Clawhammer or Scruggs? Bluegrass banjo players pledge allegiance to one of the genre's two major styles (which boil down to frailing in the former and arpeggiated picking in the latter), but they're not at odds. Folks from either camp would jump at an opportunity to see a pillar of modern bluegrass in action, regardless of style—especially when you're talking about Earl Scruggs himself. Sixty-plus years of refined innovation and the guy still chooses playing live over resting on his laurels, though he doesn't make it to our neck of the woods much.
The most ferocious of prehistoric reader polls is back
What's your favorite New Mexican food? What's your favorite dinosaur? Ok, now put them together and what do you get? An Enchiladodon? A Chileopteryx? A Tacoraptor? A Sopaipillatops? Awesome! Get ready for the T. Rex of “Best of City” contests: The original Best of Burque Restaurants will be hitting Weekly Alibi racks and website on Thursday, Oct. 12. The polls are open now. Vote on your favorite Frito pie, vegetarian food, Japanese restaurant and local brewery. Let your voice be heard! Rawr!
How to build a battery for the 21st Century
In a drab, cramped room at the back of Lee Hart's basement, there is a faint and somewhat eerie hum. More than a hundred large, mostly rechargeable batteries from around the world rise along the walls and sprawl across the floor. A few are hooked to machines with quivering meter needles measuring the amount and durability of their charges; the data are being fed into a 1987 Zenith XT computer with dual floppy disks stationed on a table in the corner. There are the traditional lead-acid batteries of the sort used in most cars. There's a stack of the nickel-metal-hydride batteries Hart salvaged from an EV1, the crushed vehicle that starred in the movie Who Killed the Electric Car? And there are the lighter, exponentially more expensive lithium-ion batteries.
It’s not like Sonny and Cher
Mac McCaughan gave Baltimore’s folksy shoegaze duo Wye Oak the best Christmas present of its young career.
Albuquerque artist (and former Alibi graphic designer) Neal Ambrose Smith's print of Batman isn't just a pink-and-orange rendering of the dark knight. It's an intaglio print titled Sam Small Feathers and His Cape at the Fancy Shawl. Top that, Robin. Smith's work hangs alongside 18 other printmakers’ at SCA Contemporary Art's new show, INprint. The exhibit hangs in the large, warehouse-like space at 524 Haines NW through Sept. 13. For details, visit scacontemporary.com or call 228-3749.
Take Back at THE LAND/gallery
Three weeks ago, my fear of flying shot to the surface as I flew out from Vermont in a twin-prop plane to New Jersey. All I could do was wait for the plane to fall from the sky and be drawn across the New York landscape in a broad hunk of industrial charcoal—or a narrow hunk, considering my vantage point.
Unisex at The Box Performance Space
Outward appearance says a lot about a person. In the two solo comedies performed in Unisex, both characters grapple with their public identity through drastic physical changes. Unisex features the world premiere of The Politics of Hair by Lou Clark, a tale of hair-dos and don'ts, and Out Comes Butch by David Schein, an intimate look at the transition from He-man to She-ra and everything in between, in one night of theater at The Box Performance Space.
New Mexican eats that hit the spot
I spent three weeks in Missouri eating barbecue and wild mushrooms paired, of course, with cases of Pabst Blue Ribbon. It was great, but I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. My years in New Mexico have had an effect on me. I needed chile—and bad.
Over the last week, we've been experimenting with pickling and sprouting, two ways to make awesome components for whatever you like to eat. Techniques are still being formulated, so those recipes are forthcoming.
Nonprofits that spend money to talk about candidates could be silenced
A decision last week by New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera could have a major effect on what some nonprofit organizations do and say.
What does Big Bill think about Sen. Barack Obama's VP choice? APD is trying some new tricks to make Downtown safer. An Albuquerque author links nuclear weapons to ... ? And which TV show will be filmed at a New Mexico university?
Idea Propulsion Lab members invent from the comfort of their living rooms
Necessity may spur invention, but for Matt Grommes, creativity is the driving factor behind his creations. The members of the Idea Propulsion Lab (IPL) don't need engineering degrees to go mad scientist. And while these garage engineers aren't reeling in millions with their inventions, they probably have the highest-tech stereo systems and the best solar-powered fighting robots in town.
Council weighs in on labor-
City workers won the right to settle disputes with the administration via an independent party—but their victory will probably last only until Mayor Martin Chavez wields his veto pen.
Will you fight his wars?
