The National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW) has been banging out weekend after weekend of events. This Friday and Saturday, May 16 and 17, New Mexico Arts brings the first-ever gathering of Matachines groups from the Southwest to the NHCC for two days of dances and panel discussions that are free and open to the public. Matachines dancers, known for their large masks with beads usually covering the eyes, will perform the story of El Monarca Montezuma and the triumph of good over evil. Matachines groups can be found in Mexico, as well as Northern New Mexico and border towns. This weekend's event marks the first time groups from all over the state will meet and perform at the same location. Dances take place every hour from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the Plaza Mayor both days. For more info, visit www.nhccnm.org.
Gov. Richardson appoints a new public defense boss
It's not a title that's on the lips of New Mexicans every day. Many may not even know it exists. But New Mexico's Chief Public Defender (CPD) is in charge of a government agency that handles about 90 percent of the criminal defense work in the state. The department has a $42 million operating budget and close to 300 lawyers who represent 60,000 people a year. The CPD must work closely with the governor to ensure the department has enough resources to represent all of its clients and must maintain a good relationship with New Mexico's district attorney's office and the state courts.
DCD leaves the longtime shelter of Midnight Rodeo
Albuquerque's derby athletes got good enough that it wasn't safe for them to be playing at Midnight Rodeo any longer, says Nan Morningstar, a derby founder. And the derby has yet to find a permanent residence or set up a schedule as a result.
VA nurse accused of sedition honored two-and-a-half years later
Laura Berg is not a black-tie kind of person. But she found herself in nice clothes at a PEN American gala in New York City getting a First Amendment award. She says she felt a little like "Cinderella tapped to go to the ball" on April 28, sitting alongside the likes of Salman Rushdie and Toni Morrison. The PEN American Center counts among its literary missions the defense of free expression.
Mayor Martin Chavez wants to pass ... Which ex-New Mexico politician is in the clink? Big things poppin' for a New Mexico-based electronics store. Was a state employee up to no good?
Eileen Welsome says reporters in Albuquerque should look more closely at large projects funded by the taxpayers "and why these projects end up being three to four to five times what the original estimates were." Welsome published the results of weeks of investigation and six public records requests at ClearlyNewMexico.com last week.
Anti-smoking activists showed up at the May 5 meeting to support Councilor Michael Cadigan's anti-smoking bill even though it was not on the agenda. Cadigan said a great deal of misinformation had been spread about the bill, which adopts state law as city law and eliminates an exemption allowing smoking in retail tobacco stores.
Miley’s sorry. Really sorry.
Miley Cyrus, star of the “Hannah Montana” series, is sorry because, um—well ... it’s not really clear what she’s sorry for, but whatever it is, it has to do with a series of photos taken by Annie Leibovitz for the June 2008 issue of Vanity Fair. One photo shows Cyrus’ bare back and shoulders; in another, she’s draped across her father, Billy Ray “Achy Breaky Heart” Cyrus.
I’m not sure how it got started, but the last man standing in the Republican Party’s nominating process circular firing squad, Sen. John McCain, has developed a reputation for “straight talk.” It's not deserved.
Dateline: New York--A rude motorcyclist who flipped the bird at a police cruiser and then popped a wheelie is recovering from injuries after crashing. Suffolk County Police said Frank Patti, 26, of West Islip, rode by the police car at a service station in Copiague at 7:30 p.m. last Sunday. Police say Patti made an obscene gesture to two officers in the car, popped a wheelie and then sped away. Police gave chase and, shortly thereafter, Patti turned into a parking lot and crashed into another police car that had joined the chase. Patti was treated for minor injuries at Southside Hospital. He’s charged with fleeing police, resisting arrest and several traffic violations.
Je suis enchanté, Chef Gozard
Pardon my French—mostly because it sucks—but zut, zut et zut! And by that I mean Chef Jean-Pierre Gozard is making damn fine crêpes over on Candelaria and San Pedro. (Not an exact translation, but you get the idea.)
