Your Valentine's Day guide to a night—nay, a lifetime—of merriment
By Christie Chisholm
Sex. What? Don't look at me like that—you know you're thinking it, too. Valentine's Day is around the corner, and the last thing you want or need is tips on where to get chocolate and flowers. You know that part. Not to say that you don't know anything about sex, but it is a far more interesting affair after all, isn't it? We think so, too. So our gift to you this lovelorn holiday season (or lustlorn, as the case may be), won't be on the best spots to propose or the best deals on spas—you can invariably get that advice from a million other places—rather, we're going to deal with the down and dirty. Mainly, we're talking sex toys, along with a few other accoutrements. If you're shocked, disturbed, curious or comfortable, stick around. You just might learn a thing or two.
There are a couple stores in town that fit our stringent criteria for happy sex toy shopping, which is that it feel safe, be tasteful and be comfortable enough for a woman to visit by herself. The winners tied for gold are Martha's Body Bueno and Seventh Goddess, who both offer such an amazing service to the community that we should bow down right now and thank them, or at least go patronize their businesses. These stores have slightly different markets and offer different items, but have something in common: They offer excellent service and outstanding products.
Not in a couple this Valentine's Day? Don't look so glum. The holiday is about appreciating the ones you love—and that includes yourself. Be your own sweetheart. Give yourself some lovin'. Buy yourself a toy. Better yet, check out this book for some real advice on flying solo. And don't forget the chocolate.
With all this talk about sex, it would be downright irresponsible of us to not give you a little lecture ... er, reminder ... on keeping yourself safe. Don't forget that STDs are spreading faster than reality TV—be careful out there. For goodness sake, use a condom if you're not in a long-term monogamous relationship and either on birth control or ready to have kids. That includes sex toys. Don't share without properly sterilizing them between uses or slapping a condom on them. Talk to your partner about his/her history. Sure, there's some initial embarrassment, but it's a lot less embarrassing than finding out you've contracted something.
For more information on safe sex, check out the number of websites listed in this section, buy one of the books reviewed here, talk to your doctor or call Planned Parenthood (check the phone book for a bunch of numbers and locations).
With all this talk about sex toys, it's important to get a few things straight. Buying a sex toy for someone else isn't always appropriate; in fact, sometimes it's just bad form. So how do you know when the time's right? There are a few easy rules:
Sure. Valentine's Day has been turned into a consumer holiday. It's less about love and appreciation and more about buying. Granted. But so what? It's not about you; it's about your relationship. To paraphrase what a girlfriend of mine recently told me, “some girls just want a six-pack of beer, a bar of chocolate and an ’I love you.'” It's not about gifts or obligations, it's about remembering. Even if you don't have a penny to your name, you can still say “Happy V-day.” Besides, small things like that give you a better chance at getting laid (not that that should be your goal).
Not everyone likes to go toy shopping in person. You're embarrassed, you're lazy or you just can't find exactly what you're looking for. If virtual shopping is more your bag, check out these super-tasteful, independently run websites. They're sure to have what you're looking for, usually send purchases in an unmarked or disguised box, and have a slew of information on sex, health, toys, lubes and any other kinky thing your mind can conjure.
Trying to find a quality book on sex is like trying to find a quality movie in Hollywood—every now and then you strike gold, but most of the time you're just struck with disappointments. There are a few gems out there, and a lot of over-the-top fluff. Here are a couple of our recommendations for awesome sex books that come to the subject from completely different angles (again, no pun intended). These are by no means the only good books out there, but they're our favorites, and together they should tell you just about everything you ever needed to know about sex, safety and respect.
Dating can be difficult and confusing to some of you men. Let my many years of success with the fairer sex be your guidance, and you'll be wrapped in the warm embrace of your future life-partner before St. Valentine's Day.
The SXSW Rock 'n' Report—In what very well may be the coolest thing we've done since the inception of Fall Crawl, the Alibi will give away airfare and a South by Southwest Music and Media Conference press pass to one aspiring music journalist. Based out of Austin, Texas, SXSW is one of the biggest independent music festivals in the world. It's where the most promising up-and-coming acts establish themselves on the international stage, and where music legends return for a rare, and sometimes final, encore. You can find out more about this year's festival, which is set for the third week of March, at www.sxsw.com. Read the “Music Magnified” by Amy Dalness in this week's edition for a complete description of the contest rules. If you love music and can write reasonably well, do not pass this up.
