Top-placing burger makers to be celebrated June 20 to 27
Inquiring minds want to know: What’s your favorite burger in Burque? Weekly Alibi is hosting our first ever Burque Burger Week, which will showcase the city’s favorite burgermeisters as nominated by you, our lovely readers. The winning restaurants will each craft a special burger that they’ll only serve from June 20 to June 27. Nominations are open now, from May 23 to June 6. Flame on!
UNM leads a psychedelic renaissance
The city is crawling with bicycles …and it’s fabulous!
Ultra Health devotes to budding potential
When it comes to water conservation, no one can deny that Albuquerque has come a long way in a short time. Since the U.S. Geological Survey's 1993 report shattered our illusions about having a never ending supply of fresh water in the aquifer, the city has rapidly implemented a number of ambitious—and absolutely necessary—reforms in water use.
Whatever your beat—drugs, arson or simple water violations—one unfortunate rule always seems to apply: Some people never learn. No matter how often they're slapped with fees, fines and penalties, these ne'er do wells continue to break the same law that landed them in trouble in the first place. By now, Carol Edwards, one of only three full-time "water cops" in the city, knows these repeat offenders all too well. Every day she confronts their reluctance to curb water waste. For her sake and the sake of our beleaguered aquifer, it's time to introduce them to their friends, neighbors and the city at large.
John Ryan's candidacy for a seat in the Legislature raises ghosts from the past, highlights divisions among state GOP leaders
John Ryan, just like anybody else, has had his good days and bad days. Last inweek, though, the state Senate candidate had a particularly stressful day when a felony conviction from his past resurfaced after he sent a letter to prospective voters acknowledging his "participation in a burglary" more than 20 years ago.
Welcome to the most read and most trusted column in Albuquerque. That's right, Thin Line is a no spin zone, where we report, you decide. Some people say Thin Line is the most fair and balanced journalism you will find anywhere in the United States. And that's a good thing, because other news outlets, unlike Thin Line, are so skewed and biased, you and me practically puke at the sight of it.
Dateline: England—In what sounds like a textbook example of “adding insult to injury,” a 28-year-old man, who shot himself in the groin after drinking 15 pints of beer and stuffing a sawed-off shotgun down his pants, was sentenced to five years in jail recently. David Walker underwent emergency surgery after the March 26 incident in Dinnington. Prosecuting lawyer Andrew Hatton told the court that Walker had gone home to get the shotgun after arguing in the pub with lifelong friend Stuart Simpson about whose turn it was to buy a beer. Walker retrieved the illegal shotgun and returned to the pub, only to find it closed. At that point, Walker apparently discharged the weapon on accident. “He had it shoved down his trousers,” Hatton said. “After the shotgun had discharged, he placed it in a rubbish bin and crawled home.” Walker told officers he was so drunk he had no idea how he managed to shoot himself or why he had gone home for the gun. Walker was sentenced to a mandatory five years thanks to recent legislation regarding banned weapons. Tests are continuing to determine if Walker would be left infertile.
Compliments and scorn come in all colors
When it comes to doling out compliments to city bureaucrats, I'll be the first to admit that I tend to be more Simon Cowell than Paula Abdul. But after watching him speak at a recent meeting of the Economic Forum, I have to say that Jay Czar was one of our best public servants and will be greatly missed.
Voters get to decide in November
One of the three proposed state constitutional amendments that will be on this November's ballot could create a very interesting scenario for Albuquerque's next mayoral election if it passes. Constitutional Amendment 3 will permit municipalities to hold runoff elections.
I'm a pig man myself. By that, I don't mean I'm half-pig, half-man—despite what a couple bitter ex-girlfriends might tell you. All I mean is that I'm partial to pigs. I like them. I feel an affinity for them, so to speak.
Circles, Stripes and Checks at Galerie E
Throughout the late '60s and '70s, Rini Price regularly exhibited her art. In 1979, however, she underwent a difficult operation for cancer, an experience that dramatically changed her attitude toward her work. Although her cancer hasn't recurred since 1984, Price has rarely exhibited over the last two decades, content to create her art outside the public eye.
