My snootiness was in full flower as I drove to the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho. I was on my way to a panel discussion featuring three New Mexico-based romance writers: Celeste Bradley, Doranna Durgin and Alice Duncan. It didn’t help that I was stressing out about being late to something I’d already decided wouldn’t teach me anything. They’re not for serious people, I thought. They aren’t real books. I pulled into the parking lot and hurried into the building. Although full of preconceptions, I secretly harbored a small flame of hope that someone would redeem the genre for me.
In trying to unravel the mystery of the romance genre’s appeal, the Alibi spoke with Tracie Antonuk, the adult services librarian at the Esther Bone Memorial Library in Rio Rancho. In June, Antonuk organized and moderated a panel discussion among three local romance novelists (see “Romancing the Novel”). Antonuk hosts free panels like this often, encouraging people to visit the library, meet authors or maybe even “slip somebody their card.”
The band—not our fair state
Last year the Alibi received a package containing a zia-emblazoned CD. This wasn’t unusual. Many proud local musicians use the symbol in their imagery. What was unusual was that the band New Mexico hails from San Diego. This does not follow protocol. After all, Kansas is from Kansas, Alabama from Alabama; Chicago (which plays live on Wednesday, Aug. 3 at Inn of the Mountain Gods Resort & Casino in Mescalero) is from Chicago and Boston from Boston. Even Europe is from Europe, and America is from America (well, mostly). Not since Asia has a musical entity been so geographically displaced from its chosen moniker.
On Saturday, July 30, Small Engine (1413 Fourth Street SW) hosts another cool show with an attractive flyer to accompany it. Kevin Greenspon and Ancient Crux from L.A. play with locals Dripping Rainbow and Gusher. Five dollars / 8:30 p.m. Some are predicting this to be a “serious-ass” event. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
DJ Evan’s random tracks
Evan Langford is a DJ at Blackbird Buvette, managing the frightful monthly party known as Post Burial. Hear him play post-punk, new wave, disco, electro, glam and/or deathrock there on Saturday, Aug. 6, beginning at 10 p.m. I asked Langford to put his MP3s on shuffle. Below are the random results.
Getting a handle on chopsticks
Is this the beginning of better factory farms?
When news broke on July 7 that United Egg Producers had struck a deal with longtime nemesis the Humane Society of the United States, a lot of people had to check and make sure they weren't reading The Onion by mistake. The surprise announcement drew gasps of "stunning," "historic" and "landmark" from observers in the food and agriculture community. The often bitter antagonists appear to have buried the hatchet, at least temporarily, and not up each other's bottoms. Gary Truitt, in Hoosier Ag Today, wrote: "Unprecedented does not do the situation justice."
University-area stalwart closes up shop
How a nursing student found happiness with a 300-pound pro wrestler
Unpredictable romantic comedy marries drama and a big-name cast for lovable results
It probably won’t appear this way on the movie theater marquee, so it’s worth noting the complete, correct title of Crazy, Stupid, Love. (two commas and a period). Although crazy and stupid often function as fitting adjectives to this thing we call love, the punctuation makes it clear that the three also work just fine as separate, stand-alone nouns. Happily, the new romantic comedy/drama offers up more than its fair share of craziness, stupidity and love.
“ThunderCats” on Cartoon Network
Of all the nostalgic ’80s properties, “ThunderCats” has had one of the longest life spans. You can thank all the hipster nerds gobbling up logo-stamped T-shirts at Hot Topic for keeping the show’s image alive. No surprise, therefore, that—hot on the heels of its revival of fellow ’80s icon “Voltron: Defender of the Universe”—Cartoon Network has decided to reboot the hell out of “ThunderCats” for a new/old generation.
The Week in Sloth
A Cajun-flavored sampling of things that go bump in the night
Two artists paint women of the Southwest
New Mexico activists join 22-country protest fleet
Steampunk’s mashup of anachronism and science fiction throws a wrench in the cogs of throwaway culture
the- scenes doc features all the news that’s fit to print
Print is dead. It’s a refrain that gets repeated a lot in today’s Wi-Fi-filled, Twitter-fied, Kindle-toting world. And—premature obituary or not—it’s still an uncomfortable pronouncement for those of us still gainfully employed in the industry. Depending on how you look at it, the documentary Page One: Inside the New York Times can be seen as either an elegy for a dying medium or a paean to an industry in flux. Either way, it should be vital viewing for those in the business of being informed.
“NTSF:SD:SUV::” on Cartoon Network
Given how addicted to acronyms modern crime shows have become (“CSI,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “JAG,” “NCIS”), it’s nice to see somebody giving the genre a good, solid ribbing with “NTSF:SD:SUV::.” That stands for “National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle::.” The show—joining Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim programming block this Friday—throws around colons like Mötley Crüe throws around umlauts. Just as fellow live-action series “Childrens Hospital” mercilessly tweaks hospital drama clichés, “NTSF:SD:SUV::” makes light of cop show stereotypes.
