Gus Pedrotty—Gus, as he likes to be known—stopped by Alibi Headquarters to discuss a bid for mayor that began as idealistic—and some would say unlikely—but has since been transformed into one of the more vital and remarkable candidacies that have passed through this high desert city in ages.
The 77th Annual Academy Awards
It's a red carpet race in high heels and Harry Winston jewelry. The prize at the end? A little naked gold guy holding a sword and the opportunity to enter a very exclusive club, the society of Academy Award winners. As always, this year's Oscar competition is filled with old favorites (Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese) nouvelle Hollywood royalty (Johnny Depp, Hilary Swank) and surprising dark horse contenders (Catalina Sandino Moreno, Imelda Staunton). Even before the envelopes are ripped and the statue owners announced on Sunday, there are a few clear winners and losers in this year's Academy Awards.
Best Motion Picture
* The Aviator (BAFTA, GG, LVFCS, PFCS) Odds: 1/1.6
Finding Neverland (NBR) 30/1
Million Dollar Baby (DFWFCA, KCFCC, NSFC, SFC) Odds: 1.8/1
Ray Odds: 8/1
Sideways (BSFC, BFCA, CFCA, FFCC, GG, GSA, LAFCA, NYFCC, SEFCA, SFFCC, TFCA, VFCC) Odds: 5/1
Achievement in Directing
* The Aviator, Martin Scorsese (BFCA, DFWFCA, KCFCC, LVFCS, PFCS) Odds: 1/2
Million Dollar Baby, Clint Eastwood (CFCA, DGA, GG, NYFCC, SDFCS, SFC, VFCC) 1/1
Ray, Taylor Hackford Odds: 20/1
Sideways, Alexander Payne (FFCC, LAFCA, SEFCA, SFFCC) Odds: 16/1
Vera Drake, Mike Leigh (BAFTA) Odds: 26/1
Petroglyph road extension headed to court
Call it déjà vu all over again. Or, it might sound like restating the obvious. But either way, the battle over extending Paseo del Norte through the Petroglyph National Monument is destined for litigation, again.
Who gives a shit? By now, it's a safe bet that everyone who drives or rides a bus in Albuquerque has seen the giant blue billboards around town asking, “Where's Larry?” and “Where's Dianne?” The advertisements refer to former KKOB AM morning host Larry Ahrens and decidedly prom-queen-esque, longtime local news anchor Dianne Anderson. The pair form the foundation of what is to become a new FM radio station here in Albuquerque, an addition to the American General Media roster, which includes Wild 106 FM and a handful of other stations no one listens to.
A former death row inmate fights to repeal the death penalty
After being released from the Santa Fe State Prison 30 years ago, Ron Keine vowed he would never set foot in this state again. But last week, Keine found himself back in New Mexico to face his old nightmare. This time, after being sentenced to die for a crime he did not commit, he is advocating against the death penalty and views New Mexico as fertile ground in the fight to do away with capital punishment.
Bill Swift takes on the soft drink industry
The final bill on the Senate Public Affairs Committee agenda on a snowy Friday afternoon early in the state Legislature a few weeks ago didn't sound like a humdinger. The crowds that had filled the cramped, overheated committee room earlier in the afternoon for debate on punchier topics had pretty well vacated the premises when the committee turned its attention to item number 14.
Dateline: Hungary—According to a report by the Hungarian Trades Union Federation, a supermarket chain has fired more than two dozen workers on the advice of a clairvoyant. Angry union bosses are demanding the staff be reinstated and say the bosses of the Penny Market chain were only looking for an excuse to cut staff. The report allegedly says that managers at the Penny Market took the personnel files of the employees to the clairvoyant and fired more than two dozen she psychically identified as thieves. The union says it is setting up special action groups to identify those who were psychically sacked.
The readers write.
We exhume our 1995 Hunter S. Thompson interview
Ten years ago, when the Alibi was called NuCity, then-Editor Alma García and former columnist and Personals Manager (not to mention longtime Hunter S. Thompson companion) Norma Jean Thompson (no relation) embarked on a whirlwind journey to spend several days with the father of "Gonzo" journalism, driving around his property at breakneck speed and attempting to interview him while clinging to their own lives.
Speaking of Molly Ringwald (were we speaking of Molly Ringwald?), I would like to go on record stating that I've never had a crush on the red-haired star of The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink. Not even in the darkest days of my zit-spangled, hormone-poisoned adolescence did I even have a secret, in-the-closet fixation on her.
Rot at the Tricklock Performance Space
Mary Shelley's life could have been lifted straight from the pages of a Gothic novel. Her father, the philosopher William Godwin, supposedly began teaching her to spell by having her trace the inscription on her dead mother's tombstone. At 16, she ran away to live with the poet Percy Shelley, who unfortunately was already married to someone else. Later, while staying with Shelley and Lord Byron in Switzerland, she conceived of Frankenstein, arguably the most famous horror novel in the history of literature. She was only 19 at the time.
