When it comes to civil liberties, talk is cheap
Since 9/11, President Bush and his administration have told us again and again that the terrorists who seek to destroy our country hate freedom. These are strong words, but you know what? He's right.
Since 9/11, President Bush and his administration have told us again and again that the terrorists who seek to destroy our country hate freedom. These are strong words, but you know what? He's right.
Yes, it’s time once again to nominate the best local bands, players, albums, venues, engineers and labels of the past year. This time around, nominations for Albuquerque’s reader-powered aural Olympics will be accepted daily through Jan. 24. The second round with high-scoring nominees runs Feb. 14 through 28. And the cherry atop the BOBM sundae is a live showcase of winners on Mar. 24. This thing was a blast last year, so let’s do it again!
The Carnal Carnevale is just around the corner, and we can't wait to bare it all for you. It will be a night of adults-only fun in a secret, downtown Albuquerque location. So mask up, and get ready or a night of kinky fun amid the doors of perception.
As Weekly Alibi celebrates 25 years in ABQ, we’re shaking up our annual—and the original—Albuquerque Best Of contest with two rounds of voting. Vote early and often for your favorite Burque businesses, artists & more during BoB 2018 nominations. (You can renominate your faves daily to be sure they place on the final ballot.) Voting starts on Jan. 3 and ends Jan. 31. Vote local and support homegrown!
The Bush administration has repeatedly insisted that it doesn't condone torture. Yet, following 9/11, the president's legal weasels drafted a secret memo that allowed for “aggressive” interrogations of terrorist suspects. The memo narrowly defined torture as the act of inflicting pain as an end in itself, as distinguished from inflicting pain in the interests of national security. In other words, under the guidelines of the memo, counter-terrorist agents could do almost anything to a suspect, and it wouldn't be considered torture so long as the agents involved weren't just doing it for cheap thrills. The moral ambiguities inherent in this memo led directly to the debacle at Abu Ghraib and other heinous abuses of U.S. detainees, most of whom had never been accused of any crime.
When John Roberts was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005, pro-choice women—and men, I might add—everywhere held their breath. When Samuel Alito was appointed a mere year later, they started praying.
From the days following the Civil War when former slaves first got the right to vote—but didn't really get the right to vote—the U.S. has a history of cheating its citizens during elections. This is a fact. But since we've supposedly straightened up our act in the past several decades, we usually assume that votes are not being inflated, deflated or suppressed. The idea of a vast right-wing conspiracy is laughable: Only the hippiest of paranoid, drug-addled hippies would buy that, right? Well, let's look at the facts.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-New York) recently put forth a bill that would require both men and women, ages 18 to 42, to serve a two-year stint in the military, “or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security.”
We look back through more than 50 years of struggle to a time when our racial discrimination lived in the sunlight, without shame. Parents and grandparents tell wide-eyed kids about the days when Black people couldn't drink out of the same water fountains as everyone else, about Rosa Parks being too tired to move to the back of a bus.
Sibel Edmonds is a beautiful woman, even with the gag pulled tight across her face. Normally, the mainstream press would be covering Hot-Damsel-in-Distress Edmonds 24/7, but Edmonds has been deemed an invisible person in Bushworld, and the Washington press hasn't been noted for its courage these last few years.
Nearly every agreement—credit card applications, rental agreements, e-mail account sign-ups—has a privacy statement that requires approval. The U.S. government has a privacy agreement, too. When you become a citizen, by birth or legal process, you sign up. It's called the Fourth Amendment. Unfortunately, the principles enshrined in that portion of the Bill of Rights seem to be becoming a thing of the past.
Overdue bills. Car maintenance. Speeding tickets. Emergency medical services. A quick vacation. Unexpected needs arise and, sometimes, ends don't meet paycheck to paycheck. For some New Mexicans, living with little to no savings can make keeping up-to-date with expected expenses hard enough, without surprise monetary demands. A payday come early sounds like a financial savior—but could be a one-way ticket to the downward spiral of debt hell.
What will Albuquerque look like 100 years from now? Who knows? But whatever creatures are inhabiting our fine city in 2106 (assuming we haven’t all been obliterated by cyborgs) will have an opportunity to see what life was like a century before.
Let's start with domestic surveillance and talk specifically about how it plays out in New Mexico. What can citizens do about it?
The Good Race--When people whine about “the media,” they talk about it as though it's one thing, one voice, one man with a bullhorn and a huge distribution base at his disposal.
God help me, I don’t really feel like one of those crazed anti-war fanatics.
