Gus Pedrotty—Gus, as he likes to be known—stopped by Alibi Headquarters to discuss a bid for mayor that began as idealistic—and some would say unlikely—but has since been transformed into one of the more vital and remarkable candidacies that have passed through this high desert city in ages.
Guests of the N.M. Pride Celebration join Weekly Alibi to party
We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth at the Albuquerque Pride Celebration and the wonderful folx running the beautiful event.
Recorded Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Archived video of the DukesUp!/New Mexico Political Report/Weekly Alibi Mayoral Forum co-production.
derived biodiesel is hot stuff
"The use of vegetable oils for engine fuels may seem insignificant today but such oils may become, in the course of time, as important as petroleum." –Dr. Rudolph Diesel, 1912
Murderers and rapists can get financial aid, but drug offenders—forget it
On Friday, July 22, Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) rescinded his support of "The Second Chance Act" (on the last working day, before the 108th Congress adjourned for August recess), and now the bill must be put on hold until at least September.
Darren, what were you thinking? Ah summer! Your mind goes numb in the blazing heat, your body gets even lazier than usual and the average news day is just plain slow.
Another sorry chapter in the Albuquerque Convention Center debacle
If you're a high-ranking city official in the midst of hiring an employee to oversee a couple of multi-million dollar a year contracts the city has with private companies, do you:
If poor gas mileage hurts the U.S. economy and harms public health and the environment, why don't lawmakers call for greater efficiency?
Do you know what CAFE is? No, not your local croissant and cappuccino outlet, this acronym stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy, a spate of vehicle fuel economy requirements mandated by Congress in 1975 in response to the Middle East oil crisis. CAFE rules demanded that automakers increase fuel economy for light-duty vehicles from an average of 13.1 miles per gallon (mpg) to 27.5 mpg for cars and 20.7 mpg for light-duty trucks. They were given until 1985 to come into compliance. What happened? The world did not end! We got cars with better gas mileage.
Dateline: Sweden—Teenagers at a three-day music festival got their mouths washed out with soap—but it was entirely voluntary. It didn't take long for revelers at the Baltic Sea Music Festival in Karlshamn to figure out that the liquid soap used in the portable toilets contained 62 percent alcohol. Carbonated beverages spiked with the detergent soon became the drink of choice over the long weekend. “I suspected something was wrong because the soap went like hot cakes,” Anders Persson, whose company Bajamaja was hired to provide 65 portable latrines, told the Associated Press. Most of the soap dispensers had been smashed open and emptied by the end of the festival. One 14-year-old girl was briefly hospitalized with a minor stomach ache after pouring too much soap into her soda. Access to alcohol is strictly regulated in Sweden, with the state monopoly selling spirits only through a national chain of retail outlets.
The readers write.
“Ohh, this cabbage is so spicy!" a friend of mine recently exclaimed over dinner in uptown Minneapolis. Her Nordic eyes were ablaze and beginning to well with tears, bulging with the intensity of someone who had just plowed into her first bowl of kim chi. But this was no case of Korean cabbage. This was clearly laughter, and she was definitely making fun of me. I guess I can't say that I blame her. As a native New Mexican, I've developed a pretty cavalier attitude about how other states season their food. Heartfelt attempts at salsa and "chili" are cute at best, but ultimately all are met with my snorting rebukes. "Not enough heat," I boast, dousing my plate with hot sauce. "Yessir," this seems to say, "I am one spicy badass." So while visiting friends in Minnesota, I took it upon myself to prove that the Midwest is also the world capital of flavorless cuisine. How did I do this? By brazenly knocking back what was hands down the spiciest Bloody Mary of my life, choking on it and finally snorting out a nostril full of Clamato-infused magma onto my shirt. I swear to you, my lips were numb for 10 minutes. So, here it is, Minneapolis: I was wrong. Turns out the Midwest really can take the heat.