I is for Ida--the top-secret hush-hush side project of (shhhh!) Unit 7 Drain--takes the stage for the first time tonight in a two-for-one that promises to impress all around. That's something not often said about any single debut show or debut CD release. Unlike the suffocating mass of side projects infecting indie rock these days, little here will remind you of their incipient U7D nativity.
featuring The Hollis Wake, Feels Like Sunday, Sincerely and Face Across the Floor
By Simon McCormack
Burt's Tiki Lounge on Friday, Feb. 3 (21-and-over); Free: It's shows like this that make me long for my 21st birthday, which is one month, one week and three days from the moment this Alibi officially hits the streets. (But who's counting?) This one finds Santa Fe songsmiths The Hollis Wake trading in their tube amps for some good, clean, unplugged fun in the form of Friday night's acoustic showcase at Burt's Tiki Lounge. The acousticity of the show should make the band's irresistible harmonies take an even larger chunk of the center stage while scaling back some of the external fuzzy-drone that finds its way into many of THW's tracks.
How many times have you heard the phrase, "This is the opportunity of a lifetime"? Enough to stop paying attention to the claim, I'm sure. Well, this is such an opportunity--if you happen to be an avid music fan with a dream to turn your hobby into a full-time job. The Alibi is looking to send one lucky, talented and enthusiastic future music reporter to the SXSW Music and Media Conference (www.sxsw.com) in Austin, Texas, March 15 through 19. This five-day music festival will host performances by over 1,000 international bands in every genre imaginable, as well as discussions and forums with some key players in the music industry.
For a decade, Nashville Pussy, with their short, catchy songs, heavy and plentiful guitars and clever lyrics, has been rocking trailers in tri-state areas all over the country. I spoke with 50 percent of the band last week (husband-and-wife team, guitarist and vocalist Blaine Cartwright and lead guitarist Ruyter Suys). The sexier of the two (Ruyter) answered these questions.
Go and Stop In at the Green Light Bistro—Taking yet another savory step towards vegetarian world domination, Annapurna just opened an organic, all-vegetarian restaurant, called the Green Light Bistro (2209 Silver SE, 254-0100). It's easy to forget that just a few months ago, this tiny casita in the newly designated "Brick Light District" was a dark and fragrant bakery storeroom, packed clear to the ceiling with exotic spices. Now, it's a cozy café that's as cheery and bright as a cup of their Silver Street organic coffee.
You don't need to be a great lover to knock the socks off your Valentine—just be punctual. Valentine's Day is less than two weeks away and restaurants are filling up fast, so start calling around right now for a reservation. (That is, unless you want to get caught with your pants down. ...)
When little kids sit down for a history lesson, it is imperative that they be told about the days long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth and Italian food was all that Homosapiens had to eat. They could slay a giant Lasagnasaurus for supper, or gather meatballs from the ample bushes near the rivers that flowed with Alfredo sauce. Or perhaps even take down a huge Spaghettisaurus Rex to feed the entire clan, or die trying.
If a bill moving through the current 30-day Legislative Session passes, the state's sick and dying may be legally smoking up by this summer
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
"I've got AIDS. I'm nauseous 24/7; my life is degrees of nausea. I'm fighting wasting,” said Essie Debonet, a 61-year-old, 95-pound patient activist, adding that marijuana is one of the only things that helps to quell her chronic nausea due to AIDS medications. “It almost pushes me to eat.”
Years ago, on the first day of April, my predecessor, Michael Henningsen, sent around an e-mail informing us that the Alibi had just purchased Crosswinds. Being the most gullible person east of the International Date Line, I swallowed the whole story without even chewing. Like a complete idiot, I ran around the office quizzing people about the purchase. I distinctly recall Chris Johnson, one of the Alibi's owners, laughing in my face.
Suppose medical researchers invented a vaccine to prevent lung cancer. Then suppose the American Lung Association lobbied to ban the vaccine because preventing lung cancer deaths might weaken their anti-smoking campaign. Nuts, right?
