Given New Mexico’s cultural history and its rather close proximity to Mexico, you’d think Spanish-language cinema would be rampant in this state. Aside from the odd Pedro Almodóvar screening and the occasional Spanish film series at the Hispanic Cultural Center, however, non-English cinema is still a relative rarity. For five years now, the annual Sin Fronteras Film Festival has tried to fill that gap.
A friend of mine likes to tell (and retell) the story of an early failed romance. Back in elementary school, the story goes, an eager suitor gathered a bouquet of dandelions in an attempt to woo her. The offering was met with scorn.
Thanks to Joran Viers, NMSU faculty adviser to the master gardener program in Bernalillo County, for providing information about several other delicious weeds. If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to contact him at email@example.com and 243-1386. Generally speaking, the younger the weed the better it will serve as food, and don't eat anything you haven't clearly identified. Also, remember to only eat weeds growing in soil that hasn't been nuked with pesticide.
Why your front yard is the next big thing in sustainable agriculture
By Laura Marrich
Look up the word "vital" and you might see a picture of Eric Gattetson smiling right back at you. At 49 years, Eric has the energy of someone half his age. Eric is the director of the Albuquerque Downtown Growers' Market, a local agriculture advocate and a business owner. Three years ago, he merged a lifelong love of farming with his 10-year-old landscaping business. New Mexico Foodscapes was born.
Make wildflower seed balls, newspaper potting cups, noisemakers and scarecrows at the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture off Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe from 1-4 p.m. Guided walking tours of the Avanyu Trail will be ongoing throughout the afternoon as well.
Spank You Very Much, Gordy—Some argue that Gordy Andersen helped launch Albuquerque's independent music scene as we know it. Way back in 1978, he and some friends gave Albuquerque a nascent taste of hardcore punk, in the form of a little band called Jerry's Kidz. Nearly 30 years later, Gordy's still blowing out eardrums across the Duke City in your favorite band (for the second year running, according to our Best of Burque poll), Black Maria.
One review described metal/industrial/punk duo/quartet Vertigo Venus as "What Nine Inch Nails would sound like if Trent Reznor had a sense of humor." It's appropriate to use the "don't judge a book by its cover" adage when discussing the band but, frankly, just based on looks, I don't think anyone could tell what the hell they sound like. Even after giving the band a listen I'm not so sure. It's a highly volatile mix of synthesizer, B52-ish vocals and ’80s metal guitar. The band's music is written by brothers Chris and Jeffie Cannon, who are joined on stage by a drummer and bassist to fill out the live sound. The brothers spoke with the Alibi and provided some insight into what makes their eccentric ensemble tick.
Drummer looks to leave a good-time sonic residue behind
By Mel Minter
Good drummers keep time and move things forward. Great drummers also sculpt sonic space, expanding and contracting it, shaping it to the musical purpose at hand. Matt Wilson belongs to the latter category.
The other Sunday I was celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ on what used to be my front lawn. Five years ago I covered an area of the yard with black plastic. Deprived of light and water and cooked by the sunlight-absorbing shield, my lawn was toast.
Our first kitchen mentor, a bear of a man named Joe Parks who instructed us in the college mess hall, used to describe any subpar ingredient from the freezer saying, “Not bad … for a frozen product.” It’s a mantra we’ll always remember. Consequently, we've never championed a frozen, dried or freeze-dried product. It’s fresh or nothing.
An honest-to-god good value is hard to come by these days. The Flowbee I bought for $59.95 came with a promise that I’d be able to “create the most popular haircut styles using the suction power of my vacuum cleaner.” Instead of having titillating tresses, the thing scared the crap out of me and my cats and gave me a bald spot. And then there was the credit card I signed up for, bought a bag of tomatoes with and had a balance of $185 on because of interest and fees that came with the card. So it's with complete confidence that I can assure you that Mick’s Chile Fix does, in fact, offer excellent value for your dining dollar.
