A Life in the Theatre makes stage acting seem like writing: You throw your soul into the black and uncaring void until you go crazy. At least actors can see the audience, out there in the dark. A writer has to assume people are picking up the paper. Maybe I’m just being dramatic.
Driving home while thinking about the cultural profoundity of events like Weekly Alibi’s upcoming Best of Burque Music Showcase—which is happening on Saturday evening, March 24, downtown, in case you did not know that fact—led me to the shores of ghetto Smith’s where I repaired to the produce section for some fresh fruit to calm my florid mind.
Because you never know when your bad chemicals may go on parade
By John Bear
The University of New Mexico Psychiatric Center (2600 Marble NE, 272-2800) offers a “full spectrum” of mental health and psychiatric care for citizens of New Mexico. According to hospitals.unm.edu, the center was established in 1967 and is the largest community mental health provider in the state with telehealth and telemedicine links throughout our communities, schools, corrections facilities and more. In 2008, the center admitted nearly 1,500 patients, while outpatient clinics experienced more than 190,000 visits, so they probably know their business.
Finding the next Nemo, Felix, Desdemona or Mr. Sprinkles
By John Bear
Sometimes you move from one city to another and show up a cat short. Cats are angry beasts and will run off when they sense something is personally unacceptable. Sometimes a significant other leaves and takes them. In either case, it’s important to move forward and quickly replace those missing kitties and pooches. Most importantly, you should adopt shelter pets. There are plenty of good animals waiting for homes. There’s no need to buy a $2,000 Mongolian vole hound when a perfectly fine mongrel can be had for less than $100. Hell, my cat Scoop Satanica ran me 10 bucks at a lucky sale at the Humane Society. She has, of course, since racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage and lost man hours.
When you need somebody, not just anybody, to extinguish the flames engulfing your car
By John Bear
Sometimes the police are necessary. I remember back in college I had some neighbors who threw a screaming kegger / vomit party every night of the week. They asked me to simply come over and tell them if they were being too loud. One time they savagely killed a goat. I found the police to be a better option. They will come over any time day or night, with guns, and tell the neighbors to be quiet. It’s a pretty good deal, needless to say. That so many police substations are memorials to fallen officers is worth noting and appreciating.
Should you become lost, just remember: The mountains are to the east.
By John Bear
For the truly new-to-Albuquerque, some explanation of how this town is laid out is necessary. While I was doing my research, I found there’s not a whole lot of information out there on the Trumbull and La Mesa neighborhoods, an area that’s been rebranded the “International District” in recent years. Locals once referred to it as the “Warzone.” I used to deliver pizzas in the neighborhood and never had a problem, so I’m sentimental about it and understand why residents of these neighborhoods resent the label. Of course, only the truly sub-moronic criminal element would mess with the pizza man, and here’s why: Pizza joints comp the local police with free pies. Anyone who screws with the pizza guy also screws with the boys in blue.
Personally, I refuse to gamble unless there are short people and horses involved. A jockey friend once told me that it’s a sucker game. Well, with God as my witness, I am that sucker. There is no better day than one spent at a horse track—the fresh air, the beautiful animals, the chain-smoking old men inside playing the simulcast races. Ah, sweet: looking through the program to find the oddly named creature to wager my two dollars on and then yelling as he or she runs the mud track, the trumpet music, the ridiculous jockey uniforms, the old Mexican men and their long-toed boots.
Three nature-filled trips that are close to home and far from ordinary
By John Bear
Get out and see some wildlife before it’s all gone. New Mexico is home to seven federal refuges, two of which are fairly close to Albuquerque. Visit fws.gov/southwest/refuges/nmrefuges.htmlfor a full list of federal preserves in New Mexico.
Sometimes a person needs a couple of bucks to get through.
There are always banks, loan sharks and parents. Title loan businesses advertise being able to help a person make it to payday or borrow money to go on vacation. Of course, they don’t mention that interest is so high, the borrower may end up rolling bidi cigarettes in a shop in Karachi.
