Skillet Casting its Culinary Magic

From the Skillet website: Sometime in 2012, Isaac Sandoval was challenged to design and build the world’s largest cast iron skillet. The skillet itself didn’t break any world records but people loved the unique menus and crowd-pleasers cooked in the giant skillet. Thus, began the journey into food and pure wonderment of all things culinary. Isaac and Shawna set up shop in Vegas (NM) as a food truck, and two years ago went full brick and mortar in a historic building downtown. Skillet today is an immersive art, food, and drink experience.

How did they navigate the restrictions imposed by COVID-19? Below are Shawna’s responses to questions about the virus and its impact.

Artfully designed
The foodie entrepreneurs have not been idle during their down time. The Zen pool and new artwork are just some of the additions to the patio. That’s Shawna in the background.

“We were forced to close our doors March 15,” Shawna said. “Ourselves and our employees all went on unemployment directly after. Although the government left opportunity for restaurants to serve takeout, we made the decision that our efforts were best placed elsewhere.”

The fan-favorite foodie-friendly restaurant was closed for two and one-half months, reopening on June 1.

Shawna said the Skillet is reopened at 50 percent capacity because of mandates from health officials. “Our business hours are basically the same as before. We decided to cut our late-night menu for the time being, which so far gets us home earlier on the weekends.”

Looking to the future early on in the shutdown, the Sandovals set about making changes designed to add and enhance seating, and expand food options.

“We expanded our patio seating during the quarantine knowing that outdoor dining is considered substantially safer than indoor dining. Skillet has a large outdoor patio and our outdoor occupancy at 50 percent is 100 people. With the recent beautiful weather, Pizza anyonewe’ve been serving more customers outside, which was made possible because of the expansion. Our order-at-the-counter service is actually conducive to the “contactless” approach. We eliminated all duplicate menus and have just one menu for customers to see without touching, and our servers still bring all food and beverage to the customer. We have security staff for busy nights who remind people to sign our book at the door for the required contact tracing. Recently we’ve implemented digital temperature readings for all customers entering the restaurant. Employees that are in direct contact with the public are required to wear masks at all times.”

Like many businesses, the Skillet has taken advantage of stimulus programs geared toward small businesses.

“Through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), we are able to rehire and pay all our employees who went on unemployment for the quarantine. The grant portion of the loan will assist with our payroll while the business is getting back on its feet. This is particularly beneficial for restaurants such as ours as we employ around 20 people, a significant proportion of our operational costs.”

Operations day-to-day requires attention to detail and a willingness to work toward specific goals. Shawna and Isaac want to return to – and continue – the ambiance and atmosphere the Skillet has become known for. The young entrepreneurs are equally concerned about their business friends and neighbors.

Art Installation“In spite of uncertain times, we fully intend to provide the same fun and safe environment as we always have,” Shawna said.

“Please continue to spend money at local businesses in our community; our friends and neighbors have been more than gracious and we need to do everything in our power to make sure Las Vegas continues to thrive.”

Isaac and Shawna aren’t worried about the future so much as ready for new challenges. “As a relatively new business we are already accustomed to constantly evolving and changing things in our business per the market and trends. The COVID restrictions are just another hurdle to jump for us, although this is a difficult time for everyone, our newness works to our advantage.

“It’s one day at a time for now,” Shawna said. “This will most certainly change us and all restaurants in small ways forever, however, I remain optimistic with regards to the outcome.”

For more information about the Skillet, go to

Courtesy Photos: The Skillet

NOTE: I am featuring local businesses, nonprofits, and organizations in this series of articles about how COVID-19 has affected our community . If you would like to participate, email for more information.


What makes Las Vegas special II

Viva Las Vegas! Sign at Charlie's
A sign at Charlie’s Bakery & Cafe on Douglas Ave. – Las Vegas, NM

Earlier in February I wrote a post asking, “What makes Las Vegas special?” I posted a similar question on Facebook. I got such great feedback from the Facebook post, I decided to print all the responses here and share them. These responses tell the story of Las Vegas from the heart of the people who live here. If you want to add your thoughts, please add a comment, or e-mail and I’ll add it to this list so it becomes part of the main body of the post.

