Alibi Volume 16, Number 11
March 15, 2007
State senators go head-to-head on whether our president should keep his job
March 20, 2007, marks the fourth anniversary of the Iraq War, and within these last few years, much has changed. Our country has been introduced to wiretapping, reacquainted with torture and has come to feel, overwhelmingly, that we have been lied to. Some argue that because of these things we are safer. Perhaps we are, but if that is so, it is at a cost, a cost we cannot fully calculate.
Does UNM plan to pave paradise?
For a variety of users, from joggers to coyotes, the UNM golf course offers a green sanctuary amidst the city’s drab concrete and urban sprawl. Some call it Albuquerque’s “Central Park.” Now the pastoral north campus course may be in danger, among speculation that the university is considering the site for future development.
Towne Park’s happy ending
Towne Park resident Scott Varner says every board needs a watchdog.
For the last two years in his neighborhood, that watchdog's been him. He's seen a Homeowners Association run amok, with rules and regulations so strictly interpreted that talking with your neighbors by your mailbox was considered loitering, a handful of weeds could get you fined and Christmas invitations were referred to as "solicitation." Varner saw a board that perpetuated itself, keeping the same players in power, a microcosm of democracy gone awry. Varner's newsletter decrying the board resulted in a fine, which gave him cause for arbitration last summer.
Jowls Aquiver—Can it really be front-page news that a high school hip-hop club put out a track with sexual content and the word "ass"? The biggest, oldest, lamest daily in the state stuck it in the feature space under the clever photo caption "Hip-hop Headache," Thursday, March 8.
A conversation with Paul Gessing of the Rio Grande Foundation
The e-mail about one of my columns came from Paul Gessing. I recognized the name instantly. I knew him to be the director of Government Affairs for the National Taxpayers Union. I had read his op-eds in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. I wrote back, asking how a column in our humble alternative weekly paper had come to his attention two thousand miles away in Washington, D.C. He answered that he was writing from Albuquerque, where he had recently taken over as president of the Rio Grande Foundation.
People attending the March 5 Council meeting found stacks of 103-page, ring-bound proposals presenting Mayor Martin Chavez' General Obligation bond. They also found single-sheet handouts from the City Council announcing that a budget compromise had been reached that afternoon.
Democrats thumb their noses at Democrats
Ben Altamirano of Silver City is the Democratic leader of the New Mexico State Senate. As President Pro Tempore he seconded the motion to have our Legislature call upon Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney. The resolution passed its first committee hearing 5-0. It sailed through two more committee hearings and gathered momentum on its way to the Senate floor.
Dateline: Serbia--Vampire hunters, fearful that late dictator Slobodan Milosevic would return from the grave as a bloodthirsty member of the undead, rammed a wooden stake through the former Serbian president’s corpse. Miroslav Milosevic, no relation to the deceased dictator, gave himself up to police after an investigation was launched into why a 3-foot-long wooden pole had been driven into the ground of Milosevic’s grave. The living M. Milosevic claimed he and his fellow vampire hunters acted to prevent S. Milosevic from “returning from the dead” to haunt the country. Slobodan Milosevic’s Socialist Party of Serbia, which led the country to civil war and oversaw the break-up of the former Yugoslavia, condemned the desecration of the grave in the eastern town of Pozarevac. Slobodan Milosevic’s daughter-in-law Milica Gajic said she planned to sue the vampire hunters and accused the police of failing to protect the grave properly. Milosevic died on March 11, 2006, while on trial before a U.N. war crimes tribunal.
Screen It In Spanish--On Thursday, March 15, at 7 p.m., The National Hispanic Cultural Center will present the classic 1950 film El Capitán Veneno. The film tells the story of an embittered army captain who gets injured during one of the uprisings against Queen Isabel and becomes a guest of the generous Countess of Santurce. The film will be shown in the NHCC’s Bank of America Theater and is in Spanish with English subtitles. This screening is free and open to the public.
During my time spent as a poor Mexican child in Liberal Kansas, my family got our cable TV the old-fashioned way--we stole it. Well, technically, one person on our block paid for it, and the rest of us hooked our houses up to that person’s service. I can still remember the tangled knot of black cable which spider-webbed out from my neighbor’s porch to every other house on our block, bequeathing upon us all the gift of HBO and some new-fangled station called MTV. Every Friday and Saturday night I would camp out on the living room couch with a stack of comic books and some snacks and take in the awesome mind-bending power of stolen cable. Trash cinema classics such as Magic, Fun House and Basket Case attacked my young brain like a swarm of pissed-off killer bees and firmly imbedded themselves into the essence of my childhood. These flix played a large part in the development of my cinematic tastes and continue to shape how I look at film today. Plus, I got to see a helluva lot of boobs.
