Waxing philosophic on Frederico Vigil’s new fresco, Kanye West and impermanence
By David Leigh
It’s odd that we invest in stuff. Every thing we buy gets frozen in its moment, in our past, and achieves obsolescence as fast as it takes to get to the next version. Art does the same thing. And maybe that’s why we’ve become so comfortable with conceptual art, because it can feel timeless.
When closing the gender divide, an elected woman’s work is never done
By Marjorie Childress
The number of female legislators in New Mexico is at a record high—30 percent going into the 2010 elections. That's higher than the national average of 24 percent, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. More women are taking on professions that tend to produce elected officials. But there's still a gender gap.
Every year about this time, adventurous film-lovers head to the mountain. The legendary Telluride MountainFilm Festival is touring the U.S. and will stop at Santa Fe’s Lensic Performing Arts Center on Thursday, Jan. 20. WildEarth Guardians will sponsor this one-night only event, which gets underway at 7 p.m. A selection of short films, the best of the annual Telluride MountainFilm Festival, will be screened. Topics run the gamut of environmental and outdoor topics—from skiing in Scotland to rock climbing in Yosemite to fly-fishing on the Kamchatka Peninsula to wave-skiing in Hawaii. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco Street. Tickets are available at the Lensic box office or through ticketssantafe.org. They’ll set you back $15.
Moving doc covers economy, ecology and the transformative power of art
By Devin D. O’Leary
Documentaries are, by their very nature, passive things. Their purpose is to document. On the whole, they are little more than moving portraits of long-gone people and events. Talking heads are usually there to give their recollections/impressions of the subject at hand. And if available, archival footage cements as accurate an image as possible in viewers’ minds. On rare occasion, documentaries may serve as calls-to-arms (Waiting for “Superman” or An Inconvenient Truth); but even then, the films aren’t so much active participants as persuasive pictorial essays. The only action comes from the viewers who are inspired to do something after the fact.
Trendy, franchised joke newspaper The Onion hit the big time with the book Our Dumb Century, a best-selling compilation of fake headlines and made-up news articles published in 1999. That was followed by the 2008 direct-to-video comedy feature The Onion Movie, which did nobody any good. Things are on the upswing again, though, with the debut of “Onion SportsDome” on Comedy Central and the soon-to-debut “Onion News Network” on IFC.
In recent years, Albuquerque has been home to at least four Vietnamese restaurants with “Saigon” in its name. Those familiar with Vietnamese cuisine won’t be surprised, as its pool of restaurant names, by some unwritten decree, remains curiously small. So many contain the word “Pho” you’d think it was a synonym for Vietnamese food, rather than a bowl of soup.
Now that Gov. Susana Martinez has offered her first State of the State address and laid down a number of markers on her policy approach, a question remains: What do we have on our hands here to judge the moral compass of Susana Martinez?
Dateline: Canada—Police in Ontario have announced who they call their dumbest crook of 2010. According to the Chatham-Kent Police Service in southwestern Ontario, there was a home burglary late last year and police appealed for the public’s help in identifying the thief. After local media published details of the crime, Constable Michael Pearce says he reported to work and found a voicemail from a man who was upset the report wasn’t detailed enough. The unidentified man went on to say that he had stolen way more stuff than was listed and hadn’t done it alone, either. He then listed the names of two friends who helped out. “He provided a recorded confession, hurting all their chances at trial,” Pearce told the QMI news agency.
Of God and Science’s second album abounds with wandering pop
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
Since the beginning of time, or somewhere around then, the rabbit has been symbolically heterogeneous. Luck, innocence, fertility and trickery are all traits that surround the animal in folklore. This contrast is why Albuquerque’s Of God And Science chose the rabbit (indeed, the more mysterious black rabbit) as a mascot for a new album of mercurial compositions.
