The most ferocious of prehistoric reader polls is back
What's your favorite New Mexican food? What's your favorite dinosaur? Ok, now put them together and what do you get? An Enchiladodon? A Chileopteryx? A Tacoraptor? A Sopaipillatops? Awesome! Get ready for the T. Rex of “Best of City” contests: The original Best of Burque Restaurants will be hitting Weekly Alibi racks and website on Thursday, Oct. 12. The polls are open now. Vote on your favorite Frito pie, vegetarian food, Japanese restaurant and local brewery. Let your voice be heard! Rawr!
The search for new hi-tech weaponry brings defense dollars to local labs and a few ethical questions as well
Follow the bare, concrete lined walls in the basement of the University of New Mexico Engineering Building and you'll find the signs forbidding anyone to enter the laboratory of Professor Edl Schamiloglu without proper authorization. Due to X-ray generation and high voltage safety, researchers and students who work there are required to wear a radiation badge, just like people who work in comparable science facilities.
Councilor wants the city to condemn the old Santa Fe rail yards if redevelopment doesn't start soon
The old Santa Fe railroad district Downtown has been a sad, familiar sight for decades. The dilapidated pre-World War II buildings, the busted windows and the chain-link fence have become such a familiar part of the landscape, area residents have gotten used to ignoring them. But City Councilor Eric Griego has maybe, and perhaps finally, come up with a plan to resurrect the area.
Let There Be Light. Everybody can remember that special teacher, the one that changed the course of your life, the one you deified for at least half a semester, the one that made you laugh and pushed your intellectual curiosity to new limits, taught you to think analytically and with an open mind and, yes, was such a potent force in the classroom that you thought to yourself, secretly of course, that maybe someday you too would become a college professor and live the noble, erudite campus life. As Jonathan Swift so aptly put it: Whoever excels in what we prize, will be a hero in our eyes; each student when pleased with what is taught, will have the teacher in her thought. Or something like that.
Ten days after our national election, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, my wife and I went to El Salvador. We traveled separately, of course, intent on very different missions, but still it was disheartening to travel so far in an effort at getting away from the grim realities of our national crisis only to be greeted by Rumsfeld's all-too-familiar face squinting out at us from the front page of the Prensa Gráfica.
Some more news nuggets to chew on from the week that was
There's a minor bit of housekeeping to get out of the way before moving forward with this week's column. The following sentence appeared in this space last week:
Few people in the United States know the name Mordechai Vanunu. Nineteen years ago, working as a scientist in the then secret Israeli nuclear weapons program at its Dimona facility in the Negev, a desert region in southern Israel, Mordechai Vanunu, in a brave act of conscience, revealed the existence of this program to the rest of the world.
Dateline: India—An army officer has been dismissed and another suspended after a court martial found them guilty of faking a bloody battle scene with a camera and a bottle of ketchup. An army spokesman said Col. H.S. Kohli took photos of civilians covered with ketchup and posing as corpses and then gave them to his senior officers as proof of dead separatist rebels in the revolt-torn northeastern state of Assam. “The colonel tried to use the photographs to back up his claim for a gallantry award,” the spokesman said. Unfortunately, the fraud was exposed when scrutiny of records following the colonel's claim showed no such deaths had ever occurred. “It was indeed bizarre to find him trying to claim a bravery award for the kills which in fact did not take place,” said the spokesman. Following the court martial hearing, the colonel lost his job and a major who conspired with his was suspended for five years. The incident, dubbed the “saucy scandal” by local media, is the latest incident to shake the Indian army. Last May, India's Defense Ministry said Indian troops staged fake battles on the world's highest battleground on the Siachen glacier and made false claims about killing Pakistani soldiers in a bid to win medals.
Fifth annual cinematic soiree offers a wealth of diversity
It's a week before the Fifth Annual Santa Fe Film Festival, and festival director Jon Bowman has a problem. Four of the festival's big-ticket films have already sold out. The Assassination of Richard Nixon, A Very Long Engagement, Zapata and Travelers and Magicians have already filled up. Several other screenings are on the verge of running out of tickets as well. All things considered, it's not the worst problem that a film festival director can face. Still, Bowman is scrambling to add additional screenings for eager audiences.
The Librarian: Quest for the Spear on TNT
They say there are two kinds of knowledge in the world: book learning and real-world smarts. You could charitably say that the folks behind TNT's new made-for-TV feature, The Librarian: Quest for the Spear are suffused with the first kind of knowledge. I say that not because they're deeply intelligent, but because they've obviously never been exposed to anything remotely real.
