The first living thing I remember trying to grow was a strawberry plant. My mom helped me put it in the soil right outside our front door. My mom had a way with plants. She molded massive berms, teeming with pink geraniums, powder-puff-like marigolds and starry daffodils. In our backyard, she nurtured plum trees and guarded heirloom tomatoes, which ballooned into ripe, deep crimson orbs the size of baseballs.
Albuquerque makes national headlines for the weirdest things. On Wednesday, March 24, the Washington Post ran a report on the giraffe carcass improperly disposed of in the dumpster behind the Rio Grande Zoo. Around the same time, the story of a woman accused of stabbing and killing a man in the Foothills hit the big time.
Dateline: India—A long-standing dispute between India and Bangladesh over possession of an island in the Bay of Bengal has been settled—more or less—by Mother Nature. Oceanographer Sugata Hazra announced that satellite imagery and sea patrols confirm the contentious island has disappeared due to rising sea levels. For nearly 30 years, India and Bangladesh have argued over control of New Moore Island, an uninhabited strip of rock in a disputed coastal area known as the Sunderbans. Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Kolkata, has declared the battle a tie, saying, “What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking has been resolved by global warming.” According to Hazra, sea levels have historically risen an average of .12 inches a year. Since 2000, however, that number has jumped to .2 inches annually. Another nearby island, Lohachara, was submerged in 1996, forcing its inhabitants to move to the mainland. At least one official in India’s foreign ministry told reporters that the disappearance of the island does not end the dispute between the South Asian neighbors, as maritime boundaries must still be resolved.
Hundreds gathered at Sanchez Farm, 14 acres of open space operated by La Plazita Institute in the South Valley. They were there to work in honor of labor organizer and activist César Chávez. His daughter, Liz Chávez Villarino, flew in from California to attend the service event on Friday, March 26, and the march from the South Valley to the National Hispanic Cultural Center the following day.
Looking for something to do this Saturday morning? How about kicking it old school? I’m talking elementary school style. The Kosmos, the coffee house / art space located at 1715 Fifth Street NW, launched Kosmic Toonage earlier this month. This free, nostalgic cartoon program runs on the venue’s big screen every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. And if that’s not enough to get you out of bed, they’re offering bowls of sugary-delicious cereal for just $1.50. Of course, they also sell coffee, tea, breakfast burritos, bagels and more. But that’s not really in the spirit of the event, is it? Pull up a couch, eat a bowl of Lucky Charms, watch some “Popeye the Sailor Man” ... and feel free to wear your pajamas! Log on to www.thekosmos.org for details.
Remake fever strikes again in the form of Clash of the Titans, a (semi-)big budget retooling of the 1981 myth adventure starring Harry Hamlin. The saving grace here is that the original isn’t particularly beloved. It was the swan song of special effects king Ray Harryhausen, and the stop-motion style of animation he perfected in films like 1958’s The 7th Voyage of Sinbad was starting to show its age by the early ’80s. Now, the effects have all been replaced with today’s big trend: computer animation—and 3D computer animation at that!
You got commercials in my TV show! You got TV show in my commercials!
By Devin D. O’Leary
The entertainment industry has always tried to marry business and pleasure. In the early days of television, Fred Flintstone used to hawk Winston cigarettes during commercial breaks in “The Flintstones.” (No, really.) Corporations have long conspired to slip their products into popular entertainment—from the car James Bond is driving to the sunglasses Tom Cruise is sporting. Often, these “product placement” deals involve large sums of money, which helps offset the spiraling cost of movie and television production. (Which explains how Budweiser, Corvette, Jack Daniels and Nokia all found their way into last summer’s futuristic Star Trek.)
Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Lee talks about the Guthrie family
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
On the phone, Sarah Lee Guthrie’s voice bubbles with cheer. The youngest daughter of Arlo Guthrie has been doing a lot of interviews because her father no longer will. Constantly talking to reporters, she says, makes her nervous, but she needs to get good at it one of these days.