Santa Fe Plaza
The oldest and largest exhibit and sale of Spanish colonial artifacts in the United States kicks off this weekend on the Santa Fe Plaza. Currently in its 53rd year, the Traditional Spanish Market brings in buyers and browsers from all over the country to check out music and dance performances, demonstrations, food and, most importantly, lots of great art from over 200 native New Mexican artists. The market occurs this Saturday, July 24, and Sunday, July 25, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For details, log on to www.spanishcolonial.org or call (505) 982-2226.
One of our city's most anticipated art events is always Magnífico's annual juried exhibit of Albuquerque area artists. This year, Gronk, the nationally acclaimed Los Angeles performance and visual artist, did the jurying, so there's a good chance the show will be even more radical than it's been in years past. I'm excited, and you should be too. Albuquerque Contemporary 2004 opens Saturday, July 24, with a reception from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Albuquerque Museum. The show runs through Sept. 5. 243-7255.
Documentary Debut—The Santa Fe Film Festival will sponsor a special screening of Zana Briski and Ross Kaufman's award-winning documentary Born into Brothels this Thursday, July 22, at 7:30 p.m. The screening will take place at The Screen on the College of Santa Fe campus. Born into Brothels captures the life of an unforgettable group of children. Feisty, resilient and wickedly funny, these kids are the offspring of the prostitutes who occupy Calcutta's red light district. Determined to evade their doomed future, they embark on a transformational journey with New York-based photographer Zana Briski, who teaches them the explore their world through the art of photography. This exuberant, unsentimental film nabbed both the Documentary Award and the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, and looks to be a sellout event; so get there early. Tickets are $9 and are available at the door (1600 St. Michael's Drive).
Beautiful cultural documentary highlights hearty herders and lachrymose livestock
The Story of the Weeping Camel is a terrible title for a movie. It sounds like a parody of an art house title—the kind of dry, foreign-sounding film only Ivy League hippies would be caught dead buying a ticket for. That's too bad. Because The Story of the Weeping Camel is a gorgeous, good old-fashioned documentary all but devoid of political agenda or sociological rhetoric.
Damning doc proves companies are people too—and not very nice ones
Objectivity, once considered a virtue in the world of documentary filmmaking, has all but vanished from theaters, becoming a distant, if sorely lamented, memory. Supersize Me, Morgan Spurlock's two-hour exercise in gimmickry, hammered home its most obvious points, allowing no room, or opportunity, for debate. Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 was stubborn in its refusal to acknowledge both sides of its argument, resulting in a film that will entertain the already converted but alienate those who aren't yet convinced. Now, with The Corporation, audiences are given yet another reason to join hands, debate over coffee and plant a pipe bomb in the neighborhood Nike factory.
“The Graham Norton Effect” on Comedy Central
The Beatles did it big time. The Rolling Stones are still doing it. Robbie Williams tried several times and eventually gave up. At some point, it seems, every Brit has to try and conquer America. Now it's British talk show host Graham Norton's turn.
The Week in Sloth
If you like your punk rock with a generous side of pretentiousness, then Austin's—by way of Paris according to the band's bio—Les Messieurs du Rock will more than please you on Friday night, July 16, at the Atomic Cantina. Other Austin bands like And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and Those Peabodys are well-known for their asshole-ish swagger, but Les Messieurs make both of those bands seem as polite and down-to-Earth as Hootie and the Blowfish.
When I first began to play this disc of centuries-old Tibetan Buddhist chant by monks praying in the pine-forested foothills of northern India's Kangra Valley, I naively thought I could use it as background music. Forget it. These chants are too powerful. The reason this disc won the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Traditional World Music Album is simple: It's the real thing.
Like so few musicians today, San Francisco rockers Communiqué remember the nonpejorative meaning of pop: buoyant melodies, clear, repetitive structures and a musical sense of humor. Granted, this group's roots still cling to emo sensibilities, which emerge occasionally as a hint of over-earnestness in the lyrics, but their sharp musicianship forgives all. New wave synths tastefully enhance the band's solid sound without feeling contrived or extraneous—a real feat—while the songwriting can bring a smile to your face long after the record's stopped playing. This is the true essence of pop.