Councilors plowed through piles of legislation at the June 19 meeting before recessing for July. Councilor Isaac Benton proclaimed July 1-7 Independents Week, honoring local independent businesses, and took up the challenge--along with fellow Councilors Martin Heinrich, Ken Sanchez and Debbie O'Malley--to see who could spend the greatest percentage of their weekly budget at local stores.
Why shouldn't I let the government spy on me? I haven't done anything wrong; I've got nothing to hide. It's an argument that's been voiced with increasing frequency in the last few months.
Dateline: Uganda—Police in the Ugandan city of Kampala have figured out a novel way of cutting the crime rate--by banning the playing of pool during the day. The game is very popular in the east African nation, where pool tables sit under canopies outside thousands of small bars. The game is a hit with bar owners, because it earns income and does not require electricity, which has become something of a luxury in the power-strapped country. Police, however, believe the game encourages crime, as it is often played by youths who drink illegal spirits and smoke drugs. “They also use this as a meeting place to make plans of robbing people of their property at night,” Kampala police Chief Grace Turyagumanawe warned the Daily Monitor newspaper. Turyagumanawe insisted he was not banning the sport, merely preventing its playing during daytime hours.
Shootout Gets Shorter—This July, the Duke City Shootout, Albuquerque’s homegrown script-to-screen digital filmmaking competition, will partner with the internationally renowned 48 Hour Film Project to kick off a brand-new contest beginning July 21. The Shootout (www.dukecityshootout.org) and the 48 Hour Film Project (www.48hourfilm.com) are different in concept, but the purpose is the same--to challenge filmmakers to produce short movies under extreme deadline pressure.
After more than 15 years of gestation, actor Andy Garcia finally carries his long-running vanity project The Lost City to term. Garcia, whose family fled Cuba when he was only 5 years old, directs and stars in this nostalgiafied look at pre-revolution Havana.
Longtime Superman fans gritting their teeth, crossing their fingers and praying to the Movie Gods that Superman Returns--the first new Superman film in nearly 20 years--treats the character with the time-honored respect it deserves, won’t waste much of their time in the theater worrying. From the second the film starts, with John Williams’ familiar score blaring from the speakers and the exact same lightspeed-looking font as the 1978 original delivering the opening credits, viewers will know they’re in good hands.
It’s not exactly a revelation, but I’ve come to the conclusion that Turner Classic Movies loves movies. American Movie Classics, which runs Piñata: Survival Island all the damn time, does not. But TCM airs the Film Preservation Festival, releases restored classics on DVD, programs incredible marathons that cover every genre in film history and still finds time to produce original specials.
Where It's At—It was one of those life-affirming, “you had to be there” moments. All the planets aligned neatly into concentric rows, international superstar Beck and his boys put on a clever, enormously entertaining spectacle at the Kiva, then donned wigs and sunglasses, jogged over to the Launchpad, and played an impromptu set for locals SuperGiant's CD release show (See last week's “Show Up!,” June 22–28). They jammed for a full hour through a backline of SuperGiant's own amps and drum set. This time, the show was loose and candid. It was a damn near perfect foil to their slick Convention Center production. (We were actually close enough to see Beck's rosacea-tinted cheeks, the only splotch of color on a nearly translucent man.) White buffalo that he is, Beck closed his set with an offering of, “Thanks to SuperGiant for letting us play.” Can you imagine?
“Being able to say we opened for Linda Ronstadt is definitely a nice résumé builder,” says Edward Burch, singer/songwriter and guitarist for Foma, one of the 14 bands who will rock Balloon Fiesta Park on July 4. It doesn’t hurt that Foma will be playing in front of more than 80,000 people (some of whom probably have never made it out to a show). And, thanks to the work of Tom Frouge (he’s producing the entertainment for the event), when Foma performs, more eyes will be on them than ever before.
Sunday, July 2, Fort Marcy Ballpark in Downtown Santa Fe (all-ages): “Ya Se Fue! Ya Se Fue! O-Zo-Mat-Li!” And with that resounding chant (which means “Ozomatli is leaving” in Ingles), the Los Angeles-based, Grammy Award-winning Latin/hip-hop band disappears into the crowd with their array of percussion instruments, leading the audience in one last rhythmic jam before putting a cap on one of the best live shows you’ll ever see.
Saturday, July 1, Harlow’s on the Hill (21-and-over): Red Hunter is probably a crazy genius. Making over 50 stops on a massive U.S. tour by himself, playing with local musicians and on found instruments in a “divine orchestra of junk metal?” Crazy. Doing the last 10 dates by sailboat? Genius.
