Let us know your favorite eats in the 505 before Sept. 20
By Robin Babb
Albuquerque’s restaurant scene is thriving, but that scene doesn’t grow and change without input from you, the diners. Which is why we have the Best of Burque Restaurants reader poll each year, so you can cast your votes for the best cocktail bar, the best pizza place, and the best green chile to be found in the city. This is the kind of thing that restaurants will print out and proudly display in their windows for years to come, so, y’know, don’t take it lightly.
Private companies reap profits from federal contracts
By Michael Scherer
Jeffrey Jones knows how to fuel a war. As the director of the Pentagon's Defense Energy Support Center, he traveled the Persian Gulf in the months before Operation Iraqi Freedom to connect with suppliers for the U.S. military's ships, tanks and planes. When U.S. forces invaded Iraq, he used several hundred federal employees to keep the fuel lines running to troops in dozens of countries. "We go direct," says Jones. "We have no one in between."
FBI has long track record of hostility toward internal complaints
By Ben Carlson
Yet again, the strong arm of the federal government has come under attack from within. After the 9-11 Commission's report criticized the Federal Bureau of Investigation for continued failings in antiterrorism efforts arising from "gaps between some of the announced reforms and the reality of the field" (in the words of the report), another former agent has stepped forward to expand the litany of criticisms.
The press loves statistics because they give a story the patina of fact, of being based on firm and undeniable proof. But as last week's frenzied and contradictory media coverage of Kerry's anticipated "bounce" in the polls showed, there is always more than one way to read the numbers.
From the beginning, Paseo has been about only one thing
By Dave Phillips
It's a long story, but in the mid-'80s I found myself at a Bastille Day party in the Rio Puerco Valley. We were 15 miles beyond the western edge of town, in the unused headquarters of a worn-out ranch. I found myself talking to a real estate agent, whose eyes shone as he explained how the valley would fill with suburban neighborhoods. The key to his dream was a good road, which he predicted would soon be built. The road's name was the Northwest Loop. When the road came, the ranch would be transformed from isolated range land to prime real estate.
Every time I hear George W. Bush brag about turning around the economy I do a double take. What are you talking about? I see pitiful little evidence of an economic recovery going on, no matter how many ads our president buys to try to convince us of the contrary.
Anyone with any lingering doubts that John Kerry's lackluster acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention had practically no impact on the race for the White House need only look to the polls.
Dateline: Poland—Police in the Baltic port city of Gdansk are searching for the thief, or more likely thieves, responsible for stealing a 400-ton bridge. A Gdansk construction company had stored and forgotten the disassembled bridge in a local warehouse. According to Poland's Gazeta Wyborcza the bridge was discovered missing during a recent inventory of the storage unit. Police believe a gang of scrap metal thieves made off with the bridge in bits and pieces over the course of several months. An insurance claim made by the construction company estimates the bridge is worth nearly two million zloty ($500,000).
Hey, could there be anything better than an artificially flavored slush scooped up with a gigantic spoon-straw? No? Well how about a diet version? Unfortunately, the little pleasure called Slurpee used to cost you about 350 calories. Now you don't have to piss off your personal trainer every time 7-Eleven calls your name. The diet Slurpee, made with calorie-free diet sodas, is just one of several chilly liquid creations this summer, but it would be tough to say that the other folks are being as calorie-conscious as 7-Eleven. Krispy Kreme just released what we're calling the "liquid donut," a frosty treat that's supposed to mimic the sweet and yeasty flavor of a hot doughnut. Why anyone would want to drink frozen glaze is beyond me, but I am even more confused about the insane calorie content of these things. A small cup (8 ounce) of the original flavor packs a whopping 440 calories, twice the amount in just one doughnut. The Starbucks frappucino is also a gut-buster at an impressive 650 calories for the venti size (50 more than a Big Mac!), but at least the company is trying to do something about it. They just launched a light Frappucino that has only 140 calories for a tall size—without the whipped cream. Hey, if you drink it, the calories don't count, right? Sort of. If you can't fit into your autumn jeans because of your summer drinks, don't blame me. I told you about the diet Slurpee.
Bada Bing Pizza (1716 Eubank NE) now sleeps with the fishes. Once known as Moe's New York Style Pizza, the Italian dine-in and delivery restaurant quietly shut its doors several weeks back for reasons not yet known to us. Bada Bing was one of the few places in the city that served a truly great home made cannoli, not to mention a damn good pie. They were a little slice of New York nestled in the Northeast Heights. Judging from the responses we've received so far, they will be missed by pizza-philes everywhere.
