Albuquerque doctor Steven Hsi's humanitarian legacy lives on
By Krystal Zaragoza
Like people from all walks of life, physicians themselves occasionally become ill. But when Albuquerque doctor Steven Hsi became seriously ill in 1995, he decided to document his illness and create a narrative of his experience, struggles and the sudden change in the role he faced as a doctor becoming a patient. His is a story that has become a spiritual lesson for those in the medical profession, as well as those faced with a life-changing disease.
Big Stink—The locally made zombie flick The Stink of Flesh, written and directed by Scott Phillips, has finally been picked up for nationwide distribution. The film will be released by Tempe Entertainment on a special edition DVD, set to hit store shelves May 24. U.K. distribution will follow shortly thereafter, meaning Scott's Stink will now be seen (smelled?) around the world. If you caught the film last year at one of its sold-out screenings at the Guild Cinema, there are plenty of reasons to pick up this new version. The special edition DVD will feature tons of groovy extras, including the “making of” documentary, outtakes, a 5.1 SurroundSound mix, a bunch of cool shorts and two feature-length cast and crew commentaries (including yours truly, who appears in the film as the unseemly soldier Lt. Vega). For updates on this and other trashy horror flicks, log on to www.tempevideo.com.
True-life horror story proves enlightening, inspirational
By Devin D. O'Leary
Tragically, many Americans may end up ignoring Hotel Rwanda for the very same reason they ignored the war that inspired it: It simply sounds too depressing to contemplate. What this hard-hitting drama does so expertly, however, is hold up a mirror to all us complacent Westerners and ask what were we doing while all this was taking place.
The American Dream goes sour in gritty '70s-style character study
By Devin D. O'Leary
The '70s were a grim and cynical time. I mean, not for me personally. I spent most of the decade concerned with Stretch Armstrong and Big Mouth bubble gum. Still, for America it was a grim and cynical decade. Much of that darkness was reflected in the films of the day: Pop Catch-22, Straw Dogs, The Last Detail, Marathon Man,Taxi Driver and Joe into your fancy new DVD player for a flashback of glorious depression.
Sometimes my inner nerd just shines through. I can't help it. I grew up on Star Wars and all the sci-fi action that proceeded it. Among my favorite childhood TV shows was “Battlestar Galactica.” I dug it not because of its execution (which was often cheapjack and repetitive), but because of its interesting setting and dramatic story line. Back in 1978, a lot of people dismissed the show as a rip off of Star Wars. Actually, it was a rip off of the old Western series “Wagon Train”--a fact that slipped under the radar of most viewers.
Time this week for another installment of Gen'esis for the Arts. On Saturday, Jan. 22, the celebration will take place at El Rey Theater and Pucinni's Golden West Saloon, and it'll include live music by sometimes Dave Matthews sideman and virtuoso guitarist Tim Reynolds, Jenny Gamble, Twenty 5 South, Feels Like Sunday, Rage Against Martin Sheen, The Blue Room, Buddha Betties, Shiva, Mike G, Scarlett's Playdo and so many others I simply don't have space to mention. Call 242-2353 for more information and advance tickets. ... While Alibi Spring Crawl still seems pretty far off, the calls and e-mails are already starting to come in seeking information on how to “apply for” or get booked into the event. So once again, here's the standard, honest answer: There is no application process. We do not require demo tapes or take into consideration that you once opened for Quiet Riot at the Bennigan's St. Patrick's Day Bash. So forget all that. Each participating venue provides us with a “wish list” of bands they want to play in their respective rooms. From those lists, we book 95 percent of the Crawl slots. So you'd better get out and play some gigs Downtown, share bills with better-known bands and endear yourselves to venue owners and talent buyers so they'll ask for you by name. After all, if the Crawls don't work for the venues, they don't work at all. So book, promote, play and make your band as visible on Central and Gold between First and Seventh streets as possible.
Not a single manmade musical instrument exists that can be as colorful, inspiring and versatile as the human voice. Granted, such a voice is rare and must be capable of conveying intense emotion coupled with pristine melodies, harmonies and the subtle nuances that amount to the difference between fine singers and enormously gifted artists. Multiply that formula by six and you've got Sweet Honey in the Rock. Simply put, they sound like a miracle—a cappella angels who adorn their songs with brilliantly colored wings, giving them flight and then sending them soaring overhead in a rush of fantastic harmony and reverent soul.
