The most ferocious of prehistoric reader polls is back
What's your favorite New Mexican food? What's your favorite dinosaur? Ok, now put them together and what do you get? An Enchiladodon? A Chileopteryx? A Tacoraptor? A Sopaipillatops? Awesome! Get ready for the T. Rex of “Best of City” contests: The original Best of Burque Restaurants will be hitting Weekly Alibi racks and website on Thursday, Oct. 12. The polls are open now. Vote on your favorite Frito pie, vegetarian food, Japanese restaurant and local brewery. Let your voice be heard! Rawr!
Give the ultimate gift this holiday season—yourself
There's no denying that Christmas (in the commercialized sense) has become a celebration of consumption. The minute Thanksgiving has ended, visions of barcodes, prices and endless lists dance in our heads, making the holidays either an extremely bountiful or stressful season.
Box Up This Year's Best DVD Boxed Sets
This giant collector's set is the ultimate nerd gift for the ultimate nerd on your list. If you know someone who really liked The Matrix--I mean really liked The Matrix--then this monster will keep them busy for the next two years. Seriously, there were only three movies, and there are 10 freaking discs here! Plus an 80-page book, plus a collector's display case, plus a ceramic bust of Keanu Reeves (OK, that last item's a little creepy). I can't even get into all the extras on these discs. This thing is so damn cool it almost makes me want to watch The Matrix Revolutions again. Almost.
The Joy of the Boxed Set
Nowadays, there's a boxed set available for just about everyone on your list. And if there's not, then there's certainly one that could change his or her taste in music forever. You are the educator, so be thoughtful. The best part is that boxed sets are easy to get your hands on at any one of the few mom 'n' pop record stores left in Albuquerque, and they come in all price ranges, from the several hundred dollar-retrospective to the twin-disc best-of to the emerging trend toward DVD/CD collections.
Last Minute Holiday Book Ideas
Books make ideal last minute gifts. Matching the right book with the right person, though, is a riddle that can stump almost anyone. We here at the Alibi want to make sure your holiday book shopping goes as smoothly as possible. With that in mind, here are a wide variety of excellent options to put you on the right track.
It's been rescheduled at least three times because local bands are renowned for committing, then not bothering to learn any songs. But Metal Tribute III looks like it's actually going to take place on Saturday, Dec. 11, at the Launchpad. Icky & The Yuks, The Foxx, The Surf Lords, Young Edward, simple, Love Overdose, The Dirty Novels, Rage Against Martin Sheen, Foma, Scenester, Cue The Wing-ed Serpent and DJ IROC are all onboard (at press time, at least), and shame in advance on any of the above mentioned bands that ultimately back out or fail to show up. ... Musica Antigua de Albuquerque will perform three concerts of medieval and Renaissance Christmas music beginning on Saturday, Dec. 11, in Santa Fe at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church at 7:30 p.m., then at Saint Michael's and All Angels Episcopal Church in Albuquerque on Sunday, Dec. 12, and 19, at 4:30 p.m. Call 842-9613 for more information. ... The 2004 Outpost Winter Season is starting to wind down, but there's still time to get clarinetist Kenny Davern back to Albuquerque for two shows before it's time to hibernate. Davern and his quartet will appear at the Outpost on Sunday, Dec. 12, and Monday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 general, $15 Outpost members. Call 268-0044 for more information.
The Living Blues
Dave “Honeyboy” Edwards Brings the Delta to You
At 89 years old, Mississippi bluesman Honeyboy Edwards is still every bit the voice of the Delta he was when he was sharing the stages at juke joints across the south with Robert Johnson in the '30s. His gnarled voice and extraordinarily aggressive and unapologetic guitar work are as much innate gifts as they are the result of a career that has spanned some 60 years—and counting. Edwards, along with Robert Lockwood, Jr., is one of the last remaining lifelines to the Delta blues as the genre originated. Time has stamped its influence on the music over the years, so to have the opportunity to hear them blues as they once were is monumental indeed.
with his age- and gravity-defying hair
Saturday, Dec. 11; Route 66 Casino (21 and over, 7:30 p.m.): How did Wayne Newton get so famous? Christ, how does he stay so tan? The answer to the former will perhaps never be understood by mere mortals. As for the answer to the latter ... well, just ask George Hamilton the next time you bump into him at IHOP.
featuring Mariachi Los Arrieros de Valle and Ballet Folklorico Paso del Norte
Sunday, Dec. 12; Popejoy Hall (all ages, 3:30 p.m.): Once again, Popejoy Hall's renowned Ovation Series presents the Mariachi Christmas Extravaganza, a program of traditional music and dance from various states in Mexico that has become synonymous with the holiday season in Albuquerque. Mariachi Los Arrieros de Valle are a 12-piece ensemble from McAllen, Texas, who have captivated audiences across the nation with their youthful vitality and superior command of traditional mariachi music and singing. Joining them this afternoon is Ballet Folklorico Paso del Norte, along for their sixth appearance at this annual Ovation Series event. The El Paso-based ballet company began 25 years ago and have since risen to international acclaim.
