The Wildlife West Music Festival is wheeling in Grammy-nominated folk musician John McCutcheon and more than 10 other acoustic acts. If somehow you get bored of listening to McCutcheon, a man Johnny Cash called "the most impressive instrumentalist I've ever heard," you can always go gawk at a mountain lion.
The biggest H20 hogs
Most people are not thrilled to discover the Water Authority says they’re among the top water users in our desert metropolis. It’s been an exciting couple of weeks.
Tracking down the citizens who use the most water at home
The sound of New Orleans, and beyond
New Orleans pianist/composer Tom McDermott has never played in a bordello (although he could once see one from his home), but he has absorbed the New Orleans piano professors’ traditional approach to the eighty-eights. That tradition owes a significant debt to the Big Easy’s classier houses of ill repute, which expected the solo pianist to reproduce all the excitement of a small combo—but at a much lower cost.
New Orleans' Quintron and Miss Pussycat entertain the Land of Enchantment
Mr. Quintron is an inventor, organist and one-man band. Miss Pussycat is a puppeteer and musician. Together, as a married couple and an artistic team, they posses the gifted imaginations required in the creation of something truly original. In New Orleans the duo is an acclaimed part of the city's music and art scenes. In fact, next year the New Orleans Museum of Art will feature their work in a three-month exhibition. Meanwhile, the two are making their way across the country along with a Drum Buddy (the photoelectric rotating drum machine of Quintron's invention) and a bunch of murderous puppets. They appear in New Mexico this week. The Alibi spoke with each of them as they prepared for the expedition from their headquarters in the Ninth Ward.
The third annual Ballet Pro Musica Festival comes to the National Hispanic Cultural Center Wednesday, Aug. 5, through Sunday, Aug. 9. Just because ballet is a classic art form doesn't mean there aren't new innovations. Chamber Music Ballet is just such a new twist, partnering live chamber music and ballet. As I dropped out of ballet shortly after the infamous “Cuddle Bug” performance of ’81, I'll have to take their word for it. Also featured will be the work of the National Ballet of Mexico. Classes will be held on Wednesday and Thursday, with performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Seniors and students can get 50 percent off tickets one hour before the show. If you're neither, grab ’em at the NHCC box office, call 724-4771 or go to ticketmaster.com. See balletpromusica.org for more.
Mentor and Apprentices at Arts Alliance Gallery
Weaving has been a hallmark of human culture for thousands of years, with evidence placing it back as far as 5000 BCE. Until about 150 years ago, that work was done by hand, taught to apprentices by masters. Though human hands have largely been replaced by machines, there are still those who patiently work their looms and teach their craft to others, as evidenced in Arts Alliance Gallery’s new show, Donna Loraine Contractor: Mentor and Apprentices.
Playwright talks about dramatizing the life of Katherine Anne Porter
Though Katherine Anne Porter was once one of the most famous writers in America, few people today have heard of her. Passenger on the Ship of Fools, the Vortex’s latest production, aims to rectify that.
What creature ambled into Albuquerque? Which type of renewable energy does PNM intend to use? What needs to be removed before Taos County can build its new judicial complex? And why are mountain rescue crews so busy?
Albuquerque lawyer defends Guantánamo prisoners—and our justice system
Nancy Hollander's been fighting the government since she was a teenager.
The idea of putting "health care" in the headline of this Thin Line makes me recoil. We're inundated with health care stories. They're everywhere. And the subject isn’t exactly flashy or gripping—not like the news about the man who, according to Albuquerque police, made love to his car last week. (Though, he may have some health care issues of his own after that sweet night of passion in a Smith's parking lot. Remember, friends, you can love your sexy vehicle, you just can't love your sexy vehicle.)
After a month's vacation, the City Council looked gloomy on Monday, Aug. 3, facing an agenda that was impossible to complete. The house was packed with motorcyclists and more police than usual. The Council tried to address the most pressing and dated items and deferred what it could. The extra cops did not have to tangle with the biker folks but instead were called upon to escort out a woman who spoke against the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. She got a little upset when her allotted speaking time was up.
