Yes, believe it or not, this year marks the 10th Annual Alibi Short Film Fiesta. For an entire decade, the Alibi has labored to present a showcase for homegrown independent filmmakers and to show off that talent to local film-loving audiences.
No great moment comes without toil. As proof, before Michael Moore was introduced to an exuberant crowd of 7,500 people at the Pit on Sunday, he was subjected to a press conference with our local media. Just minutes, in fact, before Moore walked across the Pit floor to his podium, greeted by a sustained standing ovation, he had to contemplate this inane question from a local TV newsman: "Why do people like George W. Bush?"
We got game. In a glowing review of last month's grand opening of the National Hispanic Cultural Center's new Roy E. Disney performing arts center, a Los Angeles Times caption on Sept. 21 asks: "But why couldn't it be in Southern California?"
While Mount St. Helens threatened fireworks, the Oct. 4 Council meeting considered Albuquerque's own volcanoes, went sub-ballistic regarding a missile, and saw two of the city's most level-headed officials vent giant steam clouds at each other.
Dick Cheney, we now know, is either one of the most deluded people in America—so senile that he can't remember meeting John Edwards—or one of the nation's most brazen liars. I'm talking about his statement during last week's vice presidential debate: "I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9-11."
Few people in the US know the name Mordechai Vanunu. 19 years ago, working as a scientist in the then secret Israeli nuclear weapons program at its Dimona facility in the Negev, a desert region in southern Israel, Mordechai Vanunu, in a brave act of conscience, revealed the existence of this program to the rest of the world. For this service to humanity, Vanunu, who traveled to London to give his story to the Sunday Times, was eventually drugged and kidnapped in Rome by agents of Mossad—Israel's equivalent of the CIA—taken back to Israel and imprisoned for 18 years, 11 of those in solitary confinement. Released from prison on April 21st of this year, Vanunu remains under tight Israeli control, unable to leave the country and forbidden to speak with foreigners. He stays in East Jerusalem in a guest house at St. George's Cathedral, spending his days reading, answering emails, walking around East Jerusalem and the Old City and, in open defiance of his captors, talking to as many foreigners as he can.
If the Heather Wilson for Congress campaign has made one thing crystal clear, it's that Democratic challenger and current State Sen. Richard Romero hates children. Especially yours. And he hates the adults who attempt to educate and care for them.
Dateline: Brazil—A rancher accused of ordering the murder of four government agents inspecting claims of slavery has been released from jail after being elected mayor of his home town. Anterio Manica was let out of prison last Tuesday night after his landslide victory for mayor of Unai, a rural town 90 miles from the capital of Brasilia. A Brazilian court ruled that Manica could take office on Jan. 1 while the justice system investigates federal police accusations that he and his brother hired the gang that executed three labor ministry inspectors and their driver earlier this year. The agents were ambushed near Unai as they were looking into reports of forced labor on a black bean plantation owned by Manica's brother Norberto, who is one of the world's top bean growers. Although Norberto remains in custody, Anterio is free to pursue his political career. “As he was elected mayor, there is little concern he would try to flee,” said a Federal Police spokesman.
You know what's weird? About half of the way through Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow—the retro-future film in which Jude Law and Gwyneth Paltrow save the world from robot attackers—I realized that so far nobody had eaten anything. I made a bet with myself that nobody would, either. I mean, what is retro-future food? In case you haven't seen the movie, Sky Captain has the look and feel (mostly computer generated) of a film about the future made in the '40s. Somehow, it seemed unlikely that the director would sway the viewers' attention with the introduction of pot roast pellets or tuna casserole injections. Would Sky Captain pause before climbing into the cockpit, pull out a small plastic case and place on his tongue a dissolving film, not a breath-freshening mint, but one that releases the full flavor of turkey and all the trimmings? Probably not. The only two foods I did notice in the film (and honestly, I had to go to brandcameo.com to recall them) were Coke and Dubble Bubble. Maybe imagining Jetsons-style meal-replacement mints was silly. If there's any food that will make it into the future, it's certainly going to be Coke. And if Dubble Bubble, the gum with the flavor that disappears after a minute of chewing, is still going strong after 80 years, it'll still be here when the giant robots come to kill us all.
