Quirky characters, dysfunctional families and Zooey Deschanel? Indie comedy follows the formula, but still feels fresh.
By Devin D. O’Leary
There’s reason to believe that first-time writer/director Matt Aselton is a talent to watch. His first outing, the pleasingly offbeat comedy Gigantic, gives off a vibe that falls somewhere in the same general territory as Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale), Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenenbaums), Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger) and a number of other young auteurs who read The Catcher in the Rye at a precocious age and grew up with the goal of submitting independent, coming-of-age comedies to the Sundance Film Festival.
On the way to nowhere in particular, there’s plenty to see
By Maren Tarro
There are about 60,000 miles of highway snaking across New Mexico. They cross back and forth over the varying depths of the Rio Grande Valley, up and down steep, jagged mountains blanketed with towering ponderosa pines, and in and out of scraggly mesquite-strewn deserts. Some of those miles are smooth and paved. Others are barely discernible from the landscapes they traverse.
May 23-25: Wine lovers rejoice. The Albuquerque Wine Festival hits the Balloon Fiesta grounds this Memorial Day weekend from noon to 6 p.m. each day. Entry is $15 and includes a souvenir glass (kids under 21 get in free with a parent or guardian). Visit the New Mexico Wine Growers Association website to discover other festivals happening around the state this summer.
A stern City Council clipped its way through the Monday, May 4 meeting. After clearing up routine matters, the Council, minus Sally Mayer, approved hiring an outside attorney to go head-to-head with Mayor Martin Chavez. At issue: the capital budget bill. The Council says its version is valid. The mayor says it isn’t.
Dateline: Serbia—A union official said he cut off his own finger and ate it to show how desperate he and other workers are over wages that have gone unpaid for years. “We, the workers, have nothing to eat. We had to seek some sort of alternative food and I gave them an example,” Reuters news service quoted Zoran Bulatovic as saying. The Raska Holding textile factory union leader used a hacksaw to chop the little finger off his left hand last week in the town of Novi Pazar in southwest Serbia. “It hurt like hell,” said Bulatovic. Bulatovic said the worker’s demands will not stop, but that further self-mutilations will be postponed until expected talks with government officials.
Attention, comic book fans: Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (creators of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz) need your help. They’ll be in New Mexico this summer shooting their new film Paul, a comedy about a couple of middle-aged fanboys who road trip back from the San Diego Comic-Con and stumble across a crashed UFO, complete with alien (the titular Paul), in the American Southwest. Producers will hold a casting call for Star Wars, Star Trek, and “other science fiction and Comic-Con” fans and devotees this coming Saturday, May 9, at Far Horizon Studio (304 Washington SE). This casting call will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Come in your best superhero or science-fiction costume. (Like you need an excuse to break out your Boba Fett helmet.)
Budget-conscious prequel examines the mutant behind the mask
By Devin D. O’Leary
Given the $87 million opening weekend take for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there can’t be too much worry over in the offices of 20th Century Fox about the future of the X-Men franchise. It remains to be seen whether the same can be said by actual fans of all things Marvelous and mutant-related. After all, if the most popular, most interesting, most storied of the X-Men characters can headline a film that is so ... average, what hope is there for future spin-offs? How exciting would a Cyclops movie be? Can Iceman really hold up an entire movie on his own? Is the world screaming for 90 minutes’ worth of Kitty Pryde walking through walls? Would the Hollywood economy collapse if audiences were subjected to a Dazzler movie? The mind reels.
The major networks are just weeks away from announcing their new fall schedules. Some shows are guaranteed slots. (“The Bachelor,” we’ll be seeing you again. Sadly.) Others are definitely canceled. (Why, “Pushing Daisies,” why?) Yet to determine their fates are a number of shows who remain on the bubble between cancellation and renewal. Fans, start your online petitions now!
Talk about synergy. Warehouse 508 is inviting teens to tour its soon-to-be-opened 26,000-square-foot venue in the heart of Downtown (508 First Street NW, just south of Lomas) on Saturday, May 9. After you've had a good look around, you can jump onto a "VIP" tour bus to Warehouse 21, Santa Fe's successful youth space and 508's mentoring sister site. Then you'll get to see how they do it in the City Different with an all-ages concert from Definition Rare, Asper Kourt, The Harlow Defense, Zagadka and the Duke City Youth Poetry Collective.
UNM's ARTS Lab and the SPECTRE SERIES keep cranking the experimental output knob with Metal Rouge (freeform duo from New Zealand and L.A.) and Mesa Ritual (Burque’s Raven Chacon and William Fowler Collins) on Saturday, May 9. Bring a $5 or $10 donation to the ARTS Lab Garage (131 Pine NE) at 9 p.m. Info at artslabmusic.blogspot.com. (Laura Marrich)
Artspace 116, nestled on the second floor between the First and Second block of Central, is a community service gallery that features artists without a gallery affiliation. Past Artspace 116 exhibits include mixed media, photography, oil painting, lithography, and porcelain and iron works. Gallery showings are typically one-person exhibits of work by New Mexico artists. Don and Pamela Michaelis opened the gallery in November 2004. It's now run by the staff of The Collector's Guide, a website and print magazine focused around the visual art of northern New Mexico and the Southwest.
