Alibi V.13 No.53 • Dec 30-Jan 5, 2004

May 19 deadline for 2017 Operation Art Box Submissions

Get hip to the deets

Weekly Alibi is currently accepting artists' design submissions for our Operation Art Box project and May 19 is this year's deadline for arguments and illustrations coherently explaining in some detail why and how you would transform an Alibi box. Throw in some examples of your past and current artistic endeavors while you're at it. Using "art box" in the subject line, email us at artbox@alibi.com or address snail mail to "Art Box" c/o Weekly Alibi Circulation Department, 413 Central NW, ABQ, NM 87102; drop proposals off in person at the same address or hit us up on Facebook. All submissions must include your full name, a working telephone number and the right stuff.

feature

In da Club

Our quick picks for a no-hassle New Year's Eve

It's the ultimate holiday irony. We've spent an entire month eating without abandon, sampling everything from Aunt Joanne's legendary walnut fudge to gooey, red chile-soaked enchiladas, right down to the last heavenly crumb of cream pie, shaggy with coconut. Our clothes no longer fit comfortably and we're just a little sluggish—which explains how we still have no idea what the hell we're doing for New Year's Eve. Well, wake up! The 11th hour is upon us and we've got some work to do. There's no need to panic, though. We've divvied up the labor to make this as painless as possible. All you've got to do is tuck this publication into your gym bag and hop on a stationary bike. That way you can scope out a hefty roundup of Albuquerque clubs while simultaneously liquidating your stubborn holiday flab.

film

Reel World

'Tis the Season—It's the giving time of year, and what better to give your favorite Hollywood star than an award nomination? Yes, it's that pre-Oscar time of year, when every organization in America starts handing out awards in hopes of getting some good press coverage and maybe a visit from Naomi Watts in an evening dress.

In Good Company

Subtle office comedy makes for great business

Although he got rich and famous as one half of the brotherly duo that created the American Pie series, Paul Weitz has apparently decided it's time to grow up. He proved it quite handily in 2002 when he (and his brother Chris) directed About a Boy. That adaptation of Nick Hornby's popular novel proved that the Weitz boys had more going for them than an endless supply of wiener jokes.

Beyond the Sea

Biography captures early-Hollywood cinematic glamour

Walden Robert Cassotto's relentless drive, arrogance and charisma were a perfect recipe for superstardom. As an entertainer, he was absolutely remarkable. He had the moves, the humor, he was personable with his audience. He was Bobby Darin in all his egocentric, pseudo-confident glory. As his brother-in-law put it, the man we know as the singer of famous songs like "Mack the Knife" and "Beyond the Sea" was both Walden Robert Cassotto and Bobby Darin. He was still a child who was struggling to stay alive, and he was the entertainer everyone expected him to be.

Dropping the Ball

“New Year's Eve” around the dial

Television is a crucial part of any New Year's Eve celebration. How else are you gonna know when midnight has officially struck? Nobody's watch ever agrees, and you're usually too busy boozing it up to notice anyway. Turning the TV on and watching as the big, lit-up ball drops into Times Square is pretty much the most accurate measuring device mankind has.

Week in Sloth

The Week in Sloth

Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.

art

Culture Shock

No one will ever accuse Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the former Stanford students who founded the Internet search company Google, of a lack of ambition. Brin once said that he hoped Google could be "like the mind of God, everywhere and knowing everything." When the company went public earlier this year, the pair promised to organize all information.

Bigger is Sometimes Better

Common Ground: Art in New Mexico at the Albuquerque Museum

Pity the permanent collection. Locked away for most of its sad life in a dark, lonely temperature- and humidity-controlled vault, it only rarely gets to feel the warmth of artificial light on its fragile skin.

Duke City Comedy Cabaret

Mr. K's Chinese Restaurant

Longtime Albuquerque comedy producer Ronn Perea inaugurates his Duke City Comedy Cabaret on New Year's Eve, Friday, Dec. 31, at Mr. K.'s Chinese Restaurant, formerly New Chinatown. The Red-Headed Divas will be singing jazz and blues numbers. Local comic Goldie Garcia will tell a few jokes. Brenda Hollingsworth Picket will be doing her Lena Horne impression. And comic Bobby Bedard headlines the evening. "After the show," says Perea, "we'll be partying until the midnight hour." A steal at $15. www.rt66cabaret.com, 265-8859.