Downtown's El Chamizal Mexican restaurant (Fifth Street and Central) is now Paco's New Mexican restaurant. After taking over at the end of September, the Aviles family quickly painted over the El Chamizal logo and simply added "New" to the words below it. They later repainted the entire sign, but for most Downtown lunchers the temporary fix was good enough. (The Central Avenue corridor has been without a New Mexican restaurant for a while now, though many cafés serve New Mexican items on their menus.) Paco's is a family business, Marisol Aviles said last week. She and her siblings—sister Gabriela and brothers Martin and Paco—run the place together. They agreed to name the restaurant after Paco because he's the cook, and the one with 18 years of experience in the restaurant business, most recently at Garcias Kitchen, Marisol said. The Aviles Family have also drafted Mom, Dad and various nieces to help out, the guys in the kitchen and the ladies out front. The family grew up mostly in Mexico but most members have been in the States for years. Marisol said they decided to focus on New Mexican food because of its simplicity and Paco's experience with the food. Paco's serves breakfast all day, including pancakes and omelets alongside huevos and breakfast burritos. Speaking of breakfast burritos, the tortillas here are notably delicious. They're thick, fluffy and taste suspiciously homemade—because they are! Marisol informed me that they make all of the tortillas in-house as well as the dough for sopaipillas and Indian tacos. A few dishes on Paco's menu, the flan, sweet rice and salsa are made in the traditional Mexican fashion from family recipes. Paco's serves breakfast and lunch Monday through Thursday; and breakfast, lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday. Check it out when you're in the mood for a really nice tortilla.
New Mexico wine purveyor Dan Murray quits the corporate life to take a big chance
By Gwyneth Doland
Dan Murray, a successful salesman for large and powerful wine distributors, has been a familiar figure in New Mexico's wine business for a decade. But now Murray has quit his corporate gig and, with a small group of investors, bought a small Santa Fe company called Boutique Wines. Last week we chatted about wine, working for The Man and the transition to working for yourself.
Outdoor Activism—A new documentary titled Monumental: David Brower's Fight for Wild America will open Oct. 15-17 at the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque in Santa Fe. The film profiles legendary environmentalist David Brower, who is credited with halting construction of dams in the Grand Canyon and helped establish both Redwood National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore. On Friday, Oct. 15, director Kelly Duane and former Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, who worked under LBJ and JFK, will be in attendance at the film's premiere. Immediately following the film will be a post-screening party in honor of Udall. For complete information on times and tickets, call CCA Cinematheque at (505) 982-1338
Dance movie remake generates less steam than a “Solid Gold” reunion.
By Ari Aster
The spectacle of new films chewing ravenously on the entrails of old (and, in this case, not so old) movies should no longer come as a surprise to American audiences. Still, I cannot help but balk at the molded plasticity of films of such low ambition as Shall We Dance?
The 1995 anime film Ghost in the Shell casts a long shadow in pop culture. Its violent futureworld of downloadable consciousness, urban blight and invasive biotechnology provided a crazy quilt of science fiction textures for later creators to swipe and rework. The Matrix is only the most obvious example of its pervasive influence.
Future TV historians, debating cultural “jump the shark” moments, may very well conclude that reality TV most likely burned out as a genre right around the time FOX broadcast “The Littlest Groom.” Just because reality TV ran out of ideas several seasons ago doesn't mean that the genre is showing any signs of slacking off. Networks are still scrambling to stuff their schedules with cheap-to-produce reality series, most of which demonstrate only the slightest variation on the theme: Witness NBC's “The Apprentice” vs. ABC's “The Benefactor” vs. FOX's “The Billionaire.”