Don't miss what has become one of the traditional highlights of the holiday season in New Mexico.
That it was bound to happen makes it no less unfortunate. No Doubt chanteuse Gwen Stefani, after better than a decade of exercising her formidable songwriting talent and propelling No Doubt from Orange County club band to international superstars, has finally given in to celebrity, allowing her significant starpower to control the direction of her debut solo effort rather than the inspired, passion-bred consciousness that has spawned more than a handful of killer ND singles. Devoid of an ounce of soul, L.A.M.B. falls flat on its over-powdered, over-hyped face. Skip it and pray for the next ND record.
Champagne. When you can't think of what to give, buy a bottle of champagne. When you've been invited to a dinner and they ask you to bring wine: bring bubbly. See, champagne is an event of its own and it doesn't have to go with the food so your hosts will always be happy to receive it. The cooks could be making barbecue, stir-fry, cassoulet or tamales and you could still start the evening off with a bottle of Gruet. Speaking of Gruet, they've got a new pink sparkling wine that is absolutely beautiful and not anything like the sickly sweet pink champagne that you drank on New Year's Eve when you were 17. Gruet Rosé costs the same (about $13) as their Blanc de Noirs, but they only made a small batch of the stuff. You can still find it at Jubilation (Lomas and Carlisle), Cost Plus World Market (Menaul and Carlisle) and at the winery (8400 Pan American NE). The smart thing to do is to buy champagne by the case. It's not that expensive and you can keep it in your fridge, ready to go whenever you need something to take to a last-minute get together, birthday party, tree-trimming soirée or New Year's bash.
Filipino food! Albuquerque has Filipino food! Ooh, it's always so exciting when we get something new. Fil-Am Fastfood Mart is the name of a little café and market that has been open for a few weeks at 600 Louisiana SE (265-4064), the former home of Asian Palace. Fil-Am's name, including a hyphenation of Filipino-American, makes the place sound like a gas station that also sells beer and cigarettes, but it's nothing like that. The dining room is humble and spare; orders are taken at the counter and filled from a steam table holding trays of noodles, grilled meat skewers, egg rolls and veggies. Service is nonexistent, but who cares, right? The egg rolls, noodles and soup were perfectly fine, but we were most surprised by the pork skewer and adobo pork. (Yay pork!). Both were far more savory than they looked, the adobo benefiting greatly from a dunk in a little cup full of spicy vinegar. Next time I want to try the big rolls stuffed with meat and veggies. You should go! Try something new! Buy yourself a $1.50 jar of spicy vinegar, as Devin O'Leary did. You'll definitely have money left over from your very cheap lunch.
A little curry makes goat taste good
It's good to have friends who are goat farmers. Every Friday, for example, they brought me cheese. Last week: Swedish curds and fresh mozzarella. They also brought two pounds of freshly slaughtered goat. The kid and his milk, in one delivery.
Gifts Albuquerque foodies would love to get
You love to eat; your beloved loves to cook. And it's lucky, too, because you don't know a China cap from a coolie hat and you've never seen a mandolin that didn't have strings. So, how are you supposed to shop for someone who's already got more gadgets than Bond, James Bond. I asked a few local foodies what topped their holiday wish lists. Their best suggestion was books. If you're not sure, give the cook a cookbook.
Bush administration suspends Santa Fe church's tea ritual
From the moment Drug Enforcement Agency officials confiscated 30 gallons of hoasca tea from Jeffrey Bronfman's Santa Fe office on May 21, 1999, folks practicing the religious beliefs of O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao do Vegetal (UDV) have been missing a key ingredient of their faith.
Dude, where's my congresswoman? The Republicans in Congress, at least those in control of the House of Representatives, no longer care about ethics or good government. What they care about is power. That, we know for sure, following the disgraceful Republican Conference meeting last month where GOP congressmen revised ethics rules so that Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader, could continue at his post while being investigated for corruption in his home state of Texas. The Republicans said poor Tom was just the victim of a partisan attack and had done nothing wrong and therefore shouldn't lose his post for a little ol' Grand Jury indictment.
Mothers step up campaign to solve Juarez murders while coverup continues
Like other mothers, Patricia Cervantes has heard promises sung like empty lyrics by a chorus of presidents, governors and law enforcement authorities working in northern Mexico. Their reassuring words vow to end impunity and find justice for their murdered daughters.
Money taints our once fair and balanced election process
For a poor state, New Mexico sure seems to have a lot of elections, don't we?
I mean maybe we ought to figure out some way to turn our year-round, practically continuous, voting efforts into economic opportunity. Could we charge admission, sell the film, television or naming rights or perhaps even make book on them ... you know, pari-mutuel betting on the outcome, with odds set by experienced touts and the proceeds at least paying for the recounting costs. Or would that take all the fun out?
After three and a half years of employment, I recently resigned as the Floor Director of one of our local television news programs.
