Alibi V.18 No.47 • Nov 19-25, 2009

Surfin’ U.S.A.

A chat with Mike Love of The Beach Boys

In 1968, Beatle Paul McCartney and Beach Boy Mike Love were at the breakfast table in India. McCartney had come to Love with a very rough form of “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” which he began writing on the trip. Over pancakes and fruit, McCartney started singing the chorus. “Paul sang me the verse. I told him he should talk about the Russian girls in Moscow,” Love explains. “He took my idea and incorporated it into the song.”

Best of Burque Restaurants Voting is Closing Soon!

Let us know your favorite eats in the 505 before Sept. 20

Albuquerque’s restaurant scene is thriving, but that scene doesn’t grow and change without input from you, the diners. Which is why we have the Best of Burque Restaurants reader poll each year, so you can cast your votes for the best cocktail bar, the best pizza place, and the best green chile to be found in the city. This is the kind of thing that restaurants will print out and proudly display in their windows for years to come, so, y’know, don’t take it lightly.

feature

Holiday Gift Guide

The best local gift-makers you've never heard of

The secret is out.

Albuquerque is home to an underground of league of geniuses, and they’re poised to take over the world. They’re armed with sophisticated super powers, able to create spectacular, never-before-imagined items from almost nothing. No one can stop them. And based on our intelligence, only a few citizens of Burque have even heard of them. But we can’t keep mum any longer. These local gift-makers are awesome!

It’s almost as though Santa embedded an especially resourceful brigade of elves in the Albuquerque area; here they are, toiling in obscurity, so very far away from the North Pole. The weird thing is, everyone outside of New Mexico already seems to know it.

Gift Grab Bag

An enterprising 3rd grade student at Georgia O'Keeffe Elementary School named Toby designed these nifty slogan-covered dog tags to help raise money for the Ethiopia Reads charity. In a very short amount of time, the school was able to fully fund the building of a library in Addis Ababa. The brightly colored, laser-engraved accessories—which have been featured on CNN—come with dozens of positive messages and a 4- or 24-inch chain. At a mere $5, they make great stocking stuffers—plus, a portion of the proceeds go toward building more libraries. (Devin O’Leary)

Made in New Mexico DVDs

Plenty of big-budget Hollywood movies have been shot here in New Mexico (Transformers, Terminator Salvation), but we've also got our own homegrown film industry filled with talented writers, directors and actors. Here's just a sample of some of the local indie efforts available on DVD.

Crafty Lady: Anne Taintor

An attitude is a terrible thing to waste

No doubt you've seen Anne Taintor's goods. Her images of smiling women from '30s, '40s and '50s ads coupled with sassy lines such as, "I feel a sin coming on" and "Guess where I'm tattooed" adorn products as diverse and useful as emery boards, pill boxes, cosmetic bags and, thankfully, flasks (all priced from $4.50 to $25). But did you know that Taintor's a local girl? She's been designing her wares out of Abiquiu since 1985. Her line is available anywhere anything awesome is sold and at annetaintor.com. What says "I get you" to your new-mom friend more than a bag embossed with "Wow! I get to give birth AND change diapers!"? Nothing. Except maybe that flask ...

Kids’ Corner

Persephone Wilson knows a thing or two about children's clothing: She has two daughters of her very own. So the longtime South Valley resident set up her kids’ apparel business, P's Tees, right in her own neighborhood. Wilson's pint-sized artistry is displayed on everything from T-shirts to dresses and onesies, with children’s sizes ranging from newborn to 4T. Wilson’s designs include skulls, lightning bolts and light bulbs—motifs you won’t find at a regular department store.

Bath Time in New Mexico

Give the gift of relaxation with this compendium of New Mexico-made body products. Prices generally range from around $5 for a bar of soap to about $14 for lotions and the like, while a gift set can go for up to $30.

