Plastic playthings spring to life in anarchic anti-Toy Story
By Devin D. O’Leary
“H.R. Pufnstuf,” “Teletubbies,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Yo Gabba Gabba!” Every few years a self-described “kids” show pops up that holds a peculiar, hypnotic appeal for adults—particularly those under the inhaled influence of certain recreational substances. The latest series to add its name to this surrealist list is the oddball Belgian-born creation known as “A Town Called Panic” (or “Panique au village” in its native tongue).
Here is the complete ballot listing of all this year’s Academy Awards nominees. For the top eight categories, we’ve included the accolades that have already been won, as well as the current betting odds (as provided by historic London bookmaker Ladbrokes), in case you wanna place a little wager on the winner. Plus, we’ve added our own Should Win vs. Will Win picks.
The big news for this year’s Academy Awards is that the Oscars have gotten, well, bigger. Starting this year, there will be 10 feature films nominated in the Best Picture category. While it might have been wise to separate them into Comedy and Drama categories (as the Golden Globes do), it’s still nice to see more films getting the chance at Oscar glory.
Albuquerque Little Theatre (ALT) is celebrating its 80th season this year. As a fundraiser for the historic theater—located just off Central between Downtown and Old Town—ALT is opening up its facilities and hosting an Oscar night party. So why not get out, get dressed up and share the glamour of the Academy Awards with members of Albuquerque’s arts community?
Looking for a laugh? The Friends of Film and Video Arts (FoFVA) is hosting LOL Friends of Film Funny Film Fest, a night of “improv, silly hosting and funny flicks” on Friday, March 5. The event will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. at the UNM Continuing Education Building (1634 University NE). Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. In addition to the juried screening of Laugh Out Loud (that’s what LOL stands for, Luddites) short films, there will be street entertainers and comedians throughout the evening. For more info, log on to filmvideoarts.org.
A whole galaxy of Hollywood stars will be in attendance, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin will share hosting duties, and at some point, somebody’s bound to show up on stage painted Avatar blue. (My money’s on Robin Williams.) But this year’s Academy Awards telecast boils down to one simple question. It’s the same question that comes up every year, and it’s the only one people actually care about: Who’s gonna win?
Photogs, clicksters, soul-capturers—what are you waiting for? The seventh annual Alibi Photo Contest is well underway, but lucky for you there's still time to enter. Head over to alibi.com and click on “Photo Contest 2010.” You'll see mucho info on categories, rules and submission guidelines. Winners, selected by a panel of Alibi staffers and honest-to-goodness photo experts, will score a heap of fabulous prizes, courtesy of local merchants. And this year, for the first time ever, you can visit our contest page on Flickr (flickr.com/groups/alibiphotocontest2010) to see what others are entering. The photos submitted so far have set a pretty high bar. Will this be our best contest ever? I hope I'm not jinxing it when I say absolutely totally without a doubt completely. Deadline is Sunday, March 14.
Once upon a time, two papas—an emperor penguin and a sea horse, to be precise—took a tandem ride. But they had neither an ordinary bicycle nor an ordinary purpose. Their contraption, though the size of any old ten-speed, was perfectly outfitted for the tiny stature of a penguin captain, while the back seat generously accommodated the winged legnessless of a sea horse passenger. Perched high above their heads, in a kitchen sink converted to cradle a bird’s nest, were three eggs. Their eggs. And they embarked upon this expedition to bring their babies into the most beautiful world they could discover.
Wisconsin native Kirk Farber moved out west after college looking for new experiences and, as a bonus, found the literary agent who would make the dream of publishing his first novel a reality. Postcards from a Dead Girl was launched Feb. 16, and independent booksellers have voted it as one of their favorite 20 new releases; it’s an “Indie Next” pick for March 2010. The irreverently funny novel chronicles the experiences of an eccentric telemarketer named Sid who receives postcards from an old girlfriend who has died. Or has she?
One of the books I remember best from my childhood is a picture book about women’s suffrage. Although it may not have a place in the kids’ book hall of fame alongside such heavyweights as Goodnight Moon, Where the Wild Things Are and The Berenstain Bears, I think it probably had more influence over me than that literary triumvirate. As my mother read it to me, she would pause to talk about how relatively recent women’s liberation was; how she had been the only woman in her math and science classes in college; how her generation had fought for equal rights, equal pay and equal respect, all of which are still not always granted. It made me appreciate what my mother’s and my grandmother’s generations endured, and it taught me that I should never settle for less than what I deserved.
