It's always tough for us to come up with food-related categories for the Best of Burque poll. We do a Readers Choice Restaurant Poll every year, and that baby's got nearly as many blanks to fill in as this one. But we couldn't rightly say that food isn't one of the best things in Burque. What we probably could do is come up with categories better than Best Place to Eat While Surrounded by People Cooler Than You. So we've already started thinking up some new ideas for next year. How about Best Place to Get a Keg Where They Have a Pretty Reasonable Deposit. Or maybe Best New Mexican Restaurant Where They Make Their Own Tortillas Served With 100 Percent Honey. We're also doing some focus groups with this one: Best Restaurant For a Dinner That's Pretty Nice But Doesn't Cost a Zillion Bucks.
While digging through the stack of ballots from this year's 2005 Best of Burque, a single vote from a single nimrod nabbed my attention more than any other. In the Best Art Gallery category someone answered, “We have those here?” Dude/dudette, please, don't make me choke you.
Sure, you might've lost at “Jeopardy,” baby, but don't let that get you down. If you beat out the competition in this year's Best of Burque contest, that's more than enough glory for anyone. As you already know, Alibi readers have the most discriminating tastes, and if they discriminated in your favor, then you won what's behind Door No. 2. Let's see what's behind Door No. 2, Bob.
If there's one thing we humans were made for, it's consumption. The eco-minded among us like to pretend this isn't true, because it makes us feel inherently guilty for living. Well, get over it! You're here, you're human, so unless you're Don Schrader, whip out your pocketbook, because you'll probably need it to survive in our little society. But this doesn't mean that you have to spend your money like a hog-wild lunatic, or that you have to do it in the dark. In the following pages you will find plenty of recommendations from your kindly neighbors, who took the time to let you know about the best places in our quirky city to shop, be it something as necessary as a comfortable place to clean your clothes, or as utterly self-indulgent as the best place to get your legs waxed. Whether you're a live-by-the-land kind of girl, or a self-conscious lad with a hole in his pocket, here are the Burque favorites, so when you do choose to spend your cash, you do it well.
With a wide net cast over the Duke City, this wholly unscientific poll is guaranteed, as always, to be an exercise in profound amusement for some and creative behavior for others, as you shall witness. The ballot counting exhausted our staff, but it was well worth it, and this year the number of votes reached record proportions. So what has life in Burque been like these past 12 months? Well, things are looking up if, for no other reason than we measure success by the amount of snowfall still resting on the Sandia peaks and its imminent plunge into our water tables in the spring. And thank God it's an election year, so if APD and the mayor cannot do the proper house cleaning following the burgeoning evidence room scandal at City Hall, the voters hopefully will. Speaking of the mayor ... let's get started.
Burque loves to burn out the day, then burn out the night. We love livin' for givin' the devil his due. (And we love Blue Oyster Cult.) This year's poll results reminded us what a good time there is to be had in this dust-blown outpost. Rock star karaoke at Atomic Cantina, meeting dates for pool at Anodyne, strokin' to the left, strokin' to the right at The Ranch, low key cocktails at Martini Grille, catching a blistering punk rock show at Launchpad. Good times all around! From what the results show, we're doing a great job at informing you all about what's going on Downtown, where the concentration of people and events is most dense. We promise to work hard in the coming year to cover more events and scenes in other parts of the city. Maybe then we won't get so many people writing in: “There are bars on the Westside?”
Dateline: China—An online computer gamer in Shanghai stabbed to death a competitor who stole his cybersword, the China Daily recently reported. Qiu Chengwei, 41, stabbed competitor Zhu Caoyuan repeatedly in the chest after he was told that Zhu had sold his character's “dragon saber” from the popular computer game Legend of Mir 3. The game is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game featuring fantasy characters, many of whom wield enormous swords. According to court testimony, Qui and a friend jointly won the weapon last February, and lent it to Zhu who then sold it for 7,200 yuan ($1,129). Qui went to the police to report the “theft” but was told the weapon was not real and was, therefore, not protected by the law. “Zhu promised to hand over the cash, but an angry Qui lost patience and attacked Zhu at his home, stabbing him in the left chest with great force and killing him,” the court was told. Qui had given himself up to police and has already pleaded guilty to intentional injury. The case follows a rash of recent lawsuits in which gamers have sought monetary recompense for lost or stolen virtual items like weapons, armor and gold.
We should all be thankful the New Mexico Legislature doesn't meet for more than 60 days every other year. Take a look at House bill (HB) 805 and imagine if these guys were still up there screwing around.
You Can Call Me Ray—The Big Screen Classics series at the Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe is celebrating the recent Oscar glory of Ray with a special screening of the musical biopic. The screening will take place on Saturday, April 9, at 7 p.m. Tickets are a mere $5. The Lensic is located at 211 W. San Francisco St. For ticket info, log on to www.lensic.com or call (505) 988-1234.
