Sporting drama scores by spotlighting its flawed hero
By Devin D. O’Leary
The year was 1974. Leeds United was the most dominant club in all of British football—thanks largely to the team’s willingness to punch opposing players in the testicles. Into this gang of hooligans came straight-laced, clean-playing Brian Clough, who had the unenviable task of taking over as manager from much-beloved Leeds leader Don Revie. To people of a certain age and of a certain geographical persuasion, this was a big deal. A very big deal. The equivalent of George W. Bush taking over as head of the DNC. To the other 99.9 percent of the world’s population, however, the preceding paragraph pretty much reads like Chinese stereo instructions.
The leaves are turning, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s are looming. The holiday season is upon us! Hollywood hopes you will take a break during your endless holiday shopping in the coming weeks to stop by the mall theater and buy a ticket for one of the following films.
A feature film called The Loop has just begun shooting in Santa Fe. The film is described as a drama/romance and has something to do with a young highway department worker whose parents were killed, who meets a sexy librarian and gets involved in a mystery concerning an ancient parrot. Huh. It’s based on a book by Joe Coomer and stars the green-skinned chick from Star Trek and some hunky dude from “Drop Dead Diva.” The production is now seeking extras of all types. Pay is $10 an hour with an eight-hour guarantee, plus overtime. Food and beverages will be provided. Casting agents are particularly interested in folks from Santa Fe, as mileage and accommodations will not be provided (though all applicants are welcome). If you missed the open casting call, they will keep accepting applicants throughout the duration of the shoot. The film will be shot through December, so anytime between now and then is fine to send your info. Of course, the sooner, the better. If you’re interested, send a photo of yourself to: email@example.com. Be sure to include in the body of your e-mail your contact and personal information: name, phone number, e-mail address and age range. For more info, log on to myspace.com/loopextras.
Dickens gets digital upgrade in surprisingly grim fable
By Devin D. O’Leary
The main problem with Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol (besides the fact you actually have to read the damn thing) is that there just aren’t enough possibilities for video game spin-offs. Well, Walt Disney Pictures and director Robert Zemeckis have solved that little problem (and a few others as well) with their high-tech cinematic “upgrade.” Now it’s got chase scenes, explosions, elaborate stunts, a radical snowboarding scene—all prime fodder for a Nintendo DS game. (No, I’m not joking. It was released on Nov. 3.)
In the world of television, Oct. 30 through Nov. 25 is known as “Sweeps Month.” That’s when networks compile their ratings in order to set ad rates for the next year. The higher the ratings, the higher the rates. Tried-and-true methods for attracting more viewers include: guest stars, weddings, births, miniseries and specials. And of course, hiding ratings losers under the rug for four weeks. (Sorry, fans of FOX’s “Dollhouse.”) So what sort of insidious schemes have the networks cooked up to lure us away from cable, movie theaters, the Xbox 360 and actual interaction with friends and family?
What a world. I started interning at the Alibi six years ago as a culinary student and liberal arts college dropout. My entire work history before that consisted of catering and short-order cooking. The Alibi was my first desk job.
Film Guide special! Match the movies to the musicians that appeared in them
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
It's a known law of the universe that the actors-turned-rockers will nearly always be met with disrespect (Kevin Bacon, Keanu Reeves), whereas filmic forays made by musicians are generally accepted as interesting novelties (Iggy Pop, Tom Waits). Below lie 30 films that contain lead roles or small cameos by bands or musicians. Oi!
Since 1983, Stryper has shone the light of Jesus on a style of music typically associated with the dark, debauched side of life. The glam metal band relaxed its outrageous black-and-yellow striped look in the early ’90s, then disbanded in ’92 when the genre went the way of the flying dragon-beast-thing ridden by a big-breasted cartoon woman. The hair metal revival of the early part of this decade spurred the band to reunite in 2003, and Stryper’s been performing/preaching since. At times the band was accused of blasphemy and devil worshiping—not true, folks. Last week I spoke with lead guitarist Oz Fox, and, whoa, this band loves the Lord.
Vivid Entertainment director in Albuquerque to talk pleasure positivity at the Pornotopia film festival
By Marisa Demarco
Tristan Taormino is trying to take a deep breath. When we speak, she's about to embark on a four-week tour and is using the day to read books. The titles are telling: When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön, an ordained Buddhist nun, and Wide Open: On Living With Purpose and Passion by Dawna Markova, described on Amazon.com as teaching "how to live with heart and mind wide open to all life's possibilities."
Councilors wasted no time as they sped through their Monday, Nov. 2 meeting and put off many items for the incoming Council to deal with. They did, however, manage to spend several million dollars in less than two hours.