A delinquent vegetarian's victory tale
In March, after a fine afternoon in San Francisco, I was riding a train back to Alameda when I started feeling sick. At first I thought it was the maiden stage of a migraine, but later when the headache subsided and the nausea surfaced, I knew it was something else. I had dined at a vegan restaurant before boarding the train, where my red curry dish was tainted with fake chicken I didn't order. I scornfully ate around the mystery “meat”: What resulted wasn’t pretty.
The Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque’s successful annual African Effect film festival starts again this Thursday, May 15, and runs through Sunday, May 18. This sixth annual outing features films, discussions and presentations about African culture and Africa in diaspora. Samba Gadjigo, one of the world’s foremost scholars of African cinema, returns as co-curator. Among the 2008 programming will be a focus on African-American comedy and a tribute to Ousemane Sembene, the father of African cinema. For a complete list of films and events, log on to www.ccasantafe.org. The CCA is located at 1050 Old Pecos Trail in Santa Fe.
Age-defying documentary evokes a menagerie of emotion ... and it rocks
In the world of documentary filmmaking, it’s rare to come across a story containing more than mere topical analysis tinged with one or more of the following: hip music, activism, wacky narratives, gratuitously artistic shots, dry humor and cool graphics (like star wipes). Absorbing human drama tends to be more elusive and reserved for works of fiction, while the reality captured within the nonfiction genre’s actuality, continuity and imagery is often void of grand emotions. Stephen Walker, director of Young@Heart, is either very talented or very lucky. His film manages to cross a threshold, capturing to the fullest potential a tragicomic slice-of-life story about usual people doing unusual things.
High-speed, color-saturated action film out-cartoons the cartoon
In their first writing/directing effort since the conclusion of the epic Matrix trilogy, the Wachowski brothers grab the steering wheel of Speed Racer, a live-action adaptation of the classic Japanese cartoon from the ’60s. Given the groundbreaking, if audience-splitting work the Wachowskis did on the techno-mythical Matrix films, Speed Racer seems like a somewhat junior-grade assignment. Despite the subdued expectations, this kiddie flick freak-out looks like it was shot not with a camera lens, but with a kaleidoscope. Watching it is roughly akin to taking LSD at Disneyland. (My God, the colors!) The result is a 10,000 RPM action movie that is somehow more cartoony than an actual cartoon.
“1000 Ways to Die” on Spike
Spike TV’s new two-part micro-series event “1000 Ways to Die” bills itself as a documentary that “combines the science of living and the randomness of death with a dash of Darwinism.” What the show really does, however, is combine the notorious (and mostly fake) snuff footage of Faces of Death with the “at least it wasn’t me” snarkiness of the Darwin Awards, and paints the whole shebang with a thin veneer of “CSI”-style forensic info.
The Week in Sloth
It's been one hell of a year for The Old Main. After releasing its first album in November, Rod Lacy's project won Best New/Emerging Band in this year’s Best of Burque poll. Lacy also co-organized Rock the 9, the first all-Native rock showcase held over Gathering of Nations weekend at the Sunshine Theater [featured in the April 24-30 Alibi]. But for all his band's accomplished, Lacy must realize—wisely—that he couldn't have come this far without his fans.
cobra//group and friends release Brujas
The concept is straightforward, if a bit unusual. For its latest release, Brujas, Albuquerque noise emitters cobra//group and countless other musicians recorded 10 hours of music in the dark. They went to a handful of abandoned buildings in Albuquerque and Corrales, turned out the lights and played. The group invited friends to participate in the sessions, but no one knows how many people showed up. People were allowed to enter quietly and leave whenever they wanted to.
SuperGiant kicks off a very large array of West Coast shows in support of their first full-length album, Antares (order online at supergiantrock.com). HDR (heavy coed three-piece from Los Angeles) is along for the ride. Hometown support by Leeches of Lore (triumphant cosmic-metal duo) this Tuesday, May 20, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (free, 21+). (LM)
Cowboys Are My Weakness at Rodey Theatre
There’s a common adage among writers: Show, don't tell. The goal is to give the audience just enough description to draw the lines, and let them color it in.