State agencies come together for the Continental Divide
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
While a continental divide is simply the separation of watersheds where water goes toward one body of water or another, in America, theContinental Divide is where rivers and streams either flow east toward the Gulf of Mexico or Atlantic Ocean, or west toward the Pacific. It's the backbone of North America, a dividing line that strikes the imagination with the spirit of exploration and the sublimity of our natural world.
Many of us have fond memories of our younger siblings biting us on the leg, stealing our favorite shirt or telling lies to implicate us in some household crime. (At least, I do.) But the boys of Albuquerque are missing out, due to a dearth of Big Brothers. Kerrie Copelin, marketing and partnerships director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central New Mexico, talked with the Alibi about the program’s two-year waiting list, its need for volunteers and her own Little Brother. Big Brothers Big Sisters serves thousands of kids in New Mexico and, statistics show, helps them keep their little noses clean of trouble.
Oh yeah, and our police force may be compromising our civil rights
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
Magicians rely on the principle of misdirection to create the effect of amazing powers. Get your audience to look one place while you slip the coin into your pocket with the other hand and they will be astounded.
I have a thing about huge, national environmental groups. I take offense at Big Green’s ritzy digs in Washington, D.C. and the lavish compensation they pay their staff to ask the rest of us to make sacrifices for the environment.
Icarus Imus—You, like me, might be nauseated at the thought of reading one more word about idiot Don Imus and his three-word verbal folly. Witness, once again, the media defeating itself by becoming a player in a controversial story. Objective observers, my ass. A two-day news cycle, some front-page teasers to A-2 stories, then letting the thing fall to the letter writers who would thoroughly dissect and brutalize Icarus Imus, an ugly old man who flew too close to slang. That would have been appropriate.
Alley gardeners rethink the structure of their group to stay alive
By Marisa Demarco
Think about the forgotten spaces in your neighborhood—a park gone to pot, an empty lot, a rotting alley. Areas like these collect more than trash. The alley behind Amecus England's Barelas home had become a hotspot for doing drugs, she says. "People were just shooting up all the time. I was finding needles. I would go to walk my dog and there would be all these needles."
Sunday, April 8: On the day the Christ rose from the dead, bringing us our chocolaty spring holiday, Easter, Gov. Bill Richardson arrived in North Korea, leading a visiting delegation. The trip seemed to be part honest mission to retrieve remains of U.S. soldiers killed in the Korean War while extending an olive branch to the hostile country, and part political showboating while seeking the Democratic nomination for president. Either way, the "imperialist's" unofficial propaganda-laden visit with the communists was seen in a positive light nationally. Progress toward resolving the country's weapons situation seemed to be made and the display of experience and professionalism, i.e. showboating, won't hurt his campaign either, which still trails behind Clinton's, Obama's and Edwards'.
Dateline: England—According to a report in London’s The Suntabloid, an English cat has spent the last three months scamming rides from a local bus line in order to reach a neighborhood fish and chip shop. The cat, which hops on the No. 331 service in Wolverhampton, has become a regular sight to bus riders, who have nicknamed it Macavity after the secret cat in a T.S. Eliot poem. Driver Bill Khunkhun, 49, said Macavity catches the bus three times a week and always gets off at the same spot—exactly two stops from his house. “As soon as I open the doors, he jumps on,” said the driver. Passenger Paul Brennan, 19, said Macavity sits at the front of the bus and waits patiently for the right stop. “It was quite strange at first, but now seems normal. He is the perfect passenger,” Brennan told The Sun. “The only problem is he never pays.” Travel West Midlands, which operates the bus line, confirmed the tale, saying, “the cat certainly knows how to use buses and is a regular traveler on the 311.”