I remember my first byline in the Alibi. It was attached to an article on Albuquerque's brand-new rapid transit bus system, called the Rapid Ride. I sought out that precious byline at the paper's little blue box outside the Co-op in Nob Hill. White Christmas lights had already been draped around nearby trees. It was a Wednesday around 6 p.m., the time my editor had told me papers would start showing up in that part of town. The issue was the Holiday Film Guide. When I flipped through it, I found my story on page 14. I jumped a little.
Dateline: India—The corpse of a missing dead man was located more than two years after it disappeared—on the roof of a police station in Northern India. The body of Chukkan Nishad, a 22-year-old who died in 2007, was meant to be sent for DNA testing, but was instead put in a body bag and placed on the roof. “I admit it is a horrible case, possibly the first of its kind,” Ram Sabad Ram, the new station master in Azamgarh in northern Uttar Pradesh state, told the Mail Today newspaper. “I joined here only recently and didn’t know that the corpse was kept on the roof.” The Mail said the body was placed there after local authorities refused to release the funds for a DNA test on Nishad. His death remains a mystery. Mr. Ram said police were completing formalities to return Mishad’s remains—which are little more than bones at this point—to his family.
If you think the play's the thing, you're in luck; theater companies around the state are staging new works and well-loved classics throughout the holiday season (which, like it or not, we're already in). Debuting on Friday, Nov. 6, Auxiliary Dog Theater (3011 Monte Vista NE) presents The Pavilion. Penned by Craig Wright and directed by Andie Rigler, this award-winning play focuses on the two halves of a high school's cutest couple and what happens when they meet again 20 years later. That may sound a bit generic, but Wright has written for "Six Feet Under" and "Lost" and also holds a masters degree in divinity. If that résumé is any indication, prepare to be sad, confused, hopeful and a little turned on. The show runs through Nov. 29, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. All tickets are $12 and seats can be reserved by calling 254-7716. Go to auxdog.org for more.
A few years ago, Lori Ostlund was known to Albuquerqueans as an instructor at TVI and one of the Two Serious Ladies who ran that eponymous furniture store in Nob Hill. She and her partner decided in 2005 that they needed more time to write, and in order to simplify their lives, they moved to San Francisco. Since then, her first book, the short story collection The Bigness of the World, has earned her the Flannery O'Connor for Short Fiction and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Grant. Prior to her upcoming appearance in Albuquerque, Ostlund chatted with the Alibi on the phone about the weather in San Francisco (sunny), novel-writing (difficult) and the Internet (distracting).
The feeling inside La Isla, on Bridge just west of the river, is laid-back and celebratory. Western fantasy, Dances With Wolves-style paintings of animals and the men who wrangle them hang on the walls, along with Old West photos and framed news clippings. There are plants (real and fake), suspended paper bells that look leftover from Chinese New Year, and some painted globe chandeliers that might have come from a midcentury diner. An exterior roof façade crowns the kitchen, making it seem like you’re outside while the kitchen is in a little cabana on the beach.
We just purchased a half a pound—each—of fresh chanterelles (it is fall, people!). But in a bout of lunch-box paranoia, Evan feared that the mushrooms would shrivel in the fridge and miss their peak. So we minced the beauties and made a mushroom duxelles (say “duke-sell”)—a classic French dish of mushrooms roasted with shallots, fat and wine. Nearly a tapenade, the stuff is versatile enough to work on vegan bruschetta or dress up leftovers.
An international trip, right down to the exchange rate
By Ari LeVaux
Tapas, Spanish for “snacks you eat before or after a night of partying” (or simply “appetizers” for short), have become wildly popular left of the Atlantic in recent years. While the chance to mix it up with several dishes sounds yummy enough, tapas eateries—and their customers—have had to struggle with an obvious flaw: You can end up getting less food per dollar than with full-sized portions.
Local military religious freedom activist nominated for 2010 Nobel
By Marisa Demarco
Mikey Weinstein won the Linda K. Estes Giraffe Award, given to honor those who stick their necks out for their beliefs. Born and raised in Albuquerque, Weinstein was thrilled to receive the local prize, named for the former UNM coach who fought for women's equality. On Sept. 17, he attended a gala reception to accept his Giraffe.
The mission of the International Gay Rodeo Association is to promote the LGBT country-Western lifestyle. “It is a huge surprise to many that the gay community is involved in rodeo, but this being America and the fact that all of us are intrigued with our Western heritage, it only adds to the reality ‘We are everywhere!’ ” the association writes on its website.
Dateline Hungary—The entire 15-man police force in the town of Budaörs resigned last Tuesday after they landed the sole winning jackpot ticket in the country’s national lottery. According to London’s Daily Telegraph, the $16.5 million jackpot is the sixth biggest win in Hungarian lottery history. Police chiefs have scrambled to send backup units to the region, located just outside the Budapest metropolitan area, until more full-time officers can be recruited.