I had to go and become a newspaper writer. Newspaper writers are becoming a thing of the past, like typewriter repairmen. It’s all bloggers and cable news now.
Dateline: Mexico—Tourists in Cancún were surprised to find a little piece of paradise ringed in crime-scene tape and filled with gun-wielding sailors. Environmental enforcement officers backed by navy personnel cordoned off hundreds of feet of pristine white beach in front of the Gran Caribe Real Hotel last Thursday, accusing the hotel of illegally accumulating sand. The Mexican government spent $19 million to replace Cancún beaches washed away by Hurricane Wilma in 2005. Since then, much of that sand has been erased by tides, leading some property owners to relocate sand from neighboring beaches or from below the breakwater. “Today, we made the decision to close this stretch of ill-gotten, illegally accumulated sand,” announced Patricio Patrón, Mexico’s attorney general for environmental protection. Patron said five people were detained in the raid for allegedly using pumps to move sand from the sea floor onto the beach in front of the Gran Caribe Real. The attorney general apologized to inconvenienced tourists but said this was simply a question of enforcing the law.
The New Mexico State Fair has extended its deadline for the Moving Image Art entries to be exhibited in the Fine Arts Gallery at this year’s fair. You now have until Friday, Aug. 7, to have your work considered for inclusion. Cash prizes of up to $300 will be awarded to the best of show in this brand-new contemporary art category. All entries must be submitted in a DVD format and have a time limit of 15 to 20 minutes. Each entry needs to be accompanied by artist name, title, running time, date made, 50-word synopsis and artist biography. Online entry is no longer available, but you can contact Moving Image Art Judge Bryan Konefsky at 235-1852 or Expo New Mexico Art Director Sundi Tyler at 222-9738 for further information.
Seagoing documentary lets audiences in on a shocking secret
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but summer is rapidly coming to a close. It’s not ending tomorrow or anything, but vacations are wrapping up, the Fourth of July is a distant memory and back-to-school sales are in full swing. It’s evident in the summer box office as well. Star Trek, Terminator, Transformers, Ice Age, Harry Potter: The franchises have all come and gone. The only “big” movie left (and it definitely belongs in quotation marks) is G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. With that, you can stick a fork in summer 2009 because it’s ovah. Perhaps, then, it’s time for a return to more somber cinematic fare. In other words: You got your talking gerbils in G-Force, now how about some endangered dolphins in The Cove?
Film gets festive
Given our city’s growing importance in the film industry, it’s surprising that it’s taken Albuquerque this long to work up to hosting a mainstream film festival. There have been contenders in the past, of course: specialized fare like the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the New Mexico Italian Film Festival, Sin Fronteras Film Festival, TromaDance New Mexico and Experiments in Cinema; or shorts-based showcases like the Duke City Shootout, the 48-Hour Film Project, Local Shorts and the late, great Alibi Short Film Fiesta. Those weren’t good enough for Rich Henrich, though.
Networks get webby
Mired as we are in summer rerun season, we might find time to take pause and wonder: Why bother with TV in the first place? No, I’m not talking sacrilege here, my friends. I still love television with an unhealthy devotion. But why, in this age of cable, satellite, TiVo and other technological wonders, are we still chained to the traditional fall/summer new/rerun loop created by the broadcast networks?
The Week in Sloth
Three simple ways to relish beets
Alain Passard, founder and head chef at L'Arpege in Paris, pulled meat from his menu in 2001 because, he announced, he wanted more culinary challenges. "One day I woke up and asked myself, 'What have I done with a leek, with a carrot?' Nothing, or maybe just 10 percent of what can be done with a carrot."
An experiment in mediocrity
I feel so average.
It’s hard to feel average in a country where no one feels average. Everyone’s a unique snowflake, a maverick, one of a kind.
I am no exception. I feel exceptionally exceptional most days.
