We here at the Alibi spend a good chunk of pulp every year reminding people to cast a ballot, printing voter FAQs and rallying for turnout at the polls. Troughs of ink go into printing election guides. We put a lot of research and time into interviewing politicos—as does the rest of the nation.
The state's first media arts school wants to raise generations of talent
By Marisa Demarco
Principal Glenna Voigt is making sure her keys work in the front door of a two-story charter school. The building is purple, really purple—sudden color in an otherwise asphalted landscape. Though school's been in session for two days, today, Sept. 4, is the first day its 93 students will occupy classrooms.
Slap my forearm and call me a junkie. Every morning, I hose off, wrap myself in a towel and try not to sit down at my computer. Every morning, late for work or not, I fail. I have to know. What's old so-and-so up to? Which blogger's crying foul this week? What specks of dirt did reporters manage to scrape from under what's-her-face's fingernails?
The City Council was scheduled to pass a routine bond bill for the Sunport at the Sept. 15 meeting. Councilors had to defer action. City Assistant Treasurer for Debt Management Cilia Aglialoro and bond attorney David Buchholtz said they couldn’t price the bonds that day because of turmoil in the financial markets, including the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers, the buyout of Merrill Lynch, insurance giant AIG going on life support and a 500-point drop in the Dow Jones index. Councilor Sally Mayer was excused.
Apparently, the New Mexico State Fair doesn’t want my kind.
When I go to the fair, I can take or leave the funnel cakes and the barbecue. The prize-winning goats and bunnies—no matter how cute—hold no more than a passing interest for me; likewise the clanky, vomit-spackled midway rides.
No, one of the main reasons I go to the State Fair is to see something different, like exhibits and sideshows. I want to see somebody juggling fiery bowling balls on a unicycle; I want to meet this season’s World’s Smallest Woman. But I can’t.
Dateline: Australia—It might have seemed like a good idea at the start, but a streaker’s on-field antics at a soccer match north of Adelaide last weekend came to an abrupt end when the naked fan knocked himself unconscious. Prompted by a $50 ($40 U.S.) dare from friends, 26-year-old Nathan Roberts ran naked onto the pitch last Saturday during the Adelaide Plains Football League preliminary final match between United and Hummocks Watchman Eagles at Virginia Oval. Part of the challenge was Roberts had to perform a cartwheel on the field. “Midair I changed my mind,” Roberts told the Daily Telegraph. “I half landed on my foot and went face-first into the ground.” While unconscious, Roberts had to be carried out on a stretcher. He was not seriously injured and did collect his $50. Roberts played half a season with the Virginia B Grade team but left suffering from fluid on the lung, pneumonia and an inflamed liver and spleen. Despite suffering a headache and a sore neck from his stark-naked stunt, Roberts admitted he’s up for a repeat performance. “I like a bit of attention and I’d do it again.” said Roberts. “But I’d up the price.”
Noise musicians are the vampires of the music world. Cloaked in black, they like to stay up all night sucking. (Face!) No, but seriously, 20-odd noise acts will shun the light of day in a 12-hour nighttime showcase this Friday, Sept. 26. The Sicksicksick Overnight Festival is from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. at STOVE (114 Morningside NE) and costs just $7, which includes breakfast. That part I’m not kidding about. (LM)
The thing about silent film is that it was never actually silent. The earliest, black-and-white examples of the filmmaker’s art were accompanied by live music, which heightened the emotional experience and lured audiences into the pictures just as surely as today’s most high-tech special effects.
Sparks’ romance serves up the schmaltz, North Carolina-style
By Devin D. O’Leary
I’ve always liked Diane Lane (A Little Romance; Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains; Rumble Fish; Streets of Fire: all good stuff in my book). After a long, largely indifferent period (King David, Pretty Woman, Intersection, First Knight, Autumn in New York), I’ve grown somewhat more appreciative of Richard Gere (Chicago, The Hoax, The Hunting Party, I’m Not There). He’s one of those people (like Sean Connery) upon whom age looks better than youth. At 59, he also nearly outgrown his romantic leading man phase, taking on more interesting roles and sparing us the theoretical horror of Runaway Bride 2. Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, The Notebook), I’ve never had the slightest interest in. What Thomas Kinkade is to painters, what Anne Geddes is to photographers, Nicholas Sparks is to writers--a pandering populist peddler of easy sentiment.
