Scientific progress goes boink in scary-smart documentary
By Devin D. O’Leary
Surviving Progress is a heavy-duty think piece of a documentary based on Ronald Wright’s best seller A Short History of Progress. Co-directed and co-written by Mathieu Roy (François Girard en Trois Actes) and Harold Crooks (The Corporation), the film tries to tackle some giant-sized issues regarding humanity, progress and the very future integrity of our civilization.
Guns, drug cartels, federal agents and the apocalypse collide in a Deming firearms store
By Margaret Wright
It was an overcast winter day when Mexican President Felipe Calderón stood at the main international crossing in Ciudad Juárez and unveiled a massive sign aimed at the U.S. side of the border. It made for a dramatic photo opportunity. A white sheet billowed behind billboard-sized letters fashioned from the twisted remains of guns that Calderón said were confiscated by law enforcement. They spelled out the words “No More Weapons.”
It came as no surprise to learn that, mere weeks after getting fired from the top-rated “Two and a Half Men” for his easily demonstrable bad behavior, Charlie Sheen landed another sitcom at a rival network. If there’s one thing today’s pop cultural landscape rewards, time and again, it’s bad behavior. Another thing that it rewards: mediocrity.
Our neighbors to the south in El Paso are once again firing up the projectors at the historic Plaza Theatre for the Plaza Classic Film Festival. This year’s fifth annual fest takes place Aug. 2 through 12 and will feature a bevy of modern and classic Hollywood films. Organizers have really bumped up the star power this year as well. The guest of honor is no less than Al Pacino! The Oscar-winning actor will participate in a one-night-only Q & A detailing his illustrious career. The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $65 to $125. Other fantastic guests include Mary Badham (To Kill a Mockingbird), Eva Marie Saint (North By Northwest, On the Waterfront) and Tippi Hedren (The Birds, Marnie). Among the individual films being screened are 1958’s A Night To Remember, 1951’s An American in Paris, 1998’s The Big Lebowski, 1942’s Casablanca, 2001’s Donnie Darko, 1933’s Duck Soup, 1982’s E.T. The Extraterrestrial, 1966’s The Endless Summer, 1954’s Godzilla, 1994’s Pulp Fiction and 1973’s The Sting. Believe me when I say there’s something for everyone here. The festival is even hosting the “re-premiere” of a newly restored print of 1966’s infamous Z-grade horror flick Manos, The Hands of Fate (which was shot in El Paso). The list of films is simply enormous. Check it out the lineup for yourself. Individual tickets are up for grabs at the box office and all-fest passes are available. Special hotel rates can be found next door at the Camino Real Hotel, if you wanna make a weekend out of it.
The 23 year-old Chicharroneria Orozco has for years inhabited a drafty adobe on Isleta. But this summer it set up shop in new digs on the north side of Bridge, just west of the river, in the same building that the underwhelming Siete Mares used to occupy.
The Albuquerque Northeast Farmers' & Artisans' Market is nearing the halfway mark on its third season. You'll find it across Wyoming from Whole Foods on the Albuquerque Academy campus on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 7 p.m. The vendors sell a balance of raw produce, meat and prepared food options, as well as gourmet dog food, pottery, skin care products, baby clothes, and other folksy crafts.
The Roost perches at the Outpost for its fourth season
By Mel Minter
Hydrophonium: a tuned jar of water fitted with a submerged microphone. Described by its inventor, Danishta Rivero of Voicehandler, as an “electroacoustic percussion instrument,” this unusual device can be played in a number of ways. For example, it can be struck with a mallet, or bubbles can be blown into it through a straw. The resultant sounds are then processed through a variety of electronic effects.
Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale is a fascinating yet problematic play. But director Paul Ford boldly tackles its challenges in The Vortex’s final installment of Will Power, the theater’s annual summer Shakespeare festival.
Media Literacy Project’s one-night extravaganza keeps the line open for inmates
By Christie Chisholm
Rusita Avila says she knows a simple way to keep people out of prison: Let them talk on the phone. This is one of the issues Avila and her organization hope to bring attention to on Saturday, Aug. 4, with a parade, theatrical performances, film, live music and poetry.
If you’re on any kind of schedule, you should probably avoid Ben Michael’s restaurant on even a half-busy evening. The slow-moving spectacle that often passes for service will be frustrating if there’s some other place you need to be. But if you aren’t in a hurry, that same chaos could pass as entertainment. And if you show up during a quiet lunch hour and you’re the only one there, expect to be treated like royalty.
In his classic 1979 tome Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste, French thinker Pierre Bourdieu created a diagram of foods as they relate to class and education. For example, by Bourdieu’s calculation, those with cultural wealth enjoyed recherché and the exotic while those with less of it preferred apéritifs and pâtisserie. He argued that taste itself, as related to consumer preferences, is a form of social positioning.
Here are the four guitars given as examples on The Rock Space graph: An early ’50s Gibson Les Paul (created by Lester William Polsfuss, inventor to the solid-body electric guitar), a Paul Reed Smith (created in the ’70s, first played for an audience by a Ted Nugent band guitarist), an Ibanez (made by a Japanese company that first started producing guitars in the late ’30s), and a Danelectro (budget guitars produced between the mid-’50s and late ’90s—a handful are still made each year). Can you guess which is which?
