While dystopic visions of a world in which technology has gotten the better of us are in vogue, they aren't new (hello Frankenstein) either. The just-opened show at 516 ARTS, Artificial Selection, is mindful of this. The exhibit nods to the past with a play off of an old theory, that of Charles Darwin's natural selection, but with a few decidedly modern twists.
On May 5, 1862, a small army of about 5,000 ill-equipped Mestizos and Zapotec Indians defeated the French army at Puebla, a small town in southern Mexico. The nearly miraculous Mexican victory temporarily stopped France’s progression toward Mexico City and its ultimate goal of an empire in Mexico. Unfortunately, the triumph was short-lived. As soon as Napoleon learned of the humiliating defeat, he deployed an additional 30,000 troops. Within a year, he'd taken over Mexico City and installed the Archduke Maximilian of Austria as ruler of the new empire.
Congratulations are in order. SEMBENE!, the locally produced documentary about leading African filmmaker Ousmane Sembène, was selected to take part last week in the prestigious Tribeca All Access Program. The program is part of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York. SEMBENE! is directed by Samba Gadjigo and Santa Fe filmmaker Jason Silverman. The film was one of only 20 selected as part of this year’s All Access Program, which was created to “cultivate relationships between filmmakers from traditionally underrepresented communities and film industry executives.” SEMBENE! is a work in progress. The filmmakers hope to have it completed by 2011.
Comic book-turned-movie turns up the boom-boom-pow
By Devin D. O’Leary
With Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk all chugging along in their own successful movie franchises (plus Thor, Captain America and Green Lantern busy filming their debuts), it’s no surprise that Hollywood is running out of A-list comic book characters to exploit. Lately, the poor movie industry has had to make due with relatively unknown properties like Mark Millar’s Kick-Ass. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are plenty of fantastic stories on the back shelves of your local comic book store. (As both comic and movie, for example, Kick-Ass is bloody good fun.) But movie studios hoping for a little name recognition are S.O.L. when it comes down to stuff like Surrogates. (Yes, that non-successful Bruce Willis sci-fi film you didn’t see was based on a comic book you’ve never heard of.)
Pay cable movie channel Starz has been following in the footsteps of HBO and Showtime, introducing a slate of original, hour-long dramas (“Crash,” “Spartacus: Blood and Sand”) and half-hour comedies (“Gravity,” “Head Case”). Last week, Starz launched the second season of its successful sitcom “Party Down.” That, my friends, is a good thing.
It’s a Cold War-era warhead that Griffin has emptied of explosives and packed with poems—and it’s headed our way. The Poetry Bomb and its L.A.-based bombardier will zero in on Albuquerque for two performances this Sunday, May 2, as part of a five-week cross-country onslaught.
Yeah, it makes me cringe, too. I’ve got bad memories of cross-country road trips where I wasn’t smart enough to plan ahead and have good beers at the ready. The low point may have been the time I had to buy 3-2 beer (that’s half-strength 3.2 percent alcohol beer—and this was Dos Equis, no less!) from a Wal-Mart in El Reno, Okla. I learned that it is biologically impossible to get drunk from 3-2 beer. Dry counties also seem to haunt my road trips. One otherwise forgettable journey, I was ready to stop for the night after a 13-hour drive took me to Nowhere, Ark. When I pulled into a gas station for my own personal fuel, I was told that there was no beer to be had for another 60 miles. I hastily drove to the next sane county. (Unfortunately, I had to settle for Icehouse, which left me feeling kind of dirty in the morning. Like if I stayed at a motel on Central and agreed to some “entertainment.”)
Stepping into the pragmatically named Thai Cuisine II is like taking a 15-hour plane ride in the blink of an eye. While it’s not exactly Thailand inside, the dining room is a pleasant sanctuary, warmly painted in earthy red and sunset orange, and hung with near-florescent paintings of colorful, idyllic scenes. You quickly forget that you just walked into a red metal roofed A-frame that looks like an old Dairy Queen.
Reports are on the rise but resources are spread thin
By Christie Chisholm
You probably know someone who’s been raped. In fact, you probably know several people who’ve been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives; and if you’re a woman, there’s a one in four chance one of those people is you.
I meet Gus and his two horses at an empty dirt arena in Santa Fe. It’s a cold morning but the sun is bright. The nearby mountains are capped with snow. There are rows of vacant stables alongside the arena. I move slowly, wrapped in a cloudy haze from lack of sleep. The horses look sleepy as well, tethered to their trailer nodding off. When they yawn, they seem on the verge of speaking. “Get away from me,” I imagine them saying. “What's that, an apple? Give it here.” Such teeth. Such manners.
