Grab your remotes and pull up your TV trays. It’s time for dinner and a show, working-class style. To help you navigate the endless choices of processed food conveniently squirted into compartmented microwaveable plastic trays, the Alibi retreated to our top-secret, state-of-the-art test kitchen with a dozen different dinners. By the time we emerged, we had weeded out the inedible crap from the, well, edible crap. Here are our results:
This year, America’s television will cease to broadcast with radio frequency waves on the analog spectrum. Replacing it will be computer code, a more efficient form of broadcasting in the 0, 1 language of digital. The switch is set to take place at midnight Feb. 17. Legislation that would have delayed the end of analog until June 12 passed unanimously in the Senate on Monday, Jan. 26, and while it was expected to pass in the House, failed on Wednesday, Jan. 28.
A quick call to the FCC confirmed a dreadful rumor: Once the nation goes digital, white fuzz will be gone forever. Your TV will either get a clear picture, or it won't get the channel at all. Old analog televisions that aren't converted to digital will show nothing, said the FCC rep, audibly confused by why anyone would ask such a question. Gone will be the days of wraith signals, of watching faint shapes of people talking to you from behind a sheen of static. Gone will be the snow and its lulling shhhhh sound, sampled on so many great albums, a signifier of emptiness in the modern world. As a kid, I would let my eyes glaze over at the tingling pixels, and it was the first time I can remember meditating on that which is not concrete. Goodbye, sweet fuzz. How will insomniacs nationwide doze off at 3 a.m.?
Two categories of television stations are exempt from the federal government’s digital switchover: translators and low-power stations. Translators are basically signal boosters for metropolitan stations and are designed to serve a state’s more rural areas. Low-power (LP) stations are independent broadcasters usually confined to the UHF band of the television dial. Their low radio frequency (between 3 and 150 kilowatts) gives them a limited broadcast area. With even large corporate broadcasters struggling to make the original Feb. 17 deadline, few of these LP stations are capable of funding and installing the equipment necessary to make the digital change. So for now, the government is giving them a break.
With a digital converter box hooked up to their TVs, Albuquerque residents get more than 30 channels to click through. The high-definition versions of stations like Fox, NBC, PBS, ABC, CBS, CW and MY50 are all there. Plus, PBS nuts can check out several new channels, including PBS Create, the network's how-to channel with cooking, sewing and home improvement programs. Christian programming enthusiasts are also in luck. There are an arkload of Christian channels, including one en Español. Meanwhile, secular Spanish stations comprise a big chunk of the new channels as well. Below is a list from the New Mexico Broadcasters Association (NMBA) of the free digital channels available. According to the NMBA, some of these bonus stations are temporarily running identical programming, but once DTV gets going they will begin to broadcast diversified programming.
Who did an angry driver try to run over, according to sheriff's deputies? How much water does Southern New Mexico have? What's wrong with Powerball tickets in New Mexico? And why is a volunteer racquetball coach being indicted?
Sometimes the most interesting happenings at Albuquerque City Council meetings are not on the agenda. This was certainly the case at the Wednesday, Jan. 21 meeting when Councilor Michael Cadigan took on the mayor's men over the contentious red-light cameras.
In his 1748 essay “Of Miracles,” philosopher David Hume advised, “A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” That is, how certain we are about something we’re told should be directly correlated with how good the evidence is for that claim.
Dateline: England—Tracey Fox of Thornley, County Durham, used her own body as a barricade to keep a repairman inside her laundry room in hopes of getting her washing machine fixed. Ten months after purchasing the appliance, it broke down. Fox placed five phone calls in December to have a repairman come out and fix it. Unfortunately, no one was able to come until after Christmas. Finally, on Jan. 13, a man finally showed up to check on the washer. “He said that I’d have to pay for any repairs, even though the machine was still under warranty, and I might as well get a new one because the amount it would cost would be the same as buying another one,” Fox explained. Fed up with her stinky clothes and lack of consumer satisfaction, Fox snapped. The 42-year-old mother of four braced herself against the washroom door and refused to let the repairman leave until the washing machine was fixed. The repairman used a cell phone to call police, after which Fox allowed him to leave. “She did let him go after a matter of minutes,” Inspector Craig Dixon, of Durham Police, told BBC News. “The matter was resolved without any arrests.” Fox told reporters she was not proud of her actions, but felt she had no other option. “It sounds stupid thinking about it now, but it was the final straw,” she said. The Curry’s appliance store where Fox purchased the washer has since offered to replace it at no charge.
