Alibi V.15 No.46 • Nov 16-22, 2006

The Animal Lover

Awww. Look at the widdle pups. And the widdle kitties. Aren't they just the cutest? Unfortunately, life for animals in Albuquerque isn't always as good as it should be. That's why the Alliance puts together this calendar with the help of dozens of Albuquerque individuals and businesses. All proceeds go to help improve the lives of animals in city shelters.

Gus Pedrotty’s Alibi interview [Video]

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.

Eric Williams

Alibi Celebrates Pride

Guests of the N.M. Pride Celebration join Weekly Alibi to party

We would like to thank everyone who visited our booth at the Albuquerque Pride Celebration and the wonderful folx running the beautiful event.

feature

What’s Your Shopping Style?

Find out with this simple quiz!

Most quizzes either evaluate our inadequacy regarding academics or tell us whether he’s a stud or a dud. This one, however, is designed to help you determine your shopping style in hopes that this year, in the face of rampant materialism and the demise of your savings, you’ll have a more efficient and overall successful shopping experience.

The Humanitarian

What could be more humanitarian than encouraging your friends to make babies? The world must be peopled! Help your best mates to wallow in sticky, sweaty humanity with a set of mood-enhancing, evil paraben-free products from Emerita. They'll get massage oil, stimulating response cream, warming and natural lubricants, two tea candles and a cute keepsake box. You'll be thanked for years to come.

The White Elephant Shopper

Give this decorative hummingbird playground to the guy from sales who always complains about his wife's obsession with her flower garden. His constant rumbling will become less about the frickin' garden and more about how she won't shut up about the beautiful Ivy Hanger and the hummingbirds. Pure bliss.

Mr. No-Nonsense

Don’t mess around: Just buy this book for everyone on your list. It’s a simple, easy, time-saving strategy, and there’s a good chance everyone on your list would love this book, anyway. What’s it about? Everything. How to lose weight, give yourself a facial peel, find a good doctor, survive an airplane crash, cook a gourmet meal, buy a home, fix a leaky toilet, play pool … everything. It’s a useful how-to guide that would complement any bookshelf or coffee table. And it’s fascinating. There: Christmas is solved.

The Creative Giver

PaperGami carries the largest selection of Japanese paper in the country. Yeah, you heard us. Japanese paper, which is hand silk-screened, makes ideal art paper since it doesn’t break down when glued. But PaperGami offers much more than paper; like these adorable guest soaps shaped like piglets, which are the most delicious thing we may have ever smelled. Oh, and these Mexican calendar girls cards, which are too cool to pass up.

The Monopoly Guy

Big spending gourmands can drop some spare change on this lovely mother-of-pearl caviar plate and spoon. Add a nice one-ounce jar of Ostra caviar for a mere $20 or go nuts on Russian Sevruga caviar for $67.95. In anticipation of the holiday gift-giving season, Fremont's has expanded beyond mere tasty titdbits. The store has shelfloads of fine imported household goods, including tea sets from Britain, silk tablecloths from India and hand-woven table-runners from the Philippines.

film

Reel World

Film For the People, By the People--Basement Films sponsors round three of its Cinema Publicus series this Thursday, Nov. 16, at 8 p.m. Filmmakers, bring your short films (seven minutes max) on DVD, VHS or 16mm for an open-sheet screening at SolArts (712 Central SE) in downtown ABQ. Film watchers, bring your ... eyeballs, I guess. Come check out art/garbage/home movies/works-in-progress. You never know what you’ll get at these things. Admission is free, so get there early to claim your seat. For more info, log on to www.basementfilms.org.

Fast Food Nation

Industry satire not as meaty as it could be

Richard Linklater’s adaptation of Fast Food Nation isn’t the first film to make fictional fun of a popular nonfiction book. In 1972, Woody Allen turned the self-help sex manual Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask into a feature-length sketch comedy. In 2004, “SNL” grad Tina Fey used Rosalind Wiseman’s academic examination of teenage cliques, Queen Bees and Wannabes, as the source of her high school comedy Mean Girls. Now, Eric Schlosser’s best-selling nutritional analysis of the supersizing of America has been transformed into an ensemble drama/comedy.

