More Film, Please—The deadline for submitting film to the 10th Annual Alibi Short Film Fiesta is almost upon us. Films must be in our grubby little hands by this Saturday, Sept. 18.
Sayles' latest walks the line between political commentary and pointed comedy
“Washington”--meaning, the general political power structure in America--has long accused “Hollywood”--meaning, the entertainment industry as a whole--of being a nest of potty-mouthed, sex-crazed, tree-hugging liberals. This year, it seems that Hollywood has finally risen to the challenge, unleashing a barrage of unabashedly anti-conservative, Republican-bashing rhetoric. From laser-guided documentaries like Fahrenheit 9/11, Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism, Uncovered: The War on Iraq, Control Room, Persons of Interest and Bush's Brain to agitprop fiction like The Manchurian Candidate to Green Party fantasies like The Day After Tomorrow, summer movie screens are awash with left-wing indignation. Heck, even M. Night Shyamalan's crummy The Village could be viewed as a heavily cloaked parable about Tom Ridge's reign of terror.
Extreme surfing documentary rides the crest
Skateboarding legend Stacy Peralta staged a street-level assault on the documentary industry in 2001 when he unleashed Dogtown and Z-Boys, an unforgettable, eye-opening documentary about the history-making Zephyr skateboarding team--pioneers of the radical “vertical style” of boarding--which he himself had been a member of as a young boy. The power of Peralta's first documentary feature was that he made something as obscure at vertical skateboarding (essentially kids riding boards inside empty swimming pools) seem as radical and groundbreaking as mankind landing on the moon.
“The 56th Annual Emmy Awards” on ABC
This Sunday, it's time for the TV industry to congratulate itself by handing out a lot of self-serving awards. In recent years, the Emmys haven't been the most exciting crop. Almost without variation, we can expect to see “The Sopranos,” “The West Wing,” “Friends,” “24,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Jane Kaczmarek from “Malcolm in the Middle” (five years worth of nominations and counting).
The Week in Sloth
This Wednesday, Sept. 22, you'll have an opportunity to watch Leo Neufeld paint a portrait from life. And why, pray tell, is this such a big stinking deal? Well, as many of your know, Neufeld is a realist portrait master, and he'll be giving this painting demo entirely for free. If you're interested, just show up at the Harwood Art Center a little before 6 p.m. Over the course of the following two hours, Neufeld will showcase the techniques necessary to transform a blank canvas into a completed portrait. For details, call 242-6367.
The Roy E. Disney Center for the Performing Arts
It's really impossible to imagine just how spectacular the National Hispanic Cultural Center's new performing arts complex is without glimpsing it with your own eyes. The closest comparison here in town is UNM's Center for the Arts, but the new Roy E. Disney Center—however unfortunate the name—is a 21st century complex with all the snappy, high-tech bells and whistles you'd expect from a brand new $24 million state of the art performance complex.
Q-Staff staged its first performance about five years ago in a backyard in the university area. Now this gang of experimental thespians has found their very own performance space at 4819 Central NE, located almost directly across the street from the Hiland Theatre. They'll be giving the new theater a baptism by fire starting this weekend with an original theatrical/musical piece called Snake Oil for the Lovelorn that mixes "old west myth and modern mediated nightmare." I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds interesting, don't it? The show runs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 p.m. through Sept. 26. Suggested donation: $10. 254-9716.
Palette Contemporary Art and Craft
The new Northeast Heights gallery Palette Contemporary (7400 Montgomery NE, Mossman Center) is presenting a show of recent paintings by the Albuquerque-based artist Paula Dal Santo. Cross Section is Dal Santo's first local solo show, and the exhibit will present her colorful, flowing, vaguely abstract work referencing, in many cases, the human form. The show opens on Friday, Sept. 17, with a reception from 5 to 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 30. 855-7777.
Lannan's Prestigious Literary Series Starts A New Season
The Lannan Foundation's Readings and Conversations series kicks off this week, and as in years past the organization is bringing some of the biggest names in the literary world to Santa Fe. Here are a few of the highlights.
City officials suffer setback in fight over Bosque land
Last week, the city's attempt to condemn the last privately owned patch of the Bosque and preserve it as open space stalled when a judge ruled the property—125 acres located on the west side of the Rio Grande just north of Montaño Bridge—was outside Albuquerque's municipal limits.
The velvet touch. Hey guys, next time your sweetheart goes in for a PAP smear, thank a trial lawyer for keeping the lust demons at bay. At least, that's how you might interpret President George W. Bush's latest verbal blunder (or was he serious?).
