My favorite aunt, my mother's sister, is driving north on Elysian Fields as I sit in the passenger's seat staring through the window in disbelief at the doomed neighborhood of Gentilly, in eastern New Orleans. House after house is damaged and unoccupied, thick yellowish water lines visible four to five feet high.
UNM's new architecture building raises spirits as well as a few eyebrows
Over the past three decades, the University of New Mexico's architecture students have had to travel off campus to visit their school's architecture buildings. All three offer constant reminders, such as their sub-par compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that they are unfit to house the only architecture school in the state.
At the Jan. 18 meeting, councilors wrestled with buildings going up and buildings coming down. Councilor Michael Cadigan's memorial supporting the Feb. 7 Albuquerque Public Schools Board bond election passed unanimously, so remember to vote, OK?
It was almost irresistible as a target for smart-aleck punditry. “The New Mexico Regional Spaceport” just sounds like some sort of setup for a comic strip punchline. Toss in the virtually empty location selected for it near “Upham,” a railroad junction southeast of “Truth or Consequences” and not far from “Hatch,” and you practically have a SNL skit writing itself, laugh track included.
Although perhaps there should be
With Super Bowl XL upon us--or “Super Bowl Extra-Large” as it's hilariously referred to by many a half-witted color commentator--it's time for us to take a serious look at the direction that professional sports are taking.
Dateline: England—A British dentist has been banned from working in the tooth-cleaning profession after allowing her unqualified boyfriend to carry out dental work on more than 600 patients. Mojgan Azari was found guilty of serious professional misconduct for letting her boyfriend Omid Amidi-Mazaheri work at her dental surgery clinic in South London between 2002 and 2003. According to the BBC, Amidi-Mazaheri drilled out cavities without local anesthetic and installed expensive fillings that crumbled within days, leaving patients in agony. The General Dental Council said that Azari had allowed him to carry on working in her surgeries for seven months after she had been warned that he was unregistered. “This caused the patients considerable distress and inconvenience and cost the National Health Service approximately 180,000 pounds [$424,000],” the GDC said in its ruling. Last year, Azari pled guilty to four counts of obtaining money by deception in relation to the case and was jailed for 12 months. The BBC said Amidi-Mazaheri, an Iranian national, received a two-year sentence for similar offenses. The GDC's conduct committee ruled last week to strike Azari's name from the register.
Wrong Side of the Tracks Jam--From punk to funk, the El Madrid (421 First Street SW), home to a few punk shows over a decade ago, is being revived by Midget Mogul Productions. Felonious Groove Foundation, Mystic Vision, Le Chat Lunatique and Wendy Colonna will bring in da funk on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $15 gets you in with a fun, plastic wristband. Call the Midget Mogul infoline at (505) 231-2408 to stay up to date.
Join comrades Kentifyr and Church for KGB, a vodka-scented shot of goth, industrial, post-punk, powernoise and beyond—plus your requests! Kicks off at 9 p.m. every Thursday night at OPM. Pass the borscht. (LM)
with The Mindy Set and Lomita
Monday, Jan. 30; Burt's Tiki Lounge (21-and-over), free: Austin's The Black Angels, who are pumped to visit Albuquerque, answered a bunch of questions I sent them via e-mail, but unfortunately, there's only room for these three:
with Danny Winn and The Earthlings, Fighting Chance, Made in Bangladesh and Half Stache
Launchpad on Thursday, Jan. 26, $8 (all-ages): Fight the urge to judge this band by their name; Liquid Cheese does not sound like "liquid cheese." There is no oozing squishiness when they're on stage. They are solid, precise, energizing and satisfying (if “liquid cheese” could be described as satisfying, then there may be a correlation, after all). They really should make it more apparent why they chose their band name—for now I'll write it off as some insanely funny inside joke and be content that they, at least, understand.
“You are the perfect candidate.”
These are the words one loves to hear when applying for a loan, buying a new car and asking what experience is needed to participate in one of New Mexico Jazz Workshop's adult education classes.
