It was a bad day to be broke. Then college student Lonnie Anderson didn't possess enough cash to gas up his car and get to work, so he called in sick. He found himself in his garage, staring at the few materials he did have. "A rolled-up green hose, a bag of yellow garbage bags, some duct tape and some old white poster board." It was Valentine’s Day.
The Alibi’s seventh annual Valentine’s Day Card Contest
By Erin Adair-Hodges
Great artists are often misunderstood, and they tend to die unappreciated. Vincent van Gogh sold only one painting during his short life, and composer Franz Schubert lived to see only one of his works performed in public. The worlds that surrounded these artists were confused, frightened by the feelings this monumental art produced.
Don’t forget: This Thursday, Feb. 11, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will screen the made-in-New-Mexico crime documentary Nightmare in Las Cruces starting at 9:15 p.m. The film’s writer-director Charlie Minn will be at the theater for a post-film Q&A. If you miss it, the film will also be playing at the Center for Contemporary Arts Cinematheque in Santa Fe, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 13 and 14, at 11 a.m. For more information, including a trailer, log onto the film’s website bowlingmassacre.com.
For all the emotional panic that surrounds the holiday, Valentine’s Day is actually quite easy. About the laziest, least-thought-out thing you can do is buy a big, heart-shaped Whitman’s Sampler full of waxy chocolates or have a dozen pink roses from FTD delivered to your loved one’s office. And even then you’re in the clear. Millions of people do just that every year and are greeted with appreciative squeals of, “You’re so thoughtful!” The secret of Valentine’s Day, you see, is that it’s the one occasion on which you can’t be too mushy, too cheesy or too cliché.
Sunday’s Super Bowl had to have been the lamest in recent memory. ... Not the game itself, mind you, which was an exciting capper to the football season. No, it was the commercials that flopped. What the hell happened this year? This is the Super Bowl. It’s the Super Bowl of Advertising. And yet, many retailers stayed home. FedEx, GM and PepsiCo were among the big boys who bowed out. Many of those that did contribute showed a major lack of creativity and talent. For every memorable commercial there were a dozen instantly forgettable, mostly recycled ads.
Generation Y? More like Generation Y Don't You Get a Job, right? With their texting and MyFace-ing and their classical music. ... Wait. So string quartet Brooklyn Rider is a foursome of young lads who play everything from Haydn to jazz to Philip Glass? I see. Well, I hope you've all learned a valuable lesson about stereotypes. See the pigeonhole-busting group perform Friday, Feb. 12, at 6 p.m. at Downtown's Hotel Andaluz Ballroom (125 Second Street NW), presented by Chamber Music Albuquerque. Get your $30 tickets and more info at cma-abq.org.
Meg Mullins never thought she’d make her living as a novelist. For one thing, the native Albuquerquean wrote short stories, not books, and she never expected to make a living off those, either. But after leaving the state to go to college at Barnard and get her MFA at Columbia University—and after a large pile of rejection letters—Mullins got a break. One of her stories was printed in The Iowa Review and then picked up by The Best American Short Stories series in 2002. It was then that people began asking her if she was working on a novel. So she decided she’d better get started on one.
While exploring the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History’s Albuquerque Nowor Inpost Artspace’s I Also Make Art this fall, you likely noticed the works of Angela Berkson. Whether in acrylic or encaustic (hot wax painting), Berkson’s compositions evolve from diligently layered surfaces. Her final forms rest on the balance between geometric precision and organic freeform—her work plays with the contrast of black to white here, the complement of mustard to celadon there. On a visit to Berkson’s Second Street studio, the Alibi learned how her creativity first took root and what now makes it bloom.
The following story is a composite and does not depict an actual event. Rather, it was inspired by events that happened a long time ago in a land far, far away. If you think this story is about you, it isn’t. All possible identifying data has been removed and details have been changed. It’s also important to note that the following scenario is a rare exception to the rule of healthy childbirth.
They are not yet as eagerly anticipated as the swallows returning annually to Capistrano or the vultures’ flight back to Hinckley, Ohio, each spring. But the yearly arrival at the Roundhouse of the three prelates who make up the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken on the same predictability as those other seasonal gatherings.