Why is it that the best fruits for making pies happen to ripen when only a complete idiot would be willing to turn on her oven? One particularly cruel Alibi staffer keeps bringing in peaches from his yard. This morning I noticed that he brought in just about enough for a nice, deep-dish peach pie. Mmm, peach pie. I like to toss my sliced peaches with just a touch of almond extract instead of vanilla. And in the summer I think pie tastes best the next day, especially if it's been refrigerated. There's nothing like a slice of cold pie for breakfast! If the oven is a no-go, you can always slice fresh peaches and top them with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Try making a peachy milkshake or a smoothie with yogurt and honey. Purée the peaches and freeze them in popsicle molds or little paper cups. Soak slices in bourbon and brown sugar; eat the peaches and sip the bourbon on the porch after a nice meal of fried chicken. Make it up as you go along! Just stay away from the stove.
Pat and Terry Keene will relinquish management of Bien Shur to Sandia Pueblo next month. The Keenes, who also own Artichoke Café, have run Sandia Casino's upscale Bien Shur restaurant for three and a half years. According to Sandia Pueblo Gov. Stuwart Paisano, the parting of ways was amicable. "Our relationships with the Keenes has been fabulous. We were skeptical at the beginning when we started the restaurant, so we solicited the experts [the Keenes] to come in and manage it for us. They were scared too but everyone did a tremendous job." So why spoil the fun? "Growth is putting a damper on it," he says. The pueblo will operate Bien Shur through the end of 2004 when it will be closed for 10 months of renovations that will transform the area into a dining room for the casino's expanded 500-seat buffet restaurant. Construction is already underway for an adjacent hotel that will provide a new home for Bien Shur as well as another proposed restaurant. Paisano said that while the pueblo was interested in attracting national chain restaurants, those restaurants may be located inside the casino or on pad sites nearby. When construction is completed next year, there will be five restaurants in or next to the casino. "We're very interested in diversifying away from gaming and offering a well-rounded type of dining experience," the governor said. (GD)
Reagan's vegetable meets the Heinz-Kerry fortune
Ordinarily, ketchup would don its crown as the summer cookout condiment par excellence without any help from the president of the United States (past, present or future).
stuffed squash blossoms
If you've ever grown zucchini in your garden then you know how prolific squash plants are. They just keep growing and growing and growing. It seems every time you blink there's another squash the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread lurking under an umbrella-sized leaf. It can be hard to keep up with them. One method is to pluck the blossoms before a squash can grow or when the blossom is still attached to a finger-sized baby squash. The blossoms can be tossed into salads, stirred into simmering soups or chopped and added to pancake or crêpe batter. They can also be stuffed and then either poached or battered and deep fried.
Metropolitan Detention Center focuses on keeping DWI offenders sober
The world can break your heart when you least expect it. For Adan Carriaga that shocking moment happened in 1984 when a drunk driver killed his mother. From that moment on, he made a life-altering decision to end his own destructive drinking habit and, in honor of his mother's memory, turn his anger into something positive. Today Carriaga, a devout Christian, dedicates his livelihood to giving others a second chance to sober up before they take an innocent life. "I wanted to help people clean up and be responsible," he said.
Local voter registration drives focus on presidential election and beyond
By any reasonable measure, the 2000 presidential election was a disaster. Nobody knows for certain whether Bush or Gore won. And amidst Florida's voting irregularities and the U.S. Supreme Court's controversial intervention, there is another debacle of sorts that gets less attention. That is, four years ago less than 30 percent of 25 million eligible voters between the ages of 18 and 24 voted. In other words, roughly 17 million young Americans that could have voted chose not to.
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.
Extending Paseo del Norte is not the best way to give Westside residents the traffic relief they deserve
As someone who spent 22 years doing environmental compliance work, I was surprised by the recent report on Paseo del Norte by the Mid-Region Council of Governments (one of whose members is the city of Albuquerque). In over 20 years in that field, I never saw a public agency come so close to calling a proposed road a foolish idea. Still, the report contains a giant escape hatch for supporters of extending Paseo del Norte through the petroglyph monument. One page of the report states, "there are no reasonable alternatives to the currently planned alignment for the Paseo del Norte extension." Even Gov. Bill Richardson seized on this wording, in his Albuquerque Journal op-ed piece of July 5.
