Archive for March, 2010

Lannan at the Lensic

Posted in General, Literature, Santa Fe Non-Profits, Who's Who with tags , , , on March 25, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

One of the many unique and special things about living in Santa Fe is being able to take advantage of the Readings and Conversations Program sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. These lectures occur throughout the year and are held in our venerable and gorgeously renovated historic theater, the Lensic.

Santa Feans are fortunate that Patrick Lannan moved his Foundation here in 1997. This Foundation has supported many writers, artists and activists and brought many of them to Santa Fe so we could hear their stories in their own voices. Where else can you, for $6 a ticket, listen to such world-class writers and heroes like Breyten Breytenbach, Sebastiao Salgado, Junot Diaz, and Isabelle Allende, just to name a few?

These conversations are always sold out and last night’s was no exception. Arundhati Roy, Lannan’s 2002 Cultural Freedom Prize Winner, was the speaker.  Though I read Man Booker Prize winning novel, The God of Small Things several years ago—and thoroughly enjoyed it—I had no idea what an eye-opening conversation last evening would hold. She read from her new book, Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy, and spoke about her two and a half week trek deep into the forests of Central India with the armed Maoist rebels to report on the Maoist insurgency. She explained that India’s police are fighting a war against what the government is calling their country’s “gravest internal security threat”. Roy describes the complexity of the situation in that “the tribal people, the forests, the minerals and the Maoists are all stacked on top of each other”.

The article she has just published describing this outing can be found at  Whether or not you agree with the political positions Roy has taken, after listening to her talk about India and its challenges, it certainly makes one appreciate living in America.


More Snow Than You Can Imagine

Posted in Art, Santa Fe Non-Profits, Skiing, Who's Who with tags , , , on March 17, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

My husband, Rob, and I recently skied Ski Santa Fe where there is more snow than you can imagine. Even the highest peak, south-facing Cornice, was open. Not a rock was showing and we were able to carve many fresh powder turns. There were very few people skiing, easy parking, no lift lines, electric blue skies and fresh powder on every tree run. A totally amazing ski day.

We rushed home to prepare for a small dinner party we were hosting. Tony Abeyta, a young, extremely talented Navajo artist joined us, along with his 12-year-old daughter Margeaux. Tony’s amazing artwork is shown at Blue Rain Gallery here in Santa Fe. In 1992, Tony designed that year’s poster promoting Santa Fe’s world-famous Indian Market – quite an honor!

Our hotel, La Fonda on the Plaza, showcases a few pieces of Tony’s. One of his traditional works is on the wall in the Lobby hall when you enter the hotel via the parking garage; our deceased owners, Sam and Ethel Ballen, bought several years ago at a charity auction. La Fonda also has a few more recent works-on-paper by Tony (more contemporary in style), which are in one of our concierge-level Terrace at La Fonda rooms. Rob and I are commissioning him to create a piece of art for our house so we wanted him to see the colors and feel of our house at night.

Also joining us for dinner was Bruce Bernstein with his wife, Landis Smith. Bruce is the executive director of SWAIA (Southwestern Association for Indian Arts), the organization that promotes Native American arts and organizes Indian Market every year. I am a new board member for this organization and, as you might imagine, most of the conversation revolved around Native American artists and the friends we all have in common.

If you have never experienced Indian Market, it is one truly amazing sight and scene. This year, the dates are August 21-22, with associated festivities and events starting earlier that week.

Santa Fe has Amazingly Talented People!

Posted in Santa Fe Non-Profits, Who's Who on March 12, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

Have you ever just not wanted to like someone before you’ve even met them? Admittedly, not the most gracious of admissions but, nevertheless…

Brian Byrnes, the new executive director of the Santa Fe Community Foundation was one of these people. I really didn’t want to like him. I had convinced myself that I wouldn’t, even before I actually met him. Let me explain.

The Santa Fe Community Foundation is one of the many worthy organizations that La Fonda supports.  It is one of the best run, stellar non-profits we have here in Santa Fe. It covers a broad range of needs in our community that no one else fills.  It has one of the strongest boards in town (maybe I am biased as my dear friends Hervey Juris and Alexis Girard are just a few of the talented board members) steering strategy and providing leadership.  So, why did I want to NOT like Brian? Simply put, because he is not Billie Blair.

