Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and Festivus are right around the corner. That means lots of vacation time, plenty of visits to the mall and a timely opportunity to absorb some of 2010’s biggest films. What will we be watching this holiday season? Let’s count ’em down.
The holiday filmgoing season is packed with family-centric fare. To help balance out all the mainstream film fare in which you are about to partake, we present this guide to femme-tastic, full-volume cinema. Lest you think punk rock is a young man’s game, look no further than these movies to see the true anger, ideas and drive of young women who want to break the establishment and raise a ruckus.
For a country defined by freedom of speech, America can be alarmingly intolerant when people express themselves. Amiri Baraka knows this firsthand. Over half a century, the award-winning poet, playwright, music critic, political activist and Black Arts Movement founder has stirred controversy and incited criticism for his work. In 2002, for instance, Baraka was named poet laureate of New Jersey and published the poem "Somebody Blew Up America." The poem deals with 9/11, racism and classism. The first stanza, with preface, reads:
Voodoo Scooters is truly a full service shop: sales, repairs, maintenance, art gallery and an occasional all-ages rock venue. Scoots are rolled away to make room for amps, drums and music lovers. Sound spills outside, encouraging passersby who just ate at the nearby Frontier Restaurant to linger on the sidewalk. Monday’s show will either lure them in or chase ’em away. It doesn’t much matter, as the tiny place is sure to be packed.
Nate Daly is the drummer for The Scrams, Albuquerque’s foremost proprietor of warehouse-rocking trash-n-roll (and creator of a brand-new album—look for a review coming to this old rag soon). Daly is also a copy editor and writer for nationally distributed music magazine Under the Radar. Below lie five random tracks from his music library.
I had the opportunity—or misfortune, depending on how you look at it—to visit the jewel of the Texas Panhandle: Amarillo. I was meeting a friend from Oklahoma so we could take in some North Texas culture.
STREET ARTS: A Celebration of Hip Hop Culture & Free Expression began in October with graffiti and its nerdy cousin, street art. The streets of Downtown Albuquerque—a city with a long and often acrimonious relationship with graffiti—saw artists putting up posters and murals, beautifying the scenery. 516 ARTS Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge and Program Coordinator Francesca Searer say that so far, the exhibit has opened the conversation they had hoped for.
There’s been something missing from City Council meetings since the last election: the wagging tail of former Councilor Sally Mayer’s “pet project.” Homeless dogs and cats are no longer led into the Council chambers by Animal Welfare Department employees. Mayer's featured shelter animals were available for adoption at a reduced fee to those attending the meeting or watching on GOV TV. The creatures always brought a more congenial air to the chambers, put everyone in a better mood for a minute or two, and were truly bipartisan. The item is still listed on the agenda, so maybe there’s a chance that some of the city’s furry friends will return to Council meetings.
Some diseases, like people, just have a special “it” factor that captures the imagination of the public. For instance, Ebola erupted on the scene with unprecedented dramatic flair. The virus achieved fame by learning to demolish the inner layer of human blood vessels. This little trick causes hemorrhagic death grisly enough to put all those horror-movie faux grotesqueries to shame. Or consider the case of last year’s media darling, the dreaded H1N1 “swine” flu. Like a sadistic serial killer with major mommy issues, this disease made a name for itself by killing off children and pregnant women faster than you could say “front page news.”
Dateline: Pennsylvania—The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that a 21-year-old Uniontown man called police to report that the weed he had must purchased tasted “nasty.” Police were summoned to the man’s apartment at around 9:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20. The man told them that he had just bought a small amount of what he thought was marijuana. It did not, however, taste good, so he called police to come check it for him. They did. Using a field test kit, officers discovering that the green, leafy substance sitting on the man’s coffee table was not, in fact, marijuana. The man was not immediately arrested and police declined to release his name. Although he did not break a law by purchasing actual drugs, he could still be charged with possessing a counterfeit controlled substance.
The Fans of Film Festival for Social and Environmental Change starts this Sunday, Nov. 7. From 1 to 6 p.m., the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) will become ground zero for a collection of films aimed and changing the way you think about life on this planet. (Or so the organizers hope.) Features include the carbon footprint comedy Local Warming, the free speech documentary Speakers’ Corner: You Have the Right to Remain Vocal and the immigration drama Anchor Baby. In addition to the features, a number of shorts will also be screened. A suggested donation of $7 gets you in the door. For a complete rundown of events, log on to fansoffilmfest.com.
