Alibi V.17 No.40 • Oct 2-8, 2008

Into the Wind

An interview with Phil Thompson, owner and founder of Lindstrand Balloons USA

I'm afraid he’ll see right through my questions and realize I've never even been in a balloon.

feature

film

Reel World

The Santa Fe Film Festival will stage its third annual New Mexico Film Expo Thursday, Oct. 2, through Sunday, Oct. 5, at the New Mexico Film Museum at the Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe. More than 85 locally shot feature-length and short films will screen. Visit santafefilmfestival.com/New_Mexico_Films for the complete schedule. A panel of esteemed jurors (including yours truly, apparently) will be there to make recommendations for select films to be shown at the ninth annual Santa Fe Film Festival, taking place Dec. 3 through 7. In addition to all the film-watching, there will be nightly parties and two panels: one on New Mexico filmmaking and the other on Native filmmaking. If you don’t have time for a full weekend of film, repeat screenings of audience favorites will take place on Monday, Oct. 6, at the Film Center at Cinemacafe (also in Santa Fe).

Flash of Genius

True-life patent-infringement drama not as exciting as genre would lead you to believe

A true-life biopic about the guy who invented the intermittent windshield wiper? I gotta be honest with you here: It’s hard to not make that sound boring. I’m not even sure Bob Kearns, the guy on which this film is based, would find it a particularly compelling topic. The windshield wiper? Really? Why not a play about the guy who came up with the refrigerator light?

Blindness

Heavy-handed sci-fi parable lacks clear vision

Fernando Meirelles’ new film Blindness premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year to a good deal of bad press. One major edit job and half a year later, and the film is ready for its theatrical debut. It’s difficult to imagine what changes the film has undergone in the last six months, because it still feels like a hopelessly self-important, cluelessly tone-deaf sci-fi parable about ... um, we’ll work that out later.

music

Weenuh!

Calexico is scheduled to play an all-ages show at the Sunshine Theater on Tuesday, Nov. 25, with Bowerbirds. The Alibi has 10 tickets to give to our readers. See how we are?

Chiara Civello

Italian songbird opens the Outpost’s 20th season

For Chiara Civello, the Italian-born singer/songwriter, pianist and guitarist, a series of happy accidents, long training and the ability to forget have been the ticket to finding her own voice.

Flyer on the Wall

Pop-punk trio Pan!c releases its very first album this Saturday, Oct. 4. The disc is free with a $5 cover charge at the Launchpad (21+), where you’ll also get The Porter Draw, Lousy Robot, and Icky and the Yuks. Take that, recession. (LM)

news

How Bad Is Bad?

What the economic crunch means for New Mexicans

Miguel Garcia says he’s scared. The married father of one and grandfather of two hasn't had work since Aug. 1. After construction was completed on his latest job, a water treatment plant, Garcia's services were no longer needed.

Answer Me This

Who resigned after making an incendiary racial remark? A Powerball ticket worth how much was sold in the state? New Mexico has a new ... ? What wreaked havoc on three Santa Fe art galleries?

A Queenly Activist

Legendary female impersonator comes to Albuquerque for National Coming Out Day

José Sarria didn't know while he was doing it that he was the first openly gay person to run for office in the United States. "I found out later," he says. In 1961, the female impersonator fought his way onto the ballot for San Francisco city supervisor, though he had no desire to win the position. "I wanted to prove that I had the right as a gay person to run for public office," he says. "Because you must remember that back then, gay people thought they had no rights, that they were second-rate citizens."

Thin Line

Man, do Sen. John McCain's people ever get tired of crying foul over the press? It's his camp's default defensive position. Steve Schmidt, a senior campaign adviser, deflected a touchy question on Monday, Sept. 22, by falling back on the old, "The media's out to get us."

Buddy, Can You Spare Some Change We Can Believe In?

Politicians rake it in while America suffers

There’s not a thing wrong with the American economy. We’re doing great. Just look at all the extra cash Americans are able to give to politicians despite high gas prices and a rocky stock market.

