This part of New Mexico isn’t hurting for upscale restaurants, which means we diners have some tough decisions when a holiday or special occasion arises. Where to take the in-laws who can’t stand us? Where to wine and dine the new boss who we suspect doesn’t like us? Where should we feed the new lover who we really hope likes us?
Alibi's Fourth Annual Valentine's Day Card Contest
By Steven Robert Allen
Unlike revenge, love is a dish best served steaming hot straight from the oven. So break out the pot holders, baby, ’cause the winners of this year's Valentine's Day Card Contest are so blistering they'll burn your fingertips right to the bone.
Karl Deuble's twisted little card—composed on severely damaged cardboard—takes home the prize this year. Judges were especially impressed by Deuble's combination of brutally violent imagery with what is essentially a cutie-pie, lovey-dovey romantic message. For his efforts, he'll get $80 worth of gift certificates to Sushi Gen along with two free passes to the Outpost Performance Space.
Talk to the hand! Cari Lee Pier's submission was one of several cards we received that were commercial grade—you'd be lucky to stumble across a card of this quality in a store. The elegant graphics and dreamy words from Rumi work in tandem to create a very beautiful, soothing impression. Pier will receive $60 in gift certificates to Seasons Rotisserie and Grill.
The Shins are Bigger than Jesus—Yup, it's official. As of this writing, The Shins' brand-new album, Wincing The Night Away, is the second highest selling album on Amazon.com, beating out The Beatles' Love (No. 8) and Madonna's Confessions Tour DVD and CD set (No. 6), for the love of all that's holy. So technically, they're bigger than the-band-that's-bigger-than-Jesus and Madonna. That's an astounding number of CD players to occupy. And with big-name recognition for what once was a small-town (that would be Albuquerque) band, comes the need for a Shins FAQ. Take note, members of the foreign press.
Music for indie record heads ... and your aunt and uncle, too
By Simon McCormack
Although Chris Adolf resides in the Mile-High City, the singer, songwriter and only permanent member of neofolk project Bad Weather California prefers a small town scene. The yen for a cozier location is evident in his intimate, gruff but earnest style that’s somewhere between a warm embrace and a cold stare. Like many independent musicians, Adolf is not all that comfortable in the digital age. Whenever he thinks a song sounds too crisp or clean, he makes sure to “mush it up.” Adolf and his ever-rotating cast of backing musicians are genuinely interested in making music for the masses, but they also want to make sure their souls stay intact in the process.
It came out this summer, but The Coma Recovery’s Drown That Holy End In Wine is actually the perfect album for Valentine’s Day. “Capulet” (track No. 8) even works as both the backdrop for a satisfying makeout sesh and the anthem of your next breakup. Get it at www.failedexperimentrecords.com.
Asleep on Tippy Toe—Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty is often considered the crowning masterpiece of classical ballet. The world famous Moscow Festival Ballet will stage this tutus-and-fairy-tales production at UNM's Popejoy Hall this Friday, Feb. 9, at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $49. Reserve yours by calling 925-5858 or logging on to unmtickets.com.
The New Mexico Burlesque Showcase takes it off at the KiMo Theatre
By Marisa Demarco
Picture her in five-inch heels, a sequined vintage outfit, stalking a stage in Albuquerque, maybe a bar, maybe a theater, maybe a movie house. She’s brash and bossy. She gets in your face, bats her eyelashes and the fans she’s holding. She plays with you, torments you, teasing.
Women artists from all over the country—including several from New Mexico—contribute self-portraits in various media to a new exhibit opening this weekend at 516 Arts (516 Central SW). Curated by Suzanne Sbarge, the show incorporates sculpture, painting, mixed media and photography into an examination of femininity and identity. Eye to I opens in the upstairs gallery this Saturday, Feb. 10, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. It continues through March 24 in conjunction with a satellite exhibit presented downstairs by Santa Fe's Museum of Fine Arts. For more information, call 242-1445 or go to www.516arts.org.
Some good news over at the Albuquerque Little Theatre: Albuquerque's oldest theater is back in the black and doing better than ever. Check out their latest show, a production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, presented by veteran director Peter Shea Kierst. Running Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 18, it's the perfect post Valentine's love fix. $22 general, $20 seniors, $18 students. Group and additional student discounts are available. Reserve tickets by calling 242-4750 or going to www.albuquerquelittletheater.org.
