Local establishments are coping with the sluggish economy, but some are struggling more than others
By Simon McCormack
Is the floundering U.S. economy hurting local businesses? It depends who you ask. Business owners admit the economy has had some negative effects on them—their cost of living has increased along with everyone else's. But many say their sales haven't dropped. Others haven't been so fortunate.
Overeating fatty, salty, sugar-laden food is as American as apple pie
By Greg Beato
Imagine if McDonald’s picked up your bill any time you managed to eat 10 Big Macs in an hour or less. What if Wendy’s replaced its wimpy Baconator with an unstoppable meat-based assassin that could truly make your aorta explode—say, 20 strips of bacon instead of six, enough cheese slices to roof a house, and instead of two measly half-pound patties that look as emaciated as the Olsen twins, five pounds of the finest ground beef, with five pounds of fries on the side? Morgan Spurlock’s liver would seek immediate long-term asylum at the nearest vegan co-op.
Starting with this issue of the Alibi, you may notice a distinct decrease in the amount of work coming from our normally reliable film editor, Devin D. O'Leary. Mr. O'Leary has neither died nor given up caring about his job. For the next five weeks, he will be on an extended sabbatical. He has shipped off to the Far East to teach an intensive summer course on Hong Kong film to a group of students from New Mexico State University's Creative Media Institute. While in Hong Kong, this group will be meeting with members of the local film industry, visiting famed filming locations like the Shaw Brothers' studio and viewing as many Asian films as humanly possible. By August, these students will return to New Mexico ready to apply all they've seen and learned to our state's growing film industry. By August, Mr. O'Leary will return to writing snide comments about Adam Sandler movies. (DO’L)
The success or failure of Journey to the Center of the Earth, New Line Cinema's $45 million, 3-D remake of Jules Verne's seminal adventure novel, boils down to one simple question: How do the rocks look? Seriously. Every single film focusing on caves, caverns and mysterious lands beneath the Earth's crust lives or dies on the realism of its rock-strewn sets. If they look like something off the first season of “Star Trek,” then the film is sunk before it begins. All the cutting-edge digital 3-D animation isn't going to make up for crappy papier-mâché rocks. So, how do the rocks in Journey to the Center of the Earth look? Eh, not bad. Considerably better than “Land of the Lost,” not as good as a visit to Carlsbad Caverns.
At the risk of sounding unmanly, I have to admit I enjoy mushy weepers like And When Did You Last See Your Father?, at least every once in a while, in the privacy of my own home, blinds closed so the neighbors won’t judge me. Of course, not every mushy weeper is created equal. The Brits seem to have a knack for assembling this kind of irresistible schmaltz, and this oh-so-British movie nicely delivers all the prime elements.
If you've ever been in a band, chances are you've got 900 pressings of your first album stashed away in someone's closet. That was the finding on a recent RockSquawk thread, anyway. Almost all of our self-produced collections are collecting dust in inaccessible armpits of the city. Meanwhile, just as many of us would love to comb through someone else's pile. ( ... The wax is always blacker on the other side.) So, what would happen if we all unearthed our ancient jewel cases, cassettes and vinyl and traded them for stuff we actually want to hear?
What it took to get the Launchpad back on its feet
By Marisa Demarco
It was anything but a vacation, says Joe Anderson, operator of the Launchpad. "There were people that were making remarks like, Yeah, well, at least you'll have some time off," he says. Launchpad had its doors shut from the time of the neighboring Golden West's fire on Feb. 28 until happy hour on July 1. During those four months, he and some of his coworkers were working 10 times harder than usual, Anderson says, moving already-booked shows to other venues and overseeing renovations to the space.
