The New Mexico film industry's proverbial belt gets another notch punched in it this week, but it's not what you'll see that's making the state proud—it's what you'll hear. Albuquerque musician Tom Monahan composed the score for Fat Head, a nationally released docu-comedy starring, written and directed by Tom Naughton. The film is a direct challenge to Morgan Spurlock's 2004 Super Size Me (and, indirectly, an homage to Subway's "Jared" ad campaign). It follows Naughton as he eats nothing but fast food for 28 days and loses weight.
Strong City stands by its spiritual leader and waits for deliverance—at the hands of God or the legal system
By Maren Tarro
The northeast corner of New Mexico is home to towns few have heard of and static-filled radio broadcasts from across the nearby state line. Travelers passing through on their way to Colorado see miles of cattle-grazing land, the only sign of life an occasional cow raising its head to offer a noncommittal stare at passing traffic.
On Friday, April 17, Albuquerque’s Public Academy for Performing Arts (PAPA) will host a screening of black-and-white silent films with original piano performances by film and piano lab students. The event will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at the charter high school’s campus (4665 Indian School NE, Suite 101). Tickets are $3 at the door. This film and music event is a fundraiser to help PAPA students attend the Desert Light Film Festival in Alamogordo on Friday, April 24. PAPA Advanced Film students have been invited to project their experimental dance films onto the dunes of the White Sands National Monument as part of the grand finale for the film festival. Desert Light is a competition for middle school and high school students sponsored by New Mexico State University at Alamogordo and the Otero County Film Office.
They say there’s nothing new under the sun. And when that sun shines over Hollywood, the axiom is doubly true. This Friday, April 17, High School Musical hottie Zac Efron will star in 17 Again, a comedy about a middle-aged man who magically finds himself in the body of a teenage boy. If the plot (and even the title) sound familiar, it’s because Hollywood has tried this so many times, it’s developed into its own genre. The “body swap” comedy reached its height in the ’80s thanks to the runaway popularity of Big starring Tom Hanks. Now, the genre seems to be on the rise again. Earlier this year, that trend barometer Ashton Kutcher announced he would star in Traded, a body swap comedy about a superstar NFL quarterback who mysteriously trades bodies with a 12-year-old middle school geek. So how about a little perspective on this born-again genre?
Easygoing Southern California documentary wizard Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys, Riding Giants) turns his attentions away from the recreational pursuits of his youth to more serious topics of SoCal culture in Crips and Bloods: Made in America. In his usual dazzling style (half MTV/half Ken Burns), Peralta gives viewers a compact and meaty history of South Central L.A.’s gang problem.
Still looking to fill gaps in its Thursday night schedule (See ya, “Kath & Kim.” Not like we’ll miss ya.), NBC has talked the creators of “The Office” into contributing another sitcom. Though “Parks and Recreation” isn’t an actual spin-off of “The Office,” it’s as close in subject and tone as a show can be. Wisely, the show is designed as a vehicle for star Amy Poehler.
Blending simple, beautiful African melodies with forward-looking harmonies, a deep groove and an unusually percussive repertoire of vocalizations, guitarist Lionel Loueke has quickly captured the imagination of jazz audiences. He’s also won the respect of some of its biggest heavyweights, including Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter.
Soon you may be prescribed cannabis for what condition? How did a Bernalillo official spend citizens' cash? Court records say this guy ducked his DWI trial by ... . And who is commending the state for doing away with capital punishment?
Dateline: Michigan—Detroit police bravely waded into a public park and broke up a pillow fight last weekend. The impromptu pillow fight was scheduled to take place at Campus Martius Park on Saturday, April 4, and was one of at least 50 slated across the world. World Pillow Fight Day was organized through the website pillowfightday.com and a number of online social networking sites. Despite the seemingly innocuous nature of the event, police swarmed the park and shut down the event. “I am furious,” 23-year-old Elida Quesada of Ferndale told the Detroit News. “[A pillow fight] is so silly and childlike. It would have been fun. It seems like everything that is fun is illegal.” Officers in blue jumpsuits were reportedly polite to the would-be participants but were firm about confiscating any and all pillows. One officer told a unarmed fighter that 5,000 of the fluffy headrests had been seized by the 4 p.m. start planned for the event. Michael Davis, 32, of Hamtramck told the Detroit News, “They took my pillows but let me keep my cases. They told me I needed a permit. I can understand.” Scott Harris, a 48-year-old Ferndale resident whose pillow was taken by officers, was not as understanding. “It is not illegal to own a pillow,” he was quoted as saying. Detroit Police spokesperson James Tate would not tell reporters how police learned of the event in advance but said there were numerous Internet postings. Tate said the unsanctioned event posed a “cleanup issue” and there were concerns about people getting hit who did not wish to participate.