Canadian-born Harry Manx sounds as if he grew up simultaneously on the Mississippi Delta and the banks of the Ganges, which is actually pretty close to the truth. After spending five years in India becoming a master of the mohan veena, a 20-stringed cross between a sitar and a guitar, Manx returned to Vancouver and set about the business of melting the blues of the South and traditional Indian music in the same pot. The result on his latest disc is a lazy afternoon blues sound that's colored with the vivid hues and spirituality of world music. Subtle, but amazing.
When Frank Gilmer says he has "a feel for Albuquerque and my neighborhood," he might be underestimating the power of his institutional memory. Mr. Gilmer is a deacon at the First Baptist Church on the corner of Broadway and Central, which sits across the street from the retired Albuquerque High School, whence he sprang as a member of the class of '46. He'll tell you about the days when Broadway was the main commercial street in the city, with its parallel access to the bustling railyards and medians plush with grass and shade trees. He remembers the fountain in the middle of the Broadway and Central intersection, placed there for thirsty horses providing transport along Route 66 in the dust bowl days of the Great Depression.
A Tale of Two Editorials. On Monday morning, I had the great misfortune of receiving two editorials in an e-mail, side-by-side, regarding the nomination of Alberto Gonzales as our next attorney general. The contrast was striking.
Six new bills will promote renewable energy conversion
By Christie Chisholm
Here comes the sun, legislatively speaking. And for solar power advocates, it's about time considering our state is soaked in sunbeams more than 300 days a year and solar power could be produced here in abundance.
Staggering homeless rates in Albuquerque demand more public attention
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
In the days following the devastating earthquake and resultant tsunami which brought death and destruction to the coasts surrounding the Indian Ocean, it seemed that each successive newscast brought staggeringly higher casualty totals. At 7 a.m. on day two it was 23,000; 27,000 by noon and 35,000 by the 10 o'clock news, with a similar pattern in subsequent days until the total is well over 125,000 as I write this piece.
"24" plays product placement game with U.S. foreign policy
By John Freeman
By now, most Americans know how product placement works. So when America Online sponsors a checkpoint during "The Amazing Race," or selling M&Ms becomes a challenge on "The Apprentice," it's no accident we hear those brands mentioned eight or 10 times. And when you cut to commercial, guess what's being advertised?
Dateline: Michigan—Tony J. Young wasn't about to lose his customized 2003 Ford Mustang Coupe for a second time, so when he found the person who stole it, he grabbed it and held on for dear life. Young noticed his car had been stolen after he woke up at a friend's house last Thursday morning. While getting a ride to work, Young spotted his beloved car at a stop sign and clamped on. As soon as Young grabbed the dark gray car's rear spoiler, the thief hit the gas, and took the 35-year-old owner on a chase through the snowy streets of Flint. Despite speeds that reached up to 80 mph, Young held fast, even managing to pull out his cell phone and dial 911. City 911 dispatcher Holly Wilson encouraged Young to let go of the car. “Sir, you can get another vehicle,” Wilson noted. Fearing that letting go of the vehicle at such high speeds might kill him, Wilson held on, announcing streets signs to police as they whizzed by. At one point, Young announced that he had just passed downtown Flint's police station. Flint police eventually caught up with the car and gave chase, along with Genesee County Sheriff's deputies and state troopers. Young lost his cell phone, though, when the Mustang made its way on to Interstate 475. “It got scary toward the end,” Young told The Flint Journal, “People on the expressway were tripping.” The chase finally came to an end when the thief stopped the car and fled on foot. He was caught about 10 minutes later. Amazingly, Young escaped the incident uninjured--especially surprising since he recently had back surgery and is on worker's compensation. Two months previous, the Mustang had been stolen and stripped of everything including its $3,500 stereo. “If I let go, I figured the car was gone for good,” he told reporters, dismissing suggestions that it would have been better to let the car thief get away. “I would do it again if I had to.”
It's been a hugely successful experiment that hopefully will be repeated for many years to come. New Mexico Books & More is a co-op that was located in the Cottonwood Mall during the holiday shopping season. Operated entirely by volunteers, the store sold books exclusively from and about New Mexico. According to the organizers, the co-op ended up selling more than 3,400 volumes in 40 days. Not too bad, eh? To make matters even better, the store will be donating much of its profits to local literacy groups. For details, call 344-9382.
