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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
A food truck, like a restaurant, is a logical vehicle for a farmer to add value to his or her product. It seems like an obvious idea, but until the Skarsgard Farms’ Harvest Truck got on the road, no area farms had stepped up to that plate. Now a month into this endeavor, farm/truck owner Monte Skarsgard has a contract with UNM to sell food at the Duck Pond five days a week starting in August. He says he already has plans for a fleet of trucks.
A round of applause, please, for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which had the intelligence and good taste to award violinist Regina Carter a MacArthur Fellowship (aka “Genius Grant”). Carter used part of that substantial and unexpected windfall—the grant pays out $500,000 over five years—to fund a project that had been steeping in her imagination for years: a world music album.
It's not official, but the zombie apocalypse is upon us. Face eating is rampant. It's only a matter of time before full bodies are consumed. Since we're all gonna die, so just pass the Four Loko already and listen to Millionaires.
Never believe those who say nothing good is happening musically in Albuquerque. They have given up. Small venues and performance spaces abound, vibrating with strange sounds for a few hours nearly every day. For months, touring and local musicians have performed in a small room in the back of a house Downtown. The unassuming Moldspores has been consistently curating lineups with a loose thematic connection. With no pressure to churn out shows like a sonic grist mill, Moldspores events deliver experimental, exciting and irregular performances.
Middle Eastern farce finds inventive, if unrealistic, solution to religious strife
By Devin D. O’Leary
Somewhere, in the rocky wilds of Lebanon, lies a tiny village so isolated from neighboring communities that the residents can barely keep up on the latest trends. Cell phones don’t exist there. Reception on the village’s sole television set is spotty at best. Newspapers are a luxury item. Why, these folks aren’t even aware that Muslims and Christians are supposed to hate each other to death.
In less than a week, Albuquerque viewers will be able to satisfy their jones for the fifth and final season of “Breaking Bad.” This season’s final 16-episode story arc (which begins airing on July 15) promises to bring the dramatic story of high-school-teacher-turned-drug-kingpin Walter White to its final (perhaps fatal?) conclusion. But a certain percentage of viewers here and across the nation will be missing out on this season.
Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Warner Bros. are hosting a special, one-night-only event celebrating the 60th anniversary of the musical comedy classic Singin’ in the Rain. In addition to the digitally remastered film, there will be some exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and a making-of featurette hosted by TCM’s Robert Osborne. The event takes place Thursday, July 12, at 2 and 7 p.m. at Century 14 Downtown and Century Rio, and at 7 p.m. at Cottonwood 16. Tickets are available through Fathom Events.
SouthWest Rural Theatre Project ain’t afraid of small-town drama
By Leigh Hile
When Leslie Joy Coleman was an undergrad at New Mexico Highlands University, she had an experience that forever changed her understanding of theatergoing. Her professor arranged for buses to bring students from outlying schools to see You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. “The show was supposed to start in the dark, and the light cue would come on one of the first lines,” Coleman says. “So here we go, we’re going to start the show. Down come the house lights, and as soon as it goes completely dark, all the kids start hootin’ and hollerin’. We tried to start, but you couldn’t hear the first lines over the noise. And standing there in the dark, I thought to myself, They’ve never been exposed to this, so they don’t know.” That's when Coleman, who grew up north of Las Vegas, N.M., realized how little experience rural communities can have with theater.