If you have have played a jazz instrument, strummed a guitar or belted your little heart out, then Maud Beenhouwer, education coordinator for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, says you are the perfect candidate for the classes they are offering this spring semester. This is really good news if your saxophone has been sitting in the back of the closet, gathering dust, waiting for you to get back in the groove.
There's a lot of Akron/Family lore floating around out there about how the group wears Rip Van Winkle beards, is involved in a religious cult of their own concoction and holds some type of super-human musical capabilities/strength. The truth, disappointingly, is that the beards are scaled back, there is no cult and they are not super-human (at least, in the Dungeons and Dragons sense).
Indie Christ—On Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m., the Christ Unity Church will screen filmmaker Kell Kearns' documentary The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for a New Humanity. The film “tells the life of Jesus from the perspective of the divine Humanity and human potential he came to initiate.” Mystic scholar Andrew Harvey, bestselling author Marianne Williamson and “Mother of Holistic Medicine” Gladys McGarey are among those interviewed in the film. Kearns himself will be on hand for a Q&A. Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Tickets are available at Christ Unity (9800 Candelaria NE) or at Treasure House Books (2012 South Plaza NW)
Offbeat buddy comedy has a lethal sense of humor
“A hitman and a salesman walk into a bar ...” That's the setup for the delightfully unexpected breakout film from writer/director Richard Shepard--who gave us the solid but little-seen 1999 thriller Oxygen.
Woody Allen trades NYC for London and scores big
For the last decade or two, Woody Allen has become like an increasingly superstitious sketch artist unwilling to give up his “lucky” pencil. Time and again, he traces out the same old portraits with the tiny remaining nub of his overused charcoal. Despite transitory flashes of brilliance (parts of Sweet and Lowdown, a few jokes from Mighty Aphrodite), Woody's post-'80s output has been far more miss than hit. In the aftermath of failed experiments like Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry and Melinda and Melinda, it was a toss-up question whether or not Allen would ever get out of his New York City rut. But, at the ripe old age of 70, Allen seems to have broken his losing streak with his freshest film since 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Broadcast buzz from around the dial
Why Not?—I'll tell you why not: Because it sucks. ABC has given an unusually quick hook to Heather Graham's new sitcom “Emily's Reasons Why Not,” yanking the show off the air after only one episode. The show debuted Jan. 9 (along with John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”) to a bad-but-not-abysmal 6.2 million viewers. But, with the threat of FOX's “24” looming, NBC decided to cut its losses (as well as John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”). “Creatively, the show did not get to where it needed to,” ABC programming chief Steve McPherson told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, in a surprising bit of candor. “All of us tried really hard--producers, network, studio--but it just never got on track.” In other words: It sucked; moving on ...
The Week in Sloth
Write Side Up—You'd better rent yourself a cabin in the woods and finish off that masterpiece you keep telling everyone about. It's time once again for SouthWest Writers' annual writing contest. This year, they're offering 19 different categories, including a new one for work written in Spanish. The competition is open to anyone and everyone. All you need is a pulse, along with a deep-rooted lust for literary glory.
Taiko—the traditional Japanese drum—was once used by priests to repel evil spirits and insects from rice fields. Samurai used it to scare their enemies and bolster their own courage. Ordinary farmers used to drum to pray for rain for their crops. For three decades, San Jose Taiko has taken this ancient drum and applied a contemporary beat to it. The Californian group will make a thunderous, intricately choreographed appearance at UNM's Popejoy Hall this Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $33, $26 and $19. Reserve yours by calling (800) 905-3315.
Simms Center for the Performing Arts
This weekend, Chamber Music Albuquerque presents performances by four Brazilian masters of the guitar. The Brazilian Guitar Quartet perform classical pieces on several different versions of the instrument, including a special eight-string guitar, displaying both virtuosity and passion. The performances occur on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. The Simms Center is located on the campus of Albuquerque Academy (6400 Wyoming NE). For tickets, call 268-1990 or go to www.cma-abq.org.
Sol Arts' True Believers
Broadway's most profitable year in history was 2005. Here in Albuquerque, 2005 saw the first full year of Sol Arts' current, permanent location at 712 Central SE. The scrappy project has come a long way. In 2001, Sol Arts' first show took place in a parking lot on Second Street. There, amid the trapeze performers and women eating fire, Sol Arts introduced its particular brand of live theater to Albuquerque.