Stepping into a theater to see a Eugene O'Neill play is sometimes like volunteering for a good, stiff beating. O'Neill isn't exactly known for his light, optimistic view of human relations. His best plays—The Ice Man Cometh, Mourning Becomes Elektra, Long Day's Journey into Night—are dark masterpieces filled to the brim with delusion, heartbreak, addiction and murder.
Raised on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota, Zig Jackson has dedicated his artistic life to deconstructing "the pervasive myths and misconceptions about Native Americans." A graduate of UNM who went on to become a groundbreaking photographer, Jackson will be featured in an exhibit going on display starting this week. Reservation Stories: The Photography of Zig Jackson opens Friday, Jan. 21, and runs through March 4 at UNM's Jonson Gallery (1909 Las Lomas NE). For details, call 277-4967.
UNM art professors Mary Tsiongas and Steve Barry joined forces last semester to conduct a six-hour art studio called "Out of the Box." Basically, it was a free for all. Students did preliminary interviews in which they presented proposals for art projects. When approved, they got down to work. Experimental art in every imaginable medium was the result. Much of it will go on display at Halflife (125 Harvard SE) in an exhibit opening with a reception this Saturday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. Rub.rash.peel.claw.burn.suck runs through Feb. 6. 217-0952.
Funding for veteran services fails to satisfy demands
By Christie Chisholm
Lindol Hill has the kind of voice that brings to mind images of sweet and simple rural life. With a voice like that, one can only imagine that the self-proclaimed old farm boy must have lived a life full of hot summer days working soil. Yet, his voice has endured much more than the pastoral images that so eagerly serve our stereotypes. Indeed, its gentlemanly nuances and southern inflections have survived not only through the heat of summer days, but also through the heat of battle.
Closet Celebration—Closet Cinema, Albuquerque's foremost promoter of gay and lesbian film and founder of the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, will be hosting its first ever winter benefit on Wednesday, Jan. 19. The benefit will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Laru Ni Hati (3413 Central Ave. NE). There will be a Cuban buffet feast and a cash bar courtesy of Café Cubano. There will also be lots of great prize giveaways from assorted participating businesses. Following the party, there will be a screening of the Sundance Film Fest favorite Tarnation next door at the Guild Cinema. The film documents the tumultuous life of writer/director/actor Jonathan Caouette, from his emergence as a gay teenager to his later life caring for his schizophrenic mother. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 for Closet Cinema members and free (!) if you become a new Closet Cinema member at the event. For more information on the fundraiser or the organization, log on to www.closetcinema.org. For more info on the film, check out www.i-saw-tarnation.com.
Boring, illogical horror flick takes the terms “static” and “fuzzy” to heart
By Devin D. O'Leary
White Noise has been billing itself as “the scariest movie of the year,” and I really can't argue. Since it was, in fact, the only movie to open the first week of January, White Noise also qualified as the “funniest,” “saddest” and “most erotic” film of 2005. Unfortunately, now that Racing Stripes, starring Frankie Muniz as a talking zebra, has hit theaters, White Noise has lost its footing as “scariest movie of the year.”
Low-key character study, finds Kevin Bacon walking the tightrope between good and evil
By Devin D. O'Leary
First-time filmmaker Nicole Kassell's screenplay for The Woodsman took first place in the 2001 Slamdance Film Festival screenplay competition. Slamdance is, of course, the bratty “alternative” cousin to the more genteel, upscale Sundance Film Festival. Oddly enough, the final filmed version of The Woodsman ended up nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival--which probably says more about the taming of Slamdance than it does about the edginess of Sundance.
Shortly before it raised its contribution to the Asian tsunami relief efforts from $35 million to $350 million (as if the first number had been the result of some silly misplaced decimal), the U.S. government insinuated that it didn't really need to contribute any money, since American citizens are so naturally generous and caring. I'm happy to report that is, in fact, the case, with private donations pouring in at a record rate. ... So, while you're at it, the federal government would really appreciate it if you'd take care of that whole social security debacle on your own as well.
Can you smell the sweet scent of testosterone wafting through the clear winter air? Then you must be Downtown on Fourth Street. Follow the smell to the Downtown Contemporary Art Center (105 Fourth Street SW) for the He Show, an exhibit of work by New Mexican photographers, all of whom happen to be male. The show, which just went up last week, features innovative images by some very talented photographers such as Barry McCormick, Steve Malavolta, David Ondrik, Lincoln Draper, Pat Berrett, Kip Malone, Rick Scibelli, Wes Naman, Benjamin Winters and Steve Bromberg. The center is located at 105 Fourth Street SW. For details, call 242-1983.
