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!
Metropolitan Detention Center focuses on keeping DWI offenders sober
The world can break your heart when you least expect it. For Adan Carriaga that shocking moment happened in 1984 when a drunk driver killed his mother. From that moment on, he made a life-altering decision to end his own destructive drinking habit and, in honor of his mother's memory, turn his anger into something positive. Today Carriaga, a devout Christian, dedicates his livelihood to giving others a second chance to sober up before they take an innocent life. "I wanted to help people clean up and be responsible," he said.
Screen Shrinkage—Despite the box office bonanza that seems to be going on right now, summertime is looking like a bad time to own a movie theater in Albuquerque. Last month, we abruptly lost our eight-screen art theater, Madstone. To add insult to injury, the venerable Coronado 6 theater shut its doors unexpectedly last Thursday. That's a total of 14 screens Albuquerque has lost during the height of the summer movie season. That's like eight percent of all the screens in our city gone. Needless to say, this is not a good trend. If all you want to do is see Spider-Man 2 on the biggest, loudest, most crowded screen in town, you'll do just fine. Plus, shutting down theaters frees up lots of room in Alibi's Film Capsules section. But if you actually want some sort of variety here in Albuquerque, the loss of movie screens is a deadly blow.
Nerdy high-schooler makes for hilarious hero in hometown farce
Who is Napoleon Dynamite? Well, fans of Elvis Costello might know him as a one-time pseudonym of the British rocker. But that's not the Napoleon Dynamite we're talking about here. Our Napoleon Dynamite is a creation of the feverishly bored imagination of 24-year-old BYU film student Jared Hess. Napoleon is a painfully awkward high school senior residing in tiny Preston, Idaho (which just happens to be Hess' hometown). He's also the star of the surprise Sundance Film Festival hit Napoleon Dynamite.
Hallucinatory musical comedy is pure Maddin-ess
During the Great Depression, a contest is held in Winnipeg to determine who makes the saddest music in the world. The prize is $25,000 and the winner of each round gets to swim in an enormous vat of beer. Do you really need to know more? The title alone is so good not even Oliver Stone could screw it up. Thankfully, the director of this absurdist comedy is not some Hollywood artisan but a true artist: Canadian Guy Maddin.
“The Grid” on TNT
Cops have been a staple since the dawn of the video age. Private detectives run a close second. Firefighters and rescue workers have had their moment in the sun. Currently, medical examiners are on the verge of running their course. So if it weren't for George Bush and the war on terrorism, I don't know what television programmers would have resorted to. (Postal inspectors?) Thankfully (maybe), the concept of Homeland Security has given networks a whole new genre of crime-fighting television to exploit. Whether American audiences want to watch an hour's worth of news about terrorism and then tune into a couple more hours of drama about terrorism remains to be seen.
The Week in Sloth
Everybody's favorite folk artist, Steve White, is skipping town. He's moving to Athens, Ga., at the beginning of August and needs some money for the trip. Here's the deal. Fork out $20, and White will give you a ceramic Zozobra sculpture along with a raffle ticket. On Friday, July 23, from 5 to 8 p.m., he's hosting a reception at OFFCenter (117 Seventh NW) for an exhibit featuring customized PEZ dispensers by himself and Clay Shefs, as well as art by the 92-year-old folk art legend R.A. Miller. During that reception, White will draw the raffle tickets. Ten winners will get some fine pieces from his folk art collection, including work by Miller, Myrtice West, Roy Finster, Mary Proctor, C.M. Laster, Alan Pruitt, White, Shefs, Jeff Sipe and others. It's a very sweet deal. To get in on the action, call White at 232-2311, drop by his soon-to-be-dismantled Folk Farm at 445 Louisiana SE, or just swing by the OFFCenter reception. We're gonna miss you, buddy!
Corridos Sin Fronteras: Ballads Without Borders at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
Not so long ago, songs served as newspapers. If someone got stabbed or a house burned down, locals didn't rush to a newsstand to read all the gory details. Instead, some clever balladeer composed a song about it—probably embellishing a few details to make the story more exciting—and everyone gathered around to listen.
Milner Plaza on Museum Hill
Folk art has a couple obvious virtues. Given that it's often made by impoverished untrained artisans, it's more accessible than academic art. Plus, although this isn't always the case, folk art also tends to be relatively cheap. Santa Fe will host its first International Folk Art Market this Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, at the Milner Plaza outside the Museum of International Folk Art. The market presents an ideal opportunity to pick up a South African bottle cap sculpture, a Tibetan Thangka painting or some other nifty artifact from one of 40 countries being represented. $5, free for kids 16 and under. For details, call (505) 476-1203.
Harwood Art Center
Douglas Kent Hall is one lucky bastard. During the late '60s and early '70s, he somehow nabbed a job photographing some of the greatest rock 'n' roll superstars of the age. Of course, it's what you do with your luck that counts, and Hall did spectacular things. His photographs of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Cream, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Santana, Led Zeppelin and countless other legends are as jaw-droppingly dramatic as any you've ever seen. A retrospective exhibit of Hall's rock 'n' roll photographs opens this Friday, July 16, with a reception from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Runs through July 30. This show will rock you. 242-6367.
