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 Best and Worst of 2005
Lord knows we all love a good story, and Albuquerque is full of them. From political skullduggery to progressive development to social activism and poetic glory, we're up to our elbows in tantalizing tales. If you haven't been paying attention, or if your memory's starting to go with age, don't fear: the Best and Worst of 2005 is here.
The non-native salt cedar is a plague on many waterways in the U.S., but over the past few years in Albuquerque, with a little money, time and effort, the reign of salt cedars could be coming to an end
“Salt cedar” is a term most Albuquerqueans have heard before. Also known as “tamarisk,” the plant came to the U.S. in the early 1800's as an ornamental shrub, but by the '50s had overtaken many waterways throughout the West, including our own local Bosque.
Political changes coming in 2006?
Thinking about next November's election this early is as shameless as those cheesy Christmas decorations that go up at the mall every October. But 2006 is a big election year for our city, state and nation. So here's a call to voters to put your good citizen caps on and start thinking about the upcoming elections, even as you recover from your holiday shopping/eating binge.
Eighty crimes, from murder to shoplifting, are included in an amendment introduced by City Council member Craig Loy. Loy feels the current wide-ranging Nuisance Abatement Ordinance needs more teeth. Promoted as a necessary measure to control nuisance properties such as large apartment complexes and places like the Blue Spruce Lounge, the amendment actually includes all real property, both commercial and residential, plus personal property and vehicles.
My track record with keeping New Year's resolutions has been decidedly lame in recent years—viz., my vocabulary continues to demonstrate a propensity for scatology and obscenity; my addiction to television sports remains un-remediated and my vows to begin each morning with 15 minutes of quiet reflection hold sway until, oh, sometime right before Three Kings Day on Jan. 6. So this year, I've decided to abandon resolutions and instead attempt a series of predictions about improbable but very desirable revolutions I think will occur in the upcoming year.
The readers write.
Dateline: New Zealand—According to police reports, some 40 drunken Santa Claus clones rampaged through the streets of Central Auckland last Sunday, stealing from stores and assaulting security guards. The New Zealand Herald reported that the event was designed as a protest against the commercialism of Christmas. Police said some of the red-clad Santas threw beer bottles, one jolly old elf tried to climb the mooring of a cruise ship and a security guard was punched during the fracas. One of the bearded troublemakers allegedly attacked a Christmas tree. “They came in, said ’Merry Christmas' and then helped themselves,” convenience store staff member Changa Manakynda told the Herald. The event's organizer, Alex Dyer, said the event would end only when someone was arrested. The mass protest was linked to the online site www.santarchy.com, which records similar events going back 12 years. Police said attempts at identifying the criminals led to some confusion. “With a number of people dressed in the same outfit, it was difficult for any witnesses to confirm the identity of who was doing what,” Senior Sergeant Matt Rogers told Reuters News Service.
Tarantino Two-Step—Quentin Tarantino is planning on releasing his long promised single-film cut of Kill Bill. Tarantino said he spent so much time working on the two-part film that he wanted to take a year off from it. Starting early next year, though, Tarantino will begin editing the two films, Kill Bill: Volume 1 and Kill Bill: Volume 2, into one epic saga. The mega-version is expected to differ in several respects from the original releases and will hit theaters sometime late in 2006. A special DVD version, featuring plenty of supplementary material, will come out shortly after. ... Of course, this is all on top of directing duties for the horror anthology Grindhouse, which Tarantino is splitting with pal Robert Rodriguez. Grindhouse is expected to begin official filming sometime in January.
Stale remake of '70s comedy knows the fine art of ripping people off
To remake or not to remake: That is the Hollywood question. ... Although, considering the number of remakes clogging cineplex marquees this year, it's probably a moot question. The more apt question, I suppose, is what to remake? Logic dictates that remake-hungry movie executives should probably stay away from classic, already perfected films with which audiences are intimately familiar. Except that Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong was one of the best films of 2005. By a similar token, little-known, cleverly conceived but poorly executed films are probably perfect for remaking. Except that the brand new update of 1977's little-known, cleverly conceived but poorly executed Fun With Dick and Jane isn't really much fun at all.