The tidal wave of anxiety politicians don't want to talk about
Did you notice the results of the latest polling published in the morning daily? No, not the headline-grabbing "which candidate's ahead if the voting were today" stuff; that's going to change back and forth a dozen times between now and election day.
ACVB's pattern of neglect as obvious as a billboard on I-25
A couple miles past Isleta Pueblo on northbound I-25, stands the less-than-dazzling attempt by the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors Bureau (ACVB) to promote Old Town Albuquerque, the city's historical home. But you'll probably miss it if you're not paying attention.
Dateline: Belgium—Prison guards in Belgium have come up with a novel solution to the recent rash of breakouts: Keep security lax. Union representatives fear that prisoners will turn to violence to get away if they can no longer escape easily. They argue that allowing crooks to break out of jail using nonviolent methods will stop dangerous situations from developing. Union Leader Filip Dudal said in a radio interview this week that, “It is better for them to escape through a case of mistaken identity than planting bombs or taking the wardens hostage.” In a recent incident, one prisoner was helped from outside over a 15-foot wall while another simply walked out of the prison wearing a visitor's clothes.
It's going to be one of those weeks. In addition to loads of live local music ongoing at the New Mexico State Fair (see last week's “State Fair Music Special” at www.alibi.com for the schedule), there is a plethora of live music opportunities in Burque clubs. A few highlights: The Ron Helman Jazz Ensemble will celebrate the release of their new CD on Thursday, Sept. 16, at the Railyard in Santa Fe (530 South Guadalupe, 505-989-8363) from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., and the following night, Friday, Sept. 17, at Vanessie's (434 West San Francisco, 505-982-9966) in the City Different from 8 to 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended for both performances. ... As far as I'm concerned, there simply can't be too many anti-Bush gatherings between now and Election Day. And on Friday, Sept. 17, a fresh contingent of local bands will join together in fervent disapproval of America's moron-in-chief at an event called “Rock Against W” at historic El Rey Theater. Featuring performances by Church Camp, the Handsome Family, Foma, the Gingerbread Patriots, The Friendly, Rivet Gang, Boris McCutcheon, Bernadette Seacrest and her Yes Men, and Treble Hook, “Rock Against W” should be a memorable event even if the little shithead manages to get himself reselected. In addition to local music, Genesis for the Arts will present multimedia exhibits, Manifesto Films will present eye-popping 16 mm political reels and Judge Linda Vanzi and other local politicians and leaders will preach fire and brimstone against Bush II. The objective here is to register at least 200 new voters to help push regime change forward in the United States. All proceeds from the event—presumably in the form of donations since “Rock Against W” is a free show—will benefit The Media Fund and Musicofamerica.org. ... The very same night and two doors east at the Launchpad, Tabula Rasa will celebrate the release of their new CD with special guests Felonious Groove Foundation and Skinny Fat. ... The College of Santa Fe will present “World Music Day” on Saturday, Sept. 18, an all-day outdoor celebration of world music featuring instrument making demonstrations, instruments for sale, live performances (of course), food vendors and other activities (call 505-473-6196 for more information). ... Former Teenbeat recording artist Tracy Shedd brings her new record, Louder Than You Can Hear (Devil in the Woods) and rock band to the Atomic Cantina on Sunday, Sept. 19, with Badman artists and one of my current favorite slo-core bands, Ill Lit. ... This past spring, Dallas-based garage quartet Max Cady played at Atomic, and they're back on Monday, Sept. 20, this time touring on the enormous strength of their debut album, Tonight Alive (Sidearm), released just last month. In case you need a reminder, think Detroit's Supagroup-meets-the Motor City Madman. ... On Tuesday, Sept. 21, Denver's Plastic Parachute bring their Denver Westword Top Pop Band of 2004 Award-winning rock to Burt's. ... Rounding out the week are Bomp! recording artists The Coffin Lids at the Atomic with The Foxx and Elevator Division, and a free chamber music performance by violinist Willy Sucre & Friends (string quartet) at New Mexico Tech's Macey Center in Socorro at 7:30 p.m. ... Check our Naked City Club Calendar for even more live music haps.