Barack Obama wants to keep as many as 50,000 American troops in Iraq indefinitely. His 16-month timetable does not mean a complete withdrawal, only a reduction in force so combat troops can be rotated from Iraq to Afghanistan.
Dateline: Australia—A bizarre batch of garlic bread that mysteriously turns blue in the oven has sparked a nationwide recall by Australia’s biggest supplier. The recall of 13 brands made by Capalaba-based AGB International has left Australia’s top pizza chain, Domino’s, temporarily out-of-stock on its most popular side dish. A spokesperson for AGB said the company did not believe the breads were a danger to the public but was issuing the recall in the interest of quality control. AGB did not yet know why the bread turned blue when baked but believed the problem was “isolated to a batch of garlic we are no longer using.” Domino’s, meanwhile, said they would be replacing the dish with “cheesy herb pizza bread” for the time being.
From the vast basement and back alley of New York City’s Anthology Film Archives comes “Smother This, New Mexico,” a self-described “panoramic journey through the very bowels of one of America’s foremost film dumping grounds.” Founded in 1968 by critic and filmmaker Jonas Mekas, Anthology is an international center for the preservation, promotion and presentation of experimental, independent and avant-garde cinema. Now Anthology is hitting the road with some of the unknown, unfinished and unwanted 16mm productions that have been collected from “trash cans, widowers, bankrupt laboratories and total weirdos.” Basement Films alumnus Emily Davis and Anthology dude Andrew Lampert will host this evening of recently unearthed weirdness. Possible film titles might include: “F’ed up Food,” “Student Film Trilogy,” “Child with Goat,” “Hellish Hippie Wedding,” “33 YoYo Tricks” and “Orgy at Grandma’s House.” Experimental, local audio/visual band Our Years With Light will open the show. “Smother This, New Mexico” will take place on Friday, Aug. 29, at 8 p.m. at Stove (112 Morningside NE). Tickets are a mere $5.
Talking with Traitorous filmmaker Jeffrey Nachmanoff
“I spent six months researching before I even put pencil to paper,” assures writer-director Jeffrey Nachmanoff regarding his controversial war-on-terror thriller, Traitor.
His Winnipeg is weird
Few things summon as much shifting affection and disdain as the place where you grew up. As a result, finding a way out of or back to your hometown is a recurring theme in both art and life. Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin has a specialty in traveling through time, unearthing buried secrets and recalling the terrible heartsickness to which they’re attached. All the while, he does his best mock Battleship Potemkin, manipulating the montage until it becomes a beautifully warped spirograph. In his latest work of erratic, Soviet cinema-inspired video art, Maddin finds himself emotionally stuck in his Manitoban hometown, posing the question, What if I filmed my way out of here?
The truth is complicated
In the decently crafted Traitor, Academy Award-nominated actor Don Cheadle plays Samir Horn, a Somali-born Muslim-American arms dealer trying to foment (or is it prevent?) a major terrorist attack on the United States. Much of Traitor’s runtime is taken up by questions of Samir’s loyalties. Clearly, as indicated by the title, he’s a traitor. But is he a traitor to the United States, where he once served in the U.S. Special Forces as an explosives expert? Or is he a double-agent, waiting to backstab his fellow conspirators?
“Raising the Bar” on TNT
Writer/producer Steven Bochco knows him some cops (“Hills Street Blues,” “NYPD Blue,” “Cop Rock”). He knows him some lawyers (“L.A. Law,” “Murder One,” “Civil Wars”). Apparently, he also knows him some “Simpsons.” How else to explain his casting of Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm in the Middle”) as a flinty, tough-talking female judge in the new courtroom drama “Raising the Bar”? Kaczmarek has voiced Judge Harm, a flinty, tough-talking adjudicator on Fox’s animated sitcom, since 2001.
The Week in Sloth
Albuquerqueisms that should just go away
I hate decorative fountains. Hate. They have to be among the most passé landscaping and sculptural options in the Southwest. They're not only ugly and eye-rollingly typical, there's a practical reason to rail against them, too.
Mayor wants to resurrect a restriction on venues that serve alcohol at all-ages shows. Or does he?
In the aftermath of the Club 7 raid, it’s become increasingly unclear what policy Mayor Martin Chavez thinks should be adopted regarding the sale of alcohol at all-ages events. It's also unclear how far such a ban would reach.
Why are state senators furious at the guv? Why did Rio Rancho opt for a two-hour delay in the middle of August? New Mexico finds itself in NASA's sights. What are New Mexico students getting better at?
