Alibi's hopelessly lame and thoughtless editorial staff calls in an expert for holiday shopping advice
By Brendan Picker, Gwyneth Doland, Devin D. O'Leary, Laura Marrich, Steven Robert Allen, Tim McGivern and Michael Henningsen Photos by Stacey Adams
We admit it: We're a hopelessly lame band of losers who have neither the time, energy or imagination to come up with holiday gift ideas for the folks on our lists this year. Knowing that we'd catch hell for giving out another batch of McDonald's gift certificates, we decided to call in an expert to advise us on these hard-to-shop-for friends, family members and associates. We chose the talent, style, creativity, empathy and eye for fashion of a real pro, Brendan Picker. We don't need five experts like the TV show, our guy's got it all: a degree in design, fashion flair and his finger on the pulse of all things cool. He not only gave us shopping suggestions, but in the process, transformed us from lame friends, fathers, daughters and coworkers into fabulous folks who “really care” (as far as our gift recipients know).
Thanksgiving Recipes, Techniques and More From the Alibi Archive
Say, we've done some pretty cool stuff in the past. Just take any one of these cool Thanksgiving stories from our archive. They all rock! And so will your T-day dinner, after you've boned up on brining, pie-making and wine-pairing. Bon appétit, pilgrims.
A Northeast Heights resident uncovers a water bill mystery
By Christie Chisholm
Would it upset you to learn that you might have been paying $35 more than necessary every month on your water bill for the last 13 years? Well, that's just what happened to Richard Gold, and he's not taking it lying down, or even sitting. He's standing straight up and shaking his fist, ready to charge; and it seems like he has every right to hurtle full-speed into the bureaucratic turmoil of Albuquerque government, although it might not do him much good.
Like some gawker slowing down to linger over a roadside disaster scene or a NASCAR junkie unable to tear himself away from video footage of some particularly spectacular speedway carnage, I find myself returning again and again to the Nov. 2 election results.
Dateline: England—A gang of inept thieves tried to break into an automated teller machine near a gas station in Worcester, using an oxyacetylene blowtorch. A spokesman for the local West Mercia Police summed up the results best: “The attempted theft, which was reported to police at 12:10 a.m. today, resulted in the cash machine catching fire.” With their victim in flames and their loot in ashes, the thieves ran away. Police are appealing for witnesses to the attempted theft.
De mortuis nil nisi bene, the Romans said long ago. Speak nothing but good of the dead. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's a rule we stick to in these pages. But it's not everyday the man who sired the idea of the suicide bomber passes away, either.
The last glimmer of hope in the Bush administration burns out
By Michael Henningsen
While I, like millions of other Americans, was disappointed in the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, I can't say I was surprised. A month out, I called a landslide in favor of Bush, much to the dismay of my coworkers and despite the fact that John Kerry handily reduced President Bush to the out-of-touch corporate puppet—not to mention moron—that he is in all three presidential debates. Closer to the election, however, I began to feel a little more hopeful that America wouldn't be stuck with Bush's misguided arrogance for another four years as the Kerry campaign gathered steam. And, I admit, I bought into the quadrennial notion that new and young voters were really going to come out in droves in a historic uprising that would change the face of American politics and, in turn, the world. Wrong. Again.
Just after I wrote that whole story on oatmeal, I noticed Quaker Supreme at the grocery store. Quaker Supreme is a line of "heartier" oatmeal packets clearly marketed for adults. It's slightly better than regular Quaker oatmeal packets, but don't be fooled. It's not great. I know I run the risk of sounding like some crazed hippie (or worse, my mother) but when it comes to prepackaged and preflavored things like oatmeal and yogurt, you're really better off making your own. Buy a big tub of yogurt. Spoon as much as you want into a glass and then add your own jam, honey, granola, cinnamon sugar, pomegranate syrup, whatever. It's always better. The same is true of oatmeal. Why would I pay extra for sub-par cinnamon- and pecan-flavored oatmeal? I mean, the stuff is still a white, pasty glop when you pull it out of the microwave, despite the picture on the box. Where is this brimming bowl of dark, richly textured oats? Not in my Radarange. For one thing, the bowl and spoon in this picture are obviously a demitasse cup and its dainty stirrer. That's it. I've had enough. I'm going to start working on making my own recipes for oatmeal and find a way to put it in individual packets. You just wait and see.