In the fall of 2009 I found myself in New Orleans again. I was celebrating a birthday and seeing shows I’d helped book for a New Mexico band. During that time, British group The Horrors was on tour and had a date at One-Eyed Jack’s, a small theater in the French Quarter. The opening act was Crocodiles, about which I knew nothing. The Horrors had recently made a shift from leather-clad garage rock to flowy-shirt post punk, and, for whatever reason, the band was clearly having a terrible night. Crocodiles, though, with buzzing guitars and indulgent disco beats, stole the show.
A plague befalls the Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) on Tuesday, Jan. 25, when DJ Caterwaul debuts a monthly, ochre-colored night known as Low Life. Expect deep psych, garage, punk, freaky rock and other sounds from his musical dungeon. The tunes begin at 9 p.m. Entry is free, but only for those of legal drinking age. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Bill Davis is the singer and guitar player for Dash Rip Rock—a New Orleans-based country punk band that’s been at it since 1984. The group is bringing its energetic live show to the Launchpad on Sunday, when Dash Rip Rock opens for fellow New Orleans rock outfit Cowboy Mouth. To get a peek into Davis’ music library, we asked him to put his iPod on shuffle. Below are the first five songs that appeared.
On Sunday, Jan. 16, Friends of Film, Video and Arts will host its monthly meeting. The topic is “101 things to know about set design.” Industry pros Steve Brown and Christina Bouajila will be there creating an entire set from scratch and sharing much of what they’ve learned. The meeting will take place from 3 to 5:30 p.m. at 9 Point Productions (423 San Mateo NE). The meeting—including social time, work-in-progress screenings and lecture—is free to current FFVA members or $10 for nonmembers.
Love hurts in this story of a marriage going south
By Devin D. O’Leary
There is a rare but certain pleasure in watching actors—or anyone, for that matter—practicing their craft for the pure, primal joy of it. Sadly, movies are a frequently adulterated art form; the creators of which spend most of their time worrying about box office results, People magazine cover stories and the crucial 15-year-old male demographic. Only on very special occasions (Oscar nomination season, for example) are actors allowed to come out of the makeup trailer and actually exercise their abilities.
For all the success the movie and TV industry has had in the genre, Hollywood doesn’t really understand superhero stories. The only part they get is the origin story. Once a guy puts on a mask and cape, what is there to tell? After that, it’s just people beating each other up, right? Which is why Hollywood can only seem to crank out three films in a series before “rebooting” the damn thing and telling the origin story all over again. Real comic book fans, on the other hand, know that the origin is just the excuse to get to the good stuff.
The Aux Dog Theatre, if no longer in its infancy, is still in its toddlerdom. It’s a young theater, and in the producer’s note to the 2011 season, Eli Browning admits that the space has struggled to stay open during its formative years.
The Albuquerque Comic Con will be the first “full-blown comic book convention” to hit Albuquerque in more than a decade, according to event organizer and Tall Tales Comics owner Jim Burleson. On Saturday, Jan. 15, and Sunday, Jan. 16, four rooms in the Hilton Albuquerque will be dedicated to gaming, vendors and panels, as well as celebrity photo ops.
Mayor Richard Berry says homelessness is one of the most difficult challenges he's come across during his time in City Hall. "There are issues you look at as a mayor and you can say, OK. Here's a problem. Here's a linear solution." But homelessness, with its many dimensions and causes, is another story.
Dateline: Malaysia—A husband in Kuala Lumpur abandoned his wife of many years after a temple priest convinced him she was a demon. The woman, who gave her name as Loh, was quoted in The Star newspaper as saying, “The medium told my husband I had been casting spells on him for the past 15 years and that I was a demon trying to kill him.” Loh said her husband, a factory manager, “refused to eat or drink at home because he thought I poisoned the food.” The husband is seeking a divorce and refuses to meet with his two teenage sons for fear that his wife will use them to kill him. According to The Star, Malaysians often seek personal and professional advice from faith healers, temple mediums and witch doctors. Increasing complaints about sexual and financial abuse, however, have prompted Malaysia’s government to consider a bill that would require mystics to register with the Ministry of Health. Loh told reporters that the priest who advised her husband was in debt and likely taking advantage of her husband, who withdrew all of their children’s savings before deserting the family.
