Alibi V.20 No.31 • Aug 4-10, 2011

The Seeded Side of New Orleans

From garbage to garden in the Lower Ninth Ward

In the syrupy charm of New Orleans' Garden District or the debauchery of the French Quarter, you might think the city has recovered from the trauma of Katrina. Streetcars are running, music is playing and tourists have stumbled back with beads on. But in the poorest part of the city, which also happens to be the lowest part, it's a different story.

But despite the setbacks, Our School at Blair Gorcery in the Lower Ninth Ward is using composting and farming techniques to bolster their situation in a fragile economy.

feature

Raising Hell in the Land of Enchantment

Now in its fourth season, the critically acclaimed “Breaking Bad” is about as much a cultural signifier of New Mexico—and Albuquerque in particular—as green chile and sunshine. But sunny the show's theme and direction are not.

Bryan Cranston, creator Vince Gilligan and cast members weighed in on the show’s theme, locality and the role of politics in the film industry.

The Colorful Mr. White

Bryan Cranston on seeing red, going black and being a chameleon

He's won three consecutive Emmys for his leading role on AMC's "Breaking Bad." Watching him alternate between the feeble, stomped-upon character of Walter White and a meth kingpin persona known as “Heisenberg,” the dramatic range that brought Bryan Cranston such acclaim is clear. “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan calls him the greatest talent he’s ever worked with—“an actor who comes along every hundred years or so.”

The Alibi spoke with Cranston about Albuquerque, getting inside the mind of Walter White and why Michael Jordan should step aside.

news

Where Babies Come From

Midwife-run nonprofit births alternative for expectant mothers

Dar a Luz Birth & Health Center sits on a lush plot of land in the North Valley, set back from the road and abutted by agricultural plots. The sprawling center seems about as un-hospital-like as Abigail Lanin Eaves could make it.

Bring in the Feds

A jam-packed Council report with: APD, Darren White, electronic signs, car boots, Target and chile ristras

A Damn Grand Canyon

And Flagstaff, where the craft brew flows freely

Our travel writer escapes New Mexico’s flames and hits up Flagstaff, Ariz., where the craft brew flows freely. Then she takes in the majesty of the Grand Canyon.

food

Side Dishing

Albuquerque is busting at the seams with new eating spots. I salivate whenever I see a chain-link fence with a wind-whipped banner shouting, “Opening Soon!” But on the hunt for recently opened eateries, I also found an established treasure or two.

film

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan

Wayne Wang directs Chinese (soap) opera

Having helmed the feature film version of The Joy Luck Club, director Wayne Wang knows a thing or two about making sentimental Asian-flavored films for Western audiences. Like The Joy Luck Club, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is an Oprah-approved, New York Times best-seller-based tale of female empowerment, grrl power, sistahood, mother-daughter relations, herstory, womyn’s issues, repressed lesbianism, whathaveyou.

He Thinks He’s People

“Wilfred” on FX

American networks have been happily appropriating British TV series for decades. Everything from “Sanford and Son” to “Being Human” once had an English accent. By contrast, Australian TV hasn’t proved to be as deep a wellspring for inspiration. There was that American version of “Kath & Kim” starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair a few seasons ago, but the less said about that, the better. Aside from that, we had ... not coming up with anything.

Reel World

For the very first time, the international 48 Hour Film Project is adding a music video portion. The 48 Hour Music Video Project will be tested out right here in Albuquerque this September. If it’s successful, it’ll go international next year alongside the 48 Hour Film Project. So what does it consist of? How about 20 bands and 20 film teams attempting to shoot 20 music videos in just 48 hours? Sound like your cup of tea? Registration is underway right now, and only 20 teams will be allowed to compete. The very first meet-and-greet between bands and filmmakers will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW). Completed videos will be shown to the public on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at a special KiMo Theatre screening. Winners will land cash prizes and the opportunity to screen at 48 Hours’ annual Filmapalooza gathering

music

Buck 65

Canadian rapper discusses day jobs, pretty hip-hop songs and his love of Albuquerque