It's that time of year. You can feel it in the air, smell it on the 50-mph winds whipping your skull. It smells like ... brief spurts of genius. That's right; it's time for the Alibi's annual Flash Fiction Contest. Every year we ask our creative readership to strip their prodigious prose down to its essence. In this case, that's 119 words’ worth of story nuggets. Too limiting? Then consider this Hemingway treasure: "For sale: baby shoes, never worn." That would give you another 113 words with which to blabber on. Come to think of it, 119 words seems a bit much, but such are our long-established rules.
In Greek mythology, the Minotaur was a monster with the body of a man and the head of a bull. His birth story starts with Minos. Minos prayed to Poseidon, highly temperamental god of the sea, to send him a sign that the throne of Crete would be his. Poseidon sent a snow-white bull intended for sacrifice, but instead, Minos decided to keep it for its beauty and sacrifice another. Naturally, Poseidon was peeved, and in spectacularly weird Greek myth fashion, made Minos' wife Pasiphaë fall in love with the bull. She in turn asked the famed architect Daedalus to build her a wooden cow that she climbed inside of in order to mate with the bull. The progeny of this cursed coupling was the Minotaur, who was later imprisoned in a labyrinth and killed by the hero Theseus for various assorted, well, labyrinthian reasons.
Best-selling author Michael Datcher and the fear of being real
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Los Angeles-based writer Michael Datcher has a roving eye, at least as far as genres are concerned. He's equally enamored with memoir, fiction, poetry and journalism and refuses to commit to just one. His 2001 autobiography Raising Fences: A Black Man's Love Story was featured as part of the Today Show Book Club series and caught the eye of none other than Dame Oprah. Raising Fences chronicles Datcher's childhood growing up fatherless, given up by his birth mother for another woman to raise. It takes a naked look at how black boys become black men often without any men around. It's a cycle that Datcher hopes, through honest examination, will be broken.
The media has been having a field day with the idea that gardening can be a hedge against the weak economy. “As American families try to stretch their food budgets during the recession, some are turning to the backyard, rather than the grocery store ...” says CNN. Or “Step one in the battle against soaring food prices,” Salon agrees. “Start your own recession garden.”
American misconceptions of Irish cuisine thrive like clover in the meadow. In our minds, the island’s entire culinary history revolves around four food groups: potatoes, corned beef, cabbage and Guinness. Yet there’s so much more to the story.
How the South Valley is giving capitalism a good name
By Ari LeVaux
Tony Gallegos has a solid build. He’s a former wrestler with a vague resemblance to a 50-something Erik Estrada. His mind is in constant motion, making connections and synthesizing disparate information, and his mouth is rarely far behind. All the while, the wrestler in him stays on alert for leverage points on which to pivot the game to his advantage. And the game won’t be over, as far as he’s concerned, until his beloved South Valley is on an even playing field.
This coming weekend, Alibi Midnight Movie Madness will sponsor a three-day film festival at Guild Cinema in Nob Hill. Revenge of the Worst Film Festival Everwill feature 11 of the most hilariously inept films ever stuck on a movie projector. The second (semi-)annual festival will feature awful science fiction, terrible horror, pitiful jungle action and even a notorious all-midget Western—handpicked from the pop cultural trash piles of the ’50s through the ’80s.
In Hollywood, even the humble ampersand is elevated to an exalted position. When it comes to movie credits, the word “and” is used to indicate two people who had very little to do with one another. If, for example, a screenplay is written by “John Somebody and Jane Something,” then John and Jane probably wrote two separate screenplays that were glued together by the studio. If, on the other hand, there’s an ampersand linking their names, that means the two worked together. Ampersands are relatively rare in Hollywood, indicating closely linked teams like Joel & Ethan Coen (No Country for Old Men), Harry Elfont & Deborah Kaplan (Can’t Hardly Wait), Andy & Larry Wachowski (The Matrix) and, uh, Rocky Morton & Annabel Jankel (Super Mario Bros., anyone?).
Everybody’s piling onto the CGI cartoon bandwagon. But for every WALL•E, there are 10 Delgos. Sailing firmly into the latter category is the ambitious but underwhelming sci-fi toon Battle for Terra. Directed by Aristomenis Tsirbas (visual effects supervisor on the 1999 remake of My Favorite Martian) and written by Evan Spiliotopoulos (The Lion King 1 1/2, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning and several other cheap Disney direct-to-DVD sequels), the film is at the very least a step forward for Greek-Canadian filmmakers.
