On Saturday night the bell on my landline went off and damn it all if it weren't the Sailor, ringing me up to hear more about Duke Ellington and his way with the piano.
"Come on over, August," he breathed gruffly and grandly into the handset, "and show me again how those first 16 bars go, because I have an idea on how to fit a harmonica over that bit, plus which I believe I can lay a fine shuffle under that storm and so we will be on our way to being a fine jazz band, after all."
I'd already had a couple of drinks of Wild Turkey by that time though and told him I didn't fancy driving through the student ghetto just to lay down some clumsy riffs on his Yamaha upright, but he disagreed.
"Go on and walk over then, Mr. March and I will mix you up a creme soda with Jameson's in the bottom of the glass."
I could not resist and so spent the next 3 hours rambling through "East Saint Louis Toodle-oo" while the rest of the boys followed along blithely. My wife called about 10 and told me I better get on home if I wanted any spaghetti. "Who could resist that," I told the Sailor as I dropped my charts onto his desk, grabbed my cane and ambled toward the door. I flashed him the peace sign and said I'd see him Tuesday for practice.
That was the last time I saw the man folks here in Dirt City called by a nautical name.
I'd known him since I was a kid, and him being 20 years my senior did stop us becoming fast friends. He was part brother and part father; we hiked, smoked, drank, jammed and regaled each other with stories of where the other had been on the Earth.
He was the only man I knew that had seen more of the planet than me. I'd been on all the continents, excepting Antarctica; his tale of seeing the Ross Ice Shelf rise up on the horizon set my brain on fire and besides that we always had a laugh about the after-midnight goings on in Singapore, the lights of the north star and the aurora way up north or how it was impossible to understand the dialect of the Peruvian seamen who landed in Guayaquil looking for a good time.
When he broke his hip late last year, my wife and I sat with him at the hospital, brought him dinner from Los Cuates on the weekends and made sure his walker was ready to go when he was. The pain was bad he told us, but nothing like the time he got burned putting out a fire on an oiler outside of Osaka.
Just last week, we spent an afternoon listening to the Rolling Stones new album, a blues thing. And I complained that Charlie Watts was about an eighth note behind Keith Richards when it counted but he said to take it easy because we were all getting old.
On Tuesday morning the bell on my cell phone went off and god damn it to hell, it was the Sailor's neighbor who was weeping on the line when I answered and then told me the news.
"Mike got up early this morning, put a note on the door, then went back to his place and shot himself."
I went home early that day. I sat at my piano and played until my hands hurt, thinking about the time the Sailor told me how Polaris was possibly the center of the universe—blinking timelessly, brightly while the rest of the sky rolled and spun chaotically around and around.
It's not a myth! All Disney Pixar films are connected.
After Donald Trump approached Chelsea Handler to introduce himself, she responded, “Great.” Hero.
After three consecutive years of increasing temperatures, 2016 was the hottest yet.
The Supreme Court is taking on a case regarding free speech and trademarks from a band called The Slants.
There was a bomb threat at Manzano Day School this morning.
By the way, here's some dope noise that no one knows.
From Billy the Kid to Breaking Bad, movies and television have portrayed and marketed our state into the present day. Over the past decade, film production in New Mexico has enjoyed a renaissance thanks to state incentives. However, film has long been a part of New Mexico's landscape, and the state's landscape and people have often been featured in film.
Curated by Dr. Paul A. Hutton, professor of history at the University of New Mexico, Hollywood Southwest: New Mexico in Film and Television features three elements of New Mexico's film history: the state as a location, the state as a subject and the state's people as subjects.
"It's essentially Hollywood Southwest," says Hutton, a self-described addicted collector of film memorabilia. "We're highlighting New Mexico as a center for filmmaking from [silent film star] D.W. Griffith onward, and the locations that are so prevalent. We'll show why New Mexico is so great for filmmaking, from the landscape to the light to the weather. We're also highlighting films about New Mexicans, such as Billy the Kid. I love the idea of two really bad hombres and what they say about New Mexico. And yes, I'm talking about Breaking Bad, too."
Hutton has been involved in film, and the history of film, for most of his career.
Also working closely on this project is Dr. Jason Strykowski, who has worked on many films and TV series, and has been instrumental in acquiring some of the artifacts for the exhibition. Costumes from The Avengers and The Lone Ranger came from Strykowski's connection to both films.
The exhibit design takes visitors behind the scenes on a film set. Plans include creating a green-screen experience for kids to explore what it feels like to be on a set. The original 1920s projection unit from the KiMo Theatre will also be on display.
Other artifacts will include movie posters, movie clips, plus other pop-culture tie-ins, such as toys and promotional items. Hutton notes that some of the historical items they hoped to include from early films such as artifacts from such classics as Lonely are the Brave, based on Edward Abbey's classic second novel The Brave Cowboy, don't exist. "One of the challenges we've had is finding the material and convincing people to lend it to us," Hutton says. "The film industry has been a throw-away industry."
An educational element of the exhibition focuses on film production as an industry in New Mexico. Hutton and Strykowski have worked with state and city film offices to highlight some of the jobs, such as grip, gaffer and craft services - and New Mexicans that do those jobs - to illustrate how the industry is a local economic driver. "We're trying to explain why New Mexico is and always has been an attractive place for filmmakers," Hutton says. "We want to have fun with this, get people excited, wow them, and appeal to young and old alike. After all, everyone loves the movies."
This schedule subject to change. Visit cabq.gov/museum for current information.
Saturday, Feb. 25, 1-3pm.
Public Opening: Hollywood Southwest
At 1 p.m. guest curator Paul Hutton discusses the history of film in New Mexico. Create art inspired by the exhibition in the Museum School from 1-3pm.
Thursday, March 16, 5-8:30pm.
Women in Film: 3rd Thursday at Albuquerque Museum
Screenings and panel discussions exploring the role of women in film.
Thursday, April 20, 5-8:30pm.
Wild West: 3rd Thursday at Albuquerque Museum
Explore the myth and enduring legacy of the western in the New Mexico.
Saturday, April 29, 3-5pm.
Climb aboard a completely-custom, uniquely-
Thursday, May 18, 5-8:30pm.
Indie Film Night: 3rd Thursday at Albuquerque Museum
This evening features short films and discussions from independent filmmakers.
Thursday, June 15, 5-8:30pm.
Family Night: 3rd Thursday at Albuquerque Museum
Enjoy family friendly activities exploring film in New Mexico.
Saturday, July 8, 10am-2pm.
Made in Native America
This day features screenings and discussions with Native American filmmakers from New Mexico.
Thursday, July 20, 5-8:30pm.
Page to Screen: 3rd Thursday at Albuquerque Museum
Explore the transformation of novel to screen with a panel of local screenwriters.
Thursdays, Aug. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 6pm.
Chatter Summer Concert Series: Music in Film
Chatter, a chamber music ensemble, curates a dynamic musical series exploring film in New Mexico.
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, Albuquerque Museum is the cornerstone of Albuquerque's cultural community and in its short history has had unprecedented growth in the quantity and quality of its collections.
Albuquerque Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; closed Mondays. General admission - New Mexico residents: adults and teens $3, seniors $2 and children $1. General Museum admission is free every Sunday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., the first Wednesday of every month from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and the third Thursday of every month from 5-8:30 p.m.