Although this show began life back in 1993 as The Aesthetically Challenged Farmyard Foul in Newberry, England, producers soon realized they needed a catchier title. With this in mind, they changed the name of this musical based on Hans Christian Anderson's timeless fairytale "The Ugly Duckling" to Honk! A new version of the popular show is being staged starting this weekend at UNM's Theatre X. Honk! is suitable for everyone from aged swans to the youngest duckling, so bring the whole family. Opens Friday, Feb. 25. Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $10 general, $6 students. Runs through March 5. 925-5858.
Set in New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood during the height of Mayor Giuliani's gentrification of lower Manhattan, In Arabia, We'd All Be Kings follows the lives of several destitute characters who must come to terms with a rapidly changing world. Directed by Justin Lenderking, this gritty play by Stephen Adly Guirgis opens this weekend at SolArts. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. Runs through March 13. 244-0049.
The High Times Reader
The High Times Reader
Oscars Night—Alibi and Louie's Rock-N-Reels are proudly sponsoring the 13th Annual Acadamy Awards Benefit at the historic Lobo Theater in Nob Hill this Sunday beginning at 5 p.m. The purpose of the event is to raise awareness of and funds for P.A.W.S. (Pets Are Wonderful Support), a New Mexico AIDS Service program that provides supplemental pet food and veterinary care for companion animals of seriously ill people. Tickets are $20 for the event only ($5 off with student ID) or $50 for the event plus a three-course prix-fixé dinner at Zinc Bistro. The Oscars will be projected onto the Lobo's giant screen and there will be tons of movie-related doorprizes to be won. In addition, a silent auction in the theater's lobby will give attendees a chance to bid on items donated by local merchants. For dinner reservations and event info, call 232-7510.
“The 77th Annual Academy Awards” on ABC
Naysayers are already predicting that this year's Oscars will be among the lowest-rated in years. The main problem is being chalked up to a rather lackluster year in film. The top films this year are all pretty good, but almost none of them is knock-you-out fabulous. Sure, the Academy could have given us an epic battle between Jesus and Michael Moore, pitting The Passion of the Christ against Fahrenheit 9/11 in the Best Picture category, but nooooo.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
An interview with Golden Raspberry Awards founder John Wilson
The red carpet may be a little worn, the Harry Winston “diamonds” are glittering cubic zirconias and the dresses are off the rack. You'd never see an awards ceremony like this on television. But, then again, this is no ordinary awards ceremony.
Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2
Ben Affleck—Jersey Girl and Surviving Christmas
George W. Bush—Fahrenheit 9/11
Vin Diesel—Chronicles of Riddick
Ben Stiller—Along Came Polly, Anchorman, Dodgeball, Envy and Starsky & Hutch
Hilary Duff—Cinderella Story and Raise Your Voice
A reliable source has reported that local band Fivehundred (formerly Mr. Spectacular and three-fourths of Fatso, not to mention Smoothie) have thrown in the proverbial towel, unfortunately before making a record and without any official farewell show. Just another sad day in an endlessly long line of sad days. ... On a happier note, two local bands who remain active as of this writing appear to be getting better and better. Unit 7 Drain are back with a revamped lineup and a boatload of new songs they plan to record for forthcoming albums. They played two Saturday's ago at the Launchpad with Oktober People, who, presumably as part of their effort to spit-polish their set before heading to South By Southwest next month, sounded tighter and more majestic than usual, which is pretty fucking tight and majestic. ... Black Maria's Gordon Andersen made himself a special guest on Jim Villanucci's afternoon radio program last week on 770 KKOB AM, where the topic happened to be the giant new, $10,000-apeice concrete decorative pots that appeared early last week on the I-40 median just west of Carlisle. While most callers agreed that the artistic additions were pleasing, Andersen, true to form, went a step further, telling Villanucci and his listeners, “I'm pro-pot ... and I also like this public art.” Nothing like a little drive-time humor to quell the road rage.
with Albuquerque Blues Connection, Alex Maryol (Santa Fe only), The Easy Street Blues Band and Paul Brodsky Acoustics, and food by Powdrell's BBQ
Friday, Feb. 25; Willee's Blues Club (Santa Fe, 21 and over, 9 p.m.)/Saturday, Feb. 26; El Rey Theater (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Sometimes, it's difficult to be a brother. My own brother and I both know that from experience. But imagine being "little brother" to Buddy Guy, constantly overshadowed by your elder sibling's brilliance and status as a superstar. On the other hand, it doesn't necessarily hurt to be billed as "brother of Buddy Guy."