You must go eat at Pho #1. Both times I've been to this brand-new Vietnamese restaurant at San Pedro and Zuni (268-0488), it's been packed with a mix of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese patrons. What's all the fuss about? Well, the atmosphere is nothing remarkable, so it must be the fantastic food. Chef Day Nguyen previously had restaurants in Boston, Mass. and Arlington, Texas, but recently moved here for the pleasant climate. Pho #1 is owned by Nguyen's brother-in-law Hue Chung and their house specialty is the magnificent Seven Courses of Beef. Don't be intimidated by the confusing names of the dishes. Grill Hawaiian loaf leaf beef is absolutely scrumptious, for example; so is steamed beef paste/meatball mixed with glass noodles and spices. It sounds horrifying, I know, and the meatball isn't much to look at either, but I swear it's one of the best things I've eaten in recent memory. Whatever you do, don't miss the beef grilled on your table and served with a lemongrass sauce. It's to die for. Oh, and make sure you have time for a leisurely dinner. Service can be slow for a regular meal, but the seven courses of beef takes a pleasantly long time to get through as well.
Here in the Land of Enchantment, nothing says "family gathering" like whacking a papier-mâché animal until it bleeds candy. First you'll need to buy or make a piñata. The fabulous bird you're looking at now was hand-crafted by our friends Jada and Crash (call 401-8794 to order). There are instructions on how to make a simple balloon-based turkey piñata at www.familyfun.com.
Is one kind of turkey really any better than another? Probably. When the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine cooked traditional frozen turkeys (labeled as self-basting) and "natural" turkeys, they discovered big differences. The vast majority of frozen turkeys are labeled as self-basting because they've been injected with fluids to make them juicier. These fluids, usually salt and broth, but occasionally artificial flavors, do indeed make a moist turkey. But Cook's Illustrated's taste-testers said they could taste some weird and unnatural flavors. You know how turkey deli meat doesn't taste anything like roasted turkey even though it's technically roasted turkey? That's what we're talking about here.
House Party—On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will be hosting the Southwestern premiere of the new horror flick The Halfway House. The film stars cult icon Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Death Race 2000) and is best described as a campy mixture of monster movie, nunsploitation and the ever-popular “girls in prison” genre. The film's writer/director, the one and only Kenneth J. Hall (Puppetmaster, Evil Spawn, Dr. Alien, Nightmare Sisters), will be in town to introduce the film, which begins at 10:30 p.m. each night. Also in attendance will be one of the film's main stars, Albuquerque's own homegrown scream queen Stephanie Leighs (The Stink of Flesh, Pretty Dead Things). Hall and Leighs will participate in a question-and-answer/autograph session following each screening. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door of the Guild Cinema. For more information, log on to www.halfwayhouse-movie.com or www.stephanieleighs.com.
Filmmaker Alexander Payne has made a career out of presenting audiences with some very thorny characters: from Laura Dern's glue-sniffing poster child for the pro-life movement in Citizen Ruth to Matthew Broderick's vindictive, decidedly unadmirable high school teacher in Election to Jack Nicholson's rootless retiree with a meaningless life story in About Schmidt. Now Payne presents us with Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Hayden Church), a pair of middle-aged losers stuck in an extended bout of arrested development in the gloriously painful romantic comedy Sideways.
The Ramones could very well have been the most dysfunctional family in rock 'n' roll. And that's saying something in a genre of music that has spawned its fair share of dysfunction. But few of those most famously implosive bands (The Beatles, The Doors, Guns & Roses) truly fit the description of “family.” The Ramones, on the other hand, launched their shtick under the premise that they were actually brothers. Over their 20-plus years of existence, the four self-styled trouble-making punks from Queens expanded, contracted and fractured apart from stress, but they were unable to ever fully separate the bond they had with one another under the name of The Ramones.