The sixth annual Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival
By Devin D. O’Leary
Every year like clockwork—like big, gay clockwork—the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival returns to New Mexico. This year marks the sixth annual outing for the increasingly popular festival. For a week in early fall, the arts organization known as Closet Cinema takes over theaters in two New Mexico cities, unspooling a collection of entertaining features, essential shorts, must-see documentaries and must-attend parties (always with the parties).
Science used to be a good thing. Or at least a neutral thing. Now, thanks perhaps to eight years of demonization by the Bush administration, science is our newest go-to villain. High-falutin’ science is taking over the place formerly occupied by inscrutable Asians, creepy Russians and strangely dressed Middle Easterners. Thanks to a fall TV season marked by shows like “Primeval,” “Fringe” and the soon-to-debut “Eleventh Hour,” topics such as evolution, global warming, stem cell research and the like are downright eeee-vil.
SmithsonianMagazine wants to immerse you in fine art, cultural heritage, balloon history and anthropological research. It wants do this so much, it's offering free admission to multiple venues on Saturday, Sept. 27. All you need to do is visit smithsonian.com and print out the Museum Day admission card and you'll get access to Albuquerque International Balloon Museum, El Rancho de las Golondrinas Living History Museum, Georgia O'Keeffe Museum, Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, Museum of International Folk Art, New Mexico Museum of Art, New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Palace of the Governors/New Mexico History Museum and Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian. Woo. Try saying that 10 times fast. Complete details are at smithsonian.com.
Harold Pinter's Tony Award-winning play The Homecoming is like an episode of “Jerry Springer.” It focuses on a family. A family with issues. A family ready to come undone as a result of those issues. A family that comes undone in the most unpredictable way.
Super villains have this habit of meticulously explaining their schemes to would-be victims. It's frightfully annoying, especially as their plans usually prove fruitless when the inevitable superheroes fly in to save the day, leaving the villains with eggy faces and foiled plots.
I've been raiding the apricot tree behind a house in my neighborhood that's clearly vacant (looking through the window, the house is empty and the fridge is wide open). The apricots are big, blemish-free and absolutely gorgeous, with dark orange flesh that's almost red, and they taste great. So I was over there the other day, picking the fruit off the branches, when I decided to try one that was lying on the ground, figuring it would be even more ripe than the ones still clinging to the tree. And, my god, that was a tasty apricot; I decided to wait a few days and come back later, when they're all that ripe.
... Except mine. As I sat alone in a beat-up vinyl booth, I couldn’t help but feel left out of the camaraderie shared between the staff and apparently loyal clientele. Nearly everyone who walked in the door was heartily greeted by name, or at least with some degree of familiarity. I just got strange looks as I sat typing on my phone, my to-die-for leather platform pumps dangling off the edge of the seat. Remember that "Sesame Street"segment, “One of these things is not like the others”? That was me and my lovely cashmere wrap.
Seventy-year-old Mike Mabry sits next to his front door in full reach of the blazing sun’s penetrating rays. The weather challenges the fact that only two nights before, patches of crystalline snow had been surreptitiously deposited throughout the Sangre de Cristo Mountains that stand silently before us. As Mike looks out toward those sentinel peaks standing guard around the mesa, I watch little sweat pearls form above his deeply tanned brow. They bead up and then slowly journey down his intensely focused face, traveling along well-worn lines before disappearing into his scraggly, gray-and-white beard. “Those mountains change every gazilla-second," he says. "They’re either growing or melting; I haven’t figured it out and I’ve been watching them forever.”
Do you love movies? Of course you do, or you wouldn’t be reading this section of the paper. A better question might be: How much do you love movies? If you’re a dedicated cinematic fanatic with a serious need to show off your love of all things theatrical, you might want to consider stopping by Louie’s Rock-N-Reels. For years, Louie’s has been the place to pick up movie posters, banners, lobby cards, collectable press kits and more from movies both classic and modern, foreign and domestic. The problem has always been fighting your way through Louie’s massive collection, most of which never even made it onto the crowded floor of the store at 105 Harvard SE. Just last week, however, owner Louie Torres took over the space next door, formerly occupied by We Buy Music. This has effectively doubled the size of Louie’s Rock-N-Reels. Now you can leisurely stroll the aisles, digging your way though movie history in search of a prized piece of memorabilia. Stop by now for the grand reopening and tell ’em the Alibi sent ya.
