Alibi V.17 No.17 • April 24-30, 2008

The Forbidden Kingdom

Half a loaf of kung fu is better than none

Hard to believe it’s taken kung fu kings Jackie Chan and Jet Li this long to join forces and make a movie. Martial arts fans have, no doubt, been itching for just this sort of matchup for years. The acrobatic artistry of Jackie Chan, the high-flying mastery of Jet Li--which will prove superior? While The Forbidden Kingdom does provide the advertised showdown, hardcore martial arts fans might have hoped for a more impressive framework for this historic head-to-head to occur in.

feature

Native Rock

Rock the 9's inaugural concert plugs in to Gathering of Nations weekend

It’s called "The 49"—a singing party that wraps up powwows across North America. In Albuquerque, it used to be held on Nine Mile Hill after the Gathering of Nations. "You'd drive up there off in those sand dunes and there would be thousands of Natives partying," says Rod Lacy.

The Native Happs

North America's largest powwow is packed with Native foods, traditional dancing and music, and 800 artists and traders. This year's "Stage 49" features music and entertainers from across North America (visit the website above for a comprehensive list). Headliners are Joanne Shenandoah, Robert Mirabal, Eli Secody, Kēvens, Native Roots, Gabriel Ayala and Derek Miller.

film

Reel World

Trifecta+ Entertainment, writer/director Scotty Milder and the rest of the team behind the multiple award-winning film “Sweetie” are hoping to hit the road, taking their New Mexico-shot short all the way to the Cannes Film Festival in France. The seven-minute thriller, about a creepy dude (Chad Brummett) with a dead body (Emily Villela) in his basement freezer, captured the top spot at the local leg of the 48 Hour Film Project and went on to nab third place in the 48 Hour Film Project’s annual Filmapalooza competition in San Jose, Calif. Now it has been selected to screen in the “Short Film Corner” at Cannes.

Bomb It

Documentary paints a colorful picture of urban art

Bomb It, the latest documentary from Jon Reiss (Better Living Though Circuitry, Virtues of Negative Fascination), certainly aims its lens at a colorful subject. Hip-hopping its way around the globe to report the current state of the graffiti art movement, the film captures (to bite a lyric from Grandmaster Melle Mel) “serenades of blue and red and the beauty of the rainbow fills your head.”

Dog Tired

“Groomer Has It” on Animal Planet

Of all the post-“Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” careers, host Jai Rodriguez’ is the most in need of, well, a makeover. Jai just wrapped up his prestigious stint as host of “America’s Prom Queen.” Now he’s deeply intrenched in the intrigue and drama of “Groomer Has It,” an elimination competition aimed at finding America’s next great dog groomer.

art

Culture Shock

The O.K. Corral is a known home to famous shoot-outs throughout history, but how about show-stopping musical numbers? Peter Link, Joe Bravaco and Larry Rosler took the legend of Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and the gunslingin' at the O.K. Corral and spruced it up a bit to make a new musical, Sundown. Jane and Cy Hoffman direct the New Mexico premiere at the (newly remodeled) Adobe Theater (9813 Fourth Street NW), opening this Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. The show runs through May 18 with shows every Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $14 general admission, $12 students and seniors. Call 898-9222 for tickets and info.

Into the Light

Hidden Stories at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

The rotunda entrance of the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center fills with a pearly white glow. The sun rays filtering in from the skylights bounce off three bright paper panels attached to sticks with coarse twine hanging from the ceiling. The effect is engulfing, bringing the viewer into a scene literally drawn with sand and adobe brick on the floor below the floating installation. This is the gateway into to Deborah A. Jojola's visual narrative, Hidden Stories, on display through April 27.

Ship to Shore

Burque gets A Bigger Boat

Amity Island beachgoers didn't get much warning about the great white stalking the shores. The mayor ensured tourists were ignorant of the threat by covering it with false medical reports and fancy billboards. It took multiple attacks for shark hunter Quint to take to the seas with Police Chief Martin Brody and marine biologist Matt Hooper, setting up Brody's classic line in Jaws: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."

VE=NT

Young free-formers grab the mic

If you want poetry sans pretense, look to the youth.

That’s Sal Treppiedi‘s firmly held belief. Treppiedi, the founder of VE=NT: Voices Emerging=New Thunder Middle School Poetry Slam, is out to prove young poets can impress. He knows the slammers who take the stage during VE=NT are unlike many of their adult counterparts. “You’re going to get poetry in its purest form,” Treppiedi says. “These kids aren’t doing this to get the perfect score; they’re writing for the sake of writing and it’s very organic.”

food

Egg-Scuse Me?

Q: Dear Chef,

My sister eats egg whites and throws away the yolks. She says it’s the low-fat, low-cholesterol way to go. Personally, I’m astounded at this, as the yolk seems, to me, the only thing in the egg worth eating. Is my sister crazy, or is she onto something?

Also, sometimes when I eat eggs I get the sulfur burps. What’s up with that? And what’s your advice on the best way to hard-boil an egg?

—Yolk Friendly

A: I agree with you, YF, your sister’s egg white habit is odd, although she’s hardly alone. I used to work with a weightlifter guy who peeled eggs on coffee break and ate the whites. When I asked for his yolks he looked at me funny.

