At the very least, Mother Road Theatre Company’s production of The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer is ambitious. Written by Carson Kreitzer, the play attempts to weave together the making of the atomic bomb, Jewish identity, hubris, guilt, original sin, the legacy of Lilith, Hindu texts and T.S. Eliot. It’s a lot.
This is the answer Jesse Daves, the owner of Amyo Farms—a local pesticide-free grower—gives when I ask him what prompted his transition from a formerly computer-centered life to one of hard manual labor and sunshine.
Autumn is harvest time, and even though this year hasn’t been the most fertile in recent memory, you’ll still be able to find plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables grown by your neighbors until at least mid-November.
Traffic along Central through Nob Hill will just have to slow down. The City Council approved the installation of two stop lights at the intersections of Wellesley and Morningside. The lights are needed for safe pedestrian crossings, according to Councilor Rey Garduño. At the Wednesday, Sept. 9 meeting, several business owners and residents spoke in support, saying pedestrians have to “haul ass” across Central because there are not enough safe crossing points. A couple of councilors griped about Nob Hill getting the lights without a recent traffic engineering study, saying they want more lights in their districts, too. In the end, there was unanimous approval.
I am what you call a city slicker, but my chosen line of work has taken me to small towns across America. I move more than Mongolian sheep herders. I never get to really know anyone outside of work, and before long, I move on.
Most of these locales are at the very least semi-rural and at the most, the country.
Since I was born and raised on concrete, the country is often a source of amusement—the amusement of the country residents at me.
Dateline: China—Whatever you do, don’t shoplift from a Chinese Wal-Mart. A customer at a new Wal-Mart superstore in Jingdezhen apparently died at the hand of Wal-Mart employees who suspected her of stealing. According to the China Daily, employees surveilled suspected shoplifter Yu Xiaochun for several minutes before approaching her. As Yu exited the store, one Wal-Mart employee stopped her and requested a receipt for some merchandise. Yu handed over the receipt, then snatched it back, saying no one was wearing a Wal-Mart uniform and she didn’t believe they worked there. In response, four more Wal-Mart employees allegedly gathered around the woman and began beating her. Yu somehow managed to send an alert to her family through her cellphone. When Yu’s mother and sister showed up at the store, the staff members were allegedly still pummeling her. Police eventually arrived and put a stop to the incident. Yu, 37, was rushed to a nearby hospital but died of her wounds three days later. Police say two of the security guards involved in the incident have been detained.
I've been playing The Beatles: Rock Band nearly nonstop since it came out last week and have never been more pleased with technology in my life. Sometimes, though, it's good to get back to our pre-fake-guitar-playing-avatar roots and enjoy the works of an earlier, non-electric era. Sure, sexism and racism and classism and disease were rampant, but the music was nice.
A sampling of some of the State Fair’s greatest artwork
By Erin Adair-Hodges
You may go to the 2009 New Mexico State Fair for the chance to eat a giant turkey leg with a fried Twinkie chaser. You may stay for the opportunity to experience rides that will throw you backwards in a loop while blaring ’80s metal music in your ears. But don’t leave without exposing yourself to the art of the State Fair. The mind-bogglingly diverse work of people of all ages from all over the state—from the oil paintings of the Fine Arts Gallery to the LEGO dioramas in the Creative Arts Building—makes the fair one of the most exciting arts destinations of the year. I can’t think of another place where one can see traditional New Mexican inlay woodworking along with a giant Mr. Potato Head and sock puppets. Don’t miss out.
We’ve mentioned the upcoming Music in Film Summit before in the Alibi, and if you haven’t registered yet, your time is running out. The event takes place this Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18 and 19, at the KiMo Theater. Panelists have been confirmed and include an amazing selection of film and music industry professionals like Steven Vincent, VP of Music and Soundtracks at Disney Channel; Randy Spendlove, president of Film Music at Paramount Studios; Dana Sano, music supervisor and producer at Zenden Entertainment; Lizzy Moore, West Coast regional director of The Recording Academy; and Mike Knobloch, senior vice president of Film Music at 20th Century Fox. The folks are coming to New Mexico will teach you (yes, you) how to break into the film music business. On Friday, there will be a film screening starting at 4 p.m. at the KiMo (423 Central NW) followed by a meet-and-greet at One Up Elevated Lounge (301 Central NW). Panels and presentations will take place on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the KiMo. This is a free event, but reservations are required. For more information, visit newmexicomusic.org. To register, e-mail email@example.com.