Big government resides on both sides of the aisle
I heard Ralph Nader on Amy Goodman's “Democracy Now” radio show the other day and I have to tell you that the guy makes so much sense that I almost found myself tempted to vote for him. Almost. At least I realized, somewhat guiltily, that I was hoping that somehow the Democratic candidate ("my guy") John Kerry would take positions as strong as Ralph's.
Fahrenheit 9/11 stirs up anti-Bush crowd, or was it just a glucose high fueled by Skittles?
There probably won't be any impact on my daughter because she attended an early afternoon screening of Fahrenheit 9/11 on the Fourth of July. At three weeks of age, she can't vote (although it is New Mexico) and spent most of the 120 minutes asleep in her mother's arms anyway. And while there are parts of the movie I wish I'd slept through, my suspicion is that Fahrenheit 9/11 will have some impact on the November elections.
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.
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-and-you-missed-it strip mall between the Rio Grande river and Atrisco (3915 Central NW, 833-0488). Delicia's staff is very friendly, the kind of friendly that makes East Coast émigrés suspicious. (Why are all these people being so nice? What do they want?) The food is pleasantly unambitious, good New Mexican grub done very well. An entrée of pork chops smothered in onions, tomatoes and jalapeños tasted like it was home cooked by somebody's grandma. In fact the cook looked like somebody's grandma as she called across the dining room to ask me, "Hon! Do you like onions?" Yeah, I do like onions and I like Delicia's. I bet you will too. They're open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday and until 3 p.m. on Sundays.
Brett Bakker on the state's shortage of organic commodity inspectors
Organic produce, meats and processed foods are a booming $18 to $20 million dollar industry in New Mexico but a critical shortage of state inspectors threatens the survival of these small businesses. If they can't get inspected and certified organic, the producers can't effectively market their goods to those who are eager to buy them. Through volunteer fundraising, a small group of folks hopes to add 10 part-time, contracted inspectors to the state's current team of three. Brett Bakker, chief inspector for the New Mexico Organic Commodity Commission, spoke to Alibi about the inspector training process and what it entails.
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.
Nerdy high-schooler makes for hilarious hero in hometown farce
Who is Napoleon Dynamite? Well, fans of Elvis Costello might know him as a one-time pseudonym of the British rocker. But that's not the Napoleon Dynamite we're talking about here. Our Napoleon Dynamite is a creation of the feverishly bored imagination of 24-year-old BYU film student Jared Hess. Napoleon is a painfully awkward high school senior residing in tiny Preston, Idaho (which just happens to be Hess' hometown). He's also the star of the surprise Sundance Film Festival hit Napoleon Dynamite.
Hallucinatory musical comedy is pure Maddin-ess
During the Great Depression, a contest is held in Winnipeg to determine who makes the saddest music in the world. The prize is $25,000 and the winner of each round gets to swim in an enormous vat of beer. Do you really need to know more? The title alone is so good not even Oliver Stone could screw it up. Thankfully, the director of this absurdist comedy is not some Hollywood artisan but a true artist: Canadian Guy Maddin.
“The Grid” on TNT
Cops have been a staple since the dawn of the video age. Private detectives run a close second. Firefighters and rescue workers have had their moment in the sun. Currently, medical examiners are on the verge of running their course. So if it weren't for George Bush and the war on terrorism, I don't know what television programmers would have resorted to. (Postal inspectors?) Thankfully (maybe), the concept of Homeland Security has given networks a whole new genre of crime-fighting television to exploit. Whether American audiences want to watch an hour's worth of news about terrorism and then tune into a couple more hours of drama about terrorism remains to be seen.