We suspect this artist may also be responsible for the vintage Albuquerque postcard collage that ran two issues ago. The whimsy seen in the last flyer is mostly absent here. Instead there is a heavily burned and dodged sepia-toned image—what seems to be a photomontage—of an old man creepy-handedly pouring milk. Advertised is lauded German/English avant jazz trio Konk Pack, along with Turbanator 5K and Hedia. This performance takes place at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Monday, April 5, at 7 p.m. Admission is $8. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
The memories attached to Kevin R. Elder’s random selections
By Summer Olsson
Kevin R. Elder has played bass in local bands such as Unit 7 Drain and I is for Ida. He is also the co-artistic director of Tricklock Company and often writes original music and lyrics for their plays. These are some random picks, along with the memories attached, that have helped shape him into the artist he is now.
Albuquerque. A high-desert city of half a million souls, all bumping into each other on the way to destiny. A sleepy town? Sure, this ain't no Pittsburgh or anything, but there's plenty here to keep the denizens of Dirt City well-fed with art, depending on their appetites. Here's the menu.
One Million Bones protests genocide, one papier-mâché femur at a time
By Julia Mandeville
Apathy is often cited as the reason that people fail to act against injustice, though perhaps impotence is a more useful way to describe such inaction. If we approach the problem from this perspective—that people don’t act because they don’t feel capable of affecting change—it has a very clear solution: Offer people a compelling, tangible way to make a difference and they will seize it.
The problem with writing a review of a pizza joint is that pizza appreciation is a deeply personal thing. Sentimental factors will cloud the most sincere attempts at objectivity. For example, it is a fact that the best pizza in the world comes from Armando’s Pizza, down the street from where I grew up in Cambridge, Mass. That’s because when the subject of pizza comes up, many an eater’s heart and belly return to the pizza joint of their home neighborhood, like a salmon swimming up the river of its birth.
No dazzling tales of drunken ribaldry this time. Instead, I spoke with beer masters at our fine Albuquerque brewpubs about this week’s special rotating taps. That way, you can schedule your week around beers to try, much like I plan mine around “TV Guide.” These rotating beers are usually made in small batches, so don't be surprised if something is out upon your visit. I suggest trying to visit each brewery daily to avoid the chance of disappointment.
Last week on St. Patrick's Day I was playing soul 45s on the Blackbird patio when a sad text from my sister came across the wire. She said her friend Laura's husband Alex had suddenly died and that everyone in New Orleans was shattered. I told her I was sorry and to give Laura my condolences, then got back to playing records. It wasn't until the next day that I realized what Alex she was talking about: Alex Chilton—guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer, king of cult power-pop.
For years now, we've asked Albuquerque to shoot us. By "shoot," we mean take pictures, and by "us," we mean the constituent parts that make up our world: people, landscapes, dogs in hats. And lucky for everyone, you've obliged. To shake things up this year, we went both old school and science-fiction modern. We brought back categories (favorites of many of you, according to the e-mails I’ve received asking where they were) and switched to an all-online format to allow for entrants and readers to see what's been submitted.
Intel engineers, volunteers and high-risk youth build a tech center
By Marisa Demarco
It cost La Plazita almost nothing to engineer a computer lab in the South Valley. Donated machines, elbow grease from volunteers and open source software built the lab, which opened its doors earlier this month.
Lady Reporters XXX—As I sat watching Crazy Heart and praying for death, it occurred to me that I don’t particularly care for the way print journalists, particularly of the female variety, are portrayed in movies.
If I’ve been critical of President Obama and congressional Democrats for watering down legislation during the health reform debate (and I certainly have, on many occasions these last months), then why did I feel such a sense of elation over the bill’s passage Sunday night?
Dateline: New York—After cops came pounding on their door again last week, an elderly Brooklyn couple told the New York Daily News they’re tired of having their house raided by the NYPD. Walter Martin, an 83-year-old World War II veteran, and his 82-year-old wife Rose haven’t broken the law, and yet cops have mistakenly shown up at their house at least 50 times in the last eight years. The Daily News reported its computer search showed 15 other people living at the Martins’ Marine Park address. The Martins don’t know any of them. As a result, police from all over New York’s boroughs have banged on the Martins’ door searching for murderers, robbers and even rogue cops. “I’m really worried,” Rose Martin told the newspaper. “How could so many people get my address and how could cops be coming from so many different precincts?” Police are at a loss to explain why the couple’s home continues to be a target. “Our identity theft squad is investigating the matter,” Inspector Ed Mullen, an NYPD spokesperson, told the Daily News.