Shortbus

Explicit sex drama finds humor, reality amid the fornication

Have you ever been to the movies with your parents and had to squirm your way through an explicit sex scene? Inevitably, you’re greeted with an indignant, post-film rant along the lines of, “Why do they have to show that? I don’t want to see that. What’s the point of exposing all that skin?” Sound familiar? Well, then you probably don’t want to take mom and dad to see John Cameron Mitchell’s conspicuously unrated Shortbus.

Idiot Box: The Book

Television Without Pity by Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting

Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting are the founders of TelevisionWithoutPity.com, a TV review website known for its pithy weekly recaps. Recently, Quirk Books published the duo’s spin-off book Television Without Pity, helpfully subtitled 752 Things We Love to Hate (and Hate to Love) About TV.

food

Bitter Grapes

Wines for the newly single shopper

What's the first thing you do when you find out your partner is cheating on you? And you don’t have a gun or a good attorney? You drink. But which wine goes best with the bitter taste of infidelity? Any wine, preferably one with a high alcohol content. Alcohol will soothe the cold, hard reality, not to mention pain, of being 33 and single again. Here are five wines that will aid you in your recovery and help you rejoin your journey towards self-actualization—alone.

Does Everything Go Better with Grease?

Dear Chef Boy Ari: I just heard something on the radio about fried Coke. That sounds 1) totally disgusting, and 2) kind of impossible. I would think that the Coke would dissipate into the grease, and you would basically have to drink the grease in order to drink the fried Coke. What am I missing here?

Swiss Alps Bakery

It’s beginning to smell a lot like Christmas

Let’s face it: The holidays come earlier every year. While out buying the stuff to make my kid’s Halloween costume in mid-October, I was already getting barraged with those big Santa/reindeer/snowman lawn globes, to which my kid quipped, “It should be Christmas all year long!” My holiday visions, sans sugar plums, were of my dad yelling about Ritz crackers, my siblings arguing over whose children had better manners and me wondering if my in-laws’ house was quieter.

news

The Last Straw

Couple experiments with ways to renovate that will reduce energy use and utility bills

The neighbors are curious. With its straw-bale walls, Peggy Loftfield's house looks like something out of the "Three Little Pigs." Peggy and her husband Earl were looking for a way to save money after retirement. They moved here from Massachusetts last spring. After a lifetime's worth of interest in ecological, sustainable living, the two decided to pour all their knowledge into the grand experiment that will be their North Valley home.

Election Wrap-up

It's over. Well, almost over. Tens of thousands of you marched to the polls on Election Day, determined to cast votes that would decide our state's and country's future. Slightly more than a week later, the results are in.

Working the Pavement

Campaigns should focus less on TV and more on shaking hands

I went out Saturday morning to pick the daily paper off the lawn and take down my “Madrid for Congress” signs. It was, after all, four full days after the polls closed. I went to bed Friday night with the image of a smiling Heather Wilson toasting her victory with a glass of orange juice still vivid in my memory.

Pandas on Wheels

Election Eve Council meetings often end early, but on Nov. 6 one blockbuster bill and several side dishes kept councilors working late. Councilor Debbie O'Malley sponsored an administration proposal to expand city recycling services to multi-family dwellings of more than 25 units. The proposal passed unanimously.

“All War Is Terrorism”

A conversation with Mark Rudd of The Weather Underground on violence, the FBI, Che Guevara and a Palestinian named Jesus

In “The Real Side” ["Now Starring in the People's Republic of Albuquerque!" Oct. 26-Nov. 1], I wrote about the curious coincidence of Albuquerque attracting former leaders of The Black Panther Party, EarthFirst! and The Weather Underground. In the column, I imagined the ex-radicals holding forth about their regrets and their take on current events. Mark Rudd, formerly of The Weather Underground, accepted that invitation. Here’s my conversation with a man who helped form an organization that bombed the Capitol and for a decade waged war against the United States of America.

