Reviving an ancient farming tradition starts at home
By Ty Bannerman
Sarah Montgomery holds an ear of corn in each hand.
"These look like two ears of white corn to most people," she says. "But they're totally different."
Montgomery is the founder and director of The Garden’s Edge, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable agriculture within the state and in Guatemala. A central piece of that puzzle is preserving an ancient farming technique that's endangered: seed saving.
The corn in her left hand is Hopi, she explains, a dry land variety from New Mexico. "Farmers plant it far underground to get the moisture, and the seed is adapted to getting rained on only a few times a year." The other ear is Guatemalan. It's the Hopi corn's opposite, she explains, which is eager to soak up tropical rains and moisture. "Each one is adapted to its particular bioregion."
In May, Alibi’s Midnight Movie Madness at Guild Cinema screened James Nguyen’s brilliant bit of cinematic madness Birdemic: Shock and Terror. The film continues to mesmerize and confuse audiences around the globe. There’s a special midnight screening at the legendary San Diego Comic-Con International this weekend, for example. But Albuquerque is doing them one better. We’re bringing back Birdemic for a special encore performance on Friday and Saturday, July 23 and 24—and we’ve got the film’s lead actress, the lovely and talented Whitney Moore, live in person. The good-natured Ms. Moore will participate in a Q&A before the film, discussing her experiences making the cult horror flick. The screening/Q&A starts at 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 at the Guild box office (3405 Central NE). To check out the film’s mind-bending, life-altering trailer, log on to the Birdemic website.
Sequel should please fans who like it smart and sleazy
By Devin D. O’Leary
Occasionally, I run into upstanding, straight-laced, middle-American citizens who question my ability to view horror films. “How can you watch those horrible things?” they ask. Oddly enough, I’ve noticed those are the exact same people heaping praise on Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy (the massively popular The Girl ... book series). The books are basically “CSI” crossed with TheSilence of the Lambs with a touch of The Da Vinci Code-style conspiracy theory thrown in for good measure. Believe me, there’s enough sick and twisted stuff going on in Larsson’s books to fill the next couple of Saw films. And yet, literate, quietly conservative older Americans who would never pay to see a slasher film don’t seem to bat an eye at any of Larsson’s grisly goings-on, turning the books into bestsellers and the subsequent films into box office hits.
Thanks to a generation of lazy television executives, it’s hard to tell what the term “reality” really means. We have reality shows (“The Osbournes”), reality competition shows (“American Idol”), docu-reality shows (“Deadliest Catch”) and uncategorizable, clearly scripted crapola that masquerades as reality (“The Hills”). All of which just begs the question: “What is real?”
Some people just get it wrong. If the boys of Roñoso were walking down the street, mothers would pitch their babies into traffic before exposing them to the gnarly dreadlocks and general scruffiness of Greg (bass, vocals), Miles (guitar, vocals) and Mike (drums). I don’t want to blow their cover, but despite gutwrenching vocals and heavy crustcore music, the three are some of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. Time and again I’ve seen Roñoso volunteer for the sacrificial opening slot so touring bands can play to the larger late-arriving crowd.
Kurt Russell is Snake in John Carpenter’s early ’80s dystopian portrayal of 1997, Escape From New York. Mods dance before a psychedelic background below him. What it all means is unclear. The facts are this: On Wednesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. lo-fi electro synthpop band The Gatherers releases an album titled Kurt Russell. Opening for the Burque band are Portland, Ore. electro acts Fleshtone and Prizm (learn more about the latter in this week’s Song Roulette). The all-ages show happens at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW). Admission is $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Prizm is an electro fantasy trio from Portland, Ore., inspired by prog, krautrock and other synth-heavy ’70s creations. Its show combines sound design and a collage of projections, conjuring otherly realms. Along with Fleshtone, an electronic collaborative also from Portland, the group opens for The Gatherers’ album release at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Wednesday, July 28, at 8 p.m. Admission for the all-ages show is $5. Find out what’s refracted in Kim, Jef and Azmo’s music library through these five randomly selected tracks.