Well-crafted slasher flick misses the heart, but gets the guts, at least
You've got to give freshman filmmaker Greg McLean all the credit in the world for trying to make a good horror movie. As it stands, the year 2005 will go down in history as producing some of the worst horror movies since the dawn of the drive-in era. Amid the 2005 tangle of White Noise, Alone in the Dark, House of Wax, Cry_Wolf, The Fog and countless others, McLean's lean, mean Aussie import Wolf Creek stands as an impressive achievement. It is genuinely shocking, impressively acted and McLean proves he knows his way around a camera right out of the gate. ... Which is why it's such a crying shame Wolf Creek is saddled with a totally generic Texas Chainsaw Massacre ripoff script.
Ledger, Gyllenhaal reach new heights with heartfelt drama
Brokeback Mountain, the much-buzzed-about new drama/romance, makes a powerful and timely statement. No matter how often some in society try to marginalize, denigrate or “amend” away the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community, love will always exist--whether it's between people of the opposite sex or people of the same sex, whether in rural or urban America. Brokeback Mountain isn't a “gay cowboy” story, as some in the media and pop culture have tried to portray it--it's an American love story, plain and simple.
New Year's Eve around the dial
There are plenty of good reasons to watch TV on New Year's Eve--not the least of which is it's the only way to settle arguments over whose watch has the correct time. If you don't use the Idiot Box as tiebreaker, you'll have people shouting “Happy New Year” at a dozen different intervals.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
Born in New Mexico, Based in Austin—Rock 'n' rollers The Dirty Hearts may not live in New Mexico any more, but that doesn't mean they can't come back for a visit every now and again. The Dirty Hearts are originally from Española (Low Rider Capital of the Free World!), where they joined forces after each member's former bands "either got jobs or pregnant" roundabouts of 2002. They've since moved on to the exponentially more fertile musical pastures of Austin, Texas, but they'll be coming back New Mexico-way on Friday, Dec. 30. Too bad the gig's in Santa Fe. Regardless, this band is worth the drive. They'll play at the Second Street Brewery (1814 Second Street, Santa Fe) sometime after 9 p.m., along with singer-songwriters Calida and Billy Bartley. Don't let the odd booking shake you—just check them out at www.myspace.com/thedirtyhearts. And note to The Dirty Hearts: Next time, come to Albuquerque instead.
The reigning king of the eargasm gives us one more spin before a self-imposed hiatus
You'd be hard-pressed to find a local DJ with a musical taste as all-embracing as DJ Lowkey. After spinning for 20 years, nine of them spent in Albuquerque and five as the house DJ at Raw, Lowkey (aka Philip C. Pino) will get a chance to get back to his eclectic roots at Gulp on New Year's Eve, before taking a breather from the DJ biz.
Tuesday, Jan. 3; Launchpad (21-and-over), $15: The hardest working man in Punkabilly, The Reverend Horton Heat, is making his annual appearance in Albuquerque, and he's out to prove that, as far as grimy boot-stompin' licks that you can booze to go, they don't come any better than the Rev's. 2004's Revival is a blistering reminder of the Reverend's roots and commitment to his live, loud-ass show. The album comes complete with some new licks, including a mystery track that, although its name remains unknown to the Reverend's loyal listeners, is sure to kick you in the teeth with a steel-stringed size 12.
... And that's before the "special goat dance" competition. Have a New Year's Eve bash to remember through pieced-together accounts of what your friends tell you later with Black Maria, Unit 7 Drain and Sin Serenade. It's free, over-21 and at Burt's Tiki Lounge. Balls! (LM)
Meet Midget Mogul Productions, a mighty little music promotion team headed by a man named Peter Martin. Peter is the guy who coordinated the first successful Nob Hill bar crawl this past October, uniting every bar and restaurant in the "Haunted Hill" neighborhood under a progressive circuit with live music at each stop along the way. Peter hopes to continue that momentum at this weekend's Nob Hill New Year's Eve Crawl (see "Lucky 7" for details).
Fast Heart Mart's Martin Stamper marches to the beat of a different mutant
Little did you know that Martin Stamper, half the guts behind enigmatic acoustic duo Fast Heart Mart, is the reluctant parent of his own record label, which will be on display at the New Year's Eve Mutant Mariachi showcase at the Blue Dragon. Bet you didn't know he has a pacemaker, either.
Reviews of new music releases.