The release of New Mexican comic Dead in Desemboque
E. Robert Arellano recalls the arrival of the bookstore in Desemboque, Mexico, with clarity. Once a week, a road-worn pickup truck would drive up the road, he says, and the townsfolk would trumpet: "The bookstore's here! The bookstore's here!" The truck stopped and the back opened, revealing stacks of ratty little books called historietas—popular Mexican comics read by millions each month.
Money troubles and staff relations come to a head at a charged meeting
History professor Jane Slaughter is concerned about the University of New Mexico's ability to keep faculty and offer the necessary menu of courses to students. "The fact that our faculty are being wooed by others is only half of the story," she says. "Besides receiving the offers, faculty are also accepting them."
100 things to do before summer is over
There's an unfortunate sentiment perpetuated in Albuquerque that there's nothing to do in this town. Obviously, such a claim is baseless and only spouted by the lazy and uncreative (after all, the same idea's regurgitated in every Burgville, U.S.A.). But we here at the Alibi took it to heart. That's why we came up with 100 things that should be on your summer to-do list—to challenge those who would rather spend the next three months propped up on a couch nursing a bag of peanuts.
Do you ever wish boozing could make you smarter? Well, it probably can't, but the next best thing is the Geeks Who Drink Pub Quiz that happens three days a week throughout the city. Test your trivia knowledge at Burt's Tiki Lounge on Monday's, O'Niell's Pub on Wednesdays and Gecko's (Academy) on Thursdays. www.geekswhodrink.com. Free.
The Tinkertown Museum, brimming with kitschy Americana, is open seven days a week from 9 a.m.- 6 p.m., and tickets are just $3 for adults, $1 for kids. 281-5233, www.tinkertown.com.
Buy a New Mexico CulturePass and visit New Mexico's 14 state museums and monuments at a 50 percent savings. Admission is good for one trip to each location in a 12-month period. www.newmexicoculture.org. $25.
Native Americans respond to the Alibi's interview with Charles Langley
After publication of last week's feature, " Good Medicine," the e-mails started rolling in, then comments on the story online, then phone calls. Some Native Americans who read the story were angered by its contents, by its presentation and because they said it furthered stereotypes.
Some New Mexico companies owe the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid dues
New Mexico is shining the spotlight on businesses and some individuals who owe big money in state taxes.
Why was the sect leader arrested? How much cash can you make bagging on Darwinism? Why is one man saying the County Clerk's Office is a hostile work environment? Who did the governor leave out of the loop on his vacation plans?
A Senate committee is making the first steps to do battle with the Federal Communications Commission's decision to relax media ownership regulations. The commission voted in late December to lift the rules that banned the same company from owning newspapers and TV stations in the top 20 markets. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was accused of rushing the vote on lifting the cross-ownership rules.
Working the steps with the GOP
Hello, my name is Jim, and I’m a Rehab Republican.”
I didn’t do anything to become a Rehab Republican. That’s the termed used by Rick Davis, John McCain’s campaign manager, to describe voters like myself who have turned away from the GOP. I left in 2004. Davis says McCain must win four of every five of us Rehab Republicans. That means they have to be very nice to us.
We Rehab Republicans are now GOP targets. Not in the Rovian sense, meaning they’re out to destroy us. No, they’re reaching for our hand and whispering sweet somethings in our ear.
The Alibi has always prided itself in serving as a megaphone to those who don't usually have the opportunity to project their voices. The underrepresented. The misrepresented. The too often forgotten. It's an important function of alternative media, and although we don't always do it perfectly, we do always try. That's why the response to the feature article we printed last week came as such a shock to me.
