Vets helping vets
“Single beak parrot,” says the smallest person in the room. His eyes sparkle behind thick glasses and his silver beard is almost long enough to tuck in his belt.
“Single beak parrot,” says the smallest person in the room. His eyes sparkle behind thick glasses and his silver beard is almost long enough to tuck in his belt.
Let's take a walk down hypothetical avenue: You are sleeping soundly in your bedroom in the spacious and surprisingly unaffordable new Downtown lofts. Suddenly your cocker spaniel begins to paw at you and whine. As you wake, you think, “That’s strange, Buster usually doesn’t bother me at this hour. Is there a midnight prowler outside?”
Sin for Free!--Albuquerque’s Sin Fronteras Film Festival (taking place April 20, 21 and 28) is gearing up with a series of free previews. On Monday, April 2, the festival will screen an English-subtitled print of the Argentine documentary Hotel Gondolin. Director Fernando Lopez Escriva’s film examines a group of transgender women who are squatting in a hotel in Buenos Aires and follows their efforts to organize as sex workers. The screening, organized by UNM Students of Latin American Studies, will take place from 8 to 10 p.m. at the UNM SUB theater. Following the 52-minute film, transgender community activists will be on hand to speak and lead a discussion. This event is free and open to the public.
It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, for example, is one of the quiet ones. After five years of scoring effortless sitcom laughs on “3rd Rock From the Sun,” Gordon-Levitt unceremoniously segued his career into a string of fine indie film performances (Latter Days, Mysterious Skin, Brick). Gordon-Levitt’s newest film, The Lookout, is one of the quiet ones, too--a low-budget thriller directed by first-time cameraslinger Scott Frank.
Thoughtful, contemplative, taciturn: These are words to describe the Turkish drama Climates. If you’re in the mood. If not, then “slooooooooooow” will suffice.
Henry VIII: Fat dude, marriage addict, star of that maddening ’60s pop tune. Yeah, we all know him. But Showtime is determined to showcase a different side to the infamous English leader. “The Tudors,” premiering this Sunday, gives us a 10-part glimpse into the political backstabbing and naughty backstage antics of the early Tudor court. It’s sort of like “The Sopranos” but with fancier clothes and an easier-to-understand accent.
Chamber Music X—In a valiant and sustained effort to broaden the tastes of local chamber music fans, Chamber Music Albuquerque has brought the hip, young Del Sol Quartet to town for a one-night-only performance this week. Focusing on compositions more challenging than the run-of-the-mill canon of 18th and 19th century classics, this dynamic quartet, which was founded in 1992, is more about the here and now than the dead and gone. They'll be at Albuquerque Academy's Simms Center for the Arts this Friday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m. as part of Chamber Music Albuquerque's adventurous Chamber Music X performance series. Tickets are $20 in advance or $22 at the door. Student tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door. For details, call 268-1990 or go to www.cma-abq.org.
A lot of people would love to be more like Wayne Berube. After teaching at Cibola High School for 10 years, the 40-year-old Albuquerque native was burnt. He loved teaching, but whining parents and intrusive administrators eventually ground him down.
The label says it all. There's the ice-capped mountains, the amber waves of grain and the pretty plains of Anderson Valley depicted in all their glory—and right there in the middle of this splendor is Brother David with his sick, furry mustache and his favorite death-metal monk hood. (Brother David also looks suspiciously like the mid-’90s cab-driving spokesman for MTV.) The point is this Abbey-style dark ale is unique in a way that takes some getting used to: It's not how you might have made it, and it kinda sticks out, but it touches you nevertheless.
Marge Piercy remembers the seders of her childhood, where the rapid-fire Haggadah, read mostly in Hebrew, "had all the emotional content of the directions for installing a DVD recorder." Her book Pesach for the Rest of Us makes itself pretty clear in its first pages—this is not a text for traditionalists.
