It's State Fair time in Albuquerque again, and along with the usual bastion of talent scheduled to appear following PRCA Rodeo events at Tingley Coliseum this year, there's a host of local talent booked to entertain you, your friends and families at the Ford Pavilion. Local musicians are getting a giant shove into the State Fair foreground this year thanks to Ford Pavilion Entertainment Coordinator Jennifer Gignac (a.k.a. the artist known as Jenny Gamble) and Assistant Coordinator April Adams, who've lobbied relentlessly to bring some new blood, genres and sounds to fairgoers for the cost of fair admission alone. All events scheduled to take place at the Ford Pavilion are free once you're inside Expo New Mexico, and they're open to audiences of all ages—talk about a great time for the underage among us to check out bands they usually don't otherwise get to see except when they've got an extra $30 or $40 for an Edgefest ticket once a year!
Sayles Force—Long-admired indie filmmaker John Sayles (Matewan, Eight Men Out, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star) recently turned his attentions to America's contentious political climate, whipping out the political thriller Silver City with the eager help of an all-star cast (including Kris Kristofferson, Chris Cooper, Daryl Hannah, Richard Dreyfuss, Miguel Ferrar, Billy Zane, Tim Roth and more). The film lies somewhere between the dense conspiratorial murder mystery of Chinatown and the pointed political humor of an Al Franken routine.
The glitz and glamor of background extra work
Suspect Zero, the serial killer thriller shot in Albuquerque and the surrounding area two summers ago, finally made its way onto movie screens last weekend. The film struggled into 10th place at the box office, clearing a meager $3.4 million. Although the film didn't exactly cover its small $27 million budget ($7.5 of which was provided as an interest-free loan by the state of New Mexico), it did scrape together a few thousand more dollars than Baby Geniuses 2. At this point, it's clear that New Mexico will see none of the promised 2.5 percent of the film's profits, but at least the production employed a handful of New Mexicans for a few weeks. The following is a brief diary excerpt from two New Mexicans who worked as extras during the film's shoot.
Pomp and circumstance drives Brit-lit romance
I must confess that I'm not the most avid fan of Brit-lit romance. I really couldn't give a toss if poor Ms. So-and-so finally climbs up that snobby social ladder and marries Lord What's-his-name. But Hollywood sure is a big fan of beautiful costumes, weepy romance and people speaking in British accents. Conventional wisdom does say that if you throw some Jane Austen or some Charlotte Bronte or some Charles Dickens up on screen, you're guaranteed to generate at least a little Oscar buzz—which is probably what the makers behind the new adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel had in mind.
Fall season around the Dial
The Olympics are over, summer is dying, and that means that the fall TV season is upon us. Premieres roll out all this month. So what does the new fall schedule hold in store for us?
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
It kind of feels like a bomb has been dropped in Albuquerque, leaving a charred, smoking hole right in the middle of Downtown. Financial problems have motivated Magnífico—one of Albuquerque's best nonprofit arts organizations—to close its Downtown gallery at 516 Central SW. The organization's board also decided to lay off its three-person staff.
A group of enterprising young artists has opened up a new gallery space at 1415 Fourth Street SW in Albuquerque's historic Barelas neighborhood. The Donkey Gallery's first show is called Burning Green Wood and will feature work by its three co-directors—David Leigh, Larry Bob Phillips and Sherlock Terry. A grand opening reception will be held Friday, Sept. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. I'm told there will be tacos. Rex Hobart will provide live tunes. The event will also serve as a launch party for the Donkey Journal, a monthly, limited edition, two-sided poster with interviews, art criticism, creative writing and reviews. The show runs through Oct. 3. 243-0502.
Café Au Lait
Former Alibi contributor Stephen Ausherman has just released a new collection of travel essays called Restless Tribes (Central Ave. Press, paper, $14.95). Several of the essays included in the book first appeared in earlier incarnations in the Alibi. Swing by Café Au Lait this Friday, Sept. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet Ausherman, pick up a signed copy of his book, and check out an exhibit of photographs from his extensive travels to India, Korea, Borneo, Iraq, Vietnam, China, Tanzania and other exotic locales. The exhibit will run through Sept. 30. 248-0707.
St. Louis Hosts the 2004 National Poetry Slam
It's official: I've got baseball fever. In the ninth inning, the Expos hit a two run homer to tie the game, and it's extra innings. We're sitting in the cheap seats at Busch Stadium and sweat is pouring down my face. Wait, this isn't baseball fever; it's August in St. Louis. Busch Stadium is a bowl of soup, and sweat is pouring from my why-didn't-I-buzz-my-hair-this-summer head as if I'm running laps. And I'm not. I'm watching a baseball game, and I'm drinking the local brew (namely Budweiser) in St. Louis the night before the National Poetry Slam begins.
Sore Winners (And the Rest of Us) in George Bush's America
With John Ashcroft in charge, the Justice Department barely deserves its name. We're living in a scary new America. Learn your rights now before they're stripped away forever.
The Last Day of the War
Attending a Bush rally and trying not to drink the Kool-Aid
First impression: Heather Wilson should star in her own soap opera. It could be called "As The World Turns ... to Crap." Our Congresswoman is truly a miracle of modern science. We say bravo to the engineers who installed the WilsonBot's automatic tear-duct emptying function. And, thankfully, unlike the previous version of this monster—Tammy Faye Bakker—Wilson does not leak dark fluid from her eye holes during the performance.
Theater of the absurd. It's funny how enlightening a brief encounter with a stranger can be.