That leaves you with the old standard: the pawn shop. (Some of the title loan joints are trying to pass themselves off as pawn shops, by the way.) I recently traded a set of wedding rings for bagpipes, wedding rings not being an item that is transferable to the next fiancée. It turns out diamonds aren’t forever. But bagpipes are.
Two first-edition paperbacks of Breakfast of Champions can’t be wrong
By John Bear
Ah, the recycled life—thrift stores, resale shops and vintage clothing boutiques. Where else can one procure a bowling shirt, a used copy of Lolita and a Herb Alpert record in one stop? Spend a buck or two at these joints and defeat the big-box bullies.
Half a block from the children’s hospital in Minneapolis is a comfortable old Victorian house that’s been converted into a health clinic dedicated to teenagers. Patients don’t have to grapple with the monolithic main hospital or sit in waiting rooms stuffed with crying babies and coughing seniors. Instead of dealing with terse or stodgy providers, they are seen by staff members who are experts in adolescent health care and who, most importantly, actually enjoy teenagers.
The chupacabra hasn’t reared its ugly head in Albuquerque lately. In fact, it’s been almost exactly three years since the last local sighting on the Westside. But many believe the creatures are out there, sucking the blood from goats (chupacabra means “goatsucker” in Spanish) and other livestock. Descriptions of the chupacabra vary widely, but the typical version is a creature 4 to 5 feet tall. It has short, powerful legs, long claws, and terrifying black or glowing red eyes. Some claim it has spikes down its back; others report seeing stubby, bat-like wings.
Dateline: Japan—A 30-year-old factory worker has pleaded guilty to burning down his family’s home after his mother threw out some of his action figures. Yoshifumi Takabe testified in Kobe District Court in western Japan that he became suicidal after losing several of his toy robots. Yoshifumi described the toys as partners with which he wanted to spend his life, ABC News Australia reports. In retaliation for his mother’s housecleaning, Yoshifumi poured kerosene inside the home and torched it, saying he wanted to die in the fire with his other “precious” robots. According to reports, the bulk of Yoshifumi’s action figure collection consisted of toys from the popular Gundam animated series. The fanboy’s 55-year-old mother told the court she frequently complained to her son that the toys were cluttering the house. She said there were enough to fill 300 boxes. The fire, which was set on Aug. 9 of last year, completely destroyed the family’s two-story wooden house. No one was injured. Presumably, all of Yoshifumi’s Gundam figures were lost in the blaze.
Romantic comedy about long-distance relationships comes up short
By Devin D. O’Leary
It’s common knowledge that you don’t go into a restaurant 10 minutes before closing time—odds are you’re gonna get served warmed-up leftovers, end-pieces and floor sweepings by people who just wanna go home already. The same is true, more or less, of the film industry. By September, the general population is back at school/work, the vacation funds have dried up and box office receipts have plunged precipitously. As a result, you aren’t gonna see a bunch of $100 million blockbusters hitting the local cineplex this time of year. The action movies, horror flicks and romantic comedies you’re getting from now until Thanksgiving are all gonna be strictly C-grade material.
Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block has become so crowded with live-action series (“Children’s Hospital,” “Look Around You,” “The Mighty Boosh,” “Delocated”) that it’s getting to be a treat to see an actual cartoon. Thankfully, CN is adding a couple of major new animated shows this month with the cartoon spin-off of MAD Magazine (called, simply, “MAD”) and the ironically titled “Regular Show.”
Hear that sound off in the distance? No, it’s not paranormal phenomena sometimes experienced by Northern New Mexicans who attended too many loud acid rock concerts back in the summer of love. It’s the second annual Taos Mountain Music Festival. On Sunday, Sept. 5, the Taos Ski Valley will host performances by Gov’t Mule, Yonder Mountain String Band, Shemekia Copeland, Radio La Chusma, Mia Borders and Mariachi Calor. In addition to live music, there’s a “Strawberry Fair” where food, drink, arts and crafts will be available for purchase, as well as a puppet-filled, bouncy castle-furnished, activity-laden “Kidzone” for little ones unimpressed by guitar solos. Tickets to the all-day fest are $42 in advance, $48 at the door—children under 10 get in for free. To purchase tickets, call (505) 886-1251 or go to taosmountainmusicfestival.com.
