Alibi V.17 No.51 • Dec 18-24, 2008

Tamales by Daniel Hoyer

Deck the halls with steamy corn husks

I was pretty excited to have Hoyer’s latest book cross my desk. For one, his guides to Mexican cuisine are thorough and inspiring. And this is the best time of year for a book about tamales.

feature

Trout on Trout

The subject of our “Draw the Head on the TJ Trout” sweepstakes analyzes the entries

Among the clicking of typewriters, the bustle of newspeople with transatlantic accents and the hum of our very large and impressive printing press, here at Alibi headquarters we know just as well as anyone that media is serious business. On the other hand, it doesn't take seeing our articles wrapped around a fish carcass for us to also know the media deserves ridicule. Try as we might, constantly deprecating ourselves would verge on masochism, so it's all we can do to mock others and hope they return the favor some day.

news

The Northbound Train

A portion of the track under the Rail Runner's wheels was built by Burlington Northern more than 100 years ago.

Answer Me This

Which prominent New Mexican may have been blackmailed? How are criminals coming up with extra holiday dough? Winrock Mall is set to make a big improvement. What makes our state attractive to identity thieves?

Protester Loses Civil Rights Fight

Dr. John Fogarty was sure his case was cut and dry.

But after two hours of deliberation on Friday, Dec. 12, the jury pulled the plug on his years-long case against Albuquerque police and the city. The verdict was not in Fogarty's favor.

On March 20, 2003, the day the United States and three other countries invaded Iraq, several hundred citizens demonstrated near the University of New Mexico. "The mood of the crowd was almost festive," Fogarty says. "People were playing music. People were singing and chanting."

Senator Pete's Miracle Cure: A Closer Look

Longtime Senator Pete Domenici announced his retirement in October 2007 under the worst of circumstances. He wasn't retiring because of some political scandal; instead, it was something far more tragic. He announced his diagnosis of a fatal brain disease called frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China—A Chinese woman who had not cut her hair in 10 years called police to report that her lengthy locks had been purloined. Xiao Hong, 30, of Siping told the Beijing Evening Post someone cut off her 4-foot braid as she walked out of a shopping mall. “People were squeezing together out the door, and when I stepped out I felt I lost something,” she explained to the newspaper. “I subconsciously touched my hair, but it was gone.” In the past, Xiao said she had been offered the equivalent of $500 for her hair, but refused to sell it.

art

Culture Shock

Christmas is a singular holiday for many reasons—presents, food, flying animals—but the reason it’s such a focal point of the year is that the celebration doesn’t just happen on that one day. Retailers would have you believe that the revelry starts approximately the second Tuesday of November, but it’s really this week that marks the beginning of the holiday. New Mexico has its own special blend of traditions, alternately old, weird and made-up. Even if you celebrate Hanukkah, are French or think that Santa Claus is a Biblical character, avail yourself of the opportunity to enjoy these very New Mexican Christmas traditions.

Naughty and Nice

Books from 2008 to satisfy any inclination

Good girls love books. And so do bad girls. And boys. Grandmas, too. So it would be a nice idea to reward the bibliophiles in your life for their good (or deliciously bad) behavior over this year with a book that’s right down their alley. They’ll either thank you or spank you for it.

film

Reel World

I have it on good authority that Burning Paradise Video--Albuquerque’s top stop for your more esoteric, cult-oriented video rentals--is liquidating its stock of VHS films. From now through Friday, Dec. 19, you can purchase classic and not-so-classic VHS titles from the store’s extensive selection for a mere $3 a pop. If you’re planning on buying in bulk, you can help BP clear off its shelves by snagging 10 VHS tapes for only $25. What a deal! Get there quick, as hot titles are going fast. Burning Paradise is located at 800 Central SW and can be reached at 244-1161.