Presidential candidates staff N.M. outposts
Sen. Barack Obama swung through Albuquerque on Monday to talk health care, saying his policies would be similar to Gov. Richardson’s proposal for New Mexico. Sen. Hillary Clinton stopped in Española on Sunday to rally for Obama. Sen. John McCain was set to stump in Las Cruces on Wednesday.
It's not every day that a politician is equated with a short skirt-, tight sweater-wearing dancer who punctuates things with hearts and exclamation points. In fact, when one politician is speaking on behalf of another, headlines use words like "stump" or "rally" or "campaign." The article titled " The Cheerleader" in Monday's Albuquerque Journal calls Sen. Hillary Clinton a rival-turned-cheerleader (you're either a competitor or a pom pom-wagging gymnast, eh, ladies?).
Two separate events this year have convinced me that we should do away with the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District. Not reform it; not elect better people to its board of governors; not seek to improve it in any way. Just wipe it off the face of the planet.
Dateline: England—A 30-year-old woman in Salford, Greater Manchester, had to be cut free after accidentally impaling herself on a statue of the Hindu goddess Kali. According to London’s Telegraph, the unnamed woman fell onto the statue impaling her arm on several three-inch metal spikes attached to the devotional artwork. “We had to cut through the part that she had impaled her arm on,” a spokesperson for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service told the Telegraph. “It took us 30 minutes to free her.” The woman was taken to Hope Hospital in Salford for treatment. Kali, a dominant figure in Tantric iconography, is typically associated with death and destruction.
Another new all-ages venue popped up this month. The newly minted concert haven is a mashup of 1Kind Studios, a for-profit recording studio/performance space, and the Albuquerque Arts Consortium, a nonprofit group seeking to cultivate and nurture new artists.
The "Metal Gods" return to Earth
K.K. Downing's reputation is pinned to a thin, metal rod called the whammy bar. Within notes of speed-metal bangers like “Sinner,” there's no room for doubt whose hands are working the pitch-bending piece of guitar hardware. But as signature as Downing's unleashed leads are, his ability to work in tandem with other musicians may be his most important asset. He and fellow founding Judas Priest guitarist Glenn Tipton's seamless twin-lead sound holds an ungodly amount of sway in classic heavy metal.
Suck the marrow out of summer at a special Old Town gazebo concert. The Handsome Family and The Rivet Gang perform at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 27, across from San Felipe De Niri Church. Free. (LM)
Violinist stretches out under the stars at Seasons
If Robb Janov’s parents had banked their concern about his shyness just a little longer, he might have turned out to be a karate master instead of a violin maestro.
With Indian Market in full swing, the Native Cinema Showcase returns to Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque. The eighth annual showcase (also screening at Cathedral Park) will feature new and classic films and videos introduced by the filmmakers, panel discussions and workshops for young people. Honorary host Gary Farmer will be on hand with executive producer Sharon Grimberg, producer-director Dustinn Craig, producer-director Ric Burns and director Chris Eyre for the Thursday, Aug. 21, opening night premiere of We Shall Remain: Geronimo, a documentary in which strong, contemporary Apache voices explore the legend of Geronimo. For a complete listing of films and events (Aug. 21-24), log on to ccasantafe.org. Call (505) 982-1338 to inquire about pricing and reserve a festival pass.
The icy observations of Werner Herzog
Despite the multiple cinematic explorations of his rocky relationship with Mother Nature, it’s difficult to get a handle on just what mad German director Werner Herzog thinks about the less urban areas of our globe. Films like Aguirre: The Wrath of God, Fitzcarraldo, Where the Green Ants Dream, Grizzly Man and Rescue Dawn have pitted Herzog’s iconoclastic, single-minded heroes (real or imagined) against the pitiless mercies of nature. It’s a battle that mankind rarely wins—at least in the lens of Herzog’s camera. So what is Herzog’s obsession with greenery? Does he have a love/hate relationship with Gaia? A fear/fascination with the Forest Primeval? Has he read Moby-Dick one too many times? Whatever the answer, Herzog’s works are nearly always fascinating to behold.
Troma Triple B-Header (2004)
I was thumbing through the ol’ DVD collection a few days ago, trying to find something I hadn’t watched in a while, when I came across not one, but three horror classics from the ’80s packed onto a single disc. Being the glutton for fine ’80s horror cheese that I am, I just couldn’t resist the temptation. What disc was it, you ask? None other than the Troma Triple B-Header. Let’s get one thing clear: I love Troma movies. And while none of the films on this disc are written or directed by Troma legend Lloyd Kaufman, they certainly bear the mark of twisted excellence that Troma is proudly known for. So with popcorn in hand and a case of Mountain Dew at my side, I dug into the greatness that is the Troma Triple B-Header.
