The peace march to protest the five-year anniversary of the Iraq War last Saturday, March 15, has become an annual passage in Albuquerque and all over the country. Every anniversary the number of participants seems to grow, along with the sense of bewilderment as to why we’re still in this war.
It was a simple idea: Let's put faces to the names of soldiers New Mexico sacrificed to the war effort. The cover of the Alibi this week is, in plainest terms, a reminder of what these last five years have cost.
A salty old lawyer, who’s now arguing before that appellate court in the sky, once bragged of his favorite trial tool. We were unwinding after court (as I've disclosed in this column before, I used to practice law) and the war stories, along with my beer and his scotch, flowed freely. He called his favorite trial tool “the hot poker.”
Medical students question exhibit's use of bodies without donor consent
By Marisa Demarco
UNM medical student Amanda Lo objects to the "Bodies Human" exhibit in Coronado Center. She's not grossed out by it. She harbors no religious qualms. But the people on display for shoppers to gape at in Albuquerque's mall did not give their consent to be filleted, propped up and posed.
Dateline: India--At least 50 people in India’s Kottayam district have reportedly lost their vision after staring at the sun for prolonged periods searching for an image of the Virgin Mary. St. Joseph’s ENT and Eye Hospital in Kanjirapally alone has recorded 48 cases of vision loss due to photochemical burns on the retina. The hospital began receiving patients with these abnormal symptoms on March 7. When doctors detected a pattern, they reported it to the district medical officer. The health department has since put up a billboard discounting the holy sunspot rumor and warning the faithful against exposing their eyes to direct sunlight. That hasn’t stopped believers, curious onlookers and foreign travelers from flocking to a rooming house near the town of Erumeli, where the hotel’s owner had claimed statues of the Virgin Mary have been crying honey and bleeding perfume. People have been flocking to the “blessed land”--hastily christened Rosa Mystica Mountain--for some time now, but the mad rush to view the solar image began earlier this month.
In sixth grade, living in Ulm, Germany, I hung out exclusively with Koreans. It was initially because they were the only ones who didn’t beat me up after school. But, soon enough, I came to appreciate my friends for other merits, including their mothers’ cooking.
Reserved for the swankest occasions, the tea party is a gilded gift of spring. We go goo-goo over few party precepts like the garden soiree that's all finger treats and fragrant spirits and toasts like, "To accomplishing the winter, friend! To birthing the spring, traveler!"
Scott Phillips’ locally shot horror thriller Gimme Skelter hit DVD last week and is--appropriately enough--the first release from the new Albuquerque-based DVD label Burning Paradise Entertainment. The full-feature DVD includes writer/director commentary, video blogs from the making of the film, a still gallery, a music video, a blooper reel and more.
Sentimental drama puts a cute little face to illegal immigration
By Devin D. O’Leary
It’s fairly safe to say that Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna)--with its fantastical faith in the American Dream and its saintly portrait of illegal aliens--was not made by right-wing-radio-listening, border-fence-building members of the Minuteman Project.
If someone started out by telling you that 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days is a bleak drama about abortion, shot in Romania and set in the Communist era of the ’80s, you’d probably avoid it like the plague. So, instead, I’ll start out by telling you 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days captured the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, won Best Film and Best Director at the European Film Awards, was nominated for a Golden Globe and landed on numerous critics’ top 10 lists for last year. ... Now for the rough part.
“Lewis Black’s The Root of All Evil” on Comedy Central
By Devin D. O’Leary
Comedy Central continues its successful foray into all things pseudo-real (pseudo newscast “The Daily Show,” pseudo pundit program “The Colbert Report”) with a pseudo judge show starring apoplectic curmudgeon Lewis Black.
The queries started trickling in a few months ago. (That is to say: The e-mails that made it past my bloodthirsty spamtrap were few. If you didn't hear back from me, try calling instead.) Now they’re torrential. "Spring Crawl" and "Spring Crawl 2008" are two of the most popular searches at alibi.com. You want us to hurry up and get to the point about Spring Crawl—what day we're planning it for, who's on the bill, how to get your band booked, all the important stuff.
The singer/songwriter who sometimes wishes he wasn’t
By Simon McCormack
If you've had it with singer/songwriters, you’re not alone: John Ralston’s right there with you. Even though his name appears in big print on every one of his releases, Ralston would rather be viewed as a member of his touring band than seem like an artist obsessed with his own creations. He has a similarly uneasy relationship with his hometown of Lake Worth, Fla. He’s not about to distance himself from his state-of-origin, but he knows the Sunshine State has bred more than its share of the nation’s sonic sore spots.