The Tale of Despereaux

Stylish CGI fairy tale is surprisingly complex affair

Last week’s release of the largely unadvertised, mostly unseen and deservedly unloved film Delgo and this week’s release of The Tale of Despereaux point out a hard-and-fast rule of computer-animated films: It takes a great deal of skill to make one. Delgo, a product of Atlanta’s Fathom Studios, opened on 2,160 screens and made all of $511,920. That averages out to about 2 people per screening. Of course, even the highest quality of CGI work can’t cover up for a poor story. Delgo sported neither skill nor story. On the complete, polar opposite hand, The Tale of Despereaux boasts impeccable animation and a delightful story.

Slumdog Millionaire

Boyle confounds expectations with orphans, torture, game show hosts, romance and musical numbers

Woe to the ambitious journalist, author or film critic who, 30 years from now, tries to write the definitive study of director Danny Boyle’s career. How to summarize a man who’s made a modern film noir (Shallow Grave), a blackly comic look at junkies in Scotland (Trainspotting), an uncategorizable comic crime romance fantasy (A Life Less Ordinary), an exotic thriller about utopian society (The Beach), a ’roid rage zombie movie (28 Days Later...), a quaint family drama about a kid who stumbles across a fortune (Millions), a high-minded space opera that morphs into a slasher film (Sunshine) and a Bollywood-inspired wish-fulfillment drama in which a poor Indian kid gets on the Hindi version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” in order to impress his lifelong ladylove?

Shat Stew

“Shatner’s Raw Nerve” on BIO

Q: How weird is it watching William Shatner interview porn star Jenna Jameson? A: Very weird.

music

Earwin III

An interview with the Alibi's third Earwig playlist winner

Screen Name: tahnee

Real Name: Tahnee Udero

AJO 2.0

Artistic Director Bobby Shew leads the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra onto higher ground

Renowned trumpeter Bobby Shew has come full circle, and the Albuquerque Jazz Orchestra couldn’t be happier about it. For Shew, who returned to the Albuquerque area about two years ago to “retire,” developing a quality jazz orchestra for his hometown is something he first dreamed of as a teenager. For the orchestra, the decision to offer Shew the position of artistic director—the first in the group’s long history—reflected its decision to go to another level.

Alibi V.17 No.50 • Dec 11-17, 2008

The Edge of Heaven

Melancholy hyperlink drama shows off the ties that bind

With a handful of strong releases under his belt (1998’s Short Sharp Shock, 2004’s Head-On), German-born Turkish writer/producer/director/actor Fatih Akin has built his rep as an uncompromising, forthright filmmaker. Head-On packed an indelible punch, not because it provided a litany of graphic sex, violence, drug use and suicidal behavior, but because it presented its subjects in such an unvarnished, matter-of-fact manner.

feature

Last-Minute Gift Guide

The Advent calendar tells no lies--Christmas is two weeks away. With so many stockings left to stuff, there's no time to waste driving all over town. Put the brakes on frantic holiday free-for-alls, and take the Alibi's tour of walkable shopping in a neighborhood near you.

Northeast Heights, Inez Neighborhood

Menaul between Wyoming and Pennsylvania

Blak Rino owner Sam Oden says his store caters to the male and female punk, goth, hip-hop and skater crowds. His vintage T-shirts, designer handbags, and new and used threads are decidedly youth-oriented. Next door, the Pink Rhino has a similar college-age demographic, but with less goth garb and more trade-in clothing.

Northeast Heights, Conchas Park Neighborhood

Eubank and Candelaria

Simple and gorgeously cast, Nambé has been handmade in Santa Fe since the '50s. Though Nambé products may seem intimidatingly expensive, this shop offers limited-edition ornaments for only $22. Many other small household items made in the signature long-lasting silvery alloy remain in the two-digit range. Luz also carries candles, crystal and etched glass products.

South Nob Hill

Silver between Wellesley and Bryn Mawr

Kam Langdon says it's always been her dream to own a flower shop. From the first burst of fresh air that welcomes you to her cheerfully airy boutique, the experience of buying flowers here is as pleasurable as receiving them. Langdon's style is modern and made-to-order, which has won her contracts with clients like Sandia Casino, Nob Hill Bar & Grill and Heart & Soul salon. Flower vases in many chic styles, sizes and colors run about $8 apiece, and the shop delivers all over the city with a $35 minimum order.

