How we became a nation of debtors, and how we can find our way out
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
When it's in the mailbox, ornamenting the roadside and drenching most of our entertainment, it doesn't take long to recognize a labyrinthine media barrage promoting endless and conspicuous consumption. We are what we buy, and in a free market society where business doesn't always live by the golden rule, when others win when you lose, it's easy to find yourself burned. Often that burn comes by way of incinerating little pieces of hologram-emblazed plastic--using fake money like it's real.
Financial advice on credit and debt from UNM finance professor Emmanuel Morales-Camargo
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Emmanuel Morales-Camargo is an assistant professor at the University of New Mexico with a Ph.D. in Finance. While his teaching areas include financial institutions and systems research, before he came to our fair state last year, Professor Morales-Camargo was the educational adviser to an organization at the University of Arizona that provides free personal finance education. He is also an aspiring author of a case study book on financial literacy. We put his money mind to use, extracting valuable information about how to deal with debt.
The Kyoto Accord began the race to halt global warming. On its 10th anniversary, why are we barely past the starting gate?
By Bill McKibben
I remember so well the final morning hours of the Kyoto conference. The negotiations had gone on long past their scheduled evening close, and the convention center management was frantic. A trade show for children’s clothing was about to begin, and every corner of the vast hall was still littered with the carcasses of the sleeping diplomats who had gathered in Japan to draw up a first-ever global treaty to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But when word finally came that an agreement had been reached, people roused themselves with real enthusiasm—lots of backslapping and hugs.
Dateline: England--A springer spaniel was rushed to the hospital after eating what his owners say is his 40th pair of underwear. Taffy, owned by Eubie and Sharon Saayman of Tamworth, Staffs, has also wolfed down 300 socks and destroyed 15 pairs of shoes. He even once ate the keys to their Mercedes, reports London’s Daily Mirror. Normally, everything Taffy devours comes out the other end, but this last pair of underpants wouldn't budge. Fortunately, 34-year-old Eubie Saayman is a veterinarian, who operated on his family’s pet after noticing the animal was in pain. “He didn’t touch his food for two days and lay in his bed looking sorry for himself. I knew straight away what had happened so I didn’t need an X-ray to see the problem,” Saayman told the newspaper. “His stomach was swollen and, during the operation, just as I thought, there was a pair of my son’s Bob the Builder pants that had got stuck.” Sharon, 44, manager of Eubie’s vet’s practice, said they have spent nearly $1,000 replacing items the 18-month-old spaniel has swallowed. “I guess this is just his vice,” said Mrs. Saayman.
Big congratulations are in order for Albuquerque-based filmmaker Billy Garberina, his cast and his crew on Necroville. The low-budget horror comedy captured the Tamalewood Award for Best New Mexico-Made Film at last weekend’s mega-successful Santa Fe Film Festival. The film had some stiff competition as this year’s SFFF featured more than 60 shorts, features and documentaries in the New Mexico Film Expo program. Also taking home top honors were Persepolis for Best of the Fest, Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez for Best Documentary, Miss Navajo for Best Indigenous and Off the Grid: Life on the Mesa for Best of the Southwest. Kudos are also reserved for the festival itself, which sold more than 20,000 tickets during its five-day run, making 2007’s eighth annual fest the most successful to date. See you next year!
If you’ve been reading this column for a while, you’ll know by now that I have a full-on love affair with Japanese-American co-productions. Flicks like The Green Slime, The Manster and Terror Beneath The Sea all hold a special place in my cold, callous heart. So it is with great pleasure and schoolgirl giddiness that I present to you the long sought-after Latitude Zero, which is set to hit our shores in a pimped-out two-disc edition courtesy of the fine people at Tokyo Shock. What’s that, you say? You’ve never heard of Latitude Zero? Well then, have I got a treat for you.
Canadian Guy Maddin doses audiences with another mad vision of yesteryear
By Devin D. O’Leary
Experimental Canadian fantasist Guy Maddin (The Saddest Music in the World, Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary, Tales From the Gimli Hospital) continues his somewhat prolific career of weirdness with Brand Upon the Brain!, a curiously anachronistic horror-mystery the filmmaker describes as “semi-autobiographical” (with, we’ll assume, a heavy emphasis on the “semi”).
