Organizer inspired by the tragedy of a famed graffiti writer; and Verb Collective closes
By Marisa Demarco
Kids all over the country have seen Diar's work rolling down the tracks of their train yards, says Frederick Swiftbird. "Being prolific, he's painted thousands of trains, whole cars, full cars," he says.
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.
David Sedaris is in high spirits. That’s despite the fact that he's just about to embark on a book tour of 29 cities in the span of a month to sign copies of his sixth release, When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
Summertime often leaves people at a difficult crossroads: Go inside and watch a movie, or hang out in the warm outdoors? Thanks to Albuquerque’s Cultural Services Department and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, you won’t have to choose this summer. Starting Friday, June 20, the city will kick off its annual “Civic Cinema” series. Burque residents were asked to vote on which classic films they wanted to see this summer for free on Civic Plaza. The votes are in and the movies start off on a high note this weekend with Elvis Presley’s Viva Las Vegas. Upcoming films will include Vertigo (June 27), Rebel Without a Cause (July 18), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (July 25) and Young Frankenstein (Aug. 1). All movies start at approximately 8:30 p.m. at Harry E. Kinney Civic Plaza Downtown. Bring some friends, some snacks and maybe a lawn chair.
Nostalgia is a powerful tool, and it’s one of the driving forces behind the new feature film adaptation of the ’60s spy spoof TV series “Get Smart.” Rather than totally reinvent the entire show (Mission: Impossible), slavishly re-create it (The Addams Family) or completely lampoon it (The Brady Bunch Movie), the producers of this action comedy have chosen to pay tribute to the original by cramming as many in-jokes, guest cameos and familiar characters as possible. The results are far from fresh, but they are funny, fast-paced and a certified treat for longtime fans.
Once again, God bless Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block. Not only does the late-night roundup of adult-appealing shows give us endless hours of moronic entertainment, it also provides employment for dozens of men and women whose mothers drank way too much during pregnancy.
... Sort of. The gospel according to Joe Anderson is the Launchpad will re-open in July, but he seemed hesitant (understandably) to make anything official at press time. A cursory glance at Anderson's websitelists a Launchpad concert by Rooney, Locksley and The Bridges scheduled for Monday, July 7—but that's still as good as speculation at this point. If the show proceeds as planned, it'll be the first time the Launchpad's opened its doors to the public since the Golden West fire shut the venue down on Feb. 28 of this year. Until then, keep your eyes here, on RockSquawk.com and on alibi.com for the first word on the Launchpad's relaunch. You know we're good for it.
India’s cuisine may be the most enigmatic in the world. Using complex blends, the aromatic food introduces diners to exotic spices like asafetida,while making familiar flavors, like garlic, taste new. The nearly miraculous sum—which spans a robust array of vegetables, legumes, dairy products and cooking methods—is greater than its many remarkable parts, somehow avoiding ending up as a jumbled, muddled mass.
Times are tough. We're in the midst of a financial crisis that's affecting everybody’s plans for summer fun (the buzz word of the moment is "stay-cation," after all). But in times like this, giving generously brings about is own return. The people at the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra (NMSO) have made a habit of combining music, education and altruism to generate positive change in our community year after year. Now just add wine to that and you'll get Vintage Albuquerque Fine Wine and Art Auction, a multi-event benefit for NMSO's youth music education programs. Although the attendance fees are fairly steep, the money goes right back to our kids—and as many can attest, the programming is a Bacchanalian blow up.
Youth and city councilors ally for green jobs training
By Skyler Swezy
It started with a survey asking several hundred of Albuquerque’s youth a straight question: “What concerns you?” Most common answer: the environment. Their answer has since spawned an alliance between a group of young people and four city councilors, pushing to pass legislation addressing their concern.
Tom Udall’s Senate campaign is running a television ad blaming high gasoline, food and health care costs on “the George W. Bush economy.” We see a disgusted driver, followed by a fed-up mother and, lastly, a despairing patient. Then we see Tom Udall. He looks into the camera and says, “We have to get serious about alternative energy. That will lower gas and food prices.”