Dry Heat Gallery is focused on uplifting the human spirit through its exhibitions. The mission of gallery founders DeAnna Dimmitt, Rick Meiers and Angela Gaeto is that no one should be afraid to step into a gallery, and to that end they work to create educational and enlightening exhibits. In addition to the stable of artists who work at Dry Heat Photography, the gallery hosts juried fine art photography shows. Dry Heat Photography sponsors the Soul Portraiture, a series of open-submission exhibitions that attempts to capture the energy and spirit found within a variety of subjects. The fourth,"Electro-Light," a look at the ambiance of nightlife, will open in June at Dry Heat Gallery and will be the first Soul Portraiture exhibit at the gallery. Amateur and professional photographers interested in submitting for the juried show can get details at the gallery website's "Call to Artists" section or at dryheatblog.com. The next submission deadline is May 31.
There's a profusion of witty truisms about the power of books, roughly half of them coined by either Mark Twain or Oscar Wilde. But I think my favorite is William Faulkner's entreaty: "Read, read, read." Or listen to people read. Also, talking about reading is good. Luckily for you, there's mucho going on around this two-area code state to facilitate your print and pulp addiction.
The connections between art, madness and tragedy are often sensationalized. Far be it for us to go against that grain. Match these famous poets with the way they died and some of their verses. Happy Poetry Month!
Separating the alarmist hype from the scary truth on Capitol Hill
By Ari LeVaux
My inbox has been pummeled by e-mails warning me of the evils of a bill working its way through Congress. Sponsored by Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., H.R. 875—aka the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009—is one of a raft of bills introduced in the wake of the peanut butter-borne salmonella outbreak.
Like a tar-black sludge, sticky and suffocating, the last eight years of American politics dripped over our faces, plugging eyes, noses, ears, mouths. As Bush-Cheney White House atrocities oozed into the public consciousness, we were numb, deaf, blind—unscandalized.
Albuquerque city councilors were in a laid-back mood when they trimmed their lengthy agenda to less than a handful of items during the Monday, April 6 meeting. Before getting any real work done, they heard public comments for a couple of hours. Many speakers focused on funding city parks, but there were also remarks from blue-collar city employees protesting the mayor’s belt-tightening request.
While there are still eight candidates running for mayor, only three qualified for public financing. City Clerk Randy Autio said Richard "R.J." Berry, Mayor Martin Chavez and Richard Romero received their cash last week. Berry took in $319,000, Romero pocketed $297,000 and Mayor Martin Chavez qualified for more than $328,000 to spend on his as-yet-unannounced campaign. Autio explained the amount varies because seed money and in-kind contributions are subtracted from what candidates pull from city coffers.
Dateline: Bosnia—A desperate husband tried to kill his mother-in-law with an antitank missile launcher after claiming she turned his wife against him. The woman survived the missile strike—and a subsequent machine gun attack—with barely a scratch. Miroslav Miljici apparently wanted revenge against his mother-in-law for the breakup of his marriage. Miljici was sentenced to six years for attempted murder by a court in Doboj. In defense of his unsuccessful, high-caliber murder attempt, Miljici told the court he could no longer stand his mother-in-law’s nagging.
A few minutes after my interview concluded with The Smile Ease bassist Marc Bourdon, the Anchorage resident shot me an e-mail with this message: “I did want to add another crazy thing about Alaska. There is a big volcano, Mt. Redoubt, that is screwing up all the air traffic in Anchorage. There is a really shitty chance that the volcano could screw up our flights and make us miss one or many of our shows if we can’t get out.”