The news last week that NBC would be picking up the episodic Web-only series “Quarterlife” as a midseason replacement show for early 2008 told us one of two things: Either the month-old Writers’ Guild strike is having a much more devastating effect on the industry as a whole, or we’ve been looking in the wrong place for our entertainment. After all, “Quarterlife” is produced by TV vets Marshall Herskovitz and Edward Zwick (“thirtysomething,” “My So-Called Life”). The show, about six twentysomething artists coming of age in the digital generation, airs on MySpace, where the first episode has been viewed more than 190,000 times. Maybe it’s time to start ignoring television altogether and dig into this digital realm of Internet-only webisodes.
It's gotten awfully quiet over at the city's proposed teen music space, which will occupy the former Ice House building Downtown. But the project hasn't gone away. On the contrary, it's having an open house this Saturday, Dec. 8.
The most promising metal act in town is not staffed by tattooed, beer-guzzling, sweaty men in their late 20s/early 30s. Amanda Castillo, Channing Concho and Melynda Montaño draw their inspiration from the ’80s metal that infected their childhoods.
It's unfortunate that Iron & Wine—Florida native, former film and cinematography professor, and Austin resident whose real name is Sam Beam, that is—is best recognized for his quiet cover of The Postal Service's "Such Great Heights." His original work tops any cover by far. Not-quite-folk, yet not-quite-rock ’n’ roll, not fully characterizable at all, Beam seems to have accomplished the impossible task of forging his own style. This is especially true of his overwhelmingly lovely late-September release, The Shepherd's Dog. His most recent collection, which is aided by Calexico (á la their 2005 collaborative release In The Reins), hangs on to the absorbing melancholy of Beam's previous recordings, yet twists it into something more mature and slightly happier. Try tracks No. 1, "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car," and No. 9, "Boy with a Coin" (where flamenco fans may note a nice use of palmas).
Look, I tried to come up with some quirky, cute way to say the holidays are imminent and shopping days are numbered, but it's all been done before so I'll just cut straight to the holiday jugular: You've got two weeks and it's really hard to shop for Aunt Betty. Consult the “Alibi Picks” this week for a multitude of shopping and strolling events, but if your taste and the taste of those on your list leans on the artsy side, there are a few more events to consider. On Saturday, Dec. 8, the New Mexico Book Co-op and Footprints From the Bible are sponsoring the Holiday Book and Craft Fair at St. John's Cathedral (318 Silver SW) starting at 10 a.m. The event features more than 50 local authors, artists and craftspeople, and book signings with Dave DeWitt (Avenging Victorio), Don Bullis (New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary) and Robert Torrez (New Mexico in 1876-1877). Of course, many of the authors will be promoting their publications and I'm sure they'll be happy to slap a signature on your copy. After checking the bibliophile(s) off your list, visit Regalos at La Tiendita Museum Store at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) also on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Artisans from around New Mexico will be offering their wares, including paintings, sculpture, santeros, literature and glass art. Beyond the shopping, Regalos features carolers, storytelling (at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.) and refreshments.
The Imaginative Mind of Bruce Lowney at Artspace 116
By Tom Gibbons
The fine art medium of lithography is a mysterious process to some and unknown to many more. Like daguerreotypes and woodcuts—two other kinds of image replication with far-reaching influence to modern expression—the lithograph has been relegated to niche status, the stuff of dusty museum archives. Yet many artists still prefer this rigorous, technical process. Bruce Lowney is one of them, having used the lithograph press to create beautiful, compelling works for more than 30 years.
Last week was colder than a well digger's nether regions, and I was not at all inclined to leave the warmth under my stack of comforters. Still, I donned my thermal underwear and drove to the corner of Louisiana and Central, hoping like hell I’d find a good Vietnamese sandwich.
Five wine websites that let your fingers do the shopping
By Maren Tarro
There are some people that are just a pain in the ass to shop for: Your boss who’s having a midlife crisis, the Stepford-like neighbor who just invited you to a politically correct “holiday” party, or a second cousin, twice removed, whose presence is gracing yours out of the blue. Some already have everything, some don’t like anything and some you really don’t know that well. Too bad. You still have to get them something. And the gift for casual acquaintances or for that special wino in your life is just a mouse click away.
Fresh truffles are ridiculously expensive. The ones you're looking at go for $2,000 per pound, approximately $350 each. Why in god’s name would anyone pay so much for something that looks like a blond dirt clod? What do they even taste like, anyway?
Listening to free jazz is like gazing into a world beyond reason, lacking discernible form--it's what emerges from the human brain before being rendered by any structural or harmonizing filters, a musical stream of consciousness. This cacophony can also be downright stressful. While challenging, such chaos has the potential to reward its listener with momentary glimpses into unseen transfigurations of existence.