Briefer is Better—The annual 3-Minute Film Fest returns to The Screen at College of Santa Fe this weekend, April 20-22, to dazzle those of you with short attention spans. According to organizers, this year’s edition saw a record number of entries from ports as far away as Hungary, Canada, Mexico and Australia (not to mention plenty from the good old U.S. of A.). A total of 36 films, all under three minutes in length, were selected for screening in this year’s festival. The Opening Night Awards Gala will take place on Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m. and will include a screening of the program followed by a reception for the filmmakers during which a jury will determine festival winners. Tickets for the Opening Night Gala are $20. A wine and hors d’oeuvre reception will follow the screening. Tickets for the regular screenings, April 21-22, are $8. All events will be held at The Screen at the College of Santa Fe (1600 St. Michael’s Dr.). If you need additional info, you can give ‘em a ring at (505) 473-6494 or log on to thescreen.csf.edu.
Then-and-now documentary explores the repercussions of growing up hippie and otherwise
By Iris Keltz
Have you ever wondered what happened to those innocent urchins running barefoot through San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury neighborhood in the ’60s? Though it gives us a concrete then-and-now example, Following Sean is neither a scathing indictment of the ’60s nor a romantic look back. Anything but simplistic, the film is a 30-year exploration and the culmination of a life’s work by documentarian Ralph Arlyck, Following Sean’s director, cameraman, narrator and secondary subject.
Apparently, Cannonball Runcasts a longer shadow than film history would have us believe. This month alone, audiences were greeted with Redline, a cross-country car chase movie featuring the personal exotic car collection of producer Daniel Sadek, and “Drive,” a hype-heavy midseason action drama with an ensemble cast and a whole lot of vehicles.
Fat Slice—Have your cake and eat it too this weekend when the Readymade Dance Theater Company (RDTC) debuts Version 2.0, a streamlined, user-friendly contemporary dance performance choreographed by RDTC founder and director Zsolt Palcza.
The National Hispanic Cultural Center’s newest exhibit, The African Presence in Mexico: From Yanga to the Present, spans five centuries of Mexico’s “third root,” people of African descent. It's an engrossing and essential exhibit due to the fact that Mexico only officially acknowledged such a legacy in 1992 following the groundbreaking work of anthropologist Dr. Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán. This impressive show opened on March 30 to a culturally diverse record crowd of over 1,000 people. A visit will be well worth your time and energy.
It's not a "best of," say the women of BellaDonna, Albuquerque's most traditional burlesque troupe. Best of’s are what you put out before you retire, and goodness knows Cookie Fortune, Henrietta LeCoup and Cherry Jubilee aren't going anywhere.
September Smith can flip her aerial hoop upside-down, eight feet off the ground, and just hang from it. She can climb strips of fabric hanging from the ceiling, make herself a little pod in which to strip off clothing and peak out at the waiting crowd. She can put together a burlesque act to be performed from atop aluminum stilts at a car show.
1866—Prototypical musical comedy The Black Crook becomes a massive success on Broadway, despite a daunting five-and-a-half-hour length. The show’s chorus of ballerinas in flesh-colored tights prove that respectable American audiences are ready to fork over hard-earned dough for sexually stimulating entertainment.
Kitty Irreverent builds things: a 6-foot-tall heart, a giant martini glass, a pair of painstakingly handcrafted rhinestone pumps. And a community. Kitty desires to see New Mexico’s scattered dancers congeal. "I want it to be like, ‘Go to Albuquerque. There's a great burlesque community there, and they all work together, and there are all these neat shows you can see.’"
It’s often accepted as gospel truth that one must be silent while in the audience of a great performance. This rule has been beaten into the very brains of every American child by nagging mothers, overbearing fathers and obnoxious ushers. Well, let me assure you, my dear friends: If you find yourself in the audience of one of the fine burlesque shows New Mexico has to offer, you will then be asked—indeed, encouraged--to lighten the hell up and have some fun. To help you become a better “outfitted” audience member, here are some helpful principles of etiquette you might find useful while attending a burlesque show.
