Ruby’s Tortilleria is a small hut in the corner of a large gravel parking lot on Camino del Pueblo in Bernalillo. Residing inside that building is a feeling you'll find in small towns up and down the Rio Grande. You're in the heart of New Mexico but completely south of the border in spirit. If the phone cards, paletas and corrido CDs don't give it away, the green tomatillo salsa should. And on weekends, Ruby's turns the experience up a notch with juicy Mexican barbacoa.
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For all of the polluting industries that have thrived here since the Manhattan Project, New Mexico is also teeming with citizen environmental activists. These are people who in their free time—after work, after the kids are asleep—pore over reams of documents, learn about bureaucratic processes and permits, and put up a fight on behalf of their neighbors. They study, they attend meetings, they write letters, they become experts on industry and its effects. Here are a few of their stories.
There are two Superfund sites and a high concentration of heavy industry in the area where Esther Abeyta’s family has lived for three generations. Her home is on land her grandmother bought for $90 and two chickens. And as the San Jose Neighborhood Association president, she’s determined to stay ahead of health and environmental issues.
A longtime resident of the South Valley who helped start the Mountain View Neighborhood Association 30 years ago, President Angela West is well-versed in the ups and downs of the community she calls home. She says she’s also proud that her association protects the future while staying rooted in the past.
Barbara Rockwell and her husband David fulfilled a dream when they moved to the southern end of the Village of Corrales and started building their home. “Corrales in 1977 was a rural village farming alfalfa, apples, corn and chile,” she says. But it was slowly becoming a bedroom suburb of Albuquerque, she adds. “There was no Intel on the western horizon, just the flowing line of the mesa and open fields of grass,” Rockwell says in an email interview. “Above all, there was the fresh, sweet air.”
Before germ theory and the sanitary practices that resulted, doctors were mystified about the role of microorganisms in infection and death. The idea of hand-washing was controversial. Surgical procedures were performed in unseen filth.
An interview with Pete Domenici Jr., attorney for industry
By Carolyn Carlson
For Domenici Jr., it's a question of balance: "You start with the premise that the reality is that human beings will affect their environment when resources are developed," he says. "So as a society we have to figure out ways to protect the environment while allowing population growth and economic growth to occur."
During the year I served as a rifle platoon leader with the 5th Battalion 87th Infantry Regiment, we had the distinction of being the only jungle battalion in the Army and the only infantry unit in the Army’s Southern Command.
Dems call out the mayor for criticizing them in the press
By Carolyn Carlson
Councilors Ken Sanchez, Debbie O’Malley, Isaac Benton and Rey Garduño said Mayor Richard Berry should talk to them if he has something to say, not go running to the media to send them a message. “I am tired of trying to talk to Mayor Berry over newsprint and airwaves,” Garduño said at the Monday, April 16 meeting.
Pianist brings modern touch to a centuries-old classic
By Sam Adams
Most kids don't relish the thought of spending their entire Saturday glued to a piano bench. (It sounds like cruel, Victorian child torture if you ask me.) But that wasn't the case for Lara Downes, who grew up in San Francisco and began playing regularly at the age of 3. "I didn't know there was anything different," says Downes. "I always loved it, I never really wanted to do anything else."
Ted Heller’s poker “memoir” calls the literary world’s bluff
By Sam Adams
Written in the style of a memoir, Ted Heller’s Pocket Kings succeeds in creating one of the most wholly dislikable and irritating protagonists in recent fiction. It also paints a dark picture of gambling addiction and provides some hilarious criticism on the modern novel-writing landscape.
If you've read one book in Spanish, chances are it's Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. The classic account of delusional heroism is taught in high schools around the country, and it’s many a Spanish-as-a-second-language student's gateway into literary art set to a foreign tongue.
