Alibi Volume 15, Number 21
May 25, 2006
A couple weekends ago, I ran into some friends standing outside a club against a backdrop of Downtown cruisers in near-deadlock. “What's up?” I asked. “Nothing,” one replied, nodding at the barely moving cars, “just watching some people who are obviously more bored than we are.”
The low-down on an art form
Lowriders emerged in the Chicano communities of Southern California during the late ’40s and spread throughout the Southwest. Outsiders sometimes make the unfair assumption that lowriders and cruising represent antisocial behavior, associating them with drugs, violence, gangs and other wayward societal misfortunes. But those who've tracked the history of lowriders see it as an art form with important societal implications: There are parallels between cruising lowriders and the paseo which was a practice in Mexican villages wherein unmarried men and women walked in opposite directions, checking each other out. The elaborately decorated lowrider is also seen as a 20th century translation of the elaborately decorated Moorish horse in Spain.
It takes an understanding of the politics of local car clubs to put a safe, smooth show together
“When I see a place, it's a parking lot. It's a building. It's steps. I see the steps as seating capacity. I see the walkways. I can see gold and chrome and paint,” says Squirrel Montoya, producer of some of the biggest lowrider shows Albuquerque has seen since the mid ’80s.
Two-year-old Alexandria is suffering from Sticklers Syndrome, which causes blindness and hearing loss. Route 66 Promotions will be raffling off a lowrider bike at the car show, and all proceeds of the raffle will go toward aiding Alex's family with medical expenses. $1 off every ticket to the show will also go toward helping Alex. Anyone wishing to donate additional money can send it to: Bank of America c/o Alexandria Rodriguez, Cindy Rodriguez, Account #00430460770.
Alex Montaño can remember when these parking lots along west Central would fill with lowriders, banter and impromptu hydraulics competitions. The Sonic under the neon Route 66 overhang would be jammed with nothing but lowriders, and you'd drive through to holler at your friends, show off your car and, of course, pick up girls, he says.
My Fantasy Lowrider
Fantasizing about cars is one of my favorite daydreams (and it’s a damn good thing my dreams don't come true because if they did, I’d have a volume of Plymouths, Volvos and dune buggies on my hands). So when asked to dream up a lowrider for myself, with no consideration for the logistics, difficulty, time and coin that actually goes into creating any work of art, it was a no-brainer. I immediately decided on a Polynesian theme: a pineapple exterior and a luau interior. Pineapples taste good to me, their shape is hilarious and their golden ratio proportions are enticing. They also summon thoughts of tropical beaches, drinks, sunsets and the aloha lifestyle. The same can be said for the luau that would take place on the interior of my lowrider.
He has a tattoo of a squirrel running up one leg and coming back down the other with two nuts in its mouth. That's what he says, anyway. You'll have to ask someone else if it's true—although the word “Martha” with a red “Void” stamped over it is displayed prominently on his upper arm.
A rare 1963 Impala. A gold-plated engine. An anaconda-skin ragtop. Twelve painters. One-hundred and fifty master craftsmen. $170,000 in materials. Nearly 10 years of work. What do you get when you combine all these things? Anaconda, the most famous lowrider in the world.
Rolling through Española
The northern New Mexico town of Española is located not far north of Santa Fe, between Los Alamos and Taos. Approximately 10,000 people live in the town that was originally established in 1598 by Spanish conquistador Don Juan de Oñate. Being surrounded by an amalgam of attractions and having its own arts community, Española is a tourist stop. However, the town is best known as the lowrider capital of the world; it supposedly has more lowriders per capita than any other place on Earth. While there isn’t necessarily any solid evidence that would confirm the town's claim to fame, there isn’t any evidence to refute it.
Sunday, May 28
Sandia Motor Speedway
100 Speedway SW
Doors open at noon
Includes: cars, trucks, bicycles and a special appearance by the Anaconda and a car-hopping exhibition
Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door
Get them in advance at:
Record Roundup 2529 San Mateo NE
Gotcha Covered 3004 Second Street
Alberto's Tire Shop at 2500 Isleta SW
El Segunda 1810 Central SW
Call 203-9807, 242-4800, 452-9205
Saturday, May 27-Sunday, May 28
Two nights of jet car racing and shows.
Is the level of arsenic in Albuquerque’s drinking water cause for concern or apathy?
As Albuquerque’s Water Utility Authority (WUA) works to bring down arsenic levels in the city’s drinking water, the importance of doing so depends on who you ask.
Recounts in New Mexico just got a whole lot cheaper
Before last Tuesday, only a rich man could get a recount in New Mexico.
