A guide to getting your vote on this primary season
By Christie Chisholm
Voting is just one of those things—like eating your broccoli or brushing your teeth. Society (or, in some cases, your parents) is always telling you to do it, it feels like a big pain in the ass and in the end you’re better off for it. The difference between broccoli, teeth-brushing and civic duty is that while you’re pretty much forced to do the first two as a kid, the latter is completely a matter of freewill. No one’s going to punish you if you don’t vote—except yourself and whoever it is you non-elect into office.
Job Description: The office of Land Commissioner has got to be one of the most important in the state. With no real oversight from any other governing board, whoever holds the title has a large amount of influence over the direction of our state's land, wildlife, townships and, in the end, public education, since much of the revenue from the office goes toward that cause. Whoever holds the office next will also have some important decisions to make in a pivotal time over what New Mexico does when it comes to energy production.
Job Description: The attorney general (AG) is the chief legal officer of the state of New Mexico. The AG represents the state in court, prosecuting and defending cases, and writing advisory opinions when necessary.
Job Description: Democracies need good secretaries of state like voters (or anyone, for that matter) need air. Without a smooth-running election process, the public can have no faith their vote actually means anything, and the entire democratic ideology crumbles away. The secretary of state oversees the entire election process, from maintaining lists of registered voters to evaluating voting machines to certifying precinct boundaries. The title also has the critical jobs of regulating lobbyist activity and managing campaign finance reports.
Job Description: This office is essential in ensuring that our state's tax dollars are spent appropriately, and don't somehow leak into the pockets of government employees or politicians. The state auditor watches over and is responsible for the 598 audits done every year in the state, and also approves contracts for outside auditing services.
Job Description: The five-member Public Regulation Commission (PRC) is one of the most powerful governing bodies in the state--and most voters don't have a clue what it does. The PRC was created by voters in 1996. Its commissioners are expected to regulate a broad range of enormously complex industries, from utilities to telecommunications to insurance to fire to transportation. District 4 is the only PRC district up for re-election this year that includes parts of Albuquerque, most of which falls in the South Valley. It also includes a part of southwest Santa Fe. The district stretches up to the Four Corners area and has the largest Native American population of any district.
Job Description: Being a senator must be one of the sweetest jobs around. You get a hefty salary and you get to be one of the most influential people in the country, one of only two senators who represent your entire state in Washington, D.C., during a lengthy six-year term. You also get a hefty package of benefits and, ultimately, a fat pension. You write and debate legislation. You vote to confirm federal judges and U.S. Supreme Court justices. You try to haul as much pork back to your state as possible.
Job Description: Whoever holds this post has real potential to improve the state of things in the county, as well as the potential to let things stagnate. County Commissioners help decide what to do with an approximate $100 million county budget, and makes choices on ordinances, resolutions, zoning and policies. The office also has the authority to appoint individuals to various boards and committees.
Wal-Mart tends to be the only place in town where one can buy a shotgun, electric turkey carver, industrial-grade trash bags and socks all in one go and at three in the morning. Yet such convenience doesn’t necessarily translate into people wanting a Wal-Mart right next to their house.
Margie Wants to Know—Hi, I'm Margie Average. I've got an Internet connection and a computer, so maybe I'm actually slightly above average in a state as poor as this one. But that's the name, don't wear it out. Today, I want to access that so-called “public information” about local political campaigns and voting that's supposed to be available to me. I'm tired of reading about the highlights in the papers. I want to see the whole picture with my own two eyeballs.
According to Paul Simon, "Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance." But that’s not true. Some citizens in Albuquerque have been complaining for years about the noise of the train whistles that echo throughout the city. Recently, a group of citizens decided to do something about it. The group, consisting of former Alibi News Editor Tim McGivern, state representatives, the Downtown Action Team (DAT) and others, have initiated an effort to create a quiet zone within the city that would effect the 16 railroad junctions from the South Valley to the North Valley and through Downtown.