Battleground State of Mind

Count Every Vote New Mexico brings a nonpartisan voter-protection program to our state

Debates are heating up. Political signs are sprouting in yards all over New Mexico. Campaign ads are proliferating like partisan bunnies on our TV screens. At this point, anyone with the slightest interest in politics knows New Mexico is on the cusp of an election that could become the most exciting our state has witnessed in decades.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: India—More than 63 people were arrested on suspicion of murder after a mob of workers bludgeoned to death the CEO who sacked them from an auto parts factory in a suburb of Delhi. The Times of London reports Lalit Kishore Choudhary, 47, head of the Indian operations of Graziano Transmissioni—a manufacturer of car parts that has its headquarters in Italy—died of severe head wounds last Monday after being attacked by scores of laid-off employees. The incident followed a long-running dispute between the factory’s management and workers demanding better pay and permanent contracts. Apparently, Mr. Choudhary had called a meeting with more than a hundred former employees who had been dismissed after an earlier outbreak of violence at the plant. He wanted to discuss a possible reinstatement deal. A spokesperson for the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry said, “Such a heinous act is bound to sully India’s image among overseas investors.”

art

Culture Shock

Anyone who's attended UNM or spent time on its campus is familiar with the Center of the Universe. The large sculpture just off the Duck Pond is unmistakable and inspires diverse reactions from those who observe it. Kira Hirschfeld, a UNM fine arts senior, wants to harvest those sentiments for her project, Operation: Center of the Universe. Hirschfeld is asking community members with a story about the Center of the Universe to submit a written or verbal account of their experience by 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 5. Stories can be e-mailed to yourcenteroftheuniverse@gmail.com, or call 715-2460 if you'd rather give a verbal account. Hirschfeld will use those story seeds to create a performance to be presented at the sculpture in late October. For details, visit operationcenteroftheuniverse.blogspot.com.

food

In a Jam

Dear Ari,

I've got a box of peaches and I want to make jam. Most of the recipes I've looked at are pretty straightforward, but what is pectin, and why do they call for so much sugar—like five cups of sugar for four cups of peaches? WTF? My peaches are already almost too sweet.

—Sweet Enough

Mayan Cuisine: Recipes from the Yucatan Region

Not for beginners

Region to region, state to state, Mexican food runs the gamut from simple beans and rice to complex moles and seasoning pastes. The variety and scope of Mexican cuisine is huge. And it can look very different from what we tend to call Mexican food here in New Mexico.

Alibi V.17 No.39 • Sept 25-Oct 1, 2008

feature

I'm Not Going to Vote

And here's why

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.

news

Above the Line

The state's first media arts school wants to raise generations of talent

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.

Answer Me This

Which politician held a rally in New Mexico? The Isotopes' new parent club is ... ? Election faux pas. And why are cops using Craigslist?

Thin Line

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?

Big Money and Little Money

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.

Fear, Pity and Loathing at the State Fair

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.

Odds & Ends

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.”

music

Flyer on the Wall

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)

*Bring Your Own Sleeping Bag

film

Reel World

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.

Nights in Rodanthe

Sparks’ romance serves up the schmaltz, North Carolina-style

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.

We’re Here, We’re Queer, We Want Jordan Almonds

The sixth annual Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

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).

Dropping Science

“Fringe” on FOX

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.

art

Culture Shock

Smithsonian Magazine 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.

Beautiful Disaster

The Homecoming at The Cell Theatre

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.

Into the Vortex

Deathtrap at The Aux Dog Theatre

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.

food

Ask Chef Boy Ari

Dear Ari,

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.

Western View Diner & Steakhouse

Where everybody knows your name

... 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.

Alibi V.17 No.38 • Sept 18-24, 2008

A Road Less Traveled

In search of the mesa

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.”

news

Down River

Albuquerque's water supply is about to change

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.

Answer Me This

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?

On the Midway

Some carnies are surly, but others are just trying to make a living

The assignment was simple: Interview someone operating a game booth or running a ride at the State Fair.

Thin Line

Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign prodded a drowsy, sharp-tongued beast.

Keep it Superficial, Stupid

The presidential and vice presidential debates that will take place in the next few weeks hold enormous potential dangers for the Democrats. They are almost in a perilous no-win situation.

Odds & Ends

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.

film

Reel World

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.

New Age Cinema

The first annual Santa Fe Metaphysical Film Festival

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.”

Burn After Reading

Coens assault our intelligence (in a good way)

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.

Get Me Netflix, Stat!

Five shows to watch before the new season begins

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.

music

Music to Your Ears

We just launched a music interface over at Alibi.com called Earwig. It's a place for sound worshippers to create and share their favorite playlists with other amateur mixologists. Sound like you?

17 Hippies at ¡Globalquerque!

Unclassifiably original band merges East and West in dance grooves galore

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.”

art

Culture Shock

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.

Biogenic

Cosmic Maintenance and Executions and Democracy at [AC]2 Gallery, and Metropolis 3 at MOV-iN Gallery

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’Avignon when he 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.

Ilk and Cookies

A brief and wondrous interview with Junot Díaz

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).

food

Northern Soul

Far from home, food truly comforts

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.