But in reality I’m not special.
I’m a pretty average American. I’m overweight. I have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. On the other hand, I don’t have diabetes.
You can add TromaDance New Mexico to the growing list of local film festivals looking for entries. For the sixth year in a row, this Southwestern spin-off of Lloyd Kaufman’s infamous TromaDance Film Festival—held in Park City, Utah, every January—is returning to Albuquerque’s Guild Cinema. Swing by burningparadise.net to download the official rules and entry form. Festival dates are set for Nov. 20 through 22, but the sooner you start assembling your short- to feature-length Troma-style madness, the better. Deadline for submission is Oct. 16.
Two-man drama takes viewers for an emotional ride
Hitting theaters at the apex of the summer movie season, Goodbye Solo represents the precise cinematic antipode of blockbuster, mega-budget, FX-choked fare like Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Written and directed by North Carolina-born filmmaker Ramin Bahrani, Goodbye Solo is a microscopic character study involving two people, a taxi cab and precious little else.
Inspiring documentary about corporate farming asks, “Can you swallow the truth?”
There have been a number of films in the last few years (Super Size Me, King Corn, Fast Food Nation) breaking the not-so-shocking news that we, as Americans, aren’t eating very well. But Robert Kenner’s to-the-point documentary Food, Inc. may provide the clearest cinematic answer as to why. This one brings it all home and does so in a whispered, conspiratorial tone that makes you feel like you’re being let in on all the Big Secrets behind the curtain.
“The Colony” on Discovery Channel
The problem with most reality shows is not that they’re populated by idiots, it’s that the formula requires them to be idiots. People always complain that the characters in horror movies are morons who wander off in the middle of the night to get slaughtered by masked killers. Of course, if the characters were smart, locked their doors and survived until some highly competent police officers showed up, we wouldn’t have much of a horror movie. By the same token, if MTV’s “The Real World” was staffed by sober, sane and sexually responsible individuals, you wouldn’t currently be watching Season 22.
The Week in Sloth
Albuquerque's premier experimental noise band from the Cenozoic Era, Sabertooth Cavity, is getting its van road-ready and heading out.
A home for new and unorthodox music feathers its nest
These are some of the “normal” ways of getting music done. But for adventurous musicians, such everyday forms—even everyday instruments—don’t always serve their artistic impulses. These musical explorers search for new ways to communicate. They also need an audience with whom to share their discoveries.
Enter Mark Weaver, architect, tuba player, and adventurous musician and listener, who wondered how he could help out. His answer: The Roost, a series of “emergent creative music,” says the statement of purpose, “curated with an eye to originality, freshness of approach, and artistic vision.”
The South Valley might welcome another polluter to the neighborhood
Patty Grice lives less than a mile from a sewage treatment facility, bulk petroleum storage, concrete-batching plants, a brick manufacturer, a truss-making company, junk yards and car recyclers.
What can't you do at the University of New Mexico next semester? How's the state’s favorite produce doing? Why is Mayor Martin Chavez being called out in a federal lawsuit? Public school students may be able to abstain from ...
How to keep kids in our schools
Genuine change in our school systems can’t happen until we get honest about education’s ugliest secrets. Namely, the fact that what we call “dropouts” are actually push-outs, force-outs and ignore-outs. And that most schools—and the administrators, teachers and principals that staff them—have no interest whatever in bringing them back in.
Young activists soak in a community service ethic
The first few times Cody Duarte knocked on an unfamiliar door to talk taxes, he was nervous.
Dateline: Australia—Here’s a tip: If you’re huffing gas, try to avoid getting Tasered by the cops. An Aboriginal Australian who had been sniffing gasoline apparently burst into flames after a police officer zapped him with a Taser gun. Ronald Mitchell, who charged at police while brandishing a juice bottle full of fuel, is now recovering in a hospital in Perth. The incident happened in Warburton, an Aboriginal community 950 miles northeast of the city in the state of Western Australia. Cops said they were responding to a complaint at a house when Mitchell, 36, came out of the house and charged them. When he refused to stop, one officer hit him with his Taser. The man was immediately engulfed in flames. The officer threw Mitchell to the ground and extinguished the blaze with his hands. A police spokesperson said Mitchell appeared to have received third-degree burns over about 10 percent of his body.