Cash only—not a concept that most of us are familiar with in this age of plastic-in-a-hurry. I cruised into Lindo Mexico for lunch on a busy weekday and was greeted, seated and my beverage brought out before I read the looming, fortuitous “cash only” warning on the menu. Crap. I got up and made tracks to the ATM up the block, apologizing on my way out the door for my lack of money that folded or jingled. When I returned, my drink and chips were gone, and two new diners were seated at the table.
State legislators flooded the Roundhouse last Tuesday, March 20, on direct orders from the governor to convene a Special Session--only three days after the regular one had expired. At the same time, Bill Richardson was on a plane headed to California, where he would soon spend the next several hours shaking as many hands as he could (he does hold a record for such things), asking those on the other end to make him the next president.
Republicans have contracted a flesh-eating disease caused by a steady diet of unchecked power and severe deficiency of principle. It attacks the brain’s capacity to tell the truth. Loss of face follows. The only known cure is loss of the very unchecked power that triggered the disease in the first place.
The cartoon penned by “Toles” dated from 1994. Yet its relevance even today remains such that John McDonough, veteran health care reformer and consultant for Health Care for All, began his PowerPoint talk last weekend by showing it to a roomful of state legislators from around the country.
At the March 19 meeting, city councilors spent lots of time early in the evening on a land use appeal. Then, as 11 p.m. approached, they quickly passed several bills. In between, they wrangled with the recent controversy over taxes and transportation.
The Guts You Don't See—It’s a commonly used simile to say that making laws is like [urlhttp://www.sausagemania.com/[/url]making sausage[xurl] in that you don't want to see the process involved in creating them before they’re presentable to the public. Or maybe it's that both greasy products are full of lard and pig heads. Actually, that's not always true about sausage.
We often think of giving second chances to those who've committed some crime against society. Thieves, recovering addicts, white-collar criminals—most are given the opportunity to bring positive change to their communities. Why not offer the same chance to a building?
Dateline: England--Apparently, the best way to get an upgrade to first class is to die. A first-class passenger on a recent flight from Delhi to London awoke to find the corpse of a woman who had passed away in the economy cabin being placed in the seat next to him. The economy section of the flight was full, and the cabin crew needed to move the woman and her grieving family out of the compartment to give them some privacy, British Airways said on Monday. The first-class passenger, Paul Tringer, told the Sunday Times newspaper that he was sleeping during the February flight from India and woke up when the crew placed the dead woman in a nearby empty seat. “I didn’t have a clue what was going on,” said Tringer. “The stewards just plonked the body down without saying a thing.” British Airways said in a statement that about 10 passengers die each year in flight and that while each situation is dealt with on an individual basis, safety is the primary concern. “The deceased must not be placed in the galley or blocking aisles or exits, and there should be clear space around the deceased,” a statement from the airline said. “We apologize to passengers in the first cabin who were distressed by the situation--our cabin crew were working in difficult circumstances and chose the option that they believed would cause the least disruption.”
Romeo Needs a Name—My favorite three-car-garage lotharios, Romeo Goes To Hell, are practically naked right now, having rejected the band name they've rocked for the last five years. I enjoy publicly humiliating them, so let's all listen in on their innermost musings on the subject, shall we? From the band's Rocksquawk.com forum, as posted by bassist, vocalist, art director and songwriting/sex machine, Levi Eleven.
Marsh can't hold a day job. He tried for a while, but touring with his ambient-rock band, Soular, just wiped the "punctual employee" right off his résumé.
Los Angeles rapper Deadlee wasn't wanting for media attention last year. On his release Assault with a Deadlee Weapon he fired back at hip-hop's most homophobic MCs: Eminem, DMX and 50 Cent, even accusing 50 of having deep-seated homosexual tendencies:
Not so long ago, the RX Bandits were another cog in the gear of what seemed like an unstoppable ska machine. Propelled by bands like the Bandits, along with The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Reel Big Fish, the movement swept up millions of teens across the country … for about three months.
Tuesdays With Morrie is not a surprising play. Writers Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom chart a predictable course and rigidly stick to it. The message: Live. Give of yourself. Nothing new there, either.
