Driving home while thinking about the cultural profoundity of events like Weekly Alibi’s upcoming Best of Burque Music Showcase—which is happening on Saturday evening, March 24, downtown, in case you did not know that fact—led me to the shores of ghetto Smith’s where I repaired to the produce section for some fresh fruit to calm my florid mind.
Pioneering Taos architect Michael Reynolds is the subject of a new documentary titled Garbage Warrior. The film--exploring Reynolds’ efforts to build environmentally friendly homes (known as “Earthships”) out of beer cans, car tires and water bottles--premiered last week on the Sundance Channel and was bolstered by an appearance by Reynolds on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.” The visionary green architect will make an appearance at Santa Fe’s CCA Cinematheque (1050 Old Pecos Trail) on Friday, April 11 (8 p.m.), and Saturday, April 12 (11:30 a.m.), to introduce Garbage Warrior and to launch his new book, Journey Part 1, which chronicles the growth of the Earthship movement. Tickets are $8 for CCA members or $10 for nonmembers.
Isn’t it funny when intelligent people do stupid things?
By Devin D. O’Leary
Dysfunctional families are a staple of indie filmmaking, providing the perfect backdrop for mixing comedy and drama. (As evidence, see: Dan in Real Life,Little Miss Sunshine, The Upside of Anger, Pieces of April, The Squid and the Whale.) Unfortunately, these seriocomic clans have become something of a crutch lately--as easy a subject for one’s first screenplay as road movies were in the ’90s. On the surface of their new film Smart People, first-time filmmakers Mark Poirier (he wrote it) and Noam Murro (he directed it) are in danger of stepping into all the cliché pitfalls of the genre. Fortunately, an intelligent script and a fine cast conspire to make this a sharper-than-average slice of indie satire.
Teen tailslides into trouble in Van Sant’s slackadaisical drama
By Devin D. O’Leary
Gus Van Sant is a genius of some sort. Which means his films are either brilliant (My Own Private Idaho, To Die For) or frustrating (Even Cowgirls Get the Blues,Gerry). Or both at the same time, it could be argued. Continuing his lo-fi, aggressively indie ruminations on disaffected youth (stretching from 1989’s Drugstore Cowboy to 2003’s Elephant), Van Sant offers up his latest, Paranoid Park.
The BBC has had a hot run of it lately, prompted firstly by the stateside presence of BBC America and secondly by the popularity of Russell T. Davies’ revamped “Doctor Who” series. The new “Doctor Who” (about to broadcast its fourth season stateside) has proved so popular that the BBC has managed to squeeze out not one but two sequels. “Torchwood,” chief writer and executive producer Davies’ adult-oriented spin-off, continues the sexy, “X-Files”-ish vibe invoked by the new “Doctor Who.” The second spin-off, “The Sarah Jane Adventures” goes for a slightly different feel.
The creative minds behind the Donkey Gallery once told the Alibi they didn't put much emphasis on publicity. Instead, they focused their attention on love and support of arts. This fact never kept the Donkey Gallery from attracting an audience to their clever shows and receptions, which often included some unusual perk not regularly found at a "proper" gallery opening. (Did someone say pancakes?)
Back in the ’90s, I spent every day for about three weeks in a medium-security INS detention center in Florida. Hundreds of law students, myself included, were shipped there to process boatloads of Haitian refugees fleeing military violence in the chronically distressed country. It seemed crazy then, and it seems crazy now, that the U.S. government would throw a bunch of people in jail who were so desperate to escape their brutalized country they braved the Atlantic Ocean in dinghies the size of bathtubs. Talk about a suicide mission.
Health Care for urban Native Americans hits a crisis point. A unified group forms to seek a cure.