Spot of Tea—John Cacciatore, owner of Dartmouth Street Gallery, takes tea-time seriously. Recently, at his home just west of Downtown, I sat down with him at a table specially designed for serving tea. He let me sniff a beaker full of oolong that he got on a recent trip to Asia, informing me that it's quite possibly the best tea to be had anywhere in Albuquerque.
Picasso to Plensa at the Albuquerque Museum
It's been a long, strange trip through time and across space, but the journey is almost over. In April of this year, the Albuquerque Museum unveiled its swanky, expanded new digs with the first in a trio of exhibits designed to dig deep into the history of Spanish art. This project was both ambitious and expensive, especially for a city Albuquerque's size, but city leaders and museum administrators put a lot of muscle into it because these exhibits are the crowning element of Albuquerque's Tricentennial celebration, a testament to the inestimable role Spanish culture has played in the history of our fine city.
Queens Reigns Supreme: Fat Cat, 50 Cent, and the Rise of the Hip-Hop Hustler
Best and Worst Brands for Equality—I'm all excited because the Human Rights Campaign (you know, the nonprofit responsible for those ubiquitous square blue and yellow "="stickers) just came out with a new consumer buying guide geared towards the GLBT community. It's called Buying for Equality: A Guide to Companies and Products That Support Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Equality. The information for rating companies listed in the guide comes from the HRC's 2005 Corporate Equality Index, which researched policies and procedures that affect employees at Fortune 500 and Forbes 200 companies. (Companies with less than 500 employees were not included in the research.)
Quiche and cassoulet: Have a bite to eat, s'il vous plâit?
There's plenty to love about the French—the food, the wine ... Gerard Depardieu. (Hey, what would '80s comedy have been like without him?) And, of course, there are the beautiful, lilting refrains of a shared conversation en français over a café au lait and a nice plate of crêpes Suzette. The next time you dine out in a snazzy French place, try a few of your own: "Vous avez de la ciboulette sur votre dent" (You have a chive stuck on your tooth), or maybe "Est-ce que vous êtes ivre?" (Are you drunk?)
Shun friends and alienate people with your own Asshole's Tea Party
The "Teddy Bear's Picnic" is a song they teach kids at daycare. I don't really even know if it's a song, to tell you the truth. It might be a card game. All I know is that bears are dangerous.
Just as its name implies, The Spicy Food Lover's Bible should be kept as a pantry staple for hot-heads, filed right alongside the garam masala, hot sauce and red chile flakes. "Pope of Peppers" Dave Dewitt (editor of Fiery Foods & BBQ magazine) and expert partner-in-peppers Nacy Gerlach investigate the hot stuff from every angle, penning a hardbound school of spice that delves into the science, history, geography, nutrition and flavors of piquant foods everywhere. The Bible's collection of recipes is extensive and takes its inspiration from virtually every heat-seeking place on the planet.
The Alibi's New Year's Guide
The end is upon us, but it's not here yet. The wrapping paper is still piled on the floor, and there's enough turkey in the freezer to feed a family of six for weeks. It's been a stressful year, topped with a maddening holiday season, but, finally, 2005 is on its last legs.
A reference guide
Once the partying is done and the hangovers cured, the guilt starts to set in. The daunting realization that it's the beginning of another year—a year you promised to make better than the last. To make this compact, clip-out New Year's Resolutions Guide as productive as possible, here's a bit of preliminary advice.
1) Your resolution should be something you have control over. Don't resolve to win the lottery. That's a wish, not a resolution.
2) Tell yourself you can accomplish your goal. It may sound silly, but part of doing something is believing you can do it.
3) Don't be afraid to ask for help. You are not alone in your battle. Find support groups, talk to your loved ones and seek out others with the same goals.
All right, here's a random, obviously incomplete list of organizations you might consider contacting to help make 2006 a successful new year.
New Mexico Sports and Wellness
Designer Bodies Personal Training and Nutrition Management
Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute (TVI)
Yamaha Music School
24-Hour Addictions Referral Network
LovinSpoonfuls: A Cooking School
Financial Freedom of New Mexico, Inc.
Arthur Murray School of Dancing
Albuquerque School of Fine Arts
Kays All Swim School
Career Enrichment Center
Numbers you need to know to get your sorry butt home and out of trouble
Albuquerque Cab Co.
Yellow Cab Co.
