For the past lord-knows-how-many years the Alibi has printed an annual Freedom Issue for the Fourth of July. It's a time to celebrate the accomplishments and, more often than not, bemoan the setbacks regarding our personal liberties. We can rejoice in the passage of gay marriage laws in some states while gnashing our teeth at bans in others, hail Obama's proclamation to close Guantanamo while sweating ever-increasing media consolidation and the more frequent jailing of journalists.
Cody: The First Step, a documentary about Albuquerque native Cody Unser who was tragically afflicted with transverse myelitis at the age of 12, will have its New Mexico premiere this coming Wednesday, July 8. The film follows Cody’s founding of the Cody Unser First Step Foundation to help find a cure for her disease. In addition to charting her own emotional and physical struggles, the film examines where science and politics intersect. For the last five years, Cody has lobbied state legislatures and Congress to push for stem-cell research, which offers the key to her recovery. Doors open at the KiMo Theatre in downtown Albuquerque at 5 p.m. The screening will start around 5:45 p.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 768-3522. For more information on the Cody Unser First Step Foundation, visit cufsf.org.
Failure is not an option for headbanging band or inspiring documentary
By Devin D. O’Leary
At age 14, two nice Jewish boys from the snowy suburbs of Toronto named Robb Reiner and Steve “Lips” Kudlow bonded over their love of heavy metal music. They made a pact to form a band, play some kick-ass music and keep on rockin’ until they become old men—all of which, true to their word, they have done. If you’ve never heard of Reiner and Kudlow’s lifelong labor of love, the self-proclaimed “demigods of Canadian metal” known as Anvil, don’t feel too bad. Few people have. Ask the right headbanging veteran, though—as Sacha Gervasi’s love letter documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil does—and you’re likely to get a nostalgic lecture. Lemmy from Motörhead, Slash from Guns N' Roses, Lars Ulrich from Metallica, Scott Ian from Anthrax, they all agree: Anvil is the real deal. The band’s seminal 1981 album “Metal on Metal” predated the work of Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax and Megadeth and helped birth the outrageous spandex-and-leather era of MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” and beyond.
This past weekend, Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen opened to some of the worst reviews in recent memory (only 20 percent positive on RottenTomatoes.com) ... and the second-largest box office opening in history ($200 million in its first week). These two facts have led certain very vocal defenders of the film to dredge up the old argument that movie reviewers know nothing, that they are out of touch with modern American tastes. Michael Bay likes it when things explode. He doesn’t care why they explode. And neither should you, you Evian-sipping elitist! It’s summertime, damn it, and audiences just want to have some fun at the movies!
These last couple of weeks have been rough ones for the entertainment industry. A number of icons have passed away in quick succession: Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson. The “Rule of Three” was proved true with the deaths of these well-known celebrity figures, each of whom had contributed to the evolving television landscape in specific and impactful ways. Late-night television, sexy detectives and MTV would not have been the same without them. But as the tumultuous week came to an end (In what direction was a show like “Entertainment Tonight” supposed to point its cameras?), there came news that a fourth Idiot Box icon had shuffled off this mortal coil. Noted TV pitchman Billy Mays was dead at age 50 from a heart attack.
Ah, marriage. The joining of two parts into a stronger whole, and other metaphors. Since summer is the traditional wedding season, let us look to pieces that seek to marry disparate elements in the creation of holistic works of art. Or, if you're more carnally inclined, a couple of artsy parts do it and have an art baby.
The Vortex Theatre presents Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Oscar Wilde believed in beauty, and the aesthetic movement he helped to promulgate held that life was to be lived decadently, beautifully. He was a large man of larger appetites. He saw living as a string of opportunities for happiness through sensuousness, not a series of moral lessons to be suffered and learned. It’s too bad he happened to live in Victorian England.
MMA fighter talks mentality, training and how she keeps cool in the heat of battle
By Ari Levaux
"Fuck this." That's what Julie Kedzie calls her proprietary fighting style. She's trained in tae kwon do, Muay Thai kickboxing, combat submission wrestling and Brazilian jiujitsu. She's a mixed martial artist with a broad skill set. But in addition to her toolbox of time-tested, hand-to-hand combat techniques, she's got her own method.
As a professional eavesdropper, there are but precious few moments in my lifetime that can aspire to the folklore level. And few will be as grand for the fine art of listening in as the sudden death of Michael Jackson.
If Austin, Texas, has two things going for it, it's barbecue and live music. Here in Albuquerque, The County Line (9600 Tramway NE) has long served as an outpost for Austin's mesquite-smoked meats. But that's only half of the equation. To get the true flavor of a Texas barbecue in your craw, you need electric guitars ringing in your ears.
One of the blessings we’ve gotten from Michael Jackson is the archive of filmed, documented milestones. Looking back, it can be considered the most public “progress report” of any entertainer in the last 45 years.