Old Town

Rio Grande between Lomas and Mountain

Entering this distinctive decorative shop is like walking into a 128-count box of Crayolas. Hand-painted wooden shelves and cabinets featuring original Southwestern designs line the walls. Bright ceramic crosses are mounted next to chromatic metal key hooks. Kaleidoscopic wind chimes glitter in the windows. Handmade beadwork purses, necklaces and bracelets add to the rainbow of color-coordinated options.

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque

Fourth Street between Osuna and Ortega

The name "Kelly Jo Designs" is appropriate, because that's exactly what Kelly Jo does. She designs. In fact, she designed all of the what-must-be thousands of ceramic items in her store (which are then made and painted with the help of local artists). She also just designed a red-and-white, old world-themed dining set for Nordstrom, which you can find among her stock. Her array of vases, boxes, coasters, jewelry, soaps and dining accoutrements are reasonably priced and begging to be wrapped with big satin bows.

Santa Fe, DeVargas Center

North Guadalupe and Paseo de Peralta

A solid, well-designed garlic press makes a surprisingly fantastic holiday gift for the right person. As does a salad spinner. Or a Krups manual pump espresso machine. Las Cosas is teeming with cookware to knock any chef (or professional water boiler) off your list pronto. Who doesn't need a taco rack? Really.

film

Reel World

New Mexico-based production company Galle Ceddo Projects recently received a filmmaking grant from the prestigious Sundance Documentary Fund. Sembene: Revolutionary Artist, by Samba Gadjigo and Santa Fe’s Jason Silverman, is one of only 20 documentary finalists selected from more than 800 applications. In fact, Sembene was one of just six projects by first-time filmmakers to make the cut. The film-in-progress revisits the life and work of Ousamane Sembene, the Senegalese filmmaker who almost singlehandedly created African cinema. Gadjigo is a well-known African-American and African Studies professor and wrote the definitive biography of Sembene. Silverman is director of the Cinematheque at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe.

Nothing Like the Holidays

Cliché-ridden or tradition-filled? You decide.

In the region of Catalonia (mostly northeastern Spain, but dipping into parts of France), there is the long-standing Christmas tradition known as El Caganer. Translated politely as “the Pooper,” a caganer is a small ceramic statue of, most often, a small boy squatting down, pants around his ankles, taking a large dump. This defecating icon is hidden amidst a family’s nativity scene, on the mantle or under the Christmas tree. The first Catalonian child to locate the rude statuette crapping next to the Baby Jesus or copping a squat behind the Three Wise Men on Christmas morning gets an extra present.

Is It Time to Change the Channel or Not?

“Heroes” on NBC

It’s been the hot topic for months (at least in the Internet’s nerdier sectors): Does NBC’s “Heroes” suck complete rocks at this point? Is it beyond repair? Is it time to finally give up and go back to watching FOX’s “Prison Break”? Until last week, the answer was an unequivocal yes, yes, YES!

art

Culture Shock

Every story needs conflict. For the good to emerge, it must struggle valiantly against the often overwhelming bad. Christmas proves this rule, way back to the beginning. Jesus managed to avoid King Herod's infanticide net, allowing the young lad to grow up and say some stuff and do some things. Kris Kringle faced the perpetually unjolly at every turn and was denied bank loans for reindeer 12 times before securing a U.N. microloan. Don't even get me started on the guy with the mustache who wanted to steal Frosty's hat. Christmas has its share of grumpy baddies, so I welcome you to the Christmas Villain edition of Culture Shock to witness the transformative power of tiny beseeching children on green, miserly Republicans.

Dreaming of a White Trash Christmas

The Dolls present Christmas at the Yucca Vista

The gloom of recession is everywhere, and the holidays, rather than providing a respite from the powerful reality of the financial crisis, may seem to exacerbate it. People are losing their jobs. Bindles are replacing briefcases. It ain’t pretty out there.

Yes, We Can?