Dateline: Thailand—Thailand's creepiest couple is planning to tie the knot on Valentine's Day. The Scorpion Queen and the Centipede King plan to get married on Feb. 14 at the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum's Haunted House Adventure in the southern resort town of Pattaya. Kanchana Ketkaew, 36, set a world record in 2002 for spending 32 days in a glass cage with 3,400 scorpions. Bunthawee Siengwong, 29, set a Thai record for enduring 28 days with 1,000 centipedes. The two met while performing their respective stunts at a snake farm on the resort island of Koh Samui. According to Somporn Naksuetrong, general manager of Thailand's Ripley's Museum, the couple will wear bloodstained wedding clothes and will partake in a traditional Thai ceremony. But, instead of heading to a traditional “wedding room” after the ceremony, the pair plans to climb into a coffin to consummate their union.
War and Peace—The Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice (202 Harvard SE) will present a pair of war-torn documentaries this week. On Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m., the People Before Profit Lecture Series will show Occupation Dreamland. This evenhanded documentary follows the soldiers of the 82nd Airborne deployed in the city of Fallujah during the winter of 2004. Invited speakers will be NM Iraq Veterans for Peace. The Panama Deception, which won the 1992 Academy Award for Best Documentary, will be screened Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. courtesy of Boletin Latino. This film covers the 1989 invasion of Panama by 26,000 American troops and concentrates on the effects to that nation's poor and disenfranchised. Both films are free and open to the public. For more information, log on to www.peacecenter.home.comcast.net.
If I had a farm--which I don't--I'd bet it that you're going to like The World's Fastest Indian. This misty-eyed, stand-up-and-cheer biopic was quietly and economically assembled in New Zealand by writer/director Roger Donaldson, who made some interesting films Down Under (Smash Palace, The Bounty) before emigrating to America to churn out glossy but generic material (Cocktail, Species, Dante's Peak). Having served for years as a skilled studio hack, Donaldson must have been itching to get his hands on a quality indie product, because he has found it in this unassuming but hard-to-resist labor of love.
The Seattle Seahawks will face off against the Pittsburgh Steelers this weekend in Super Bowl XL. (“Super Bowl Extra Large” for you hipsters in the audience. “Super Bowl 40” for you non-sporting non-Romans in the audience.) The game will take place at Ford Field in Detroit, Mich. Pittsburgh is favored to win by four points. (Which, in the sporting scheme of things, is a pretty tight football game.)
Say Cheese—During the first few decades following the invention of photography, photographers scoured the world in an attempt to document our planet's varied human inhabitants. Examples of these early images will be on display starting this week at the UNM Art Museum in an exhibit titled First Seen: Portraits of the World's Peoples (1848-1880). The show opens Tuesday, Feb. 7, and runs through May 14. A reception will be held on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5 to 7 p.m. 277-7312.
New German Photography at the Richard Levy Gallery
By Steven Robert Allen
World War II ended more than 60 years ago, long before most of us were even born, yet the big mama of global industrialized conflicts still colors our ideas about Germans. An exhibit of recent German photography is currently running at the Richard Levy Gallery Downtown. Appropriately titled New German Photography, you would expect this show to have at least some bearing on the national personality, both actual and perceived, of the German people. It doesn't disappoint.
Our friends over at the Italian American Home Theater are once again stepping outside the living room for a performance at the Harwood Art Center (1114 Seventh Street NW) starting this weekend. The Scale Wallah, written and performed by Frank Melcori, is a piece involving a mysterious scale and a man who appears to be homeless. Find out more at the show running Fridays at 7:30 p.m. through Feb. 17. The performance features DJ Outlaw, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Albuquerque Rescue Mission. $10. 242-6367.
Vicki Bolens specializes in prints and collages. Renee B. Gentz creates elaborate quilted wall pieces. Susan Kennedy makes highly original jewelry out of semiprecious stones and sterling. The work of all three ladies will be on display at the Mariposa Gallery (3500 Central SE) at an exhibit opening with a reception this Friday, Feb. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m. The show runs through Feb. 28. While you're there, check out some paintings and pastel pieces by Margi Weir upstairs. 268-6828.
By this point in our city's year-long birthday bashola, you probably realize that every month has a different cultural theme. We've been through Food Month and Theater Month and Dance Month, and I think there was even a Plumbing Month thrown somewhere in the mix. (Did you catch that one?) During February, we're celebrating local authors.