A teacher struggles to educate in Juárez, where extortion is the cost of doing business
By Patrick Lohmann
A small paper sign posted near the door is all that signals there's a school inside this small, yellowed house in south Juárez. Trinidad Vasquez teaches English here with the shades drawn. Inside, he leads four of his youngest students through a scenario involving paying the phone bill in English. Vasquez’ eyes dart to the door when he hears a car horn, a siren, a shout. “OK, on to the next one,” he says to his class, “calling the utility company.”
Dudes, I'm serious when I say "skinny tires." The velocipede between my legs is a single-speed street bike, so when someone suggested I get off the asphalt, I was like, ew. But then I was all, hmm. I've never been mountain biking ever. Why? It’s scary. I'm not x-treem enough. I could fall into a cholla or succumb to derailleur angst. And dirt and granite just tend to clash with my cute spandex threads.
Dateline: India—Six factory workers were killed after they fell into a giant vat of tomato sauce and drowned in the Uttar Pradesh region of northeastern India. The industrial accident happened at the Akansha Food Products plant in Lucknow on Wednesday, July 14, when a female worker who was scooping up fermented vegetables slipped off a ladder and fell into the 10-foot-deep tank. “When the woman fell in, the other workers jumped in to help her,” Rajiv Krishna, Lucknow’s Senior Superintendent of Police, told the Indian Express. The five colleagues who jumped into the tank to help the drowning woman were quickly overcome by fumes from the fermented vegetables. All six drowned. Two other workers, overcome by the fumes, were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. The factory owner was taken into custody, the Indian Express said.
Like a bad penny, the idea of expanding the Convention Center keeps coming back. Mayor Richard Berry says he's neutral on the concept, but at least seven city councilors seem hell-bent on acquiring land at the First Baptist Church site to build the $400 million project. The Council voted on June 21 to urge the Berry administration to share the site with APS, despite the fact that no vote has been taken on the so-called arena project.
One of the coolest things about being me is the amount of stuff people tell me. Sometimes it’s off the record, even though it’s not juicy/verifiable/interesting enough to be on the record. Occasionally the gossip is so good the whole down-low thing makes me want to scream. Most of the time the information I get is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes and totally shareable. Generally, this kind of stuff is sent via e-mail with the words “for immediate release” in big, bold and sometimes italic letters at the top. It’s maybe not the most exciting, but some of those e-mails actually include the interesting stuff. Let’s open the vault.
Shhh ... don’t tell Santa Fe, but the Chamber Music Festival comes here, too
By Patricia Sauthoff
Musically, Albuquerque is kind of a metal town. Last week there was a full page of ads in the Alibi for rockin’ shows by Korn, Rob Zombie, Scorpions, Tesla, Slayer, Megadeth and Testament. Show me your horns!
Imagine you found yourself transcribing thousands of pages of interviews with some of the key figures of an important American movement. Would you just ship them off to the Library of Congress to be archived and maybe, someday, found by someone else? Or, would you compile and edit them into an easy-to-read compendium of voices that shaped an era?
Nothing beats the sugary fragrance of tender, fried dough. The doughnut is a pastry made to be eaten fresh—best with morning coffee or tea. I decided to seek out Albuquerque shops dedicated to the glazed, sprinkled, filled and frosted treats, and found only four independent shops competing with four Dunkin' Donuts and two Krispy Kreme locations.
Commercial salads these days seem designed for people who don't like salad. They're essentially meat entrées served on a bed of leaves, minus the baked potato. And if you watch a server removing plates from the table, you'll see they usually aren't empty. The cold cuts, cheese, croutons, shrimp and/or chicken are gone, but the greenery is left behind like an abandoned garnish. The very fact that the proteins and fat are presented on top, rather than mixed in, seems to ensure an errant leaf won’t be inadvertently consumed.
Niger, a landlocked West African country roughly twice the size of Texas, is one of the poorest places in the world. Mostly covered by desert, this hot, dusty zone is home to multiple ethnic groups, many of which are still nomadic. They lead their camels, cattle and goats along the edge of the Sahara in search of savanna pastures and water sources, sometimes clashing over limited resources. Two such groups are the Tuareg and the Wodaabe, who each have their own histories, social structures and religious beliefs.
