It's no secret that customer service in this country has gone down the crapper. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been ignored, insulted, patronized and even lashed out at by various food service employees over the last decade. This is why I had a hard time twisting my psyche around my first 15 minutes at Oak Tree Café.
Those words were some of the first bestowed upon me when I started working at the Alibi as an intern three years ago. Then News Editor Tim McGivern sat me down on the gnarled couch in his (now my) office, turned down the Tom Waits bellowing from his computer and explained that every story worth telling answers those two basic questions: Why does it matter, and why does it matter right now? I’ve tried to apply that lesson to every story I’ve written since and, in that tradition, I’ll try to do it for this one as well.
Bittersweet isn't my favorite flavor in the world, but sometimes you just have to swallow the pill and hope the effect will be a healthy one. Indulge me for a moment while I daydream about how I got to this point.
The other shot-in-New-Mexico feature hitting theaters this weekend is a decidedly lower profile, lower budget affair than Paul Haggis’ In The Valley of Elah (see the other film review in this issue). Filmed in 2001 and finally earning itself an art house release, Tortilla Heaven is a more markedly “New Mexico” film, a broadly comic morality play about small-town Southwest life.
Murder mystery muddies the water of our post-Iraq world
By Devin D. O’Leary
Writer/director Paul Haggis follows up his Oscar-heavy string of assignments (Crash, Million Dollar Baby, Letters from Iwo Jima) with the quietly controversial, war-weary mystery In The Valley of Elah.
“Torchwood” is the BBC’s officially sanctioned, adult-oriented spin-off to “Doctor Who.” Originally launched in 1963 as a sci-fi-slanted kiddy show, “Doctor Who” got the latest in a long line of reboots in 2005 courtesy of head writer/executive producer Russell T. Davies. Having served previously as writer/producer on “Queer as Folk,” Davies brought a rather more mature style to the long-running BBC series. Thanks to the popularity of his work on “Doctor Who,” the BBC let Davies run wild with “Torchwood.”
In Dale Dunn's new play, Body Burden, a middle-aged woman recovering from thyroid cancer returns to her hometown of Los Alamos to confront her past. Set against the backdrop of the development of the atomic bomb, the play features six characters, including the ghost of Robert Oppenheimer and a time-traveling girl scout.
The theme of the show, 20 photographers using the same model, is not so much a curatorial endeavor as it is an assignment. Like Fish Story, on view last month at Exhibit 208, the works have a superficial connection through their subject matter, though I got the sense that the fish show was comprised of artists who had already been considering fish as their subjects before being asked to exhibit their work. In the case of 1x20, the work was clearly crafted for the show—a gimmick that provides little context in which the works can cohere.
Church plans renovation of four-story, 50,000-square-foot building
By Marisa Demarco
The night clubs, shops and lunch spots of downtown Albuquerque are about to get a new neighbor. The Church of Scientology is in the process of purchasing the Gizmo's building at 410 Central SE near Fourth Street, says Gabriel Rivera, a redevelopment planner with City Planning. "From what I've heard, in other places and other cities, [Scientologists] usually locate in the Downtown areas," Rivera says. Local Scientologists confirmed the deal.
Robert Gilkeson has a lot in common with the 73 cubic yards of transuranic waste festering in Sandia National Labs’ Mixed Waste Landfill. Both are homeless. Both are situated in dangerous locations. And both are waiting for the day when a bunch of scientists will make a decision that will allow them to move on.
How many citizens pack heat in New Mexico? Which schoolyard barb did APD use on war protesters? What drama began unfolding for UNM's football team? How's the economy faring in Santa Fe with a $9.50 minimum wage?
"What's driving this desire for disclosure? So-called citizen groups and the media that says we want this information. I don't think anyone except people belonging to these organizations would say, ‘We want this [campaign finance] information.'"
Seldom does an issue move me to drop the newspaper and pen a commentary on-the-spot. But after reading Michael Orick's letter in support of armed security guards on APS campuses [Re: "Armed Education," Sept. 13-19], I felt compelled to write—and swat Orick with my ruler.
