It was a cold and snowy Sunday morning when I first went to Cecilia’s. The air smelled like piñon smoke. Inside, it was still chilly sitting by the old brick wall at the south end of the dining room. I noticed a wood stove at the other end, so I switched seats. There was a woman sitting next to the stove sorting a big sack of pinto beans.
The best way to achieve liberal goals? Embrace free markets.
By Paul Gessing
Liberals, the conventional wisdom goes, are the protectors of the poor and downtrodden, the environment, and everything that is good and holy in our society. Conservatives (and libertarians), on the other hand, are nothing but greedy supporters of big business, corruption, and those who would rape and pillage society for the benefit of a small oligarchy of elites. At least this is how I interpret many of the articles and letters I see in the Alibi.
1) What did a Gallup burglar do with the jewelry he stole? a. He sold it to a pawn shop. b. He wore it all at once to his cousin's wedding. c. He returned it with an apology note. d. He baked it into a pie so police wouldn't find it when they searched his house.
2) Which movie star lived in an Albuquerque house where a murdered man was buried?
When I have exhausted the offerings of my television and can pat my belly no longer in idle contentment, I indulge a rare reflection upon world affairs. In recent weeks I have thought about Haiti seven times. The last time was when American missionaries got into trouble for kidnapping Haitian children. At that point, confident that the right people were concerned with the situation, I felt justified in turning my attention to other matters, such as whether we should pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dateline: Sweden—A high-profile member of Sweden’s parliament brushed off ethics complaints, saying he did not accept an all-expense paid trip to Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. Instead, he blamed it all on his transvestite alter ego. Centre Party member Fredrick Federley admitted to the newspaper Aftonbladet that his trip in January was paid for by 10 different companies, including budget airline Norwegian. Asked by the newspaper why he accepted the gift, despite claims he generally refuses such offers, Federley said, “Well, this was pretty much tied to my drag personality, Ursula. It’s not me as a member of Parliament doing this; it’s more a case of me traveling as my drag personality.” Federley has not made any secret of his cross-dressing and recently arrived as Ursula at the Swedish Mr. Gay competition. So far, Federley seems unconcerned about the allegations of political impropriety. “Maybe this will mean more publicity for Ursula, which in turn will lead to more work,” wrote Federley on a gay community blog recently.
Itchy trigger finger? That can only mean one thing: It's time for the Alibi's seventh annual Photo Contest! This year, we're doing things a little differently. First, we're harkening back to the early days of this contest and bringing back categories, including ¡Que Albuquerque!, Things Are Not What They Seem, People Are People, Land Ho, Miscellaneous and Animals, and This Modern Life. Second, all entries must be submitted digitally by Sunday, March 14 (no snail mail this year; sorry daguerreotype enthusiasts). For all the rules, guidelines and a truly exhausting amount of information, go to alibi.com and click on Photo Contest 2010. The issue hits stands on Mar. 25. Good luck, and get snapping.
Initially, comparing Auxiliary Dog’s Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With a (Somewhat) Happy Ending to The Vortex’s Medea seems unfair. Not because one is markedly better than the other—which would make the entire comparison seem like a slam against the lesser play—but because they are temperamentally quite different. The creation of playwright Wendy Weiner, Hillary tells the life story of Sen. Clinton as an ancient Greek tragedy; the presence of ugly, early-’90s polyester suit jackets alongside goddess costumes, not to mention the escapades of a ditzy Aphrodite and a philandering Bill, lend the play a comedic tone. Whereas Medea, the millennia-old work of Euripides (translated more recently by Philip Vellacott), is a quintessential Greek tragedy, chronicling the horrific climax in the long saga of Medea and her husband, Jason of Argonauts fame.
On Albuquerque’s north side, in a dimly lit studio choked with cigarette smoke, Jonathan Perea leans over a cluttered work desk and pours resin into a mold. In 20 minutes, he cracks the mold open, and a naked figurine emerges: Another Not Tooth is born. Part playthings, part artworks, these Not Teeth, customizable and “ready for your imagination,” are Perea’s contribution to the strange and adorable world of art toys.
Are you considering getting into the film biz as a producer? If your answer is yes, then you’re probably crazy. But if you’re OK with that assessment, you might want to check out the upcoming Pre-Production Management for Television & Digital Media class from Film Apprenticeship Programs Inc. The class meets February 20, 21, 27 and 28—that’s Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Class fee is a none-too-cheap $450, but you’re gonna be a producer, so what do you care? Class will take place at Spirit Productions in Santa Fe. John Muir, educator and owner of The Muir Studio, will lead this four-day seminar. After successfully completing all four sessions and projects, each student should have acquired “a basic understanding of script breakdown, budget development and the use of selected industry tools.” For information, log on to filmapprentice.org.
Off-kilter parable asks, Can you make a road movie without actually going anywhere?
By Devin D. O’Leary
Out here in the Western half of the United States, the concept of the open road has always stood for freedom. From Horace Greeley’s stolen exhortation to “Go West, young man” to Steppenwolf’s rebel yell to “Head out on the highway, looking for adventure,” the ability to pull up stakes and move unfettered toward an ever-shifting horizon has been seen as a resolutely American right. From the dusty, rolling rut of the covered wagon to the rubber-stamped tarmac of some sweet Detroit steel, roads have served as both escape and promise.
Two weeks ago, CBS racked up the biggest TV ratings in history thanks to Super Bowl XLIV. You can bet dollars to doughnuts NBC won’t be following in its crosstown rival’s footsteps with its 17-day broadcast of the XXI Winter Olympics. Why? Well, lots of reasons.
Peace Talks Radio, a nonprofit organization devoted to bringing the world peaceful dialog is, like many of us, having a hard go of it in this economy. To continue his good work, producer Paul Ingles found a rocking way to gather funds—hold a raffle featuring a covetable “Peace Guitar” as its grand prize. The acoustic cherry wood instrument up for grabs is autographed by Bonnie Raitt, Lyle Lovett, Shawn Colvin, Roberta Flack, Taj Mahal, Leo Kottke and others, with additional John Hancocks to come. Raffle tickets go for $20, and there are 20 other prizes up for grabs including autographed color lithographs and CDs. Plus, even if you don’t win, you’ll be rewarded with the satisfaction of being altruistic and promoting altruism, too. For more on Peace Talks Radio and the raffle, visit goodradioshows.org.
Of course Mike Doughty is keen on Tweeting. First known for defining Soul Coughing with his spare and striking lyrics, 140 characters would be ample space for Doughty to paint a city or a scene or a mood or a person—or maybe all of those. He says he works well with constraints.
Nice wallpaper! Or is that a flyer? Find out on Friday, Feb. 19, when La Junta, Zoology and Shamani share funky hip-hop and decorating tips at the Launchpad. Show starts at 9 p.m. and $5 gets you in the door. Sorry, kids; this one is 21-and-over (it’s not like you guys could afford to damask your Student Ghetto apartments anyway). (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
P.O.S. (real name Stefon Alexander) is the atypical rapper. He never sports ice, spits about getting “crunk” or brags about how many Bentleys he owns. He could be your best friend, brother or classmate. Yet underneath his humble demeanor lies a verbal assassin armed with rapid-fire delivery and passionate lyrics.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
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.