Old School

An interview with Tom Wolfe

Sitting cross-legged on a couch in the library of his Upper East Side apartment, wearing the trademark white suite, navy tie and spotless two-tone spats, Tom Wolfe is about as far from a college keg party as one can be in the United States of America. He should know, since this 74-year-old chronicler of the zeitgeist spent the past four years listening to wasted 20-year-olds recite lines from Old School and spin their game at co-eds. The result of this anthropological masochism is I am Charlotte Simmons, a hulking, hilarious, exclamation point filled tale that is probably every suburban dad's worst nightmare. The novel follows college frosh Charlotte Simmons from her small hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sex-obsessed campus of fictional DuPont University, where a college basketball player, a frat boy and a nerdy editor of the campus newspaper vie for her hand. Wolfe explained why young co-eds fascinated him so.

news

Waiting for Reform

City Animal Services Division draws ire of animal rights activist

It all started six years ago, when one day Marcy Britton found a 6-week-old stray kitten in a gutter. Concerned for the animal's safety, the animal rights activist decided to take the kitten to the Albuquerque Animal Services shelter, where she hoped it would eventually be adopted. Yet, when Britton delivered the kitten, she witnessed an event that not only shocked and disturbed her, but would also come to change her life.

Earning Your Mistrust

If you watch KRQE News 13, you've seen the promos featuring anchors Dick Knipfing and Erika Ruiz promising to earn your trust with "balanced coverage."

Fare Thee Well, 2004!

All in all, it was a pretty good year

Of course some will disagree—Bush was re-elected, the war in Iraq continues to simmer, federal spending actually makes inebriated sailors look tight-fisted and the last episode of “Friends” aired. But, given all the craziness in the world today, 2004 could have been worse—and, remember, things could always get worse (imagine Boy George and Culture Club reuniting).

NIMBY Night

The Dec. 20 council meeting was called to order by new Council President Brad Winter, chosen along with Vice President Miguel Gomez in a special session on Dec. 15.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Michigan—Santa's got a brand new bag! A 40-year-old Detroit man who visited a middle school in Highland Park was left with a citation after being busted for misdemeanor marijuana possession. A Wayne County Sheriff's Deputy who works at the school found the small baggie of marijuana while searching for identification in a coat left in a school restroom. The unidentified man had left the coat in the men's restroom after changing into his Santa suit. The man denied the pot was his, but now faces a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail. His wife, who was at the school to take pictures of Santa with the students, apparently didn't know about the weed in her husband's coat. “She was not happy,” Lt. Paul Jones said. “It's going to be a long ride back to the North Pole.”

The Real Attack on Family Values

Forget gay marriage, it's about health, child care and a living wage

Driving north from Deming last week the NPR station faded out somewhere between Hatch and T or C, so I hit the scan button on the car radio and was immediately transported into some weird other dimension, an alternative reality I can only begin to describe. It was scary. It was Christian Life Radio.

music

Music to Your Ears

The 18th Annual New Mexico Music Industry Awards is now accepting submissions for consideration through Friday, Jan. 28, 2005. The awards banquet doesn't take place until May 22, 2005, but the NMMIA crew have their work cut out for them between the end of January and awards night judging entries that have been primarily recorded and mixed in New Mexico between Jan. 1, 2004 and the deadline. Music of all genres is accepted, and there are a variety of categories to consider. More information, entry forms, drop-off location, etc. can be had at www.nmmia.com. ... KRWN FM in Farmington is currently soliciting New Mexico bands to submit their music for airplay on the station's local rock program airing every Saturday night. Being based in Farmington, the station's broadcast reaches listeners in the Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico four corners area. MP3s and brief bios should be submitted to therockshow@krwn.com, attention Shawn Kelly. ... Sweet Honey in the Rock return to the Lensic in Santa Fe on Friday, Jan. 21. The reason I mention this now is that tickets will most likely sell out within 72 hours of the on-sale date (still TBA at press time). So call the Lensic and get your tickets now, or miss one of the finest female world music groups alive today yet again.