Thin Line

Don't Forget—It's a good story. Pat Tillman, a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, left the NFL and penned his name to a stint with the Army Rangers, forgoing a $3.6 million contract. Talk about your American hero. That move's got football, war and sacrifice all in one.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England--A 22-year-old lad who came up with the brilliant idea of launching a bottle rocket out of his own backside in celebration of Bonfire Night ended up in a Sunderland hospital with a scorched colon. “We received a call stating there was a male who had a firework in his bottom and it was bleeding,” Douglas McDougal, from the North East Ambulance Service, told BBC News. The man was described as being in stable condition following the removal of a Black Cat Thunderbolt Rocket from his rectum. “He sustained fairly significant injuries,” reported McDougal. “There’s a lot of major blood vessels ’round that area, so infection would probably be a huge problem for him. And also the body naturally produces methane gas, so combine that with the firework and the exploding effect with methane’s flammability--it certainly could have been a lot worse than it really was.”

music

Music to Your Ears

I'm Dreaming of a Hot, Black Christmas--Every couple I know has a list. Not the double-checked Christmas variety with presents and candy canes and good will toward men, mind you. I'm talking about a list of celebrities that, if you happened to meet and the celebrity in question was actually inclined, you'd be allowed to toss your wedding ring out the window for 15 minutes of fame, free and clear. If you know what I mean.

Flyer on the Wall

Progressive metallurgists Opus Dai return to Burt's Tiki Lounge (free, 21-and-over) with Left Brain and Devil Riding Shotgun. See "Music Magnified," Aug. 10-16, 2006, for more dirt on the band. (LM)

It's Spanish for "Mix"

Mezklah means tribal electronica

Being pigeonholed into a category, sound or style isn't something most musicians appreciate. Still, qualifiers like "we don't really fit into any category" sound nebulous and self-important--and could be the kiss of death for a genre-defying band trying to be heard.

The Vampler

Artist loops clips live, performs cinema

"Vampling" does not mean "baby vampire."

It's a portmanteau for "video audio sampling."

James Schneider is a vampler, a breed of artist that can encompass names like Negativland, TV Sheriff or The Light Surgeons. But Schneider may be the first to vample the way he vamples. "It's fluid performance on the fly," he says, and though he's been on the lookout for others of his kind, he hasn't seen them yet. "I'm not familiar with other people doing it. I have been looking around."

Hark!

The Christmas albums sing

Perhaps due to attempts by the very wrong Christian right to dominate the landscape, more recordings of Christmas music have recently come my way than at any time in the past seven years. Arbitrarily skipping through the pile uncovers choice stuffings for your stocking. Of course, if you’re into pantyhose or dreidels, you may wish to look elsewhere.

art

Culture Shock

Romeo, Romeo—Where the hell are you, Romeo? The Albuquerque Little Theatre is looking for 12 men and eight women, teenaged and up, to take part in a new production of Shakespeare's romantic suicidal classic. The play, directed by Peter Kierst, opens in January. Auditions will take place at the theater (224 San Pasquale SW) this Saturday, Nov. 18, from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, from 7 to 10 p.m. with possible callbacks on Monday, Nov. 20. Expect to deliver cold readings from the script. All parts, apparently even the biggies, are still open, so aim big! 242-4750.

Still Waiting

Waiting for Godot at the Vortex Theatre

On opening night, right before the show, director David Richard Jones described the historic premiere of Beckett's first and most famous play, Waiting for Godot. Originally written and performed in French, Beckett hoped to find a smallish theater in Paris to stage it. He didn't have much luck. According to Jones, Beckett finally found a tiny venue on the brink of collapse. The owners had wearied of the financial and psychological stress of running a theater, so they decided to hammer in the last stake, figuring Waiting for Godot would be the ideal play to drive their little venture out of business.