Last Thursday night's Mountainside YMCA local band showcase was a smashing success. The second event of the “Band-It” showcase series featured Camden, the Ryan McGarvey Band, Someday, Gingerbread Patriots and Unit 7 Drain. All of the above gave spirited performances, but the surprise of the evening, at least as far I as was concerned, was 17-year-old blues guitar prodigy, Ryan McGarvey. With a little more vocal seasoning, just a tad more experience and a few additional original tunes, this kid's gonna be as jaw-dropping a performer as Alex Maryol. The YMCA's “Band-It” series will resume in the spring. ... El Paso's Cantina Flys will appear at Pucinni's Golden West Saloon on Saturday, Oct. 16, at 9 p.m., after appearing on KUNM's “Ear to the Ground” program at 7 p.m. ... and right next door at the Launchpad, you can catch the Punx Unite Tour, featuring The Casualties, Lower Class Brats, Frontline Attack and The Visects. Children of all ages are welcome at this one, but details regarding just what the “punx” are uniting for or against are hazy as of press time. ... Acclaimed axman Greg Osby is slated to appear on Monday, Oct. 4, at the Outpost Performance Space at 7:30 p.m. If Joe Anderson bought bigger ads, I'd have more space to tell you all about this show, but you'll have to settle for calling 268-0044 for more information.
Friday, Oct. 15; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): G. Love (a.k.a. Garrett Dutton) got his sauce back; that is, in reviving his career, he had the foresight to re-enlist the formidable contributions of original Special Sauce ingredients James “Jimi Jazz” Prescott on upright bass and Jeffrey “The Houseman” Clemens on very sparse drum kit. The resulting album, The Hustle, soon to be released on San Francisco's Brushfire Records, is a return to the urban hip hop-meets-ragged Delta blues sound that proved to be one of the freshest things to happen musically or otherwise in the mid-'90s. (There are, after all, very few among us who can honestly claim to not have sung out loud the chorus of “Baby's Got Sauce” out of pure delight for the song.)
Singer and Multi-instrumentalist Samite's Healing Music
To say that Samite's journey thus far has been difficult would be to understate the enormity of loss and struggle that has marked the Ugandan musician's life throughout. Extraordinarily, though, Samite has distilled the whole of his experience—the good and the bad—into lyrics and melodies that seem to have very definite healing powers. Not in that slightly creepy standard “new age” way, rather in a visceral, primal, beating-to-the-rhythm-of-your-own-heart way.
Forgive me for weighing in rather late on this one, but I honestly thought it would grow on me. It didn't. As one of the last vestiges of the infamous (and quite infamously overrated save for Neutral Milk Hotel) Elephant 6 collective, Elf Power's seventh record is about as average as they come. If the whole Elephant 6 phenomenon isn't completely out of gas at this point, then Elf Power have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that it's running on fumes at best. Walking ... isn't a bad record, but it's lackluster and boring to say the least.
It's hard not to love a story about the blood-sucking undead. Bram Stoker's immortal story has been made and remade into so many different forms it would be impossible to list them all. A campy theatrical version called The Passion of Dracula transports the story to the English countryside in 1911 where several young girls have died under mysterious circumstances. Could the new neighbor, a long-in-the-tooth fellow named Count Dracula, possibly be responsible? No, of course not. Don't be silly. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $18 general, $15 seniors, $13 students. Runs through Oct. 31. 242-4750.
"All art is ultimately social," Lorraine Hansberry once said. She put that belief to the test during every stage of her tragically brief literary life. The 1959 stage version of her famous play, A Raisin in the Sun, starring Sidney Poitier, was the first by a Black woman to ever be produced on Broadway. The 1961 movie version—also starring Poitier, in one of his most iconic roles—cemented this complex but accessible play's well-deserved position in the pantheon of American theater. James Baldwin praised A Raisin in the Sun, which tells the story of a Black family struggling for survival on the South Side of Chicago, for putting "the truth of Black people's lives" on stage for the first time.
Think of it as the Lollapalooza of the literary world. Instead of squealing guitars, sweaty singers with weird haircuts and tour busses loaded with illegal drugs, five rising rock stars in the fiction world will descend on Albuquerque for a literary show unlike any our little village has ever seen.