Saturday, Sept. 18; Burt's Tiki Lounge (21 and over, 9 p.m.): It's been two years since Seattle's premier feminist pop-punk band, Ms. Led, released their debut full-length, the incomparable Afternoon in Central Park (Fish the Cat), but it still sounds as fresh as the day it was brewed. Far removed from the whiny-ass, folk-inflected, spoken word-driven “plight of the woman” tomes that litter record store shelves, Afternoon in Central Park is all about fearsome feminism with, for lack of a better word, the “balls” to back it up.
with The James Douglas Show
Thursday, Sept. 23; Ned's Downtown (21 and over, 9:30 p.m.): Of the more than 100 original songs in his repertoire, Reed Easterwood, who performs under the moniker Junky Southern, sent me three to listen to. And that's all it took. Could there really be a better, more interesting combination than Roky Erickson's crazed, psychedelic irony and Flaming Lips-style pop irony? Add to that a roots rock twist, and you've got yourself a Junky Southern.
Styx is theatrical rock at its greatest, similar to the complexity and intricacy of Yes and the theatrical melodies and harmonies of Queen. This anthology is the most complete of Styx greatest hits compilations featuring their early, more obscure works and some recent tunes. Styx was a power force in the glory days of front man Dennis De Young (admit, even “Mr. Roboto” was pretty damn cool for its time). Often times considered a guilty pleasure, Styx is a lot more intricate than modern bands that dominate the airwaves. Revisit the magic or experience it for the first time.
Wouldn't it be cool if we could bring our own wine to restaurants? It's illegal here in New Mexico, where it hasn't even been 10 years since the drive-up liquor windows closed. Battling drinking and driving (or buying booze while driving) is one thing, but think how nice it would be if you could bring a delightful bottle of wine or a six pack of special beer to a little mom ’n' pop restaurant that doesn't have a beer and wine license. When you go out to eat for your anniversary, you could bring the bottle of Dom Pérignon that you got as a wedding gift. (In other states it's legal and the restaurants simply charge you a small fee to serve it.) While we're wishing, I'd love to be able to take my unfinished bottle of wine home with me. When you go out for dinner just the two of you, sometimes a whole bottle is a lot to finish. This stupid law keeps people from ordering wine when they'd like to (costing restaurants money) and it encourages people to drink more than they'd like because they don't want to waste wine they've paid for. So let us enjoy half of the bottle, then stick a cork in it and drive safely home to finish it later.
Same great taste, same great risk of anal leakage
Wow! chips are getting a new look and a new name but don't worry, they still cause the same crippling stomach cramps, explosive diarrhea and embarrassing anal leakage! That's right, this month the familiar bags of Wow! chips are scheduled to be replaced by Lay's Light, Doritos Light, Ruffles Light and the like. According to Frito-Lay, the name change is a marketing strategy they're putting in place because consumers don't associate the Wow! brand name with the reduced calorie benefits of the chips. Hmm, could it be that they associate the chips with anal leakage and fecal urgency?
Parking garage pranks
Bored teens pee from the fourth floor
Damn you meddling kids!
Cedar Crest's Nouveau Noodles celebrates its first birthday
I've long been of the opinion that the best food comes from the unlikeliest of places—that there's a guy with a hot dog cart whose bratwurst is far superior to that found at most boutique German restaurants, that the best stuffed sopaipillas come from a little out-of-the-way storefront facing the railroad tracks (mmm ... El Modelo). So I've never been all that surprised that the finest Asian-fusion cuisine your money can buy in the Albuquerque area gets served up daily and nightly in what amounts to a converted double-wide mobile home on North 14. Not the kind of mobile home people buy today; the reclassified-for-mass-appeal "modular" or "manufactured" homes. No, Nouveau Noodles occupies the kind of trailer that dots the community of Carnuel, the kind my grandparents once owned as a second home in Truth or Consequences, the kind that came standard with faux wood paneling and that lingering factory-fresh smell.
Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival returns for second big year
Last year's inaugural Southwest Gay and Lesbian Film Festival brought some 2,000 eager film fans to Madstone Theaters for a weekend of truly independent film. But the subsequent closing of the Madstone left the festival stranded without a venue.
Girl Play (US 2004) 7 p.m., Century 14 Downtown
The 24th Day (US 2004) 97 minutes 7 p.m., Century 14 Downtown
Beautiful Boxer (Thailand 2003) 116 minutes 9:30 p.m., Century 14 Downtown
Gypsy 83 (US 2001) 94 minutes 4 p.m., Southwest Film Center
My Mother Likes Women (Spain 2002) 96 minutes 6:30 p.m., Southwest Film Center
Hellbent (US 2004) 85 minutes 9 p.m., Southwest Film Center
The Raspberry Reich (Germany 2004) 90 minutes Midnight, The Guild Cinema
Affordable housing takes center stage in the city's effort to finalize the East Downtown Master Plan
Judy Hatfield is a 64-year-old woman who has lived in the same home for 18 years. She is being evicted, along with six of her neighbors, because the former landlords decided to sell the property to a development company called J&J Holdings, which plans to turn the apartments into condominiums.