Red-clad supporters of Councilor Sally Mayer's animal ordinance filled the Council chambers for the third time on May 22, wearing crimson gimme caps, which most had apparently not yet figured out how to adjust. Councilor Ken Sanchez presented three FY 2007 budget bills, all of which passed. Councilor Craig Loy's bill expanding the use of photo-radar spy cameras to nab red light runners passed unanimously after debate about the bill's constitutionality.
You might have heard there is an election next Tuesday. Then again, you may have a life. With the lack of primary opposition to most of the “bigger” races, including governor and U.S. Senate, voter turnout in next Tuesday’s primary could be as bad as that for the latest Jean Claude Van Damme movie.
An interview with one of the world's most controversial investigative journalists
By Christie Chisholm
Greg Palast likes to read in the loo. He says he wrote his book with that habit in mind—so that any casual bathroom reader could pick it up, skim around and still glean some bit of knowledge. And so, wanting to experience the shiny new hardback with the truest of intentions, I took his advice and settled down a few weeks ago, volume in hand, ready to flip casually through its pages to discover one of today’s most honest forms of truth to power. It did not disappoint.
Dateline: Germany—Social workers refused to help a worried mother after she called the youth department of social services in Hildesheim, Lower Saxony, to complain about her daughter’s “uncontrollable, immoral and loose behavior with men.” The problem? Mrs. Schmidt was 92 years old and her daughter Tina was 68. Social workers told the woman they could not help her as her “child” was 50 years past the age limit where social services can get involved. Mrs. Schmidt apparently called the youth department after learning Tina had a boyfriend.
Shoot Quick!--This Thursday, June 1, is the deadline for submitting your script to the Duke City Shootout. Here’s an opportunity to see your film ideas come to life. Send in your 12-page script; if yours is among the lucky few chosen, you’ll be given a cast, high-definition camera, lighting equipment, crew, post-production facilities and a professional mentor to help you through the process of shooting your short film. The Shootout itself will take place July 21-29 in and around Albuquerque. Filmmakers from all over will have just one week in which to shoot, edit and premiere their works. For a shot at movie stardom, race to the post office and mail your script to: Duke City Shootout, P.O. Box 37080, Albuquerque, N.M. 87176. For more info about the Duke City Shootout, log on to www.dukecityshootout.com.
Sure, you can start a controversy by making a major studio film that brings into question the most basic foundations of one of the world's largest religions (The Da Vinci Code). But that's kid's stuff. If you really want to ignite a raging controversy over summer movie season, just turn a popular superhero comic book into a movie. Yeah, Catholics can get angry; but they're taught to forgive. Fanboys, on the other hand, hold a grudge forever.
Yes (giggle), Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn are (titter) dating. Can we all just move past that now? Can we finally get a grip on the fact that the love lives of Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie et al have nothing whatsoever to do with us mere mortals? Can we actually get back to the idea that these people are actors and that they make movies?
The broadcast networks have finally gotten around to realizing that people really do watch television over the summer. Having lost significant chunks of their audience to cable networks (who are gloriously unfettered by the same old spring/fall TV season), ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX have recently put a greater effort into getting new shows on the air in the June-July-August corridor. They may only be cheap-to-produce reality shows, but it still beats giving viewers three months worth of “Will & Grace” reruns.
The Kids are All Right--An article in last week's Journal confirmed that the city is purchasing the Ice House building for use as an all-ages, teen-run music center, similar to Warehouse 21 in Santa Fe. The 30,000-square-foot space sits at 506 First Street NW. It's within spitting distance of the Cell Theatre, Wool Warehouse and MLK/Roma bridge, making it an ideal hub for all-ages music events in the Downtown area.
It's no easy task to follow Billy Zoom (original guitarist for the premier Los Angeles punk band X), but that’s just what Tony Gilkyson did from 1987 to 1996. His outstanding work was always on the twangier numbers (read: the John Doe material) so it’s no surprise that his solo work is deep country, whether a gentle prairie breeze or barreling down a prairie highway.
Painting is Dead?—In discussions about contemporary art, you occasionally hear mutterings that painting is an old-fashioned medium that's outlived its usefulness. In an age of photographic, cinematic, digital and multimedia creation, who needs quaint ol' paint?