Dateline: Scotland—George Johnstone, 58, told the High Court in Glasgow he firebombed a Lanarkshire house in broad daylight because the Devil told him to—plus, God’s objections had plenty of wiggle room. In testimony last week, Johnstone admitted the arson was the result of a theological debate. “The Devil made me do it,” Johnstone told police officers who responded to the Aug. 23 incident in which he set a woman’s car ablaze and then tossed “three or four” gasoline bombs into her living room. “The Devil told me to do it at 2 a.m. God told me not to,” explained Johnstone. “That’s why I did it during the day.” Johnstone, who obeyed the letter of God’s law if not the intent, pleaded guilty to willfully setting fire to the house and the car at 12:30 p.m. instead of 2 a.m. He was originally charged with attempted murder, but the Crown accepted his plea to the reduced charge. He will be sentenced in April.
Few music festivals really thrill me: Coachella, Lollapalooza, SXSW, New Orleans’ Jazz Fest—despite excellent lineups, they tend to be hot, expensive, impersonal clusterfucks (on one hand, I am seeing the Pixies; on the other hand, I've got a wicked sunburn, just paid $8 for a thimble of beer and am about to be stepped on by an asshole with a fauxhawk). That said, it's more than exciting to tell you about MtyMx, a three-day, post-SXSW arts and music festival in Monterrey, Mexico—located in the northeast, it's the country's third-largest and reportedly safest city. On March 20, 21 and 22, acts such as Acid Mothers Temple, Hunx and His Punx, No Age, Neon Indian, Fucked Up, Thee Oh Sees, Dan Deacon and many others are scheduled to perform at Autocinema Las Torres, a mountainside drive-in movie theater. A third of the bands on the bill are Mexican—some of which rarely make it to the U.S. due to restrictive border controls. The festival is a collaborative effort between show promoters Yo Garage (enelgarage.com) and Todd P (toddpnyc.com). It’s an all-ages event and costs only 390 pesos for a three-day pass—that's $30, folks. For more on this fiesta, visit the aforementioned sites.
“Playing live is like a drug. It induces a manic state for me,” says hip-hop MC Eyedea. “Usually I vomit uncontrollably afterwards, cry or, if it’s really good, I pass out. I put everything into it. If you’re a musician and not giving it your all, what are you even doing?”
Well-engineered tunes support free, focused improvisation
By Mel Minter
Mark Weaver—tuba player, composer and founder of the UFO Ensemble—interlaces written and freely improvised elements to construct sturdy, expressive tunes capable of bearing the full weight of his collaborators’ imaginations. At turns bluesy, boppish, swinging, funky, concrete and organic, his compositions promote a focused but freewheeling conversation among the quartet’s musicians. The dialogue engages listeners even as it challenges the suppositions of some.
Exene Cervenka could care less about resting on laurels. She's fronted X for more than 30 years, stoking a dynamo of L.A. punk, poetry and American roots music alongside singer/bassist John Doe, guitarist Billy Zoom and drummer DJ Bonebrake. With such a robust career in music, Exene could easily cash in her chips and retire with plenty to be proud of. But she hasn't. And she won't. Far from holding steady, Exene has turned her attention to bands like The Original Sinners, The Knitters and Auntie Christ, playing with formats like country, rockabilly, folk, punk rock and glam. She's also acted in films, mounted visual art exhibitions and built a reputation as a spoken word artist.
Nani Chacon is responsible for this lovely Tex Avery-inspired flyer, filled with titillating information. On St. Valentine’s Sunday, Feb. 14, Speaker Waffle Breakfast Club presents the rock and noise of Brooklyn's Wild Yaks, as well as New Mexico's A Church is not a Hospital, Rocket Parlour, Bigawatt and Baby Shampoo. Early bird showgoers will also be presented with pancakes, bacon, eggs and orange juice. Breakfast happens at Club Oven (1016 Coal SW) at 10 a.m., music begins at 11 a.m. All-ages are welcome. Food or $5 dollar donations will be gladly received. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Antojo is Spanish for “craving”—one sense of the word actually specifies the craving of a pregnant woman. Antojitos, the diminutive plural form, would literally mean “little cravings,” but it actually means snacks or tapas that we eat to satisfy our little cravings. It’s ironic, then, how large the portions are at Bernalillo’s Antojitos Lupe.
Though the official holiday is still a bit down the road, there's no denying that Valentine's Day is in the air. Retailers have broken out their sign-holding cupids, romantics are making reservations and the cynical are busy thinking about the perfect counterpoint to V-Day's saccharine saturation (my fave activity is watching a Leprechaun marathon and eating vegetarian pigs in a blanket while wearing sackcloth). But Valentine's Day also provides us with a perfect opportunity to demonstrate a larger kind of love for all humans. OK, most humans; let's not get carried away.