Diversity in Film--Gov. Bill Richardson, in between presidential campaign fundraisers and jaunts to North Korea, continues his commitment to the film industry here in New Mexico. He recently announced “First Vision Filmmakers Forum,” the first-ever diversity forum for N.M. filmmakers. This day-long symposium featuring a diverse group of emerging and established film and television industry experts from the U.S. and Canada will be held at Albuquerque’s Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Friday, April 27, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
How to channel surf in a fully democratic media system
By Marisa Demarco
What's scaring people in the world today, says media theorist Gene Youngblood, is a lack of confidence. "People say, 'Wow, I'm so depressed. Everything sucks. God, the world is so messed up.' What people are really saying is, 'We don't have the knowledge, and therefore we're not going to do anything about it. That's what's really scaring people."
Here’s a riddle for you. When is a thriller not a thriller? Simple: When it has no thrills to offer. How does one accomplish such a seemingly contrary feat? Well, the 1995 Irwin Winkler-directed “thriller” The Netwas a perfect example. The makers of that tech-obsessed thriller thought they could fold some newfangled, cyberspacey twists in with their standard-issue conspiracy theory script. On screen, that boiled down to star Sandra Bullock sitting and typing on a computer screen scene after scene. It was, in a word, boring. Now, the James Foley-directed “thriller” Perfect Strangerfinds a way to make a thriller even more enervated--by looking to The Net for inspiration.
Yale for Sale—Marissa Glink had a good time at the helm of the Yale Art Center, the contemporary art and performance venue located a few blocks south of the university, but she feels it's time to move on. “It's been a great two years,” Glink says, “a great experience. But first and foremost I'm young, and I'm ready to do my own art.”
If you have a full-time job, you probably spend more of your waking hours with your coworkers than anyone else, including your spouse or children, on any given weekday. In fact, coworkers often become like a second family to many—a family to love despite some nutty or embarrassing quirks of its members.
A bill that would have granted an $85 million tax break for the construction of a coal-fired power plant on a Navajo reservation in northern New Mexico died in the Legislature late last month. The Navajo Nation and Sithe Global Power, a New York-based energy company, lobbied for the subsidy [Re: News Feature, “Absolute Power,” March 8-14], but were unable to convince legislators that the plant would be a worthy investment of New Mexico tax dollars.
The April 4 meeting kicked off with a staple appearance by Albuquerque Animal Control, which featured a police officer parading a terrier puppy on the floor of the City Council. Once the puppy was whisked from the scene, the meeting went from sweet to serious, with city councilors focusing their attention on a bill that would approve the city’s purchase of a large plot of land in a small subdivision in the Vista del Norte neighborhood. The plot is nearby Balloon Fiesta Park and is used as a landing site by the majority of balloons that take flight over the city. The site was being eyed by other bidders, namely big-box stores, with Wal-Mart as the lead contender.
David Iglesias’ hold on the U.S. Attorney’s office began slipping when he didn’t prosecute anyone for fraud in the 2004 election. Iglesias says his federal-state task force found nothing to prosecute. Republicans threw a temper tantrum. Sen. Pete Domenici passed it along to the White House and Attorney General. Iglesias is now looking for a new job.
Our overreaction to the HPV vaccine, and Richardson's mistake
By Christie Chisholm
It almost isn't surprising. Almost.
At this moment in the history of our country, we should no longer be shocked by puritanical ideals sneaking into our politics, by our culture's simultaneous loathing and worship of sex, by some of our leaders'--and some of our citizens'--heartbreaking disdain for science. Yet, somehow, the jaws of disbelief still manage to unhinge and swallow us whole. Or maybe it's just me.
Burlesque's Real Tease—Since new burlesque gained popularity in Albuquerque several years back, I've tended to confusedly take issue with the distinction between it and other forms of titillating clothing removal.
Dateline: Croatia--A man thought he had come up with the perfect crime, but it didn’t quite turn out the way he expected. Dragos Radovic, 25, was arrested for smuggling at Zagreb airport after flying in from Bangkok, Thailand. Customs officials became suspicious when they saw the top of a bag he was carrying appeared to be moving. When they asked him to open his luggage, they found 175 chameleons stuffed into the bag. The endangered reptiles are reportedly worth nearly $100,000 on the black market. Radovic paid just $150 for them in a Thai market. Radovic had assumed that the chameleon’s color-changing abilities would make them impossible for customs officials to detect. “The man who sold them said they changed color to make them invisible against any background, but it did not work,” said Radovic. Vets who were called to treat the reptiles said they were dehydrated and distressed from the long flight.