Cross-country bromance jackknifes thanks to irritating characters
By Devin D. O’Leary
In what amounts to a minor reshuffling of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Robert Downey Jr. plays a hypersonically, megalithically uptight architect trying to get home to Los Angeles for the birth of his first child. Zach Galifianakis, meanwhile, plays a extracellularly, superabundantly annoying would-be actor. Wouldn’t it be wacky if these two—you guessed it!—had to road-trip across America?
“Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” hits the road
By Devin D. O’Leary
Tim and Eric (Heidecker and Wareheim, respectively) are the stars of “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!” The surreal sketch comedy show is a staple of the late-night Adult Swim programming block on Cartoon Network. In an attempt to break out of the studio, Tim and Eric are touring around the country with their Tim & Eric Awesome Tour, Great Job! Chrimbus Spectacular 2010, which will alight in Albuquerque on Monday.
Slow Food’s global meeting of the minds ... and bellies
By Ari LeVaux
Special series: The Alibi’s resident food columnist Ari LeVaux reports from Italy for a few issues. First up, he covers the biennial Slow Food convention held Oct. 21 through 25 in Turin. Buon appetito!
Electronic music has come a long way since Thaddeus Cahill began work on an electromechanical instrument, the Telharmonium, in 1898. Ferruccio Busoni in 1907 predicted electrical impulses as the basis for modern music. Luigi Russolo gave noise concerts as early as 1914. One can only imagine the grave-spinning disappointment of these visionaries when the synthesized bleats of disco or the now naïve sounds of such LPs as 1968’s Switched On Bach came about.
Rhetoric in this country has reached a fever pitch. Folks are angry, and they’re scared because money’s tight. That means candidates and campaign topics are as ugly as they’ve ever been. Maybe you started muting the commercials, or maybe you’re house-training your puppy atop the mailers. Who needs the extra stress, right?
Halloween on a Sunday is perfect. You can go to as many parties as you want on Friday and Saturday night and still have time to nurse your hangover on Sunday afternoon before the trick-or-treaters start ringing your doorbell. The timing also affords you the luxury of wallowing on the couch all day watching classic horror movies and other seasonal treats. So what if you eat up all those fun-size Snickers before the kids in costumes show up? Just turn off the porch light and keep watching TV.
We all know how fictional vampires attack their helpless prey, thanks to the deluge of vampires as depicted by such writers as Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice, Stephen King and countless others. From “True Blood” to Twilight, vampires have never been hotter—nor more popular. Modern ideas of what vampires are, what they do and how they look can be traced back to Irish writer Bram Stoker, author of Dracula (1897).
Dateline: India—A group of sacrificial goats turned the tables on the last day of the 10-day, nine-night Navratri festival, triggering a stampede that killed 10 people inside a packed temple. “More than 45,000 devotees had thronged the temple at Tildiha village under Sambhuganj Police Station area for offering prayers and sacrificing goats when the stampede occurred,” the director general of police told the Bangalore Mirror. “As the worshippers lined up before the butcher, a scuffle broke out and some people were trampled,” Banka district spokesperson Gupdeshwar Kumar admitted. “People were vying with each other to get their goats sacrificed first, and they had a verbal duel with the butcher.” Four women and six men died in the ensuing stampede. Another 11 were injured, three of them critically. Despite the deaths, the district spokesperson said that over 40,000 goats were sacrificed at the temple that day in honor of the Goddess Durga.
The Tierney Sutton Band finds the mystic in the Great American Songbook
By Mel Minter
Gender has nothing to do with cojones. Anybody can have them. Two-time Grammy-nominated vocalist Tierney Sutton has ’em. That’s how she explains her performance of “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” the opening track of her latest, excellent recording, Desire.
On Friday local bluegrass favorite The Saltine Ramblers will express its love for drug-addled hippies and extended guitar solos in a Halloween tribute set as the Grateful Dead. Also appearing is Zoë Fitzgerald, the time-travelling transvestite—glam rock alter ego of Santa Fe musician Joe West. Los Angeles old-time band Triple Chicken Foot opens (as itself, we assume). The 21-and-over show starts at 9 p.m. and unfolds at the Moonlight Lounge (120 Central SW). Artwork by Christoph Knerr. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Random tracks from Diego E. Montoya, fearless Alibi intern
Diego E. Montoya is a UNM student and Alibi editorial intern. He has a strong affinity for New Mexican music, which he exhibits on some days with sharp boots and a cowboy hat. However, he’s also a fan of the punk rock and has put an interesting spin on this week’s column—all random selections from a Warped Tour playlist. Below you’ll find no accordions, no polka beats and no mustaches.