Sneaky politicians, torch-wielding vigilantes and the embattled future of Albuquerque—will history repeat itself?
By Ty Bannerman
There seems little possibility that Valle de Atrisco will rise from the ashes of January’s catastrophic election day. Residents of the unincorporated portion of Bernalillo County known as the South Valley were given the opportunity to vote on whether their largely rural community should form a new town known as Valle de Atrisco. The proposal was soundly defeated by 93 percent.
Will New Mexico offer drug users treatment instead of jail time?
By Carolyn Carlson
There might be some good news on the horizon for those caught in the revolving criminal door of drug addiction. Proposed state legislation would give judges the discretion to offer people with drug-possession charges a chance to participate in a treatment program instead of spending time in jail.
Remember paying all those red-light camera tickets? The City Council spent most of the fine money collected since 2005 at the Monday, Feb. 1 meeting. Those dollars were allocated for upgrades to three fire stations, protective equipment for firefighters, 200 police cars and beefing up the party patrol.
New Mexico, land of two national laboratories, is home to lots of scientists. Whether employed developing supercomputers, testing explosives or doing autopsies on extraterrestrial crash victims, there are plenty of PhDs walking around.
Dateline: China—Desperate to cash in on the popularity of James Cameron’s smash hit film Avatar, tourism officials in Zhangjiajie National Forest Park held an official ceremony last Monday to change the name of Nan Tian Yi Zhu Mountain, which means Southern Sky Column Mountain, to Avatar Hallelujah Mountain. The towering land formation, which juts nearly vertically up from a sea of mist, was reportedly a major inspiration for the film’s floating Hallelujah Mountains. The Zhangjiajie government website says Hollywood photographer Scott Hansen spent time shooting there in 2008 for the movie. “Many pictures he took then become prototypes for various elements in the Avatar movie,” noted the website. The park is now offering package visits to tourists, including a “magical tour to Avatar-Pandora” and a “miracle tour to Avatar’s floating mountain.”
Scott Brown's victory over Martha Coakley in Massachusetts has been hyped in the media as a product of voter "anger" and a growing "anti-establishment" mood that may sweep across the country. Everyone seems to agree that Brown conducted a more dynamic campaign that Coakley. In addition, while Republicans pulled a good number of voters, turnout was lower among young people, urban voters and perhaps even women—all of whom could have disproportionately favored Coakley.
Regarded as one of the 20th century's most important and mind-bendingly influential artists, Man Ray was a painter, avant-garde photographer, sculptor and pal of Salvador Dalí. An exhibit of his work, Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens,makes its only stop west of the Potomac River here in Albuquerque at the UNM Art Museum beginning Feb. 5.
There’s a puzzling distinction made between art and design. It seems to be based on the often unstated assumptions that: 1) Artists and designers do different things; 2) both the processes and the outputs of each are inherently different; 3) beauty of form and utility of function cannot exist equally in a single object, which means that one must always eclipse the other (so when beauty is dominant, the object is art, and when utility is dominant, the object is design). But fundamentally, both artists and designers are responsible for an object’s creation; both utility and beauty are equally present in most everything around us—and are mutually reinforcing, at that.
The third annual Taos Shortz Film Festival takes place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 5 through 7, at the Best Western Kachina Lodge up in Taos. There are five separate short film blocks screening Friday and Saturday. The weekend gets topped off by an awards ceremony on Sunday. More than 50 short films from New Mexico and beyond will be featured. There’s no overriding theme to the shorts blocks, but they are helpfully separated into ones reserved for mature audiences, ones in which parental guidance is suggested and ones to which kids of all ages are welcome. Individual tickets and all-event passes are available through the festival’s website at taosshortz.com.
The end is nigh! Maybe. Probably. Possibly. ... Or not.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Lurking somewhere between the far-from-overlapping worlds of mesmerizing monologuist Spalding Gray and nutty Internet conspiracy monger Jeff Rense is Michael Ruppert. The retired-police-officer-turned-radical-thinker is the subject of a new documentary by Chris Smith, who has made his career focusing on amusing, out-of-the-mainstream oddballs in films like American Job, American Movie, Home Movie and The Yes Men.
If you’re any sort of sports fan, you know that this Sunday, Drew Brees and the NFC Champion New Orleans Saints will make the first Super Bowl appearance in team history as they take on Peyton Manning and the AFC Champion Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. If you’re not a sports fan, you probably don’t care. But you should.