Blue Note

Everything You Like Sucks

Kill Your Idols dissects the records you love

What if everything you ever thought about your record collection turned out to be wrong? What if all the albums you grew up listening to—the ones that formed the soundtrack to your sad little life—were ultimately revealed to be unworthy of all the time you spent learning every lyric, every inflection, every air-drum fill? For most of us, it would be tantamount to finding out that, whatever our interpretation, God didn't really exist. Reading Kill Your Idols, a new collection of essays edited by Chicago-based music critics Jim DeRogatis and Carmél Carrillo, is a bit like having all your musical balloons burst one by painful one. It also happens to be one of the most engaging musical reads to come down the pike in a long time.

Sonic Reducer

Singing the living shit out of someone else's tried and true hit song—which “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard can certainly do—is a far cry from making a convincing record full of untested and mildly familiar tunes. Studdard's second CD is a drink coaster that makes noise. The songs are limp, the vocal performances lack any discernible soul, and the whole affair sounds thoroughly uninspired. Studdard can sing, but he's at his best in a karaoke environment in front of a musically clueless television audience. As a recording artist, though, Studdard needs significantly more than just an angel. He'll be a realtor by 2006.

food

Gastrological Forecast

Oh, just go ahead and eat and drink like the world might end. Because if you're like most people, you really do only have a few days left before the good times have all gone bye-bye. Come January, your "new life" begins and you have to start exercising and eating right, quit smoking and switch to light beer. Yup, it'll be All Bran all the time in 2005. You have lots of leafy green vegetables and grilled chicken breasts, wheatgrass shots and iced herbal tea to look forward to. Are you crying into your beer yet? Your 40-ounce malt liquor beer? Just think how much tail you're going to pull when you belly up to the bar and order a Michelob Ultra. Very sexy, tough guy. Ah, and now the tears come. Shed those tears now my dears, so you won't have runny mascara for the big New Year's party. You know, the party at which you're going to eat handfuls of bacon-wrapped cocktail wieners dipped in chile con queso, washing them down with Jim Beam straight from the bottle and a chaser of oatmeal stout. Stick that hand deep into the candy jar on the receptionist's desk and gobble up every last chocolate truffle you can dig out of your nephew's discarded Christmas stocking. Because in the words of that somber zombie movie 28 Days Later, "the end is really f-ing nigh."

Make Mine Molasses

Revisiting a sweet holiday treat

In January 1919, a 14,000-ton tank of molasses burst and sent a 30-foot wall of ooze rampaging through downtown Boston. It crushed a firehouse, flung horses and wagons into the air, and molassesed 21 people to death.

Chardonnay-braised lamb shank with leek risotto, root vegetables and natural reduction

From Chef James P. O'Brien III of Milagro Grill and Brewery

James O'Brien is a restless traveler. Milagro's new chef grew up in St. Louis, but has since worked in Memphis, Louisville and Atlanta, and attended culinary school in Vermont. O'Brien's wife was eight months pregnant when he decided to quit his high-paying corporate chef job and take a chance on relocating to the Southwest. After six months spent cooking at the Sheraton Old Town, O'Brien decided to settle down in the kitchen at Milagro Grill and Brewery in Bernalillo. “I walked through the door and my jaw dropped,” the chef says of his first visit to the restaurant. “I thought hands down this was the most beautiful restaurant I'd seen since I've been in New Mexico.” Milagro's menu, on the other hand, presented an inviting challenge. To O'Brien, it looked like the menu had been written by three different people—none of whom agreed with each other. He started work immediately on a dinner menu that would present a clear vision of elegant but rustic food; dishes that are creative but approachable. This Chardonnay-braised lamb shank is one of the chef's favorite dishes from his new menu, which debuted just a few weeks ago. The crispness of the Chardonnay helps to counter any gaminess in the meat so that even diners unfamiliar with lamb will be wooed.

