Arts and Entertainment: Top Picks for the Week

A beautiful Parisian dancer is sentenced to death near the end of World War I for being a German spy. But was she actually innocent?

Mata Hari (colorized by Olga Shirnina)

More than 100 years later, a documentary telling the life story of this supposed spy, Mata Hari, premieres this weekend at the Center for Contemporary Arts’ Cinematheque, 1050 Old Pecos Trail.

Hari, known for her early 20th-century exotic dancing act, posing for provocative nude photos and as the mistress of powerful European men, was accused of espionage against France. Her alleged crime was sending important information about the war effort to Germany.

Through newly found documents and letters, and interviews with European and American historians – as well as current-day burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese – the new movie questions her guilt.

The 7 p.m. world premiere of “Mata Hari – The Naked Spy” will be followed by a Q&A with directors Susan Wolf and Machiel Amorison, editors Bob Sarles and Christina Keating, and Florence Rapati, who plays Hari in the film.

“Vignette of the Homeland Turf”

CULT-URE: Americans’ love for damaging and poisonous products believed to be helping them is the central theme of the Axle Contemporary Mobile Gallery’s latest solo exhibition opening this weekend. Jennifer Vasher’s show, which features industrial pumps coming out of an layer of AstroTurf, and a vial holding oil and petroleum jelly, is meant to represent our “drug loving, petroleum drenched” and consumer culture-based society. Vasher is commenting specifically on the pharmaceutical and beauty product industries. She also takes aim at what she calls the “Cult-ure of Cleanliness” and cleaning products that contain more harm than good. “Vignette of the Homeland Turf” will open Sunday from 1-3 p.m. in front of the New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 West Palace. It will be up until March 4.

ALL IN THE FAMILY: Famous Taos woodcarver Patrociño Barela, described as the first nationally recognized Mexican-American artist, has left behind a long line of artists keeping his trade alive. His grandchildren and even another generation of carvers, all of whom keep up the traditional creation of religious and spiritual figures, are featured in a new Santa Fe Community College exhibition.

“The Good Shepherd” by Jason Salazar

In addition to showcasing a collection of carvings from Barela, who died in 1964, alongside those of three grandchildren, three great-grandchildren and a grandson-in-law, “Las Familias Barela y Salazar: Traditions in Taos Woodcarving” also features work from Leo Salazar.

Salazar was inspired by Barela and his “santos,” which are in churches and museums worldwide, including collections in the Vatican. Work from Salazar’s sons and grandsons will also be featured in the show. “Las Familias Barela y Salazar,” which opened Thursday, will continue through April 11. There will be an artist talk Feb. 15 at SFCC’s Visual Arts Gallery, 6401 Richards Ave, from 1-2:30 p.m.

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