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!
How could something that most of us only experience for 12 minutes a year be the driving force of humanity? A new book explores the rich, strange history of the orgasm.
"Aside from the need to breathe and eat," writes Jonathan Margolis, "the pursuit of orgasm has been one of the strongest single determinants of human behavior throughout history." It is hard to disagree with him, especially once you've come to the end of his new book, O: An Intimate History of the Orgasm. Documenting attitudes toward sex from the cavemen to modern times, Margolis shows how human culture has been driven by the pursuit of that most elusive, fleeting and inconsistent pleasure. For despite our obsession, he writes, "most individuals will experience a mere twenty seconds of orgasm a week, a minute or so a month, or a total of twelve ecstatic minutes a year."
National energy saving campaign comes to Albuquerque
Armitha French is the kind of woman that reminds you that there are beautiful people walking around on this earth. Although at 83 she seems fragile, her spirit must surely be stronger than her bones. Gently, with even breath and a strong desire to hold back her tears, she talked about how several years ago she had been forced to retire after being diagnosed with ruptured tendons in her arms, a condition that permeates nearly every corner of her life.
Thin, thin line. Without fail, this time of year we get—yes I'll say it—a plethora of syndicated columnists and wannabes sending their help is on the way, feel good about yourself advise columns to the Alibi offering discount rates or free samples in an effort to convince the editors how necessary said columns are for our publication. Here's a classic example:
With Councilor Brad Winter absent, the Dec. 6 council meeting lasted just over two hours. Winter's flight home was held up by bad weather in Chicago and Councilors deferred 14 bills along with the scheduled election of a new president. Winter is considered the leading presidential contender, certain of votes from Republican-realtor Councilors Sally Mayer, Craig Loy and Tina Cummins. Council President Michael Cadigan will support Winter, who supported the extension of Paseo del Norte in Cadigan's district last year. If Councilor Miguel Gomez, who supported Cummins for vice president last year, tacks to the right again, Winter will receive at least six votes from the nine-member council.
City Council presidency highlights conflict between Gomez and Griego
Earlier this year, warring factions in the Republican Party of New Mexico made headlines as back and forth battling led to the defeat of longtime party chairman John Dendahl. Dendahl's defeat was followed a few months later with the abrupt resignation of the person who beat him for the job, former State Sen. Ramsay Gorham. Gorham, whose district represented a chunk of Albuquerque's North Valley, apparently decided to throw in the towel rather than deal with the counterinsurgency she faced at the time.
Invest in our youth, not in our prisons
Last week I was amused to see a photo from the governor's press conference announcing a new "anti-gang initiative" in the morning paper. Our states' three premier antigang policy leaders stood shoulder to shoulder to announce their united front against the menace of juvenile crime. The trio's appearance was a political diorama to be savored and relished, one marred only by the essential falsity of their premise.
Dateline: England—Church leaders have united to condemn a Christmas nativity exhibit at Madam Tussaud's wax museum in London. The tableau depicts soccer star David Beckham and his wife, former Spice Girl Victoria Adams, as Joseph and Mary. Australian pop star Kylie Minogue hovers behind them as an angel. Further stretching credulity, Tony Blair, George W. Bush and the Duke of Edinburgh are depicted as the Three Wise Men. The shepherds are played by American actor Samuel L. Jackson, British star Hugh Grant and campy Irish talk show host Graham Norton. “This is worse than bad taste. It is cheap,” an official Vatican source told Reuters news service in Rome. A spokesman for Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of 70 million Anglicans worldwide, reacted with resignation. “There is a tradition of each generation trying to reinterpret the nativity. But, Oh Dear ...” he said.