Alibi V.13 No.52 • Dec 23-29, 2004

feature

Albuquerque All Stars 2004

Good for you, Albuquerque! 2004 was a banner year for innovative citizenship in everything from the arts to health care, independent business to urban planning.

Operation Homefront

Imagine you are serving in the National Guard or Army Reserves in Iraq or Afghanistan and the money you are sending home as the primary bread-winner is no longer enough to cover your family's basic living expenses. Imagine you are failing to make the mortgage payment and face losing your home, or that your spouse can no longer afford to remain enrolled in school, or your family is about to lose their health insurance, or the propane tank needs to be filled and there's no money in the coffee can to get it done.

Albuquerque Opportunity Center

Several years ago, when the state fair commission decided they no longer wanted the fairgrounds to serve as a temporary winter overflow shelter for homeless men, community members operating as the Homeless Advocacy Coalition planned to create a year-round, secular men's shelter in Albuquerque. It was an ambitious plan for a small coalition operating on a $35,000 annual budget.

Just Healthcare

During his family practice residency at UNM Hospital, Dr. Andru Ziwasimon said he became aware of the profound barriers and inflated costs of medical care for low-income and uninsured people, and he decided the best way to do his part to fix the problem was start a health clinic that offers primary care to uninsured patients.

Sawmill Community Land Trust

Did you know that our little city boasts the largest community land trust west of the Mississippi River? It's right near Old Town in the Sawmill neighborhood and reflects a brilliant, uplifting example of neighborhood folks joining together to combine community values, government subsidies, private capital and new urbanism architecture to create jobs and long-term affordable housing for hundreds of area residents.

Children's Cancer Fund

Imagine that your child has been diagnosed with cancer. Now imagine that in order to care for your child, either you or your partner has to quit your job. And, if you don't live in Albuquerque, get ready to move here, because the only Pediatric Oncology Clinic in the state is at the University of New Mexico Hospital. If that's not hard enough, imagine that, due to your job loss and the extra expenses of caring for a sick child, you're behind on your rent, your phone bills, your electric bills, and your landlord's threatening to evict you. Sadly enough, such a scenario is not uncommon among families who have a child with cancer.

Endorphin Power Company

"When things piss me off I act on them," Sam Slishman says. He was explaining why he invented and patented a collapsible ski pole that can function as a splint for broken leg bones, but he's also shedding light on the reason why he's spent the last two years working on solutions to Albuquerque's persistent problem with substance-dependent homeless people. Right now, intoxicated transients are constantly cycled through the Bernalillo County Detention Center and UNM Hospital's emergency room. The situation is extremely expensive and does little, if nothing, to help treat a deeply troubled segment of the population.

Indio-Hispano Academy of Agricultural Arts and Sciences

Felix Torres wants to grow high water-use forage crops (like alfalfa) with a low-water use method like hydroponics. This year, his organization, the Indio-Hispano Academy of Agricultural Arts and Sciences (IHAAAS), was awarded a grant by the governor's Water Innovation Fund to study the subject. Now the academy will be growing test crops in a 5,000 square foot greenhouse in the South Valley and looking at the impact hydroponics might have on water conservation techniques in New Mexico. He'll also study the social, cultural and economic aspects of what it would take to implement the practice. Convincing Valley farmers to switch to hydroponics could save tons of water, but it would be a tough sell. But Torres' project, he hopes, is bound to make it happen.

Alliance for Albuquerque Animals

For years, Debbra Colman worked long hours as the executive project director for the Historic District Improvement Company, dedicating her career to Albuquerque's downtown revitalization efforts. Once the downtown Century Theaters complex was finished in 2003, she planned on taking a year off to travel and recover from years of exhaustive overtime. Then she went to the city's East Side animal shelter to retrieve a lost pet for a friend and her travel plans were abruptly put on hold.

The Arts

It's mainly been a pretty good year for the awwwwwts here in Albuquerque. Yes, there have been a few tragedies. Magnífico gave up its swanky contemporary art space at 516 Central SW a couple months ago. Yeah, that sucked. It also sucked that the Walls Gallery, right next to the Artichoke Café, closed down and that Jon McConville, the long-time, highly innovative Downtown art activist, had to leave town suddenly to deal with a family situation in Idaho.