The Food Allergen Labeling Act aims to help kids spot peanuts and soy on food labels
By Rachel Syme
Last year the Stanford University dining hall became a "peanut-free" zone, a haven for all of those kids who feared Snickers like the plague and had to settle for jelly and jelly sandwiches. Of course, there was an initial uproar—in California they protest everything. No more spicy kung pao chicken? No more pad thai or ice cream sundaes? Students dressed as peanuts for Halloween and ran into the hall trying to scare the allergic kids; others threatened to spike the dishes with nuts unless they got more ice cream and fewer vegetables. Even at Stanford, people can be ridiculous.
To roast in the days of the chuck wagons, cooks dug a pit in the ground, filled it with hot coals and nestled a cast-iron Dutch oven into it, then covered it with sod and left it for hours. In New England, traditional clambakes are still done in a similar fashion, but while it's a tempting idea, it's not really feasible for most of us. For me, it won't work because three generations of my wife's family have lived in this house over the last half-century, and she comes from a long line of animal lovers. God knows what I'd turn up if I started digging in our back yard.
Freedom Film—The traveling Freedom Film Festival will be making a stop in Albuquerque Aug. 13, 14 and 15. The Hiland Theatre (4804 Central SE) will host four films from the Instituto Mexicano de Cinematografía including the political thriller Francisca (Sat. 2 p.m.), the drama Ciudades Oscuras (Sat. 4 p.m.), the political drama Pachito Rex (Sun. 2 p.m.) and the comedy Las Caras de la Luna (Sun. 4 p.m.). All four have English subtitles and tickets are a mere $3.50. Assets Grille & Brewing Company (6910 Montgomery NE), meanwhile, will screen a couple cool indie films on an outdoor screen. Films featured there will be the British sports comedy Blackball (Fri. 9 p.m.) and the Scottish/American crime comedy American Cousins (Sat. 9 p.m.). Tickets for the Assets screenings are $5. For more info, log on to www.freedomfilmfest.com
Cruise finds himself outfoxxed in director Michael Mann's new “hack” job
By Devin D. O'Leary
After several years of panning for Oscar gold (Ali, The Insider, The Last of the Mohicans), director Michael Mann returns to his crime film roots (Thief, Manhunter, “Miami Vice”) with the intimate adult thriller Collateral.
Two teens are coming to America in culture shock doc
By Ari Aster
Lost Boys of Sudan is something of a novelty. It represents the first occasion, perhaps in months, on which a self-proclaimed “documentary” has indeed turned out to be what it claims. Finally, after a summer of supercilious arm-twisting, we are graced with the arrival of a modest, elegant, humane little documentary--one that, in all solemnity, achieves a weight of relevance that seemed to be missing from the rest (Fahrenheit 9/11, Supersize Me, The Corporation, etc.). Perhaps this is due to Lost Boys' reliance on observation, when everyone else is adamant about providing “facts.” Instead of forcing guilt on the audience's conscience, the film allows us the opportunity of discovery--or, more specifically, the feeling of discovery, of being there first. And that is the most beguiling of all the pleasures found in documentary-viewing.
The 2004 Summer Olympics represent a rare opportunity for Americans to prove that, not only are we ready, willing and able to bomb any county on Earth to Kingdom Come, but we're also fully capable of kicking their asses in most of the sports we invented.
Funkmeister and reportedly rehabilitated misogynist/crackhead Rick James died last Friday, Aug. 6, at his California home of what were still being called at press time, “natural causes.” Given the 56-year-old's history of drug abuse and fast living, however, the likelihood of the coroner's report not undergoing any revisions before all is said and done seems pretty slim. So as not to sound like a completely insensitive asshole, James' 1981 hit “Super Freak” is my favorite song to perform at bowling alley karaoke. ... The bad news is that Santa Fe's premier bluegrass trio, Mary & Mars have broken up. The good news is that former M&M mandolinist/vocalist Sharon Gilchrist will appear Sunday, Aug. 15, at the Adobe Bar in the Taos Inn with Chipper Thompson from 7 to 10 p.m. as part of Zoukfest 2004. Call (505) 751-3512 or e-mail email@example.com for more information. ... With the recent demise of several local clubs, it warms my ever-blackening heart to report news of a new club slated to open in Burque next month geared especially for the under-21 set. The Light Club (2518 Eubank NE) is scheduled to open Saturday, Sept. 18, at 7 p.m., and the third Saturday of every month thereafter. The drug- and alcohol-free club will feature live DJs, exceptional laser and light shows, an Internet café, video arcade featuring Xbox, Playstation 2 and GameCube play and plenty of food, snacks, soft drinks and coffee. Opening night DJs include Santa Fe's Flobug spinning techno and electro, along with Albuquerque DJs Sebastian (hard techno) and Bowra (tech trance). For more details, contact DJ Lorraine at 298-5636.