A Fantasy Limousine
Downtown Action Team
AAA Bail Bonds
Your antidote to a dull New Year's Eve
Party games are fun for moderately sized groups, and are a good way to integrate and transform regular old drinking, eating, conversation and funny hats into end-of-the-year entertainment. Most of these games are—or are derived from—old parlor games and were attained from my new favorite website, wikipedia.org (thanks, wikipedia!). Happy New Year and watch out for falling ammunition.
Redevelopment in Nob Hill takes off, and ticks off some area residents
Nob Hill is waiting for something spectacular. Already one of Albuquerque's favorite shopping destination points (and many people's favorite living destination points), the corridor seems destined for bigger things. Like playing host to a light rail system that the city aims to plop down in coming years, or moving forward with more infill development, higher walkability and, therefore, more pedestrian traffic. In fact, running neck-and-neck only against East Downtown (EDo), Nob Hill has a chance to be the premiere location for new urbanism in the state. And it may all begin with The Place.
A special Council meeting on Dec. 12 provided a public forum on the city's All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan. The plan addresses wars, floods, earthquakes, fires, hazardous materials, infrastructure damage, civil disturbances, epidemics, energy shortages, major plane crashes, terrorism, severe snowstorms, water shortages, bus and train accidents, tornadoes and landslides. But all the public wanted to talk about was radioactive threats. Councilors Debbie O'Malley and Brad Winter were excused.
I swear, sometimes the Republicans are just too clever for their own good. Karl Rove, the brain behind the Bush White House, has built an enviable record as a successful strategist largely on his talent for capturing in just a few words the conventional wisdom about a person or situation.
Dateline: Germany—If you're looking for the holiday spirit, Germany may not be the place to find it. A department store Santa on his way home from work was beaten by stressed-out shoppers in Wiesbaden. Stefan Stettler, 31, was still in character and chatting with other passengers while waiting for his train home. Police say two men, apparently stressed after a full day's Christmas shopping, went ballistic when asked to “tell Santa what they want for Christmas.” The men took Stettler's sack of presents and beat him over the head with it. Stettler broke several fingers trying to protect himself. “Around this time of year, shoppers seem to get this glint in their eyes and you can just see they are going to go off any minute,” Stettler said. “I should have known better. But, come on, who beats up Santa Claus?” Police are still searching for the unknown assailants.
The readers write.
Old Stuff—The annual Santa Fe Winter Antiquities Show is a holiday tradition 'round these parts. This year it's moving to El Museo Cultural (1615 Paseo de Peralta, in the railyard). As always, expect a wide range of the finest antiques from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas—from books to paintings to jewelry to furniture. A gala preview on Wednesday, Dec. 28, from 6 to 9 p.m. will benefit Kitchen Angels, a charity providing home-meals to homebound members of the Santa Fe community. The gala is $50 per person, which includes cocktails and canapés along with entrance to the show for the remainder of the weekend. The actual event runs from Thursday, Dec. 29, through Saturday, Dec. 31. Admission is $10 per person, with three-day passes available for $15. Kids under 17 are free. For details, go to www.antiquities-shows.com.
Wall Scrawl at the Downtown Contemporary Art Center
It's often said that Albuquerque is a giant small town—and there's something to that statement. Yes, we've got a population of over half a million people, but the number of folks who actually venture into public on a regular basis seems fairly small. Most of us spend much of our time stuck in our cars, our offices, our living rooms.
Tricklock Performance Space
Whether you've been naughty or nice, the Pajama Men will give you a little somethin' for Christmas. A Dirty Thursday improv show! Will they break out some red and green, reindeer-print jammies? Will Santa ride in on a drunken hippopotamus? Are aliens secretly hoarding all the mistletoe in Kansas? Anything is possible with these boys when the scripts are nonexistent and their wits are put to the test. The merriment starts at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 22, at the Tricklock Performance Space (118 Washington SE). Tickets are $10, and can be purchased at the door or by calling 254-8393.
The Worst Noel
An interview with Frank McCourt
Frank McCourt might be smiling these days, but the darkness within keeps leaking out. After publishing two best-selling memoirs about growing up poor in Ireland and moving to America, McCourt has just issued a third, Teacher Man, which chronicles the three decades he spent as an instructor in New York City schools. I recently had an opportunity to discuss with the 75-year-old Pulitzer Prize winner why teaching—not writing—was his salvation.