Words on My Lips

An interview with Beverly Bell, author of Walking on Fire

Everything is relative.

Here in the U.S., we women bitch about men, traffic, our paychecks, the coffee and/or the weather. But in Haiti, women aren’t bitching. They’re too busy struggling to stay alive.

Among this year’s PEN Southwest Book Award winners is Walking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance, Albuquerque activist Beverly Bell’s account of the lives of women in Haiti. Bell received the inaugural PEN NM Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Literature of Social Justice last week.

Alibi V.15 No.45 • Nov 9-15, 2006

Flyer on the Wall

"Queer Performativity" takes on a whole new meaning as singing acrobats, emcees, burlesque performers and all-around badass girls present the Femme-O-Lition Derby, a queer cabaret with local performers. See this week's "Lucky 7" for locations, show times and prices. (LM)

feature

Rebels Without Their Clothes

It's been five years since these inked-up, pierced and painted beauties took the Net by storm

Missy Suicide will tell you that although her rebellious soft-porn site exploded in popularity, it's still subversive. The religious right has not yet hopped on the Suicide Girls bandwagon, she laughs, and that's who makes the decisions these days. The ride over the last five years hasn’t always been smooth; there's been a touch of controversy here and there. Some folks, for instance, were troubled to find out the site isn’t woman-owned and operated. Instead, Missy (Selena Mooney) and Sean "Spooky" Suhl cofounded it in Portland, Ore., in 2001. Also, some models have revolted against the company, claiming a stifling contract and mistreatment, allegations Missy refutes in the "trash can" section on the site.

music

Music to Your Ears

A Film About the Pixies--The Guild Cinema is opening up its theater this week to a documentary called loudQUIETloud. In it, we get an all-access pass to the Pixies’ 2004 reunion tour through Canada, Europe and the United States. Most importantly, we get a look at what we've long suspected the Pixies are really like: A dysfunctional family of carnies. Step right up!

Irving

with +/-

I can’t help but feel bad for Irving. For every new sound or sweater-clad opus au courant, there are a thousand great precursory bands commanding our acknowledgement as the groundbreaking antecedents. Nothing is ever really new. Being an indie band ain’t what it used to be.

Bruce Cockburn

You’ve come a long way, baby

Canadian singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn has always had a penchant for the topical. The “big” issues--war, God, life and death--take center stage in his work, as much now as ever in his 30-odd-year career.

Dervish

Irish sextet brings a little piece of Sligo to everyone

Nicknames have a way of sticking. Barbra Streisand is known to her devoted fans a Babs. Dwayne Johnson kicks butt on the movie screen and in the WWE ring as The Rock. President Bush lovingly embraces his possibly self-declared nickname, Dubya.

art

Culture Shock

Father and Son—Baritone Hyung Yun's father, Chi Ho Yun, was diagnosed with terminal cancer last year. One of his dreams before he dies is to share the stage with his son. The two famed Korean opera singers will do just that this Sunday afternoon, Nov. 12, with a concert at the Santa Fe Opera's Stieren Hall. The show starts at 3 p.m. $10 at the door. For details, call (310) 200-3193.

The 7 Ply Perspective

Trillion Space

Local and international photographers/skateboarders bring their work together in The 7 Ply Perspective, a photography show at the Trillion Space which opens this week. Any show that involves talented “photoarders” is sure to be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates good art with plenty of personality. All pieces in the show are craftily mounted on custom-cut plywood, griptape and masonite frames to drive home the theme of the show and the passion of the artists. The opening will be at 6:30 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Trillion Space (510 Second Street NW). Catch some air, dude! For more information, visit www.thetrillionspace.com.