Mark Gillingham: There is live music nearly everywhere you look in Lil LV.

Kayt C. Peck: This town has more talent per capita than any place I’ve ever lived.

Victoria Evans: NMHU music department and their wonderful shows that showcase students and community members.

Annette Velarde: Great food, artists, galleries, Fiestas, Roughrider Rally, history, film, tourism, astronomy, clear skies, music, outdoor adventures, animal watching, true stories of outlaws, railroad history, cowboy history, ghosts, educational institutions…

Joan Minner: Free movies at Ilfeld, great pizza, a sweet little bowling alley, art galleries, great music, movie theater, and the friendliest people I’ve ever met. I could go on and on, but I don’t want to repeat what others have said. Oh – and a great university that is just getting better and better

Patrick Alarid: Rich multi-cultural history, superstitions, architecture and faith.

Pam Abreu: I love that I can run in to people I have known for decades and people I have just recently met. Having a shared history and shared memories with so many people is priceless.

Barbara Casey: LV has an abundance of volunteers who provide necessary services to the people in the community. CASA volunteers, CCHP, Samaritan House, Literacy Council, EDC, Friends of the Library, Food kitchens… the list goes on and on!

Carol Cutler Linder: Diversity of the people, the landscape, the buildings, the views (expressed and visualized), ideas, weather, talents, education levels, educational opportunities, ages, wildlife, and most of all friendships

Tori Crawford Conway: After being away for a year, I miss playing with the Rainbow Ringers at the Presbyterian Church.

Juli Salman: Great weather for exercising outdoors, friendly community of runners and cyclists, Highlands University is ranked near the top of the nation’s schools for ROI and upward mobility.

Judy Long: Incredible sense of community and support.

Richard Lindeborg: No matter where I am in town, I am just a few minutes away from seeing or being in the mountains or the prairies,

Rosalie Lopez: The uniqueness and acceptance of Las Vegas. More to do here and to be involved with here, than most towns this size.

Lupita Gonzales: Came here over 50 years ago because of NMHU, and that was just the beginning of my odyssey!

Jill Baskerville: Kissing the sunshine

Kathy Hendrickson: All of the above plus, Montezuma Hot Springs and Montezuma Castle/ UWCUSA, Historic Plaza Hotel, Castaneda Hotel, Media Arts Building, which is in the Trolley Barn ( McCaffrey Building), and Mayeur Project, the amazing Dwan Light Sanctuary. Over 900 Historical homes and buildings. Historic home tours and walking tours.  The theme for PWAP (Places With a Past) in August will be The Rejuvenation of Las Vegas! All these places have or – are being – rejuvenated! Spend a day touring Las Vegas with Southwest Detours.

Rosa Latimer: Creative energy abounds!

Jim Abreu: Smiles, friendly greetings, classic upward nod of the chin to say “Hi.” Grit, Charm…Heart…

Nan Colalillo: Fundraising dinners by non-profits.

RaeDawn Price: When I think about why I love living in Las Vegas, I think about family and the friends that have become family. I love the coffee drinkers at the different restaurants. Seeing a group gathered over a cup of coffee warms my heart.

Cindy Collins: New businesses and renovations: E. Romero Fire & Acequia Museum, Castaneda Hotel, the Skillet, Olivia’s Cafe, Mayeur Projects, Borrachos, JC’s Pizza, Indigo Theater, PLAZA HOTEL, Palms Event Center, Serf Historic event venue, Charlie’s Event venue, NMHU Media Arts Center in old trolley building, 70 trees on Douglas, new benches and trash cans, Rawlins Building with upstairs apartments and two retail spaces!

Kathleen M. Rodgers: Castaneda Hotel! Can’t wait to stay there once the renovations are done.

Richard Lindeborg: Moving back to Las Vegas after four decades away, it was a delight to discover the connectedness of having peers whose grandparents and parents I knew, as well as their children and grandchildren.

Lydia Palomino: The beautiful people… traditions

Carol Ditmanson: Two national parks – Fort Union National Monument and Pecos National Historical Park in our neighborhood!

Sherrie Doke: We still miss LV so much and we moved away 27 years ago! It is such a unique, caring and busy place to live. The people are so varied and talented.