Self-Scrutiny—All right fellow media critics, we’re about to make “Thin Line” history. As best I can tell, this is the first time the Telescope of Righteous Indignation has been flipped over, leaving the Alibi squirming at the wrong end.
One woman's story illustrates that New Mexico’s Child Enforcement Division is deadbeat for single parents seeking aid
By Kate Trainor
When Jessica Sanchez was a child, she strategically planned visits to friends’ homes at the dinner hour. “I would pretend I was going over there to play, but, really, it was just in time for dinner,” she says. Food and money were scarce during Sanchez’ childhood, as her single mother struggled to collect child support for Sanchez and her sister. Now 28, Sanchez has yet to see a cent of child support, for either herself or her two young sons.
Ideas for how to save the Albuquerque Public School system are flying around the Legislature like aspen leaves on a blustery October afternoon. Every lawmaker seems to have a pet scheme for rescuing our ponderous district from itself--to no effect.
Dateline: Croatia--An angry husband who threw old clothes into his garden and set fire to them because he couldn’t find any clean underwear accidentally burned down his own home. Ivo Jerbic, 55, from Prikraj, near the capital city of Zagreb, told police he had lost his temper after failing to find any clean underpants in a closet full of old clothes. “My wife never throws anything out, I just lost my temper,” he admitted to officers. Jerbic dumped all the clothes in his yard and lit them on fire. Unfortunately, the fire spread to the house, which burned to the ground. Local news agency Hina reported Jerbic could face up to eight years in jail for putting other family members in danger, even though no one was injured.
Festival della Cinema Italiana--Are you in the mood for some Italian? This Thursday, New Mexico’s very first Italian Film Festival will debut. From Feb. 8 through Feb. 11, a dozen classic Italian-themed films will be screened around Albuquerque. The Godfather, Life is Beautiful, Big Night, La Strada, Moonstuck and Il Postino are among the flavorful offerings. Venues range from the KiMo theater to the Guild Cinema to the old Lobo Theatre to the Rio Rancho HS Performing Arts Center. Festival passes ($50) and individual tickets ($7) are available in advance at Borders, Saggio’s, the Guild Cinema and the Lobo Theatre. All proceeds will go to benefit UNM Children’s Hospital. For a complete schedule of films and times, log on to www.italianfilmfest.org.
The Last Sin Eater marks the latest release from FoxFaith, a subdivision of 20th Century Fox designed to create “morally driven, family-friendly programming.” Although the word “faith” could be used with regard to Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism and just about any other “ism” on Earth, the Fox Corporation clearly has economic designs on one faith and one faith only. All FoxFaith films must “have overt Christian content or be derived from the work of a Christian author.” Perhaps you caught FoxFaith’s theological thriller Thr3e earlier this year. Or not.
Perhaps the scariest and most tragic thing about Jonestown: The Life and Death of Peoples Temple, the extensively researched new documentary by Stanley Nelson, is that it shows the early days of Jim Jones’ infamous ministry. Jones is known today as little more than a lunatic cult figure who led nearly 1,000 people to their deaths in the jungles of South America. But what, you have to wonder, prompted people to follow Jones on his mad exodus? Jonestown shows in sober, chronological detail the growth of Jones’ Peoples Temple movement. The sad and soul-shaking part of Jones’ story is that it started out with such noble intentions, a reminder that no insitution--religious, political or otherwise--starts out with the purpose of doing evil. But, as we have all been reminded time and again, power corrupts. And absolute power? Well, we know the story there.
During the day, Cartoon Network is a repository for clever, often inspiring cartoons for kids of all ages. At night, however, the lunatics take over the asylum. The late-night “Adult Swim” block allows cutting-edge crazy people to participate in some sort of work release program, ensuring stable employment for the criminally deranged and unquantifiably strange cartoons for the rest of us.
Last week we came home from a particularly heavy night of drinking to find a sweet surprise on the doorstep: a hulking party pack of somewhat experimental potato chips from the Kettle test kitchen (courtesy of our good web friend Mikey).
Peter O’Toole still lights up the silver screen in randy romance
By Devin D. O’Leary
Oscar is a funny old thing. Lots of very deserving people don’t seem to have one. Three 6 Mafia has one, but Martin Scorsese doesn’t. Legends Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Kirk Douglas and Cary Grant never took home statues for acting. Roberto Benigni was handed an Academy Award for directing, but Alfred Hitchcock wasn’t. Peter O’Toole, nominated as Best Actor for work in Lawrence of Arabia, Becket, The Lion in Winter, Goodbye Mr. Chips and four other films, has never formally won. (The actor tried in 2003 to turn down an honorary Oscar, saying he still thought he had a chance to win one outright. Academy officials finally convinced him to accept it.)