How many terror alerts does it take to elect a president?
It's become a familiar routine. First the terror alert originates somewhere in the halls of the federal government, then it gets filtered to the mainstream media, which passes the information on to the public. The public puts on its collective "Code Orange" game face, while terror alert banners scroll across the 24/7 cable news screens and each network's security experts analyze the latest threat on the talk shows.
Privatizing the state's behavioral health services another bad idea
After putting it at the bottom of my stack of books to read for over a year, I recently began reading Edmund Morris' wonderful biography, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Once I'd actually turned a few pages, it was hard to put down. Not the least of its pleasures for a contemporary liberal Democrat is the recognition that T.R., a maverick Republican, was warning us 100 years ago about the "unnatural alliance of politics and corporations."
And other news worthy of the conspiracy theory hall of fame
Since the Democrat National Convention in Boston, “Payne's World” readers have had the inside track on the tactical mistakes of the Kerry campaign—and they are legion. A month ago (Aug. 5-11 "Too Conventional"), the following appeared in this column and looks now like it could have been written by Nostradamus.
Dateline: England—A man has admitted to endangering passengers on a 737 flight from Norway by setting fire to a pornographic magazine under his seat. David Mason used a cigarette lighter to ignite torn-out pages from the magazine, which he had purchased earlier. The charges came to light in Lewes Crown Court in southeast England last Tuesday. Prosecutor Roger Booth said stewardesses on the Norwegian national airline Braathens became suspicious when Mason asked if he could burn some paper in the plane's galley oven. They refused and sent him back to his seat. Soon afterwards, two passengers complained of a burning smell. Crew members found Mason had started a small fire under his seat. The blaze was extinguished with water. Booth said that Mason, who was receiving treatment for mental illness, had “been offended” by some of the pictures in the magazine, one of several he had bought. “He said that on the plane he had become overcome, and felt the desire to destroy them there and then,” the prosecutor said. Mason is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
The readers write.
Fall Crawl 2004 was officially over early Sunday morning, Aug. 29, as the last of the street sweepers we hired made one last run up the alley just north of Sixth Street. And, save for a few long lines and slow-going foot traffic on the street later in the evening, our 11th installment in the Alibi Crawl series was a major success, just as all previous Crawls have been. Thanks, as always, to the bands who participated, the crew who worked their asses off, the City of Albuquerque, Mayor Martin Chavez, Downtown Action Team, Albuquerque Police and Fire Departments and all the participating venues, restaurants, retailers and local media who covered the event. The brainstorming effort to make next year's Alibi Spring Crawl (Saturday, April 23, 2005) bigger and better than ever is already underway, and we'd especially like to hear from the bands, venues and attendees and everyone else who participated or observed last weekend's event so we can work your ideas into the Crawls. Send constructive criticism (save the sixth-grade nastiness for RockSquawk.com), questions and suggestions to Yours Truly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make Alibi Fall Crawl 2004 a success. Those of you who worked hard and failed to undermine the event ... well, suffice to say, we know who you are, and you are the enemy of music fans everywhere. ... For those who don't already have tickets, the fabulous John Hiatt will appear Friday, Sept. 3, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe (211 West San Francisco Street) at 7:30 p.m. The super-fabulous David Lindley will open the show. Call (505) 988-1234 to order tickets right now!
with Oktober People, Soular and Love Overdose
Friday, Sept. 3; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): The local music scene conspiracy theorists among us will no doubt take issue with the fact that I've chosen to preview simple.'s CD release party being that bassist Joe Anderson happens to be a close friend and someone I've spent the past 11 years working closely with, but I don't really care. The plain fact of the matter at hand is that simple. have created a sound that's unique among local bands—mystifyingly huge and beautifully ambient at once—and a debut record that stands tall alongside any other released by a local band this year. Lyrically, the songs can be somewhat daunting, but there are few bands in town that can match simple.'s masterful use of swirling, dueling guitars juxtaposed against orgasmic grooves. Oktober People are one of them, and you get to see them tonight, too.
Sure, you love splashing Tabasco all over your tacos, but would you tip the bottle into your kid's mouth if she lied about eating her peas? An ABCNEWS.com poll revealed that while 65 percent of Americans don't think so-called hot-saucing children is acceptable, 35 percent do. Among that smaller group is Lisa Welchel. Remember her? She played Blair on the '80s TV series "Facts of Life." Blair, er, Welchel didn't really do anything big after "Facts of Life," which is why we still think of her as Blair, not Lisa Welchel. After leaving show business, the enthusiastically Christian actress raised three children, homeschooled them and wrote a book on her discipline methods, including hot-saucing. "It does sting and the memory stays with them so that the next time they may actually have some self-control and stop before they lie or bite or something like that," she said on “Good Morning America.” Hmm, if the hot sauce didn't hurt it wouldn't be an effective deterrent, right? And if it did hurt, that would be kind of like hurting your children, right? So why not just spank the crap out of them? Is hot saucing a "kinder, gentler" way of spanking? No, but we shouldn't be surprised. As Devin D. O'Leary says, Blair always was a bitch.
A multicultural, low-tech matanza method for going whole hog
The matanza, or ritual slaughter and cooking of a pig, has been a part of New Mexican culture since the first Spaniards settled in this area. Neighbors would take turns hosting matanzas and share the resulting meat, a tradition that had real practical importance in the days before refrigeration. Now, cooking a whole pig in a pit in the back yard is less common but still an event that requires a lot of cooperation and benefits a lot of hungry mouths.