Well, well, well ... I can't simply (no pun intended) ignore the fact that after ranting about local bands dropping out of tribute night shows at the last minute, Joe Anderson's band, simple. was one of two bands who actually did drop out of the Launchpad's Metal Tribute III last Saturday night at the last minute. Anderson reported that simple. guitarist Dan Previtt dislocated a shoulder the previous night and was unable to play guitar or lift a variety of relatively small objects, so all is forgiven. As for the bands that did show up, all did a pretty spectacular job pulling off metal tunes that ranged from the comically awful to the actually pretty killer. In my humble opinion, Cue the Wing-ed Serpent, the first band of the evening, which most people missed, were the highlight of the evening, serving up renditions of “Rock You Like a Hurricane,” “The Final Countdown” and “Don't Stop Believin'” that were sights and sounds to behold. ... Does anyone other than me find it odd in a sort of the-end-is-near way that Marty Robbins, John Lennon and Dimebag Darrell all died on the same date, Dec. 8? ... and the three shows not to miss this week are the Seventh Annual Antichrist Mass on Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Launchpad, featuring Phobia, Catheter, Curse of the Nation, Noisear, Tortus and Pretty Little Flower; the Launchpad Employee F*ck Jam on Monday, Dec. 20, featuring a bunch of stupid shit; and kick-ass Texas-based instrumental band Collect All Five at Stella Blue on Tuesday, Dec. 21, at 9 p.m.
Admittedly, I've become a bit jaded when it comes to holiday-themed music. I have, after all, spent every early December listening intently to and reviewing the latest of such releases for the past 11 years, and it doesn't get any easier. But usually, there's at least one stunning new addition to the Christmas music canon each year. In 2004 it's Kitka's Wintersongs (Diaphonica).
Composed of eight uncommonly gifted singers, Kitka capture the tradition, intrigue and spirituality of music of Eastern European origin that commemorates the Christmas season and, in the case of the melodies that predate Christianity, the corresponding winter solstice. Far removed from the mind-numbing holiday music courtesy of Bing Crosby and every other long-dead crooner and contemporary country music artist known to mankind, Kitka's Macedonian-based music aims straight for the soul and hits its mark without exception. Consisting of ancient village chants to eerily complex harmonic arrangements, the group's repertoire sounds timeless with a unique urgency. Accompaniment is generally sparse and rooted in traditional Slavic instrumentation, affording the music with a calm that's synonymous with winters that are long, dark and cold.
with These Arms Are Snakes and Everlovely Lighteningheart
Friday, Dec. 17; Launchpad (all ages, 8 p.m.): Frankly, Isis may be the most important metal band on the planet at the moment, and not just because they're able to rock with the best of them. Isis represent the last vestige of hope first proffered nearly a decade ago by pioneering post-hardcore bands Neurosis and, later, Tool. Unfortunately, the promise those bands showed never quite manifested fully in the psyches of fans who flirted with serious, artful metal, only to eventually be sucked in by poseurs like Korn and a half-dozen frat metal bands whose music was fun to drink, fight and plan date-rapes to.
Beginning with the iPod theme song, “Vertigo,” U2's latest release brims with that Rattle and Hum self-absorption fans of the band have been forced to come to grips with over the course of the past 14 years, with the notable exceptions of Achtung Baby and 2002's All That You Can't Leave Behind. Here, U2 attempt to strike a balance between their distant past and their perceived future, and they very nearly succeed. The Edge is allowed back in the driver's seat, accelerating each of the album's 11 songs with his trademark effects-soaked, chiming guitar figures.