Standing on the Shoulders of Giants at the Wizard's Playhouse
By Steven Robert Allen
It's human nature to enjoy being fooled. We might not appreciate being fooled by our spouses, our accountants or our presidents, but most of us relish being bamboozled by magicians. The feat can be as simple as a card trick or as elaborate as hacking a pretty young damsel in half with a chain saw before magically piecing her back together again. It doesn't matter much. I don't care how many times a wizard pulls a rabbit out of his hat or a nickel out of your nose. For most people, the classics of magic never get old.
Charles Sheeler's photographs don't get exhibited nearly as often as those of his better known modernist peers, photo legends like Alfred Stieglitz and Paul Strand. Even so, Sheeler is a recognized master of 20th-century photography who brought cubist aesthetics into the realm of photographic image making. An exhibit of his work opens this week at the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. Admission is $4 for New Mexico residents with ID. The Photography of Charles Sheeler: American Modernist runs through May 1. (505) 946-1017.
The dining room at Monte Vista Fire Station has closed and will reopen in a few weeks as Gruet Steakhouse and Wine Bar. This is a little confusing, so pay attention, OK? See, the building (at Central and Monte Vista) is owned by Kerry Raynor and his partners, who include Ski Martin, the owner of the Owl Café on Eubank NE. (A few weeks ago, I interviewed Ski because he had partnered with Frank Marcello, of Copeland's and Zea Grill, on another Owl Café location in The Shops at I-25!) Raynor had been approached a number of times by people who wanted to put their own restaurants in his building, and always refused. It was a combination of events that finally made him change his mind.
I have a friend who drives me crazy because she makes her shopping list before she goes to the grocery store. Sure, I make a list. It's usually got about five items on it: Fresca, baked Cheetos, oatmeal, toilet paper and toothpaste. Everything else gets decided at the store. But my friend (I won't name her; she'd be furious. Shit, she'll be furious anyway), my friend Liz goes to all the trouble of sifting through her small collection of cookbooks to come up with meals she wants to make for the next couple of weeks. Then she writes down all of the ingredients for all of the dishes and makes her shopping list. My problem with her strategy is simple: What if you get to the store and there's no eggplant, or they're all bruised and gross? How will your eggplant parmigiana taste then? It seems like a bad idea to commit to a menu before you've seen the ingredients.
Hardy har-har. Oh, God, it's so painful. On New Year's Day, the Albuquerque Journal published their Cowchip Awards, an "annual rundown of the weird, wacky and only-in-New Mexico stories of the past year." What's "wacky" is that they gave a cowchip award to Dr. Sam Slishman of Endorphin Power Company—the same guy we named an “Albuquerque All Star” one week earlier.
It ain't over 'til the last vote's been counted; or, shall we say, recounted. At least, that's what the folks at Help America Recount proclaim. Now, you might be confused, because you thought that all the votes were already counted, and possibly already recounted after much of the post-election hype. But that's where you're wrong. That is, unless you think that imaginary votes should be counted along with real votes, and that, in some cases, real votes shouldn't be counted at all.
The United States still does not comprehend the nature of its adversaries
By John Prados
Last November the United States began its pre-Iraqi election offensive with a full-scale assault on Falluja, then said to be the center of the resistance to the coalition occupation and the Iraqi interim government. With newly trained Iraqi government troops showcased in the attack, U.S. commanders intended to break the back of the resistance. Instead, Falluja furnished additional evidence that the United States still does not comprehend the nature of its adversaries.
People who once branded King a threat to the nation will march in MLK Day parades. Cities around the country—even places where King battled segregation—name streets after him and put up statues. People of all colors invoke his name, legacy and memory in support of racial justice. No doubt this signals an improvement in race relations. But to make King a symbol acceptable to most everyone, we have stripped him of the depth and passion of his critique of white America and its institutions. We conveniently have ignored the radical nature of King's analysis, and in doing so we have lost an opportunity to see ourselves more clearly.
The Albuquerque Journal took aim at the Planned Growth Strategy (or PGS) recently in a three-part series that explored the explosion of growth outside Albuquerque. Sandoval, Valencia and Torrance counties have seen their populations double since 1980 while Bernalillo County has only (only!) had a 33 percent increase, according to the paper.