Sick Obsession--It's nothing new that tastelessly told human drama stories permeate TV broadcasting like incurable viruses, but it seems as though this trend has recently gone to a whole new level. I’ve noticed an unusual amount of stories in the last few weeks on network television dealing with children who’ve been sexually abused and adults who are sexually attracted to children and teens. It’s a topic to take seriously, and one which has affected more people than most of us would like to imagine. But from its excessive coverage, pedophiles and sexually exploited children have become analogous to the proverbial car crash.
APD's anti-cruising campaign begins
Drive by a Downtown traffic control point three times in two hours this weekend, and you might get slapped with a ticket.
Dateline: Scotland—Volunteers cleaning up the peak of Britain’s highest mountain were puzzled last week to come across a full-sized piano, abandoned near the 4,418-foot summit. The piano was recovered last weekend by 15 volunteers from the John Muir Trust, a conservation charity that owns the Scottish peak known as Ben Nevis. “It’s a 4,000-foot mountain. It’s very steep. It’s rough ground. ... To get a piano up there is pretty good going,” Nigel Hawkins, director of the John Muir Trust told AFP. He said it appeared to be an upright piano, with its cast-iron frame and strings intact. Unfortunately for music lovers, the keyboard was missing. The charity has put out a public appeal to find out how the piano went up the mountain and why. The only clue as to the instrument’s origin was an empty cookie wrapper found underneath it with a “best-before” date of December 1986. Some 120,000 people climb Ben Nevis every year.
Musings on zoo transportation
On a recent Saturday, in fulfillment of one of the most critical components of the social contract, I took four grandchildren to the zoo. I was assisted in this task by two other adult men.
Silence is Golden—The second annual Santa Fe Live Music Silent Film Festival gets going (quietly) this weekend at the Lensic Theater just off the Santa Fe Plaza. This year, the festival will kick off with a special conference on Thursday, May 25, at 7 p.m. This Film-Music Gathering is intended to highlight the potential opportunities that the expanding film industry may offer to local professional musicians, composers, producers and technicians. Keynote speakers include Dave Grusman, who has scored such films as Gidget (1966), The Graduate (1967), On Golden Pond (1981), The Milagro Beanfield War (1988) and Mulholland Falls (1996). Following the speakers will be a question and answer session. This free event is presented with cooperation from the New Mexico Film Office, the New Mexico Music Commission and the Santa Fe Economic Development Department.
Columbia Pictures wasn’t in any big hurry to screen The Da Vinci Code for critics. The film didn’t even make its debut at the Cannes Film Festival until the middle of last week, a mere couple of days before its massive worldwide opening. Mixed review from audiences at Cannes fueled speculation that Columbia didn’t want bad press leaking out before the opening, but the simple fact of the matter is that The Da Vinci Code is this summer’s guaranteed box office champion. Who needs publicity when you’re adapting one of the hottest books ever published? If everyone who picked up the novel (some 40 million people and counting) comes to the theater to buy a ticket, you’ve got a certified blockbuster. Add in all the people too lazy to actually sit down and read a book, and you’ve got one of the biggest films in box office history. So who needs reviews? Clearly not the audience for The Da Vinci Code. Here’s one anyway.
A movie about a guy making a movie about a book about a guy writing a book (sort of)
Written in 1760, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman is considered to be the first postmodern novel in English literature--which is quite a feat, considering the author had a couple hundred years to go before there was anything modern enough to be “post-” about. The book concerns the efforts of one upper-class Englishman, Tristram Shandy by name, to relate his life story. Over the course of several hundred bawdy and highly satirical pages, Mr. Shandy never quite seems to get past the circumstances of his own birth. If the book is “about” anything, it is the inability of something as rigid as art to encapsulate something as chaotic and amorphous as this thing called Life. The book, though considered a classic of English literature, has long been labeled “unfilmable.”
Fall season shapes up around the dial
Last week, while viewers were busy watching the big season finales, the broadcast networks were engaging in an annual ritual known as “upfront presentations.” Upfronts are the time when the networks announce what their fall season schedules will look like. So, what shows have been given the boot and what new content we can look forward to this September/October?
The Week in Sloth
The Return of 500--Ready for some complicated math? Local hard rock outfit 500 (or Fivehundred, depending on who you talk to), which is made up of former members of Fatso and used to style themselves Mr. Spectacular, is back after calling it quits last year. Still with me? It seems they've filled out their sound with another guitar player, ratcheting up the supercharged trio to a four-piece. 500's triumphant returning show was at the Atomic Cantina a few weeks ago, but you can witness their undeniable face-rocking this Friday, May 26, at the Launchpad. It'll be a night of local breadwinners with Scenester and SuperGiant.