What are you doing this weekend? Why don't you come and see a bunch of Alibi staffers getting drunk and disorderly? Doesn't that sound like fun? This Friday at 9:30 p.m. Burt's Tiki Lounge we'll be celebrating the 30th birthday of Alibi's beloved Web monkey, Jeremy. It is guaranteed to be a night of rock 'n' roll misbehavior, featuring our friends The Misphats (yes, a Misfits cover band whose members wear terry cloth track suits). Some Alibi staffers' bands will also play, including Jocko Agency (graphic designer Neal's trio, formerly known as Atomic Love Medicine), general manager Carl's band The Ant Farmers, and Young Edward (a bluegrass quartet starring arts and literature editor Steve, and our former editor emeritus, Michael). Jeremy says birthday gifts are A-OK: cash, grass or ass only.
Saturday, April 9; Studio Broadway (all ages, 10 a.m.): With local music, flame juggling, live glass blowing demonstrations, a bed of nails and DJs, the First Annual Curioso Obscura Trunk Show Carnival is a circus unlike any you've ever seen. Niles Mahlman, UNM sculpture student and Studio Broadway's founder, has created an extraordinary Albuquerque event founded on the simple idea of bringing local artists and musicians together in a mixed media collaboration to present to the general public for hands-on viewing and shameless gawking. Felonious Groove Foundation, Astra Kelly, Unidentified Floating Humans, The James Douglas Show and Mantis Fist are just a few of the many musicians tapped to shake things up. The Silver Board Shop will even be installing a ramp for skateboard thrills and chills. You can get a complete schedule of the day's events by calling the Studio Broadway hotline at 842-8446. Studio Broadway is located at 1814 Broadway SE between Avenida César Chávez and Gibson.
Friday April 8; Stella Blue, (21 and over, 8 p.m.): Branded as Albuquerque's best reggae band, by yours truly, Mystic Vision blends traditional reggae rhythms, dancehall beats and hip-hop. This Friday night, Mystic Vision will introduce their sophomore release, a musical opus featuring local faves such as "40 East," "Con Trails," "Great Trembling," "India" and many more.
Mike Patton's projects are usually hit or miss, but you can't deny that they're innovative. Fantômas, one of Patton's more eccentric groups, deliver an album that's something which might result if Tim Burton did a soundtrack for Loony Tunes, featuring animated sounds mixed with twisted, dark, off the wall noises. Patton's unpredictability as a musician is what keeps him an underground, anti-MTV success. However, Patton goes overboard with Suspended Animation, which is just a collage of sounds that are enough to puzzle even the most devout Patton fans. Patton's other projects—Faith No More, Tomahawk, Mr. Bungle and Lovage—deliver more versatility and show off his incredible vocal style to much better effect.
Once again, the villain of hate has reared its ugly head in the direction of its nemesis, "sexual orientation." Luckily we do have a small league of justice, and our super friends appear in many shapes and sizes: specifically, Claire Dunn and Jenn Williams, and a handful of local rock bands. Wonder twin powers ... activate.
Everyone enjoys a pat on the back every once in a while, but it's even better to get an actual award that you can use to impress your friends and taunt your enemies. Every year the Arts Alliance presents Bravos Awards to those artists who have contributed the most to our city's cultural landscape. This year, multimedia artist John Garrett has created a special artwork to be bestowed on the winners at a ceremony taking place this Saturday evening, April 9, at 6 p.m. at the Albuquerque Marriott.
Ask and ye shall receive (champagne)! A few weeks ago I rambled on in this column about silver champagne straws and what a bummer it was that I hadn't seen individual bottles of bubbly anywhere. What I should have said was that I hadn't been offered an individual bottle of sparkling wine in any of the seedy rock clubs I hang out in. (As if I would order anything but Pabst or bourbon!) A passel of classy readers called, e-mailed and came by to let me know that I would have found mini champagne bottles all over town--if I'd bothered to look in wine shops. Jubilation, Quarters, Sunflower Market and Cost Plus World Market all stock at least one brand, but I hear Cost Plus has a selection of eight or nine choices. Most commonly available are Freixenet (say FRESH-uh-NET), Cooks, Pommery Pop and Mumm, but look for the fancy pants Sofia Coppola blanc de blancs in pink aluminum cans. None of them are exactly cheap (they're at least $2.50 each), and most are on the sweet side. What can you do? They're trying to market the stuff to trendy girls in fancy clubs in big cities. Whatever. I still think it's cool. Thanks to Jeff and Sandra for tipping me off, and to Angela for actually bringing in a little bottle of Freixenet!
First, the casualty list. I am getting really tired of reporting on all the great local restaurants that are closing around town. I only wish people got tired of eating chicken strips at Bennigan's. Nouveau Noodles, the multiethnic East Mountains restaurant that was much mentioned in our last Readers Choice Restaurant Poll, has closed. Last week, owner Robert Griego sent a farewell e-mail to his loyal customers, saying, “As many of you may know (or have seen when you are here) that business has steadily declined, and the trends are getting worse rather than better.” The closure means Griego is looking for a new location in which to hold the series of wine classes he had planned for Nouveau Noodles. I expect we haven't seen the last of Griego, who was formerly a manager at Blue Corn Café and Brewery (now known as Chama River Brewing Company).