Alibi Volume 15, Number 04
January 26, 2006
My favorite aunt, my mother's sister, is driving north on Elysian Fields as I sit in the passenger's seat staring through the window in disbelief at the doomed neighborhood of Gentilly, in eastern New Orleans. House after house is damaged and unoccupied, thick yellowish water lines visible four to five feet high.
UNM's new architecture building raises spirits as well as a few eyebrows
Over the past three decades, the University of New Mexico's architecture students have had to travel off campus to visit their school's architecture buildings. All three offer constant reminders, such as their sub-par compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, that they are unfit to house the only architecture school in the state.
At the Jan. 18 meeting, councilors wrestled with buildings going up and buildings coming down. Councilor Michael Cadigan's memorial supporting the Feb. 7 Albuquerque Public Schools Board bond election passed unanimously, so remember to vote, OK?
It was almost irresistible as a target for smart-aleck punditry. “The New Mexico Regional Spaceport” just sounds like some sort of setup for a comic strip punchline. Toss in the virtually empty location selected for it near “Upham,” a railroad junction southeast of “Truth or Consequences” and not far from “Hatch,” and you practically have a SNL skit writing itself, laugh track included.
Although perhaps there should be
With Super Bowl XL upon us--or “Super Bowl Extra-Large” as it's hilariously referred to by many a half-witted color commentator--it's time for us to take a serious look at the direction that professional sports are taking.
Dateline: England—A British dentist has been banned from working in the tooth-cleaning profession after allowing her unqualified boyfriend to carry out dental work on more than 600 patients. Mojgan Azari was found guilty of serious professional misconduct for letting her boyfriend Omid Amidi-Mazaheri work at her dental surgery clinic in South London between 2002 and 2003. According to the BBC, Amidi-Mazaheri drilled out cavities without local anesthetic and installed expensive fillings that crumbled within days, leaving patients in agony. The General Dental Council said that Azari had allowed him to carry on working in her surgeries for seven months after she had been warned that he was unregistered. “This caused the patients considerable distress and inconvenience and cost the National Health Service approximately 180,000 pounds [$424,000],” the GDC said in its ruling. Last year, Azari pled guilty to four counts of obtaining money by deception in relation to the case and was jailed for 12 months. The BBC said Amidi-Mazaheri, an Iranian national, received a two-year sentence for similar offenses. The GDC's conduct committee ruled last week to strike Azari's name from the register.
Indie Christ—On Friday, Jan. 17, at 7 p.m., the Christ Unity Church will screen filmmaker Kell Kearns' documentary The Consciousness of the Christ: Reclaiming Jesus for a New Humanity. The film “tells the life of Jesus from the perspective of the divine Humanity and human potential he came to initiate.” Mystic scholar Andrew Harvey, bestselling author Marianne Williamson and “Mother of Holistic Medicine” Gladys McGarey are among those interviewed in the film. Kearns himself will be on hand for a Q&A. Admission is $10 in advance or $12 at the door. Tickets are available at Christ Unity (9800 Candelaria NE) or at Treasure House Books (2012 South Plaza NW)
Woody Allen trades NYC for London and scores big
For the last decade or two, Woody Allen has become like an increasingly superstitious sketch artist unwilling to give up his “lucky” pencil. Time and again, he traces out the same old portraits with the tiny remaining nub of his overused charcoal. Despite transitory flashes of brilliance (parts of Sweet and Lowdown, a few jokes from Mighty Aphrodite), Woody's post-'80s output has been far more miss than hit. In the aftermath of failed experiments like Everyone Says I Love You, Deconstructing Harry and Melinda and Melinda, it was a toss-up question whether or not Allen would ever get out of his New York City rut. But, at the ripe old age of 70, Allen seems to have broken his losing streak with his freshest film since 1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Offbeat buddy comedy has a lethal sense of humor
“A hitman and a salesman walk into a bar ...” That's the setup for the delightfully unexpected breakout film from writer/director Richard Shepard--who gave us the solid but little-seen 1999 thriller Oxygen.
Broadcast buzz from around the dial
Why Not?—I'll tell you why not: Because it sucks. ABC has given an unusually quick hook to Heather Graham's new sitcom “Emily's Reasons Why Not,” yanking the show off the air after only one episode. The show debuted Jan. 9 (along with John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”) to a bad-but-not-abysmal 6.2 million viewers. But, with the threat of FOX's “24” looming, NBC decided to cut its losses (as well as John Stamos' “Jake in Progress”). “Creatively, the show did not get to where it needed to,” ABC programming chief Steve McPherson told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour, in a surprising bit of candor. “All of us tried really hard--producers, network, studio--but it just never got on track.” In other words: It sucked; moving on ...
The Week in Sloth
Wrong Side of the Tracks Jam--From punk to funk, the El Madrid (421 First Street SW), home to a few punk shows over a decade ago, is being revived by Midget Mogul Productions. Felonious Groove Foundation, Mystic Vision, Le Chat Lunatique and Wendy Colonna will bring in da funk on Thursday, Jan. 26, from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. $15 gets you in with a fun, plastic wristband. Call the Midget Mogul infoline at (505) 231-2408 to stay up to date.