Dust off your marigold headdresses, friends: It's Día de los Muertos time. Different than Halloween (haunty) and All Saints' Day (reverent), the Day of the Dead honors the memories of loved ones who have passed with ofrendas (altars), sugar skulls, parades, and a sense that, while sad, death is inevitable and not to be feared.
Albuquerque Now is to our art scene what a telescope is to the moon: By focusing in on an exceptional fragment, we are better able to understand the beauty of the whole. The show, up now at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History, displays dozens of locally crafted works in a stunning representation of our creative community, its diversity and its talent.
Hurry up and get your shorts off ... to the Taos Shortz Film Festival, that is. (Heh, heh. Who doesn’t love a lame pun?) The third annual Taos Shortz Film Fest promises to showcase the hottest short films in the Southwest. This coming Sunday, Nov. 1, is the early bird deadline. Get your short film submission in by this weekend and you’ll only have to fork over a $17 entry fee. If you can’t get your work together by then, you have until Dec. 1. Programmers are looking for films between 3 and 28 minutes in the following categories: Comedy, Drama, Documentary, Animation and Experimental. For a complete list of rules, regulations and submission forms, log on to www.taosshortz.com. The festival is scheduled to take place Feb. 5 to 7, 2010.
Obsessive indie comedy explores dark side of fandom
By Devin D. O’Leary
Listen to enough sports radio and you’ll get the idea that professional sports aren’t mere recreational distractions. There’re not just regional pissing contests, either. For many adults, professional sports are a full-blown obsession. After all, would a truly sane person smear his body with purple and yellow paint and then stand, half-naked, in a Minneapolis football stadium in 13 degree weather? Big Fan, a black comedy collusion between underappreciated comedian Patton Oswalt and up-and-coming screenwriter-turned-director Robert D. Siegel, takes this idea to its natural extreme: What if you crossed “The Jim Rome Show” with Taxi Driver?
Fashion icon biopic looks fabulous but hangs kinda funny
By Devin D. O’Leary
As the title clearly indicates, the Gallic import Coco Before Chanel explores the life of fashion maven Coco Chanel before she changed her name, became famous and started pasting her initials all over expensive handbags. While bolstered by the magnetic central performance of the always-charming Audrey Tautou (Amélie) and some damn fine period re-creation, Coco Before Chanel is also restrained by slow pacing and a general lack of drama. To put it in fashion terms, the details are stunning, but the overall shape is somewhat lacking.
On the surface, this Halloween’s TV schedule looks decidedly un-scary. There’s plenty of college football and major league baseball on the broadcast networks, but that hardly gets you in the holiday spirit. So if you wanna spend all day watching TV and still feel like you’re participating in the holiday, you’re going to have to dig deep.
The Fire Halloween Vampire Ball is just for female neck-nibblers over the age of 21. Come out of your coffins and dance to DJs Anita, Nicolatron and Ginger, and get glamoured by live performances from the ABQ Kings Club and Consuelo Wind. Doors at El Rey Theater (620 Central SW) creak open at 8 p.m. $10 limited advance tickets at firewomyn.com. (Laura Marrich)
Japan’s favorite robot kid flies, but doesn’t soar, in Americanized version
By Devin D. O’Leary
It seems odd, in such a rabidly anime- and manga-literate culture—where practically every new pop-culture entry is stumbling over itself to emulate the style found in Japanese cartoons and comics—that we’d need such a watered-down, Americanized version of a Japanese classic like Astro Boy. But that’s exactly what Imagi Animation Studios, the folks behind the 2007 CGI version of TMNT, thought.
Composer, writer, turntablist and conceptual artist Paul D. Miller, otherwise known as DJ Spooky, traveled to Antarctica with a studio in tow. There he visited barren ice fields in an attempt to explore the hidden connections between sound and the environment. From this frosty experiment, a large-scale multimedia performance piece called Terra Nova: Sinfonia Antarctica was born. The visual and sonic portrait of that continent includes video projections, turntables and a DJ Spooky-composed score performed by local chamber musicians. He brings the performance to the KiMo Theatre this week as part of the LAND/ART project. In preparation for Miller's New Mexico visit, we conducted the following e-mail communiqué.
Let Me In, the American remake of the Swedish vampire flick Let the Right One In,is gearing up to film right here in New Mexico. While I’m awfully mixed on the idea of a remake, I’m excited it’s happening in New Mexico. The story of a bullied young boy who befriends the little vampire girl next door is being directed by Matt Reeves (who gave us the monster romp Cloverfield). Casting agents are looking for children ages 8 to 18 in Los Alamos, Taos and Albuquerque. The two main roles are already filled by Kodi Smit-McPhee (from the upcoming film The Road) and Chloe Moretz (who appeared in (500) Days of Summer), but there are plenty of other roles to cover. If you’re interesting in getting your offspring involved, please register with Elizabeth Gabel online at egcasting.com or call 967-9533.
