things i’d love to do: …play kick-the-can with the pharcyde and pooh sticks with tom waits…. –RosS Hamlin on MySpace
When I approached RosS Hamlin, musician, artist and director of Little Wing Performance Space, to ask if he was game for an interview, his response came through Facebook mobile as four vertical quadrangles. I thought it might be an artist thing. Turns out, it was and it wasn’t. RosS wrote “game” upside down which flummoxed my App. But RosS isn’t a vanity artist, posturing obscurity to emphasize originality. Thoughtful, articulate, polite and professional, RosS knows that to get all that wild-minded, perspective-changing creative brilliance before the world, you have to be functional, albeit with a flourish.
“Santa Fe’s newest and most open-minded music and art space,” Little Wing is a bonanza for emerging and independent artists and musicians. We hear nothing but love for this place and much of that because of the man behind the shows. When I asked RosS how he attracts those who want to use the space, he said, “I don’t have a set criteria. Bands of every genre are welcome here, as are any workshops, clinics or classes that want to rent the space out. If they have the money, they can do whatever they want here,” citing just one incident where he’s turned away a potential renter and speaking with charity about a single workshop that bombed. “We’re all learning.”
We met RosS at a meeting of the After Hours Alliance, “founded in 2010 by a group of music and arts promoters under the mission of connecting the younger people of Santa Fe to meaningful and relevant after-hours events.” (I spoke about AHA in an earlier post, The Care and Feeding of Santa Fe’s Creative Class.) Hamlin’s participation in the all-volunteer organization is emblematic of his generosity. That generosity extends to his financial arrangement with acts who book Little Wing (60/40 split in favor of performers; 70/30 split in favor of gallery artists) and his efforts to make the venue accessible. Indeed, this is a guy spinning with talent –musical, visual and verbal. He could probably keep the place booked showcasing his own work and personal picks. But that’s not his way.
Drop in on Hamlin’s website to check out his round robin of abilities, affiliations and inspiration. In addition to arting, composing and music-making, he is also a guitar, electric bass, voice, composition, and music theory teacher through his school, Full Circle Guitar. When he claims that his approach “emphasizes full-brain creativity [and his] style is patient, detailed, innovative and most importantly, fun,” I believe him. Hamlin’s sincerity and humility are solid and palpable.
Be sure to savor a few tracks on Hamlin’s site on Reverbnation. I admit to a pedestrian resistant to present day Jazz, which “The Mustache who loved Me” –an engaging fusion of jazz and funk– quickly set straight. Or better yet, treat yourself to an evening’s entertainment at Little Wing Performance Space. Hamlin’s ever-evolving artistic intelligence and expansive inclusivity –a recent event united the potent forces of Meow Wolf and Red Cell’s The Process with out-of-town talent –ensure a bounty of cultural experience that is truly the wellspring of Santa Fe’s “robust art scene,” to quote the New York Times. All Hamlin asks is that you pay your pittance and pull up a chair.
Watch Joshua Maes video of our visit to Little Wing