Which American city has the most coffee shops per capita? Who the hell knows. It seemed that Albuquerque was in the top spot after the the Associated Press reported on findings of the Specialty Coffee Association. The original findings revealed the shocking statistic that Albuquerque had more java huts than Seattle, New York or Los Angeles. Even per capita, that's a lot of coffee houses. Unfortunately, it was revealed a few days later that the statistics were wrong. The Specialty Coffee Association did not release corrected figures.
Riesling rocks with food
Over the weekend, I had a culinary orgasm. It lasted four hours, and occurred in a dark corner of a restaurant. Amid a roomful of people, I blissfully consumed eight extraordinary dishes married with perfect wines. While basking in the beauty of this rather long, exultant moment, one thing struck me—the underbelly of sweetness in many of the wines, from the sparkling to the reds. Then the elegant, fragrant master arrived, Riesling, proving it still has what it takes.
Believe it or not, there's more to Fall Crawl than just boozin' and rockin' out. A night of live music and even livelier cocktails requires a bit of sustenance in order to last through last call. Downtown has become a culinary hot spot in the past few years, and there are plenty of places to stop and get your grub on before heading out to hit the bars and hear the bands. You'll want to get there early to check out the scene anyway, so you may as well make a relaxing early evening out of a tasty outdoor meal before jumping straight into the fall fray. Be kind to your tummy and stuff it with some buffalo wings, a slice of pizza, a fresh Greek salad or an ice cream sundae before offending it with that extra shot of Cuervo. So try out a new Downtown eatery – the worst that can happen is that you'll be happier at the end of the night.
Alibi Fall Crawl 2004 Highlights
Past attempts to summarize the sound of every single band participating in the Crawl in one sentence proved a dismal failure. Some bands inevitably felt slighted, others were pissed that our descriptions didn't match their own delusions of adequacy. So what follows are short, highly subjective profiles of performers we consider to be just a few of the many highlights of this year's Alibi Fall Crawl. The reality, though, is that there are something like 100 different artists playing, and we encourage you to discover new favorite bands using your own intuition. If you or your band are profiled herein and are still unhappy with the description, buy an ad, you malcontent, and tell us all what you think you sound like. Call John Hankinson at 346-0660 ext. 265 to reserve your ad space today!
The telltale smell of roasting green chiles in the air can only mean one thing: Weekly Alibi Fall Crawl is officially in-season and just around the corner—Saturday, Aug. 28, in fact. After 10 enormously successful Crawls (we don't expect this one to be any different in that regard), what was once an impossible dream has become a reality the entire community expects to take place every August and April. Even in our wildest dreams back in 1999 when we were planning and organizing the inaugural Fall Crawl, we couldn't have imagined that, in addition to hundreds upon hundreds of bands and solo artists; the Crawls would be embraced and enjoyed by such a diverse cross section of Burque dwellers. Folks that once avoided Downtown like the plague now visit at least twice a year. Businesses that used to approach Crawl nights by skeptically closing up shop and going home now extend their hours and invite the thousands of attendees who come to listen, eat and spend their money on all the goods and services Downtown—quite suddenly—has to offer.
The return of the protest song
It was only a year ago that record executive Danny Goldberg was complaining in his book Dispatches from the Culture Wars: How the Left Lost Teen Spirit that progressive politics had lost its pop cultural cachet. But it seems that between the war in Iraq and the GOP's tightening grasp on the reins of power in both the legislative and executive branch, George W. Bush may have done Goldberg's work for him. The protest song is back, and as Michael Stipe sings in R.E.M.'s contribution to the genre, the president's "latest triumph draws the final straw."
Fatherly advice for hitting the hard stuff
Fall Crawl should be memorable for many reasons, none of which are blowing half of your paycheck on strippers, becoming hideously bloated or falling face first into a pool of your own filth. We've been doing this for a while now. So while you're out enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of Downtown's biggest yearly gathering, keep at least a few of these hints handy. You'll come out of it feeling svelte, savvy and a little smarter for it.
1. Sunshine Theater (ALL AGES)
8:00 o One for Hope
9:00 o Falling Process
10:00 o ATG
11:00 o A Summer Ends
12:00 o Flaw
2. Moonlight Lounge (21 and over)
DJ Automatic opens and spins segues
7:30 • PZ Watkins
8:00 o Mike Prophet
9:00 o Garbage Pail Kidz
10:00 o The Movement
11:00 o Kevin Lee
12:00 o Speed One/Cheops
3. OPM (21 and over)
7:00 o Mark Churchill
9:00 o DJ Edge
11:00 o DJ Devin
Brooklyn's Candiria endure hardships to become one of the most important bands in metal
One of the greatest components of music on big-picture terms is its sheer unpredictability. Just when you think you've heard it all, or that a particular genre is in the toilet to stay, some band or artist comes along and blasts your cynical mind back to reality. Or, as the case may be when a genre actually has choked down its last breaths, a subsequent wave eventually sweeps over the death throes and reinvigorates all that was glorious about the past. Such is life.
Doggy Deadline—This Saturday, Aug. 28, is the deadline to submit your short videos to the Fifth Annual All-Dog Digital Underground Short Film Festival (a.k.a. Dogfest 2004). If you have a photogenic canine looking for his or her 15 minutes of fame, then shoot your short (five minutes or under) dog-based digital video and send it (along with a $25 entry fee) to: “Three Dog Bakery, 9821 Montgomery NE, Albuquerque NM 87111.” First, second and third-place prizes ($500, $300, $200) will go to an animal rescue group of the winner's choosing. Applications are available at www.abqdog.com/dogfest.html.