Titan of local rock Unit 7 Drain bowed out for the better part of a year to procreate and pursue other projects. Now it’s back with another album (No. 8) in the hole. U7D births DEATH andblows out the candles on a decade of post-wave at the Launchpad on Friday, May 1. The Hopefuls will reunite, The Oktober People will forward on and Leeches of Lore will lift off at 10 p.m. $5 gets you in the door with a CD. 21+. (Laura Marrich)
Willie Sutton, the famous bank robber and antiestablishment hero of the ’30s, was asked why he chose to rob banks. Mr. Sutton was amazed at the question. “Well,” he answered after scratching his head, “because that’s where the money is.”
Dateline: England—A woman who was issued an Anti-Social Behaviour Order banning her from engaging in high-decibel lovemaking with her husband was arrested by police for breaking the order—just two days after it was issued.
Bright Rain Gallery calls Old Town its home, but the gallery owners' mission is to infuse the area's tradition with edgy and interesting beauty from local artists. Married couple Travis and Molly Black opened Bright Rain Gallery in November 2007, and the space features contemporary, Southwestern and Modern Art.
Erect those maypoles, kids; it's May Day! For the Celts (shout-out to my forebears), it was the occasion of Beltane, the beginning of summer. One ritual involved the passing around of Beltane cakes, one piece of which would be blackened. The recipient of this unlucky piece would be mock executed. Kind of like waterboarding.
Wait a minute. I know how this ends. The cheetah wins.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Between 1955 and 1971, the Walt Disney Company released a string of short-subject documentary films dubbed True-Life Adventures. The True-Life Adventures series contains some of the film industry’s earliest wildlife documentaries. The 20 or so films Disney produced introduced many a child to the world of nature and probably inspired the future career of a young biologist or two. Of course, the series is also notorious for a 1958 film titled White Wilderness, which depicts hundreds of migrating lemmings plunging off cliffs into the ocean in a mass rodent suicide. In the years since, science and biology (and documentary filmmaking) have progressed a bit. It’s now generally understood that lemmings racing across the tundra and drowning themselves on a yearly basis is nothing more than a myth, and that Disney’s filmmakers faked the footage in White Wilderness by, well, shoveling a bunch of lemmings off a cliff in Alberta.
North America's largest powwow is packed with Native foods, traditional dancing and music, and 800 artists and traders. This year's Stage 49 features music and entertainers from across North America (See "Gathering of Nations Entertainment Schedule").
Everything can change in one instant. RedCloud remembers well the moment that forever altered his life and set it skittering off on its present trajectory. He was in the sixth grade in Hawthorne, a predominantly black and Mexican-American community in South Los Angeles. (He's still proud to live there, now with his wife and 2-month-old son.) Sensing a fight, he joined a herd of kids as they broke into a run toward a patch of playground where two older black students were facing off. In Hawthorne, RedCloud says, kids learned to fight at a young age. Since the violence of gang life and abusive homes touched everyone sooner or later, toughness was a subject of study.
Writer-director François Girard will present his underrated film The Red Violin as the opening night film of this year’s fifth annual White Sands International Film Festival in Las Cruces. The historical drama stars Samuel L. Jackson as a researcher at an auction house who tries to uncover the secret history of a famous violin, tracing it back through three centuries and multiple owners. The film’s 10 years old at this point, but it’s a good one, having captured an Academy Award for Best Musical Score in 1998. Girard, who also directed Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould, will take part in a Q&A after the screening. Opening night for the fest is Thursday, April 23, and begins at 7 p.m.
Even if you missed the credits, you’d be able to tell almost the instant it started that The Informers is based on a book by Bret Easton Ellis. Like nearly everything the trendy, Reagan-era chronicler wrote (Less Than Zero, American Psycho, The Rules of Attraction, Glamorama), The Informers focuses on a group of wealthy young people who do a lot of drugs and have sex with one another in various gender combinations, all to the tune of Wang Chung. In between hedonistic bouts, they mope around, consumed with the ennui of fabulousness. It’s like “The Hills,” only with more nudity. And given that we now have “The Hills” (plus other simpatico reality shows like “Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County,” “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” “My Super Sweet 16,” “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”—not to mention Paris Hilton in all her public iterations), it makes one wonder just what purpose Ellis’ work serves in this day and age.
Honestly, I was a year or two too old to fully to appreciate G.I. Joe when it was relaunched in 1982 as a toy, cartoon and comic book line. I could still recall playing with the muscular 12-inch G.I. Joe in his late-’70s incarnation as part of the Adventure Team. (Instead of shooting Nazis, he fought gorillas and mummies and had that badass “Kung-Fu Grip.”) The G.I. Joes that were 3-and-3/4 inch just seemed wimpy to me. But the ’80s incarnation (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) had its legions of rabid followers who carry the “Yo, Joe!” banner to this day. Amid the flurry of nostalgic activity inspired by the live-action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra movie hitting theaters this August, there’s a small piece of Joe history flying just under the radar that hardcore fans might want to take note of.
