John Sayles dramatizes (and occasionally melodramatizes) the Philippine-
John Sayles is as close to an indie film demigod as the movie industry has got. He’s been a consistent, distinctive and fiercely independent storyteller—from his 1979 writing-directing debut Return of the Secaucus Seven straight through his lengthy string of art-house dramas (Baby It’s You, The Brother From Another Planet, Matewan, Eight Men Out, City of Hope, Passion Fish, Men of War, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star, Sunshine State). With his latest, Amigo, the quirky-brilliant auteur indulges his love for history by crafting an epic-yet-intimate fictional account of the rarely-if-ever-dramatized Philippine-American War.
“Ringer” on The CW
The CW—being the young, impatient network that it is—looks like it’s going to be the first to get its new fall season off the starting blocks. The first and best of the four shows debuting this month from CW is the much-anticipated Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle “Ringer.” Gellar built up a lot of good will and a major fan base thanks to the seven seasons she spent on The WB (not to be confused with The CW) network’s “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Though “Ringer” isn’t quite in the supernatural-drama-action-comedy genre that “Buffy” was, it boasts enough entertaining elements to carry it through its first season with ease.
The Week in Sloth
Bobby Shew and John Proulx jazz up Disney
Carla Bozulich speaks an animal language
Special John Wesley Coleman III Edition
Kids’ novel is engaging and spooky for adults, too
A three-ring food circus
Growers’ markets have an oasis-like feeling to them. They’re sanctuaries of foliage, magnets for cool people and hives of activity. That effect is heightened in Socorro, where the surrounding landscape is sculpted by hot wind and sunshine. In the town’s charming plaza, cool green grass is shaded by immense cottonwood trees. On Saturdays, when the market is in full swing, it feels like a festival—or a barter fair.
Portland may be considered beer heaven, but forgive me if I spend eternity in beer purgatory here in Albuquerque. Portland (the hipster city, not the lobster city) is reputed to have 30 breweries in a city of 580,000 residents. Albuquerque is catching up quickly with three more breweries looking to open in the coming months. The only question is whether our city has enough craft drinkers to support that growth.
Native activists protest a ski resort’s wastewater pipeline
Radio project reaches out to inmates and their families, breaking the silence around America’s prisons
ACLU calls out Sheriff’s Department for holding an event in the Lord’s house
Dark Irish comedy finds humor in murder, drugs, blackmail and hookers
The term “black comedy” has become a bit shopworn of late, covering a wide variety of films from mildly edgy dramedies to movies with a truly morbid sense of humor. So let’s try and expand the designation a bit and call The Guard a dark gray comedy. It’s a fitting label, as the film takes place in the dingy, cloud-covered environs of coastal Ireland. And you couldn’t mistake its sense of humor for the lighthearted, good-natured laughs of a Tom Hanks comedy. Put it on a shelf next to other self-mocking, hardscrabble Irish comedies like Neil Jordan’s movie The Butcher Boy or Martin McDonagh’s stage play The Lieutenant of Inishmore, however, and you’ll find a fitting kinship.
Who’s in and who’s out
Out: Charlie Sheen. In: Ashton Kutcher. This is the most painfully obvious transition of the upcoming fall 2011 season. In one of the most high-profile (and well-tweeted) Hollywood feuds of all time, “Two and a Half Men” producer Chuck Lorre booted troubled actor Charlie Sheen. And hired Ashton Kutcher to replace him. Sheen is busy shopping his TV adaptation of the Adam Sandler film Anger Management. So far, no network seems interested in even bankrolling it. Kutcher, meanwhile, steps into a sweet, $800,000-per-episode gig. Producers have estimated (perhaps a bit optimistically) that the Sheen-less season premiere of the CBS sitcom will draw 50 million viewers. Sheen, meanwhile, got a job hosting Insane Clown Posse’s annual Gathering of the Juggalos.
Eric Morrell—an art director, set decorator and props stylist out of New York—is looking for art department interns for an upcoming feature shooting here in New Mexico. The film is described as “a low-budget 3D feature with name talent.” (I believe that translates into the Zachary Quinto-produced psychedelic horror thriller The Banshee Chapter.) The film is scheduled to film in and around Albuquerque through September. On-the-job responsibilities include: “set dressing, runs, painting, small building and graphics.” No experience is necessary, but interested candidates “must have a willingness to learn” and are expected to make a commitment for at least three days a week. If you’re interested in being part of Morrell’s art department, send a résumé and a small paragraph about why you want the job to Eric Morrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Week in Sloth
A mix of songs with academic themes
Fundraising for tiny texts at The Projects
Show up for The Show
A pueblo harvest
Don’t be afraid to blend your own spices
Body of work points a finger at genocide
Spectral figures clad in white float into the intersection of Fourth and Central. They carry armfuls of bones, which they deposit on the ground. As they retreat, more couriers appear and they too place dozens of skeletal pieces in the street. The cycle continues until 50,000 white offerings fill the crossroads. This is the first round of the activist art installation One Million Bones, and it happens on Saturday, Aug. 27.
