Drugs Not Welcomed in the South Valley: A Counterpoint to Breaking Bad

By Christian Barrios

In my job providing customer service at one of Albuquerque’s call centers, many times I’m asked where I’m located. You can guess what comes up next, the International Balloon Fiesta and a little TV show called Breaking Bad. In pop culture, certain TV shows or films capture the spirit of the location they’re set in. Think of Rocky Balboa in the tale of the underdog overcoming the odds from the Rocky film series and how the fictional boxing champion projected the gritty determination of Philadelphia. Then there’s how the TV comedy Portlandia perfectly captures the hipster obsessed, alternative to the norm of the city from its namesake. Albuquerque’s association with Breaking Bad has favored the critical acclaim from the show’s gorgeous cinematography and master storytelling. But this relationship magnifies one of the city’s darkest elements, citizens under the sway of drug addiction. Plus, there’s the role that organized crime plays in distributing and selling its contraband, and the aftermath we often see in the news: violent altercations that leave a body count. While the grim reality of drug dealing & use is an ongoing problem in the state, we can choose to look for examples in our local communities of how to face such a heavy matter with dignity. The history of the San José neighborhood, located in the South Valley, provides the perfect example of how a community can look out for each other. read more

Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 4 – The High Cost of Obituaries


by Two Way Street’s Editorial Committee

Obituaries are a time-honored tradition that also happens to be the most highly profitable advertising format in journalism. Anyone who is still reading print publications has surely noticed that the newspaper obituaries sections are getting smaller and smaller every year. It’s been going on for at least a decade and it is only getting worse. People rely on the Obituaries section of the newspaper to find out about the people in their communities, to learn about their ancestry, and to keep up to date with the passing of friends and family. Obituaries contain information about births, deaths, and associations, surviving family, educations and accomplishments of the deceased.

Public figures, celebrities and other people that the newspaper deems newsworthy often get “free” press in a prominent location in newspapers of any size and circulation, but people without that status not only have the benefit of receiving the same coverage and often cannot afford to pay for their own obituaries.

Placing an obituary in the newspaper when a loved one dies is a time-honored tradition, but many unhoused and low-income mourners are discovering that the mere memory of their loved ones is all they can afford in today’s day and age.

Newspapers typically charge by the line for obituaries. The cost of placing an obituary ranges from a few dollars per line in smaller local publications, but can be hiked up to ten or twenty dollars per line for more prominent publications. Add a photo and the price goes up considerably. For this reason, Two Way Street would like to invite those who do not have the privilege to publish obituaries in more established publications to email us at twowaystreetabq@gmail.com.


Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 4 – Top 15 Local Events of 2018


Illustration: Qworks


Over the past year, Two Way Street has identified a wide variety of local events that have unique features and characteristics that we would like to highlight and learn from when planning our own neighborhood capacity-building events in 2019. We have ranked these events based upon the following criteria (which reflect Two Way Street’s values):

  • Ability to improve accessibility, inclusivity, and affordability
  • Ability to build capacity at the neighborhood level
  • Ability to foster a stronger regular customer base and broaden that customer base over time
  • Ability to establish a strong sense of place and belonging
  • Ability to support existing facilities, infrastructure, and programming
  • Ability to strengthen the community’s continuum of commerce
  • Ability to support a diverse group of vendor types
  • Ability to cultivate public/private partnerships
  • Ability to document successes and failures in order to improve and refine each event each time it is held
  • Ability to generate revenue and establish financial sustainability from one event to the next
  • Degree of professionalism, organization, and coordination
  • Degree of resourcefulness, innovation, and creativity
  • Degree of cultural, ethnic, social, and economic sensitivity

1. Westfest

West Central Community Development Group

  • Neighborhood association driven
  • Featuring a Show n’ Shine, arts vendors, and city department vendors
  • Community meeting “disguised” as a special event
  • Data collection used to improve the event every year
  • No registration fee for vendors
  • Culturally relevant and sensitive
  • Matching/leveraging multiple sources of local public/private funding