These days, even art might need a government bailout

The students, faculty and staff (myself included, as I work at the college’s Fine Arts Gallery) at the College of Santa Fe are presently waiting to hear the fate of the private school, founded in 1859 by the Lasallian Christian Brothers. Last year’s proposed buyout of the college fell through, and the short of it is that CSF needs a financial partner in order to remain solvent. By the time Christmas rolls around, the college may be on a path to becoming a part of New Mexico Highlands University or UNM, or perhaps on the path to closure—though, I think the latter scenario is doubtful. My vote is that CSF becomes a part of one of the state schools, retaining its continued focus on the arts, which I think is what the community at the college and greater Santa Fe are hoping for as well.

news

How Slow Can You Go?

New Mexico has the most sluggish Internet browsing speed in the country

In the race for fast Internet, our state is way behind.

That’s according to a report in this month’s PC Magazine, which says New Mexico has the slowest average Internet surfing speed in the country.

Answer Me This

Why is the leader of a suspected cult going to trial? Who is UNM’s next football coach? The city is selling what surplus items online? And teachers are asked to do what because the Rio Rancho Public Schools system is broke?

Thin Line

Let me get this straight: It's becoming less and less profitable to own a newspaper, but a website that talks about newspapers is a cash cow.

Beyond the War Zone

Although it has been three years since my return from Iraq, I am not free of the shadows of war. The memories are insinuated into my life like falling leaves in an endless November, swirling about my feet, catching at my heels, crackling underfoot like small bones. I wake up in silence, a suggestion of desperation and exhaustion hanging in the air like the breath of a hunted animal. I blink to ward off the silence, listening for the sounds of destruction to startle me into wakefulness. But there is only the leaves rustling, swirling, like the edge of a poncho disturbed by rotor wash, revealing an arm, a leg.

Re-Reform

You may have noticed that school administrators, their teacher employees and their contract lobbyists were in Santa Fe in early November. They were demonstrating in support of the proposed “reforms” in the public school funding formula, a “reform” now calculated to come with a price tag in excess of $320 million.

Be a God

Local board game invokes the sacred to be profaned

There could be hate mail. There could be death threats.

Ben Radford knew that going in. What else could he expect after joshing the world's most popular religions?

Odds & Ends

Dateline: England—Santa and three of his elves were attacked by disgruntled customers at a holiday theme park. Lapland New Forest, located on the Dorset Hampshire border, promises a magical festive experience. According to the Daily Telegraph, however, the park has received more than 1,300 complaints for its Nativity scene crudely painted on a billboard, its broken ice skating rink and its collection of bored Huskies chained up in a muddy field. Adrian Wood, 49, a worker who resigned from the park, told the newspaper, “Santa was punched by a furious father who had been waiting in line for four hours. He had got to the front only to be told he couldn’t take a picture of his children and that they weren’t allowed to sit on Santa’s lap.” Henry Mears, from Lapland New Forest Limited, admitted his staff has been attacked. “So far about six of our staff—three elves and three security—have been assaulted and all have been verbally abused.” Ivan Hancock, from Dorset County Council’s trading standards department, said, “I’ve never known anything to spark so many complaints in my 20 years of working with three different authorities.” Despite customers attacking Santa and dubbing his theme park “Crapland,” Mr. Mears insisted, “I would like to point out that 95 percent of the people who come to Lapland New Forest are extremely happy with it.”

music

Music to Your Ears

When it rains, it pours! There are eight album releases--that we know of--planned for this Friday and Saturday, but we just don't have enough ink to cover them all. Consult the music calendar for even more Albuquerque and Santa Fe celebrations.

Resonance

Patti Littlefield and Mark Weaver’s daring duo

Vocalist Patti Littlefield and tubaist/didgeridooist Mark Weaver enjoy walking out on a musical limb. Now, with the release of their group’s eponymous CD, Resonance, you can waltz on out there with them whenever you like.

Charmed Twice Over

Bitter Suite 7 haunts the earways

On its second CD, the “twisted folk” duo Charmed—Alicia Ultan and Bambi Wolf—once again take on the darkness and find the light. In 12 original, emotionally powerful songs, Bitter Suite 7 explores love, loss, betrayal, memory’s hauntings, the search for a center, and the promise and sometimes redemptive certainty of love.