Local voter registration drives focus on presidential election and beyond
By any reasonable measure, the 2000 presidential election was a disaster. Nobody knows for certain whether Bush or Gore won. And amidst Florida's voting irregularities and the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial intervention, there is another debacle of sorts that gets less attention. That is, four years ago less than 30 percent of 25 million eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. In other words, roughly 17 million young Americans that could have voted chose not to.
Who me? Couldn't be. Last week, a New York Post employee told hated rival The New York Times that the source of the Post's shockingly inept cover story on Tuesday, July 6, that proclaimed Democratic presidential contender John Kerry had chosen Dick Gephardt to be his running mate came from the Post's owner, Rupert Murdoch. The story, missing a byline, even ran a giant, National Enquirer-style front-page photo with Kerry and Gephardt peering deeply into each other's eyes, as if tongue action were going to ensue. Needless to say, Murdoch's Manhattan-based daily quickly became the laughingstock of the media world.
Extending Paseo del Norte is not the best way to give Westside residents the traffic relief they deserve
As someone who spent 22 years doing environmental compliance work, I was surprised by the recent report on Paseo del Norte by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (one of whose members is the city of Albuquerque). In over 20 years in that field, I never saw a public agency come so close to calling a proposed road a foolish idea. Still, the report contains a giant escape hatch for supporters of extending Paseo del Norte through the petroglyph monument. One page of the report states, "there are no reasonable alternatives to the currently planned alignment for the Paseo del Norte extension." Even Gov. Bill Richardson seized on this wording, in his Albuquerque Journal op-ed piece of July 5.
Big government resides on both sides of the aisle
I heard Ralph Nader on Amy Goodman's “Democracy Now” radio show the other day and I have to tell you that the guy makes so much sense that I almost found myself tempted to vote for him. Almost. At least I realized, somewhat guiltily, that I was hoping that somehow the Democratic candidate ("my guy") John Kerry would take positions as strong as Ralph's.
Fahrenheit 9/11 stirs up anti-Bush crowd, or was it just a glucose high fueled by Skittles?
There probably won't be any impact on my daughter because she attended an early afternoon screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 on the Fourth of July. At three weeks of age, she can't vote (although it is New Mexico) and spent most of the 120 minutes asleep in her mother's arms anyway. And while there are parts of the movie I wish I'd slept through, my suspicion is that Fahrenheit 9/11 will have some impact on the November elections.
Dateline: India—And you thought American bureaucrats were good at passing the buck. Laloo Prasad Yadav, India's railway minister, told The Times of India newspaper that he was not to blame for a rash of accidents that have hit the country's aging railway system. Instead, he claims, the fate of all 13 million daily passengers rests in the hands of the Hindu god of machines. “Indian Railways is the responsibility of Lord Vishwakarma,” Yadav was quoted in last Friday's edition as saying. “So is the safety of passengers. It is his duty [to ensure safety], not mine.” Yadav's statement came less than a month after 20 passengers were killed and around 100 injured when a passenger train plunged off a bridge in western India after hitting a boulder. India's railway system, which stretches for more than 200,000 miles, sees accidents nearly every day thanks in part to a badly outdated infrastructure and a lack of mechanical upkeep.
“Downtown Thursdays” kicks off this week with New Mexico Parks Department Night featuring live, local music courtesy of Boss Ordinance. The event runs from noon until 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, under the tent located on the Fourth Street Mall just north of Central next to Maloney's. There'll be a climbing wall, representatives from The Albuquerque Cat Action Team to help you adopt a cat, a raffle for a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and much more to entertain you. Boss Ordinance plays from 6 to 9 p.m. ... The Santa Fe Desert Chorale continues its season with performances of sacred and secular masterworks July 20, 22, 27 and 30 at Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. Call (505) 988-2282 for more information. ... Stella Blue in Nob Hill continues to host Reggae Thursdays every—you guessed it—Thursday! Something called Sabbattical Ahdah from St. Croix plays Thursday, July 22, with locals Mystic Vision, One Foundation and Fireworks Sound with DJ Kabir. ... And finally this week, the legendary Flatlanders (as in Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely) are coming to Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, July 27. Better get those tickets now, cowboy.
with Abominant Race and Requiem Mass
Wednesday, July 21; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): Of all '80s hair metal band leaders, Blackie Lawless ranks among the minute few who've retained almost all their integrity following the decades and trends that have come and gone since they were at the top of the commercial heap. Once known more for controversy and shock value than musical prowess, W.A.S.P. are about to surprise the metal community.
with Murder by Death, Paris Texas and Communique
Monday, July 19; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): These Arms are Snakes are a difficult band to pin down. Formed from the ashes of Botch and Kill Sadie, they carry a bright torch of classic '80s hardcore while embracing the more modern sounds of bands like And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Kill Me Tomorrow, Jucifer and other post-punk champions of noisy hard rock.