Paula E. Geisler: Arrott Art Gallery (now closed)

Jeanette Yara: History

Izzy Manning: People look you in the face and say good morning and smile.

Connie M. Coca: Plaza Hotel, Montezuma Castle, Highlands University, historical buildings and homes. Culture, music, language. The 4th of July Fiesta and especially friends and family. Radio stations. Mexican or southwestern New Mexico food. Our churches of all denominations.

Juanita Estrada: Who is not to Love a community where everybody knows everybody and every body’s business, but yet love one another. Viva Las Vegas!

Rose Contreras-Taylor: Beautiful parks – Plaza park, Lincoln Park, Carnegie park

Kristin Reidy: Sharon, I love working in Las Vegas and can never get enough peaceful time at the ranch. At work I often call a patient into an examination room for their eye appointment and they ask if they can wait a little longer so they they can finish a conversation with an old friend! The beauty of Vegas. Time stops and we appreciate what matters.

Kerry Holderbaum: The sight of Hermit’s Peak brings a smile each time I come home and a tear each time I leave.

Margaret Villanueva: Driving north on 84,  the old adobe church in Gilia and the sight of Hermit’s Peak in the distance, the piñones…  Almost Home!

Dolores Dodie Maese: Our nearby public lands!

Susie Tsyitee: We should brainstorm and celebrate our assets at least once a year! Thanks, Sharon! I love this thread!

Lydia Lovato: What I like about Las Vegas are the people when someone dies they are there to support you and comfort you the community pulls together.

Charlie Sandoval: History, culture, and New Mexico Highlands University

Robert Vander Meer: Location, location, location!

Please Follow, Like, Comment and Share this post. Your feedback is important to me. Thanks for reading One Roof Publishing Magazine. The publisher may be reached by e-mail at


A happy happenstance

Michael Lucarelli, a musician par excellence

I hope Michael doesn’t mind me sharing this story before you get into reading his Q&A. He is first and foremost an artist worth listening to. Sharing his story is an honor. This began with an query from Michael that indicated he’d gotten the One Roof Publishing Q&A link from the Las Vegas Arts Council, and was interested in participating. I, of course, welcomed the opportunity. I always want to have a digital dialog with artists from every discipline. Fortunately, my first question was, “With your varied and successful career as a classical guitarist, what brings you to Las Vegas, N.M.?”

Michael LucarelliI can almost imagine the pregnant pause when Michael received the question. He promptly let me know he was in NEVADA and was unaware there was a Las Vegas in New Mexico, until now. So the crux of this story is that the local Las Vegas Arts Council ranks high in search engines! And Michael Lucarelli came upon it when searching for resources in that other place. Perhaps he will visit this Las Vegas and enjoy the history and charm of a true original.

Once Michael and I worked out the where, I welcomed his responses to my questions, which follow. Incidentally, he moved to Las Vegas, Nev., because of weather, which is more agreeable than the weather in Salt Lake City. “But it’s also great to be where the action is,” he said.

Michael’s bio excerpted from Award winning Classical guitarist Michael Lucarelli  has enthralled audiences throughout the U.S. for more than 30 years. He is known for his diverse programming and expressive style, tastefully blending classical, popular, jazz, Spanish, South American, as well as his original compositions. He is an annual favorite at The Sundance Film Festival where he has entertained for industry notables such as Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Animation and Arts & Entertainment. His music videos on YouTube have received more than 35 million views from fans world-wide.  He has twice received an Individual Artist grant from The National Endowment of the Arts. In 2014 Martha Stewart Weddings named him one of the top weddings musicians.

ORP: What drew you to pursuing music as a profession?
Michael: Luck, really. I was days from joining the military. I worked at Sperry Univac (computer factory ) for almost eight years, while studying classical guitar privately with Ricardo Lineres from Peru. I was also studying martial arts and going to competitions. After my roommate talked me out of joining the  military, things fell into place and I took a leap of faith. I walked away from a career job with full benefits and went to the University of Utah in 1985. I started playing the guitar at various gigs the day I started college. Hard to believe I’m still doing it after 32 years.