Feel your brain cells coalesce into violently happy goo as hypersexual, disturbingly cute, underwear-clad Punk Bunny (Hollyweird, Calif.), the mighty Beefcake In Chains, Bitch Goddess and Amish Noise have their way with you at Atomic Cantina on Friday, March 21. Then they’ll do the bartenders. Free, 21+. (LM)
The student-directed productions on stage at Theatre X this weekend are not puff plays. Both directors, Barney Lopez and Steve Pinzone, selected scripts with challenges and dark undertones: Fur and Mr. Marmalade.
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) at the Albuquerque Little Theatre
By Steven Robert Allen
There once was a time when the Albuquerque Little Theatre (ALT) catered exclusively to the prim and proper. You could bring your grandma or your 8-year-old and you wouldn’t have to worry whether they might take offense at a soft-core penis joke or some simulated retching.
New Mexico has two mottos: one found on license plates and another uttered by natives, as much in jest as in seriousness. Both were proven by the photographers who submitted to our fifth annual Photo Contest—we live in an enchanting state that moves at the speed of mañana.
Homer Robinson didn't expect the measure he was lobbying for to get as far as it did. House Bill 193 called for a commission to choose the state's chief public defender, an office that in New Mexico is appointed solely by the governor.
Imagine passengers encapsulated within a shiny, new train car, gazing out on an industrial and often decayed desert landscape. It's a lush and uniquely New Mexican juxtaposition of prosperity and poverty, modernity and the pastoral—an experience possible via the state's roadrunner-themed commuter train. Already coursing across the brown and blue landscape between Belen and Sandoval County, the Rail Runner, which began its travels in the summer of 2006, arrives in Santa Fe in December. When completed, the project will have cost the state a few hundred million contentious dollars.
While waiting in line for coffee in Santa Fe a few years ago, I met a nice young woman. She was in her early 20s—an intelligent college student and a bit of a free spirit. While her double-mocha-soy-something was being made, we struck up a brief conversation. I don’t know what prompted the talk—perhaps it was one of those nuggets of wisdom printed on the cups—but we briefly discussed beliefs.
Dateline: Japan--It’s probably not the first time they’ve come in handy, but a Japanese pinup model was saved a stint in jail thanks to her overly large breasts. Serena Kozakura, 38, was charged with breaking into a man’s apartment by kicking a hole in his door and crawling through because he was with another woman. The bikini model was later cleared of all charges after defense lawyers held up a plate showing the size of the hole that Serena was accused of kicking in. The lawyers demonstrated that Kozakura’s 44-inch bust would not fit through the opening. “I used to hate my body so much, but it was my breasts that won in court,” Kozakura said. Judge Kunio Harad of the Tokyo High Court threw out the guilty verdict, saying there was reasonable doubt about the man’s story.
The English Beat's Dave Wakeling is actually one of the nicest
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Between 1978 and 1983 The Beat (known in North America as The English Beat) was a pre-eminent part of the ska revival movement known as 2 Tone. As the second-wave legends they became, the group, already greatly endowed by Saxa, a saxophonist who had played with the likes of Desmond Dekker, shared the stage with the distinguished acts of the era such as David Bowie, The Clash, The Police, The Pretenders and Talking Heads. Three decades and 6,000 miles of separation later, the one original band has become two. Original toaster Ranking Roger continues the legacy in England as The Beat, and Dave Wakeling, the band's original singer, carries on the American contingent as The English Beat. Wakeling, also a 20-year stateside resident, a former Greenpeace employee, personal hero and an all-around nice guy, took time to talk to me over the phone this week.
On March 14 and 15, the National Hispanic Cultural Center hosts the 2008 Women & Creativity Film Festival. Over the weekend, the NHCC’s Bank of America Theatre (1701 Fourth Street SW) will screen a string of short films and videos created by female producers, writers and directors. Anne Stirling’s alternative-to-matrimony documentary Why Get Married?, Rebecca Rivas’ examination of Peruvian women’s reproductive health, Erin Hudson’s look at female long-haul truckers and several short-form narrative pieces will be shown Friday, March 14, from 6 to 9:30 p.m. A Q&A with the artists will follow. Saturday—from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., from 2 to 4:15 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.—there will be additional blocks of shorts, documentaries and animations. All screenings are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of films, log on to www.nhccnm.org.
Are you familiar with Stendhal Syndrome? It’s a psychosomatic condition, first documented by the 19th-century French writer Stendhal, in which people can be overcome by great works of art. Stendhal reported heart palpitations, dizziness and an almost religious sense of epiphany upon viewing the cultural riches of Florence. It’s an odd concept, to be sure--but one that seems all the more clear upon viewing The Rape of Europa, a mesmerizing, astonishing, highly emotional film about Adolf Hitler’s systematic campaign to steal and/or destroy Europe’s great works of art.