High-flying martial arts fantasy out-crouches the Tiger
It took Quentin Tarantino poking his finger into Harvey Weinstein's overfed ribs several times and offering to “present” the film for Miramax to finally release Hero here in the United States. The film, now called something unwieldy like Quentin Tarantino Presents Jet Li's Hero, was released throughout Asia in 2002 and went on to become one of the highest-grossing Chinese films in history. It was even nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar at the beginning of this year. And yet, it still didn't occur to Miramax to actually put the film in theaters for Americans to see. Miramax's shabby treatment of foreign titles is all but legendary, so it came as no surprise that the company seemed perfectly willing to consign this vivid cinematic wonder to the back shelves of Blockbuster.
An interview with actor Aaron Eckhart from Suspect Zero
Actor Aaron Eckhart quickly gained his indie street cred thanks to a trio of well-received film collaborations with pal/playwright/director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty). Eckhart went mainstream shortly afterwards, playing opposite Julia Roberts in the hit drama Erin Brockovich.
“The Venture Brothers” on Cartoon Network
While HBO and FX continue to get tons of positive press and critical acclaim for seemingly every new TV series they produce, tiny Cartoon Network has quietly gobbled up an enviable share of cable TV's coveted 18-34 demographic. In fact, the network's late-night “Adult Swim” programming block regularly beats out cross-town rivals “Late Night With David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
I managed to catch a bit of the second night of the Fourth Annual Gathering of the Sick last Saturday night. I showed up fairly early, at a point in the evening where calling it Gathering of the Six would have been more appropriate. But things did pick up modestly as the evening progressed. Perhaps I wasn't really in the mood for death metal on that particular night, or maybe I just didn't stay long enough. But only one band I saw (and I only saw three, to be fair) that impressed the Hell out of me was Gored, a guitar-and-drums duo that was electrifying given the stripped-down nature of the group. Vocals were strong, guitar figures intricate and drums adequately thunderous. Nice job, guys! ... Aspiring hermit and local punk rock legend (fuck you, Corky) Gordy Anderson reports that his band, Black Maria, had a successful gig and recording incident in Austin two weeks ago. The band laid down six songs at Republic Studio for an upcoming debut release that's slated to include a handful of live tracks recorded at a recent RockSquak.com benefit and a small festival in Window Rock, Ariz. ... Need something calming and nurturing on Sunday, Aug. 29, the evening after Fall Crawl? Mustafa Stefan Dill (formerly Stefan Dill) will perform on guitar, sarod and oud with percussionist Shawn Woodyard at Maison & Thé (821 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, 505-992-0972) at 5 p.m. Donations accepted.
One of the first LPs I ever actually owned was Ramsey Lewis' The In Crowd, bestowed upon me when I was 6 or 7 years old by my grandmother after it caught my eye while she rummaged around her “junk room” looking for something to entertain me with. Something about its cover—the shiny, expensive looking car, the throng of well-dressed concertgoers—made me want to hold that record. I didn't actually listen to it until more than a decade later, of course, when my musical interests were just beginning to cope with jazz.
Saturday, Aug. 28; AMP House Concert (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): “In a sense, when you've been the weird person in your childhood—and you didn't even necessarily know you were different—you were maybe the last one picked [in] gym ... or the last one asked to prom because you had a big nose or you were too skinny. I always tried to turn that around for myself. I figured out the way I was going to be happy was by cultivating all that oddness ...”
I'm not prepared to say for sure whether or not Willie and Family blazed through a shopping bag full of high-grade during the recording of Nelson's first all-gospel album in 1973, but the record sounds so positively upbeat and freewheeling that it's difficult to imagine there was a strict air of sobriety in the studio. Reefer or not, The Troublemaker is one of Nelson's most overlooked treasures. In his hands, this batch of country-gospel songs doesn't sound at all preachy or top-heavy on the message end of things. Nelson's panache could convince Jesus Himself to two-step.
A revamp of Albuquerque's animal ordinance leaves pet owners little room for negligence
City Councilor Sally Mayer is about to get tough on Albuquerque pet owners. She is drawing up a complete overhaul of the current animal ordinance that will make it illegal to keep a dog chained to anything, anywhere, for any length of time. It will also force dog owners whose dogs are not spayed or neutered to pay the city a $150 registration fee, and will require that microchips, that can be scanned by the city, be implanted in all pets.
Follow the money. From Jim Lehrer to Rush Limbaugh, media folks were all atwitter last week over a 30-second TV ad financed by Swift Boat Veterans for Truth that lambasted John Kerry's military record. This group is just a front for the Bush-Cheney campaign and you've got to be a freaking moron to believe otherwise, I thought. But just to be sure, I went to www.factcheck.org and then googled some of the Swift Boat Vets listed there, for a little confirmation.
At the Aug. 16 Council meeting, one sign read "Weapons of Mass Destruction? Iraq: 0, Albuquerque: 2000." The sign supported speakers from the local peace advocacy group Stop the War Machine, who cited the world's largest caché of nuclear weapons stored about a mile from the Sunport runways.
The Albuquerque convention center continues to be a drain on the city
Showdown at the ACVB Corral
The "road bond" package may have been the belle of the ball at the Aug. 16 City Council meeting—but it wasn't the most interesting item on the agenda. While most eyes focused on the debate over the inclusion of extending Paseo del Norte in the bond, the 5-4 vote was something of a foregone conclusion.