True-life character study finds humor in corporate price-fixing of amino acids
By Devin D. O’Leary
Mark Whitacre is no moron. By all accounts, he’s an educated guy. He was president of Archer Daniels Midland’s BioProducts division—the youngest in company history—and that bespeaks a certain level of intelligence. For much of his time at the Fortune 500 company, Whitacre was an undercover informant for the FBI, and you would assume they don’t hire a lot of complete chuckleheads. Whitacre’s problem may simply be that he thinks too much. As portrayed in the loosey-goosey, true-life biopic The Informant!, Whitacre’s brain is a babbling brook that entertains every half-formed idea and every random-neuron non sequiter. Embodied by Matt Damon in workaday, low-glam mode, Mark Whitacre is that genial but infuriating stranger who sits next to you on the plane and just starts talking. For the entire flight. About god knows what. You stopped paying attention 200 miles ago.
While it can’t approach the rarified atmosphere of a Pixar film, Sony’s ambitious, 3-D, computer-animated kiddy flick Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs manages to cook up some harmless, high-flying fun.
The fall 2009 TV season opens up its floodgates this week and lets loose a tsunami of new shows. We’ve got everything from tough cops to hilariously dysfunctional families to mopey teenage vampires to rodent-eating space invaders. But you never can tell which shows will be good and which will suck so hard they’ll pull the remote out of your hand. Nonetheless, you can always make an educated guess ... or a rash pronouncement based on innate prejudice. Either one’s good by me. So, here’s my snap judgment for the best and worst of the upcoming TV season.
You haven't you signed up for the Music in Film Summit yet? Sheesh. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 18 and 19, Downtown will host panels and parties devoted to getting your music on the big screen, and it's 100 percent free. But before you load up the jalopy and move to California, you need to RSVP in advance of the conference to firstname.lastname@example.org. Log on to newmexicomusic.org for the schedule.
MV & EE plays with sound in the form of electrified acoustic instruments (and vice-versa in Thurston Moore's trippy Ecstatic Peace! label recordings.) Burque’s A.G.L. and The Jeebies open what looks like the last show at 1Kind Studios (1016 Coal SW) on Tuesday, Sept. 22 ... :( . Cover is $5, jammage beings at 8:30 p.m. and it’s still all-ages. ... :) (Laura Marrich)
My hens wanted to be moms. I did my best to be a dad.
By Ari LeVaux
Two of our hens recently got broody. While the other two kept up their standard schedules of scratching around, chasing bugs and rolling in the dust, Black ’n Blue, a sweet little Bantam, and Annabelle, a tough orange Buff Orpington, stopped laying eggs and glued themselves to their nesting box. Once in a while Baldy or Chicken Hawk came in to lay an egg and forfeit her creation to the broody girls, who used their beaks and claws to roll the new egg onto their pile. They shared this pile, sitting side by side, sometimes with their wings wrapped around each other. They wouldn't leave the nest to eat or drink, so I put food and water dishes next to the nesting box.
There’s a research info website called Smart QandA (qanda.encyclopedia.com); plug in a question and an answer comes back. How they hook you is by giving you a list of related local news stories, hoping you’ll want to expand your knowledge on the subject.
Dateline: England—The central English town of Birmingham has banned two street musicians from doing their thing because they only know two songs. Sick of hearing endless, out-of-tune renditions of “Wonderwall” by Oasis and “Faith” by George Michael, a judge at Birmingham Magistrates’ Court slapped a two-year performing ban on the bad buskers. Acoustic guitar player James Ryan, 40, and garbage can lid banger Andrew Cave, 39, were also barred from entering the Birmingham suburb of Moseley Village and playing instruments of any kind there. The city council added that it is now illegal for either man to beg for change anywhere in England or Wales. Next stop: France!