On St. Patrick’s Day, ¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano visited Blackbird Buvette in Downtown Albuquerque for a book-signing party with the Alibi. He was in the state gathering research for his next book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America (And Soon, the World). An entire chapter will be devoted to New Mexico’s culinary ways. To honor the writer from Orange County and our neighbors to the south, we drank, we danced, we ate, we laughed, we acknowledged the disturbing similarities between the treatment of Irish immigrants in the 19th century and Mexicans today. And we drank some more. Fun and clever discourse abounded, and Arellano wisely got restaurant recommendations from the audience. We can’t wait until Arellano comes back in the fall.
In many religions and cultures, altars are used to present offerings, tokens of sacrifice. Over thousands of years, altars have become places where people seek solace and guidance. OffCenter Community Arts and the New Mexico Art Therapy Association will be accepting entries for the show Altars of Light on March 25 and 26 from noon to 6 p.m. at OffCenter (808 Park SW). The organizers are looking for art that incorporates the altar and "its image as sacred ground to promote healing from the wounds of sexual violence." Each artist is invited to submit up to two entries for this juried show. There is no entry fee. The opening reception for Altars of Light will be at OffCenter on Friday, April 2, from 5 to 8 p.m. Go to offcenterarts.org.
While calling q-Staff’s newest work a play isn’t totally inaccurate, the term fails to encompass all that With Bright Spines strives for. The piece—originally slated for its premiere during Revolutions International Theatre Festival but postponed due to a conflict with q-Staff theatre’s landlords—is less a re-enactment of a script than the creation of a whole-bodied sensory experience.
The makers of the documentary film Tapped will make a stop at Santa Fe’s Center for Contemporary Arts on Friday, March 26. The film, created by the producing team behind Who Killed the Electric Car? and I.O.U.S.A., exposes the scare tactics and polluting ways of the multibillion dollar bottled water industry. Director Stephanie Soechtig and producer Sarah Olson are in the midst of a cross-country “Get Off the Bottle” tour, driving from New York to L.A. in a translucent container recycling truck. (The containers are translucent, not the truck.) In addition to promoting the film at various independent cinemas, the filmmakers are on a mission to replace America’s disposable plastic water battles with reusable metal ones. Their appearance in Santa Fe is presented in conjunction with Bioneers and Earth Care International. The recycling truck will stop at the Santa Fe Plaza before arriving at the CCA Cinematheque at 6 p.m. The film screening starts at 8 p.m. For more information, log on to ccasantafe.org.
Canadians get dirty (in a very clean way) in Egoyan’s newest thriller
By Devin D. O’Leary
Canada is a funny place. The country has produced its fair share of edgy entertainers: David Cronenberg, Kids in the Hall, William Gibson, Neil Young, Tommy Chong. But even in their darkest moments, there’s a certain politeness to what they do. Canada does have an edge; it’s just clean and very well-maintained.
In 1989, Ron Howard directed an ensemble comedy/drama called Parenthood. It was kind of generic, but it starred Steve Martin, Keanu Reeves, Joaquin Phoenix, Mary Steenburgen and a whole bunch of other people. It made $100 million at the box office. Naturally, Hollywood figured a TV spin-off was in order. After all, the idea of white, middle-class, suburban parents and children ... living at home ... doing stuff that’s, you know, funny ... and occasionally heartwarming—why, it’s something television had never before attempted. So, in 1990, NBC tried a TV version. It starred Ed Begley Jr., Thora Birch, David Arquette and some kid named Leonardo DiCaprio. It lasted like four episodes.
Rahim AlHaj, Bill Frisell and Eyvind Kang perform The Baghdad/Seattle Suite
By Mel Minter
As they stood in the wings at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis in early February, about to perform The Baghdad/Seattle Suite publicly for the first time, Iraqi oud player Rahim AlHaj and Americans guitarist Bill Frisell and violist Eyvind Kang heard their cue to go onstage.
Since its formation in the fall of 2005, Left Brain's style has gone through various stages of development, from jam band to emotive heavy metal. With the release of its third album, Solipsism, the three-piece moved on to completely instrumental progressive metal compositions with strange time signatures.
Aaron Hendren is a local filmmaker, responsible for such twisted tales as The Faithful and the Foul and Flicker. Lately he’s been staying up all night composing and recording 99 percent of the music for his upcoming Psycho Bettys From Planet Pussycat. Here are five random little gems that have been inspiring him.