We put out a call to local artists, asking them to show us how they’d redesign an Alibi distribution box. We were subsequently showered with submissions, and we spent weeks poring over drawings, sketches, digital renderings, and mad ramblings in letters and emails. Notions of every sort sloshed across our desks, fresh from the minds of our city’s creative geniuses.
European road pic travels familiar path, but snaps a pretty picture
A foreign accent, an eccentric cast, some gorgeous scenery and a lighthearted joie de vivre attitude about dark subjects: These are a few of the elements necessary for constructing an art-house crowd-pleaser. Vincent Wants to Sea (Vincent Will Meer) is just such a film. Having nabbed Outstanding Feature and Best Actor at the 2011 German Film Awards (while nailing down nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Screenplay), Vincent is now pulling into America looking for easily charmed audiences.
TV gets real
For decades, summertime was the time for TV reruns. If you missed a few episodes of your favorite network sitcom in fall/spring, you could catch them in July. Or you could go out and play Frisbee. But these days—what with the proliferation of new cable TV stations and broadcast networks expending extra effort to create original summertime programming—reruns are hardly the hot topic. September is fast approaching, and summer is almost gone. We’re just weeks away from the debut of the fall 2011 TV season. What better time to ask the question, “What have we been watching all summer?” I’ll give you one big hint: There ain’t a lot of scripts involved.
The Week in Sloth
It’s late summer, and that means it’s definitely film festival time. Everybody is lining up to curate a festival of cool independent films this time of year. We just got done with the Albuquerque Film Festival and the Native Cinema Showcase and we’re gearing up for the Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and the Truth or Consequences Film Festival. In between, we’ll just have to make due with the White Sands International Film Festival. The sixth annual WSIFF will take place Thursday, Aug. 25, through Sunday, Aug. 28, in Las Cruces. The new dramedy Refuge by award-winning playwright / Las Cruces resident Mark Medoff will start off the festival on a high note, serving as the opening night premiere. Throughout the weekend, there will be a ton of films, workshops, parties and more to keep festivalgoers busy. Val Kilmer will be on hand to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Friday. The Doors (1991) and Tombstone (1993) will be part of the fest’s Kilmer retrospective. Aside from that, there’s a wide range of films to choose from in the festival’s schedule—from the Native American high school track documentary Run to the East to the New Mexico-shot romantic comedy The Bigfoot Election. Screenings take place at the Cineport 10 and all-festival passes are on sale right now. They’ll run you between $25 and $75 dollars. Individual tickets can be purchased at the venue, if available.
Fresh ideas in “health care”
I spend a lot of time driving around looking for individuals, restaurants, food boutiques and other businesses that sustain Albuquerque’s gustatory cravings. In this crazy economy I remain eternally hopeful, buoyed by the seemingly endless stream of entrepreneurs ready to open their doors to the Duke City. From brand-spanking new, to oldies but goodies, here are a few of my latest finds.
In the fight for equal rights, transgender issues have been left in the dust
Criminal justice reform may still be in the cards for New Mexico
Andy Warhol was among the most iconic and prolific visual artists of the 20th century, a highbrow and low class culture cultivator of profound influence. The pop artist is just as recognized for his soup cans or Marilyn Monroes as he is for the silver New York "Factory" where those works were produced (while his Superstars and other celebrities milled about, glamorously bored). But Warhol was also an avant-garde filmmaker, publisher, producer and dabbler in performance art. One facet of this multidimensional career was The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, a series of traveling multimedia shows that occurred between 1966 and 1967. The shows featured Warhol's films, dancing and performances by Factory regulars and house band The Velvet Underground.
Atmosphere’s Slug on life after death
Serial killer digs Thelonious Monk in Swedish crime novel
A totally killer schedule is in place for Albuquerque’s annual, homegrown festival of science fiction and fantasy. The theme of this year’s convention is steampunk, which we at the Alibi are crazy about [Feature, “Full Steam Ahead,” July 21-27]. There’s a costume contest on Saturday night, a discussion on “Steampunk Definitions: More Than Victorian Clothing,” a make-and-take workshop with gears, and vendors selling corsets, cloaks and all the other bits and bobs to fulfill your mechanical-wonder needs.