What wasn't a foregone conclusion, however, was the failure of Councilor Tina Cummins to seal a $4 million a year deal for the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB). Supposedly, it would just slide through the Council. The folks at ACVB were so confident of delivery they didn't even stick around for the vote.
Oh, but they should have.
The readers write.
Community groups that make the most sense get left on the margins
Prophets have never been popular. Real prophets aren't sideshow acts; they don't tell the future, they critique the present. Prophets are people who perform the thankless task, so crucial to any society, of destroying our delusions. They speak up when everyone else in the crowd is perfectly willing to go along with whatever insanity the leadership is suggesting at that moment.
Dateline: Romania—A justifiably superstitious man, who refused to leave his house on Friday the 13th, died after being stung by a wasp in his own kitchen. Police in Cluj, central Romania, said that Florin Carcu, 54, had gone so far as to call in to work and ask his boss for permission not to go to work that day. “It was the strangest request I've ever received, but I ended up giving him permission to stay at home because he seemed to be really scared of something bad happening to him on that day,” Carcu's boss, Gheorghe Dosma, told the press. Doctors from the emergency services in Cluj said Carcu had been making coffee when he was stung by a species of wasp nicknamed “the wolf.” The insect is quite rare in Romania and its sting is poisonous. The unlucky Carcu died instantly.
Break out the pointy years and spandex! Set phasers on stun! It's time for Bubonicon 36, New Mexico's first and only annual science fiction and fantasy convention. The saucer sets down this weekend, Friday, Aug. 27, through Sunday, Aug. 29, at the Wyndham Hotel (2901 Yale SE) next to the Sunport.
Visions at Sandia Prep Theater
Many beer swilling, hot dog eating dudes and dudettes are under the impression that dance concerts are strictly for the champagne and caviar crowd. Edye Allen has been struggling for years to change that deeply ingrained attitude. It hasn't been easy.
This epic musical based on E.L. Doctorow's famous novel conjures up the steaming melting pot of New York City at the beginning of the 20th century. Three interwoven stories explore the American dream within a colorful musical landscape inspired by the ragtime greats of yore. I'm told a replica of a Model T will be built right on stage. This Musical Theatre Southwest performance opens this weekend at the Hiland Theatre, running Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Sept. 19. $11, $23, $30. To reserve tickets call the MST box office at 262-9301.
Ten Big Ones
The Lemon Table: Stories
Zahir Unforgettable Tales #2
There are so many reasons why I'm in love with Alton Brown, host of the Food Network Show “Good Eats.” Remember the show he did that was a take-off on both “Iron Chef” and “Junkyard Wars”? He had to rummage through a junk yard to find the right equipment to build a smoker. (Of course, it helps fuel the smoldering fire of my ardor that his smoker was for making his own bacon.) And remember the show in which he pretended to be stranded on a desert island and all his mise-en-place was laid out in bamboo cups? (Can you believe he's straight?) But reason number 871 that I love Alton Brown is that he's such a brilliant cook. I recently had the pleasure of ravaging a freshly steamed lobster and after moving quickly through the fat claws and meaty tail, I looked forlornly at the 12 skinny little claws that were left. And then I remembered the show that he did on lobster. Alton demonstrated how you could take the skinny legs, pop off the ends and roll them like bread under a rolling pin. The meat pops out the other end like a tube of pink ice out of an Otter Pop! I tried it (using an empty wine bottle—it was all I had) and it worked perfectly! That guy is a freakin' genius. Alton, if you're reading this: I'm single and I will take all the lobster meat tubes you can dish out.
Fans of the Nob Hill institution (3211 Central NE) will be sad to learn that O'Niell's has lost their lease. That's right, after 10 years as the neighborhood's most reliably unpretentious bar, the building's owner has decided not to renew what had been a 10-year lease. According to manager Jennifer Smith, O'Niell's is devastated by the news. "It was very much a surprise," she said. "Everyone is quite shocked. The employees just found out last week. ... A lot of the bartenders and kitchen staff have worked here for 10 years." Though the wall colors have notably changed several times, most everything else at O'Niell's has had reassuring consistency. "It's been a formula nobody wanted to mess with," Smith said. "It's been a profitable business for us and we really wanted to stay.
“Would you like to leave a tip on the card?”
A chowhound acquaintance e-mailed the other day to ask, "What the f&%k is up with paying by credit card in restaurants and having them ask you if you'd like to add a tip to your total?" He relates that, "Half the time, it's your server who rings you up, and it makes for a really uncomfortable situation. I always tip, but I tip according to how good or bad my service was. Just give me the receipt and I'll decide what amount to leave without being asked. More often than not, I feel like answering, ’No,' just to be a dick because I don't like being put on the spot."
Remembering the peerless Julia Child
I'm a decent cook. My mother could easily pass for a gourmet chef. My maternal grandmother is a culinary goddess of the Southern variety whose kitchen, whether she happens to be cooking at the time or not—will make your mouth water just for the magical place it is. My mother learned the basics of the craft from her mother, then took it to many other levels courtesy of magazines, cookbooks and her own intuition. I gleaned bits and pieces from both my mother and grandmother, and we spend at least one day every year cooking and baking together around Christmastime. It's been a wonderful, tasty education, and while I'm by no means TV-chef material, cooking is in my blood—part of who I am as much as music or anything else.
