The most ferocious of prehistoric reader polls is back
What's your favorite New Mexican food? What's your favorite dinosaur? Ok, now put them together and what do you get? An Enchiladodon? A Chileopteryx? A Tacoraptor? A Sopaipillatops? Awesome! Get ready for the T. Rex of “Best of City” contests: The original Best of Burque Restaurants will be hitting Weekly Alibi racks and website on Thursday, Oct. 12. The polls are open now. Vote on your favorite Frito pie, vegetarian food, Japanese restaurant and local brewery. Let your voice be heard! Rawr!
The state of the 31-year-old Supreme Court ruling and Albuquerque's political climate
This week marks the 31st year abortion has been legal in this country. The 1973 Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling legalized abortion and continues to protect the procedure. And over the past three decades, the debate over reproductive rights has grown increasingly complex. Anti-choice groups see abortion as an abomination and murder of a fetus they see as having the same Constitutional rights as anyone else. Pro-choice groups follow the medical definition of a fetus—that it is not yet a person—and say abortion should be a safe and legal option for women who have the right to choose what they do with their bodies. Both sides of the argument will take notice of the anniversary this week.
Since the Roe v. Wade battle began 31 years ago, technology and medicine have changed and new modern issues have made the debate more complex. Emergency contraception, a ban on late-term abortions and parental consent are just a few of the issues contributing to the local abortion conversation.
Congratulations to Albuquerque bands Mr. Spectacular and the 12 Step Rebels for making the cut in this year's South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, March 17-21. No word yet on the fate of the other locals who applied, but our fingers are crossed for Spiritu, Jason Daniello, Foma and Below the Sound. ... Local metal prodigies ATG (Against the Grain) have finished recording their debut CD, which should be mixed, mastered and ready for release by the end of this month. ... Speaking of new CDs by local artists, Tony Rio plans to release his third CD in late February, followed by a European tour. Details on Rio's CD release party are forthcoming. ... Longstanding world music band Wagogo will celebrate the release of their fourth, eponymously titled CD next week, on Friday, Jan. 30, at Stella Blue. Check next week's Alibi for the details. ... Finally—this week, anyway—the long awaited debut from Rage Against Martin Sheen has seen the light of day. No official word on the CD release party or retail availability has been given as of press time. Rumor has it that Albuquerque has seen the last of the New Mexico Showcase at least for the near future. Event founder and organizer Michael Feferman said during a brief visit to Albuquerque last week that pursuing a master's degree at the University of Texas in Austin proved to take too much time away from his NM Showcase duties, so the showcase will likely be put on hold until he finishes his degree.
Authentic Eastern European vocalism from a Berkeley, Calif.-based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka's Wintersongs is in a class apart.
After taking three decades to furnish the follow-up to their 1972 debut, it only took the Flatlanders—Joe Ely, Butch Hancock and Jimmie Dale Gilmore—two years to provide us with a third installment of near-perfect Texas country music. Wheels of Fortune was recorded immediately following the band's 2003 Now Again tour, and it's got the feel of a trio who've been on the road together for 30 years. Truth is, each member is a musical icon in his own right, but the sum of Flatlanders is more than its parts. Like the Beatles with twang raised in a roadhouse.
It's tough to go wrong with a compilation conceived by the most respected alt.country publication in America that features tracks by Doug Sahm, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Olsen and Victoria Williams, Robbie Fulks and a host of other purveyors—past and present—of Americana in all its various forms, all bookended by Johnny Cash's "Time of the Preacher" and the Carter Family's "No Depression in Heaven." There's not a single dud among the album's 13 tracks, but I must admit that I can take Victoria Williams' voice only in the smallest of doses.
So, I'm entering my stories in a new database these days. To be sure it's a hassle but the fun part is that I've got to train its spelling dictionary from scratch. The program recognizes myriad obscure international places and names but apparently not any of the ones I use. It knows the initials for the British Broadcasting Company, of course, but it also wants to use them for BBQ. When writing about my Jewish friend's recipe for kugel I get confused for a second when the computer asks me if I'm talking about the capital of Rwanda—Kigali. Very worldly. If you were ever turned off by an extra goaty-smelling brick of feta you'll be delighted to know that FileMaker Pro thinks it smells so much like feet that we should spell it that way. When I mention an Atkins special it wants to substitute a latkes special. Would you like a side of irony with that? A certain Italian restaurant I know almost got accused of serving veal jicama (it knows jicama but not piccata?) and calamari with mariner sauce. Mmm, salty. And when I recently wrote about hamburgers my fingers slipped and all of a sudden I found myself describing a big, fat hombre dripping with meaty juices. Whoa! How many of your abuelitas would blush if you asked what they had cooking in the horny today? More than a few. And I doubt Mary at Mary and Tito's would be pleased if I accepted the offer to substitute Tit's for her late husband's name. No, not so much.