Street Outreach Services

This last July, a man was found walking along Old Route 66, which, in itself, is not an unusual event. What is unique, is that the man had no name—at least, not one that he could remember. When "John Doe" was found he was dehydrated, starving and had total amnesia.

Albuquerque Independent Business Alliance

Elissa Breitbard had a eureka! moment about two years back when she heard of the emerging Boulder Independent Business Alliance (BIBA) of Boulder, Colo., and what the organization was doing in an effort to keep independent businesses alive amidst an ever-increasing threat of chain stores and mega-marts.

music

Music to Your Ears

The Library Bar & Grill opened its doors last Friday, Dec. 17, at 312 Central SW, formerly the home of Brewster's Pub. The Library began as a concept bar nearly three years ago in Tempe, Ariz., catering to the lunch and dinner crowd, then transforming somewhat in the later hours of the evening into a bustling nightclub. Live bands will reportedly be an established part of the Library's entertainment, which also includes servers dressed as Catholic schoolgirls who dance on the bar at prescribed times each night for the deeply religious among you, 26 screens featuring music videos, and special events to be announced. ... Local band Frostbite will celebrate the release of their debut CD on Tuesday, Dec. 28, with Evenkeal and 20/20 Blind at 9 p.m. ... In other local band news, at long last KI have put the final touches on their new CD, Powdershy, which they'll officially release on Friday, Jan. 7, at the Launchpad. Meanwhile, you can get a taste of what's in store on the new record by visiting www.kimusic.net where you can download a pair of the fresh tracks. The band are currently busy confirming a second, all-ages CD release party, and you can get the latest update on that show as well by visiting the website.

Blue Note

This much anticipated pairing of our greatest young Britten tenor, Ian Bostridge, and most versatile countertenor, David Daniels, yields impressive results. Britten was a devout Christian and pacifist who wrote much of his vocal music for his life-partner, tenor Peter Pears.

Sonic Reducer

With fans still waiting for Neil Young's boxed set for more than a decade now, the release of Young's first-ever official greatest hits collection last month was something of a letdown in that it indicates that Shakey will spend perhaps another 10 years working on his mythical career retrospective. What you here get are 16 Young classics you've heard a million times, compiled, as his liner note states, “based on original record sales, airplay and known download history.” The included “supersaturated” stereo DVD version of the album is the best reason to buy it, as the sound is truly enormous.

art

Culture Shock

You've got one last chance to see a local production of The Nutcracker. Don't miss this opportunity to expose yourself and the kids in your life to the most popular ballet ever made. Ballet Theatre of New Mexico will be putting up its yearly rendition of the Tchaikovsky classic at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW ) on Thursday, Dec. 23, at 7 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 24, at 1 p.m.

Sisters

Comin' Down the Mountain at the Donkey Gallery

Given the current rate of urban sprawl, it's reasonable to assume that 50 years from now Albuquerque and Santa Fe will merge into a single urban unit. We might as well get a jump on our inevitable union by letting bygones be bygones. There's no need to keep fighting. We're sisters, after all. Sure, Santa Fe is a prissy cosmopolitan educated at Yale who married the ambassador to Japan, while we here in Albuquerque are a cheap bimbo with a weakness for Kahlua who dropped out of school in the 11th grade to pursue a dubious career as an exotic dancer—but that doesn't mean we don't have a lot of common interests.

news

Montaño Proposal Opens Old Wounds

Mayor Chavez gives Councilor Debbie O'Malley the high hat

First term City Councilor Debbie O'Malley got a lesson in local politics recently when Mayor Martin Chavez announced his plan to increase traffic flow on a section of Montaño.

Thin Line

One less wart on the ass of Albuquerque's airwaves! After 24 years of basing an entire AM talk radio morning show on never having any ideas of his own, parroting spew from other media outlets and passing himself off as a politically savvy celebrity host, Larry Ahrens® refused a contract renewal offer last Thursday from Citadel Communications, the radio conglomerate that owns the microphone Ahrens used to mouth off into at 770 KKOB. In a statement given to the Journal last week, Ahrens® said he didn't think the offer made by Citadel was "commensurate with my value in the marketplace."