That was the driving question that convinced us to give the Angry Samoans co-founder a call. Turner and his fellow Los Angeles-based Samoans helped usher in the first wave of punk during the late ’70s. Now he's a math teacher at New Mexico Highlands University in Las Vegas.
Anesthesia, Torture Victim and Sandia Man serve up of a hot, salted pit of headbanging on Friday, July 3, at the Launchpad. $5 ensures your neck will be good and warmed up for watching the weekend’s fireworks. 21+, doors open at 8 p.m. (Laura Marrich)
American consumers and growers are left in the dust as China goes organic
By Ari LeVaux
Even as demand for organic food continues to explode, organic farmers in America are getting thrown under the beet cart they helped build. The Chinese are taking over the market share, especially of vegetables and soy, thanks to several American-based multinational food corporations that have hijacked the organic bandwagon they only recently jumped onto.
She awoke on April 10 at 7:30 a.m. to the sound of amplifiers. "It was really shockingly loud." She looked out her back window and, as best she could over her 6-foot rear fence, saw a gathering. "I could see there were lots and lots of people behind my house in the alley."
Hakim was living on Truman just behind the Planned Parenthood on San Mateo. A temporary resident who'd moved in only a few months prior, she was surprised to see hundreds of people gathered to chant and pray.
The Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho has enough open space to let derby skaters hit each other with full force. But the cost of keeping Duke City Derby at the Star Center required the league to endure a painful financial hip-check.
Code violations at the old Westside jail prevent its use as an emergency summer sanctuary
By Marisa Demarco
Joy Junction is turning away between five and nine men every night, says Jeremy Reynalds, the shelter's founder and CEO. He says the economy is spitting out more folks than Joy Junction can take in. "We are seeing more people."
LAS CRUCES—Patience. Gov. Bill Richardson warned Southern New Mexicans they may not see immediate benefits of their $198 million spaceport investment at a pre-groundbreaking event on Thursday, June 18.
Dateline: Belgium—A teenager in Kortrijk, 56 miles northwest of Brussels, is suing a tattoo parlor after it allegedly covered her face in 56 black stars instead of the three she asked for. “I said this part, the top, is OK, but not the rest,” 18-year-old Kimberley Vlaeminck told Belgian broadcaster VRT. The tattooed teen said she “fell asleep” during the tattooing procedure and woke up to find the left side of her face covered in stars. Romanian-born Rouslan Toumaniantz, the tattoo artist who gave Vlaeminck the galaxy of stars, said Vlaeminck asked for all 56 stars and left his shop happy. “She agreed,” Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws quoted Toumaniantz as saying. “But when her father saw it, the trouble started.” Vlaeminck blames the language barrier for the mess up. She asked for the three stars in French and limited English and says Toumaniantz didn't understand her. But the tattoo artist maintains he understood her perfectly. “She asked for 56 stars and that’s what she got,” he told reporters. Vlaeminck said she wants to keep the tattoos on her forehead but will have the rest removed. She is suing Toumaniantz for 10,000 Euros ($14,000).
Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine is a top-ranked cage fighter [see this week’s feature]. He's also an Albuquerque resident and a foodie. And since he named Paisano’s as one of his favorite places, we met there for dinner. Joining us at the Italian restaurant were his girlfriend Jodie Esquibel—also a cage fighter who trains with Jardine at Jackson’s MMA gym—and my girlfriend Shorty, not a cage fighter.
InterTribal Entertainment, Southern California Indian Center, Inc. and VSA Arts of New Mexico are inviting Native American storytellers to submit a 10-page screenplay in any genre that reflects the American Indian experience. The fourth annual Creative Spirit Script-To-Screen Initiative is designed to provide employment and training opportunities for American Indians in film production. Two winning 10-page scripts will be chosen by a panel of judges from the entertainment industry and the Native American community. One script will be produced and screened as part of the second annual Two Worlds Festival of Native Film and Theater in Albuquerque this September. The other script will be produced by InterTribal Entertainment in Los Angeles sometime in the fall of 2009. Visit nativefilm.com to view trailers of previous Creative Spirit productions and to download guidelines and submission forms. There is no entry fee, but scripts must be postmarked by Friday, June 26.
There are those who maintain that whole milk, gathered in the “old-fashioned” way—that is, gently hand-pulled straight from a cow’s udder and quaffed fresh from the milkmaid’s bucket—is among the most pure and genuine of food experiences. Those selfsame purists would also say that milk obtained by more modern methods—say, from an industrial milking machine on the floor of some massive factory—is more of a soulless, mechanical product. I don’t know from farms. But I do know movies. And there’s a vast difference between a tearjerker that earns its emotions in a seamless and organic manner and one that cranks up the waterworks with all the subtlety of a fireman attacking a fireplug with a monkey wrench. My Sister’s Keeper falls squarely in the latter category.