It's the Year of the Dog—The lunar New Year is on Sunday, Jan. 29, which marks the start of a new Chinese calendar year. Oh, yeah—dim sum city. Before you dive head-first into a pile a dan dan noodles, you can work up an appetite over at the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, 268-7023). They'll have their huge Chinese New Year celebration on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. While you're there, stop by their astoundingly cheap Chinese-import gift shop for some "Dragon Pearl" green tea. More information about the center is available online at www.chineseculturecenter-abq.com.
A dude's gotta eat. And on Super Bowl Sunday, he's gotta eat like a feudal lord. Only there's no suckling pig in the cards for this Prince of the Gridiron. No, there's an unwritten code of the Super Bowl, to which all dudes must abide: Eat the stuff your mom never let you touch as a kid. Beer! Nitrate-laden meats! Marshmallow fluff, straight from the jar! Let it all hang out, bro. On today of all days, you truly are the man.
Southwestern heart and Southern soul food
What are some of the differences between the South and the Southwest? Well, for starters, we here in the Southwest have tortillas, while Southerners have biscuits. They say "git on," and we say "you 'member?" But every once in a great while, South and Southwest both merge for the forces of good and produce a restaurant like Doc & Mz. V's Diner.
An interview with Jared Diamond
If you walked up to random people on the street and asked them how the United States came to be the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth, what kinds of answers would you expect to hear? Maybe they would say it's our industriousness, our Protestant work ethic, that's made us so successful as a society. Some might point to an independent, freedom-loving spirit that grew out of our do-or-die frontier culture. Others might say it's our natural ingenuity as a "race"—“It's in our genes, man." You could also expect to hear some people say that God simply likes Americans more than He likes other people.
There's sooo much happening this week. Consult the music calendar for even more fun stuff happening every day.
Thursday—Two astounding Arizona-based chanteuses will blow your mind at a Bosque House Concert—that is, if you can get tickets. See this week's "Lucky 7" for more information.
SuperGiant! SuperGiant! SuperGiant! There ... I said it. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Burt's Tiki Lounge with Bishop and Dead On Point 5. Free. 21-and-over only. SuperGiant. (LM)
with Vedera, One for Hope and Dear Oceana
Launchpad on Tuesday, Jan. 24, $8 (all-ages): If DJ Shadow was in an up-and-coming alt.rock band, the music emanating from his garage would sound a lot like electro-rockers Mute Math. Despite using self-made instruments and a dilapidated keyboard, the New Orleans quartet is steeped in seamless production and Shadow-esque samples with a drum machine background--all of which make for songs that sound as much like dance music as straightforward rock. Paul Meany's Stingish vocals are set on "permanent echo mode," which gives them an airy, ethereal quality similar to Minus the Bear's Jake Snider.
Paving the way for the new breed of bad seed
If former Dead Head and self-proclaimed hippie Mike Burke has learned anything in his 25 years in the music biz, it's this: "Hippie bands can play anywhere. You could be a hippie band and play in your living room at three in the morning and your neighbors won't call the police because it sounds good," Burke postulates, "But if you're a death metal band or a thrash band or a punk band, your neighbors will call the cops within 15 minutes—even if you play at four in the afternoon."
The Emergenza festival in Albuquerque
The club is packed—not an inch left to squeeze in anyone else. The lights dim, you nod to your fellow bandmates and run on stage. The drummer comes down hard on the beat, the stage fades away and the music takes over. The audience jumps, shoulder to shoulder, moving as one giant entity. This is what music is about, you think. You rock through the 25-minute set, the audience screams with delight and hands shoot powerfully into the air. Two contest reps jump on stage and start to count the hands as the roadies shuffle you off stage to get ready for the next band. You've had your half hour--was it worth every penny?