2. ABQartwalk

Enchanted Pop Up

  • Using a unified platform for marketing and promoting businesses on a night with a pre-established audience
  • Supporting galleries and other small businesses that are bringing affordable art to the market
  • Identifying strategies for ensuring that Downtown businesses can all succeed together
  • Complementing existing programming rather than competing with it (ABQartscrawl and other First Friday activities)


3. Ciqlovia

International Distirct Healthy Communities Coalition

  • Blocking off the streets in order to prioritize the free flow of bicyclists and pedestrians
  • Integrating outdoor exercise classes, shopping, live music, and other activities that often aim to increase civic engagement
  • Promoting public health, civic engagement, economic development, environmental justice, and social justice all in a single venue
  • Working with third party company Team Better Block to coordinate the event and secure grant funding from AARP
  • Strategically held in marginalized neighborhoods and near community facilities/assets

4. South Valley Dia de los Muertos Celebration and Parade 

Community Driven (with Support from a variety of local sponsors)

  • Culturally and seasonally relevant and competent
  • Funded by the New Mexico Arts, the McCune Foundation, and private donations
  • Incorporating a parade, car show, vendors, food trucks
  • Based out of a community center
  • Voluntary registration fee


5. Street Cypher Block Party & Art Show

Mothership Alumni and Birdnoise

  • Holding the most cost-effective block party by identifying the most suitable street
  • Contributing to placemaking at the level of the block
  • Integrating arts and crafts vendors, live music, live performance, and street skateboarding at the level of the block
  • Acquiring sponsorship from brick and mortar businesses in order to cover the costs of barricading the street
  • Attracting patrons on the street into a second floor art gallery


6. One Albuquerque Engage

City of Albuquerque’s Department of Marketing and Innovation, Economic Development Department, and Office of Equity and Inclusion

  • Creation of a Pop Up Business License
  • Elevating existing programming through extensive social media coverage and local news outlet coverage
  • Activating vacant commercial properties
  • Establishing temporary/seasonal lease agreements with Downtown business owners
  • Free license combined with participating event organizers’ registration/tabling fees


7. New Mexico Artisan Market

Hotel Albuquerque and Heritage Hotels & Resorts, Inc

  • Pulling the best artisans (from a variety of disciplines) from around the state
  • Developed the most comprehensive vendor agreement
  • Promoting event among pre-established audience of the hospitality/lodging industry
  • Developed an extensive catalog outlining all of the vendors contact information and promotional information


8. I’ll Drink to That

Organized by Immastar Productions

  • Integrating live entertainment, live art, and vending in a third place environment
  • Developing content based upon pre-scheduled themes
  • Raising funds for local charities
  • Has been held consistently 80 times in a row on a monthly basis


9. OT Circus Artist Market and Pop Up Shop

OT Circus

  • Activating an inactive driveway in order to hold a pop up art market
  • Coordinating indoor and outdoor vending opportunities
  • Focusing artistic content and programming on occupational therapy
  • Tie in with existing programming at the Downtown Growers Market and Humble Get Down Market
  • Utilizing sidewalk chalk as a tool for attracting patrons


10. Moonstone Pop Up

Organized by Female Micro-Entrepreneurial Vendors

  • Partnering with Downtown’s Sister Bar to do business-within-a-business
  • Hosted by local female entrepreneurs and designers
  • Showcasing a variety of local vintage clothing and apparel styles for both women and men


11. Poetry for a Cause

Supportive Housing Coalition read more

Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 3 – Creating An Eye-Deal Local Economy




By Two Way Street’s Editorial Team


Two Way Street had the pleasure of meeting Jacqueline Andrews at the beginning of Brick Light Nights Season 2 when she was referred by our Board Member Liaison, Justin Gaudian.  Not only did Two Way Street’s team appreciate Andrews for all of her feedback on how Brick Light Nights Season 2 was operating, but we are happy to see her continued engagement with vending opportunities at ABQartwalk.  Overall, Andrews has helped Two Way Street expand its target population to include aspiring micro-entrepreneurs, along with Two Way Street’s original target population of low-income and homeless individuals.


Two Way Street had the opportunity to sit down with Andrews before the upcoming ABQartwalk to see what has been working for her at vending events and where she might need more assistance.  Two Way Street’s Editorial Team identified four key areas of inquiry for Andrews: 1) Defining Business, 2) Logistics and Coordination, 3) Table Set-Up, Sales, and Promotions, and 4) Key Takeaways.