Double-featured art documentaries inform Guild Cinema this weekend
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
When one man’s wadded-up piece of paper is another man’s exhibit at the National Gallery of Art, the infinite mystery—and absurdity, perhaps—of the art world is clearly evident. Two documentaries dealing with people who penetrated, comprehended and conquered the often confusing realm of aesthetics take an artful, layman-friendly look at differentiating between what is visually ordinary and what is extraordinary.
The best science programs are the ones in which things blow up a lot and there is the distinct, recurrent possibility that someone could get hurt very badly. I can’t vouch for the fact that viewers actually learn much from these sorts of shows, but they’re definitely more entertaining than that high school science lab you had.
The drummer debuts a new CD and trio, capped by a performance by the John Proulx/Bobby Shew Quintet
By Mel Minter
Since returning to New Mexico a few years ago—and packing a résumé that includes performances with Diahann Carroll, Al Greene and Clark Terry—drummer Cal Haines has been much in demand on the jazz scene, appearing with the Alpha Cats and backing headliners at various venues in Santa Fe and Albuquerque.
Nels Andrews, a favorite son abroad, revisits Albuquerque for the Old Town Americana Block Party on Friday, June 26. The free, all-ages show begins at 6 p.m. and continues with The Handsome Family at 7 p.m.
In the Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration, the economic stimulus of its day, included artwork commissions. And though Hanging Tree Gallery hosts work by contemporary Albuquerque artists like Hector Morales, it also houses work by New Mexico WPA-era artists like Walter Bambrook and Ben Turner.
The fearsome threesome of Aux Dog Theatre's resident companies—Ka-HOOTZ, Sol Arts and Goodpasture—presents the Live 4 Art Festival, 10 weeks’ worth of theater wonder and goodness. The summer-long fest gets going on Friday, June 26, at 8 p.m. with a performance of Any Night Live, a series of sketches featuring the work of Ka-HOOTZ members and guests. Following the show there will be an opening night party. Also this weekend are performances of Four, a play about the collision of four lives produced by Sol Arts, on Saturday, June 27, at 8 p.m., and Art, Goodpasture's production of the Tony Award-winning play, on Sunday, June 28, at 2 p.m. If you can't make it this weekend, that's OK, because you have nine more weeks in which to do so. Wow. They really want to make sure you have no excuses. They might even give you a ride. See the complete lineup at auxdog.org.
This is a preview of LAND/ART. I state this up front simply as a foil against the gargantuan nature in describing the entire project, which includes more than 60 artists and 25 arts organizations that have filled out their summer and fall schedules with exhibitions, site-specific projects, lectures, performances, tours, poetry readings and film screenings that relate to the subject of land-based art.
At dorkbot, people are doing strange things with electricity
By Ty Bannerman
On a Sunday in late May, a handful of geeky artists and artistic geeks found their way to a dilapidated factory just north of Downtown. They settled into a spacious room for three very loosely connected presentations.
It’s pretty clear that our collective attention span is decreasing. The long, handwritten letters of yore that were replaced by short e-mails have in turn have been superseded by tweets. Hell, they don’t even make TV miniseries anymore.
Alibi’s pre-Pride Space Glam Dance Party in photos
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
This year the Alibi threw its first ever pre-Pride party at swanky Nob Hill cigar bar, Imbibe. The establishment, with its spacy neon lights, mod white couches, brilliant rooftop patio and permission to smoke freely, was the perfect place to stage a gay, glitter glam-themed party.
Youth Development Inc.’s Mi Voz program is a free after-school program that allows middle school students to learn “above the line” video production. That means tweens get to write, produce, direct and star in their own short video projects. The most recent season of Mi Voz just wrapped up and YDI is celebrating by screening a series of youth-made shorts. This season’s shorts center around the theme of “The Zia’s Heart” and had students finding and documenting the lives and inspirations of New Mexican artists. Musicians, painters, woodworkers and candle makers are among the people profiled in this selection of mini-documentaries. The Mi Voz screening will take place on Friday, June 19, at Wool Warehouse (516 First Street NW) beginning at 6:30 p.m. Six short films will be presented. A suggested $5 donation gets you in the door.
Little film with big names mixes comedy, drama and pregnancy
By Devin D O’Leary
Away We Go looks and feels like yet another entry in a long, unbroken line of admirably glum/funny, nerd/hipster-centric indie film dramedies (Rushmore, Roger Dodger, The Squid and the Whale, Garden State, Juno, Margot at the Wedding, Gigantic to rattle off just a few). As the film goes on, though, something starts to feel different. There’s something percolating under the surface here. Something more than just the impressive cast and witty humor in evidence. The other shoe drops when the end credits roll. (The opening credits consist solely of a title card, dropped some 10 minutes into the feature.) Amid the humble scroll of names are the identities of the director (Sam Mendes, the man behind American Beauty, Jarhead and Revolutionary Road) and the writers (Dave Eggers & Vendela Vida, sometimes referred to as “the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of the literary world”). That’s some mighty important info to bury in the end credits.