Gifted

Yale Art Center

This holiday season, before you dust off the ol’ brownie-mix-with-petrified-marshmallows-in-a-jar recipe for your holiday gifts, check out Gifted, a holiday art show featuring high-quality, handcrafted artwork at reasonable prices. Whether you’re looking for paintings, jewelry or anything in between, you can find it at the Yale Art Center. The show will run from Nov. 6 through Dec. 22, but don’t go Nov. 22-25 because it won’t be open. A reception with live music and refreshments will be held this Friday, Nov. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. The Yale Art Center (1001 Yale SE) is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit www.yaleartcenter.org or call 242-1669.

food

The Dish

The Tao of Downtown--My apologies to the South Valley and Rio Rancho for not seeing much ink lately. Gas is expensive, but I'm saving up for more trips in the near future. Now, to loosely quote Animotion in regard to my two favorite new places west of the train tracks: You are an obsession. You're my obsession! Where do you want me to be, to make you eat with me?

The Eggs, The Ham

Would you eat them from a book?

My pops shouts through the bathroom door and asks me what I want for breakfast as I take my morning bath. My 7-year-old, frothy, shampoo-covered head replies, "I don't care! Green eggs and ham!" I emerge, towel dry, put on my school clothes and hit the kitchen.

news

Hold Your Liquor

Las Cruces bar closings come after statewide changes to the Liquor Control Act

Las Cruces isn’t typically the first place that comes to mind when you hear the word “nightlife.” But until a couple weeks ago, you could still go out and see live music and do some bar-hopping.

Oaxaca's Reach

Locals relate firsthand accounts of the Mexican city's rebellion as the movement draws supporters from around the country

Oaxaca lives in the international headlines these days, brief glimpses of a movement gathering momentum in Mexico since an early May teachers' strike set it in motion. President Vicente Fox sent 4,500 federal troops to the southern Mexican state on Oct. 29, and a protest of 20,000 from around the country gathered on the streets of Oaxaca to demand their removal over the weekend.

Thin Line

Just Ducky—What do you get when you cross a Patricia Madrid rally, disgruntled demonstrators, a sore foot and a woman in a duck costume?

Stem Cells: Separation of Church and State

Public policy shouldn’t be based on one group’s perspective

Two weeks ago, the governor announced he would seek $10 million in state funding to help the UNM Medical School pursue research into the possible beneficial uses of fetal stem cells.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: The Netherlands--In an example of startling efficiency, a 65-year-old Dutch widow, who had meticulously planned her own funeral after her husband’s death last year, died last week next to her own grave. The elderly woman probably died of a heart attack while visiting the family grave in Amsterdam where her name, but no date, was already inscribed, De Telegraaf reported. The woman was carrying a handbag containing her will when she died. She had already organized all the details of her funeral, including what music she wanted played, the paper said.

film

Reel World

Nowhere Goes Somewhere--While I find it encouraging that our state is looking for ways of kick-starting truly local film production (the recent contract awards and the upcoming New Mexico Filmmaker’s Conference are both great starts), I find it even more heartening to see the sheer number of N.M. films that have materialized this year.

The Queen

Intimate backstage look at the British crown makes for royal character drama

British director Stephen Frears (Dangerous Liaisons, The Grifters, Hero, The Hi-Lo Country, High Fidelity) has developed a taste for his country’s recent history. In 2003, he directed The Deal, a TV movie about Prime Minister Tony Blair’s rise to power. Having found his perfect Tony Blair in actor Michael Sheen (Underworld), Frears has again recruited the actor in a stand-alone companion piece titled The Queen. The film examines the events surrounding the Aug. 31, 1997, death of Princess Diana Spencer, spinning them into a pop culture docudrama about Queen Elizabeth II.

Stranger Than Fiction

Writing’s the key in this high-concept comedy

For the most part, people go to the movies to see their favorite stars. (“Tom Cruise? I am so there!”) Occasionally, people are attracted to the director of a particular project. (“Michael Bay? I love Michael Bay!”) Rarely, if ever, do moviegoers hunt down the work of a specific writer. (“Ben Hecht? That boy could work a typewriter like nobody’s business!”) That’s a real shame. After all, it’s the writer who has the most fundamental impact on a film.