Let's call it happycore. Phantom Buffalo's singer and guitarist Jonny Balzano-Brookes has turned his back on fads, on the kind of music that ages poorly by being fashionable. “It's kinda weird to be conscious of this, but I think I try to make sure we're steering clear of modern trends and try to make it so that it would not sound dated in 10 years.”
... at Warehouse 21’s third annual Get Awesome Fest in Santa Fe. Twelve bands from near and abroad, free food, no booze or drugs. Saturday, July 1, from noon to midnight, and this one is most definitely all-ages. (LM)
Kudos to Demetria—New Mexico author Demetria Martinez won big at this year's International Latino Book Awards, scoring the prize for best biography for her book, Confessions of a Berlitz-Tape Chicana (University of Oklahoma Press, paper, $14.95). The book consists of a series of essays examining conditions on the U.S.-Mexican border, Catholicism, the Spanish language, Martinez' legendary social activism and other topics near and dear to her heart. Nice work, Demetria.
General Director Richard Gaddes sounds giddy about the opening weekend of his company's new season. “We have two superstar singers performing in the first two operas,” he says, “Anne Sofie von Otter in the title role of our new production of Carmen, and Natalie Dessay as Pamina in The Magic Flute.”
Take some time to stroll across the creaky hardwood floors of the Downtown Contemporary Art Center (105 Fourth Street SW) to see the second annual Contemporary Photo Arts Exhibit. Not only is the DCAC itself a piece of art, but images from Rick Scibelli, Sofea Lee Maran, Bruce Shortz, Oscar Lozoya, Chip Simons, Don Wolf, Annie Bromberg and many more are sure to please. The exhibit will showcase 18 of New Mexico’s finest contemporary artists starting Friday, June 30, with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m., and will run through the end of July. The Downtown Contemporary Art Center is located in the heart of Downtown, upstairs, on the corner of Fourth Street and Central. 242-1983.
The Albuquerque Civic Light Orchestra Association (ACLOA) is back in business, and they’re kicking off a new season with a family show. The Best Little Show in Town features 26 young performers ranging from ages 8 to 15. The new ACLOA has a new producer, Ronn Perea, who is best known for operating the Route 66 Comedy Club. This time around, ACLOA will produce Broadway musicals and shows for kids that will be performed at different cultural venues around Albuquerque. The Best Little Show in Town opens June 27 and runs through June 29. All performances are at 8:15 p.m. at the Lobo Theater. Tickets can be purchased at the door or at acloa.org, $9 for adults and $6 for kids. 798-2660.
Although the American people did not know it, the entire Washington press corps understood that President Bush wanted to go to war in Iraq from the moment he took office. In fact, in a pre-election interview with the Houston Chronicle, Bush admitted he wanted "to be known as a war president."
ITSA Good Kind of Hurt—Brain freeze: A childhood affliction where cold food tastes so good you'd willfully endure fits of paralyzing headaches to suck it down faster. That's exactly what happened on Saturday, when I shoveled plastic spoonfuls of flavored ice into my chattering maw until it hurt. And I liked it.
I like cheap food. I like food that is riddled with preservatives, easy on the pocketbook and, more often than not, microwavable. Nasty, salty, overly sweetened in convenient boxes with just a hint of frost on the outside; that's what you'll find in my fridge on a bad week. Sometimes I get the healthy urge and go for the low-fat frozen meals or tell the guy at Subway to go easy on the mayo.
The sandwich. It all began with a guy who was too lazy to drag his royal buttocks to the kitchen and have a meal. If 18th-century gossip is correct, then John Montague, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich (alive and kicking from 1718-1792), was the first person to popularize chowing down on two slices of bread with a filling in-between. Apparently, this compadre was a hardcore gambler, and spent a great deal of his time at a local tavern where he would get loaded on port and bet the farm until the wee hours. He would alleviate his munchies by commanding his valet to bring him salt beef between two pieces of toasted bread, and his buddies followed suit by then ordering “the same as Sandwich.”
Reggae Under the Stars ... with Nachos—Local reggae collective One Foundation/Mystic Vision is taking their message-heavy music to an unlikely venue this weekend: El Pinto (10500 Fourth Street). It's the first I've heard of a traditional New Mexican restaurant hosting anything but mariachis, but why not? It's got that beautiful North Valley patio, which Mystic Vision says they'll happily take advantage of. The group will be filming the performance for a DVD they're putting together. Show starts around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 25. I'm not aware of any cover charge, but you should probably order something to make the owners happy.