State District Judge rules against call for stricter voter I.D. enforcement
Here's a recipe for some long-winded arguing. Start with concerns over voter fraud and disenfranchisement, mix in some partisanship and accusations of bureaucratic incompetence, add a team of Republican and Democratic lawyers and let cook in a Bernalillo County courtroom.
Looks like you're in the front row. According to Editor and Publisher, Jerry Gallegos, superintendent of the press gallery at the GOP convention, became indignant on opening night after filmmaker-turned-USA Today columnist Michael Moore was delayed and surrounded by security guards several times on his way to the convention press table.
Here are a few facts that may surprise you as you anticipate voting in this year's election.
In a rare, unscripted moment, Bush was right
Demonstrating yet again how dangerous it is for him to venture into public unaided by a teleprompter, President Bush managed to provide some startling insight into what this war on terror business is really all about last week during an interview on NBC's “Today” show.
Dems panic as the RNC takes Manhattan
As the Bush campaign gathered steam and began setting the election agenda at its New York City convention, John Kerry was literally floundering around at a photo op. There's seems to be some macho "Xtreme" sports thing the 60-year-old Democrat nominee has in his system. Snowboarding into Secret Service agents was the first hint the public got of it. Riding a Harley onto the stage of Jay Leno's show was another.
Dateline: Saudi Arabia—Apparently, the Middle East is crazy for Danish Modern. Three men were trampled to death when more than 20,000 people stormed the grand opening of the first IKEA showroom in Saudi Arabia. Sixteen shoppers were injured at the Swedish-based furniture store opening in Jeddah. Medics revived another 20 who had fainted in the crush. The company had promised free vouchers worth $150 to the first 50 people. In a statement issued to the press, IKEA said the company had worked closely with Saudi security officials to plan the opening.
Uncovered Cinema—The cinematic assault on the Bush administration continues unabated. This week, the People Before Profit Film/Lecture Series will present Robert Greenwald's Uncovered: The War on Iraq. Greenwald (Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism) deconstructs the administration's case for war through interviews with U.S. intelligence and defense officials, foreign service experts and U.N. weapons inspectors--including a former CIA director, a former ambassador to Saudi Arabia and Bush's Secretary of the Army. Regardless of one's political affiliation, this is sobering stuff. The screening will take place at 7 p.m. at the Peace & Justice Center (202 Harvard SE). You can call the Center at 268-9557 for more info.
Milla is game for another go-around, but this horror/action hybrid just fires blanks
The first Resident Evil film was based on a popular video game of the same name. The video game featured assorted characters running around firing weapons into unending hoards of undead zombies. The movie was pretty much the same thing. Nonetheless, it came across as decent B-movie fun thanks to a simple script, a bit of visual flair from director W.S. Anderson (Mortal Kombat, Alien vs. Predator) and a seriously sexy turn by star Milla Jovovich (The Fifth Element, The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc). Since the video game spawned a series of sequels, it was only natural that the movie would follow suit. Hence, two years on down the line, we are faced with the horrors of Resident Evil: Apocalypse.
She Hate Me, Spike Lee's latest foray into the depths of black male angst, is likely to be remembered as the most abhorrent film of the director's unbalanced career. An excellent example of artistic flaccidity masquerading as "in-your-face" edginess, the film is not so much a movie as an ocean of misjudged decisions, all of which amount to what could justifiably be described as the worst film of the new millennium.
“Father of the Pride” on NBC
For months I've been thinking that creating an expensive, computer-animated series about the daily lives of the white lions owned by Las Vegas magicians Siegfried & Roy (one of whom tried to snack on Roy's head earlier this year) was a really bad idea. Now, however, I've seen the actual show and am forced to admit that it isn't a bad idea ... it's a terrible idea.
The Week in Sloth
If you, Mr. 12- to 17-year-old, consider yourself a true metalhead, then your valuable services are required. Gerald Chavez, longtime local musician, martial artist, vegetarian and doctoral student of clinical psychology for the past 23 years, is conducting a pilot study for his dissertation, and needs your help. The study consists of a simple survey that takes about five minutes to complete, focusing on the connection or lack thereof between music, mood and aggression in males aged 12 to 17. As most people are aware, when an adolescent does something aggressive or bizarre, usually one of the first questions asked is, "What are his/her media interests?”—a question that's rarely, if ever, asked when an adult commits a crime or bizarre act. Along with looking at the effect music may have on mood and aggression, Chavez hopes to introduce hard science into the debate, instead of simply basing everything on nonempirical belief systems which is so often the case. Chavez says he believes it's time for the music appreciated by teens (and adults), be it metal, punk, goth, etc., to be looked at in a nonbiased way in an attempt to discover what, if anything, is going on. I, for one, would love to see a scientific end to the debate, and would be more than proud if one of our own turned out to be the guy with the answers. If you're interested in filling out the survey, contact Gerald Chavez at (505) 489-4109 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Parent signature required.