ORP: When you started out, what was your goal?
Michael: I began playing the electric guitar in 1973. I wanted to be a rock star. I started classical guitar in 1980. When I began my career professionally in 1985, my inner wish was to write one great piece for the guitar. I’ve been blessed. Now I’ve written many. I am very goal oriented.

ORP: In what ways has your goal changed over the years?
Michael: I’m still composing much more prolifically than the early stages. One recent goal was to write compositions that were more intermediate. Another goal is to write a method book, which is 70 percent finished. But my current goal is to get something going in Las Vegas, Nevada.

ORP: In terms of your accomplishments, are you where you want to be as an artist?
Michael: I believe I did more than I ever expected I would do with music. I never thought I’d have 38 million views on YouTube, or I would release 15 CDs, or compose so much music. In some ways, I’m lucky; I just follow where the guitar leads me.

ORP: What gives you the greatest joy, practicing or performing, and why?
Michael: They’re different. Each is extremely enjoyable. Practicing is a sacred and special place, a completely different experience from performing live. There is a reason – if you love music – you practice for five hours a day.

ORP: What do patrons say that gives you the greatest satisfaction as a classical guitarist?
Michael: That comes from different angles. I love the comments I get from YouTube, people who say they started playing guitar because of me. In my case, it was Jimmy Page from Led Zeppelin. As an artist, when you give a concert, you always love when someone says how great you are or how much they enjoyed it, but when I read comments like these on YouTube it really moves me:

“My sister died last week. Thank you for helping me get through that.”
“I have a chronic heart condition. Whenever I’m having a heart attack, I put on your Moonlight Sonata and concentrate on my breathing. That’s helped more than anything I tried.”

It’s strange and heartening to know that what I’m doing can effect people on such a personal level.

ORP: Solo performance seems to be your preferred style. How do solo performance and performing with others differ?
Michael: Yes, I mainly do solo. I did play with a trio a few weeks ago. Several concerts I’ve done titled Lucarelli and Friends, are a mix of various ensembles. I love playing ensemble but it is a bit more work. Solo guitar creates its own unique world. But playing with so many ensembles over the years has helped me be a better soloist. You learn to phrase things differently. More importantly you learn to listen! I do have a CD, Romantic Christmas, with violinist Kellie Parkinson, and Romanza with mandolinist Martin Swick, who passed away a few years ago. I did release a CD this year titled Blue Sunday, which is more jazz and New Age, but I’m doing all the instruments, something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s on YouTube. You can stream it or purchase it on iTunes. It features me playing electric guitar on four tracks. I haven’t played Electric guitar since I was 23.

ORP: At this point in your career, are you satisfied with your level of performance, or is it always evolving?
Michael: It’s always evolving, and yes, I am satisfied. When it stops evolving that’s when I’ll call it quits. You get older, your vision changes, you have to deal with those things along the road, but you always seem to reach higher ground, explore different avenues. I never saw YouTube coming. That’s a whole other world. I was lucky to be at the starting gate. I never dreamed people would be able to see me play the guitar all over the world, and having viewed, would enjoy and be inspired by what I do.

ORP: What excites you as a musician and performer?
Michael: To make a better world and to light up the inside of people who connect with my music. Physicists think music is one of the highest achievements of man. I think most people would agree. To be able to try and express the inexpressible. Some people call it God. I don’t think there’s a word that could describe how it makes me feel. It would have to be a musical sound like om. To think that there are an infinite number of dimensions and we are only living in four! What else could you do but create art. I love to think what music would sound like in the fifth dimension, or 100th or 1000th or one millionth. It’s lovely to think about what I do with my spare time.

ORP: What is the one thing you want people to know about you?
Michael: I love the Beatles, and that I finally got – after years of study – the meaning of “…all you need is love.” It is the path to freedom.

ORP: What performances to you have coming up?
Michael: Aug. 5 I will be playing at the Park City (Utah) Arts Festival, Oct. 20 Las Vegas, Nev. I mainly play private events. We’re playing on the biggest stage – YouTube. I have several videos coming out including Take Five, House of the rising sun, and Come Together, starting the first Friday of each month.

To book Michael Lucarelli for an event:
Phone: 702-343-1009

Image: From Michael Lucarelli website
Music: YouTube


Is there a ghost in the house?