It's important to try new things. I'm somewhat of an expert at this. I've tried seven art forms, six sports, five languages and cooking. It is safe to say that I'm fairly horrible at all but one of these (hint: not cooking), but I'm better for having tried. In fact, I’m always on the lookout for the next thing I can be not very good at. Join me, won’t you?
Several years ago, art therapist Janis Timm-Bottos was inspired when she learned about Depression-era “community art studios.” These studios were created in response to the economic hardships of the day and gave people a free place to come together and express themselves. In 2001, Timm-Bottos founded OFFCenter, an art studio that provides supplies and studio space at no cost to just about anyone who wants to create.
Q: Despite the fact that a link between aluminum cookware and Alzheimer's disease has been proven false, I still prefer to avoid using aluminum pots. However, all the stainless steel cookware that I've seen has aluminum in the base.
Part café, part grocery store and part library, Persian Market is an oasis of Persian culture. A banal strip mall exterior gives little indication of the world inside; but when you open the door, things change. If you happen to read Farsi, help yourself to the pile of books by the door. If you’ve been wondering about Turkish delight ever since you read The Chronicles of Narnia as a kid, you’ll find it on the shelves. (Turkey was conquered by Persian forces during the fifth and sixth centuries.) If you’re wondering what you might concoct with the gallon-bag of dried limes that’s for sale, take a seat and order a plate of khoresh-e ghormeh sabzi, a soupy dish of parsley, leeks and fenugreek fried with red kidney beans and dried limes.
On Friday, Sept. 11, the New Mexico Film Museum at Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe will host the premiere of Tamarind King and Paul Glickman’s just-completed New Visions 2007 Contract Award winning short “El Salon Mexico.” Inspired by the exuberant composition by Aaron Copeland, the animated film was made using Photoshop and Illustrator and consists of more than 22,500 individual frames. Previous animated films by King and Glickman will also be screened. There will be two free showings at 6 and 8 p.m. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP to email@example.com using “ESM Screening” in the subject line. The Jean Cocteau Theatre is located at 418 Montezuma in Santa Fe.
By-the-numbers sci-fi tale at least looks fantastic
By Devin D. O’Leary
Like the recent low-budget sci-fi hit District 9 (with which it shares a numerical kinship), director Shane Acker’s 9 also started out as an attention-grabbing short film. Nominated for an Academy Award in 2005, the 11-minute, 3-D-esque, CGI-animated silent film has been expanded into a 79-minute feature courtesy of producers Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Corpse Bride) and Timur Bekmambetov (Night Watch, Wanted).
Given the recent passing of Les Paul, the universally lauded godfather of the electric guitar, the timing couldn’t be better for Davis Guggenheim’s six-string-worshipping documentary It Might Get Loud. Aimed straight at the heart of the world’s most popular amplified instrument, the film is a love letter so obsessive it could be issued a restraining order.
Call it the “Susan Boyle Principal,” the naive yet endearing (and occasionally true) idea that, once in a great while, a dark horse, ugly ducking, underdog dreamer will be given a turn in the spotlight and seize it. In that one moment, they’ll shine, dazzling onlookers and naysayers with their incontrovertible talent, and it will be a victory for all those who weren’t fortunate enough to be born with money or looks or instant popularity. It’s a concept that speaks to the nerdy teenager buried in just about all of us.
Bid bon voyage to summer with your pals the Alibi this Saturday, Sept. 12. We're throwing a maritime-themed dance party with ’70s and ’80s soft rock out the yin-yang. Come dressed as a salty dog, Moby Dick, Jacques Cousteau, a pirate ... any oceanic costume that allows you to swim freely and shake "yarr booty." The Universal DJs Eve, Jessica, Bea and Grey man the jams, guaranteed to have 50 percent more yachts than your average Saturday night playlist—or your money back! Doors open at Burt's Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW, 21+, free) at 9 p.m.
