Alibi V.18 No.21 • May 21-27, 2009

Culture Shock

There's no one way to be a female artist these days, as evidenced by what's going on around town this week. This 21st-century world is our oyster, and oyster may or may not be a metaphor for lady parts and birth; it’s totally up to us.

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What’s a Feminist Like You Doing in a Place Like This?

Judy Chicago’s Belen vs. The Hometown I Narrowly Escaped

There's a 1971 photo of Judy Chicago taken by Jerry McMillan that shows her dressed like a boxer in a ring. She stands in the corner, her arms crooked back over the ropes, gloved hands dangling. Her chin is thrust forward and her eyes challenge the camera and, presumably, anyone else. Across her shirt is emblazoned in block, gym-class letters, “JUDY CHICAGO.” It's badass.

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Reel World

In case you didn’t know, ’70s comedy sensations Cheech and Chong have reunited and are playing the Sandia Casino on Friday, May 22, beginning at 8 p.m. If you haven’t purchased your tickets yet (and they ain’t cheap), you’ll be pleased to note that longtime University area poster shop Louie’s Rock-N-Reels (105 Harvard SE) will be raffling off a pair of tickets to see the big show. The drawing will take place on Thursday, May 21, at 7 p.m. at the store across from UNM campus. Get in there before then to register! ... Of course, if you don’t win the tickets, you can always come to Guild Cinema on Friday and Saturday night to catch Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong in all their cinematic glory. Alibi Midnight Movie Madness will be presenting the duo’s 1978 stoner comedy debut Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke beginning at 10:30 p.m. both nights. Super fans are encouraged to attend both the concert and the movie screening. Bring your ticket stubs from the Sandia show, flash them at the Guild box office and you’ll get $2 off the admission price on Friday or Saturday night.

Terminator Salvation

Terminator series gets a reboot up the ass courtesy of McG

Thanks to the success of Batman Begins, Casino Royale, Friday the 13th and Star Trek (plus laziness on the part of consumers and a complete lack of creativity in Hollywood), we are now in the era of the franchise relaunch. Film series that burned out years ago are being resurrected, given a spit shine and shoved back into theaters to the tune of hundreds of millions in box office grosses. It’s only a matter of time (mark my words!) before we are subjected to Back to the Future IV or Weekend at Bernie’s III.

Absurdistan

German-by-way-of-Azerbaijani comedy finds whimsy in age-old battle of the sexes

From the evidence at hand, German writer-director Veit Helmer isn’t much at home in his own country, having helmed productions in Bulgaria, Portugal, Japan and Kazakhstan. The globe-hopping filmmaker is best known for his magical 1999 comedy Tuvalu, about romantic entanglements at a broken-down bathhouse in Eastern Europe. Helmer’s newest offering, the tonally similar Absurdistan, finds him back on the international scene—this time in the Eurasian nation of Azerbaijan. The result of this cinematic sojourn is an inordinately enjoyable throwback to ’90s cinema when the foreign/art house environment was filled with films that were cute, charming, exotic and slightly naughty.

TV News

Tidbits from around the dial

Chuck Saves a Buck—ABC has agreed to bring the spy-fi series “Chuck” back next season with one caveat: The budget needs to be slashed. The network will only be producing 13 episodes next season, and the show will have two fewer writers and at least one less cast member to work with. (No word yet on who gets the ax.) Apparently, the penny-pinching is not an unusual request these days. At the same time, ABC opted not to renew the Christina Applegate sitcom “Samantha Who?” for a third season after producers failed to trim around $500,000 (ouch!) from each episode’s budget.

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Music to Your Ears

We might be slightly embarrassed to admit it, but there are many of us out there who crank up the volume on the car radio when "Follow You Down" comes on The Peak. Yes, friends, the Blossoms we call Gin are coming to Albuquerque.

The Oktober People CD Release Show

After five years in the womb, the little baby has arrived

Sean McCullough says he's sick of listening to his band's new album.

Albuquerque's The Oktober People spent five years writing songs then recording Explore The Sky Too. McCullough produced the album. "I've listened to it so many times that I don't ever want to hear it again," McCullough says with a chuckle. "I'm still really proud of it. I think people will notice that we really just put a lot of time into it."