DATELINE: RUSSIA—Officials in the province of Ulyanovsk are giving away prizes, including a refrigerator and an all-terrain vehicle, for its most fertile couples. Sept. 12 was officially “Family Contact Day” and was designed by Gov. Sergei Morozov as a way of “encouraging procreation.” A series of concerts and exhibitions were organized to promote family values and employers were encouraged to give workers a discretionary day off in order to, well, procreate their brains out. The event was timed precisely nine months ahead of next year’s Constitution Day so that mothers “ideally should give birth on June 12,” a spokesperson for the administration told England’s The Sun. Mothers who pop buns out of their ovens on the magic date will be included in a drawing for fabulous free prizes. Not all the locals were enthusiastic about the idea, though. Human rights activist Alexander Bragin complained, “We’ve already sunk to the level where the governor is ordering us on what day to conceive a child and on what day to give birth.”
Carl Newman rambles eloquently on playing The Game, ever-weirder ways to write songs and always sounding new
By Jim Phillips
If ours were a truly civilized society, Carl Newman would be King. For now, he is front man and chief songwriter for the Canadian pop band The New Pornographers. I had the pleasure of speaking with him last week as he took some time off during the band’s North American tour.
All this hipster rigmarole and so much more awaits you! Snugfit Social Club dance party returns with DJs Paul, Brandon and Ethan plus live electro by The Booty Green. Friday, Sept. 21, at The Launchpad (21+). $4 at the door. Get down. [LM]
Late September. You can't drive down the street without bumping into a roadside chile roaster, blistering New Mexico's favorite fruit in big metal baskets. But before you get elbows-deep into a fresh batch of red or green goodness, let's separate the fact from the fiction. Here are a few of your most frequently asked questions about chile. Special thanks to the Chile Pepper Institute and www.fiery-foods.com for being invaluable resources!
Anyone up for a sensitive new age drama about bloody vigilante revenge?
By Devin D. O’Leary
Mere weeks after Kevin Bacon did his best Charles Bronson imitation in the bloody urban revenge drama Death Sentence, Jodie Foster is recruited for largely the same duty in The Brave One. What’s gotten into Hollywood lately? Are vigilantes suddenly chic again? Is CAA representing Bernie Goetz?
The winners of our second-ever 15th Annual Haiku Contest
By Steven Robert Allen
Beginning this fall the bulk of New Mexico will begin using the new area code 575. This doesn't include the Albuquerque-Santa Fe corridor or most of the northwest quadrant of the state. Still, it certainly tickles our fancy to have this new area code correspond so gloriously with the formal requirements of haiku composition. So, in honor of this very special coincidence, we are even more enthused to present you with the winners and runner-ups in our 2007 Haiku Contest.
Six peaceful anti-war protesters are convicted on federal charges, facing jail time and fines
By Kate Trainor
Six Catholic peace activists were tried and convicted on federal charges last Thursday, following their assembly in the lobby elevator of the Joseph M. Montoya Federal Building in Santa Fe last fall [Re: Newscity, "Red Alert!" Jan. 25-31]. The activists, with three others, are known as the “Elevator Nine,” and now face up to 30 days in jail and a $5,000 fine for their nonviolent, anti-war demonstration.
I hear it's hard to be rich. Everything is possible, there are so few hurdles on your cushy track to success, many of you often develop strange phobias and fetishes—say, a taste for only white or clear foods.
Councilors plowed through a crowded agenda at the Sept. 5 meeting. An administration bill upping fines for illegal use of disabled parking spaces passed unanimously. Councilor Michael Cadigan's bill restoring a four-way stop sign and a lower speed limit at the intersection of Rainbow Blvd. and Ventana Village Rd. also passed unanimously.
DATELINE: NEPAL—Nepal’s state-run airline helped get one of its malfunctioning planes back in the air by sacrificing two goats on the runway to appease a Hindu god. Nepal Airlines said the animals were slaughtered in front of the plane, a Boeing 757, at Katmandu airport. The offering was made to Akash Bhairab, the Hindu god of sky protection. The airline said that after the ceremony the plane successfully completed a flight to Hong Kong. “The snag in the plane has now been fixed and the aircraft has resumed its flights,” senior airline official Raju KC told BBC News. Nepal Airlines has two Boeing aircraft in its fleet, but persistent mechanical difficulties with one of them has led to the postponement of a number of flights in recent weeks.