By Marisa Demarco
Greg Pohuma woke from receiving a kidney transplant in 2005 and discovered a problem. Though he had been told the medications ensuring his body wouldn't reject his new kidneys would be paid for by Indian Health Services, he found IHS wouldn't be able to cover the cost, he says. "The day I was getting out, they told me they weren't going to give it to me, because I wasn't from one of the area tribes here closer to Albuquerque. I was denied the transplant drugs for my kidney, which would have meant that I would have to go back on dialysis or lose the kidney."
Mayor Martin Chavez hears some exciting news. What's happening with UNM tuition? Who made sure a reckless driver stopped wreaking havoc on the road? And what should movie patrons at Century Rio 24 be wary of?
Cyclists rally in Burque. Can the city offer safety and support?
By Rachel Miller
Rolled-up pant legs, durable water bottles hanging from backpacks and faint grease stains around the fingernails distinguish a group of cycling enthusiasts. These road warriors also often have a few scrapes to prove a commitment to cycling.
Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency seems to have weathered the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s sermons. A hailstorm of criticism from right-wing media pundits followed the release of videotapes of Obama’s pastor preaching from his pulpit in Chicago.
I give a dozen or so talks each year to college students and the public. I discuss critical thinking, logical fallacies, misleading arguments and more than a few cases of simple stupidity. Sometimes coming up with new material is difficult; there are plenty of classic examples of logical fallacies, but the most interesting ones are real-world cases, not moldy stuff like "If all men are mortal and Socrates was a man …"
Dateline: Russia--Several members of an apocalyptic Russian cult, who have been sequestered inside a cave waiting for the destruction of the planet, were forced to abandon their doomsday-proof shelter after it started to collapse around them. Followers of Pyotr Kuznetsov, an engineer-turned-prophet, have been holed up underground in the Penza region of western Russia since November. Last week, several sect members were persuaded to leave their man-made bunker after melting snow caused part of the roof to cave in. Police and Orthodox clergymen had been trying to communicate with followers of Kuznetsov’s True Russian Orthodox Church through a chimney but were chased away last month with rifle shots. The church has apparently been waiting for a rain of brimstone to destroy the earth in May. But many of the church members were beginning to have second thoughts as temperatures climbed above zero with the onset of spring. “The sect members realized their lives could have been in danger if they remained underground during the spring thaw,” a regional spokesperson told the Daily Telegraph. Although 21 of Kuznetsov’s disciples have now left the cave, a determined core of 14 still remains.
In an ideal world, open mics would be as individual as the people who sign up to play them. Albuquerque's not too far off. This city's already friendly to musicians trying to get a foothold in public (some argue too friendly, but that's another column). The past few months in particular have seen a new crop of open mics—specialized ones created with a specific type of performer in mind. Here's a rundown of some of the most promising. That is, if you:
By the time Megadeth bassist James Lomenzo joined the band’s lineup in 2006, he’d built a 30-year career of rock with artists like David Lee Roth and bands like White Lion and Black Label Society. “I’ve played with pretty much everybody, so there’s not much that’s gonna scare me,” Lomenzo asserts.
There was once a time in Albuquerque when you couldn’t turn on the TV, open a paper or go out to eat without coming face-to-face with Chef Jim White. This guy was everywhere. When you flipped on the news he was offering helpful kitchen tips, and if you tuned in to Animal Planet, he was dishing it out for the dogs. He even teamed up with Gordon Elliot to rescue a few desperate housewives from their meatloaf woes.
Gravel is working its way under a screen lining the floor of the tank that houses huge stingrays, four species of sharks and a variety of other fish. Joanna Gruger and Sage Butts are repairing the problem, wielding a pipe that sucks up the gravel and spitss it to another side of the tank. They're submerged, communicating with hand signals as they clear the area. Curious turtles hang out with the divers as they work. Were they not on display at an aquarium in the desert, the animals in this tank would inhabit the Gulf of Mexico.