The Alibi's annual Haiku Contest is finally here, so you can stop bugging me about it (and calling me Amy while you do so). As always, 10 categories offer you the chance to wax pithy, succinctly. This year, they are:
Working Classroom’s Arté En Todas Partes
Arté En Todas Partes isn't just the name of Working Classroom's newest show, it's the organization's credo. It means Art Everywhere, and that's Working Classroom's goal.
Q: Dear Ari,
Our little flock of backyard chickens just started laying, and now I'm looking for a way to cook the eggs that doesn't hide the flavor with spices and vegetables, like a frittata does. I'm looking for a simple recipe that highlights their bright yellow yolks and creamy flavor.
A: Welcome to the world of egg-snobbery. I feel bad for anyone who invites you over for breakfast if they don't have their own flock. Ditto for the restaurant servers who bring you a three-egg breakfast, and anyone else within earshot. Everyone's going to have to listen to how yellow the yolks are in Buttercup's daily masterpieces.
Barbecue for the soul
If you’re from the Deep South, the food at Pepper’s might remind you of what you eat at family reunions. But this stuff is probably better. It’s high-end backyard food, at home on paper plates. Rolls of paper towels adorn every table, Kool-Aid flows, there’s a selection of hot sauces and smoke is in the air.
What do you get when you mix banjo, 8-bit Nintendo and karaoke? (Aside from a Missourian out on the town in Japan.) You get programmer/picker Bud Melvin’s LP release for Popular Music.
Bud Melvin creates a solo novelty using the banjo and chiptunes—music produced by older video game and computer systems that generate sound in real time. It’s both retro digital and pastoral, an unlikely combination that interacts with the dynamism of yin and yang. On Sunday, a live collision of Luigi and Jed awaits release party revelers at Ed's Pub, Leisure Bowl's wood-paneled, karaoke-fraught watering hole. The show is free and followed by a night of open karaoke. In the meantime, the Alibi shipped off a few electronic questions to Melvin about the record.
Udall legislation targets who? What did an 11-year-old girl from Los Lunas survive? What might help residents of the Four Corners area breathe easier? And these New Mexicans are annoyed by Hollywood.
News coverage of murders unsettling for some in the transgender community
Mayor Martin Chavez wants two things, he says. "I want everyone to be safe. And I want everyone to make a lot of money."
Dateline: Bangladesh—Police in the northern part of the country say they have arrested dozens of swindlers who conned people out of money by calling them on mobile phones and claiming to be genies with supernatural powers. “It has become an epidemic,” Farhad bin Imrul Kayes, police chief of Gobindaganj province told Agence France-Presse. “In the last three months alone we have arrested 24 of these so-called ‘Kings of Genies,’ some of whom have even become rich in just a year.” According to Kayes, the scammers would gather personal information about their victims beforehand, then call them and speak “in a tone similar to Arabic.” Claiming to be genies who had descended from the sky, the scammers would demand money, threatening a family tragedy if the victims did not pay up. In addition to rattling off detailed family information, the callers would recite passages from the Quran. Police in Gobindaganj used phone taps to catch the scammers after receiving numerous complaints.
Siblings Pascal and Lauren Balthrop are living the small-town life.
They walk nearly everywhere they go, stopping to say hello to people they recognize on the street. They chat with store owners who know them by name and socialize at the neighborhood coffee shop where all their friends hang out.
The sonically and visually talented Bud Melvin agreed to share photos taken on his Game Boy Camera. Here’s a selection hand-picked by us. To see more, click here, and link to more photos at the bottom of each page.