When soldiers returned from Vietnam, they had plenty to say, but few Americans back home were willing to listen to them. Many of these veterans found a necessary vehicle for expression in art. The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum in Chicago is the only art museum in the world whose primary focus is exhibiting art created by Vietnam War combatants. An exhibit of work from this museum's collection goes on display this week at the UNM Art Museum and UNM's Jonson Gallery. A reception will be held at both locations on Friday, Oct. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. The shows run through Jan. 7. 277-4001.
For four years now, environmental artists have put together an astonishing outdoor exhibit called The Land on a beautiful 25-acre site near Mountainair. This year's show is a little different. Interested parties are invited to pick up a CD of audio art at either La Montañita Coop (3500 Central SE) or Bound To Be Read (6300 San Mateo NE). Directions to the site are attached to the CD. Folks are advised to listen to this CD on their drive to the site to prep them for the amazing outdoor installations they will encounter. The Land is open to visitors on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. through Oct. 31. This year's show explores the theme of death. 242-1501.
With so many great culinary choices available in the Duke City, it is a wonder that not all Albuquerqueans are fat—or fatter. Since I rarely eat at home (due to code violations I have yet to straighten out with the city), I have a unique opportunity to seek out some of our lesser known eateries. Here is a short list of eating "success-a-pees" (recipes for success!).
Former Naomi co-leader and veteran local musician Jason Daniello—as in Jason & the Argonauts—should have copies of his new CD in-hand in a week or so, according to the smilin' little dude himself. A CD release party is, of course, in the works. Stay tuned for more information in issues to come. ... If you're planning to apply to South By Southwest 2005 Music Festival (March 16-20) in Austin, Texas, the time to start getting your shit together is now. By using their online electronic form you receive a $10 discount on the regular application fee. The fee for online applications made on or before Oct. 8 is $10. The fee for online applications made between Oct. 8 and Nov. 8 is $20. All online applications must be completed by or before Nov. 8. Your application will be acknowledged by e-mail, and all acts will be notified of their status (read: “Yay! You get to play!” or “Sorry, you don't get to play!”) no later than Feb. 9, 2005. Go to www.sxsw.com, fill out an application paying close attention to all the rules and guidelines, then put a package together containing a CD with your original material on it, a photo, biography and press clippings and mail it off. Showcasing acts will receive a choice of $175 ($45 for solo or duo acts, including DJs) or a registration package (one badge along with wristbands for each member of the act). You do not need to purchase a registration badge to apply for or to perform at a SXSW showcase. See, Crawl pay for bands isn't really all that bad after all.
There are few bands that can truly be called “unforgettable”—musicians who bring to the stage a collective sound that's magically timeless, whose music sets in motion a chain of events that resonates in the lives of listeners thereafter into infinity. In Celtic circles, Lúnasa are unmatched when it comes to delivering vibrant traditional music folded into contemporary awareness. Their respect for the music's rich history in concert with their virtuosic technical and arranging skill make listening to them more than mildly remarkable.
with Cave In, Between the Buried And Me and Colin of Arabia
By Michael Henningsen
Thursday, Oct. 7; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): About 12 years ago, a quartet of angry teenagers got together in someone's Boston garage to take their various shit out on some musical instruments. It wasn't long afterward that the group, now collectively calling themselves Converge, began releasing hardcore albums that spun in all kinds of interesting directions. Using a hardcore foundation as a springboard, vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller leap headlong into the outer extremes of genres spanning metal, thrash, classic punk, progressive hardcore and avant noise. The mix is nothing short of breathtaking, as is made crystal clear on the band's latest platter, You Fail Me (Epitaph).