Numbers Game

“Studio 60” and “30 Rock” on NBC

If I were a television executive, I probably wouldn’t have programmed two series on the same network, both based on the behind-the-scenes antics of a faux “Saturday Night Live” sketch comedy show. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t have given them both similar numerical-based titles. I’d go so far as to say the guy who changed the oil this morning in my Toyota wouldn’t have made that programming decision. But somebody over on NBC did, adding both “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” and “30 Rock” to the fall schedule.

Alibi V.15 No.44 • Nov 2-8, 2006

Welcome to the Jungle

The Alibi’s 2006 Election Guide

It’s a brutal, ruthless place. Tangles of campaign rhetoric wind down the sides of looming billboards smeared in dirt and detritus. The mind’s a blur—thousands of sound bytes and buzz words swarm around you, infest your senses, aiming right for your moist mucus membranes. Mossy paths are grown over with too many baffling instructions; at times it seems too daunting to go any further. It’s survival of the fittest, or the richest.

feature

Answers to Our Most Frequently Asked Voting Questions

Now that you’re provided with the information you need to make educated choices at the polls, how do you find said polls? What do you need when you get there? And how do you determine if you’re even registered? Relax, dear readers, we’ve done the work for you.

U.S. Congress: District 1

The Alibi endorses: Patricia Madrid

Job Description: The federal representative for New Mexicans living in the first Congressional district. Drafts and votes on legislation.

Governor

The Alibi endorses: Bill Richardson

Job Description: Executive head of New Mexico. Enforces state laws. Appoints state officers. Prepares state budget to present to the Legislature.

State Auditor

The Alibi endorses: Lorenzo Garcia

Job Description: Audits and monitors financial affairs of every state agency.

Secretary of State

The Alibi endorses: Neither

Job Description: Oversees the statewide election process, including maintaining lists of registered voters, evaluating voting machines and certifying precinct boundaries. Regulates lobbyist activity. Manages campaign finance reports. Second in line of succession to the governor.

U.S. Senator

The Alibi endorses: Jeff Bingaman

Job Description: One of New Mexico's two representatives in the U.S. Senate. Drafts and votes on federal legislation.

Land Commissioner

The Alibi endorses: Jim Baca

Job Description: One of the more powerful offices in the state. Governs the management of state lands, which affects wildlife, townships and public education, as most of the revenue from the office goes toward New Mexico schools. Whoever holds the office next will have imperative decisions to make on what our state does about energy production.

Attorney General

The Alibi endorses: Gary King

Job Description: New Mexico's chief legal representative. Writes advisory letters and opinions. Prosecutes and defends cases in upper-level state courts.

Bernalillo County Sheriff

The Alibi endorses: Darren White

Job Description: The top law enforcement official in the county. Oversees and manages more than 400 employees.

State Treasurer

The Alibi endorses: James B. Lewis

Job Description: Manages banking services for state government and invests short-term funds for local governments and tribes.

Quality of Life Initiative

The Alibi supports

For better or worse, culture is a commodity here in New Mexico. Municipalities such as Santa Fe, Taos and even Silver City have done much to capitalize on their cultural strengths. This has improved the quality of life of city dwellers in countless ways, both tangible and intangible. Albuquerque, unfortunately, is still struggling to catch up.

Bonds, Bonds, Bonds

The Alibi supports

There are six requests for local bond authorizations and three for state bond approvals. We support all of them and hope you will, too.

eVoter Guides to Go

PDF or iPod Note

In the print edition, we had a “Clip-Out” guide, but we think you’ll agree such paper-centric concepts don’t play very well on the web. Instead, we offer both a print-it-yourself PDF or a text file you can unzip and copy to your iPod’s Notes folder (your ‘Pod must be in hard disk mode). So cyber!

art

Culture Shock

Tropicana Havana—As the New Mexico air turns frigid, your imagination will soon start to wander to warmer, more tropical locales. No need to whip out the plastic to pay for a flight to the Caribbean. Just drive on up to Santa Fe for the annual benefit for the Museum of International Folk Art's education and outreach programs. This Sunday, Nov. 4, mojitos and other exotic drinks will be served along with grub from a host of Santa Fe's finest caterers. Live music will be provided by Nosotros. It's a hundred bucks per person, but $75 of that is tax deductible and it's for a very good cause. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets may be purchased by calling (505) 982-6366 ext. 112.