If the city administration had its way we'd call this issue "Best of The Q." Luckily, that's never going to happen, and for an important reason: Albuquerque can't be contained by some sterilized, gentrified, two-bit (one-letter) moniker. Not to say that "Burque" encapsulates everything our city and its citizens stand for, but at least it's a term that's evolved by the people, for the people. (To read about the movement that's formed to fight "The Q," check out www.soydeburque.com.)
Fart, poop, boobs, puke, wank, turd, ass, piss ... 94 Rock's shock jock TJ Trout likes to say all of those words in the morning, in between segments of AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Boston and various other "real rock" acts. Damn!
Still feeling out its new digs as UNM's professional theater company in residence, the Tricklock Theatre Company continues to produce unique, experimental works of performance art. One thing theater-loving Burqueños know: If it's by Tricklock, it's going to be quality.
Wow, you guys love large patios, mesquite grilled foods, oval-shaped bars and the smooth sounds of Steely Dan! The Whisque, which is endowed with all of these assets, is the best at serving these Westside needs.
2008's first-place tie for Best Local Band Overall is an indication of the improbably diverse music scene we have here in Albuquerque. On one end, there's effervescent Gypsy and Western swing (Le Chat Lunatique). On the other, there's Cookie Monster belching and thrash metal (Torture Victim). And in the middle, there's you—the fan meat in Burque's musical club sandwich of love.
This ever-expanding pet paradise has it all. You can choose from a huge selection of pet foods, toys, leashes, litterboxes, cages and more. Of course, if you don't have a pet to begin with, Clark's stocks a wide selection of fish, birds and the occasional exotic reptile. Pet a bunny, buy a neon-colored skull for your saltwater fish tank and have a chat with the animal-loving staff.
The branch of this nationwide chain, located near the corner of Menaul and San Pedro, is like the Venus flytrap of office supply stores, luring innocent leisure-time seekers through its doors with false promises of bowling and fun. Before those tricked by the store's veneer can even attempt to escape, they are lost in a maze of toner, daily planner refill packs and fantastic deals. Either that or Fiesta Lanes is just wearing a scary Halloween costume.
Ward is the owner of the Tinkertown Museum, which represents 40 years’ worth of work by a single man: artist Ross Ward. Ross passed away in 2002, but his family continues to run the 22-room ode to Americana--filled with animated Western towns, circuses and an antique sailboat that survived a 10-year adventure around the world.
There's so much going on in this city, surely there are categories (or should-be categories) that slipped our mind. That's why we're glad for this mental nudge-in-the-ribs. Here's a sampling of the best stuff we forgot this year.
This Friday and Saturday night at the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill, another local feature will have its world premiere. Tim McClelland’s sci-fi/horror/drama Fugue State has been in production/post-production for a couple of years now, but it joins a whole host of low-budget feature-length films screened at the Guild in the last 12 months. It’s been a productive time for local filmmakers, and it’s great to see another successfully completed project. You can join writer/director McClelland and his cast/crew for screenings at 10 p.m. and midnight both nights. Tickets are a mere $7. For more information on Fugue State, log on to myspace.com/fugue_state.
Easter weekend, the No. 1 film in America (raking in $23.7 million) was 21, the story of some college-aged kids who gleefully bilk Las Vegas casinos for a bunch of money. Buried down at No. 8 at the box office was Stop-Loss (scraping together a mere $4.53 million), the story of some college-aged kids who return from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq only to be yanked back onto the battlefield by the U.S. military. Not that we needed it, but the numbers were further proof Americans would rather stick their fingers in their ears and hum a happy tune than hear any more about our country’s unending “War on Terror.”
C’mon, these prisoners aren’t going to torture themselves, people!
By Devin D. O’Leary
“Elegant” may seem like an inappropriate word to describe a film detailing America’s systematic employment of torture in the War on Terror, but it’s somehow fitting when applied to Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side. The film--which recently swept in to claim the Best Documentary award at this year’s Academy Awards--is simple, powerful and possessed of a certain ineffable grace of design. It’s the elegance of an argument that is formed by logic and fact and shaped by empathy.