New Orleans pianist Tom McDermott has to rank among the most fluid, inventive and technically robust pianists radiating the 88s today in the traditional syncopated musics of the Americas—from ragtime to choro to tango, from Jelly Roll Morton to James Booker—and he’s a beguiling composer besides. The eloquently understated Connie Jones may be the Crescent City’s most respected cornetist. Neither man knows how to play a false note. They combine beautifully on this collection of reinvigorated standards (“Tishomingo Blues”), McDermott originals (including the lovely solo piano reverie “Song of Bernadotte”), jazz from Freddy Chopin (title track) and more. Meanwhile, Parnassus Records has had the good sense to reissue McDermott’s 1996 solo effort, All the Keys & Then Some. This collection of 24 piano miniatures (one in each key) plus 14 portraits of friends for piano and synthesizer—by turns prankish, tender, audacious, bemused—showcases an adventurous and delightfully eccentric musical imagination.
Government-funded abstinence-only education may finally be on its way out. Twelve years after the national program started, only slightly more than half the states are still on board, according to a June 24 Associated Press article. The rest decided in recent years to wash their hands clean of the poorly performing initiative, with New Mexico jumping on the common-sense bandwagon at the end of 2007.
Syndicated cartoonist Ben Sargent drew a grandmotherly elephant sitting at a gas station. Granny GOP reads a fairy tale to a fuming motorist: “Is it true?’ asks Sally Consumer. “The very day we open the offshore and Arctic leases, we can supply all our own oil, and gasoline will be a dollar a gallon again?” “Oh yes!” says the Magic Petroleum Fairy.
Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain are vying for the title of Change Agent in Chief because they recognize that Americans want the country to take a different direction from the course we’ve wobbled along on for eight pain-filled years. The public opinion polls clearly point out the despair the majority of voters feel over where we’re headed as a nation.
DATELINE: China—The most celebrated pig in China has added another chapter to his charmed life. The Chengdu Business Daily reports that Zhu Jianquiang (or “Pig Strong Will”), an animal that survived for more than five weeks on rainwater and charcoal while trapped in rubble caused by earthquakes in Sichuan in May, will be adopted by the Jianchuan Museum. The museum promises to care for the pig for the remainder of his natural life. In an official announcement, a Jianchuan Musuem curator stated that Zhu Jianquiang was “a symbol of Chinese endurance” and that an application would be filed with Guinness World Records officials. Said the pig’s owner, Wan Xingming: “When my wife fed him, two lines of tears dropped from his eyes.” Biographical movie proposals are reportedly in the works.
At least that's the title for now, according to Danny Solis, the man behind the reason Tuesday is the new Thursday. The Big Poetry Show kicks off on Tuesday, July 15, at One Up Lounge (301 Central NW) at 8 p.m., but this isn't your average slam. On top of the usual open mic and slam bouts, there'll also be music by Cultura Fuerte, a featured performance by poet/roustabout Buddy Ray McNiece, crazy big prizes (Solis says bikes, grills and trips to Las Vegas have been discussed—no joke) and the first-ever "Sake Slam"—an event designed by Solis to challenge poets to create poetry on the spot with music, in haiku form and other brain-expanding ways. After July 15, The Big Poetry Show (or whatever it's called in the future) will continue every Tuesday night at One Up, with a grand shindig once a month.
Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet) and I Hate Hamlet at the Vortex
By Amy Dalness
The study of Shakespeare is inevitable in theater. From literary studies to vast acting intensives, the Bard is with us—like it or not. This double-carbon bond has inspired many plays, including titles like The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, and provides countless opportunities for playwrights to bring Shakespeare's classic world into modern theater. The Vortex Theatre presents two such plays in repertory, I Hate Hamlet and Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet), throughout July. Both productions gaze into Shakespeare's world through a less-than-original lens, and both do it with a touch of humor.
It's unofficially the doldrums of summer, when things like job performance and precise maneuverings in time and space take backseat to the more important goals of porch-sitting and pool-seeking. And coming in a close third: cold beer-sipping. Traditionally, this activity should be done from an icy, sweating can.