Eat This Book: At Home With The Range Café

The Range Café began the same way the Alibi did—penniless in the autumn of 1992. (The Range has a month of seniority, opening on Sept. 2 to the Alibi’s Oct. 9.) After inflation, the Alibi is still basically penniless. The Range, meanwhile, has three locations worldwide. And it’s even gotten into the publishing business.

art

Culture Shock

The Corrales Bosque Gallery (4685 Corrales Road) is celebrating 15 years of beautiful business with a new show of the work of artist Rashan Omari Jones. His incredible glass sculpture (he is a borosilicate lampworker) is inspired by the nature of the Southwest, using organic shapes and a love of molten glass. His show opens on Friday, Nov. 20, with a reception from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and runs for three months. See corralesbosquegallery.com for directions and details.

Black Death

One Flea Spare at The Filling Station

A window swings open. A wiry, crumpled figure flounces into its frame and lurches onto the stage, veiling her face with her petticoat. Out of the silence and flickering candlelight leaps the terrified—and terrifying—voice of a young girl: “What are you doing out of your grave?”

Dancing for Their Lives

Modest Keshet Dance Company gets bragging rights

Working in the field of nonprofit arts education, while always noble, is often difficult. There's the grant writing, the scrambling for funds and, some days, the wondering if anything you do really makes a difference. Those are the bad days.

food

Winter Chickens

Having just passed my first year on the backyard chicken bandwagon, I'm watching the temperatures cool off and wondering what measures I should take to winterize my chickens.

Pumpkin Thai

Rule the Thanksgiving table with a Thai-style pumpkin custard

I'm no stranger to pumpkin pie. I owned and operated a small pumpkin pie business after college, where I experimented widely, trying countless permutations on the basic theme, and tweaked my way to some fantastic pie. I thought I knew most everything there is to know about pumpkin pie. But walking around a night-market in Bangkok, Thailand, I had an experience that turned my concept of pumpkin pie inside-out.

news

The War on the War on Drugs

Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson talks policy reform

More than a thousand people from around the globe gathered in Downtown Albuquerque from Nov. 12 through 14 to forge a plan for better drug laws. The International Drug Policy Reform Conference brought together scientists, police chiefs and law enforcement officers, think tank policy-makers, human rights activists and government officials. Three days of workshops pointed toward one idea: The “war on drugs” is a failure.

So Long, Councilors

The last meeting of Albuquerque's 18th City Council started with goodbyes to Michael Cadigan and Sally Mayer. There were slight quivers in some councilors' voices as they shared not only warm and fuzzy memories but reminders of the prickly times as well.

A New Shade of “Green”

Let us pause, briefly, to applaud Mayor Martin Chavez for his efforts on getting Albuquerque “green”—most notably, on just the idea of being “green.” We can have our quibbles on how this effort was done and what was accomplished, but let’s be clear here: We’ve moved well beyond “why.” That is no small accomplishment.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: South Korea—A would-be motorist has finally passed the written exam for a driver’s license—after her 950th attempt. Cha Sa-Soon, 68, has spent more than 5 million won ($4,200) in application fees and has taken the test on a near-daily basis since April of 2005. Until now, the vegetable seller had failed to score the minimum 60 out of 100 possible points needed to get behind the wheel for her driving test. But police officials in Jeonju, 130 miles south of Seoul, confirmed last Wednesday that Cha finally passed the test with exactly 60 points. Officials were unsure how many times Cha had failed the written exam, but local media put the estimate at 950. Now all she’s got to do is pass the physical driving test.

film

Reel World

Legendary B-movie director and president of Troma Films Lloyd Kaufman is returning to New Mexico this weekend (Nov. 20, 21 and 22) for the sixth annual TromaDance New Mexico Film Festival. Starting this Friday night, TromaDance will unhook the leash and let three days’ worth of mind-bending, low-budget, high-trash cinema loose inside the Guild Cinema.