Olin and the Moon

L.A. bad, Sun Valley good

When David LaBrel left a town of 1,500 people to move to Los Angeles, he found the City of Angels took some getting used to.

food

Ask Chef Boy Ari

Q: While being especially thankful the other week during "Genocide Appreciation Day," I realized I should also thank you. So thanks, especially for convincing me to grow shallots this year and eat more local food. We feasted on deer tenderloins with our own shallots, garlic, baby arugula and not-our-own mushroom sauce. Pretty much everything else was from our garden, backyard or neighborhood.

Pueblo Harvest Café and Bakery

Culture is on the menu

The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on 12th Street is an enormous outreach by the 19 Pueblos of New Mexico. With a mission to "preserve and perpetuate Pueblo culture,” the center houses a museum, theater and gift shop--and the completely renovated Pueblo Harvest Café and Bakery.

Alibi V.17 No.49 • Dec 4-10, 2008

Scorched Earth's Finest

Drive south along the San Diego shoreline in fall, spin inland toward the breweries of San Marcos and Escondido, grab a pint of double-hopped West Coast IPA at a beach-front pizzeria in Carlsbad and you'll deeply comprehend why Southern California beer tingles: It is the epitome of nature in a bottle, from a place where nature means teal waves and blonde babes.

feature

The Fight

Jason Quintana has only been knocked out once. At 30, the Albuquerque native has fought his way through karate tournaments, city parks, streets, bars, prisons and kickboxing rings. 

news

Answer Me This

Who started a petition against Gov. Bill Richardson? What kind of punishment could be abolished in New Mexico? Where, oh where to put an arena in Albuquerque? What's the hot item for thieves this season?

Trash Talk

The city considers three options for expanding Albuquerque’s recycling program

About 5 percent of the trash the city picks up gets recycled.

Mayor Martin Chavez and the City Council would like to see that number go up, but deciding the best way to make that happen is tricky.

Albuquerque doesn't actually recycle anything itself. Instead, recyclable materials left on the curb are sent to the city's processing facility, where items are sorted, crunched into WALL-E-style bails and shipped out of town to recycling plants.

Emergency Night Vets

From last goodbyes to tail-wagging reunions

Dr. Carlton Huitt tries to move out of the way when the Akita lunges into consciousness. He steps back as one of the dog’s legs makes contact with the bowl full of fluid he just pulled from the dog’s lungs with a large syringe. The container goes airborne, showering the doctor and veterinary technicians as they move quickly to hold the dog in place and keep her from falling off the X-ray stand.

Thin Line

The Alibi's classified ads have yet again made local TV news—and even msnbc.com. An ad was calling all finks—criminals who need cash enough to rat out other criminals.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Japan—Puzzled zookeepers at the Kushiro Municipal Zoo in Hokkaido have finally figured out why a pair of polar bears intended for breeding have failed to get it on: turns out neither is a lesbian. Since June, Tsuyoshi, a four-year-old “male” polar bear, has been paired with an 11-year-old female partner named Kurumi. Neither showed much romantic interest in the other, leading zookeepers to a belated conclusion. “Observing his behaviors, we got suspicious as to whether or not Tsuyoshi was really a male,” the zoo said in a statement. The zoo put Tsuyoshi under an anesthetic early last month for a gender checkup and determined that he was a she. “I have mixed feelings,” Yoshio Yamaguchi, head of the zoo, told reporters. Tsuyoshi is very popular at the northern Japanese zoological park, and Kyodo News agency reported that zoo officials would not change his name to a female name. Tsuyoshi is a common Japanese name for boys. Experts say when polar bears are young, it is difficult to determine their gender as their long hair covers reproductive organs.

art

Culture Shock

You cannot avoid art this week. I would even dare you to try, if I countenanced such things. This first weekend of December is possibly one of the Albuquerque art scene's busiest of the year, so stuff yourself on the fruit of inspiration.