The Chronicles Continue—No big surprise here, but after the large opening of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Disney is rushing ahead with a sequel. Disney was hoping for a $60 million opening weekend, and wound up with even more than that. Plans for a Harry Potter-sized franchise are all but assured. (Just like Harry Potter, the Narnia books have seven volumes.) Seems that Disney is hoping to get The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian into theaters by December 2007.
Arresting visual fantasy creates a nice place to visit, but you might not want to live there
For true fans, Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman, the minds behind the new fantasy film Mirrormask, need no introduction. For those who haven't followed the comic book industry for the last couple decades, Gaiman is the award-winning writer of the groundbreaking fantasy series Sandman. McKean is his longtime collaborator, the creator behind most of the elaborate cover art that graced the Sandman series over its long life. If, by chance, you've never read the Sandman series, I suggest you go out right now and purchase each and every issue.
turned- musical- turned- movie- musical fails to produce solid entertainment
The Producers began life as a film by Mel Brooks. Shortly after Hairspray (a film by John Waters) became a big hit as a Broadway musical, The Producers was tapped as the next movie-to-stage surefire smash (proving that Hollywood isn't the only industry incapable of coming up with original ideas). The odd twist in the tale comes now that The Producers has been made back into a movie.
Christmas Day around the dial
Whether you're searching for something to pass the time while the coffee percolates and the kids wake up, or if you're just in the mood for some vegetative, post-present-opening entertainment, this year's Christmas Day television roster is filled with appropriate holiday treats.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
All-Ages Dance Party!—Snugfit Social Club will host its first all-ages DJ night at the Cell Theatre (First Street, just south of Lomas) this Friday, Dec. 23. The monthly indie/electro/disco/nuwave dance party will, as usual, be hosted by DJs Paul and Will, and will unusually also feature longtime Shack Up DJ from Denver Tim Garvey, plus other talents from the Albuquerque scene. They've got their hands full with two big rooms to fill, and this party won't stop until 3 in the morning. And did I mention it's all-ages? $5 gets you in, and "you can dance as insanely as you'd like," say the Snugfit boyz.
with DJs Eldon, Justin Roberts, Zaid and Carlos Zentella
Thursday, Dec. 22, 10 p.m.; Martini Grille (21-and-over), $5: As I entered Miles Maeda's website (milesmaeda.com) my computer's mouse immediately went into spinning-colorful-disk mode, which indicates that my computer needs a breather before it can allow me to click out of, into or do pretty much anything. This has happened many-a-time, especially when visiting band websites, and it usually results in my looking around pensively to see how annoyed my fellow Alibi pals have become from the blisteringly loud and obnoxious music that has taken over my computer and caused it to fall into paralysis. This time, however, my computer's ineptitude was not worrisome at all because the music flowing forth was up-tempo without being obtrusive. Maeda's opening web-track "So Hot" is a song that you can sip your drink to without getting a splitting headache from an inundation of noise pollution. Maeda, who is believed by many to be the major source behind Chicago's mushroom-jazz scene, has created electronica for the reasonably laid back. Although his songs are pretty different from one another, Maeda tends to find a groove and stick with it; pulling from genres as diverse as acid jazz, house, funk and R&B. Albuquerque's over-21 crowd can see the Hawaii native along with local act DJ Eldon at the Martini Grille. Fans of hip but unpretentious DJs should take note.
'Tis A Nightmare Before Xmas, an all-ages very merry metal show featuring Caustic Lye, Manias, Greenthroat, Cadaveric Engorgement and Torture Victim on Thursday, Dec. 22, at the Launchpad. Doors open at 7 p.m. Santa says, "Throw them horns high!" (LM)
with Felonious Groove Foundation, DJ Chach and secret guests
Friday, Dec. 23, 8 p.m.; Moonlight Lounge (21-and-over), free (donations of food and clothing greatly appreciated): Grab the funkiest retro sweater you can find and head out to the Moonlight Lounge for the freshest holiday party in the Duke City. The Dish and Don Mickey Designs are putting on a holiday party/fundraiser with donations benefiting the Salvation Army. What'sthedish.com's Kevin Hopper says party attendees can donate their old-school attire while cutting-a-rug to Felonious Groove, DJ Chach and a special mystery band.