La crème de la crème
Because it was Bastille Day, a guest wandered into the kitchen and serenaded the cooks with "La Marseillaise," the national anthem of France. Outside the insulated walls of Café Jean Pierre, the sun beat down on a maze of interconnected parking lots and the Century Rio megaplex. But inside, it was Paris.
It is gazpacho season. Don't know if you've ever noticed, but very few recipes as simple as "buy vegetables, blend and chill" inspire such strong preferences as this iconic cold soup. (We give props to the oil-laden, paprika-orange smoothie variety over the chunky salsa in a bowl style, but hey, that's just us.)
The public is invited to attend a public screening for the Institute of American Indian Arts’ Summer Television and Film Workshop. The six-week workshop was held in collaboration with Disney/ABC Television and featured work by 12 Native American students from across the country. Six short films were produced, including “Love’s Story,” “The Confession,” “Doc O’Mine,” “Kokopelli,” “First Impressions” and “Torn Emotions.” The free screening of these films will take place Friday, July 24, at the Library and Technology Center at IAIA’s College of Contemporary Native Arts (83 Avan Nu Po in Santa Fe).
An interview with underground filmmaker Jon Moritsugu
Do-it-all, DIY filmmaker Jon Moritsugu has a body of work that floats somewhere in the artistic ether between the pop art obsessions of Andy Warhol and the trashy aesthetics of John Waters. Shooting often on grungy 16mm film stock to a punk rock soundtrack, Moritsugu has built a résumé that runs the gamut from early experimental shorts (“Der Elvis,” “Sleazy Rider”) to feature-length cult curiosities like 1990’s My Degeneration, 1993’s Terminal USA, 1994’s Mod Fuck Explosion, 1997’s Fame Whore and 2002’s Scumrock. As he bounced between Hawaii (where he was born), San Francisco (where he had his most productive years) and the Seattle area (where he most recently resided), Moritsugu became a key figure in something some journalist dubbed the “West Coast Independent” movement.
The Big Alligator River (1979)
I’ve been a fan of man-vs.-nature flicks ever since I saw Henry Silva get his ass eaten by a giant gator in John Sayles’ magnificent and appropriately named exploitation flick Alligator. As a kid, I ate a steady diet of these films—movies featuring fearsome creatures just itching to take a bite out of our hides. My interest would be especially piqued if these creatures dwelled underwater. The idea that something ferocious is living just beyond our view is a fear that resonates with all of us. My fave, of course, is Jaws. But a multitude of Jaws knockoffs such as Orca: The Killer Whale, Piranha (another John Sayles classic!) and Tentacles still hold a warm place in my darkened heart. And then there is the gloriously goofy, blatantly racist piece of cinematic trash known as The Big Alligator River. Now, don’t get me wrong; I mean “trash” in the best way possible.
San Diego Comic-Con on G4
There was a time when the legendary San Diego Comic-Con was all about comic books. That was, of course, before films like X-Men, Spider-Man and Batman Begins took comic books mainstream. In the last eight years, Hollywood has co-opted the annual event, turning the four-day geek fest into a movie industry publicity machine par excellence. This year, though, television seems to be taking over the convention (scheduled Thursday, July 23, through Sunday, July 26). If you aren’t already planning on going (all 140,000 tickets sold out months ago), here’s a peek at what you’re missing.
The Week in Sloth
You are alone. There is nobody who can comprehend your particular suffering. You will die without ever having made a true human connection.
Even when she's the only one on stage, Linda Rodeck says she never feels like she’s going it alone.
An interview with Charles MacKay, General Director of the Santa Fe Opera
John Crosby, the founder of the Santa Fe Opera (SFO), was a bona fide visionary. The SFO was—and, in many ways, still is—his wailing baby. His brilliant idea to construct an open-air opera house in the middle of the desert Southwest has had a profound and lasting impact on New Mexico’s image of itself. Yes, we live in the sticks, but we can always point to that funky spaceship opera house on the hill as proof of the existence of hoity culture in New Mexico.