Oooh, pizza. So tasty! There's a new homestyle, Southern Italian restaurant up on Eubank (1435 to be exact), where Lo Stivale used to be. The place is called Al Vincenzo's after the two partners, Al and Vince, who opened the restaurant in late November. The space got a bit of a facelift, with fresh earth-toned paint and subtle, cable lighting. Al, also known as Albert D'Angelo, grew up in New York and Albuquerque but recently moved back from the Big Apple and decided to continue his career in the restaurant biz with a restaurant here. He serves good thin-crusted pizza with all the usual topping options plus a few specialty combinations like the Vegan: mozzarella, pepperoni, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon and ground beef. Ooh, wait, sorry, that one's called the Abruzzi. But seriously, there are a few pasta sauces without meat and a number of veggie-heavy salads mixed in among the meaty, sausage-y pastas. D'Angelo hopes to expand the menu when his beer and wine license is approved so look for exciting changes in the coming months.
Celebrate the Year of the Monkey—in name at least
It is a little known fact that this popular homestyle recipe got its name because it's so good that it will cause your guests to tear each other to shreds with their canines like rabid baboons fighting over the carcass of a baby gazelle. OK, I totally made that up. The real reason is because this oopy-goopy, sweet and buttery bread is so tasty that in order to not rip each other to shreds your group will need to reinforce your social bonds by engaging in an all-out chimp-style orgy (Google search: bonobos) before dividing the monkey bread into equal parts. Alright, alright, I made that up too. I have no idea why they call this stuff monkey bread. All I know is that I eat so much of it and get so much gluey sugar goop all over my face that I don't need to wax my mustache for weeks. That's true.
From Andouille to ziti
Looking for andouille sausage, fresh hoja santa leaves, pickled ginger, coating chocolate or pomegranate molasses? It's all available here in Albuquerque at one of our many specialty purveyors. These little mom 'n' pop shops allow us to dip our toes in the cuisines of the world without spending a fortune on airfare. Clip out this handy directory and refer to it anytime you find yourself agonizing over where to find Rocky Mountain oysters.
Local officials say crystal meth use “out of control”
A few years ago, I met a Euro-hippie who was hanging out in Nob Hill. He was travelling around the country on a Greyhound bus, choosing his destinations based on recommendations from one of those travel-on-a-shoestring books. He said he was pleasantly surprised by Albuquerque's charm—the mountains, affordable bars and cafés, amiable weather—especially because his guidebook advised him not to stop here at all, calling our town uneventful, dirty and worst of all, dangerous. But thankfully he checked it out anyway and seemed to enjoy it.
Gnathic's tiny apartment is immaculately clean. Lit warmly by white Christmas lights and a lamp by the futon which serves as the central couch, it is not exactly where you'd think to find the heart of hip hop in Albuquerque. Gathered around the main and only real room in the apartment, however, are two MCs, a DJ, a break dancer, a graffiti artist and a guitarist—all of whom claim to be, more or less, a part of the growing sub-culture known as hip hop. According to these 20-something men, hip hop is alive and well in the Duke City.
Forget about market-driven solutions
Concern about health care lately has mostly focused on the Richardson administration's proposals for slowing the growth of the Medicaid portion of the state budget. But events in the last few weeks remind us that Medicaid is only one piece in the whole crumbling mosaic that is our health care financing system.
New water utility authority ails Albuquerque
If Britney Spears could wriggle free of her pre-dawn Las Vegas nuptials in a matter of hours, why can't Albuquerque annul the incestuous shotgun wedding its water utility was forced into last year with the Bernalillo County Commission? Sure, Britney's 5:30 a.m. trip down the aisle of the Little White Wedding Chapel might have been the result of “a joke that went too far” (now there's one I wish I'd thought of ...) but a joke that went too far is also about the best spin that can be used to describe what the state Legislature and Gov. Richardson did to Albuquerque ratepayers and our water utility last year.