So what the hell is a gastropub? I hear the term at least once a day lately—I've even begun to use it myself. But I’m sure some of you would like a clear definition. In a nutshell, it describes British pubs that have taken it upon themselves to serve bar food that goes beyond hot wings and extreme nachos. What that translates to is restaurant-quality food in a place you’d normally reserve for picking up the drunkest tube top-wearing barfly who can still legally give consent. Something about the idea speaks to my very soul.
The Fourth of July is one of the few holidays when the publishing industry slows down (the others being New Year's Day, Christmas and Thanksgiving), which means we get a three-day weekend! Now, one could spend said holiday grilling buffalo burgers, drinking brews and lighting fireworks for 72 hours straight—but where's the art in that? (Unless, of course, you’re actually creating a piece of performance art dissecting American culture, but I digress.) One could also spend the weekend visiting galleries throughout Albuquerque starting on Thursday, July 3, at the N4th Gallery's opening of Getting Things Done: 2008 VSA AmeriCorps Exhibition from 5 to 8 p.m. and continuing on Friday and Saturday with opening receptions at multiple galleries from 5 to 8:30 p.m. both days. For a complete list of participating galleries and their exhibits, visit artscrawlabq.org.
Josephine Waconda’s home is on the Isleta Pueblo reservation. An irrigation ditch flows nearby. The sound of water rushing through the concrete channel is drowned out by the hopeful whinnying of horses in tidy, white-painted pipe pens.
Doctors seek funds to understand a mysterious genetic disorder affecting New Mexicans
By Rachel Miller
Buried in bundles of white, wrinkled matter are 50 to 70 blotches. Some are barely visible specks, while others stretch oddly over large areas. This was the image of Tammy Jonas' brain at 2 years old. She hit her head on a concrete floor and the emergency room administered standard testing for swelling in the brain. Doctors also found an unrelated case of Cerebral Cavernous Malformation (CCM). There is no known cure.
Local gay couple plans to make the trip to get hitched, but how will their marriage be viewed once the honeymoon is over?
By Marisa Demarco
Joseph Gutierrez awoke Friday, May 16, to a stream of text messages: Same-sex couples could be wed in California. And they didn't stop there. All day long, as word spread about the Golden State's decision, phone calls and texts came in.
A New Mexico man wanted to change his name to what? The American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico loses a court case. What animal killed a Pinos Altos man? And which team is giving a Lobo men's player a shot on basketball's biggest stage?
I’ve received that response repeatedly when I ask questions about the science behind AGW, anthropogenic (man-made) global warming.
A well-respected entrepreneur who has launched hydrogen fuel cell and solar power companies keeps feeding me information challenging the theory of AGW. He sends me data showing a decrease in temperatures over the past decade. He opposes restrictions on industries that burn fossil fuels. He argues that mass indoctrination by Al Gore is diverting energy from far more important work, such as solving the technological limitations of electric car batteries.
Dateline: Lebanon--A fast-food restaurant in Beirut has seen an uptick in customers since adopting a “terrorism” theme. Diners at the Buns and Guns sandwich shop eat to the sound of gunfire instead of Muzak. The chefs wear military helmets. Weapons and ammunition decorate the counters and camouflage netting hangs from the ceiling. Owner Yousef Ibrahim serves up dishes like “rocket-propelled grenade” (chicken on a skewer) and “terrorist bread.” “They accuse us of terrorism, so let’s serve terrorist bread. Why not?” Ibrahim told Hezbollah’s al-Manar TV. “My goal is to make people laugh before they ask me, ‘Why weapons?’ ” said Ibrahim. “The important thing is they laugh.” The sandbag-covered restaurant is located deep in Beirut's Hezbollah-dominated southern suburbs.
Factory on 5th Art Space started hosting its very own “Civic Cinema”-esque outdoor movie screenings last week. Every Thursday night for the next month, Factory will show a classic feature film in the parking lot (1715 Fifth Street NW) starting at dusk (around 8:30 p.m. these days). This Thursday, July 3, it’s The Blues Brothers. July 10, it’s The Usual Suspects. July 17, it’s Casablanca. July 24, it’s The Magnificent Seven. Bring a lawn chair, cooler/snacks and a suggested $5 donation. For more info, just log on to factoryon5.com.