An Education

Nostalgic memoir looks at love mid-century-style

If you’re already addicted to the suave, mid-century setting of AMC’s “Mad Men,” you might want to give An Education a look-see. Think of it as an across-the-pond rumination on much the same temporal subject. Based on the memoir by British journalist Lynn Barber, the film relates Barber’s mildly scandalous teenage affair with a much older man.

Planet 51

Space-age toon covers familiar territory but still has fun

After having our eyes thoroughly scourged by the monstrous, 3-D “performance capture” technology of Disney’s A Christmas Carol (Kill it! Kill it with fire!), the comparatively old-fashioned computer-animation of Planet 51 comes as something of a soothing balm. The film isn’t anything special, but the high-concept setup, pleasing animation and intriguing art design make for a fun family romp.

Strange Invaders

“V” on ABC

One of the bright spots on the fall 2009 schedule (at least for those of us who are ’80s-obsessed) looked to be ABC’s “reimagining” of the camp-classic 1983 sci-fi miniseries “V.” But before it even aired, the Internet was atwitter with ugly rumors. First, ABC fired and hired a number of showrunners (a TV term for “a non-writing producer responsible for day-to-day operation of a series”). Then, ABC tried to screw the show’s original creator, Kenneth Johnson, out of credit (and therefore royalties) by saying this new TV show called “V” (about lizard-like alien invaders plotting a wholesale looting of Earth’s resources and fighting off a scrappy human resistance while pretending to be beneficent) had nothing in common with that old TV show called “V” (about ... yeah, pretty much the exact same thing). Not surprisingly, the network lost that battle. Finally, ABC came up with the ridiculous idea of running just four episodes of the show and then pulling it off the air until next spring.

music

Sound and Sight

New Mexico music licensing company Masterscape, Inc. helps artists make money

Meeting an Albuquerque musician who makes more than $50 at an average show nowadays is rarer than sighting the elusive yeti, and as most can tell you, earning a respectable sum via song is almost unheard of. Almost.

Zappa on Zappa

Dweezil discusses Frank's compositions, being nonpolitical and Japanese toys from the ’70s

During a career that spanned more than three decades, exhalted composer, guitarist, visual artist, film director and general avant garde visionary Frank Zappa wrote and produced a multitude of songs. His music strode a squiggly line between jazz rock and experimental classical music, and there was nothing like it then, or now. A few years ago, Zappa's oldest son Dweezil went on the road, re-creating his father's original compositions. The Grammy-winning tour, which continues to be met with success, comes to Albuquerque this week. Dweezil told us about it in a telephone interview.

Flyer on the Wall

Admire this seemingly French new wave-inspired poster, then see the show on Friday, Nov. 20, 10 p.m.-ish, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW). The evening features performances by an eclectic, extra-X chromosome-laden cast headlined by hell-raising honky tonk heros Sin Serenade, supported by all-girl thrashers Suspended, beatbox queen Saywut?! and Ben Hawthorne (we think he’s a dude). Free, 21+. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

Tom Frouge is the creator of ¡Globalquerque!, owner of an artist management company called Avokado Artists and partner in a music licensing company called Masterscape, Inc. (see “Sound and Sight”). He’s also one of our first victims in Song Roulette, a new column where music fans are asked to put their music libraries on shuffle, sharing and commenting on the first five tracks that happen to show up.

Alibi V.18 No.46 • Nov 12-18, 2009

Marijuana Rx

How the U.S. attorney general’s memo affects New Mexico’s groundbreaking program

Dr. K. Paul Stoller has long examined the role of cannabis in clinical medicine. In 1976, before he was a medical student, he published an article on the effects of THC on hand-eye coordination.