Dateline: Indonesia—Public works officials on Sumatra Island are worried that a local bridge may collapse because too many people are taking a leak on it. According to the Jakarta Post, the Ampera Bridge, a landmark of Palembang City, the capital of South Sumatra province, has begun to lean at an angle and now rocks slightly when traffic is heavy. “We are concerned that one of its main support piers has been weakened by urine, as it is a popular spot for locals to relieve themselves,” Azmi Lakoni, an official from the public works department, told the Post. Lakoni added that the corrosive properties of human whiz could eventually contribute to the steel bridge's complete collapse. Cargo vehicles weighing more than one ton are now being diverted from the bridge.
Anarchy for the U.S.A.—On Thursday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m., the Peace and Justice Center (202 Harvard SE) will screen A Peace of the Anarchy. This new documentary is described as a quick summary of 20th Century American radical activism. The film focusses on vegetarian Christian pacifist anarchist (wow!) Ammon Hennacy. The film also spotlights other radical activists preaching the anarchy and peace mantra and the belief that goodness will overcome evil. For more info about the film, log on to movies.lovarchy.org/POA.
Vampire action series still alive and kicking
While it would seem that the Christmas holiday is an odd time to release a full-tilt horror film, it could be chalked up to clever counterprogramming on the part of some opportunistic Hollywood executive. Plus, with The Polar Express still hovering around the holiday box office, Blade: Trinity doesn't even count as the creepiest film in theaters right now.
Nuclear-power documentary provides chilling postscript to the Cold War
Rarely seen, even in its initial 1985 release, director Dennis O'Rourke's sad but essential documentary Half-Life has been revived as part of the Guild Cinema's Nuclear Winter series. The film explores life in the Marshall Islands, a small island-chain-turned-nuclear-test-facility in the '50s. The film examines the expected social and biological repercussions of these tests on the modern-day Marshall Islanders, but quickly evolves into the promised parable--a frightening look at a careless adoptive parent, some badly mistreated foster children and the chilling worldwide effects of the Cold War.
Star-packed sequel gives larceny a good name
The original 1960 version of Ocean's Eleven isn't exactly considered a cinematic classic. It was really just an excuse for Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and pals to hang out in Las Vegas, have a good time and make a few bucks in the process. The fun of the film's shoot was infectious, however, and the film is still a blast to watch.
“The Real Gilligan's Island” on TBS
I don't know whether I've told you this or not, but “Gilligan's Island” is the perfect television show. It is the shining, golden stupidity to which all Idiot Box offerings aspire. So, when TBS announced that it would be producing a reality show remake of the classic sitcom, I was ... let's call it intrigued.
The Week in Sloth
Looking for a creative way to get involved in the community that doesn't involve ladling gruel into bowls? Artstreet, a program of Albuquerque Healthcare for the Homeless, has open studios on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During these periods anyone can come in and make art using Artstreet's supplies.
Outpost Performance Space
And now for something completely different. The ensemble Out of Context, founded and directed by J.A. Deane, will be performing this Friday, Dec. 10, at 8 p.m. at the Outpost. The event serves as the launch party for One Inch Equals 25 Miles, a collection of experimental prose pieces by Santa Fe author Sumner Carnahan. Carnahan's books are designed to be performed with music. In this case, Out of Context will create a live improvised musical accompaniment to recorded readings from the book. It's innovative. It's rare. It might just blow your brain right out of your skull. $15 general, $10 Outpost members. 268-0044.
You might think working for old Saint Nick would be just about the sweetest gig on the planet, but you would be wrong. In Jeff Goode's The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, Santa's "elite" team of eight tiny reindeer dish the dirt on the big guy, and, trust me, he ain't the jolly twinkle-toed grandpa figure he pretends to be. Directed by Robb Sisneros, a production of the play starring some of Albuquerque's finest opens this week at the Cell Theatre. Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $22 general, $17 students/seniors. Group rates available. Runs through Dec. 19. For adults only! 766-9412.
Artists are among the poorest people on the planet. This year, while you're thinking about what to buy for your loved and not-so-loved ones, you'd do well to consider local nonprofit art organizations. A good way to start is by taking a look at ArtX3, an innovative holiday collaboration between OFFCenter Community Arts Project, VSA Arts of New Mexico and Out ch'Yonda.
The search for new hi-tech weaponry brings defense dollars to local labs and a few ethical questions as well
Follow the bare, concrete lined walls in the basement of the University of New Mexico Engineering Building and you'll find the signs forbidding anyone to enter the laboratory of Professor Edl Schamiloglu without proper authorization. Due to X-ray generation and high voltage safety, researchers and students who work there are required to wear a radiation badge, just like people who work in comparable science facilities.
Councilor wants the city to condemn the old Santa Fe rail yards if redevelopment doesn't start soon
The old Santa Fe railroad district Downtown has been a sad, familiar sight for decades. The dilapidated pre-World War II buildings, the busted windows and the chain-link fence have become such a familiar part of the landscape, area residents have gotten used to ignoring them. But City Councilor Eric Griego has maybe, and perhaps finally, come up with a plan to resurrect the area.