Metal success never tasted so good
In less than a year and a half, The Ground Beneath has earned a full-page spread in the Albuquerque Journal, partied with hardcore metal gurus Seven Dust and recorded their first full-length LP with Grammy-nominated producer Tim Scroh at Step Bridge Studios in Santa Fe. I'd be lying if I said these twenty-somethings weren't residents of "Talent City," but, putting that aside, what, pray tell, is their secret to supercharged metal success? "Hard work pays off, I guess," Steve Civerolo, lead singer and guitarist for TGB aw-shucksily explains. "There's always naysayers. When we started, emo and sideways haircuts were big and what we were doing was the opposite of that and it wasn't well-received, but you keep rolling."
Old and new favorites for the New Year
While any compilation from MTV's "The Grind" will suffice, here are some more suggestions for your New Year's Eve party. The songs are in rough chronological order from the beginning of the evening to cleaning up at the end of the night.
Reviews of new music releases.
Don't drop the ball—make your reservation today
Remember when you partied like it was 1999? Well, how about making this New Year's Eve less about chugging peppermint schnapps, and more about having an elegant, grown-up dinner and a midnight toast with a n-i-i-ice flute of bubbly? Our ever-eating city is host to a bountiful bevy of multiple-course supper parties at some of the best spots in town, and for a few extra clams you can wine, dine and feel fine, all without swabbing the bathroom floor the morning after. Here's a list of the happening places to get your attention and your leftover holiday bread.
Glamour-puss libations to ring in the new year—under budget
The potential sale of Westland Development has spurred a battle, and the cries of protest are getting louder
James Aranda and Jaime Chavez are looking out over the West Mesa, on land that runs through their blood like the Rio Grande runs through Albuquerque. They are standing on Atrisco land, pointing out the boundaries of their heritage—the east bank of the Rio Puerco, the west bank of the Rio Grande, Pajarito Road on the south and St. Joseph Drive by St. Pius High School on the north. I smile when I realize what 82,000 acres means.
The county clerk's recent decision on voting machines provokes debate among area residents
Some concerned citizens waited with bated breath last week as the state's 33 county clerks made decisions that will impact many election processes to come. On Monday, Dec. 5, the officials were obligated to select one of three Help America Vote Act (HAVA) compliant voting machines for the disabled. HAVA, which was signed into law in October 2003, provides federal money for voter database systems, poll worker training, voter education (such as TV commercials) as well as enough funds for one American Disability Act compliant voting machine per polling place.
And so it begins. The first meeting of the 17th Council got off to a late start as a full house shuffled about with handshakes, welcomes and words of congratulation. First-time Councilors Ken Sanchez (District 1, replacing Miguel Gómez), Isaac Benton (District 3, replacing Eric Griego) and Don Harris (District 9, replacing Tina Cummins) expressed excitement over their new endeavors, while second-round Councilors Michael Cadigan (District 5) and Sally Mayer (District 7) thanked their constituents for another term.
Without proper attention, prostitution could be coming to your neighborhood
How big a problem does Albuquerque have with prostitution? I hadn't given much thought to that subject ... until I met Bill Cobb for a cup of coffee and an eye-opening education into the matter.
Health class in high school wasn't the most pleasant of times. It included routinely embarrassing moments, like practicing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, naming male and female anatomy and repeatedly going over detailed descriptions of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This was in addition to the even more embarrassing talks with my mother about sex and responsible behavior. According to the dictionary on my shelf, embarrass means “to cause someone to feel awkward or self-conscious.” Welcome to the motto of my adolescent life.
The Church of Stop Shopping is coming to town
Reverend Billy is leaning against the counter of a Starbucks in Northridge, Calif. Dressed in a white suit and clerical collar, his gelled, dyed-blond hair swept skyward in a John Travolta pompadour, he could pass for a real man of the cloth--until he opens his mouth.
Dateline: Germany—A soccer coach has been suspended for helping his team--by head-butting a player on the opposing team. The German Soccer Federation announced last week that Duisburg coach Norbert Meier could face a three-month ban and a fine. Late in a 1-1 tie match with Cologne last Tuesday, Meier and Cologne's Albert Streit got into a face-to-face argument on the sideline. The argument came to a head when Meier smashed his forehead into Streit's nose. Both men fell to the ground and were ejected from the game. “I blacked out and I apologize,” Meier later told reporters.