All the cool kids are going to Belen for dinner. Well, not really, but there is a new restaurant there that might make you want to go. The Wild Boar Steakhouse is the creation of Kenneth Grey and his three sons (the beginnings of a culinary Brady Bunch?). Every member of the family has worked in the restaurant biz before, and they have combined their efforts into one super-project, hoping to create a reason to stay in or migrate to Belen for your next great meal. Grey told us that all of their food is made from scratch, from the salad dressings to hand-patted burgers and a fresh batch of sauce for each pasta order. They cut their own steak and encrust it with chile, devein their own shrimp, and marinate their own filets. Look for Wild Boar Steakhouse at 301 Rio Communities Blvd., between State Road 304 and Highway 47 in Belen. Call (505) 864-7788 for more info.
The secret's in the chile paste.
Koreans have enjoyed the "hurts so good" school of cooking since at least the first half of the last millennium. Even then they were experimenting with a small arsenal of incredibly potent spices, including a popular strain of Chinese peppercorns known as tang chu, or the "suffering plant." The late 1500s brought Portuguese missionaries through Japan, loaded down with New World agricultural products. Their Godly message may have gotten lost in translation, but the spicy peppers they introduced certainly weren't. It was only a matter of time before chilies had migrated into what's now North and South Korea, where they've since become firmly rooted in Korea's culinary and cultural identity.
Guild Goes Monthly—The Guild Cinema in Nob Hill has finally gotten around to producing their long-promised monthly film schedules. These handy oversized calendars hearken back to the good old days of Albuquerque's late, great repertory theater Don Poncho's. The first schedule features a full two month's worth of Guild films at a glance. Mark up your calendars with all the great foreign, indie and documentary films (not to mention crazed Alibi Midnight Movie Madness selections) that you want to see in the coming weeks. You can pick one up at the Guild Cinema box office, Bound To Be Read, Title Wave, Charlie's Records and Tapes, Il Vicino and Alphaville video.
Damon puts the thrill in thriller with another amped-up outing
In the summer of 2002, The Bourne Identity was an iffy moviegoing prospect. It was based on a pulpy page turner by Robert Ludlum that had been floating around supermarket shelves since 1980. It had been made into a serviceable, if forgettable TV movie staring Richard Chamberlain. And it was to star Matt Damon, who had just tanked in All the Pretty Horses and The Legend of Bagger Vance. In fact, there was every reason to believe that The Bourne Identity would be crushed under the tank treads of The Sum of All Fears, a mega-budget paperback-turned-movie, which had opened two weeks earlier. Surprisingly, Bourne proved to be a sharp and savvy piece of entertainment, grabbing more than $100 million at the box office and its fair share of critical praise.
A movie succeeds or fails based on its own merits. If a film is trying to be a dumb movie, and it undoubtedly is (like, say, Airplane), then it must be deemed a success. If a film is trying its damnedest to gross you out, and it's succeeding (There's Something About Mary, for example), then it is—for lack of a better word—a “good” movie. Given this argument, we can't simply dismiss a film like Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. Yes, it looks rude, crude and incredibly juvenile—but it's trying really hard to be rude, crude and incredibly juvenile. And in this respect, it is a rousing success.
“Rescue Me” on FX
Networks suck. They do. Network TV is dead to me. Let's just soak the “big three” in kerosene and drop a match. We'll collect the insurance and start a new life in the fertile realm of basic cable. Think about it. When's the last time a new network TV show scored critical raves, high audience ratings and an Emmy or two? Now, think about all the TV shows you talk about around the water cooler at work. I'm guessing 9 out of ten are cable TV shows.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
Upon arriving home from a brief trip to San Diego last week, I was informed via e-mail that Brewster's Pub, the longstanding watering hole Downtown on Central between Third and Fourth streets, Malarky's and Rebar (formerly Sprockets and Fat Chance) had rather unceremoniously closed up shop. No further information was available at press time and attempts to reach Steve Brewster at his Brewster's establishment in Amarillo, Texas, were unsuccessful (that location remains open), but it does appear that all three local venues have gone home to be with our Lord. Additionally, McGilveray's is said to be closed for remodeling, but their phones are disconnected. Hmm. ... Burt's Tiki Lounge will host one of four billion garage bands on Saturday, July 31, in the form of Las Vegas, Nev. quartet The Black Jetts. Thankfully, they're better than about three billion of their brethren. ... Ani DiFranco will perform at Santa Fe's Paolo Soleri amphitheater on Sunday, Aug. 1, with Andrew Bird. Considering the performers we're talking about here, $29.50 is pretty damn cheap for what is likely to be one of best concerts of the summer. Call 883-7800 for more information. ... If you're looking for some horror punk on Wednesday, Aug. 4, head to the Atomic Cantina for a dose of Day of the Sick from Oklahoma, whose CD is so lo-fi it's almost unlistenable. But I could still hear the passion and anger, so I predict a hell of a live show.
Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Listening to Magic Slim's latest Blind Pig release, Blue Magic, it's hard to believe that one of the greatest living exponents of the Chicago blues (by way of Torrence, Miss.) once left Chicago after deeming himself not skilled enough to compete with Chi Town's big boys in the mid-'50s. For nearly 10 years, the story goes, Slim hunkered down back in Mississippi to hone his chops before reintroducing himself to a roundly stunned Chicago blue community in 1965. Granted, a lot can happen in a decade, but in Slim's case, the evolution was, well, magical to say the least.
Thursday, Aug. 5; Club Rhythm & Blues (21 and over, 8 p.m.): If it weren't for Putnay Thomas, host of KUNM's “The Blues Show” and the man behind the Blues Bizness production company, Albuquerque wouldn't have enjoyed half the legendary blues artists it has over the years. Now, following a brief sabbatical, Putnay's back, and this time he's got Louisiana bluesman Larry Garner in tow.
with The Friendly
Thursday, July 29; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): These days, former Toadies singer and guitarist Todd Lewis is calling himself Vaden Lewis and is busy fronting what amounts to the greatest rock supergroup you've never heard of: The Burden Brothers. Featuring former Reverend Horton Heat and Tenderloin drummer Taz Bently, GWAR's Casey Orr and elite Dallas guitarists Corey Rozzoni and Casey Hess, The Burden Brothers released their debut last November to critical acclaim and almost no airplay whatsoever until recently, when stations with a clue (read: none in Albuquerque) began playing “Beautiful Night.”
with Tilly & the Wall and The Western States
Wednesday, Aug. 4; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): Among the significant number of things David Bazan (a.k.a. Pedro the Lion) does well, it's the ability to keep his audience guessing that seems to best serve him. Where his last two records, particularly 2002's Control, made screeching turns into the cynical and conceptual, the latest Pedro the Lion release, Achilles' Heel (Jade Tree) echoes Bazan's earliest days as a recording artist. He's still quite at home crafting lyrical barbs and carefully implanting them within lo-fi song structures, but on Achilles' Heel, he seems downright pleased to be doing it, which is something of a departure for the often glum-sounding Washingtonian.
He's been called the Paul McCartney to Will Cullen Hart's John Lennon, but, as a Wings fan and unashamed McCartney-ite, I have to say that I'd much rather listen to Bill Doss' post-Olivia Tremor Control output (The Sunshine Fix) than Hart's (Circulatory System). But, frankly, I'm about as bored as I can get with the Elephant 6 collective and their overly saccharine pop of late. TSF's second release is more palatable than their previous, and significantly less campy, but it's got no teeth. Nice melodies, pretty arrangements and nothing else to keep me interested.
Winos—this one isn't for you. Despite the name, this Saturday's Corkfest 2004 has absolutely nothing to do with the fine art of wine-making. The brainchild of artist Corky Frausto, this groovy backyard shindig is designed to showcase some of the best visual artists from the South Valley and beyond.
The Glass Menagerie at the Cell Theatre
First staged in Chicago in 1944, The Glass Menagerie launched Tennessee Williams' superstar career. Following the huge success of the play, he went on to become a household name, composing a string of enduring American classics. Despite his success, of course, Williams' life was famously miserable from start to finish, and he mined his unhappiness more thoroughly than any other American writer of the 20th century.