Wednesday, June 7, Out ch'Yonda Performance Space/Omnirootz. (all-ages, 8 p.m); $5: At one point I thought calling music “experimental” was like calling music “alternative;” just a meaningless categorization for the unimaginative. And for awhile I did know a handful of people around Albuquerque who made music out of glitch beats, calling it experimental.
New Empire--If you happen to drive by Japanese Kitchen (6521 America’s Parkway, 884-8937) in the coming weeks, don't get freaked out by the construction mess and dark windows. The folks at the sushi and teppan restaurant say they'll have rolling closures for about two weeks in June for renovations. You know how Japanese Kitchen is broken into two buildings, separated by a courtyard? First on the to-do list is an expansion of the "new" wing, where the sushi bar currently resides. That'll be followed by a massive gutting and rebuilding of the "old" teppan grill side. When it's business as usual (call to be sure), ask about their Omakase dinners. The Omakase is a traditional Japanese dining experience similar to a multicourse chef's tasting. Japanese Kitchen is one of two Japanese restaurants in town that do it (the other is Noda's in Rio Rancho), with dinner starting at around $35 per person--but the sky's the limit, really. The chef will personally contact you to determine the menu, so reservations--made several days in advance--are a must.
It’s always unfortunate when a great dish gets typecast, but there are few tear-jerkers more depressing than the case of miso soup. This broth is rich in culture (both historical and microbial) and is one of the best hangover cures. But the way Americans stereotype miso as a cheap sushi appetizer and an alternative to salad is criminal. Here, we spruce it up and drink it like morning tea, with a plate of oven crispy curry fries—oil being the next best hangover cure.
Can a white girl make decent sweet potato pie? This has been the debate since as long as I can remember cooking my first meal (I think I was 8), and it came to a head last year when I planned to bake a pie for an African-American studies class. My roommate at the time, whose family has soul food down to an art form, was beyond skeptical of my proposed endeavor. I remember the conversation going something like:
A couple weekends ago, I ran into some friends standing outside a club against a backdrop of Downtown cruisers in near-deadlock. “What's up?” I asked. “Nothing,” one replied, nodding at the barely moving cars, “just watching some people who are obviously more bored than we are.”
Lowriders emerged in the Chicano communities of Southern California during the late ’40s and spread throughout the Southwest. Outsiders sometimes make the unfair assumption that lowriders and cruising represent antisocial behavior, associating them with drugs, violence, gangs and other wayward societal misfortunes. But those who've tracked the history of lowriders see it as an art form with important societal implications: There are parallels between cruising lowriders and the paseo which was a practice in Mexican villages wherein unmarried men and women walked in opposite directions, checking each other out. The elaborately decorated lowrider is also seen as a 20th century translation of the elaborately decorated Moorish horse in Spain.
It takes an understanding of the politics of local car clubs to put a safe, smooth show together
By Marisa Demarco
“When I see a place, it's a parking lot. It's a building. It's steps. I see the steps as seating capacity. I see the walkways. I can see gold and chrome and paint,” says Squirrel Montoya, producer of some of the biggest lowrider shows Albuquerque has seen since the mid ’80s.
Alex Montaño can remember when these parking lots along west Central would fill with lowriders, banter and impromptu hydraulics competitions. The Sonic under the neon Route 66 overhang would be jammed with nothing but lowriders, and you'd drive through to holler at your friends, show off your car and, of course, pick up girls, he says.
Two-year-old Alexandria is suffering from Sticklers Syndrome, which causes blindness and hearing loss. Route 66 Promotions will be raffling off a lowrider bike at the car show, and all proceeds of the raffle will go toward aiding Alex's family with medical expenses. $1 off every ticket to the show will also go toward helping Alex. Anyone wishing to donate additional money can send it to: Bank of America c/o Alexandria Rodriguez, Cindy Rodriguez, Account #00430460770.