Dateline: Russia—Russian lawyer Vladimir Osipiv has staked a claim on all the world's clouds. According to reports in the Russian media, Osipiv has now posted a legal claim to the world's clouds in 150 separate nations. The 48-year-old lawyer is hoping that he can sell the clouds to environmentalists, who will then take legal action against governments that allow clouds to be polluted. Osipiv is using the same law that allowed an American man to claim the moon. In 1980, Dennis Hope staked a claim on the moon and has since sold plots of land there to more than two million people. “It is probably incomprehensible for the vast majority of people that clouds can be privatized,” said Osipiv. “However, I am absolutely sure that I will get support both in Russia and in the international community.”
If you happen to read the Alibi blog, “Nerdstream,” on our website, then you already know that long-time collector and specialty mainstay Merlin's Record Workshop shut down two weeks ago, in the same seven-day period in which 103.3 The Zone, owned by Citadel Communications, suddenly and without warning became 103.3 FReD FM. Visit www.alibi.com for more information. ... Local labels Socyermom Records and Little Kiss Records will pit a pair of bands on each of their rosters “against” each other on Friday, Jan. 14, at the Launchpad in a rock battle. See this week's “Lucky 7” calendar for all the details. ... I have it on reliable authority that local space rock faves The Oktober People will soon be invited to participate in and represent Albuquerque at this year's South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas. No word yet on the several other local bands that registered, but I promise to keep you posted. ... For those of you full of hate and pent-up aggression, you can donate it at the Launchpad on Saturday, Jan. 15, as Misery Signals, Remembering Never, Emery and Eighteen Visions are scheduled to set up more than a few stacks of Marshall and Mesa-Boogie amplifiers with which to implode your eardrums. ... That same night, Santa Fe's 100 Year Flood will rock you out of holiday hibernation at the Paramount with special guests No Address at 9 p.m.
Preconceptions of accordion music as hokey or limited vanish upon playing this mind-opening disc. Featuring original compositions by members of Poland's Motion Trio, the music ranges from uptempo, high-spirited affairs to others that bubble along in a manner reminiscent of Nino Rota's music for Fellini.
Saturday, Jan. 15; Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 West San Francisco in Santa Fe, 7:30 p.m., all ages): As far as folk-based singer-songwriters go, there are perhaps none as broadly talented as Greg Brown, whose insight, melodic sensibilities and gift for creating colorful imagery with even the simplest turn of a phrase can be so subtle as to be deceiving, so vivid as to be physically moving.
Former Apricot Jam co-frontman Lewi Longmire's debut solo album is as much a revelation as it is a blast from the past. Longmire's songwriting has grown leaps and bounds since the AJ days, encompassing classic country music that's steeped in Jerry Jeff Walker and full of that good ol' Charley Pride. And with a band that includes the immense—and sorely missed—talents of Caleb Miles (A Murder of Crows) and Chris Hutton (Venus Diablo), Longmire's significant gains in the composition department are brought to vibrant, soulful, epic and oft times heartwrenching fruition. Albuquerque's painful loss is once again Portland's gain.
The Fifth Annual Revolutions International Theatre Festival
By Steven Robert Allen
"Theater can change the world."
For many people, this statement might sound pretentious, phony, even laughable. Theater? Change the world? Come on! Theater is an anachronism, right? It's just a game for maladjusted misfits played out at the fringes of our culture. If theater has any real impact on society, that impact is so minuscule it's virtually invisible to the naked eye.
Yet when you hear Tricklock Company members make this bold claim—which they do often—the statement takes on a whole new meaning. You can bet the bank this astonishingly talented crew believes this maxim with all its heart. You can also bet they're putting everything they've got into a valiant, well-coordinated campaign to make it so.
There are many benefits to living in Albuquerque. There's the weather. The relaxed, culturally diverse ambiance existing side by side with a funky art and music scene. There's the food. The nightlife. The proximity of spectacularly diverse wilderness in every direction.
Ticket prices for most events are $16 general admission, $12 students and seniors. Advanced ticket credit card orders are available for Albuquerque performances, with the exception of the Reptilian Lounge, by calling 266-2826 up to four hours before the start of each event, or by visiting the Tricklock Box Office. Tickets are also available with cash purchases at each venue starting one hour before the performance. Tickets for Santa Fe performances may be obtained by calling the Armory for the Arts at (505) 984-1370. For more information visit www.tricklock.com.
Ladies and gentlemen, the sweet, intoxicating stench of love is already in the air. It isn't too early to start making plans for this year's Valentine's Day. Before you know it the big day will be right up on you, sinking its sharp fangs deep into your hind parts. Don't be caught unprepared. Start planning today.