In a new show opening this week at Visiones Gallery, Isaac AlaridPease, director of Working Classroom's impressive visual arts program, takes a crack at exhibiting some of his own work. La Calle de Oro features a mixed-media sculptural installation created by AlaridPease, which presents a varied community of people interacting with each other in a gritty urban landscape. The show opens Friday, July 30, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 30. 242-9267.
Tricklock Performance Space
A couple months ago, during the Revolutions International Theatre Festival, several Tricklock Company members offered up original one-person performances to theater goers eager to sample a wealth of fringe theater pieces brought in from all over the world. This weekend, four Tricklockers will exhume their shows during the Excavations series. Chad Brummett and Kevin R. Elder will split the bill on Thursday, July 29, at 8 p.m. Joe Pesce and Juli Etheridge hit the stage on Friday, July 30, at 8 p.m. Don't miss this opportunity to see original work by some of Albuquerque's finest. $12 general, $9 students/seniors. 254-8393.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers
The lovable Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House of Representatives and third man in line for the presidency, makes a rare appearance at the Coronado Mall branch of Barnes and Noble (6600 Menaul NE, Albuquerque, NM 87110, 883-8200) on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at noon. He's taking a break from wrecking the nation for a few days to promote his new book, Speaker: Lessons from 40 Years in Coaching and Politics. In it, Hastert shares buckets of wisdom gathered from long careers as a wrestling coach and political hack. Expect lots of creepy secret service types, sporting sunglasses and long black coats, sweating their federal balls off in the August heat. Please stop by to tell Mr. Speaker what a wonderful job he's doing for our country.
When it comes to water conservation, no one can deny that Albuquerque has come a long way in a short time. Since the U.S. Geological Survey's 1993 report shattered our illusions about having a never ending supply of fresh water in the aquifer, the city has rapidly implemented a number of ambitious—and absolutely necessary—reforms in water use.
Whatever your beat—drugs, arson or simple water violations—one unfortunate rule always seems to apply: Some people never learn. No matter how often they're slapped with fees, fines and penalties, these ne'er do wells continue to break the same law that landed them in trouble in the first place. By now, Carol Edwards, one of only three full-time "water cops" in the city, knows these repeat offenders all too well. Every day she confronts their reluctance to curb water waste. For her sake and the sake of our beleaguered aquifer, it's time to introduce them to their friends, neighbors and the city at large.
Documentary Debut—The Santa Fe Film Festival will sponsor a special screening of Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman's award-winning documentary Born into Brothels this Thursday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m. The screening will take place at The Screen on the College of Santa Fe campus. Born into Brothels captures the life of an unforgettable group of children. Feisty, resilient and wickedly funny, these kids are the offspring of the prostitutes who occupy Calcutta's red light district. Determined to evade their doomed future, they embark on a transformational journey with New York-based photographer Zana Briski, who teaches them the explore their world through the art of photography. This exuberant, unsentimental film nabbed both the Documentary Award and the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and looks to be a sellout event; so get there early. Tickets are $9 and are available at the door (1600 St. Michael's Drive).
Beautiful cultural documentary highlights hearty herders and lachrymose livestock
The Story of the Weeping Camel is a terrible title for a movie. It sounds like a parody of an art house title—the kind of dry, foreign-sounding film only Ivy League hippies would be caught dead buying a ticket for. That's too bad. Because The Story of the Weeping Camel is a gorgeous, good old-fashioned documentary all but devoid of political agenda or sociological rhetoric.
Damning doc proves companies are people too—and not very nice ones
Objectivity, once considered a virtue in the world of documentary filmmaking, has all but vanished from theaters, becoming a distant, if sorely lamented, memory. Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock's two-hour exercise in gimmickry, hammered home its most obvious points, allowing no room, or opportunity, for debate. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was stubborn in its refusal to acknowledge both sides of its argument, resulting in a film that will entertain the already converted but alienate those who aren't yet convinced. Now, with The Corporation, audiences are given yet another reason to join hands, debate over coffee and plant a pipe bomb in the neighborhood Nike factory.