V8 juice continues to save lives in Iraq despite fatalities
By Alex E. Limkin
This year in Baghdad is a test. One year beneath the date palms. One year at Section 5 on the west bank of the Tigris where blackbirds balance heavy and thick in the trees wondering where the meat has gone. (The flesh of regime critics was plentiful at Section 5, and the birds feasted, swooping down out of the palms at the sight of raincoats and pails and black rubber boots, not scared of the dogs.)
If I make it through these dark days I will be qualified for something extraordinary, like manning a Frigidaire to Mars (my cheek against the butter dish, feet tucked in the crisper, toes curled against the lettuce heads).
I think the vast emptiness of space, the slow spinning of my capsule (the haunting radiance of the controls) will not unhinge me after this.
Rising from the ashes of punkers Tsunami Bomb is Petaluma, Calif.'s The Action Design. It's the pet project of ex-Tsunami Bomb members Emily Whitehurst (aka Agent M) and Matt McKenzie, who have emerged from their last experience older and wiser.
Barelas' newest organization for performance and the arts, the Mother Road Theatre Company, will be kicking off its first season at the end of the month, and the community has been invited to take part in selecting the company's debut season. This weekend, Nov. 30-Dec. 2, and next, Dec. 7-9, six previews will showcase plays that will make up the 2008 season under the broader theme of “The Open Road.”
The Tricklock Company deserves its stellar reputation. In show after show, they’ve gone way beyond the call of duty. For years, stuffed inside that sardine-can theater in that pathetic strip mall on Washington, they made magic seem as simple as chewing gum, and their regular tours brought that magic to audiences worldwide.
Just last year, some mad hot pepper professor stumbled upon the Bhut Jolokia, now nicknamed the ghost chile. Subsequent lab tests have revealed that the little bastard is officially the hottest chile pepper in the world with nearly double the amount of Scoville heat units as the habañero. Apparently, the ghost chile is a naturally occurring species native to Northeastern India, where it's not unusual to use it as a weapon. Armies in India and Myanmar use ghost chiles to make tear gas. It’s also not unusual to gnaw on one between bites at the dinner table.
Fond memories and food go hand in hand. (By far, my favorite cooking-based recollection is being forced to boil 1,200 servings of “fiesta corn” in cooking school because I had the temerity to challenge my instructor’s assertion that grilled cheese is not an entrée.) Memories are made in the kitchens of every culture. And after learning that rasoi means kitchen in Hindi, I was all the more eager to visit the University Area’s newest offering of reasonably priced Indian cuisine in a striking atmosphere.
New locally based search engine company lets you point-and-click your way to a brighter tomorrow
By Simon McCormack
A search for "beer pong" on CatchTomorrow.com will bring up a link to a site where pong fanatics can order custom vinyl table coverings for their next frat party with the click of a mouse. But if their fruitful search leaves them feeling thirsty and they decide to click on the ad inviting them to "brew up the überbeer," they might just help the Phi Kappa Phis of tomorrow get a better education.
News Editor Christie Chisholm and I faced a gym full of polite but bored-looking ninth-graders a couple weeks ago during South Valley Academy's media day. "Don't be offended if they don't want to answer your questions" warned teachers before we took the podium for a largely question-based presentation. The teenagers listened attentively, a few among the scores of students calling out responses as we asked about their interaction with media.
The news out of the UNM president’s office last week was good. In the face of the community’s vocal opposition to the scheme, he and the university regents have decided to put their plans to carve a retirement center out of the fairways and rough that make up the venerable North Golf Course near the Law School on indefinite hold.
Dateline: Angola--Ten contestants will show off their beauty, their brains and their missing limbs in an attempt to capture the title of Angola’s Miss Landmine 2008. The project, created by Norwegian theater director Morten Traavik, is intended to raise awareness of the plight of landmine survivors. The Southern African nation of Angola has a problem with landmines, leftovers of the country’s 20-year civil war. The competitors range in age from 19 to 35 and represent their home provinces. Almost all were injured while tending fields or fleeing soldiers in the ’80s and ’90s, according to their pageant biographies. Along with fame and glory, Traavik announced the winner will receive a golden prosthesis fitted to her specifications.
Albuquerque-based artist/massage therapist/talk show host Scott Conner recently wrapped up production on the first season of his eponymous TV show. The show features a mixture of Albuquerque-based improv comedians and local celebrities. Conner plans to start taping the second season of the talk/variety show in January and is hoping to go nationwide by selling the syndication/distribution rights on eBay.