Zinc Wine Bar & Bistro is continuing its popular Movie Monday Nights promotion in the Cellar Bar. Classic films are projected silently onto a seven-foot screen starting at 6, 8 and 10 p.m. Five different martini specials are available for $5 each. Come drink in the taste and feel of old Hollywood every Monday. February’s schedule of films includes Psycho (Feb. 2), Splendor in the Grass (Feb. 9), Citizen Kane (Feb. 16) and The Great Escape (Feb. 23). Zinc is located at 3009 Central NE.
Fear(s) of the Dark is an omnibus of short animations commissioned and assembled by France’s Prima Linea Productions but composed by artists from around the globe. The subject--as one could reasonably guess from the title--is fear. These quick-and-dirty shorts run though a gamut of common human phobias: insects, needles, dogs, fire, tight spaces. Though they vary widely in subject and style, all are rendered in a stark, black-and-white palette. This gives Fear(s) of the Dark a bold and distinctive look.
It must be frustrating for movie studio executives. The Harry Potter books and subsequent movie series have set the bar for kiddie fantasy. That particular page-to-screen series has proved fantastically profitable and has no doubt stimulated the salivary glands of many a profit-seeking studio exec. It would seem, given the obvious evidence of Harry Potter, that young readers are eager for just about any young adult fantasy series to get snatched up and turned into a big-budget film series. So far, that has proved entirely false. With the epic failures of Eragon, The Seeker: The Dark is Rising, The Golden Compass, The Spiderwick Chronicles and many others, turning successful book series into successful film series obviously isn’t as easy as J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. would have us believe. Heck, even Disney recently balked at producing a third Chronicles of Narnia film, citing diminishing profits and spiraling costs.
Plenty of music is worthy of a television-themed playlist, but this mix of sometimes sad, bitter or freaky songs is mostly relegated to the realms of punk, proto-punk and post-punk. The Web doesn’t yield some of the MP3s I wanted to include ("I'm the Slime" by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, or The Victims' original "Television Addict"). I also purposefully excluded songs that would have worked nicely ("I Hate the TV" by Violent Femmes) and included a few songs with no mention of television ("Look Back in Anger" by Television Personalities), but the TV theme is obeyed overall. I like that most of these songs regard television with some degree of hostility: It's nice being reminded to be skeptical of the establishment ... while enjoying some really sick guitar parts.
Singer Damian Abraham (aka Father Damian or Pink Eyes) takes pride in the fact that all the injuries suffered at Fucked Up shows have been non-life-threatening. During an appearance on “MTV Live” in Canada, a fan got a mirror cracked over his back. In Austin, a stage-diving concertgoer knocked himself unconscious. “He did a running head-plant into the pillar and split his head open,” Abraham recalls. It seems the Toronto-based hardcore punk six-piece invites bedlam every time the lights go down.
“Gossip”—the photographic work of Josef Jasso, not the riot grrrl-soul of Beth Ditto—mouths off with a month-long exhibition at Blackbird Buvette (free, 21+). The Sunday, Feb. 1 reception features DJ Dirty Gold from 7 to 11:30 p.m. Tell your friends. (LM)
Sinatra may have sung “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing,” but I tend to think Nazareth had it right with its classic version of “Love Hurts.” Where do you fall on the love-spectrum? Has it brought you untold happiness, moments of ecstasy, or has it repeatedly re-enacted the scene from Alien, with you as John Hurt and your heart and everything you believe in as the alien? The world needs to know. Share with us here at the Alibi by entering our sixth annual Valentine's Day Card Contest. Send in your entry, measuring no larger than 8 ½-by-11, by Feb. 2, to our offices at 2118 Central SE, Suite 151, Albuquerque, N.M. 87106. Our cracker-jack staff of experts will assess your work and divy up the bounty that is your birthright, fair artist. But hurry. One entry per person, please.
New Mexico Museum of Art presents Pulling Strings: The Marionettes and Art of Gustave Baumann
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Marionettes are strange things. The most complex type of puppet, they are carved from wood, jointed and controlled by a “manipulator” who works the strings from above the marionette's head. The movements of marionettes are otherworldly; never purely realistic, they evoke the sense that nothing is completely within one's control. A master manipulator takes years to develop his or her skill, as does the craftsman who carves the forms. Gustave Baumann was both.