Dateline: Greece--Three residents of the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos are suing a gay rights group for using the word “lesbian.” One of the plaintiffs told the Associated Press last week that the Homosexual and Lesbian Community of Greece “insults the identity” of the people of Lesbos. “Our geographical designation has been usurped by certain ladies who have no connection whatsoever with Lesbos,” said Dimitris Lambrou. The plaintiffs’ lawsuit, filed on April 10, asks the Greek court to bar the same-sex association from using “lesbian” in its name. Lesbos is famed as the birthplace of Sappho, a late-seventh century poet who famously praised love between women. According to the plaintiffs, their Lesbian lawsuit singled out the one group because it is the only officially registered gay organization in Greece to use the word “lesbian” in its name. The case will be heard in an Athens court on June 10.
I only have 119 words to announce our Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest (including the title) and I've already used 22, so I'll keep this brief. You: Send in an incredibly short story or three (max) using only 119 words via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or via snail mail to The Alibi's Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest, 2118 Central SE, PMB #151, Albuquerque, N.M., 87106. All entries must be received by Friday, May 23, at noon. Me: I'll read ’em (and count up the precious words) then publish the best in our June 19 issue. You: Pick up your hefty prize pack (if you story’s a winner). It's that simple, and I still have one left. Word.
As It Is in Heaven at the Desert Rose Playhouse
"Do your work as though you had a thousand years to live and as if you were to die tomorrow."—Shaker saying
The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century by Steve Coll
According to New Mexico Women in Film, everything you need to make a movie is in your own backyard. What resources and opportunities are available to the local independent filmmaker and actor? Find out at the May meeting of NMWF. On Thursday, May 8, there will be a Q&A with Ann Lerner of the ABQ Film Office followed by a networking mixer with filmmakers, actors and other members of the local film community. Anne Stirling of Friends of Film and Video, filmmaker Gloria Martinez and writer/director Scotty Milder (both of whom have shorts going to this year’s Cannes Film Festival) will also be in attendance. The meeting/mixer will begin at 6:30 p.m. at The Orpheum Arts Space (500 Second Street SW). NMWF members are free, guests are $15.
Entertaining origin story proves heroes are built, not born
The problem with introducing moviegoing audiences to a new superhero franchise (something you can expect to be subjected to once or twice every summer for the foreseeable future) is that filmmakers are obliged to spend the first outing recounting the age-old “origin” myth. This introductory tale serves to inform viewers how our chosen hero became so damn super in the first place, and why he (or, in rare cases, she) felt obliged to pull on a pair of latex-enhanced tights and fight crime. Bruce Wayne watched his parents get killed, Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider, Bruce Banner built some big nuclear doohickey ... and so on. Detractors of the genre, and even the occasional imdb.com-message-board-trolling fanboy with a DSL connection, tend to denounce these “first in the trilogy” films as a necessary evil. Since so much time must be spent on backstory and character-building, there's not much left for what people came to the theater for in the first place: bulging dudes in Spandex beating the crud out of sneering villains over a CGI recreation of the New York City skyline. All you can do is hope the film performs well enough at the box office that somebody greenlights a second one and you get your recommended daily allowance of superhero action. (See for reference: Spider-Man 2, X2: X-Men United, etc.)
Highbrow takes a pounding in Mamet’s martial arts drama
Oh, great, just what we need: another cheap action film to exploit the sudden popularity of mixed martial arts. Wasn’t Never Back Down enough shirtless teenage beefcake for one season? Do we really need another MTV-sanctioned martial arts film that ... wait a second. Was that David Mamet’s name on the credits? The David Mamet? And what’s up with this cast? Award-winning British actors Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) and Emily Mortimer (Lovely & Amazing)? A who’s-who of New York stage actors (Joe Mantegna, David Paymer, Rebecca Pidgeon)? A busload of real-life fighters (Randy Couture, Ray Mancini, Jean Jacques Machado)? And ... did that just say Tim Allen? What the hell’s going on here?