The first annual Santa Fe Metaphysical Film Festival
By Devin D. O’Leary
The fact that Santa Fe is launching its first-ever Metaphysical Film Festival probably comes as little surprise. “What with Santa Fe Being the vortex of everything metaphysical, this seems like the perfect place for it,” offers Lexie Shabel, assistant director of the event. The bigger surprise may simply be that it took this long for someone to come up with the idea. “There is no other metaphysical film festival in existence,” says Shabel. “There are spiritual film festivals and the like.” Asked to spell out the difference, Shabel--a filmmaker herself and founder of Tesuque’s Gringa Productions--gets philosophical: “I guess this is more esoteric and encompasses that much more because of it.”
Anyone who thinks the Coen brothers consciously alternate their more serious films with wackier, palate-cleansing comedies hasn’t been paying much attention. Sure, their new film Burn After Reading is a slapstick romp compared to the angsty bloodletting of their Oscar-winning No Country for Old Men. But even the bros’ most slate-faced thrillers (Miller’s Crossing, Barton Fink) are filled with sneaky black humor. By the same token, their most screwball comedies (The Big Lebowski, The Hudsucker Proxy) are lined with grim moments that in other hands would be the stuff of horror films. Steve Buscemi being fed into a wood chipper in Fargo: Is that the Coens being funny or grisly? The answer is simple: Both, baby.
Reruns are for sissies. These days, we rent boxed sets of TV shows and gobble an entire season in a single weekend marathon. With the new fall TV schedule getting underway, now’s the perfect time to play catch-up, renting “Complete First Season” DVDs for shows you might have missed on the first go-around. Here are our top choices to get you prepped for premiere week.
Unclassifiably original band merges East and West in dance grooves galore
By Mel Minter
When you slide Heimlich, the latest CD from 17 Hippies, into the computer, the disc obligingly gives up the expected data: album name, track titles, artist, etc. It’s all pretty straightforward until you get to “genre.”
Turn on a faucet. Any faucet. If the faucet you've chosen is in Albuquerque, the water that surges out of your hose, into your kitchen sink, onto your head or down your toilet is older than Christianity. Older than the Roman Empire. At least as old as the end of the last Ice Age. This 10,000-year-old water is pumped from beneath your feet and forced to the earth's surface from a fractured network of vessels that make up the city's aquifer.
How long is the world's longest chile ristra? After a scuffle with a news cameraman, what happened to one APD officer? Who is Bill Richardson talking about but not endorsing for governor in 2010? Where's the armor on a Typothorax?
Dateline: Congo—A herd of “wrongfully imprisoned” goats have been freed from jail thanks to the intervention of a Congolese minister. According to the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper, Deputy Justice Minister Claude Nyamugabo spotted the herd of goats crammed into a cell during a routine prison visit. The animals were apparently charged with being sold illegally by the roadside. The goats were scheduled to appear in court, alongside their owner, in the capital city of Kinshasa. Nyamugabo said the mistake had arisen because police officers had gaps in their knowledge of the law and would be sent for retraining.
The New York Times review of Christopher Paolini's dragon-loving Eragon perhaps describes it best: "For all its flaws, is an authentic work of great talent." Paolini, for all his nearly 25 years, is an arguably talented fantasy writer whose skills, we can hope, are refined in his upcoming book, Brisingr. The third installment of the Inheritance Cycle—which was originally billed as a trilogy but is now a four-parter—releases on Saturday, Sept. 20, and two Albuquerque Barnes and Noble locations (600 Menaul NE and 3701-A Ellison NW) are celebrating with dragon-related events. Both gatherings start at 10 a.m.
Cosmic Maintenance and Executions and Democracy at [AC]2 Gallery, and Metropolis 3 at MOV-iN Gallery
By David Leigh
I’ve always been fascinated with artist biographies—poring over who did what, when and at what age. Like how Joseph Kosuth wrote Art After Philosophy and After when he was 24 or how Gordon Matta-Clark did his amazing architectural cuts before dying at the age of 35. This historical research matters when you make art. It’s barometric; using the lives of the artists you admire as a way to put your own career (or lack thereof) in context. If you’re 25 and you read that Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignonwhenhe was 26, it creates a kind of historical chip on your shoulder and you grumble back into the studio to try to one-up the bastard.
