I didn’t go to the show when The Ettes played at a free bar Downtown early last year. The Nashville-based band wasn’t on my radar anyhow, so I felt no regret about missing it ... until a week later when I finally opened the 12-inch record that a friend, knowing I would like it, had bought for me at the show as a souvenir. Bright yellow in color, the LP—2008’s London-recorded Look At Life Again Soon—contained 11 distortion-heavy, ’70s glam-tinged tracks of female-fronted rock and roll. Since then, that record—now a prized possession—has received heavy rotation by me at home and in public drinking establishments.
National Poetry Month, Albuquerque-
Let’s be honest about this: Poetry scares people. It can be a challenge to understand and refers to French people a lot. School doesn’t help, since most of the time teenagers are forced to read “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” and count syllables in Robert Frost’s work. While I now, as a poet, enjoy both of those things (in terribly small, occasional doses), at 16 I would have rather read transcripts of “The Lawrence Welk Show” than study poetry.
How to get your poetry fix in Albuquerque
Here’s a sampling of what Burque offers the verse-addicted. For special events, see our Arts Calendar. Did we miss out on something? Get in on the discussion at alibi.com and let everyone know.
A history of the poetry scene in Albuquerque
All this wonderful verbal poetry activity Albuquerque enjoys is the icing on the cake that came before it. In coffeehouses like the Purple Turk across from Johnson Gym, Louis Greenfield’s Bookstore & Coffeehouse downtown, The Grave near Old Town, poetry readings started to pop up here in Albuquerque following the San Francisco Renaissance late ’50s. The University reading performances such as Allen Ginsberg in the Anthropology Hall packed to the ceiling energized young poets. Robert Creeley teaching at UNM was a magnet for poets as was his home in Placitas visited constantly by major poets crossing the country. Bookstores—the Yale Street Grasshopper run by Phil Mayne which turned into the Living Batch Bookstore, Salt of the Earth & Full Circle Bookstores —featured almost endless readings & gatherings.
The White Sands International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, April 15, in Las Cruces. Among the local features screening are Justin Evans’ action thriller A Lonely Place For Dying and Rod McCall’s coming-of-age drama Becoming Eduardo. There’s also a wealth of New Mexico-shot shorts, like Luke Fitch’s sci-fi drama “Black Gold 2051,” Paul Porter’s postapocalyptic tale “Res Q” and Wes Studi’s horror comedy “Good Night, My Zombies.” In addition to the 18 features and 26 shorts being screened at the sixth annual festival, there are several panel discussions featuring filmmakers, actors and other industry professionals. For a complete schedule of screenings, workshops and parties, log on to wsiff.com.
Swing and a miss
Are inspirational sports dramas actually inspirational, or are they just a cheap and easy shortcut for lazy filmmakers to evoke an emotional response? Are they simply the Y chromosome equivalent of romantic dramas in which one of the two leads is dying of some incurable disease? (Love Story, I’m looking at you.)
Info tidbits from around the dial
Are They Trying to Kill Me?—In case you haven’t heard, Kate Gosselin (who still hasn’t managed to get kicked off “Dancing With the Stars” somehow) is getting handed not one but two new reality shows this year. First up is TLC’s “Twist of Kate,” a positively disastrous-sounding 12-part summer series in which the 35-year-old occasional mother of eight will answer fan mail and give “parenting advice” to her legions of worshippers. (Which is who, exactly?) Also on tap is a string of “Kate Plus 8” specials—a continuation of her previous TLC show with ex-husband Jon’s name scrubbed off the title. Sounds awesome—assuming Jon doesn’t succeed in his current bid to have her stripped of child custody. I truly wish these hateful, wretched people would go away, but they aren’t. So, I guess we’d better just get used to it.
The Week in Sloth
Spring has ignited a reading renaissance in Albuquerque. Avail yourself of some of the many literary offerings happening this month.
The mad science of Fab Lab ABQ
Imagine: You’re a legendary archaeologist. You embark upon a dig that quickly becomes the most extraordinary of your career. As you stumble upon one singularly exceptional artifact after another, you leap about (very careful not to break anything), overcome by the remarkable knowledge you’re unearthing. Then you remember that you can’t keep any of it. You’re excavating an important spiritual site, and though you’ve been granted permission to explore, you have to return every found thing to the people who hold the land sacred. You understand—but you’re devastated at the informational, educational and historical records that will never exist. Until you realize that Fab Lab ABQ has a solution, and you resume your joyful leaping.