Lyrical, lethargic flashback about broken hearts finds beauty in the bittersweet
By Devin D. O’Leary
Perhaps it’s the surreal, often science-fictional edge. Perhaps it’s the Kafkaesque clash of reality and fantasy. Perhaps it’s the gloomy exploration of trauma and loss. For whatever reason, few filmmakers have attempted to tackle the fantastical fiction of popular Japanese author Haruki Murakami (Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles, IQ84). In 1981, Japanese director Kazuki Omori adapted Murakami’s first novel, Hear the Wind Sing. Jun Ichikawa took on the short story “Tony Takitani” in 2004. The majority of Murakami’s work, however, remains untouched, possibly un-adaptable and firmly anchored to the page.
As Lena Dunham’s aspiring writer in “Girls” says, “I want to be the voice of my generation. ... Or a voice ... of a generation.” Dunham, who made her debut as the self-depricating 23-year-old writer-director-star of the indie dramedy Tiny Furniture, is certainly shaping up to be just that. Remarkably, she’s been able to parlay her award-winning feature into a gig writing, directing, producing and starring in a series for envelope-pushing HBO.
Water is an important issue to New Mexicans. A number of recent documentaries have focused specifically on the use and misuse of water in the region. Those sorts of filmmakers might want to take note of the 2012 Intelligent Use of Water Film Competition. This marks the fifth year for the conservation-minded fest. The competition is open to all narrative, documentary, animated, experimental and/or student-made short films. All, of course, are expected to highlight the importance of water conservation. Filmmakers who submit via the competition website will have their work judged by a panel made up of film and water experts. Finalists could win a trip to Los Angeles, where they will be guests at a formal screening event hosted by wildlife expert Jack Hanna. (Not too shabby.) Finalists will also participate in a post-screening roundtable discussion. In the end, two winners will be chosen. The Jury Award winner gets $10,000. The Audience Award winner gets $5,000. The final screening will take place Oct. 17 at L.A.’s Paley Center for Media. You have until Aug. 15 to submit you short (10 minutes or under) videos. Turn off that hose and turn on that camera.
Americana is the new punk rock. Like the early ’80s when any yob with a snarl and electric guitar called themselves punk, anyone today that has a thrift store banjo and name drops the Carter Family thinks they are folk musicians, deserving of serious listening and dollar-per-song downloads. Wrong.
At a concert this Friday evening at the South Broadway Cultural Center, Blaine Sprouse, Peter Feldmann and Wayne Shrubsall will explore the origins of bluegrass, a genre that hasn’t been around that long, but that’s deeply linked to the ancient, weird, anonymous music sometimes called folk. The idea behind the show is to explore how old-time traditional music from Appalachia, along with elements from gospel and jazz, evolved into the musical form pioneered by Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys in the mid-’40s.
When she started working on her new album, Green, vocalist and activist Barbara Bentree just wanted to do an album of songs she loves. Then, while considering the purchase of a hybrid auto, she began to ruminate on the effort required to go green—from separating your trash to retrofitting a house with solar panels. Suddenly, Kermit’s song “Bein’ Green” took on new meaning, and Bentree decided to “look at traditional songs through an environmental lens.” With a lovely, clear, well-pitched voice that has a charming girlishness in the upper registers and a pleasing touch of sweetness throughout, Bentree walks a line between wonder and warning. With pop, jazz, Brazilian and new age touches in sterling arrangements by John Rangel, who appears on piano and synth, the nine tracks feature fine work by Marcos Cavalcante (guitar) and Joel Fadness (drums). Drummer Dave Libman guests on “The Planet Song,” an intriguing anthem by Wen Mull that’s full of synth magic. The album—nominated for six New Mexico Music Awards—entertains while raising awareness, with all revenues from CD sales going to the Natural Resources Defense Council, PETA, GreenPeace, the Sierra Club and Bioneers. The album release concert, appropriately scheduled for Earth Day, will feature Rangel, Cavalcante and Fadness, along with the Rio Grande School choir.