Just less than a year ago, legendary jazz producer Joel Dorn joined forces with T.S. Monk, the only son of peerless pianist Thelonious Monk, to embark on an incredible and most satisfying journey: to present to the public—for the first time in most cases—“lost,” out-of-print and otherwise unheralded recordings featuring the elder Monk, including bootlegs and other intimacies. Their first release together was Monk in Paris: Live at the Olympia, a wondrous single-strand concert affair.
Wednesday, Aug. 18; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): Prophecy is not my favorite Soulfly album, but no one can deny that Max Cavalera continues to push the boundaries of metal as hard and as relentlessly as any other artist in the game. Cavalera, who established himself as a powerful musical force with Sepultura before creating Soulfly, is an expert in harnessing the spiritual thunder of tribal music and Latin influences, and shackling them to knee-weakening metal arrangements. The results are complex—classic thrash giving way to hardcore, tinged with everything from flamenco and Moroccan aesthetics to, in the case of Prophecy, Serbian folk music. But regardless of the different sounds he chooses to use in a given song, Cavalera always makes a point of pouring down your throat in molten form. You always know what you're going to get from Soulfly—stunning unpredictability.
Sunday, Aug. 15; Atomic Cantina (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Not to be confused with Philly-based alt.rockers Graze, The Graze is Seattle songwriter and Rosyvelt member Louis O'Callaghan's solo project. His debut, Iowa Anvil (J-shirt Records) is one of the most promising indie rock releases since Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea and one of the most inspired since Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. Whether or not O'Callaghan will make his Albuquerque appearance with a band in-tow (as on the record) or as a lone gunman isn't made clear by the press release, but it's not of much consequence, either. O'Callaghan's songs speak for themselves and are likely to send chills crawling up your spine regardless of personnel or instrumentation. Between the Nirvana-like smolder of his melodies and Modest Mouse-like guitar figures, O'Callaghan—who counts among his influences The Shins—is primed to pick up right where Elliott Smith left off.
For a record that's being roundly heralded as his most brilliant work yet, David Byrne sounds, well, supremely bored on Grown Backwards. Even more string-heavy than Look Into the Eyeball, there are some gorgeous moments here and the sort of genius-level lyricism we've come to expect. The problem is his handling of the material. Instead of inspired-if-morose delivery a la Magnetic Fields' Stephen Merritt, we're left with a sort of “Hmm, maybe I'll record something today ... after morning tea” tone that, with a few notable exceptions (“Dialog Box,” “Tiny Apocalypse”), does little to convince us to keep listening to him.
Transform your mangy pooch into an international doggy superstar! ABQdog.com announces its fourth annual Dogs for All Seasons photo contest. Even if there isn't much chance your hound will ever become an anorexic, globe-trotting, caviar-chowing, canine supermodel, at least the contest is for a good cause. It costs a mere $5 to enter with every penny of the proceeds benefiting local animal rescue groups. Deadline is Aug. 31. Winners will be announced at Three Dog Bakery on Sept. 26. Details about rules and prizes can be found at www.abqdog.com/contest.shtml.
A young security guard gets roped into a local murder investigation against his will in the Vortex Theatre's new production of Lobby Hero. Combining comedy, drama and a candy sprinkle of romance, the play—written by Kenneth Lonegan and directed by Zane Barker—opens Aug. 13 and runs through Aug. 29. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. To reserve tickets, call 247-8600.
Spin over to [AC]2 to catch a two-man show featuring figurative paintings by Sean Speigner along with mixed-media constructions by Michael Certo. Speigner concentrates on expressive explorations of the human form. Certo offers up new idiosyncratic resinous paintings inspired by his travels in Eastern Europe. Together these two mainstays of the Albuquerque arts scene have put together an impressive show. Figure/Ground will run through Aug. 29. For details, call 842-8016.