The Week in Sloth
Check the “Music Calendar” and “Lucky 7” this week. If the plethora of holiday-themed events doesn't get you in the mood, nothing will. And just to add a little to the insanity, New Mexico Tech's Macey Center in Socorro will host “Christmas Joy,” a performance by the lavishly costumed, brilliantly choreographed Performers Ballet Company, featuring Socorro-based dancer Johnnie Taylor Trujillo, who will reprise her role in four performances at UNM's Popejoy Hall later in the month. The Macey Center performance takes place Saturday, Dec. 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $16, $14 and $12. Call (505) 835-5688 for more information and tickets. ... Also on Saturday, Dec. 4, the Bill Hearne Trio (with Susan Hyde Holmes and Don Richmond) will appear at the Outpost Performance Space at 8 p.m. with special guest Linda Myers. Call 268-0044 for more information. ... On a lighter note, Bury Your Dead, Scars of Tomorrow, The Acacia Strain and Minus 7 will present their own version of an all-ages holiday-themed concert on Sunday, Dec. 5, at the Launchpad at 7 p.m. ... Finally, former Flat Duo Jets guitarist and personal hero Dexter Romweber will appear Wednesday, Dec. 8, at the Lobo Theater with the musical desert oasis that is The Sadies and headliner Neko Case, all of whom have new records out.
He's Paul Gonzalez. You probably recognize him as a trumpet player in local ensembles like Tetragon, Son Como Son, Straight Up and the Albuquerque Latin Jazz Orchestra. He's also done stints with Caribe, Carlos “Patato” Valdes, The Platters, The Pete Escovedo Orchestra and locals Doug Lawrence and Ottmar Liebert, as well as leading his own groups.
Gonzalez recently recorded Warm Valley, a sexy, smoky CD that brims with sultry horn passages and upbeat Hot Club jazz. Joining him on the recording is a near peerless quartet of local jazz masters, including the magical drummer Arnaldo Acosta, bassist Milo Jaramillo and pianist Steve Figueroa, along with guest appearances by saxophonist Kanoa Kaluhiwa, trombonist César Bauvallet, and drummers Victor Rodriguez and Tomás White.
with Brian Keane
Saturday, Dec. 4; Super-secret AMP House Concert Location Near You (all ages, 7:30 p.m.): Wisconsinite Jeffrey Foucault could just be the risen savior of the country-folk inflected flock of contemporary singer-songwriters. He's recorded just two albums during a career influenced by the Texas Great Ones—Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt—and marked by nods to the varied talents of Greg Brown, Chris Smither, Kelly Joe Phelps, John Hammond, etc.
with Jumbo's Killcrane, Black Maria and Under The Sun
Tuesday, Dec. 7; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): Man, they must grow some killer skunk in Wilmington, N.C. There's simply no other excuse—no other likely cause—for the likes of Weedeater, whose Dixie Witch-meets-Lynyrd Skynyrd brand of bong water-soaked, Southern-fried swamp sludge will make you a believer, whether you're a stinky pot head or not.
Like labelmate Suzanne Vega, Vanessa Carlton has a knack for setting her deepest emotions to craftily hewn melodies in such a way as to infect the listener with the actual feelings. A remarkable feat for a 24-year-old who's made but two albums, but Carlton's Harmonium sounds ageless and timeless nonetheless. There's a depth here, both lyrically and instrumentally, and with regard to arrangement, that creates a far greater sense of urgency and maturity in Carlton's latest batch of songs than in the previous bunch, including her breakout hit, “A Thousand Miles.” To ignore this record would be criminal.
It's a well-known fact that some of the best contemporary art talent in New Mexico comes out of the graduate art program at UNM. These young artists aren't just talented, though—they're also organized.
Spiritually Incorrect: An Existential Comedy at the KiMo Theatre
Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of her adult life in a nonviolent struggle to bring democracy to her home country of Burma. In exchange for her valiant efforts on behalf of her fellow citizens, the military dictatorship in charge of that nation has repeatedly thrown her in jail.
December bookstore events
New Mexico Books & More (344-9382), the cooperative of independent New Mexico publishers and authors stationed temporarily at Cottonwood Mall, continues its creative efforts to hawk New Mexico books throughout the month of December. From Friday, Dec. 3, through Sunday, Dec. 5, the coop will present a bunch of cool readings for kids with such authors as Terry Avery (Who Will Save Mr. Squeaky?), Bonnie Larson (When Animals Were People, Watakame's Journey) and Mary Powell (Wolf Tales). For a list of other December events, log on to www.nmbookcoop.com.
Much like a glass of premium bourbon, The Nutcracker tastes especially delicious on the rocks. Roll over Tchaikovsky—James Brown, Aretha Franklin, the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin are moving in when the Keshet Dance Company presents its rockin' Nutcracker on the Rocks, complete with giant Harley, at UNM's Rodey Theatre starting this weekend. The show runs Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Dec. 12. Tickets are $20 general, $18 students/seniors. Group rates available. Order by calling 925-5858.
The Tulane Deli is long gone, replaced with a hip new Japanese paper shop and gallery called PaperGami (114 Tulane SE). Cynthia Cook, one of our most popular local artists, currently has an exhibit at the shop featuring some of her most recent mixed-media shadowbox pieces. Incorporating recycled pieces along with various organic bits, Cook's work has always had an attractive mystical pagan flavor. The show will be up through Jan. 4. The store is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 255-2228.
