Documentary filmmaker Kirby Dick must like lifting trash can lids, looking under rocks and opening doors that most of us would rather leave closed. How else to explain a résumé that includes investigations of psychotherapeutical prostitution (Private Practices: The Story of a Sex Surrogate), genital torture as performance art (Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist), pedophilia in the Catholic church (Twist of Fate) and—perhaps worst of all—the Motion Picture Association of America’s super-secret ratings board (This Film is Not Yet Rated). With his latest cinematic muckraking effort, Dick leaps headfirst into what could be his most controversial subject to date.
It was sometime after midnight, and a steady, cold rain was falling. Thunder broke above the mountain ridge, seemingly only feet above my tent. Neither the stormy symphony nor the pillow wrapped around my head came close to muffling the combined thumps of more than 100 drums that climbed to a rhythmic cacophony and filled every space in the dark pine forest. Pounding endlessly day and night, hundreds of calloused hands struck the stretched skins, hammering out a sort of heartbeat. It rose and fell, slowed and quickened collectively. At times it was almost gentle and timid; then, without warning, it built to a frantic pace. Regardless of the tempo, the primitive palpitation always sounded as though it was seeking something out. It never ceased.
Bassist Matt Brewer comes home to open the fourth annual festival
By Mel Minter
A prophet may have no honor in his own country, but a bassist is a different story. Matt Brewer, who spent his formative years here but now resides in New York City, has the honor of opening the Albuquerque end of the 2009 New Mexico Jazz Festival at the Outpost Performance Space, and he’s bringing players who are helping to shape a new generation of jazz.
Sputniq releases an album and embarks on a tour. The Oktober People, Zagadka and Reighnbeau do their part to flood Winning Coffee Co. with reverb on Friday, July 17. $3 donation. Creatures of all ages welcome. (Laura Marrich)
CiRQ Gallery took over the former Sol Arts building at 712 Central SE and opened its doors in February 2009. "We're trying to show contemporary artists, often with edgy themes and ways of presentation," says gallery co-founder David Hampton. "We're looking for new blood, to introduce newer artists to the scene and bring Albuquerque alternatives to the typically Southwestern style, landscape art." The result is a gallery representing Albuquerque art with a distinctly urban streak.
July is hot; unbearably, blisteringly hot. Though I'm a New Mexico native, I'm not made to endure this kind of heat. Composed entirely of recessive genes, my body and mind are breaking under this thermal assault. And don't even get me started about sunshine. Some people get depressed by rainy weather; I get depressed by heat and sun. In order to counter the effects of this potentially debilitating season, this week's Culture Shock is focused on me and things I like. Once someone out there can arrange for it to be overcast and 72 degrees, I'll think about you. For now, it's too hot to be considerate.
Albuquerque's homegrown comedy superduo The Pajama Men, along with musician Luminous Craft, recently returned from a six (or so) month tour of the U.S., Europe and Australia, where they slew audiences with their particular blend of physical and surrealist humor. They won a ton of awards and shamed the comedy world with their clear superiority and impeccable hygiene. Shenoah Allen and Mark Chavez left their jammies at home to meet the Alibi for a vegetarian brunch and interview.
Scanning the room Sunday night at the 48 Hour Film Project party, I flashed back to a conversation I had about the contest with someone close to the now dormant Duke City Shootout (DCS), the original Big Dog of run-and-gun filmmaking contests, which started in 1999.
Dateline: Poland—According to England’s The Sun newspaper, a Polish woman has filed a lawsuit against an Egyptian hotel claiming that her teenage daughter got mysteriously pregnant after using the facility’s swimming pool. Magdalena Kwiatkowska claims her 13-year-old daughter became inseminated thanks to a stray sperm swimming around the hotel’s mixed-sex pool. The teen allegedly returned from a vacation in Egypt pregnant, and Kwiatkowska says her daughter certainly did not meet or fraternize with any boys while in Egypt. Tourist authorities in Warsaw confirmed the complaint. The knocked-up teen’s mother is seeking unspecified compensation from the hotel.
Matthew McDuffie, an instructor in the Dramatic Writing Program at UNM and a professional screenwriter, is hosting another series of one-day workshops for filmmakers and storytellers looking to sharpen their writing chops. Classes are scheduled for July 18 and 25 and will cover the foundations of screenwriting: mechanics of plot and development of storyline. Participants are encouraged to bring ideas, as the goal will be to create a complete outline of a film by day’s end. The workshops will be held at KNME studios in Albuquerque from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Cost is $125. Call 385-1323 or write to email@example.com for information and reservations.
The magic doesn’t run dry in Potter’s sixth outing
By Devin D. O’Leary
Given the almost incalculable success of the Harry Potter books and the guaranteed gravy train of subsequent movies, you could easily forgive Warner Brothers for slacking off a bit on the later entries in the film series. You could. But thankfully, you don’t have to.
“Parenthood” Down One Parent—NBC announced last week that its big fall sitcom “Parenthood” would be pushed back to midseason because of an unspecified illness suffered by star Maura Tierney. The show’s sudden move to midseason was done to accommodate an eight-week “medical evaluation” of the actress—which sounds like one hell of an evaluation. Shortly after “rehab” rumors began to fly, Tierney annouced that she is having a tumor removed from her breast. ” Tierney’s past credits include “NewsRadio” and “ER.”
It’s rare that Mexican food reminds me of my Jewish mother’s cooking, but that’s what happened with a bowl of albóndigas at Dahlia’s. A mildly aromatic broth crowded with chunks of carrot, celery, zucchini and a single large meatball comprised this bowl of Central Mexican comfort food. The meatball’s almost ethereal texture and mellow, satisfying flavor reminded me of mom’s matzo balls.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)