Alibi Volume 16, Number 10
March 8, 2007
Is our governor fit to be president?
This week, the Alibi puts Bill Richardson on the operating table, slices him open and pokes at his innards to determine whether or not he's got what it takes to be the next President of the United States. Special thanks to Christie Chisholm, Jessica Cassyle Carr, Amy Dalness and Marisa Demarco for helping me undertake this delicate procedure.
In the Four Corners region of New Mexico, a conflict over money, power and sovereign rights has grown ugly
Like many of her Navajo neighbors in Burnham, N.M., Victoria Alba has no electricity or running water in her home. Yet, from her window, she can see the permanent black cloud that hovers low over the landscape, belched from the two coal-burning power plants nearby.
From One Who Knows—The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) might seem like an impregnable fortress to public access channels and stations—or even to someone like me or you, who might want to call and give the commission a what-for on occasion. It's highly ironic that the organization overseeing the United States’ most powerful means of communication has few meaningful contact numbers or e-mail addresses available on its website.
That mutability will indefinitely cause problems
Within the institution of time-keeping, its manipulation in favor of daylight savings was originally suggested in 1784 by Benjamin Franklin in a cheeky letter to the editor of the Journal of Paris, where he indicated the change would save wax. The first honest-to-goodness proposal that we change our clocks, however, came from Brit William Willett in the early 20th century but wasn't implemented until World War I, when Germany used Daylight Saving Time to conserve coal. The United Kingdom soon followed suit, as did Newfoundland and the United States.
New Mexico's quarter would've told it like it is
The New Mexico state quarter, slated to be released in 2008, is in the final stages of design. The last options for the coin are four variations of a zia overlapping an outline of New Mexico, three out of four also containing the phrase "Land of Enchantment." It's an accurate depiction of our state perhaps; but interesting? By no means.
Dateline: Japan--Officials at the Tama Zoo in Tokyo recently decided to try out a live safety drill, but the ridiculous scenario ended up leaving dozens of schoolchildren in tears. The idea was to test the readiness of zoo staff in the event of a dangerous animal escape. The staff was taking part in a make-believe scenario in which a strong wind blows a tree over in the orangutan enclosure providing one of the occupants with a ramp to escape over the perimeter fence. The creature in this particular instance was played by a zoo employee in an oversized orange orangutan costume. Despite the fake ape’s cartoonish appearance, the acting was apparently convincing enough to frighten a school party, which happened to be inside the zoo at the time. After racing around the grounds, the faux-furred “orangutan” seized a member of the staff before meeting his match in a zookeeper armed with a tranquilizer gun. Unfortunately, this King Kong-like finale was greeted with hysteria among the young crowd who, as they watched the drama unfold, were completely convinced of the animal’s “demise.” It took some time for staff to circulate and reassure the audience that the horror had all been a fantasy.
Day of the Woman--Maiden Fest and Sol Arts are celebrating International Women’s Day with “songs to wage peace, poetry and short films.” The event will take place Thursday, March 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Sol Arts (712 Central SE). No word on what sort of films will be shown, but I’m guessing they’ll be ... you know, womany.
Manly saga of war is bloody good stuff
Like 2005’s Sin City, 300 is based on a graphic novel by comic book icon Frank Miller. Like Sin City, 300 replicates Miller’s original work nearly panel-for-panel. Like Sin City, 300 is shot in a highly stylized manner, utilizing greenscreens/bluescreens and digitally fabricating the backgrounds on computer. Like Sin City, 300 distills extraordinary violence and blunt sexuality into a man-sized shot of cinematic adrenaline. In other words: Whoa!
Lynch goes epic for some shot-on-video strangeness
Over his long career as a cult filmmaker, David Lynch has done some incredibly intriguing films (Blue Velvet, Mulholland Dr.) and some incredibly inaccessible films (Lost Highway, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me). Admittedly, the line separating these two is a razor-thin one. Aside from a couple brief diversions into “mainstream” cinema (1980’s The Elephant Man, 1999’s The Straight Story), Lynch’s films have all been hallucinogenic film noir nightmares filled with freakshow symbolism, nonlinear storytelling and a hazy aura of decayed decadence. Lynch’s new effort, Inland Empire, certainly follows that trend--although I’m still trying to figure out whether it’s of the intriguing or inaccessible variety. Both, I suspect.