At least it doesn’t have Jim Carrey in gray makeup and big, rubber ears
By Devin D. O’Leary
Now that we’re all safely outside the biohazard zone created by 2000’s Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and 2003’s Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, I think we can all agree that live-action versions of Dr. Seuss books are just wrong, wrong, wrong. It’s of some comfort, then, that the 2008 feature film translation of Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! arrives in animated form. It’s computer-animated, mind you, but at least it’s a cartoon, sparing us the horror of seeing Mike Myers covered in white spackle and black fur and prancing around leftover sets from Edward Scissorhands.
John Amsterdam, the main character of FOX’s offbeat new crime series, is a 17th-century Dutch soldier cursed (or is it blessed?) to live forever, or at least until he meets his one true love. It sounds like an unusual premise for a show, but one of the sneakier strengths of “New Amsterdam” is that it’s really rather familiar.
First, I must extend my thanks and congratulations to all the photographers who submitted works to our fifth annual Photo Contest this year. The high quality and artistic merit of the entries made for some nerve-racking judging, but, somehow, we narrowed it down to the winners found in this week's feature.
The Great Depression left many marks on the U.S. in the history books and the hearts and minds of the people. It also left a more physical trail: memories etched into sides of buildings or captured in photographs. With the hard times came desperate measures and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt did what he felt was best by creating the New Deal, paving the way for art on a scale we'd never seen before and haven't since.
By and large, I’m not a fan of chain restaurants. I just can’t get onboard with corporate-formulated burgers and pasteurized food “experiences.” But there are exceptions. Sometimes a chain comes along that serves genuinely good eats you can’t find in every other joint on the block. Chipotle, for example, has long been my go-to burrito place when I’m craving something other than a pulverized pinto mash-up. More than once I’ve thought it’s too bad Albuquerque doesn’t have one.
The wines of Bordeaux are touted around the world as brilliantly complex, stunningly powerful and, of course, staggeringly expensive. They are the pride of France and the lust of Franco- and oeno-philes everywhere. But just how French are France’s biggest and brightest?
Quick preface: We bow low before the soup kitchen altar of our friend Astara, soup wizardess and ancient soul, who throws together far superior carrot creations than we with the mere flick of her pinky finger—her curry carrot soup and her herbed carrot purée are both criminally delicious. If we could join a white-robed, Nike-wearing cult to follow her soup into future worlds, we would. Instead, we attempted merging those two soups for a rosemary roasted carrot curry soup. It was great, an absolute success; but somehow we doubt it’ll gain us any suicidal hippie followers anytime soon.
Is it possible to eat nothing but local food in a New Mexico winter?
By Christie Chisholm
Eggs, milk, peanuts. It didn’t look good.
I had spent the last hour scavenging the isles of La Montañita Co-op, and that’s what I was left with: eggs, milk, peanuts. I was hungry just looking at them. I offered my meager basket to the cashier, pausing to turn around and grab a hauntingly aromatic chocolate chip cookie from the deli counter behind me. If all I had to eat for the next seven days were eggs, whole milk and peanuts, I was going to enjoy my last meal, and I was going to have dessert.
An interview with one of the nation’s pre-eminent experts on the subject
By Christie Chisholm
Joel Salatin loves his work. He loves getting up at the crack of dawn and taking his chickens for a walk. He loves the succulence of tender, grass-raised beef. He loves observing his pigs, which snort with glee while sifting through piles of manure. And he loves the philosophy of his business, which is that a truly sustainable farm should also support a local food system. He loves it so much, in fact, that he refuses to ship any of his products. Aside from a few deliveries made to local restaurants, if people want ’em, they can come get ’em. And that’s basically how Joel Salatin became famous.
Many bands' first steps were across the threshold of the Golden West
By Marisa Demarco
U.K. oi! band The Business takes the stage. Young testosterone-riddled skinheads start slam dancing, but the Party Vikings, a local gang of rowdy punk rockers, have named themselves the kings of the pit. It isn't too long before a full-scale riot breaks loose, remembers Gordy Andersen, Black Maria singer and Albuquerque rock stalwart. Punks throw pool balls down from the Golden West's balcony. Tables and chairs cartwheel through the air and are smashed into sticks. And The Business just keeps playing.
Anat Cohen, award-winning clarinetist/saxophonist, brings her quartet to the Outpost
By Mel Minter
When she was busy mastering American jazz on her tenor saxophone, Anat Cohen gave little thought to the clarinet collecting dust in her closet, or to other genres of music. But she now moves effortlessly between both instruments and among a variety of musical styles.