“The Graham Norton Effect” on Comedy Central
The Beatles did it big time. The Rolling Stones are still doing it. Robbie Williams tried several times and eventually gave up. At some point, it seems, every Brit has to try and conquer America. Now it's British talk show host Graham Norton's turn.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
I'm a pig man myself. By that, I don't mean I'm half-pig, half-man—despite what a couple bitter ex-girlfriends might tell you. All I mean is that I'm partial to pigs. I like them. I feel an affinity for them, so to speak.
Circles, Stripes and Checks at Galerie E
Throughout the late '60s and '70s, Rini Price regularly exhibited her art. In 1979, however, she underwent a difficult operation for cancer, an experience that dramatically changed her attitude toward her work. Although her cancer hasn't recurred since 1984, Price has rarely exhibited over the last two decades, content to create her art outside the public eye.
Santa Fe Plaza
The oldest and largest exhibit and sale of Spanish colonial artifacts in the United States kicks off this weekend on the Santa Fe Plaza. Currently in its 53rd year, the Traditional Spanish Market brings in buyers and browsers from all over the country to check out music and dance performances, demonstrations, food and, most importantly, lots of great art from over 200 native New Mexican artists. The market occurs this Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details, log on to www.spanishcolonial.org or call (505) 982-2226.
One of our city's most anticipated art events is always Magnífico's annual juried exhibit of Albuquerque area artists. This year, Gronk, the nationally acclaimed Los Angeles performance and visual artist, did the jurying, so there's a good chance the show will be even more radical than it's been in years past. I'm excited, and you should be too. Albuquerque Contemporary 2004 opens Saturday, July 24, with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum. The show runs through Sept. 5. 243-7255.
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror
Garden of Beasts: A Novel of Berlin 1936
John Ryan's candidacy for a seat in the Legislature raises ghosts from the past, highlights divisions among state GOP leaders
John Ryan, just like anybody else, has had his good days and bad days. Last inweek, though, the state Senate candidate had a particularly stressful day when a felony conviction from his past resurfaced after he sent a letter to prospective voters acknowledging his "participation in a burglary" more than 20 years ago.
Welcome to the most read and most trusted column in Albuquerque. That's right, Thin Line is a no spin zone, where we report, you decide. Some people say Thin Line is the most fair and balanced journalism you will find anywhere in the United States. And that's a good thing, because other news outlets, unlike Thin Line, are so skewed and biased, you and me practically puke at the sight of it.
Dateline: England—In what sounds like a textbook example of “adding insult to injury,” a 28-year-old man, who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his pants, was sentenced to five years in jail recently. David Walker underwent emergency surgery after the March 26 incident in Dinnington. Prosecuting lawyer Andrew Hatton told the court that Walker had gone home to get the shotgun after arguing in the pub with lifelong friend Stuart Simpson about whose turn it was to buy a beer. Walker retrieved the illegal shotgun and returned to the pub, only to find it closed. At that point, Walker apparently discharged the weapon on accident. “He had it shoved down his trousers,” Hatton said. “After the shotgun had discharged, he placed it in a rubbish bin and crawled home.” Walker told officers he was so drunk he had no idea how he managed to shoot himself or why he had gone home for the gun. Walker was sentenced to a mandatory five years thanks to recent legislation regarding banned weapons. Tests are continuing to determine if Walker would be left infertile.
Compliments and scorn come in all colors
When it comes to doling out compliments to city bureaucrats, I'll be the first to admit that I tend to be more Simon Cowell than Paula Abdul. But after watching him speak at a recent meeting of the Economic Forum, I have to say that Jay Czar was one of our best public servants and will be greatly missed.
Voters get to decide in November
One of the three proposed state constitutional amendments that will be on this November's ballot could create a very interesting scenario for Albuquerque's next mayoral election if it passes. Constitutional Amendment 3 will permit municipalities to hold runoff elections.