Let There Be Light. Everybody can remember that special teacher, the one that changed the course of your life, the one you deified for at least half a semester, the one that made you laugh and pushed your intellectual curiosity to new limits, taught you to think analytically and with an open mind and, yes, was such a potent force in the classroom that you thought to yourself, secretly of course, that maybe someday you too would become a college professor and live the noble, erudite campus life. As Jonathan Swift so aptly put it: Whoever excels in what we prize, will be a hero in our eyes; each student when pleased with what is taught, will have the teacher in her thought. Or something like that.
Ten days after our national election, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, my wife and I went to El Salvador. We traveled separately, of course, intent on very different missions, but still it was disheartening to travel so far in an effort at getting away from the grim realities of our national crisis only to be greeted by Rumsfeld's all-too-familiar face squinting out at us from the front page of the Prensa Gráfica.
Some more news nuggets to chew on from the week that was
There's a minor bit of housekeeping to get out of the way before moving forward with this week's column. The following sentence appeared in this space last week:
Few people in the United States know the name Mordechai Vanunu. Nineteen 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.
Dateline: India—An army officer has been dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found them guilty of faking a bloody battle scene with a camera and a bottle of ketchup. An army spokesman said Col. H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians covered with ketchup and posing as corpses and then gave them to his senior officers as proof of dead separatist rebels in the revolt-torn northeastern state of Assam. “The colonel tried to use the photographs to back up his claim for a gallantry award,” the spokesman said. Unfortunately, the fraud was exposed when scrutiny of records following the colonel's claim showed no such deaths had ever occurred. “It was indeed bizarre to find him trying to claim a bravery award for the kills which in fact did not take place,” said the spokesman. Following the court martial hearing, the colonel lost his job and a major who conspired with his was suspended for five years. The incident, dubbed the “saucy scandal” by local media, is the latest incident to shake the Indian army. Last May, India's Defense Ministry said Indian troops staged fake battles on the world's highest battleground on the Siachen glacier and made false claims about killing Pakistani soldiers in a bid to win medals.
Check the “Music Calendar” and “Lucky 7” this week. If the plethora of holiday-themed events doesn't get you in the mood, nothing will. And just to add a little to the insanity, New Mexico Tech's Macey Center in Socorro will host “Christmas Joy,” a performance by the lavishly costumed, brilliantly choreographed Performers Ballet Company, featuring Socorro-based dancer Johnnie Taylor Trujillo, who will reprise her role in four performances at UNM's Popejoy Hall later in the month. The Macey Center performance takes place Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 and $12. Call (505) 835-5688 for more information and tickets. ... Also on Saturday, Dec. 4, the Bill Hearne Trio (with Susan Hyde Holmes and Don Richmond) will appear at the Outpost Performance Space at 8 p.m. with special guest Linda Myers. Call 268-0044 for more information. ... On a lighter note, Bury Your Dead, Scars of Tomorrow, The Acacia Strain and Minus 7 will present their own version of an all-ages holiday-themed concert on Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Launchpad at 7 p.m. ... Finally, former Flat Duo Jets guitarist and personal hero Dexter Romweber will appear Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Lobo Theater with the musical desert oasis that is The Sadies and headliner Neko Case, all of whom have new records out.
He's Paul Gonzalez. You probably recognize him as a trumpet player in local ensembles like Tetragon, Son Como Son, Straight Up and the Albuquerque Latin Jazz Orchestra. He's also done stints with Caribe, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, The Platters, The Pete Escovedo Orchestra and locals Doug Lawrence and Ottmar Liebert, as well as leading his own groups.
Gonzalez recently recorded Warm Valley, a sexy, smoky CD that brims with sultry horn passages and upbeat Hot Club jazz. Joining him on the recording is a near peerless quartet of local jazz masters, including the magical drummer Arnaldo Acosta, bassist Milo Jaramillo and pianist Steve Figueroa, along with guest appearances by saxophonist Kanoa Kaluhiwa, trombonist César Bauvallet, and drummers Victor Rodriguez and Tomás White.
with Brian Keane
Saturday, Dec. 4; Super-secret AMP House Concert Location Near You (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Wisconsinite Jeffrey Foucault could just be the risen savior of the country-folk inflected flock of contemporary singer-songwriters. He's recorded just two albums during a career influenced by the Texas Great Ones—Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt—and marked by nods to the varied talents of Greg Brown, Chris Smither, Kelly Joe Phelps, John Hammond, etc.
with Jumbo's Killcrane, Black Maria and Under The Sun
Tuesday, Dec. 7; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Man, they must grow some killer skunk in Wilmington, N.C. There's simply no other excuse—no other likely cause—for the likes of Weedeater, whose Dixie Witch-meets-Lynyrd Skynyrd brand of bong water-soaked, Southern-fried swamp sludge will make you a believer, whether you're a stinky pot head or not.