Former Albuquerquean Jenny Farrell could be country music's next hotshot
To say I grew up with Jenny Farrell wouldn't be altogether accurate. Indeed, we did attend the same elementary, junior and high schools (John Baker, Hoover and Eldorado), and resided in the same basic neighborhood. But, she's a few years younger than I, which makes her my brother's age. So he grew up with her, while I simply grew up in her presence. My good friend, Albuquerque Journal contributor and all-around punk-ass Kevin Hopper even managed to take her to prom. All that matters now, though, is that our fair city is about to be represented by the all-grown-up Ms. Farrell on the third season of USA Network's reality smash, "Nashville Star." And she's got what it takes to win big.
Even for a band whose trademark is its penchant for musical re-enactments of historical events and Victorian literary references, Picaresque is an amazing feat of unapologetic chamber pop so full of hooks the average indie drama queen could easily find him- or herself mortally jigged. Colin Meloy, The Decemberists' Arch Duke, has outdone even his usual borderline overdone lyrical self here, and the rest of his five-piece indie orchestra provide the perfect accompaniment to his archetypal exercises. This is as close as you'll get to musical theater sans shitty acting and with elaborate sets that create themselves in your mind.
Closing, closing, closing. What the hell is going on here? Mom 'n' pop restaurants are dropping like flies, while corporate joints squirm like maggots on every corner. I know I've been whining about this same thing for years, but things seem to have changed over the past few months, and it's happening faster and faster. Look, people, you control the future of this city. The potential for change is in your pocketbook. If you don't eat at McAppleSteakhouse, and do eat at Tippy's Taco Shack then you are helping to keep local dollars here, in the hands of your friends and neighbors. You're supporting local chefs, farmers and purveyors. It's like voting: Sometimes it seems pointless and sometimes you don't win, but if you don't do it, you always lose. In fact, think of the loss of one of your favorite little places next time you vote. Call your city councilor, mayor, or state legislator and ask what they're doing to help keep local restaurants alive. I mean, what more can I say? What has that multinational corporate feed lot on I-25 done for you lately? When was they last time you walked in to one of those places and got introduced to everyone in the neighborhood, given a lesson in red or green and made to feel welcome in a strange city?
Tony Nethery is moving to Miami, Fla., to take a job as Sous Chef at Douglas Rodriguez' new restaurant OLA Steak. Nethery had been chef at Monte Vista Fire Station until the end of last year, when he became partners with Johnny Orr in the cheese and sandwich shop Relish (Wyoming between Louisiana and Pennsylvania). Nethery will remain a silent partner in the business after he leaves, which he said will happen before the end of February. Yes, it does seem sudden, but Nethery told me the job was too good to pass up; he couldn't resist the opportunity to work with such a well-known chef (Rodriguez was also behind the popular restaurant Chicama in New York City). Plus, Nethery's wife Melina (who also happens to the be the younger sister of my former coworker Sergio Salvador) is pregnant with their first child, so if they were going to make a move, it would be best to do it before they start hatching chicks. Pastry chef Ted Nicely, who spent the past few years making desserts for Monte Vista and Ambrozia, will join Nethery at OLA Steak. I will cry myself to sleep tonight, knowing I've had the last of Nethery's pork and grits creations and Nicely's awesome ice creams. The city will be way less yummy without the three of them.
The oscar-nominated film captures what we love about wine
When I first heard about a wine movie coming out, I nearly wet my pants. I mean, introducing wine to the mainstream—the Hollywood mainstream—that's the kind of publicity wine really needs in order to penetrate the American psyche.
Rio Rancho transplant brings the flavah of Noo Yoyk to the Duke City
My New York “expat” friends have long been making pilgrimages to Venezia's Pizzeria in Rio Rancho for their New York style pizza fix. I'm happy to report that brothers Renato and Aldo Venturino have opened a sister store in the near Northeast Heights, so we don't have to commute as far for a pie.
Flying Star is set to open Downtown at Eighth Street and Silver on Monday, Feb. 28. This latest addition to the Flying Star and Satellite family of bakery/restaurants and coffee shops is located in a striking modern structure built in 1950 for Southern Union Gas, a precursor of PNM. The airy and open building with lots of stone, steel and walls of windows, was designed by the late John Gaw Meem, a famous New Mexico-based architect who was best known for his Southwestern style buildings, like UNM's Alumni Memorial Chapel. Flying Star owners Jean and Mark Bernstein worked with landlord Jay Rembe to get national historic status for the building.