Top Ten Olympic Observations
I spent the last month and a half in Hong Kong, watching the unprecedented buildup to the 2008 Summer Olympics. Seeing the countdown clocks in the subway stations, wading though the piles of Olympic mascot merchandise in every store (Nini! On a horse!) and marveling at how officials were always able to cram one more Olympic poster on one more building was quite the education. (Though Hong Kong and China are officially “one nation, two systems” until the year 2046, China didn’t pass up the chance to slap the word “Beijing” on every flat surface in Hong Kong, letting every picture-snapping tourist know exactly who was in charge.)
The Week in Sloth
The deadline for the Alibi's 16th annual Haiku Contest is near. Submit your haiku via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to Alibi's Haiku Contest, 2118 Central SE, PMB 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. Get them in by Friday, Aug. 22, at 5 p.m. for your chance to win crazy cool prizes and see your haiku in print on Sept. 4. Each poet may submit two haiku per category, and each haiku must follow the 17-syllable format, broken into lines of 5-7-5. Here are the categories as a reminder; now get ku-ing:
This abundantly illustrated book connects the basic shapes found in nature with effective graphic design. Its interdisciplinary approach reveals the patterns of nature and their powerful symbolic messages. The book also includes some deconstruction of symbolism embedded in familiar corporate logos.
Rabbit Hole at the Adobe Theater
We never see the tragic event at the heart of this story. But as much as David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole is about senseless loss, it reveals how coping with loss' bewildering emptiness brings us together.
The force is with Bubonicon
Bubonicon, Albuquerque's first and only sci-fi and fantasy convention, enters its quadragenarian phase this year. Despite a little future shock, the hobbyist gathering established back in the days of moon landings, acid tests, free love and rotary phones just won't burn out. The annual convention draws about 500 science-fiction, fantasy and horror enthusiasts rarin’ to meet authors, try cereals named after movies or dress up like a Sith Lord. As the convention co-chair, Craig Chrissinger was able to share some nonfiction about the event. (Oh, and for its 40th anniversary, give Bubonicon a ruby.)
Another fish in the pond?
I can remember when going out for sushi meant two things: no one would go with you because eating raw fish was gross, and finding a sushi bar was next to impossible. Not so anymore. Today, sushi is as common in Albuquerque as tube tops in a booty bar. Those who once squirmed at the thought of eating uncooked tuna and salmon are now old hands.
It’s clear that after the runaway success of 2004’s Sideways, Hollywood uncorked a profitable new genre: the wine movie. Next in line is Bottle Shock, set for release on Aug. 22. The film retells the infamous events of the 1976 Judgment of Paris, a blind tasting in which the unthinkable happened—a panel of French judges awarded California wines higher scores than France’s premier offerings. The landmark judging sent shock waves across the oceans, stunning the wine industry and forever elevating the perception of California’s wine in the eyes of the world.
The results of the Alibi's third annual Scavenger Hunt!
Zuri Bennett and her mom Nancy lived off Doritos and jellybeans for two days (well, it felt like it), but on the other side of those sugar-fueled 48 hours, they emerged champions. The Alibi's third annual Scavenger Hunt asked contestants to find 79 items in our city over the course of a weekend. More than 90 teams signed up, and many came close to the target. But 20-year-old Bennett (escorted around town and photographed by her fellow brainstormer) finished with a considerable lead.
After six weeks co-teaching a series of film classes in Hong Kong for a group of young New Mexico filmmakers, I’ve returned to the land of Enchantment, refreshed, revitalized and eager to give Alibi readers the scoop on crapola like Beverly Hills Chihuahua. (Oh, boy.)
Earworms for everyone
Spinoffs from advertising campaigns aren't all that rare. A recent example is the short-lived "Caveman" sitcom based off the GEICO commercials. Or the slew of fast-food mascots turned movie- or video game stars (the most successful being 7UP's 1993 Sega Genesis game Cool Spot, in this reviewer's opinion). And it's all too common to see blatant product placement on the big screen; this was best demonstrated (via parody) in both Wayne's World movies.