Couldn't get Shins Tickets?—You're not alone. In fact, The Shins' choice to play the El Rey had a lot of you folks scratching your heads—the band routinely sells out venues twice the size of the El Rey, which seats somewhere between 700-800 people. How in god's name were you supposed to get tickets that were effectively sold out before the the show was even advertised? Why not play a bigger venue like the Kiva Auditorium?
Washed in daylight, Evangelos sits quietly amid the trading post-style shops, art galleries and jewelry stores dappled along West San Francisco Street, which leads to Santa Fe's famous downtown plaza. Tourists and locals alike walk past its large windows, shaded by Evangelos' American flag-clad sign—some stopping to glance into the lounge's simple interiors, others passing by without any notice. As the sunlight fades, the glow from Evangelos' stage starts to draw more attention from pedestrians and the bar begins to fill.
I’ve vowed never to get fooled again by booze with a “Southwestern” angle. Case in point: I bought a bottle of DeKuyper’s “Cactus Juice” margarita schnapps a few years ago and poured myself a cheap plastic glassful. Despite the ice and several hours worth of chilling time it received, the liquor inside the cowgirl-festooned bottle tasted like I had just brushed my teeth then taken a bite of a lime, rind and all.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Writers rarely make good subjects for film. They’re too insulated, too self-centered and can rarely be considered men of action (Hemingway aside). Liars, on the other hand, are fine cinematic protagonists. Liars are interesting and complex and frequently quite outgoing. And when you think about it, there’s a rather fine line between writing and lying. It’s the job of writers--those penning fiction, anyway--to make things up. Consequently, people shouldn’t be too shocked to find out that even journalists occasionally fabricate their stories. Tales of disgraced journalists like Janet Cooke, Jayson Blair and Stephen Glass should come as no surprise to readers who demand more and more sensational stories on their front pages.
Contrary to what you might a heard, Albuquerque ain't the sticks. Yeah, sure, we got our fair share a whiskey-chuggin', banjo-pickin' rubes in these parts, but our town is mostly a sophisticated sort a place, filled with a sophisticated sort a folk.
The title of this section of our annual Best of Burque readers poll seems a bit vague, doesn't it? "Life in Burque." What does that mean, exactly? Is our existence summed up by the flaws of our elected officials, by the who's who of local celebrities, by the best and worst ways we spend our public money? The answer, of course, is absolutely not. "Life in Burque" should, at the very least, apply to the entire landscape of the Best of Burque ballot--arts, music, shopping, etc.--but even that would leave us lacking. The joyful reality of it is that no reader survey, no matter how mammoth, could even come close to capturing what it means to live in Albuquerque. Which is a wonderful thing.
We're not overstating things when we say life in Albuquerque revolves around eating and drinking. Among the first items of business for settlers entering the Rio Grande Valley was planting vineyards (just after unhitching the horses, but before building the churches). A day without chile is said to be like a day without sunshine. Generations of families still feud about whether sopaipillas come with or after a meal, and volumes are told about a person by the way he or she orders his or her enchiladas.
Underneath the blue sky, in the shadow of pink mountains, amidst the brown sand, paved desert and faux mud structures lies Albuquerque's commons of inebriation. We're talking about drinking establishments, and to the fretful chagrin of temperance types, our dens of sin are here to stay. That's because most Albuquerqueans, like most humans, enjoy stepping out and cutting loose. We know it's fun to drink, dance, gamble, swear, flirt and listen to music at deafening volumes, but we also understand that the nursing of these arguably bad habits is best reserved for designated areas such as our city's voluminous selection of drinkeries.
