Saturday, January 23, 2010

Haitian Orphans, how you can help

As most of you know the big telethon was held last night for Haitian relief efforts. Bravo to those who participated, and donated what they could. Our friend Barbara Thomas has a daughter who had adopted a Haitian child just about 2 years ago, his name is Miles. This was through the BRESMA Orphanage. It's the one the 2 young women from the USA were running that was ruined in the Earthquake, Jami & Ali. Thankfully the children and all were safe from harm, and now they've been sent to the families that were in the process of adopting them.
If you would like to help, and this orphanage is going to be inundated with children for some time to come now, here's what you can do.
Send a check to: Keystone Church of Hazelwood, note Haiti Mission on the Memo line
161 Hazelwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207
Attention to: Sam McMutrie, director of finance

For more information you can email: hatifundraiser@gmail.com
or call 412-628-3361
Jami & Ali have a Facebook page:
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=253060986318#/group.php?gid=253060986318&ref=mf

Federal tax ID No. 16-1686006

For me this is one of the best places to send money, because I know it will go to this orphanage. Many of the other groups to donate to may be great organizations, this one just makes me feel like it will do some good.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Taos Pueblo Buffalo Dance

Today is King's Day, which for most of the Pueblos of New Mexico means the changing of the Tribal Government and the transfer of the Canes, which signify the sovereignty of the Pueblos. On this day a Buffalo Dance is held,
(again at most but not all), to commemorate this Inauguration Day. This afternoon it was a warm sunny and perfectly clear day. The forecast was for snow flurries in the afternoon.
The first thing I noticed was how dressed up everyone was, the Taos Pueblo ladies in their best colorful robes and finest jewelry peaking out from under these wraps. Then too, I began to notice how many people were there, and how many Anglo-Saxon local Taosenos (and also all dressed up) many people who I know, and everyone saying hello, or making an effort to come over and greet me, which was really nice, again the warmness and friendliness of Taos at it's BEST.
The drumming began, and there they were a long procession of Buffalo Dancers, Deer Dancers and what I would call Priests or Caciques with drums and wrapped in very handsome colorful robes. The Buffalo Dancers have over their heads entire Buffalo heads, which have been cured and are kept through a participants lifetime, and are normally skinned and cured by that person. The Deer Dancers wear freshly skinned deer heads and pelts draped over their heads and down their backsides, they walk with canes to mimic the long legs of the deer. The procession makes it's way along the Eastern wall and then along the North Pueblo Buildings until they reach the front of the Church. Along the way they take their time to stop and dance and honor the villagers and guests. As they arrive at the Church which is on the Western side they are encircled by everyone trying to get a better view. I stood behind the drummer/singers, very rhythmic and steady here is a link to an example of what this sounds like:
http://www.kylegann.com/ZuniBuffalo.mp3
I hope this works it's worthwhile and will transport you there.
The other link I'd like you to try is a video of an actual Buffalo Dance at one of the Hopi Villages, this is considered a social dance at Hopi so is not considered sacred and taboo for me to give you here:
http://www.digitalsmokesignals.com/video/hopi-buffalo-dance-in
The 2 examples of paintings here are rather good depictions, but at Taos there are about 50 Buffalo Dancers adults and children, about 6 Deer Dancers, and 24 Caciques, some drummers and some just keeping an eye on things. The drums are the hand drum sort as seen below, bodies are painted with the Sacred Red Clay, Pueblo Kilts of all varieties are worn and all sorts of footwear from elaborately beaded Moccasins to Doc Martins.
As a part of the new administration in the White House, President Obama and his staff have the honor of choosing artwork to hang in the White House, (no the lead up to this is not that they've chosen one of my paintings), they have chosen 2 of George Catlin's paintings and I'm pretty certain that this is one of them. Buffalo Dancing in the White House!
Please Note: I've double checked on this and although the Obamas have chosen 2 of Catlin's Paintings, one of them is a "Buffalo Chase" and not the painting depicted above, Buffalo's nevertheless.
This is one of the very special ceremonies at Taos Pueblo, that has continued in a true untainted tradition. For the Pueblo to allow outsiders like myself to attend is a great honor and one that I hope to enjoy as often as I can. To the people of Taos Pueblo Thank You Very Much, R

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Pick of the Crop & 3/50 Project

Two Graces is honored to be listed in the latest Fodor's & Frommer's Guide Books, we have been selected as one of the Best Places to Shop and one of the Best Galleries in Taos.
These listings include both the "American Southwest" & the "Santa Fe, Taos, Albuquerque" issues.
Of fewer than 60 places for them to focus on in Taos, we've made the grade!

Holly & I were in Santa Fe this past Wednesday, mostly we explored some of the bookstores, imagine that, seeing my name and store in the newest edition of Fodor's American Southwest. (page 195) "Two Graces Gallery, owner and artist Robert Cafazzo displays an astonishing assortment of traditional Indian pottery and kachinas, contemporary art by local artists, old postcards, and rare books on area artists."
Throughout the entire book they do not mention shop owners by name and yet my name is mentioned, I think that's pretty great.
Whereas Frommer's has selected us as one of their FINDS.
(page 222) "For a wild range of devotional and kitschy art, don't miss this place on the Ranchos de Taos Plaza. You'll find glittery magnet shrines, Southwest collectibles, books and antiques as well as a wall full of milagro crosses."
Alas, the glittery magnet shrines and wall full of milagro crosses are long gone and what do they mean "Kitschy" art, anyway we are a find, a true jewel in Taos.
Thank you very much to both publishers.
AND, the 3/50 Project has also chosen us as one of Taos' locally owned businesses to support by shopping here. This is an organization that encourages locals to shop locally. By spending your hard earned dollars in a store like Two Graces it not only helps to improve the economy of Taos, it also helps to keep this shop up and running. By dividing as little as $50. each month between 3 shops you support that are locally owned and operated you help keep those shops alive and an enormous percentage of those dollars returns to your community. At Two Graces we pay our taxes and since day one we have had a sign on the counter stating that fact.
Some of you may have gotten my email blast a month ago about the 3/50 Project, we are proud to be a small part of this project. Even Governor Richardson is now trying to encourage New Mexicans to partake in something similar that he is calling "NM Shop 2/25"!

Also, our number one charity/non-profit, (is not my pocket), is Taos MEN. This is an organization that has been putting mentors into the Taos school system for the past 5 years and now works with young fathers with a support network, an amazing organization and worthy of ours and your support. Our other charitable organization is the Taos Community Foundation, which in my opinion should be the umbrella for all of the Taos Non-Profits.
Two Graces Curio Shop & Gallery is open 7 days a week
our hours are at the least 10-5, sometimes we open earlier, and sometimes we close later,
but we never ask people to leave because "it's closing time". We'll even stay open late for you if you are on your way, just call and let us know, 575-758-4639.
Or if you'd just rather shop privately, we'll lock the door and leave you to your shopping.
Yes, we've done just that for famous people and people who just like some privacy.
Two Graces owner and occasional staff is never "all over breathing down it's customers necks", we want you to enjoy yourself and make shopping here a novel experience. Sharing our knowledge about our inventory is of the utmost importance to us, if you'd like to know more about something, please ask.
If you need information we have a pretty great FAQ sheet, if you just need a bathroom, sorry just watch me frown at you!
We are always willing to rent out the space for appropriate private events, we've had weddings and receptions here.