It would stand to reason that the New Orleans Saints, a team named after a song, might inspire more songs. Being one of the most defeated teams in American Football, this season The Saints captivated their musical hometown, the football-watching masses and even some of those who tend to loathe the sport (that would be me).
Poet, journalist, activist and mouth musician Hakim Bellamy is a Philadelphia native who has lived in the Land of Enchantment for five years. Bellamy, who is also the social and community programs coordinator at the New Mexico State Office of African American Affairs, took time out of his busy Black History Month schedule to identify, via electronic mail, Albuquerque’s very own hip-hop supergroup.
In 2008, after five years living in Bath, England, James Reich and Hannah Levbarg decided to relocate. The married couple and founders of post-punk group Venus Bogardus fled the bloody British economy of Reich’s homeland and returned to Levbarg's roots. They now live in Santa Fe.
To help it, of course. On Friday, Feb. 5, DJs Losack, Denise, Maris, Dave 12, Pablo 77 and Burnt Reynolds will mix beats to raise money for Haiti. The charitable action takes place from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW). All proceeds and donations go to Yéle Haitia. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
If Talin Market is the center of Albuquerque’s galaxy of Vietnamese restaurants, May Hong is a far-flung planet. It's tucked into a strip mall on the southeast corner of Eubank and Montgomery, next to a tattoo parlor.
Steve Stucker really needs no introduction. Since 1990, he’s brought jovial morning weather forecasts to New Mexicans via KOB-4. Formerly a professional dog trainer, Stucker is a friend to animals, even parading pooches on TV every Friday in order to help them get adopted. He also likes to dress up, sometimes appearing on air, according to his KOB bio, as “Elvis, Martha Stewart, Richard Simmons, Arnold Sportsnweather (Schwarzenegger), Mother Stucker, Patty O'Furniture or his alter ego Ed Noid.” Stucker is also a motivational speaker who’s highly involved with the community, and he’s been voted Alibi readers’ “Favorite TV Personality” multiple times in our Best of Burque poll. And he’s nice.
Most of the attention during this 30-day session is focused on budget woes. But with all the bad press state politicians ate last year over accusations of dirty dealings, some ethics bills may have a shot after all.
It is always a pleasure to see firefighters at a City Council meeting. At the Wednesday, Jan. 20 meeting about a dozen spoke in support of adding a paramedic to Station 8, which is near Tramway and Indian School. The station is one of the busiest in the city, and emergency critical intervention (such as airway intubation) requires a paramedic.
No one has been prosecuted under the state's 2008 human trafficking law, according to Phil Sisneros, spokesperson for the Attorney General's Office. But it's a crime he says he's sure exists. "We've long believed that the human slavery issue is one New Mexico is facing," and so do law enforcement officials and many service providers, he adds. President Obama declared January National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.
Dateline: New York—Syracuse resident Derrick M. Pride probably should have just stayed in bed last Monday. His very bad day started at around 7:20 p.m. when he was shot and wounded in the left shoulder while standing near the corner of East Fayette and Bruce Streets. Pride, 39, ran across the street, got into his car and, accompanied by a witness to the shooting, began driving toward Upstate University Hospital. Unfortunately, police believe Pride was intoxicated when he got behind the wheel of his car. On his way to the hospital, he turned the wrong way down a one-way street and crashed head-on into another vehicle. Pride was taken by ambulance from the crash scene to the hospital, where E.R. workers began treating his various wounds. Athough things were starting to look up at that point, they took another turn for the worse. While helping Pride out of his bloodied clothing, medical workers found four grams of crack cocaine in his “groin area.” Pride eventually received a felony and misdemeanor charge of criminal possession of a controlled substance for the drugs. He also got busted for driving while intoxicated. Neither Pride nor his witness were able to identify the shooter.
Tall and slim with natural blond hair, the young lady walking by us exuded a confidence that belied the struggles she must have gone through to be where she was. I gestured toward her. "No matter what I do, I'll never be able to look like that," I complained.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding political spending by corporations and unions was more than just a blow to democracy. It was a blow to states’ rights. All across the country, lawmakers are scrambling to determine the extent to which their local campaign financing laws are still legal. In his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens derided the ruling for not only striking down a large portion of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform act, but also because “it compounds the offense by implicitly striking down a great many state laws as well.”
For seven years now, we've entreated you to send us your valentines—bloody, funny and otherwise. And every year we're amazed at what can be expressed by doilies, cardboard and what we hope is fake blood. Can't say Alibi readers are lacking in creativity.