Lolita move over. Your jaw may drop when you hear "Summertime," the first of 12 tracks on this disc of standards and classics sung by the sensational Renée Olstead. The woman has every sexy insinuation, every purr and coo, every jazz riff and Broadway belt under the sun on the tip of her tongue.
Wednesday, Sept. 15; Lensic Performing Arts Center (211 West San Francisco Street, Santa Fe, all-ages, 7:30 p.m.): Since the late '50s, the Neville name has been synonymous with New Orleans-style R&B. The four brothers who share the name—Art, Charles, Aaron and Cyril—have worked together over the years in pairs, as a trio and as solo artists, but there's something infinitely special about the Neville Brothers working as a quartet; something that can't quite be matched.
Friday, Sept. 10; Kiva Auditorium (Convention Center, all ages, 8 p.m.): Prior to their ubiquitous single, “Touche,” taken from The Other Side EP, I considered Godsmack with the same degree of seriousness I generally reserve for most of the food-court rock bands I hear on the radio and see (briefly—it's all I can take) on televised music awards shows. But there's something about the earnestness of that song that sucked me in and didn't let go the first 600,000 times I heard it. It even got to the point where I went out and bought a copy of the EP which, to my surprise and delight, was just as solid as the single.
The quasi-ska “Shootin' Dice” is an unfortunate misstep (especially with regard to the vocals), but the rest of Hit By a Bus' debut reveals an impressive blend of hardcore rock and borderline techno beats, punk and metal guitar figures, and a whole host of juicy pop elements that, taken as a whole, offer multiple moments of sheer delight. The record's harder side is expertly performed (“Pumpkin,” “Tarot's Tale”), while the more ambient material (“Unfazed,” “Speed Limit 42”) is equally as effective in its subtleties. Vocals could be better overall, but the songs are rock solid.
As most of you already know, the financially strapped nonprofit arts organization Magnífico recently shut down its magnificent art space at 516 Central SW. The closing put Melody Mock, Magnífico's director of exhibits and programs, out of work. Mock could've pouted on her couch with a tub of Ben and Jerry's squeezed between her thighs while sinking into the sticky existential pit of daytime television, but she decided to do something productive instead. She put together an online gallery that showcases local contemporary artists and also includes reviews, features and a calendar of local arts events. The first show will feature work by mixed media artist Valerie Roybal. Check it out at www.contemporaryalbuquerque.com.
Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre
Many people associate live comedy with smoky bars filled with drunks. They imagine a stage with an exposed brick backdrop and a string of sweaty comedians spouting insults at audience members clueless enough to sit in the front row. Except for the exposed brick backdrop, the Gorilla Tango Comedy Theatre, which recently opened in downtown Albuquerque, is a very different animal.
Tricklock Performance Space
One of my favorite Dylan lines of all time is "They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings." Man, if that ain't the whole truth and nothing but. In a new original satire by Joe Forrest Sackett, Theater-in-the-Making, a youth theater company currently in residence at the Tricklock, presents a biting look at the dubious political hackery of the Bush administration. Directed by Paul Ford, Patriots runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 6 p.m., through Sept. 26. $10. 254-8393.
Harwood Art Center
There's something eerily attractive about David Ondrik's relentlessly unromantic landscapes. His stunning large-scale black and white images capture tampered terrains strewn with industrial wreckage and blighted by human manipulation. Ondrik's photographs should be placed on anti-postcards and mailed to Republican members of Congress. A new exhibit of his work opens this Friday at the Harwood Art Center with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Runs through Sept. 30. 242-6367.