Dateline: Germany—Police have arrested a shopper who tried to get a refund on two computers after allegedly replacing the working parts with potatoes. The man arrived at a department store in Kaiserslautern and complained that a machine he'd purchased several hours previous did not work. Employees opened up the computer and found it stuffed full of potatoes. According to the British newspaper The Guardian, bemused shop assistants gave the man a new machine free of charge. Store employees became suspicious, however, when the man returned a short time later complaining that his new machine was also filled with potatoes. A company spokesman told The Guardian, “The second time he said he didn't need a computer anymore and asked for his money back in cash.” Staff at the store called detectives and the man was arrested on suspicion of fraud. “It is hard to imagine how the potatoes could get into a computer's casing,” said computer technician Roman Zukoan. “When computers leave the factory, they are packed in plastic to prevent damage from condensation.”
Academy Awards in Albuquerque—Congratulations are in order for Bill Tondreau of Albuquerque-based Kuper Controls. Tondreau is scheduled to receive an Oscar this year at the Scientific and Technical Academy Awards. The scientific awards are announced and handed out earlier than the regular awards (which will take place this year on Feb. 29). Tondreau will be honored for his significant advances with robotic camera systems. The Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be presented at a dinner on Feb. 14.
Altman keeps ensemble on its toes in intimate dance drama
As filmgoers—as film lovers—we can never truly forgive director Robert Altman for at least half of Kansas City, most all of Dr. T & The Woman and every excruciating second of Prêt-à-Porter. At the same time, we must keep in mind that this is the filmmaking maestro who gave us M*A*S*H*, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, The Player and, of course, Nashville. No one can argue that Altman isn't the king of the ensemble cast. But his wildly uneven output (this guy directed Gosford Park and Quintet, for crying out loud!) makes it hard to figure out what we're going to get next. What we are faced with currently is The Company.
Familiar New RomCom is a Case of “Ben There, Done That”
Seeing movies in January is a little like going to a hotel in the Third World: It's not necessarily going to be a horrible experience, but you've got to lower your standards a little bit. For at least the first couple months of the year, the Oscar contenders have all been released, the summer blockbusters are months away and the audiences have dropped off precipitously following the holiday crush. Bottom line: Hollywood isn't gonna waste its top shelf product before President's Day. But that doesn't mean everything hitting theaters right now is complete and total garbage. Take, for example, Along Came Polly, the new romantic comedy starring Ben Stiller and Jennifer Aniston. It's pretty funny and kinda romantic—but only in a January sort of way.
William D. Crumpton worked as a guard at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. A couple weeks ago, in the wee hours of the morning, Crumpton called the police to report a robbery in progress. The museum, as well as the Santa Fe Police Department, now believes that the thief was Crumpton himself.
Perceptions of the Body Through the Familiar and Unfamiliar at the Harwood Art Center
I see a bed, and it looks comfortable enough even though I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get much sleep on it. For one thing, the bed floats more than a foot above the ground. For another, a projector suspended up near the ceiling projects images of sleeping bodies in constantly shifting positions onto the clean, white sheets.
Go. Stand over there. Face the wall. No, I'm not punishing you. It's for your own good. Local artist David Leigh is opening a new exhibit of his sometimes funny, sometimes just plain weird drawings this week at the Walls Gallery. As in past Walls exhibits, Leigh seeks to exploit the space itself in an effort to reveal his drawings to maximum effect. Gold, Golden opens this Friday, Jan. 23, with a reception from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Runs through Feb. 1. 489-2644.
A local developer says he'll build homes in the Bosque. City officials want the land for open space. But where will they get the money to buy it?
It's hard to imagine a subdivision built into the Rio Grande Bosque for the simple reason that from any bridge in Albuquerque, as far as the eye can see, not a single home exists there.
An ideal for living. The standard American dream home is a typical beige box with various forms and styles of columns and windows slapped on, with an array of options included that do little to make one house in a row distinct from the other. Amidst the rows of standard dream homes, you might find a few pockets of the McMansion-style—the streamlined beautifully designed homes envisioned by architectural impresarios like Charles and Ray Eames and available only to the moderately wealthy.
But three students in UNM's graduate architecture program are trying to change all of that.