“Not Just Another Cable News Show” on CNN
CNN’s “Not Just Another Cable News Show” stands alongside FOX Sports Net’s “The Best Damn Sports Show Period” as the most bluntly declarative TV show title of the 21st century. Whether either is factually correct is open to debate.
The Week in Sloth
The city's all-ages music and performing arts space planned for 508 First Street NE is set to open in December. The old Ice House building has architectural plans drawn up for 14,000 square feet of multiuse main floor space, a 10,000 square-foot basement (with a small movie theater, among other things) and a built-out roof area. It even has a name: Warehouse 508. Now all it needs is you.
A band and its army
Strung Out, based in Simi Valley, Calif., has been making punk music for more than 15 years. Since its inception in the early ’90s, the band has cultivated a rabid fan base that’s stayed loyal to the group as it flirted with gutterpunk, danced with thrash and constantly tinkered with a signature sound that flutters in the breeze, resting somewhere between horror-punk and hardcore metal.
Seven Days of Karaoke
What started in Japan in the ’80s has, over the years, come to practically infest our fair city with poor renditions of yesterday’s hits. And why not? Everyone loves to watch other people make fools of themselves. See, I’ve found that for maximum entertainment, the trick with karaoke is not to sing as well as you possibly can, but with as much tuneless and tone-deaf harmony as you can muster, being sure to botch the lyrics with swear words and humorous twists. Of course, there are those who take it seriously, but that's probably not you.
.... about Ant Farmers, Dixie Deer and migrating bands from El Paso
Jon Forrest Little says he writes "kinda cheesy piano show tunes." All told, he has almost 80 spaced-out, two-minute jingles in the style of Daniel Johnston (replace Jesus with nature and you'll be close). Each song started on an $80 Wal-Mart keyboard. "I don't like expensive things because when they break, you get really sad," he says. His vehicle for the songs is a solo project called Church Camp.
Find out what, exactly, that sounds like with the Gregg Daigle Trio this Friday, May 9, and again on Wednesday, May 28, at Garduño’s on the Green. 6 to 9 p.m. (LM)
Even Buddha eats here
No Burqueño with a penchant for dining out can deny that Albuquerque is home to more than its share of Asian restaurants. I once considered creating a review template just so I could cut back on typing "rice," "noodles" and "pad Thai." But that wouldn’t be fair. Or ethical. So here I go again …
Changing the world one glass at a time
For too long, oenology (een-ology, the study of wine) was considered off-limits to the average American consumer. Wine knowledge was a carefully guarded male stronghold of stuffy sommeliers, grumpy English professors with big, red noses and the wealthy. But in the late ’80s and early ’90s, the wine industry began selling its products in the United States with a more inclusive approach. A methodical marketing scheme began with easily understood White Zinfandel. Wineries started selling people on Chardonnay and then Merlot, varietals that were easy to drink, whose names had a ring of sophistication. People took notice. It was a one-two punch, and consumers were knocked out by wine and its mystique.
Tonight we buckled down with some fresh groceries and even fresher ideas for the May wedding we’re catering for our friends. It’s the first training session of many, and the results were kickin’. So kickin’, in fact, that we’re humming that Warrant song. (Cold drink of water, such a sweet surprise, put a smile to your face 10-miles wide.) All night, swing it!
Caminos Distintos at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
The April cover of Artforum depicts Damien Hirst’s For the Love of God, a skull made of platinum, diamonds and human teeth. It’s dazzling. Its function is to start conversations about art and money; or, more pointedly, conversations about how money is the religion that defines the value of art. The work is emblematic of the conflation of money and meaning in our current art market—come on, it cost more than $16 million to make; how could it not mean anything?
An interview with the man who met the medicine men
An appropriate adjective to describe Charles Langley--or at least Charles Langley's former self--would be "distinguished," or, at the very least, "respectable." A wife, three kids, two cars, two cats, a large loft and a job as the night news editor of the Evening Standard, an eminent London newspaper: all the makings of a modern happily ever after.