Dateline: England—A British man has been arrested for drunk driving after being caught in the driver’s seat of a small, battery-powered Barbie car. Paul Hutton, 40, was spotted—hands on the wheel, knees tucked up under his chin—by a police patrol car in Essex, in the southeastern part of the country. According to The Sun, Hutton admitted in Colchester Magistrates’ Court to being a “complete twit.” Hutton, who was found to be over the legal limit, was banned from driving for three years as a result of the incident. “I was very surprised to get done for drink-driving, but I was a twit to say the least.” The former Royal Air Force aeronautical engineer had modified the 2-foot-high, pink plastic Jeep with his son as part of a college project. It has a top speed of 6 kilometers per hour. Speaking after the hearing, Hutton said, “You have to be a contortionist to get in, and then you can’t get out.” Hutton was allegedly driving the kiddie car to a friend’s house to show off his work when he was pulled over.
Although the band's been performing since 2001, Shoulder Voices never officially released an album. This week, however, the eclectic Albuquerque group—powered by Little Bobby, The Musk and a rotating cast of characters—will unleash its first proper, non-CDR collection of recorded material. In Space! is a concept album rooted in '70s psychedelia, as well as a means of furthering the band's aggressively festive shows.
In the pack of snarling dogs that is a music scene, scraps of praise, stage time and fans are hard-won. Somehow, Black Maria finds itself with more meat than it can eat. You won't see members badgering social networking friends with notices or merch. Fans spread the word, and they do it well. A Black Maria gig doesn't happen all that often, and when it does, it's an event of towering amplifiers, volume you can feel in your chest cavity and a big, rowdy audience.
This week we honor a flyer designed in-house by Jeff Drew for our Cinco de Mayo party. [See this week’s feature for more historical and cultural dirt on the holiday.] The Alibi plans to observe May 5 by sitting outside, enjoying music, micheladas, Mexican sweets and other treats. Oh yeah, and free Frito pies while they last! Join us on the Blackbird Buvette patio (509 Central NW) on Wednesday from 5 to 10 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Little Bobby is an avid runner, vegetarian and fan of psychedelic music. His band Shoulder Voices is realeasing its first album this week. Peer into his Technicolor mind by way of the randomly selected songs below.
On its cross-country tour two years ago, Philadelphia’s Dr. Dog—a quirky, lovable indie-soul band—packed bars that held 200 people when the fire department wasn’t looking. Last year, Dr. Dog electrified crowds at 400 to 500 capacity clubs, and this spring the endearing, addicting band is filling even bigger theaters. Luckily for New Mexicans, Dr. Dog still loves to play the rare smaller gig, and getting bigger certainly hasn’t made the band cocky.
Local attorney represents Guantánamo prisoners in a changing political climate
By Marisa Demarco
Mohamedou Ould Salahi has been a Guantánamo prisoner since August 2002, but he's never been charged with a crime. Salahi was arrested in his home country, Mauritania, on suspicion of having ties to al Qaeda. He was deprived of sleep for more than 60 days, according to a report by the Senate Armed Services Committee, and one of his lawyers, Nancy Hollander, says he was subjected to torturous interrogation tactics.
Politics aside, I am my father's daughter—and proud of it
By Maren Tarro
The last time my father and I attended a tea party, my stuffed cat Aida was the guest of honor and the tea was served in Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit teacups. Politics certainly wasn’t a conversation topic. Twenty-something years later, I’ve become a Liberal while my father is a Libertarian. And instead of doilies and cucumber sandwiches, the tea parties of 2010 are serving discord and controversy. One lump or two?
Tea party figureheads share their message with the Alibi’s readers
By Maren Tarro
While I was having a pleasant afternoon with my father at the tea party in D.C., I was able to sit down with several of the rally’s speakers. I asked them what they wanted the Alibi’s readers to understand about the tea party’s message and what us liberals just weren’t getting. Most were more than happy to speak directly to you. Here is what they had to say:
Gov. Bill Richardson’s veto pen struck down the food tax and blew a giant hole in the state budget. So the need to destroy a mythical “budgetary fat” monster is sitting heavy on the shoulders of New Mexico lawmakers. Take it from me, a senator on the Senate Finance Committee.
Dateline: Georgia—If at first you don’t succeed ... . Police in Albany were surprised to find themselves arresting the same man twice in one day on the exact same charges. The 26-year-old man was arrested around noon last Friday following a routine traffic stop. According to the Albany Herald, he was charged with possession of marijuana and sent to Dougherty County Jail. Four hours later, he was released on bond. Shortly after that, the Albany-Dougherty Drug Unit received a tip that the man was trying to set up a drug deal. The suspect was arrested again around 6:30 p.m. after he was found with two ounces of marijuana in his possession. He was charged for a second time with possession of a controlled substance and sent back to Dougherty County Jail. This time, however, he was held without bond.
Local filmmakers: If you’ve waited until the last minute to submit your film (short or feature) to this year’s New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase, then that minute is upon you! You have until 5 p.m. this Thursday, April 22, to hand-deliver a copy of your film to Guild Cinema in Nob Hill (3405 Central NE). To download an application form (which must accompany each DVD submission), log on to nmfilm.com. This is a non-juried festival and all submissions are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The Filmmakers Showcase itself is free and open to the public and will take place May 13 through 16. Stay glued for more details.