Fantasizing about cars is one of my favorite daydreams (and it’s a damn good thing my dreams don't come true because if they did, I’d have a volume of Plymouths, Volvos and dune buggies on my hands). So when asked to dream up a lowrider for myself, with no consideration for the logistics, difficulty, time and coin that actually goes into creating any work of art, it was a no-brainer. I immediately decided on a Polynesian theme: a pineapple exterior and a luau interior. Pineapples taste good to me, their shape is hilarious and their golden ratio proportions are enticing. They also summon thoughts of tropical beaches, drinks, sunsets and the aloha lifestyle. The same can be said for the luau that would take place on the interior of my lowrider.
He has a tattoo of a squirrel running up one leg and coming back down the other with two nuts in its mouth. That's what he says, anyway. You'll have to ask someone else if it's true—although the word “Martha” with a red “Void” stamped over it is displayed prominently on his upper arm.
A rare 1963 Impala. A gold-plated engine. An anaconda-skin ragtop. Twelve painters. One-hundred and fifty master craftsmen. $170,000 in materials. Nearly 10 years of work. What do you get when you combine all these things? Anaconda, the most famous lowrider in the world.
The northern New Mexico town of Española is located not far north of Santa Fe, between Los Alamos and Taos. Approximately 10,000 people live in the town that was originally established in 1598 by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate. Being surrounded by an amalgam of attractions and having its own arts community, Española is a tourist stop. However, the town is best known as the lowrider capital of the world; it supposedly has more lowriders per capita than any other place on Earth. While there isn’t necessarily any solid evidence that would confirm the town's claim to fame, there isn’t any evidence to refute it.
Sick Obsession--It's nothing new that tastelessly told human drama stories permeate TV broadcasting like incurable viruses, but it seems as though this trend has recently gone to a whole new level. I’ve noticed an unusual amount of stories in the last few weeks on network television dealing with children who’ve been sexually abused and adults who are sexually attracted to children and teens. It’s a topic to take seriously, and one which has affected more people than most of us would like to imagine. But from its excessive coverage, pedophiles and sexually exploited children have become analogous to the proverbial car crash.
Dateline: Scotland—Volunteers cleaning up the peak of Britain’s highest mountain were puzzled last week to come across a full-sized piano, abandoned near the 4,418-foot summit. The piano was recovered last weekend by 15 volunteers from the John Muir Trust, a conservation charity that owns the Scottish peak known as Ben Nevis. “It’s a 4,000-foot mountain. It’s very steep. It’s rough ground. ... To get a piano up there is pretty good going,” Nigel Hawkins, director of the John Muir Trust told AFP. He said it appeared to be an upright piano, with its cast-iron frame and strings intact. Unfortunately for music lovers, the keyboard was missing. The charity has put out a public appeal to find out how the piano went up the mountain and why. The only clue as to the instrument’s origin was an empty cookie wrapper found underneath it with a “best-before” date of December 1986. Some 120,000 people climb Ben Nevis every year.
I'm happy to report that Wrangler's (Fifth Street and Lead), a cherry of an inexpensive Downtown breakfast and lunch spot, has been approved for their liquor license--They've already added a small, umbrella-shaded patio to the front of the restaurant and hope to begin a dinner service with beer and wine later this week. They also have plans to open for dinner on the weekends with hours that compete for the bar crowd, until 1 or 2 a.m. Call 842-1600 for an update.
“I’m a subversive,” declares Dr. Marion Nestle, author of the new book, What to Eat. Dr. Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health, voiced her comments this week in Albuquerque at the Fourth Annual UNM Obesity Symposium.
I have a confession to make about Mexican food. I am originally from the Midwest (gasp) and I have always loved that region’s version of Mexican food (gasp again). I grew up cooking and eating what residents of New Mexico might charitably refer to as “Tex-Mex”-style food, the characteristics of which include enchilada sauce, black olives and massive quantities of sour cream. Nothing made me happier as a kid than for my dad to declare it taco night, because that meant rows of crunchy Old El Paso taco shells, mountains of refried beans out of those little yellow cans and Mexican rice loaded with tomatoes, bell peppers and that strangely intoxicating vinegary taste. We even had “fiesta corn” (translation: bell peppers mean fiesta). Stop gasping now; you may get brain damage and I could be blamed.