Heavy drama paints marital strife in shades of midcentury modern
By Devin D. O’Leary
Oscar-winning director Sam Mendes continues his rumination on repression in suburbia (started in 1999’s American Beauty) with Revolutionary Road. That isn’t quite as big a headline grabber as “Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reunite for the first time since Titanic.” But the truth of the matter is, those who come to the theater looking to recapture the heart-swelling romance of Titanic are going to be sorely disappointed—shocked even. On the other hand, those hoping for an even more soul-crushing dissection of the American Dream than the one depicted in American Beauty are on the right track.
New Mexico’s ongoing problem with government corruption and what can be done to fix it
By Steven Robert Allen
Have you heard this story already? A couple weeks ago, Gov. Bill Richardson announced he wouldn’t be taking the post of U.S. commerce secretary due to a federal investigation into the possible connection between campaign contributions and lucrative state contracts awarded to a California company called CDR. Ever since the story broke, I’ve heard some version of the same question over and over again: Is New Mexico the most corrupt state in the country? Is it in the top three? Are New Mexico politicians all crooks? Why haven’t our elected officials done anything serious to address these scandals?
How much does a lawsuit say the state lost in another pay-to-play scandal? What's in New Mexico's cocaine? How much water did the citizens of Albuquerque use in 2008? What has a manager at a Hyundai car dealership been accused of?
State senator partners with Working Classroom to chop legislators down to size
By Marisa Demarco
In the ancient tradition of making fun of politicians, Eric Griego and his communications director, Sharon Kayne, penned a script about the 2009 Legislature. Sen. Griego moonlights as a stand-up comic, and his view from the belly of the beast looking out sharpens this play's edge. No one escapes, not Republicans, not Democrats, not SunCal, not the deficit.
Legislators were rolling up their sleeves last week, ready to get elbow-deep in the greasy bill-making process of the 60-day huddle. It happens every other year and yields the most new laws for New Mexico. Before the session even began, plenty of measures were posted in advance. The Alibi will bore into the insides of the session and pick out the most interesting bits for you here every week. But first ...
Dateline: Serbia—An armed robber was arrested after he held up a bank—and then returned minutes later to pay off his overdraft fees with the money he had just acquired. The man ran into the Kredi Bank in the Serbian ski resort Nova Varos wearing a ski mask and brandishing a shotgun. He demanded tellers hand over all the cash they had. The man got away with more than nearly $50,000 in cash. Staff were still recovering from the shock when the man—minus the ski mask—walked back in to settle his overdraft. Sharp-eyed staff recognized the distinctive red tennis shoes he was wearing and called police. The man, aged 33, was arrested and charged with armed robbery.
While listening to “Studio 360” on the radio this morning (thank you, 89.1 KANW, for the awesomeness of your a.m. programming), I heard an interview with the poet Dana Gioia, departing chairperson for the National Endowment for the Arts. The program centered on artists' recommendations and wish lists for President Obama (say it with me, it's not a dream). Artists of all stripes are excited by the possibilities of this new administration; a commander in chief who confessed to not being a big reader has been replaced by one who is photographed with books of poetry tucked under his arm, his hands being full with BlackBerrys. It's become rote to say that America doesn't privilege art, but that's not necessarily endemic to our national character. Aside from Roosevelt's WPA program, Eisenhower recognized the importance of “soft diplomacy,” one that privileged cultural exchange, necessitating the development of our own artistic culture. Both Kennedy and Johnson were fierce proponents of arts funding as part of initiatives toward the realization of the New Frontier and Great Society. By the '80s, however, art had come to be seen as extraneous, or worse, un-American. My hard-earned tax dollars for a crucifix in a bottle of piss? Hell, no!
Nancy Benson’s New Mexico Colcha Club: Spanish Colonial Embroidery and the Women Who Saved It
By Erin Adair-Hodges
When the first settlers made their way from Spain to what is now New Mexico in the early 1600s, they brought with them the essentials: sheep, seeds and fine embroidery. Embroidered textiles in some permutation or another are a part of nearly every culture, and New Mexico’s traditional embroidery, known as colcha, sprang from the detailed work found in Europe and hauled over an ocean to New Spain.
Basement Films will host a special one-night-only touring show featuring a fine selection of modern experimental films. Channeling: An Invocation of Spectral Bodies & Queer Spirits is a collection of film and video programs curated by Latham Zearfoss and Ethan White. Both curators will be on hand for the screening at Guild Cinema on Thursday, Jan. 22, at 9:45 p.m. The 68-minute program features a mixture of digital video, saturated 8mm, home movies, animation, greenscreen and more. The works in this program take a personal approach in dealing with the political and historical problems that haunt the queer experience: the AIDS pandemic, the body in transition, the idealized nuclear family and the narrow cultural standards of desirability. Among the artists represented are Vanessa Renwick, Elliot Montague, Shana Moulton, Michael Robinson and John Di Stefano. Admission is only $5. For more details, log on to channelingqueerspirits.wordpress.com.