Keya Lea Horiuchi, a filmmaker from Colorado, is touring the region with her documentary film Considering Democracy: 8 Things to Ask Your Representative. Horiuchi traveled around the world asking people what they thought of the United States. Our current administration is billing democracy as a cure for all the world’s political ills. But what does the rest of the world think about U.S. domestic and foreign policy? Americans are continually told through their media that freedom and democracy are being given to people abroad, but is this true? Topics like health care, foreign policy, the media, campaign finance, foreign aid and even vacation time are discussed by citizens of 10 different countries, resulting in an eye-opening snapshot of world politics and international relations today. Considering Democracy will screen locally at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center on Tuesday, May 6, at 7 p.m. A $5 donation is suggested, but no one will be turned away. For more info on the film, log on to www.consideringdemocracy.com.
Female stars find fertile ground for comedy
Success has many parents; failure is an orphan. Given that truism, it’s easy to trace the lineage of Baby Mama back to today’s reigning queens of comedy, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. Take Fey and Poehler out of the equation and Baby Mama is a harmless piece of PG-13 fluffery. Keep them front and center and Baby Mama pops with energy, intelligence and humor.
Ensemble Israeli drama overwhelms by inches
This weekend, the Israeli Film Festival returns to the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Presented by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Mexico, the five-day festival will present a trio of cutting-edge Israeli films. Beaufort is a historical drama zeroing in on the Israeli Army’s brief occupation of a 12th century Lebanese fort, which marked the start of the first Lebanon war. The Bubble is a popular tale of sexually progressive twentysomethings living in Tel Aviv’s hippest neighborhood. Jellyfish is a half-dreamy drama about three very different Tel Aviv women whose intersecting lives highlight their long-unspoken sadness.
Entertainment newsbites from around the dial
The Week in Sloth
See inside some of Albuquerque's artful and funky abodes during OFFCenter's third annual Albuquirky House Tour on Saturday, May 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. The tour will visit three art-filled homes around the city, including one designed by Bart Prince. For more information and tickets ($30, benefits OFFCenter), call OFFCenter between noon and 4 p.m. at 247-1172.
Cleaver by Tim Parks
I’m so damn tired of science interfering with my food enjoyment. First it was laboratory-created additives. Then artificial colorings and hydrogenated fats came under fire for (surprise, surprise) causing obesity, heart disease and cancer. And then there’s the great egg debate. They’re bad, they’re good, yolks bad, whites good, and on and on.
From road warrior to Thunderdome
Having spent several years gorging myself on the finest barbecue Kansas City has to offer, New Mexico's slim pickings are like a glimpse into a post-apocalyptic world. Who could’ve guessed that a real-life Mad Max would come to the rescue?
Sauvignon Blanc (So-veen-yawn BlahN) is enjoying a spike in popularity among wine lovers, and though not yet as fashionable as, say, Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, it remains an incredible value. This wine is a summer refresher with extremely aromatic citrus and melon flavors. And due to its high levels of acidity, it's one of the best varietals for pairing with a wide assortment of dishes.
Background actors work to form a union
After being cast for a local film, J. Nathan Simmons had to wait nine months for his paycheck. That's just one reason why he’s helping organize the New Mexico Background Actors Union. Since August 2007, a group of background actors has collected 138 signatures through an online petition. The group hopes to present the petition, which outlines basic safety and fair working conditions, to Gov. Bill Richardson.
Residents work toward self-governance
Seven city councilors would vote to support the South Valley in its efforts to become its own city, town or village. So said the South Valley Incorporation Group at a Wednesday, April 23, meeting.
Which New Mexico mountains are hot!-hot!-hot!? How much was raised during the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer trek? Who does Mayor Marty want to keep out of Albuquerque? And a not-so-tasty treat for elementary school children.
“Living green doesn't mean you have to go out and change every aspect of the way you live every day. There are some very simple ways to be more eco-friendly," said KOB's "Good Day New Mexico" host Mary Ann Orate while introducing an awkward Earth Day segment on Tuesday, April 22. During the three-minute bit, Orate gleaned tips from a "green expert" in New York City.