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Sweet Relief

Chocolatier aims to make medical marijuana go down easy

Scott Van Rixel's career in food started the day following his 12th birthday, with a dishwashing job at a Serbian fish fryery. "My mom and my dad would pick me up Friday night and make me strip down to my underwear outside because I stunk so bad of fish," he recalls. "It was miserable, but I loved it."

news

The Writing on the Wall

Zoning official uses graffiti to alter the urban landscape—and perceptions

John Lorne stands admiring a graffiti mural on Second Street and Kinley, near Downtown. It’s a portrait of a Native American spiritual leader who has feathers for hair and a face that appears flooded with the blue sky. “Look at the shading in there. Look at these lines,” he says in a Bronx accent. “Look at this eye.” He points an imaginary spray can close in against the wall to simulate a fine point.

Thin Line

There are some journalistic institutions that are too big to change. And at their grand funerals, someone can eulogize that these newspaper giants stuck to their guns. But maybe the old guard is right. Maybe once the economy turns around, things will get better.

Odds & Ends

Dateline: Australia—A drunken 22-year-old man challenged a lamppost to a fight after he was ignored by passersby in the street, according to testimony heard in territorial court last Wednesday. Earlier this year, as police officers watched, David Robinson directed his inebriated anger at the lamppost and shouted at it to “come and have a go.” The bizarre incident was recounted at Perth Sheriff Court, where Robinson pleaded guilty and was ordered to perform 80 hours community service. The court was told that Perth police were on patrol in the early hours of the morning when they spotted Robinson shouting and swearing at pedestrians. He challenged a stranger to a fight and it was clear to the officers as they got closer that Robinson was heavily under the influence of alcohol. Fiscal depute Stuart Richardson testified before the court, saying, “He must have been very drunk; because when he ran out of passersby, he began to shout at the lampposts, similarly challenging them to ‘have a go’.” When officers approached, Robinson challenged them to fight. He was quickly arrested and detained. Robinson, of Corlundy Crescent, Crieff, admitted to conducting himself in a disorderly manner and breaching the peace.

art

Culture Shock

Now in its 10th year, the Words Afire Festival puts the spotlight on the work of student playwrights in UNM's MFA Dramatic Writing Program. The Directed Readings, held this Friday, Nov. 13, through Sunday, Nov. 15, allow the public to hear these pieces voiced for the first time. Here's the schedule of events, held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center (1701 Fourth Street SW). All readings are free, and three of the plays will be fully staged in April. For a synopsis of each play, got to theatre.unm.edu/waf.

food

Pho Viet

Food that’s pho-real

Albuquerque's Vietnamese population became established in the ’70s, thanks to Air Force marriages and a State Department resettlement program that brought approximately 3,000 South Vietnamese to New Mexico. Today, one in three Asians in Albuquerque is Vietnamese. And so we have an abundance of Vietnamese cuisine in the Duke City, a very fortunate thing for all of us.

Bite

It's Week Two of the Cold That Wouldn't Die. You haven't experienced flavor in just as long, thanks to your suicidal sinuses. You're achy all over. And as your former loved ones will attest, you've maxed out the credit on your Whining Card. It's time to take this thing down for the count. It's time to make Jewish chicken soup—bubbe's way, with the whole chicken and the dill. Even if your schmutz doesn't disappear completely, once you see how easy from-scratch chicken broth is, you'll never go back to canned.

film

Reel World

Did you know the Albuquerque Film Office has a Facebook page? Well, it does. It’s a great source of information for both filmmakers and fans of film. Wanna know which stars are hanging around the 505 this month? Looking to score a job as a grip? The hardworking folks at the Albuquerque Film Office can help you out. The AFO Facebook page is rapidly approaching 1,000 fans. The 1,000th person to become of fan of Albuquerque Film Office will win a secret (no doubt film-oriented) prize of some great import—so encourage your friends to join in. Log onto the ol’ Facebook.com and look up “Albuquerque Film Office.” They could use your support. And vice versa. If you’re a local filmmaker with updates, announcements, auditions, short film screenings or anything else you’d like posted to the AFO Facebook page, you can send them to Jesse Herron (jherron@cabq.gov). For more details, check out FilmABQ.com.