The readers write.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!—Under the direction of Guillermo Figueroa, the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and Chorus whips up a complete rendition of Handel's holiday classic, The Messiah, for two performances at UNM's Popejoy Hall on Friday, Dec. 16, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 17, at 6 p.m., and one at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Sunday, Dec. 18, at 2 p.m. Experience the story of Jesus in all its operatic splendor. Tickets range from $10 to $57. They're available online at nmso.org, by calling (505) 881-8999 or in-person at the Symphony Store (4407 Menaul NE).
Like eggnog and candy canes, the holiday season just isn't complete without The Nutcracker. The Ballet Theatre of New Mexico's version of this Christmas classic opens this weekend at the KiMo Theatre. Join Clara and her nut-cracking dreamboat in a winter wonderland filled with dancing snowflakes, entertaining sweets and the ever-lovely Sugar Plum Fairy. Runs through Dec. 24. Call for dates and times. The Saturday, Dec. 24, performance will be followed by the Nutcracker Tea, where kids can sample offerings from the Kingdom of Sweets and meet characters from the ballet. Tickets are $15 to $20 ($5 extra for the Nutcracker Tea). Discounts available. Order by calling 768-3544. Visit www.btnm.org for more information.
The Long Christmas Ride Home at the Cell Theatre
Along with all the carols, the shopping, the decorations and the fat, jolly old guy in the unflattering red suit, you can bet your last dollar you'll be subjected to a big pile of whining this Christmas season. Something about the holidays brings out both the best and the worst in us. Many people choose this time of year to write checks to charities, donate cans to food banks and generally direct a little extra kindness toward their fellow humans. Others get mean drunk and bicker idiotically for hours on end with their families. Some are so estranged from their relatives they skip Christmas altogether.
The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East
Bastard in the Flesh—If you like to support local filmmakers, or if you just have a really sick and twisted sense of humor, I suggest you get down to Burning Paradise Video (800 Central SW) this weekend. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, BP will be hosting a signing party for the new Science Bastard double feature DVD. The DVD includes two short films by local filmmaker Scott Phillips (The Stink of Flesh). “Science Bastard” and its recently completed sequel “Scream, Science Bastard, Scream!” are a pair of twisted superhero parodies that feature such delights as trepanation (look it up), go-go girls and hypnotic porn stars. Chalk this one up as a shameless plug, since your humble Alibi film editor stars as the titular Bastard. (One viewing of the films is more than enough to prove that “shameless” assertion.) Writer/director Scott Phillips will be on hand to absorb your abuse and costar Billy Garberina will be there showing off his sweatpants. Buy a DVD and we promise not to breathe on you.
Oily drama builds complex but cold narrative
Having nabbed himself an Oscar for penning 2001's drug war drama Traffic, screenwriter Stephen Gaghan has turned his ambitions up a notch to take on the task of writing and directing the structurally similar ensemble drama Syriana. Shifting his addictive subject matter from drugs to oil, Gaghan uses former CIA case officer Robert Baer's nonfiction book See No Evil as loose source material, spinning off a complex, interwoven set of (fictional) narratives that highlight various elements of today's international oil-based economy.
Epic remake of Hollywood classic is monstrously entertaining
There are times when remaking a classic Hollywood film is appropriate, and there are times when it is not. The intentions of the filmmakers are important. The degree to which the original is beloved is important. The amount of time that has passed between original and remake factors into it. In the end, though, history judges by the final product. For example, producer Dino De Laurentiis' silly 1976 remake of King Kong is pretty much an example of how not to do a remake. But, with the bad version out of the way, there's room for a good one.
“The Star Wars Holiday Special”
Long before Jar-Jar Binks took his first pratfall into a pile of poop, there was another disturbing tremor in the Force, like a million Star Wars fans crying out in anger and frustration.
The Week in Sloth
Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.
Get Your Squawk On—The second installation of the new Rocksquawk.com Concert Series will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at Burt's Tiki Lounge at 8 p.m. Featured performers are When Darkness Falls, Kronic Obsession, The Unemploid, The Giranimals and The Gracchi. What's a rocksquawk, you ask? Log on to www.rocksquawk.com, then come to the show and find out. Doors open at 8 p.m.