Curtis Trafton had never been to a protest before. He was 50 when the war in Iraq began, and he went with his wife, adult daughter and father to the March 20, 2003 demonstration that began in front of the UNM Bookstore. "I felt that the war was being waged against the wrong people for the wrong reasons," he said. He made a sign out of poster board that said "No War" and found a serious but upbeat crowd when he got to the university.
A bill was introduced at the Monday, March 1 Council meeting that would rein in the Albuquerque Police Department's policy of letting officers take home squad cars on the public's dime. Joey Segala, the police union president,told the Council during public comment that the perk of take-home cars is part of the union contract. He also said police cars in home driveways is a safety bonus for some taxpayers who like having a visible police presence in their neighborhoods. There was no action or discussion by councilors on the squad car costs, but they will talk about this at the next meeting on Monday, March 15.
Dateline: England—A theme park in Surrey is on the hunt for England’s smelliest urine in hopes of lending authenticity to a new movie-themed thrill ride. On Friday, Feb. 26, Thorpe Park, near Chertsey, asked members of the public to submit personal water samples. The person with the country’s most pungent pee will win a £500 ($760) prize and have his or her signature scent immortalized in the park’s new SAW Alive attraction. Based on the popular Saw film series, SAW Alive is billed as “the world’s most extreme live action horror maze” and will feature “six traps depicting the most grisly and iconic scenes from the six Saw films.” The much-sought-after urine will be pumped into the attraction’s bathroom scene, recreating a “realistic and truly gut-wrenching sensory experience.” Thorpe Park’s entertainments manager Laura Sinclair is responsible for choosing the most eye-watering whiz. “We want SAW Alive to be as authentic and terrifying as possible to make visitors feel as if they are living in a real-life horror film,” Sinclair told journalists. “To do this, we need to really push the boundaries of what our guests experience from a sensory point of view.” Sinclair went on to say that the park needs the help of the public to “create the most realistic and unsavory urine odor. We are looking for a sample that will really get the public gagging.” SAW Alive is expected to open in Spring 2010.
Everybody loves to get something for nothing. But let’s say you went to Blake’s yesterday and bought a Lotaburger. Then let’s say you went back today and ordered a Lotacombo, which includes a Lotaburger, fries and a Coke. But when it came time to pay, you deducted the price of the Lotaburger from your bill, explaining that you didn’t need to pay for it again because you’d already paid for a Lotaburger yesterday. You might receive some choice words, but you would not get your food.
Tenacious D’s Southern rock spin-off pulls into town
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Do you love bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet and ZZ Top as much as you love a fine woman with a towering perm who wears jeans cut so high the fabric reaches past that perm? Would you rather drink a six-pack of Bud on a lawn chair in the bed of your truck than sip wine at one of those fancy Olive Gardens? Does your arm bear the symbol of freedom that is an eagle sheathed in the American flag? If you answered any of these with a spirited “Shit Yeah!,” then read on, y'all.
We’re not so sure what’s pictured in this flyer, but we’re guessing it’s some kind of Eastern European art car. Except everyone knows they don’t have cars in Eastern Europe—just vampires and Yugos. On Wednesday, March 10, Zoltan Szekely[xurl] and Josh English celebrate their birthdays. Beginning at 6 p.m., Black Market Goods (114 Morningside NE) hosts the music of Zoltan Orkestar, Le Chat Lunatique, Squash Blossom Boys and Totem. This all-ages show is $5. Happy birthday, lads. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Returning from a hiatus, Song Roulette sought out the random selections of Ms. Jill McArthur—former drummer extraordinaire for a handful of lauded local bands including The Foxx, The Grave of Nobody’s Darling and The Mindy Set. (She’s also a stylist responsible for many beautiful haircuts, and she’s a snappy dresser, too.) At the end of this month Jill picks up and moves to New York City. We bid her a fond farewell and wish her the best of luck in the big city.