But I woke up and it was just another false alarm. So, instead of sardonic insight into the iconic British singer's mind, you get the Morrissey Singles Album Art Challenge! Take out your clumsy pens and match the Morrissey or Smiths single art to the correct song and let the sadness sink in.
Hardcore punk act No Harm Done came all the way from Florida to break in Thread: Space, a new venue at 5909 Marble NE (near San Pedro and Lomas). Locals Highland Park, Dead Hours and Easier Said Than Done open the doors on at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 9. All-ages, $5. (Laura Marrich)
Comic book and pop culture collectible shop Astro-Zombies is celebrating its brand-new-and-improved location (four doors west of the old one, on the corner of Richmond and Central) with an honest-to-goodness celebrity visit. Ray Stevenson, star of the recently released on DVD action film Punisher: War Zone, will be at the store on Saturday, April 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. for an autograph signing. Stevenson, also known for his work as Titus Pullo on HBO’s “Rome,” is in town shooting the postapocalyptic action flick The Book of Eli for the Hughes brothers.Drop on by and say hello to the nice man. Astro-Zombies is now located at 3100 Central SE. For more info, log on to astrozombies.com.
Bizarro filmmaker Craig Baldwin brings ephemeral weirdness and conspiratorial sub pop to town
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Since the ’70s, Bay Area filmmaker Craig Baldwin has been piecing together 16mm snippets of found footage and creating cinematic collages dealing with topics such as imperialism, copyright law and the paranormal. Baldwin’s efforts function as an affront to what he calls “rarefied, hushed art” and—in favor of creating a horizontal exchange rather than a hierarchy—attempt to demystify art that takes itself seriously. Six years ago, Baldwin helped establish Other Cinema Digital (OCD), a niche DVD label housing 21 titles. OCD seeks to promote media archaeology and broaden the imprint of underground film. As the culmination of the monthlong Other Cinema festival at Guild Cinema, Baldwin will make three appearances at the indie art house theater. Baldwin will accompany screenings of his latest feature, Mock Up on Mu, which explores the alternative history of “post-war” Southern California. The film is crawling with sex magic, spiritual hierarchies, devil worshipping and aerospace gone wrong. Before his visit, the Alibi got Baldwin on the horn to talk about saucers and rockets.
Z-grade sci-fi movie asks, “When is a spoof not a spoof?”
By Devin D. O’Leary
Masquerading as a long-lost film rescued from a dusty studio vault after 50 years, Alien Trespass keeps a straight face while replicating—to the letter—its creatively and financially impoverished drive-in movie predecessors. Though virtually the same gag was pulled off in 2001’s The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Alien Trespass still qualifies as a treat for those with a nostalgic taste for Z-grade Hollywood movies.
Generally speaking, television producers seem to have two ideas in their bag of tricks: doctor dramas and police dramas. So it’s no real surprise to find that creator/producer John Wells is following up his 15-year run on the recently concluded med show “ER” with the new cop show “Southland.”
Is it White History Week again already? You know, even though the stores are filled with decorations, it sneaks up on me every year. White History Week, rather than a reiteration of the sort of rich white male history that takes up most weeks of the year, seeks to explore how racial identity is constructed and defined. The events, which take place Wednesday, April 15, through Tuesday, April 21, include workshops, poetry readings, theater performances and a Shabbat dinner. If you're interested in truly investigating race and racism (and apparently, just because Obama is president does not mean racism is dead), then go to nmantiracism.blogspot.com for more information about events, places, times and topics.
Larry Bob Phillips recently completed a mural in the men’s restroom at the Atomic Cantina. It’s a beautifully complex mess of desire, sadness and digestion involving bombs, pasta and sex. Phillips lives in Albuquerque and will be an artist-in-residence in Roswell beginning in August.
There are as many ways to express our love of food as there are people on this planet. Some of us live in kitchens, some travel in search of new tasty tidbits and some just sit back and critique (ahem). Significantly fewer foodies declare their obsession with that most permanent of expressions: the tattoo. In honor of this paper’s annual photo contest, we present a small roundup of New Mexicans who proudly wear their stomachs on their sleeves. We know this only scratches the surface of what’s out there: If you’ve got a tattoo that looks good enough to eat, post a picture of it as a comment under this article.
