Dec. 24 and 25). The gar­den is lo­cated at 715 Camino Lejo.

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