Kids these days are under a lot of pressure. There’s the pressure to excel in school, even at a young age. There’s the added responsibility of organized sports. There’s the fact that many kids are now growing up in broken homes. There’s the continuing pop-cultural lure of sex and drugs. And if 30 years’ worth of PSAs are to be believed, there’s an awful lot of peer pressure exerted on young people to smoke cigarettes. Imagine, then, that you’re a 3-year-old Nepalese tyke who’s just been fingered as the reincarnation of recently deceased 84-year-old Buddhist master Geshe Lama Konchog. No pressure or anything, kid, but pack up your stuff—you’ve got a 1,000-year mission of peace and enlightenment to get cracking on.
“Batman: The Brave and the Bold” on Cartoon Network
By Devin D. O’Leary
A certain percentage of the fanboy population has dismissed Cartoon Network’s “Batman: The Brave and the Bold” as a too-cartoony take on the Dark Knight Detective’s adventures. Haters may be eating their words after this weekend, however, when the show gets a healthy injection of awesome in the form of Neil Patrick Harris.
The VSA North Fourth Arts Center (4904 Fourth Street NW) brings southern Africa to Albuquerque with Global DanceFest / JourneysAFRICA, Oct. 23 through Oct. 31. Since 2001, Global DanceFest has hosted groundbreaking contemporary dance from around the world, incorporating into the experience film, gallery exhibits and discussion. There's a lot to enjoy, so hang on to your unitard.
Impressions of Cuban culture are typically confined to two extremes—an island dystopia vs. an idyllic people frozen in time. The exhibition Confluencias: Inside Arte Cubano Contemporáneo, now at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, challenges these notions by peeling back the protective coating to offer a rare glimpse of contemporary Cuban art. The exhibition brings together the work of 40 artists who are creating within Cuba, employing an array of media and themes.
When asking for help in deciding between dishes, I’m sometimes skeptical if my server recommends the more expensive option. But the other day at Annapurna’s new North Valley satellite, I received some advice I just couldn’t question.
It wasn’t the usual championship match. Still, the finale on Sunday, Oct. 18, offered promise for seasons to come. All the skaters wanted in on the last 2009 game, part of the Rock the Ink tattoo fest at the Convention Center. So instead of pitting any of the league’s four teams against each other, Duke City Derby created two new squads, which allowed all the derby girls to roll in. On that fateful day, team Good triumphed over Evil, 85-62.
Earlier this year the Rio Grande became a water lifeline for everyone living in the Albuquerque metro area. The San Juan-Chama Drinking Water Project is intended to help alleviate the accelerating drain of the aquifer under the city. The water sources are blended together in the city’s reservoir tanks and sent out in hundreds of miles of pipes to a faucet near you.
There are a several things people can do to keep fecal matter and pharmaceuticals out of the surface, ground and river water. (Read the full story on recent discoveries in Albuquerque’s drinking water here).
Councilors had barely sat down when they were hit with bad news at their Monday, Oct. 19 meeting. Financial staff said the city is looking at a $12 million shortfall for the 2010 budget due to falling sales tax income and other revenues. The Council was told not to look to the Legislature for help because there just isn’t any money there, either. Come Dec. 1, when Mayor-Elect Richard Berry and the new Council take over, there will not be much of a honeymoon.
The morning after the municipal elections, as I was removing droopy “Romero for Mayor” signs from my front lawn while a steady drizzle soaked my jacket into a leaden metaphor for my soggy spirit, I got a cell phone call from a friend (actually, now a former friend) who was calling just to berate me.
Dateline: Gaza Strip—Two zebras at Gaza’s city zoo died of hunger earlier this year when they were neglected during a flare-up in the Israel-Hamas conflict, but they’ve finally been replaced—by a pair of painted donkeys. New zebras would have cost the zoo $40,000 apiece, so zookeepers simply used masking tape and women’s hair dye to paint stripes on two female donkeys. Zoo officials said the high cost of the animals was due largely to import restrictions placed by the Israelis. In addition to the two “zebras,” the zoo boasts an aging tiger, two monkeys, and an assortment of birds, rabbits and cats.
For more than a decade, Tuesday nights at the Heights Community Center (823 Buena Vista SE, southwest of Yale and Coal) have been Albuquerque's haven for swing dancing and the hopped-up, vintage music that compels it.
Rarely do face paint and hardcore rap seamlessly fit together, but for Kansas City’s Tech N9ne, it’s been his steez for the past two decades. The self-proclaimed “weirdo rapper” deals in fallen angels and other dark material that places him worlds apart from other MCs. It’s not all about bling, bitches or Bentleys—he rhymes like he’s narrating a horror film. Tech’s style murders the competition by combining wicked, tricky wordplay, melodic hooks and incredibly speedy rap. But the most impressive thing about Tech N9ne isn’t his music—it’s his work ethic.