Acid King, SuperGiant, Anesthesia, Shadow and Ash, Torture Victim, Skulldron, The Conjuring, and Jah Branch converge at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Saturday, April 21. The all-ages, metal-heavy fest—hosted by Burque smoke shop / tattoo and piercing salon / gift emporium The Zone—starts at 6 p.m. Tenderizor joins in for a 21-and-over after-show. Tickets are $10. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Indonesian action flick cranks the martial arts genre up to 11
By Devin D. O’Leary
The Republic of Indonesia leaps, feet first, into the Asian action film biz with the absolutely insane export The Raid: Redemption. The filmmakers take a bit of Die Hard, a bunch of New Jack City and toss them both into a stewpot filled with kerosene. Then somebody drops a match. The result is, to quote every Facebook post these days: “Wow. Just ... wow.”
¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano talks taco shop with the Alibi’s restaurant critic
By Ari LeVaux
The Mexican will be in Burque to sign copies of his new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, at an outdoor Alibi fiesta on Wednesday, April 18, at El Pinto. Here, we catch up with Gustavo Arellano to get the skinny—if there is such a thing—on Mexican food in America.
Rick Reichman will conduct another one of his patented free screenwriting workshops on Thursday, April 12. The event will take place from 7 to 8:15 p.m. at Bookworks (4022 Rio Grande NW). Participants will get a crash course in how to script gripping film scenes. Reichman is the author of 20 Things You Must Know to Write a Great Screenplay and Formatting Your Screenplay. For more information, contact Bookworks at 344-8139 or Mr. Reichman at 984-2927.
The Alibi is honored to have the legendary Al Hurricane playing at the ¡Taco USA Party! on Wednesday. If you’re not familiar with el hombre, get to know him from facts compiled with the help of Al Hurricane Jr.
Albuquerque’s L.M. Dupli-cation reissues John Jacob Niles’ iconic home recordings
By Mel Minter
The voice—reedy, urgent, ethereal and strong—summons centuries of memory and suspends time in the space of a song. Love, jealousy, longing, fear and remorse take on an almost physical presence, and fabled characters first conjured in song ages ago, in hovels choked with peat smoke, crowd the imagination.
As countless sci-fi flicks illustrate, messing with the space-time continuum often leaves a traveler in a place they don't recognize as their desired destination. The Time Machine, Shoulder Voices' fourth full-length album, was catalyzed by Little Bobby Tucker's desire to move past a decade-old heartache.
Young folks who have a way with words can have their way with the mic on Saturday, April 14, at Warehouse 508 (508 First Street NW). Admission to witness this lyrical competition is $5, or $8 for two, while it’s $10 to get into the battle. Winners earn a $300 cash prize. Festivities commence at 5 p.m. Call 410-2938 for more info. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Doctors seek clarity in New Mexico's assisted suicide law
By Marisa Demarco
The statute on the books makes it a fourth-degree felony to help someone take his or her life. A lawsuit brought by two doctors argues that the law doesn't apply to a licensed physician providing aid to a dying person who's mentally competent.
The Broncos’ budding wideout talks game time, overtime and Tebow time
By Adam Fox
Eleven seconds and 80 yards later, a perfectly threaded pass from Tim Tebow completed the shortest OT period in National Football League history. It also thrust 24-year-old Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas into the sporting spotlight with his swift sprint to the orange- and blue-shaded end zone.
UNM fest lights up the stage with two weeks of performances
By Christie Chisholm
Words Afire! presents a rare opportunity. Audiences not only glimpse budding works from the next generation of playwrights but, in a way, also have an impact on their evolution. The festival kicks off this weekend at UNM’s Theatre X.
To properly honor Gustavo Arellano’s visit to Albuquerque and his new book, Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America, there was really only one option: an upscale tequila bar that serves gringo tacos, chips and salsa, and leafy salads.
I mean, what better way to pay tribute to Señor ¡Ask a Mexican! himself than getting buzzed on organic mescal in a place named after the Arellano family's home state, Zacatecas?