Pacific Paradise Tropical Grill and Sushi Bar

Rain and rainbows

On San Pedro and Candelaria is a long-titled Pacific Paradise Tropical Grill and Sushi Bar, cooking up a mixed bag of Pacific offerings. Pacific Paradise serves up the diverse cuisine from all around the Ring of Fire, Asia and Hawaii.

news

Still Smoldering

Launchpad owner struggles to help his business to its feet

Operator of the Launchpad, Joe Anderson, is angry. "It's agitating—watching everything I've built over the last 20 years fall apart on me."

Answer Me This

Some discouraging news for the Albuquerque Police Department. Which reality show got a dose of New Mexico flavor? What does an Albuquerque-based mining company hope to find in the Ortiz mountains? And police say they've caught the ______ bandits.

The Life of a Delegate

The process, the upside and the weight of responsibility on party representatives

Dozens of signs are placed strategically along the entrance to the National Hispanic Cultural Center. People with leaflets, stickers and large posters eagerly approach passersby, imploring them to select their candidate. But the folks here aren’t voting for someone to fill a public office. They’re choosing the delegates who will go to the Democratic National Convention in Denver, where the party’s 2008 presidential nominee will be announced.

Thin Line

A new breed of news distribution has come to New Mexico. There are no offices. There are no advertisements. It doesn't put out a paper edition.

The City Hypocritical

On oil and Santa Fe

As they battle the evil oil monster, opponents of energy exploration near Santa Fe drape the green cape of environmentalism around their shoulders. Underneath they wear a body stocking knit with threads of hypocrisy.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Germany--A Frankfurt man survived a 25-foot plunge down an elevator shaft when he fell on a woman who had tumbled down the same shaft a day earlier. Jen Wilhelms, 27, was unhurt after landing on the 57-year-old woman. He managed to free himself from the elevator shaft, located in his apartment building, and called rescue services. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital where doctors reported her in critical condition. Police spokesperson Manfred Vonhausen said, “The woman had been lying unconscious in the shaft for some time already. Although it made her injuries worse, it also probably saved her life that he fell on her as it meant he knew she was there and managed to get help.” Wilhelms said he had slipped as he walked past the elevator shaft, which had been left open while it was undergoing repairs. “I saw the door open and I just wanted to check whether somebody was finally working on the elevator,” said Wilhelms. “I took a closer look inside the shaft as it was pitch black and must have slipped off the edge somehow.” Rescue workers said that without her klutzy rescuer, the woman would have died from internal bleeding.

music

Music to Your Ears

Oh, man. As part of the Alibi's Midnight Movie Madness, the Guild Cinema will screen a print of Heavy Metal this weekend. The 1981 movie is a Trifecta of stoner delights: rotoscopic animation, porn 'n' gore-heavy content and a kick-ass soundtrack. Devo, Black Sabbath, Nazareth, Blue Öyster Cult, Cheap Trick, Grand Funk Railroad, Journey, Stevie Nicks and Sammy Hagar are some of the names who pitched in music for the animated fantasy flick. The original movie score was performed by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and written by Elmer Bernstein. (He's the composer behind not only The Ten Commandments and The Magnificent Seven, but pop ephemera like the incidental music in Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and the opening signature of National Geographic TV specials. Elmer's the man.) Heavy Metal shows at 11 p.m. on Friday, April 25, and 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26. All seats are $7. And if you miss the opportunity to see Heavy Metal on an actual movie screen, you'll regret for the rest of your life. Just sayin'.

Hip-Hop Congress

Week long summit promotes local and international hip-hop

Push the presidential debates and other politics aside: The New Mexico Hip-Hop Congress has its own agenda for spreading diversity. NMHHC Organizers Bryan Gibel, Sugar Shane and Travis Cole have been active within New Mexico's hip-hop community for years. With the help of other die-hard activists like Breakin' Hearts breakdance promoter Cyrus Gould, New Mexico's HHC jumped up on its feet last September. Not even one year old, the HHC is building momentum with New Mexico’s first International Hip-Hop Awareness Week.

Alibi V.17 No.16 • April 17-23, 2008

The Whole Enchilada

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.

feature

music

Music to Your Ears

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.

Zakir Hussain’s Masters of Percussion

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.

art

Culture Shock

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.

Family Ties

King Lear at The Vortex

For every Romeo, there is a Juliet. For every Othello, a Desdemona. For every Cleopatra, an Antony.

food

Don’t Kvetch about Boyfriend’s Kvestions

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?

Sincerely,

—Frustrated

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.

news

Sick of It

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."

Thin Line

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.

Answer Me This

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.

The Fair Tax

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.

This is Gonna Hurt

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.

Bowl-o-Rama

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.

Odds & Ends

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.

film

Reel World

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.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

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.”

2007 Academy Award Nominated Shorts

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.

Strike Two?

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.

Alibi V.17 No.15 • April 10-16, 2008

Smart People

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.

feature

No Holds Barred

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.

news

An Ailing System

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."

Answer Me This

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?

Thin Line

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.

Changing Gears

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.

The Sane Rev. Wright

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.

Logic 101

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 …"

Odds & Ends

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.

music

Music to Your Ears

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:

Megadeth

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.

Stove Solid

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.

film

Reel World

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.

Paranoid Park

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.

Sci-Fi for Small Fries?

“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.

art

Culture Shock

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?)

Greece: The Musical

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.

Sphere of Influence

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.

food

Spring Board

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.

Chef Jim White’s Café

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.