Supporters and activists converge on Santa Fe for a celebration of Black history and culture in New Mexico
Richardson and Madrid oppose BLM drilling permits
When it comes to the Otero Mesa, folks involved in the struggle over oil and gas drilling permits seldom agree on what they define as need, and what they define as greed. Oil and gas companies, for instance, argue that drilling in the Otero Mesa would help to boost the local economy by bringing jobs and supplying additional funding to state education. But there are others, such as conservationists, ranchers and sportsmen, who say that the benefits of drilling on the vast section of Chihuahuan desert in south-central New Mexico have a cost—and it's more than we can afford.
The short, happy life of Jeff Gannon. Two weeks ago, "Thin Line" noted the shameful appearance of Jeff Gannon, Washington bureau chief for an outfit called Talon News, at President Bush's Jan. 26 press conference. While real reporters waited in vain, Gannon gained instant credibility when the president selected him.
City Council District 7 suffers economic hard knocks
Last week, I went looking for prairie dogs in City Councilor Sally Mayer's near-Northeast Heights district. I found lots of closed businesses instead.
Heather Wilson unveils her humanitarian side
For further proof that Congresswoman Heather Wilson must think her constituents will buy into every phony claim she doles out, just look to this warm and fuzzy offering in her Feb. 7 e-newsletter from Washington. Under the heading "Wilson statement about State of the Union address," our elected representative offers this single paragraph: "I thought the President gave a very strong speech. To me, the most powerful moment was not what was said, but something we saw. An Iraqi human rights activist, who is the daughter of a man murdered by Saddam Hussein, embraced the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq fighting for her freedom and the right to vote. It was a powerful visual reminder of what this is all about."
At the Feb. 7 meeting, Councilor Sally Mayer's bill funding five more animal control officers to staff the just-passed "dangerous dog" ordinance passed unanimously.
Dateline: Australia—A fire station in Sydney allegedly missed an emergency call because one of the crewmembers was off picking up a pizza in the station's fire truck. The New South Wales Fire Brigade has launched an inquiry into the incident at Maroubra fire station. After picking up the pizza, the fireman allegedly took some friends for a joyride. During the time the fire engine was away, the station received an emergency call and was unable to respond. Two other fire crews did manage to answer the call, but officials are still taking the incident quite seriously. “This is not a humorous situation,” warned state opposition emergency services spokesman Andrew Humpherson. “This was a fire truck and somebody could have died.”
School project on Juarez murders hits home
As a college student in the '60s I well-remember the frequent complaint we voiced that our education didn't seem "relevant." We wanted to be studying real life subject matter, not esoteric writings by a bunch of old white guys divorced from what was happening in the rapidly changing world swirling around us.
The readers write.
Have you been to Epicurious? If the answer is yes, pat yourself on the back, bask a moment in righteous glory and move along to “The Dish”. If the answer is, “What the hell is Epicurious, and will I need any vaccinations?” then it's about time you came out of the dark ages, my friend. Epicurious.com is a miraculous website run by the folks who publish Gourmet and Bon Appétit. It's an indispensable tool and I can't imagine living without it, but judging by the number of people who still ask me what to do with turnips, it's still not bookmarked on everyone's toolbar. Click on the search box and type in the ingredient that's loitering menacingly at the bottom of your fridge. Whether it's sorrel, goat cheese or beets, Epicurious will give you a long list of ideas for what to do with it. (In fact, type in all three and you'll find a fabulous-looking recipe for sorrel-wrapped goat cheese and beet stacks.) Next time you're standing there in the produce aisle, staring at the enoke mushrooms and thinking, “Hmm...” just throw them in the cart. Go home, tap tap tap and your guests are remarking on the genius of your wild mushroom and arugula crostini, or the delightful tang of your Thai shrimp curry. “I never knew what to do with those weird little mushrooms,” the guests will say. “Oh! There are tons of things you can do with them!”
It's called California Witches, but the only biddy on a broomstick here is the picture of a witch on the logo. Owner Jenny Marcus is the Korean-born chef at this month-old restaurant at 7202 Menaul NE. Marcus learned her trade in Korea before moving to California eight years ago. She decided to name her place in homage to a Korean restaurant she had admired, one that served sandwiches, and called them witches for short.
Mimi Sheraton's Eating My Words
"You think what you do is so nice?" asks Mimi Sheraton's mother in the first chapter of Sheraton's memoir, Eating My Words: An Appetite for Life (Morrow, hardcover, $23.95). "A man invests a lot of money and a builds a beautiful restaurant and has a family to support. He has customers and everything is fine, until one day, in walks Big Mouth."