Steve Feltham’s eyes and smile grow wide when the subject of the Loch Ness monsters comes up. “I think they’re out there, certainly,” he says, though he adds with a hint of sadness that it may not be true for much longer. He estimates there are probably a half-dozen creatures left in the lake (down from dozens in earlier eras) and will be fewer each passing year: “Sightings have declined. They’re gradually dropping off of old age, I think.”
It’s all over but the crying. Or the cheering. Or the laughing. Depends on what kind of film they were trying to make. A grand total of 40 filmmaking teams raced around Albuquerque last weekend trying to write, direct and edit short films in just two days as part of the annual 48 Hour Film Project. All teams were required to include the same three things: a character (a gardener named Jay or Julie Michaels), a prop (a bag) and a line of dialogue (“It works for me.”). In addition, each team was given a specific genre in which their film was supposed to fit (horror, film noir, Western, romance, comedy, etc.). Now the films are done and it’s time to see what our local teams were able to come up with. On Thursday, July 15, at 6:30 p.m., Friday, July 16, at 6 and 8:15 p.m., and on Sunday, July 18, at 6 p.m. blocks of completed 48 Hour films will be screened at the KiMo Theatre in Downtown Albuquerque. It’ll cost you $10 a screening, $17 for two separate screenings or $30 for all four screenings. Judges will pick the best films to represent Albuquerque at the national 48 Hour Film competition later this year. For a complete rundown of the screening schedule, log on to the 48 Hour homepage. ... And congrats to all the weary teams who braved the two-day challenge!
Christopher Nolan’s newest takes viewers on a major head-trip
By Devin D. O’Leary
Are you familiar with brain freeze? That icy, slightly painful but ultimately exhilarating sensation you get from sucking down a slushie or other tasty frozen beverage? It kinda hurts, but you kinda want more. Inception is hell of a lot like that.
Scene 1 of Tennessee Williams’ magnum opus A Streetcar Named Desire opens with an introduction to the New Orleans neighborhood where the play unfolds. Williams lovingly illuminates the city's beautiful decay, omnipresent river and music around every corner. “The section is poor," he writes, "but, unlike corresponding sections in other American cities, it has a raffish charm. The houses are mostly white frame, weathered grey, with rickety outside stairs and galleries and quaintly ornamented gables."
Despite the inevitable dirty old men in the audience, The Eyeliners didn’t draw attention to gender. Sisters Gel, Lisa and Laura debuted as Psychodrama, certainly not a name that screams “girl band!” Nor did they emulate the pandering jailbait image that the girls of The Donnas milked successfully well into their 20s. There were no baby doll dresses or torn fishnets. Instead they wore tees, hoodies and high-top Chuck Taylors. All Psychodrama wanted was to rock out and have fun.
Conjuring Victorian-era occult imagery, this ephemeral graphic notes the coming of Reverend Beat-Man. The Bern, Switzerland-based blues trash preacher is a one-man band, the founder of garage punk record label Voodoo Rhythm Records and a servant of the Church of Rock and Roll. See the Reverend in Santa Fe on Thursday, July 15, at 9 p.m. He’ll be performing alongside the comparably spooky New Zealander Delaney Davidson. The seance—$5 admission—will take place at Little Wing (at The Candyman Strings & Things, 851 St. Michael's Drive, Santa Fe). (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Rob Nakai is a vocalist and guitarist for Albuquerque bands Holiday Sail and Bat Wings For Lab Rats. The latter, a four-piece that melds diverse genres like punk, hip-hop, metal and funk, releases its debut album Punk • Hop • A • Delic at the Launchpad on Saturday, July 17. Below you’ll find an equally diverse sampling of Nakai’s music collection, selected at random.
Frontier—in America, the word holds freedom. It implies individuality and self-reliance. "It's where we go to remake ourselves," says photographer David Taylor [See this week’s News Feature, “Port of Entry.”] Frontera on the other hand, adheres to the literal definition. It's a line, a boundary.