Like labelmate Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Carlton has a knack for setting her deepest emotions to craftily hewn melodies in such a way as to infect the listener with the actual feelings. A remarkable feat for a 24-year-old who's made but two albums, but Carlton's Harmonium sounds ageless and timeless nonetheless. There's a depth here, both lyrically and instrumentally, and with regard to arrangement, that creates a far greater sense of urgency and maturity in Carlton's latest batch of songs than in the previous bunch, including her breakout hit, “A Thousand Miles.” To ignore this record would be criminal.
Fifth annual cinematic soiree offers a wealth of diversity
It's a week before the Fifth Annual Santa Fe Film Festival, and festival director Jon Bowman has a problem. Four of the festival's big-ticket films have already sold out. The Assassination of Richard Nixon, A Very Long Engagement, Zapata and Travelers and Magicians have already filled up. Several other screenings are on the verge of running out of tickets as well. All things considered, it's not the worst problem that a film festival director can face. Still, Bowman is scrambling to add additional screenings for eager audiences.
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear on TNT
They say there are two kinds of knowledge in the world: book learning and real-world smarts. You could charitably say that the folks behind TNT's new made-for-TV feature, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear are suffused with the first kind of knowledge. I say that not because they're deeply intelligent, but because they've obviously never been exposed to anything remotely real.
The Week in Sloth
It's a well-known fact that some of the best contemporary art talent in New Mexico comes out of the graduate art program at UNM. These young artists aren't just talented, though—they're also organized.
Spiritually Incorrect: An Existential Comedy at the KiMo Theatre
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of her adult life in a nonviolent struggle to bring democracy to her home country of Burma. In exchange for her valiant efforts on behalf of her fellow citizens, the military dictatorship in charge of that nation has repeatedly thrown her in jail.
December bookstore events
New Mexico Books & More (344-9382), the cooperative of independent New Mexico publishers and authors stationed temporarily at Cottonwood Mall, continues its creative efforts to hawk New Mexico books throughout the month of December. From Friday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 5, the coop will present a bunch of cool readings for kids with such authors as Terry Avery (Who Will Save Mr. Squeaky?), Bonnie Larson (When Animals Were People, Watakame's Journey) and Mary Powell (Wolf Tales). For a list of other December events, log on to www.nmbookcoop.com.
Much like a glass of premium bourbon, The Nutcracker tastes especially delicious on the rocks. Roll over Tchaikovsky—James Brown, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin are moving in when the Keshet Dance Company presents its rockin' Nutcracker on the Rocks, complete with giant Harley, at UNM's Rodey Theatre starting this weekend. The show runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 12. Tickets are $20 general, $18 students/seniors. Group rates available. Order by calling 925-5858.
The Tulane Deli is long gone, replaced with a hip new Japanese paper shop and gallery called PaperGami (114 Tulane SE). Cynthia Cook, one of our most popular local artists, currently has an exhibit at the shop featuring some of her most recent mixed-media shadowbox pieces. Incorporating recycled pieces along with various organic bits, Cook's work has always had an attractive mystical pagan flavor. The show will be up through Jan. 4. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 255-2228.
My mother is the type of fearless eater who loves the gelatinous texture of pigs' feet and eats tripe without batting an eye. She always orders the weird thing on the menu, whether it's kidney pie or squab on a spit. And yet there are a few things she won't eat. They are a small but mysterious group: watermelon, meatloaf, Brussels sprouts and chestnuts. Watermelon is a visceral thing with her. One whiff of that treacly sweet pink flesh and she gags as though she's just caught you brushing your teeth (oh yeah, spit makes her gag too. Weird, huh?). As for meatloaf, it was one thing we never ate in our house growing up, along with other normal American foods like steak and pot roast. Far too normal for us. Anyway, I think she recently told me about a veal and pork meatloaf she made and actually liked, so maybe that has to come off the list. But as I write this, it's two days before Thanksgiving and we're still fighting about the last two on the list. I want to make Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts (I think I saw it in Food and Wine) but she refuses. Oh, I'll win alright. And I'm including this week's story on chestnuts just to spite her.
Oh yeah, it's gingerbread time. This weekend at Coronado Center, the Make-A-Wish Foundation will be displaying and selling dozens of gingerbread houses for the 17th straight year. Some of the modest abodes are made by kindergartners. (Imagine a tub of royal icing and bag of gumdrops in the hands of a 5-year-old. If these houses don't look like they've been hit by a category-four hurricane, then you can tell grownups helped.) Others are made by Four H-ers, artsy teenagers, professional pastry chefs and graduates of baking classes at the Specialty Shop. Gingerbread artists compete in several categories and prizes are awarded by a panel of experts including Yours Truly. I've judged this thing for four years or so now, and I've seen gingerbread houses made to look like the church in Ranchos de Taos, Noah's Ark, Barbie's Dream House, a mobile home (compete with Donette tires on the roof!), the Luna Mansion and Rapunzel's castle tower. They are truly amazing. And, contrary to what I wrote a few weeks ago, judging this event is actually fun for three reasons. First, these kids are total geniuses. Last year, one of them used strips of Fruit Stripe gum to make little skateboards and built a full-on skate park in the back yard of his gingerbread house. Secondly, I don't have to taste any of this stuff. I merely award points for creative use of Fruit Stripe and deduct points for use of inedible items like plastic Santa figurines. Make that Santa out of royal icing, you little cheaters! Which brings me to my last point, how the nice and understanding folks at Make-A-Wish don't give a crap how I come up with my winners. It's art for chrissakes. Art and math only intersect at the moment you decide to buy a gingerbread model of San Felipe de Neri church. Yes, all of the houses at Coronado this weekend will be for sale. The houses usually bring in about $3,000 for Make-A-Wish; it costs anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for them to grant a wish to a child with a life-threatening illness. Check it out this Friday through Sunday, during mall hours.