Who doesn’t love a friendly competition? Every year, our readers submit thousands of votes telling us what they think about the best and brightest our city has to offer. The results are in, determined entirely by our readers, not Alibi staff. Here’s to you, Albuquerque, and to your finest.
The fresh-faced congressman representing our city and the rest of CD1 in Washington won this most important race, the one to your hearts. Awwww. So far he's made good on his promise to support green legislation and cosponsored a bill that would require the United States to get 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.
Written, directed, filmed and edited by Chris Roybal, Descansos is a fine choice. The drama about love, loss and roadside shrines is made up of eight vignettes shot all the way across northern New Mexico. In addition to showcasing picturesque locations like Albuquerque, Taos and Chimayo, the film also shines a spotlight on more than 20 local up-and-coming actors and actresses.
When you're in the mood for a casual, food-based affair—you know, just a bowl of soup, an iced mocha latte or a big muffin—you head straight to one of the many (and still growing) locations of Flying Star. Who needs table service and linen napkins when you've got gooey, creamy mac and cheese?
A diverse array of drinkers stops by for a cold one every night at the Anodyne. No matter what social clique you belong to or what your beverage of choice is, the staff at the Anodyne makes sure you get it fast. It only takes a few visits before the bartenders know what you want before you even ask for it.
The movers and shakers behind New Mexico's largest independent bookstore recently shut the doors at Page One Two, folding most of that store's used stock into the original Page One. While it's sad to see Page One Two gone, it makes Page One even more vital. Where else can you find such a locally owned superstore filled with literary treasures both new and used?
Fast Heart Mart doesn't just talk the sidewalk talk; it walks the sidewalk rock. Rain, shine or mounted horse cops on the street, FHM gives the finger to holding down a job and high-fives the common man with a snare drum and that unmistakable double-necked acoustic guitar.
You put out an e-mail events newsletter called Subterranean Albuquerque. What's your motivation for doing it?
I think it's generally known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. But it also seems like there's a real need for something that gathers information into one place for people. It provides a big picture of how vital the "un-dependent" music scene (not to mention other alternative media) is in this town.
I've always been involved in the Boys and Girls Club. It's played a major role in who I've become. I grew up in a single-parent home and my mom worked. My coaches there were like my fathers. That was the first place I learned to take my hat off when I came into a room, and which is the salad fork and which is the dinner fork, and things like that. They have all kinds of great programs that helped me learn how to fit in wherever I went.
What’s an example of art you love in Burque, and why?
Ross Ward’s Tinkertown Museum (on the east side of the Sandias) embodies a theme that is unique to Albuquerque. Ward’s brilliant homage to himself expresses a wry and defiant sense of independence that does not answer to popular trends or fashions. Albuquerque’s creative community possesses this same need for self-invention. In the 18 years that I have lived in this city, I have witnessed the ebb and flow of a dynamic cultural landscape that demands a high level of engagement and participation but is always a whole lotta fun!
It's a chance for you to kick us in the pants, complain about categories we did and didn't have, and give shout-outs to your homies. We got a vote for Hamlet 2 as the worst movie filmed in Albuquerque. Gene Grant's "The Line" on PBS got a vote as the best local TV show. Grant got another nod when someone voted for him and Jim Belshaw as the best ex-newspaper columnists. Another Burqueño said we should nickname our fair city "The Cheap and Sunny," probably after that killer Fast Heart Mart song. And how's this for heartwarming? Best reason to live in Albuquerque: the people.
OK, so the democratic process yielded the Best of Burque winners. So what? What about the hidden treasures and awesome insider info lurking inside your own BOB ballot? If you want to share your incredibly discerning picks with the world via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace or whatever your favorite web gizmo might be, we've cooked up a quick-and-easy page here >>. It's a crazy social media world! We only live in it.
You know the cartoon pizza chef who wears a white toque with his ears sticking out and a smile that takes up half his face? The one who sends dough soaring toward the ceiling in dizzying swirls? Well, Burque now has its own such pizzaiolo.