Twelve months of events in Albuquerque and the surrounding area
If you're a Burque newbie, don't be alarmed by bitter, naysaying locals who trumpet on and on about how little there is to do in this town you chose to set up shop in. Fact is, they're all flat-out wrong. As proof, we present our Weekly Alibi Annual Survival Calendar, highlighting the events and various goings on we think you might just be interested in checking out and/or participating in over the next 12 months.
Live music club guide
Let's just get something straight here: This is not a bar guide. If you're looking to drown your sorrows in a neighborly booze hole, we suggest a quick browse through a telephone directory. Swill beer, pump quarters into the jukebox and wipe your tears with a Yellow Page for all we care. This little guide is a live music locator. It's an odd assortment of restaurants, clubs, coffeehouses and other performance spaces where one so inclined can enjoy live music-based entertainment or a reasonable facsimile thereof. So whether you get down to Paul Simon or Skinny Puppy, you're bound to find the music you crave at one of these local venues.
All the Phone Numbers You'll Ever Need and More!
Here's the handiest list of phone numbers you'll ever own. When available, TTY and TTD numbers and e-mail and World Wide Web addresses are listed just to make your life easier. As with all things related to city, county, state and federal government, the contact information listed below is subject to change without notice. And don't be shocked if you're forced to wade through endless voicemail menus to get to a human being. We can only do so much.
... but not necessarily more affordable
Most people say that the only certainties in life are death and taxes, but if you want to drive, you will also have to make a few inevitable (and oh so thrilling) treks to the MVD. While the trip to wait hours in line for yet another unflattering license picture can seem daunting, the Alibi is here to guide you through the MVD process. It is sometimes quicker to visit one of four MVD Express locations. This private company offers basic services (licenses, titles, and registrations) and promises to have you in and out in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately, you also have to pay extra for the quick service, bringing the usual $16 fee for a four-year driver license to just over 30 bucks and a one-year registration ($25 at MVD) to $40. Senior citizens (75 and older), who must renew their driver licenses every year, get a bit of a break at $7.95 each (this service is free at the main MVD). Go to www.mvdexpress.com for more information.
What to do when you get ripped off
It is everyone's worst nightmare: You are sitting quite peacefully, enjoying your tiki cocktail at Burt's and some fine conversation, when you turn around to notice that your purse/wallet/first born child is gone. It is easy to scoff and say that you'll never be the victim of theft, but it is time to face the fact that Albuquerque is full of sticky-fingered misfits, and you just might be the next victim. This year, Weekly Alibi's Survival Guide takes on the issue of looting by answering some pressing questions about getting screwed by a pickpocket.
Free Internet wireless hot spots
Albuquerque International Sunport/Airport
2200 Sunport SE
Albuquerque Civic Plaza
One Civic Plaza NW
Albuquerque Aquarium and Botanical Garden
2601 Central NW
Because this is the Survival Guide, it can only mean that it's also that time of the year again. Yes, the time when one lucky intern gets the chance of a lifetime. He or she gets the rare privilege to traipse across town exploring the ins and outs of Albuquerque's many grocery stores for the annual Grocery Store Browser, using stealth and cunning to jot down prices and compare shallot freshness. It's an exciting task.
Just think, there are roughly 40 million citizens in America unable to afford health insurance. Meanwhile, if you fall into this category and have a job, your income taxes help provide the finest health care money can buy for members of Congress. So if you are uninsured and stressed out by the prospect of some unforeseen physical tragedy befalling you or your family and wrecking your finances forever, think about those public servants in Washington, D.C. who get a free ride, on your tax dollars, when they visit the doctor.
Making Bank with Your Body
There are several relatively lucrative ways to sell your body without ending up handcuffed in the back of a patrol car at one o'clock in the morning, screaming for your mama. Even if you've got no education and no marketable skills, you can still make a few bucks here and there by selling yourself—all perfectly legal, I assure you.
Recycling in Albuquerque
Despite our reputation for clean air, clean water and good clean fun, Albuquerque can be a pretty dirty place. When it comes to generating solid waste, our fair town is no better than the next city. The average resident throws away roughly five pounds of trash per day. That same resident dumps as much as one ton of garbage per year (that's the weight of a baby elephant, if you need a visual aid). The city itself generates more than 1,500 tons of trash each day, an increase from 1,100 tons in the early '90s. Clearly, our reputation (or our landfill) isn't as sparkling as we'd like to think.
Turning CDs, DVDs, video games and books into cold, hard cash
Everyone falls on hard times, and that's when the following businesses come in handy. You've gotta eat, right? Well, gather up those books you've read three or four times, the CDs that are gathering dust on the shelf and the porn DVDs your significant other doesn't even know you own and turn them into cash. It might be difficult to part with some of your stuff, but you'll feel better after you've had something to eat.
A private firm with GOP ties brings workers to New Mexico to gather signatures for independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader
Last week, folks passing by the UNM campus near Popejoy Hall had a chance to support Ralph Nader for president and register to vote at the same time, thanks to the hard working efforts of two women. To be sure, their purpose was colored in patriotism. Small, novelty store American flags were taped to nearby lamp posts and the card table that served as their base of operation sported a stars and stripes table cloth.
When President Bush arrived in Albuquerque last week to host a group of supporters near the Sunport, it marked the 13th such campaign forum this year, equaling the number of solo news conferences he has had in three and a half years in the White House.
Flushing tax dollars down the cosmic toilet
The Bernalillo County Commission is facing a major financial crunch brought on by the spiffy new jail on the outskirts of town. The facility has been in operation for scarcely one year, yet is bulging at the seams, its capacity of 2,500 inmates (a 1,000 more than the old jail's) already reached.