It’s Sunday, the opening of Albuquerque Now: Winter, and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History is alive. A tiny girl in black-and-white stripes reaches for John G. Garrett’s “Now Net,” a suspended Technicolor waterfall of aluminum wire, plastic cable and recycled picnic ware, among other found elements. Her mother, in turn, reaches for her, saying, “No, love. Touch with your eyes.” A dapper young man exclaims to his girlfriend, “Can you [adverb beginning with ‘f’] believe that all of these artists are from Albuquerque!” And an older woman, relying on her cane for support, sweetly greets her friend with, “We so need art to get us through these times.”
One of my favorite ways to eat fish is fried with Thai curry on top. It’s the best of two worlds—fried fish being a favorite dish of mine and Thai curry being another. The crispy coating provides a barrier between fragrantly rich sauce and soft flesh, and when that barrier is broken all heaven breaks loose.
In the six years since we starting doing food and beer writing, our conduits have been many: Internet, video, independent newspaper, radio, catering, hanging out, bike rides, beer tastings and various other bamboozley boons. It’s time to add another notch to the gun.
Flicker, the independent horror thriller shot here in Albuquerque by director Aaron Hendren, should be available on DVD starting this Friday, Jan. 29. It’s a perfect opportunity for lovers of offbeat slasher films to support local cinema. You can pick up a copy through Amazon.com. For more info, log on to eggmurders.com.
Do I really have any interest in discussing the symbolic use of firewood as a weapon? ... No. No, I don’t.
By Devin D. O’Leary
Sometimes, I think Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier is a genius (The Kingdom, for example). Other times, I think he’s just an asshole (let’s go with Dogville). His newest film, the controversy-baiting horror whatsit Antichrist, is a coin toss.
Angels with machine guns: Doesn’t that sound bad-ass? It’s like tigers with switchblades. Or sharks with lasers. It’s awesomeness squared. And it’s pretty much the entire concept behind the action/horror/fantasy Legion. Unfortunately, this idea of diminishing returns makes for a wicked-cool poster, a mildly intriguing trailer and an incredibly mediocre film.
You probably don’t recognize “Human Target” from its original comic book run. (That’s OK; it was an obscure back-up strip in ’70s-era DC stuff like The Brave and the Bold and Detective Comics). You may not remember “Human Target” from its brief, two-month stint in the summer of 1992 as an action drama starring Rick Springfield. (Trust me, it sounded like a good idea at the time.) But you might want to get familiar with it now that FOX has revived the concept as a splashy, explosion-filled weekly series.
It was the peak of “alternative rock.” You couldn’t turn on the radio without getting hit in the ear by crunchy, grinding guitars. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some FM stations rode this so-called third wave of punk by giving airtime to hometown bands.
New York City native Béla Fleck went to Africa to discover the roots of an instrument usually associated with America. This intercontinental travel has resulted in a documentary and album, both titled Throw Down Your Heart. In support of the 2010 Grammy-nominated work, Fleck is in the midst of an extensive tour known as Africa Project: Collaborations with Amazing African Musicians. On Wednesday, Feb. 3, the tour stops at The Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 West San Francisco, Santa Fe) and features Malian folk hero and ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate with his band Ngoni Ba. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $36 to $54, and can be obtained at ticketssantafe.org, or by calling (505) 988-1234.
“Positive.” That word keeps recurring in conversations with friends and colleagues of Zimbabwe Nkenya—bassist, mbira player, composer, educator, activist, visual artist and host of KUNM’s “The House That Jazz Built” for 20-some years. Nkenya has touched many with his warmth, conviction and enthusiasm in his decades in Albuquerque, and you could always count on hearing a joyful noise when he performed.
Many artists draw inspiration from Don Quixote: Picasso, Strauss and now an Albuquerque avant-noise thingy. On Saturday, see Milch de la Maquina—along with Analog Therapists, The Jeebies and Janksders—battle windmills, play songs and perform other knightly feats at Oneder Kind Collective (1016 Coal SW). Show starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
In this week’s random selection of songs, I turned to Ms. Boss Lady, the Alibi’s editor-in-chief (and music editor before me) Laura Marrich. Aside from helping assemble this here alternative news weekly 52 times a year, Marrich is also in three bands: The Gracchi, 5-Star Motelles and Up The Holler. She’s also a jerk. Kidding! From her office computer’s iTunes, filled with dangerous Joni Mitchell land mines, Marrich shuffles her songs.