The Perpetual Art Machine (also known as [PAM]) started as an open source Web 2.0 research and archive project. The creators—artists Aaron Miller, Chris Borkowski, Lee Wells and Raphaele Shirley—programmed [PAM] for Scope New York in 2006. Just a few years later, [PAM] has traveled around the continental U.S. and throughout Europe, featuring the video art of more than 300 creative minds from more than 50 countries.
Certain endeavors—sports, art, music, chess—serve as bridges between countries and cultures. Their universality creates an understanding between all involved. The difficulty of these exchanges, however, is in establishing a context. Programs need to accompany the goods, so to speak, to make an effective connection.
When Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones was published in 1986, it tapped into a vein most would-be writers weren't aware existed. Practically singlehandedly, Goldberg began the "Just Write" movement. By the early '90s, one couldn’t find a table at a coffee shop because each had been commandeered by a Goldberg devotee, frantically scribbling down his or her own bones.
Sometimes kooky fusion combos are better, more soulful, when improvised on the spot rather than premeditated. This one was borne from us being too tired, lazy, brain-dead and starving on a weekday night to be pithy or political with our pairings.
African-American sports stars may net fame and cash, but how much power do they hold?
By Simon McCormack
William Rhoden's inflammatorily titled book 40 Million Dollar Slaves isn't as confrontational as its name. It's an exploration of sports history and an appeal to African-American unity more than an angry protest against exploitation. New York Times columnist Rhoden draws parallels between plantation slavery and the power structure in professional sports, where the athletes are disproportionately African-American and the owners are typically white men. Last week, Rhoden was the keynote speaker at UNM's Black Cultural Conference. Before hopping on a plane to the Duke City, he talked with the Alibi about how he got the idea for the book and what it will inspire in its readers.
The dead zone out our back door is gone. It took five men, two jackhammers and a hydraulic breaker to remove tons of concrete patios, sidewalks and a swimming pool installed a generation ago. Our Northeast Heights house had been landscaped with concrete. All those hard, flat surfaces meant no trouble and no maintenance. It also meant no natural life outside our doors.
Dateline: Romania--Cops have closed their investigation of a vandalism case that left local houses in ruins by concluding ghosts were to blame. Families living in the town of Lilieci reported broken windows, bicycles flying through the air, objects moving on tables and candles blown out when there was no wind. At first, police scoffed at a supernatural source for the damage, but a police spokesperson concluded, “There were bottles and things flying around. I did not know what to dodge first. We can find nothing to suggest it was anything other than what the people claim.” A priest has been called in to exorcise the homes in question.
Honestly, it’s an exciting time to be a filmmaker in New Mexico. Even if you aren’t going to be one of the rare few industry pros employed by Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (shooting in and around Albuquerque this May, June, July and August--get used to it), you’ve still got plenty of opportunities in this town.
Ferrell is reliable as ever in the paint, but can’t hit from 3-point territory
By Devin D. O'Leary
Over the last decade or so, Will Ferrell has dug for himself a very familiar Hollywood niche. In his films, he invariably plays some sort of enthusiastic, well-meaning doofus toiling away in the lower echelons of some random career ladder. Ferrell surrounds himself with a collection of comic compatriots, all of whom add their own improvisational spin to the loose, sketch-comedy shenanigans. Racking up far more in the hit than the miss column, Ferrell’s formula has afforded the former “Saturday Night Live” star a comfortable movie career.
I’m standing on a soundstage at Albuquerque Studios. In front of me is Gerard Butler (300). To my left is Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”). On either side stand nine of the best stuntmen in the business. I take a deep breath. This is really freaking surreal. I am working as a stuntman on Game, a futuristic action film that took over downtown Albuquerque for several weeks. I’m getting ready to do a stunt called a “deadman.” Basically, I need to run full tilt at Gerard, and the cable strapped to my harness will whip me back when he turns and kicks me. You remember those Warner Bros. cartoons when the dog chases Foghorn Leghorn only to clothesline himself on his leash? Yeah, it’s basically that. When the director calls out “action,” I bolt forward, mindful of the camera tracking alongside me. Gerard turns and kicks, I feel the pull of the cable on my back, and my feet fly into the air in front of me. Everything goes black. I awake seconds later to the applause of the other stuntmen. They ask if I am all right (I didn’t tuck my chin enough; no matter, as I will have to repeat this action about seven more times for proper coverage) and pat me on the back, welcoming me into the brotherhood of stuntmen.
Last week came further proof (as if we needed any) that popularity on the Internet does not necessarily translate into popularity in the real world. The web-sensation-turned-TV-show “quarterlife” drew a tepid 3.1 million viewers when it debuted on NBC last Tuesday. It was NBC’s worst performance in the timeslot in nearly 20 years. Which doesn’t bode well for a long and healthy life.