Singer Nate Santa Maria says the band developed a personal relationship with each track. "I love those songs," he asserts. "They're our little babies."

Flyer on the Wall

On Monday, May 25, Burque’s long-worshipped cult of raunchy rock will make its final boobie-jiggling, gravy-covered appearance. Steve Eiland and his demonic Beefcake in Chains will slip and slide all over the Launchpad stage for the last time with The Meatmen, Chapstik and Spin Dry Kittins. The concluding descent into madness starts at 9:30 p.m. 21+ only. Duh. (Laura Marrich)

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Thin Line

When I was but an intern reporter at a daily newspaper, I got an assignment I'll never forget. Due to a lack of drainage in the South Valley, even a little bit of precipitation sent rivers of rainwater up to and beyond doorsteps. A big rain for one of my eventual sources meant moving the kids out to the camper to sleep because the water level in his house was higher than the electrical outlets.

Aw, Rats!

Muñecas fall to Seattle in a nail-biter

They'd been outplayed in the first period.

Muñecas Muertas jammers spent the better part of 30 minutes behind a brick wall of Rat City blockers. When the buzzer sounded, Burque’s squad was facing a 42-point deficit. Players looked frustrated—but collected.

Hot Corn

A report says rising temps will hurt the nation’s moneymaking crops. But can wind save them?

Americans love corn. This year, our nation planted nearly 85 million acres of it, making it our largest agricultural crop. (The second-largest crop is soybeans, with a little more than 76 million acres planted this year.) That’s according to the USDA. It makes sense that we put so much of it in the ground; sometimes it seems like everything we produce in this country comes with a side of corn.

Answer Me This

Traffic is the worst. What are people stealing from public schools? How many students can claim a diploma after four years of high school? Why are mayoral candidates pissed at the mayor?

Odds & Ends

Dateline: New Zealand—A pregnant woman arrested on her eighth drunk driving offense couldn’t be sentenced because she was too drunk in court. Rachel Brown, 28, registered nearly 2 1/2 times the legal limit on a breath alcohol test when she was arrested last July at a police checkpoint in the North Island city of Rotorua. At the time, she was seven months pregnant. After her arrest, Brown told police she was driving because she was “the least pissed” of the three people in the vehicle. Brown was due in court for sentencing last week but failed to show. A warrant was issued for her arrest, but police spotted Brown near the courthouse and took her back there. Rotorua District Court Judge James Weir held over sentencing, however, when he realized Brown was having trouble standing. Witnesses said she had been drinking wine with friends outside the courthouse. The judge remanded Brown into overnight custody so she could sober up before her sentencing. The next day, Brown was sentenced to at least six months in jail. She has never held a driver’s license and was banned in 2005 from ever getting one. The baby that Brown was pregnant with when she was arrested last year is in the care of a family member.

I Live With My Mom Blues

The economy sucks and I live with my mom.

I just had the good fortune to leave my job as a police reporter in a crime-infested cesspool, in a state affectionately referred to by its residents as “The Buckle on the Bible Belt.”

Normally a high crime rate and the authorities’ penchant for locking everyone up would equate to job security. But the local Powers That Be didn’t approve of my total coverage approach to journalism (John, we need you to stop writing about it every time we shoot someone).

After being diagnosed with several mental illnesses and high cholesterol, I packed my laptops into my Yaris and moved back to Albuquerque to search for any kind of anonymous hack work with which to pay the bills (and smack dab in the middle of a recession—my nervous breakdowns have impeccable timing).

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Eating on a Southbound Train

Rail Runner snack stops south of Albuquerque

Trains make some people lonesome, others horny. Me ... well, as a food writer for the Alibi, it shouldn’t be a surprise that trains make me hungry. This is not always a welcome thing. Once, on a train through southern Siberia, I got mugged by Russian mobsters in the dining car.

Alibi V.18 No.20 • May 14-20, 2009

South Valley Showdown

Residents square off against manufacturers near their homes

For decades, homeowners in the South Valley's Mountain View neighborhood have put up with pollution in their backyards.