From beat-up cars to inappropriate costumes to what looked to us like possible criminal behavior (we've already notified the FBI), we saw a little bit of just about everything among this year's voluminous entries. To narrow it down, we sweated, we swore, we fought each other tooth and nail. Eventually, we reached some kind of consensus, however tense and grudging. The result is on these pages, with many more available for your viewing pleasure at alibi.com.
Love Bad Moves?--On April 6 and 7, the Alibi and Guild Cinema will present the first annual (we can only hope) “Worst Film Festival Ever.” This two-day cinematic stinkathon will feature a steaming pile of the absolute worst films with which the federal government will allow us to torture audiences.
Ever have one of those “What the hell!?!” moments? You know, when you see or hear something that boggles the mind, beggars description and makes you wonder about the sanity of its source--something that just forces you to scream a rhetorical “What the hell!?!” to the heavens above? If you can’t recall the last time you did so, feel free to see The Last Mimzy, and the experience is sure to come flooding back.
What with all the torture-porn taking over American cineplexes (Saw, Hostel, Wolf Creek, Turistas, The Passion of the Christ), I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to have fun while watching a horror movie. Thankfully, the South Korean movie industry is either so far behind the trend or so far ahead of the curve that it’s managed to deliver The Host, a funny, scary, emotional, thrilling and occasionally bloody monster movie. You heard me right: This is a good, old-fashioned, B-grade monster movie--the kind with an honest-to-god monster in it, as opposed to a dirty psycho with a pair of wirecutters.
Drop Dead Funny--Have you ever thought to yourself, “What this here TV show needs is more zombies!” Lord knows I have. It would certainly spice things up on Wisteria Lane for “Desperate Housewives” and might actually cut down on all the whining over at “Grey’s Anatomy.” CBS apparently agrees with us and has just cast former “Picket Fences” star Kathy Baker for one of the lead roles in the network’s new comedy/drama “Babylon Fields.” The show focuses on the trials and tribulations of a small town dealing with a persistent outbreak of the living dead. According to industry trade publications, Baker and Amber Tamblyn (“Joan of Arcadia”) will play a mother and daughter who have to deal with the abusive husband/father they recently dispatched with an ax.
A Gingerbread Homecoming—It's been less than a year since the Gingerbread Patriots dusted our desert from their keyboards and moved to Portland, Ore. But since they're so gosh darn sentimental, they couldn't stay away for long. Bless their little indie-pop hearts.
Some of the fine print says: "That's right. RollerCon, the international all-female roller derby convention, is looking for certified EMTs to volunteer their time and talents this summer, Aug. 8-12, in fabulous Las Vegas, Nev.!" Perks include undying gratitude and a nice little vacation in Vegas (paid for by you, but nice nonetheless). For more information, e-mail email@example.com. (LM)
If there’s one thing The Ettes aren’t, it’s a chick band. While both their lead vocalist and drummer are of the female gender, that doesn’t fit them squarely into the “chick” category, and they’d like you to know it.
You would not believe how many bands have named themselves A Murder of Crows. But only one lived in my Walkman throughout early high school until the tape, thin and weary from overplaying, snapped apart one time too many. No amount of scotch tape could aid its redemption. Little did I know this was an early Albuquerque band, around in the late ’80s and early ’90s.
The guys in The Fertile Crescent don't know they're kind of geniuses. Or maybe they're in disguise as four shy 20-year-olds who mumble a little and say "like" too much. It's almost a shame to let them in on the secret that the music they're making is more innovative and well-constructed than a lot of what's put out by bands who've been on the scene for years and years. Sure hope they won't let it go to their heads.