We were putzing around the kitchen on a Saturday afternoon (our favorite pastime) and decided to make some snacky nuts to have in a bowl on the kitchen table. We had a bouquet of fresh rosemary in our face, which had just been clipped from the garden and jammed into a vase, so herby nuts became the mission. As luck would have it, pecans were the only nut in the house. We just roasted, tossed and served ’em up.
Dateline: Germany—A Bavarian town is finally set to strip Adolf Hitler of the honorary citizenship he was granted—a mere 64 years after the fall of the Nazi leader’s regime. Austrian-born Hitler secured German citizenship from Bavarian burghers in Schwabach, located near Nuremberg, in 1933. Last Friday, city councilors voted to strip the deceased dictator and two other senior Nazi officials of their citizenship. “It would look strange if we didn’t withdraw it,” Mayor Matthias Thürauf told the Croatian Times.
This Friday, April 3, is the deadline to get your locally made films (shorts or features) in to the 2009 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase. The four-day event (May 14 through 17) is sponsored by the State Film Office and gives up-and-coming New Mexico film and video artists a chance to show off their work. This is a first-come, first-served “open sheet”-style screening. Organizers will accept a total of 30 hours’ worth of programming, and space is filling up quick. If you’ve got something you’d like to show off and haven’t submitted it yet, get on over to Guild Cinema in Nob Hill (3405 Central NE) and drop off your DVD! For more information, log on to nmfilm.com.
Judging from the trailer for Adventureland, casual viewers might assume they’re in for a lighthearted romp through post-collegiate hell. But save for a few full-belly laughs, the film is anything but blithe.
Epic biopic more bluntly informative than passionately provocative
By Devin D. O’Leary
Writer/producer/cinematographer/director Steven Soderbergh has had his name attached to enough big-ticket blockbusters (Out Of Sight, Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Ocean’s Eleven) to be mistaken for a mainstream Hollywood filmmaker. He isn’t really. Dig through his résumé in full and you’ll find plenty of proof that—despite palling around with George Clooney and Julia Roberts—his heart lies in doggedly uncommercial independent cinema. For evidence, put Kafka, King of the Hill, Underneath, Schizopolis and 2005’s self-distributed Bubble in your Netflix queue—because you probably aren’t going to find them at your local Blockbuster.
Marianne Dissard was born in a small village in the South of France.
When Dissard was 16, her dad secured a job in Arizona and moved the entire family over. Her parents went back to France a few years later, but Dissard stayed behind. She went to USC for film school, then she returned to Tucson to film a documentary on the local band Giant Sand. The group featured future Calexico frontman Joey Burns.
Dissard says she planned to move back to France for good after her film was finished, but romance intervened. While visiting Paris, she met a French musician who adored Tucson, and the two returned to the desert.
Formerly an online-only gallery, it seems appropriate that ArtHaus66 is now housed in the same building where Bill Gates and Paul Allen began developing Microsoft. The gallery provides Albuquerqueans with the unique opportunity to see stateside exhibitions by contemporary Spanish artists, often before they show anywhere else west of New York or Boston. ArtHaus66 also shows work from other European and U.S.-based artists. The gallery specializes in photographs, prints and paintings.
I don't have kids, and because I've had more time to observe and judge how other people raise their kids, this pretty much makes me somewhat of an expert on child rearing. One trend that I hate is children's books that make noise. As if colorful pictures and a nice story involving a small animal and its loving parent, read by your own adoring parent, is just way too boring when you're 2. Now, I have never taken a class in psychiatry or psychology, but I'm fairly sure I'm 100 percent right when I say the formula is simple: Toys that make needless noise = future ADD.
The Desert Rose Playhouse is hard to find. Located in a Northeast Heights strip mall alongside an optician and next to a car wash, the MapQuest directions aren’t wrong; it's just that it doesn't seem like it’s supposed to be there. It's a long way from the theater nexus of Nob Hill and Downtown.
It’s a cold March morning when I meet with Shelley Simms at UNM’s Jonson Gallery. Simms is the administrative assistant at the gallery and a UNM alumnus. A few months back, she and I, along with the UNM Art Museum’s Esther Golden, discussed art in Albuquerque over French-style sandwiches. We had gotten together to talk about what programs and exhibits their organizations were offering, but it quickly became a larger conversation about UNM’s art presence in the city.