Albuquerque has a working-class, blue-collar reputation that belies its artsy, sensitive soul. You might not know it from all the strip malls and less than stellar public art displays, but there are a ton of talented artists in this town and plenty of fine venues exhibiting art.
For years we've been running the "Best Local Band" category buried somewhere amid the bars and cinemas in the nightlife section of Best of Burque. Last year, "Best New/Emerging Band" was added. But any fan of local music knows our fair city is home to all manner of gifted musicians.
We're all consumers. We buy clothes and shoes and used guitars. We need skull-and-crossbones shower curtains and love cute teddy bears with fuzzy ears and googly-eyes. What we don't need is overpriced crap from soulless stores. Lucky for us, Albuquerque is a booming, green-conscious shoppers’ paradise. From recycled vintage fashions to hand-carved (and fair-traded) soap dishes, somewhere in the Q there's a store to meet your consumer-driven lifestyle. Proclaim your love of spending and tap into your inner shopaholic at one of Burque's favorite retail establishments.
The First (and Possibly Last) Best of Burque (BoB) Awards for Lifetime Achievement
By Steven Robert Allen
We've rolled a plush red carpet out to the curb. The stars of Albuquerque are all dolled up in their finest designer dresses and suits. Anticipation is so high, if it stood up on tippy-toes it could brush its fingertips against the surface of Mars. Yes, fellow Albuquerqueans, it's time for the unveiling of our Best of Burque Lifetime Achievement Awards, otherwise known as BoBs. These Albuquerque fixtures win the same categories every single year. In most cases, they deserve to win (the exception being the beloved Bart Prince residence's long association with the Best Architectural Nightmare category). It's time to pay extravagant homage to their success—with an imaginary, highly collectible gold statuette of a monkey box—and give someone else a shot at the top.
For this year’s edition of Best of Burque, we decided to do something a wee bit different. As much as we respect the electoral will of our readers, every time Best of Burque comes around we find ourselves wishing we could point out some aspects of our lovely city that fall through the cracks when the poll results are released. These staff picks are meant to plug a few, but by no means all, of these holes. Keep in mind that Albuquerque—contrary to popular opinion—is a big, vibrant, active place. We aren’t aiming to be comprehensive. That would be impossible. These are just a few things about Albuquerque that folks would surely enjoy if they gave them half a chance. Dig in!
This year, a new section on the Best of Burque ballot required voters to send in digital photographs for five categories. Here are the winners, with lots of runners-up available for online ogling at alibi.com.
The Grand Slam Poetry Finals at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
By Steven Robert Allen
The Albuquerque poetry scene has come a long way in a very short time. Ground zero was the 2005 National Poetry Slam Championship, which people are still talking about two years later. Held in Albuquerque, the hugely successful four-day event brought a ton of attention to local poetic talents, partly because Albuquerque took home the team title, the first host team to do so since 1992.
David Tucker has been in the newspaper business 28 years and is a deputy managing editor at The Newark Star-Ledger. He writes odes to that sweet spot between deadlines, when time slows down and he can notice the world again.
Auspicious Chutney—In a city where restaurants open and close faster than a blinking eye (Starky's ABQ and California Witches are two recent examples of both), India Kitchen is a welcome anomaly. Saturday, April 7, marks the 25th anniversary of the restaurant.
Procuring a hot pizza pie in this town can be easy, but the quality is not always above the bar. Ordering pizza from a delivery chain is a straightforward process—that is, until the driver shows up at the door. I’ve had my share of cold, sticky cheese, orders of hot wings lost in the Bermuda triangle and, worst of all, the parade of pizzas lacking heat, toppings and even sauce. This is why I was really looking forward to picking up a nice, fat pie from homegrown Rio Rancho staple Sal-E-Boy’s Pizzeria.
I’m frequently asked: “Andres, oh wise guru of wine, how much do I spend on wine for my date?” Giving this advice a friend is easy—I already know way too much about their lives and dating history. However, giving this advice to someone I don’t know well is trickier.