With greater frequency and an increasing level of tension in their voices, people are asking, “What the hell’s up with this digital TV signal thingamabob? I already bought an HDTV and a Blu-Ray DVD player. Do I have to go out and get some new digital antenna doohickey now? I just don’t understand!”
Cement transportation company puts the brakes on plans to increase pollution
By Simon McCormack
The company that bought New Mexico-based American Cement has decided to pull the plug on a permit request that would have tripled pollution levels in a North Valley neighborhood. The permit would have allowed the facility to transfer more cement through its doors. The station is a couple blocks from La Luz Elementary at 225 Griegos.
It's time again to personify our hometown with respect to the national lists she's made. And, as always, she's none too easy to define: a woman who imbibes a little too often and never eats her greens, but who loves sports and adventure enough to stay svelte. She loves dogs, but her shelters are shabby and overworked. She lives in a crime-ridden region but loves to get out and attend events. She has a good job but can't cough up cash for charity.
Dateline: India--An airline pilot took his passengers on a 1,200-mile detour after refusing to land at an airport in India because he had never heard of it. The KLM flight was en route from Amsterdam to Hyderabad’s new Rajiv Gandhi International Airport when it was diverted to New Delhi with 233 passengers on board. The pilot was denied permission to land in New Delhi, and the plane eventually touched down, two hours later, in Mumbai. The pilot reportedly claimed he knew nothing about Hyderabad’s new airport. Airport officials insisted all airlines had been notified of its opening on March 14. A report in the Times of India revealed a number of pilots had complained their flight computers did not recognize the new landing spot and issued terrain warnings.
You can take the singer-songwriter out of the desert ...
By Simon McCormack
Even though she left Albuquerque for the rain-drenched Pacific Northwest more than a decade ago, elements from the state Kate Mann grew up in can still be found in her music and on her back. The gigantic Zia symbol tattooed between the desert-folk artist's shoulder blades isn't the only part of the Southwest that's made its mark on the budding singer-songwriter from Albuquerque. The sounds that flutter out of Mann's acoustic guitar work within the broader genre of Americana, but the landscapes painted in her lyrics bring to mind a highly New Mexicanized vision.
Pianist/composer’s group balances the topical and the musical
By Mel Minter
Andy Milne is of two minds. On the one hand, he’s not particularly optimistic about the country’s prospects these days, given our dependency on foreign oil, the ballooning debt and other unpromising conditions. On the other hand, he feels that he has something of an obligation to comment on the situation and, at the same time, inject a dose of positive energy.
Bryan Konefsky has made quirky little films on subjects from radioactivity to dying produce. His latest video installation, Let Me Say This About That, opening at the Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW) on Friday, April 4, turns the lens on some of Konefsky's favorite local poets and authors in an homage to National Poetry Month. Konefsky's video installation highlights Maisha Baton, Hakim Bellamy, Gus Blaisdell, Lisa Gill, JoEllen Habas, Richard Oyama, Greta Pullen and Mitch Rayes, and includes a poetry reading series. The wordsmiths who inspired Konefsky will read selected pieces on Friday, April 11, from 7 to 9 p.m. with projection-art by Basement Films. The exhibit will be on display in the Harwood's main gallery until April 24.
I hear you're not supposed to use olive oil for frying. But I'm vegan, so my oil options are limited, and olive oil is my favorite! If it's true that olive oil is bad for frying, can you recommend a substitute?
A: The frying-with-olive-oil debate boils down to the temperature at which the oil begins to smoke—also known as the "smoke point." The smoking of oil, like the smoking or burning of anything else, indicates a chemical reaction in which new and potentially harmful compounds can be created.