Thus far, I've hated everything that's come out on Steve Vai's virtuoso-only Favored Nations label. Not because I hate the virtuosos, but because the production values are skewed shamelessly toward contemporary pussy jazz a la Hiroshima and Yellowjackets. This is somewhat true of blues guitarist Johnny A.'s second release for FN, but he's got even more soul than he has chops, thus saving his new record from being one giant bore. Johnny A. crosses genre fences with the ease of a hot knife through butter, and his skill is unearthly, yet palatable.
For those of us who are really into food, a quick trip to the bookshelf to look up a recipe often ends up in an hour or two spent sitting on the floor reading about something entirely unexpected. Recently I went looking for a recipe for shrimp quenelles and my search led me to Madeleine Kamman's heavy tome, The Making of a Cook. Next to the section on seafood mousselines and quenelles was a fascinating entry about frogs. According to Kamman, frogs are not farmed extensively in America but they are in France, where the legs are snipped off still-living frogs. The legless critters are then tossed back in the pond to grow another set. Eeeeeeewwww, right? I almost swore off eating frog's legs forever. I lasted 11 days. I probably could have gone longer but Café Dalat, the Vietnamese restaurant at Central and San Mateo, does a magnificent breaded frog leg appetizer. Looking over the menu the other day, I marveled aloud, "Ooh, fried frog legs!" but the expression on my date's face suggested he'd heard me say, "Ooh, fried bog dregs!" So how could I resist? The crispy golden legs arrived looking more like deep-fried shrimp than the slimy green webbed snack he was expecting. And they were scrumptious dipped in Dalat's salty, tangy nuoc cham sauce. Keep up the good work, frogs. We'll eat ’em as fast as you can grow ’em.
Have you ever tried to eat a sopaipilla the size of a down comforter? Well, maybe not down comforter size but how about ... almost as big as a medium pizza? Our indefatigable interns brought one of these monsters back from Delicia's, a café tucked into a blink-and-you-missed-it strip mall between the Rio Grande river and Atrisco (3915 Central NW, 833-0488). Delicia's staff is very friendly, the kind of friendly that makes East Coast émigrés suspicious. (Why are all these people being so nice? What do they want?) The food is pleasantly unambitious, good New Mexican grub done very well. An entrée of pork chops smothered in onions, tomatoes and jalapeños tasted like it was home cooked by somebody's grandma. In fact the cook looked like somebody's grandma as she called across the dining room to ask me, "Hon! Do you like onions?" Yeah, I do like onions and I like Delicia's. I bet you will too. They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Brett Bakker on the state's shortage of organic commodity inspectors
Organic produce, meats and processed foods are a booming $18 to $20 million dollar industry in New Mexico but a critical shortage of state inspectors threatens the survival of these small businesses. If they can't get inspected and certified organic, the producers can't effectively market their goods to those who are eager to buy them. Through volunteer fundraising, a small group of folks hopes to add 10 part-time, contracted inspectors to the state's current team of three. Brett Bakker, chief inspector for the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, spoke to Alibi about the inspector training process and what it entails.
An Albuquerque Lieutenant Colonel returns from Iraq with a bitter message for the Bush administration
Watching the gruesome opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is the closest most of us will ever come to armed combat. Yeah, sure, it's horrifying and all, but at least we have the luxury of being horrified while reclining in cushy purple theater chairs, oil-barrel-sized troughs of popcorn gripped comfortingly between our thighs.
Two R.I.P.s begin this week's column. After decades in business—I can't say exactly how many years because the phone has already been disconnected—Midnight Rodeo closed its doors for good last Tuesday. Word on the street is that ownership simply grew tired of the nightclub business and retired. Who could blame them? More than just a country bar in the Heights, Midnight Rodeo played host to just about every '80s metal washout band I can think of, and was also home to Gotham, the dance club for folks with a closet full of black clothing and a penchant for the occasional wet T-shirt contest. Midnight Rodeo's was a niche that isn't easily replaced. ... Nonsequitur, the organization that for many years has presented some of the finest quality experimental music in the Southwest has, sadly, ceased to exist in New Mexico. Nonsequitur's driving force, Steve Peters, has moved to Seattle, Wash. where he's taken a job as Arts Program Manager at Jack Straw Productions. Peters will continue to present Nonsequitur events in Seattle, and those interested in keeping tabs can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to remain on the listserve. ... Singer-songwriter and former Albuquerque resident Jason Riggs will be back in town for the first time in many moons on Saturday, July 10, for a CD release concert at Winning's Coffee at 8 p.m. The CD, titled Pawn Shop Special, contains a track or two locals might recognize from Riggs' debut released back in the Dingo days, but it's full of new material that's quite refreshing. Visit www.jasonriggs.com to get a copy of the new record or pick one up at the show.