“Pucca” on Toon Disney
If you’ve ever been in an Asian gift shop, brushing past the “Hello Kitty” merchandise in search of delicious, delicious Pocky, then you’ve undoubtedly run across the character Pucca. Despite appearances, Pucca is not actually an offshoot of the all-powerful Sanrio corporation (makers of Hello Kitty, Pochacco, Badtz-Maru and all things übercute). The big-headed cartoon girl in the traditional Chinese garb and the odango atama (“dumpling head”) hairstyle (think Princess Leia) is actually the creation of the South Korean company Vooz. Having conquered the realm of merchandising (T-shirts, dolls, stationary, coin purses, adhesive bandages, cell phone straps), Pucca has made the leap to animation, landing her own cartoon series, currently airing on Toon Disney’s late-night Jetix block.
The Week in Sloth
Where There's Smoke—A new University-area hookah bar called Hunab Hookah is catering to the 18-plus crowd with live music. (Don't fret, there's no booze at this place—just flavored tobacco called "shisha.") The space is at 3400 Constitution NE, just west of Carlisle, which you may remember has housed several coffee bar-lounge-type establishments over the past several years, including the popular but short-lived Café Riviera. Give it a spin this weekend as local hippies Meat the Vegans play a CD release show on Saturday, March 10. The show is listed from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., but that seems like a typo. Maybe it’s not. $4 at the door gets you in. Call 232-0223 for more details, or log on to www.hunabhookah.com.
Pistolera’s Mexican sound finds love on the East Coast
Sandra Velasquez arrived in New York in 1999 and developed a longing. Brooklyn’s streets lacked familiar Mexican restaurants, dishing up grub on every corner. The large Caribbean-Latino population spoke Spanish with a different accent. Most importantly, the music of her youth wasn’t blaring from car stereos. “Even though I had traveled around the globe, it wasn’t until I moved to New York that I felt really far away from Mexican culture.”
Bassist’s quartet to feature music from his latest CD
Tabla, acoustic and electric guitars, alto and tenor saxes, palmas, synth, Fender Rhodes, vibraphone and marimba, bongos, cajón, kora, djembe, telephone (and more) ... the list of instruments and musicians appearing on bassist Jon Gagan’s latest release, Transit 2, takes up most of a CD panel. For Gagan, a Santa Fean whose background is heavy in jazz and funk, the multicultural instrumental palette reflects the world of influences informing his compositions, and a determination to break out of the confines of genre.
Don't let the name fool you
Cashew Van Harding and the rest of his band, The Prix (pronounced the "pree"), were sitting by the radio, anxiously waiting to hear their first radio single on Los Angeles' famed KROQ. When the time came, the DJ announced the song as "the latest from The Pricks." "We were all excited and then there it was, 'The Pricks,' right off the bat," Van Harding, the band's lead singer, says. "We're not opposed to maybe changing the name to 'The Grand Prix' so people get the idea, but we'll see."
The Sweet Taste of Free—As I'm sure you're already aware, Global DanceFest is back in Albuquerque courtesy of the fine folks over VSA Arts of New Mexico. This time around, some of the featured performers will be offering classes to local dance enthusiasts. The best part? The classes are absolutely free.
Extraordinary Bodies at the Albuquerque Museum
You might expect an exhibit of medical photographs to be gruesome—or, at the very least, disconcerting. In this regard, Extraordinary Bodies, a show at the Albuqeurque Museum, doesn't disappoint.
Granta once again examines the best and brightest of a new generation
In the ever-changing anteroom of the Great American Novel, young just got younger, and what it means to be an American broadened significantly. On Thursday, Granta magazine announced the lineup for their second Best of Young American Novelists issue at New York’s Housing Works Bookstore.
Q: Dear CBA,
I’ve been wondering for a while what the deal is with fish sauce. How can something that smells so gross be so popular? I mean, it smells like extra-putrid rotten fish. I’ve tried cooking with it, and the food ends up tasting like fish sauce smells.
I love Thai food, and I know they use a lot of fish sauce, so I’m wondering how they get away with it?
—Not Quite Hooked
A: Dear Unhooked,
I’ve experienced the same phenomenon, so I sympathize. The trick to using fish sauce is that you add a few drops to dishes that have strong flavors in other ways, and the power of the competing flavors balances out.
New Mexico’s first Vitality Juice, Java and Smoothie Bar opens in Downtown Albuquerque
Imagine a place where healthy food actually tastes good. Where chocolate shakes are as nutrient-packed as a shot of wheatgrass, and burgers are as guiltless as broiled chicken breast. In your dreams, right? Think again.
Where fine dining is a snap
I cannot make a decent crêpe. And it’s not for lack of trying, let me assure you. I remember being 19 years old, standing in the industrial kitchen of my culinary school in a starchy white jacket and houndstooth pants, staring at the cracks in the mahogany-tiled floor. My least favorite instructor was publicly humiliating me for forgetting to “snap” my wrist when I flipped the pan. My lack of snap had resulted in yet another charcoal doily instead of the mouth-watering, lacy brown creation we all coveted.