Join comrades Kentifyr and Church for KGB, a vodka-scented shot of goth, industrial, post-punk, powernoise and beyond—plus your requests! Kicks off at 9 p.m. every Thursday night at OPM. Pass the borscht. (LM)
with The Mindy Set and Lomita
Monday, Jan. 30; Burt's Tiki Lounge (21-and-over), free: Austin's The Black Angels, who are pumped to visit Albuquerque, answered a bunch of questions I sent them via e-mail, but unfortunately, there's only room for these three:
with Danny Winn and The Earthlings, Fighting Chance, Made in Bangladesh and Half Stache
Launchpad on Thursday, Jan. 26, $8 (all-ages): Fight the urge to judge this band by their name; Liquid Cheese does not sound like "liquid cheese." There is no oozing squishiness when they're on stage. They are solid, precise, energizing and satisfying (if “liquid cheese” could be described as satisfying, then there may be a correlation, after all). They really should make it more apparent why they chose their band name—for now I'll write it off as some insanely funny inside joke and be content that they, at least, understand.
“You are the perfect candidate.”
These are the words one loves to hear when applying for a loan, buying a new car and asking what experience is needed to participate in one of New Mexico Jazz Workshop's adult education classes.
If you have have played a jazz instrument, strummed a guitar or belted your little heart out, then Maud Beenhouwer, education coordinator for the New Mexico Jazz Workshop, says you are the perfect candidate for the classes they are offering this spring semester. This is really good news if your saxophone has been sitting in the back of the closet, gathering dust, waiting for you to get back in the groove.
There's a lot of Akron/Family lore floating around out there about how the group wears Rip Van Winkle beards, is involved in a religious cult of their own concoction and holds some type of super-human musical capabilities/strength. The truth, disappointingly, is that the beards are scaled back, there is no cult and they are not super-human (at least, in the Dungeons and Dragons sense).
Write Side Up—You'd better rent yourself a cabin in the woods and finish off that masterpiece you keep telling everyone about. It's time once again for SouthWest Writers' annual writing contest. This year, they're offering 19 different categories, including a new one for work written in Spanish. The competition is open to anyone and everyone. All you need is a pulse, along with a deep-rooted lust for literary glory.
Simms Center for the Performing Arts
This weekend, Chamber Music Albuquerque presents performances by four Brazilian masters of the guitar. The Brazilian Guitar Quartet perform classical pieces on several different versions of the instrument, including a special eight-string guitar, displaying both virtuosity and passion. The performances occur on Friday, Jan. 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3 p.m. The Simms Center is located on the campus of Albuquerque Academy (6400 Wyoming NE). For tickets, call 268-1990 or go to www.cma-abq.org.
Taiko—the traditional Japanese drum—was once used by priests to repel evil spirits and insects from rice fields. Samurai used it to scare their enemies and bolster their own courage. Ordinary farmers used to drum to pray for rain for their crops. For three decades, San Jose Taiko has taken this ancient drum and applied a contemporary beat to it. The Californian group will make a thunderous, intricately choreographed appearance at UNM's Popejoy Hall this Sunday, Jan. 29, at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are $33, $26 and $19. Reserve yours by calling (800) 905-3315.
Sol Arts' True Believers
Broadway's most profitable year in history was 2005. Here in Albuquerque, 2005 saw the first full year of Sol Arts' current, permanent location at 712 Central SE. The scrappy project has come a long way. In 2001, Sol Arts' first show took place in a parking lot on Second Street. There, amid the trapeze performers and women eating fire, Sol Arts introduced its particular brand of live theater to Albuquerque.
It's the Year of the Dog—The lunar New Year is on Sunday, Jan. 29, which marks the start of a new Chinese calendar year. Oh, yeah—dim sum city. Before you dive head-first into a pile a dan dan noodles, you can work up an appetite over at the Chinese Culture Center (427 Adams SE, 268-7023). They'll have their huge Chinese New Year celebration on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. While you're there, stop by their astoundingly cheap Chinese-import gift shop for some "Dragon Pearl" green tea. More information about the center is available online at www.chineseculturecenter-abq.com.
A dude's gotta eat. And on Super Bowl Sunday, he's gotta eat like a feudal lord. Only there's no suckling pig in the cards for this Prince of the Gridiron. No, there's an unwritten code of the Super Bowl, to which all dudes must abide: Eat the stuff your mom never let you touch as a kid. Beer! Nitrate-laden meats! Marshmallow fluff, straight from the jar! Let it all hang out, bro. On today of all days, you truly are the man.
Southwestern heart and Southern soul food
What are some of the differences between the South and the Southwest? Well, for starters, we here in the Southwest have tortillas, while Southerners have biscuits. They say "git on," and we say "you 'member?" But every once in a great while, South and Southwest both merge for the forces of good and produce a restaurant like Doc & Mz. V's Diner.