DATELINE: DENMARK—A note to impassioned animal activists: Eating household pets may not be the best way to further your cause. A group of journalism students in Arhus had their Facebook accounts closed after they uploaded 30 pictures of themselves cooking and eating a cat (their group profile also included a recipe for a dish called "litter box"). The cat was feral and had been shot by a farmer attempting to slim the number of felines on his property; it was then prepared by a professional chef before the group sat down to dinner. The purpose of the experiment was to draw attention to the abuse of food animals. "We wanted people to think about what it was they were putting in their mouths," said group member Laura Bøge Mortensen, according to the Copenhagen Post. "It's hypocritical for us to spend thousands of kroner on our pets, yet buy the cheapest pork from Netto that comes from pigs that have lived a horrid life. And just why is it that it's worse to eat a cat than a pig?" Still, the meal wasn't without squeamishness. "We had to count to three before we sat down to eat, and I wouldn't really say that we stuffed our face," Mortensen said. "Everyone did take a bite though."
In case you didn't catch the announcement last week, the Alibi's Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest winners will be featured in next week's issue (June 26-July 2) instead of the one in your paws. We thank everyone who entered this year's contest—which was fiercely hard to judge, you silver-penned wordsmiths—and understand that waiting isn’t the fun part. We promise it will be worth the extra week of anticipation. Get those reading chairs ready.
The assignment isn't easy: Create a coherent, fully developed play adhering to a theme and lasting only 10 minutes. The task is challenging, but the Fusion Theatre Company got scripts from more than 400 people who wanted to try anyway.
In her novel The Shadow Catcher, just released in paperback, Marianne Wiggins echoes themes from her earlier work with the keen eye and sure hand of a writer at the peak of her powers. A National Book Award- and Pulitzer-finalist, Wiggins uses the enigmatic life of photographer Edward Curtis as a springboard for a layered exploration of such timeless themes as the collision of legend and reality, the intangible lure of the solitary landscape of the American West, and the complex emotional dances between fathers and daughters, husbands and wives, and writers and their subjects. Blending historical biography with personal narrative, Wiggins examines how time, distance, memory and desire can alter the truth.
Indigo Girl Emily Saliers soldiers on in "the last civil rights movement." Oh, and she still writes a mean love song.
By Simon McCormack
Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have been making music together for 20-plus years as the Indigo Girls, but their partnership doesn't end there; the two have known each other since they attended the same elementary school in DeKalb County, Ga. Saliers and Ray's long kinship is especially potent when they harmonize over a bed of steady rhythms and guitar work, which coalesce into the Indigo Girls’ painstakingly crafted Southern folk-rock. Every soaring melody is laid out with precision and care, and the duo’s vocal interweavings invariably lead the way.
Tom Rice looks out at the barren parking lot of the Fairfield Marriott. He's not seeing asphalt and a couple of cars, brutal sun glinting off bumpers. He's not listening to car sounds of the nearby freeway.
The Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe is bringing back its popular ArtScreen series this summer. Every Monday--from June 16 through July 28--the CCA Cinematheque will present a different film focusing on art and artists. Subjects include the Los Angeles contemporary arts scene, Andy Warhol’s Factory, Keith Haring and Robert Mapplethorpe. Each film will be introduced by an artist or art historian. The series is unveiled this Monday with Cool School: Story of the Ferus Gallery. The film takes a look at L.A.’s seminal Ferus art gallery, which helped discover Ed Kienholz, Ed Ruscha and Robert Irwin and hosted groundbreaking shows by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns and Roy Lichtenstein. Tickets are $8 for members, students and seniors, $9 for nonmembers and $40 members/$45 nonmembers for a series pass good for all seven films. For a complete listing of all the films in this year’s ArtScreen, log on to ccasantafe.org.