World’s Greatest Dad

Bleak black comedy turns poor decisions into priceless comedy

Odds are if you remember Bobcat Goldthwait, you remember him as weirdo-gangleader-turned-rookie-cop Zed in the Police Academy movies and from a bunch of stand-up comedy specials back in the ’90s. While his name may not have been a topic of conversation lately, the guy’s been quietly working away in Hollywood, doing tons of voice work, directing a couple hundred episodes of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” and creating a pair of edgy cult films (1991’s immortal Shakes the Clown and 2006’s taboo-busting Sleeping Dogs Lie). Now comes Goldthwait’s latest writing/directing effort, the gloriously offensive, scabrously funny, surprisingly subtle black comedy World’s Greatest Dad.

Lower Learning

“Community” on NBC

Thursday nights continue to be a television bloodbath, with NBC’s no-longer “Must See TV” lineup looking like the night’s designated hemophiliac. FOX’s culty “Bones” and “Fringe,” ABC’s semi-strong “FlashForward” paired with ratings-winners “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Private Practice,” CBS’ still-strong “Survivor”/“CSI”/“The Mentalist” troika and The CW’s expectedly teen-skewing duo “The Vampire Diaries” and “Supernatural” are wreaking well-tabulated havoc on NBC’s ratings. That’s a shame, because NBC has got one of its best lineups in years, including high-quality laughers “30 Rock” and “The Office,” vastly improved, Amy Poehler-led “Parks and Recreation” and underdog idol “Community.”

music

Soundies

A Hawk & A Hacksaw and Death Convention Singers score at Guild Cinema

A long time ago, in the nascent days of cinema, prerecorded sound was absent from the moving image, so silence was negotiated with live music. That arrangement, notably different from the scene-defining, track-driven pop films of contempo culture, returns to Guild Cinema this week. In an elegant and unusual meeting of movies and music, two distinguished acts will accompany exciting film selections with a live score.

Kanoa Kaluhiwa Sextet

Tenorist explores the “strange beauty” of living legend Wayne Shorter

Saxophonist Kanoa Kaluhiwa—whose rich, immediately identifiable sound has refreshed New Mexican ears for more than 20 years—never hurries his work. As he solos, you can see him listening to some inner wellspring of ideas and emotion, exploring for the right sound, the right note, the right phrase to express the moment.

Flyer on the Wall

Drink to pit bulls, pinups and the coming year at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW) on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 9:30 p.m., when the 2010 Babes and Bullies calendar release party commences. The Rum Fits, Car Thief, Animals In The Dark and Ends !n Tragedy share their ditties, plus attendees can meet the babes and engage in a $5 raffle. Free, 21+. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

Song Roulette

Song Roulette is a new column wherein a person is asked to put his or her music library on shuffle, share the first five tracks that appear and say a few words about them. No cheating!

Alibi V.18 No.45 • Nov 5-11, 2009

Music to Your Ears

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.

feature

Holiday Film Guide

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.

music

Punky Cinema

Film Guide special! Match the movies to the musicians that appeared in them

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!

Holy Metal

Stryper’s still rockin’ the gospel

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.

art

Culture Shock

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.

Not a Small World After All

Lori Ostlund and The Bigness of the World

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 Dreamers

Revolution From Within: A Kick-Ass Female Art Show

Among the office buildings and lofts of Downtown is Warehouse 508, the much anticipated and recently opened First Street youth center for arts, music and entertainment.

news

The Feminist Pornographer

Vivid Entertainment director in Albuquerque to talk pleasure positivity at the Pornotopia film festival

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."

Everything Must Go

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.

So Long and Thanks for All the Paper Cuts

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.

Odds & Ends

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.

film

Reel World

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: loopextras@gmail.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.

The Damned United

Sporting drama scores by spotlighting its flawed hero

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.

Disney’s A Christmas Carol

Dickens gets digital upgrade in surprisingly grim fable

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.)

Sweeping Changes

Around the dial

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?

food

La Isla

Mexican food for marineros and landlubbers alike

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.

Bite

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.