Blogspotting. End-of-the-year wrap-ups can be tiresome, but this one's so good we wish we had thought of it ourselves. Local blog Metaquerque takes a hilarious look at 2003 in the form of photos published by the Albuquerque Journal. From Mayor Marty kissing a cop to Shirley MacLaine looking a little freakish, the blog serves up 35 of the writer's favorite photos. “By ’favorite' I mean that these are photos that easily lend themselves to cheap jokes and snarky commentary,” the blog's author, Dagwood Reeves, posts at metaquerque.blogspot.com. We're partial to the photo of the mayor goofily grinning while holding a giant bucket of money.
How two brothers and Internet chat rooms may have saved you $255
The movie starts with the sound of a ringing phone.
“Hello, Apple Care customer support,” a voice says.
“Yeah, I've had an iPod for 18 months,” a man answers. “And the battery is dead.”
“Well, the warranty on those runs out after a year,” the Apple employee says. “We can replace the battery for $255, but you'd be better off just buying a new [iPod] for that amount of money.”
Get one of the super-popular, ultra-trendy little white music players this holiday?
Don't get suckered when you can use free tax assistance program
Strange that one of the simplest, most effective and painless ways of reducing poverty in this country would have been both developed under one Republican Administration (Nixon's) and faced serious threat of extermination under another (George W.'s).
If you're like most of the millions of Americans that resolve to lose weight in the 365 days that follow the dropping of the ball every year, you've likely already given up. But just because New Year's Day has come and gone once again, it's not too late to start exercising, shedding excess pounds and feeling better. The key is believing that you can do it, and then talking to your health care professional about designing an exercise and weight-loss program tailored for your personal needs.
The year's first meeting began with Councilor Miguel Gomez's proclamation in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Two marches were announced. On Thursday, Jan. 15, New Mexico Vecinos United is sponsoring a rally and march beginning at City Hall at 2 p.m. On Sunday, Jan.18, a march sponsored by NAACP-Albuquerque and other local and state groups assembles at 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of University Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue.
A convenience food craze serves up hot air at high prices
OK, so you pop open a tube of Pillsbury dough, spoon on some Pace Picante salsa, unzip a packet of pre-shredded pizza cheese mix, throw the thing in the oven and congratulations, Dr. Frankenstein! You've created a Mexican pizza monster. Quick quasi-meals such as this are making a rapid exodus from their usual hideouts on canned soup labels and the backs of Triscuit boxes to nationally syndicated magazines, television shows and cookbooks. They're now called "semi-homemade" or "doctored" foods. The concept is simple—mix a bunch of prepackaged products together, add a fresh ingredient or two (maybe) and pass it off as a home-cooked meal.
Are you simply too stressed out to cook? Do you merely glance at a frying pan and suffer from performance anxiety? Do the voices in your head tell you that whatever you attempt will turn out like crap? Relax and take three or four of those deep yoga breaths. Cooking is just like any other creative pursuit—you start with a basic plan, see where that takes you, improvise, add a little here and there, revise, make some final adjustments and you're done. Oh, but you're not creative at all, you say. Then let's switch metaphors to something else. Ice skating? At the beginning of the two-hour session everyone sucks at ice-skating. But you make mistakes and gradually improve and two hours later you're imagining yourself at the Olympics. OK, maybe that makes no sense at all. The point is this: Not every pork chop has to be a masterpiece. It can just be a pork chop, salted and peppered and thrown in a pan. Wait, you used kosher salt, right? Kidding, kidding. If you burn the thing to a crisp you tell your girlfriend it was an experiment and you go out for tacos. Maybe next time you'll only burn one side. Eventually you'll be the pork chop master. In the meantime just take it easy and don't be afraid to fail.
The Chinese New Year starts next week, either on Jan. 21 or 22, depending on how you calculate (time zones, moon rises—it's too technical for me). In Albuquerque the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, near Washington and Zuni) will be celebrating with martial arts demonstrations, lion and dragon dances and fireworks on Jan. 24 from 1-3 p.m. There won't be food at the Culture Center, though, so you'll have to go out to eat before or after. Lucky for you a number of local restaurants are offering celebratory feasts.
It's a hot topic but many of us still don't quite get it
Q: I'm confused about trans fats. I recently read that hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are considered trans fats. What is hydrogenation, and what does "partially" add to the picture?
Poetic Picture—On Thursday, January 15, The National Hispanic Cultural Center will continue with its ongoing Spanish Film Series. The film this week is the 1988 film Lorca: Muerte de un Poeta. Originally shot as a Spanish mini-series, the film concentrates less on Lorca's renowned poetry and more on his role during the Spanish Civil War. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles. The screening is free and open to the public and starts at 6:30 p.m. The NHCC is located at 1701 Fourth SW.