From right and left, two men find their way to the real immigration story
By Marisa Demarco
When Paul Wells started working as a border patrol agent in Las Cruces 30 years ago, his station had a two-way radio and a telephone. "That was it," he says, and there were less than 2,000 agents nationwide.
"May 7, 1990. Dear diary, today we (me Dad Li'l Bro) went on a huge huge bike ride 14 miles it was so so fun. We went on one of those bridges across the highway. When we were done we went to this place called ‘20 Carrots’ and got a milkshake! PS All the waitresses wear earrings in their nose. Hoop and diamond."
You knew Denish vs. Martinez was going to be a donnybrook the second Susana Martinez declared victory on primary night. Since then, this huffing and puffing about these "ladies" not comporting themselves is not just silly, it's insulting. Welcome to modern politics. You get your love at home.
Dateline: Taiwan—Dentists are urging fast-food chains to put health warnings on their burgers—not because the burgers contain harmful ingredients, but because they are so dangerously large. According to a report in the China Post, dentists in Taiwan say many burger eaters have been treated for jaw-related injuries after trying to eat the plus-sized sandwiches offered by many national chains. Hsu Ming-Iung, associate professor of the School of Dentistry at National Yang-Ming University, said the human jaw is designed to open for objects up to 1 1/2 half inches. Many fast-food restaurants now offer burgers towering up to 3 inches in height. The big burgers are causing some diners to suffer symptoms of temporomandibular dysfunction—including sore jaws and difficulty opening the mouth—and should be banned, say the dentists.
OMG! Burning Man is right around the corner. The basement is filled with camping supplies, thousands of gallons of water and enough body paint to cover an army. But there's one very important thing missing: the ability to hula hoop. (I don't know why hooping is so important, but it seems that next to every art bike, my Burning Man-bound friends have a hula hoop.) Even if you're not a Burner, there are plenty of reasons to get those hips in motion. Really. Hula hooping helps with coordination, it makes your tummy tighter, and it makes those bobby socks and saddle shoes you're always wearing totally in style. The Rhythm Dance Lounge (4821 Central NE) offers classes every Thursday from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. for only $10 a class. Reservations are recommended, so call 891-3748 to do just that or check out centerforcehoops.weebly.com if you're not yet convinced.
Two Albuquerque artists take an unconventional approach to visions of death
By Samara Alpern
The devil may reach out with bristled claws to grab your hair. But, then again, he may not. It may be that butterflies carry you into the ether. It’s hard to say what happens after this life. But, either way, momento mori: Remember, you must die.
516 gussies itself up in Unraveling Tradition and Restoration
By Patricia Sauthoff
Yelizaveta Nersesova and I sit on the floor in front of her installation “A Rare Perfection of Form” for 516 ARTS’ upcoming show, Unraveling Tradition. The work is a hot-pink painted log balanced precariously on the ground. Green and yellow and blue thread encases a hook in the wood, connecting it to the wall, where the thread wraps around pins in an interwoven design. Looking at it, I’m overtaken by a sense of déjà vu.
I'm glad that eating organic is easier than it used to be. Conventional supermarkets offer some organic produce. Natural food markets abound. It might be time to join a community farm program such as Beneficial Farms CSA, which has been active in Santa Fe since 1994 and is now enrolling members in Albuquerque.
Where salsa is music, Habaneros are people and pork is king
By Ari LeVaux
It came as a surprise to me that Cuban food isn’t spicy, especially since residents of the Cuban capital La Habana bear the name of the famously hot habanero chile pepper. I carried my ignorance all the way to Cuba, where I once lead a group of students to study Cuban agriculture. My expectation for spicy food, coupled with a poor grasp of Spanish, raised eyebrows at a farm when I asked about their pepinos picantes. One of my students explained to me that pepino means cucumber (but c'mon, doesn't pepino kind of sound like "little pepper?").