You may think you have a low tolerance for cute. But all your set-in-stone prejudices against Hello Kitty stickers, Precious Moments figurines, Anne Geddes photographs, Webkinz, interspecies snorgling (if you don’t know, you don’t want to) and Knut the polar bear cub have done nothing to steel you against the onslaught of adorability that is WALL-E. Honestly, if puppies and kittens could have babies, they’d be hideous, misshapen monstrosities compared to the unassailable cuteness of Pixar’s little robot star.
During its first half hour, Hancock blows away any other superhero movie in a boozy blast of fresh air. It’s better than Iron Man, better than Spider-Man or X-Men or The Incredible Hulk or Hellboy. (Not better than Batman Begins, but so few flicks are.)
Let’s just go ahead and assume that the safety-conscious officials in our county will be banning nearly all fireworks in an effort to fend off bosque fires, leaving us naught but sparklers, black snakes and boxes and boxes of punks (the stick of coated wood kind, not the Johnny Rotten sort) with which to entertain ourselves come Independence Day. If we can’t consume mass quantities of beer and then blow things up in our front yard, what is there to do on the Fourth of July?
There's not a lot of cross-pollination between Santa Fe and Albuquerque bands, even though we each have scenes that are uniquely our own and in fairly close proximity to each other (40 minutes' drive ain’t much). You don't often see Santa Feans playing in Albuquerque, and even less Burqueños make it out to Santa Fe. (One possible explanation: Santa Fe venues book one band for two- and three-hour sets, and the long gigs pay well. In Albuquerque, we cram three or four bands into a few hours, which cuts into each band's profit. Not many Albuquerque bands have a three-hour set list in their back pocket. Not many Santa Fe bands will drive all the way down here for a $50 gig.) That has to change. But that's just the bands. What's preventing everyone else, the casual listeners, from engaging in the other city's scene?
Imagine being a rap artist and having the privilege to contact your inspirations and all-time hip-hop heroes for a show in your hometown. Hats off to the Internet and networks like MySpace for allowing independent artists to wander the pastures of music in search of building international connections with each other.
The band is signed to Columbia Records. Its latest album, Mercy (Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy), was produced by Grammy-winning producer and Columbia co-head Rick Rubin. And the group’s members feel like they’re making the best music of their lives. So why isn’t Ours acting like a band at the top?
Playgrounds are places for picking favorites. Not just in games of Capture the Flag and Red Rover, but for equipment as well. Most of my elementary school classmates favored the slide. The gymnastics girls always hogged the monkey bars to show off how well they could dangle by a single foot. Me, I loved the swing. Specifically, a fraying yellow rope hanging at the corner of the playground, away from the hustle of Hide and Seek. The day it broke, I held a piece of it in my hands and cried.
If I had to choose one person in Albuquerque who has earned the right to be called a chef, I would adamantly, and without hesitation, say Jennifer James. If there’s still anyone left in town who wishes to argue, allow me to present my case.
When we got knee-deep in the nitty-gritty of planning how we were going to pull off a recent wedding catering gig, we quickly realized the difference between making some big-ass salads and nourishing a nuptial celebration: a proper wedding cake. So we got to researching and everyone involved liked the idea of cute little cake-ettes instead of a full-fledged wedding cake. We dug up a solid vegan cupcake recipe and added a few twists in flavor and decoration. The cake is vegan, the frosting's vegan. Both are sugary as hell and cute as a button of peyote.