Well, here we are, once again. We've rifled through an Everest of entries received from as far away as Paraguay and the secret Chinese space station orbiting the planet Neptune. After much sweating, cursing and inter-office bickering, we've finally determined this year's victors.
The Octopus uses three hearts to pump its blood. It thinks not only with its small brain, but with nerve clusters in each arm. In captivity these crafty invertebrates will crawl from their tanks and dismantle plumbing, causing costly flooding. The octopus hypnotizes prey by waving its arms rhythmically in the water. Witnesses report swarms of salmon frozen around a single octopus.
The night was soft and suffocating like the clingy sundress she wore. "Shake your hips, Talula," he gurgled, moving in time with music she could not hear. They had met on that same country backroad so long ago. Did she remember? He pressed her closer. The farmer's girl, the one with pretty mouth. He wondered if she knew how badly he needed her. How the thought of her sunburned shoulders drove him to the limits of his sanity. Closer and closer. She said nothing still. She's always been such a quiet girl he thought, as red velvet lipstick rememberences turned to blood and piss pooled across lips.
We're sitting in Brett and Rennie Sparks' little adobe house in Nob Hill, and it's not at all what we imagined. We were thinking there might be gargoyles over the entrance, maybe some taxidermied owls and a moat. Now that we're here, though, the Handsome Family's home seems perfectly natural.
“Listen to it with headphones,” advised guitarist Jeremy McCollum as he handed me a copy of his band’s new CD. “OK,” I said, smiling meekly, unsure quite what to make of what he had just told me.
It used to be a plural affair, The Slow Poisoners. Over the course of 10 years, the other four members "expired." That's how Andrew Goldfarb, the remaining Poisoner, puts it. "Eventually, it was down to a duo," he says. "When I saw an opportunity to off the other member, I took it."
SuperGiant is a lean, mean rocking machine. See this week’s “Show Up!” for details. (LM)
Thursday, June 22, Martini Grille (21-and-over); $5: His United States tour stops include Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Dallas—and Albuquerque.
1. “Dear Prudence,” Brad Mehldau, Largo
2. “Golden Hours,” Brian Eno, Another Green World
3. “Side by Side,” Buck Owens, Act Naturally
4. “Tragos Amargos,” Selsun Blue, Wash Don't Rinse
5. “Thank You So Much, Mrs. Lowsborough, Goodbye,” Cole Porter, The Platinum Collection Cole Porter Songbook (Disc 2)
6. “Almost Blue,” Elvis Costello, The Very Best of Elvis Costello (Disc 2)
7. “Computer Love,” Kraftwerk, Computer World
8. “A Man Of God,” Trilobite, Trilobite
9. “Giulietta Degli Spiriti,” Nino Rota, Film Music Of Nino Rota
10. “Pale Blue Eyes,” The Velvet Underground, The Velvet Underground
11. “Blackjack David,” Carter Family, Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, Vol. 4 (Disc 1)
12. “Next,” Scott Walker, It's Raining Today: The Scott Walker Story (1967-70)
13. “Gusty Winds May Exist,” The Rivet Gang, The Time is Now
14. “The Wife of Usher's Well,” Alasdair Roberts, The Crook Of My Arm
15. “Don't Be Scared,” Andrew Bird, Weather Systems
16. “Aria,” Bach, Goldberg Variations (Gould, 1955)
17. “Slow it Down,” Edith Grove, Highway of Diamonds
18. “Naima,” John Coltrane, Giant Steps
19. “The Window Up Above,” George Jones, Ralph Stanley & Friends, Clinch Mountain Country
20. “River Man,” Nick Drake, Way To Blue
21. "A Fistfull Of Dollars Suite,” Ennio Morricone, A Fistfull of Dollars and a Few Dollars More
22. “Sisters Of Mercy,” Leonard Cohen, The Best of Leonard Cohen
23. “Three Piano Pieces, Op. 11, I.,” Mässig Arnold Schoenberg, Schoenberg, Berg & Webern: Piano Music
The Best of Both Worlds—Do you like dancing? Do you like bellies? Well, why not combine the two? You'll get a scintillating combo deal at Ushasti Gallery in Nob Hill when the Ramla Taal Tribal Bellydance troupe shows up to shake what their mamas gave 'em.