Buck 65 has created hip-hop music under the mainstream radar for more than two decades. Originally from Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia, he taught himself to rap and DJ, then started recording in his bedroom. He’s earned a reputation for disregarding genre limitations. Buck 65, whose given name is Richard Terfry, raps over violins, collaborates with female vocalists in French, makes whole verses by cutting in single-word samples with turntables and does pretty much anything else he wants to. His new album, 20 Odd Years, is a tribute and testament to his life in music so far. Its 12 tracks, many of which were co-written and recorded with different collaborators, have snappy beats and smart lyrics. They also have lovely melodies, nods to multiple styles and equal parts of melancholy reflection and playful quirkiness. The Alibi called Terfry at his home in Toronto, during a few days off in the middle of his tour.

Yippee-i-o

Placitas' cozy campfire concerts

There are lawn chairs strewn across a sandy field, the sunset in front of you, Sandia Mountains behind you, people with picnic baskets, gourmet takeout, wine bottles and blankets. A singer stands on a trailer-turned-stage that’s painted to look like the New Mexican desert, complete with cacti and mountains against a blue sky. This is the Placitas Campfire Series.

Flyer on the Wall

Octopus imagery has reached meme status (while the meme has attained metameme status), but for good reason. Octopi posses eye-catching beauty, and the biology, behaviors and diversity of these aquatic creatures are just as mesmerizing. With the mighty, eight-tentacled invertebrate mascot on their side, three locals— Ghost Circles, Molat The Tank and Waiting For Satellites—fill Burt’s Tiki Lounge (313 Gold SW) on Friday, Aug. 5, around 10 p.m. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)

art

Life on the Flip Side

Concurrent exhibits at 516 ARTS home in on alternative communities

The first thing you notice is a bearded man with “Hug Life” tattooed across his beer gut, standing on a homemade raft. This image, and numerous other examples of alternative living, are the focus of two summer exhibits at 516 ARTS: Across the Great Divide, a collection of photographs by Roberta Price, and Worlds Outside This One, featuring more than a dozen contributors. Across the Great Divide documents life in Southwestern communes―small, rural communities based around collective land ownership. Worlds Outside This One shows environmentally friendly and often portable methods of housing from around the world.

Form and Function

SOFA WEST tempts with eye candy

Not only is it a squishy place to watch TV from, not to mention a place for your too-drunk friends to crash, it’s also a huge art and design festival in Santa Fe. The third annual SOFA (Sculpture Objects and Functional Art Fair) WEST runs Thursday through Sunday, Aug. 4 through 7. Exhibitors include galleries and artists from all over the states and as far away as Argentina. You can buy and/or ogle artwork, furniture, jewelry and even things that are fascinating but hard to identify.

Alibi V.20 No.30 • July 28-Aug 3, 2011

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

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.

feature

Romancing the Novel

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.

Large Sales, Low Cred

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.”

Confessions of a Genre Virgin

From shirtless cowboys to eighteenth-century courtesans, the Alibi gets down and dirty with the scintillating world of romance novels. And yeah, it’s our first time.

news

Turning the Page

University-area stalwart closes up shop

“What do I owe you?” an older man asks, placing the New York Times on the counter. “$25,000,” Newsland owner Roger Walsh replies, only half joking, “or I'm closing the shop.” Most of the browsers scanning the shelves have already heard of the closure, but it hits home when Walsh says the Newsland's last day is Sunday, July 24.

