An interview with Happy-Go-Lucky director Mike Leigh
By Devin D. O’Leary
Jumping out of the British theater scene in 1970 with his first film, Bleak Moments, Mike Leigh joined a loose group of social realist filmmakers emerging in England. Chronicling ordinary lives in near-documentary style, Leigh developed a unique writing/directing method over the years. His films (1993’s Naked, 1996’s Secrets & Lies, 1999’s Topsy-Turvy, 2004’s Oscar-winning Vera Drake among them) often involve long, improvisational rehearsals with actors, slowly building characters, relationships and situations before a single frame of film is shot.
Canvassers push during the final days of voter registration
By Justin Alan Hood
It’s the evening before the voter registration deadline of Oct. 7. Night students and maintenance workers trickle through the UNM campus. Just a few hours ago, walkways and bus stops swarmed with canvassers and campaigners. Have these crusaders for partisanship laid down their pens until the next presidential election?
It's strange that after looking at something long enough, you cease to feel anything about it. That kind of desensitization is exactly what happened to me over the course of a few hours at a gay male strip club. By the time my companions and I left that filthy, filthy place, the initial heart-sinking embarrassment of witnessing such debauched hilarity was gone. For a spell, watching naked men writhe around on stage became normal.
State politics with Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez
By Simon McCormack
Ray Suarez can tell New Mexico isn't normal.
"It's not like other parts of the country, and it's not even like the places that border it," says the senior correspondent for the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer." "It's a place apart in good and interesting ways."
The city’s code compliance official previously ruled that the Church of Scientology needed a conditional use permit for its proposed Downtown hub. At the Oct. 6 meeting, the church appealed the decision, arguing that it should instead receive a permissive use permit to convert the Gizmo building at Fourth Street and Central into a Scientology center. A conditional use permit requires holding a public hearing with neighborhood input, unlike a permissive permit. Councilors voted to uphold the code compliance official’s ruling as consistent with the 2010 Downtown Sector Plan.
As Election Day approaches, political commercials are tossing out labels like hand grenades. The word "liberal" is uttered in the same tone of voice as "leper." "Conservative" is used to imply a total detachment from modern times. But what do these divisive labels really mean? Are you voting Republican because you think "liberal" is a dirty word? Are you pulling a straight Democratic lever in the voting booth because you don't want to be labeled "conservative"? Maybe you should find out exactly what those words mean.
Dateline: Brazil—If, for some reason, Barack Obama doesn’t become the next President of the United States, at least he’s got a shot in Brazil. Eight, in fact. A grand total of eight candidates in Brazil’s upcoming local elections have adopted the name “Barack Obama,” hoping to catch some attention in the notoriously crowded races. Obama isn’t alone, either. More than 200 hopefuls contesting the municipal polls this weekend have renamed themselves after Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the country’s popular president, who maintains an 80 percent approval rating. Brazilian election law allows candidates to either register under their own name or choose a new one. Among the more outlandish candidates running for various offices this year are “Elephant Without a Tail,” “Germany in the Lorry,” “Golden Fork,” “King of the Cuckolds,” “Kung Fu Fatty” and “The Second King of Prawns.” Although no Brazilian candidate has adopted the name of Obama rival John McCain, there is one “Bill Clinton,” a “DJ Saddam” and three Bin Ladens (John Bin Laden, Chico Bin Laden and Luis Bin Laden). Claudio Henrique dos Anjos, who is running for mayor of Belford Roxo, said he changed his name to Claudio Henrique-Barack Obama because, “I am Black and I wore a suit on television and people started to tell me I was just like that Barack Obama guy in the United States.”
Food prices have skyrocketed. Polar bears are doing the breaststroke. Though things aren't looking great for our planet or our economy, something good, it seems, has come from the precarious position we've found ourselves in.
Thursday, Oct. 16, is the last night to catch the limited-release digital screening of Viz Pictures’ anime-to-live-action sequel Death Note II: The Last Note. It’s showing locally at Cottonwood Starport and Century Downtown starting at 7:30 p.m. Seating is limited, so grab your tickets right away by visiting fathomevents.com.