My men’s health care journey began with a heartwarming moment of inappropriate groping. During nursing school, a heavily medicated gentleman reached out from his hospital bed and cupped my butt cheek with his trembling hand, muttering “That’s nice” before passing out. He had no recollection of the event after he woke up and was just as courteous as can be for the remainder of his hospitalization.
Economist says job losses have been hard on the state’s Hispanics
By Patrick Lohmann
In the summer of 2006, New Mexico economist Gerry Bradley and his colleagues were baffled by housing construction data. “Too many houses were being built. We’d never seen anything like it," he says. “It looked like something that wasn’t going to continue.”
Ah, Grandaddy Paseo del Bosque, that 16-mile behemoth that stretches all the way from Alameda in the north to Rio Bravo in the south. The best, most perfectly car-free artery in the entire city. The trail so epic that we're only going to talk about half of it this week.
It's no easy trick to write about the World Cup soccer tournament while it's happening. When you're not watching one of the 64 games, you're busy bantering about missed calls and poor coaching decisions, or you're emotionally spent from two hours of shouting at tiny men bopping a ball around your television screen.
Dateline: Indonesia—A dozen children were killed while taking part in an—obviously unsuccessful—ceremony to dispel bad luck in their remote village of Aceh last month. “There were about 37 kids gathered together on a wire-cable suspension bridge when it collapsed and fell into a river,” district chief Ibnu Hasyim told reporters for Agence France-Presse. The children were taking part in a traditional ritual ceremony to ward off misfortune after a measles outbreak in the area. The adults were throwing live chickens as offerings into the river when the bridge collapsed. Twenty five children were rescued with minor injuries, but 12 others were swept away by the river’s swift current.
The feature documentary The Matter of Everything: A Quantum Dose of Reality is playing this Saturday, July 10, at the CCA Cinematheque in Santa Fe (1050 Old Pecos Trail). The film explores “quantum reality and the interconnectedness of nature from the quantum to the universe.” I’m sure that makes sense to some of you. In any case, the film’s director, Enrico Lappano, will be there to (get this) “accompany the soundtrack live on the cello.” The screening (which begins at 2:30 p.m., by the way) will be followed by a Q&A session with filmmakers and physicist Scott Menary of CERN-Fermilab (who might be able to make heads or tails out of all this spiritually mathematical talk). To further bend your brain, log on to film’s website.
With everybody in Hollywood—from DreamWorks (Shrek) to Sony (Open Season) to Paramount (Barnyard) to 20th Century Fox (Ice Age) to Warner Bros. (Happy Feet)—trying to catch up with Pixar (Toy Story 3) in the CGI-animated sweepstakes, it barely registers when somebody new steps into the fray. The new player this week: Universal Pictures, whiping out its first CGI toon, Despicable Me.
Yawn. Another reality show on MTV featuring some barely remembered D-list celebrity mugging for cameras, performing patently scripted simulations of real life and trying desperately to make us forget his or her last embarrassing appearance on the pages of TMZ.com? Wake me when they start showing music videos again. ... But wait. There’s something subtly different about MTV’s newest “celebreality” show. Perhaps it’s the lighting. Perhaps it’s the camera technique. Perhaps it’s the fact that the star is a monkey in a helmet.
The celestial twang of The Grave of Nobody’s Darling
By Captain America
Jessica Billey and Bud Melvin must be the most creative couple to hit the local music scene in some time. Hailing from Chicago, each counts more than a half-dozen musical projects between them. There’s the audacious and experimental Lionhead Bunny, in which they play empty whiskey bottles, the mysterious vocaltron (which seems to be of the band’s creation) and 19 effects pedals. In the Blue Rose Ramblers, the pair champions vintage fiddle songs of the sort on which Bob Wills based his Western swing. As part of the massive Cobra//group ensemble, they push the limits of what you or I think of as music. Solo, Melvin pioneered chiptune banjo rustling (reprogramming Game Boy blips and bleeps into five-string music) and Billey has played violin for The Mekons and Smog.
Vertigo Venus is an unapologetic promo machine. Overkill Internet campaigns swathe social networking sites until you feel you’ve been waterboarded into submission. Excessive, yes, but the outcome is massive support from a rabid fan base that loves the band’s punky synthpop goodness.