There are a lot of places in Albuquerque I just haven’t bothered to visit. They’re mostly places I’ve never heard of, down streets I can’t find and in parts of town that I’d be hard-pressed to point out on a map. It’s not a lack of interest or curiosity that keeps me away—it’s my sense of direction. Truth is, if it wasn’t for architects thoughtfully and consistently placing ceilings above my head, I really wouldn’t know which way was up.
Every time I open a book or flip the channel, another so-called “wine expert” is extolling the merits of food and wine pairing. But listening to snooty suggestions from pretentious experts won't enhance your wine knowledge.
Could The One Night Stanleys at The Box Performance Space be the missing link?
By Sun Beh Nim Dalness
Ninjas are mysterious creatures. They are rumored to walk on water, catch arrows with their bare hands and disappear at will. Of course, the claims are unsubstantiated as very little is known about ninjas and the art of ninjutsu. Their mystery is the only certainty we martial arts fanatics have confirmed. That and their devilish sense of humor.
Legendary tales of a brave but greedy explorer seeking an ancient land known as "Crystal Canyon" floated around in the late 19th century. The story went that this explorer, a Spaniard by the name of Ignacio Maximo de Chavez, arrived in New Orleans in 1839 and, with a team of men, set off for western lands but never returned. Years later, one man claiming to have been a part of de Chavez' party spoke of the expedition making it far west but encountering monsters, losing men--including de Chavez--and fleeing within inches of their lives. Crystal Canyon--which, based on legend, would likely have rested somewhere in New Mexico--or any records indicating the existence of an expedition thereof, were never found.
What riches were found at the excavation site suspected to be the original location of the famed and mysterious Crystal Canyon? Who is leading the archaeological dig to uncover said riches? Whose car is parked in the loading zone of the excavation site with its lights on? What beast ate one excavator's sandwich and later his spleen?
It's like dancing with somebody, taking a picture, says Alan Pogue. "If the photographer is rigid, it doesn't work. You have to move with the other person. What they do has to influence what you do." Vision, he says, is touching at distances.
It's dirty, money-grubbing trickery at its worst. Before a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hearing last month, Comcast paid people off the street to stand in line and take up space, preventing adversaries from gaining entrance to the hearing held at Harvard.
The decision by Congress a couple weeks ago not to override President Bush’s veto of the bill outlawing waterboarding by our government and its agencies makes it unanimous: All three branches of our government have now weighed in on the subject and agree that torture is just fine … as long as we are the torturers.
Dateline: The Philippines--Officials are warning religious revelers that crucifixion may be hazardous to their health. Every Good Friday in the predominantly Roman Catholic nation, dozens of men re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus Christ by having themselves nailed to wooden crosses. At the same time, hundreds more strip to the waist and whip themselves until their backs are cut and bloody. The Catholic church frowns upon such crucifixions and self-flagellations, but the practice has become a major tourist attraction in The Philippines. The department of health issued a health warning last week advising people taking part in these rituals to have tetanus shots and to check the condition of whips before usage. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said since it was difficult to discourage “flagellants from whipping their own flesh, the best penitents can do is ensure that their whips are well-maintained.” The health department also cautioned that the six-inch nails employed in crucifixions be sterilized before use.
My day of victory has finally come. It took two-and-a-half years on staff at the Alibi to get to this moment. After vigorous battles—both mental and physical—with many opponents, I stand triumphant to claim my prize: a section dedicated to the martial arts.
An interview with fourth-degree black belt Walter Jon Williams (who happens to be an author, too)
By Sun Beh Nim Dalness
True martial arts mastery isn't dependent on how many opponents are destroyed by your pinky finger or whether your round kick can break the sound barrier. Both are essential qualities if your intent is to reach godhood (see next month's feature story, "Becoming Thor in 10 Easy Steps") but neither are required to harness artistic essence—the bridge between body and mind. Look to yourself for signs of this connection. Are you in touch with your creative side after training? No? Then work harder, grasshopper.