In television terms, it's report card time. A month after most new fall shows premiered, it's time for the dreaded Sweeps. This is the time that network ratings are tallied. Since the networks set many of their ad rates based on these tallies, they want the highest ratings they can get. As a result, shows that are, shall we say, underperforming get kicked to the curb.
with Between the Buried & Me, Cattle Decapitation and Fear Before the March of Flames
By Michael Henningsen
Tuesday, Nov. 23; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): Darkest Hour are the band Metallica might have become if they hadn't gone all egotistical, drug-addicted pussy on us. Then again, “might” leaves a lot of room for speculation.
Saturday, Nov. 20; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 8 p.m.): If your idea of sitar music is George Harrison plinking away at the instrument while seated in the Lotus position during the recording of Revolver, you need a new idea. Cool and exotic as it may have sounded to those who were alive and listening intently to popular music back in 1966, the sitar—a lute-like instrument with seven playing strings and up to 13 that resonate sympathetically—dates back at least 700 years, and the music created on it within East Indian culture dates to ancient times and has a richness and history that neither Harrison nor Sir George Martin could ever hope to recreate.
Don ye now your gay apparel, because the holiday season is upon us and you're going to have to listen to at least some holiday-themed music over the next six weeks whether you want to, like it, or not. So we figure you might as well spend your time listening to the good and avoiding the bad. That's why, for the past 11 years, we've gone to the trouble of listening to the most recently released batch of holiday albums and painstakingly compiling our thoughts on them. A little holiday music is good to have around just in case you decide to throw a little party or gathering, or a bunch of creepy relatives show up for an unannounced yuletide visit. And some of this stuff really ain't that bad!
This weekend you can get a jump on holiday shopping simply by taking the 25-mile drive northward up to Placitas. Artists and art lovers of all stripes will be infesting this little burg during the 23rd Annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale.
As a theater critic in Albuquerque, I've got plenty of blessings to count, and the number keeps rising every month. For some reason, new theaters have been popping up all over town recently. One of the newest is a hip space at 712 Central SE operated by SolArts, a local nonprofit visual and performing arts organization.
Every year just before the Catholic season of Lent, communities all over the globe let loose during one version or another of carnival. An amazing new traveling 10,000-square-foot multimedia exhibit opening this weekend at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe gives participants the opportunity to experience the many different faces of the annual event as it is celebrated in Venice, Spain, Switzerland, New Orleans, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia and Northern Africa. The only difference is that at this exhibit you won't be allowed to get either drunk or naked. $5 for New Mexico residents, free on Sundays. (505) 476-1200.
Angus Macpherson brings his talent for creating haunting ambient landscapes to a series of urban scenes in an exhibit opening this weekend at MoRo Gallery (806 Mountain NW). As is often true of Macpherson's natural scenes, these views of artificial, man-made architectures are often captured at night or in half-light. From Chicago to Tucson to San Diego to his home base in Albuquerque, Macpherson takes us with him on his nocturnal ramblings through these fascinatingly varied cityscapes. Cities opens this Friday with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring a jazz performance by Jeff Solon. Runs through Dec. 31. 242-6272.
In years past, I've managed to largely avoid doing any Christmas shopping at malls. The crowds, the crappy plastic music, the generic chain stores—it just doesn't seem worth the migraine. This year, though, I think I'm due for an attitude adjustment.
An interview with FOUND magazine founder Davy Rothbart
By Devin D. O'Leary
Three years ago, Davy Rothbart started a little, self-published zine called FOUND. In it, Rothbart reproduced the best items he had found lying in the street: old love letters, shopping lists, kids' drawings, mangled photographs, stained postcards. Each item, separated from its creator, took on a mysterious life of its own. A humorously mutilated “Lost Kitten” flyer could share gutter space with a suicide note. Each one, a tiny riddle.
The holidays are upon us like cats on a bed full of winter coats at a neighborhood Christmas party. That means crowded parking lots at the mall, incessant toy commercials and more big film releases than you could possibly keep track of.
Politics and religion deliver New Mexico for Bush; where was Bill?
By Tim McGivern
For Edward Gallegos, ballroom dancing is more than just a hobby, it's a way of life. He spent his professional career in dancehalls, teaching and perfecting the moves that he still breaks out at the Corrales Senior Center on Friday mornings. And to keep the elixir flowing, since he retired in 1994, Gallegos, an 83-year-old widower, has employed himself as a dance host on cruise ships, receiving discounted room, board and gratuity in exchange for palming the backs of well-to-do widows who still enjoy life's finer pleasures.