No-pork clause doesn't keep Big John's from going whole hog
Barbecue is never an easy topic of discussion. Regional variations in the sauce ingredients or the cooking method, the type of wood used in the smoking, and even the style of the side dishes can cause a major food fight. Most comfort foods, especially barbecue, have roots that go deep into our family trees. We like it our way and that becomes the right way. I'll admit I'm very attached to my own homemade barbecue sauce and when it comes to potato salad, my mother's hallowed recipe sets the standard. So, I'm pleased to report that Albuquerque is graced with a new barbecue restaurant that serves sauce and potato salad that both pass muster, at least with me.
Angry Film—Self-proclaimed “angry filmmaker” Kelley Baker will be at the Guild Cinema on Thursday, Feb. 17, to screen his latest DV feature Kicking Bird. Baker has toured the country for the last two years conducting filmmaking workshops, screening his films, giving guest lectures and otherwise preaching the gospel of nonHollywood cinema. In addition to his own work, he's served as a sound designer on films like Good Will Hunting, To Die For, Far from Heaven and more. Kicking Bird tells the story of a 17-year-old white trash kid who finds his only escape in running and the manipulative high school track coach who sees a use for our foot-pounding protagonist. The screening starts at 9 p.m. Tickets are $6 for everyone.
Comic book gets graphic in devilish horror flick
Given the evidence at hand, there's no discernible reason why Constantine should do anything other than suck quietly in its own forgotten little corner of the cineplex. It's based on a comic book, a genre of filmmaking that occasionally gives us memorable entertainment such as Spider-Man, but is far more likely to result in brain-rotting eye-candy like Catwoman and Elektra. It's a horror movie coming out in the middle of one of the worst strings of horror flicks Hollywood has ever inflicted upon us (White Noise, Hide and Seek, Alone in the Dark, Boogeyman). Finally, it stars Keanu Reeves, an actor for whom I normally reserve my most clever insults.
The Mask is back, and, baby, is it silly!
Some films just beg for a sequel (Raiders of the Lost Ark, Godfather, Star Wars). I'm not so sure The Mask is one of those movies. Although it raked in $119 million at the box office, it didn't make a particularly lasting impression on our culture. When you think about it, what did the film really have going for it? It had Cameron Diaz looking cute. It had Jim Carrey acting wacky in green makeup. But can you even recall the story? I can't and I get paid for this kinda stuff. ... So, 11 years after the fact, it's a little odd to be confronted with Son of the Mask.
“Robot Chicken” on Cartoon Network
Apparently, actor Seth Green (star of the Austin Powers movies, among others) is a big toy collector. At some point in his life, he met up with Matthew Senreich, a writer for “ToyFare” magazine. The two became fast friends and, over the course of one drunken evening (I'm only guessing at this point), they came up with the concept for a particularly warped sketch comedy cartoon called “Robot Chicken.” The folks at Cartoon Network, being drunken weirdoes themselves (again, only speculating), snapped at the idea and are now airing the amusingly bizarre results in their Adult Swim block.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
In Burque-Native-Done-Good news, former Albuquerque resident and current Nashvillian Jenny Farrell will compete beginning Tuesday, March 1, for a record deal as a contestant on the third season of USA Network's reality TV series “Nashville Star.” The ultimate winner of this particular reality series is chosen exclusively by the television audience, so you know what you have to do, folks. Look for more on the story and an exclusive interview with Farrell in next week's Alibi. ... In Bad-for-You-Albquerque news, according to an Albuquerque Journal article that appeared last Saturday, Mayor Martin Chavez intends to draft an ordinance preventing all-ages shows from taking place at Downtown venues, specifically the Sunshine Theater and Launchpad. Citing recent violent incidents Downtown, Mayor Marty has somehow convinced himself that it's the kids causing the trouble while turning a blind eye to the actual source of trouble in the city's most engaging entertainment district. If the city is going to ban all ages shows at Downtown venues, then our government officials should follow their own precedent and outlaw alcohol sales from events such as Summerfest, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, The New Mexico State Fair, Isotopes baseball games, Scorpions hockey games, shows at Journal Pavilion and countless other events and locations where booze and kids mingle freely. At least the Sunshine and Launchpad shows separate the under-21 crowd from the over-21 set that choose to drink. Look for an Alibi feature coming soon.
Toad, with the likes of bands such as REM, fall into a category all their own. They really didn't fit into the alternative rock scene that dominated most of the '90s, yet I wouldn't classify them as adult contemporary. Toad possess a certain attractive quality that is hard to explain. Their analytical songs are comfort music for the cynic. However, their newest live effort is somewhat disappointing. They lack the charisma found in their earlier efforts, Fear and Dulcinea in particular. Toad's live performance is effortless in every sense of the word. The tired vocals and lack-luster music make this album one to forget.