Considered by many to be among the finest bluegrass and country multi-instrumentalists in history, Ricky Skaggs made his much-heralded return to “pure bluegrass” circa 1997, and has since produced an impressive body of work. But most of it features bluegrass chestnuts by other songwriters. With Brand New Strings, Skaggs ups the ante a little with four contributions of his own among tunes by everyone from Ralph Stanley to Bill Monroe to Guy Clark. Accompanied by his polished band, Skaggs gives peak performances here that come off achingly heartfelt and energetic. A triumph of the high lonesome.
It's a pot scrubber! In last week's Alibi, I asked readers to identify a mysterious object that Film Editor Devin D. O'Leary had unearthed at a yard sale. With a riveted metal handle attached to a wide mesh made of linked metal rings, it had confounded us for weeks. Suggestions from readers poured in, most of them guessing that it was a rug beater, something we were sure was impossible; the thing was just to flimsy to be any good at beating dust out of a sturdy rug. But two astute readers (first Susie Rodee and later, Jerry Monarch) e-mailed within hours of each other to identify the utensil as a vintage pot scrubber, specifically for dredging bits of food from the bottoms of cast iron pans. Once we had this lead, it was easy to confirm. A simple eBay search revealed two similar items and one nearly identical. The good news is that we estimate the pot scrubber to be from about the '30s and, according to eBay, it's worth about $20. The bad news is that O'Leary refused to part with the thing and now I have to go buy one on eBay. The whole search and discovery was fun, though, so I'll be posting more mystery gadgets and giving out more prizes in the near future.
Looking for a really special piñata for your next party? Wouldn't you just love to ram your fist up Dick Cheney's throat and stuff him full of candy or cram Dubya's noggin with mini bottles of Jim Beam? Well now you can. Two local artists have begun crafting their own smashable papier-mâché effigies of our lovable leaders. Bush costs about $50 and Little Dick costs $30 or $75 for the pair. Buy two. Give one to the dog! Make sure someone's videotaping and you'll be able to enjoy the event over and over again. The creators, Crash and Jada, make each piñata to order and they can custom-make pretty much any shape you want, from football helmets to Frankenstein heads to sacred hearts. To get your own, call Crash at 401-8794.
With election season upon us, it's time to get serious about voting. But forget the race for president just now; I'm picking winners in the world of wine. I've offered up several deserving of high office, hoping you consider them for your drinking pleasure. (Note: These winners were chosen from tastings over the past year. Prices are approximate.)
More than 50 famous bakers share recipes in a book to benefit hunger-fighting group Share Our Strength
By Gwyneth Doland
Michael J. Rosen is an author, editor and illustrator who is also a member of the national board of Share Our Strength, a hunger-fighting agency that works closely with the food, restaurant and kitchen supply industries to raise funds for their efforts. Last year, Rosen released Cooking from the Heart, a volume of collected recipes from 100 high-profile chefs who contributed dishes that were closest to their hearts. Share Our Strength receives a portion of the proceeds from that book and this follow-up, Baking from the Heart (Broadway, hardcover, $29.95). Since the recipes in this book come from professional bakers, it could have easily become a pretty but rarely used volume that collected dust on a shelf. But Rosen managed to procure from these chefs recipes that are more likely to be familiar to your grandmother than they are to grace the cover of Modern Pastry Chef. There are gingerbread cupcakes, plum tarts and fudge brownies, recipes that are relatively simple but definitely show the benefit of a chef's tinkering. They may be brownies, but they'll be the best damn brownies you've ever had.
It seems like anything's negotiable these days. Say, for example, you're so far behind on your water utilities that, in lieu of paying off the debt, you cut a deal with the city to demolish the property instead.
Punked. Immediately following last week's presidential debate, Ken Mehlman, George W. Bush's campaign manager, convened a teleconference with GOP "team leaders" around the country to discuss strategy. An unknown fact to Mehlman, however, was that an Internet blogger named Atrios had circulated the event's phone number and password on his website. And who reads blogs more than other bloggers, right? After Mehlman talked about Kerry's "credibility gap," he offered to take three questions. According to Jack Pine Savage, one of the bloggers who listened in, the first question came from a "young Republican in Washington." The woman announced she thought Kerry won the debate and was now going to vote for him. The second caller, another woman, said Kerry would make a worthy Commander in Chief and the third call criticized Bush for playing-down al Qaeda. "Mehlman apologized to the Bush supporters listening and acknowledged that the call had obviously attracted some Democrats," wrote Savage on his blog.