Tokyo’s much heralded post-rockers pay Albuquerque a visit
There’s a litany of adjectives that are almost always used when describing a band that fits, however loosely, into the realm of instrumental post-rock. These adjectives include: lush, layered, hypnotic and soaring, just to name a few. MONO can certainly be described using these terms, but what the words don’t properly convey is the profound influence of emotion that pervades MONO’s sound.
with Reverend Deadeye and The MindySet
Saturday, May 27, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); free: Ray Jackson and his compatriots from Lomita started off with the straightforward intentions of being a country band. Like greedy kids in a candy store, Lomita’s hunger for multiple genre num-nums caused them to branch out and create music that combines ambient tones with pseudo-psychedelia and pedal- and lap steel-aided riffs, which give the band a twanged-out indie rock flavor. Think of the band as a darker version of Pavement.
Saturday, May 22, Isleta Casino (12-and-over [seriously]); $20-$40: Did you know that Kenny Loggins is “a sonic pioneer in the smooth jazz genre,” has achieved 12 platinum albums during his career and won a 1980 Grammy for best male pop vocalist? (But his people want you to know that “the true measure of this man cannot be weighed in platinum and gold.” The tiniest of tears just came to my eye.)
SuperGiant, 500 and Scenester do the triple Friday night high-five. See this week’s “Music to Your Ears” for slightly more info. Cover is $5 and it’s not all-ages. Sorry, children. (LM)
Underage, overage or lying-about-your-age—this venue is all about the scene, not the green
Just about a year ago, Mayor Martin Chavez shoved the term "all-ages venue" into the mouths of every musician and music fan in town. With the simple threat of banning all-ages shows at venues that sell alcohol, a huge debate was sparked, music supporters marched and regulations passed enforcing precautions to prevent underage drinking. But all-ages shows have not been banned. The debate has polarized both sides—the city nearly accusing every all-ages show of directly contributing to underage drinking, and the music community screaming that banning alcohol sales will kill the all-ages scene. It isn't over.
Shorty Pants—Director Kristen Loree will be delving into some of the less conspicuous short pieces in the Mark Twain canon, such as “Was it Heaven? Or Hell?,” “Carnival of Crime and Connecticut,” “Eve's Diary,” “Advice to Girls,” “Adam's Diary” and other brief work by the master of socially incisive humor. Twain Shorts apparently takes plenty of artistic license with Twain's work. Odds are pretty high this will be a hoot. The show opens this weekend at Sol Arts (712 Central SW). Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m., through June 4. For more information or to make reservations, call 244-0049.
An interview with Ann Bromberg
For the past year and a half, artists Ann Bromberg and Steve Teeters collaborated on Migrating Feast, a new exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum that celebrates families who immigrated to the Southwest from all over the world. Teeters, based in Lubbock, Texas, and Bromberg, based in Albuquerque, use old photographs, notes and recipes to create their sensual pieces. With these artifacts, the two have created magnificently collaged images that are incorporated into and on beautiful antique suitcases, spice cabinets, pot racks, violin cases and a handmade ferris wheels—to name just a few items. It's fascinating, poetic work.
I'm happy to report that Wrangler's (Fifth Street and Lead), a cherry of an inexpensive Downtown breakfast and lunch spot, has been approved for their liquor license--They've already added a small, umbrella-shaded patio to the front of the restaurant and hope to begin a dinner service with beer and wine later this week. They also have plans to open for dinner on the weekends with hours that compete for the bar crowd, until 1 or 2 a.m. Call 842-1600 for an update.
“I’m a subversive,” declares Dr. Marion Nestle, author of the new book, What to Eat. Dr. Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health, voiced her comments this week in Albuquerque at the Fourth Annual UNM Obesity Symposium.
Meals that will complete you
I have a confession to make about Mexican food. I am originally from the Midwest (gasp) and I have always loved that region’s version of Mexican food (gasp again). I grew up cooking and eating what residents of New Mexico might charitably refer to as “Tex-Mex”-style food, the characteristics of which include enchilada sauce, black olives and massive quantities of sour cream. Nothing made me happier as a kid than for my dad to declare it taco night, because that meant rows of crunchy Old El Paso taco shells, mountains of refried beans out of those little yellow cans and Mexican rice loaded with tomatoes, bell peppers and that strangely intoxicating vinegary taste. We even had “fiesta corn” (translation: bell peppers mean fiesta). Stop gasping now; you may get brain damage and I could be blamed.