Romcom covers familiar ground, still unearths some laughs
By Devin D. O’Leary
One of the problems with romantic comedies is the dogged death grip they maintain on genre conventions. When’s the last time you saw a romantic comedy that avoided the “meet cute,” the “big lie” and the “climactic race to the airport for last-minute reconciliation”? Sometimes it makes me wonder if When Harry Met Sally ... is the only romantic comedy to ever actually get things right. Apparently, somebody broke that particular mold back in 1989, because we’ve been stuck with Maid in Manhattan/Made of Honor crapola ever since.
“Tosh.0” on Comedy Central, “Web Soup” on G4, “DJ & The Fro” on MTV
By Devin D. O’Leary
You know all those wacky viral videos your friends cop off the Internet and e-mail to you at work? Wouldn’t it be great to watch those again in the comfort of your own living room? ... What do you mean, “Not really?” That’s not the answer TV wants to hear right now. Realizing they’re free and plentiful, networks are cooking up a whole mess of shows featuring those short cellphone clips of people getting racked in the roundberries, puking up improper food products and doing weird things on foreign TV game shows.
Palette Contemporary Art & Craft showcases work from dozens of contemporary artists. Pieces from New Mexico artists as well as artists from across the US and around the world all call Palette home. Modernist pieces in various media, including clay, jewelry, mixed media and paintings are all represented, and highlights from abroad include paintings by Aboriginal Australian artists and a print made from a Claes Oldenburg woodcut. Especially notable is the gallery's collection of art glass, which includes intricately patterned hand-blown glass marbles that kids would probably dream about adding to their collection and that grown-ups will also find aesthetically intriguing.
So, I know you've already committed the bulk of your weekend to attending our Flash Fiction events at O'Niell's, and who can blame you? But let me suggest that you squeeze a few more arts happenings onto your social calendar. Attend these, but don't do it for me (though I'm fairly certain that’s no one's motivation to attend anything). Don't even do it for the artists; do it for Albuquerque. Because if you don't go to cool stuff, then it goes away, and all we're left with are strip mall openings and Val Kilmer sightings.
Which notable Burqueños spent the night in jail? What spicy food got recalled? How did police find a cyclist's stolen bikes? And how can you track where federal stimulus dollars are going in Albuquerque?
Illiteracy traps New Mexicans in low-paying jobs, according to one coalition working to free them
By Marisa Demarco
Gilbert Zamora was a top janitor at a school in Alamogordo. He was in charge of placing the school's orders, sometimes for textbooks. He was an older man, in his 50s or 60s. And because he couldn't read, he devised a color-coded system for doing his job. "If someone messed with his system, he was vulnerable," says Heather Heunermund, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition for Literacy (NMCL).
Warehouse 508 has ridden the ups and downs of the funding seesaw. The budding Downtown teen center saw its operating budget slashed by $50K and its Icehouse-rehab budget increased by $300,000 in a late-May meeting.
So we now have what's billed as the world's first Slam Poet Laureate in Danny Solis, crowned this past Saturday night, June 13, at the KiMo. Good on Danny. As a slam elder statesman, so to speak, this choice is right in the sweet spot.
Two musical masters serve the single purpose of peace
By Mel Minter
Though rooted in two different cultures, Iraqi oudist Rahim AlHaj and Indian sarodist Ustad Amjad Ali Khan have each flourished under the same sun: the belief that music is a singularly uniting art form that can transform the world for the better.
Usually, drunken ideas only sound brilliant while you're sloshed.
Max Moulton and three of his friends from Dixon beat the odds and came up with a solid idea for a music festival while blitzed. "Alcohol was kind of the catalyst," Moulton recalls. "Booze cures all."
That was three years ago. Since then, there have been two installments of their Kannaroo music festival in Sunshine Valley, situated just north of Questa. The third Kannaroo features 12 bands from New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, a guitar shred-off competition and an improperly sized volleyball game.
For budget-minded travelers, especially during a recession, vacations to far-off destinations are out of the question. But that doesn't mean you have to spend the summer next to a kiddie pool in the baking confines of your backyard.
Mexico is so large and diverse that “Mexican food” doesn’t actually say much. When you see the word “mariscos” attached to a Mexican restaurant, you can expect a focus on seafood; but with thousands of miles of Mexican coastline, even mariscos leaves quite a few unanswered questions. Las Islitas, for its part, has staked claim to the cuisine of the central Pacific state of Nayarit.