Last year, a television and film location scout found himself in Albuquerque with a mission that could justifiably be considered a location scout’s worst nightmare—to make places here look like scenes from, of all places, Pittsburgh, Penn. The towns are as distant aesthetically as they are geographically.
It's hard to characterize Albuquerque. Some days, the politicians and headlines depict a city ready to modernize, courting businesses and industry found in real cities. But there's the rub. If Burque were a man, he'd have a pretty big little-dude complex.
The laws of living with pets changed for Albuquerqueans on Oct. 10 of last year, the day the city’s HEART ordinance went into effect. Yet the real deadline for the legislation is still a few days away, on April 10, when the six-month grace period for the new rules will expire. The legislation—which stands for Humane and Ethical Animal Rules and Treatment—requires a number of actions from pet owners within Albuquerque city limits: They must have their dogs and cats spayed or neutered or else buy annual “intact permits” for their pets that allow them to go unscathed; owners must have their pets microchipped or tattooed; and if their pets are going to have babies, owners will have to purchase litter permits from the city, set with a six-month expiration date.
Oppressive talkers might consider shutting up every now and then
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Imagine this: You're surrounded by people you barely know. The conversation turns to a subject to which you can contribute. You're a shy person, and mustering the courage to speak around unfamiliar people involves a considerable amount of anxiety. There's a break in the banter, you finally begin to speak, but in the midst of what you're saying some dolt interrupts you, keeps talking and makes no amends for the discourtesy he or she has created. You feel humiliated and annoyed.1
Dateline: Gaza Strip--A woman who guards described as “strangely fat” was stopped and searched at the Gaza-Egypt border crossing last Thursday. Alerted by the woman’s unusual shape, a female border guard at the Rafah terminal searched the woman and found three crocodiles strapped to her waist. The animals, each about 20 inches in length, were concealed beneath a loose robe. Though it did not ultimately involve terrorism, the incident sparked a panic at the crossing. “The policewoman screamed and ran out of the room, and then women began screaming and panicking when they heard,” said Maria Telleria, a spokesperson for the European observers who run the crossing station. Still, “everybody was admiring a woman who is able to tie crocodiles to her body.” The animals, which were eventually returned to the Egyptian side of the border, were most likely intended for sale to Gaza’s small zoo or to private collectors.
Shootout + Early Bird = Dead Bird?--This summer, Albuquerque will play host to the 8th Annual Duke City Shootout. The idea of this script-to-screen film festival is to cast, shoot, edit and premiere a short film in just seven days. Organizers of this year’s festival are currently beating the bushes looking for quality scripts of 12 minutes or less. If Duke City chooses your script, you’ll get transportation to Albuquerque (not such a big deal for you locals) and help making your short film. The festival provides cast, crew, digital cameras, equipment, mentors and everything else needed to make your movie a reality. The early bird deadline for scripts is Monday, April 16. You can save five whole bucks on your entry fee if you submit your script by then. If you can’t get it done in time, the final deadline is May 11. This year, prizes for the best completed films will include screenwriting courses valued up to $1,300 from Writer’s Boot Camp and software from Movie Magic. The festival itself will take place July 20-28. For more information about submitting your hot little script for the Shootout, log on to www.dukecityshootout.com.
It’s not surprising to find that documentary filmmaking--covering concepts from penguins to politics--is in the midst of a major renaissance. Considering that 70 percent (charitably) of Hollywood features are poorly made, profit-minded pabulum (from conception to completion), documentaries represent America’s last best chance of finding intelligent discourse, skillful cinematography and a near total absence of fart jokes. ... OK, so The Aristocrats might have slipped in one or two of those.
Clear the decks, people, it’s upfront season! In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, it’s that nerve-wracking time of year when the broadcast television networks start greenlighting pilots for the fall season, hammer out their schedules and decide what will and will not be returning in 2007-08.
“We’re a little nervous,” James Mercer says into a cell phone as he stands outside the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., a slight unease in his voice. “But we’re really looking forward to it.”