"Sopa de Pedra" is a Portuguese fable about travelers who come to a village with an empty pot. Villagers will not give the strange men food, so the travelers fill their pot with water and a stone, which they cook over a fire in the village square. When curious villagers ask what they're doing, the travelers say they're making "stone soup," and ask the villagers to contribute. Villagers are able to offer different elements and in completion, by appealing to the people's desire to help and be a part of something successful, starting with nothing, the travelers and villagers have made a pot of soup for all to enjoy. The events of the stone soup fable supposedly took place in Almeirim, Portugal, where today most of the town's restaurants serve sopa de pedra.
There are times when numbers just don't add up. Or rather, they add up, but the answer is all wrong. One of those moments when I had special difficulty wrapping my mind around the “new math” of public policy was in a recent Legislative committee hearing. The meeting was for the virtually automatic confirmation of a pair of very impressive women who had volunteered to serve the state as members of the Parole Board.
Dateline: Maryland—A Montgomery County judge ruled last Tuesday that the act of mooning someone is not illegal in the state of Maryland. The decision cleared Rockville resident Raymond Hugh McNealy, 44, on charges of indecent exposure after brandishing his buttocks to a neighbor during an argument. Judge John W. Debelius III said McNealy committed a “disgusting” and “demeaning” act when he exposed his posterior to his neighbor and her 8-year-old daughter on June 7 of last year. But the judge overturned an earlier decision by a District Court, clearing the defendant of criminal wrongdoing. “If exposure of half of the buttock constituted indecent exposure, any woman wearing a thong at the beach at Ocean City would be guilty,” Debelius said, according to a report in The Washington Post. McNealy allegedly had a heated debate with his neighbor, Nanette Vonfeldt, at a homeowners association meeting last June. The morning after the clash, Vonfeldt accused him of yelling at her as she and her daughter walked out of their apartment. “Then, for whatever reason, in full view of my daughter, he mooned us,” Vonfeldt wrote in court documents. Debelius agreed with McNealy's attorney that, under Maryland law, indecent exposure only covers display of a person's “private parts,” which does not include buttocks. McNealy attorney James Maxwell said the Debelius ruling should “bring comfort to all beachgoers and plumbers” in the state.
Cowboys and Hobos—If you missed Bill Daniel's excellent documentary Who is Bozo Texino? when it played at the Guild Cinema recently, then you've been granted a second chance. Daniel is still on tour with the film and will be passing through Albuquerque again on the night of Thursday, Jan. 12. Sixteen years in the making, Who is Bozo Texino? follows Daniel on his rail-riding quest to uncover the roots of traditional boxcar graffiti and to unmask the identity of the legendary folk artist known only as Bozo Texino. To make this an extra special event, Daniel will be accompanied by singer/songwriter Sandman (a.k.a. Chris Sand), an Olympia, Wash.-based performer known for combining rap, cowboy poetry and folk music. It's an evening of lowdown documentary film and underground cowboy rap. How can you go wrong? The event will take place beginning at 8 p.m. at Harlows in Nob Hill (3523 Central NE). Tickets are a mere $5. Daniel and Sandman will be moving on to Santa Fe the next night (Friday, Jan. 14), where he'll do it all over again at Backroads Pizza (1807 Second Street). For more film info, log on to www.billdaniel.com. For more music info, log on to www.rappingcowboy.com.
Have a Rocksquawkin' Week—The next heart-stopping show in the Rocksquawk.com Concert Series is going down this Thursday, Jan. 12, at the District (Fourth Street and Copper NW). The free show includes performances by The Dirty Novels, At Fault, Big Lips & The Skinny and The Isness. Looking ahead, the next batch of Rocksquawk shows is set for Saturday, Feb. 18, at Harlow's in Nob Hill, and then back Downtown to the Golden West Saloon on Friday, March 3. If you've got a few suggestions of your own, sign on to www.rocksquawk.com and let those puppies fly. We want to hear from you, caring local music supporter that you are.
You know you should avoid ladders, broken mirrors, black cats and other unfortunate acts of bad luck by staying indoors on Friday the 13th. However, the cunning lads and ladies of Scenster, Lousy Robot and Unit 7 Drain are conspiring to jinx you with a night of tunes and boozy carousing out at Atomic Cantina. Choose wisely, ill-fated friend. (LM)
Think about the resurgence of "rockabilly" in recent years—what's the first thing that springs to mind? Here's a guess: Dudes in cuffed Levi's drinking swill beer until sunrise. Or maybe chicks with Betty Page haircuts (be honest, they're probably big girls) lounging tomb-side in neighborhood graveyards. Cars. Pencil skirts and pompadours. People and things. Whenever post-'50s rockabilly made the transition from subculture to full-blown lifestyle, the music became more-or-less incidental. Lost in translation.
Q-Staff Workshop—The talented weirdoes of the Q-staff Company will begin hosting performance training workshops on the third Sunday of every month. The first is on Sunday, Jan. 15, from 4 to 7 p.m. Q-staff member Sandy Timmerman says that their "method is so different from the usual American acting method where actors walk in, they are handed a script and told where to stand ... it's hard to explain and much easier to understand by experiencing it." With that in mind, if you fork out $35, you can gain access to a presentation on the company's innovative performance philosophy to be followed by a 90-minute training session. Afterward, a light meal will be provided at Winning Coffee House. For details, call 255-2182.
Watercolor Women Opaque Men
(Curbstone, paper, $15)