Director Preston Mendenhall has brought one of sweet William Shakespeare's last and most obscure plays to the Adobe Theatre. Cymbeline mixes comedy, tragedy and romance into a fairytale-like story about a princess who marries a young man of whom her father, Cymbeline, does not approve. This act of disobedience sets in motion an intricate series of schemes, intrigues, battles and betrayals. Everyone except the villains live happily ever after. Cymbeline runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 2 p.m. $12 general, $10 students/seniors. 898-9222.
Fusion Theatre Company's A Lie of the Mind
This isn't the Montagues and the Capulets. It isn't even the Hatfields and the McCoys. The battle between two seriously screwed-up families in Sam Shephard's A Lie of the Mind is even darker and more deranged than either of those infamous feuds.
This month's Artscrawl gallery tour kicks off this Friday evening, Feb. 18, with a celebration of Route 66's historic neon signage at El Rey Theater (622 Central SW). This event will include a screening of the award-winning documentary Neon Road. From there, make your way to galleries on and around the Central Avenue corridor. There will be new shows at places like Sauce Liquid Lounge, SolArts, the New Fisher Gallery and the Mariposa Gallery. It all starts at 5 p.m. and runs 'til around 9 p.m. For details, call 244-0362 or log onto www.artscrawlabq.org.
Puccini's Golden West Saloon
This month's Poetry and Beer event at the Golden West Saloon (619 Central SW) hosts the Siren's Iris Poetry Tour on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 7:30 p.m. It's been said of Suzy La Follette that "she could spit a poem through a brick wall." Likewise, her partner in poetry, Andrea Gibson, brings some seething radical politics to her performances. They're both some of the best spoken word artists currently at work in America. Poetry freaks won't want to miss this one. $3. For more information, call 254-2285.
When Brenda Hollingsworth-Pickett was a little girl growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah she somehow got her hands on a miniature puppet theater. "It had little green curtains," she says, "with a jester in front." She isn't quite sure where the theater came from, but it quickly became the focus of her attention.
Alibi's Second Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest
Yes, as you might expect, lots of Alibi readers are cynics with icy hearts. (Actually, that description applies to most of the Alibi staff as well.) Even the iciest heart, though, would melt in the blazing oven of love that was our Second Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest.
New bike park proposal has gearheads giddy
Out on the north side of Avenida César Chávez and sandwiched between the Isotopes Stadium and the city tennis complex is a patch of land with potential. Or, to put it another way, it's a vacant lot comprised of rolling dirt piles and scattered chamisa that some day soon could be transformed into a world-class bicycle park.
Traffic calming measures rile some residents' nerves
Lately, in Four Hills every day is hump day.
If you commute from Four Hills you probably recognize this sound. It goes: "Whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump ... whump." That's not a bass line to gangsta rap, nor failing CV joints. It's the sound of passing over nine—count that, nine—traffic humps installed by the city in September at the entrance to Four Hills Village. Four Hills is the only community in Albuquerque, other than private gated communities, with just one way in and out. You take Four Hills Road off Central, then the road splits at the entrance to Four Hills Village. The right fork is Wagon Train Drive, with nine speed humps in six tenths of a mile. Double that for each roundtrip.
Proposed mine draws ire of local residents
Mountains are well known for harboring secrets—a snippet of folklore that Bill Henderson is well aware of, considering that he comes from a long line of mountain dwellers, six generations worth, to be exact. Henderson's tie to the San Pedro Mountains began when his great-grandfather settled in Golden, N.M., along the Turquoise Trail between Sandia Park and Madrid, as a coal miner in the late 1800s. He had a succession of sons, who, one by one, followed him into the mines; and who, like him, offered their lives over to the mountain.
Wilson abandons Bush's crusade
Here's a riddle for you: If you call someone who sees a crisis when there isn't one there, “Chicken Little,” and you call someone who yells about crises just to get attention, “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” what do you call someone who makes up a phony crisis while ignoring a real one biting his butt?
Dateline: Holland—A group of homeless people are having a little fun in the sun thanks to a faulty ATM. The homeless people were given special state social security cash cards which allow them to take out up to $150 at a time. But a computer glitch at a Fortis Bank cash machine in Rotterdam allowed them to withdraw an unrestricted amount of money, the newspaper de Volkskrant reported. Amounts ranging from $450 to nearly $20,000 ended up being taken out by a group of at least 20 homeless people, and police believe that many of the people involved have gone on vacation with the money. An official with the Pauluskerk homeless shelter in Rotterdam said, “Those who took out large amounts of money have probably left the country and are sunning themselves on a beach in Spain.” More than $100,000 is missing from the Fortis Bank.
The readers write.
The folks that brought you New Mexico Books and More—a temporary Cottonwood Mall coop that sold local books during last year's holiday season—are planning a giant book fair at the mall on Saturday, May 7. The event will occur from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the day before Mother's Day, traditionally a packed shopping day at the mall.