The Week in Sloth
“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.
with Abominant Race and Requiem Mass
Wednesday, July 21; Sunshine Theater (all ages, 8 p.m.): Of all '80s hair metal band leaders, Blackie Lawless ranks among the minute few who've retained almost all their integrity following the decades and trends that have come and gone since they were at the top of the commercial heap. Once known more for controversy and shock value than musical prowess, W.A.S.P. are about to surprise the metal community.
with Murder by Death, Paris Texas and Communique
Monday, July 19; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): These Arms are Snakes are a difficult band to pin down. Formed from the ashes of Botch and Kill Sadie, they carry a bright torch of classic '80s hardcore while embracing the more modern sounds of bands like And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, Kill Me Tomorrow, Jucifer and other post-punk champions of noisy hard rock.
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-to-be-dismantled Folk Farm at 445 Louisiana SE, or just swing by the OFFCenter reception. We're gonna miss you, buddy!
Corridos Sin Fronteras: Ballads Without Borders at the National Hispanic Cultural Center
Not so long ago, songs served as newspapers. If someone got stabbed or a house burned down, locals didn't rush to a newsstand to read all the gory details. Instead, some clever balladeer composed a song about it—probably embellishing a few details to make the story more exciting—and everyone gathered around to listen.
Milner Plaza on Museum Hill
Folk art has a couple obvious virtues. Given that it's often made by impoverished untrained artisans, it's more accessible than academic art. Plus, although this isn't always the case, folk art also tends to be relatively cheap. Santa Fe will host its first International Folk Art Market this Saturday, July 17, and Sunday, July 18, at the Milner Plaza outside the Museum of International Folk Art. The market presents an ideal opportunity to pick up a South African bottle cap sculpture, a Tibetan Thangka painting or some other nifty artifact from one of 40 countries being represented. $5, free for kids 16 and under. For details, call (505) 476-1203.
Harwood Art Center
Douglas Kent Hall is one lucky bastard. During the late '60s and early '70s, he somehow nabbed a job photographing some of the greatest rock 'n' roll superstars of the age. Of course, it's what you do with your luck that counts, and Hall did spectacular things. His photographs of Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Tina Turner, Cream, the Grateful Dead, the Doors, Santana, Led Zeppelin and countless other legends are as jaw-droppingly dramatic as any you've ever seen. A retrospective exhibit of Hall's rock 'n' roll photographs opens this Friday, July 16, with a reception from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Runs through July 30. This show will rock you. 242-6367.
An Albuquerque Lieutenant Colonel returns from Iraq with a bitter message for the Bush administration
Watching the gruesome opening scene of Saving Private Ryan is the closest most of us will ever come to armed combat. Yeah, sure, it's horrifying and all, but at least we have the luxury of being horrified while reclining in cushy purple theater chairs, oil-barrel-sized troughs of popcorn gripped comfortingly between our thighs.
Burning Bash!—Hard to believe, but Burning Paradise, Albuquerque's one and only cult/foreign/trash cinema video store, is turning one year old this July. The store, a regular sponsor of the Alibi Midnight Movie Madness screenings, has done an incredible job of promoting Hong Kong action, Mexican wrestling, Japanese monsters, Italian zombies and good old American exploitation among Albuquerque's psychotronic sub-sect. In order to celebrate the occasion, owner Kurly Tlapoyawa will be throwing a mind-bending bash at the Launchpad (618 Central SW) on Thursday, July 8. The theme will be Battle Royale. Burning Paradise was the first to alert Albuquerque viewers of this controversial cult film about a group of Japanese school kids who are forced to slaughter each other in an annual, government-sponsored elimination tournament. If you haven't seen the film, you should get down to Burning Paradise and rent a copy! Either way, ladies in full Japanese school girl outfits will get preferential treatment at the Burning Bash. Local bands Dead on Point Five, Destructamathon, Jackson 4 and Ready Samsara will be providing the ear-pounding tunes. Doors open at 9 p.m. Admission is $5. For more information, log on to www.burningparadise.net
“Realistic” reinterpretation of legend offers no good knight
According to the tag line, the new historical action flick King Arthur claims to be the “true story” of one of western civilization's greatest legends. In fact, the film turns out to be no more “true” than any other version. This one simply demystifies the tale, stripping away all the myth and magic. More realistic? Perhaps. Truer? Doubtful.