What an exciting time to enjoy the vast range of culinary offerings and wines found around Albuquerque! Spurred by the city’s explosive growth, the restaurant and beverage industry has expanded exponentially; our eateries and watering holes are exploring wine and cuisine from around the globe like never before. Shops that offer an expansive range of international items to select from have become ubiquitous. Wine classes and seminars are offered at locations throughout the city. There's an assortment of ultra-chic wine festivals and tastings that add luster to these warm weather months. The options for oenophiles today are unlimited, so get out and enjoy all the magic Albuquerque has to offer and open your mind to the wondrous world of wine.
One-hundred-and-nineteen. It became a life-controlling number while judging this year's Ridiculously Short Fiction Contest. In the meme phenomenon, it popped up not just in the word count tool, but in numbers of e-mails, on license plates and in mysterious patterns in our alphabet soup (which, we had never consciously realized, also has numbers).
Whoa, there were more than 200 submissions this year, and while 16 of those made it into the paper, many a worthy story remains. Below is our pool of finalists, chosen by Amy Dalness, from which our judging team selected the winners. While these entries are in no particular order, I can tell you that select stories below had strong support from judges. Without any further adieu, here are the rest of the favorite teeny, tiny tales.
Two Worlds, an Albuquerque festival of Native American theater and film, is looking for a team of 10 to 15 American Indian filmmakers, 18 and older, to work together on the development, scripting and production of a 10-minute film that will premiere Aug. 23 during the festival at Albuquerque’s VSA North Fourth Art Center. The film also will be shown at the third annual Creative Spirit screening in Los Angeles on Sept. 27. Although some background in film production is preferred, it’s not necessary to be a professional or experienced filmmaker to be part of the team. Training will be provided by mentors and high-tech equipment will be available. Workshops start in July with the development and writing of a 10-page script that reflects the festival’s theme, which is the conflicts confronting many American Indians today--modern ways vs. traditional ways, urban life vs. reservation life, etc. This will be followed by pre-production and training at the Duke City Shootout Digital Bootcamp, July 15 through 25. Filming begins the first full week of August and will continue for six to eight days, followed by editing. Interested persons should contact festival coordinator Ollie Reed Jr. at (505) 890-0756 or email@example.com. For more info, log on to vsartsnm.org.
Amid all the high-profile comic book movies flooding theaters this summer (Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Dark Knight, Hellboy 2), there’s one more whose roots trace, rather quietly, back to the graphic novel format. Wanted is based on a six-issue miniseries from writer Mark Millar and illustrator J.G. Jones, published by Top Cow Productions in 2003. Admittedly, the movie version takes more than a few liberties with the original property. (Like, for example, dumping the entire central conceit.) Sure, it’ll inspire the ire of a few dedicated fanboys; but the film is just as likely to find a solid foothold among average, non-inkstained viewers eager to get blissed out on pure summertime action.
Young Khan’s origin story is filled with blood and thunder (literally)
By Devin D. O’Leary
The year 2008 has not been kind to foreign and independent film. In January, only 17 indie features were picked up by distributors at the Sundance Film Festival, a drop from $53 million in deals in 2007 to a mere $25 million in 2008. This year’s highest-grossing import so far, the sentimental Mexican immigrant drama Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), barely scraped up $12 million at the box office. Making matters worse, Paramount Pictures recently announced it was folding its indie label Paramount Vantage (less than six months after winning Academy Awards for There Will Be Blood). Last month, Warner Bros. said it would close its specialty division, Warner Independent Pictures. (Guess all that March of the Penguins money finally ran out.) At the same time, Picturehouse, the indie arm of New Line Cinema, was shuttered after corporate overlords Time Warner made New Line Pictures just another a subsidiary of Warner Bros. None of this paints a very rosy picture for the future of films that do not star Will Smith.
In a summer filled with comic book movies (Iron Man, The Hulk, Wanted, Hellboy 2), it seems inevitable that TV would go looking to the superpowered subgenre for inspiration. ABC Family jumped on that bandwagon recently, debuting the wacky superhero parody “The Middleman.”