What do you get when you cross a serious actor like Edward Norton with a summer mega-hit? Maybe "cross" isn't the the best descriptor. This Frankenstein's top half is Norton-fueled character drama, while the lower end is all CG car-tossing. The Incredible Hulk manages to keep its continuity pants on, tattered though they may become. (Speaking of pants, this flick really makes a point of exploring how the Hulk finds a way to keep them on in spite of drastic size changes.)
Harmony Korine is bat-shit insane. To use the charitable, art-world-approved term, he’s “eccentric.” Now, this character assessment is based not on personal observation, but on careful consumption of his cinematic work. From the Larry Clark-directed opuses Kids and Ken Park (both of which Korine wrote) to his full-on writing/directing efforts Gummo and Julien Donkey-Boy, Korine has demonstrated a singular talent that has inspired some to call him the freshest voice in modern indie cinema and others to label him one seriously messed-up young dude.
It’s no trade secret that CBS has long coveted the “silver hair” demographic. But seniors tuning into the Eye Network this week to catch reruns of “NCIS,” “The Ghost Whisperer” or any one of a dozen variations on “CSI” may be shocked to find the sexually promiscuous period drama “Swingtown.” Or not.
All right, fiction fans. I know we said we'd run the winners of our Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest in next week's issue, June 19, but we lied. OK, we didn't really lie, we were telling the truth (to the best of our knowledge). But, like many things in the publishing world, reality has since changed. Now you'll have to wait one more week to read tiny tales about streetwalkers, sour relationships and spaceships told in 119 words or less. Use the extra week to prepare your favorite reading spot, ’cause on June 26 the best short short short stories this side of the Mississippi hit stands.
A hapless character is on a quest to find a woman who thinks the taxi-driving profession is romantic. People in the audience laugh when he says this because they’re working under the assumption that no one could ever think of taxi driving as romantic. But that’s ridiculous.
By the time a decision is made, the Church of Scientology will have been trying to occupy the Gizmo building in the heart of Downtown for about a year. "We were told we would be in the building, that it wouldn't be a problem," says lawyer David Campbell, who represents the church. Though the group has purchased the building, it's had a series of zoning hurdles to jump before it can move in.
This wasn't the kind of primary season where you could tell in advance who was going to come out lead pony. The voters spoke. Here's what they had to say about the races we covered in our primary election issue:
Several groups of citizens packed the June 2 City Council meeting. First up to bat were firefighters, who asked the Council to approve a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the administration. The Council approved, although several councilors said they should have been consulted on any contract running three years.
Last week’s Democratic primary election results in the Bernalillo County state legislative races contained several shockers for ol’-style New Mexico political observers. Several very experienced and savvy pundits misfired badly on races in which senior, tenured lawmakers were knocked off by challengers.
Dateline: Japan—Customs officials at the Narita International Airport are looking for five ounces of marijuana that got snuck into a random passenger’s suitcase. BBC News reports a customs official hid a package of the banned substance in order to test airport security. Sniffer dogs failed to detect the cannabis and the officer could not remember which bag he had put it in. “The case was extremely regrettable. I would like to deeply apologize,” said the airport’s customs head, Manpei Tanaka. The test was conducted against regulations. Normally, a training suitcase is used. “I knew that using passengers’ bags is prohibited,” said the unnamed officer who planted the pot. “But I did it because I wanted to improve the sniffer dog’s ability.” Anyone finding the free package of dope has been asked to contact customs officials.
Speakerwaffle serves its third helping of a.m. noise this Sunday, June 15, between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Specials include Fando, Pygmy Lush, Death Convention Singers, Tideland and a tall glass of The Future of Cheerleading. Bring $5 and a box of Lucky Charms to Stove (114 Morningside NE). (LM)
Screw Starbucks. That’s right; I said it. Granted, I’m probably the billionth person to say it, but it bears repeating again and again. As coffee shops go, Buckies has little to offer to the true java junkie. Mediocre coffee paired with packaged pastries and likewise canned service just isn’t worth your hard-earned dollars.