One of the most intriguing movements in modern visionary art is touring to Portland, Minneapolis, Seattle, Paris and … Albuquerque? That’s right, Albuquerque is lucky enough to be the second stop for a touring exhibit called Internal Guidance Systems. Organizers say the show allows fringe outsider artists from around the globe to create personal mythologies, giving viewers access to their intimate alternate realities. The exhibit is open to the public through July 22 at VSA North Fourth Art Center, 4904 Fourth Street NW. 345-2872, www.vsartsnm.org.
Samantha Barrow is a Philadelphia-based poet, activist, educator, spoken word artist and producer who's touring the country for the second time on her motorcycle. Her first trip incorporated a spoken word tour. This time, she'll swing by Sol Arts (712 Central SE) to facilitate an erotic poetry workshop with survivors of sexual abuse, as well as to promote Grit and Tender Membrane, her volume of poetry and tales inspired by her first tour. The output of the workshops will result in a chapbook of poems that will be used for fundraising and educational purposes by grassroots antiviolence and survivor services. The workshop occurs on Saturday, June 24, from noon to 3 p.m., followed with a poetry performance by Barrow and workshop participants at 5 p.m. 244-0049.
Gas prices have shown little sign of dropping. Airlines are warning of serious flight delays. And, to top it off, anti-American sentiment overseas has hit such a pitch that the U.S. World Cup soccer team can’t put the Stars and Stripes on the side of its travel bus. Maybe this is the summer to stay home, to catch up on some yard work.
The 1,000-year curse of public art is that most of it is designed to be as bland and inoffensive as possible. Governmental committees typically give the go-ahead to public art projects that only appeal to the lowest common denominator. The guiding philosophy seems to be that if art is going to be displayed permanently in public spaces, it had best not get under anyone's skin.
Eat your heart out, Eminem. Get out of the way, Lee Marvin. There’s another “Dirty Dozen” in town, and Congresswoman Heather Wilson is among its ranks. The League of Conservation Voters (LCV) named Wilson to its “Dirty Dozen” list, a report put out by the organization every federal election cycle that pinpoints the 12 federal-level politicians who shun the environment and are the most in favor of deregulating big industry. The LCV began publishing its “Dirty Dozen” list more than three decades ago.
A touchy subject remains touchy as plans are made to deal with a local radioactive waste site.
Oops, They Did It Again—A good friend of mine reminded me on a recent Sunday morning that all newspapers are biased. She said this in response to some snarky comment I made about how incredibly biased the Albuquerque Journal is while thumbing through said daily. I paused. I took a little offense (not I, said the ego-ridden news editor). And then I realized she was right. All newspapers, no matter how much we try, are always at least a little biased. We're human, not news-writing cyborgs.
If you've looked for a place to live lately, you've probably noticed that housing costs in Albuquerque have skyrocketed. Even worse, condemnations and demolitions are eating away at the least expensive tier of our housing stock.
Robyn Mintz came home from work to an alarming sight: a 2-inch high ridge along the length of her kitchen tile, like a small-scale seismological event. It looked as though the foundation had shifted, buckling the floor along a retaining wall. Now, after Mintz and her fiancé, John Short, have spent a few months walking on the floor, it's started to shatter.
The problem with hidden gems is that they are hidden. Sometimes buried; sometimes unnoticed yet in plain sight.
Is Attorney General Patricia Madrid risking interference in the prosecution of former State Treasurer Robert Vigil just so she can look tough on public corruption in time for the Congressional election?
Dateline: New Jersey—A terrified black bear who wandered into a West Milford neighborhood found himself stuck up a tree after he was chased by an angry neighborhood cat. The bear was first spotted in the tree by neighbors who thought the 15-pound cat was just looking up at it. Then they realized the bear was afraid of the orange tabby named Jack. After some 15 minutes, the bear descended, only to be chased up another tree by the ferocious feline. Eventually, Jack’s owner, Donna Dickey, called the hissing cat back into her house. It was then that the bear was finally able to make its escape. Ms. Dickey said Jack has often chased off small animals. “He doesn’t like anybody in his yard,” Dickey told reporters.