In less than a month, the nation will elect (or re-elect) a president. Everybody and their monkey is speculating on the outcome of that horse race, so why not look little further down the political road?
The week before last Thursday night's first of the 2004 presidential debates we heard a lot about the limitations of this tightly packaged quadrennial ritual: how it isn't truly a debate, simply an opportunity for multiple sound bites; how it is highly unlikely to ever produce a clear-cut winner or loser, and so on.
Dateline: Japan—According to the Shukan Gendai newspaper, an inventor has come up with a cell phone ring tone that will increase a woman's breast size. Hideto Tomabechi, who first made a name for himself in Japan by deprogramming brainwashed members of the AUM Shinrikyo doomsday cult, says, “Most would think it's a lie, but the techniques involved in the process have been known for some time and are the result of research I carried out in the '80s and '90s. I use sounds that make the brain and body movie unconsciously. It's a technique involving subliminal effects.” Amazingly, more than 10,000 people have scrambled to download the ring tone in its first week. “I listened to the tune for a week expecting all the time that I was being duped,” Chieri Nakayama, a 19-year-old pinup model, told Shukan Gendai. “But, incredibly, my 87-centimeter bust grew to 89 centimeters! It was awesome!” Tomabechi says he's already got plans for ring tones that improve memory, reduce baldness, help people quit cigarettes and increase attractiveness with the opposite sex.
Bring on the Burley-Q!—This Friday and Saturday night, Alibi Midnight Movie Madness at the Guild Cinema will break from tradition and present a combination film/live performance event known as the “Stag Night Smoker featuring BellaDonna Burlesque.” The event will incorporate beautiful dancers, risqué comedy and naughty old film shorts. Albuquerque's own retro-loving 'teaser troupe BellaDonna Burlesque will be on hand twirling their tassels, and the Guild will be screening historical erotica from the '40s and '50s courtesy of San Francisco's Oddball Film + Video. The show starts at 11:30 p.m. on both nights. Tickets are $8 for this special event and they can be purchased in advance at The Guild Cinema, Martha's Body Bueno or Burning Paradise Video. Seating is limited, so act quickly!
Film festivals work best, perhaps, when they reflect the community around them. In the artsy resort enclave of Park City, Utah, for example, you'd expect to find the quirky, homegrown indies of the Sundance Film Festival. In the exotic European destination of Cannes, France, it's a collection of highbrow international art films that rule the Cannes Film Festival.
Based on a popular Icelandic novel, The Seagull's Laughter is undoubtedly a more powerful offering for those born and raised on the chilly volcanic island. Those separated from the film's subject matter by time and space may not find quite as much to identify with, but--like the island nation that spawned it--it radiates such an unexpected amount of life that most foreign film friendly audiences will at least walk out humming (if not boisterously singing) the film's praises.
Suburbia has been the playground of television at least since the days of “Leave It to Beaver.” Now, ABC (yes, that ABC) has scored itself a critical and ratings hit with “Desperate Housewives,” a nasty shredding of the myth of suburbia in post-Martha America.
It's always encouraging to see struggling local artists take their creative destinies into their own hands. Case in point: I just received the debut issue of the Donkey Journal. Printed nine times per year, this attractive local contemporary arts periodical comes in the form of a simple folded poster. It's produced by David Leigh, Larry Bob Phillips and Sherlock Terry, three Albuquerque artists who recently opened the nonprofit Donkey Gallery (1415 Fourth Street SE) to exhibit their own art and that of other underrepresented artists.