Retired Cocks—It's nice to know the folks in our state Legislature maintain a sense of humor. Take, for instance, Rep. Thomas Taylor's memorial in support of good digs for feathered fighters out of the fray. He writes persuasively: "Whereas the lonely cluck of the warrior with no battle plucks at our heartstrings and stirs the very fabric of our compassionate souls." The cocks have probably not spent any time thinking about their golden years, Taylor laments, and it would be really unfair to cook them up and eat them. Therefore, the state should implement a retirement program "befitting the majesty" of the fighters. This would include "twice-weekly visits from the very best cage-free hens the state has to offer, one high-definition television for every six cocks and a subscription to ESPN, Animal Planet and CMT pure country, but not to the Food Network or FOX News." Amen.
I mostly hate television, but ever since we got basic cable I watch it all the time. It pains me to see the parade of materialism and celebrity worship that dominates my chosen programming, but I can't help myself. Turning it on and checking out for a bit is easy. And that's one thing. Another thing entirely is being compelled to watch television in public. It's hard to impossible to find a place to eat, drink, shop, do your banking or travel without coming in contact with TV and being compelled to stare. And that's just frustrating. I am advertently and inadvertently wasting my time on something I despise, which is exactly what Mitch Altman was doing too, before he quit.
After the New Mexico Legislature had been in session for a couple of weeks this year, the Albuquerque Tribune ran an editorial suggesting New Mexicans would be better served by a 10-day session than by the “lengthy” 60-day session we were embarked upon.
Politics are supposed to be about the people. We’re the intended deciders of the direction of our country and states, our counties and school districts. Our U.S. representatives are hired by us, and since we can’t all make the trek to Washington, they do it instead, taking with them our ideals and desires. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.” Isn’t that right?
Dateline: Finland--A Finnish Member of Parliament is aiming for re-election by campaigning in Klingon. Jyrki Kasvi, a self-proclaimed Trekkie, is hoping to lure hip young voters by translating his website into Klingon. “Some have thought it is blasphemy to mix politics and Klingon,” said Kasvi. “Others say it is good for politicians to laugh at themselves.” Kasvi said his politics posed certain translation problems, since Klingon does not have words for matters such as tolerance, or for many colors, such as green--the party under whose banner Kasvi is running. Kasvi’s site (in English, Swedish, Finnish and Klingon) can be accessed at www.kasvi.org.
This Saturday, March 17, hundreds of Albuquerqueans converged Downtown to march in protest of the Iraq War. Alibi Staff Photographer Tina Larkin was able to capture a few moments of the day.
Double Think—Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could leave 1984 in the past where it belongs? George Orwell's ever-timely novel gets the stage treatment this week when the Actor's Gang brings it to UNM's Popejoy Hall. War as peace? Ignorance as strength? Hey, some things never go out of style. The production occurs Tuesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. The show contains partial nudity and strong language. You can purchase tickets by calling 925-5858.
April comes like an idiot, Edna St. Millay wrote, babbling and strewing flowers. If she were alive today, Edna might add: books, too. The publishing lists are overflowing with titles. Mohsin Hamid, however, seems to get the wisdom of the less-is-more ideology. His streamlined second novel, The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Harcourt, April 3), fights well above its weight of 192 pages. Set in Lahore, and fashioned after Camus’ The Fall, it recounts a young Pakistani man’s tale of falling in and out of love with the U.S. after 9/11.
We anticipate each one of Stone Brewery’s seasonal releases like a high schooler with a joint in their pocket anticipates the final minutes of Algebra II. Just when we’re getting over the bummer of the end the previous special release (we miss you already, Double Bastard), a new conception of an old favorite hits the shelves. This review is late in coming, as the official release date for Stone’s 2007 Old Guardian Barley Wine was Jan. 22, but you’ll be able to swill this beauty for another month … hopefully.
Yummi House is owned by Carol Chiang, a former Chopstix waitress who struck out on her own with one of Albuquerque’s newest Chinese restaurants. Inside, the restaurant is clean and sunny, with buttercup yellow walls accented by red, knotted string creations. Charming plum booths are embossed with black and beige Chinese symbols. The kitchen is partially revealed by a window and, from the vantage point I had at the time of my visit, looked clean as a whistle.
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.
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.
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).
Trumpeter, composer and educator Ralph Alessi doesn’t have a problem winging 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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.