From Burque to the White House, winners and losers stand out among us
Florida faced the double whammy of dual hurricanes; New Jersey's governor announced “I'm gay and I quit;” the mayor of Las Vegas, Nev., confessed to putting tourism interests ahead of terrorist threats and national celebrities Bill Richardson and Arnold Schwarzenegger (who, in their spare time, serve as the governors of New Mexico and California respectively) hung out together in the City Different talking about "the Border." But before it all fades away in the review mirror of our collective consciousness, the following are some random thoughts on the "winners" and "losers" of the week that was.
Dateline: England—In what can only be described as a freak accident, a flaming rabbit has burned down part of the 150-year-old Devizies Cricket Club. The rabbit was apparently hiding in a bundle of branches two groundskeepers set alight. The workers saw the rabbit escape, trailing its burning tail after it. Thirty minutes later, the club's mantainance shed was on fire. Despite the best efforts of 11 firefighters, they were unable to salvage the shed or what it contained. The club estimated that the unfortunate rabbit caused nearly $90,000 in damage. “We're 99 percent confident it was the rabbit that caused the fire,” said Devizies fire station commander Philip Flowers. “It was either burnt to a cinder or it escaped through a small hole in the corner of the shed. But I imagine it perished and went to bunny heaven.” Flowers added that, in over 20 years of service, he had never before fought a blaze caused by a burning animal.
The readers write.
More “Stink”—The stink is back by popular demand! Thanks to those four incredible sold-out screenings the other weekend, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill has decided to resurrect local zombie flick The Stink of Flesh for a special one-night only encore. On midnight, Saturday, Aug. 21, the film will be screened for all those Flesh-hungry zombies who didn't get a seat at the last go-around. This one will probably sell out as well, so get your tickets early.
Unpredictable hack-and-slash is bloody entertaining
Asian action purists who've absorbed a majority of actor Shintarô Katsu's 26 legendary Zatôichi films (a role he played from 1962 to 1989) will probably find filmmaker Takeshi Kitano's recent pop culture-puréed remake a bit too revisionist. In Japan, where Zatoichi is a movie icon on par with James Bond, that's a big deal. Here in America, where you'd be lucky to find one in 50,000 people who've ever even heard of Zatoichi, it's probably not such a major consideration.
directing debut is is not your garden variety comedy
But what I really want to do is direct: It's been a lament uttered by overly ambitious actors since the dawn of the motion picture era. Charlie Chaplin did it. Orson Welles did it. Mel Gibson did it. Now Zach Braff, star of NBC's hit comedy "Scrubs," is stepping behind the camera for his multi-hyphenate debut, the indie comedy Garden State.
Television tidbits from around the Dial
Green With Envy?--Immigrants rights groups are protesting the new TV series “Gana La Verde” (“Win the Green”), a “Fear Factor”-inspired reality show contest which claims to give out free green cards to Mexican immigrants wishing to enter the United States. Actually, the show only offers a year's worth of free legal advice to each weekly winner. Still, the groups feel that having contestants sleep with snakes, fend off deadly guard dogs and jump between speeding semis presents a “false impression of how the immigration process works.” Despite (or more likely because of) the controversy, the show is currently ranked number two among 19 to 49-year-olds. The show only airs on Spanish language stations in Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas and Houston. Twenty episodes have aired so far, and several contestants are described by the show's producers as “close” to getting their green cards.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
Things are rolling along quite well for local bands these days. Nels Andrews and El Paso Eyepatch have struck a record deal with Bloodshot and Checkered Past Records founder Eric Babcock for the release of their latest record, Sunday Shoes, on Babcock's Catamount label, and they've been selected to appear at the Americana Music Awards Showcase in Nashville next month, Sept. 23-25. After their appearance at the AMA Showcase, they'll be back in town for their local CD release party at the Launchpad on Friday, Oct. 1. After that, it's off to Europe for a tour throughout Scotland, Ireland and England. ... As mentioned this week in Devin D. O'Leary's review of Garden State (page 61), the Sundance sensation starring Natalie Portman and Zach Braff, The Shins are featured prominently on the film's soundtrack. Braff, who wrote and directed the film, is a self-proclaimed Shins freak, and included “New Slang” and “Caring is Creepy”—both from The Shins' Sub Pop debut, Oh, Inverted World—in the film. Braff had originally approached lead Shin James Mercer about writing a song specifically for his movie, but touring and other commitments prevented it. Since the release of the movie, both Shins' Sub Pop releases, Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow, have re-entered Amazon.com's Top 100 in sales. Mercer has also been asked to write and record a song for the upcoming SpongeBob SquarePants movie, due out later this year.
Think the expansive vision of Kronos, the freshness of youth, and an unusual complement of instruments. Note that their name derives from Wallace Stevens' enigmatic poem "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird." Add the specifics—Molly Alicia Barth, flutes; Michael J. Maccaferri, clarinets; Matt Albert, violin & viola; Nicholas Photinos, cello; Matthew Duvall, percussion; and Lisa Kaplan, piano—and you have Eighth Blackbird, one of the most exciting contemporary music ensembles on today's scene.
Thursday, Aug. 26; Pulse Nightclub (21 and over, 9 p.m.): DJ Kentifyr (a.k.a. Kent R. Wilhelmi) has been a staple at Pulse Nightclub for four years, during which he's served as a resident DJ and promoter—as founder and proprietor of Dark Beat Productions—of most of the gothic-industrial bands that have come through in that time.