My mother is the type of fearless eater who loves the gelatinous texture of pigs' feet and eats tripe without batting an eye. She always orders the weird thing on the menu, whether it's kidney pie or squab on a spit. And yet there are a few things she won't eat. They are a small but mysterious group: watermelon, meatloaf, Brussels sprouts and chestnuts. Watermelon is a visceral thing with her. One whiff of that treacly sweet pink flesh and she gags as though she's just caught you brushing your teeth (oh yeah, spit makes her gag too. Weird, huh?). As for meatloaf, it was one thing we never ate in our house growing up, along with other normal American foods like steak and pot roast. Far too normal for us. Anyway, I think she recently told me about a veal and pork meatloaf she made and actually liked, so maybe that has to come off the list. But as I write this, it's two days before Thanksgiving and we're still fighting about the last two on the list. I want to make Brussels sprouts with bacon and chestnuts (I think I saw it in Food and Wine) but she refuses. Oh, I'll win alright. And I'm including this week's story on chestnuts just to spite her.
Oh yeah, it's gingerbread time. This weekend at Coronado Center, the Make-A-Wish Foundation will be displaying and selling dozens of gingerbread houses for the 17th straight year. Some of the modest abodes are made by kindergartners. (Imagine a tub of royal icing and bag of gumdrops in the hands of a 5-year-old. If these houses don't look like they've been hit by a category-four hurricane, then you can tell grownups helped.) Others are made by Four H-ers, artsy teenagers, professional pastry chefs and graduates of baking classes at the Specialty Shop. Gingerbread artists compete in several categories and prizes are awarded by a panel of experts including Yours Truly. I've judged this thing for four years or so now, and I've seen gingerbread houses made to look like the church in Ranchos de Taos, Noah's Ark, Barbie's Dream House, a mobile home (compete with Donette tires on the roof!), the Luna Mansion and Rapunzel's castle tower. They are truly amazing. And, contrary to what I wrote a few weeks ago, judging this event is actually fun for three reasons. First, these kids are total geniuses. Last year, one of them used strips of Fruit Stripe gum to make little skateboards and built a full-on skate park in the back yard of his gingerbread house. Secondly, I don't have to taste any of this stuff. I merely award points for creative use of Fruit Stripe and deduct points for use of inedible items like plastic Santa figurines. Make that Santa out of royal icing, you little cheaters! Which brings me to my last point, how the nice and understanding folks at Make-A-Wish don't give a crap how I come up with my winners. It's art for chrissakes. Art and math only intersect at the moment you decide to buy a gingerbread model of San Felipe de Neri church. Yes, all of the houses at Coronado this weekend will be for sale. The houses usually bring in about $3,000 for Make-A-Wish; it costs anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for them to grant a wish to a child with a life-threatening illness. Check it out this Friday through Sunday, during mall hours.
The future looks bright for these once blight-stricken trees
A century after the discovery of a devastating blight, a fabled fruit, yes, fruit, is on the road to recovery.
Santa Fe's Bobcat Bite was one of eight restaurants profiled
What inspired you to make a movie about hamburgers?
I love hamburgers! You know, people always say you should work on projects that you love. ... My inspiration came from Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation. I was afraid he'd turn everyone off to hamburgers, and that would be a great injustice.
Santa Fe's Bobcat Bite was one of the stops on your cross-country quest. How did you find out the place and how did their burger measure up?
George W. Bush's New Mexico victory has dimmed Gov. Richardson's shining national star. But don't count him out.
New Mexico's 2000 presidential election results
New Mexico's 2004 presidential election results (as of Nov. 19)
Health care coalition sues over public records
Last week Gov. Bill Richardson held very still while clutching onto a carefully maneuvered shovelful of dirt. No, he wasn't burying his pride in a belated post-election realization; he was posing after breaking ground on the UNM Children's Hospital Expansion Project (or, at least, breaking through the dirt in a very symbolic sandbox atop the UNM hospital parking garage). Last week's ceremony celebrated the groundbreaking of the $233 million public works project, one of the largest in the state's history, and was aflutter with highly impressive individuals and well-crafted public relations, gathered to celebrate upgrades at the state's only teaching hospital. The project is scheduled for completion in November 2007.
Who's Your Congresswoman? The Republicans in Congress, at least those in the House of Representatives, no longer give a crap about ethics or good government. What they care about is power. Nothing else. That, we know for sure, following the disgraceful Republican conference this week where GOP House members revised ethics rules so that Tom DeLay, the Republican majority leader, could continue to serve as one of the nation's most powerful fundamentalist righ-wing bullgoose loonies despite being investigated for corruption in his homestate of Texas. The GOP had been big champions of ethics rules and good government—hell they even claimed to be fiscal conservatives—back in the days when the Dems had control of Congress. But that was all bluster. All they really wanted was power.
Will presidential defeat cause the new crop of leftist activists to give up?