Danielle Ferriera's exhibit of organic sculptures crafted from bug parts, dried fruit skins, vegetable peelings, rusty nails and other scavenged bits opens this Friday in the main gallery at the Harwood Art Center. She'll also be selling inexpensive small bronze sculptures and donating the proceeds to Bridging the Worlds Animal Sanctuary. Ferriera's show is just one of many Artscrawl gallery tour exhibits occurring across Albuquerque on Friday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. For the full roster, please call 244-0362 or log on to www.artscrawlabq.org.
As always, this list is both utterly subjective and painfully incomplete. It's also just a little bit ridiculous, of course, to even make such a list. Part of me has always despised this sort of thing. That isn't going to stop me from spewing out my picks, though. At the very least, I'm convinced that all of the following artsy litsy events and artifacts deserve extremely high praise. So here are my picks in no particular order. My apologies to the dozens of worthy performers, artists and writers who I inevitably left out. This doesn't mean I don't love you.
Yeah, sure, Shel Silverstein's crowning accomplishment might be "A Boy Named Sue," the hilarious song popularized by Johnny Cash, but the famous humorist also wrote a bunch of killer short plays. They'll be staged starting this weekend at the Vortex Theatre. Yes, many of them step way over the line, so don't bring the kids. Adults, though, can expect to laugh their asses off. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. Sundays at 6 p.m. $8. Runs through Jan. 23. 247-8600.
Thousands of Iraq war veterans will come home to face psychological problems and a system that may not be ready to help them
By Dan Frosch
The first time Kristin Peterson's husband hit her, she was asleep in their bed. She awoke that night a split second after Joshua's fist smashed into her face and ran, terrified and crying, to the bathroom to wipe the blood spurting from her nose. When she stuck her head back into the bedroom, there he was—punching at the air, muttering how she was coming after him and how he was going to kill her. Kristin started yelling but Joshua's eyes were closed. He was still asleep.
Musee des Beaux Arts. As you know, the horror cast by an Indian Ocean earthquake saturated news coverage both nationally and locally last week, and on Monday, Dec. 27, the Albuquerque Journal front page was exceptional for its odd, some might even say inane, choice of juxtaposed headlines.
Dateline: England—Spider-Man, Superman and Batman came to blows on Christmas Day in Canterbury, southern England. Police were called in to break up a fight after three men in tights were seen brawling on the sidewalk in front of a fast food van. The three superheroes apparently decided to trade punches after the van experienced a sudden shortage of burgers. A 23-year-old man suffered facial injuries, but declined to press charges. It is assumed the three were on their way to a fancy dress party. Or not. A police spokesman told the press simply, “Spider-Man, Superman and Batman were involved in a minor altercation at 12:32 a.m. at Wincheap on Christmas Day. The injured party declined to take it further.”
Worst of the Worst—In addition to the good films, there was also a steady stream of bad movies to filter through theaters this year. For every Sideways that made its way into theaters, there were two or three Garfields thatraked in millions. Go figure. So, in the spirit of the hairball-puking hero of this summer's surprise hit, I present 2004's 10 Worst List.
The anno horribilus known as 2004 turned out to be an interesting one, cinema-wise. The word that keeps cropping up in my mind is “mature.” Even the best kiddy fare this year (The Incredibles, Mean Girls) seemed surprisingly sharp and clever.
Reality TV continued to rule the airwaves (or “pollute the airwaves,” depending on your perspective). Gay-themed TV shows fell out in favor of poker-themed TV shows (a trend that will only continue in 2005). And, of course, 130 million people saw Janet Jackson's boob. That's the year that was television in 2004.
At the end of each year, when I'm inspired to relax for a moment and take a look back, I always come back to the same realization: I have very little, if anything, to bitch about. I love music, I love to write, I love to spew my opinions all over the place and I happen to hold the position of music editor at the second largest, and arguably most hip entertainment and culture newspaper in the city I was born and raised in, and am irrevocably attached to ... score! And one of the many perks this job provides is being able to backtrack through 12 months of music—some of it fantastic, some of it excruciatingly bad—in an effort to compile an annual list of the CDs that have most positively affected my life over the past year. It's one of the most difficult parts of the job considering the sheer number of new releases I wade through each calendar year, but it's also one of the most rewarding tasks I'll ever undertake.
This little “websclusive” feature was assembled as a reminder of just how much great music came out in 2004, and hopefully offers at least a few more national and local releases to add to your wish list.