Silence is Golden—The second annual Santa Fe Live Music Silent Film Festival gets going (quietly) this weekend at the Lensic Theater just off the Santa Fe Plaza. This year, the festival will kick off with a special conference on Thursday, May 25, at 7 p.m. This Film-Music Gathering is intended to highlight the potential opportunities that the expanding film industry may offer to local professional musicians, composers, producers and technicians. Keynote speakers include Dave Grusman, who has scored such films as Gidget (1966), The Graduate (1967), On Golden Pond (1981), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) and Mulholland Falls (1996). Following the speakers will be a question and answer session. This free event is presented with cooperation from the New Mexico Film Office, the New Mexico Music Commission and the Santa Fe Economic Development Department.
A movie about a guy making a movie about a book about a guy writing a book (sort of)
By Devin D .O’Leary
Written in 1760, The Life and Opinions ofTristram Shandy, Gentleman is considered to be the first postmodern novel in English literature--which is quite a feat, considering the author had a couple hundred years to go before there was anything modern enough to be “post-” about. The book concerns the efforts of one upper-class Englishman, Tristram Shandy by name, to relate his life story. Over the course of several hundred bawdy and highly satirical pages, Mr. Shandy never quite seems to get past the circumstances of his own birth. If the book is “about” anything, it is the inability of something as rigid as art to encapsulate something as chaotic and amorphous as this thing called Life. The book, though considered a classic of English literature, has long been labeled “unfilmable.”
Columbia Pictures wasn’t in any big hurry to screen The Da Vinci Code for critics. The film didn’t even make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival until the middle of last week, a mere couple of days before its massive worldwide opening. Mixed review from audiences at Cannes fueled speculation that Columbia didn’t want bad press leaking out before the opening, but the simple fact of the matter is that The Da Vinci Code is this summer’s guaranteed box office champion. Who needs publicity when you’re adapting one of the hottest books ever published? If everyone who picked up the novel (some 40 million people and counting) comes to the theater to buy a ticket, you’ve got a certified blockbuster. Add in all the people too lazy to actually sit down and read a book, and you’ve got one of the biggest films in box office history. So who needs reviews? Clearly not the audience for The Da Vinci Code. Here’s one anyway.
Last week, while viewers were busy watching the big season finales, the broadcast networks were engaging in an annual ritual known as “upfront presentations.” Upfronts are the time when the networks announce what their fall season schedules will look like. So, what shows have been given the boot and what new content we can look forward to this September/October?
The Return of 500--Ready for some complicated math? Local hard rock outfit 500 (or Fivehundred, depending on who you talk to), which is made up of former members of Fatso and used to style themselves Mr. Spectacular, is back after calling it quits last year. Still with me? It seems they've filled out their sound with another guitar player, ratcheting up the supercharged trio to a four-piece. 500's triumphant returning show was at the Atomic Cantina a few weeks ago, but you can witness their undeniable face-rocking this Friday, May 26, at the Launchpad. It'll be a night of local breadwinners with Scenester and SuperGiant.
Tokyo’s much heralded post-rockers pay Albuquerque a visit
By Simon McCormack
There’s a litany of adjectives that are almost always used when describing a band that fits, however loosely, into the realm of instrumental post-rock. These adjectives include: lush, layered, hypnotic and soaring, just to name a few. MONO can certainly be described using these terms, but what the words don’t properly convey is the profound influence of emotion that pervades MONO’s sound.
Saturday, May 27, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); free: Ray Jackson and his compatriots from Lomita started off with the straightforward intentions of being a country band. Like greedy kids in a candy store, Lomita’s hunger for multiple genre num-nums caused them to branch out and create music that combines ambient tones with pseudo-psychedelia and pedal- and lap steel-aided riffs, which give the band a twanged-out indie rock flavor. Think of the band as a darker version of Pavement.
Saturday, May 22, Isleta Casino (12-and-over [seriously]); $20-$40: Did you know that Kenny Loggins is “a sonic pioneer in the smooth jazz genre,” has achieved 12 platinum albums during his career and won a 1980 Grammy for best male pop vocalist? (But his people want you to know that “the true measure of this man cannot be weighed in platinum and gold.” The tiniest of tears just came to my eye.)