Home is where the heartache is
When you think about it, the holiday season—despite its surface of candy and colored lights—is a time of deep pain. Urban legend tells us that more suicides happen over Christmas than at any other time of the year. Loneliness is certainly more acute. Winter weather only serves to further isolate us from our fellow man. And, at the very least, we must deal with the horror of visiting relatives and turkey-related weight gain. So, although we may not need to add to this list of year-end woes, the exquisitely doleful drama House of Sand and Fog actually fits in quite well this time of year.
Luck is a lady in this quirky new comedy/drama
Ever heard the old saying, “If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all?” Well, that well-worn credo describes Bernie Lootz to a T. Bernie's got such an excess of bad luck, in fact, that he's able to pawn it off on other people. Employed by a run-down Las Vegas casino as the resident “cooler,” Bernie's job is to hang out and rub elbows with gamblers on a winning streak in the superstitious belief that his contagious misfortune will rub off on the winners. And who better to play this sad sack specimen of humanity than indie stalwart William H. Macy.
Local metal purveyors Systemic have landed a spot on an upcoming DVD that spotlights underground industrial and metal bands around the world. Heavycore.org, a website that bills itself as “the international brotherhood of heavy bands,” offers members a wide range of products and services that cater to heavy music, including a gig exchange, touring support and other helpful networking. In addition, the web-based organization promotes member-bands by releasing and/or distributing CDs and DVDs. Systemic will appear on Roasting Posers Vol. 1, along with bands like Pro-Pain, Alchymist, Skitzo, Ominous, Three-Headed Moses and others. It'll be available early this year, and pre-orders will soon be taken at www.heavycore.org. ... Texas-native Eric Johnson, one of very few so-called “guitar gods” who's not completely devoid of soul and any notion of melodicism, will give a solo acoustic concert next Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Sunshine Theater. This tour marks the first time in a long time that Johnson hasn't appeared with wankers like Steve Vai and Joe Satriani, who have always managed to overshadow the guitarist with overblown technical antics. In my opinion, anyway. So I suggest you get tickets early, 'cause Johnson really is brilliant. ... You may have noticed that El Rey Theater's marquee has been restored to its original luster. A federal grant was recently secured by the city to rededicate the Pucinni Building, which houses both El Rey and Golden West, as a national historic landmark. The theater, which is once again under the operation of the original family, will host a formal rededication by Mayor Martin Chavez on Jan. 30, along with a host of “Grand Reopening” concerts throughout January and February. Stay tuned.
Last year marked the centennial of the birth of Vladimir Horowitz, often considered the last great exponent of the Russian tradition of romantic pianism. Born in Kiev, Horowitz was all of nine when, as a recently enrolled student in the Kiev Conservatory, he snuck into a sold-out recital by the great pianist Josef Hoffmann and hid in a dark corner spellbound. Almost 74 years later, after an absence of 61 years, he returned to Russia to play for an equally spellbound audience. It was a triumphant homecoming, the culmination of a career that ended three years later with his sudden death.
Saturday, Jan. 17; The Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Regardless of your take on its lyrical content, gospel music is one of the most affecting musical genres in existence. Deeply religious and secular audiences alike can find themselves spellbound by the sheer power of a gritty, molasses hued gospel voice, and none are more powerful than those possessed by The Blind Boys of Alabama. Founded in 1939 by Clarence Fountain at Alabama's Talladega Institute for the Blind, membership has fluctuated during the past six-odd decades, but the spine-tingling quality of three- and four-part harmony has remained constant.
Sunday, Jan. 18; Route 66 Casino (I-40 at Exit 140, 10 minutes west of Albuquerque, 21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): OK, so Chris Rock is a comedian and not a musical act. The fact remains, though, that Chris Rock indeed rocks and, with just a little stretch of the imagination, he could easily be called the “rock star of stand-up comics.” Since his silly haired debut on “Saturday Night Live” and eon ago, Rock has released two live CDs (both of which carry vague musical elements) that are, for lack of a better word, hi-fucking-larious. In fact, Rock is so damn funny and talented that I'd rather spend an evening listening to him than at most concerts I can think of.