Food and agriculture issues don’t grab many headlines in a presidential race, but they have immense bearing on our lives. After queries to Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the Obama campaign invited me to send some questions to the new presidential Democratic nominee. Below is our e-mail exchange.
Mention “Gallo wines” at a tasting and you'll illicit a chuckle ... or something more deprecating. At a time when people sip $6 Starbucks frappuccinos and pontificate about luxury wines, there's a disconnect between the wines Americans are consuming and those they claim to consume. Have we become a nation of people so pretentious that we're lying about the wines we drink? Because, truth be told, one in every four bottles of wine consumed in the U.S. is produced by Gallo—yet nobody will fess up to drinking the stuff. Will the real Gallo consumers please stand up!
SPAM has acquired many meanings in the Digital Age. SPAM is, of course, a processed meat product made with spiced pork product, that’s canned and often served fried with eggs. It’s also the bane of e-mail inboxes everywhere, clogging the information highway with pharmaceutical advertisements and nudie pics. And it's a Tony Award-winning music. How's that for the meat of champions?
I was a late-blooming beer drinker. I didn't really appreciate it until one night at the Golden West Saloon, after tasting a sickeningly oversweet stout. I couldn't even finish it, and I asked if Mathias the bartender had any IPA so I could wash the taste out of my mouth. All I wanted was bitterness. What I got was that, plus a load of finishing hops, too. I had just drank my first BridgePort IPA, and I was in love. That's when I began to make some effort to seek out what I had been missing and sample more variety.
Our brief and incomplete summary of the wide world of beer
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Encompassing a wide variety of beer types like bitter, India Pale Ale (IPA) and Extra Special Bitter (ESB), pale ale tends to be a considerably hopped-up British variety and can vary from light golden to dark amber in color. Ever growing in popularity, American-style IPA is hoppier and less malty than its English brethren and is thus more bitter.
Pair with: Strong, greasy foods like pizza and burgers, and fried foods like fish and chips
Late last week, Gov. Bill Richardson’s office announced the winners of the 2008 Governor’s Cup Short Animation Competition. The two winners will each receive $10,000 toward their short animated projects, which will be produced in New Mexico this summer. We here at the Alibi couldn’t be prouder of this, as one of the winners turned out to be ultra-talented Alibi Graphic Designer Jeff Drew. Drew is already an award-winning animator (he nabbed a win in the Alibi Short Film Fiesta before he even worked here), and we can’t wait to see his new Governor’s Cup project, a cut-and-paste collaboration with Albuquerque’s own Pajama Men (Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez) titled “One Square Mile of Earth.” The other winner was Los Alamos animator Fredrick Aragon, whose short will be “Coyote Tales: Mystery’s Night.” Prizes for the competition were provided by Pangea Pictures and the National Geographic All Roads Film Project. The winners were chosen by a five-member selection panel.
This one time, at band camp, I learned how to bring the noise
By Marisa Demarco
It's a nearly clichéd statement: Girls rock. But a documentary of the same chantable, anthemic title brings us to new territory: Little girls rock, too—with full-sized instruments, piercing shrieks and loud-as-you-please amps.
Kung Fu Panda, DreamWorks’ new family cartoon, begins with a traditional 2-D animated sequence of unparalleled style. In an angular, ink-heavy fashion, mixing ancient Chinese scrollwork and modern Japanese anime, we see our hero, a tubby Panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black), kung fu his way through an army of enemies. Alas, it’s all just a dream, as we soon cut back to “reality” and the three-dimensional CGI animation that has been the industry standard since Toy Story swept through the cinemas.
The summer of 2008 will probably go down as the most comic book-saturated in movie history. With films like Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy 2 and The Dark Knight poised to dominate the box office, it’s clear Hollywood has gone full-tilt gaga over the comic book industry. Just in time, Starz peels back the cover on “Comic Books Unbound,” another one of the network’s movie genre documentaries--this one, a glossy airline magazine investigation into the world of comic books, movies and comic book movies.
