Ousmane Macina has been making jewelry since he was 7 years old.
Unlike American students who decide what careers they'd like to pursue, Macina says he was destined to be a goldsmith. "I didn't have a choice," Macina explains. "I had to do it because it's tradition, and I'm glad I'm doing it."
Macina was born in Nioro, Mali. The men in Macina's family have been designing gold jewelry for more than 10 generations. People wear his creations at traditional ceremonies and during the holy month of Ramadan. Macina keeps his familial legacy alive by selling his work at functions like the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. The event draws crowds of 20,000 people and, in its sixth year, the market will feature 136 artists from 46 countries.
Will chain stores kill or stimulate the buy-local movement?
By Stacy Mitchell
HSBC, one of the biggest banks on the planet, has taken to calling itself "The world's local bank." Winn-Dixie, a 500-outlet supermarket chain, recently launched an ad campaign under the tagline "Local flavor since 1956." The International Council of Shopping Centers, a global consortium of mall owners and developers, is pouring millions of dollars into television ads urging people to "Shop Local"—at their nearest mall. Even Wal-Mart is getting in on the act, hanging bright green banners over its produce aisles that simply say, "Local."
How did some Albuquerque residents mark this Fourth of July? Where are farmers turning for help with their nut trees? What was the fate of a burglar in Belen? How areBoys & Girls Clubs looking out for students?
Geologist points to holes in the thinking—and the landscape—around waste burial in Southern New Mexico
By Marisa Demarco
For years, Richard Hayes Phillips has carried in his mind awful visions of what it would be like to see the Pecos River contaminated with radioactive material. "People fish there, and it flows into the Rio Grande at Amistad Reservoir, which is actually the Spanish word for 'friendship,' ” he says.
Congress is fumbling its chances at real health care reform
By Jerry Ortiz y Pino
The country is desperate for major reforms to our non-system of health care. Our people can no longer afford to spend twice as much per capita on health care as any other country—while receiving health outcomes that don’t even make the top 25 list from around the globe.
Dateline: Mexico—On June 29, two professional midget wrestlers were found dead in a seedy motel room in Mexico City. Local police believe that La Parkita and Espectrito Jr.—identified in police records as brothers Alberto and Alejandro Jiménez—were drugged and robbed by prostitutes. Reports say the wrestlers, both aged 35, picked up two prostitutes and took them to the hotel room, not far from the famous Arena México wrestling venue. Several hours later, the women allegedly left alone. When a hotel worker came to clean the room, the bodies of the wresters were discovered. Autopsies are being carried out, but investigators close to the case believe the pint-sized grapplers overdosed after being given eyedrops combined with alcohol. It is believed the brothers’ size make them more susceptible to alcohol poisoning. In Mexico, it is a common crime for gangs of prostitutes to rob their clients after they pass out from ingesting tainted drinks.
An interview with newly crowned Slam Poet Laureate Danny Solis
By Erin Adair-Hodges
On Saturday, June 13, some of Albuquerque's top slam poets met at the KiMo to battle it out for the title of Albuquerque Slam Poet Laureate. Danny Solis, longtime slammer and dreadlock connoisseur, emerged as the winner. Solis talked with me over expensive coffees at Flying Star about what the future holds for this newly made-up position.
Rosemary, olive oil and sea salt make pecans a big hit. Vanilla-honey and fresh nutmeg turn cashews into crack cocaine. But the real powerhouse of our most recent beer bust was an improvised recipe—stumbled upon while ransacking Alex's spice shelves—for spicy smoked peanuts. A touch of brown sugar, coarse salt, a kiss of cayenne, wallops of bright red Aleppo pepper and, crucially, smoked black pepper helped plenty of people brave the line for another bomber.
Monica’s El Portal may be the answer to the quest common among Old Town visitors for some real New Mexican food without tourist trappings. Lurking on the edge of Old Town and partially hidden by trees (which also shade the patio), this is a place where the state question—red or green?—applies to nearly every menu option.
Don’t be startled if you see an inordinate number of film crews racing around town this weekend. The 48 Hour Film Project returns to Albuquerque this Friday, July 10. Ours is one of more than 80 cities around the world hosting an initial leg of the two-day filmmaking competition. Handpicked crews of writers, directors, cinematographers, editors, actors and more will gather at Imbibe (3101 Central NE) at 6 p.m. on Friday. There, organizers will inform the crews of the line, prop, character and genre each must incorporate into their films. They’ll have just 48 hours—start to finish—to complete their efforts. There will be a wrap-up party on Sunday, July 12, back at Imbibe with drink specials and snacks. A grand total of 43 local film crews are signed up to participate, making this the busiest year since Albuquerque signed on to host the 48 Hour Film Project. The Premiere Screening for all the Albuquerque films takes place Wednesday, July 15, from 6:45 to 9:15 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. Tickets for this event are $9 at the door. The top film at Wednesday’s screening will go on to compete against all the winning films from around the globe. Log on to 48hourfilm.com/albuquerque for more info.
Satisfying sci-fi miniature gets Spacey ... and Rockwell, too
By Devin D. O’Leary
In a year that’s featured the likes of Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (ugh), Terminator Salvation (meh) and Star Trek (eh ... ), it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find a science-fiction film you can proudly call science fiction. Happily, Moon—the intriguing directing debut by Duncan Jones—fits the bill. Filled with profound sadness, deep humanism and aching beauty, Moon would fit comfortably on the DVD shelf alongside such tonally similar sci-fi hallmarks as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Solaris and Silent Running.
Michael Mann and Johnny Depp get all dressed up to play cops and robbers
By Devin D. O’Leary
Not to cast aspersions against either Michael Mann’s obvious manliness or his well-established filmmaking skills, but I bet he spent his childhood playing with dolls. From the new-wave Nazi chic of The Keep to the infamous peppermint-striped suits of “Miami Vice” to Daniel Day-Lewis’ slo-mo buckskin fringe in The Last of the Mohicans, Mann has made decisions that often seem more sartorial than directorial. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Mann’s obsessive attention to visual accoutrement—James Caan’s badass welding goggles in Thief, Dennis Farina’s perfect fedora in “Crime Story,” Tom Cruise’s disconcertingly frosted tips in Collateral—has given the director a distinctive and successful style.
For a couple of decades now, Michael Ian Black and Michael Showalter have been comedic collaborators in a variety of sketch comedy troupes (starting at NYU in 1988), TV shows (“The State,” “Stella”) and movies (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter). Obviously inseparable for extended periods, the Michaels have joined forces once again for Comedy Central’s self-referential new skitcom “Michael & Michael Have Issues.”
Vocalist and pianist dive headfirst into new projects
By Mel Minter
Arriving for the sound check before her first appearance at the Women’s Voices Concerts a few weeks back, vocalist Susan Abod wasn’t sure what to expect. She’d never played with the band for her set, led by pianist John Rangel.
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.