Originally released in 1997, Garageland's debut was criminally overlooked by most indie rock aficionados in the United States. In their county of origin—New Zealand—however, the band were rightfully hailed as the southern hemisphere's answer to Pavement. But it's the band's pronounced similarity to the Pixies and Sonic Youth that's most likely to tickle your eardrums. The band's third album, Scorpio Righting was quietly released almost two years ago, but this reissue of Last Exit ..., with eight bonus tracks, moderately outshines the band's more recent output. It's an indie rock masterpiece of Surfer Rosa proportions.
This month, Albuquerque's gallery tour, Artscrawl, stretches its paint-stained tentacles across the entire city for a gigantic city-wide art event encompassing 28 galleries located in almost every neighborhood in the city. The event will also feature an Art Benefit Raffle in support of the organizers. Raffled items will include original art work as well as various classes and certificates. Tickets can be purchased at any participating gallery for $2, or $10 for a book of six.
All My Sons at the Vortex Theatre
In 1944, Joe Keller and Steve Deever owned a factory that manufactured parts for military airplanes. One day, Steve discovered that some cylinders they were making had cracks in them, so he called Joe at home to ask him what to do. Joe, who claimed to have the flu, told him to weld over the cracks and ship out the cylinders, saying he'd take responsibility for the flawed parts. As a result, a few weeks later several planes crashed on the same day resulting in the deaths of 21 men.
The Mariposa Gallery has been a staple of Albuquerque's arts scene for three decades. In other words, when the Mariposa opened shop, I was still grooving to Captain Kangaroo. In celebration of this distinguished longevity, the gallery will present its 30th annual invitational theme show. This year the show is titled Jungle Fever and will feature sweaty tropical work by Amanda Tinsley, Drew Coduti, Margi Weir, Kevin Burgess, Lee McCormick and Hilarey Walker. The show opens with a reception this Friday, Jan. 16, from 5 to 9 p.m. It runs through Feb. 22. 268-6828.
An Interview with Troma Films president Lloyd Kaufman
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Troma Entertainment, a fact that will be celebrated this very month at the fifth annual Tromadance Film Festival in Park City, Utah (the same weekend as another, rather more respectable film festival that shall go unnamed). Founded by Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz in 1974, Troma is one of the oldest independent film studios in America. Home to such fine cinematic entertainment as The Toxic Avenger, Sgt. Kabukiman NYPD, Class of Nuke 'em High and Surf Nazis Must Die, Troma is also one of the most infamous.
5 p.m. Lloyd Kaufman personal appearance at Burning Paradise (800 Central SW)
9 p.m. Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV screening at Guild Cinema (4125 Central NE).
11 p.m. Booksigning at Guild Cinema courtesy of Bookworks.
Mayor announces 2004 agenda. Last week, Mayor Martin Chavez announced his list of 2004 New Year's resolutions.
The 26 items ranged from the politically pragmatic (increase the police force to 955 sworn officers), to the culturally enriching (the new Japanese Gardens at the BioPark will enable kids to “understand marvelous, contemplative nature,” the mayor explained), to basic capital outlay (finish the balloon museum, open more community centers, build new fire sub stations), to the humane (reduce rates of euthanasia at city animal shelters) and finally to the it's about time! (Tingley Beach will get a makeover, starting in March).
Shhh ... don't talk about water. It seemed more like Mad magazine or National Lampoon, but at a closer look, it was indeed the Albuquerque Journal, running a frontpage headline on Tuesday, Dec. 30, that read “Rio Rancho Gaining Momentum.”
Dateline: Serbia—Children in the central Serbian town of Kragujevac watched in horror as a helicopter carrying a man dressed as Santa Claus crashed into the street in front of them. A crowd of children had gathered to greet Santa Claus on New Year's Day when the helicopter shuttling him and his bag of presents crashed a few hundred yards from them. The pilot, co-pilot and Santa were all injured, Beta news agency reported. Hospital officials reported that, despite the injuries, no lives were in danger. The cause of the crash has not been determined. Serbs celebrate Orthodox Christmas on Jan. 7, but children receive presents at New Year—a holdover from the years of communist rule when Christmas was not an officially celebrated holiday.
Why a 2,000 percent increase in inmates over the past two decades?
At breakfast with friends on the Monday morning after Christmas, I heard a piece of information that scared me silly. Well, two pieces of information if you count Mad Cow Disease, a subject that demands its own full-column treatment in the near future, once I finish reading the books Fast Food Nation and American Mad Cow.