Islamic Execution—This Friday, June 23, the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty will present the award-winning Iranian film Day Break beginning at 7 p.m. at the KiMo Theater in Downtown Albuquerque. The film was shot inside Tehran's century-old prison and revolves around the imminent execution of a young man found guilty of murder. In Iranian society, a victim’s family not only has the right to condemn or forgive an accused killer, they also have the responsibility of carrying out said execution. This apparently leads to an all-too-common situation, in which criminals are stuck in prison at the whim of families wavering between forgiveness or revenge. The film is a well-made, well-acted think piece, sure to spark discussions of both the death penalty and cultural differences between the United States and the Middle East. A public forum will be held after the screening led by the film's award-winning producer/director, Hamid Rahmanian. Tickets are available online (www.nmrepeal.org), through Ticketmaster (888-7800) or at the KiMo Box office.
A man accidentally steps in front of a train, killing himself. Who and what he was is unimportant now. It is the repercussions of his death, the slow ripples that it sends out and how it affects people--most of whom never even knew him--that we’re supposed to be keeping an eye on here. This seemingly everyday accident is the catalytic event in Aussie filmmaker Sarah Watt’s deft, death-obsessed drama Look Both Ways.
Growing up a poor Mexican child, I cut my horror teeth (sharpened my fangs?) watching “Dialing For Dollars” on KOAT-7 hosted by beloved local weather guru Howard Morgan. Driven by an insatiable desire to quench my thirst for terror, I would race home from school to catch classic horror films starring the likes of Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing (not to mention kick-ass science fiction and Godzilla movies!). So you will have to understand that I’m a pretty tough nut to crack when it comes to vampire films. Quite frankly, most of them just ... suck. It takes a pretty solid effort to make a fan out of me. Luckily for horror freaks such as myself, the good people at Lions Gate have chosen to finally release a truly great, often ignored vampire mini-masterpiece on DVD. I’m talking about horror legend George A. Romero’s Martin.
You can tell, just from the title, that Fuse TV’s “Pants Off Dance Off” achieves a Zen-like level of simplicity and stupidity that many TV shows strive for, but few truly attain.
Olive You, Part Two--A few weeks ago I put out a call for information on a new Northeast Heights martini bar called Olive (Montgomery and Eubank). A reader hit me back with a quick breakdown. "Wonderful" martinis in a "nice enough" atmosphere. Think black leather couches and mood lamp lighting, a nice bar area and a pool table in back. One caveat: There's no grub on the grounds, though according to my source, the waitstaff will happily score you some popcorn from Lucky's Lounge (it’s next door) if you ask. "I would recommend at least one fairly decent snack to be offered. [But I was] definitely impressed enough to hope they add just a few touches to come up to an even higher classiness!" If I ever make it up there, it'll probably be on a Wednesday night, when DJ Entactogen and Ill Kid are around for funky soul, hip-hop and down-tempo sets.
The first perfumed peach of the season. The taste of a homegrown tomato. There's just no comparison. For people who love food, few moments in life rival the simple pleasure of biting into a still-warm fruit off a tree or farmer's truck bed. It's the closest thing to magic I know of.
Remember that scene in Point Break when John McGinley’s character (Ben) walks Keanu Reeves’ character—who could forget Johnny Utah?—down the hall and tells him, “You know nothing. In fact, you know less than nothing. If you knew that you knew nothing, then that would be something, but you don’t.” That’s how I feel about chain pizza places.
Since the infancy of computers, people have been trying to develop better interfaces for playing games. The first attempt at a controller was merely a spinning dial on what looked like a television remote. Various companies attempted to improve the methods of controlling video games, leading to the invention of the joystick, d-pad (arrow buttons on a controller) and countless other ridiculous-looking devices.
Before the advent of the Internet, there were video games. Before cell phones and e-mail connected us with friends far and near, the earliest gamers flocked to arcades to play the latest Atari masterpiece with their peers. With a series of zeros and ones, some applied mathematics and some sweet hardware, a subculture was born.
The primary urge of video gaming is to shoot.
In the beginning (1962 to be precise) was Spacewar, a monumental gaming achievement. For the first time in the history of the world, players could shoot at each other on a computer screen. There was thrust, there was rotate, there was hyperspace, and it was good.
Hardcore gamers and part-time button smashers unite! There's a weekend full of events to satisfy even the most persistent gaming addiction. Grab some Bawlz, your lucky controller and don't forget to put on clean socks--it's game time.
Lost in the forrest of acronyms and shorthand that is gamespeak? You're a n00b. It's OK. The Alibi is here to drop a few linguistic breadcrumbs so you can find your way through the cybertrees. Here's a really, really abridged dictionary of the terms serious gamers use, usually when playing online with other nerds:
Competitive gaming. I knew it existed on some level. In high school, my friends had two favorite pastimes: paintball and LAN parties. Both included high-powered equipment, shooting stuff and me screaming like a chick in a slasher movie as I fired aimlessly at my assailant. And then died. A lot. We never had real tournaments; we were in it for the bragging rights. I was just known for my screeching.