Haul Out Your Easel and Head for the Hills—It's time for the Wildlands Art! 2006 exhibit and fundraiser. Create photographs, paintings, sculptures or other types of artwork depicting New Mexico's extraordinary wilderness or wild public lands, and send it into the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance by Feb. 1. Finalists will be included in an exhibit at the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Gallery during the month of March. For details, e-mail Tisha Broska at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 843-8696.
The Collective at the Trillion Space
Not many people can afford to buy an entire mural. Even if they could afford one, most people couldn't fit it into their homes. A piece of a mural, however, is more manageable, both economically and spatially. Dan Garcia and Rocky Norton recently constructed an elaborate abstract mural on a masonite wall in the Trillion Space. They've decided to sell the thing at the reasonable rate of a mere $40 per square foot. You'll have a tough time finding a better contemporary art bargain.
Site Santa Fe
Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is perhaps best known for his Project for Extraterrestrials, a series of work incorporating elaborate gunpowder explosions. An exhibit featuring his museum-wide installation Inopportune opens at Site Santa Fe on Saturday, Jan. 21. The piece will incorporate sculpture, video and drawing. At noon, Guo-Qiang will give a lecture describing some of the philosophical foundations of his creations. The show runs through March 26. For details, call (505) 989-1199 or visit www.sitesantafe.org.
If a novel dies in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
Every year, a writer of importance announces the death of the novel. In 2004, it was V.S. Naipaul standing over the novel's grave. "It is almost over," the Nobel laureate lamented. "The world has changed and people do not have the time to give that a book requires." Last autumn, Norman Mailer took the stage at the National Book Awards, wagged a finger at a crowd of professional readers and likened himself to a carriage-maker witnessing the "disappearance of his trade before the onrush of the automobile."
A proposal to raise the minimum wage statewide will be on the table this Legislative Session
After a minimum wage increase failed by a tiny margin during Albuquerque's municipal elections in October, a potential increase is once again up for discussion, only this time it's taking place at the state level.
Councilors made up for a cancelled Dec. 19 meeting at a special session on Jan. 9. They unanimously approved eight mayoral appointments to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee. The appointees will work with a county committee to plan a memorial to Dr. King more in keeping with his stature than the current semi-secret installation at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and the railroad tracks. Councilor Michael Cadigan moved a bill giving Albuquerque residents first priority in registering for programs at the city's community centers. The bill passed 7-1, Councilor Ken Sanchez opposed, Councilor Don Harris excused. Councilors also passed a bill stating the city's budget priorities for the upcoming 30-day session of the State Legislature.
Virtually identical photos graced the front pages of both Albuquerque dailies one day last week. In each, members of a middle school student orchestra sawed away diligently at their music while seated on metal folding chairs in a vast meadow of native grasses.
When I was growing up, domestic violence was neither talked about nor acknowledged. Yet, as I came to discover, I had close friends whose father beat his wife for many years. When I found out, I felt betrayed, like I'd been kicked in the stomach. Who knew that such a nice guy could do such an appalling thing; why would such a competent woman put up with it? And, why couldn't I have rescued, or at least have comforted, my childhood friends?
Dateline: Canada—Police in a Vancouver suburb are reminding residents that it's not a good idea to play with a loaded handgun while sitting on the can after a man accidentally shot himself in the bathroom. The unnamed 21-year-old North Vancouver man is facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his own fingers while playing with the gun on New Year's Day. In a public statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted police said, “Perhaps our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But, then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given.”
Crazy Cinema—Cinema Loco returns to the Gorilla Tango Theater on Friday, Jan. 20. Beginning at 10 p.m., Cinema Loco will unspool a secret movie on the big screen. Neither the audience nor the Gorilla Tango actors will know what the film is in advance. Someone in the audience will be asked to provide a new title for the film, and then it's up to the Cinema Loco crew to improvise new, on-the-spot dialogue for the entire film. This is a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated comedy event. The rating on this late-night screening is R, so be prepared for some raunchy ribtickling. Tickets are available at www.gorillatango.com or at the Gorilla Tango box office (519 Central NW).