Junot Díaz is the “It Kid” in literature today. The author of the 1996 short story collection Drown, he was awarded this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his first novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (Riverhead). The novel chronicles the journey of an overweight, sci-fi loving, Lord of the Rings-obsessed, first-generation Dominican-American whose hopes as a writer are crushed by his inability to find love (or even a little action).
I travel a lot for work. It usually involves trekking back and forth between Albuquerque and Las Cruces in search of good eats. Recently I headed to Taos and Arroyo Seco to work on a story that had nothing to do with food (see this week's feature, "A Road Less Traveled"). But, as with everything else I do, food came to play a significant role in my trip.
It's the 70th anniversary of the New Mexico State Fair. If there were ever a year to eat deep-fried Twinkies, this is it (though the must-scarf junk food item for 2008 appears to be chocolate-covered bacon). And this week's free music programming makes it a can't-miss.
Forming a comedic improv troupe is like starting a band. A few inspired souls bond over their mutual appreciation for the artistic genre. They group, create material, slap on a catchy name and search for gigs. Albuquerque isn't as peppered with improv as, say, Chicago or New York City, but that doesn't stop Burque-born improvisers from making their own stage. Or creating their own festival.
Tired of the elections already? Perhaps all you need is a little fictional refresher. The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe is bringing its Big Screen Classics series back this September for a look at “Election Year Films.” The new series launches on Saturday, Sept. 13, with the 1939 fave Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Nominated for 11 Academy Awards, the movie stars Jimmy Stewart as a naive small-town politician who evolves into a cynical Washington insider. Director Frank Capra kept his usual feel-good sense of Americana while exposing hypocrisy and corruption in our government. The screening starts at 7 p.m. and tickets will set you back five lousy bucks. Future “Election Year Films” include the 1962 political thriller The Manchurian Candidate (Friday, Sept. 19, 7 p.m.) and the 1972 Robert Redford satire The Candidate (Friday, Sept. 26, 7 p.m.). Tickets for each film are available at the Lensic box office (211 W. San Francisco St.) and online at TicketsSantaFe.org. As always, you can check out more Lensic info at lensic.org.
The year 2008 has been an odd one for film. Sure, the box office overflowed thanks to films like The Dark Knight and Iron Man. But with the demise of several independent (or semi-independent) distributors, the indie film offerings have felt like slim pickings. Art house theaters have been limited almost exclusively to documentaries this year. A look through our local Guild Cinema’s lineup from the year finds a wealth of nonfiction films like Planet B-Boy, Passion & Power, Body of War, Gashole, Girls Rock!, Let’s Get Lost, Rumi Returning, Constantine’s Sword, Dalai Lama Renaissance, Encounters at the End of the World and Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired. Even mainstream theaters filled out their summertime schedule with documentaries like Young@Heart,American Teen and The Little Red Truck. It’s hard to complain about the variety, though, when the quality remains so damn high. All in all, 2008 has been a hell of a year for documentaries.
Quietly engrossing indie film makes a run for the border (the northern border)
By Devin D. O’Leary
In a year starved for indie film, it’s practically a treat to rest your eyes on a simple, unassuming drama like Frozen River. No exploding Gotham streets, no death-defying Jeep chases through South American jungles. Just low-budget, minor-key character drama in a decidedly unexotic locale.
BBC America has been doing a cracking job lately of picking up the slack left by Sci-Fi Channel. A slate of original hits like “Doctor Who,” “Torchwood,” “Hex,” “Life on Mars” and “Primeval” make Sci-Fi’s lineup of “Battlestar Galactica” (yes!), “Stargate Atlantis” (meh) and ... um, lemme think ... oh, that chintzy “Flash Gordon” series (yeesh) look almost anemic.
Theater seasons generally run the same way school years do—opening in the fall and closing in early summer. Once upon a time, I knew the reasoning behind this, but have since replaced the details with trivia like debit card pin numbers and e-mail passwords. No matter. The new theater season is upon us, whatever the reason for the timing, making way for openings at nearly every theater in town. (For a full schedule, see this week’s Arts Calendar.)
Lisa Gill likes to say that the impetus behind the upcoming STIR festival came as a whim. Since she’s a poet, perhaps she is indeed recrafting language, fashioning it so that whim now means "the flowering fruit of a decade’s passion." Everyone should have whims like these.