Is Alton Brown the new Julia Child? Or is that blasphemy? All I know is that my little mention of how much I love Alton has prompted people to stop me on the street, whisper in my ear at a wedding and buy me beers at the bar. Vanessa Whittemore sent an e-mail about Alton's method for roasting small amounts of green chile. "It caught my attention because I have very wimpy tastebuds and a little chile goes a very long way with me," Vanessa wrote. "Therefore, even though I love the smell of roasting chiles, there's no reason for me to buy a whole sack since that would probably last for the entire rest of my natural life and possibly into the next one. Alton Brown showed how you can roast just a couple at a time. Take one of those metal vegetable steamers found in almost every kitchen, lay the sides out as flat as you can get them and place directly over the burner on a gas stove (electric won't work). Put a couple or three chiles on the steamer and turn up the flame. I think he said about five minutes per side would work. Voila! (is there a Spanish counterpart for Voila!?) You have a small amount of roasted green chile." So, Alton, Vanessa seems nice and all? But remember, you're marrying me.
Thai Pepper has been replaced by Thai Tip. Signs on the restaurant, on Wyoming just north of Constitution, changed less than a month ago when the former owner sold the business to John and Tippawan Sherrod. The Sherrods wasted little time during the transition, doing only a quick cleanup and moderate redecoration of the dining room. John Sherrod said it helped that they inherited a good customer base. "We've converted everyone whose come in the door," he says. His wife Tippawan, she's Tip for short, does the cooking along with two other cooks. One of her assistants is her nephew from Thailand, here in Albuquerque while he gets a masters degree in business from UNM.
Where does it come from and how do you make it right?
From a reader: “I wuz wonderin' if you could tell me where Spanish rice comes from. This is a question that has bugged me for some time. Is rice actually cultivated in New Mexico? If not, how is that it has become a staple but other Spanish imports such as olives, saffron or garbanzos are not? Also, why is it called Spanish rice since as far as I know it is unlike rice in Spain? If you could tell me I'd appreciate it. Thank you, Ben.”
Photos by Stacey Adams
It's State Fair time in Albuquerque again, and along with the usual bastion of talent scheduled to appear following PRCA Rodeo events at Tingley Coliseum this year, there's a host of local talent booked to entertain you, your friends and families at the Ford Pavilion. Local musicians are getting a giant shove into the State Fair foreground this year thanks to Ford Pavilion Entertainment Coordinator Jennifer Gignac (a.k.a. the artist known as Jenny Gamble) and Assistant Coordinator April Adams, who've lobbied relentlessly to bring some new blood, genres and sounds to fairgoers for the cost of fair admission alone. All events scheduled to take place at the Ford Pavilion are free once you're inside Expo New Mexico, and they're open to audiences of all ages—talk about a great time for the underage among us to check out bands they usually don't otherwise get to see except when they've got an extra $30 or $40 for an Edgefest ticket once a year!
Sayles Force—Long-admired indie filmmaker John Sayles (Matewan, Eight Men Out, The Secret of Roan Inish, Lone Star) recently turned his attentions to America's contentious political climate, whipping out the political thriller Silver City with the eager help of an all-star cast (including Kris Kristofferson, Chris Cooper, Daryl Hannah, Richard Dreyfuss, Miguel Ferrar, Billy Zane, Tim Roth and more). The film lies somewhere between the dense conspiratorial murder mystery of Chinatown and the pointed political humor of an Al Franken routine.
The glitz and glamor of background extra work
Suspect Zero, the serial killer thriller shot in Albuquerque and the surrounding area two summers ago, finally made its way onto movie screens last weekend. The film struggled into 10th place at the box office, clearing a meager $3.4 million. Although the film didn't exactly cover its small $27 million budget ($7.5 of which was provided as an interest-free loan by the state of New Mexico), it did scrape together a few thousand more dollars than Baby Geniuses 2. At this point, it's clear that New Mexico will see none of the promised 2.5 percent of the film's profits, but at least the production employed a handful of New Mexicans for a few weeks. The following is a brief diary excerpt from two New Mexicans who worked as extras during the film's shoot.
Pomp and circumstance drives Brit-lit romance
I must confess that I'm not the most avid fan of Brit-lit romance. I really couldn't give a toss if poor Ms. So-and-so finally climbs up that snobby social ladder and marries Lord What's-his-name. But Hollywood sure is a big fan of beautiful costumes, weepy romance and people speaking in British accents. Conventional wisdom does say that if you throw some Jane Austen or some Charlotte Bronte or some Charles Dickens up on screen, you're guaranteed to generate at least a little Oscar buzz—which is probably what the makers behind the new adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic novel had in mind.
Fall season around the Dial
The Olympics are over, summer is dying, and that means that the fall TV season is upon us. Premieres roll out all this month. So what does the new fall schedule hold in store for us?