The future looks bright for these once blight-stricken trees
A century after the discovery of a devastating blight, a fabled fruit, yes, fruit, is on the road to recovery.
Santa Fe's Bobcat Bite was one of eight restaurants profiled
What inspired you to make a movie about hamburgers?
I love hamburgers! You know, people always say you should work on projects that you love. ... My inspiration came from Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation. I was afraid he'd turn everyone off to hamburgers, and that would be a great injustice.
Santa Fe's Bobcat Bite was one of the stops on your cross-country quest. How did you find out the place and how did their burger measure up?
George W. Bush's New Mexico victory has dimmed Gov. Richardson's shining national star. But don't count him out.
New Mexico's 2000 presidential election results
New Mexico's 2004 presidential election results (as of Nov. 19)
Health care coalition sues over public records
Last week Gov. Bill Richardson held very still while clutching onto a carefully maneuvered shovelful of dirt. No, he wasn't burying his pride in a belated post-election realization; he was posing after breaking ground on the UNM Children's Hospital Expansion Project (or, at least, breaking through the dirt in a very symbolic sandbox atop the UNM hospital parking garage). Last week's ceremony celebrated the groundbreaking of the $233 million public works project, one of the largest in the state's history, and was aflutter with highly impressive individuals and well-crafted public relations, gathered to celebrate upgrades at the state's only teaching hospital. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2007.
Who's Your Congresswoman? The Republicans in Congress, at least those in the House of Representatives, no longer give a crap about ethics or good government. What they care about is power. Nothing else. That, we know for sure, following the disgraceful Republican conference this week where GOP House members revised ethics rules so that Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader, could continue to serve as one of the nation's most powerful fundamentalist righ-wing bullgoose loonies despite being investigated for corruption in his homestate of Texas. The GOP had been big champions of ethics rules and good government—hell they even claimed to be fiscal conservatives—back in the days when the Dems had control of Congress. But that was all bluster. All they really wanted was power.
Will presidential defeat cause the new crop of leftist activists to give up?
Desi Brown has a funny quirk to his dance step; it's an extra little stompy kick that marks not only his swinging, but often the steps of the dancers he teaches every Tuesday night at the Heights Community Center near TVI. For seven years now, Brown and an evolving group of friends, called The Calming Four Primordial Swing Dance Group, have hosted weekly dance practice sessions and lessons. The three dollar donation they collect at the door goes to cover expenses. Brown and his buddies give away the rest; overall they've donated nearly $20,000 to local and national groups, including La Cueva High School Drill Team, Keshet Dance Company and the Red Cross 9-11 Relief Fund.
Various groups crowded council chambers on Nov. 15. Stop the War Machine people supported a bill encouraging the city to work with Kirtland Air Force Base on an emergency plan in case things go wrong with the 2,500-plus nuclear weapons stored there. ("Hold it under the cold tap, Love.") Vietnamese-Americans supported a bill recognizing the flag of the former Republic of Vietnam as the official symbol of Albuquerque's Vietnamese-American community. Supporters and opponents of development impact fees faced off.
Sharing my autumnal good mood with all
Fall is simply the best time of year here in Payne's World. Complimenting the brisk nip in the air and autumnal color of the turning leaves is Thanksgiving—a guilt-free opportunity to fill the ol' flux capacitor to the brim with stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie and enchiladas (it is New Mexico, you know).
My stint in the “Freedom Corps”
When I first received Yale Scott's message from the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 27, I thought it was a prank call, but after verifying its legitimacy, I called him back. He seemed OK. He interviewed me about my experiences as a volunteer, then told me that I had been chosen as one of the many people to be considered for the opportunity to be in the "Freedom Corps"—really just a fancy term for "greeter"—and that I would find out by Friday whether or not I had been selected to greet President George W. Bush on Monday evening, Nov. 1, as he made the rounds on his final day of campaigning. Over the next two days, I get a series of phone calls from several people associated with Scott and the White House, all of whom seem to ask the same questions. I feel like I'm being interrogated. When Friday rolls around, I am told that I have been selected as a "Freedom Corps" representative. I will greet the president at Kirtland Air Force Base, ride in the presidential motorcade and sit on stage at Journal Pavilion while President Bush gives his address. Oh, what to wear?