Good Girl, Bad Guy

How a nursing student found happiness with a 300-pound pro wrestler

It’s Saturday night at the New Mexico National Guard Armory. Mosh Pit Mike is part of a “scramble,” the main event featuring six wrestlers. “We want blood! We want blood!” chant many of the 200 spectators.

art

A Ranch Named Desire

Play details relationship between Tennessee Williams and lover Pancho Rodriguez

“He was a very prolific character,” says Santiago Candelaria, who plays Williams in Rancho Pancho, a play by Gregg Barrios. “Not only in his writing but just in his way of being, how he moved through what he did.” The play, presented by Camino Real Productions, and running at the National Hispanic Cultural Center through Aug. 7, explores the relationship between Williams and one of his partners, Pancho Rodriguez. “He was a compulsive worker and it sort of shows up in everything he did,” Candelaria says. “He worked compulsively, he drank compulsively, he smoked compulsively, he took pills compulsively, he had sex compulsively.”

A Little Bit Spicy

Two artists paint women of the Southwest

Marie Sena’s and Nani Chacon’s art show, Picosa, puts women in the fore: The overall theme of the show is women of the Southwest. “We’re in such a unique cultural climate,” Chacon says. “We felt like that was something that needed to be celebrated and pushed to the forefront of what we’re doing—not just that we’re going to depict beautiful women, but the beautiful women of our surroundings.”

film

Reel World

The Guild hosts two homegrown, independent films shot here in New Mexico on Friday, July 29, (The Bigfoot Election), and Saturday, July 30 (Bad Posture). Also on Friday, the KiMo screens Inside Job, Charles Ferguson’s eye-opening documentary about what brought about the catastrophic meltdown of America’s financial institutions. That film will get underway at 8 p.m.

ThunderCats, Ho!

“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.

Week in Sloth

The Week in Sloth

Highlights from around the dial. Except no one has dials anymore.

music

Music to Your Ears

Only 20 minutes east of Albuquerque (in the mountains where it’s 10 degrees cooler) Wildlife West is equipped with venue facilities and hosts regular events. Beginning on Friday, July 29, and running through Sunday, July 31, is the biggest of the year: The ninth Wildlife West Music Festival. The three-day fest features two shaded stages (attendees will not be sitting in the sun, promoters say) and more than a dozen performing acts of the acoustic persuasion—bluegrass, Western swing, old time and folk, to name a few.

New Mexico

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.

Song Roulette

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.

food

Pick-Up Sticks

Getting a handle on chopsticks

While billions of Asians use chopsticks every day of their lives, here in the West, we encounter them most often in restaurants. I learned to eat with chopsticks before I was 5. My mom took two pairs of adult-sized chopsticks and whittled them down to kid-size. She painted one set blue for my younger brother, and one set pink for me. These were special and much better balanced for our small hands.

Cage Fight

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."

Alibi V.20 No.29 • July 21-27, 2011

bRgR

Local meats, exotic flavors

Pastoral paintings of thoughtful, grass-chomping cows adorn the red walls of Albuquerque’s brand-new designer burger joint, bRgR. The restaurant’s lineup of burger names could double as the course catalog of a tantric yoga ashram, including (in order of the stages of spiritual growth) the Harmonic, Elation, Euphoria, Jubilation, Ecstasy, Nirvana and, finally, Enlightenment. The beef, which is grass-fed and grain-finished, comes from Heritage Ranch, a national beef company that matches local beef producers with consumers, state by state.

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Full Steam Ahead

Steampunk’s mashup of anachronism and science fiction throws a wrench in the cogs of throwaway culture

Steampunk has been part of the cultural conversation for the past several years, as DIY-ers have embraced a handwrought, Steam Age aesthetic over high-tech gloss. Both a pop culture genre and an artistic movement, steampunk has its roots in 19th- and early-20th- century science fiction like Jules Verne's Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and H.G. Wells' The Time Machine. Its fans reimagine the Industrial Revolution mashed-up with modern technology such as the computer. Dressing the part calls for corsets and lace-up boots for women, top hats and frock coats for men. Accessories include goggles, leather aviator caps and the occasional ray gun. And there's a hint of Sid Vicious and Mad Max in there, too.

film

Page One: Inside the New York Times

Behind-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.