In the world of wine, namely easy to transport wines, one has many options. Popularly, a simple brown bag enrobing a slender vessel has been the drinker-on-the-go’s preference. Discretion coupled with portability has long been the aim of this particular class of imbibers. But there are several drawbacks to this method. Namely, the size. There’s just not enough juice in those compact bottles to make a full revolution around the trash barrel fire.
Life on the rails is full of adventure and occasional strife. There’s not much money in it, but, as I learned, it’s full of friends you’d never expect. This is a story about how I met a very special lady who taught me the ropes—or the rails, I guess you might say.
Instituto Cervantes at the National Hispanic Cultural Center is launching another film series this week with Óperas Primeras, spotlighting the first works of young directors that have not been widely distributed around the world. Obscure though they might be, these films have all been singled out for praise, awards and/or film festival recognition.
I'm with Garfield the Cat: Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my morning cup of coffee! Now, the geniuses over at ThinkGeek (“stuff for smart masses”) have invented a way to get that good caffeine into your system without going through all the early-morning rigmarole of grinding the beans, brewing the coffee and pouring it into a travel mug, only to spill it on the way to your Kia Spectra. (Don’t ya hate that?) Shower Shock is an all-vegetable-based glycerine soap that does not contain any harsh ingredients like ethanol, diethanolamine, polyethylene glycol or cocyl isethionate. (Now, you're talkin’ my language, ThinkGeek!) The bars are pleasantly scented with peppermint oil and infused with caffeine anhydrous, providing 200 milligrams of caffeine per serving. No, you don't eat it, silly! You absorb it through the skin. For maximum effect, ThinkGeek recommends you build up a good Shower Shock lather across your entire body before rinsing. This stuff may not drive Starbucks out of business (vente mochaccino for me, please), but it sure does give my private parts a tingle in the morning! **** (soaps-on-a-rope) out of five
As cleanser connoisseurs know, liquid soap was first patented in 1865 by William Shepphard. The product didn't gain widespread acceptance, however, until 1980 when the Minnetonka Corporation introduced their popular product Softsoap. The company actually cornered the market on liquid soap for several years by buying up the entire stock of plastic pumps necessary for making liquid soap dispensers. (Clever devils!) In 1987, Minnetonka got bought out by the Colgate Company, ushering in the modern-day liquid soap era.
Glitzy, escapist drama gambles it all on a game of cards
By Devin D. O’Leary
America loves to play cards. Hollywood loves to gamble. Over the years, and with increasing frequency, the movie industry has tried to exploit this by giving us films about card-playing: The Cincinnati Kid, California Split, Maverick, Rounders, The Cooler, Lucky You. Hell, even the last James Bond film managed to shoehorn in a pivotal Texas hold-’em sequence. The new film 21 adds to this ever-increasing pot, providing yet another Vegas-bound drama for people who have watched “Celebrity Poker Showdown” once or twice and can sing at least the chorus to Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler.”
When the dust from the recent Writers Guild strike settled, TV executives were gloating as if they’d won the lottery. Sure, some networks were forced to give refunds to aggrieved advertisers, but five months of not paying anyone (other than the executives) any salaries more than made up for that. The pittance eventually granted the writers was also recouped (and then some) by canceling countless development deals and dumping the traditional “upfront season” in which dozens of TV pilots are filmed and then whittled down to the one or two that will actually make it onto the airwaves.
You should be screaming Niggy Tardust at the top of your lungs
By Simon McCormack
It's tough to get a read on rapper, actor and slam poet Saul Williams. He seems to have a great deal of faith in the average person, but he's not interested in catering to anyone's tastes. His work is at once purely self-assured and fragile. Williams’ poetic verse quietly but forcefully makes the case for change while the riotous sounds behind him demand it.
Kiss spring's perennial blush of coy colors and prim construction goodbye. For the next three months, autumnal layering and earth tones will ram headlong into the nubile silhouettes of summer. The new vernal look is literate, lithe and flecked with mud.