Dateline: England—If ever there was an endorsement for Head & Shoulders, this is it. Veteran criminal Andrew Pearson was recently convicted of armed robbery thanks to 25 flakes of dandruff he left behind at the scene of the crime some 11 years ago. Andrew Pearson, now 40, and two other men escaped with $70,630 in cash after raiding a caravan company in the northeastern city of Hull in June 1993. Using a new DNA profiling method, investigators matched a swab of Pearson's saliva with the flakes of dandruff, which were found inside a stocking that he had worn as a mask during the robbery. Using that evidence, a jury needed only 75 minutes last Monday to convict Pearson of robbery and possession of a firearm. Pearson--who has been convicted 76 previous times for burglary, assault, robbery and other crimes--was sentenced to 12 years for the robbery and an additional three years for possessing a firearm.
Congratulations to Joe Anderson and Kara XXX on the birth of their baby daughter, Tannyn Jane, who joined the waking world on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at a whopping seven pounds, two ounces. ... Arguably the best, most entertaining way to celebrate and give thanks that Thanksgiving is over and you don't have any further family obligations for a whole month is to join every bloated, overstuffed indie rock loser the night after Turkey Day, Friday, Nov. 26, at the Launchpad for Socyermom Records' Annual Turkey Purge. This year, Unit 7 Drain, The Mindy Set, Manifold, Scenester and Romeo Goes to Hell will be doing the on-stage honors while everyone else drinks themselves sick in an effort to cleanse their gastrointestinal systems of tryptophan and green bean casserole, and to give the Launchpad cleaning crew something fun to do on Saturday morning. ... Over the past three years, singer-songwriter Andru Bemis has traveled some 40,000 miles by train, motorcycle and thumb, touring the country with his guitar, banjo, fiddle and original songs. His Amtrak schedule brings him to Albuquerque's Blue Dragon Coffee House on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. for a free performance that's suitable for music fans of all ages. ... Next Thursday, Dec. 2, the Santa Fe Film Festival will premiere VFWbya at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. The gritty documentary showcases the musicians, veterans and audiences involved in a sector of Santa Fe's scene that centered around shows given at the local VFW hall. More details next week.
Ever had a fever dream, those slippery scenes that play themselves out in your mind's eye as your body tries to rid itself of whatever bacterial or viral infection you happen to be suffering from? Sometimes, fever dreams can be terrifying—your waking self isn't quite rooted in reality when your body temperature rises above the 101-degree range and, if you've taken cold or flu medicine, the line between what's real and imagined becomes even more clouded.
with Manishevitz and Fast Heart Mart
Monday, Nov. 29; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): I might as well just say it: Despite all her formidable indie rock cred—associations with Archer Prewitt, Mark Greenberg, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and others, along with legendary Chicagoland grump Steve Albini, who produced her latest album—Edith Frost will always be one of my favorite country singers. Not milquetoast, bullshit noncountry Shania Twain country; the kind of country that sits on your eyelids and tells you true-life tales of sadness, heartbreak and the chronic, mild discontent that made mountains out of men like Nick Drake, Gram Parsons and Tim Buckley.
Duran Duran's latest effort, Astronaut, proves that they are more than just washed-up, 80's, gender bending, where-are-they-now has beens. Duran Duran, back with all five original members, deliver an album reminiscent of their early stuff ("Planet Earth," "Girls on Film"), with a mature sound and more meaningful lyrics. Newcomers will enjoy this heaping helping of Duran Duran without all the extra '80s cheese. Closet Duranees will get all nostalgic and wish for the good ol' days of leg warmers and mullets. This is pure feel-good music.
Predictable holiday comedy celebrate suburban conformity
Every year about this time, Hollywood feels obliged to give us at least one “holiday” movie. That is, one fluffy, family-oriented film set during the actual holiday season just to remind us that, yes, this is the holiday season. I'm pretty sure we could figure it out without Hollywood's help, but we're still greeted every year with The Santa Clause 2 or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Unfortunately, for every A Christmas Story that comes our way, we get two or three Surviving Christmases. Among the holiday offerings stuffed into this year's stocking is Christmas With the Kranks.
Charitable Cinema—On Saturday, Dec. 4, Youth In Transition, Inc. will present a Short Film Series at The Guild Cinema in Nob Hill from 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. YIT, Albuquerque's drop-in center for homeless youth, has gone through some difficult times of late with the destruction of the group's facility and the arrest (and eventual acquittal) of founder Donna Rowe. This Short Film Series will present seven films/videos documenting homelessness in Albuquerque. Among the films to be screened are “Escape from the Streets” by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, “Waking Up on Central” by Beverly Singer and “Give Us Your Poor” by Michael Mierendorf. Time permitting, they will also screen the complete police surveillance video which was used to “illegitimately arrest Donna Rowe and hold her on a $1 million bond.” Tickets are $10 to $100 on a sliding scale and all proceeds go to help YIT, which is struggling to keep its doors open this winter.