When Republican Susana Martinez was elected governor in November, her transition team informed all state political appointees—otherwise known as exempt workers—that they had to resign by Gov. Richardson's last day in office. New Mexico Music Commission Director Nancy Laflin was among those who lost their jobs. The agency—which was established by Gov. Richardson in 2005 and approved by unanimous votes in the house and senate in 2009—now has no paid staff.
Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge continues a Santa Fe musical tradition
By Mel Minter
Make no mistake. J.R. Palermo, owner of Tiny’s Restaurant & Lounge in Santa Fe, is a businessman. He’s the third generation of the place’s founding family—it was established in 1950 as Tiny’s Dine and Dance—and he continues the tradition by booking live music at the place. But the music has to carry its weight.
On Wednesday, Jan. 19, members of myriad local bands coalesce in an effort to produce their own special score for Clash of the Titans. Music for the film—an ’80s fantasy adventure based on Greek mythology—will be made at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) beginning at 9:30 p.m. Admission to the 21-and-over show is $3. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Jessica Billey is a talented visual artist and musician. When she’s not making beautifully spooky paintings and prints, she creates music prolifically: Billey—who played in the Mekons and backed Smog—currently plays with gothic country band The Grave of Nobody’s Darling, experimental act Lionhead Bunny, Western swing duo The Blue Rose Ramblers, a new surf band called Phantom Lake. She even occasionally performs with electronic group R0773R B0U7D3R. On Wednesday, Jan. 19, Billey appears at the Launchpad with The Grave of Nobody’s Darling as part of an ensemble of groups improvising the score for the movie Clash of the Titans. We asked the Rio Rancho resident (by way of Chicago, circa 2005) to put her music library on shuffle. Below are the first five songs that surfaced.
Winter is cold and dark and sleepy. It turns people into marshmallow-shaped hermits, wrapping and zipping themselves into enough layers to survive brief intervals of the outside world before retreating back into their slightly warmer caves. But for three weeks in January, Revolutions International Theatre Festival brings a load of light and warmth.
On Dec. 14, 2009, I wrote a list of 15 predictions for 2010, published in the Alibi. Having investigated mysterious and unexplained phenomena for more than a decade, I actually have a documented history of accuracy. In fact, my success rate for 2008 was about 90 percent. As 2010 came to a close, I thought it was time to dust off my forecasts to see how I fared.
Starting Saturday, Jan. 8, the Albuquerque / Bernalillo County Library System and Guild Cinema will join forces for the first annual Books to the Big Screen film series. The idea is to spotlight acclaimed novels that have been made into popular films. The series starts with The Shawshank Redemption on Jan. 8. Stand By Me follows a week later on the Jan. 15. Slaughterhouse-Five closes it out on Jan. 22. All shows begin at 1 p.m. at Guild Cinema (3405 Central NE). The screenings are free, but seating is limited. You can pick up your free tickets at the Guild box office or at the Main Library (Copper and Fifth Street NW).
French filmmaker approaches African civil war from a pale perspective
By Devin D. O’Leary
Over the past 20 years, French filmmaker Claire Denis (Chocolate, Beau Travail, Trouble Every Day, 35 Shots of Rum) has created a résumé filled with naturalistic, character-driven dramas that play compare/contrast games between lovely, static-shot landscapes and harsh human conditions. Time and again, she finds herself returning to colonial Africa—not too surprising, as she grew up there, the daughter of French civil servant. Her latest film, White Material, is among her most involved examinations of war-torn modern Africa and the death rattle of European colonialism.
While TV is still struggling to tell superhero tales in a live-action format, animated comic-book-inspired stories continue to soar on the small screen. Perhaps it’s because the entertainment industry is faintly embarrassed by the idea of people in costumes. Hence, just about every superhero series these days features heroes who refuse to wear costumes (“Smallville,” “Heroes,” “No Ordinary Family”). Why? It’s like making a musical in which the actors refuse to sing.