Like many of our fellow countrymen, we're glad the election season is over. Things got so nasty and vile in the final days of the campaign we found ourselves seeking solace in tabloid-esque yet nonpolitical Internet postings. Like the harrowing tale of a kitten surviving a spin through the full cycle of a washing machine. There was also a hair-raising report about marauding bands of blood-sucking monkeys in India.
New transportation plans offer a brighter, cleaner future
By Christie Chisholm
If you're like most Albuquerqueans, you probably don't ride the bus. For years folks have complained that they're rarely on time. They're sometimes filled with characters that, although interesting to read about in the latest dime-store novel, aren't the sort you want to find lurking over your shoulder while reading said novel. A rather disappointing way to start one's day.
Dateline: California—Unable to purchase an airline ticket for Australia, 31-year-old Neil Melly of Canada stripped naked, scaled a barbed-wire fence at the Los Angeles International Airport, ran across the tarmac and attached himself to the plane's wheel well. Melly had tried earlier to buy a ticket for a Qantas Airways flight for Australia with only a credit card receipt. Ticket agents refused to give him the ticket. Melly ignored police officers repeated request to remove himself from the airplane's wheel well. He eventually complied when city fire fighters arrived. Melly, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, had been listed as a missing person in Canada. He was booked on a trespassing charge and released. Airport authorities are looking into improving the fence Melly scaled.
If you're having people over to your house on Thanksgiving, you need to start getting ready now. The first thing on your list should be having your crazy, out-of-whack oven recalibrated. (Who does that? Check the Yellow Pages under Appliances—Major—Service and Repair.) I spent half an hour today talking to a repairman about my ancient Maytag Dutch Oven. The thing looks soooo cool, but it runs anywhere from 25 to 100 degrees hotter than the setting. (Sorry the cookies are burned to a crisp, but look at my cool old oven!) This year I do not intend to burn my turkey on Nov. 25. Unfortunately, the fact that my stove is so far off is an indication that calibration won't fix the problem. (Not sure how far off your oven is? Buy one of those cheap metal oven thermometers and burn some cookies while you compare reading to setting.) If you're more than 25 degrees off, or if the oven's temperature fluctuates wildly, you may need to replace the thermostat. If you're lucky, your oven is newish and the parts are still made. For an older oven, you'll have to do some serious scouting. It may end up being cheaper to replace the thing. (Nice cookies! Too bad you got rid of that old stove.) Whatever you do, don't put it off until the day before Thanksgiving.
You really should try Le French Corner (3905 San Mateo, south of Montgomery) for breakfast some day. I know, I know, the name is bad Frenglish and the place isn't even on a corner, but don't let that get in the way of a deliciously memorable meal. When eating another breakfast burrito is too boring to contemplate, switch it up with a simple but oh-so-satisfying French breakfast. Picture this: a big hunk of crusty baguette, a big pat of butter and two kinds of jams, and a cup of café au lait. Doesn't that sound good? If you want something more substantial, Le French Corner also has a Brie and pecan quiche (a diet buster for sure), huge chocolate-filled croissants and meat- and veggie-filled omelets. Plus, there's a huge case full of éclairs, tartlets and other goodies. They open at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday. Don't go on Sunday or you'll be looking at a closed sign through your tears.
The Mysteriously Named Tuber: Tasty or a Waste of Time?
By Gwyneth Doland
Why would you bother eating a sunchoke? Honestly, I've cooked the things and I think the greatest pleasure comes from knowing you're eating the root of a sunflower, not from any particular yumminess. Yes, the sunchoke, also known as Jerusalem artichoke, is the edible tuber of a variety of sunflower native to the United States. Very romantic, yes. Very tasty, maybe.
Cookbook co-author James Baker says that "Cranberries have played a supporting role in American cuisine for so long that we take the familiar red fruit for granted. ..." Now, just wait a minute. I may not be a food historian, but I think the American public knows a thing or two about the mother of all Thanksgiving fruits—we did invent the holiday, after all. Let's take a moment to assess what we can already say about our tart friends from the North.