Once, playing the Velvet Underground's "After Hours," on my boom box, my uncle asked me if I had recorded myself singing. It wasn't a compliment: Mo Tucker sang so girlishly off-key that he simply thought I'd made a bad recording of my own bad voice. But I liked the way she sounded. The vulnerability in her voice matched the yearning of the song. In a similar way, there's something endearing about Ben Kweller's voice. He's got to be in his early 20s but he sounds like a teenager when he sings; his voice is tentative and almost cracking until he bursts into a shouting chorus. Especially on the title track, "On My Way," when Ben sings to his mom, "I'll kill him with karate that I learned in Japan," you picture a gawky kid something like the main character in Napoleon Dynamite. Pretty and simple, just Kweller and a guitar, could it have been recorded at a coffeehouse open mic night?
Mesmerizing Eastern European vocal music from a Berkeley based ensemble? Absolutely. Kitka was founded in 1979 by women who wished to share their passion for the "stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of Eastern European women's vocal music." The ensemble has since become recognized as the foremost exponent of Balkan and Slavic choral repertoire in the U.S.
Morrissey's latest effort is a slap in the face for those with a utopian view of the world. The album combines beautiful melodies and dark lyrics. With songs like "America is not the World," "Irish Blood English Heart," and "I Have forgiven Jesus," Morrissey, formerly of the Smiths fame, proves his love and disdain for society. Longtime fans will love this album. Newcomers who are into political bands and Sylvia Plath poems, this one's for you. Gut wrenching and enjoyable at the same time, I can't stop listening to it.
A new series of paintings by Angus Macpherson almost leaves a cool layer of mist on your bare skin. The hazy effect Macpherson achieves in this ephemeral, atmospheric work was inspired by his one-year stint in the Belgian city of Antwerp in the mid '90s, a region noted for having at least as much moisture in its air as it has in its lakes.
Troika at the Adobe Theater
In Russian, the word troika means a group of three. I'm told the term is often associated with a Russian sleigh drawn by three horses. For this reason, the Adobe Theater is currently running Troika, a performance of four one-act farces by Anton Chekhov. Despite the misnomer, director John Puddington and his able cast offer an enjoyable evening of clever comedy.
A junior high school band teacher once told poet Joy Harjo that "girls can't play saxophone." Nothing like a little unintentional reverse psychology to get the creative juices flowing. Harjo has been playing sax ever since. A release party for her first solo CD, Native Joy for Real, occurs Sunday, Aug. 22, at 3 p.m. at Bookworks. The album blends indigenous sounds with rock, jazz, blues and hip hop. Stop by to say hello to one of the Southwest's most accomplished poets and musicians, and pick up a copy of her CD on your way out. 344-8139.
Acrylic paint is a miraculous substance that, unlike oil paint, can be fairly easily separated from the support on which it dried. Margi Weir uses this quality in her abstract constructions, hanging or pinning independent bits of acrylic paint on to an already painted canvas. This results in the astonishing three-dimensional paintings on display at an exhibit opening this Friday, Aug. 20, with a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Inpost Artspace (located inside the Outpost at 210 Yale SE). The show runs through Oct. 8. 268-0044.
Plan of Attack
Here's all you need to know in order to make it in New Mexico: You have to love chile. New Mexicans are far, far too gracious to threaten to kick you out of the state, but they will stare at you as if you're insane when you ask for your breakfast burrito with no chile. They'll wonder if you're an alien in Albuquerque via Roswell when you respond to the state question, (“Red or green?”) with: “What's the difference?” They might even get seriously peeved when you say you just don't understand what the big deal is. Here's the thing, if you've just moved here from Minneapolis, we'll understand if you don't know a green chile from a bell pepper and we'll only tease you mildly when you break out in an all-over body sweat and tears stream from your eyes. Just remember: You'll get used to it sooner or later.
Eee, it's time for chiles, no?! Yes, it is that time of year when motorists cut across three lanes of oncoming traffic to pull to a screeching halt in front of some guy parked in a dirt lot with a truck and a roaster. Southern New Mexico's chile harvest usually begins around the end of July but according to Dr. Paul Bosland, a horticulture professor and director of the Chile Pepper Institute at New Mexico State University, the middle of the season is the perfect time to buy chiles. Early season fruits tend to be thin-walled and less flavorful, he says. These immature chiles often have less flavor than the thicker, heavier pods of midseason fruit.
The Chile Pepper Institute answers your most frequently asked questions
Are fish able to feel the heat from chiles?
No, fish do not have the pain receptors (like birds), that mammals have allowing them to feel the heat. Many species of fish, like koi and other colorful fish, are feed food with chile in it to keep their colors bright.
What is a "New Mexico Green Chile?"
The Alibi's small but gratuitous guide
This is just a guide, not a set of hard and fast rules. Use your best judgment.
Ye Olde Sit-down Restaurants. The federal minimum wage for tipped employees is $2.13 per hour—not much. Standard tip for seated fare is 15 to 20 percent of the total bill, but you should feel free to tip more if the service is exceptional. If you have a problem with the food or the service, don't wait until your meal is over to show your dissatisfaction by stiffing the waiter. Instead, ask to speak with a manager or owner and give the restaurant the opportunity to make you happy before you leave. If you feel your server is fully responsible for your unpleasant experience and you've spoken with the management, then your tip (or lack thereof) can reflect your displeasure.