Traditional Gifts: Paper Modern Gifts: Clocks Gemstone: Gold jewelry, pearl or peridot Color: Gold or yellow Flower: Orange blossom or pansy Buy: Board games and puzzles, a calendar, books, stationary, tickets to a concert (or a Lobo women's volleyball game) or a painting from a local artist. Have cherished photographs professionally framed. Buy a fashion wristwatch for your mate or an antique clock you can both enjoy in your home. Make: Arrange a bouquet of paper flowers, or write a love letter on the back of a postcard from somewhere meaningful to you both.
Luminous, elegant silver is a perpetual classic. Unfortunately, silver tarnishes over time (thus your grandmother's annual silver-polishing parties), but new tarnish-resistant alloys are making sterling silver more attractive than ever.
Media Meeting--The UNM ARTS Lab will host New Mexico’s 3rd Annual Media Industries Conference this Friday, Feb. 2, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Student Union Building. This free conference, titled “New Challenges, New Opportunities,” will bring together people from across the media spectrum. More than 300 professional filmmakers, artists, researchers, technology developers, educators and students are expected to attend and network with others to learn about activities, challenges and opportunities in these growing fields.
It's been a good long time since anyone’s had to dust off the adjective “Tarantinoesque” to describe a movie. Back before the turn of 2000, in the wake of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction, the Sundance Film Festival was spewing out hip, ironic, pop-culture-infused crime films faster than the shelves at Blockbuster Video could keep up with. That trend seemed to tire itself out and go to bed after a while—but now comes the hip, ironic, pop-culture-infused crime film Smokin’ Aces.
This Sunday afternoon, as the Colts vie for their first title since moving to Indianapolis and the Chicago Bears try to claim their first Super Bowl win in 20 years, an awful lot of people will be raking in an awful lot of dough. From the overpaid players to the hot dog vendors to half-time performer Prince to the folks selling bootleg T-shirts in the parking lot, everyone will be expecting to make money hand over fist. Of course, the people making the biggest paycheck are, as always, the ones from the network. CBS is asking a bank-breaking $2.6 million for each 30-second commercial that airs during the broadcast.
Have you ever smoked a whole duck? What kind of brine would you soak it in? How long should one smoke a full bird? Is there any way to avoid an overly dry duck?
A: Dear Quack,
Smoking meat is one of the culinary areas in which, contrary to what you may have read before, I like to use a recipe. The successful outcome of a smoking session depends on soaking the meat in a brine with the right level of salt.
Ah, it's almost Valentine’s Day, an especially meaningful time for me—a time to eat and drink to excess while wallowing in self-pity. If you're anything like me (single) then the overwhelming pressure to find a valentine can make you depressed.
The concept of all-you-can-eat sushi and sake seemed both really good and tragically misguided all at the same time. This was my thought upon preparation to dine at Sushi and Sake in Nob Hill. I, like many others who frequent the area, had originally assumed that A.Y.C.E. sushi meant all you can drink sake, which the restaurant doesn’t offer. The misconception began with the sign out front that states the name of the restaurant, with the A.Y.C.E. information and prices underneath, which upon first glance (without regard for sentence structure) appears to advertise all the booze you can swallow along with raw fish, rice and seaweed.
It's a distinction in wording important enough to merit italics in the news release. The bills making their way through the state's House and Senate this session require commercial insurance carriers to have a package for domestic partners—if employers choose to offer it.
A conversation with Kathleen O’Malley, Albuquerque’s international peace activist
By Jim Scarantino
You can meet truly amazing people in Albuquerque. I sat down with Dr. Kathleen O’Malley to talk about her work for peace in Iraq, Palestine and, now, Iran. Bill Richardson isn't the only New Mexican flying off to the world’s flashpoints of hate and violence. He goes with the protection of a host government under the glare of television cameras. O’Malley goes in as just another vulnerable human being, using her own resources and body to stand for peace.
Dateline: The Netherlands--Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the southern Dutch town of Zelhem, has invented the world’s first beer for dogs. Berenden created the brew, made from beef extract and malt, specifically for her pet Weimaraners. “Once a year we go to Austria to hunt with our dogs, and at the end of the day we sit on the veranda and drink beer. So we thought, my dog has also earned it,” she said. A local Dutch brewery was consigned to make the nonalcoholic drink, called Kwispelbier. The beer is fit for human consumption as well, but at 1.65 euros a bottle ($2.14), it’s about four times more expensive than a Heineken.
