Finnish filmmaker goes Gallic for sentimental silent film tribute
In a year that celebrates the closed-mouth, open-eyed history of film by handing a Best Picture nomination to Michel Hazanavicius’ silent masterpiece The Artist, it seems only appropriate that we’d get another film from Finnish writer-director Aki Kaurismäki. Throughout his distinctively oddball indie film career (Leningrad Cowboys Go America, Drifting Clouds, The Match Factory Girl, The Man Without a Past), Kaurismäki has always shown a greater kinship to the silent film technicians of yesteryear than to the media-savvy moviemakers of today. His latest effort, the alternately gritty and whimsical modern fairy tale Le Havre, plays out like a politically minded remake of Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid.
“Alcatraz” on FOX
The first thing everyone points out about FOX’s new series “Alcatraz”—and I guess I’m doing it, too—is that it’s another mysterious, island-based sci-fi series from producer J.J. Abrams (who gave us a little thing called “Lost”). Unless the guy announces he’s rebooting “Fantasy Island” next, I wouldn’t get too worked up about the man’s creative obsessions, though.
Instituto Cervantes continues its Latin American film series this week at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. On Thursday, Feb. 2, the Bank of America Theatre at the NHCC (1701 Fourth Street SW) will screen the 2005 Ecuadorian film Anytime Soon (Esas No Son Penas). It’s the story of five women from Quito, buddies as teens, who reunite to visit an ailing friend after 15 years. Think The Big Chill, but with fewer hippies and more of an accent. The film screening is free and will be presented with English subtitles. Show gets underway at 7 p.m. Get there early to guarantee a seat.
The Week in Sloth
The bastilla king is back
King’s bastilla has to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever eaten. A specialty at Kasbah, it looked like a flying saucer constructed out of phyllo dough. It was stuffed with a mix of chicken, almonds, cinnamon and eggs, then was dusted with sugar and splashed with rosewater. The flavors took off in so many ways at once I could hardly keep track of them all. I didn’t even know if I liked it, but I kept eating it.
Diego Sanchez and Carlos Condit strive to corner the UFC's Welterweight division
Art and music from the netherworld
French horn quartet fuses pop hits and classical training
New Mexico santeros and santeras on devotional folk art
In the fall, 516 ARTS put out a call for New Mexicans to submit pieces that would serve as the face of the gallery's five-year anniversary show. Nearly 300 artists responded with an eclectic range of works. 516 Executive Director Suzanne Sbarge decided to put the judging process in the hands of renowned critic Peter Frank, after they met while Frank was in town on assignment. He operates out of L.A. as associate editor of Fabrik magazine and as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Frank may not be local, but he says he has a soft spot and deep regard for art from the Southwest. He whittled down the pool of entrants to about 80 works, with each artist represented by one piece. It's the largest group show 516 has put on to date, with talent representing more than 30 cities statewide.
ALT brandishes an Agatha Christie whodunit
Scientist reflects on his psychedelic research
Albuquerque's oldest independent record store closes shop
It's true, music fans. After decades of peddling CDs, tapes, videos, DVDs, vinyl records and other merchandise, Natural Sound is going the way of Bow Wow Records (where music was “a man's best friend"). Natural Sound's last day of business is Saturday, Jan. 28.
Derek Caterwaul is a longtime promoter of local, underground culture. He’s a DJ on 89.9 KUNM FM’s “Music to Soothe the Savage Beast,” which airs Tuesday nights from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., and he has ties to the Mystery Media Free(k) box—formerly in the 200-block Cornell/Stanford alley—and now other free art boxes around town. Caterwaul is also responsible for Low Life, a DJ night at Blackbird Buvette (509 Central NW) that contains the sweet sounds of deep psych, garage, roots, post punk and punk, funk, and obscuro. On Thursday, Jan. 26, Low Life celebrates a one-year anniversary. This free, 21-and-over event includes guest DJs, free mixtapes and CDs, and video projections from Billy Da Bunny. Peer into Caterwaul’s music collection below.
Music doc turns to fans for insider info on indie band
In his first documentary, Friends (With Benefits) writer and director Gorman Bechard takes viewers through a chronological history of Minneapolis/St. Paul-based The Replacements, a post-punk quartet that once made a big splash in a small pond. Banding together in 1979, the pioneering alternative rockers lasted through the following decade almost despite themselves. Color Me Obsessed: A Film About the Replacements takes us on a trip down this musical backroad with the friends and fans who love them still serving as tour guides.