Apparently families suck no matter what the nationality
By Devin D. O’Leary
In reviewing Nothing Like the Holidays some months ago, I remarked that holiday-centric dysfunctional family dramas are best enacted by large, ethnic progeny. “If the family must be Caucasian,” I wrote, “at least make them a colorful Southern clan.” Mere weeks later and someone’s already trying to amend my rules.
You can argue over whether Cartoon Network’s recent move toward more non-animated entertainment (“Goosebumps,” “Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace,” “Tim and Eric, Awesome Show, Great Job!”) is a good thing or a bad thing. Or you could just shut up and enjoy the laughs you’re given. Cartoon Network’s latest Sunday night Adult Swim addition is a fine example. “Look Around You” is a welcome BBC import largely devoid of animation but perfectly suited for CN’s block of mature, late-night weirdness.
Former 16 Horsepower frontman David Eugene Edwards has been a murky American music figure for approaching two decades. Having begat a genre that could be considered alt.country, indie rock, Christian music or, at the same time, none of the above, the Denver-based artist just released his fifth album under the Wovenhand epithet. In support of Ten Stones, Edwards pays New Mexico a visit this week, playing as a three-piece with Pascal Humbert on bass and Ordy Garrison on drums. We rang him up on the old horn for a chat.
“Namaste,” says a small woman in a voice two decibels above a whisper. She pulls herself out of a shallow bow, her hands joined together as if in prayer. She opens her hands, gestures to a small, humble dining room and leads us to a white-clothed table, then disappears to get drinks.
Like discoveries in other experimental fields, the ones that happen in the kitchen are often rooted in mistakes. When way too many black peppercorns got dumped into hot oil for a pre-bean-fry, it seemed they were lost. What to do with a pile of soggy, greasy peppercorns?
Q: I have an Oster blender. I paid $29 for it at Wally and it seems the blades stop blending due to things being too thick. What do I do? Add liquid first then fruit or fruit then liquid? Also, which is better for making baby food--a blender or a food processor? The blender is easier to clean.
Tricklock’s ninthannual Revolutions International Theatre Festival
By Erin Adair-Hodges
The 21st century opened optimistically enough. If the previous two centuries were characterized by imperialism and oppression, then maybe the 21st would bring a close to all of that. America would guide as the sole, and benevolent, superpower. And the Internet! The bright star of a democratized future! It would surely be used only for important things. Yes, there was the discord stemming from Al Gore’s election as president, yet not becoming president. But with such tantalizing new promise offered by the dawn of a new century, how badly could things turn out?
Emmy winner Overton has long mined the political landscape for satirical treasures. Laughing at the powerful has often been dangerous (shout out to my Smothers Brothers), and the Free Speech Comedy Series seeks to provide a stage for speaking truth to power while making at least several audience members pee their pants.
Psychiatric nurse Bryan Krumm's opinion of the state's medical marijuana program is not an uncommon one. "Until they can keep the federal government out of the program, they are not going to be able to make our program functional."
Mayor _____? What is the governor proposing to take a swing at with his budget-trimming ax? How many part-timers do state colleges and universities keep on the rosters? A lead in a 10-year-old murder case may come from ...
How Ed Mazria plans to change our homes ... and the world
By Laura Sanchez
The new session of Congress is poised to pass another stimulus bill, one that will pump hundreds of billions of dollars into the ailing economy. The trick will be getting legislators to agree on who gets the money. Edward Mazria, a Santa Fe architect, says he’s presented the Obama transition team with a proposal that benefits all Americans instead of giving more cash to financiers.
That's the motto domestic partnership advocates carry with them as the 60-day legislative session commences on Jan. 20.
For two years, supporters have seen the domestic partnership bill pass the House only to get squashed in the Senate. Many new legislators will head to the capital in 2009, and advocates say several are likely to support the bill. Domestic partnership-friendly lawmakers are replacing senators who were not sympathetic to the cause.
Democratic Rep. Mimi Stewart, who is sponsoring the legislation in the House, says she's optimistic about her bill's odds of survival. "I think we have a better chance of passing it than we did before," Stewart says. "We've increased the number of legislators in both houses who are more open and not tied to outdated, outmoded views."