Cops With Colons

“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.

Reel World

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.

art

A Little Love Hexagon

Landmark Musicals’ latest is well-acted and well-sung

A Little Night Music is a show that will likely appeal to more mature audiences. Maybe it’s the tone of the show, which is surprisingly wholesome given the subject matter. Maybe it’s the near-constant, often operatic singing. In either case this one’s probably not for a thirtysomething crowd. That said, Landmark Musicals has done a fine job with it. While not all the actors are fantastic, there aren’t any sore thumbs that stick out, and a handful of them are obvious pros.

Skeletons in the Trailer

Performer tackles love lost and suicide notes with dark humor

Christina Slyter’s new solo show is about a woman who has become a shut-in, terrified of the outside world, because her husband killed himself—yet it’s full of dark humor. “The show takes place on the night that she wakes up,” Slyter says, “and discovers that there are people in her house. She tries to be a good hostess to them and show them a good time ... “ The audience members are the visitors in her house, and as the woman gets closer to revealing truths, her hostess skills unravel.

Punch Lines, Not Punches

Rusty Rutherford celebrates another year of underground comedy shows

There is an “anything goes” vibe at the Third Thursdays Comedy Contest, a stand-up comedy night Rusty Rutherford has hosted monthly, in venues around Albuquerque, since 2007. At each event, he does a short set to kick off the night and then 10 other comics take turns performing. The audience votes to determine the night’s best three, and Rutherford invites these comics back the following month. He also schedules seven new performers. The anniversary show will feature the winning comics of the past year.

food

The Return of Chef Claus

Hjortkjaer takes the helm at La Provence

I was among the many diners who mourned the demise of Le Café Miche in 2009. From the beginning of Chef Claus Hjortkjaer’s tenure in 1996 until it closed, Miche was one of Albuquerque’s most popular venues for upscale continental dining. But weep no more. Hjortkjaer is in the process of making the Brasserie La Provence his own. Hjortkjaer comes to this new venture with longtime friend, and now business partner, Caryl Cochran.

news

Freedom Flotilla II

New Mexico activists join 22-country protest fleet

The accounts of the U.S. boat to Gaza read like a Bond movie. There are nefarious bureaucratic restrictions from foreign governments, boat chases on the Mediterranean Sea, hunger strikes and Greek jails. Among 37 U.S. activists were Ken Mayers and Linda Durham from Santa Fe.

The Darren White Probe

White announced his retirement shortly after a Council committee voted to investigate events surrounding his wife’s car accident. It’s unclear whether the Council will continue pursuing an independent investigation, given White’s retirement.

To Tell or Not to Tell

Alibi advice columnist says: We women can be so cruel to each other, and it would seem a service to our sisterhood to tip her off that she may be facing some issues. Of course, that cattiness we often bring to our relationships with women means she may turn on you and not her husband.

music

Loosening the Screws

Casual conversation with Those Darlins

The music of Tennessee quartet Those Darlins is like a freight train started in the ’60s and hurtled through the decades to 2011—picking up girl-group sound, garage rock, trash country, some chick punk and a touch of glam—before crashing into an American roots music instrument store. See them live at Low Spirits, July 26.

Christian McBride and Inside Straight

Bassist sweetens New Mexico Jazz Fest with acoustic quintet

The quintet of Christian McBride and Inside Straight delivers swinging, straight-head jazz of a very high quality, with an equally high feel-good quotient. Next week, for two nights at the Outpost, McBride and Inside Straight—with Peter Martin (piano), Jaleel Shaw (sax), Warren Wolf Jr. (vibes) and Carl Allen (drums)—will hit a high note in the New Mexico Jazz Festival’s impressive 2011 lineup.

New Mexico Jazz Festival

July 21 through 31

A comprehensive guide to the N.M. Jazz Fest this weekend in Santa Fe, including Mose Allison, Michael Anthony, Maceo Parker and many more.

Song Roulette

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.