Sober look our our nation's sexual history still stirs up controversy
Earlier this month, the makers of Alfie blamed their film's box office failure on the recent reelection of George W. Bush. While that may be stretching the boundaries of the blame game a bit far, there is a certain truth to the idea that America has suddenly become a very conservative nation--at least on the surface. If audiences couldn't handle a little comedy/drama about a womanizing Brit, what are they going to think about a biopic about the father of the Sexual Revolution?
Let's face it: The only reason for getting up on Thanksgiving morning is to watch the “Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KOB-4 9 a.m.). This year's 78th annual affair runs for three whole hours, ensuing you won't miss a single float, marching band or freezing Broadway performer. Hosts of little consequence include Katie Couric, Matt Lauer. Guest stars include Kelsey Grammer, Jimmy Smits, Tony Shalhoub and Nikki Cox. The “CBS All-American Thanksgiving Parade” (KRQE-13 7 a.m.) consists largely of the exact same Macy's parade, but is disguised under a more patriotic name and features a slightly earlier air time. FOX, trying its best to one-up New York, offers “America's Thanksgiving Parade” (KASA-2 9 a.m.), a one-hour special from Detroit featuring floats, balloons, bands and (I would think) random muggings.
The Week in Sloth
Fantasy-filled biopic soars with imagination, emotion
Finding Neverland sits more or less on the opposite end of the spectrum from Kinsey, this week’s other biopic offering. Both are intelligent, well-made and worthy Oscar contenders. They have wildly different subject matters, however, and approach them from completely divergent ends. Whereas Kinsey is brainy, mature and thought-provoking, Finding Neverland is creative, whimsical and emotional.
You can feign indifference all you want, Ebenezer. Nobody's going to believe you. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know—18 different productions of The Nutcracker Ballet roll through town every Christmas season. You moan and you groan about how all those sugar plums give you a stomach ache, but we're not fooled. You love The Nutcracker as if it were a sack of gold coins. You hum Tchaikovsky's tunes in your sleep every night from Thanksgiving through the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.
Skate Deck Show at 510 Second Street NW
Rocky Norton is a fast talker and a digressive conversationalist, but you've got to give the guy credit: He knows how to sell a show. And in this case, I have to admit, he's got a pretty damn amazing show to sell.
UNM Continuing Education Auditorium
Abracadabra. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Houdini, as played by Bill Martin, will offer audiences $100 if they can keep him contained with ropes, chains, handcuffs, locks and a straitjacket. It's a safe bet Houdini won't be giving away $100 that night, but don't let this dampen your enthusiasm for the spectacle of it all. As they say, it's fun to be fooled, at least every once in a while. After the re-enactment, Martin will step back on stage to present insights into the Houdini legend. This weird but intriguing show starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts about two hours. $20. 277-6440.
My dog will eat anything. Of course he likes cat turds best of all, but what I mean in particular is that he'll eat anything I eat. Wait, that makes it sound like I eat cat turds, which I most definitely do not. Nor do I nibble on trash from the alley behind the office or used tissues or my own underwear. Aside from all that, I mean the dog will eat orange segments, dried cranberries, bananas, apples and carrots. I even got him eating edamame the other night. Certain things are known dog favorites, like carrots and pumpkin. But orange segments? He was watching me peel a Navel and normally I ignore him; he's polite so he gives up easily. But lately I've been testing him to see what he'll eat. So I offered him a small piece of orange. No go. He wrinkled his nose. I continued eating and he continued watching, so a few minutes later I offered him another piece. On the third try he took it and he ended up eating two segments worth. I've never before met a dog that liked citrus fruit. I think he does it just because he wants to eat what I'm eating. Maybe I should dig in to some cat turds to show him how much I care.
Carlito's (10th Street and Coal) is gone but there will still be New Mexican food in the neighborhood. Angel Vigil, owner of Wrap it Up, has moved her wrap sandwich business from Fourth Street and Menaul into Carlito's space in Barelas. Carlito's owner Carlos Montoya will now be able to spend more time with his family, while Angel Vigil gets the dining room area she never had in the North Valley. She's also expanding Wrap it Up's menu to include New Mexican food. Vigil is still adjusting to her new space, working to find the perfect hours and menu, but she aims to be open for three meals a day and to deliver. "This little community needs us," she said. "All we did was open the door and people are coming in. We want to take care of them." Call 342-9727 for details.
Ten flavor-packed oatmeal recipes that cook up in no time
From the way we've been talking about oatmeal lately, you'd think the Alibi is bankrolled by Quaker Oats. We're not (but we gladly accept endowments, if anyone's listening). No, we just really like a good bowl of oatmeal. In fact, we like it so much that we've dubbed November "Rediscover Rolled Oats Month," and made it our personal mission to wean people off of the chintzy flavor impostors that clutter supermarket shelves worldwide. We think you should, too. Here's why:
A passion for roasting percolates through this family business
Michael Thomas coffee opened at 1111 Carlisle SE (255-3330) just six weeks ago, but already my e-mail box is full of readers’ messages praising the place. The place is owned by an uncle/nephew team, Thomas Selby and Michael Sweeney. I spoke recently with Selby about his shop and his passion for coffee roasting.