Desi Brown has a funny quirk to his dance step; it's an extra little stompy kick that marks not only his swinging, but often the steps of the dancers he teaches every Tuesday night at the Heights Community Center near TVI. For seven years now, Brown and an evolving group of friends, called The Calming Four Primordial Swing Dance Group, have hosted weekly dance practice sessions and lessons. The three dollar donation they collect at the door goes to cover expenses. Brown and his buddies give away the rest; overall they've donated nearly $20,000 to local and national groups, including La Cueva High School Drill Team, Keshet Dance Company and the Red Cross 9-11 Relief Fund.
Various groups crowded council chambers on Nov. 15. Stop the War Machine people supported a bill encouraging the city to work with Kirtland Air Force Base on an emergency plan in case things go wrong with the 2,500-plus nuclear weapons stored there. ("Hold it under the cold tap, Love.") Vietnamese-Americans supported a bill recognizing the flag of the former Republic of Vietnam as the official symbol of Albuquerque's Vietnamese-American community. Supporters and opponents of development impact fees faced off.
Sharing my autumnal good mood with all
Fall is simply the best time of year here in Payne's World. Complimenting the brisk nip in the air and autumnal color of the turning leaves is Thanksgiving—a guilt-free opportunity to fill the ol' flux capacitor to the brim with stuffing, turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, pumpkin pie and enchiladas (it is New Mexico, you know).
My stint in the “Freedom Corps”
When I first received Yale Scott's message from the White House on Wednesday, Oct. 27, I thought it was a prank call, but after verifying its legitimacy, I called him back. He seemed OK. He interviewed me about my experiences as a volunteer, then told me that I had been chosen as one of the many people to be considered for the opportunity to be in the "Freedom Corps"—really just a fancy term for "greeter"—and that I would find out by Friday whether or not I had been selected to greet President George W. Bush on Monday evening, Nov. 1, as he made the rounds on his final day of campaigning. Over the next two days, I get a series of phone calls from several people associated with Scott and the White House, all of whom seem to ask the same questions. I feel like I'm being interrogated. When Friday rolls around, I am told that I have been selected as a "Freedom Corps" representative. I will greet the president at Kirtland Air Force Base, ride in the presidential motorcade and sit on stage at Journal Pavilion while President Bush gives his address. Oh, what to wear?
Dateline: England—If ever there was an endorsement for Head & Shoulders, this is it. Veteran criminal Andrew Pearson was recently convicted of armed robbery thanks to 25 flakes of dandruff he left behind at the scene of the crime some 11 years ago. Andrew Pearson, now 40, and two other men escaped with $70,630 in cash after raiding a caravan company in the northeastern city of Hull in June 1993. Using a new DNA profiling method, investigators matched a swab of Pearson's saliva with the flakes of dandruff, which were found inside a stocking that he had worn as a mask during the robbery. Using that evidence, a jury needed only 75 minutes last Monday to convict Pearson of robbery and possession of a firearm. Pearson--who has been convicted 76 previous times for burglary, assault, robbery and other crimes--was sentenced to 12 years for the robbery and an additional three years for possessing a firearm.
Congratulations to Joe Anderson and Kara XXX on the birth of their baby daughter, Tannyn Jane, who joined the waking world on Tuesday, Nov. 16, at a whopping seven pounds, two ounces. ... Arguably the best, most entertaining way to celebrate and give thanks that Thanksgiving is over and you don't have any further family obligations for a whole month is to join every bloated, overstuffed indie rock loser the night after Turkey Day, Friday, Nov. 26, at the Launchpad for Socyermom Records' Annual Turkey Purge. This year, Unit 7 Drain, The Mindy Set, Manifold, Scenester and Romeo Goes to Hell will be doing the on-stage honors while everyone else drinks themselves sick in an effort to cleanse their gastrointestinal systems of tryptophan and green bean casserole, and to give the Launchpad cleaning crew something fun to do on Saturday morning. ... Over the past three years, singer-songwriter Andru Bemis has traveled some 40,000 miles by train, motorcycle and thumb, touring the country with his guitar, banjo, fiddle and original songs. His Amtrak schedule brings him to Albuquerque's Blue Dragon Coffee House on Saturday, Nov. 27, at 7:30 p.m. for a free performance that's suitable for music fans of all ages. ... Next Thursday, Dec. 2, the Santa Fe Film Festival will premiere VFWbya at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. The gritty documentary showcases the musicians, veterans and audiences involved in a sector of Santa Fe's scene that centered around shows given at the local VFW hall. More details next week.
Ever had a fever dream, those slippery scenes that play themselves out in your mind's eye as your body tries to rid itself of whatever bacterial or viral infection you happen to be suffering from? Sometimes, fever dreams can be terrifying—your waking self isn't quite rooted in reality when your body temperature rises above the 101-degree range and, if you've taken cold or flu medicine, the line between what's real and imagined becomes even more clouded.
with Manishevitz and Fast Heart Mart
Monday, Nov. 29; Launchpad (21 and over, 9 p.m.): I might as well just say it: Despite all her formidable indie rock cred—associations with Archer Prewitt, Mark Greenberg, Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche and others, along with legendary Chicagoland grump Steve Albini, who produced her latest album—Edith Frost will always be one of my favorite country singers. Not milquetoast, bullshit noncountry Shania Twain country; the kind of country that sits on your eyelids and tells you true-life tales of sadness, heartbreak and the chronic, mild discontent that made mountains out of men like Nick Drake, Gram Parsons and Tim Buckley.