What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a protest?
It was a day that will go down in history as having borne the mark, or at least the marketing, of the beast.
It was a big day for women's health care. On Thursday, June 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the OK to the first vaccine to prevent most cervical cancers [Newscity, "The Path to a Cure," April 13-19]. Here are the basics:
On a recent drive through Mexico, we stopped at a gas station, and a guy actually pumped our gas. It was downright scary. Like a time warp.
Blog smack—Do you like to talk trash in a public forum without facing the possibility of legal repercussion? Welcome to the world of blogging. According to Shannon P. Duffy's June 2 article on law.com, a judge has ruled that bloggers can't be held accountable for libelous statements made as anonymous comments on their sites.
Walking up to Charles and Synthia Lin’s place of business is like kneeling before an ancient Chinese temple—the lilting, three-story roof made entirely of concrete; the massive entrance guarded above by a writhing golden dragon; the two lions greeting patrons as they head toward that looming draconic door, which is open most of the year. Maybe it’s because, to the Lins, the Chinese Cultural Center is more than a place to earn a living; it’s a tangible model of Chinese philosophy, culture and tradition. And until last Friday, they feared it might all come to an end.
With the city suffering extreme drought conditions, on June 5 councilors quickly passed emergency fire restrictions on open burning or smoking in the city and bosque, fireworks in nonbarren areas, and certain motorized equipment in campgrounds, wildlands or bosque.
Dateline: Ukraine—A Christian, apparently attempting to test his faith in God, threw himself to the lions last Sunday evening at the Kiev Zoo and was promptly mauled to death. Ukrainian TV channel NTN broadcast interviews with witnesses who said the man told them he believed God would not allow the lions to hurt him. According to Reuters, an official said, “The man shouted: ‘God will save me if he exists,’ lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions.” A lioness seized the man by his throat, severing his carotid artery and killing him instantly.
House of Folk—My dictionary claims that “folk” means “of, originating among, or having to do with the common people.” Sounds kind of Marxist, doesn't it? For the organizers of this weekend's Albuquerque Folk Festival, however, “folk” has precious little to do with hairy ol' Uncle Karl. “Folk” is more a creative ethic, a DIY attitude that involves plenty of public participation. The festival isn't just about showing up and listening to a bunch of music or looking at art created by other people. It's about learning how to make your own damn music and art, while interacting with others of like mind.
At the dawn of the video game era, lots of kids spent hundreds of hours inside cramped, noisy arcades staring at pixeled screens until the otherworldly images of aliens, spaceships, gargantuan centipedes and traffic-dodging frogs burned permanently into their impressionable brains. Some of these kids grew up to be artists. A few of them began incorporating imagery from their favorite games into their artwork. The eye-popping result is I Am 8-Bit.
It’s the jazziest jungle around with some pretty cool cats singing about the bare necessities and all that jive. Take a trip into this hep jungle and attend The Jungle Book, Kids, opening this week at Gorilla Tango. Based on the classic Disney film (which in turn is based on the stories of Rudyard Kipling), the performance follows the story of Mowgli, the kid who talks animal, and his bear friend, Baloo. Gorilla Tango has created a musical that's fun for the whole family. Twelve young local actors star in the colorful and energetic musical that features such tunes as “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wanna Be Like You.” The show runs tonight through June 25, Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $8, and the show is rated G. 245-8600.
Fred Wilson's ceramics have been exhibited around the world. Starting this week, his work can be seen at Working Classroom alongside ceramics created by students from Washington Middle School and six high schools around Albuquerque. Boca de Arena features a collection of contemporary ceramic sculptures ranging from slabs to masks, sculptures of human heads to animal heads. To create these pieces, the students and their mentor have practiced ancient ceramic techniques by which they explore figure, texture and shape. The show opens Friday, June 16, with a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. 242-9267.
I’ve Got a Warm Feeling--Local film and video makers are invited (nay, encouraged) to submit their “pleasurably grotesque, elaborately perverse, delightfully repulsive” short films to the freshly minted Warm Feeling Film Festival. Entries must be seven minutes or less in length and must be received by July 8. The festival itself will take place at an “undisclosed location” sometime in the near future. Sounds like a freaky good time to me. For additional information, call 235-2652 and ask for “Paco.” Prizes (of what nature, I am not sure) will be awarded to the festival’s best films.