Mad Cow Disease a real downer for the beef industry
Watching the reaction of various public officials to the first documented case of Mad Cow Disease in the United States brings to mind the performance of Mayor Vaughn, the political head of Amity in Steven Speilberg's classic Jaws. Despite all the obvious signs that there might just be trouble lurking off the waters of the coastal community, Mayor Vaughn insists that the locals continue to swim in the ocean because doing otherwise would be bad for the summer tourist season. Instead of acknowledging the problem early on, clearing the beaches and letting Brody, Quint and Hooper get to work, the shark continues to feast and hysteria eventually overtakes the town. Needless to say, the Amity Chamber of Commerce had something of a public relations challenge in the aftermath.
One of Albuquerque's longest-surviving blues bands, The Albuquerque Blues Connection, will kick off 2004 with a concert on Saturday, Jan. 10, at Pucinni's Golden West at 9 p.m. Currently promoting their CD debut, West of Texas, ABC are also hard at work in the studio recording tracks for their upcoming release, Burning It Up. ... Speaking of CDs by local bands, Fast Heart Mart have finished work on The Movie Theater, which is one of the best local releases I've heard in awhile. It'll be reviewed on these pages in the coming weeks, just as soon as I get some artwork to scan. ... Calls from bands wanting to be involved in this year's Alibi Spring Crawl are already beginning to pour in, so I offer my standard response to such queries in print with the hope that aspiring Crawl bands will heed the advice: Our Crawls are not “new band showcases.” The events are not designed to debut bands to the public. Participating bands are chosen in large part by the venues in which they are eventually booked for the Crawls, which means that club owners generally choose bands they've heard of and or have a good history with in terms of those bands that can create a reliable draw. So the best thing you can do as a new and/or fairly unknown band (especially with regard to the Downtown scene) is market yourself, book some gigs Downtown, post fliers for your shows and create your own buzz. It's not too late to get yourself a Spring Crawl slot, but you've got to be willing to do the work. Good luck!
I would be guilty of gross falsification were I to pretend that I am able to audition more than a fraction of the classical releases that arrive weekly chez Serinus. I therefore abandon all pretence to inclusiveness, and instead focus on the vocal issues that have led me closest to the gates of heaven these past 12 months.
with Greg Brown
Sunday, Jan. 11; Lensic Performing Arts Center (Santa Fe, all ages, 7 p.m.): While many folks are content—eager, even—to accept Hank III as neo-country music's bona fide badboy, the title actually belongs to Steve Earle, Americana's equivalent to rock's Bruce Springsteen. His antiestablishment attitude has remained untouched by his various addictions and run-ins with the law, and his songwriting—largely as a result of his various addictions and run-ins with the law—has only gotten better, more precise.
with his giant, gaping pie hole
Wednesday, Jan. 14; Hiland Theater (all ages, 7 p.m.): I get it now. My former punk rock idol, Henry Rollins, has become a comedian in much the same way that Jello Biafra has become an almost grateful victim of “The System.” Both Rollins and Biafra are smart guys, magical public speakers and charming beyond any shadow of a doubt. They are not, however, orators of the James Campbell stripe. But because they both once fronted punk bands—Black Flag and Dead Kennedys, respectively—they still command a certain audience.
Twenty years after its original release, Demon's third album sounds dated, lackluster and tired, despite having been remixed and remastered for its reissue. Even by 1983 standards, this one's second-rate—a vaguely hewn Orwellian concept album that lacks any real spark. Not poetic or progressive enough to compare to prog rock bands like Marillion, nor bold, heavy or technically stunning enough to stand up next to the Queensryches of the metal world, The Plague would be laughable if not for the fact that Demon got better as the years went on. Skip this and check out The Best of Demon.
Rocky Mountain High—The Taos Mountain Film Festival is celebrating its recent induction into the International Alliance of Mountain Film by heading out on the road this winter with a selection of award-wining films from the 2003 festival. “The Best of the Taos Mountain Film Festival” will open at Keller Hall on the UNM campus on Sunday, Jan. 11, at 7:30 p.m. This special screening will feature Farther Than the Eye Can See, an inspirational film produced by Outside TV about blind climber Eric Wienmayer's ascent of the world's highest peak. Tickets are $12 and can be obtained at www.tickets.com (1-800-905-3315). On Monday, Jan. 12, the “Best Of” tour hikes up to Santa Fe's historic Lensic Theatre. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., ex-Gov. Gary Johnson and mountain guide Dave Hahn will appear in person to show a video presentation of their successful 2003 climb up Mt. Everest. Tickets are $12 and are available at the Lensic box office (505-988-1234).