A grand old building that’s full of welcome surprises
By Ari LeVaux
Fujiyama, a new Japanese/Korean joint on Central, inhabits the building that used to house the legendary New Chinatown. The space feels slightly haunted—you can sense its history in the echoing, cavernous foyer that connects to large dining rooms through arched doorways.
I am confused about which type of utensil to use while cooking. I have heard that plastics can leach cancer-causing chemicals into foods and liquids when heated and cooled. I have also heard that wood cannot be sterilized because it is porous. I know that metal can scratch up and ruin pots and pans. Where does that leave me when reaching for a spatula, ladle or spoon? Any suggestions?
It was Day 30. The mood in both chambers sagged. Legislators spoke testily and lacked the buoyant friendliness that usually accompanied the morning announcements, introductions and notes. Reporters settled in for a long day and night, one that wouldn't end until after 4 a.m. The final hours of the session ticked away, and Wednesday, Feb. 17, looked to be dreary, long—and surreal. A stuffed oryx head sat in a chair on the Senate floor. A Catholic priest had been at the Roundhouse in the morning hours providing ashes for Ash Wednesday. A poor version of "God Bless America" rang through the chamber with senators trailing off after the first verses.
As promised, here’s a list of bills that passed the House and Senate. Click on the links to read them for yourself. (To look at all the measures that were in play during the regular session, click here.)
It was a demonstration that went down as one of the biggest clashes between civilians and police in Albuquerque's recent history. Hundreds gathered on March 20, 2003, to protest the invasion of Iraq. But things grew ugly that night in the University Area. From the Alibi's 2003 report by Adam Brown and then News Editor Tim McGivern:
That is what Westside City Councilor Dan Lewis called federal grant money at the Wednesday, Feb. 17 meeting. The Councildebated whether to green-light an application for a $6.7 million national transit grant. The money would build a Rail Runner / Park and Ride station in the North Valley on Montaño near the railroad tracks. The request passed 6-3 in spite of Lewis’ opinion of federal monies being equal to nose candy. “I am concerned when looking into the future thinking about these grant monies, concerned about our dependency on these grants,” he said. “It almost seems like municipal cocaine.”
Dateline: Singapore—The Southeast Asian nation of Singapore has been accused of hiring “sand smugglers” to steal valuable beaches from its neighbors. A recent report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail notes that the island city-state’s size has increased a suspicious 20 percent since the ’60s, even though sand-exporting bans in Indonesia, Cambodia and Vietnam have cut off supplies. Regional environmental groups claim that several of the 83 islands that border the north coast of Indonesia are in danger of disappearing into the sea in the next decade unless illegal sand smugglers are stopped. Environmental activists claim sand smugglers visit the beaches of these islands during the night in small barges. They dredge the sand and then sail directly into Singapore port, where they sell it to international brokers who work for Singapore’s many land developers. Last month, 34 Malaysian civil servants were arrested for accepting bribes and sexual favors to facilitate sand smuggling to Singapore. Malaysia’s former prime minister told the Daily Telegraph that upwards of 700 truckloads a day of illegal sand cross the border to Singapore. Last Monday, 37 trucks loaded with sand were abandoned on the main highway from Malaysia to Singapore after drivers learned of a customs operation at the border.
Filmmaker (Slumber Party Slaughterhouse), author (Direct Your Own Damn Movie), SAG stuntman (Gamer) and occasional Alibi contributor Kurly Tlapoyawa will conduct a Film Fighter Workshop on March 7, 14 and 21, from 9 a.m. to noon. This three-day intro to fighting will focus on the basic principals of planning, blocking and executing fights scenes for film and television. The workshop will take place here in Albuquerque. Cost is $200 and space is extremely limited, so the sooner you sign up, the better. A $50 deposit will be required by Monday, March 1, in order to secure your place. To get your name on the list or to acquire more information, call 307-8597.
Late in life (in his 70s), widely famed Russian novelist Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy (known to his friends as “Leo Baby”) turned his attentions away from fiction and dabbled in the creation of a number of utopian communes. These live/work communes were based on Tolstoy’s own particular philosophy—one that espoused nonviolence, the abolition of private property, a strict vegetarian diet and an adherence to the principals of celibacy. (Yeah, sorry, Leo Baby, but you lost me on that last one.) Though the Tolstoyan Movement didn’t last very long, it allegedly influenced the thinking of such latter spiritual leaders as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr.