As of press time, Martini Grille has been handed 22 liquor-law violation citations, and its future as a bar is looking pretty shaky. (Remember, it only takes three strikes to get your license suspended.) But even with that uncertain haze hanging around the East Nob Hill venue, one thing's crystal: Vanilla Pop has left the building.
It took 18 months of waiting. Eighteen months of fundraising, volunteering and wondering when it would all be over. But Warehouse 21 is back, and it's itching to crank up the volume. “It took a lot of endurance,” says Warehouse 21 Executive Director Ana Gallegos y Reinhardt. “But we did it, and we survived.”
What big business is heading to Rio Rancho? The governor has something special for the Legislature. The City Council wants to see if building a ______ is a good idea. And cops say they've found the people who ...
Give or take. PJ Sedillo, organizer of Albuquerque's annual Pridefest, says 9,000 tickets were sold. He estimates at least 3,000 watched the rainbow snake that made its way up a major Albuquerque artery on Saturday, June 14. Add to that number countless volunteers, people working booths and vendors at the Fairgrounds.
The Council chamber was crowded at the June 16 meeting, the agenda long, the AC on max and new Chief Administrative Officer Ed Adams getting along just fine with Councilors. And everyone was ready for the July break. The Council will reconvene Aug. 4.
You probably didn’t hear about it, but on June 11, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) introduced 35 articles of impeachment against President Bush in the House of Representatives. The charges include obstruction of justice in the Sept. 11, 2001 investigation, violating United Nations charters, misleading the public about Iraq and illegally spying on Americans (it’s actually interesting reading; you can find it at kucinich.house.gov).
Dateline: Connecticut--Police in Bridgeport say they arrested a man after he ordered his pet python to attack two officers. Police arrived at Victor Rodriguez’ apartment after receiving a report that the 21-year-old was threatening his girlfriend with his 9-foot-long albino python. After the building’s superintendent opened the apartment door, Rodriguez allegedly threatened officers with the reptile and told it to “Get them!” Unfortunately for Rodriguez, snakes are deaf. And not very obedient. Rodriguez was taken away and charged with threatening officers and disorderly conduct. The python was taken to the city’s animal control shelter.
There's no way to write an easy farewell to Out ch'Yonda Live Artz Studio. For any other venue, it'd go something like this: Out ch'Yonda opened its doors six years ago in Barelas with theater in mind but found itself a catch-all venue, including poetry, yoga, dance performances, workshops, art exhibits and tap-dancing classes. At the end of June, founders Virginia Hampton and Stephanie Willis, faced with rising rent costs, will shut it down.
An interview with the Santa Fe Opera’s Richard Gaddes
By Steven Robert Allen
During New Mexico’s monsoon season, clouds well up on the dry mesas, thunder cracks the sky wide open and, when we’re lucky, our parched desert gets the thorough drenching it deserves. Around that same time, the Santa Fe Opera (SFO) opens its regular season. At its finest, a night at the opera in New Mexico can meld the fury of the natural world and the electrical storms rocking that partial open-air stage.
Jeremy Scahill leads his book with a disquieting snapshot.
“My son! My son!” The police officer sprinted toward the voice and found a middle-aged woman inside a vehicle holding a twenty-year-old man who had been shot in the forehead and was covered in blood. ...
“Don’t shoot, please!” Khalaf recalled yelling. But as he stood with his hand raised, Khalaf says, a gunman from the fourth Blackwater vehicle opened fire on the mother gripping her son and shot her dead before Khalaf’s ... eyes.
Sam Etheridge has received quite a buzz leading up to Nob Hill Bar and Grill’s opening. Phrases like “upscale, gourmet twist” were employed, and new, exciting food was promised. Etheridge closed his revered Ambrozia Café and Wine Bar to work on it. In total, rumors and speculation about menu and ambience dominated the local blogosphere for nearly a year.
We've wanted for months to figure out a compact small plate or appetizer that brings together the classic curbside combos of jícama, mango, pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, chile, lime and salt into one single bite.