Adult Anime—Albuquerque's Explora Science Museum has been running its “Jump to Japan” exhibit for a month now. The exhibit concentrates on the Japanese arts of anime and manga (cartoons and comic books). On Thursday, Nov. 11, the museum will host its first-ever “adults night.” Beginning at 7 p.m., the museum's theater will screen a collection of popular Japanese animated films, shorts and TV shows aimed at older teens and adults. Alibi film editor Devin D. O'Leary (yup, that's me) will be on hand to introduce the films and provide a little insight into the world of anime. This evening should be a fine introduction for people intrigued by this brave new world of animated entertainment. The Explora Museum is located at 1701 Mountain NW. Phone 224-8300 for more information.
"In 1978, a musician released his first album, Ready for the House. It featured a lonely voice accompanied by acoustic guitar. His subsequent recordings made him one of the most prolific artists in contemporary music. Almost nobody has noticed."
Sequel relies on slapstick, but reminds us why we fell in love with this mess of a girl
By Devin D. O'Leary
The smash hit nature of Bridget Jones' Diary, both in original book and eventual movie form, inevitably led to the release of author Helen Fielding's much-anticipated sequel, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason. The success of that followup book has brought us, inexorably, to the filming of another movie.
Some time in the future, at some as-yet-to-be-determined court trial, the new Cartoon Network series “Tom Goes to the Mayor” will be used to prove that the people in charge of CN's Adult Swim programming block have gone irrevocably insane. That isn't to say that the show is bad. It's certainly original and amusing in its own otherworldly way. But the show is definitely proof positive that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.
In May of this year, Chris Hotchkiss of local band Morning Wood was killed in a tragic accident. An all-ages benefit show for his family will take place Saturday, Nov. 13, from 6 p.m. to midnight at the Launchpad featuring performances by Morning Wood XXX, Concepto Tambor, Feels Like Sunday, The Big Spank, Frostbite, The United, Mantis Fist, Caustic Lye, Romeo Goes to Hell, 2 Wise, and DJ Tino Mazon. I asked members of Chris' band to provide brief words of remembrance in his honor:
Although he's become an increasingly renowned saxophonist, Dave Pietro's fluid passages sound as though they were charted by a pianist. One is compelled to deduce that the decade he spent recording and touring as the lead alto saxophonist in Chinese pianist Toshiko Akiyoshi's jazz orchestra has quite a bit to do with Pietro's smooth phrasing. But there's also a highly evolved understanding of piano-like voicing at work in the musical mind of the young reed player from Southboro, Mass.
Saturday, Nov. 13 at Airdance Artspace (3030 Isleta SW, all ages, 8 p.m.): Prince Diabaté has been called "the Jimi Hendrix of the kora," a true innovator on the instrument. He and his former musical partner, vocalist Amara Sanoh, began wowing local audiences in 1997, making regular appearances at Outpost Productions' Fall Fundraiser for several years consecutively. Diabaté's masterful fusion of funk, reggae Caribbean rhythms and the traditional sounds of his Malinké roots in Guinea, West Africa makes his some of the freshest, most danceable music going.
Nearly two decades before Jack and Meg White went thrift store shopping for matching red polyester uniforms and spawned rock's latest Gap-like trend, guitarist Dexter Romweber and drummer Crow were actively putting the guitar/drums duo concept on the map; first in Chapel Hill, N.C., then across the country. After releasing nine records as Flat Duo Jets, Romweber and Crow split in 1998. Romweber is back with his third solo album, and it's a record that begs the question: Why did I spend all my dough on those White Stripes and Black Keys discs? This is the real thing, kids. Garage blues at its most surfalicious.
The fourth issue of actingnow.com is made up entirely of interviews. The online theater magazine, which is published by UNM theater professor Eugene Douglas, is a surprisingly attractive, well-edited, informative publication. The latest issue presents dialogues with some of the leading lights in the theatrical universe. This is a fascinating slew of interviews, including chats with expert vocal instructor Kristin Linklater (Freeing the Natural Voice), film director David Gordon Green (George Washington) and, believe it or not, William Shakespeare (Hamlet, Macbeth). Check it out at www.actingnow.com.