In a way, The Thermals is the quintessential indie band. It’s attracted major label interest since forming in 2002, but its loyalty to the Northwest and strict DIY standards are testaments to punk rock ethics.
The Dandy Warhols is a band of many sonic hats. As its punny moniker suggests, the Portland four-piece harkens back to '60s bohemia, where psychedelia and art-rock experimentation are updated with indie-pop.
When I was in college, I was paid by an installation artist to read mathematical proofs in a husky voice, the recording of which was then piped into a sculptural space of soldered steel and animal skins. I didn't get it, but I made 70 bucks. What I did take away from the project was the idea of sound as texture and color, working in similar ways to visual techniques. In that vein, The Very Rich Hours, created by Steve Peters, is an audio portrait of New Mexico. Designed especially to be heard at the Old San Ysidro Church in Corrales (966 Old Church Road) and presented as part of LAND/ART, the piece incorporates field recordings, readings and song. You can hear the landscape of our home Friday, Sept. 4, through Monday, Sept. 7, from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, go to 516arts.org.
Misti Collinsworth and Cainan Harris met at a toga party in Kansas City, Mo. They reconnected in Albuquerque a few years later. Over drinks at a Downtown bar, they reached a conclusion. "We were like, There's not really a good gay happy hour place," Collinsworth says. "There's not really a whole lot of good gay anything here. We should probably do something about that."
Jami Hotsinpiller rang up the Alibi on a Friday afternoon. She nervously asked if I had a minute. She hates having her picture taken or her words printed for the world to see, and she describes herself as "really shy." She assured me she doesn't belong to any political organizations. But Hotsinpiller's got a media beef and is willing to go on the record about it.
On June 22, the City Council passed the extension of our famous Transportation Tax along to the voters for consideration in October; a reasonable and public-minded course of action, unless you count the arbitrary anti-rail preconditions and exclusions offered by a couple of councilors. But with these “amendments” or without, rail transit is in trouble in Albuquerque.
Dateline: The Netherlands—The Dutch national museum admitted last Thursday that one of its prize possessions, a rock supposedly brought back from the moon by U.S. astronauts, is actually just a hunk of petrified wood. The Rijksmuseum acquired the rock after the death of former Prime Minister Willem Drees in 1988. Drees received it in 1969 from then U.S. Ambassador J. William Middendorf during a European goodwill tour by three Apollo 11 astronauts. Middendorf, who now lives in Rhode Island, told Dutch broadcaster NOS news that he had gotten the rock from the U.S. Department of State, but couldn’t recall the exact details. The fist-size red stone was last exhibited in 2006. At the time, a space expert informed the museum it was unlikely NASA would have given away any moon rocks three months after Apollo returned to Earth. Researchers from Amsterdam’s Free University said they could see at a glance the rock most likely did not originate on the moon. Now, extensive testing reveals it to be a piece of common petrified wood. “It’s a nondescript, pretty-much-worthless stone,” geologist Frank Beunk concluded in an article published by the museum. Rijksmuseum spokeswoman Xandra van Gelder said the museum would keep the curiosity anyway, adding, “We can laugh about it.”
Since 2007, the massive team behind Colorado’s Monolith Festival has made magic happen with a two-day odyssey into musical bliss. Hosted at the scenic Red Rocks Amphitheater, the Monolith Festival is quickly becoming the premier festival in the region. Last year saw appearances by Cut Copy, Justice, The Hood Internet, Del tha Funkee Homosapien, Tilly and the Wall, Atmosphere, and Band of Horses. As if those performances weren’t enough, four additional stages were set up throughout the venue to ensure a variety of musical experiences.