Underage, overage or lying-about-your-age—this venue is all about the scene, not the green
By Amy Dalness
Just about a year ago, Mayor Martin Chavez shoved the term "all-ages venue" into the mouths of every musician and music fan in town. With the simple threat of banning all-ages shows at venues that sell alcohol, a huge debate was sparked, music supporters marched and regulations passed enforcing precautions to prevent underage drinking. But all-ages shows have not been banned. The debate has polarized both sides—the city nearly accusing every all-ages show of directly contributing to underage drinking, and the music community screaming that banning alcohol sales will kill the all-ages scene. It isn't over.
Shorty Pants—Director Kristen Loree will be delving into some of the less conspicuous short pieces in the Mark Twain canon, such as “Was it Heaven? Or Hell?,” “Carnival of Crime and Connecticut,” “Eve's Diary,” “Advice to Girls,” “Adam's Diary” and other brief work by the master of socially incisive humor. Twain Shorts apparently takes plenty of artistic license with Twain's work. Odds are pretty high this will be a hoot. The show opens this weekend at Sol Arts (712 Central SW). Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., through June 4. For more information or to make reservations, call 244-0049.
For the past year and a half, artists Ann Bromberg and Steve Teeters collaborated on Migrating Feast, a new exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum that celebrates families who immigrated to the Southwest from all over the world. Teeters, based in Lubbock, Texas, and Bromberg, based in Albuquerque, use old photographs, notes and recipes to create their sensual pieces. With these artifacts, the two have created magnificently collaged images that are incorporated into and on beautiful antique suitcases, spice cabinets, pot racks, violin cases and a handmade ferris wheels—to name just a few items. It's fascinating, poetic work.
Monday, May 22, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); free: The Demolition Doll Rods’ “Take You Home” (There is a Difference, Swami, 2006) is like a hard punch in the gut that’s equal parts love and raw power. Fisticuffs aside, there is something strangely polite about the grimey soulfulness that permeates the Demolition Dolls’ Detroit Rock City revelings. They’re not out to make your ears bleed, just to wake you up a little with a hard slap on the back; trying to keep you from choking on too much geniality.
While the summer movie season doesn’t officially start until Memorial Day, Hollywood has been opening the window of opportunity wider and wider each summer. Couch-hopping Tom Cruise pretty much shattered it this season, leading his Mission: Impossible III teaminto theaters a full month before Memorial Day. Not to worry, though; there are plenty more blockbusters to ogle--from a certain code to a familiar pirate to the return of a man in a heroic red cape.
Police on Segways, prisoner transport and curbing intoxication
By Marisa Demarco
It’s not a crackdown, says Sgt. Juan Griego of the state’s Special Investigation Division. But at a meeting held last Tuesday, May 9, by the Downtown Action Team, the topic of choice was public safety. At the event, the city rolled out its plans for Downtown enforcement this summer. And it goes a little something like this:
Paper ballots are the wave of the future in New Mexico
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
During the 30-day State Legislative session earlier this year, a bill requiring all precincts in the state to use paper ballot voting systems (SB 295/HB 430) passed in the Senate and House. The legislation was later signed into law by Gov. Bill Richardson. Now state officials are in the midst of trying to meet the new requirements (uniform paper ballot voting systems across the state and an adequate number of voting machines) before this fall’s midterm election.
No yellow-brick road here--it's strictly numbers and dollar signs. The primary election is just around the corner and candidates have filed campaign reports with Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Giron. The reports make all the gritty details of financing an election accessible to the public, including total contributions, names of contributors, loan amounts and where all the money is going. This table includes the big numbers--how much money each primary candidate has received for the 2006 election up until the file date of May 8 in the form of monetary donations and goods, plus the gubernatorial candidates running in the general election in November. For complete details, visit the Secretary of State's website: www.sos.state.nm.us.