Billie was the intrepid leader of the Santa Fe Community Foundation for the past few years; she is also a dear friend. I have often joked to anyone who would listen that Billie could run the world, and it would be a much better place if we’d just step back and let her. Billie decided it was time that she wanted to step down and turn the reins over to a new leader. Her high heels were indeed huge shoes to fill (and I know something about trying to fill gigantic shoes in trying to run La Fonda after Sam Ballen passed away). So, I was predisposed not to like Brian solely because he was not Billie. Well, even before our delicious La Plazuela food was served at lunch yesterday, I found my resolve melting quicker than the snow on La Fonda’s sidewalks. I couldn’t believe how charming, disarming, sincere and authentic he is. He is not just talking the talk about philanthropy, he is walking the walk in his personal life which is all one can ask.

I know Billie has been – and will continue to be – missed at the Foundation by me and all who know her. But, I am confident that Brian will forge his own path and steer this fabulous Foundation, which provides so many needed services to our community, in a positive direction. So, here’s to all of us who from time to time, may not want to like someone, only to find out how wrong they can be – and admit it.

Good luck, Brian. And Billie, may the next venture in your life end up being just as successful as your time at the helm of the Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Santa Fe’s Restaurant Week

Posted in General, Santa Fe Dining with tags , , , on March 8, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

Santa Fe’s first ever Restaurant Week was a great success! What an amazing opportunity to experience some of our finest restaurants at great prices. I know how marvelous Lane Warner’s food is at La Plazuela since I eat here at La Fonda numerous times each week, but I wanted to test it out on two of my foodie friends. So, what better time than dining with me during Restaurant Week?

Elizabeth Ryan and Adrienne Hertz are both certified executive chefs and even operated their own restaurant here several years ago called Ballyhoo Bistro, which was next to Ristra and had THE best risotto I have ever tasted. Each of us ordered a different starter, entrée and dessert so they could taste and see a variety of our menu options. I must admit to being a bit nervous as to whether or not they would like our food since chefs can tend to be critical and picky of other chefs’ food. But, when Elizabeth took her first bite of the warm spinach salad and remarked, “this is absolutely kick-ass good”, I breathed a sigh of relief. They thoroughly enjoyed their La Plazuela meals.

Several years ago, both Adrienne and Elizabeth cooked for the now very much in vogue, Julia Childs, at Shelburne Farms in VT. They said her voice was even odder than Meryl Streep’s depiction in the current movie and said that Ms. Childs even had more joie de vivre than Streep’s character, which hardly seems possible. Adrienne and Elizabeth currently are producing THE BEST granola I have ever tasted. It is made here in Santa Fe and is organic;  it can be found at Kaunes, Whole Foods and Wild Oats – as well as through their website at: I warn you, it can be addictive and it tastes best on my homemade ice cream.

Santa Fe Scene in Scottsdale

Posted in Art with tags , , , on March 8, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

For this weekend only, most of Santa Fe’s Native American artists, collectors and gallery owners headed to Scottsdale for the 2010 Heard Museum Indian Market; my husband, Rob, and I were no exception. Three of these talented artists,

Mateo Romero,


Marla Allison,

and Ryan Singer all had booths at the Heard Show.

When Rob and I popped in yesterday, all were selling well and each of their booths were overflowing with buyers. La Fonda has many pieces of amazing art hanging on our walls and we commissioned these 3 talented artists to paint a triptych for display on our concierge level – it can be seen in The Gathering Room of  The Terrace at La Fonda.

It is a puzzle in that each piece can be mixed and switched out with pieces from the other artist’s paintings so that it still looks smashing. This is what the piece looks like switched out.


This is the very definition of collaboration.

Santa Feans also seen at this remarkable event this weekend: Brian Vallo (works with our architect Barbara Felix – his booth was sold out by end of day Saturday and this was his first year to show at the Heard!); Nocona Burgess; Dorie Rosen and Ron Klein; Jane and Bill Buchsbaum; Marla Thompson, Quail Run’s general manager, and her husband, Marshall; Joe and Marilyn McGonagle-Hughey.  They are just a few of the many Santa Feans seen in Scottsdale this weekend!

Welcome to “View from the Plaza”

Posted in General with tags , , , on March 8, 2010 by Jenny Kimball

Welcome to the “View from the Plaza”! My name is Jennifer Kimball and I am the Chairman of the Board of La Fonda on the Plaza in Santa Fe, NM. In this blog I will be sharing my unique perspective of life in Santa Fe as seen from the historic La Fonda on the Plaza. Museums, events, happenings, Who’s Who, great organizations, art and hidden Santa Fe gems will all be discussed. I welcome your comments and your constructive suggestions on everything I post. I believe in a collaborative approach and am excited to see this blog evolve.