How to save the planet—one poor neighborhood at a time
Read this article on the site of its original publication, the Utne Reader.
Help your community by getting involved in Albuquerque's many Earth Day events.
Confusion and infighting addles the Native American health care system. But some groups are ready for change.
Navida Johnson's not sure how her $650 hospital bill ended up in collections. On Veteran's Day in November of last year, she had to take her ill 14-year-old son to the hospital. Indian Health Services (IHS) wasn't open so she went to UNM Hospital. To get the bill taken care of by IHS, Johnson says she knew she had to give IHS notification of her hospital visit within the following 48 hours. "Which I did," says Johnson. "I was following everything they told me."
If someone told you they were reading a story about newspapers, it’d be a safe bet the piece that struck their fancy was about declining circulation and newspapers kicking the bucket. I can’t recall a story about newspaper trends that wasn’t about their demise. I’m guilty of it myself [Thin Line: “ Circulation Consternation,” Nov. 22-28, 2007], but it’s time to stop.
What led to a New Mexico man's death, according to a federal lawsuit? A study finds the disparity among rich and poor in New Mexico is ... . What were protesters in Santa Fe hot about? And the governor unveils a shiny new keepsake.
A smarter way to fund America
Get your taxes done? Think about what you went through not only to earn the money needed to pay Uncle Sam, but also the work and time you spent getting your return to the IRS.
Bills listed on the agenda at the April 7 City Council meeting took a backseat to city employees, who spoke about their needs before the city’s $65 million shortfall triggers drastic budget cutting.
A bowling championship strikes Albuquerque and generates spare cash for city businesses
Lately, the Albuquerque Convention Center has been flooded with 500 to 1,000 bowlers each day.
Dateline: Tanzania--In a state of the nation speech delivered earlier this month, President Jakaya Kikwete finally came out strongly against witch doctors who kill albinos and harvest their body parts in the hope it will bring prosperity. In condemning the practice, Kikwete noted that 19 albinos have been murdered since March 2007, mostly in the Victoria region of his East African nation. Another two albinos were missing and presumed dead. “Sometimes, word spreads around that body parts of people with certain physical attributes, like bald people or albinos, contribute greatly to attaining quick prosperity,” Kikwete said in the speech. “These killings are shameful and distressing to our society,” he added.
As a former student of theater at UNM, I vividly recall the excitement generated by the Words Afire Festival. It meant an opportunity for more aspiring actors to get stage time and budding playwrights to see their works actually performed. Months of preparation madness followed by weeks of performances created a draining, frenzied chaos worth every moment. Words Afire is a boon to the Albuquerque theater scene and we're lucky to have it. This year's festival opens on Thursday, April 17, with Pajaros de Mi Sangre: My Blood Birds by Don Garcia at Rodey Theatre and The Feather by Mars Mråz at Theatre X. Tickets to all shows at Rodey are $15 general, $10 seniors and $7 students, and $10 general, $8 seniors and $7 students at Theatre X, available at the UNM ticket office (925-5858). Keep an eye on the Arts Calendar for a complete list of all Words Afire productions or visit wordsafire.unm.edu. Support our university's theater program—it cultivates the future of performance art in our city.
King Lear at The Vortex
For every Romeo, there is a Juliet. For every Othello, a Desdemona. For every Cleopatra, an Antony.
Failure by Philip Schultz
Experiments in Cinema: Version 3.0, UNM instructor Bryan Konefky’s third annual outing of experimental cinema from around the world, launches this Thursday with an evening of collage film. “Cut Up or Shut Up” will take place beginning at 8 p.m. at Albuquerque’s 516 ARTS (516 Central SW). This collection of cut-and-paste films will include work by Stan Vanderbeek, who inspired Terry Gilliam’s animation for the Monty Python comedy troupe, and Virgil Widrich, whose work “Fast Film” is considered one of the most ambitious collage films ever made.
Raunchy comedy? Sentimental romance? Sounds like Judd Apatow.
“From the guys who brought you The 40-Year-Old Virgin” is getting to be like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval for movie comedies. Judd Apatow has only directed one movie since The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but his name has been attached in one way or another to nine films since then: The TV Set, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, Knocked Up, Superbad, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Drillbit Taylor, this weekend’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall plus Pineapple Express and Step Brothers, which will hit theaters this summer. All of them were produced (or executive produced) by Apatow and feature pals he’s known since the days of writing, producing and directing “Freaks and Geeks.”
Quantity and quality
Once again, Magnolia Pictures has snapped up all of the short films, both live-action and animated, that were nominated for Oscars at this year’s Academy Awards and is parading them around the country in one big marathon of goodness.
Hollywood’s hot new trend: Work stoppages in organized labor
Now that feature films are back in production and new TV shows are again filtering onto the airwaves, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief that the Writers Guild of America strike is over. Right? Well, sorry to be the bearer of (yet more) bad news, but there is the threat of another strike hanging over Hollywood’s head. With the writers properly kicked like the dogs they are, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Televison Producers is preparing to do the same to actors.