Hollywood Rumor Mill—It's been forever since we dug into the Hollywood Rumor Mill looking for juicy movie industry tidbits. What say we devote this week's column to all the interesting gossip floating around Hollywood these days? ... From the “Don't Believe Everything You Read (Thank God!)” department comes word that former boy band boy Justin Timberlake will not be starring in the new Iron Man movie. Director Nick Cassavetes (John Q, The Notebook) has signed on to helm the Marvel Comics adaptation. Despite Internet rumors, no star has yet been signed. Timberlake is actually appearing in the film Cassavetes is shooting right now, the drug dealer drama Alpha Dog. ... Director Sam Raimi has said in several interviews that when he's “done” making Spider-Man movies, he'll go back to making the Evil Dead films. Raimi stirred fans recently when he announced that he was planning a “remake” of the original Evil Dead. Raimi says he will not direct the film and it seems like it will not involve longtime star Bruce Campbell (who says no one has mentioned the remake to him). Now Raimi says that, in addition to the remake, there will be a fourth Evil Dead film, which he plans to write and direct. Of course, none of this will take place until after a third (possibly fourth) Spider-Man movie. So don't hold your breath. ... Fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series were disappointed to hear that executives at New Line Cinema (which is adapting the award-winning fantasy series) got a wee bit panicky recently when they realized the story is heavily critical of organized religion. Since the film will be released in 2006 (while George Bush is still in the White House), the producers have told Pullman and director Chris Weitz (American Pie, About a Boy) that all references to church and religion must be expunged from the screenplay. Weitz and Pullman promise the first film, The Golden Compass, will still be in tone with the books, but fans are already griping. ... Speaking of fantasy-novels-turned-movies, the official “Narnia” newsletter recently announced that actor Brian Cox (X2: X-Men United, Troy, The Bourne Supremacy) would be providing the voice of lion king Aslan in Disney's upcoming live-action version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. The big-budget film, currently shooting in New Zealand, is expected to hit theaters next Christmas. ... The latest old TV show to hit the big screen? “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Warner Brothers has hired Matthew Vaughn, who produced the Guy Ritchie film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, to direct. No word on casting yet.
Goth fantasy has style to spare, but begs for more story.
It seemed like, in the wake of Harry Potter's monumental success, school kids suddenly became literate. Reading was, if not exactly cool, at least trendy among the elementary school set. One of the people riding this big business boost to Scholastic Book Services (from whom I purchased many an Encyclopedia Brown volume) was author Daniel Handler's pseudonymously written kiddy book series Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Diverse documentary traces one man's family ties to the tobacco industry
Documentarian Ross McElwee achieved the perfect blending of fact-based documentary and personal reminiscence when he shot his hit 1986 film Sherman's March. The film was intended to be a look at the long-term repercussions of General Sherman's Civil War march through the American South. Distracted by assorted women along his route, McElwee's documentary took on a brilliantly personal tone, becoming a clever metaphor for the director's own search for love in this crazy ol' world.
“Mummy Autopsy” on Discovery Channel
Mummies, when you think about it, are really just very elaborate dead people. But there's a certain mystique about them. They're part of history, they're a backbone of archeology, they're a staple of horror movies. Plus, they look really cool in a grisly kind of way.
The Week in Sloth
Everybody knows that the holidays are a lousy time of year for a lot of people. If you aren't in a satisfying romantic relationship, or if your last name isn't Walton, this might not quite be the season of limitless bliss.
The Eight: Reindeer Monologues at the Cell Theatre
For some reason, most people just assume Santa Claus has the moral authority to compile a list every year of who's been naughty and nice. But what gives him that authority? What do we really know about the jolly fat fellow? He only makes an appearance below the 48th parallel once a year for a few hours in the middle of the night. What's he up to the rest of the year?
No Rule of Thumb at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center
English common law allowed a husband to legally beat his wife with a rod the width of his own thumb. That barbaric law is long gone, yet the rule of thumb serves as an appropriate entry point for Stephanie Lerma's current one-woman show at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center. The rule reminds us how past acceptance of domestic violence has been soaked up into the roots of our culture, growing a fresh harvest of bitter fruit with each new generation.
China has been honing the fine art of acrobatics for millennia, and the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats are the most famous Chinese acrobatics troupe in the world. They've been here in Albuquerque before, and crowds loved them. They're returning this Sunday, Dec. 19, for two performances—at 2 and 7 p.m.—at UNM's luxurious Popejoy Hall. Combining incredible costumes, dazzling choreography and some of the most jaw-dropping acrobatic moves on the planet, the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats do not disappoint. $22, $18 and $12 for adults, $15, $12 and $6 for kids. Pick up tickets by calling 925-5858 or logging on to www.unmtickets.com.
