An interview with directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
By Devin D. O’Leary
Six years ago, music video superstars Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris took a break from making clips for Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Smashing Pumpkins and R.E.M. to direct their first feature film. That indie dramedy, titled Little Miss Sunshine, went on to gross more than $100 million at the box office and locked down four Academy Award nominations.
Once again, we’re in the middle of two sad American cycles: senseless, lethal violence and the slew of specious arguments that inevitably follow, flying hither and yon like, well, bullets that never quite hit the mark.
With the rise of the super PAC, so too have emerged watchdog groups that track spending, donors, leaders and beneficiaries. We found OpenSecrets enormously helpful in compiling this list of the big-money political groups today. But that ranking of who’s on top will shift dramatically in the coming weeks, so it’s best to keep a close eye on roster. ProPublica’s PAC track tool is also useful and easy to parse.
How Sears, Roebuck & Co. midwifed the birth of the blues
By Chris Kjorness
In the popular telling, Delta blues musicians were tragic figures, singing out for personal solace. Though romantic, this story ignores the spirit of the bluesman himself, and the commercial and technological advances of the early 1900s.
This typeface is not absurdly tough, yet its pointiness and near-illegibility lends a special aura of mystery that suggests magic, action and adventure. Find those things on Friday, Aug. 10, at the Launchpad (618 Central SW). Tenderizor, Glitter Dick, Contortionist and Drought conjure rainbows in the dark (and the like) beginning at 9:30 p.m. Admission is 21-and-over and $5. (JCC)
Top 10 things I’ve learned while watching the 2012 Summer Olympics
By Devin D. O’Leary
The Olympics are designed to instill in participants—and by extension, viewers—the principles of cooperation, team spirit, individual merit, sportsmanship, strength, bravery, tenacity, skill and international brotherhood. Most of what I absorbed from watching this year’s competition, however, involved the number of free condoms issued in Olympic Village (150,000!) and the mistaken belief that eating mass quantities of McDonald’s food will make you a great athlete. So, with the games coming to a close this weekend, I look back on all the things I learned from the XXX Summer Olympics.
The seven-film retrospective tribute to Akira Kurosawa comes to an end this Thursday night at KiMo Theatre with the master’s final period drama, 1985’s Ran. The film is an epic, majestic retelling of Shakespeare’s King Lear saga set in feudal Japan. It certainly demands to be seen on the big screen and is a great film to close out the series on. The screening will take place on Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5 to $7.
Jessica Kostelnick’s installation plays house at The Tan
By Leigh Hile
Jessica Kostelnick describes her new installation at the Tan Gallery, Living Hand to Mouth, as “ sort of like a weird Pee-Wee’s Playhouse kind of thing.” The interior—composed of mediums including furniture, sculpture and costume—does evoke a certain fun-house feel, straddling the balance between childlike playfulness and disturbing distortion.
Rob Reid is the guy who invented Rhapsody, the music streaming service thing you may have heard about. His first book, Year Zero, concerns aliens who’ve stumbled upon Earth music, which has caused their civilization to come to a complete halt because they’re so hooked.
At first glance, painter Melissa Morgan's Enter Anthropocene embraces an ethereal, flower-childlike bond between humans and nature. But that's where Cassidy Watt—owner of Metallo Gallery (2863 Hwy. 14, Madrid)—says Morgan shows her sleight of hand for subtle metaphor. "There is a celebration in the paintings because they're very beautiful and pretty," says Watt, "but I think there's also a warning there."
At a Korean superstore in Las Vegas, I watched an employee whose sole job, it seemed, was organizing a vast array of kimchee. Her domain consisted of thousands of plastic tubs of fermented fish and vegetables in various combinations, usually spicy. She darted about the immense display cases and scrutinized the tubs' arrangement, rearranging their contents like beads on a giant abacus.
The first time I drove through Las Vegas, I had no idea what lay hidden beyond the freeway exits. I remember a Chinese restaurant along the main gas/food drag, and any number of New Mexican restaurants and familiar fast foods. But I’ve since embarked down the side streets to get a closer look at what was once a boomtown. It’s a nice outing just 125 miles from Burque, through verdant hills and open grasslands.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.