... of Carlisle and Central, that is. The Albuquerque Blues Connection will play the first blues show in the history of Nob Hill's newest bar, Harlow's on the Hill, on Friday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m. It's far from their first time on that stage, though. "The Blues Connection used to be a regular at Club R&B," says ABC bassist Steve Whitman, "so it's sort of momentous that we're back in the room again." Tickets are $6, or $10 per couple. Doors open at 9 p.m. (LM)
with The Black Furies and August Spies
Thursday, Dec. 15; Launchpad (21-and-over), $7: Nor-Cal residents Hella play music that you can brawl to. The sound of shattering glass is all that's missing from the mêlée of turbulent noise that so unambiguously characterizes what Hella has produced. The mishmash of tight snare drum, with its unrelenting speed and intensity, and spastic guitar along with "Castlevania" keyboard occasionally thrown in will have you feeling like a mouse in a dark, trap-filled basement. One gets the impression from listening to Hella that the twosome has been bestowed with enough musical skill to put together a formidable, more traditional band. Hella aren't grade-school kids playing as loud as they can—they're virtuoso crybabies with an axe to grind and an untraditional way of grinding it. From listening to a Hella record, it seems unlikely that their highly randomized "improvisations" could be reproduced for their live shows but, in fact, this is exactly what occurs. With no more deviation than any standard ensemble, the group duplicates their tracks with uncanny attention to details (however unsystematically arrived at the details may be). Open-minded listeners are encouraged to attend as long as they are not prone to epileptic fits.
The Alex Maryol Band with The Eric McFadden Trio
Get ready, Albuquerque. I'm letting you in on a little Santa Fe secret: Alex Maryol. If you don't know who he is—oh baby, you're in for a treat. The Alex Maryol Band has been playing Santa Fe for years: bars, clubs, Warehouse 21, the Thirty Ear Festival and the burning of Zozobra. He released his first CD, They Call Me Lefty, at 18, and has been named "Best Local Musician or Band You Don't Want to Miss—Even on a Tuesday Night" in the Santa Fe Reporter's reader polls three years running. In short, there are some major reasons why the Alex Maryol Band at the Launchpad this weekend is a big deal.
A few suggestions for atypical Christmas music
Christmas music is one of the biggest mysteries of the universe. Some of us, maybe even most of us, think it was specially designed to drive us over the edge during a vulnerable time of year. But according to the laws of capitalism, millions and millions love this smut. Otherwise, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra wouldn't return each year, and every high-profile recording artist wouldn't have lent their own spin to holiday songs.
Reviews of new music releases.
Duran's Station on Menaul—You don't have to drive through a mess of construction and holiday tourists to get a chile fix at Duran Central Pharmacy in Old Town. The pharmacy's sister restaurant opened last Wednesday at 4201 Menual NE, in what used to be the fire station just west of Washington. In fact, Duran's Station takes its name from the old firehouse, and traces of it remain in the form of a beautiful red brick wall and a fire bell near the entrance. Finished concrete floors, salmon-pink seating, tasteful lighting and three tall glass brick windows update the space into a comfortable and modern dining room. When we went in for lunch, one of the managers stopped by to ask us how our meal was, confessing: "We had to get everything exactly the same before we could open. If the guacamole, anything, doesn't taste just like the first Duran's, we'll shut the item down for the day." We didn't think the food or service was quite up to the level of the original place, but c'mon, it was their first day. We'll be back for a few beers over dinner—two exclusive additions the new restaurant proudly offers. Try it for yourself Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. Call your order in at 830-0007.
Our hometown casa de carbohydrates
This world is made up of two distinct groups: the donut people and the bagel people. Donut people are into the cake, love the glazed and make those little white bags of holes an entire meal at 3 a.m. The bagel people are a different breed altogether. They are up at the booty-crack of dawn, salivating in intense anticipation of a toasty, chewy delight rolled in poppy seeds, sesame, onion or all of the above.
Fake your way to a trio of comfy desserts
There's something about winter that makes my domestic instincts kick into overdrive. Namely, I clean more than usual—which is to say, more than not at all—and I get the cajones to bake things I'd never consider at other times of the year. Buches de Nöel, cookies, bars, homemade high-protein chocolate cake. But here's a secret: I'm a terrible baker. I just don't have the temperament for it, nor the attention to detail, the exactness or the 400-level math skills it requires. Other cooks I know share the same attitude.