Who Says There's Nothing to Do in Rio Rancho?—Well, pretty much everyone. Especially the people who actually live there. Of course, there's Slate Street Billiards and Sports Bar and the shiny new sportsplex, which both make Rio Rancho a happening place for ... sports spectatorship. But as far as live music goes, you're on your own.
Howard Alden, Eddie Daniels, Doug Lawrence and more combine for a multimedia send-off
By Mel Minter
The jazz community was stunned to learn of the unexpected demise of clarinetist Kenny Davern, born John Kenneth O’Davorin, who died of a heart attack on Dec. 12, 2006, at the age of 71. This Sunday, that community is coming together to celebrate the life of a man whom drummer John Trentacosta, one of the event’s organizers, calls “a true master.”
Over her decade-long career in music, 28-year-old singer/songwriter Erin McKeown has earned distinction for her wryly upbeat lyrics and a vocal style that isn’t as much about virtuosity as it is honesty. But, ironically, McKeown’s originality shines through best on her newest album, Sing You Sinners, which offers up 13 tracks of music standards from the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
In Memoriam—Every person who knew Reggie Gammon seems to have a kind word for him. He was a fixture on the art scene here in Albuquerque, maintaining a studio at the Harwood Art Center for years, creating a body of artistic work immersed in music and social justice.
Why be a poet? One can’t do it for a living, not with payments in contributors’ copies and the chances of publishing a slim chapbook worse than lottery odds. The poet will answer that she writes because she must, because it’s only through such arrangements of words that she can attempt an understanding of this world. We should all be poets. Imagine the possibilities!
... but everyone gets one at some point. Most of us probably don't experience the sinking dread of flashing red lights in our rearview all that often. But with the shiny black lenses of red-light cameras going up at major intersections all over the city, a new kind of dread sets in. Watch the flashes pop in rapid succession as the light changes. Are every one of those pops a ticket—an expensive ticket? When will one be destined for your mailbox? Who gets all that money, anyway? What if we can't afford the ticket? And can we protect our plates against those prying lenses?
"Think about how you spend your day," says APD spokesperson John Walsh. "On a bus, walking, operating a motor vehicle, as a passenger." Don't kid yourself, he adds. Albuquerque wants traffic enforcement because it wants a safe commute. The most common complaints to APD concern traffic accidents and violators of traffic laws. "Think about the hundreds and hundreds of violations that occur on a momentary basis."
To date, Albuquerque has 12 intersections staffed with cameras, ticketing drivers and netting millions of dollars. To achieve the same around-the-clock effect with officers would require 12 per intersection. That's 144 full-time cops working solely on traffic and only in those intersections. The cameras are a huge savings on manpower, Walsh says.
City Councilor Sally Mayer got a phone call from a constituent right after the city's first cameras were up and running. The tickets are unaffordable, the caller fretted. "Believe me," Mayer says, "there are times where that would be what I would have to say, too. 'I don't have this money.'"
Peaceful, anti-war activism may result in prison sentences for nine New Mexicans after they tried to make love, not war, with Sen. Pete Domenici
By Kate Trainor
The Department of Homeland Security has identified a new threat to our nation: a group of nine New Mexicans that includes a Jesuit priest, a retired librarian, a high school student and a church-going grandma.
In the realm of diamonds and cubic zirconia, one stone is imperfect and made of carbon, the other flawless and made of zirconium oxide. Diamonds are formed deep in the Earth via 2,000-degree heat and intense pressure, over millions, if not billions of years. Cubic zirconia is made in a laboratory. Regardless of mining controversies, conflict diamonds and an international De Beers conspiracy, the diamond is natural and intensely beautiful. The cubic zirconia is an abundant, fabricated imitation. Its look is unfortunately overpowering; plus, it has no humorous urban nickname. (Diamonds you can call "ice.")
Why we should exercise common sense in our jail system
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
I recently toured the still almost-new Bernalillo County Detention Center (BCDC). It was opened about three years ago and this year saw a new psychiatric wing completed, making its total capacity more than 2,500 inmates.
Dateline: England--A woman admitted to a hospital for treatment of a severe migraine had her stay extended when a television fell off the wall and hit her on the head. Sharon Blake, 36, was ready to leave Yeovil District Hospital when she moved the TV, attached to an adjustable arm above her head, and it toppled over. She was left mildly concussed and needed extra observation according to the Sun newspaper. Patientpal, which runs the coin-operated TV system, has apologized for the “isolated incident.”