People spend more money on organic meat than on conventional meat for a range of health, environmental and ethical reasons. At my local store, however, none of the meat for sale is organic except the dog food. Unfortunately for my dog, I've been eating most of it myself.
On the seventh anniversary of the Iraq invasion, a New Mexico nurse discusses her service
By Whitny Doyle, RN
When people hear about nurses serving in war, they probably picture a woman in white tending to wounded soldiers on the battlefield. Modern American military nursing, however, goes beyond providing comfort to our uniformed service people. Nurses may dress the wounds of the enemy. They may deploy to New Orleans to salvage lives in a temporary hospital. Some military nurses may get the chance to share their skills and knowledge with Iraqi women in makeshift classrooms. Others may find themselves witnessing history firsthand as Saddam Hussein’s guilty verdict is being read.
The saga of North Valley residents battling a cement company in their neighborhood may have come to a close. On Wednesday, March 10, the city’s Air Quality Control Board approved a settlement agreement between the Greater Gardner Neighborhood Association and American Cement.
One segment of UNM’s student population has slipped through the cracks, says undergraduate Jeffrey Waldo. “UNM has a national reputation for its diversity and takes really great efforts in welcoming its diversity, but the queer community has really been overlooked."
City employees gathered en masse to let the mayor and Council know they want to be part of the budget-tightening dialogue. More than a hundred rank-and-file workers—firefighters, police officers, clerks and others—showed up, and union representatives spoke, asking to be a part of solving the budget shortfall. They said Mayor Richard Berry assured their inclusion in the discussion, but so far that hasn't happened.
Don’t worry, Middle America. In the effort to thwart the threat to national security posed by Islamic extremism (the greatest threat to our way of life since communism swept like a hot summer breeze into Indochina), no draft will be forthcoming. All fighting will be conducted by the indentured underclass that has nothing better to do than grind out multiple tours in the warm, inviting climes of Iraq and Afghanistan for the sake of indifferent countrymen.
Dateline: Czech Republic—A newly formed travel agency in Prague is offering a unique travel service—vacations for stuffed animals. The Toy Traveling agency was pitched as an idea on the TV reality show “Den D”—a Czech spin-off of the British show “Dragons’ Den” as well as the American show “Shark Tank.” Two of the judges on the show, including a former Czech minister of information, agreed to invest 150,000 crowns (about $7,700) each in the enterprise. Since the episode aired, Toy Traveling’s website (toytraveling.com) has logged nearly 20,000 visitors. For between 90 and 150 euros ($120 to $205), customers can mail their favorite toys to the Czech Republic, where they will be taken on a guided tour of such landmarks as Prague Castle and the Charles Bridge. Tour guides will take pictures to send back with the stuffed animals. In the Premium Package, the inanimate tourists will receive a “massage” and an “aromatherapy” session.
The Alibi was very proud indeed to join Albuquerque Pride in co-presenting the first-ever OUTstanding Awards, designed to honor the best in gay and gay-allied Albuquerque. We invited the community to nominate and vote for OUTstanding recipients in January and February. The winners were announced in a glittery, sealed-envelope ceremony on Saturday, March 6, at the Radisson Hotel ballroom. In addition to bringing much-deserved recognition to Albuquerque’s LGBT population and supporters, the night was a blast!
Carefully avoiding the loaded term “unplugged,” the latest in a six-year-old series originally known as The Acoustic Showcase takes place at Low Spirits this Friday. Bands, and varying configurations thereof, perform songs from their respective catalogs as well as selected covers that don’t fit into regular repertoires. Don’t expect old favorites and regurgitated hits. Do expect obscure covers from limited-edition blue-vinyl releases that would make any record-collecting fanboy swoon.
DIY patron of the arts Derek Caterwaul on Albuquerque's SWxØFest
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Like so many of the world’s great ideas, the Southwest by No Fest began as a joke. It eventually manifested on some flyers last year, and in 2010 SWxØFest has morphed into something resembling a full-fledged festival. Events, which began last week, the convergence of a handful of atypical venues and the bounty of touring bands passing through town this month. KUNM 89.9 FM DJ and longtime promoter of local music and arts events Derek Caterwaul is among those at the helm of the endeavor. He says this month's fest is not so much a spin-off of the music industry spectacle that is SXSW but more a spinout inspired by a concentration of creative energy and counter-SXSW Austin events like Fuck by Fuck You and GAYbiGAYGAY.