Find out at the CCHP Places with a Past Tour Aug. 5

The Las Vegas Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation Places with a Past Historic Homes and Buildings Tour returns on Aug. 5, with haunting recall of lore and legend about ghosts flitting here and there. Visit Montezuma Castle (United World College), the Plaza Hotel, the Castañeda or some of the legendary homes around town and you will be amazed and delighted by the mystery in the history.

Do I believe in ghosts? I reserve judgment since years ago I lived in a spirited house in town. I say spirited because it was not haunted in the sense that something weird lived there. Quite the contrary. It did not appear as a ghostly apparition, but as a bright light flashing just on the periphery of vision. The spirit could be almost seen day or night. I thought of it more like an angel watching over me. I won’t tell you where the house is, but I hope the people who live there now appreciate that friendly spirit as much as I did.

Kathy HendricksonGhost Stories is the brain child of tour guide and owner of Southwest Detours, Kathy Hendrickson, who is also a CCHP board member. From whence did this idea spring? This Q&A with Kathy reveals the story behind her ghostly vision.

ORP: PWAP has been the major fundraiser for CCHP for many years. Talk about the challenge of making old ideas new again so you not only have new visitors but return visitors as well.
Kathy: This is my fifth year as Chairperson for the PWAP Tour and every year is a challenge to think of a new idea for the tour. There are so many events going on this time of year, it is a challenge to bring visitors to our town. I have been thinking of this ghost theme for awhile, mainly because I have heard so many folks talk about ghosts here. In fact, as soon as we bought our old Victorian, the former tenants told me that we have a female ghost living on our 3rd floor, thus the reason my house is on the tour!

ORP: Why did you select this theme?
Kathy: Ghosts stories seem to appeal to everyone, even when you say you don’t believe. Las Vegas was the “Wild West” and if you read about the history, there were hangings on our lovely Plaza, thus there must be ghostly spirits around.

ORP: How many homes and properties are on the tour this year?
Kathy: There are nine places on the tour this year. Four beautiful Victorians and five historic buildings, all with interesting tales of restless souls.

Ghost in the houseORP: Since the theme is ghostly, how did you go about selecting properties?
Kathy: Well, for one, my home has a ghost story, so that was a no brainer. I had heard ghost stories about the other properties I chose for the tour. Luckily the owners agreed to open their homes and buildings for the tour. And I only selected properties that have friendly spirits.

ORP: The popular sites are the United World College, fondly known as Montezuma Castle, the Castañeda and the Plaza Hotel, all of which host ghosts. What home properties and stories surprised you when you were putting the tour together?
Kathy: I don’t want to give the stories away, but there is one home on the tour in particular that has a very active ghost within. I had heard there was a ghost in this home and that two previous owners had moved because of the apparition, but after listening to the current homeowner tell her personal experiences with the spirit, it raised the hairs on my arm.

ORP: What reactions have you received about the theme of this year’s tour?
Kathy: I was surprised to find out how many folks are interested in spirits and ghostly tales. Even if you don’t believe, you are curious to hear the stories.

ORP: What is the most intriguing ghost story you’ve heard while putting the tour together?
Kathy: Not to give anything away, but in one of the homes, a ghost tucks the owners’ daughter in bed at night.

ORP: Have you ever seen a ghost?
Kathy: I was never a believer in ghosts, but now I am rethinking everything. After we bought our old Victorian, I heard many noises at night, and thought I saw someone in our room one evening. I always came up with a logical reason for hearing or seeing something. Now, after doing the ghost research, I’m not sure.

ORP: What do you most want people to know about the Ghost Stories tour?
Kathy: Even if you are afraid to be afraid, or don’t believe in ghostly spirits, you will enjoy exploring some beautiful historic homes and buildings and hearing about their histories. We will also have a special added attraction to the tour this year. The Ghost Paranormal Investigators team will be present to do two demonstrations during the day, and show folks how they investigate the paranormal phenomena of a haunted building. This husband and wife team have been featured on the Travel Channel Ghost Adventurers Show.