Tim Burton lies like a rug in fantastical family drama
Tim Burton has established himself as one of the master fantasists of modern filmmaking. His dramatis personæ is that of a dysfunctional boy wonder, a gloomy, wild-haired Walt Disney for the discontented. His fractured fairy tales—from Pee Wee's Big Adventure to Beetlejuice to Edward Scissorhands to The Nightmare Before Christmas to Ed Wood—tell of misunderstood social misfits happy (more or less) to live in worlds of their own creation. Burton's latest, Big Fish, is both more of the same and a bold new direction for the merry misanthrope.
Back in 1972, the New York Times published a glowing review of a novel by first-time writer Dow Mossman called The Stones of Summer. The review insisted that Mossman's book was a breathtakingly original literary experiment. Motivated by the review, Mark Moskowitz, then only 18, hunted down a copy of the book but couldn't get past the first 20 pages. Something about the book just didn't click with him. Apparently, he wasn't alone. The Stones of Summer has been out of print for 30 years.
2004 Revolutions International Theatre Festival
Any of you whiners still complaining that we're culturally isolated out here in New Mexico should shut your pie holes. There's plenty going on in these parts. To take yet another example, consider the 2004 Revolutions International Theatre Festival.
Tickets are available in advance at any UNM ticket office, by calling 851-5050 or by logging onto www.tickets.com. Group rates available by calling 254-8393.
516 Magnífico Artspace
Two large-scale installations by a pair of New Mexican artists go on display at 516 Magnífico Artspace starting this week. In The Royal Flush, Charmaine G. Brown reimagines and enlarges an ordinary deck of playing cards to lend poignant insights into the experiences of people with disabilities. In The Three Athenas, Rachel Stevens takes advantage of the Artspace's high entry hall to present a series of tall feminine sculptures created from transparent fabric and stainless steel. These two extraordinary exhibits will open with a joint reception on Friday, Jan. 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. There will be an artist talk on Saturday, Jan. 17, at 2 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 21. 242-8244.
Yeah, it's a bar ... but with food that's not “bar food”
When Richard Agee isn't dropping off copies of this paper at a location near you he is the man behind the menu at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW, 242-2200). I got him to take a few minutes out of his morning to talk with us about cooking, girls and white truffles.
Why do we anticipate the holidays with such excitement when so many of us barely endure them without complete breakdowns? Sure, holidays are great for kids, what with hordes of relatives around to spoil them with sweets, lax enforcement of the rules and heaps of presents. And frankly, holidays are largely cake for menfolk too. Sure is tough keeping that La-Z-Boy warm, huh Grandpa? Meanwhile we ladies are making up spare beds (with extra pillows!), filling the fridge with bizarre requests (diet decaf Coke with lemon?) and working desperately to avoid the path of oncoming emotional shitstorms (“If you'd given me what I really wanted for Christmas you would have cleaned your house.”) On top of all that we do the menu planning, shopping and cooking, too. All of which we could handle if only someone else in the goddamn house would do some dishes! Mother's voice rings loud and clear through the heads of women everywhere as they silently freak out at the sight of dirty coffee cups in the sink—right next to the empty dishwasher. “Oh no, did I forget to show them where I keep the magic key that unlocks this mystery machine?” (Shitstorm warning in effect for your area!) And then, at last, peace. They're gone and we have six months to forget how miserable it was and remember what a great time we had “bonding” together. Yay!
Restaurants come and restaurants go, sometimes so fast you can barely keep up! Before I even noticed that Café Broadway had closed, Maximito's opened in its place at 606 Broadway SE. Maximito's Chef Eddie Stern was formerly the owner of Tio Tito's, a Mexican restaurant near University and Menaul that he closed about four years ago. Around the same time as the closing of Tio Tito's, Stern's father Maximo passed away. The new restaurant is named for him. As for the food, Stern describes Maximito's menu as, “exactly the same as Tio Tito's but I've gotten better over the past few years.” Among the Mexican dishes like nachos, tostadas, burritos, enchiladas, fajitas and chimichangas lie a number of vegetarian entrées and vegan possibilities. The beans and rice are both vegan, Stern says, and many dishes can be made with vegetables but without cheese. Stern and his girlfriend, owner Julie Dahl, also remodeled the space, building bancos around the dining room, adding splashes of bright color with fresh paint everywhere. Call 242-1222 for hours and information.