Video games and movies have gone hand-in-hand since 1982 when Atari produced the E.T. the Extraterrestrial video game for its then-popular Atari 2600 home console. The game, by just about any standard you chose to look through, was a harbinger of things to come. It was lame, it helped contribute to Atari’s downfall, and the company ended up burying 14 truckloads of E.T. game cartridges in an Alamogordo, N.M., landfill. Not an auspicious beginning.
American action films, let’s face it, have been a stale lot for the last, oh, decade at least. When the best Hollywood can muster is formulaic crap like Bad Boys II, lovers of high-bodycount, low-wordcount cinema are left twiddling their thumbs. With action stars like Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis gearing up to collect Social Security, is it any wonder that true action fans now turn their attentions overseas looking for that old cinematic hit of adrenaline?
According to Christian doctrine, Christ suffered for your sins. While I have no wish to get all John Lennon on you and start comparing myself to Christ, I would like to point out that I have, in fact, suffered for the bad things you've done.
A hit on Britain’s Sky One satellite service since its inception in 2004, “Hex” is just now making its way to U.S. shores courtesy of BBC America. It was worth the wait. Those jonesing for a “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” fix (and to a lesser degree, a “Charmed” dose) will find all their various obsessions fulfilled with this addictive horror/fantasy/drama/comedy import.
Electric Connections--Coming out of a drunken blackout at Burt's one night, I found myself in a conversation with Tommy Mansfield about what it takes to survive the music business as an underground act. Tommy is the rhythm section of Colorado Springs' glam-punk trio The Mansfields, which had just played an all-ages show that night at the Cell Theatre. They try to book all-ages shows as often as they can, he explained, regardless of what the turnout is like. I mean, have you heard of them? Probably not. Anyway, here's the kicker: The Mansfields have toured the United States and headlined in Europe--twice. And they booked it all entirely through myspace.com.
There are plenty of bands trying to do the next big thing in music. From post-rock to neo-new wave, the ambition to “sound like nothing else before” is as recurrent a goal as can be found in today’s modern music scene--local or otherwise.
... South, in this case, meaning Roswell. Get in line for 11 of the finest alternative music acts this side of the Pecos, including Maegan White (ex-Two Weeks to Go), Ants Have Voices, Made in Bangladesh, No Regrets and Liquid Cheese, for just $15. Sunday, June 18, at the NMMI Stadium in Roswell, 2 p.m. (LM)
Saturday, June 17, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: Reader’s MySpace page features a drawing of a penis that has ejaculated semen in a pattern that spells out the band’s name. Now that we’ve all gotten past that, let’s discuss the new wave/jam band musical anomaly that is San Antonio’s Reader.
Monday, June 19, Burt’s Tiki Lounge (21-and-over); Free: Picture yourself on a deserted island wearing only a pair of cutoff jeans and a pair of specs with some stylish frames. The pseudo-foreboding music that’s streaming through your brain like the beads of sweat on your forehead is Shirrelle C. Limes and the Lemons. Your world is simultaneously at war with and completely at peace with everything inside it.
It's the kind of story that calls out to moviemakers. Eric Bland is the son of a minister, a gospel singer, known in Albuquerque for his work in choirs. In walks Gary Millhollon, a professional blues guitarist who worked out of Austin, Texas, before moving here three years ago. Millhollon, who is white, is fortunate enough to join the Grant Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Church, home one of the best choirs around. The blues guitarist and the gospel singer meet.
Pearls of Wisdom--New Mexico is boiling and I've got water on the brain. Well, that, and agua fresca, milkshakes, smoothies, iced coffee and my most fervent refreshment obsession of late, boba tea.
These days, eating New Mexican cuisine and eating healthfully seem like mutually exclusive endeavors. But many traditional New Mexican foods are, in fact, good for you. Take, for example, calabacitas--blossoming into season right now. These native vegetables have been a mainstay of the New Mexican diet since prehistory and are savory, nutritious and versatile.
Tea rooms are frilly, estrogen-laden, antique-happy muffin pads for ladies only. Or are they? When debating how to review the year-old Collectabili Tea this week, I automatically thought to bring along a female associate of mine, who is fluent in both chick speak and antiques, and harbors endless reserves of information about Lapsang Souchong. But the more I considered having a nice, lacy, feminine tea time, I realized that what would be infinitely more fun would be to find a big, burly manly-man and treat him to an afternoon of china cups and those little sandwiches with the crusts cut off.