An uncategorizable but irresistible bit of whimsy from the Czech Republic, I Served the King of England rewinds its way through several decades of Eastern Europe’s political and social history as seen through the eyes of one single-minded service industry professional.
Albuquerque is certainly well-represented this television season, with no less than three weekly series shooting here in town: AMC’s “Breaking Bad,” The CW’s “Easy Money” and the soon-to-premiere Starz series “Crash.”
If hip-hop was on the ballot, would you vote? On Tuesday, Oct. 21, this partisan party raises the blue and rides the donkey all night. Hip-Hop 4 Barack is a free, all-ages show at STOVE (114 Morningside NE) with a bill of politically active artists across the board: Bukue One is flying from California to get in on the rally, with local support from Mantis Fist, Zoology, DJ Ohm, Saint Sinner Suns and more. For the love of America, Brian Hargrove, bassist for Public Enemy and a New Mexico resident, will be a keynote speaker. There'll be live mural paintings of Obama, and Hip-Hop 4 Barack is even organizing shuttles to deliver voters from the show to early polling sites. The doors of STOVE open at 4 p.m. Visit the New Mexico Hip-Hop Congress' MySpace page at myspace.com/nmhhc for more hip-hop-centric organizing opportunities.—Justin Hood
Yjastros company founder and director Joaquin Encinias is a fourth generation flamenco dancer. He joined a dance troupe at the age of 5 and become a soloist at 12. This weekend, Yjastros: The American Flamenco Repertory Company will perform the choreography of Encinias as well as that of Israel Galvan, Yolanda Heredia and Omayra Amaya during an evening of flamenco music and dance at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on Oct. 17 and 18. The show starts at 8 p.m. and tickets are $20, $25 and $30, depending on your seating choice. Call the NHCC box office for tickets at 724-4771.
This election is tailor-made for political junkies. Tensions are running high. A lot of talking heads, generally those who aren’t actual economists, say we might be on the brink of the next Great Depression. I personally haven’t transformed my life savings—such as they are (were?)—into gold bullion and buried it in my yard, but it’s tough not to feel a certain level of panic.
One of us had his first taste of muhammara, a nutty pink paste of walnuts and charred bell peppers, on a date with a gorgeous lady friend. The other one of us tried muhammara for the first time just two hours later while eating the remnants from that date out of a grease-stained Styrofoam container. We don't know whose experience was better.
Welcome back to Best of Burque Restaurants! Inside, you'll discover dozens of tantalizing categories of the best food in Albuquerque, selected through thousands of votes cast by Alibi readers like you. When you vote in a Best of Burque poll, you're rewarding the best local businesses with invaluable recognition. Not only that, you're helping to amass an indispensable guide to the best food our city has to offer. Just keep eating and voting, and we'll do the rest. Special thanks to writers Tiffany Alberty, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Christie Chisholm, Amy Dalness, Marisa Demarco, Devin O'Leary, Simon McCormack and Maren Tarro for their generous help in reporting the results. Breakfast, lunch and dinner is served!
Pornotopia, Albuquerque's first independent erotic film festival, debuted to a cascade of controversy last year. Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center partnered with Guild Cinema to present Pornotopia—a weekend of film dedicated to showcasing sex as healthy, real and beautiful—only to have the city attempt to shut it down, citing a zoning code that had the Guild out of "nude approved" range. Pornotopia persevered and is gearing up for Year Two with some additions. One is an art show at STOVE centered on sexuality and censorship. Self Serve and STOVE are seeking submissions for the exhibit, and any work that is erotic and/or an honest representation of sexuality will be considered. Artists can drop off their submissions at STOVE (114 Morningside NE) from 1 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9, or e-mail digital art to email@example.com by Friday, Oct. 10, at 1 p.m. Be sure to include your name, the piece's title and its sale price with your entry. If you have questions, call 265-5815.