Defining Business


My artwork is more abstract and is locally crafted.  I have recently starting incorporating characters and themes, into my work and I am also trying to make them more useful by turning them into clocks, larger pieces of art, and overall more desirable.  I want it so that people can use my artwork to fill and activate spaces rather than just trying to fill up their wall area. Pretty much all of my art is made using recycled materials as well – old records that I paint on or turn into clocks. It’s all about being resourceful.



Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 3 – Community Advocates & Public Servants Bring Regional Creative Placemaking Summit to Albuquerque



Interview Conducted by Two Way Street Editorial Team


Over the past few months, local neighborhood leader Cristina Rogers, alongside Sherri Brueggemann, CABQ Public Art Urban Enhancement Division Manager and Michaela Shirley, Program Specialist at UNM’s Indigenous Design + Planning Institute, has been working closely with individual community organizers, artists, organizations, agencies, and ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and Arts, to respond to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by the National Consortium for Creative Placemaking and ArtPlace America.  The goal of this RFP was to solicit proposals from across America to host 7 regional summits and a national summit in 2019. The Consortium’s vetting committee required for submitting municipalities to have 1) a robust and enthusiastic host committee, 2) a community that exemplifies the field of creative placemaking, and 3) a venue that can accommodate logistical requirements.


Much to the City of Albuquerque’s excitement, Rogers and her host committee’s proposal was selected and Albuquerque was chosen as the location for holding CPLS | WEST!  In the past, the Consortium’s summits have provided influential discussions, hands-on workshops, and networking events to people from around the country, who are interested in building their communities through arts and cultural programming. Throughout our two or three day summits, we provide the platform the cross-pollination of ideas, disciplines, and cultures to come together and learn from one another in a creative, friendly, and positive atmosphere.


Now that Albuquerque has been chosen as the location for CPLS | WEST, the National Consortium and ArtPlace are looking for proposals from local and regional organizations, artists, community leaders, and public agency departments in the following categories: 1) Seminars, 2) Workshops, 3) Presentations, 4) Peer Exchanges, and 5) Field Workshops.  While Two Way Street is already planning to submit a proposal for a Field Workshop, Two Way Street also wanted to promote this opportunity in our publication by conducting a short interview with Rogers (below):



Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 3 – Amplifying Our Streets



By Two Way Street Editorial Team


Per § 13-3-1-4(H) of the City of Albuquerque’s Code of Ordinances,  “solicitations by any individual or group engaging in a street performance as defined at §12-2-28(C) ROA 1994” are exempt from  § 13-3-1-3, requiring any person who wishes to conduct any business solicitation in any location to register their business with the City of Albuquerque and possess a valid solicitation permit of the appropriate type.  


After the Safety in Public Spaces Ordinance (which established the standards outlined in §12-2-28) was repealed from the City of Albuquerque’s Criminal Code in November 2017 (per O-17-52),  “street performance” is no longer defined.


So if “street performance” is not even defined in the City of Albuquerque’s Criminal Code anymore, why would Two Way Street advocate for this street-level activity to be defined again?  Based upon Two Way Street’s conversations with local street performers like Miles Anderson, law enforcement rarely, if ever, approaches them about the perceived impact of their set up and music – so why would Two Way Street want to initiate further conversation about regulation?  


The intention of this article is not to define street performance for its potential negative impacts on the surrounding community, but to rather celebrate the positive impact that we know street performance is already having on our streets and to identify strategies for amplifying that impact.


Like all other forms of commerce that take place at the street level, street performers need the right built, business, and regulatory environments in order to make their craft a viable occupation for making a living.  Sanji, a local group of musicians who not only perform in various locations within the public right-of-way, but who also host instrument-building workshops, has been working closely with Two Way Street staff to identify local strategies for nurturing these three environments.