On three Saturdays throughout the month of February, various hotshot local authors will teach a series of writing workshops on a range of subjects for the low, low price of $35 per session. To make reservations, contact Lucinda Lucero Sachs by calling 768-3557 or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
By Simon McCormack
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.
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.
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)
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
By Amy Dalness
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.
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).
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)
“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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you walked up to random people on the street and asked them how the United States came to be the wealthiest, most powerful nation on Earth, what kinds of answers would you expect to hear? Maybe they would say it's our industriousness, our Protestant work ethic, that's made us so successful as a society. Some might point to an independent, freedom-loving spirit that grew out of our do-or-die frontier culture. Others might say it's our natural ingenuity as a "race"—“It's in our genes, man." You could also expect to hear some people say that God simply likes Americans more than He likes other people.
A proposal to raise the minimum wage statewide will be on the table this Legislative Session
By Jessica Cassyle Carr
After a minimum wage increase failed by a tiny margin during Albuquerque's municipal elections in October, a potential increase is once again up for discussion, only this time it's taking place at the state level.
Councilors made up for a cancelled Dec. 19 meeting at a special session on Jan. 9. They unanimously approved eight mayoral appointments to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee. The appointees will work with a county committee to plan a memorial to Dr. King more in keeping with his stature than the current semi-secret installation at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and the railroad tracks. Councilor Michael Cadigan moved a bill giving Albuquerque residents first priority in registering for programs at the city's community centers. The bill passed 7-1, Councilor Ken Sanchez opposed, Councilor Don Harris excused. Councilors also passed a bill stating the city's budget priorities for the upcoming 30-day session of the State Legislature.
Virtually identical photos graced the front pages of both Albuquerque dailies one day last week. In each, members of a middle school student orchestra sawed away diligently at their music while seated on metal folding chairs in a vast meadow of native grasses.
When I was growing up, domestic violence was neither talked about nor acknowledged. Yet, as I came to discover, I had close friends whose father beat his wife for many years. When I found out, I felt betrayed, like I'd been kicked in the stomach. Who knew that such a nice guy could do such an appalling thing; why would such a competent woman put up with it? And, why couldn't I have rescued, or at least have comforted, my childhood friends?
Dateline: Canada—Police in a Vancouver suburb are reminding residents that it's not a good idea to play with a loaded handgun while sitting on the can after a man accidentally shot himself in the bathroom. The unnamed 21-year-old North Vancouver man is facing numerous weapons charges after he shot off one of his own fingers while playing with the gun on New Year's Day. In a public statement, the Royal Canadian Mounted police said, “Perhaps our mothers never explained to us that it was not a good idea to play with handguns whilst using the restroom. But, then again, maybe that was supposed to be a given.”
Launchpad on Tuesday, Jan. 24, $8 (all-ages): If DJ Shadow was in an up-and-coming alt.rock band, the music emanating from his garage would sound a lot like electro-rockers Mute Math. Despite using self-made instruments and a dilapidated keyboard, the New Orleans quartet is steeped in seamless production and Shadow-esque samples with a drum machine background--all of which make for songs that sound as much like dance music as straightforward rock. Paul Meany's Stingish vocals are set on "permanent echo mode," which gives them an airy, ethereal quality similar to Minus the Bear's Jake Snider.
If former Dead Head and self-proclaimed hippie Mike Burke has learned anything in his 25 years in the music biz, it's this: "Hippie bands can play anywhere. You could be a hippie band and play in your living room at three in the morning and your neighbors won't call the police because it sounds good," Burke postulates, "But if you're a death metal band or a thrash band or a punk band, your neighbors will call the cops within 15 minutes—even if you play at four in the afternoon."
The club is packed—not an inch left to squeeze in anyone else. The lights dim, you nod to your fellow bandmates and run on stage. The drummer comes down hard on the beat, the stage fades away and the music takes over. The audience jumps, shoulder to shoulder, moving as one giant entity. This is what music is about, you think. You rock through the 25-minute set, the audience screams with delight and hands shoot powerfully into the air. Two contest reps jump on stage and start to count the hands as the roadies shuffle you off stage to get ready for the next band. You've had your half hour--was it worth every penny?