Double Your Displeasure

Double Trouble at the Yale Art Center

Throughout most of the history of Western art, it's generally been assumed that good art cannot and should not be grotesque. In the last century or so, however, that guiding principle has largely been thrown out the window. These days, the most interesting contemporary art often contains at least some element of aesthetic deformity. A couple years ago SITE Santa Fe even hosted a biennial called Disparities and Deformations: Our Grotesque specifically to celebrate art that is fantastically incongruous, even ugly.

Dear Mr. Sulu

It is I, a humble reporter and grudging "Star Trek" fan, who worked more than a month in advance to set up an interview with you. Yes, Sulu, your real name is George Takei, and you do not utter dramatic statements in your space jammies all day long while your captain gets it on with hot alien women. I understand all this—but only barely.

food

The Dish

Fighting Ferns with Raw Fish--Years ago, a friend taught me a new word for those ubiquitous, family-oriented chain restaurants that proliferate near freeway exits. You know the type. Places that are decorated by The Big Metal Turn-of-the-Century Reproduction Sign Company. Places that pour foot-high, neon cocktails with embarrassing names like the "Chattanooga Chocolate Twister." Places where the food is reassuringly bland, Americanized and uncomplicated. She called these places "fern bars."

Dìa de Dulce

Treat yourself and the dearly departed for Dìa de los Muertos

Oct. 31 is a night of youthful celebration. In the United States, children scour their neighborhoods for mini-candy bars and bubble gum in silly costumes, and adults take a nostalgic journey into the world of make believe. In Mexico, the country celebrates the life of youth already departed during Young Souls Day—day one of Dìa de los Muertos, held the first week in November each year.

news

’Tis the Season

Use Project Vote Smart to learn more about your candidates

You may have noticed it’s election season. If our feature this week wasn’t signal enough, you can look to the deluge of campaign ads on street corners, television sets and billboards as markers that voting time is upon us. This Tuesday, Nov. 7, when you head to the polls to partake in the fall festivity, you’ll have a number of choices to make. Many of said choices will hopefully be aided by our election guide in this issue, but you may want to do some of your own research as well. If that’s the case, Project Vote Smart is your answer.

Thin Line

Semantics on the Fritz--To deal with today’s political climate, my favorite coping mechanism has always been apathy. After the election of 2004, I, in disbelief, ceased to care. And it works well, for in my microcosm, responding to the daily actions of the president seems all too obvious. That is, I have refused to become caught up, and am not compelled to join the leagues of Bush bashers, that world of tiny liberal pundits with tiny soap boxes stating the obvious and sometimes making wild and unfounded claims in an already saturated Bush-hating market. Sigh.

Behind the Numbers

An interview with pollster Brian Sanderoff

When New Mexicans want to know about the numbers behind local elections—or any numbers, really—they turn to Brian Sanderoff. You’ve probably read his name at one time or another in a newspaper or on a blog, or heard it on the radio. Sanderoff’s Research & Polling, Inc. conducts the vast majority of election polls throughout the state, most of which grace the pages of the Albuquerque Journal.

After Pat's Birthday

Editor’s note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004.