Salvation on Sunday, politics on Monday
Hundreds showed up at the Soul Rio Church to rock out in honor of the resurrection of Jesus. The church is tucked in a strip mall in southern Rio Rancho, and the pastor is Dan Lewis, Albuquerque’s Westside city councilor.
He stood under the spotlight in front of 150 audience members at UNM’s Student Union Building. He cleared his throat, tugged at his short, lacy black dress, straightened his tights and grabbed the microphone with painted fingernails. “Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome to the stage, Ruby Sanchez.”
Abandoned cats cluster and form colonies in Albuquerque neighborhoods. The unfixed felines mate; the population grows exponentially. Without adequate food, they lead short, violent lives.
Dateline: Denmark—Warehouse staff at the Carlsberg brewery in Copenhagen staged a series of walkouts last week in protest of a new company policy limiting beer-drinking at work to just lunch breaks. Jens Bekke, a spokesperson for Carlsberg, told England’s Sky News, “We think times have changed and we need an alcohol policy that is accepted by society—93 percent of Danish companies have an alcohol policy.” Last Wednesday, beers were removed from all refrigerators at the brewery. “The only place you can get a beer in future,” said Bekke, “is in the canteen at lunch.” In response, 800 workers walked off the job. By Thursday, at least 250 remained off the job. The Confederation of Danish Industry and trade union 3F agreed the strike was illegal and would impose fines on workers. Although warehouse staff is now on the wagon, drivers for the brewery are still allowed “up to three” beers a day outside of lunch hours. According to Bekke, alcohol locks on Carlsberg’s delivery trucks prevent the drivers from drinking too much and getting behind the wheel.
Blue Cross customers battle price hikes against a backdrop of health reform
The national debate on health care hit home for 40,000 New Mexicans with individual coverage through Blue Cross. In February, customers received notice of premium increases as high as 30 percent. Some of them have contacted my office to say they’ve already been forced by earlier premium increases to switch to less generous coverage plans and higher deductibles. They have no options left and can’t afford more increases. The Public Regulation Commission directed Morris Chavez, the superintendent of insurance, to give the Blue Cross hikes a formal review. The increases were suspended pending a Monday, April 26 hearing that will be held at the PRC’s offices in Santa Fe.
Pianist Omar Sosa’s Afreecanos Quartet communes with the spirits
Cuban pianist, marimbist and composer Omar Sosa plays up and down the tree of music, sounding its deepest African roots and the greenest buds in its ever-spreading canopy. Every note summons listeners to a joyful ceremony of communion.
The psych-pop of UV Transmission
Have you ever walked into a bar intimidated by the row of hogs and Harleys parked out front? Wondered about the reception you’d get from the bikers partying down inside? It wasn’t quite that way with the dozen Vespa, Lambretta and Velocette knockoffs lining the sidewalk in front of the Fabulous Dingo Bar (now Burt’s Tiki Lounge) when UV Transmission was headlining. Rather than wielding chains and wearing leathers, these riders sported one-button blazers, Cuban heel boots and M65 parkas with the Royal Air Force insignia on the back. The crowd was there not to pogo or mosh (thankfully!) but to dance.
The scary little people hidden in the trees want to you know that Monday, April 19, sees performances of animal-sound music and different forms of drone by Infinite Body, EARN, Lab Rat and Postcommodity. The show begins at 8 p.m. at Thundermind Corrective, and for $5 you might find out what “intense loud doom drone” means. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
A Duke City food critic in the land of milk and butter
An Albuquerquean foodie visiting Paris for the first time could find himself justifiably intimidated by the city’s fabled cuisine. If that’s you, I suggest you begin with a visit to one of the many restaurants in Paris that belong to the chain called “Indiana Café.”
Best of Burque XVI
Welcome to Best of Burque, the Alibi’s user-generated guide to Albuquerque! If you’re an old hand at this issue, you’ve probably already skipped ahead to Best Pet Store, or Best Art Gallery, or Best Anything We Forgot (which is magnificent this year). But if you’re new to BoB, please allow us to make a formal introduction.
(Restaurants are not included here. We do a mega-issue for them each Fall.)