Steve White might've skipped town, but Yardfest—his famous yearly front yard, folk art hootenanny—is apparently going to bear offspring here in Albuquerque for a long time to come. "We were all just so inspired by Steve White's Yardfest," says Mary Lambert of the OFFCenter Community Arts Project, one of the organizers of this Saturday's We Art the People: Folk Arts Festival. "That people from all over the country could come together to promote art that's outside the mainstream is just really cool."
George W. Bush should buy himself a black John B. Stetson hat, some second-hand chaps and a pair of silver spurs. Then he'd look like a real cowboy, not just some prep school wannabe with a phony drawl. In that get-up, he could face another famous Texan, the left-wing rabble-rouser, Jim Hightower, a man famous for his gleaming white Stetson, on a dusty drag at high noon, the evil Republican villain versus the courageous Liberal hero, fighting a duel to the death over the biggest political issues of the day.
An interview with FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein
By Tim McGivern
There are certain beliefs in America that we the people hold to be self-evident. We think of ourselves as a capitalistic society, for example, where everyone has an opportunity to buy and sell goods and services in an openly competitive, free market. After all, if you pay attention to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, you know free enterprise is a vital component to keeping our democracy strong and our economy sound. (Of course, these same politicians fail to see that giving billions of dollars in tax subsidies to massive, highly profitable oil, gas, coal, pharmaceutical and agricultural industries does not exactly foster a free, competitive market—but that's a whole other matter.)
Political Docs A-plenty—The New Mexico Media Literacy Program is bringing filmmaker Sut Jhally to Albuquerque on Thursday, Aug. 5, to premiere his documentary Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of the American Empire. The film examines how a radical fringe element of the Republican party used the trauma of the 9-11 hijackings to further their pre-existing agenda. The San Francisco Chronicle called the film “sober, yet ultimately uplifting.” The screening will take place at 7 p.m. on the campus of Albuquerque Academy in Simms Auditorium. Jhally, a professor of communication at UMASS and the executive director of the Media Education Foundation, will stick around after the screening for a Q&A with audience members. This event is free and open to the public. Log on to www.mediaed.org for more info.
Shyamalan's twisty new fairy tale is guaranteed to disappoint
By Devin D. O'Leary
Director M. Knight Shyamalan is a talented filmmaker. Make no mistake: He's got intriguing ideas, he's good with a camera, he's a master of atmosphere and he's not afraid to take risks. But the guy is so married to his perceived “gimmick” that he's all but squandered his rather significant Hollywood hype.
Agenda-driven thriller makes politics one scary business
By Devin D. O'Leary
Back in 1962, the politically charged film The Manchurian Candidate was not your average thriller. Based on Richard Condon's equally cynical book, the film concentrated on a group of Korean War soldiers brainwashed by the U.S. government. In the still patriotic post-World War II era, it was one of the first mainstream films to express a certain distrust in The Powers That Be. In an untimely bit of coincidence, however, the film was pulled from theaters shortly after its release by producer/star Frank Sinatra when President John F. Kennedy was killed by an assassin's bullet (closely mirroring a major plot element in the film). Considered a “hidden classic” until a home video revival a decade or so ago, The Manchurian Candidate remains a prescient political potboiler.
HBO continues to impress with its Sunday night lineup. By maintaining a constantly rotating stable of fine comedy and drama—“The Sopranos,” “Sex and the City,” “Six Feet Under,” “Carnivale,” “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “Deadwood”—the network is able to keep viewers glued to the day, even if the top shows are canceled (“Sex ...”) or on painfully extended hiatus (“Sopranos”). The newest show to hit HBO's Sunday Night “must see TV” slate is the Hollywood exposé “Entourage.”
I never thought I'd think or write this, but former Toadies' and current Burden Brothers' frontman Todd (a.k.a “Vaden”) Lewis is a prima donna, crybaby, wannabe-rockstar prick. Upset because his band received three, not four, cases of Miller Lite (despite the fact that three cases were contractually agreed upon) and a bartender at the Launchpad who didn't instantly recognize him (who the fuck do you think you are, Sting?) attempted to do his job and charge $5 for a shot, Lewis extracted his revenge by insulting the Launchpad management and staff from the stage. Nice work ... for a 14-year-old. Anyway, I urge you not to buy the Burden Brothers' debut release, even though it rocks. If you really want it, I'll be happy to oblige all requests to burn copies of the disc. ... In “back From the Dead” news, the original Starsky has reformed, featuring guitarist/singer Jason Ward, bassist Wade XXX and drummer Chris Partain. The reformed Starsky will debut Friday, Aug. 13 at the Launchpad and are on-tap for Weekly Alibi Fall Crawl 2004 on Saturday, Aug. 28. And they will probably sound nothing like Pavement. ... In “Gone But Not Forgotten” news, former Drift frontman and one the best rock singers Albuquerque has ever seen, Marty York, is back on the scene with a new band. York and Black Cowboy will debut at Club Rhythm & Blues on Wednesday, Aug. 25.