Top 10 DVDs of 2005
As always, the end of the year brings an obligatory rush of “best of” lists. Everything from last year's hairdos to videogames are being placed into numerical order so that you, dear reader, can be at peace with the knowledge that you were into this stuff back when it first became cool. Not to be outdone, my crack team of trained video monkeys and I have buried ourselves deep in the dark catacombs of Burning Paradise Video compiling the official VideoNasty list of the 10 best DVD releases of 2005. Please feel free to adjust your personal tastes accordingly.
Where Chairman Mao meets Uncle Walt
There's a perfect, telling image toward the beginning of Jia Zhangke's quietly poetic drama The World. A phalanx of smartly uniformed security guards tote bottles of water through the scorching desert. The pyramids loom in the background. Several hundred yards later, the desert gives way to the Taj Mahal. Clearly, Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.
“Four Kings” on NBC
It's been so long since NBC's Thursday night lineup held cultural significance that it's hard to even recall a time when there was a “Must See TV.” Basically, since “Seinfeld” went off the air 7 years ago, NBC has struggled to maintain its Thursday night sitcom block. From “Good Morning Miami” to “Coupling” to (most recently) “Joey,” NBC's Thursday night lineup has proved itself more sitcom killer than ratings winner.
The Week in Sloth
The Wine Loft is Now Open at Slate Street Café—Owner and certified sommelier Myra Ghattas has had this wine loft on her mind since she opened Slate Street (515 Slate NW, 243-2210) half a year ago. What was once a shell of a space is now a 60-seat cherry perched atop the breakfast and lunch hotspot, with its own extended hours to boot. Patrons can enjoy 25 wines by the glass plus a nice selection of beers and a new bar menu from 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
A surprising place for ingenious ingredients and udon soup
The Great Pumpkin would be proud of Sophia's Place. Of all the things that can be made out of pumpkin, they have managed to find the one unique recipe that no other place has exploited throughout the holiday season: homemade pumpkin brownies.
Perfect pairings for the people you know
So, you're going to a dinner party and want to take some red wine, but there are so many choices and so many categories—maybe you should just take flowers instead?
Roadrunner Food Bank's Souper Bowl 2006
As you step through the doorway of the warehouse, you can see chefs' coats float by on a wave of excitement and hear sounds of hot-plate burners flaming. Someone scolds someone else about chilling the crème fraîche, and the scent of rich chicken broth assaults your nostrils before you see the light, airy Matzo balls floating to the surfaces of a hundred tiny bowls at the Flying Star booth. It's just one small scene from the "Souper Bowl," the Roadrunner Food Bank's signature benefit to help raise funds for New Mexico's hungry.
A brief history of soup
Soup experts believe that the delicious substance has existed since the development of pottery about 10,000 years ago. It has appeared in diets in prehistoric societies and in cultures on every inhabited continent around the world. A couple examples include Amazonian tribes who used turtle shells to boil their special version of turtle-entrail soup, and according to Greek historian Herodotus, the Scythians, who lived in Eurasia from approximately 800 to 400 B.C. and boiled animal flesh in water over bone fires.
"Sopa de Pedra" is a Portuguese fable about travelers who come to a village with an empty pot. Villagers will not give the strange men food, so the travelers fill their pot with water and a stone, which they cook over a fire in the village square. When curious villagers ask what they're doing, the travelers say they're making "stone soup," and ask the villagers to contribute. Villagers are able to offer different elements and in completion, by appealing to the people's desire to help and be a part of something successful, starting with nothing, the travelers and villagers have made a pot of soup for all to enjoy. The events of the stone soup fable supposedly took place in Almeirim, Portugal, where today most of the town's restaurants serve sopa de pedra.
A new program offered by PNM could help move solar energy in New Mexico into the future
Ken Lienemann is no stranger to energy. With a Bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Masters in Remote Sensing, he certainly understands the technical elements involved in the process of heating and cooling. As an employee with the New Mexico Environment Department, he also grasps the ecological implications of how we chose to fuel our homes, our cars and our lives. And as an Albuquerque homeowner who's spent the last four years revamping his abode to increase energy efficiency, it's fairly obvious that to Mr. Lienemann, energy is quite personal.