Duran Duran's latest effort, Astronaut, proves that they are more than just washed-up, 80's, gender bending, where-are-they-now has beens. Duran Duran, back with all five original members, deliver an album reminiscent of their early stuff ("Planet Earth," "Girls on Film"), with a mature sound and more meaningful lyrics. Newcomers will enjoy this heaping helping of Duran Duran without all the extra '80s cheese. Closet Duranees will get all nostalgic and wish for the good ol' days of leg warmers and mullets. This is pure feel-good music.
Predictable holiday comedy celebrate suburban conformity
Every year about this time, Hollywood feels obliged to give us at least one “holiday” movie. That is, one fluffy, family-oriented film set during the actual holiday season just to remind us that, yes, this is the holiday season. I'm pretty sure we could figure it out without Hollywood's help, but we're still greeted every year with The Santa Clause 2 or How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Unfortunately, for every A Christmas Story that comes our way, we get two or three Surviving Christmases. Among the holiday offerings stuffed into this year's stocking is Christmas With the Kranks.
Charitable Cinema—On Saturday, Dec. 4, Youth In Transition, Inc. will present a Short Film Series at The Guild Cinema in Nob Hill from 11 p.m. to 3 p.m. YIT, Albuquerque's drop-in center for homeless youth, has gone through some difficult times of late with the destruction of the group's facility and the arrest (and eventual acquittal) of founder Donna Rowe. This Short Film Series will present seven films/videos documenting homelessness in Albuquerque. Among the films to be screened are “Escape from the Streets” by the New Mexico Coalition to End Homelessness, “Waking Up on Central” by Beverly Singer and “Give Us Your Poor” by Michael Mierendorf. Time permitting, they will also screen the complete police surveillance video which was used to “illegitimately arrest Donna Rowe and hold her on a $1 million bond.” Tickets are $10 to $100 on a sliding scale and all proceeds go to help YIT, which is struggling to keep its doors open this winter.
Sober look our our nation's sexual history still stirs up controversy
Earlier this month, the makers of Alfie blamed their film's box office failure on the recent reelection of George W. Bush. While that may be stretching the boundaries of the blame game a bit far, there is a certain truth to the idea that America has suddenly become a very conservative nation--at least on the surface. If audiences couldn't handle a little comedy/drama about a womanizing Brit, what are they going to think about a biopic about the father of the Sexual Revolution?
Let's face it: The only reason for getting up on Thanksgiving morning is to watch the “Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade” (KOB-4 9 a.m.). This year's 78th annual affair runs for three whole hours, ensuing you won't miss a single float, marching band or freezing Broadway performer. Hosts of little consequence include Katie Couric, Matt Lauer. Guest stars include Kelsey Grammer, Jimmy Smits, Tony Shalhoub and Nikki Cox. The “CBS All-American Thanksgiving Parade” (KRQE-13 7 a.m.) consists largely of the exact same Macy's parade, but is disguised under a more patriotic name and features a slightly earlier air time. FOX, trying its best to one-up New York, offers “America's Thanksgiving Parade” (KASA-2 9 a.m.), a one-hour special from Detroit featuring floats, balloons, bands and (I would think) random muggings.
The Week in Sloth
Fantasy-filled biopic soars with imagination, emotion
Finding Neverland sits more or less on the opposite end of the spectrum from Kinsey, this week’s other biopic offering. Both are intelligent, well-made and worthy Oscar contenders. They have wildly different subject matters, however, and approach them from completely divergent ends. Whereas Kinsey is brainy, mature and thought-provoking, Finding Neverland is creative, whimsical and emotional.
You can feign indifference all you want, Ebenezer. Nobody's going to believe you. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know—18 different productions of The Nutcracker Ballet roll through town every Christmas season. You moan and you groan about how all those sugar plums give you a stomach ache, but we're not fooled. You love The Nutcracker as if it were a sack of gold coins. You hum Tchaikovsky's tunes in your sleep every night from Thanksgiving through the stroke of midnight on Christmas Eve.
Skate Deck Show at 510 Second Street NW
Rocky Norton is a fast talker and a digressive conversationalist, but you've got to give the guy credit: He knows how to sell a show. And in this case, I have to admit, he's got a pretty damn amazing show to sell.
UNM Continuing Education Auditorium
Abracadabra. On Tuesday, Nov. 30, Houdini, as played by Bill Martin, will offer audiences $100 if they can keep him contained with ropes, chains, handcuffs, locks and a straitjacket. It's a safe bet Houdini won't be giving away $100 that night, but don't let this dampen your enthusiasm for the spectacle of it all. As they say, it's fun to be fooled, at least every once in a while. After the re-enactment, Martin will step back on stage to present insights into the Houdini legend. This weird but intriguing show starts at 6:30 p.m. and lasts about two hours. $20. 277-6440.