The readers write.
If you like your punk rock with a generous side of pretentiousness, then Austin's—by way of Paris according to the band's bio—Les Messieurs du Rock will more than please you on Friday night, July 16, at the Atomic Cantina. Other Austin bands like And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Those Peabodys are well-known for their asshole-ish swagger, but Les Messieurs make both of those bands seem as polite and down-to-Earth as Hootie and the Blowfish.
When I first began to play this disc of centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist chant by monks praying in the pine-forested foothills of northern India's Kangra Valley, I naively thought I could use it as background music. Forget it. These chants are too powerful. The reason this disc won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album is simple: It's the real thing.
Like so few musicians today, San Francisco rockers Communiqué remember the nonpejorative meaning of pop: buoyant melodies, clear, repetitive structures and a musical sense of humor. Granted, this group's roots still cling to emo sensibilities, which emerge occasionally as a hint of over-earnestness in the lyrics, but their sharp musicianship forgives all. New wave synths tastefully enhance the band's solid sound without feeling contrived or extraneous—a real feat—while the songwriting can bring a smile to your face long after the record's stopped playing. This is the true essence of pop.
Why is it that the best fruits for making pies happen to ripen when only a complete idiot would be willing to turn on her oven? One particularly cruel Alibi staffer keeps bringing in peaches from his yard. This morning I noticed that he brought in just about enough for a nice, deep-dish peach pie. Mmm, peach pie. I like to toss my sliced peaches with just a touch of almond extract instead of vanilla. And in the summer I think pie tastes best the next day, especially if it's been refrigerated. There's nothing like a slice of cold pie for breakfast! If the oven is a no-go, you can always slice fresh peaches and top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Try making a peachy milkshake or a smoothie with yogurt and honey. Purée the peaches and freeze them in popsicle molds or little paper cups. Soak slices in bourbon and brown sugar; eat the peaches and sip the bourbon on the porch after a nice meal of fried chicken. Make it up as you go along! Just stay away from the stove.
Pat and Terry Keene will relinquish management of Bien Shur to Sandia Pueblo next month. The Keenes, who also own Artichoke Café, have run Sandia Casino's upscale Bien Shur restaurant for three and a half years. According to Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuwart Paisano, the parting of ways was amicable. "Our relationships with the Keenes has been fabulous. We were skeptical at the beginning when we started the restaurant, so we solicited the experts [the Keenes] to come in and manage it for us. They were scared too but everyone did a tremendous job." So why spoil the fun? "Growth is putting a damper on it," he says. The pueblo will operate Bien Shur through the end of 2004 when it will be closed for 10 months of renovations that will transform the area into a dining room for the casino's expanded 500-seat buffet restaurant. Construction is already underway for an adjacent hotel that will provide a new home for Bien Shur as well as another proposed restaurant. Paisano said that while the pueblo was interested in attracting national chain restaurants, those restaurants may be located inside the casino or on pad sites nearby. When construction is completed next year, there will be five restaurants in or next to the casino. "We're very interested in diversifying away from gaming and offering a well-rounded type of dining experience," the governor said. (GD)
Reagan's vegetable meets the Heinz-Kerry fortune
Ordinarily, ketchup would don its crown as the summer cookout condiment par excellence without any help from the president of the United States (past, present or future).
stuffed squash blossoms
If you've ever grown zucchini in your garden then you know how prolific squash plants are. They just keep growing and growing and growing. It seems every time you blink there's another squash the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread lurking under an umbrella-sized leaf. It can be hard to keep up with them. One method is to pluck the blossoms before a squash can grow or when the blossom is still attached to a finger-sized baby squash. The blossoms can be tossed into salads, stirred into simmering soups or chopped and added to pancake or crêpe batter. They can also be stuffed and then either poached or battered and deep fried.
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
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
“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.
The Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival Announces its 32nd Season
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.
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.
The readers write.
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.
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.
Eats, Shoots and Leaves
A Carnivore's Inquiry