Thomas Friedman, the New York Times columnist and respected author on the globalization-age economy, wrote about one of the worst aspects of the economic crisis. He wrote that our corporations and financial institutions had turned their backs on those attitudes and values that have always been our hallmarks for success: hard work, prudent investment and careful saving.
Dateline: China—Police in the Chinese seaport of Ningbo were called in to settle a lovers’ dispute after a man refused to warm up his girlfriend’s feet. Police officer Xiao Deng said he received two consecutive calls: one from a woman complaining her boyfriend refused to warm her feet, the other from the man saying his girlfriend was too demanding. Xiao went out to the couple’s rental apartment near Ningbo University to try to resolve the conflict but found the couple still engaged in a heated argument, reports Modern Times. “Have you ever seen such a girlfriend? She put her cold legs on my belly, giving me a stomach cramp,” the boyfriend allegedly told the officer. “I asked her to take them away and she said she would only put them there for a short while. I agreed, but after 10 minutes she still had them there, saying it was very comfortable.” Xiao eventually persuaded the boyfriend that it was a man’s job to warm his girlfriend’s feet, but warned the woman not to leave her feet there too long.
This weekend, Uncanny Entertainment and Third Star Films are proud to present the U.S. premiere of the feature film Jigoku at Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. The film is a giant monster movie set in Japan but features a cast and crew of largely New Mexico-based talent. Writer-director Phillip Hughes, formerly of Albuquerque’s Eat Drink and Be Larry comedy troupe, moved to Okinawa, Japan, several years ago and began work on his debut feature. The story concerns a group of international students on a leadership program in Southeast Asia. Stopping in Okinawa in the wake of a sudden typhoon, the group finds the city deserted. But are they truly alone? Not by a long shot. An eclectic group of actors and crew from New Mexico, New Zealand, England, Canada and Okinawa came together to shoot Jigoku in the summer of 2006. Post-production was based out of New York, while the effects work and musical score were completed in New Mexico.
Requiem for a Heavyweight with less talk and more rock!
By Devin D. O’Leary
If Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman can be considered the perfect encapsulation of crumbling manhood in ’50s America, then Darren Aronofsky’s The Wrestler is the ideal contemporary companion piece—an equally crushing dissection of masculinity in free fall. Whereas increasingly impoverished salesman Willy Loman found his American Dream crushed under the weight of post-World War II responsibility, aging pro wrestler Randy “The Ram” Robinson finds his fame and fortune disintegrating in the post-millennial U.S. of A.
Hoffman and Thompson bring experience to the “slowmance” genre
By Devin D. O’Leary
Back in 1967, Dustin Hoffman made an indelible impression on cinematic history by crashing a certain wedding in The Graduate. Roughly 42 years later, Hoffman finds himself in a similar matrimonial milieu in Last Chance Harvey. A lot has changed in those 40-odd years, and Last Chance Harvey wisely exploits Hoffman’s well-aged persona.
Back in November, our nation watched eagerly as Barack Obama won the 2008 presidential election. So why wouldn’t we be there for him again, channel-surfing as he’s sworn in as the 44th President of the United States this coming Tuesday? And while we’re at it, why not get the party started early?
Albuquerque composer and virtuosic oudist Rahim Alhaj calls his newest composition, “Fly Away,” an unusual piece. Its instrumentation—oud and four guitars, including a six-string contrabass—isn’t exactly common on the chamber music scene.
Though we're firmly in the midst of a recession, with the very real possibility of slipping into a full-on depression, that's not all bad. If the last depression is any indicator, some truly amazing art could come out of this time of economic insecurity. So put on your coveralls and join me, won't you, in my Culture Shock time machine for this edition of:
Delilah Montoya says that Chicana Badgirls: Las Hociconas is simply part of her desire to “demonstrate the history of Chicana artists.” A photographer, Montoya co-curated the show at 516 Arts with Laura E. Perez, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley. They noted a legacy of several generations of artists that was largely unknown. “What I wanted to do,” Montoya says, “was bring in those women of the first generation and then the subsequent generations.” The result is a show that sees contemporary Chicana art as the latest permutation of a conversation that began with the civil rights and feminist movements.
Long adored by locals for its Mexican (not New Mexican) eats, the summer's smoky demise of El Norteño’s Zuni location was mourned by many. But fear not, the place is back--in the Northeast Heights space vacated by Le Café Miche--to satisfy all your mole and ceviche cravings.