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Arts and Entertainment: Top Picks for the Week

Joe West suffers death by alien ray gun during the 2018 version of his annual Theater of Death show, presented in the Engine House Theater in Madrid. (Mark Oswald/Journal)

SANTA FE, N.M. — Sojourning to Madrid to take in local songster/actor/self-proclaimed impresario Joe West’s annual Theater of Death shows is the best way to start the holiday season. The obligations and traditions of Thanksgiving and Christmas await, but first Halloween must be celebrated properly by seeing people killed off in various outrageous ways in West’s comical vignettes.

This year, West calls the shows “Theater of Death VII: Freakatorium! A Night of Human Oddities and Baffling Tales of the Bizarre!” And there’s an added attraction: a carnival midway before each of the performances, which take place at the old Engine House Theater attached to the Mine Shaft Tavern, in the center of Madrid at 2846 N.M. 14.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to play games of skill and chance, and win valuable prizes,” the promotional materials exclaim. “You will also have access to the most amazing freaks of nature your eyes will ever behold!”

West’s mini-melodramas have been set in locations ranging from a certain hippie outpost on the Turquoise Trail to the far reaches of outer space. Last year’s production, maybe the best ever, ended with Joe being blasted with ray guns wielded by a pair of curvaceous extraterrestrials.

The Theater of Death started its annual run this weekend and there’s a matinee show today, Sunday, Oct. 20. There will Friday, Saturday and Sunday performances through Nov. 3. The Friday and Saturday performances start at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m., with the carnival midway opening an hour before show time. Tickets are $20, or $25 with 20 tokens for carnival games thrown in, at

ART IN FILM: The Great Art on Screen series continues Monday, Oct. 21, at The Lensic, 211 W. San Francisco St., with “Gauguin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost.”

“Gauguin in Tahiti: Paradise Lost” shows at the Lensic. Courtesy The Lensic on Otc. 21.

The film traces the life story of painter Paul Gauguin, who famously left France for Tahiti in search of deep immersions into nature, feelings, visions, and ever purer and brighter colors. In the movie, there are visits to Paris, Bretagne and Edinburgh, as well as Tahiti and several American museums, including New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, where many of Gauguin’s masterpieces are now preserved.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. showing are $15 at or the box office.

NECRO NOMIC CON: With recent UFO sightings near Taos and new bizarro cattle mutilations reported in Oregon, the time may be right to visit the Necro Nomic Con at the Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino in Pojoaque next weekend. The event is subtitled “Paranormal, UFO, and Undead Mysteries.”

The schedule features panel discussions and presentations, such as “Exersisms (sic) of the Possessed” and, for Sunday, “NecroNomicCon Church with Catholic Priest Father Steve.”

Necro Nomic Con comes to Buffalo Thunder.

The special guests include actor Alex Vincent, who played kid Andy Barclay in the 1988 film “Child’s Play,” which introduced the evil Chucky doll; Travis Walton, whose book and the subsequent movie “Fire in the Sky” are about his alien abduction from a logging site in 1975; and Ken Hudnall, author of over 80 books on UFOs and the paranormal, discussing his upcoming TV series “Beyond Roswell.”

The con also will have artists, vendors and psychic readings.

Advance tickets can be purchased at Prices are $15 for Saturday, Oct. 26, (hours 10 a.m.-8 p.m.) and $10 for Sunday, Oct. 27, (11 a.m.-6 p.m.); two-day passes are $20. Kids ages 9-13 are $5 and those under 8 get in free. The website says tickets go up $5 on the day of the show. For more details, go to