No, not you, silly. Not unless you’re a large multi-state developer or a defense contractor.
In recent weeks I have been reminded over and over that what is usually billed as our “health care crisis” has a lot in common with our “education crisis” or our “mortgage crisis”—that is, it is yet another situation resolvable by the simple expedient of throwing bushel baskets of money at it. In this light, the essence of such social dilemmas is purely financial. We have an answer—all we lack is the wherewithal to pay for that answer or the guts to write the checks (or to hock our kids’ future).
Dateline: Congo--Police in Kinshasa have arrested 13 suspected sorcerers accused of using black magic to steal or shrink men’s penises. The penis snatchings have set off a wave of panic and attempted lynchings in the capitol of the West African nation. Rumors of penis theft began circulating earlier this month in the city, quickly dominating local radio call-in shows. Listeners were urged to beware of fellow passengers in communal taxis wearing gold rings. Purported victims, 14 of whom were also detained by police, claimed that sorcerers simply touched them to make their genitals shrink or disappear, in what some residents said was an attempt to extort cash with the promise of a cure. “You just have to be accused of that, and people come after you. We’ve had a number of attempted lynchings,” Kinshasa’s police chief Jean-Dieudonne Oleko told Reuters U.K. last week. Police have been arresting the accused practitioners of witchcraft as well as their victims in an effort to avoid the sort of bloodshed seen in Ghana a decade ago, when 12 suspected penis-nappers were beaten to death by angry mobs. “I’m tempted to say it’s one huge joke,” Oleko said. “But when you try to tell the victims that their penises are still there, they tell you that it’s become tiny or that they’ve become impotent. To that I tell them, ‘How do you know if you haven’t gone home and tried it?’ ”
Firemen snuffed out the blaze two months ago—Jesus, that happened two months ago—but the air around Downtown is still seeded with whiffs of greasy, black smoke.
No longer the bloody guy in his underpants
It's 2005 at the Emerald Lounge in Phoenix. Alan George Ledergerber starts his set, strips down to his underpants and throws his shoes and clothes into the crowd. One of the shoes hits some guy's girlfriend in the face. The guy throws it back at Ledergerber. "He's about to get up and fight me," he says. "Then I give him a thumbs up and he's OK with the whole thing. Then I proceed to smash my face in with a guitar and wander around the bar in my underpants, bloody and taunting people for the next 20 minutes or so. That was the end of the set."
Hip-hop that knows its history
MC Runt and DJ Deeko feel like they're a dying breed in hip-hop.
James Owens (aka MC Runt) and older brother Jason (aka DJ Deeko) started as unknowns in 2000, handing out thousands of homemade CDs to passersby. Now their hip-hop outfit, Jivin' Scientists, is an established fixture of the Tucson music scene. "We make very touchy-feely hip-hop," James says. "I think the genre is becoming less personal, to where now people make a few songs, get a few plays on their MySpace, and then think they can start playing shows, without really recognizing what it takes."
For the Owens brothers, making a name for themselves required an understanding of where hip-hop came from and an awareness of the days when funk samples were as common as today's vocoder trend. "You need to be experiencing the full culture," Jason says. "A lot of MCs don't go out and support b-boys, graffiti writers and DJs, but then they get mad at those guys for not coming to see them. Why should they support you if you're not doing the same for them?"
Rent's due, but these guys haven't had a steady paying job since the Golden West fire closed the Launchpad on Feb. 28. Help feed, clothe and shelter out-of-work Launchpad employees over two nights at Ralli's Fourth Street Pub and Grill (21+). Up Friday, May 2, is The Porter Draw, Lousy Robot, Bellemah and Unit 7 Drain. Saturday, May 3, gets rougher with Flood the Sun, Vale of Miscreation, Caustic Lye, Suspended, and Icky and the Yuks. Both shows start at 10 p.m. and are free, but your donations make all the difference. (LM)