There are times when numbers just don't add up. Or rather, they add up, but the answer is all wrong. One of those moments when I had special difficulty wrapping my mind around the “new math” of public policy was in a recent Legislative committee hearing. The meeting was for the virtually automatic confirmation of a pair of very impressive women who had volunteered to serve the state as members of the Parole Board.
Dateline: Maryland—A Montgomery County judge ruled last Tuesday that the act of mooning someone is not illegal in the state of Maryland. The decision cleared Rockville resident Raymond Hugh McNealy, 44, on charges of indecent exposure after brandishing his buttocks to a neighbor during an argument. Judge John W. Debelius III said McNealy committed a “disgusting” and “demeaning” act when he exposed his posterior to his neighbor and her 8-year-old daughter on June 7 of last year. But the judge overturned an earlier decision by a District Court, clearing the defendant of criminal wrongdoing. “If exposure of half of the buttock constituted indecent exposure, any woman wearing a thong at the beach at Ocean City would be guilty,” Debelius said, according to a report in The Washington Post. McNealy allegedly had a heated debate with his neighbor, Nanette Vonfeldt, at a homeowners association meeting last June. The morning after the clash, Vonfeldt accused him of yelling at her as she and her daughter walked out of their apartment. “Then, for whatever reason, in full view of my daughter, he mooned us,” Vonfeldt wrote in court documents. Debelius agreed with McNealy's attorney that, under Maryland law, indecent exposure only covers display of a person's “private parts,” which does not include buttocks. McNealy attorney James Maxwell said the Debelius ruling should “bring comfort to all beachgoers and plumbers” in the state.
Will Rio Rancho lead the way for the state?
Nothing is more irritating than when a smaller, more nimble competitor seems to be getting the best of you. These days, that must to be how leaders in the state's 800-pound gorilla (a.k.a. Albuquerque) must be feeling about their pesky persistent neighbor to the northwest.
Q-Staff Workshop—The talented weirdoes of the Q-staff Company will begin hosting performance training workshops on the third Sunday of every month. The first is on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. Q-staff member Sandy Timmerman says that their "method is so different from the usual American acting method where actors walk in, they are handed a script and told where to stand ... it's hard to explain and much easier to understand by experiencing it." With that in mind, if you fork out $35, you can gain access to a presentation on the company's innovative performance philosophy to be followed by a 90-minute training session. Afterward, a light meal will be provided at Winning Coffee House. For details, call 255-2182.
The Importance of Being Earnest at the Adobe Theater
Oscar Wilde and wit are practically synonymous. Wilde's use of language, melodrama and satire have brought his plays much deserved attention from theater lovers of all experience levels. The Importance of Being Earnest is one of his last and best-known plays. Called a trivial comedy for serious people, it is almost more of a trivial comedy about people who take themselves too seriously—to disastrous avail.
Watercolor Women Opaque Men
(Curbstone, paper, $15)
Cowboys and Hobos—If you missed Bill Daniel's excellent documentary Who is Bozo Texino? when it played at the Guild Cinema recently, then you've been granted a second chance. Daniel is still on tour with the film and will be passing through Albuquerque again on the night of Thursday, Jan. 12. Sixteen years in the making, Who is Bozo Texino? follows Daniel on his rail-riding quest to uncover the roots of traditional boxcar graffiti and to unmask the identity of the legendary folk artist known only as Bozo Texino. To make this an extra special event, Daniel will be accompanied by singer/songwriter Sandman (a.k.a. Chris Sand), an Olympia, Wash.-based performer known for combining rap, cowboy poetry and folk music. It's an evening of lowdown documentary film and underground cowboy rap. How can you go wrong? The event will take place beginning at 8 p.m. at Harlows in Nob Hill (3523 Central NE). Tickets are a mere $5. Daniel and Sandman will be moving on to Santa Fe the next night (Friday, Jan. 14), where he'll do it all over again at Backroads Pizza (1807 Second Street). For more film info, log on to www.billdaniel.com. For more music info, log on to www.rappingcowboy.com.