Listening for Epiphanies

An interview with best-selling author Haruki Murakami

Some people have epiphanies in church, others atop mountains. Haruki Murakami's came on April 1, 1978, on the grassy knoll behind Jingu Baseball Stadium in Japan. What if he tried to write a novel?

Art by Design

Designer's Lounge seeks to become a center for the creative crafting community

As a child, Teresa Romero didn't have the patience to learn how to sew. Her mother, Patty Melvin, a self-described “old-school” seamstress, tried with little success to teach her daughter what she herself had learned from her own mother and grandmother. It wasn't until Romero went to San Francisco's Design Institute, where sewing is required, that she picked it up again. Now, more than a decade later, she's decided to make teaching others how to sew and design her job.

film

Reel World

Here’s one positive result of our economic downturn: Unike previous years, the 2008 Santa Fe Film Festival is short on sellouts, ensuring plenty of tickets for even last-minute visitors. SFFF executive director Jon Bowman admits, “We’re down a tad. It’s not the same level of attendance [as 2007].” Still, the man who helped found the much-respected festival nine years ago notes the “soft sellouts” mean even those who show up late can get tickets to most of the festival’s 115 different programs starting this Wednesday night, Dec. 3, and running through Sunday, Dec. 7. “If you procrastinated, you can wing it,” says Bowman. “Show up, wait in line and you’ll probably get in.”

Milk

Biopic breathes life into counterculture crusader

When it comes to Oscar bait, you can’t go wrong with a biopic: Forest Whitaker in The Last King of Scotland, Joaquin Phoenix in Walk the Line, Philip Seymour Hoffman in Capote, Jamie Foxx in Ray, Adrien Brody in The Pianist, David Strathairn in Good Night, and Good Luck, Leonardo DiCaprio in The Aviator, Johnny Depp in Finding Neverland, Don Cheadle in Hotel Rwanda, Will Smith in Ali, Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, Geoffrey Rush in Quills, Ed Harris in Pollock, Javier Bardem in Before Night Falls. ... And that’s just the Best Actor nominations since 2000.

Synecdoche, New York

Kaufman’s brain-bending play-within-a-play plays with reality

It’s Synecdoche, not Schenectady, and it’s pronounced “sin-eck-doe-key.” Trust me, that’s not the only thing you’ll find baffling about Charlie Kaufman’s latest existential experiment.

Mission: A-Team’s Eleven

“Leverage” on TNT

Timothy Hutton? Good to see you again. Where you been keeping yourself, man? Lymelife? Reflections? The Alphabet Killer? The Killing Room? When a Man Falls in the Forest? Never heard of ’em. “Kidnapped”? Oh yeah. I meant to watch that, but they yanked it off the air after five episodes. The Last Mimzy? You don’t wanna bring that up, do you? Off the Black? Falling Objects? Heavens Fall? The Kovak Box? Avenger? Stephanie Daley? Nope, not ringing any bells. Yeah, well, you won an Academy Award for Ordinary People. That was cool.

music

Music to Your Ears

It wouldn't be the holidays in Albuquerque without the New Mexico Jazz Workshop's Yule Struttin' party. Way back since 1992, the state's nonprofit jazz steward has decked the halls with shiny baubles, fine art, food, wine, women and song to put some sparkle in the holidays and a little coin in the organization's cash box. No "Gift of the Magi" corollary here--Yule Struttin' is a win-win for jazz in New Mexico.

NOBUNNY

NOBUNNY loves you

Several years ago, NOBUNNY was hoping to travel the country as an animal Elvis impersonator. “I figured I could fill the animal niche since there’s already like a Thai-Elvis and an extreme-Elvis and all that stuff,” he explains.

food

Itsa Italian Ice

A real treat, whatever the weather

It might seem a little strange to review frozen dessert when it's, to borrow a phrase common in the Midwest, “colder than a witch's booby in a brass bra.” But hear me out. Seasonally resplendent foods are great, but eventually steaming soups and endless turkey reincarnations get tiring. Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I need to rebel and duck out for some good, holiday-inappropriate chow.