Who me? Couldn't be. Last week, a New York Post employee told hated rival The New York Times that the source of the Post's shockingly inept cover story on Tuesday, July 6, that proclaimed Democratic presidential contender John Kerry had chosen Dick Gephardt to be his running mate came from the Post's owner, Rupert Murdoch. The story, missing a byline, even ran a giant, National Enquirer-style front-page photo with Kerry and Gephardt peering deeply into each other's eyes, as if tongue action were going to ensue. Needless to say, Murdoch's Manhattan-based daily quickly became the laughingstock of the media world.
Dateline: India—And you thought American bureaucrats were good at passing the buck. Laloo Prasad Yadav, India's railway minister, told The Times of India newspaper that he was not to blame for a rash of accidents that have hit the country's aging railway system. Instead, he claims, the fate of all 13 million daily passengers rests in the hands of the Hindu god of machines. “Indian Railways is the responsibility of Lord Vishwakarma,” Yadav was quoted in last Friday's edition as saying. “So is the safety of passengers. It is his duty [to ensure safety], not mine.” Yadav's statement came less than a month after 20 passengers were killed and around 100 injured when a passenger train plunged off a bridge in western India after hitting a boulder. India's railway system, which stretches for more than 200,000 miles, sees accidents nearly every day thanks in part to a badly outdated infrastructure and a lack of mechanical upkeep.
Screen Shrinkage—Despite the box office bonanza that seems to be going on right now, summertime is looking like a bad time to own a movie theater in Albuquerque. Last month, we abruptly lost our eight-screen art theater, Madstone. To add insult to injury, the venerable Coronado 6 theater shut its doors unexpectedly last Thursday. That's a total of 14 screens Albuquerque has lost during the height of the summer movie season. That's like eight percent of all the screens in our city gone. Needless to say, this is not a good trend. If all you want to do is see Spider-Man 2 on the biggest, loudest, most crowded screen in town, you'll do just fine. Plus, shutting down theaters frees up lots of room in Alibi's Film Capsules section. But if you actually want some sort of variety here in Albuquerque, the loss of movie screens is a deadly blow.
“Downtown Thursdays” kicks off this week with New Mexico Parks Department Night featuring live, local music courtesy of Boss Ordinance. The event runs from noon until 9 p.m. on Thursday, July 15, under the tent located on the Fourth Street Mall just north of Central next to Maloney's. There'll be a climbing wall, representatives from The Albuquerque Cat Action Team to help you adopt a cat, a raffle for a brand new Harley-Davidson motorcycle and much more to entertain you. Boss Ordinance plays from 6 to 9 p.m. ... The Santa Fe Desert Chorale continues its season with performances of sacred and secular masterworks July 20, 22, 27 and 30 at Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. Call (505) 988-2282 for more information. ... Stella Blue in Nob Hill continues to host Reggae Thursdays every—you guessed it—Thursday! Something called Sabbattical Ahdah from St. Croix plays Thursday, July 22, with locals Mystic Vision, One Foundation and Fireworks Sound with DJ Kabir. ... And finally this week, the legendary Flatlanders (as in Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Butch Hancock and Joe Ely) are coming to Santa Fe's Lensic Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, July 27. Better get those tickets now, cowboy.
Thus far, I've hated everything that's come out on Steve Vai's virtuoso-only Favored Nations label. Not because I hate the virtuosos, but because the production values are skewed shamelessly toward contemporary pussy jazz a la Hiroshima and Yellowjackets. This is somewhat true of blues guitarist Johnny A.'s second release for FN, but he's got even more soul than he has chops, thus saving his new record from being one giant bore. Johnny A. crosses genre fences with the ease of a hot knife through butter, and his skill is unearthly, yet palatable.
Everybody's favorite folk artist, Steve White, is skipping town. He's moving to Athens, Ga., at the beginning of August and needs some money for the trip. Here's the deal. Fork out $20, and White will give you a ceramic Zozobra sculpture along with a raffle ticket. On Friday, July 23, from 5 to 8 p.m., he's hosting a reception at OFFCenter (117 Seventh NW) for an exhibit featuring customized PEZ dispensers by himself and Clay Shefs, as well as art by the 92-year-old folk art legend R.A. Miller. During that reception, White will draw the raffle tickets. Ten winners will get some fine pieces from his folk art collection, including work by Miller, Myrtice West, Roy Finster, Mary Proctor, C.M. Laster, Alan Pruitt, White, Shefs, Jeff Sipe and others. It's a very sweet deal. To get in on the action, call White at 232-2311, drop by his soon-
For those of us who are really into food, a quick trip to the bookshelf to look up a recipe often ends up in an hour or two spent sitting on the floor reading about something entirely unexpected. Recently I went looking for a recipe for shrimp quenelles and my search led me to Madeleine Kamman's heavy tome, The Making of a Cook. Next to the section on seafood mousselines and quenelles was a fascinating entry about frogs. According to Kamman, frogs are not farmed extensively in America but they are in France, where the legs are snipped off still-living frogs. The legless critters are then tossed back in the pond to grow another set. Eeeeeeewwww, right? I almost swore off eating frog's legs forever. I lasted 11 days. I probably could have gone longer but Café Dalat, the Vietnamese restaurant at Central and San Mateo, does a magnificent breaded frog leg appetizer. Looking over the menu the other day, I marveled aloud, "Ooh, fried frog legs!" but the expression on my date's face suggested he'd heard me say, "Ooh, fried bog dregs!" So how could I resist? The crispy golden legs arrived looking more like deep-fried shrimp than the slimy green webbed snack he was expecting. And they were scrumptious dipped in Dalat's salty, tangy nuoc cham sauce. Keep up the good work, frogs. We'll eat ’em as fast as you can grow ’em.
Have you ever tried to eat a sopaipilla the size of a down comforter? Well, maybe not down comforter size but how about ... almost as big as a medium pizza? Our indefatigable interns brought one of these monsters back from Delicia's, a café tucked into a blink-