“When we are attending events like ABQartwalk, we not only need to be performing, but we also need to be talking with folks about the City’s larger effort to support street performers in Albuquerque,” said Anderson.  Anderson is one of Sanji’s musicians who plays both the drums and the n’goni (a handcrafted string instrument originating in West Africa and made out of scraps of gourds). While Anderson has grown up playing music that is local to New Mexico, his musical talent and urge to travel compelled him to integrate new instruments and beats into his music routine.  For Anderson, “Busking is about bringing music where it is needed most…schools, in the outdoors, the grocery store, old folks homes, on the streets.  We believe the audience is just as integral a part of a musical experience as the musician.”


At the same time that Anderson believes that creating music should be a collaborative effort, he also expressed concerns about having his band always opening their arms to passerbys.  “We contribute our appreciation of inclusivity to Albuquerque’s music scene and want to promote the idea that anyone can play, but at the same time this might be our downfall. There is a certain amount of freedom associated with busking that you won’t find playing inside a prive establishment.  This freedom of expression can be one of the best aspects of street performance, but it can also be one of the worst if not regulated appropriately. People need to have the place and the freedom to express themselves, but they also need to be sure to do so in a way that does not disrupt the public.”


As much as Two Way Street, Sanji, and other local stakeholders believe in concepts like self-regulation and community policing, Anderson admitted that there are times when law enforcement absolutely needs to get involved.  When talking about his experiences playing in the Downtown area, Anderson said, “The past couple of times we played Downtown, we had some people come right up to where we are playing and start asking us if we wanted to smoke meth.  While the City and other event organizers might see First Fridays as an opportunity to bring a completely different demographic to the Downtown area that includes couples and families, we have to be realistic and recognize the fact that an addict probably sees these events as the time to scrape up enough money to get their fix.”


Based upon this response, Two Way Street’s team came to a conclusion about ABQartwalk and the One Albuquerque Engage initiative: as much as organizers would like to believe that placing vendors and street performers on the public right of way decreases crime, the amount and kind of activity that it brings to the streets can also be problematic if not monitored and/or regulated appropriately.  This is obviously easier said than done, but as part of Two Way Street’s collaboration with One Albuquerque Engage, we want to propose strategies for better distinguishing individuals who are trying to earn supplemental income to improve the quality of living for their neighbors from those who are earning it to pursue their own satisfaction and self-interests.


When researching strategies employed by other cities trying to support their street performer communities, Two Way Street found out that there have been a variety of other cities that have developed task forces and other advisory committees to help negotiate terms between street performers, business owners, residents, and other impacted stakeholders.  A few of these cities include Asheville, North Carolina and Ocean City, Maryland.


“I really like what Asheville has done in creating a busker collective, establishing more of a culture around it, and providing more education surrounding laws on the street, but I also don’t like the fact that some of these task forces end up making recommendations that, along with improving public education, end up tightening up enforcement on busking in particular locations.”  Two Way Street understands where Anderson is coming from, but would also like to emphasize that Asheville and Albuquerque are in very different situations: while Asheville is trying to regulate congestion caused by street performance, Albuquerque is trying to create activity and congestion to begin with. “I would say that I only know about 10 regular buskers/street performers in town with lots of others just coming out from time to time to have some fun.  It’s a pretty small and peaceful core group of folks, really – none of whom are bad apples causing trouble.”


As small of a street performer community that might exist in Albuquerque, Two Way Street would like to assert that even though the primary goal of assembling task forces is to bring a diverse group of stakeholders into one room to explore and recommend policy, one of the most beneficial outcomes of assembling task forces is cultivating trust, capacity, and communcation between these various stakeholders.  While task forces assembled in cities like Asheville are charged with addressing the complaint-driven aspects of street performance, assembling task forces is also a great opportunity to highlight some of the benefits of street performance that would normally be overlooked. “There is a ripple effect with street performance that is sometimes hard to see,” said Anderson. “And if we can find ways to capture that impact like Asheville did that would be awesome.”  


Out of all the different ways that cities have either regulated or celebrated street performance, one of the biggest issues that Anderson has with street-level regulation that he hopes isn’t ever adopted by the City of Albuquerque is restricting street performers from playing in the later part of the evening. “I understand the concern from nearby businesses and residents with music being too loud, but night time is when there is the most foot traffic and when we get most of our sales.  I’m sure there is some sort of compromise that we can all have where we might play more acoustic during the evenings. Hopefully creating a task force here in Albuquerque could help us negotiate those terms.”