The fifth annual New Mexico Jazz Festival has a gaggle of big names that will make jazz fans’ ears prick up in expectation—Toshiko Akiyoshi, Jimmy Cobb, Miguel Zenón, Los Pleneros de la 21, Bobby Shew and Doug Lawrence, just to name a few. That short list alone includes two NEA Jazz Masters, two National Heritage Fellows, Grammy winners and nominees, and a MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, among other honorees.
The artist behind this fanciful flyer seems to reference ’70s illustration and a certain children’s show that was filled with an ensemble cast of Muppets and really strange animated shorts. Blocky text contrasts with pale yellow watercolor, and the viewer learns that Gay Beast, XRY, The Gatherers and Discotays will play at Wunderkind (1016 Coal SW) at 8 p.m. on Sunday, July 11, amidst a shower of multicolored circles. See the glam / psychedelic / new wave magic, and possibly a few unnamed acts, for only $5. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
A Hawk & A Hacksaw is about to embark on a grand tour of Europe, beginning in Austria and making more than a score of stops in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Italy, the United Kingdom and Germany (see ahawkandahacksaw.blogspot.com to learn more about the band’s travels). But before the noted folk act departs fair Albuquerque, Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes will play an all-ages show at The Kosmos (1715 Fifth Street NW) on Friday, July 9, at 8 p.m. Below, find out what wonderful foreign things show up in Trost and Barnes’ shuffled songs—commented upon collectively.
Here are two really awesome reasons to spend the weekend in Santa Fe. First, the Santa Fe Writers Workshop takes over the College of Santa Fe campus (1600 St. Michael’s Drive) for a few days. The workshop, which costs $490, gives budding writers of the fiction, poetry and nonfiction genres a chance to hone their skills with some of New Mexico’s best. Mark Behr, Michael McGarrity and Bill deBuys are just a few of the big names who want to help you get writing from Thursday, July 8, to Sunday, July 11. Find out how to register at csf.edu/summer_workshops/writers. Once the sessions are over, you can hit up the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, the biggest market of its kind anywhere. Vendors from around the world gather at on Museum Hill’s Milner Plaza (on Camino Lejo) to offer up one-of-a-kind artistic wares. If you’re worried someone else will get the really good stuff, there’s an early bird market Saturday, July 10, from 7:30 to 9 a.m. that’ll cost you $50. Otherwise, head up from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 10, for only $10 if you buy tickets in advance or $15 for those who wait and get ’em at the door; or Sunday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for only $5. Get tickets at folkartmarket.org.
A cast party for a solo show is basically somebody wearing a little too much eyeliner drinking alone. There’s no one with whom to reminisce about the nice save when one actor forgot his lines or joke about the lead actress’ penchant for hiding props.
Our mission: To embark on an art binge throughout Albuquerque on First Friday with nothing but open minds, a 1997 Honda Civic, a pack of cigarettes and a few bottles of water. We found scenesters, an old friend (Hi, Kenneth!), lots of cheese and some unexpectedly awesome artwork. Minds were blown, wine was drunk, and we returned home exhausted and fulfilled. This is the journey:
The community-based nutrition program started out 38 years ago with daily meals for seniors. But not many people realize that Albuquerque Meals on Wheels isn’t only for seniors. Anyone who needs the services of AMOW can apply to the program. It presently serves clients from 27 to 104 years of age.
While many Asian cuisines create exotic flavors with strange ingredients, Korean food manages unfamiliar experiences from relatively pedestrian parts. Japanese dine on poisonous puffer fish, Mongolians enjoy their horse meat and the Thai are known to love crispy insects—but surprisingly, these weird-sounding morsels can taste pretty normal. The deep-fried grasshoppers I tried on the streets of Bangkok had the flavor and texture of chicharrónes. Cobra tastes like chicken. A plate of stir-fried donkey in central China could have been beef. Korean dishes, meanwhile, can look normal enough on paper, but they take taste buds to interesting new places.