Many Americans seem to think that art is merely an expendable luxury, an idle way to pass the time for spoiled trust fund kids and other lazy freeloaders. Such a misperception might seem excusable in a society as privileged as ours, but history reveals how misguided this view really is.
Drag your sorry butt out of the house this Saturday evening for License to Drag, this year's fabulous edition of the beloved Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are charity show. I mean, come on, who doesn't love to see a man in a dress? This year's show features performances by the Sinatra-Devine girls (Lana and Fontana), The Dolls (Geneva Convention and Tequila Mockingbird), Angelica del Rio, Raquel del Rio, Lorenzo Colorado, Cassandra del la Noche and many, many, many more. The glitter! The glamour! I think I may faint. It all goes down at 7 p.m. at the Hiland Theatre. $20, $15. Reserve tickets by calling 262-9301.
In Blue Surge, a new play opening this week at Sol Arts, a pair of Midwestern detectives attempt to bust a brothel that pretends to be a mere massage parlor. Who ever heard of such a thing?! The two detectives eventually develop some tricky relationships with two of the hookers. Playwright Rebecca Gilman milks this premise for all its worth in this Albuquerque debut, directed by Brandon Scott Jensen. Thursdays, Friday and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. 244-0499.
No one could accuse Philip Roth of lacking a fantasy life. In a 1972 novel, Roth conjured up a man who slowly became a breast. Then, in 1993, he spun a big blowsy yarn starring a fantasy version of himself. This Philip Roth had worked in Athens as an Israeli spy and was fighting over his identity with an anti-Zionist doppelgänger in Jerusalem. "I'm not trying to confuse you," Roth cheekily told an interviewer that year. "This happened. I stepped into a strange hole, which I don't understand to this day."
When ABC debuted "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" in 1993, America had never seen anything like it. Bill Maher, proffered an edgy, outspoken take on American and world politics that was a refreshing change from stuffy, Sunday morning programs like "Meet the Press," which were designed, it seemed, to give stuffed suits something to watch before NFL pregame shows that made them feel in-touch with the innerworkings of government. Granted, the guests were sometimes less than spectacular and often appeared to be in way over their heads. Maher himself would ask after the show's cancellation eight years later, "Can I really have a conversation with Carrot Top about gun control?"
By the time you read this, we'll most likely at least have some indication as to whether America is in for a new beginning and a chance at relative peace and prosperity or simply Dubya Dubya III. If the case turns out to be the latter, I'm either dead right now of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the mouth or attempting to seek political refuge in Canada. Or if it turns out that this is my last column for the Alibi, I wish you all well. ... Anyway, The Oktober People will celebrate the release of their eponymous debut CD on Friday, Nov. 5, at the Launchpad with simple., Foma and The Mindy Set. If you haven't yet heard the record, you're in for a sonic treat that should get you through the holidays and right on up through Memorial Day 2005 without having to buy another record. ... Now calling himself a “reformed classical guitar champion”—he's won both international classical and fingerstyle guitar competitions—local guitar powerhouse Michael Chapdelaine has just released an exceptional new CD, Bach is Cool, featuring the music of, you guessed it ... Bach. He'll perform selections from the new CD as well as music by Brouwer, Villa-Lobos, Alben and a few of his own compositions on Sunday, Nov. 7, at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales at 3 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call 277-3928 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and reservations. ... In what is likely to be one of the most odd-ball rock shows of the past few months, San Francisco's The Slow Poisoners will join forces with Israeli indie rock duo, Mother's Anger (see this week's “Lucky 7” calendar) and Burque's own Rakes of Mallow on Tuesday, Nov. 9, at Burt's Tiki Lounge. The Slow Poisoner's latest offering, Melodrama, is a beautifully strange conceptual piece of rock dinner theater. Trust me, it'll all make sense once you get there.
Perla Batalla and her miraculous voice return to New Mexico
Sublime. Perhaps never before has the word been more gainfully employed than in the description of Perla Batalla's spark plug of a voice. The Los Angeles-born singer is the Latina Aretha Franklin and, at times, Patsy Cline. She runs a stylistic gamut that stretches wide between Arabic drone and Mexican lullabies, and no matter what she happens to be singing, it's quite likely among the most beautiful and inspiring things you've ever heard.