Don't worry, we didn't forget the restaurant categories. The Alibi has a whole issue for that—you can vote for Best of Burque Restaurants in the fall. In the meantime, here are the notes you sent us about the categories we stupidly left out. (These are not official categories, and the entities listed are not official winners or titleholders. No voting determined this list. These are simply reader write-ins ... probably from our moms, because they’re so very proud of us.)
Best Thing About Being Mayor So Far
The chance to work with the city employees—just working with dedicated people who get up every day and try to make the city a better place. They're all over. They're at the Solid Waste Department, the Fire Department, they're in the administration at City Hall. I just run into people over and over again who bring so much energy to their jobs. Plus, you get a chance to sit with people who are creative and have good ideas on how to move the city forward.
Where's your favorite post-play hangout?
What makes Winning Coffee Co. what it is?
How did you come by your love of music?
The Esther Bone Memorial Library (950 Pinetree SE in Rio Rancho) will host a free screening of The Concert for Bangladesh on Thursday, April 8, at 6 p.m. The film is a recording of George Harrison’s groundbreaking charity concert from 1971. Among the performers captured in the classic concert film are Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Leon Russell, Ravi Shankar and Ringo Starr. For more information, contact the library at 891-5012.
Delivering bad news makes for good drama in quietly powerful indie
Earlier this year, an independent film called The Messenger very quietly racked up two Oscar nominations—one for Best Original Screenplay and one for Best Supporting Actor. That’s appropriate for a film as quietly powerful as The Messenger. Hopefully, as the film slowly rolls out across America, more people will get to see it.
“The Marriage Ref” on NBC
Like it or not (not!), we live in a world over-saturated by reality television. In that respect, NBC’s heavily hyped, Jerry Seinfeld-produced reality show “The Marriage Ref” is hardly the worst thing on television. But let’s not kid ourselves. It’s still crap.
The Week in Sloth
The 10th Annual Global DanceFest, presented by the VSA North Fourth Art Center and NewArt New Mexico, returns with its spring iteration. This weekend, see The Good Dance—dakar/brooklyn by New York dance company Reggie Wilson/Fist & Heel Performance Group and Andreya Ouamba/Compagnie 1er Temps, from Senegal via Congo-Brazzaville. What does all that mean? An explosion of movement that examines the cultures of the American Mississippi River and African Congo River area and explores their similarities. Performances at the South Broadway Cultural Center (1025 Broadway SE) are at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Mother Road’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane
Ireland is a country of heartbreaking contrasts. Romanticized for its physical beauty and the humor of its people, it’s also marked by centuries of colonization and desperate poverty. In much of Irish literature, this seeming incongruity is expressed through characters who are both fiercely loyal to their home and who dream endlessly about leaving it.
"Sesame Street" is not afraid to walk down dark alleys. The show doesn't shy away from discussing the effects of the economy on families or loss perpetuated by war.
Keshet Dance Company’s Ani Ma’amin at the KiMo Theatre
Memory is tricky. With some memories, we owe it to ourselves and those around us to mull over and share them, at which point they stop being memories and become information. And eventually, as they pass from one person to the next, from one generation to the next, they lose their immediacy and, in many ways, their effectiveness. They become history—and we all know what happens to those who don’t learn from history.
National tensions put one local clinic on high alert
Jenny Black's day began with red paint poured over the sidewalk and wire hangers strewn about her business' parking lot. Just another Good Friday, she said.
How will New Mexicans be affected? An insider explains.
Navigating health reform legislation is no small task. This enormous Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act does everything from impose a 10 percent tax on tanning salon services to reworking the country’s massive Medicare program. That’s why the Alibi turned to health policy expert and seasoned clinician Nancy Ridenour, Ph.D., RN. (Read web extras here, and see a list of basic terms defined here.)
This week, I interviewed Nancy Ridenour, the dean of UNM’s College of Nursing. She worked on Capitol Hill, and she had a hand in crafting portions of the health care reform bill.
It’s been three years since I started beat reporting, and in that time I suppose I’ve covered 100 fires. Probably more.
After 16 years on the job, top City Attorney Bob White is retiring. White, also known as an actor in local theater, served under several mayors. He will be replaced by Rob Perry, who was former Gov. Gary Johnson’s corrections cabinet secretary.