Founded 35 years ago, Mariposa Gallery is owned by Liz Dineen and Jennifer Rohrig. It features a new show monthly, with an opening on the first Friday of every month. The gallery focuses on exhibiting the artwork of New Mexico artists and features a great variety of works. Jewelry, ceramics, glass, textiles, wood, paintings, and mixed media are sprinkled throughout its small building (with a tiny second floor that shouldn't be ignored).
Listen, kids, you can have your skateboarding rap “sexting” graffiti tournaments. Those things are loud and rarely have chairs available. Me, I'll take the classics: wine, poetry, radio stories, morality plays. Some may consider such diversions old-timey, but I like to think of them as time-tested entertainment that ends early enough for me to catch "Nightline."
Working Classroom examines and celebrates the lives of Latina teens
By Erin Adair-Hodges
The world of teenage girls is a treacherous one. Alternately sunshiney and sullen, adolescent girls are virtuosos of eye-rolling, out-of-room stomping and door slamming. They're also funny, brave and kind, a potent mix that can make plumbing their psychological depths as impossible as it is imperative.
Comedians James and Ernie don’t lack for energy. And when I first saw their act at the All Nations Comedy and Music Revue in 2007, neither did the audience. Held at San Felipe Casino Hollywood, the revue primarily drew residents of nearby pueblos, and they lost their collective mind over the duo's Native American-centered humor. I was also struck by the importance of fry bread. Fry bread, be it the difference in texture from clan to clan or the difficulty in finding a mate who makes it like your mom, factored somehow into nearly every story they told.
Words Afire Festival unites UNM playwrights with NYC directors
By Sarah M. Kramer
The transition from the world of academics to the professional world can be jarring. The debut of the New American Plays Initiative at the ninth annual Words Afire Festival is the UNM dramatic writing program's way to alleviate recently graduated students’ scholastic separation anxiety.
Palestinian journalist Ziad Abbas shines light on an American blind spot
By Marisa Demarco
In 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their homes. Ziad Abbas' mother was one of them. "My mom, she closed the house with a key, and took the key with her," she says. "She thought she would come back to the house in a few days."
Councilors weeded their way through what at first glance looked like a packed 4/20 agenda. They deferred some items, added others and approved in one swoop a consent agenda full of committee appointments, reports and grant applications. Then the Council got some work done. Sort of.
Dateline: Russia—An immigrant from Azerbaijan living in the northern city of Saint Petersburg has been charged with hiring hit men to kill his 21-year-old daughter for wearing a miniskirt. The man’s arrest last week follows the detention of two other men from Azerbaijan—a majority Muslim, ex-Soviet state in the Caucasus—who confessed to murdering the girl. “They admitted to being paid 100,000 rubles [$3,000] by the girl’s father. They said he wanted to punish his daughter for flouting national traditions and wearing a miniskirt,” a police source told reporters at Agence France-Presse. The girl, a university medical student, was abducted on the street on March 8, taken to the outskirts of Saint Petersburg and shot twice in the head.
The struggle for the city’s top job looks like it will narrow down to a three-way bout between Democrats Mayor Martin Chavez and former state Sen. Richard Romero and Republican businessman Rep. Richard Berry. The candidates have until April 28 to submit more than 6,500 ballot petition signatures in order to qualify. These camps say they have more than enough.
Like salmon swimming upstream to spawn, skateboarders leave the concrete grind of Albuquerque each spring for the cool, mountain town of Jemez. On Saturday, April 25, the succinctly titled Jemez Springs Skateboard Competition Extravaganza returns to Jemez' municipal skate park.
Move. Groove. Groom. Your mustache. Stereotyperider headlines Toddy T-Bones’ Fifth Annual Mustache Party on Saturday, April 25, at the Launchpad with Split Hoof (follicly gifted Austin stoner rock) and more hirsute versions of Black Maria, Ends !n Tragedy and DJ Chach. Doors splay open at 8 p.m. No word on cover yet, but people without mustaches may be monetarily punished. There’s no peach fuzz at this party (21+ only). (Laura Marrich)
There is no food more American than the almighty hamburger. It’s beefy and juicy, it lacks pretension and, when it’s grilled just right, it tastes a little like freedom. Despite its simple and inherent perfection, there's also no lack of folks who invariably come along and try to improve it. Maybe it's the meddling (if well-meaning) American in them.
To pick one springtime recipe for y'all, we thought long and hard on an old-school Passover/Easter theme. Nothing flashy, something hearty: curry quinoa salad. Props to our gal pal Jesse for calling this one. Dried cranberries and snap peas do go together.