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2009 Summer Film Guide

Sixteen weeks’ worth of popcorn, air conditioning and ... oh, yeah, movies!

Mark your calendars and buy your tickets now on Fandango. We’ve got Terminators, Transformers and two (count ’em, two) Sandra Bullock romantic comedies hitting movie theaters between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Peace, Love and Easy Rider

Taos remembers the Summer of Love

In 1968, a young Californian set out looking for a place to shoot a movie—a movie about motorcycles, a movie about the counterculture emerging in America, a movie about sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll.

music

New Mexico's most venerated rock bar—and recipient of a 2008 Nickelodeon Parents' Pick award for Best Place for a Parents' Nite Out, lest we forget—turns the ripe old age of 12 this weekend. To commemorate more than a decade of hearing damage, the Launchpad will once again turn up the volume with a birthday music marathon on Saturday, May 16. Doors open at 3 p.m., and a first come, first served "food/barbecue thing" prepared by Richard Agee is covered in the $5 admission charge—but you must be 21 or older to get in. Sorry, actual 12-year-olds. If you throw your shoes in a fit of adolescent jealousy as you read the scheduled lineup, I'll understand:

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Chroma Studio and Gallery

Chroma Studio and Gallery first opened in October 2008, but already it's moved to a bigger arena to accommodate its growth. Its new 9,000-sq.-foot Downtown space opened to coincide with the April First Friday ARTScrawl. The new digs include the gallery and studios as well as performance and classroom spaces.

Culture Shock

There's a lot going on this week, too much spend our time together on bon mots and anecdotes culled from the memoirs of Dominick Dunne.

Hey, Hey, Goodbye

An elegy for the College of Santa Fe

Something that struck me the first time I read Romeo and Juliet was the thought that, well hell, now that the kids are dead, both of these families are going to have to find some way to get them back, to return to that healthy, portentous place where the future looks fruitful. It was arrogant to think that it couldn’t get to that point; that the kids would always be around.

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Answer Me This

Why are ghost experts coming to New Mexico? Which big-time politician is swinging through town? Why did a former UNM president resign from his White House job? And why is a Pokémon card game club in trouble?

The Calm Before the Storm

The Oct. 6 election is nonpartisan, but party money and support will likely find its way into the race. And with battle lines being drawn on the Democratic side—there are two Dem contenders—campaign season will no doubt be full of twists and turns as the candidates move toward the checkered flag.

Screen Time

Easy ways to improve Albuquerque's community cable

Last week Marisa Demarco reported on the new community cable channel 26 called Encantada TV [Re: News Profile, "Encantada TV," May 7-13]. It will primarily focus on arts and culture and is operated by Channel 27 group Quote... Unquote, Inc. During the fanfare on Civic Plaza surrounding Encantada’s launch, there was a humorous moment with blindfolded kids trying to bust a television piñata.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: China—A regional government has backed off a rule urging local government workers to smoke more in order to boost tax income. Authorities in Gong’an County ordered civil servants and teachers to smoke 230,000 packs of the locally made Hubei brand cigarettes each year. Those who did not smoke fast enough or used brands made in other provinces were fined or even fired, reports the BBC. The government backtracked after an official was interviewed in a local newspaper. “The regulation will boost the local economy via the cigarette tax,” Chen Nianzu, a member of the cigarette market supervision team in Gong’an county, Hubei Province, told the Global Times newspaper. As the story spread, the local government’s website published a statement saying simply, “We decided to remove this edict.”

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Reel World

The New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase returns to the Guild Cinema this weekend. Thursday night is the opening gala. It’ll take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at Laru Ni Hati/Café Cubano (3413 Central NE) with screenings following promptly at 7 p.m. at Guild Cinema. Dozens of features and shorts from amateur, aspiring and professional filmmakers right here in New Mexico will be shown at the four-day, open-sheet screening. Documentaries, comedies, musicals, dramas, horror, sci fi and more are represented, with more than 30 hours’ worth of films screened though Sunday night: You’ve got plenty of time to get over there and check out all the offerings. Admission for any and all screening blocks is free to the public, courtesy of the New Mexico Film Office. For a complete listing of the films and times, log on to nmfilm.com.