EcoNew Mexico is a pilot program promoting, you guessed it, ecotourism in New Mexico. The program teamed up with Green Living Project—a global group “dedicated to educating and inspiring individuals and communities to live a more sustainable lifestyle” through the use of multimedia. Together, they helped create the short film “Ecotourism in New Mexico.” (I sense a theme.) The five-minute short was filmed in Taos and spotlights a number of the city’s eco-friendly businesses, including river rafting, mineral springs spas, rock climbing, ballooning and more. The goal is to promote our state as an ecotourism destination, stealing vacationers away from such exotic locales as Costa Rica and New Zealand. If you’re interested in checking out the video and seeing what sort of outdoorsy goodness our state has to offer, you can check it out online.
The Week in Sloth
Casual conversation with Those Darlins
Bassist sweetens New Mexico Jazz Fest with acoustic quintet
July 21 through 31
Random tracks from Cultura Fuerte
Cultura Fuerte has been making Latin hip-hop here in New Mexico since 2005. On Saturday, July 23, the seven-piece releases its second album, Quiero Ser Libre. Ohm, Def Rare, Giz, Physics, NewMex.icon and Shakedown open the 21-and-over show at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) at 9 p.m. Cultura Fuerte members Marco Sandoval (percussion/vocals) and Andrea Serrano (hand percussion / spoken word) shared iPod shuffling duties, which resulted in the random tracks below.
Landmark Musicals’ latest is well-acted and well-sung
Performer tackles love lost and suicide notes with dark humor
Rusty Rutherford celebrates another year of underground comedy shows
Local meats, exotic flavors
Hjortkjaer takes the helm at La Provence
Human and canine exterminators fight nationwide wave of pests
The unmarked white building on Candelaria holds one bed and two dressers but no personal belongings suggesting a home. It's eerily devoid of picture frames, stuffed animals and clothes. A cooler sits on the beige tile floor, and Patriot Pest Control's newest employee bounds into the room to check it out. Captain Dale, the bedbug-detection dog, has one thing on his mind.
Author Amy Stewart on the lifestyles of the gross and deadly
Bedbugs hide in crevices and cracks until they venture out for a snack. Detection and eradication can be tricky because these little critters are hard to locate. David Erik Swanson from Patriot Pest Control just got a bedbug detection dog to ease the process (see “Don’t Let the Bedbugs Bite”), but he says some infestations have been so bad he didn't need help finding them.
The archetypal journey of a one-man band
This bird can sing
Growing up on Lower Ranchitos Road in Taos, Jennifer Robin had a poster of Paul McCartney hanging in her bedroom closet. This month, with the release of her new recording, The Bird and the Beatles, the jazzy, folky singer/songwriter is bringing her Beatles love affair out of the closet and onto center stage.
Random tracks from Colourmusic’s Colin Fleishacker
Colourmusic is a Stillwater, Okla.-based indie/neo-pscych/sex rock four piece. The band’s concept is based on the Newtonian theory that colors correlate with musical notes. On Wednesday, July 20, it brings its multihued performance to the Launchpad. Royal Bangs and The Great Depression open the 21-and-over show at 9 p.m. Eight ducats admits people into the venue. We asked Colourmusic bassist Colin Fleishacker to take his iPod for a spin and see what random items appeared. Below are the results.
Cooking with whole grains
I came late to whole grains—being brought up eating white rice at every meal. With the possible exception of rolled oats, most of the grains I encountered were hulled, bleached, sweetened and renutritionized before they hit my plate.
Adobe carb laboratory gets grow room
NASA promises this is not the end of human space travel
Making claim to a foul ball is seldom easy
Holding back the tide of big money in New Mexico politics
Fear of unemployment stokes conventionally crude comedy
In Horrible Bosses, three put-upon workers conspire to bump off one another’s evil employers. Yes, it’s a variation on Alfred Hitchcock’s 1951 classic Strangers on a Train, but it’s such a venerable framework upon which to hang a story that the familiarity of the tale only adds to the fun. Besides, we haven’t seen a blackly comic reiteration of this magnitude since 1987’s Throw Momma from the Train.
Life in a post-Casey Anthony world
The Week in Sloth
How to make a shiv, er, rent an apartment
Ideas worth spreading. This is the mission of the nonprofit organization TED, which works toward changing attitudes, lives and the world. It began with two annual conferences where some of the world’s greatest innovators and insight-givers were challenged to give the best talk they could in 18 minutes or less. Videos of the talks are regularly posted online for everyone to watch, share and love.