If you missed out on the big premiere of the locally shot slasher flick Gimme Skelterlast month, you’ve been given a reprieve. The film will have two more screenings this weekend, one in Albuquerque and one in Santa Fe. The film will show at the Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE) on Friday, Sept. 14, at 10:30 p.m. The film hits the road to Santa Fe on Saturday, Sept. 15, debuting at the Santa Fe Film Center (1616 St. Michael’s Drive). That screening gets underway at 7:45 p.m. If you haven’t seen it, you should. If you have seen it, you should see it again. The film recently won the Best Soundtrack award at the Fright Night Film Fest in Louisville, Ky. (Big thanks to local bands Black Maria and The Dirty Novels.) If your curiosity is piqued, there’s a superb review of the film up at EyeCraveDVD.com (check it out at axel.eyecravedvd.com/?p=46).
According to statistics dug up by super TV website thefutoncritic.com, only one out of every three TV shows will make it to a second season. So, of the 34 new scripted series making their debut this fall, about 23 of them won’t be sticking around until fall of ’08. Why waste your time watching the pilot if the show isn’t going to be around in a couple of months (or weeks)? Good question.
It's hard to describe what Potty Mouth Sherry's are outside the obvious "all-girl" (there are four of them, to be precise), but I'll try with some stream of consciousness—Punk. Folk. Pirate. Circus. Noise. Art-house. Playground. Butch. Femme. Bad-good. Good-bad. Sinbad. Ukulele-core.
Florida natives Against Me! crash at the Sunshine Theater this Thursday, Sept. 13. Touring for their fourth full-length album, New Wave, these guys are rocking the boat with punk that's rich, raw and honest. The Alibi caught up with the band’s lead singer/songwriter/guitarist, Tom Gabel, to discuss the new album, being on the road and everything in between.
The road is a dangerous mistress. One moment she's gilding her path, offering kisses laden with joy and good fortune. The next, she's slashed your tires, stolen the radio and called all your exs to tell them you've got the clap.
Let me start with a hilarious understatement: This play is not suitable for children. And when I say “not suitable” I mean you'd have to be completely deranged to bring anyone under the age of 16 to see this thing. The two leads spend half their stage time smoking crack. They spend the other half buck-naked covered in nasty self-inflicted wounds. The final scene explodes in a mushroom cloud of paranoia and nihilism.
An interview with Ben Adams, creator of Dukecity Sign*
By Steven Robert Allen
Dukecity Sign*landed on my desk a couple weeks ago. In spare moments, I've spent quite a bit of time flipping through the thing. Hardcover. Almost no text aside from an introduction replicated in Japanese, Spanish and English. The rest of the book consists entirely of awful, full-color photographs of signs from all over Albuquerque.
The last installment of “The Dish" talked about two gelaterias that opened in Albuquerque late this summer. (A quick "refresher": Gelaterias serve gelato, an Italian ice milk dessert that's lower in fat and calories than ice cream.) Well, that's not true—I talked about one, Ecco Gelato in Nob Hill, and hinted at the other.
La Quiche Parisienne Bistro is a modest sandwich shop and real French bakery located in Downtown's Fourth Street mall. Proprietors Sabine Pasco and master baker Bruno Barachin (along with sole employee Marie-Pierre) do better than grow flowers in the desert—they get out of bed at 2 a.m. and bake. And bake and bake some more.
Last year you published Bob Marshall’s tomato sauce recipe. I made it with my homegrown tomatoes and it was the best sauce I have ever tasted. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the recipe. Could you send it my way? Thanks for all your food and garden wisdom.
A: Dear Karen,
Your letter arrived on the very day that a friend gave me a box of sungold tomatoes that he had leftover at the end of market. They were so ripe there wasn’t a chance they’d last until the next market, so he just gave them to me.
How Albuquerque's new “clean elections” system works
By Steven Robert Allen
Two years ago, amid growing concerns over the influence of special interest money in elections, Albuquerque voters passed a ballot initiative creating a mechanism to publicly financed municipal campaigns. The initiative passed overwhelmingly with 69 percent of the vote.
Albuquerque now one of few in the nation that pays candidates to run campaigns. Will it work?
By Marisa Demarco
In a climate of growing distrust for government on both federal and local levels, as campaign war chests swell every year, citizens know representatives have to get their coinage from somewhere. It's when those gold coins translate to political currency that things get sticky. The question many are asking or, more depressing, may have stopped asking: Who can run for office anymore? Only an elite few? And if they get elected, whose change is jingling in their pockets?