Brothers in Arms

Payne and Gomez make cozy bedfellows

What a sad state progressives are in when we are getting advice from freshman state Rep. Greg Payne and his protégé, City Councilor Miguel Gomez (RE: “Payne's World,” [“City Council presidency highlights conflict between Gomez and Griego"]).

Deck the Halls With ... Fees?

Bad banking policies bleed the poor

Just in time for the festive holiday season, I would like to share two stories about America's giant corporate banks, a couple of real-life incidents that didn't exactly warm the cockles of my heart when I heard about them. They did raise a few hackles, though—and the difference between activating hackles and cockles may be worth considering.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Maine—Workers at the Good Shepherd Food Bank in Auburn, Maine, got an extra shipment of leafy greens recently. While unloading a truckload of watermelons, a volunteer came across a 20-pound bale of marijuana. The man told police the marijuana, which was neatly wrapped with packing tape, was loaded near the front end of a tractor-trailer that was dropping off watermelons at the food bank's warehouse. After the bale was discovered, the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency was called. An agent quizzed the volunteer, but it was quickly determined he had nothing to do with the illegal shipment. “It was definitely bizarre,” the volunteer, who did not want to be identified, told the Sun Journal of Lewiston. The marijuana, assumed to be from Mexico and worth an estimated $20,000, was seized as evidence and will likely be destroyed. The Good Shepherd Food Bank distributes donated food to more than 470 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout Maine.

film

Reel World

Gracious Grant—Immediately after snagging Second Place in the first annual Governor's Cup Film Challenge and Best Native Film at the recent Santa Fe Film Festival for his short film “Raven Tales,” filmmaker Chris Kientz announced sponsorship of a major film grant in the state of New Mexico. The Las Cruces-based filmmaker has teamed up with the Albuquerque-based nonprofit Media Rights Foundation to offer the grant, which will hopefully encourage our homegrown film industry. Details are still being worked out regarding the distribution of the grant. It will either go to the winner of next year's Governor's Cup or to a film selected by a jury from the Media Rights Foundation. Kientz has already donated $10,000 and was gifted with another $2,000 at the Santa Fe Film Festival. All private and corporate donations to the grant are tax deductible. In addition, $1 from all sales of the “Raven Tales” DVD will go into the grant. The DVD is available in Albuquerque at Andrews Pueblo Pottery and in Santa Fe at the American Museum of Natural History and the National Museum of the American Indian. You can also order it online at www.raventales.ca. For more info on the film grant (and other topics of artistic importance) check out the Media Rights Foundation at www.pbrainmedia.com/mrf.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera

Screechy, overstuffed Phantom dies of stage fright

Here's the problem: I think Phantom of the Opera is a crap musical. The songs are too literal, the music is smug and repetitive and the plot is frosted with far too much swooning romance. So the odds are pretty good I'm not going to enjoy the film version all that much. You, on the other hand, may love everything Andrew Lloyd Webber puts his rich little mitts on—from Jesus Christ Superstar to Cats to Aspects of Love. If that's the case, then you'll probably find plenty to enjoy in Joel Schumacher's garish, overstuffed film version.

The Aviator

Scorsese soars with stunning star-studded biopic

Director Martin Scorsese is one of the most celebrated American filmmakers. But even he has his ups and downs. Scorsese's last film, Gangs of New York, was an invigorating, epic look back at New York's brutal birth. It was also a wildly uneven picture with a sprawling story line and some questionable casting. (Cameron, honey, I'm sorry, but you just didn't belong in that one.) Nonetheless, the film did introduce Scorsese to his new favorite leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio. It was this introduction that led, no doubt, to Scorsese and DiCaprio's latest collaboration, the magnificent Howard Hughes biopic The Aviator.

