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Top picks for the week

SANTA FE, N.M. — It’s the beginning of the end. “Game of Thrones” Season 8 premieres tonight and where more fitting to celebrate the occasion than author George R.R. Martin’s very own theater? A free screening of the final season’s first episode is tonight at the Jean Cocteau Cinema, 418 Montezuma Ave.

The Cocteau is pulling out some extravagant stops for the premiere, blocking off a section of Montezuma so White Walker characters can roam on horseback and for a costume contest for superfans. Last week, marketing director Brian Sanchez said no one from the cast is scheduled to make an appearance, though Martin himself may be there. The screening is first come first served, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. for the 7 p.m. watch party.

The pre-screening activities, which will be livestreamed, will start at 6:30 p.m.

A glimpse into mom’s mind: In “Demons of the Mind,” Marie is sitting in jail on charges of murdering five of her six children. The inner workings of the mind of this mother who plummeted into a state of postpartum psychosis are explored in this dark drama, written by and starring local theater artist Talia Pura.

The one-act play will make its Santa Fe debut at Warehouse 21 starting Thursday. Originally written in 2008 and premiered in Pura’s home country of Canada, the work is inspired by the true story of Andrea Yates, a Texas mother who drowned her five kids in the bathtub in 2001. Yates suffered from postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis. Her insanity plea was originally not accepted and she was sentenced to life in prison. However, her sentence was later overturned and in a new trial she was found not guilty by reason of insanity and sent to live in a mental hospital.

“What I’m looking at is crime and punishment, where people’s sympathies lie, and what you do when horrible crimes are committed, even if there’s reasons that’s happened and what we do,” said Pura.

She will be joined onstage by Brent Black, a Broadway veteran making his Santa Fe theater debut. A few years ago, he ended his 14-year run in “Mamma Mia,” for which he played various supporting roles. Black will play Marie’s attorney.

To symbolize the “entanglements” going on in Marie’s mind, Pura has added another one of her performance skills to the play: aerial silks and hoops.

“Demons of the Mind” will run Thursdays-Sundays until April 28 at W21, 1614 Paseo de Peralta. Shows Thursday-Saturday start at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. General admission $25/seniors $22/youth $15. Purchase at

"Armchair Expert Live" with Dax Shepard. (Courtesy of Live Nation )

“Armchair Expert Live” with Dax Shepard. (Courtesy of Live Nation )

‘Armchair Expert’ at the Lensic: You may know Dax Shepard from movies like “Without a Paddle” or as a co-star on NBC’s “Parenthood.” You may also recognize him for his famously adorable marriage to actress Kristen Bell. But over the past year, Shepard also has become a rising star in the podcast world. His interview podcast “Armchair Expert,” which was named the most popular podcast on iTunes in 2018, will be recorded live during a sold-out show at the Lensic this weekend as part of Shepard’s ongoing national tour.

“Armchair Expert” is described as an exploration of other people’s stories. It features Shepard, co-host Monica Padman and, for each show, a celebrity guest who talks about various facets of his or her life. Others guests usually include a well-known local from wherever the show is recording. No guest has been announced for the Santa Fe show at this time. “I am endlessly fascinated by the messiness of being human, and I find people who are vulnerable and honest about their struggles and shortcomings to be incredibly sexy,” Shepard says in the show’s description.

The show is 8 p.m. Saturday at the Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco. Tickets are sold out, but if you’re able to track one down, they run $40-$55.

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