The Week in Sloth
It kind of feels like a bomb has been dropped in Albuquerque, leaving a charred, smoking hole right in the middle of Downtown. Financial problems have motivated Magnífico—one of Albuquerque's best nonprofit arts organizations—to close its Downtown gallery at 516 Central SW. The organization's board also decided to lay off its three-person staff.
A group of enterprising young artists has opened up a new gallery space at 1415 Fourth Street SW in Albuquerque's historic Barelas neighborhood. The Donkey Gallery's first show is called Burning Green Wood and will feature work by its three co-directors—David Leigh, Larry Bob Phillips and Sherlock Terry. A grand opening reception will be held Friday, Sept. 3, from 6 to 9 p.m. I'm told there will be tacos. Rex Hobart will provide live tunes. The event will also serve as a launch party for the Donkey Journal, a monthly, limited edition, two-sided poster with interviews, art criticism, creative writing and reviews. The show runs through Oct. 3. 243-0502.
Café Au Lait
Former Alibi contributor Stephen Ausherman has just released a new collection of travel essays called Restless Tribes (Central Ave. Press, paper, $14.95). Several of the essays included in the book first appeared in earlier incarnations in the Alibi. Swing by Café Au Lait this Friday, Sept. 3, from 5 to 7 p.m. to meet Ausherman, pick up a signed copy of his book, and check out an exhibit of photographs from his extensive travels to India, Korea, Borneo, Iraq, Vietnam, China, Tanzania and other exotic locales. The exhibit will run through Sept. 30. 248-0707.
St. Louis Hosts the 2004 National Poetry Slam
It's official: I've got baseball fever. In the ninth inning, the Expos hit a two run homer to tie the game, and it's extra innings. We're sitting in the cheap seats at Busch Stadium and sweat is pouring down my face. Wait, this isn't baseball fever; it's August in St. Louis. Busch Stadium is a bowl of soup, and sweat is pouring from my why-didn't-I-buzz-my-hair-this-summer head as if I'm running laps. And I'm not. I'm watching a baseball game, and I'm drinking the local brew (namely Budweiser) in St. Louis the night before the National Poetry Slam begins.
With John Ashcroft in charge, the Justice Department barely deserves its name. We're living in a scary new America. Learn your rights now before they're stripped away forever.
Attending a Bush rally and trying not to drink the Kool-Aid
First impression: Heather Wilson should star in her own soap opera. It could be called "As The World Turns ... to Crap." Our Congresswoman is truly a miracle of modern science. We say bravo to the engineers who installed the WilsonBot's automatic tear-duct emptying function. And, thankfully, unlike the previous version of this monster—Tammy Faye Bakker—Wilson does not leak dark fluid from her eye holes during the performance.
Theater of the absurd. It's funny how enlightening a brief encounter with a stranger can be.
How many terror alerts does it take to elect a president?
It's become a familiar routine. First the terror alert originates somewhere in the halls of the federal government, then it gets filtered to the mainstream media, which passes the information on to the public. The public puts on its collective "Code Orange" game face, while terror alert banners scroll across the 24/7 cable news screens and each network's security experts analyze the latest threat on the talk shows.
Privatizing the state's behavioral health services another bad idea
After putting it at the bottom of my stack of books to read for over a year, I recently began reading Edmund Morris' wonderful biography, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Once I'd actually turned a few pages, it was hard to put down. Not the least of its pleasures for a contemporary liberal Democrat is the recognition that T.R., a maverick Republican, was warning us 100 years ago about the "unnatural alliance of politics and corporations."
And other news worthy of the conspiracy theory hall of fame
Since the Democrat National Convention in Boston, “Payne's World” readers have had the inside track on the tactical mistakes of the Kerry campaign—and they are legion. A month ago (Aug. 5-11 "Too Conventional"), the following appeared in this column and looks now like it could have been written by Nostradamus.