Patrik FK is the lead vocalist and guitarist for venerable L.A. death rock band Kommunity FK. He also heads up local hexabilly punk band Texylvania. That act—which, full disclosure, includes the husband of yours truly—will be performing on Saturday in observance of Sanctuary Above the Crypt’sBetter Off Than Dead Graveyard Bash. The one-year anniversary party for the monthly convening of goths also involves live music by industrial/coldwave band Diverje, suspension and dark arts performances, and a bevy of DJs. Black-and-white attire and creative makeup are requested ... so, you know, leave your tie-dye at home.
ALT’s lusty teen musical is uncoordinated yet awesome—kinda like your first time
By Leigh Hile
Take a late-19th century German play about school children. Adapt it as a rock musical with a score by a ’90s folk-rock one-hit wonder. Mix generously with explicit themes of adolescent sexuality, and the result is going to to be highly unorthodox.
One of the most beautiful hikes in the world is only nine hours away
By Elizabeth W. Hughes
Sometimes it was hard for the Alibi’s travel writer to keep moving because she just wanted to sit there and take it all in. But there were 30 pounds on her back, miles of stream to wade through and only so much daylight.
There are so many ways to begin this, it’s not even funny. I’ll start, then, by saying this is a movie review. Nothing more. It is certainly not a cultural critique of gun control, gun rights, mental illness, violence in modern media or anything else that—at this point in time—would be little more than knee-jerk reactionary and woefully underinformed. Are you cool with that? Then let’s move on.
The first point that needs to be made about “Alien Surf Girls” is that it is a thing. It’s real. It definitely exists and is not something I hallucinated late one night while hopped up on insomnia and Fiddle Faddle. The second point that needs to be made is that it’s totally serious. The third is that it’s totally Australian—which may serve as some sort of excuse/explanation.
The ’80s are back in a big way, and this Friday night, you’ll get to choose from one of four hallmark films of the era screening in and around Albuquerque. For starters, Alibi Midnight Movie Madness returns to the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill for the ongoing “30th anniversary of the Summer of 1982” celebration (the greatest summer in the history of movies). This time, we’re bringing you the sci-fi goodness of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. In addition to the film, there will be cool door prizes courtesy of Stranger Factory and Bubonicon. The film starts at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, July 27 and 28. Tickets are $8 adults, $6 students and seniors.
Swampy survival tale serves up a gumbo of the real and the fantastical
By Devin D. O’Leary
Riding high on a wave of film fest bonhomie (it snagged the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance and four awards at this years’ Cannes), Beasts of the Southern Wild is one of those wildly creative, fiercely independent, proudly idiosyncratic films that will be regarded as little more than a curiosity in the harsh light of the American cineplex. That’s a shame, really.
Southwest farms bite the dust as “megadrought” becomes the new normal
By Ari LeVaux
In a dirt parking lot near Many Farms, Ariz., a Navajo farmer sold me a mutton burrito. He hasn't used his tractor in two years, he told me, and he’s cooking instead of farming because "there isn't any water." He pointed east at the Chuska mountain range, which straddles the New Mexico border. In a normal year, water coming off the mountains reaches his fields, he said.
Gov. Susana Martinez is not being held accountable for much of what has happened on her watch. Until reporters begin to dig into the consequences of her policy initiatives, the public will continue to hold her in high regard.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, held power in Mexico from 1929 to 2000, using strategies of intimidation, corruption and outright voter fraud to maintain its position as the country's leader. After the opposition party PAN took the presidency in 2000, the PRI became known as "the dinosaurs," representing the antiquated, undemocratic system of the past.
Denver is a big city with the easy-going personality of the mountain states. While it’s not much bigger than Albuquerque in square miles, it’s denser in population and infrastructure. The city is a warren of neighborhoods with names like Capitol Hill, LoDo and Cherry Creek, and I’ve watched them mature over 30-odd years of visiting friends and relatives there.
A major question that locavores have yet to answer satisfactorily, according to the book The Locavore's Dilemma: In Praise of the 10,000-Mile Diet: "If our modern food system is so bad for us, why do we now enjoy dramatically longer and healthier lives than our ancestors?"
Television has a long history of hanging out in neighborhood bars. Those watering holes have ranged from the cheerful (“Cheers”) to the skeevy (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”). TBS’ newest workplace sitcom, “Sullivan & Son,” plops us down somewhere in the middle.
An incredible 53 teams of hardworking filmmakers spent the weekend running around Albuquerque feverishly trying to complete their short films for the annual 48 Hour Film Project. It’s all over now but the crying.
Baritone sax player and Dirty Dozen Brass Band founding member Roger Lewis has made a 35-year career out of making the New Orleans brass band tradition vibrate at a different level. His group brought club music—bebop, swing and blues, that is—to streets previously filled with repertoires of hymns and proto-jazz, essentially modernizing the brass band.
Partake in dark, synthesized rock action with Mrdrbrd, Witchbird, Between the Lines and Geophage at Boro Gallery (Downtown at 317 Gold SW) on Friday, July 20. Admission is by donation. Festivities begin around 7:43 p.m. (JCC)
The walls ooze with sex, bleeding hearts, birds of prey, snakes and skulls. This is the patchwork visual assemblage—comprised of more than 150 pieces by 20-plus artists—that's transformed Downtown's Boro Gallery into a mind-bending hall of tattoo culture.
Desert Rose’s Durang series struggles to pin down a prickly playwright
By Leigh Hile
There are certain playwrights whose brilliance is transcendent. When it comes to staging one of their plays, the selection, venue or even language doesn’t matter. Factors like the director, artistry of the set design or budget size—these may change or even heighten the experience, but no matter the circumstances, the power of the play will shine through. Christopher Durang is not one of these playwrights.