Unveil a toolbox for transformation and gain inspiration to move your life from the obsession of wanting to the freedom of having. The Magic of Zero is a guide for permanent, positive change with easy-to-follow, effective techniques for any lifestyle.
Cautionary Tales: A Visual Dystopia and Finding a Pulse at 516 Arts
By David Leigh
Andrew Bird’s Armchair Apocrypha is a near-perfect album. It’s crept onto my mix albums, my iPod, my car and my home stereo. I’m listening to it now. I might be obsessed. It’s one of those albums that throws light throughout a creative labyrinth in which new ideas emerge, creating a generous lyrical and musical iron lung (in the best sense). It lacks the irony or cynicism that would make two or three listens too many and instead invites something like belief from the audience. But for all its spacey, finger-picked loveliness, it’s a work of realism, couched in mortal inevitability and certitude.
In Mary Shelley's novel Frankenstein, scientist Victor Frankenstein's desire to bring life to the dead turns from wondrous dream into nightmarish reality. In R.N. Sandberg's stage adaptation, Victor's personal torment, not his creature, is the star, and the UNM Department of Theatre and Dance's production pours the contents of the doctor's psyche onto the stage.
Grottesco’s 12th Night at the Santa Fe Opera's Stieren Hall
By Amy Dalness
Theater Grottesco takes suspended disbelief to a new level. The theater company got its start in Paris in 1983 and is rooted in the same training as Cirque du Soleil. The troupe moved to Santa Fe in 1996 and continues to produce original works, all the while keeping the meaning of their Italian eponym in mind: absurd, splendid and jubilant.
I had this drinking buddy, Aaron, back in Kansas City. We’d get totally smashed, wake up hungover and then gorge on Chinese food. We must have eaten at every Chinese place on both sides of the Missouri River. After 20 or so Mandarin/Hunan/Cantonese binges, it occurred to us that it didn’t matter where we went; the food always tasted the same. Aaron put forth that some sort of subterranean go-kart network existed deep beneath the city, ferrying deep-fried and over-sauced Asian treats from a single source to every Chinese restaurant in town.
After a round of duck-duck-director, the state gets a Bureau of Elections boss
By Marisa Demarco
Gerald Gonzalez says he believes in making government work.
That's not a campaign slogan because he's not campaigning. It is what you might want to hear from the guy hired to be the director of the Bureau of Elections less than a month before a historic vote. His first day of work was Oct. 6.
Gonzalez is not walking into an ideal situation. Jim Noel was supposed to take the job, but he didn't show up for work on his first day, Sept. 8 ["Still Headless," Sept. 11-17]. Noel was appointed by Secretary of State Mary Herrera to be the election boss, but the state's Republican Party protested. Noel is the son-in-law of Democratic Rep. Tom Udall, who's running against Rep. Steve Pearce for a seat in the U.S. Senate. (A poll commissioned by the Albuquerque Journal and released Monday, Oct. 6, says 51 percent of likely voters support Udall and 36 are behind Pearce).
We received an e-mail last week warning us that people who show up at the polls on Election Day could be turned away if they’re wearing T-shirts, buttons or the like that support a particular candidate. To verify the rumor, we called Maggie Toulouse Oliver, the Bernalillo county clerk.
There’s one booming sector of the economy that escapes taxes the rest of us pay. It’s the political campaign business. Politicians and political parties pay no taxes on the money they raise to chase jobs and power.
Dateline: Wisconsin—Police in Mukwonago said a man was arrested after he used a cigarette lighter while trying to siphon gasoline from a van. The man, who was visiting friends, went to drive home early Saturday morning but realized he didn’t have enough gas in his SUV. Police said the man tried to “borrow” some gas from a nearby vehicle. Apparently, the man couldn’t see how much gas was in the container. Naturally, he used a lighter to check. Nearby residents called police after the inevitable blast of fire burned the man’s hands. Police later found the injured man in a store parking lot. He was arrested for theft and negligent use of burning materials.