From the down and dirty hardcore available at your local Wal-Porn to the gratuitous love scenes of Hollywood, mainstream filmmakers are getting it wrong. The triple-X cinema hidden under mattresses everywhere in America delivers fake nails, fake boobs, fake hair and fake orgasms. On the other end, big-budget movies bring us impossibly photogenic mutual orgasms, sex without work.
For those of you keeping track, this year marks the eighth year in a row that Santa Fe has hosted its increasingly popular film festival. It’s no real surprise that the festival has taken root and flourished in the creative soil of our capital city. Santa Fe has long held an artistic lure for Hollywood actors, several of whom call the City Different home. Of course, New Mexico’s growing stature as a filming location has helped cement the Santa Fe Film Festival in the minds of the movie industry as well.
Outspoken fashion commentator Stacy London is best known for her work alongside Clinton Kelly on TLC’s clothing-conscious makeover show “What Not to Wear.” There are plenty of makeover shows crowding the airwaves these days, but “What Not to Wear” stands out for its personality, its sense of humor and its downright practical advice to some of America’s most poorly dressed individuals. (Plus, it’s just fun to razz clueless people and their god-awful sense of style.)
An interview with the cast and crew of No Country For Old Men
By Devin D. O’Leary
Since their debut feature, 1984’s cult classic Blood Simple, the Coen brothers have become some of the movie industry’s favorite sons. In writing, producing and directing films like Raising Arizona, Miller’s Crossing, Fargo, The Big Lebowski and O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Minneapolis-born siblings Joel and Ethan Coen have garnered a rabidly loyal fanbase and one big hunk of Oscar gold (for writing Fargo). After an arguable downturn (The Ladykillers, Intolerable Cruelty), the Coens have found monumental inspiration in the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Cormac McCarthy, whose arid Western crime novel No Country For Old Men provides the basis for their newest film.
Three rodents singing, two monsters fighting and a senator in a bad war
By Devin D. O’Leary
Happy Thanksgiving! Merry Christmas! Now get yourself to a movie theater. This holiday season is crammed with cinematic gifts, from the silly (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story) to the sappy (P.S., I Love You). We’ve got epic fantasies (The Golden Compass), musical slasher films (Sweeney Todd) and animated biopics (Persepolis). We’ve got the work of famed directors like Francis Ford Coppola (Youth Without Youth), Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood) and Woody Allen (Cassandra’s Dream). We’ve also got Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem. Surely there’s something for everyone to savor. Keep in mind that all opening dates are subject to change.
Asphalt-batching plant is a major headache for a nearby business owner
By Marisa Demarco
Steve Finch was riding his bike to work last winter. Wafts of an all-too-familiar smell engulfed him about a block from his office. He felt like he might have to pull over from fear of losing his breakfast.
Every Democratic candidate for president on down is “against the war in Iraq.” But we wouldn’t be in Iraq if Democrats hadn’t surrendered Congress’ constitutional power to declare war. Then once the war got going, Democrats pretty much abandoned the peace movement. They’ve given Bush every dime he’s requested to get hundreds of thousands of people killed for no good reason.
The circulation of newspapers across the country is steadily declining. That's not news. What is noteworthy is how rapidly the readership of two of Colorado's biggest daily newspapers may be dropping and what some newly released research could mean for the future of print journalism.
"Sen. Schumer only wants to fund pay, body armor and chow for the troops if he can put conditions on the money so that they cannot do the mission they have been ordered to do." --Rep. Heather Wilson to the Associated Press
Dateline: Australia--Santas in Australia’s largest city have been told not to use St. Nicholas’ traditional “ho, ho, ho” greeting because it may be offensive to women. Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reportedlast Thursday that streetcorner Santa Clauses have been instructed to say “ha, ha, ha” instead. One rather unjolly Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm wanted him not to use the traditional greeting because it might frighten children and was too close to “ho,” the American slang for prostitute. “Gimme a break,” Julie Gale, who runs the campaign against sexualizing children called Kids Free 2B Kids, told the newspaper. “We’re talking about little kids who do not understand that ‘ho, ho, ho’ has any other connotation, nor should they.” An Australian spokesperson for the U.S.-based Westaff recruiting firm said it was “misleading” to say the company had censored the dialogue of its Santas. The “ho/ha” substitution was being left up to the discretion of the individial Santas.