Although it still produces enough laughs to keep me watching, HBO’s “Entourage” has suffered a certain loss in quality over its many seasons on the air. Perhaps it’s just the inevitable signs of age any TV series exhibits over time. More likely, though, it’s the fact that the show has lost a bit of the creative spark it had when it started. Originally, the show was about a quartet of knockabout best friends from New Jersey who stumble into the Hollywood high life after one of them becomes a flavor-of-the-month movie star. Despite the mansions and the limos, our four main characters were still those good old neighborhood boys from back in Jersey. Six seasons in, though, the boys find themselves surrounded by an increasing numbers of celebrity guest stars, making it harder to spot their non-Hollywood origins.
Remember when you used to go out on the town almost every night of the week, sampling the ripe fruits of your town’s musical loins? Are those days gone, perhaps replaced by the fruit of your own loins and the responsibilities of adulthood? A new concert series unfolding at the Harwood Art Center aims to soothe the sonic aches of parents in this particular predicament.
It's a good thing that Mr. Robert "Kool" Bell didn't answer his cell phone when I first tried to call him. Had he picked up, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of hearing his groovy voice mail greeting: "You have reached Kool, and it's kool to leave a message."
Not long ago, the musical road between the ’Burque and El Chuco (that’s El Paso, Texas, to you) was well-traveled. It was easy to find records by Paseños such as Faction X, Not So Happy or Fall On Deaf Ears. Since many Tejanopunks were from El Barrio de Ysleta with familia across the border, they also opened that path to exciting Juárez outfits like Setenta Dos Horas. In El Chuco one evening, my greatest regret was having to decline an invitation to a show en otro lado over the Rio Grande. A guero like me couldn’t have asked for a better escort, but being on the New Mexico state payroll I had to work early next morning with a clear head sin crudo.
Soon Albuquerque’s burliest bluegrass band will lose its bass player, Vince Edgerton, to the northerly mecca of Denver. The Porter Draw will continue to perform, but on Saturday, Feb. 27, the bearded ladies gather together for a special final performance with Vince. Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) hosts at 10 p.m., and the show is free. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Art, education and eating are, essentially, my entire life. Oh, and wine. It's good to see I'm not alone in setting these as priorities. The New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts is joining Through the Flower to hold an event on Sunday, Feb. 28, to raise funds for Through the Flower's K-12 Dinner Party Curriculum. The curriculum's goal is to ensure that women's history becomes a standard component of children's education. Join them in their mission at Scalo Northern Italian Grill (3500 Central SE) at 3 p.m. Tickets to the event—which will include food, drinks, entertainment by the Santa Fe Women's Ensemble and a talk by Judy Chicago—are $75 and can be bought at ticketssantafe.org. The first 50 teachers who buy tickets can get them for $50. As Scalo owner Steve Paternoster is a significant supporter of women in the arts, the restaurant is also donating an in-home cooking demonstration. This limited-seat dinner with Judy Chicago, held Sunday evening, is $250 (price includes the afternoon event). All proceeds go to benefit the Dinner Party Curriculum. For information, call Susannah Rodee at 864-4080.
Daniel Beaty is no one-trick pony. The Yale grad is a composer, poet, playwright, actor, singer and screenwriter who's received numerous awards, including the 2007 Scotsman Fringe First Award for the best new writer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the 2009 NAACP Theatre Award for best actor. It's tempting to think that this is all due to some Faustian bargain with the devil, or he’s perhaps the result of a top-secret government experiment (like the Six Million Dollar Man, but for art instead of spying). Instead, it's far more inspiring to realize that Beaty is simply a vastly talented and committed artist, and zero percent cyborg (as far as we know).
Although “Salsa” is part of its name, the menu at Rio Grande Tacos y Salsas doesn’t once mention that word. Yet the salsa flows, starting with your welcome basket of chips and continuing throughout your meal with as many refills you ask for. Each time, the salsa is different. Sometimes it’s a tomato-y red, sometimes a green chile, and sometimes the waitress brings both.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.