The Italian, a modestly mounted, emotion-driven tale of international adoption courtesy of Russia, will either be Angelina Jolie’s absolute favorite movie of the year or will flat-out horrify the curvy child magnet. I can’t decide which.
“Raines” on NBC
Remember Jeff Goldblum, star of The Big Chill, The Fly and Jurassic Park? Whatever happened to that guy? Well, he became Jeff Goldblum, star of Fay Grim, Mini’s First Time and Spinning Boris. While the ’80s and ’90s were kind to Mr. Goldblum (starring in blockbusters like Independence Day, marrying Geena Davis), the turn of the 21st century seems less so, confining the 6-foot-4 actor to a string of direct-to-video flicks.
The Week in Sloth
One for the Road—It's an exciting time for local crooner Tommy Gearhart. Last September, he released a collection of standards called Autumn Serenade; his way of cracking open a window in a charming but creaky old house, inviting a fresh breeze to circulate through its rooms and ruffle the pages of the American song book. And now velvet-voiced Tommy will carry the torch of, well, torch jazz on a four-city tour across the Midwest (specifically, he'll light up Detroit, Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati).
The Launchpad presents "Underground Rising 2," a beatified battle royale with Mantis Fist, Living Proof, Durt-e Sol, Habeas Corpses, SaintSinnerSuns, The Zoo and others. It's free, but only if you're over 21. Sorry, children. (LM)
Trumpeter’s quintet improvises with a lyrical edge
Trumpeter, composer and educator Ralph Alessi doesn’t have a problem winging it.
Sticking out like a sore thumb and loving every minute of it
For Nick Pena, frontman of Santa Fe's Latin rap-rock trio La Junta, school taught him a somewhat unintended lesson. "In high school," says Pena, "I was never really a good son or a good student. Looking back, I think that if it weren't for my art and music classes I wouldn't have stayed in school."
Reggae hero didn't set out to invent a style
Eek-A-Mouse is still in Ketchum, Idaho, when we speak. It's hard to imagine what the 3,000 or so people who live in Ketchum think of the Mouse, a six-and-a-half foot Jamaican reggae legend. But Eek-A-Mouse loves the West. He declared himself a cowboy in the mid-’90s and has donned a cowboy hat ever since. He's been on tour for about three weeks now, though really, he says, the road has been his home for the last 30 years or so. "That's how it goes," he says. "It's my life."
Abstraction in Action—This week, Artspace 116 opens an exhibit of abstract paintings by Lilly Fenichel. Fenichel moved from Vienna to Britain during World War II and then migrated to California in the early '40s. A key figure in the abstract expressionist movement in San Francisco, Fenichel now lives in New Mexico where she continues to create art. A reception for her exhibit will be held this Friday, March 16, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Artspace 116 is located at 116 Central SW. For details, go to www.artspace116.org or call 245-4200.
The Box Performance Space opens shop near Downtown
Like most faux-adobe structures in Albuquerque, The Box looks just like a box. For years, the building housed a video rental store. If not for a simple twist of fate, it would have become a boxing gym. Last month, Doug Montoya and Kristin Berg met the landlord by accident and convinced him to let them transform the space into Albuquerque's newest theater.
Co-munching in Thailand
The lukewarm rice porridge in my bowl had zero flavor. None. It was a study in sensory deprivation.
As a wise man once said, “When in Rogue, do as the Rogue do.” This is old-proverb-speak for “Northwest breweries should stick with the badass bitter beers they're known for.” Just look at Rogue Brewery’s OG flagship brews Shakespeare Stout, Brutal Bitter and Old Crustacean, all of them harsh, complex and consistently on point. But with their newest concoction, Monk Madness, the preeminent Oregon tastemakers at Rogue have continued to stray from their roots to unimpressive results. Right now, every American brewer and his mother seems to think it’s his right, or obligation, to try his hand at a Belgian-style ale. The results can be disastrous for one simple reason: Belgian ales, even the strongest of the bunch, have a subtlety and traditional pureness to them that the American ruffian brewer can’t recreate. Rogue’s tribute to the Belgian ale, for instance, hinges on five varieties of malts and five different hops—an ambitious recipe on paper that damn well goes too far. The deep velour and rippled brown color is off-putting, the sour bite of it is upsetting. Everything about the burnt-caramel hop flavor and slightly hopped-up, nutty booziness screams "identity crisis," like an American playboy vacationing in an ancient monastery—and without the basic decency to learn Flemish. The fact is, Rogue’s ever-expanding list of beers seems more and more like an excursion from what they are known for, and what they do best.
For diners, captive or otherwise
I’ve always been curious to know what sort of food is served to people in jail. I couldn’t imagine inmates having a make-your-own-omelet bar or anything, but I think we're also past the days when the chain gang stopped at noon for porridge.