Every April for nearly three decades, the Gathering of Nations has brought indigenous groups from around the continent to Albuquerque to celebrate Native culture and traditions. The powwow, which claims the title of North America’s largest, is three days of music, dance, markets, food and cross-culturalism.
The Tribute Trio—John Rangel (piano), Michael Glynn (bass) and Cal Haines (drums)—paid homage to iconic jazz pianists/composers in a series of monthly concerts from May 2010 to April 2011. Each focused on a particular pianist—except for the last. That final concert celebrated the release of the trio’s first album, Dedications, Vol. 1, which featured original compositions inspired by some of the pianists they’d been exploring. This week, they release Dedications, Vol. 2, with original compositions that find their inspiration across a wider landscape. On Vol. 2, the trio unhooks itself from specific pianists’ styles and explores its own identity with greater freedom. The high point comes in a tender homage to the trio’s artistic director, Victoria Rogers. Written by Rangel, the composition walks a line between jazz and classical terrains, offering an unguarded musical expression of gratitude that’s full of endearing quirks à la Satie (and à la Rogers). What the new release says more than anything is that the trio is its own man, with compositional skills and musicianship worthy of wider attention. You can catch an earful at the album release concert, where the CD will be available for a discounted price.
Music is a way to search for love and meaning, an avenue for people to plunge deep into their soul for an understanding of themselves and their world. “Weird Al” Yankovic knows our deepest part may be the stomach. For more than 35 years Weird Al has skewered popular culture and given us songs of food, animals and various absurdia. And on April 30, Weird Al brings his accordion and to-die-for hair to the Kiva Auditorium.
Styrofoam Sanchez, Hora Flora, The Jeebies, Kayfabe Quartet and Javelina coalesce into big bleepy, noisy, jazzy show. Happens on Monday, April 30, at 8:30 p.m. at the Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE). Admission is $5 and all-ages. (Jessica Cassyle Carr)
Duke City and Big Apple tag-team for scintillating show
Black Market Goods resurfaces for Gathering of Nations with eclectic bash
The flyer for Josh Jones' Injunuity art show depicts a head-dressed Native American cartoon character gleefully gassing an undersized hotrod beneath the tagline "Start your Injuns!" A throwback to the comically bizarre work of Ed Roth and R. Crumb, the illustration is indicative of the unhinged spirit of the event Jones has been assembling for four years during Gathering of Nations.
Sometimes when you think big, you have to think small. No, that's not a quote from Yogi Berra. It's the formula gallerist Cassidy Watt employed to curate In Microscale, a show of 150-odd pieces from about 45 artists, now in its second annual iteration at Metallo Gallery in Madrid. The criteria: create pieces of art that, if 2D, have a surface area of no more than 36 square inches. "I didn't want to tie the artists’ hands behind their backs. You could do a 1-by-36 if you wanted to," he says. If the work is 3D, well, just keep it small.
The aftermath of the NY Times horse-racing exposé
The thing that hooked Debbie Coburn into nonprofit horse care: a 50,000-horse-long pee line. That’s the odd name for a controversial practice. Coburn explains that pregnant mares excrete a hormone in their urine that can be readily absorbed by humans. “There are pharmaceutical companies who buy the urine from farmers who collect it,” she says. The companies extract the hormone from PMU (pregnant mare urine) and put it in hormone replacement therapy drugs.
Got you under my skin
New Jason Segel rom-com is happily married to the same-old, same-old
Romantic comedies about weddings are the cinematic equivalent of reality shows about wedding planners. They probably reach the exact same audience and involve about the same amount of creative effort. (“Eh, people watch those things. Let’s just make another one of those.”) The Five-Year Engagement has the benefit of a solid cast and a credible bunch of people behind the camera. But it’s still a lazy cut-and-paste job, combining elements of every nuptial-based rom-com since Four Weddings and a Funeral.
1-2-3-4 ... What are we fighting for?
This year, Albuquerque Pride is adding a new component—a cinematic one. The newly minted PrideFilm Festival is designed to promote the film industry and Albuquerque’s LGBT community at the same time. PrideFilm is on the hunt for folks who are eager to get behind the camera. You’ll have the entire month of May to create a five-minute masterpiece under the guidance of professional mentors from IATSE 480. Films will screen during the PrideFilm Festival on June 30. Entry fee is $50, and that includes one ticket to Albuquerque PrideFest. It also entitles you to a 50 percent discount on rental equipment at Serious Grippage. Details are still emerging, but if you’re interested in jumping on board, be sure and keep track on Facebook.
The Week in Sloth
Burgers from scratch
Now seems like a good time to point out how easy it is to grind your own burger in the food processor. Grill season is starting, pink slime is everywhere and, for once, wouldn't it be nice to have a burger that isn't basically mystery meat? While most households don't have meat grinders, your old La Machine or Cuisinart can get it done like a champ.
Indiegrass songstress Sage Harrington
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.
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.”
Greg Mello and Trish Williams-Mello have made standing up to the nuclear industry a way of life.
V.B. Price on the state’s toxic legacy
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.
Lyrical, lethargic flashback about broken hearts finds beauty in the bittersweet
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.
“Girls” on HBO
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.
The Week in Sloth
An interview with Pete Domenici Jr., attorney for industry
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.
1) Paper soaked in what was nearly smuggled into a New Mexico prison?
Dems call out the mayor for criticizing them in the press
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.
The roots of bluegrass
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)
Pianist brings modern touch to a centuries-old classic
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
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.
¡Ask a Mexican! columnist Gustavo Arellano talks taco shop with the Alibi’s restaurant critic
Indonesian action flick cranks the martial arts genre up to 11
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.”
Tidbits from around the dial
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 Week in Sloth
New Mexico state treasure Al Hurricane
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
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
The Broncos’ budding wideout talks game time, overtime and Tebow time
UNM fest lights up the stage with two weeks of performances
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?