A Trio of Alternative Valentine's Day Celebrations
Dreading the yearly barrage of weenie Hallmark sentiments? Concerned about the pit of romantic loathing welling up in your intestines? Feeling like your skin is covered in a mucous-like layer of treacle? Have no fear, dear Alibi readers. Innovative romantics around Albuquerque have devised several clever alternatives to the clichéd red roses and chocolate Valentine tradition of yesteryear.
Tricklock Performance Space
Juli Etheridge's outrageous one-woman monster comedy, Rot, opens this weekend at the Tricklock Performance Space. Directed by fellow Tricklockers Byron Laurie and Elsa Menendez, Etheridge plays 10 different characters in a theatrical story that combines love, horror and plenty of pee-in-your-pants giggling. The show opens with a catered gala this Friday, Feb. 11, and runs through Feb. 27. Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Sundays at 6 p.m. $12 general, $9 students/seniors. 254-8393.
The Fusion Theatre Company opens its 2005 season with a new production of Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind at the Cell Theatre (700 First Street NW). Directed by Jacqueline Reed, this alcohol-drenched tale about two intertwined families stars some fine local talent and should be well worth the price of admission. Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at 2 p.m. $22 general, $17 students/seniors. The Feb. 10 opening features a reception beginning at 7 p.m. with curtain at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays (excluding opening) feature a $10 student rush and a $15 actor rush. Runs through March 6. 766-9412.
An interview with Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Carlos Ruiz Zafón's novel The Shadow of the Wind (Penguin, paper, $15) will feel hauntingly familiar to anyone who's ever fallen in love with a book. Published in Spain in 2001, Zafón's novel has sold two million copies and been translated into almost 40 languages. In the process, the author—a former screenwriter born and raised in Barcelona, Spain—has unwittingly developed an almost cult-like following. It isn't hard to see why. The Shadow of the Wind is the kind of book its followers carry around with them wherever they go, giving away copies to strangers in the street in the same way aspiring preachers might give away copies of the New Testament.
Cast Me!—Warner Brothers is combing our fair state for extras and stand-ins for its new drama (formerly titled Class Action) starring Charlize Theron, Sissy Spacek, Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sean Bean. The film, directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), will be filmed in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and Las Vegas from March 21 to April 29. Casting will take place on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Garson Studios/Stage A on the College of Santa Fe campus (1600 St. Michael's Drive). Casting directors are looking for Anglo males and females ages 18-60. Photos and resumes are welcome. Remember me when you make it big.
Smith-fueled romantic comedy balances charisma, clichés
Years ago, Will Smith was crowned the King of July 4th. A proven box office heavyweight since the days of Independence Day, Smith has all but owned the summer cineplexes over the crucial 4th of July weekend. Last summer's Smith vehicle, I, Robot, managed to turn a profit; but it was hardly the runaway hit the studio was expecting. In the wake of that multimillion dollar stumble, fans might find themselves a tad concerned that 2005's Will Smith offering, Hitch, is steering far clear of the summer blockbuster season, opening up in the midst of the late-winter, pre-Oscar doldrums. Has the Fresh Prince lost his mojo?
The uninteresting aftermath of Super Bowl XXXIX
Well, it was a clean and wholesome Super Bowl, I'll concede that point, but it certainly wasn't the most exciting of “Idiot Box” events. After a year of controversy and outrage over farting horses, Viagra commercials and Janet Jackson's infamous nipple ring, Super Bowl XXXIX arrived with as much skunk-eyed government scrutiny as you can get without being a Iraqi tourist with a one-way ticket to Washington, D.C., and a ticking carry-on.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
Cheesy sword and sorcery sequel takes us back to the '80s
Deathstalker II (1986)
Alright, I'll admit it—I was one of those dorks who wasted countless hours of my childhood playing Dungeons and Dragons with my fellow nerds. It didn't take long for my obsession with all things fantasy to explode into a geeky gumbo of action figures, novels, T-shirts and movies. In fact, it was a self-declared quest to see every damn fantasy film ever made which led to my renting a video called Deathstalker one fateful Friday night--and the results were less than satisfying.
You see, Deathstalker was nothing more than a half-assed attempt to copy the success of the far superior Conan the Barbarian, directed by John Milius. The budget was sparse, the acting was nonexistent, and the action looked like it had been choreographed by two drunks trying to poke each other in the eyes with sticks. The film was quickly swept away into the dustbin of my mind.