Despite last year’s joyous release of an incredible live show from 1992 [Live at The Cat’s Cradle, 1992, Chocodog Records], all those early years when Ween consisted of Dean and Gene—two young, talented and hilarious Pennsylvania kids—and a drum machine seem like ancient history. Seeing a Ween show without drummer-extraordinaire Claude Coleman behind the kit has been impossible for the past 15 years, but that could change soon: Rumors have been spreading all over the Internet this summer about Coleman—a multi-instrumentalist who also leads the band Amandla and teaches at the Paul Green School of Rock in NYC—taking a break from Ween to make sense of a life that has perhaps appeared too fast and fun since his near-fatal auto accident. He even confirmed it in a heartfelt statement. However, when asked about Coleman’s departure, Dean Ween (born Mickey Melchiondo) told the Alibi, “Claude is still in the band the last time I checked.” In a follow-up e-mail, Ween’s manager Greg Frey told the Alibi, “Mickey's answer regarding Claude is spot on. Anything else is hearsay.”
It comes from the land of ice and snow, where the chief exports are IKEA and meatballs. Swedish five-piece Enforcer is proud to sport tight leather pants and play speed metal in the style of Iron Maiden. Hear the hammer drop at The Compound (3206 San Mateo NE) on Monday, Sept. 7, with Cauldron (from Canada, eh?) Torture Victim, Dread and Vetalas. 6:30 p.m. All-ages, $8. (Laura Marrich)
This Friday and Saturday night, Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will host the premiere of Flicker, a locally shot horror feature. The film is the work of writer-director Aaron Hendren, the man behind 2006’s The Faithful and the Foul. It stars a number of noted Albuquerque actors including Courtney Bell, Katy Houska, Kevin R. Elder, Julibeth Hendren, Abigail Blueher, Alex Knight, Kate Schroeder and Jason Witter. The story concerns a group of young people who encounter a host of crazed killers and creepy locals while on a camping trip. On Friday, Sept. 4, the cast and crew will be there for opening night, so show up and give them your support for a job well done. If you wanna check out a trailer beforehand, you can do so at apple.com/trailers/independent/flicker.
Drain the pool, buy a new Trapper Keeper and some No. 2 pencils at Target, put away your dress whites, and file out of the movie theaters in an orderly manner, because summer comes to a crashing end this weekend. Labor Day arrives on Monday, officially bookending what Memorial Day kicked into gear some 16 weeks ago: blockbuster movie-watching season.
Documentary traces dramatic grassroots fight to go green
By Devin D. O’Leary
Simple in both construction and style, The Garden is the sort of no-frills, shot-on-video documentary that lets its subject speak for itself. Wise move, given the magnitude of the tale this Academy Award-nominated film chooses to tell. Initially, you’d think a story about a humble community garden wouldn’t be the source of much drama. Boy, would you be wrong.
What if you took four online poker players, sent them to Las Vegas to live like high-rolling kings and tasked them with the goal of winning $2 million in two months? I’ll admit, it’s a “what if” scenario I’ve never actually contemplated. But thanks to the new G4 reality series “Two Months. Two Million,” it’s one with which we’re all now confronted.
Black Mountain College closed in 1957, and when the finances ran out, the faculty were paid in beef allotments from the cows roaming across school property. It makes sense. Founded in 1933, Black Mountain was owned by its faculty, a faculty that taught the classes, tended the school’s farm and did basically everything to keep it up and running. It was a 24-year flash-in-the-pan whose educational effects are still being reckoned with today. Even if you can set aside the revolutionary model of interdisciplinary instruction (which you can’t), you’d still be left with the formidable concept that creativity and play are necessary to the development of intellectual freedom. Sure, that means no grades, but it also favors real-world experience over Scantron tests and recitation.
In honor of tomato season, I've been experimenting with various forms of the BLT. I've tried adding avocado, hot peppers, cheese, ranch dressing, mustard and other logical players. Do you have any words of wisdom in this department?
Well yes, I do have a few thoughts on the BLT. First and foremost, the BLT is nothing without mayo, which interacts with the tomato in a very special way. And my preferred premade mayo is actually fake mayo: grapeseed oil Vegenaise, made by Earth Island.
Imagine for a moment that New Mexico is a sovereign land—a nation similar to the state we inhabit, but one that evolved strictly by its own devices, with no meddling from outsiders. It would be a place with its own official dictionary, wherein “Christmas” is formalized as a verb with several conjugated forms, as in: I would have Christmased my enchiladas, but August is such a green month.