Lost in Static

The importance of the Land Commissioner race

If you saw the Al Gore movie, An Inconvenient Truth, you probably came out of the theater wishing there were a simple way to do something meaningful about the frightening scenario the film so indisputably lays out.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Canada--The city of Richmond, British Columbia, under pressure for alleged sexual harassment within its fire department, will now be assigning gender-neutral underwear to it firefighters. The city has spent C$16,000 ($14,200) to buy six pairs of boxer shorts for each of the city’s firefighters in a bid to make firehalls in the Vancouver suburb more gender neutral. “We supply firefighters with various pieces of gear such as gloves, now it’s underwear,” city official Ted Townsend told the Vancouver Sun, saying it was all part of the “integration of the sexes in the workplace.” The underwear policy comes in the wake of a recent investigation of the department, which described its workplace culture as “characterized by juvenile and hostile behavior” toward female firefighters by their male colleagues. Firefighters strip off most of their clothes in order to don protective gear when responding to fire alarms.

film

Reel World

Cinematic Conference--On Dec. 1 and 2 at the Hotel Santa Fe (1501 Paseo de Peralta), the New Mexico State Film Office will host its first annual NM Filmmakers Conference. This two-day event will feature networking opportunities plus practical seminars and workshops designed to help local filmmakers sharpen their craft. Seminars and workshops are free, but space is limited, so pre-registration is required. A full schedule of events is posted online at www.nmfilm.com. Registration began online on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Faux documentary tries to be offensive and funny, manages 50 percent of its goals

Is British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen (creator of “Da Ali G Show” and the face behind phony journalist Borat) funny because he's an annoying jerk or is he funny because he's pretending to be an annoying jerk? Either way, the end result is the same--which leads me to this review’s preemptory confession. I don’t find Cohen funny. I’ve never found him funny. Madonna thinks he’s hilarious, but that’s just one of the many differences between us. So it should come as no surprise that I hated Cohen’s new movie Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. The film is crude, juvenile and rancidly offensive. I didn’t so much as crack a smile while watching it. Plus, I felt kinda queasy afterward.

Flushed Away

Energetic British toon shows what happens when the cat’s away

Flush with the success of their last outing (sorry, had to get that out of my system early), the fine folks at England’s Aardman Animations have decided to follow up the international hit Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit with a rather surprising technological upgrade. Having mastered the art of clay animation, Aardman now tries its hand at tinkering with computer-generated toons. Although the 2006 box office has been inundated with CG animals, Flushed Away is easily one of the sharpest and deserves a rosier fate than the one that befell Ant Bully, Barnyard, Open Season and others.

No Soup for You!

NBC punishes bad viewers with bad TV

Early last week, NBC CEO Jeff Zucker took a cue from his network’s long-gone hit, “Seinfeld,” and turned into the Soup Nazi. Facing the unappealing prospect of having to cut 700 jobs and $750 million from his floundering network, Zucker came up with the brilliant idea of punishing runaway viewers by giving them nothing to watch. “No emotional medical dramas for you!”

music

On a Mission with Wynton

Wynton Marsalis Quintet members share the road and the music

Soon after being hired by jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis, saxophonist Walter Blanding, a green kid at the time, got a glimpse into the bandleader’s heart.

Flyer on the Wall

Undo years of therapy this Saturday, Nov. 4, at The Compound (3206 San Mateo NE) with a masochistic megadose of progressive death metal. You'll be introduced to Albuquerque's Last House on the Left in all their machine-gun drum-, gremlin-burp-glory, as they release their debut album, The Road Leads to Nowhere. They'll be joined by all their creepy friends; Last Fifteen, Code of the Zodiac, HATEengine and Torture Victim. Doors open at 7 p.m., cover is $5. (LM)

Teen Dream

The Velvet Teen is big in Japan and, perhaps soon, Albuquerque as well

Ranking among the best indie rock records of recent memory is one you may never hear, by a band that remains mostly unknown. Santa Rosa, Calif.,-based group The Velvet Teen released Cum Laude a few months ago, though it barely made a blip on the radar. The reviews have been favorable but few. Nevertheless, the album is a staggeringly ambitious effort.

Pigeon John ... Is a Little Crazy

Emcee keeps it fresh—and weird

Pigeon John's favorite character on "The Office" is Michael Scott. He even thinks he's a little bit like him. "He's just a weird boss guy who's trying to be cool and friendly with everyone, but he can't fit in because he's freaking weird," Pigeon John says. "He cries when he's alone."