Rudo y Cursi

Soccer-loving siblings miss the goal in occasionally corny dramedy

The last time Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna hooked up on screen it was in a little film called Y Tu Mamá También. That famously sexy drama, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, became a runaway art house hit, nabbed countless awards and ended up nominated for an Academy Award. Now, seven years later, the actors have reunited for another film with director ... oh, wait, that credit says “Carlos Cuarón.” That’s Alfonso’s little brother. He’s directed a couple of short films. OK, so maybe expectations shouldn’t be so high.

Angels & Demons

Papal murder mystery actually more exciting than decoding Da Vinci’s paintings

Honestly—even in a fictional world where novelists, mentalists, pastors, caterers, librarians, chefs, ancient Romans and cats are called upon to solve mysteries—Dan Brown’s character Prof. Robert Langdon is among the more preposterous amateur sleuths. He’s a Harvard symbologist, which makes him uniquely suited to solve mysteries in which a member of the baffled police shouts, “Mon Dieu, this man has been murdered! Somebody get me an expert on poetic and artistic symbolism. I suspect an archetype may have been involved.”

Sci Fi

Does it work on TV?

Let’s be honest, shall we? Television has never been particularly kind to science fiction. Sure, Rod Serling had a good run on “The Twilight Zone” back in the early ’60s. But even some of TV’s most venerated sci-fi series haven’t had a particularly easy time of it. “Star Trek” is as big a pop cultural touchstone as you can find, having launched five TV series and 11 feature films—including J.J. Abrams’ reboot, which hit theaters last weekend. But the original 1966 series never rose higher than No. 52 in weekly ratings and was canceled in the middle of its third season.

food

Big ’n’ Tart

Cantillon Lou Pepe Kriek

Big life happenings deserve the "bottle service" treatment. Anniversaries. Graduations. Restaurant openings. Fridays.

Ezra’s Place

Sophia’s little brother is quirky but charming

Upon hearing of the opening of Ezra’s Place, my interest and excitement were piqued, and for more than one reason. The proprietor is Dennis Apodaca, the man behind Sophia’s Place. Sophia’s is treasured locally and has even caught the attention of Guy Fieri, landing it a spot on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives." And the location—the Lucky 66 Bowling Alley (spitting distance across Fourth Street from Sophia's)—couldn’t have been more intriguing. Inventive cuisine served amid the polished maple lanes? I’ll take a size 6 1/2 and the booth in the corner, please.

Alibi V.18 No.19 • May 7-13, 2009

Artspace 116

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.

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No Destinations

On the way to nowhere in particular, there’s plenty to see

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.

The Recession-Proof Summer

Cheap or free events in Albuquerque


Festivals

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.

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Music to Your Ears

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.

Zack Freeman

The sound of one voice clapping

Zack Freeman got tired of being in a band, so he started wearing a sampler.

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Culture Shock

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.

Through the Labyrinth

Paintings by Thomas Christopher Haag at Cirq

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.

Good Fences

Best-selling author Michael Datcher and the fear of being real

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.

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Answer Me This

What effect is swine flu having on New Mexico sports? What delayed a Rail Runner train? Why were people at a Gallup flea market arrested? And big news in Nambé Pueblo.

Desert Rock Gasps for Breath

The feds motion to yank the permit for a disputed power plant

Sarah Jane White lives in a log house on open rangeland a little ways south of Farmington. The house is small, 48 years old and was inherited by White when her mother died.

Encantada TV

Tune in to Albuquerque

Creative work in Albuquerque continues to bloom, but its fruits aren't always seen.

Thin Line

Have you had enough of the swine flu pandemonium yet?

You can't turn on a TV, power up your computer or open a newspaper without seeing a flurry of flu fanaticism.

Thumping Chests

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.

Odds & Ends

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.

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Reel World

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.)

Gigantic

Quirky characters, dysfunctional families and Zooey Deschanel? Indie comedy follows the formula, but still feels fresh.

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.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Budget-conscious prequel examines the mutant behind the mask

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.

On the Bubble

Shows in danger of cancellation

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!

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Recession Gardens: Spreading Like Weeds

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.”