The Week in Sloth
Allergies and competing CD releases mean spring's finally returned to Albuquerque. If you're itching for fresh local albums, relief is coming your way this Friday, April 18. Can't help with the rapid-fire sneezing, though. Sorry.
Troupe offers rare chance to hear classical and folk music of India played by revered performers
In the United States, tabla master Zakir Hussain may be better known for his groundbreaking work in the World Music groups Shakti and Planet Drum, not to mention his wide-ranging collaborations with musicians as diverse as George Harrison and Charles Lloyd. In his native India, however, he is revered as a performer of his country’s ancient and extraordinarily complex classical repertoire.
A band of old friends with an "awful good guitar player"
Q: Dear Chef,
My boyfriend is a local-food freak. When we go out to eat, he insists on interrogating the waitstaff with questions about where the food comes from. For every menu item he considers, the server has to run to the kitchen to answer his questions. My boyfriend isn’t normally such a high-maintenance guy, but in these situations he seems to think he’s Paris. How can I get him to calm down and just accept what’s written on the menu, and make his decisions accordingly?
A: In my opinion, you don’t need to calm down your boyfriend–you need to calm down, girlfriend. Although it’s possible your boyfriend thinks he’s some kind of spoiled brat, it sounds like he’s probably making these demands only partly out of self-interest, and in part because he wants to push the restaurant in a more sustainable direction.
And then some
There are a lot of Mexican restaurants in New Mexico that really aren’t all that Mexican. Their menus are all pretty much the same: enchiladas, tacos and burritos served with beans, rice, a few shreds of iceberg lettuce and a measly scattering of tomato. After a while it all blends together into one big dish of mushy tortillas buried under cheese that’s more at home in Wisconsin than Oaxaca.
The Alibi steps into the ring with All Star Wrestling
As I watch J.C. Hendrix’ head get hurled into a chain link fence by his nemesis, Nick A. Demus, I have to turn away.
Health Care for urban Native Americans hits a crisis point. A unified group forms to seek a cure.
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?
Good on District Court Judge Robert Brack for ruling that the National Nuclear Security Administration in Albuquerque has to respond in a timely matter to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Cyclists rally in Burque. Can the city offer safety and support?
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.
Mayor Chavez vs. Sex Offenders
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.
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?
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
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 Sarah Jane Adventures” on Sci-Fi
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 Week in Sloth
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:
The rock that never dies
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.
Our Place II (9401 Coors NW, 890-6890) invites the ladies to rock on the Westside with Black Tooth Grin, Mechanism of Eve, Random Order and Scarless this Thursday, April 10. Ladies free, gents $3. (LM)
All-ages music and arts space is a year old and still DIY
Two brothers, Thomas Haag and Forrest Haag, and lifelong friend Naython Vane fired up Stove for the first time on April 20, 2007.
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?)
The Odyssey at The Filling Station
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.
An interview with Peter Carey
The word “happy” does not fit easily into Peter Carey’s mouth. Under normal circumstances, it dribbles off his lip on a trickle of sarcasm.
Haand Bryggeriet’s Norwegian Wood
We just happened upon the perfect accompaniment to outdoor fire-cooking: Norwegian Wood. Not to be confused with blond Viking fuel for fire, this ale is mahogany-colored gas for the grill master.
Location, location, location
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.
You can take the singer-
songwriter out of the desert ...
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.
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.
From ornate, multi-tiered wedding cakes that defy gravity to understated sugar cookies with pure white icing, our readers say satisfying their sweet-teeth is easy as ABC.
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.
Erin Adair provided us with this year's most creative entry: custom monitor, keyboard and mouse covers (and is that a place mat we see?).
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.
Cement transportation company puts the brakes on plans to increase pollution
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.
Get to know the people who swim with the sharks
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.
NBA star LeBron James became the first African-American male to grace the cover of Vogue this month, but instead of prompting praise, the move embroiled the publication in controversy.
Burque Makes a Name for Herself
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.
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.
War drama tries, but nobody’s listening
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!
“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.
TV’s going digital, nobody panic!
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!”
The Week in Sloth
Eight local bands tackle an all-covers concert this Saturday, April 5, at Misty's Hideaway (21+). Someone may even ape Blue Öyster Cult. Doors open at 8 p.m. $5 gets you in and goes to APS. (LM)
composer’s group balances the topical and the musical
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.
Blood Kin by Ceridwen Dovey
The College National Poetry Slam comes to town
Last year, Damien Flores and the rest of UNM's slam poetry team had to brave freezing temperatures and perpetual snowfall at the 2007 College National Poetry Slam in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Q: Dear Chef,
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.
Pizza on the edge
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.
Tasting wine irreverently with music
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.