Intense kidnap drama makes for smart summer fare
Summertime is not noted for its wealth of adult-oriented movie entertainment. In fact, sophisticated adults tend to flee theaters in droves when the lobbies fill with popcorn-spewing rugrats and the marquees shout titles like The Chronicles of Riddick, White Chicks and Dodgeball. Conventional Hollywood wisdom is that teenagers get the run of summer and adults are relegated to the late fall Oscar rush. Which is why it's a little surprising to see a film like The Clearing show up in theaters right now against the overhyped likes of Spider-Man 2 and King Arthur.
TV on DVD
Television networks have recently discovered a quick and easy new way to make money. Fans of classic television shows will pay through the nose to snap up complete seasons of television series that were once aired for free as reruns. Dig up a few behind-the-scenes extras on anything from “The Simpsons” to “Sanford and Son” and the fans will flock to it. Fading are the days of syndication, rising are the days of the DVD box set.
The Week in Sloth
Most of my memories of high school are somewhat less than fond. That was a difficult time for me, those dark years before I blossomed into the self-confident, ravishingly handsome young man I am today. It wasn't all bad, of course. Several of my most pleasant memories from that period revolve around theater.
Taos Modernists at the University Art Museum
A couple weeks ago I listened to Frank Zappa's idiotic daughter do an interview on a local radio station. Remember Moon Unit? Yeah, that's right—Moon Unit. She's the one who did the voice-over on Zappa's '80s hit "Valley Girl." (I'm so sure. Gag me with a spoon. Barf out.)
An interview with Ursula Le Guin
Ursula Le Guin is an extremely difficult writer to categorize, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. She usually gets thrown into the science fiction or fantasy camps, but neither of those labels does true justice to the body of work she's built up over the years.
Center for Contemporary Art
The Buffoons are a tiny family of outcasts who live in the sub-basement of a large, abandoned department store. Life cruises along swimmingly for these misfits until one day a homeless man arrives from Above. The confrontation causes all hell to break loose. Theater Grottesco will present a new staging of its original play The Angels' Cradle at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe. Don't miss this opportunity to see the company's physical, groundbreaking brand of experimental theater in all its lunatic glory. The show runs Friday, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays at 8 p.m. through Aug. 30. Tickets to the gala opening on July 9 are $100. Regular ticket prices are $25 general, $10 students. Sundays are "pay what you wish." (505) 474-8400.
Richard Levy Gallery
San Francisco artist Debra Bloomfield spent years snapping photographs of the ocean from the exact same location and perspective. Each time she took a picture, the sky and water transformed, often dramatically, resulting in a series of photographs that serves as a potent testament to the infinite mutability of the natural world. Bloomfield's Oceanscapes opens this Friday, July 9, at the Richard Levy Gallery (514 Central SW) and runs through Aug. 13. For details, call 766-9888.
Light fruit juices: ugh. Have you noticed? They're propagating in the refrigerated juice section. Orange juice: 50 percent less sugar! That was the first one. We were able to ignore it easily enough; after all, it was a lone carton. Then it was pineapple juice: 30 percent fewer calories! Now half the cartons between milk and bacon blare: orange/pineapple blend with 1/3 the carbs! Oh, crap. Beware these bastard children of real juice. They're watered-down versions of their fresh squeezed progenitors, artificially sweetened and, sometimes, artificially flavored. Remember Sunny Delight? That crap they gave you at summer camp? Now imagine diet Sunny D (I hear they sell it in Europe) and you already know what low-carb OJ tastes like. It tastes like cheap, watery piss that only bored children would drink. Save yourself the agony and eat an orange.
There's something really cool going on this weekend: Lavender in the Valley Day. A group of more than 30 growers, restaurants and shops in the Village of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque have joined together to put on a day-long festival to celebrate this aromatic flower. If you want to go, head up there early; events kick off around 7 a.m. at the growers' market. Vendors will have lavender for sale, and you can nibble on some lavender pancakes for breakfast. Next, pick up a tour map and complete list of activities at the nearby Lavender Day gazebo. They'll point you towards the free shuttle bus which will circle the village all day long. Participating businesses will be marked with special lavender flags. Your next stop should be Los Poblanos Ranch, where a field of 3,000 lavender plants will provide enough blossoms for tour participants take part in cutting their own bouquets, distilling lavender essence and drying bouquets.