Referencing the innovative producer-turned-puffy-wigged-murderer, The Kill Spectors are a psych-punk duo split between Austin and Northern New Mexico. The geographic conundrum has made for a slow-paced start. Few have heard, much less witnessed, the band’s '60s girl group and early punk-inspired rocking. But while the story of The Kill Spectors begins at the end of 2009, the bigger story starts years ago.
SITE Santa Fe tries to extend its branches a little too far
By Patricia Sauthoff
I remember the exact moment I fell in love with moving image arts. It was September of 2002, somewhere on the upper spiral of New York City’s Guggenheim Museum. I entered a little room and there, projected on the wall, was Shirin Neshat’s “Passage,” an approximately 12-minute film depicting the funeral processions of Iranian men and women. I happened to walk into the screening room just at the beginning of the film and sat through it twice, unable to articulate what I had just seen and felt. Afterward, I wandered through the rest of the exhibition Moving Pictures in something of a daze.
An all-you-can-sit-through buffet is on the menu for theater lovers this week with three plays opening around town. Let’s go through this in alphabetical order so it’s easier to remember. First, Crimes of the Heart, the Pulitzer Prize-winning story of three down-on-their-luck sisters who reunite as adults, plays at The Vortex (2004 1/2 Central SE). Crimes opens Friday, Sept. 3, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (6 p.m.) shows cost $15—except for Sunday, Sept. 5, which is pay-what-you-wish. Get ’em at vortexabq.org. Next, the search for an elusive whale takes the stage with Mother Road Theatre Company’s Moby Dick at The Filling Station (1024 Fourth Street SW). Thursday and Friday shows start at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Moby Dick runs from Friday, Sept. 3, to Sunday, Sept. 26. Tickets are $16 and are over at motherroad.org. Finally, an imaginary conversation between Picasso and Einstein is the setting for Auxiliary Dog’s Picasso at the Lapin Agile. This one also runs from Sept. 3 to Sept. 26, with 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows and 2 p.m. Sunday performances. Picasso will set you back $14 and you’ll have to call 254-7716 for tickets.
My favorite Vietnamese restaurants are the durable type. With worn floors, and few frills beyond a TV on mute and perhaps a jungle of real and fake plants, those tired-looking dives are often full of Vietnamese customers, and for good reason. They serve the real stuff, unfiltered and unedited for an American audience.
After Hurricane Katrina, Grand Isle, La., an island with a population of about 1,500 people, was in ruins. But fishermen there say the BP oil spill is much worse. “Katrina in New Orleans is nothing compared to what this is,” Harry Cheramie says. “This here is totally different. ... How do we help each other? What do we do?"
When the sun sets in Grand Isle, La., it casts a fiery glow around the marshland. It sinks slowly, igniting long, wispy clouds. Orange light stretches along Louisiana Highway 1. The large amounts of oil stuck to the rims of the area’s thousands of marshes turn green stalks of grass into yellow kindling. Despite the abundant fuel, the ocean swallows the blood-red disc and begins to reflect the cool night sky.
The 42nd annual Bubonicon science-fiction and fantasy convention will take place this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Albuquerque Grand Airport Hotel. This year’s guest of honor is writer Peter David. David is best known for his work at Marvel Comics (where he helped revive “The Incredible Hulk” in the ’80s). He also penned a few movies for Charles Band back in the Full Moon glory days. Trancers 4: Jack of Swords, Trancers 5: Sudden Deth, Oblivion and Oblivion 2: Backlash are all his work. They’re kind of crummy and kind of fun, and Oblivion does actually predate Joss Whedon’s “Firefly” as a sci-fi Western—so be sure and ask him about that. In other film-related events, the convention will screen the 2005 version of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (this being Bubonicon 42) beginning at 9 p.m. on Saturday. There will also be a late-night screening of the locally shot horror thriller Fugue State at 11 p.m. If you don’t have a day pass to Bubonicon (available online at bubonicon.com) you can get into the movie screenings for $3.Bubonicon
Today, many cable networks seem to be chafing at their self-imposed genres and trying to “expand their programming” (read: “add a bunch of cheap reality shows”) beyond what would appear to be dictated by their very name. (Syfy, for example. Or the Game Show Network.) Remember when G4, the video game channel, actually had programming dedicated to video games? Good luck finding any of that these days.