My dog will eat anything. Of course he likes cat turds best of all, but what I mean in particular is that he'll eat anything I eat. Wait, that makes it sound like I eat cat turds, which I most definitely do not. Nor do I nibble on trash from the alley behind the office or used tissues or my own underwear. Aside from all that, I mean the dog will eat orange segments, dried cranberries, bananas, apples and carrots. I even got him eating edamame the other night. Certain things are known dog favorites, like carrots and pumpkin. But orange segments? He was watching me peel a Navel and normally I ignore him; he's polite so he gives up easily. But lately I've been testing him to see what he'll eat. So I offered him a small piece of orange. No go. He wrinkled his nose. I continued eating and he continued watching, so a few minutes later I offered him another piece. On the third try he took it and he ended up eating two segments worth. I've never before met a dog that liked citrus fruit. I think he does it just because he wants to eat what I'm eating. Maybe I should dig in to some cat turds to show him how much I care.
Carlito's (10th Street and Coal) is gone but there will still be New Mexican food in the neighborhood. Angel Vigil, owner of Wrap it Up, has moved her wrap sandwich business from Fourth Street and Menaul into Carlito's space in Barelas. Carlito's owner Carlos Montoya will now be able to spend more time with his family, while Angel Vigil gets the dining room area she never had in the North Valley. She's also expanding Wrap it Up's menu to include New Mexican food. Vigil is still adjusting to her new space, working to find the perfect hours and menu, but she aims to be open for three meals a day and to deliver. "This little community needs us," she said. "All we did was open the door and people are coming in. We want to take care of them." Call 342-9727 for details.
Ten flavor-packed oatmeal recipes that cook up in no time
From the way we've been talking about oatmeal lately, you'd think the Alibi is bankrolled by Quaker Oats. We're not (but we gladly accept endowments, if anyone's listening). No, we just really like a good bowl of oatmeal. In fact, we like it so much that we've dubbed November "Rediscover Rolled Oats Month," and made it our personal mission to wean people off of the chintzy flavor impostors that clutter supermarket shelves worldwide. We think you should, too. Here's why:
A passion for roasting percolates through this family business
Michael Thomas coffee opened at 1111 Carlisle SE (255-3330) just six weeks ago, but already my e-mail box is full of readers’ messages praising the place. The place is owned by an uncle/nephew team, Thomas Selby and Michael Sweeney. I spoke recently with Selby about his shop and his passion for coffee roasting.
Alibi's hopelessly lame and thoughtless editorial staff calls in an expert for holiday shopping advice
We admit it: We're a hopelessly lame band of losers who have neither the time, energy or imagination to come up with holiday gift ideas for the folks on our lists this year. Knowing that we'd catch hell for giving out another batch of McDonald's gift certificates, we decided to call in an expert to advise us on these hard-to-shop-for friends, family members and associates. We chose the talent, style, creativity, empathy and eye for fashion of a real pro, Brendan Picker. We don't need five experts like the TV show, our guy's got it all: a degree in design, fashion flair and his finger on the pulse of all things cool. He not only gave us shopping suggestions, but in the process, transformed us from lame friends, fathers, daughters and coworkers into fabulous folks who “really care” (as far as our gift recipients know).
Thanksgiving Recipes, Techniques and More From the Alibi Archive
Say, we've done some pretty cool stuff in the past. Just take any one of these cool Thanksgiving stories from our archive. They all rock! And so will your T-day dinner, after you've boned up on brining, pie-making and wine-pairing. Bon appétit, pilgrims.
This weekend you can get a jump on holiday shopping simply by taking the 25-mile drive northward up to Placitas. Artists and art lovers of all stripes will be infesting this little burg during the 23rd Annual Placitas Holiday Fine Arts and Crafts Sale.
Blue Surge at SolArts
As a theater critic in Albuquerque, I've got plenty of blessings to count, and the number keeps rising every month. For some reason, new theaters have been popping up all over town recently. One of the newest is a hip space at 712 Central SE operated by SolArts, a local nonprofit visual and performing arts organization.
Museum of International Folk Art
Every year just before the Catholic season of Lent, communities all over the globe let loose during one version or another of carnival. An amazing new traveling 10,000-square-foot multimedia exhibit opening this weekend at the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe gives participants the opportunity to experience the many different faces of the annual event as it is celebrated in Venice, Spain, Switzerland, New Orleans, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia and Northern Africa. The only difference is that at this exhibit you won't be allowed to get either drunk or naked. $5 for New Mexico residents, free on Sundays. (505) 476-1200.