Young Lion Chris Potter Stars at Outpost Productions' 2004 Raffle Drawing Fundraiser
It's hard to believe, considering the phenomenal level of talent Outpost Productions brings to Albuquerque—99.9 percent of the top jazz talent in the world—that the organization only conducts one fundraising event each year. It's truly one of those rare cases of getting way more than you pay for.
This year's headliner, though not yet a household name, is well on his way to graduating from Young Liondom into the elite class of saxophonists occupied by Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker and others synonymous with jazz music's sexiest brass instrument. As evidenced on his latest recording, Lift: Live at the Village Vanguard (Universal), Potter has established himself as one of the most important creative voices in the jazz world. Having cut his teeth as a sideman with Red Rodney, the Mingus Big Band and other notables, Potter has become increasingly more comfortable and powerful as a leader. Better than half the compositions on Lift are of Potter's own creation, but there's a seamless quality between his original works and tunes by Bill Stewart, Ned Washington and Mingus that speaks volumes to the 33-year-old's stature among his peers.
Why Sweden's Hives keep getting compared to The Ramones by critics far and wide is beyond me. For one thing, The Ramones were at least half-serious about what they were doing, whereas The Hives have chosen a path that's 98.6 percent schtick. And that's fine, just as long as they intend their second album to be their last. It takes 30 minutes to get through the dozen songs included here and far less time to forget what you just heard. The collection of tunes isn't bad, but it's sure as hell no Rocket to Russia. Here today, gone tomorrow.
Today marks the first time I've ever had a waiter tell me the special was "fucking great." Actually, come to think of it, I know a lot of waiters and it's entirely possible that one of them, at one time or another, may have described a dish to me as "fucking great," but I didn't know this guy at all. Probably he just forgot for a minute that he was at work and that he was supposed to be acting like a grownup. So for a brief minute he spoke to us totally honestly. Would we have believed him as completely if he had described the dish as “excellent”? Probably not. My dining companion and I appreciated his enthusiasm. Why waste time being offended? He was just being sincere. Plus, he was right; the special was fucking great.
Several readers have written in to recommend Geo's in Rio Rancho (3301 Southern, 891-4800). The owner, George Menza, is an Oregon native who spent some time cooking in New Orleans before moving to New Mexico. In a story that is familiar to many non-native New Mexicans, Menza was driving from Virginia to Oregon when he stopped in Albuquerque last year. After three days he knew this was the place for him. Menza bought a house and went back to Oregon to pack up his things. Geo's is a lunch and dinner joint that serves what Chef Menza describes as European food. I said, so does that mean not old fashioned but old school? Yes, he said. Imagine a menu full of Veal Oscar, lamb chops and classic dishes flavored richly with fresh herbs. That's what I imagined as Menza described his food. His Oregon restaurant had been called Hot Off the Brick and drew heavily from the Italian tradition. Out in Rio Rancho, Geo's resides in a shopping center that is also home to a Pasta Café, a situation that prevents Menza from doing too much Italian food. No matter. He's recently made up a new dish: Chicken Imperial, a chicken breast topped with sautéed ham, cremini mushrooms and onions, asparagus and Hollandaise. Mmmm, Hollandaise.
When Crisco appeared on the scene in 1911, it was the first solid shortening made entirely of vegetable oil, not lard. Solid shortening was the result of a technological breakthrough, called hydrogenation, that transformed liquid vegetable oil into a solid. Crisco was marketed as more sanitary than the commonly used animal fats and its popularity grew. Shortening steadily replaced lard in pie crusts and for deep frying. When Americans became concerned with the heart-damaging effects of saturated fats, solid vegetable shortening was again a popular alternative.