After months of operating out of Trailer 21, a white mobile office from which young rockers watched the demolition of their original railyard space, Warehouse 21 will finally see the groundbreaking of a new venue. The hardworking under-21 set awaited the funds for the new building for nearly a year. The exact date and time of the groundbreaking is still unknown, but some kind of party/ceremony should happen within the week of Sept. 24. The new teen arts center will be two stories, 16,845 square feet, with two performance spaces, a printmaking studio, a recording studio, a media zone, a fashion design studio, a darkroom, a coffee bar and an outdoor space.
Sicksicksick label showcases music your mamma probably won’t like
By Laura Marrich
"Noise," as music designations go, is like that drawer in your kitchen that becomes a home for stuff that doesn't quite fit elsewhere. Ruler. Questionable batteries. Snow globe from a trip to Florida. Where do we stash these odds and ends? Nowhere in particular. Inevitably, they just find their way into the drawer.
Seventeen days out of the year, the New Mexico State Fair cashes in its promise of everything good and golden-fried in America. We go for the chaos of the midway and the crush of Indian dancers, to say nothing of its Pantheon of gewgaws, brimming with air-brushed Virgin Mary T-shirts, Mötley Crüe mirrors and giant ears of corn. We get it. We'll keep coming back for more. You had us at "fry bread."
Wise Fool New Mexico is hitting the road with it’s latest show featuring stunning puppetry, masks and theater, Baggage. Baggage uses these creative tools to tell the true tales of domestic and sexual violence survivors from Northern New Mexico.
Remember the good ol' days when you'd go to a gallery, the art would hang lifeless on the wall and the only sound you'd hear is the chitter-chatter of the people around you? Those days aren't quite a thing of the past, but nowadays when you visit a gallery, the art, as often as not, has motion sensors and flashing lights, robotic arms and an accompanying soundtrack. Sometimes you can even dance to it.
Sixty years ago last month, when John Kerouac walked out the door of his mother's house in Ozone Park, Queens, America was a different place. Gas cost 23 cents a gallon. The minimum wage was 40 cents an hour. And simple pleasures came a la mode.
Heat and little rainfall made this summer tough on Albuquerque residents. As temperatures drop and August draws to a close, fall can finally be seen creeping over the Sandias. We survived the summer of 2007--not because of our love for unbearable heat, but due to an effective yet short-sighted technique: upping our water usage.
“This was a dark, evil place when we started,” Suellen Strale says. Her SUV shudders across a crude wooden bridge spanning the Rio Santa Cruz outside Chimayo. “One of the first things we did, obviously, was fix this bridge.”
Dateline: England—It seems a 3-year-old Essex boy needs some remedial potty training lessons. Firefighters in the southeastern English town of Laindon were called in after the confused tyke got his head stuck in his toilet training seat. Firefighters used a hacksaw to remove the plastic toilet seat. “We were glad to be of service,” an Essex Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson told BBC News. “Youngsters do this sort of thing from time to time.” The mother was reportedly very worried, but the child was unhurt by the incident.
The People Before Profit film and lecture series returns to the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) Thursday, Sept. 6. The Academy Award-nominated film My Country, My Country will be screened at 7 p.m. This eye-opening documentary explores the January 2005 Iraqi elections through the eyes of one seemingly ordinary Sunni doctor who decided to run for office. It’s a rare look at life inside occupied Iraq and a real testament to this vague concept we call democracy. The guest speaker will be Bob Anderson from Stop the War Machine. Admission is free, but donations are accepted.
Based on a rip-snortin’ Elmore Leonard short story and originally shot in 1957 with Glenn Ford and Van Heflin, 3:10 to Yumais the latest movie to get loaded aboard the Hollywood-remake train. At least this one goes first class with a quality director (James Mangold, hot off Oscar winner Walk the Line) and an A-list cast (Christian Bale and Russell Crowe topping it off). The only major drawback is the unavoidable fact that it’s a Western—a genre that’s more or less been in a coma since the late ’50s.
There are some things in life that have a harmonious relationship with little or no effort. Like the way you can insert the phrase “dead dogs” into any Neil Young song, at any point, and it'll sound like it was there all along. The same theory applies to pairing good wines with cheeses, and pairing cheeses with appetizing accoutrements like toasted almonds, fig paste and apple slices.