Tuesday, Nov. 9; Launchpad (21 and over, 8 p.m.): New Orleans' infamous Dirty Dozen Brass Band took their name back in 1977 from one of the Crescent City's innumerable "Social and Pleasure" clubs, where the ensemble came together specifically to provide musical diversion for those who came to relax at the club.
The world needs a 20th anniversary re-release of Twisted Sister's Stay Hungry LP like it needs another four years of George W. Bush. But, at press time, we're stuck with at least one of the above. Aside from a pair of bona fide, albeit criminally overplayed, '80s rock anthems (“We're Not Gonna Take It” and “I Wanna Rock”), the original album was basically a steaming pile of shit. And you just can't polish a turd into anything but a shiny turd. Not even with two “lost” tracks from the original sessions and five new TS songs recorded earlier this year.
Why, why, why do I agree to do these things? The American Dairy Goat Association had their annual conference here last week and they invited me, along with a dozen or so other chefs, purveyors and writers, to help judge their cheese competition. Now, I love cheese, and I love goat cheese, but it will be a very, very long time before I'm able to stomach another bite of chèvre. Seriously, judging these contests is brutal. “Oh, my God,” some of you may be saying, “I can't believe she's whining about getting paid to sit around and eat goat cheese for a living.” And to you people I say this: shove it up your @$$. Maybe you enjoy writing code and that's why you work as a programmer. But how would you like to spend hours taking in other people's code, the good, the bad and the very, very bad? OK, that analogy fell apart a long time ago. The point is, there are not 40 fabulous goat cheeses for sale at your cheese counter for a reason. Some are better than others. You may enjoy a few crackers spread with a little chèvre, as you sip wine and mingle at a party. But what if we made you taste 40 different cheeses, take copious notes and rate them on 30 different attributes? You might get cranky and lash out at perfectly nice people in your newspaper column, then wonder if you should perhaps take anger management classes. Uh-oh.
Chef Kent Dagnall, most recently of Blue Dragon Coffeehouse, is now Pastry Chef at Annapurna Chai House (Silver and Yale). Dagnall will be helping owner Yashoda Naidoo expand the bakery aspect of the business, a challenge since everything at Annapurna is vegetarian and much of it is vegan. Naidoo and her staff had been making a small amount of muffins, cheesecakes, different Indian sweets and cookies, but Dagnall, who has extensive experience with vegetarian cooking, will be greatly expanding the restaurant's sweet repertoire. Annapurna now has two locations, one at Juan Tabo and the other at Silver and Yale. The original Annapurna, at San Mateo and Copper, is now Mediterranean Café. Naidoo said she vacated that space because the kitchen was too small and she had outgrown it. In fact, business is so good, Naidoo says that she's in the process of opening another location of her vegetarian café and that's why she's especially glad to have Dagnall now. "He speaks my language," she told me. "I'm planning my Santa Fe store, and now I know I have somebody in the kitchen I can trust. He's just like me. He experiments." Naidoo didn't have full details on the Santa Fe location because she's still in negotiation for the space, but she did say that it'll be just like her Albuquerque restaurants, about the same size as the University location.
Fancy enough for a celebration and stiff enough to drown your sorrows
By Gwyneth Doland
Whether this election day brings victory or defeat, election eve is a definite cause for cocktails. What will I be drinking? Martinis, of course. As far as alcoholic beverages go, the martini is about as close as you can get to doing a shot and still look classy while getting snockered. The fancy glasses, the cute garnishes, everything about the presentation says special occasion. But what's inside that conical cup is powerful stuff. A typical martini is mostly gin, with a splash of dry vermouth, that's shaken (or stirred!) with ice and garnished with lemon peel or olives. But for election day, you could sass it up a little bit ...
When the election ends, a complete Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse investigation should begin
By Tim McGivern
Scott Horton became familiar with military doctrine long before he was fairly able to understand it. As a child, he was raised on Kirtland Air Force Base, the son of an officer, before leaving Albuquerque three decades ago to embark on a career as an international transaction attorney and human rights lawyer, most notably representing former-Soviet Union dissident Andreis Sakharov.