Angus Macpherson brings his talent for creating haunting ambient landscapes to a series of urban scenes in an exhibit opening this weekend at MoRo Gallery (806 Mountain NW). As is often true of Macpherson's natural scenes, these views of artificial, man-made architectures are often captured at night or in half-light. From Chicago to Tucson to San Diego to his home base in Albuquerque, Macpherson takes us with him on his nocturnal ramblings through these fascinatingly varied cityscapes. Cities opens this Friday with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. featuring a jazz performance by Jeff Solon. Runs through Dec. 31. 242-6272.
New Mexico Books & More
In years past, I've managed to largely avoid doing any Christmas shopping at malls. The crowds, the crappy plastic music, the generic chain stores—it just doesn't seem worth the migraine. This year, though, I think I'm due for an attitude adjustment.
An interview with FOUND magazine founder Davy Rothbart
Three years ago, Davy Rothbart started a little, self-published zine called FOUND. In it, Rothbart reproduced the best items he had found lying in the street: old love letters, shopping lists, kids' drawings, mangled photographs, stained postcards. Each item, separated from its creator, took on a mysterious life of its own. A humorously mutilated “Lost Kitten” flyer could share gutter space with a suicide note. Each one, a tiny riddle.
Just after I wrote that whole story on oatmeal, I noticed Quaker Supreme at the grocery store. Quaker Supreme is a line of "heartier" oatmeal packets clearly marketed for adults. It's slightly better than regular Quaker oatmeal packets, but don't be fooled. It's not great. I know I run the risk of sounding like some crazed hippie (or worse, my mother) but when it comes to prepackaged and preflavored things like oatmeal and yogurt, you're really better off making your own. Buy a big tub of yogurt. Spoon as much as you want into a glass and then add your own jam, honey, granola, cinnamon sugar, pomegranate syrup, whatever. It's always better. The same is true of oatmeal. Why would I pay extra for sub-par cinnamon- and pecan-flavored oatmeal? I mean, the stuff is still a white, pasty glop when you pull it out of the microwave, despite the picture on the box. Where is this brimming bowl of dark, richly textured oats? Not in my Radarange. For one thing, the bowl and spoon in this picture are obviously a demitasse cup and its dainty stirrer. That's it. I've had enough. I'm going to start working on making my own recipes for oatmeal and find a way to put it in individual packets. You just wait and see.
You must go eat at Pho #1. Both times I've been to this brand-new Vietnamese restaurant at San Pedro and Zuni (268-0488), it's been packed with a mix of Vietnamese and non-Vietnamese patrons. What's all the fuss about? Well, the atmosphere is nothing remarkable, so it must be the fantastic food. Chef Day Nguyen previously had restaurants in Boston, Mass. and Arlington, Texas, but recently moved here for the pleasant climate. Pho #1 is owned by Nguyen's brother-in-law Hue Chung and their house specialty is the magnificent Seven Courses of Beef. Don't be intimidated by the confusing names of the dishes. Grill Hawaiian loaf leaf beef is absolutely scrumptious, for example; so is steamed beef paste/meatball mixed with glass noodles and spices. It sounds horrifying, I know, and the meatball isn't much to look at either, but I swear it's one of the best things I've eaten in recent memory. Whatever you do, don't miss the beef grilled on your table and served with a lemongrass sauce. It's to die for. Oh, and make sure you have time for a leisurely dinner. Service can be slow for a regular meal, but the seven courses of beef takes a pleasantly long time to get through as well.
A smashing new way to give thanks
Here in the Land of Enchantment, nothing says "family gathering" like whacking a papier-mâché animal until it bleeds candy. First you'll need to buy or make a piñata. The fabulous bird you're looking at now was hand-crafted by our friends Jada and Crash (call 401-8794 to order). There are instructions on how to make a simple balloon-based turkey piñata at www.familyfun.com.
What kind of bird to choose and where to get it
Is one kind of turkey really any better than another? Probably. When the editors of Cook's Illustrated magazine cooked traditional frozen turkeys (labeled as self-basting) and "natural" turkeys, they discovered big differences. The vast majority of frozen turkeys are labeled as self-basting because they've been injected with fluids to make them juicier. These fluids, usually salt and broth, but occasionally artificial flavors, do indeed make a moist turkey. But Cook's Illustrated's taste-testers said they could taste some weird and unnatural flavors. You know how turkey deli meat doesn't taste anything like roasted turkey even though it's technically roasted turkey? That's what we're talking about here.
A Northeast Heights resident uncovers a water bill mystery
Would it upset you to learn that you might have been paying $35 more than necessary every month on your water bill for the last 13 years? Well, that's just what happened to Richard Gold, and he's not taking it lying down, or even sitting. He's standing straight up and shaking his fist, ready to charge; and it seems like he has every right to hurtle full-speed into the bureaucratic turmoil of Albuquerque government, although it might not do him much good.
Like some gawker slowing down to linger over a roadside disaster scene or a NASCAR junkie unable to tear himself away from video footage of some particularly spectacular speedway carnage, I find myself returning again and again to the Nov. 2 election results.