It's too easy to disparage New Mexico for its lack of youth-empowering, School of Rock-style summer camps like the one featured in Girls Rock! (read Marisa Demarco's film review, then see it at the Guild June 6 through 12). We've got music programs, all right, but they're, uh, not quite synced up with the iPod generation. Lord knows Hummingbird Music Camp would be a lot cooler if your counselors were Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney) and Beth Ditto (The Gossip). But—for now, at least—we just don't have those kinds of resources.
Can you sneak literary references into ear candy? Self-described power-pop four-piece Sweetness doesn’t see why not. You might be too busy nodding your head to notice, but the garage-anthem “Angry Candy” is a reference to a stanza in an E.E. Cummings poem. The American wordsmith isn’t the only literary figure alluded to on the sly. “I think you can have pop songs with interesting lyrics that go beyond, ‘I want to hold you until the day I die,’ ” says guitarist and English major Chente Rimorin. “The lyrics can be intellectual innuendos.”
Seven cars were clamped last year. Last month? Thirty.
By Simon McCormack
Robert Hays found out about the city's parking ticket crackdown the hard way. Hays had 87 unpaid citations. Once his car got slapped with a boot on April 18, he was faced with a decision: Either pay the roughly $4,000 he owed the city or set up separate court dates to contest each violation. Hays chose the latter, and he'll have spent almost two months going to court for several hours nearly every weekday. Hays says instead of the $4,000 he would have had to cough up, he'll pay about $600 in court fees. Many of the tickets have been dismissed, he says, because the officers who issued them haven’t attended the hearings.
Farmington. A bull riding throwdown at the McGee Coliseum on the San Juan County Fairgrounds. A raven-haired girl on a white horse finishes texting a friend, crams the cell into her Wranglers and grabs an enormous American flag on a wooden pole. As “Amazing Grace” blares on bagpipes over the PA, she gallops into the arena fast enough to set Old Glory straight.
In early May, a Bigfoot hunter named Tom Biscardi came to New Mexico. He was following up on a few sightings and claimed that some Bigfoot lived in New Mexico caves. Biscardi took KRQE reporter Annie McCormick with him to search for the elusive creatures.
Dateline: Australia—A pair of burglars staged a midnight raid on a house in Melbourne last week. Unfortunately, while the burglars were prying open a window on one side of the house, police were busting down the door on the other. Turns out the house was allegedly being used for growing hydroponic cannabis and detectives were carrying out a raid to arrest the resident, a man in his 20s. Startled to find a squad of heavily armed police officers inside the residence, the burglars fled but were caught a couple of days later, according to Det. Senior-Sgt. Paul Cassidy of Melton CIU. “It is unusual,” he said.
The year’s not yet half-way over, but Albuquerque’s drama junkies are already planning for 2009. Several theaters, companies and the year-old Albuquerque Theatre Guild are seeking new talent to showcase in ’09, and that means you.
The National Book Critics Circle Awards: A Retrospective
By John Freeman
Publishers in North America churned out more than 200,000 books last year. That means in the time it takes you to read this piece, two or three new books will be published. If you pause in the middle to refill your coffee mug, another book will come off the presses. Go outside to let your dog pee and—look out!—one more book has been born.
Walking onto the seventh floor of The Banque is overwhelming. Elevator doors open to an unfinished, raw space, sunny and full of hundreds of the handmade art pieces that make up The Cradle Project. It's hard to take in at a glance, just as it's hard to imagine what they represent. The 500 cradles stand for "the lost potential of an estimated 48 million children orphaned by disease and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa," according to the show's mission statement.
The frothiest new addition to Albuquerque takes the form of a brewery at 111 Marble NW at First Street. Marble Brewery, which opened on April 23 of this year, is an impressive beer-making operation. Up front, the bar showcasing the fruits of this new brewery's labors is a cozy, unpretentious atmosphere that's stocked with basic pub food, foosball and a beer library. Even more impressive are the Marble microbrews, available by the glass, in kegs, growlers and, soon, six-packs. Behold the hoppy goodness ...