Dateline: England—A man has admitted to endangering passengers on a 737 flight from Norway by setting fire to a pornographic magazine under his seat. David Mason used a cigarette lighter to ignite torn-out pages from the magazine, which he had purchased earlier. The charges came to light in Lewes Crown Court in southeast England last Tuesday. Prosecutor Roger Booth said stewardesses on the Norwegian national airline Braathens became suspicious when Mason asked if he could burn some paper in the plane's galley oven. They refused and sent him back to his seat. Soon afterwards, two passengers complained of a burning smell. Crew members found Mason had started a small fire under his seat. The blaze was extinguished with water. Booth said that Mason, who was receiving treatment for mental illness, had “been offended” by some of the pictures in the magazine, one of several he had bought. “He said that on the plane he had become overcome, and felt the desire to destroy them there and then,” the prosecutor said. Mason is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Fall Crawl 2004 was officially over early Sunday morning, Aug. 29, as the last of the street sweepers we hired made one last run up the alley just north of Sixth Street. And, save for a few long lines and slow-going foot traffic on the street later in the evening, our 11th installment in the Alibi Crawl series was a major success, just as all previous Crawls have been. Thanks, as always, to the bands who participated, the crew who worked their asses off, the City of Albuquerque, Mayor Martin Chavez, Downtown Action Team, Albuquerque Police and Fire Departments and all the participating venues, restaurants, retailers and local media who covered the event. The brainstorming effort to make next year's Alibi Spring Crawl (Saturday, April 23, 2005) bigger and better than ever is already underway, and we'd especially like to hear from the bands, venues and attendees and everyone else who participated or observed last weekend's event so we can work your ideas into the Crawls. Send constructive criticism (save the sixth-grade nastiness for RockSquawk.com), questions and suggestions to Yours Truly at email@example.com. Thanks again to everyone who worked so hard to make Alibi Fall Crawl 2004 a success. Those of you who worked hard and failed to undermine the event ... well, suffice to say, we know who you are, and you are the enemy of music fans everywhere. ... For those who don't already have tickets, the fabulous John Hiatt will appear Friday, Sept. 3, at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe (211 West San Francisco Street) at 7:30 p.m. The super-fabulous David Lindley will open the show. Call (505) 988-1234 to order tickets right now!
with Oktober People, Soular and Love Overdose
Friday, Sept. 3; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): The local music scene conspiracy theorists among us will no doubt take issue with the fact that I've chosen to preview simple.'s CD release party being that bassist Joe Anderson happens to be a close friend and someone I've spent the past 11 years working closely with, but I don't really care. The plain fact of the matter at hand is that simple. have created a sound that's unique among local bands—mystifyingly huge and beautifully ambient at once—and a debut record that stands tall alongside any other released by a local band this year. Lyrically, the songs can be somewhat daunting, but there are few bands in town that can match simple.'s masterful use of swirling, dueling guitars juxtaposed against orgasmic grooves. Oktober People are one of them, and you get to see them tonight, too.
Sure, you love splashing Tabasco all over your tacos, but would you tip the bottle into your kid's mouth if she lied about eating her peas? An ABCNEWS.com poll revealed that while 65 percent of Americans don't think so-called hot-saucing children is acceptable, 35 percent do. Among that smaller group is Lisa Welchel. Remember her? She played Blair on the '80s TV series "Facts of Life." Blair, er, Welchel didn't really do anything big after "Facts of Life," which is why we still think of her as Blair, not Lisa Welchel. After leaving show business, the enthusiastically Christian actress raised three children, homeschooled them and wrote a book on her discipline methods, including hot-saucing. "It does sting and the memory stays with them so that the next time they may actually have some self-control and stop before they lie or bite or something like that," she said on “Good Morning America.” Hmm, if the hot sauce didn't hurt it wouldn't be an effective deterrent, right? And if it did hurt, that would be kind of like hurting your children, right? So why not just spank the crap out of them? Is hot saucing a "kinder, gentler" way of spanking? No, but we shouldn't be surprised. As Devin D. O'Leary says, Blair always was a bitch.
A multicultural, low-tech matanza method for going whole hog
The matanza, or ritual slaughter and cooking of a pig, has been a part of New Mexican culture since the first Spaniards settled in this area. Neighbors would take turns hosting matanzas and share the resulting meat, a tradition that had real practical importance in the days before refrigeration. Now, cooking a whole pig in a pit in the back yard is less common but still an event that requires a lot of cooperation and benefits a lot of hungry mouths.
Which American city has the most coffee shops per capita? Who the hell knows. It seemed that Albuquerque was in the top spot after the the Associated Press reported on findings of the Specialty Coffee Association. The original findings revealed the shocking statistic that Albuquerque had more java huts than Seattle, New York or Los Angeles. Even per capita, that's a lot of coffee houses. Unfortunately, it was revealed a few days later that the statistics were wrong. The Specialty Coffee Association did not release corrected figures.
Riesling rocks with food
Over the weekend, I had a culinary orgasm. It lasted four hours, and occurred in a dark corner of a restaurant. Amid a roomful of people, I blissfully consumed eight extraordinary dishes married with perfect wines. While basking in the beauty of this rather long, exultant moment, one thing struck me—the underbelly of sweetness in many of the wines, from the sparkling to the reds. Then the elegant, fragrant master arrived, Riesling, proving it still has what it takes.