Stiller and co-stars bite the hand that feeds them in epic Hollywood parody
Hollywood making fun of itself on screen is a dicey prospect. Occasionally, it can produce high-quality zingers (1992’s The Player, 1995’s Get Shorty, for example). But, more often than not, it ends up as unfunny, in-joke-filled navelgazing. (Have you seen 1993’s The Pickle? Of course you haven’t. Don’t.) Leave it to Ben Stiller and pals, though, to come up with a poke in the movie industry’s eye that is both accurate and blisteringly, brutally funny.
"The Singing Office" on TLC
No, it's not a musical episode of the original, British "The Office," including such great hits as "Free Love Freeway," the best worst song you ever rocked out to. Chorus:
The Week in Sloth
In addition to the First Friday Artscrawl that happens every, well, first Friday of the month, there's often other massive gallery opening/reception hosting for an added monthly arts bonus. Like this Friday. Many art houses around Albuquerque will keep their doors open late for a few extra hours of creative rifling and elbow rubbing on Friday, Aug. 15. Included in that group is Artspace 116 (116 Central SW), which will host a reception for Richard Garriott-Stejskal’s new exhibit, And Now for Something Completely Different, from 5 to 8 p.m. Garriott-Stejskal's figurative works will be on display through Sept. 26.
A Light In My Soul/Una Luz En Mi Alma by Working Classroom
The exact number is unclear. It could be as few as 40,000 or upward of 800,000, depending on the history book you read. But other details are solid: In 1492, the same year Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World, thousands of Spanish Jews left Spain. Not to explore but to flee persecution and death at the hands of the Spanish Inquisition.
Books for your survival
A sybarite’s guide to the basics
Bologna, cheese and Wonder Bread: It's a vivid memory for us Americans. Just as vivid, that childhood sandwich would invariably get stuck to the roof of your mouth. With no sandblaster to remove it (not without adult supervision, anyway), you had to reach deep into your mouth and scrape it loose with your index finger. At which point you'd narrowly avoid choking to death. Even today, in school cafeterias across the nation, most kids' introduction to cold cuts and cheese is a near-death experience.
How New Mexico is surviving prices at the pump
As gas prices dance around $4 per gallon, the governor is proposing a package that could dole out more than $210 million in tax relief to citizens hit with high fuel prices. It would also give more than $3 million in aid to school districts to help offset busing costs. Funds would come from an unexpected state budget windfall that's the result of increased tax revenue from the oil and gas industry. The package will be debated at the Special Session scheduled to begin Aug. 15.
Cops say they busted a _____ ring at a Downtown club. How much would it cost to ride the Rail Runner from Downtown Albuquerque to Santa Fe? What did a Santa Fe police officer get in trouble for? What’s been allowed back into Navajo reservations?
Burque bike crew creates a Saturday evening that’s cheaper, healthier and more fun than the bar
8:25 p.m. On a summer Saturday, three bikes are in La Montañita Co-op’s rack. The grocery’s green patio furniture is empty except for a burly man with an egg-shaped piece of pink piñata taped to his helmet. The crepe-paper conehead smiles, extending a hand. “I’m Joe. Here for the poker ride?”
Rep. Steve Pearce all but called Rep. Tom Udall a hippie in a campaign ad that's so over the top it could pass for a spoof of a campaign ad. It took up a full page of the Albuquerque Journal on Aug. 6, and the paper also ran a " news story" in which Pearce defends the ad at length, further painting a picture of himself as a defender of 'Merican values against hippie terrorists.
Legend, eat your pigweed!
You are Legend. Central is deserted. Abandoned cars clog the street. Rusty bicycles rest in racks with locks that will never again open. There’s no need for the locks anymore. There’s no one to steal anything. You are alone.
City Councilors returned Monday, Aug. 4, from a month’s vacation. A presentation from the Albuquerque Ethics Coalition recommended improving the ethical behavior of city personnel with training based on underlying values, rather than relying on a code “buried in rules and regulations.”
DATELINE: Saudi Arabia—It is now illegal to buy a dog or cat in Riyadh pet shops or even have them out in public. The Muttawa (or Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice in Riyadh) declared domesticated animals are being used by men to “make passes at women and disturb families.” Implementation of the new law went into effect last week. The decision was made by Riyadh acting Gov. Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz, who based his ruling on a previous edict from officially approved Saudi Arabian scholars, according to the newspaper al-Hayat. The Muttawa is a force of about 5,000 that enforces the laws and teachings of the extreme Sunni Muslim belief, Wahabism.
Marc’s Guitar Center celebrates 30 years of selling "the world’s most popular instrument"
As soon as you step in the door at Marc's Guitar Center, you're greeted by a long wall of electric beauties.