Finally, children’s theater that doesn’t induce a diabetic coma
By Christie Chisholm
Children’s theater gets a bad rap. It’s generally dismissed as saccharine and slightly awkward pap that serves little purpose beyond giving parents an opportunity to fawn over their terrified kids. In some instances, that is exactly the case.
It’s hard to know where to begin—David Tanis, world-class chef; David Tanis, author; David Tanis, will ’o the wisp. In fact, you can meet all three—taste his menu, read his book and watch him wander into the sunset when he continues his nationwide book tour to promote his new Heart of theArtichoke and other Kitchen Journeys (Artisan).
Rarely does a restaurant’s name describe its most salient qualities as succinctly as Thai Vegan. Ironically, while the name may turn away some rabid omnivores, many of those may not have even noticed the lack of animal product if they hadn’t been tipped off. More of them still would probably be surprised by how much they like it.
There isn’t a true category of fall beers, as there is for winter warmers. But fall is the season when two popular styles, Märzen (commonly known as Octoberfest in the U.S.) and pumpkin are released. New Mexico gets imported versions of most of the beers served at Germany’s legendary Oktoberfest. Locally, Santa Fe Brewing has an Octoberfest available in cans, and Turtle Mountain has an excellent version available at their pub. Pumpkin beer choices are limited in the Albuquerque area as far as bottled offerings. I recommend the pumpkin releases from Marble, Hallenbrick and Chama River, which should be available in the next week. Chama will also debut a new version of theirs, dubbed “Punkin Drublic.”
A longtime journalist discusses Obama and the 2010 elections
By Marisa Demarco
Gwen Ifill is not paying attention to the Senate race in Delaware, though tea party favorite Christine O'Donnell hits national headlines most days. And Ifill is not so interested in New York's gubernatorial race, where GOP candidate Carl Paladino's gaffes are the talk of the town. "Even though they make interesting cable news conversation, neither of the out-there candidates in those races seems to have a chance of winning," she says. "I'm more interested in what the outcomes are going to be."
A few dozen people spoke out at the Monday, Oct. 18 Council meeting on two main issues: feeding the hungry and nukes. The Council did not reply to the citizens concerned about efforts to feed some of Albuquerque’s homeless population. But councilors commented that the city will not speak against the weapons industry, which supplies lots of jobs.
Bruce Trigg is retiring from the state's Department of Health this year. The soft-spoken, scholarly and intensely committed public health physician has one last policy campaign he’s waging. It's a sort of farewell gift to us. He wants to wake New Mexico up to the silent plague that for at least 20 years has been mowing down hundreds of our young people. It kills them in the prime of their lives—and incredibly, draws scarcely any attention.
Dateline: Pennsylvania—A teenager who had just passed his driving test celebrated by crashing a car into a state driver’s license center. Bridgeville police Sgt. Brian Halbleib told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the accident happened when the unnamed teen pulled into the parking lot of the center to drop off the man who had administered the test. At least three people were injured, but officials said the injuries were not serious. The teen told officers he thought the car was in park, but it was not.
I prefer the term “Halloween Month,” because one day just isn’t enough to cover all the cool things you can and should be doing this time of year. So why not get started this weekend with the Halloween Spookshow and Monster Rally? Burning Paradise Video is sponsoring this event as a fundraiser for the upcoming 2010 TromaDance New Mexico Film Festival. For two nights only, Oct. 22 and 23, Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will screen Skeleton Farm’s Halloween Horrorshow. This virtual spook-house ride comes to us from the mad slice-and-splicers at Skeleton Farm, Albuquerque’s premiere found footage alchemists. This feature-length film is a madcap tour through hundreds of classic (and not-so-classic) horror film clips. Brain-melting shock, terror and outright confusion are sure to ensue. The film is only playing Friday and Saturday at 11 p.m., so get your seats early. And to make this an even cooler event, Burning Paradise is sponsoring a full-on monster rally on Friday night. What’s a monster rally? Well, it’s just like a zombie crawl, except it doesn’t discriminate against other forms of monstrosity. Throw on your best creature outfit and meet up on the southeast corner of UNM’s Johnson Field starting at 10 p.m.