Stacy Hawkinson's Solo Show at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center
By Steven Robert Allen
Stacy Hawkinson is a big fan of the polka dot. As you walk up the wide stairs just inside the entrance of the Downtown Contemporary Art Center (105 Fourth Street SW), the first thing you'll see are brightly painted Styrofoam balls floating above your head like strange interplanetary fruit. Once you get to the top of the stairs, you'll notice brightly colored dots bouncing through the entire exhibit.
Albuquerque's going to get slammed upside the head next year, when the city hosts the 2005 National Poetry Slam next August. You'll get a sweet little teaser this Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. when poet, playwright, journalist and four-time Individual National Slam Champion Patricia Smith comes to the KiMo Theatre. If you love performance poetry, do not miss this event. Smith is universally recognized as one of the greatest spoken word artists on the planet, and she's coming to Albuquerque to raise funds for next year's National Slam. $12. For tickets, call 768-3544.
Barbara Ehrenreich's bestselling 2001 book, Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Making It in America, chronicled the lives of the working poor in America in a highly effective way. Taking three low-wage jobs for a month each, Ehrenreich tried to make ends meet and soon discovered the task was impossible. Joan Holden has now translated Nickel and Dimed to the stage. A production of Holden's provocative play, directed by the very talented Eugene Douglas, will be staged at UNM's Rodey Theatre beginning this weekend. Oct. 8 to 9 and 21 to 23 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 10 at 2 p.m. $12 general, $8 seniors, $6 students. 925-5858 or www.tickets.com.
From its humble beginnings as a small gathering of 13 hot air balloons held in the parking lot of Coronado Shopping Center in 1972, The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has become the largest annual balloon event in the world. In its second year, 13 countries represented themselves in the first World Hot Air Balloon Championships at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, and in the 1978 event, 273 balloons participated.
5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications
The Dawn Patrol began in 1978 when two California balloonists developed position lighting systems that allowed them to fly at night. Dawn Patrol pilots take off in the dark and fly until it is light enough to see landing sites. Fellow balloonists appreciate the Dawn Patrol because they can watch the balloons and get an early idea of wind speeds and directions at different altitudes. On mass ascension days, about a dozen Dawn Patrol balloons perform the Dawn Patrol Show, a choreographed inflation and launch set to music that has been part of the Balloon Fiesta since 1996.
7-11:45 a.m. • Flying Events presented by Coca-Cola
New Mexico Challenge Hot Air Balloon Race presented by Contractor's Bonding, Ltd.-Sandia Casino Black Jack Competition
It's impossible to line balloons up on the starting line and have them race to the finish, but balloonists have come up with some interesting forms of competition. In a ballooning competition, pilots must use the winds at different altitudes to steer the balloon to a target, usually a big "X" on the ground. The pilot then drops a marker from the balloon so that it lands as close to the center of the target as possible. Closest drop wins. On competition days, some balloons take off at Balloon Fiesta Park and fly to targets located north or south of the launch site. Other balloons launch at least a mile away from Balloon Fiesta Park and fly to targets at the park. The overall competition winners are determined by individual pilots' scores over all competition events flown during Fiesta week. The Sandia Casino Black Jack race uses a similar premise, but pilots must drop two markers on giant playing cards laid out on the field and score as close to "21" as possible.
5:45-6:45 a.m. • Dawn Patrol Show presented by Nextel Communications
7-10 a.m. • Flight of the Nations Mass Ascension presented by Continental Airlines
The "international" part of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta has been a tradition since the event's earliest days. In 1973 and 1975, the Balloon Fiesta hosted the World Hot-Air Balloon Championships. The Balloon Fiesta has also played host to the world's two most prestigious gas ballooning events, the Coupe Aèronautique Gordon Bennett (twice, in 1993 and 1999) and the World Gas Ballooning Championships (1994). The Flight of the Nations especially honors pilots from all the nations participating in Balloon Fiesta. The Wednesday mass ascension begins with flights by representative pilots from each country, who launch as their country's national anthem is played, flying their national flag.