Ever entertain ideas of participating in some multimillion-dollar art museum heist? Who hasn’t? But how would one go about accomplishing such a task outside the confines of a swingin’ ’60s French crime film? Well, if you’re curious, The Art of the Steal details exactly how that sort of crime is accomplished in the real world. Sadly, it doesn’t involve leather catsuits, handheld suction cups, laser security systems, smoke grenades or sexy sidekicks. It just takes a handful of politicians, a bunch of lawyers and a whole lot of paperwork.
The day after its debut episode aired, HBO picked up the new series “Treme” for a second season. That should give you a decent idea of how much confidence the network has in the show. And it’s not at all misplaced.
And the band is still as greasy and delicious as a Spam sandwich
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Between the mid-’90s and mid-aughts, you could frequently find Red Earth concocting its “tribal stew” of funk and reggae-laced hard rock all around New Mexico. While the band hasn’t performed since 2006, this week it reunites for two shows—one at the Gathering of Nations and the other as part of the Rock the 9 Native Music Festival. Last week we asked lead singer and guitarist Ira “Icemon” Wilson questions via e-communiqué.
Cleveland indie psych band mr. Gnome writes songs about vampires and pirates. San Francisco gravelly-voiced accordionist Mark Growden writes songs about Saint Judas and singing stars. Together with Albuquerque power pop / indie rock band Lousy Robot and Billy Bellmont spawn Janksder, they create flyers that look like a medieval tarot card. All four of these fine acts perform on Saturday, April 24, at Atomic Cantina (315 Gold SW). This free show begins at 10 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Peer into Megafaun’s world through songs from Brad Cook’s collection, selected at random
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Bearded folksters Brad Cook, Phil Cook and Joe Westerlund are the meat and bones of Megafaun. Taking an oddball approach to traditional American music, the band’s compositions are an endearing, organized cacophony of guitars, banjos, fiddles, horns and harmonica. Megafaun hails from North Carolina (and Wisconsin, originally), and is touring in support of its second album, Gather, Form & Fly. On Saturday, April 24, the trio makes a stop in Albuquerque to perform at Low Spirits.
North America’s biggest powwow happens on April 22, 23 and 24, at the University of New Mexico Football Field (University and Avenida Cesar Chavez SE), beginning at 10 a.m. each day. Massive amounts of Native musicians, songwriters and storytellers begin to perform on Stage 49 on Friday. Music includes traditional, blues, rock, jazz, folk, country, hip-hop, metal and reggae. Wristbands for the powwow, Indian Traders Market and music events on Friday and Saturday are $15 per day at the gate (cash only) or $30 for a two-day wristband.
Seventeenth century poet Robert Herrick's oft-quoted line "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may" is actually an encouragement to virgins to stop being so damn coy and live it up (or give it up) while they're young. But for this week, let's take it to mean that we should all get to these one-time only performances before they're gone. Leave the virgins in peace.
Though it’s not widely known, Boba Fett is an important figure in Native American art. At least, he is in the art of Ryan Singer. Originally from Tuba City, Ariz., in Navajo country, the Albuquerque artist is working on a portrait of the infamous Star Wars bounty hunter, armed and gunning for the viewer, alongside a wolf haloed by the Fett insignia.
UNM’s Words Afire Play Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary
By Julia Mandeville
Though it’s an honor just to be nominated for an award, we all know that it’s even better to win. And for each of the last 10 years, a Master of Fine Arts candidate in UNM’s dramatic writing program has received top recognition from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival—the university-level equivalent of winning a Pulitzer for literature or an Oscar for film. Perhaps the most stunning element of this growing legacy is that the program is only a decade old; it’s been producing nationally renowned emerging playwrights for the whole of its existence.
Marble’s (Not) Terrible Twos—Before April of 2008, I didn’t even know there was a Marble Street in Albuquerque. Who would have guessed that two years since its opening, Marble Brewery (111 Marble NW, 243-2739) would make that street one of the most visited in town? And that location (along with the stellar beer, of course) may be a key reason why it’s become such a success: Far enough away from the chaos that is Central Avenue, you can sit on the patio and actually make eye contact without getting threatened with a beat-down.
Food is not a priority at sports bars. In fact, it’s usually little more than a fried piece of beer sponge. But at The Fox and Hound, hidden behind a tangled sprawl of restaurants west of I-25 at Jefferson, the food is taken seriously—frequently with good results.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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
By Jason Marks, public regulation commissioner
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.
A Duke City food critic in the land of milk and butter
By Ari LeVaux
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.”
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.
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.)
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.
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.
Pianist Omar Sosa’s Afreecanos Quartet communes with the spirits
By Mel Minter
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.
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)