This Friday, Dec. 17, is Albuquerque's monthly Artscrawl tour, when local art geeks and freaks come out en masse to meander through the city's many fine galleries. One of the best exhibits on display this time around will undoubtedly be the 2004 edition of the yearly Recycle exhibit over at the Outpost's Inpost Artspace. Artists Mitch Berg, Kristin Diener, Matt Jones, Stephanie Lerma and Joe Nickels offer up a range of innovative work constructed from found materials, including rubber dolls, paper, wood, glass, rubber hoses, bicycle inner tubes, zip ties and grape seeds. A reception will be held Friday, Dec. 17, from 5 to 7 p.m. Runs through Jan. 15. For details on this exhibit, call 242-6781. For info on the rest of the Artscrawl tour, log on to www.artscrawlabq.org.
Roberta Price's Huerfano: A Memoir of Life in the Counterculture
According to the Associated Press, approximately 3,000 active communes once dotted the United States. At one time, as many as three million people were involved in these diverse social experiments that sought to branch off in some significant, sustainable way from the destructive, militant, consumer-driven culture of mainstream America.
Talking to Ski Martin about the Owl Café's green chile cheeseburger reminded me of the conversation I had with George Motz, the guy who made the film Hamburger America. It is Motz' opinion that grinding your own meat is one of the key elements of a fantastic burger. I was surprised and pleased to learn that the Owl grinds meat on premises. Most of you probably aren't interested in shoving chunks of chuck into a meat grinder (or your Cuisinart!), yet you want to make great burgers yourself. One of the biggest differences between many home burgers and restaurant burgers is seasoning. You've got to add copious amounts of salt and pepper to your meat before frying the burgers. And yes, most places fry the burgers on a griddle rather than over an open flame. Frying allows the meat to retain more moisture. Also, don't choose the leanest ground beef you can find. Fat equals flavor and you'll need fat in order to make a big, greasy burger. For a healthy burger, use turkey. For a tasty burger, use nice, fatty ground chuck, season well and fry in a pan. When you're done with the burgers, brush the buns with butter and brown them in the same pan. And if that doesn't work, you can always go out to eat.
The Route 66 Malt Shop (1720 Central SW, 242-7866) is expecting to open for dinner this week. The tiny shop only has seating for 16, but still does a brisk lunch business because they deliver, via pedi-cab, all over Downtown and Old Town. (Yes, the Malt Shop owners also operate Route 66 Pedi-cabs.) For a while now they've wanted to open for dinner, but when they finally decided to do it, they ran into a snag. The big neon sign they ordered was too heavy to be safely supported by the building's façade. Without the sign, however, it would be nearly impossible for hungry diners to see the tiny Malt Shop. So they had to erect a pole on which to rest the sign, and wait for the sign to be lit before beginning dinner hours. So as you drive along the stretch of Central between Rio Grande and 14th Street, look for a big neon jukebox. If it's lit, stop in for a blue cheese green chile burger and a mug of their house-brewed root beer.
Schtick it up with cheese schmear
If you're anything like me, December was the only time year when your parents came anywhere close to throwing what could be termed a cocktail party. Because it was the suburbs, my mom's friends mostly sat around the kitchen table nibbling directly from the serving trays and trading neighborhood stories. Because it was Texas, my dad's friends mostly stood on the porch, drank beers from the iced-down washtub in the garage and talked about cars and poon-tang. (I kinda miss Texas.) But the food was always good, nobody got into a flaming car wreck going home, and as far as I know, no divorce proceedings were ever initiated, so there you go.
Ski Martin and the original Owl Café's cousin, twice-removed
Two decades ago, Ski Martin purchased the franchise rights to the original owl Café in San Antonio, N.M. and opened another Owl on Eubank NE. Now, Martin has joined with Frank Marcello and his partners, who own Copeland's and ZEA franchises, to open another version of the famous burger restaurant in the Shops at I-25! We recently chatted with Martin about the long journey of the famous Owl burger.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?