Dateline: England—A gang of inept thieves tried to break into an automated teller machine near a gas station in Worcester, using an oxyacetylene blowtorch. A spokesman for the local West Mercia Police summed up the results best: “The attempted theft, which was reported to police at 12:10 a.m. today, resulted in the cash machine catching fire.” With their victim in flames and their loot in ashes, the thieves ran away. Police are appealing for witnesses to the attempted theft.
And the week that was ...
De mortuis nil nisi bene, the Romans said long ago. Speak nothing but good of the dead. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's a rule we stick to in these pages. But it's not everyday the man who sired the idea of the suicide bomber passes away, either.
The last glimmer of hope in the Bush administration burns out
While I, like millions of other Americans, was disappointed in the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, I can't say I was surprised. A month out, I called a landslide in favor of Bush, much to the dismay of my coworkers and despite the fact that John Kerry handily reduced President Bush to the out-of-touch corporate puppet—not to mention moron—that he is in all three presidential debates. Closer to the election, however, I began to feel a little more hopeful that America wouldn't be stuck with Bush's misguided arrogance for another four years as the Kerry campaign gathered steam. And, I admit, I bought into the quadrennial notion that new and young voters were really going to come out in droves in a historic uprising that would change the face of American politics and, in turn, the world. Wrong. Again.
House Party—On Friday and Saturday, Nov. 19 and 20, the Guild Cinema in Nob Hill will be hosting the Southwestern premiere of the new horror flick The Halfway House. The film stars cult icon Mary Woronov (Eating Raoul, Rock 'n' Roll High School, Death Race 2000) and is best described as a campy mixture of monster movie, nunsploitation and the ever-popular “girls in prison” genre. The film's writer/director, the one and only Kenneth J. Hall (Puppetmaster, Evil Spawn, Dr. Alien, Nightmare Sisters), will be in town to introduce the film, which begins at 10:30 p.m. each night. Also in attendance will be one of the film's main stars, Albuquerque's own homegrown scream queen Stephanie Leighs (The Stink of Flesh, Pretty Dead Things). Hall and Leighs will participate in a question-and-answer/autograph session following each screening. Tickets are $7 and are available at the door of the Guild Cinema. For more information, log on to www.halfwayhouse-movie.com or www.stephanieleighs.com.
Men behaving badly
Filmmaker Alexander Payne has made a career out of presenting audiences with some very thorny characters: from Laura Dern's glue-sniffing poster child for the pro-life movement in Citizen Ruth to Matthew Broderick's vindictive, decidedly unadmirable high school teacher in Election to Jack Nicholson's rootless retiree with a meaningless life story in About Schmidt. Now Payne presents us with Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Hayden Church), a pair of middle-aged losers stuck in an extended bout of arrested development in the gloriously painful romantic comedy Sideways.
Punks will be punks in DIY documentary
The Ramones could very well have been the most dysfunctional family in rock 'n' roll. And that's saying something in a genre of music that has spawned its fair share of dysfunction. But few of those most famously implosive bands (The Beatles, The Doors, Guns & Roses) truly fit the description of “family.” The Ramones, on the other hand, launched their shtick under the premise that they were actually brothers. Over their 20-plus years of existence, the four self-styled trouble-making punks from Queens expanded, contracted and fractured apart from stress, but they were unable to ever fully separate the bond they had with one another under the name of The Ramones.
November Sweeps sweep losers away
In television terms, it's report card time. A month after most new fall shows premiered, it's time for the dreaded Sweeps. This is the time that network ratings are tallied. Since the networks set many of their ad rates based on these tallies, they want the highest ratings they can get. As a result, shows that are, shall we say, underperforming get kicked to the curb.
The Week in Sloth
with Between the Buried & Me, Cattle Decapitation and Fear Before the March of Flames
Tuesday, Nov. 23; Launchpad (all ages, 7 p.m.): Darkest Hour are the band Metallica might have become if they hadn't gone all egotistical, drug-addicted pussy on us. Then again, “might” leaves a lot of room for speculation.
Classical music of India
Saturday, Nov. 20; Outpost Performance Space (all ages, 8 p.m.): If your idea of sitar music is George Harrison plinking away at the instrument while seated in the Lotus position during the recording of Revolver, you need a new idea. Cool and exotic as it may have sounded to those who were alive and listening intently to popular music back in 1966, the sitar—a lute-like instrument with seven playing strings and up to 13 that resonate sympathetically—dates back at least 700 years, and the music created on it within East Indian culture dates to ancient times and has a richness and history that neither Harrison nor Sir George Martin could ever hope to recreate.
Fa la la la la, la blah, blah, blah ...
Don ye now your gay apparel, because the holiday season is upon us and you're going to have to listen to at least some holiday-themed music over the next six weeks whether you want to, like it, or not. So we figure you might as well spend your time listening to the good and avoiding the bad. That's why, for the past 11 years, we've gone to the trouble of listening to the most recently released batch of holiday albums and painstakingly compiling our thoughts on them. A little holiday music is good to have around just in case you decide to throw a little party or gathering, or a bunch of creepy relatives show up for an unannounced yuletide visit. And some of this stuff really ain't that bad!