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Editorial: Cheers for movies, TV, and things pink and painted

Tom Hyland, a sign-maker from Lamy, paints the old red caboose near the intersection of Cerrillos Road and St. Francis Drive on Monday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

Tom Hyland, a sign-maker from Lamy, paints the old red caboose near the intersection of Cerrillos Road and St. Francis Drive on Monday. (Eddie Moore/Albuquerque Journal)

With the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival’s awards ceremony coming up Saturday evening at the Lensic, we decided it was a good time to come up with some Community Spirit Awards of our own.

So, sit back in your easy chair, grab some popcorn and a beverage, and get ready to applaud.

BEST REASON TO BE KEPT IN THE DARK: Well, this goes to the festival itself, of course.

With almost 40 feature films, including a dozen international titles, as well as a slew of shorts, the festival in its sixth year has established itself well as a destination for film fans.

And that doesn’t even mention the many related activities, such as panels and workshops, for budding filmmakers. The festival also carries a piquant local flavor, with offerings such as “Pie Lady of Pie Town,” and lifetime achievement awards to beloved local residents Shirley MacLaine and George R.R. Martin.

Check out the schedule at, and choose your own reason to sit in the dark and stare at a screen. Events started on Wednesday and wrap up on Sunday.

BEST MOVE TO KEEP US IN THE PINK: Many performing arts and community organizations breathed a sigh of relief last week when the Scottish Rite Masons announced that they will not be selling their temple at the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Bishops Lodge Road after all.

Instead, a holding company was formed to resume operations – and perhaps raise some additional funding – of the looming pink edifice.

Built in 1912, the Scottish Rite Temple has been a landmark in downtown Santa Fe. Those who ventured inside could enjoy the painted and carved decorations in a building very much of its time. It’s a historic structure worth preserving and making available to public events.

BEST RESCUE OF A NUCLEAR SOAP OPERA: Despite limited viewership, WGN America announced this week it will present a second season of “Manhattan,” the TV show that features interpersonal drama in the context of the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos.

The filming, which is expected to continue at least in part locally, offers jobs for our actors and crews, as well as exposure to one of the many historic events that dot our New Mexico landscape.

Now if only someone would have enough sense to pick up “Longmire.”

BEST FALL CLEANING INITIATIVE: Rick Martinez, board chairman of Santa Fe Beautiful, has long worked to keep the grounds around the old caboose at St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road cleaned up. This week, he partnered with sign painter Tom Hyland to put a fresh coat of bright red paint on the rail car, which often attracts less-than-attractive graffiti. Kudos to the two men for the all-volunteer work.

But speaking of keeping Santa Fe beautiful, why doesn’t someone take leadership on providing some sort of attractive display in the medians of St. Francis Drive, a major entry to Santa Fe from both the north and south?

Too often, the medians – that one with the caboose included – attract weeds and trash, and not much else. Fractured responsibility between city and state may have prevented action in the past, but surely their representatives can cooperate in an effort to make this entryway to Santa Fe as attractive as its mountain backdrop.

It’s one of those if-other-cities-can-do-it-why-can’t-we kind of things.