“Are You There, Chelsea?” on NBC
TV seems to have a very low opinion of us right now. Midseason replacement time is upon us, and we’re being assaulted by the likes of “Work It” (thankfully already canceled) and a sitcom starring Rob Schneider. (Seriously, what did we do to deserve that?) NBC, meanwhile, is making an all-out assault on our collective taste by pairing the execrable “Whitney” with the marginally less execrable “Are You There, Chelsea?” Both shows were no doubt generated at the roundtable of “Chelsea Lately,” the E! Network comedy chat show hosted by Chelsea Handler and frequented by Whitney Cummings.
Friends of Film, Video and Arts—the organizers of the fourth annual Laugh Out Loud Friends of Film Funny Film Festival—are looking for laughable local submissions. All works must be 15 minutes or less in length and postmarked by Monday, Jan. 30. It’s only $15 to enter the film of your choice. Winning submissions will be included in not one, but two film festivals: The LOLFFFFF (at Albuquerque’s Guild Cinema on March 31) and the Nickel Independent Film Festival in Canada (in June 2013). Cash prizes and other awards are up for grabs.
The Week in Sloth
Haruki Murakami’s puzzling, titanic saga
Brussels sprouts swing both ways
Brussels sprouts with bacon is hardly a new idea, but the combination has taken off lately. Now the pairing is a menu meme, a darling of online recipe searches and food TV. But those green brassica balls also go effortlessly and deliciously, for example, in that most vegetarian of dishes: the leafy salad.
Two restaurants reach the decade mark
It’s a crazy, mixed-up world. Here’s how to be a better person in it.
After exiting the holiday season and getting back to the regular course of your life, you’re likely looking around and thinking: Things could be better. It’s OK. You’re normal.
Another broken soldier
MMA star Gina Carano debuts in one lean, mean action machine
Must be nice to be Steven Soderbergh. After kicking off the indie film revolution of the ’90s with sex, lies, and videotape, he went on to helm mainstream hits (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven), Oscar winners (Erin Brockovich, Traffic), existential science-fiction films (Schizopolis, Solaris), micro-budget pay-per-view experiments (Bubble, The Girlfriend Experience) and even a TV series or two (“K Street,” “Unscripted”). Few, if any, filmmakers have had the freedom to build such a diverse résumé. Right now, Mr. Soderbergh could be producing and directing Ocean’s Fourteen and no one would be blinking an eye. Instead, he’s off making a low-budget, digital video action flick starring a first-time actor.
“Work It” on ABC
Is ABC’s cross-dressing sitcom “Work It” the worst TV show ever made? Several critics are suggesting so. Me, I tend to doubt it. “Cop Rock” was pretty ridiculous. “Supertrain” was a notably bad idea. “Homeboys in Outer Space” didn’t do the world any favors. I defy any modern human to hunt down and sit through an episode of “She’s the Sheriff.” And despite the fact that 542 people actually subscribe to the “Out of This World” channel on YouTube, it was a brain-meltingly awful show. ... Which isn’t to say that “Work It” doesn’t give each and every one of them a run for their money.
The Week in Sloth
But not the kind you’d imagine
The infectious vintage revisionings of Dengue Fever
Adobe Theater’s Irish-American drama is strong stuff
A Moon for the Misbegotten might just make you rethink your unhealthy obsessions. If you lust after the tortured Heathcliffs of the world (don’t we all?), it may coax you to consider putting down that penchant. If your days are a haze of drinking alone in the dark, well, maybe it’ll be the moment of clarity that finally sends you to AA ... or at least motivates you to consult an electrician.
David Guterson’s epic launches into Icarus and incest
A couple of guys sit around and shoot the shit. Sometimes it's over alcohol, coffee or food; sometimes it's in a dark room. Existential questions arise. A cloud of mystery looms heavy over the minimalist narrative. This is the theme of a lot of well-known scripts (The Seafarer, My Dinner with Andre and "The Dumb Waiter" come to mind). Another well-received guys-at-a-table piece is Derek Davidson's "Jack of Dover."
Underground dinner clubs pop up around Albuquerque
At 6 p.m., the September sun cast a rosy glow on the building across the street. I parked and my friend Mike checked the map. From the sidewalk, we saw a woman heading our way, red and white apron flapping in the wind.