At performances by The Parson Red Heads, audiences can expect upbeat, folksy, multi-harmony rock and roll with psychedelic traces, and, most likely, special treatment. It is a major concern of the band’s to make sure you get your money’s worth and possibly participate in the show.
By day, Matt Uhlman creates dramatic replicas of flaming swords and bloody severed heads as prop master for the New Orleans Opera—one of, if not the oldest opera in the U.S. By night, when not playing guitar with his garage punk band the Royal Pendletons, Matty can be found in any number of bars making people dance to selections from his vast record collection. He co-hosts both the Alligator Chomp! Chomp!, which specializes in Louisiana music, and the Mod Dance Party, an evening of ’60s worship that this week celebrates 10 years of hot and sweaty all-nighters.
This summer, bestie bands Little Gold (country psych from New York) and Lovey Dovies (hardcore pop from New Orleans) are on tour together. See them play on Monday, Aug. 30, at Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) with local Lake Of Wire—read the pick in this week’s calendars for more. The free show begins at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
There's a U.S. Air Force Base in the middle of Seoul, South Korea. If the myths of the American expatriate community are to be believed, they've got a Taco Bell in there. After three or four months of nothing but gim,bap and gimbap, I’ve witnessed otherwise-reasonable American civilians so thirsty for Fire Sauce they start to plan insurrections and armed raids. While I was in Seoul, my craving for Enchiritos never reached such a fever pitch, but I finally understood that urge to overthrow the government this morning when I went to ride my bike out by Kirtland Air Force Base.
Dateline: Switzerland—A motorist has been slapped with the largest speeding ticket in his country’s history after being clocked going two-and-a-half times the posted speed limit. The 37-year-old man was driving a $200,000 Mercedes SLS when he was pulled over by traffic police. The driver apparently evaded a number of stationary radar detectors located along the A12 highway between Bern and Lausanne because he was going too fast. The stationary detectors are only capable of clocking speeds up to 200 km/h (125 mph). Eventually, he was snapped by a speed camera hitting 300 km/h (186 mph). “We have no record of anyone being caught traveling faster in the country,” a police spokesperson was quoted as saying in the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper. The driver was traveling so fast, in fact, that it took him more than half a mile to come to a stop when police tried to pull him over. He told officers his speedometer was faulty. Speeding fines in Switzerland are calculated by taking into consideration both the severity of the infraction and the income of the motorist. As a result, the unnamed speed demon will be forking over $1 million in fines.
Despite Sarah Palin and New Mexico’s dueling female gubernatorial candidates, not that many women run for office, according to Jennifer Lawless. Why the heck not? Lawless, a professor of government at the American University, argues in her bookIt Still Takes a Candidate: Why Women Don’t Run for Office that there are many reasons, including that women don’t feel as qualified as men—even the ones who are at the height of their professions. She also believes women are less likely than men to be encouraged to run in the first place. For example, in Congress, the House has 357 men and only 78 women, while the Senate has 82 men and 18 women. That’s a huge difference. Find out why and what can be done to even the numbers out a bit when Lawless speaks at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 26. bkwrks.com/event/lawless has more info on the event.
No need to shhh! when you’re downloading from home
By Khyber Oser
The news sent shock waves through the publishing industry: In the second fiscal quarter, amazon.com—the world’s largest online book retailer—had sold more electronic books than hardbacks for the very first time.
My first husband and I drove through New Orleans in 1974, moving from Florida to the Land of Enchantment. We searched the French Quarter for lunch and stopped at a well-lit, noisy place. What I remember most was the shrimp étoufée—a spicy, tomatoey stew dished over a generous pile of rice. It was terrific, though I had no basis for comparison, being a novice in the world of Louisiana cooking. That was long before Katrina, Rita and BP heaped their misfortunes on the Gulf. Despite the challenges of rebuilding, the city maintains a robust attitude when it comes to living well—especially when it comes to food.