The most bizarre and startling restaurant news of the new year is that Graze won't live to see the other side of this weekend. You heard right, unfortunately. Owner Michael Chesley, who parted ways with co-owner and Executive Chef Jennifer James in September of 2006, issued a press release last week announcing the restaurant's impending closure. His reason: Despite garnering national attention for the restaurant's focus on small plates and local ingredients, Graze's lofty concept just didn't make financial sense.
The real fun started after I finished my meal and paid my check. I had an excellent meal at Burque’s lone Salvadoran restaurant, located right off the intersection of Bridge and Goff. The service was great, the food was awesome but, boy, did I get some noteworthy tidbits on my way out the door.
Catch the “Fire”--The ABC Family Channel series “Wildfire,” which shoots right here in Albuquerque, is looking for new faces to act as background extras in the upcoming season. If you’re interested, there will be an open casting call on Thursday, Jan. 25, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Hilton Hotel at University and Menaul. The family-oriented soap, about a rebellious girl who finds excitement and romance at a horse ranch where she works as part of her parole from juvenile hall, is currently in its third season.
One thing films do very well is transport audiences to another world. From Metropolis to The Wizard of Oz to The Lord of the Rings to Pan’s Labyrinth, films have developed a visual language that’s highly conducive to the creation of imaginative realms. Arguably, some of the best filmmakers in the world are the ones who can not only create previously unseen vistas on the movie screen, but convince audiences of their veracity.
Lean, mean Western goes all metaphorical in the end
By Devin D. O’Leary
Seraphim Falls begins with a bang. Literally, as a cowboy camped in the wintry Western mountains is shot in the arm by a faraway rifle. Abandoning both horse and weapons, he flees the campsite. This touches off a 20-minute, nearly wordless chase sequence in which former Union officer Gideon (Pierce Brosnan) tumbles down mountainsides, washes over waterfalls and basically does every damned dangerous thing he can to avoid a vengeful Confederate soldier named Carver (Liam Neeson) and his gang of gun-toting toughs.
A year ago, networks were all trying (and failing miserably) to sell downloads of their most popular shows for iPod and other digital media devices. Why wouldn’t people be willing to pay $1.99 to see a low-quality, one-time-only rerun of a previously free TV show? (I don’t really need to explain that, do I?) Now, with the proliferation of TiVo and YouTube, networks are starting to figure out the benefits of letting people watch shows whenever and wherever they want. Instead of battling against the Internet in an attempt to keep multimedia-savvy viewers from abandoning traditional broadcast television in favor of cooler more high-tech options, networks now are embracing the trip-dub and all its gimmicky goodness.
Win Something—There are few awards in the lives of many musicians. Aspiring local ones can expect shiny prizes like: crappy pay, excess drama, late hours and the occasional heckler. Of course, pats on the back are not the reason most of us are in this game. We do it because ... wait, why are we doing this?
Although they have nothing but kind words for a great many Phoenix bands, Stewart Alaniz of the prog-rock power-trio Chief Beef and Tony Poer of the experimental outfit Emperors of Japan are anxious to leave the confines of an overly saturated music scene in their hometown.
It would be tough to call it straight-forward folk. But, for all of his sonic tinkerings, The Dodos frontman Meric Long has constructed tunes that are devoid of many bells and whistles (save for a few vocal loops) and have an unmistakable honesty and humility that's refreshing in a genre that has bred more than its fair share of uppity musicians.
Rock-a-bye Baby—Africa has had it rough for a long time. Unfortunately, children have borne the brunt of a crisis wrought by war, famine, poverty and AIDS. The U.N. estimates there are more than 48 million orphans in sub-Saharan Africa alone.
There was a time when Norman Mailer used to talk about the Big Book. It prowled the interviews he gave in the ’50s like a white whale, blasting into view and then diving back down into darkness, where it would lurk until the next publication date.
Love is like fishing. We eye a catch we like, bait the lure, toss out the line and hope what we're offering is to our beloved's liking. Sometimes, the catch takes the bait, whether she'll be eaten whole, thrown back or kept in close stead is up to fate or dumb luck. Other times something else catches our line, perhaps a piece of trash quickly discarded or a fish previously obscured from view—a catch unlike anything we'd ever known. If it weren't for that random snag, it would have slipped past us.