A few weeks ago I wrote about how foolish a policy it is for a state to funnel its public mental health funds through "for profit" HMOs—private companies charged with managing that care but which can increase their profit line by reducing services.
Dateline: Australia—A court has ruled that a convicted heroin dealer can claim a $165,000 tax deduction for money that was stolen during a bad drug deal. The Australian Taxation Office had been trying to make Francesco Dominico La Rosa of Perth pay tax on his 1994-95 income, which is estimated at $337,000. But La Rosa, who recently served a 12-year term for dealing heroin and amphetamines, insisted his taxable income should be reduced. La Rosa told the High Court that the $165,000 cash he had buried in his back yard was dug up to pay for a drug deal in May 1995. That transaction went badly and ended up with the money being stolen by unknown people. The High court agreed with a lower court decision that upheld La Rosa's claims. The federal government has now vowed to change the law to bar losses incurred in illegal transactions from being claimed as tax deductions in the future.
Gone Again—The Big Screen Classics series at Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center returns this weekend with one of the biggest classics of all time. The 1938 epic Gone With the Wind will screen on Saturday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. Tickets are a mere $5 and can be obtained by calling the Lensic box office at (505) 988-1234. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco.
The original 1966 version of Alfie is a classic. But, unless you grew up in swingin' '60s London, the film probably doesn't count as a sacred cinematic treasure along the lines of, say, Gone With The Wind. Which means, of course, that it's prime fodder for a Hollywood remake. The odd thing about trying to remake Alfie, however,is that roughly 90 percent of the film's appeal lies in the star-making turn by fresh-faced leading man Michael Caine.
Former child actor Rick Schroder may never completely shake off his history. (Five years on a successful '80s sitcom will do that to a fellow.) Still, he has yet to rob any banks (which places him above many of his peers). And he did get good critical notice for turning serious on "NYPD Blue" (before dropping out to devote more time to his growing family). Most recently, Schroder took his biggest step toward breaking away from the "child actor" label by writing and directing his own independent feature. The film, Black Cloud, opened in theaters last month.
So-called “reality television” has been around long enough now, I suppose, that we can actually start making fun of it. And I don't mean providing self-referential little twists to the genre like in “Joe Schmo” and “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiancé.” No, I mean outright, vicious mocking of the whole preposterous trend. Thankfully we can always rely on Comedy Central to provide a rancorous, juvenile and often quite funny jab at the things in popular culture that annoy the crap out of us. (See also: “South Park” on its best nights, “The Daily Show” pretty much every night of the week.)
Prolific local artist Rachel Allen recently passed away, but neither Allen nor her art will be forgotten by her admirers and friends anytime soon. She will be missed. A memorial exhibit of her attractively eccentric work opens this Friday, Nov. 5, at the New Grounds Print Workshop (3812 Central SE) with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. during which a silent auction of Allen's art will be held. All proceeds will go towards a printmaking scholarship. The exhibit, called Open Your Heart, will also include work by other members of the workshop. The show runs through Nov. 27. 268-8952.
The National Poetry Slam competition won't be here until next August, but our city is already slowly transforming into slam central station. The latest in a series of hot shot competitive poetry events goes down Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. at the Vortex Theatre (2004 1/2 Central SE) when Mighty Mike McGee, the 2003 Individual National Poetry Slam Champ comes to town. McGee has toured all over the country and possesses a rare ability to make his audiences both giggle and think. $5. The evening will include performances by the 2004 Albuquerque Slam Team. Proceeds will help fund next year's National Poetry Slam, which Albuquerque is hosting. 247-8600.
Anne Valley-Fox's latest volume of poetry, Point of No Return, is being published by Albuquerque's La Alameda Press this month. Miriam Sagan's excellent poetry collection Rag Trade was also published by La Alameda earlier this year. A third major figure in New Mexico poetry, Joan Logghe, released her latest poetry book, Rice (Tres Chicas Books), a couple months ago. These three stellar Northern New Mexico poets will appear at Bookworks this Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. to promote their newest volumes. Stop by the store to mix and mingle with three of our state's most distinctive poetic voices. 344-8139.