Tips on ordering right from the Alibi’s restaurant critic
By Ari LeVaux
When dining out, sharing food at the table is fun. Passing dishes around or eating “family-style” are a beautiful ways to eat together. Except, it turns out, when you order better than your companions.
Estevan Rael-Gálvez, executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, on discourse and identity
By Joseph A. Baca
He was a terrible rancher. The son of a borreguero (sheep herder) in northern Taos County, Estevan Rael-Gálvez says he constantly lost his flock. Life on the farm wasn’t for him. So with his mother’s encouragement, he walked away from his family’s generations-old trade of sheep and farming in Costilla and Questa to answer his calling—academia, and ultimately a much larger world where culture, art and politics converge. July marked Rael-Gálvez' first year as the executive director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center. Lively and cerebral, Rael-Gálvez has wasted no time in the influential seat, propelling the NHCC to the forefront of Hispanic cultural and political affairs both locally and nationally. One year into his service as head of this increasingly powerful institution, the Alibi invited Dr. Estevan Rael-Gálvez to answer our resolana-style questions (but more on that later).
Joe West is Xoë Fitzgerald in a New Mexican sci-fi rock opera
By Samara Alpern
This is a story about love, so we know from the outset to expect tragedy. But, as the cross-dressing, folk-singing antihero of Xoë Fitzgerald: Time-Traveling Transvestite teaches us, that’s no reason to give up on a good cause.
Within the ’60s “monster craze” there was also a rash of supernatural and otherworldly themes on the obscuro end of rock and roll. Songs like "Night of the Phantom" by Larry & the Blue Notes, "Sky Men" by Geoff Goddard and "Morgus the Magnificent" by Morgus & The Three Ghouls are a few examples of the era's haunted, if not silly, creations. America's demented genius Screamin' Jay Hawkins and his British follower the Screaming Lord Sutch were taking horror music to a more frightening place with songs like "Whistlin' Past the Graveyard" and "'Till the Following Night," respectively. Even more examples exist within the priceless 56-song compilation The Roots of the Cramps, released by Garage Masters Records last year, and in the ’60s trash rock series Back From the Grave, released by Crypt Records beginning in the ’80s.
Albuquerque bands show appreciation for logarithmic spirals, as seen through the medium of a beautiful nautilus. Discuss amazing patterns found in nature with SuperGiant, Five Minute Sin and Suicide Lanes on Saturday, Aug. 21, at 9 p.m. The show convenes at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) and $5 pays your admission. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Gian Placido hates the British and people who have love affairs with New York City
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Gian Placido is an off and on resident of Albuquerque with a rabid disdain for the British. In his natural state you can find him relaxing poolside in a captain’s hat while enjoying top-shelf Scotch and perhaps the view of a sexy new boyfriend. On other occasions, he marauds as DJ Arts and Crafts, specializing in progressive ’70s rock. Below he shares five random, alarmingly Jeff Lynne-free tracks.
Museums are pretty nifty places. Anyone with a couple of bucks can show up and see something they would never be able to have in their house. Be it a priceless piece of art or a big dinosaur skeleton, museums kick schools’ butts when it comes to getting up-close-and-personal with far-out subjects. “All That Glitters” is a fun fundraiser for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Foundation so it can keep teaching young and old about the world around us. For $75 you can make sure the museum is in good financial shape for the future while munching on hors d'oeuvres and desserts, and voting on jewelry entered in a design competition. Get dazzling and ensure that Albuquerque continues to offer the best field trips around. The event takes place at the New Mexico Museum of Natural History (1801 Mountain NW), and you can get tickets at naturalhistoryfoundation.org.
If all Albuquerque’s a stage, and all Burqueños merely players, then the folks behind Duke City Repertory Theatre are those talented understudies waiting giddily in the wings for their big shot at the spotlight.