7-8 a.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension
Special shape balloons are defined as any balloon that doesn't conform strictly to the normal rounded balloon shape. Some shapes are simple—pointed ears and whiskers added to a "regular" balloon to make it into a kitty's head. Others—flying houses, cars, cacti, ristras, bottles, cans, critters and so on—are computer-designed engineering marvels costing marvelous amounts of money. The first shapes appeared at Balloon Fiesta in the '70s, and became increasingly common—and crowd favorites—in the '80s. In 1989, the Balloon Fiesta created the Special Shapes Rodeo to showcase these incredible creations. The special shapes events now include mass ascensions on the Thursday and Friday mornings of Balloon Fiesta, and the "Glowdeo"—a shapes-only glow—on Thursday and Friday evenings.
8-10 a.m. • Flying Events
5:45-8 p.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™
8-9 p.m. • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal
7-8 a.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Mass Ascension
8-10 a.m. • Key Grab Competition
Want to win a car? A lot of balloonists do. Launch at least one mile away from the field, fly to the field, grab the keys off the top of a pole (and get the right set of keys (there are several poles and only one has the real keys), and you get a shiny new vehicle! Simple, right? Wrong! In getting to the field, you have to successfully navigate among the other 700-plus balloons heading for the same spot, not break any rules and use the winds to get to the pole, at the right altitude, at the right time. And you have to grab the keys with your hands—no hooks or other devices allowed. Despite the difficulties, the Balloon Fiesta has given away a lot of vehicles since the event began in 1978. For spectators, this is one of Balloon Fiesta's most watchable, and spectacular events.
5:45-8 p.m. • Wells Fargo Special Shape Glowdeo™
8-9 p.m. • AfterGlow™ Fireworks Show presented by the Albuquerque Journal
Halloween isn't just for the young, you know. Many adults appreciate a bit of raw blood-curdling terror just as much as the kiddies. During the month of October, Unseen Gallery (108 Morningside NE) will host its Art of the Dungeon exhibit featuring various torture and restraint paraphernalia along with art work on the themes of pain and fear. You'll also find costume pieces, creepy note cards and other ghoulish artifacts on display. As per gallery policy, the really twisted stuff will be draped with a veil so kids or extra sensitive adults won't be directly subjected to anything objectionable. In a deliciously weird twist, the organizers will also be passing around a donation box for Amnesty International. Art of the Dungeon opens Friday, Oct. 1, with an all day cookies and punch reception from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Runs through Oct. 30. 232-2161.
It's no small irony that the spiffy new Q-Staff Theatre (4819 Central NE) is located directly across the street from the Hiland Theatre. The Hiland, of course, has served as home to Musical Theatre Southwest (MTS) for years. It's the one place in town where folks can regularly catch productions of hit Broadway musicals.
Have you ever chowed down at El Farol, the tasty Santa Fe tapas restaurant located in that cute historic building along Canyon Road? No? Well, on Monday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m., El Farol is coming to Albuquerque. Chef James Campbell Caruso will make an appearance at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW, 344-8139) to promote and sign the new El Farol Tapas and Spanish Cuisine, and, more importantly, he'll be offering scrumptious samples lifted from the book.
When Lorraine Hansberry, author of A Raisin in the Sun, died in 1965, she left behind an unfinished play called Les Blancs, which explored the devastating impact of European colonialism in Africa while also indirectly commenting on race relations in the United States. Hansberry's friends polished Les Blancs up a bit and the play was eventually staged on Broadway. A new production comes to Out ch'Yonda (929 Fourth Street SW) starting this weekend. It'll run Fridays and Saturdays at 8:15 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3:15 p.m. $7, $10. Runs through Oct. 17. Call 243-4325 to make reservations. Seating is limited.
If you're going to perform an experimental show about a minotaur in Albuquerque, the best place to do it would be the Los Poblanos Fields corn maze. The Readymade Dance Theater Company has been creating innovative outdoor performances at the maze for three years now. This year's show, MinotaurMan, directed by Zsolt Palcza, will be performed over the next two weekends, on Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. $8 general, $6 students/seniors. For more information, call 246-2433 or log on to www.na-da.org.