Wanna rock in the movies? Kathy Brink Casting is looking for a “white pop/rock/R&B band” for a Warner Bros. movie scheduled to be shot in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area between March 21 and April 29. The flick is rumored to star Charlize Theron, among other Hollywood bigwigs. Interested? Shoot me an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do not call me. And no, I'm not the one who narrowed the search down to white bands only. ... Congratulations to the Oktober People, who are the only local band so far to have been officially invited to showcase at this year's South By Southwest Music Conference (according to the SXSW website, anyway) in Austin next month. Our fingers are crossed for the rest of you who submitted entries. ... In rock-u-mentary news, filmmaker Rob Nakai has finished a DVD documentary on local band Fast Heart Mart, which includes live footage, interviews and photos of the band assembled over the past five years of their existence. You can order your very own copy for a paltry 10 bucks at www.kronikindustries.com. A new CD from the band is due sometime next month. Visit http://www.myspace.com/fastheartmart for updates.
American Music Club
Peter Rowan and Tony Rice tour in support of their first full-fledged album as a duo
Though they've spent plenty of time on the road together over the years, Americana icons Peter Rowan and Tony Rice had never made a full album together until late last year, when they entered the studio together with Billy and Bryn Bright on mandolin and double bass respectively to record You Were There for Me (Rounder). It's an album that begs the question, “What took you guys so long?” Indeed, the pairing seems as natural as Lennon and McCartney, Simon and Garfunkel, Flatt and Skruggs, peanut butter and chocolate.
with Cathie Ryan
Saturday, Feb. 12; South Broadway Cultural Center (all ages, 7 p.m.): Traditional Irish music continues to gather steam here in the United States. And, in large part, it's due to the near-constant emergence of high quality solo performers and groups. Add Téada (pronounced tay-da) to the latter list. The quintet have released a pair of remarkable albums on Green Linnet since forming in 2001, but they began serious and international touring only recently.
Barcelona's Ojos de Brujo's international debut, Bari, very nearly made my 2004 Top 20 list. This EP, featuring six remixed tracks from said record, probably won't make the 2005 list, but it's still a worthy, eclectic adventure through rumba catalana dressed as coked-up club music for steely eyed corporate sluts who like to cut loose after-hours. Almost all of the sincerity and traditional feel that made Bari so accessible has been effectively torched off by breakbeats and trippy loops, but Remezclas ... still manages to sound exotic and ready-made for the next Matrix-like film Hollywood is bound to churn out momentarily.
Valentine's Day is approaching and I'm charged with writing about all of the delightful dinners restaurants have planned to lure lovers. But all I can think about is Matt Brewer, who died last week, and how he once told me he hated to have Café Bodega open on a holiday. “Amateur night,” he grumbled over the phone, and I laughed. I could picture him shaking his head as he half-heartedly groused about all the unfamiliar faces filing into local restaurants on Valentine's, New Year's, Mother's Day. By amateurs, he meant people who don't usually eat at restaurants like his. They always wanted substitutions, the chef groused, and didn't tip well, which pissed off the wait staff. No, all in all it was a pain and he preferred not to do it. I think Brewer just got a lot of satisfaction from cooking for his regulars, the devoted folks who had followed him to Bodega from Café de las Placitas. This year he had planned on serving on Valentine's Day, even though it fell on a Monday, when the restaurant would normally be closed. He just wasn't going to advertise it, in hopes that the dining room would fill up with regulars.
Happy Chinese New Year! It's the year of the cock and I, for one, have decided it's high time we all started taking the Chinese zodiac a little more seriously. So forget Valentine's Day—I'll be eating kung pao chicken all weekend long, and I suggest you do the same. May you all have wealth and prosper.
Albuquerque lost one of its best chefs last week with the untimely death of Matt Brewer, owner of Café Bodega (4243 Montgomery NE). Matt grew up in Farmington, and used to joke that he was headed for a career as a professional bowler until he discovered food. After several years at various restaurant jobs in Albuquerque, where he worked his way up to become chef at Café Oceana, Scalo and Prairie Star, Brewer migrated west. After graduating from the California Culinary Institute, he was mentored by Chef Cory Schreibner at San Francisco's Cypress Club. Schreibner introduced him to the rigors of California's nouvelle cuisine, a movement which combined the freshest possible local produce and proteins with international ingredients, in uncommon combinations.
Nothing warms up a cold winter evening like a nice hot sausage
Every time we'd drive up to my grandparents' farm, my folks would make a point of stopping at Moore's general store. If you're picturing something out of a Country Time lemonade commercial, you've got just the right idea. It was a dusty old clapboard building, with squeaky floor boards, a slamming screen door and one of those big old Coca-Cola coolers with tall bottles and real ice inside. In the back, of the store, Mr. Moore could be found behind a big, white enameled meat case, with a motor that purred as softly as a diesel tractor. Mr. Moore made sausage, sweet (meaning mild) and hot Italian. We chose sweet, and bought enough for dinner at the farm, plus a few extra links to take back to the city with us. It was good stuff.