Better beards, magnificent mustaches
As most folks are aware, the World Beard and Moustache Championships 2011 are going on in Norway. Wait, you didn't know? The United States won an impressive six gold medals, including one in the largest, most fiercely competitive category: Full Beard Natural.
However, top prize went to Germany's Elmar Weisser; he received the honor of best beard. His luscious beard, styled to look like a reindeer, flew right over the competition.
A total of about 150 contestants competed in 14 different categories, from Natural Moustache to Musketeer. Beard Team USA sent a respectable 35 representatives to the world championships. Sadly, there is no chapter in New Mexico. Interested in starting one?
If you haven’t checked out the Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists, it’s another way to get your hair fix for the day.
Nosotros on love
Two of the seven members of Nosotros sat down with me at their recording studio for a pre-SOS Music Fest interview. Randy and Manuel—Cuban Tres and Saxophone respectively—
Come join Alibi's shindig the SOS Fest tomorrow in the Spanish Village at the Fairgrounds. Nosotros plays at 1 p.m., but check out the full lineup, which includes Ryan McGarvey. The event is all-ages, and tickets are $10 in advance until gates open at noon tomorrow. Then, they’re $15. Kids 10 and under get in free with a parent or guardian.
Mondo Vibrations brings down the house
Mondo Vibrations, with a chill attitude and hot sound, is a local reggae/rock outfit. Kenny, James, Kevin and Mike came by the Alibi offices for an interview before the SOS Music Fest tomorrow. They talked about the many artists they admire, from Marley to Led Zeppelin, and the friendly cooperation of bands in New Mexico.
The Mondo Vibrations' members also told me about their favorite memory: They were working on the music video for Slow Moving during a house party. So many people were dancing in the upstairs of the house, the floor was moving visibly.
SOS Music Fest is an all-ages event at Expo New Mexico’s Spanish Village. Scope the full lineup. Tickets are $10 in advance until tomorrow at noon when the gates open. Kids 10 and under get in free with a parent or guardian.
Matt Jones on opening for Rod Stewart
Singer/songwriter Matt Jones joined me for an interview in preparation for the Alibi's SOS Music Fest on Saturday, May 14. He talked about his concert with Rod Stewart and the importance of musicians viewing all local music as a positive.
Jones says he’s a songwriter, firstly and foremost. Because of his melodic sensibilities, the pop label is applied, too.
Find The Real Matt Jones (his band) on the Spanish Village stage at Expo New Mexico at 5 p.m. The fest is all-ages, and you can get advance tickets for only $10 until Saturday at noon when the event begins. (Kids 10 and under get in free with a parent or guardian.)
Lost Lingo wears hats
I learned two important things about Lost Lingo: One, these guys play a great mix of house jams and electronica, with a little reggae and rock thrown in just for kicks and giggles. Two, they are easily distracted by a jar of cookie cutter shapes.
During our chat,Tom, Miguel, Javier, Lane and Rob talked about their inspiration, the metal infestation in Albuquerque and fantastic hats—Miguel is president of the hat club.
Lost Lingo will bring the party at 8 p.m. during the all-ages SOS Music Fest. Take in bands, beer, art and food at Expo New Mexico’s Spanish Village on Saturday, May 14. Buy advance tickets for $10. Kids 10 and under get in free.
Felix on Zydejano
Before a recent gig, Felix sat down with me for an interview. He was nice enough to throw down one of his Burque Creole tunes, too.
Felix gave me the lowdown on “Zydejano.” He also talked about the difficulty of getting enough sleep when Felix y Los Gatos is busy and other local musicians he admires.
Find Felix with his gatos at SOS Fest on Saturday, May 14. They’re playing at 4 p.m. in the Spanish Village at the Fairgrounds.
The all-ages, daylong sun celebration is only $10 in advance. Kids 10 and under get in free.
Hanging out with The Porter Draw during band practice
The five members of The Porter Draw—Josh, Russel Joey, Dandee and Ben—sat down for an interview with the Alibi. They described themselves as aggressive Americana with a punk energy on stage. Much of their music is about death, jail-time and lost love. "It's very existential," Russel joked. With humor and talent, The Porter Draw will hit the SOS Music Fest stage at 6 p.m.
Start Off Summer right at Expo New Mexico's Spanish Village on Saturday, May 14. The daylong party is all-ages! Artists and vendors will be selling their wares. The Cooperage will provide burgers and brats. Buy advance tickets for $10. (Kids 10 and under get in free with a parent or guardian.)
Three String Bale on redneck cajóns, guitars as sleds and finding time
Sarah, Bart and Tom talked about their initial interest in music, where they are headed as a band and what some of their songs are about. They also gave shout outs to their biggest supporters: Bart's wife, other local bands and drunk fans at Marble Brewery. Look for an album from Three String Bale in the coming months full of songs about whiskey, chickens and love.
Come out and support local music at the Spanish Village at the Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 14. The daylong party is all-ages! Buy advance tickets for $10. (Kids 10 and under get in free with a parent or guardian.)
Crackdown in Syria
Dara’a, the central city in the Syrian protests, was the focus of a crackdown by President Bashar al-Assad. "They are arresting all males above 15 years," said a Syrian lawyer from Dara’a. Seventy people have been killed since Friday, according to human rights organizations, and thousands have been arrested. The government is gearing up for another round of protests with extra buses to carry those who may be arrested. Demonstrations are likely on Friday, May 6, the Islamic day of general peace,
Even with arrests in full swing, the protesters cling to their purpose—democracy. The military was told to quell the protests with whatever means necessary, but according to a military source, some soldiers are resisting.
Organizations around the world have condemned the actions of al-Assad, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron and President Obama. Many foreign embassies in the Syrian capital, Damascus, have been emptied, and the United States has blocked the assets of many top officials. Even Hamas, which is based in Syria, is at odds with the Syrian government.
“A smoke after dinner is better than life after death.”
China, whose citizens account for one-third of smokers in the world, banned smoking in most public places. The law took effect yesterday, but most citizens and shopkeepers had not heard of it until then.
One problem with enforcing the new ban is smoking is an integral part of Chinese culture. Most business transactions finish with the exchange of expensive tobacco, many sunny afternoons are spent smoking on café patios, and giving someone a cigarette is viewed as a great way to break the ice.
Smoking is a characteristic of the famous and powerful. Chairman Mao, for example, was a heavy smoker, and Chinese celebrities and athletes are commonly seen smoking.
China is the world's largest producer of tobacco. Cigarette sales and production taxes totaled $75 billion in 2009. Some regions, like the Yunnan Province depend on the industry, with 45 percent of its revenue coming from tobacco.
There are 300 million people who smoke in China, and the habit causes about 1.2 million deaths each year. Studies show the Chinese have a low awareness of the health risks of smoking and secondhand smoke. About half of health care workers smoke.