Crazy Cinema—Cinema Loco returns to the Gorilla Tango Theater on Friday, Jan. 20. Beginning at 10 p.m., Cinema Loco will unspool a secret movie on the big screen. Neither the audience nor the Gorilla Tango actors will know what the film is in advance. Someone in the audience will be asked to provide a new title for the film, and then it's up to the Cinema Loco crew to improvise new, on-the-spot dialogue for the entire film. This is a one-of-a-kind, never-to-be-repeated comedy event. The rating on this late-night screening is R, so be prepared for some raunchy ribtickling. Tickets are available at www.gorillatango.com or at the Gorilla Tango box office (519 Central NW).
As always, the end of the year brings an obligatory rush of “best of” lists. Everything from last year's hairdos to videogames are being placed into numerical order so that you, dear reader, can be at peace with the knowledge that you were into this stuff back when it first became cool. Not to be outdone, my crack team of trained video monkeys and I have buried ourselves deep in the dark catacombs of Burning Paradise Video compiling the official VideoNasty list of the 10 best DVD releases of 2005. Please feel free to adjust your personal tastes accordingly.
There's a perfect, telling image toward the beginning of Jia Zhangke's quietly poetic drama The World. A phalanx of smartly uniformed security guards tote bottles of water through the scorching desert. The pyramids loom in the background. Several hundred yards later, the desert gives way to the Taj Mahal. Clearly, Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore.
It's been so long since NBC's Thursday night lineup held cultural significance that it's hard to even recall a time when there was a “Must See TV.” Basically, since “Seinfeld” went off the air 7 years ago, NBC has struggled to maintain its Thursday night sitcom block. From “Good Morning Miami” to “Coupling” to (most recently) “Joey,” NBC's Thursday night lineup has proved itself more sitcom killer than ratings winner.
Haul Out Your Easel and Head for the Hills—It's time for the Wildlands Art! 2006 exhibit and fundraiser. Create photographs, paintings, sculptures or other types of artwork depicting New Mexico's extraordinary wilderness or wild public lands, and send it into the New Mexico Wilderness Alliance by Feb. 1. Finalists will be included in an exhibit at the Albuquerque Arts Alliance Gallery during the month of March. For details, e-mail Tisha Broska at email@example.com or call 843-8696.
Not many people can afford to buy an entire mural. Even if they could afford one, most people couldn't fit it into their homes. A piece of a mural, however, is more manageable, both economically and spatially. Dan Garcia and Rocky Norton recently constructed an elaborate abstract mural on a masonite wall in the Trillion Space. They've decided to sell the thing at the reasonable rate of a mere $40 per square foot. You'll have a tough time finding a better contemporary art bargain.
Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang is perhaps best known for his Project for Extraterrestrials, a series of work incorporating elaborate gunpowder explosions. An exhibit featuring his museum-wide installation Inopportune opens at Site Santa Fe on Saturday, Jan. 21. The piece will incorporate sculpture, video and drawing. At noon, Guo-Qiang will give a lecture describing some of the philosophical foundations of his creations. The show runs through March 26. For details, call (505) 989-1199 or visit www.sitesantafe.org.
If a novel dies in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
By John Freeman
Every year, a writer of importance announces the death of the novel. In 2004, it was V.S. Naipaul standing over the novel's grave. "It is almost over," the Nobel laureate lamented. "The world has changed and people do not have the time to give that a book requires." Last autumn, Norman Mailer took the stage at the National Book Awards, wagged a finger at a crowd of professional readers and likened himself to a carriage-maker witnessing the "disappearance of his trade before the onrush of the automobile."
The Wine Loft is Now Open at Slate Street Café—Owner and certified sommelier Myra Ghattas has had this wine loft on her mind since she opened Slate Street (515 Slate NW, 243-2210) half a year ago. What was once a shell of a space is now a 60-seat cherry perched atop the breakfast and lunch hotspot, with its own extended hours to boot. Patrons can enjoy 25 wines by the glass plus a nice selection of beers and a new bar menu from 4 to 10 p.m., Wednesdays through Saturdays.
A surprising place for ingenious ingredients and udon soup
By Jennifer Wohletz
The Great Pumpkin would be proud of Sophia's Place. Of all the things that can be made out of pumpkin, they have managed to find the one unique recipe that no other place has exploited throughout the holiday season: homemade pumpkin brownies.