ORP: Have you had success recruiting docents for this ghostly adventure, and how are you preparing them to keep the ghosts at bay while revealing their secrets?
Kathy: This is the first time the CCHP has ever had a Ghost Story themed tour. I think the docents are excited about doing something new and fun. Hopefully the ghosts will enjoy being shown off, too. The Las Vegas Harvey Girls and Fred will be the docents at the Castañeda Hotel. This is for all those Fredheads out there.

ORP: Do you want to name the properties on the tour?
Kathy: I will let folks be surprised to see the places when they purchase a ticket.

What: Ghost Stories, 2017 Places With a Past Historic Homes & Buildings Tour
When: Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Where: Nine selected properties
Cost: $25 per person
Tickets: CCHP, 116 Bridge Street, Las Vegas, NM
Phone: 505-425-8803

Photo Kathy Hendrickson, Fred Harvey/Mary Colter Fan Club
Photo at Castañeda, Martha Johnsen


Q&A With Charlotte Moore: Renovation of Dick’s and Serf Theater a True Labor of Love

Renovated Bar

Q. Dick’s has undergone major changes in the past several years. What prompted you and Jonathan to invest in your business and the community in this way?
A. Dick’s has been a premier destination for many years, and we are committed to maintaining our reputation as one of the gems that our stunning city has to offer. We love Las Vegas, it’s our home, and we want the best for our community and guests.

Q. The history of Dick’s goes back to the ‘40s. How has the business changed over time?
A. Dick’s began with a small package store and bar and has evolved into a charming establishment offering food and wine aficionados a chance to indulge in a great culinary experience. Dick’s offers fine dining as well as notable noshes in a cozy environment. Las Vegas’ (oldest) watering hole.

Q. When did Jonathan and you take over ownership of Dick’s?
A. Spring of 1991….24 years!

Q. What do you want people to know about Dick’s they might not know?
A. Established in 1940—and since then has only had three owners—and in the same family (Moore’s) since 1976.

Historic Serf TheaterQ. Talk about the renovation of the Serf and the creation of the events center. How does this addition enhance the entertainment offerings in Las Vegas and the area?
A. Renovation was a true labor of love encompassing months of planning and surveying in order to maintain its historical significance. It was transformed into a beautiful hall for enjoyment of drama, dance, and concert performances while maintaining its architectural features. The marquee remains in place to announce weddings and other upcoming events.

Q. You are planning a big event for New Year’s Eve. Talk about the Masquerade, what is it and how do folks dress for it?
A. The Historic Serf invites all of Las Vegas to discover The Serf on New Year’s Eve! We are hosting a Masquerade Ball—so do wear a celebratory mask and your fanciest attire.

MasqueradeQ. What is the entertainment for the evening and what time does everything get started?
A. Cuarenta Y Cinco will be providing the music for our New Year’s Eve Masquerade—which begins at 9 p.m.

Q. What about food and libations? A. Two full bars will be open featuring signature cocktails.
A. Our late night eats will be featured in our VIP Section (Mezzanine Bar) throughout the evening.

Q. How much are tickets and what is included?
A. VIP $20 (includes late night eats and champagne toast) GENERAL ADMISSION $10.

Q. Tell readers why the Historic Serf Theater is the best place to be on New Year’s Eve.
A. LIVE MUSIC, signature cocktails, BALLOON DROP AT MIDNIGHT! (filled with prizes!). Northern New Mexico’s premier venue. Come see what we have to offer!


Images: Courtesy of Dick’s Website and Charlotte Moore

Q&A With Elmo Baca: Indigogo!

Okay, this is just too exciting. I personally CAN NOT WAIT! This is directly from Elmo’s Facebook page and I am hoping I don’t miss getting one of the first 50 tickets to this stellar premier:

Announcing the sneak preview screening and opening of the Indigo Theater on December 17 with “Star Wars The Force Awakens.” The Indigo Theater officially opens on December 18 screening “Star Wars” with multiple shows through the day and through the holiday season. Advance tickets are now available through Indigo’s new crowdfunding campaign at Indigogo. Please visit Please also see our Facebook page at Indigo Theater and website at for more information and links to the Indigogo campaign. Advance tickets for “Star Wars – The Force Awakens” are currently only available through Indigogo. May the Force be with you!