The vote on the fate of Westland Development draws near
By Christie Chisholm
To say that Westland Development is a piece of land is to say the United States is nothing more than divided earth. To say that the fate of Westland will help sculpt the future of Albuquerque also does not give it justice. To say the company’s proposition is historic, monumental, a deal that could not only permanently affect the region but also the lives of thousands and generations to come edges closer to the truth. To say that Westland Development is a living piece of heritage whose destiny is teetering precipitously on the outcome of a few thousand votes is to call it what it is: a past, a present and a potential.
Since only 16 percent of Americans have a passport, what most of us know about how the rest of the world sees us is indirect: filtered information derived second- or third-hand from print media or television.
Will Albuquerque and the rest of New Mexico’s towns find their heart?
By Eric Griego
Wanna have some fun with the locals? Pretend you're a tourist and start asking people where the center of town is. Most people in Albuquerque will respond, “You mean Downtown?” Then you should say, “Well, the place where people interact, the place that sort of sums up the town.”
Dateline: England--A pet fish has been blamed for burning down a family home in Poole, Dorset. Kipper, an 8-inch catfish, is thought to have triggered the freak accident when it fought with a rival in its tank. According to an article in England’s The Sun, fire investigators believe that water splashed out of the aquarium and landed on an electric plug below. That sent a power surge up the tank’s light cable, causing the plastic lid to burn, which melted and dripped onto a leather sofa, which finally burst into flames. The flames soon engulfed the family’s living room. Luckily, a smoke alarm woke the building’s landlord, who rushed 25-year-old Sharron Killahena and her two children out of their upstairs bedrooms. The home was destroyed and all six fish in the tank died, but, “at least we are here to tell the tale,” said Killahena.
The Shining Town—OmniRootz Productions presents a new production of Owen Vincent Dodson's play The Shining Town, opening this Friday at Out ch'Yonda (929 Fourth Street SW). The OmniRootz crew did a production of the play a couple years back in the KiMo, and it was a big artistic success for them. They'll pump new life into the script by the Harlem Renaissance playwright—mixing in jazz, hip-hop and poetry. The play runs Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 3 p.m., through May 27. $10 general, $8 students/seniors. An open dress rehearsal on Thursday, May 18, at 7:30 p.m. is a pay-what-you-can performance. 385-5634.
Colección FEMSA at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
By Steven Robert Allen
Several people have approached me over the last couple weeks with variations on the same question: “Dude/Steve-o/Your Highness, have you seen the new show over at the National Hispanic Cultural Center? It so rocks.”
The United States has never declared a Malcolm X holiday, probably because of the type of leader he was, says Ejypt Clough, a local poet. “Maybe he was too much of a rebel, and he wasn't always peaceful. Maybe it's because nobody really got together and fought to have it,” she says.
‘‘I am an American, Chicago-born," announced the narrator of Saul Bellow’s classic 1953 novel The Adventures of Augie March. If that book were published today, Augie might also utter Stuart Smiley’s immortal line: "I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and, doggonit, people like me!"
Governor’s Cup Runneth Over--Governor Bill Richardson announced last week the four winners of the 2006 Governor’s Cup Short Screenplay Competition. Last time the Governor’s Cup happened, it took the form of a statewide short film festival, the winners of which went on to compete for the best short in New Mexico. This time around, the Governor’s Cup focussed on writing. According to the State Film Office, more than 400 entries were sent in from all corners of New Mexico--from Farmington to Lovington, from Raton to Chapparal. “We were delighted by the response from the writing community,” said Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office, in a press release.
After last year’s abysmal box office performance, executives from Hollywood’s movie studios are standing on pins and needles waiting to see what moviegoers will think of this summer’s cinematic offerings. Will the summer of 2006 soar like Superman (the hero and the movie), or will it sink like Poseidon (the ship and the film)?
Getting to work in downtown Albuquerque proved to be a bit of a chore last week. Employees trying to negotiate Central found themselves routed around the city’s downtown hub. The reason? John Travolta, Tim Allen and Martin Lawrence were busy filming their new middle-aged biker comedy Wild Hogs for Touchstone Pictures.