To a New Englander like me, there are two sure signs that summer is truly in full bloom: stacks of fresh corn in every seaside village and quarts of blueberries piled as high as an elephant's eye. You can't drive along a country road anywhere in Massachusetts without passing a little fruit stand mounded on one side with corn and on the other with thin wooden punnets of blueberries, newly picked and all yours for 99 cents a quart.
Partisans argue over who is truly "the terrorists' candidate"
By Ben Carlson
With the publication of two incendiary pieces of propaganda in recent weeks, the level of political discourse between parties has descended into the ranks of presumptive second guessing and outrageously speculative sloganeering. Painting the other guy as Osama's favorite is the new all-purpose character smear among partisans in this fiercely contested election.
The 2004 Democratic National Convention may have been more scripted, micromanaged and shrink-wrapped than ever before, but at least you could find media coverage that was refreshingly unpandering. For the first time, one-man-sapper crews of bloggers were welcome on the convention floor, undermining the sterile, party-approved packaging to present their subjective view of the events.
New Mexico Wildlife Federation president says "Hell no!" to drilling
By Tim McGivern
Ellery Worthen enjoys hunting for big game, because he likes eating big game. He also describes himself as a maniacal waterfowl hunter, who has lived out his passion in New Mexico for the past 50 years. "I love to call ducks so much, sometimes I forget to shoot," he said.
"Let me offer some history of what brought us to this controversy"
By Joseph J. Carraro
We have just completed a walk through with the governor of the area at the Petroglyph Monument in dispute with the extension of Paseo del Norte. Once again both sides have presented the same arguments with Gov. Richardson trying to bring compromise to an issue that was resolved years ago; that compromise was established when all parties agreed to the extension and the Petroglyph Park. To now seek a compromise of a compromise is unfair to those residents of the Westside who contributed all that was necessary to establish the Monument.
As those things go, John Kerry's acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention wasn't bad—his bizarre case of "chin sweat" notwithstanding. No one, of course, expected John Kerry to deliver the virtuoso performance U.S. Senate candidate Barak Obama electrified the donkeys with. That's just not his style .And, to paraphrase a line from Chariots of Fire, no political handler can put in a candidate what God didn't.
Right before the Democratic National Convention opened last week in Boston, another Bush appointee made the trip from D.C. to our electorally strategic state for a visit with the grass roots. Clarence Carter, head of the Community Services Administration, was here right after Gail Norton and Tommy Thompson, just before Vice President Dick Cheney's visit to Rio Rancho. He came to drum up interest in his attempt to redefine poverty. But his visit raised as many questions as it answered.
Dateline: England—An inmate, upset at conditions in his new minimum security prison, escaped and walked 63 miles back to his old prison. According to The Sun, reformed junkie Paul Parry left the Prescoed prison near Usk, Monmouthshire, and walked for some 30 hours to his old jail in Swansea where prison officers found him knocking on the door begging to be let in. Parry was sentenced to five and a half years in 2002 for smuggling heroin in Wales. A tough anti-drug program at Swansea is credited with helping Parry kick the drug habit. The newly reformed Parry was recently transferred to Prescoed, a halfway house where prisoners have keys to their own cells. Parry's girlfriend told The Sun that the new facility is rife with drugs and that Parry feared he'd slip back into his old habits. A prison panel is deciding now whether Parry can serve out the rest of his term in Swansea.
Albuquerque Contemporary 2004 at the Albuquerque Museum
By Steven Robert Allen
Gronk is roughly the sound a goose makes while chasing away a potential predator, but don't let that confuse you. Gronk also happens to be a renowned Los Angeles performance and visual artist best known for his spectacular murals. This year, he was also the juror responsible for selecting entries in Albuquerque Contemporary 2004, Magnífico's 15th annual exhibit of some of the best contemporary artists from the Albuquerque area.
John Edwards isn't the only one who thinks there are two Americas. Erin Currier's complex, multi-media paintings take a nose-dive into the inky pit of our multicultural nation, revealing that the United States is considerably more than just a bunch of pansy white boys like me (and John Edwards). Currier's exhibit, The Other America, opens this Saturday, Aug. 7, with a reception from 4 to 7 p.m. at Parks Gallery in Taos. It's worth the long ride to check out this amazing art. The show runs through Aug. 24. (505) 751-0343.
Murderers and rapists can get financial aid, but drug offenders—forget it
By Ben Carlson
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.
If poor gas mileage hurts the U.S. economy and harms public health and the environment, why don't lawmakers call for greater efficiency?
By Rhett Zyla
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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
By Devin D. O'Leary
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.