In the following Q&A about the Indigo Theater Elmo talks about this project and his commitment to creating something unique that enhances the quality of life in Las Vegas.

Q. In one sentence tell readers who you are.

A. Elmo Baca is a native of Las Vegas, interested in community revitalization, art, writing, history, historic preservation, photography and cinema, not necessarily in that order.

Q. What is a boutique theater?
A. Boutique refers to a smaller, more intimate and perhaps more eccentric experience. In the cinema, boutique refers to a smaller theater that offers a more direct interaction with the picture and sound.

Elmo Baca and Bill Capaccio
Elmo and painter Bill Capaccio talk about finer points and finishing touches.

Q. Why Las Vegas and why now?
A. Obviously there is a business opportunity for a new cinema in Las Vegas, and having some theater management experience in my tool box, I decided to make an investment. But I also I feel that the timing is right, an optimistic feeling is in the community. Finally, I strongly advise other communities to revitalize their theaters, and so I felt compelled to apply that same advice to my hometown.

Q. What is the inspiration for Indigo?
A. I like the color Indigo, the word, the feeling and associations, the music, and the mood. The deep blue violet is a shade in the sky just before nightfall, which is sometimes the same time that a movie begins. Indigo has been celebrated by great artists like Matisse, Sinatra and Duke Ellington, and it seemed like a good name for a theater. The color also offered some interesting design opportunities.

Q. How does film and theater contribute to a community’s vitality?
A. If you look at cities throughout history, the theater is one of the building blocks of society. Even in the frontier west, every new boom town had a church, a saloon and an opry house. A theater is fundamental to a town’s vitality, imagination and social quality. In today’s lifestyle, with the dramatic improvements in digital film making, sound, photography and internet technologies, more and more people have become amateur filmmakers, posting their videos and photos to social media. In a sense, film making has become more democratic and universal. So having a theater that provides the opportunity for a town to stay current with advanced technologies and give local people a venue for self-expression is essential.

The Indigo's lobby
Cool lighting and comfy features will add ambiance to the lobby.

Q. What makes you hopeful about Las Vegas’ future?
A. I’ve seen Las Vegas gradually bounce back from generally deteriorating economic conditions and building infrastructure that were prevalent maybe 40 or 50 years ago. I have also seen some new residents who have a real passion for the community and willing to settle here and make contributions to the community. I think there’s some new leadership in the community and it gives me confidence to start the Indigo Theater. But we must also be aware that Las Vegas and northeastern New Mexico are losing population, and so we can’t be complacent.

Q. Talk about Las Vegas and historic preservation
A. I grew up in Las Vegas, which is a magical environment with its remarkable buildings and public spaces. But I didn’t always appreciate it. I sometimes joke that I ran away from home and went to college. Later of course, as one matures and experiences other places, the special qualities of Las Vegas come into clarity and focus. I learned guerrilla and grassroots historic preservation in Las Vegas, sometimes having to do projects or change perceptions with little or no money. Changing attitudes about rundown old buildings and a depressed economy is not easy. But I met and have worked with some special people here in Las Vegas along the way. I think one important lesson I have learned is that it is important to take the long view in this work. Cities take time and one must be patient. There is no silver bullet, just hard work, determination and some imagination. Sometimes miracles happen, and a catalytic project gets done or a new leader or entrepreneur moves to town. I have seen it happen several times in Las Vegas. When this happens, there is a window of opportunity when change can happen. Sometimes these moments last for a few years and sometimes they are gone, and sometimes the community doesn’t act in time, the moment is lost. I feel that the current time is a moment of opportunity and positive change.

Q. What are you hearing about the Indigo?
A. Well the community has been very positive and encouraging me. I think there’s some curiosity about the project itself, the building of a new cinema in an old building. I’ve heard that people will be glad they won’t have to drive to Santa Fe for a movie all the time. But I think the basic excitement is partly to have a current movie in town, to feel modern, contemporary, and connected to the movies and stories that the world is discussing and enjoying.

The Indigo Theater is scheduled to open on December 17 with the new Star Wars The Force Awakens movie. (See above.)

For more information on the Indigo Theater, please see the theater’s Facebook page and website: facebook/IndigoLas VegasNM and