Dateline: Florida—According to the Pensacola News Journal, Google Earth helped a sheriff’s department bust a major litterbug. Deputy Gregory Barnes used satellite images from Google Earth to hunt down the owner of an 18-foot boat which had been dumped in an undeveloped subdivision about 15 miles north of Pensacola. Authorities were able to identify a fuzzy image of the boat in question parked at Dwight Everett Foster’s house. When police questioned him, Foster admitted to dumping the old boat. The police said it would have cost Foster $18 to dispose of the vessel at a local landfill. He now faces a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison.
Fighting two costly wars, massively expanding the federal role in health care and adding trillions of dollars to America’s national debt—sounds like President George W. Bush, right? Well, it does describe Bush’s policies, but unfortunately, it also describes President Obama’s track record more than a year into his presidency.
When vocalist Gretchen Parlato performs a song, she doesn’t so much inhabit it as become inhabited by it, living and breathing a musical and emotional life that is inseparable from the artist. Her singing is personal, and therefore it’s immediate and resonant—and because of that, apparently artless.
Zoe Boekbinder makes music for people who like to wear sequins to the library
When I first heard Zoe Boekbinder’s beautiful Artichoke Perfume, I thought it sounded like the musical child of Jolie Holland and Joanna Newsom had joined the circus and made an album. Not only do other people compare her to Holland, Boekbinder (pronounced “Bookbinder”) lists the musician as an influence, too. But the Oakland-based Canadian is hesitant to label her sound.
Jazz, Deconstructed series explores jazz’ roots and branches
Jazz, Deconstructed, a new four-concert series, features local artists with visionary projects that stretch from New Orleans’ Congo Square to an electrocoustic jazz/hip-hop detente.
She beckons with her ... eyes. Also, her tetas. One of the best things about Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW) is that there’s continuously been local art on the punk rock bar’s walls since it opened in May 2003. (Do we smell a birthday coming on?) Atomic’s not afraid to hang pop art, risqué or abstract, along with other beautiful and weird works by 505 faves. This month, drop by to see paintings by Christina Aristmuño, David Gatt, Megan Cronin, John Henry Hansen, Amanda Banker, Heather Cronin, Sunita Aristmuño, George Evans, Rodney Ibarra, Jay Smithline and Melinda Casey; photography by Crystal Sims, John Salazar and Nathan Paolinelli; ink work by Jeff Hayes; and mixed media by Kevin Hopper and Sharon Chang. (Marisa Demarco)
France’s new generation of eaters
On a recent Wednesday evening, a youngish crowd gathered on the banks of Paris' Seine River to catch a ride to a nearby island. After the short crossing, they sat on blankets and pillows amid crackling fire pits and ate Irish tapas. There were plates of salad greens tossed with Clonakilty blood sausage, thick with oats. Bowls of chunky seafood chowder with smoked salmon were followed by creamy mocha hazelnut meringue—all of which helped absorb a variety of whiskey-based drinks, including whiskey Mojitos. Folksy rock bands played on a makeshift stage, not loud enough to overwhelm conversation. The event was called Foodstock. And while most of the guests were better dressed and better smelling than attendees at the namesake Woodstock festival 41 years ago, both groups shared a spirit of revolution.
Nine all-star New Mexico drafts, two homebrewers and one unlikely location
The only reasons I’ve ever visited the industrial wasteland around Jefferson and Osuna were to pick up an obscure part for a vacuum cleaner and to dispose of trash I had forgotten to put out for two weeks straight. The opening of Hallenbrick Brewery gave me a whole new incentive to actually drive north of Osuna. Of course a beer freak like me would. The question is, would anyone else?
Creative Soundspace Festival focuses on the adventurous
The Creative Soundspace Festival, now in its sixth year, ventures out to the edges of the musical universe to see what various pioneers in improvised music are up to.
You’re about to get greened
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.
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!
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.)
The Week in Sloth
It’s all about the toppings
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.
César Chávez’ daughter lends a hand to the South Valley’s day of service
School buses lined the road at Arenal and Lopez in the gray light of early morning. More than 260 children and teens were ready to celebrate the life of César Chávez—with sweat and dirt.
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.
Woody’s granddaughter Sarah Lee talks about the Guthrie family
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
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.
The art of rock
One Million Bones protests genocide, one papier-mâché femur at a time
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.