Remote Noël

Christmas Eve around the dial

Christmas Eve is typically a time to spend with friends and family. You drink some egg nog, sing some carols, play some Cranium, open some presents. Then again, maybe that's not your style. Maybe you're in prison. Maybe you're an orphan. Maybe you're just antisocial. Who am I to judge? Perhaps the best policy would be to lock your door and curl up in front of the warm, flickering glow of the television this holiday season.

food

Gastrological Forecast

What are you doing on New Year's Eve? Well, you could go out to a bar and drink lots of repulsively bad champagne, never getting quite drunk enough to enjoy it when the really drunk people start the countdown to midnight at 11:37 p.m., then realize they've done it too early, and so do it again. And again and again and again. How much sincere woo-hooing can you do if you're not drunk enough to barf or kiss a stranger of the same sex? So, I see two solutions: either you need to drink more, much more, or you should make other plans. This week, I've written about a handful of restaurants that are serving special New Year's Eve menus. Wouldn't that be fun? If it's not in the budget, may I suggest cooking at home for a select group of your favorite people? Tell everyone to get dressed up, pull out your best dishes and light the house with candles. Tell the guests to bring decent bubbly. You can still get drunk enough to barf or kiss each other, but you'll be doing it with people who will hold your hair for you (or hold their tongues about the kissing thing).

All the News That's Fit to Eat

Relish (8019 Menaul NE, near Flying Star) shuffles ownership and takes a short holiday. Well, now that's confusing, and I don't want you to think that Chef/Owner Johnny Orr is leaving, because he's not, his business partners are. Tony Nethery, who is chef at Monte Vista Fire Station (Central and Bryn Mawr) and a huge lover of cheese, bought out Orr's other partners. Nethery and Orr plan to work together on some minor improvements to the Northeast Heights cheese and sandwich shop, and to accomplish that, they'll close from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. The two also plan to talk about possible future plans for Relish, including the idea of expanding the shop's hours. Over the next few weeks, Nethery plans to divide his time between Relish and the Fire Station. He's reluctant to give up his chef duties at the restaurant, where he's implemented a series of popular menus that incorporate his Southern comfort-food aesthetic. I promise to follow Nethery, Orr and both restaurants all this all unfolds in the new year.

The 12 annoyances of Christmas

They defy moderation, so don't even bother trying

Raise your hand if you're tired of the holidays already. The rude traffic, the tackle-football shopping and the inescapable holiday jingles make me want to curl up with a bottle and emerge when it's over. Perhaps I have a case of seasonal dysfunction, but since I can't afford to check into Betty Ford, I can use her alcoholic coping mechanism as a mood enhancer. Yes, I believe wine can mellow holiday annoyances, like so:

Party Like It's 1999, not $19.99

Special dinners for a special occasion

New Year's Eve is a tough night for dining out, even tougher than figuring out which Albuquerque restaurants close on Sundays and which ones close on Mondays. Some of the places you'd expect to be open on a big, fancy night, close because they want to spend the holiday with their own friends and family. But then there are the little mom ’n' pop joints that remain inexplicably open. Some of the restaurants serving on New Year's Seasons will simply serve their regular menus, perhaps with the addition of a special or two. Others, like those listed here, have chosen to lure diners with flashy menus full of flown-in seafood, prime rib and filet mignon. Many of the prix-fixe dinners include wine; some don't. Be sure to go over all the details when you call, and call you must.

Alibi V.13 No.51 • Dec 16-22, 2004

feature

The Story of O

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."

film

Reel World

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.

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

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.

Bright Leaves

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.

The Bone Gunmen

“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.

art

Culture Shock

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.

Jane Doe

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?

This House is Not a Home

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.

Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats

Popejoy Hall

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.

Recycle

Inpost Artspace

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.

Another Life

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.

news

Weatherize Your Home and Save Some Dough

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 Line

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:

Leaving on a Jet Plane, Eventually

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.

Progressive Struggle

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.

A Smarter Way to Fight Gangs

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.

Odds & Ends

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.

music

Music to Your Ears

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.

Blue Note

Holiday in Eastern Europe

Women's vocal ensemble Kitka sing-in the season

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.

Isis

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.

Sonic Reducer

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.

food

Gastrological Forecast

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.

All the News That's Fit 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.

Retro Cocktail Party Snacks

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.

A New Owl Café is born on I-25

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.