The “farm to table” movement—or “field to fork,” or “farm to plate,” and so on—has been gaining traction in every corner of the country, and Albuquerque’s newest member of this growing club didn’t mince words when deciding on its name. After a long winter of teasing us via its Facebook page, Farm & Table finally opened on Fourth Street between Paseo and Alameda. The setting is gorgeous, inside and out. The food walks the walk and is reasonably priced for what you get. And the chef, Ka’ainoa Ravey, is a freaking genius.
It took tens of thousands of votes from our readers to determine the things that reign supreme in Burque. Read about why you adore Lynette, what nightlife spots take top honors and why Mayor Berry is both the most loved and hated politico in the Duke City.
With a name like Glitter Dick, a band isn’t likely to get much commercial airplay. However, as Albuquerque’s newest glam-trash group, Glitter Dick is on everyone’s lips. Figuratively speaking, of course.
As Tiny Victim, Justin Mitschelen employs a keyboard, effects rack, oscillator, drum machine and three reverb tanks. Mitschelen hesitates to categorize his output. “It really spans a lot of styles,” he says.
On Saturday, April 7, the 2bers shares its fourth studio album, DIG, with the world, but it’s not merely a release party. The hip-hop duo—BlesInfinite (Luke Hale) and Eph’Sharpe (Collin Troy)—has been a Burque mainstay since its creation in 1999. With DIG the songwriters/MCs/producers wanted to mark the occasion with something beyond the typical celebratory function.
Across the Midwest, New England and Canada, high-temperature records are being broken by the thousands—3,125 between March 12 and 18 alone. Meteorologists are scrambling to find anything comparable to weather that has been dubbed “summer in March.” Two days before the official end of winter, temperatures of 94° were recorded in South Dakota.
Visually quirky French drama finds love, humor and drama in a child’s battle for life
By Devin D. O’Leary
A young mother holds her son’s hand as he’s fed into an MRI machine. The camera zooms in on her eye. As the mournful orb begins to fill the screen, the image is intercut with shots of a loud house party. The mother, even younger, hangs out in a crowded living room—a beer in her hand, raucous punk rock blaring around her. You wouldn’t think a despondent drama about a terminally ill child would be an excuse to make with the visual razzle-dazzle. But writer-director-actress Valérie Donzelli takes a number of unexpected paths with her involving feature, Declaration of War.
It must be hard filling 24 hours a day, seven days a week with a particular type of programming. Which is probably why Syfy Channel hardly has any science fiction on it anymore. And when you try your damnedest to stick to a limited topic, you’re bound to come up with some pretty odd iterations on the theme. Which is why, I suspect, “Sweet Genius” exists on the Food Network.
Green the Scene: A Practical Guide to Sustainable Film Production is a three-hour workshop designed to teach filmmakers how to shoot a movie without harming the environment. Everything from energy management to environmentally friendly set construction will be discussed in this practical “how to” session. The free class is being taught by Holly Roach, a local location manager and founder of Green Production Resource, and Lauren Selman of Reel Green Media. Combined, these ladies have worked on more than 20 “green” films. Their workshop will be held at the Center for Progress and Justice in Santa Fe (1420 Cerrillos) on Saturday, April 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. Space is limited. To sign up, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
City documents massive collection of public works with mobile app
By Blake Driver
You’re waiting for your hair appointment at a Downtown salon, and as usual, you’re staring at your iPhone. You open the Museum Without Walls application you just downloaded and hit the “search using current location” button. A list of nearby works of public art pops up, and your heart flutters.
Meta play evokes savagery in Adobe’s Is Life Worth Living?
By Christie Chisholm
The sleepy Irish town of Inish suddenly bursts with the grotesque. Where hotel clerks and housewives once salivated at the thought of a scandal for the simple fact that they had never witnessed one, the streets are rampaged with suicide pacts, attempted murder and the unearthing of old wounds.