A couple of years ago, I hooked myself up to the world of TiVo. I had a singular goal in mind—to record PBS’ Saturday lineup of cooking shows. I watch them all—Julia Child, Rick Bayless, Martin Yan, Lidia Bastianich, José Andrés, Steven Raichlen, Christopher Kimball and his “America’s Test Kitchen” and “Cook’s Country” crew, and the revolving cooks on Martha Stewart’s “Everyday Food.” I play the ones I like several times, take notes, and absorb their recipes and techniques before I eventually delete the programs to make room for new ones
Here’s another installment in my occasional series investigating food at Duke City sports bars. In particular, I’m interested in places that show televised mixed martial arts competitions, also known by the more sophisticated moniker “cage fighting.” To assist in this endeavor, I’ve recruited an assistant who goes by his fight name: the Pink Princess. As both an MMA expert and a bar snob, the Pink Princess doesn’t suffer fools gladly. At nearly every place I’ve taken him so far, he says something to the effect of “I can’t believe we came to this f-ing sh!t hole.”
A lonely woman used to call 311, the city's information hotline, in the dead of night. She said her husband was a doctor, that she was home alone and just wanted to say hi. Operators got to know her on a personal level, says Esther Tenenbaum, division manager. "That's great, but that's not why we're here."
I was shocked and awed when UNM offered me the job of assistant to Dr. Carl E. Baum. What could I possibly offer the most famous electromagnetic theoretician in the world? I was just a local poet and burned-out newspaper man who couldn’t even grasp the fundamentals of elementary calculus.
There was something blue lurking in the shadows of the Monday, Jan. 3 City Council meeting. A large turnout of police was expected to comment on the end of the take-home car perk, but no officers came to speak at the meeting. Instead, police union president Joey Sigala and a few others paced in and out of the room.
Dateline: Connecticut—A would-be robber has been accused of taking a cell phone to a knife fight. Police in New London say Jerome Taylor, 20, wore a mask as he entered the Northern Indian Restaurant on State Street, pulled out what looked like a gun and demanded money. Several of the restaurant’s cooks snatched up knives and meat cleavers and refused to comply. At that point, the masked man told the cooks he was only kidding and fled the scene. Taylor was gone by the time police arrived, but they caught up with him a short time later. Officers said Taylor confessed to the crime, but told them he didn’t have a gun—only an iPhone.
Ten years ago Jerry DeCicca, guitarist and vocalist for The Black Swans, was living in Albuquerque. Here he quietly managed Relapse Records, a short-lived UNM-area store sandwiched between McDonald’s and the Yale Blood Plasma donor center.
Local music predictions based on vast experience and Nostradamical premonitions
By Laura Marrich and Jessica Cassyle Carr
• The municipal “Footloose Amendment” goes into effect on July 1, 2011. Inadvertently passed by City Council members in 2006, the clause bans dancing and “rock and roll music” during the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The local music scene will die, at last fulfilling former Mayor Martin Chavez’ pact with Satan. (LM)
At last, someone has paired two of the world’s best typefaces—Creaky Frank (or some hybrid thereof) and Courier New. This text, along with an angular, monochromatic dove collage, announces a performance by mad accordion player Jason Webley. Ya Ya Boom and The Good Ship S.S. Perry open the all-ages show. A cover charge of $7 grants admission into Winning Coffee Co. (111 Harvard SE) on Tuesday, Jan. 11, at 8 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Former Burqueño Jerry DeCicca is the singer, acoustic guitarist and songwriter for Columbus, Ohio-based folk rock band The Black Swans. DeCicca says that MP3s are a new concept to him, as he usually deals in vinyl, tapes and CDs: “I never had an iPod until I bought this dumb phone back in September so I could ‘communicate’ with ‘people’ from the road,” he explains. “My bandmate, who is 22 and knows these things, says that 477 songs isn't a lot to carry in my pocket.” From that small, sonic pool, here are the first five songs that appeared.