Clint Eastwood’s new film isn’t dead, just resting
By Devin D. O’Leary
Who would have thought that, after decades (and decades) as Hollywood’s premier tough guy, Clint Eastwood would become such a stodgy formalist as a filmmaker? Not to insult his oeuvre or anything. Invictus, Changeling, Letters from Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Bridges of Madison County: They’re all classy pieces of old-school Hollywood cinema. Eastwood learned his lessons working for some of the finest directors in the business, and he knows how to construct a film with the best of them. But he seems more inclined toward stoic “Masterpiece Theatre”-inspired melodramas than anything with a discernible pulse.
With sitcoms such as the unsung “My Name Is Earl” and the recently added “Raising Hope” under his belt, it’s time to name writer/producer/creator Greg Garcia the Patron Saint of White Trash. That’s not an insult, mind you. Nobody’s done as much to champion America’s questionably tasteful lower middle class since Roseanne Barr.
Squash Blossom Boys’ debut album is sneaking up on you
By Summer Olsson
A pioneering band in Albuquerque’s Americana scene, the Squash Blossom Boys brings expert musicianship and rollicking energy to standard and original tunes. The squashies have played in various locales—bars, growers’ markets, on tour earlier this year opening for the Meat Puppets, maybe even at your backyard barbecue—and the band’s popularity is on a steady upward climb. But even fans may not know the winding path these bluegrass men have traveled.
Producer John Sandlin gives us the lowdown on the low-down sounds of his Django Festival
By Mel Minter
The New Mexico Django Festival returns to Albuquerque in its fourth, nearly annual edition after a layoff in 2009 in deference to the imploded economy. Producer John Sandlin, perhaps best known hereabouts as the rakishly handsome, devilishly talented guitarist for Le Chat Lunatique, has once again put together a stellar lineup, including up-and-coming international acts as well as local favorites like Zoltan Orkestar, The Hot Club of Santa Fe and Django Rhythm Meat Grinder. For four days, they’ll all pay homage to the Belgian whiz-kid guitarist Django Reinhardt, who put a unique gypsy spin on swing.
Steve Eiland—of Beefcake in Chains notoriety—and his betrothed observe their upcoming nuptials at Cap’n Creepy’s Halloween Weddin’ Party. Music is to be provided by Icky and the Yuks, The Gracchi, Dead On Point Five and None of the Above. Beefcake in Chains will also stage a mini-reunion. The free, 21-and-over show/party happens at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) beginning at 9 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Le Chat Lunatique vocalist and violinist Muni Kulasing has never heard most of these songs
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Muni Kulasinghe is the talented vocalist and violinist for Le Chat Lunatique. He’s also a friendly, multilingual gentleman who’s always armed with a smile, a wink and maybe a dirty joke. This weekend his gypsy jazz band plays local host to the New Mexico Django Festival. In honor of the event, Kulasinghe was asked to provide shuffled tracks from his music library. “I don’t have an MP3 player, nor an iPod; only my computer, which means the music I happened upon is not necessarily music I have listened to much, if ever,” he explains. “As it turned out, I was wholly unprepared for what spouted forth.”
Aux Dog is a good little theater. It has heart, and the productions that come out of it are generally well-conceived and entertaining. Many of its efforts are made by people who are new to the industry, but even though their greenness is noticeable, there’s a zest or charisma that rises above, making its shows nice, solid fun. Coming Attractions is, sadly, not one of those shows.
Ladies and gents, it’s time for the 22nd annual Equestrian Cup Wine & Food Tasting. Hosted by Albuquerque’s Active 20–30 Club and Wells Fargo bank, this gala event will benefit the Children’s Safe House (run by All Faiths Receiving Home) and other children’s charities. In keeping with the spirit of the national Active 20–30 Club, the Albuquerque chapter is dedicated to community service, particularly to provide financial and in-kind assistance to kids. Jason Deshayes, four-year member and president of the Albuquerque club for the past two years, tells me that this event is the highlight of the club’s activities and that it engages a broad cross-section of Duke City businesses.
Albuquerque doesn’t have any professional sports teams. And while the Duke City Derby, los Lobos and the mighty Isotopes give us a strong tradition of amateur action, what few pro athletes we have tend to be cage fighters. Maybe we should call it “Put Up Your Dukes City.” But since there aren’t major pro Mixed Martial Arts competitions held here, our only public forum is to gather at sports bars and cheer the hometown fighters. This week’s column is the second installment of an occasional series on the best Albuquerque sports bars in which to watch televised hand-to-hand combat. The first installment in the series, in April, covered the Fox and Hound. The third installment, probably sometime next year, is a secret because I’m still actively researching and don’t want to tip anyone off. But if you want to suggest a sports bar in which to watch MMA, please do. Just remember it has to serve good food.