The 2008 Taos Mountain Film Festival will open Thursday, Oct. 9, with Locals Night. Slideshows and movies from New Mexico characters will launch this annual festival of high-altitude culture and outdoor sporting. The festival continues through Sunday, Oct. 12, with film screenings and panel discussions at the Old County Courthouse and La Fonda Hotel, both on Taos Plaza. This year’s guests include National Geographic writer Jon Bowermaster, 10-time Mt. Everest summit climber Dave Hahn, El Capitan conquerer Glen Denny, Dalai Lama media coordinator Tseten Phanucharas and ultralight trike flyer/photographer Chris Dahl-Bredine. Dozens of films and videos will unspool over the course of the weekend, covering topics like African peak climbing, Antarctic exploration, ancient Peruvian ritual, Tibetan independence, kite skiing, BASE jumping and the history of Greenpeace. For complete information on films, times and ticket sales, log on to mountainfilm.net.
French thriller slow-burns its way to a complex wrap-up
By Devin O’Leary
The French don’t pump out nearly the same volume of films as they used to. But the Frenchies who are still fighting the system and getting their films out as far as the States are a consistently impressive bunch. Guys like Claude Chabrol (A Girl Cut in Two, The Flower of Evil, Hell), François Ozon (The Swimming Pool, Water Drops on Burning Rocks, Criminal Lovers) and Claude Lelouch (Roman de Gare), and ladies like Catherine Breillat (Anatomy of Hell, Fat Girl) are fluent in the European language of sex, violence and noirish tension.
DiCaprio and Crowe play “who do you trust?” in cutting-edge spy drama
By Devin D. O’Leary
The day after the House of Representatives rejected the first economic bailout package, sending the stock market into a 700-point freefall, the top three search terms on Yahoo were “Ivanka Trump,” “Brangelina” and “dog costumes,” proving that Americans are strenuously adept at avoiding their problems. That’s as good an excuse as any why films dealing with our current War on Terror (or whatever you want to call it) have failed again and again at the box office. The most recent was the PTSD road trip drama The Lucky Ones starring Tim Robbins and Rachel McAdams, which opened on Sept. 28 with a whopping $183,000.
“In Living Color”--that was a hell of a show, wasn’t it? The early FOX network sketch comedy series not only defined comedy in the ’90s, it launched the careers of Keenan Ivory Wayans (plus a dozen or so other Wayanses), Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez (a founding “Fly Girl”) and ... oh, yeah, that Jim Carrey guy. Now series stalwart David Alan Grier returns to the format that spawned him with Comedy Central’s new sketch series “Chocolate News.”
Proof that you can take the band out of Hawaii, but you can’t take Hawaii out of the band
By Justin Hood
No stressing here. Even after relocating to California, recording six albums and touring extensively, the three busy men of reggae-infused rock act Pepper manage to keep their watches on laid-back Hawaiian time—their native Kona, to be exact. The Alibi relaxed with Pepper drummer Yesod Williams and got a bead on Pepper’s record label, a dream tour with NOFX and what the Aloha State and The Land of Enchantment have in common.
Local programmer writes a music program that fills a void
By Marisa Demarco
When Jim Coker started performing live electronic shows 12 years ago, he found himself frustrated by the available software. "And I had this other problem, which is that I'm a software developer," he says, half-joking. "Then I had some free time." He got to work on a more ideal music program, and after about a year, he had something worth putting out. It's been five years since Coker, an Albuquerque resident, began. The program's still a work in progress, but he says he's created a product that provides a decent middle ground in the world of electronic music software.
True-life patent-infringement drama not as exciting as genre would lead you to believe
By Devin D. O’Leary
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?
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.
Legendary female impersonator comes to Albuquerque for National Coming Out Day
By Marisa Demarco
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."
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."
Count Every Vote New Mexico brings a nonpartisan voter-protection program to our state
By Steven Robert Allen
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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).
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.
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)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, 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.