Since it has become completely bloody impossible to talk about the Friday after Thanksgiving using any other adjective than "Black" and for any sale occuring on that day to be anything other than "the one you've waited all year for" it's nice to see a few shop-local community-oriented events piggybacking onto all that Viernes Negro hype.
On the literary end, you've got Hakim Bellamy and friends working a shift over at BookWorks as part of the Indies First campaign started by Sherman Alexie ("We will practice nepotism and urge readers to buy multiple copies of our friends' books."). Over on the help-
Rudolfo Anaya's answer to Zozobra has been burning each October in Albuquerque's South Valley for more than 20 years. You know the drill for these burning men, right? The bad vibes of the previous year are transcribed onto paper and used as kindling. When El Kookooee burns, we all get a fresh start. Traditionally, the design of the creature, which Anaya has called "an effigy of our own personal and communal fears," has been turned over to school children—a nice touch since we all know kids are especially talented at imagining monsters. And unlike Zozobra, each Kookooee has its own unique style. What will this year's boogeyman look like? I am afraid I can't tell you that, although the flyer art has a definite Lovecraftian cast. But there's one way you can find out for sure. See ya there! Rio Bravo State Park, Behind the South Valley Library • Sun Oct 27 • 6pm • FREE • View on Alibi calendar
Just in case you haven’t heard this news blip that might affect your warmth situation tonight, here it is in two parts:
1. Natural gas outages throughout the state prompt Guv Martinez to declare a state of emergency and send state workers home.
2. Mayor Berry makes like Jimmy Carter, says: lower your thermostat 10 degrees, wear a sweater.
I used my fireplace and turned off the gas last night, so don’t blame me.
Of course you know the old dancing-
Justin Wright, a.k.a. Expo ’70, channels the deep-space kosmische kourier aesthetic of early psychedelic improv practitioners Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel and (perhaps especially) the pre-sequencer Tangerine Dream. His echoing soundscapes embrace the synthetic and the organic, from the otherworldly skirling of analog synths to the earthy rumble of distorted guitars. If you notice vibrations in your diaphragm or a distant hissing in your ears, do not panic, these are merely the first signs of imminent sonic destruction. Albuquerque dronesters Hedia and Luperci start this all-ages show at Winning Coffee Co. (111 Harvard SE); the doors of perception open at 7 p.m.
Early last week the Santa Fe Indian School exhibited some bloody typical short-sightedness by announcing that the 45-year-old Paolo Soleri Amphitheater was to be demolished. This architectural landmark is not only a marvelous outdoor venue, but a groovy exemplification of Soleri’s synergistic design philosophy. Yesterday the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and the All Indian Pueblo Council came down firmly on the side of the School, offering “blessings” for the demolition. Somehow, the Councils contend, the amphitheater is directly responsible for Native children going under-educated and the only solution is to destroy it before it can cause more harm.
Pardon me if I seem unconvinced. The School has exhibited a bad attitude about preservation in the past, having casually torn down historic buildings and old-growth trees without public notice or input. The School is an island of sovereign territory inside Santa Fe, so the usual requirements of notification and cooperation (conveniently) do not apply, but the attitude exhibited here is downright un-neighborly, even hostile. The short version could be: “Shut up, hippie.”
Maybe the pueblo leaders ought not to be quite so quick to bless destruction. Soleri himself nails the problem with a blistering quote:
“This American culture is bent on demolition in all fields. It is a deleterious way of making history and forfeiting memories, the very memories cutting the landscape of history for country in search of culture and civility.”
In Albuquerque, we only have to look to the wholesale destruction of many of the buildings in the downtown area, culminating in the ignominious razing of the Alvarado Hotel in 1970, which remained a vast parking lot until downtown redevelopment raised a sad simulacrum of the hotel in the same spot. If it all comes down to capitalism, to the pathetic fact that destroying and rebuilding yields more profit than preserving and appreciating, then we need some kind of cap-and-trade program to stop this gaming of the system, some kind of financial incentive to halt the business-as-usual of demolition. What demolition emphatically does not need is a “blessing.”
Unsurprisingly, a Save Our Soleri movement has sprung up with great ferocity, and if the Indian School has any neighborliness left in its sovereign bones, it will view these concerned citizens as potential partners who could raise money, awareness and public participation to correct whatever alleged negative impacts the amphitheater is having on Native education. To view them as enemies or as “hippies” who need to “shut up,” would be a colossal mistake.
The opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
Pretty soon you’ll have to pick one of them to be the big man on campus, so here’s your second chance thus far to see them all in the same room. (Hopefully they will be lined up by height so it’ll be easier to tell them apart.)
What: The North Valley Coalition’s Mayoral Candidate Forum
Who: Mayoral candidates R.J. Berry, Martin Chavez, and Richard Romero (politico-blogger Joe Monahan moderates)
When: Thursday, August 13, 2009 (7:00 to 8:30 p.m.)
Where: Indian Pueblo Cultural Center (2401 12th Street NW)
The candidates will discuss “visions for Albuquerque and issues facing the North Valley” among other things. Audience members get to suggest questions. I’ve already got mine ready: “Boxers or briefs?”
For once there’s been a decent amount of press about the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District election, in large part due to the current board’s unanimous rejection of the Ditches With Trails project—three years in the making and one sweaty, crowded, ill-mannered board meeting in the killing.
Since that fateful night, people like state senators Dede Feldman and Jerry Ortiz y Pino have been pointing out the unresponsiveness and conflicts of interest that plague the MRGCD’s policies and politics, and have thrown their support behind opposition candidates Adrian Oglesby and Karen Dunning.
If you’re still saying “the what election?” then this post’s for you:
What: Four seats on the MRGCD board (two in Bernalillo County)
When: Tuesday, January 2
Why: Because there’s more than one way to keep the valley green.
Here’s a round-up of information on this tiny little election that could have a great big impact on life in the Rio Grande Valley. Read up, saddle up, and vote on Tuesday:
• MRGCD 2009 Election Information (mrgcd.com)
• Battle over irrigation ditches comes to a head (newmexicoindependent.com)
• Dede Feldman's Take on the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District Race (senatorfeldman.typepad.com)
• Perplexity, Persistence, and the MRGCD Elections (dukecityfix.com)
• MRGCD - VOTE ! Find a Location Near You & Go to the Polls June 2 (senatorfeldman.typepad.com)
• Conservation Voters endorses slate in MRGCD board election (newmexicoindependent.com)
• Challenger Promises Change (abqjournal.com)
• MRGCD Diversity Focus of Hopefuls (abqjournal.com)
• MRGCD Candidates Square Off at Forum (abqjournal.com)
• MRGCD Radar Misses Water-Rights Transfer (abqjournal.com)
Here’s another positive side-effect of high gas prices: Amtrak ridership is way, way up. Last year, Amtrak carried 25 million passengers, an 11% increase. This year, it’ll probably carry more, and that means good press for the little engine that could.
Last week the San Francisco Chronicle published Catherine Watson’s travelogue of her epic train trip from St. Paul to Las Cruces, and yesterday NPR had her on Talk of the Nation fielding comments from listeners. The pro-rail consensus that’s building seems to include: (1) forgiveness for delays (which, for the most part, aren’t Amtrak’s fault), (2) joy over not being subjected to airport hassles, and (3) appreciation of the intangible, but very real benefit of seeing the country from the ground without being stuck behind a steering wheel.
A gentle reminder: Albuquerque is blessed with daily Amtrak service to Chicago and Los Angeles. I’ve personally been booking a sleeper compartment to L.A. once a year, and it rocks. Four little words: Margaritas in the room.
Full disclosure: I am a Systems Administrator for an Albuquerque-area newsweekly and website, but it has been brought to my attention (thanks, Sloppy), that today marks the 8th annual celebration of Systems Administrator Appreciation Day. I don’t want a hug and I don’t want a box of candy (well, what kind of candy is it?), but I do want to quote a few good ones from the document “Advice to employees on the proper use of the System Administrator's valuable time.” For some reason, they call him Ted:
• Never write down error messages. Just click OK, or restart your computer. Ted likes to guess what the error message was.
• When the printer won't print, re-send the job 20 times in rapid succession. That should do the trick.
• When you get the message saying "Are you sure?", click the "Yes" button as fast as you can. Hell, if you weren't sure, you wouldn't be doing it, would you?
• When you receive a 130 MB movie file, send it to everyone as a high-priority mail attachment. Ted's provided plenty of disk space and processor capacity on the new mail server for just those kinds of important things.
OK, maybe I will take that candy.