Having waded through approximately half of this spring’s 28-day May Sweeps Month (officially coming to an end on Wednesday, May 24), I’ve come to one conclusion: Season finales deliver a lot more tease than climax. With assorted sitcoms, dramas and reality shows coming to their season (and in some cases series) closers, May has subjected us to more cliffhangers, question marks and “will he/she or won’t he/she” dilemmas than an entire week of soap opera programming. But does all this conclusion leave us salivating for more, or merely burned out on the conventions of the medium? Do we even need season finales anymore?
Happy Birthday, Launchpad!--Whether you call it Launchy, The Pad, Lawn Chair or any other pejoratively endearing name, the Launchpad will celebrate nine years in the biz this Saturday, May 20. In their traditional style, Albuquerque's most venerable rock club will host a shitload of bands (visit www.launchpadrocks.com for the full lineup; there were 21 at last count, I think), with free food and cheap drinks all the live-long day. The live music starts at 10 a.m. and keeps it coming until 2 a.m. Due to the high number of under-21 musicians in this year's lineup, Launchpad supporters of all ages will be welcome to join in the music up until 5 p.m. Those over 21 with valid IDs will be permitted to come and go as they like. That's all for a one-time cover charge of $5, a portion of which will be donated to the Rio Grande Chapter Red Cross. You are defenseless. Just go.
with the Epoxies, Teenage Bottlerocket and Romeo Goes to Hell
By Simon McCormack
Sunday, May 21, Launchpad (all-ages); $10: The Phenomenauts bought their way onto the Warped tour with breakfast burritos, played the sidewalk outside of the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco and are now on their way to the Launchpad for an all-ages show that’s sure to leave you full of joy and covered in toilet paper. It is clear that Commander Angel Nova and his loyal space-traversing crew have a sincere love for the live show--and that love pays dividends for those lucky enough to see their live performance. With the help of their “Theramatic-Helmerator” (a helmet with a theremin attached to it) and their trusty “Streamerator” (a leaf blower that shoots toilet paper at the crowd), The Phenomenauts create an atmosphere that’s beyond compare ... on this planet, at least.
Hidden carefully within many sock drawers are deep, haunting secrets. Tales so mystifying that only dear diary can understand. Poems written to an unattainable love. Confessions of who it really was that stole the cookies from the cookie jar. Stories you want to forget, but remember years later through fits of laughter. Some stories never make it to the plastic-bound pages under layers of hosiery—they go straight to vinyl.
All over the city, local hip-hop shined last Saturday.
Starting at 11 a.m. at Los Altos Skate Park, a free concert and barbecue attracted skaters, bikers, and music lovers. Samuel Tobias Bryant, a 28 year old entrepreneur and his partner Nathaniel Carson were responsible for the all-day picnic. The duo opened a BMX shop across the street from the skate park called Burque Bikes, and were looking for a little promotion.
“We want everybody to get off their ass, ride their bikes, enjoy some sun, be happy and be human again,” Carson said.
Word. The music wasn’t all hip-hop, although just about every local emcee was on the list. Dirtheadz, One Foundation, Garbage Pail Kidz, 2bers and reggae/ hip-hop artist Kev Lee got down all day, until everyone had their fill of green chile tortilla burgers.
Starting this week, NYPD (Second Street and Central) will expand their hours until 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday--Not only that, you'll finally be able to take advantage of the huge new back room from 5:30 p.m.-midnight on the same days. The new space is outfitted with vintage 1980 tabletop arcade games, several beers on tap, flat screen TVs and a discrete outdoor patio. Just wander back through the parking lot to the north of the existing NYPD, or ask for help from a friendly NYPD employee like Stuart.
Where’s the best place to buy wine? There are several “good” stores in town, but there are very few exceptional wine shops. In all honesty, it depends on your level of wine knowledge and what type of person you are. What are you into? What are you looking for? No, I’m not hitting on you. Let me break it down.
I can still remember when all Bono really did was sing. The “Mysterious Ways” video with its Middle Eastern flair was just one of the many reasons that former high school top 40 pop junkies like myself found a crooning hero in the U.N.-happy lead singer of U2. Since he’s a bit tied up these days, I’ll have to go back to worshiping Lemmy from Motörhead.