Bohemian Afternoon

Janie Romer and I have been friends since we met in New York in the early ’80s, introduced by Anton Fig and Tony Garnier, who were playing with Robert Gordon at the time.

Anton and his then-wife had invited me to a concert at the Lone Star. Janie and I showed up in the same dress by a little-known downtown designer. We could have hated each other, but instead each of us recognized a kindred spirit and for a few crazy years before life took us our different paths, we had many adventures together in the city that never sleeps. I don’t think we slept much either.

Fast forward a decade or so (Janie had moved back to London and I was living in Taos) we met in New York and she began visiting me here for the next ten years. She fell in love with Taos, which really wasn’t a surprise since she’s always loved the West; in her clothing, her choice of art, and her love of open spaces and sunlight. The TC Cannon poster, which hangs over Mark’s chair, has been hanging in every one of her houses since he lived in the East Village. It was one of the first things he bought in the United States. When her belongings arrived from Europe, she immediately settled into her dining room.

Last year her dream of moving here came true when she and her husband Mark Barker visited and found a property that spoke to their vision. A place where Mark, who also lived in the United States for many years, could be closer to his daughter in California and Janie’s children, who are American citizens (her father, Janie’s ex, is the renowned engineer of Hip Hop Jay Burnett), could experience a life very different from the one they knew growing up in London.

Mark and Janie bought Stakeout, a Taos institution located on Outlaw Hill, where local lore says Billy the Kid hid from Taos businessmen and Pat Garrett. For years, Stakeout was a favorite restaurant and hangout for modern-day outlaws like Dennis Hopper and his gang, but locals and visitors alike loved the place because of the incredible views from the terrace where one could have a pre-dinner drink. as he watched the sun set in the west, lighting up the vast horizon.

A few years ago, the restaurant closed and the building was left empty and abandoned. It is currently undergoing renovations and will open next spring in a new incarnation as a venue for events and delicious Pop Up surprises.

An accomplished musician, singer-songwriter (she sang with Bert Jansch, among others) and once worked at Vogue in both Paris and New York, Janie is sure to bring her bohemian joie de vivre into the space that has almost certainly become in a haven for musicians from everywhere. Mark and Janie’s sons, Oscar and CJ Burnett, are all musicians with friends who are musicians, so it’s inevitable that music will play a big part in Stakeout. Being connected that way with musicians can be a big help if you want to break into the music industry, for others they may turn to software as a find musicians app, helping them connect with professionals.

Oscar is also an extremely talented artist who, at eighteen, was the youngest finalist in the prestigious BP Portrait Competition, resulting in his work hanging in the National Portrait Gallery in London. Like his mother, Oscar has fallen under the spell of the Land of Enchantment. I’ll be profiling Oscar and his work here at stylotao In the next weeks.

These photos were taken by Bill Curry one afternoon last week when we visited them at the house they rent in the city. Paz Lenchantin, currently bassist for the Pixies, was hanging out with Oscar and the light filtering in through the French doors and windows begged to be captured.

Photographs of Mark Barker, Janie Romer, Oscar Burnett and Paz Lenchantin by Bill Curry

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