The hues that appear in mid-century color photography tend to create a delicate, airy quality, as if the sands of time are causing the image to melt away before our eyes. Here we see a western view of Route 66 at I-25 and ghostly Zia images hovering in the sky during what seems to be the late ’50s. Once a humble postcard, this photo now advertises Songs for Boys & Girls with Sugar Wings at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Saturday at 7 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Nick Brown is a musician who likes to make weird songs late at night in the shed behind his house. He’s also the Alibi’s puppet master, a prolific blogger and a jokesmith. Here are five jazzy, new wave-y, psychedelic, random selections from his collections.
The National Association of Latino Independent Producers is now accepting applications for its spring 2010 Latino Writers Lab. The conference/workshop will take place May 19 through 23 in Santa Fe. It’s designed for people who want to work as professional screenwriters and develop strong screenplay material for production or sale. It includes skills development by professional instructors, direct mentoring of your work-in-progress and workshop lunches on various legal, guild and industry matters. Scripts can be in English or Spanish, but fluency in English is a requirement. From this five-day local session, 12 to 15 experienced writers will be selected to participate in a 10-day intensive lab this coming September in Santa Monica, Calif. The deadline to postmark your application is Wednesday, March 24, so you need to get on the ball. To download an application or dig up more details, log on to nalip.org.
A six-pack of docs offers a refreshing dose of reality
By Devin D. O’Leary
Increasingly, we find ourselves living in a time when the rising tide of “reality television” has us questioning what is actually real. Is Snooki, the self-described “guidette” queen from “The Jersey Shore,” real? Well, for starters, she’s not Italian. She’s Chilean. So, I think we’re fairly safe saying no. Does Maria Kanellis, one of this stars of this season’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” actually count as a celebrity? Do the Kardashian sisters fake relationships with sports stars to drive up ratings on “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”? Is “The Hills” entirely scripted? Are Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag actually human?
It’s easy to be struck by the cultural differences between America and England. Ever since that whole Revolutionary War thing, we’ve been pointing out their funny accents, their goofy use of the word “zed” instead of “z,” their deplorable habit of eating blood sausage. Occasionally, though, it’s enlightening to note our similarities. For example: Nerds, it would seem, are nerds the world over.
It's fitting that for Women's History Month, Opera Southwest is staging Georges Bizet's Carmen. The opera, set in 1830s Spain, tells the story of a strong-willed Romani woman, the eponymous Carmen, who falls in love with the soldier Don José. While bringing them together, their passion also tears them tragically apart. See Carmen at the KiMo Theatre (423 Central NW). Shows on Saturday, March 20; Tuesday, March 23; and Friday, March 26 are at 7:30 p.m. The performance on Sunday, March 28, is at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $65, with discounts available for students, seniors and groups. Get them through Opera Southwest (243-0591), ticketmaster.com or the KiMo Box Office (768-3544).
Daniel Richmond moved to Albuquerque in the fall of 2009. A Vermont native with a breathtaking talent for woodcarving and a long-standing connection to the Southwest, he came here to pursue his MFA in Sculpture at UNM. Just last week, he embossed the names of 112 New Mexico endangered species in red Jemez dirt across the university’s Smith Plaza. The meaning of the work rested as much on its creation as on its disappearance; within moments of its completion, students shuffled and skateboarded across the installation, wiping it away entirely. Over the next few months, he plans to repeat his 112Endangered Names Embossed in Dirt project—and present many others—throughout the city. The Alibi wanted to know what motivates this fantastically curious new Albuquerquean. So we went and found out.
ABQ Brew Pub opened quietly this past week (with its grand opening slated for March 19), and it was near empty during my visit. So empty that the hostess and two servers were dead asleep at a table when I walked in. Well, not asleep—but they may as well have been for all the action was going on at the bar. Maybe four people were sitting around 20 or so bar seats. Fine with me; it gave me the chance to look around without making people feel like I was ogling their dinners.
If you need a reminder that there’s more to Juárez than disheartening headlines, look no further than El Sabor de Juarez. The sunny little place on Gibson near Carlisle serves Juárez-style Mexican food under the care of owner Jesus Mata Sr. and his son Marcos. Jesus says the only concession to New Mexican cuisine they've made is the addition of flour to thicken the red and green sauces.