The next time a friend says thanks, but no thanks, to your latest offering of homegrown zucchini, think about donating it. You could join the network of organizations across the country that directs unused food toward the nation’s hungry. Food Forward, founded by Rick Nahmias and manned by hordes of volunteers, has gleaned tons of fruits from farms in Southern California to be distributed to food pantries. They post regular schedules on Facebook so volunteers can meet to pick fruit.
It’s no accident that the newly opened Salathai already has the feeling of a well-worn sarong. It’s a reincarnation of Thai Ginger—on south San Mateo and now called Thai House—which Pitak Titakkan and his brother sold in 2007. Titakkan is back in the saddle with Salathai, on Copper and Carlisle, and he's picking up where he left off.
One activist dreamed of bringing gay pride to his town. In spite of his death, the festival must go on.
By Marisa Demarco
Friends and colleagues describe Robert Quintana as a master organizer with a talent for inspiring people. "He wanted to make everything bigger, better and more fun and more delightful," says friend Janie Corinne. She worked alongside Quintana for months to bring about the city’s first ever gay pride festival.
Google's been known as a fierce advocate for net neutrality. But the web giant, along with Verizon, is suggesting a model critics say threatens Internet freedom. "What they're trying to set up is a public, slower-running Internet and a private, faster-running Internet," says Andrea Quijada, executive director of the New Mexico Media Literacy Project.
Jeez, you guys, I’m runnin’ out of trails. For this, my penultimate week on the bike path beat, I had to search the map and my soul to find one I haven’t already written about. I couldn't remember ever having been on Paseo de las Montañas, and I couldn't exactly figure out why. The map showed it intersecting Tramway just south of Candelaria, a stretch of road I've traversed too many times to count. How could it be that I'd repeatedly ridden past an inviting bike-only turnoff without ever even noticing it? The answer is that there is no inviting bike-only turnoff. I made a couple of increasingly bewildered circuits on Tramway's western shoulder before giving up and hauling my bike through the grass until I found the trail.
Dateline: Turkey—An overly enthusiastic bridegroom who decided to mark his wedding with a little celebratory gunfire ended up riddling the wedding party with bullets and killing three of his own relatives. The unnamed groom was attempting to shoot bullets into the air with an AK-47 at a ceremony in Akcagoze, in southeastern Gaziantep province. Unfortunately, the man struck his own father and two of his aunts, all of whom later died in the hospital. Eight other wedding guests, including children, were struck by the gunfire as well. The groom was arrested by local police. Turkish police have tried, in recent years, to crack down on the traditional custom of wedding gunfire by imposing harsher penalties.
The 10th annual Native Cinema Showcase kicks off this week in Santa Fe. This year, the showcase is screening four new Native-directed features, five documentaries and 25 short works. In addition to the films, there will be live music, an animation workshop and a gala award ceremony. The showcase, which runs Aug. 19 through 22, is presented by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, the Center for Contemporary Arts and the Southwestern Association for Indian Arts. Featured works include the sports documentary Jim Thorpe: The World’s Greatest Athlete, the Canadian road trip romance Kissed By Lightning and the New Zealand coming-of-age tale Boy. Screenings will take place at the CCA Cinematheque and at a special outdoor screen in Santa Fe’s Cathedral Park. For a complete schedule, log on to nativenetworks.si.edu.
Comic-turned-movie makes for a beautiful oxymoron—a romance that kicks ass
By Devin D. O’Leary
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World is super fresh, ultra hip and totally fun. And if that sounds too immature or too flippant, well then too flippin’ bad. Scott Pilgrim is an unabashed celebration of juvenile obsessions—a gloriously ill-spent summer afternoon of comic books, video games and Pop Rocks.
Televised cooking competitions are a dime a dozen. This summer alone, we’re looking at “MasterChef,” “Hell’s Kitchen,” “Chopped,” “The Next Food Network Star,” “Top Chef,” “24 Hour Restaurant Battle” and others. So it’s not like audiences are starved for the fun but familiar offerings of “The Great Food Truck Race.” But it is on Food Network. What else are they gonna serve up? Cooking shows and cooking competitions pretty much cover the full menu over there. At least this one gets us out of the kitchen.