My tomato plants are going off, and I'm kind of embarrassed to admit I've still got tons frozen from last year. I don't want to ditch the old ones, especially after putting so much into processing them. But I don't feel like messing around with them when I have so many freshies. Can I just leave them in the freezer and eat them this winter instead of freezing more this year?
—Too Many Maters
A: First of all, TMM, the time and effort you put into those tomatoes last year means absolutely nothing. Like a dog, you must clear your mind of what's done and run forward into the future. If your frozen tomatoes remain in good shape, then use them, and use them soon, because they may not last much longer. If they're already freezer-burned or otherwise disgusting, then feed them to the chickens, the compost pile or, if possible, George W. Bush.
Right off the bat, restaurants in Cedar Crest and other small mountain villages have one thing going for them: an intensely chill attitude. I don’t know if it’s due to the small population or altitude, but every one I’ve ever visited has that trademark vibe to it. Greenside Café is no exception.
How can the state get medical cannabis to patients?
By Marisa Demarco
SANTA FE—Bernie Ellis has an unusual history for a proponent of medical marijuana. In the early '90s, he came to New Mexico to set up a substance-abuse program for the Centers for Disease Control. "I'm still an advocate for reducing the health effects for substance abuse," he says. "Part of the reason I can have a foot in both worlds is that I think it's criminal that we've criminalized marijuana.”
Jim Noel sent a letter to Secretary of State Mary Herrera saying he wouldn't be reporting for duty Monday, Sept. 8, after all. This leaves New Mexico without a director of the Bureau of Elections less than two months before Nov. 4.
Where was a convicted sex offender living? Who just got rearrested? The Rio Grande Zoo will have to do without ... . And what percentage of youths have driven with an impaired adult at the wheel, according to a UNM survey?
For a couple of weeks, I’ve been asking people who aren’t going to vote to contact me and tell me why. Nonvoters aren’t without opinions; they’ve got lots to say on the topic. This week is your last chance to phone me up and use me as an amplifier. Call 346-0660 x. 245 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject line of “nonvoter.”
Lazy writing is a scourge (scourge, a word I too often frequent) on newspapers, newscasts and media objects around the globe. At times certain words absolutely infect journalists. I guess you'd call them memes, although that term has become, well, annoying. But what else do you call this cultural occurrence? Such a pathetic state of affairs. This is a short list of words, irritating and overused, in the media.
Councilors gathered at a special Wednesday, Sept. 3, meeting last week thanks to the Labor Day weekend. Bus shelters were a recurring theme throughout the evening, with Councilors Michael Cadigan, Rey Garduño and Don Harris all requesting the city build more in their districts. Cadigan cited e-mails he'd received from constituents complaining about waiting for buses beside 45- to 60-mph traffic without a safe place to stand, often in places without sidewalks.
Perhaps it required finely tuned feminist radar to detect the media’s sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. I admit, I missed it. But after watching the media’s first week of covering Sarah Palin, I will henceforth pay more attention to claims of media gender bias.
Dateline: Australia—An elementary school in Townsville, Queensland, has banned cartwheels, handstands, somersaults and any form of gymnastics at recess. According to the Townsville Bulletin, a single forward roll is enough to get kids kicked off the playground at Belgian Gardens State School. Parent Kylie Buschgens told the newspapershe was dumbfounded when her daughter Cali, 10, was told she could no longer do cartwheels, even on the grass. Cali and a friend were busted under the school’s new zero-tolerance policy. Ms. Buschgens met with school principal Glenn Dickson and was told gymnastics activities were a “medium risk level 2” that posed a danger to children. “I said [to the principal], ‘What if she keeps doing a handstand?’ and he said she’d get into trouble,” Ms. Buschgens said. “I asked what would happen if she was a repeat handstand offender, and he said that would be defiance and it could lead to her being suspended.”
When Albuquerque glam band The Foxx went to put out its first release in 2004, it needed a label. So, naturally, bassist Zac Webb started his own enterprise, a vinyl polymer-only affair cleverly known as Vinyl Countdown. More than four years later, he's released six albums that include his band as well as rare sonic items found during record collecting adventures. Next month he will release a double gatefold LP by one of the first L.A. punk bands, Black Randy and the Metrosquad. The album is called Pass the Dust I Think I'm Bowie. He's also soon to release an album by early '80s Kentucky power-pop band Sgt. Arms, and just last weekend signed one of Australia's first DIY punk bands, Last Words. Zac and I had a chat about the record biz over drinks.