Whether you're planning on picking your own buds at Lavender in the Valley Day (July 10), growing lavender in your yard or simply interested in trying a new flavor, you'll be surprised and delighted by the range of nuance that lavender flowers can add to your cooking. Sharon Shipley, author of The Lavender Cookbook (Running Press, paper, $16.95) ignored all boundaries in coming up with this collection of recipes; she fearlessly and successfully incorporated lavender into desserts, soups, salads and steaks. Don't be afraid! Just jump right in.
City can walk away from partnership if private funding fails
The prospect of big bucks and flying balls delighted a T-shirt-wearing crowd at the June 28 special meeting of the City Council. The freebie T-shirts, reading "Albuquerque Arena Route 66—Let's get it started," were passed out by the Downtown Action Team, one of several civic and business groups avidly supporting a proposed Downtown arena.
The Dick Cheney affair. It's fair to say, the vice president is very popular among GOP supporters, generally. Many actually still believe he is the bland, avuncular pragmatist at the White House who remains cool, even statesmanly, under pressure. Anyone who has read recent books by Paul O'Neill, Richard Clarke and Bob Woodward might get a slightly different impression, however—that of a secretive, brooding, physical wreck of a man who drives the neocon agenda with almost deranged passion.
Hispanics give him the love at Phoenix convention
If you believe the propaganda emanating from some Republican strategists' pipe dreams, the Hispanic vote is up for grabs in the 2004 presidential derby.
Random musings on the week that was
Last week, political blogmeister Joe Monahan (www.joemonahan.com) offered some commentary on three recent votes by Congresswoman Heather Wilson and how those votes might be play into her re-election strategy. The votes of interest were 1) to cut CIA funding by 25 percent until the Bush administration turns over all documents dealing with the treatment of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, 2) against a corporate tax bill that included targeted tax breaks for pharmaceutical companies and 3) against a budget overhaul favored by Republican leadership.
Dateline: Belgium—A couple who have named all 15 of their children in honor of Elvis Presley say they have run out of names for their 16th child. Jean-Pierre and Carine Antheunis from Gent are lifelong Elvis fanatics and their children's names are all linked to the music legend. Elvis, Priscilla, Dakota and Tennessee are among the swelling Antheunis brood. But the parents are now stumped for a name to give their new baby boy. “If it had been a girl, we would have called her Linda. Elvis once had a lover with that name,” said Jean-Pierre. According to the daily newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws, the couple are now thinking of naming the new child Ohio. “There's no connection with Elvis, but it's in America,” said Mr. Antheunis.
Two R.I.P.s begin this week's column. After decades in business—I can't say exactly how many years because the phone has already been disconnected—Midnight Rodeo closed its doors for good last Tuesday. Word on the street is that ownership simply grew tired of the nightclub business and retired. Who could blame them? More than just a country bar in the Heights, Midnight Rodeo played host to just about every '80s metal washout band I can think of, and was also home to Gotham, the dance club for folks with a closet full of black clothing and a penchant for the occasional wet T-shirt contest. Midnight Rodeo's was a niche that isn't easily replaced. ... Nonsequitur, the organization that for many years has presented some of the finest quality experimental music in the Southwest has, sadly, ceased to exist in New Mexico. Nonsequitur's driving force, Steve Peters, has moved to Seattle, Wash. where he's taken a job as Arts Program Manager at Jack Straw Productions. Peters will continue to present Nonsequitur events in Seattle, and those interested in keeping tabs can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org to remain on the listserve. ... Singer-songwriter and former Albuquerque resident Jason Riggs will be back in town for the first time in many moons on Saturday, July 10, for a CD release concert at Winning's Coffee at 8 p.m. The CD, titled Pawn Shop Special, contains a track or two locals might recognize from Riggs' debut released back in the Dingo days, but it's full of new material that's quite refreshing. Visit www.jasonriggs.com to get a copy of the new record or pick one up at the show.