Nearly a year ago, the New Mexico Book Co-op announced it would hold the first-ever New Mexico Book Awards. Hundreds of submissions and a few paper cuts later, the NMBC and its distinguished panel of scholars, booksellers and librarians announced the winners during an awards banquet on Nov. 9. The event honored New Mexico authors and publishers for their hard work and dedication to the written word and included a presentation of lifetime achievement awards to Rudolfo Anaya and Tony Hillerman. Since we all couldn't attend, the following is a list of a few titles that garnered New Mexico Book Award-winner status. For a complete list, visit here. Congratulations to all the winning wordsmiths!
Los Desaparecidos/The Disappeared at SITE Santa Fe
By Amy Dalness
Sixty-six human femurs form a 10-foot-tall outline of the Chilean flag. The earth brown of the bones creates a stark contrast within the sterile, well-lit space at SITE Santa Fe. From the door, the flag seems to be made from crumbling pieces of weather-beaten wood.
My girlfriend has more virtues than I could possibly count. Her breath, unfortunately, isn't one of them. She has a love of extremely strong-smelling foods in quantities that are sometimes hard to believe—the other day she made an entire meal of nothing but raw garlic and cabbage, two of the most odiferous foods there are.
I can trace the beginnings of my love affair with all things gastronomic to a very young age. I was an Army brat living in Germany with only one TV channel in English: AFN, the Armed Forces Network. Mixed in with old sitcom reruns and soap operas was the occasional PBS cooking show.
The Useable Cookbook blows prissy tomes out of the water
By Marisa Demarco
Finding the right cookbook is like finding the right shoe. There's the look of the thing, then there's the function of it. Sure, those wingtips are as stylish as all get out, but they pinch at the toes, and you certainly wouldn't want to run any marathons in them. In the grueling race that is cooking for your family, you need a cushioned shoe and a functional guide, one that can hold up to the task of finding something to feed their young faces day in and day out. I'm a sneaker fanatic, myself.
Earlier this week, Gov. Bill Richardson announced the recipients of the 2007 New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards. In its second year, the program is providing 11 contracts totaling $160,000 for New Mexico-based producers and directors to create narrative films, documentaries, animated and experimental works. Prizes were handed out in the following categories:
Back in the early ’90s, a guy named Brian Morton published a now out-of-print novel called The Dylanist. Don’t bother reading it. My wife found a copy on eBay several years ago. I cherish it, but I’ve got to admit: As a novel, it just isn’t good.
More monsters, less misunderstanding: Is that so much to ask?
By Devin D. O’Leary
Nothing says the holidays quite like a claustrophobic setting, a small knot of panicked humanity and a heaping helping of hungry monsters, right? For those who wish to wash down their Thanksgiving turkey with severed limbs, extradimentional creatures and a deadly dose of Stephen King, writer-director Frank Darabont is here to oblige.
There was a major blow in store for viewers at the end of “Battlestar Galactica”’sseason-ending cliff-hanger earlier this year. And I’m not talking about the revelation of the final few Cylon spies. Or the suggestion that somehow Bob Dylan was behind the destruction of the human race. No, I’m talking about the information that we’d be waiting until January 2008 to see more new episodes.
Socyermom Records and the Launchpad have spewed out a Turkey Purge every year since 2000. The carnival of distended stomachs, local rock music and hooch is nothing short of a pair of open arms for freaked-out scenesters to come running to after Thanksgiving. Your uncle was a creep? Blast the sound of his god-awful voice out of your eardrums. The turkey gave you gas? This booze will kill any harmful bacteria left in your system. You're fat? ... Aren't we all?
I trekked down a gravel road in Mesilla, near Las Cruces. Navigating the backstreet past rundown trailers inhabited by rough-looking junkyard dogs, I did my best to avoid sliding into three-foot ditches on either side of the narrow dirt path. I was searching for a music venue known simply as The Farm.
When you listen to a Rat City Riot track, you might think singer Noah Bricker just choked down a handful of glass shards. In fact, his sandpaper vocals (similar to Dicky Barrett's of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) are the result of haphazard fine-tuning.
A groundbreaking dissertation diagnoses metal healthy
By Zak Schlegel
If you've ever been to a metal show in Albuquerque, you're well aware of how rowdy fans can get, particularly the adolescent herd. But since the tragic Columbine High School shootings of April 20, 1999, there's been plenty of speculation about whether or not metal music is actually damaging our kids. Gerald Chavez is a musician, chief instructor ofan Albuquerque martial arts studio and clinical psychology Ph.D. candidate of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara, Calif. He wanted to go further into the mind of heshers, so for his doctoral thesis, he devised a study to examine the negative stereotypes that have been thrust upon the metal music community, using Albuquerque as his research base.