Korean drama/comedy proves political assassinations go down better when mixed with black humor
With The President's Last Bang, South Korea continues its unbroken streak cranking out some of the most interesting, most stylish films in current world cinema. Swing by a well-stocked video store and you might catch just a sampling of titles that have come to America in the last year: Attack the Gas Station; My Sassy Girl; Shiri; 2009: Lost Memories; No Blood, No Tears; Phone; Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter ... and Spring; Memento Mori; Blue Sky; A Tale of Two Sisters; Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance; Oldboy; 3-Iron; Untold Scandal; Save The Green Planet. Writer/director Im Sang-soo only adds to that impressive list with his satirical, snarky-title-and-all political thriller.
CGI toon is PS2 in an Xbox 360 world
When Disney declared the death of traditional hand-drawn animation by shutting down its old-fashioned animation studios and vowing to make Toy Story sequels ad infinitum, other Hollywood studios, more or less, fell in line. Computer animation is the wave of the future, everyone declared. Kids won't watch a cartoon unless it comes off an iMac, they repeated. The Polar Express is a work of genius, they claimed. ( ... Cough, cough.)
“The Soup” on E!
“Talk Soup” debuted on E! Entertainment Television in 1991 and made a successful run through 2002. The series was basically a cheap-to-produce clip show, designed to make fun of that week's talk show guests. Didn't have time to check out the transvestite hookers on that week's “Jerry Springer”? No need to worry, “Talk Soup” had you covered. For all its snarky, spot-on humor, “Talk Soup” was best known for its impressive roster of hosts, including Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Hal Sparks and Aisha Tyler--all of whom went on to greater fame and glory than that offered by simple basic cable.
The Week in Sloth
Have a Rocksquawkin' Week—The next heart-stopping show in the Rocksquawk.com Concert Series is going down this Thursday, Jan. 12, at the District (Fourth Street and Copper NW). The free show includes performances by The Dirty Novels, At Fault, Big Lips & The Skinny and The Isness. Looking ahead, the next batch of Rocksquawk shows is set for Saturday, Feb. 18, at Harlow's in Nob Hill, and then back Downtown to the Golden West Saloon on Friday, March 3. If you've got a few suggestions of your own, sign on to www.rocksquawk.com and let those puppies fly. We want to hear from you, caring local music supporter that you are.
You know you should avoid ladders, broken mirrors, black cats and other unfortunate acts of bad luck by staying indoors on Friday the 13th. However, the cunning lads and ladies of Scenster, Lousy Robot and Unit 7 Drain are conspiring to jinx you with a night of tunes and boozy carousing out at Atomic Cantina. Choose wisely, ill-fated friend. (LM)
Think about the resurgence of "rockabilly" in recent years—what's the first thing that springs to mind? Here's a guess: Dudes in cuffed Levi's drinking swill beer until sunrise. Or maybe chicks with Betty Page haircuts (be honest, they're probably big girls) lounging tomb-side in neighborhood graveyards. Cars. Pencil skirts and pompadours. People and things. Whenever post-'50s rockabilly made the transition from subculture to full-blown lifestyle, the music became more-or-less incidental. Lost in translation.
The “Best of the Golden West” kicks off the historic venue's month-long birthday party
Grocery stores and movie theaters are pretty neat because you need food to live, and although you don't really need movie theaters, they're cool, too. Music venues are mostly neater, though, because you can enjoy the soothing, and sometimes not-so-soothing, elixir of music while eating peanuts and getting juiced up.
Instant holiday--just add soup
The holidays are really overrated. Months of planning and spending and party-going, peaking to the point of exhaustion and anti-social tendencies. It's not just limited to what is typically referred to as "the holiday season"--I mean all holiday seasons. New Year's, April Fools, Fourth of July—you name it, it's been overdone. That's why, in the perpetual quest to for social interaction, the members of my Tang Soo Do martial arts class host obscure "holiday" parties whenever we fancy. On the day after Christmas, head-instructor Richard Meyer and Cathra-Anne Barker host a super-excellent Boxing Day party. In November, Sven Redsun hosts the annual All-Soups Day party--making Halloween and Thanksgiving seem, well, incidental. The best part about a soup party is that no "holiday" is required; all you need is some friends and a few pots of the good stuff. Poof! Instant holiday.