As much as Anderson believes that street performance should be an autonomous endeavor and that his gift to the streets should be as unregulated as possible, Anderson has learned over time that maintaining strong communication is really the key to addressing a lot of these issues.


“More recently, we are trying not to be defensive about not being able to play at certain places and we have been showing more interest in getting a permit.  As a result, city employees have been much more understanding of letting us play where we want. This is exactly what happened to us at the Balloon Fiesta when we decided to set up right outside where the line was forming in order to catch the crowd. City staff lightly requested for us to get a permit at our nearest convenience, but they did not kick us out.”


But as much as relationships are growing and the culture is changing surrounding street performance, Anderson reminded Two Way Street that it is just as important for the City to be able to support street performers with adequate infrastructure for bringing their services to the market. “One of the biggest issues we have been experiencing in the Downtown area is having all of the outlets along Central Ave. broken all the time. Small things like that are sometimes what keep traveling buskers from staying in a city or moving along to the next.”


When asking whether Albuquerque’s street performer community is comprised more of local or traveling musicians and what their goals and aspirations are like, Anderson responded by saying, “The end goal of a busker varies and that is the beauty of it.  Busking is just as much for the guy coming through town who doesn’t want to panhandle as it is for the guy who wants to become a full-time musician. But nobody wants to go busk in a city that bans it or puts a bad name to it.”


Anderson also emphasized that having access to good places to store equipment would also support and attract street performers. “I think that it would be awesome to have a simple, small space to store my stuff.  Places like Chroma Gallery and another spot near Sunport Pool are places that are already being utilized but could be used more by local musicians on the up and up.”


When thinking about ways for creating opportunities for street performers to bring their talent inside brick and mortar businesses (especially during the Holiday Season), Anderson said that Sanji has had limited contact with local mom and pop businesses, but that having an outside entity like Two Way Street available to help establish those connections would be really valuable.  He also said that establishing good relationships with businesses leads to more than just being able to play outside of their business. “We have recently had a few businesses hit us up just to play outside of their storefront – sometimes they can’t pay us, but you can get free food or work out some other type of exchange.” Two Way Street has already created a “Storefront Agreement” for its street vendors (modeled after Denver Voice’s agreement), but hopes to develop a similar type of agreement to give to street performers like Sanji.


But as much as event coordinators and promoters like Two Way Street want to support local emerging talent, Anderson emphasized that street performers, in particular, often feel the need to maintain their autonomy.  “While we really appreciate the support of local music promoters and managers, we are trying to get used to having folks manage our locations for events. We appreciate folks helping promote when and where we might play, but at the same time we want to have our freedom to pop up wherever we would like.”  


Sanji has recently been spending a great deal of effort identifying other ideal locations for performing around the city.  “Rather than trying to hit places like Downtown that already have a lot of live music going on inside businesses, what we need to start doing is identifying other types of events, venues, and situations that would benefit from having buskers there,” said Anderson.  “For example, parks are public spaces where people are always walking around at their leisure and are spaces that would benefit from having musicians present.” In conjunction with all of the food truck events that neighborhood associations are bringing to parks, Two Way Street recommended for Sanji to connect with neighborhood association representatives to inquire about opportunities for breathing life into their events. Two Way Street also felt that this would be a great opportunity to bridge the gap between local entertainment and civic engagement.


As local event organizers like Two Way Street, One Albuquerque, Enchanted Pop Up, and Mariposa Music get close to completing the One Albuquerque: Engage pilot initiative, it is critical for us to create feedback loops where we hear what is working and what is not working for street vendors, street performers, and brick and mortar businesses. Two Way Street plans to continue to use our interviews with local subject matter experts and event participants like Anderson to continue developing that feedback loop.  Given all the feedback provided and insights shared by Anderson during his interview, Two Way Street has identified the following key takeaways and action items:


  • After the One Albuquerque: Engage initiative is completed at the end of December 2018, Two Way Street would like to match local street performers with local event organizers to coordinate cohesive public testimony advocating for continued funding and support from the City Council to further promote and expand our local street performer community.  Part of this effort could be supported with the creation of a brochure much like Asheville, North Carolina’s where Two Way Street outlines current regulation surrounding street performance, rights that performers have in occupying the public right-of-way, and a few policy recommendations. This is intended to be an informational material for both the City Council as well as individuals attending the meeting.  
  • Two Way Street would like to encourage event organizers to focus more of their energy on promoting street performance rather than managing it, considering the fact that the performers themselves are experts on identifying key locations for playing.  Once street performers have been better exposed to the community-at-large, they would greatly appreciate event organizers connecting them with private establishments to play at.
  • Since it is difficult to evaluate placemaking initiatives and to measure the true economic and social impacts of street performance, it would be important for the City of Aluquerque to research other cities that have identified effective metrics for measuing these impacts and outcomes
  • Two Way Street would like to develop a Storefront Agreement for street performers to request business owners for access to play music outside of their storefront.
  • Two Way Street would like to find street performers who are interested in getting involved with the upcoming Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit (CPLS) in February 2019.
  • read more

    Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 2 – Albuquerque Downtown Public Safety District


    Written by Nick Vottero

    Interview Conducted by Nick Vottero and Kharlos Panterra

    Photo: Two Way Street Editorial Team during Downtown Public Safety District press conference.


    Two Way Street contributors Nick Vottero and Kharlos Panterra had an opportunity to sit down with the City of Albuquerque’s CAO, Sarita Nair, and Deputy Chief Roger Bañez to discuss the proposed Downtown Public Safety District (DPSD). Initially, our editors had some reservations about the need and design of the DPSD. There are few places in town that are as well policed as the downtown community; just visit the area on any weekend night, and you will see a substantial police presence in the area.

    Additionally, most of the City departments are located in the neighborhood. For the sole reason of avoiding duplication and spreading City funds to other areas of town more frequently overlooked than the downtown area, we were unsure that the proposed DPSD was an efficient use of public dollars. Despite our initial hesitation, the discussion immediately put us at ease. The City is approaching the proposed district in a way that promotes access and equity for all populations in the community, and specifically for the populations that are regularly overlooked and underserved. The services offered and the purpose of the space itself avoid duplication, and truly promote a rapport between the City and the people in the community. We’ve transcribed part of the interview for our readers to better understand and appreciate this new city project.



    Two Way Street – One Albuquerque Publication 2 – Pop Up Food for Thought




    by Two Way Street Editorial Team


    Unlike arts & crafts, clothing, and first amendment vendors, mobile food vendors have extra steps that they have to take before bringing their products to the market in order to ensure they are complying with local regulations. This is often the case in other municipalities, some of which are actively trying to change their regulations in order to support micro-enterprises bringing specialty foods to the market. Some municipalities are also trying to incentivize mobile food vendors’ sale of healthier foods by waiving fees and relaxing procurement requirements.

    As a part of the One Albuquerque Engage initiative, Two Way Street is working with various City departments such as Environmental Health to identify the challenges and opportunities for following some of these other municipalities’ lead in changing the way we bring high-quality and affordable food to the market.

    Common Locations for Food Vending

    • Public parks
    • Community centers
    • Sidewalks in commercial districts

    New Potential Locations

    • Outside of business storefronts
    • Business-within-a-business (pop-up events)
    • Business-within-a-business (short lease agreements)

    Current Regulatory Environment

    Temporary Mobile Permit

    1. Finding a Commissary
    2. Getting a NM CRS Number
    3. Registering the business
    4. Fire inspection of mobile food business
    5. Pre-Opening Inspection with Environmental Health Department
    6. Paying a Health Permit Fee

    Current Fees

    1. Business Registration: $35
    2. Temporary Food Permit: $25
    3. Grower’s Market Permit: $15
    4. Season Grower’s Market Permit: $50
    5. Paying a Health Permit Fee $120

    One Albuquerque Engagement

    On September 28, Two Way Street and One Albuquerque coordinated an event at the vacant space at 505 Central that included arts and crafts vendors, live musicians, food vendors, and first amendment vendors. Two Way Street will continue working with One Albuquerque to identify other opportunities for enabling Plant Powered Events and Vegan Outreach vendors to conduct business-within-a-business sales.


    Interview with Victor Flores, Founder of Plant Powered Events